Two Days Later
“фокус, моя любовь, (Focus, my love)” he said as I sat behind the cabin at the fire ring. We were speaking to each other only in Russian now. I was working on my magic again, not wanting to lose any of the powers I had learned before we left Grand Marais. The fireball formed in front of me; it had taken a while to figure out how to do it in wolf form since I didn’t have hands. I changed it so it appeared in front of my mouth, then I could use my mind to move it around. I was practicing making the fireball different sizes, and they kept going out.
“это не так просто, как кажется”, (It’s not as easy as it looks), I sent back. The snowstorm had gone on for a full day, and when it was over he decided we better bring a lot more wood into the house. A foot of powder snow coated the ground and made the trees look like a postcard.
The cabin was cozy, but not well-insulated. The fire had to be kept going, or it was really cold in the morning. We also had to severely restrict our water use. The water tank was inside the loft, above the kitchen so it wouldn’t freeze, but the water collection system off the roof was no good once the temperature dropped below freezing. Refilling the tank would mean bringing in five-gallon containers by snowmobile or car, then hauling them up the ladder to pour them into the tank. Basically, this cabin was not built for the winter that was coming. We wouldn’t be able to stay here into January’s bitter temperatures. Showers were out, the toilet was emergency use only since we could always go wolfy in the woods.
I worked for another hour before my magic was flowing well, and I could create and shoot out multiple fireballs at a time in wolf form. I then moved to the shoreline, where I spend another hour working with water, ice and wind until I had control of them in wolf form as well. By the time I was done, I could smell lunch cooking. I trotted up to the door, shifting before walking in. My clothes were by the fire, all warm and toasty. I heated my skin up by the fire before dressing in the jeans, wool socks, long sleeve shirt and sweater. As I pulled the sweater over my head, I felt him pull me back into the hard planes of his chest. “Мне нравится смотреть, как ты одеваешься почти так же, как раздеваете тебя (I love watching you dress almost as much as undressing you)”
“Не так сильно, как мне нравится раздевать тебя (Not as much as I like undressing you).” I turned in his arms, molding my body to his as his arms pull my hips in. I reach up, pulling his head down into a steamy kiss. I was panting by the time we stopped, but my stomach started to growl. “Что на обед? (What’s for lunch?)”
“Сосиски с картофельным пюре (Bangers and Mash).” He led me to the table and sat me down, then brought over a plate with three large venison sausages and a huge pile of potatoes with gravy. It smelled amazing. He sat with his plate and waited for me.
I moaned in pleasure at the taste, the potatoes were creamy with lots of butter. I cut into the sausage and it squirted, the hot juice shooting across the table to land on his arm. “сожалею (Sorry!)”
He licked it off his muscular forearm, his eyes never leaving mine as his long tongue licked it clean, leaving no doubt as to what would be happening after we ate. I blushed and looked down at my plate; we had been screwing like newlyweds facing the end of the world, and it showed no signs of slacking. He wanted me all the time, and I wanted him too. It took discipline to keep to our training and our studies when what our wolves and our hearts really wanted to do was bang the shit out of each other again.
Luna Linnea’s POV
“Wait here, Randy. I’ll just be a few minutes.” I walked into the Yarn Harbor, my favorite crochet store in Duluth. I needed a few dozen skeins for baby blanket making this fall, and they had the best colors here. I always preferred seeing it in person and talking to the girls at the store instead of having it shipped. Sven hadn’t liked me leaving so soon after the storm, but with a big Expedition and three guards, he relented.
I smiled as I pulled out a skein with a pastel blue and a crystal white color. It was still too early to tell, but my heat had come just a few days after Jessie had laid her glowing hands on my stomach. Sven and I didn’t come out for five days, and I felt good, different… I felt like a complete woman. It would take another week before tests would show if we were successful or not. I was praying to Luna every day, there was nothing I wanted more in life than to give my Pack its Alpha heir.
I bagged up my purchases, happy that we had zero money worries in the Pack now. Sven had been insistent we not change our behaviors, so we hadn’t touched the money in the Swiss account. Until Jessie was safe, we couldn’t attract attention.
And nothing attracts attention on the North Shore like sudden wealth.
