Order of Protection

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Polina's In the House

Jessie’s POV

The room temperature seemed to change instantly as the recognition of what had just happened swept across the audience. Alpha Javier was on his feet, and Pack security members were moving to the exits. Weapons in lockers came out, and metal shutters moved down over the windows overlooking the front of the building and the park. “Your attention, please,” Alpha Javier said, and the room instantly quieted. “As a precautionary measure, the Pack House is going into lockdown procedures and a heightened level of security awareness. I am doing this because I don’t know yet if the attack on the St. Petersburg Pack is an isolated incident or part of a larger plan. We will err on the side of caution,” he said.

“Will we be evacuating, Alpha?” One of the visiting Betas asked as he stood protectively in front of his Luna.

“Not at this time. If we detect a threat, we will remove everyone to the safe room except the security personnel. Please, continue to eat and socialize, this is only a precaution.”

I sat back down, looking over at Patrick. “The children. What are we doing with them?”

“They are being kept where they are. Additional warriors are being sent to reinforce the security that is already there. They are having fun with the movie, and they won’t even notice the change in our security. At this level, the external exits are all locked and reinforced, while the internal doors require the Security Center to open them. As long as we don’t try to leave these rooms, you won’t notice anything but the shutters.” He looked back to the television. “I bet it was the Sicilians. They probably came to Luna Natasha and demanded their money. When she couldn’t pay, they killed her too.”

“Was she with the Russian Mob?”

“We don’t think so. You’ve seen The Godfather. Yuri didn’t let his mate know anything about the family business. He needed her clean and lily-white, both to hide assets and to be the Pack Luna.’

“She was a wonderful mother and Luna,” Mischa added. “Everyone loved her, and it made it easier for those in the Pack to handle Yuri as their Alpha.”

“She must have been a saint to put up with him,” I said. “He was an evil wolf, and our world is better without him. Anatoly should have had a chance to grow up to be a good Alpha.”

Patrick looked down at his phone and smiled. “John and Larry are almost here. It’s a twenty-minute drive from the airport with no traffic, but they’ll make it in twelve.” I looked at him quizzically. “Konstantin showed John the photos I took of you at the reception earlier. He got all flushed and jealous, then ordered the driver to go faster.”

I blushed a little, but inside I was happy. I wanted John in me, and he wanted me too. My God, how that man wanted me. Over and over, all night long. “Will this security stuff going on, can he get in?”

“I’ve alerted our security staff he is coming. They will be waiting for them at the front door. Everyone else is here or is staying in their room per the security protocol. It won’t be long now.”

“I need to go freshen up,” I said. Honestly, I just needed to calm myself and link John without my emotions being on display to all. I didn’t know it was possible to miss someone this much; a weekend apart seemed like a month. My pregnancy hormones had arrived and my moods were swinging. Earlier in the car, I had bawled uncontrollably at a diaper ad on a billboard as we drove by.

Mischa got up to go with me, as a two-person rule is in effect for women at every social function. No one likes to squeeze back into a dress alone. We ducked into the bathroom, and I went straight to the sink. “Link him, that will help calm your wolf,” she said as she pulled a hairbrush out of her handbag.

John, you’re close? I missed you.”

“A few minutes out, my love. I missed you too, more than you could know. I can’t wait to see you.”

“I hear you already saw a photograph of me. Patrick took away my surprise reveal. I REALLY like this dress.”

“I love that dress, baby. I just don’t want other males to see you IN that dress. Plus, like all your other dresses, it looks best falling to the floor by our bed. I can’t wait to strip it off you before ravishing your body all night long.”

He knows just the things to get me going, and I could feel my body responding to him already. “We do have to spend time at the reception, where you left me alone. If you’re a good boy, I’ll show you what I’m wearing UNDER my dress for you when we get to our room.”

“Can’t this thing go any faster?” I laughed at his frustration. “I’m glad nothing is scheduled until after lunch because you aren’t leaving our bed until you can’t move your legs.”

“Promises, promises. You already knocked me up, no need to knot me up.”

“Maybe I like being tied to you for hours. If I remember, it worked well for you too. We’re eight blocks away, love. I’ll see you soon.”

Love you more.”

A few minutes later, my face and hair looking perfect again, we walked back out to a waiting Patrick. “They’re a few blocks away, would you care to meet him in the lobby instead of in front of all these people?”

“YES. Please.” I was almost shaking with anticipation. I felt like one of those dogs in the welcome-home soldier videos who just can’t stop moving. He led Mischa and I out, past the security member in the red shirt carrying an AK-74 rifle, and to the doors where more security force members waited. These people were the reserve force. They were in battle dress, including helmets, Kevlar vests, and rifles with all the attachments. I saw the widow guards were down, the front was dark, and the thick front doors closed and braced. “Can we see out?”

He brought me over to the window, where a gun port was at my shoulder height. Sliding the inch-thick steel plate to the side, I could see through the window to the street in front of the house. I started to bounce when the Mercedes turned the corner, tires squealing as they struggled to keep purchase with the roadway. The car screeched to a halt, and the door opened, and my John came out in his tuxedo. He was looking at the front door for me. “Jessie, where are you?”

”Inside. We are on lockdown because of the attack on Luna Natasha.” I started to stand up, then stopped as he suddenly turned around and ran back towards the car. “What’s going on?”

“Larry found his mate, and she took off running,” he said. Run? From Larry? Why would any she-wolf do that? He was a good man, a good wolf.

Bring them back, I want to meet her,” I said. They disappeared around the corner, trying to catch up to Larry and his fleeing woman. Patrick was looking at me funny; he looked outside and didn’t see anyone. “Larry scented his mate. They’re going after her.”

He smiled widely, and Mischa squealed with excitement. “This is so wonderful,” she said as she hugged her mate. “Who is it?”

“We don’t know,” I said. I knew John would link me when he could, so I just said a silent prayer thanking Luna for bringing a woman into Larry’s life. Secretly, I was hoping she outranked him, so he would be coming here with us. ”See, you’re already thinking of yourself as Pack Luna,” my wolf laughed in my mind. “I can be happy for them, and nothing is for sure. I haven’t even talked to John about this.” My wolf just snorted in amusement. “Our mate will go wherever we decide will make us happy, a place to raise our pups and take care of our Pack.

My heart stopped when John sent the warning to me. I almost stumbled before turning to Patrick. “Beta Polina is already here, she’s in the safe room with a load of explosives, and she’s going to blow up the building with us inside it.” Patrick recovered and must have sent a mental message to all the Moscow Pack members. The other Alphas picked it up because Stan sent it back to me thirty seconds later.

I didn’t bother responding. I was already heading for the stairs with Mischa, both our wolves focused on only one thing.

We had to get the children out of the building NOW.

John’s POV

My stomach dropped as Larry’s mate confessed the plot to him. I sent a message to Jessie, knowing she would raise the alarm. I looked at Larry, holding his newfound mate in his arms as she begged him for death. A death he could not bring himself to give her.

Konstantin came out of it first. Snatching the silver handcuffs out of her belt pack, he slapped one over her wrist and the other over Larry’s before taking her duty keys and sidearm. “We’ll be back for you,” I said as we took off running for the Pack House. The front doors were open, and people were running out the door. I fought the tide, Konstantin behind me, until we were in the vestibule. Patrick stopped us as he was gathering security force members around him. “Where are the girls,” I asked.

“Getting the children out,” he said. One of the men held out a Kevlar vest and helmet; I put them on and grabbed a rifle. They needed all the fighters they could get. “All right, Team A will go with Beta Konstantin down the escape stairway. Team B will go with me to the service elevator. Both entrances to the safe room are locked down. We have no eyes on Polina, though. When both teams are in position, the doors will be unlocked, and we go in. Shoot to kill, and don’t shoot each other. Any questions?” We had six men on each team.

We all knew if this went bad, they’d never find our bodies.

I followed Patrick through the kitchen, back to the loading dock area. He gathered us in front of the elevator door. “The blast doors open from the inside, and they are open now. If we were to take the elevator down there, she might hear us. The door would open as soon as it stops.”

“We’d be sitting ducks,” one of the redshirted men said.

“We’re sending the elevator to the top floor, and we’ll rope down from here. Once in place, Security Control will open the doors, and we go in. Boris, Pascha, Mikhael, you guys are in front. Mikhael, bring a crowbar in case the door won’t open, but for Luna’s sake, don’t bang it on the wall on the way down.” He nodded. “Boris, you go left, Pascha right, Mikhael breach then stand aside, I’ll go straight ahead, and John covers our flank. No friendly fire and no spray and pray, just take the bitch out before she can blow this place.”

We opened the door and blocked it in place, then tied off ropes and sent them to the bottom. The bottom of the shaft was fifty feet down, covering the gym level, the security level, and the safe room. The five of us made it to the bottom and took our places. I wasn’t in their Pack, meaning I couldn’t follow the mental communications. That is why I was last.

Boris and Pascha, their red shirts under their vests, knelt by the sides of the door with rifles ready. They would curl around the doorway when it opened. They tensed up and readied, so it must be close. Patrick held up his left fist in front of me, finger counting down five, four three, two, then he readied his rifle.

The door slid open, the men surged through, and there was a bright light. I was flying backward, the concussion blowing out my eardrums before my helmet smacked the concrete of the elevator shaft. Everything went dark.

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