Randy was holding the door open for me, and soon we were on our way back to the Pack grounds. I was looking out at the trees on the passenger side when I heard Randy swear, right before the truck hit us broadside. Glass broke, metal screamed and bent, and we started to roll. I was tossed about, the side impact airbags deployed and kept me mostly in place, but my face did hit the window. Our Expedition rolled once, then ended up with my side down in the rocks and grass of the shoulder.
“Is everyone all right?” I looked over, Randy was hanging limp in the seatbelts, blood covered his face and his eyes were closed. I could hear John and Daniel in the back, John was moaning in pain. Both of them had taken the brunt of the impact. I couldn’t move, my right arm felt broken and I didn’t want to fall on it. Daniel stood up, pushing out the rest of the glass on the caved-in door and looking out. I heard a pop, then a wet sound like melon hitting the ground. I screamed as Daniel’s body fell down and I saw the side of his head was gone.
I smelled them before they pushed the truck back on its wheels, bouncing me around again. A fist broke through the window and my door was pulled open, then a clawed finger cut through my seatbelt. I screamed in pain as he yanked me out with my broken arm. He placed a cloth over my face, I could smell the chemical on it. I tried to hold my breath and break the hold with my good arm.
It didn’t work, he was much stronger and dragged me away. “No, please, the baby,” I tried to say, but he didn’t stop. I could feel my limbs getting heavy, and I was pulled into the back of a van. The last thing I saw before I passed out was a man tossing a Molotov cocktail into my car, my three guards still in it.
Alpha Sven’s POV
I was finishing up a call with the Alpha of a neighboring Pack, talking about his plans to host a New Year’s Ball, when the call came in to my phone. “Sorry Jerry, the mate is calling.”
“We’ll talk later, say hi to her for me,” he said before he hung up. I picked up my iPhone and accepted the FaceTime call. The camera wasn’t showing anything I recognized. “Hi baby, did you find what you were looking for?”
The camera panned up to show Linnea on the floor of a van, laying on her side. She was blindfolded and had chains around her ankles, and her hands were cuffed. “LINNEA!” She didn’t move, then the camera switched to the front. I saw a man’s face, it was covered by a ski mask. “I’LL FUCKING SLAY YOU IF YOU HURT HER,” I snarled.
He just laughed. “Too late. I think she broke her arm, she screamed like a girl as we dragged her out of the car. The other three with her weren’t so lucky, they didn’t escape the flames.” My heart dropped as he reached down and grabbed her right wrist. Pulling, it bent in the middle of her forearm, waking her up. She screamed as her eyes opened. “Say hi to your mate,” the man said.
“Linnea, it’s going to be fine. I’ll get you home, count on it.”
“Not so fast,” the man said, his Russian accent heavy. “If you want your mate back, you’ll give me what I need and what you took from us.”
“What? I never took anything!”
“You took three hundred million when the reward was twenty-five.”
I shook my head. “Your Alpha agreed to it.”
“And you, Alpha, will agree to this. Tomorrow we will call you at six PM. You will transfer two things to me when I give you directions on where to meet. One will be the body of Jessie Donato, the whore’s daughter who is screwing everything up. The other will be to transfer two hundred and seventy-five million to the account number I provide.”
“I don’t have the money!”
“Then you better get it. The Alpha said he knows a Sicilian who can give you a loan.” He laughed and turned the camera back to Linnea.
I looked at my phone, my heart breaking as I saw her in pain. “Jessie’s body was dumped in the deep waters of Lake Vermillion, we can’t even get a boat out there with the ice,” I said. “I can’t get it by tomorrow night.”
“If you don’t have what I want tomorrow, your mate will lose a body part. The next night, another. If you want her to have hands to hold your baby with, you better hurry up.” The call ended; when I tried to call back, it went straight to voice mail. I called all my Betas to my office, explaining what had happened. We couldn’t reach the three guards either.
Twenty minutes later we got a call from the Sheriff. Our vehicle had been found on fire, the remains of three people inside. Foul play was suspected.
My men were frantically searching for clues while I sat at my desk, my head in my hands. I had promised to protect Jessie and John, but at what cost?
I couldn’t lose my Linnea.