Pierce sat in the briefing room with Addison at his side. She wore one of the dresses he brought for her and she never looked more beautiful. The beautiful, dark blue dress fitted her perfectly. If Pierce didn’t know any better, he’d say she glowed. Her skin seemed to emit a beautiful glow. Her cheeks were rosy not from blush but natural coloring. Her hair fanned across her shoulders and down to the middle of her back. It was riddled with curls and beautiful and shiny. It could be the vampire thing but she was beautiful to him before her change. He placed a hand on hers when she stiffened at the sight of Victor. She glanced at him and smiled. Apparently, she wasn’t used to Victor yet. Victor only stayed in the room a moment. When he was gone, Addison whispered to him.
“What happened to him?”
“I told you he was in an accident.”
Addy glanced at the door to see if he returned. “I know but can you give me the details?”
“Of course, honey,” Pierce said, bringing her hand to his lips. “I’ll tell you whatever you want to know.”
“Was he in a car accident or something?” she asked.
Pierce frowned. “A car wouldn’t do much damage to him. It was something else entirely. A young wolf by the name of Eric Chance used to be a part of our colony. When his brother Aaron became of age, he wanted to join but Victor felt he was too weak.”
“So what happened?”
Pierce closed his eyes. It was a painful memory. He kind of felt like Victor’s accident was his fault. He rushed after Eric without a game plan. Victor was so protective of him. He wanted to prove to Victor he could handle Eric on his own. It was poor judgment and almost cost both of them their lives.
“Aaron took his life and Eric never got over it,” Pierce said. “He blamed Victor for Aaron’s death and he plotted his revenge against us. He thought it was only fair if Victor lost his brothers too.”
“So, he came after you?” Addy asked.
Pierce nodded. “He let us in on his plan once he took out Bryce. I was so angry with him, I chased him up the cliffs of the Achlys ruins. I was ambushed by Eric and the next thing you know, my ears were ringing. I passed out for a time and when I awoke, I’m at the hospital.”
“What happened after that?”
“I learned later Eric set explosives along the cliffs,” Pierce said. “He set them off once Victor made it to the top of the cliffs. Victor took most of the attack by shoving me into a cave that was up there. I made it out with a broken arm and a few scratches but Victor came out looking like he looks now.”
“I’m sorry,” Addy said. “That’s horrible.
“Funny thing is Victor considered him a close friend. That’s what hurt the most,” Pierce said. “Victor changed after that. He doesn’t let anyone get close to him and if even one of the members gets out of line, he lets them know.”
“Can’t he heal himself?” Addy asked. “I mean, I thought werewolves had extraordinary healing abilities.”
Pierce smiled. “We do but if our injuries are too severe, they’re slow to heal. In Vic’s case, he’s been in countless battles since then. His injuries have healed to the extent they’re going to. The damage is irreversible but Vic doesn’t let it stop him from living his life. He was self-conscious of his looks only a little but he also embraced them.
“His enemies fear him and that’s what he wants,” Pierce said. “Along with his new look, his attitude changed as I mentioned before. He takes shit from no one and his enemies know it too. If they ever cross him, they don’t live to cross him again. If they wander into his territory, they may check in but they don’t check out. Victor built his reputation as such. Only a handful of SOB’s tried him and they regretted it. If they lived they would at least.”
Addy nodded. She guessed with Victor being the alpha male, he had no choice. It was better to be feared than to let your enemy know you were vulnerable. She kind of felt sorry for him. He was betrayed and his father was betrayed. After so much betrayal, she could understand him not trusting anyone at his back except maybe his brothers. Pierce saw the sad look on Addison’s face. He gave her hand a squeeze to make her look at him.
“Victor had a happy ending through this,” he said. “He found Hadria and she doesn’t care what he looks like. She was able to melt his heart a little. He seems happier and more at ease now but his guard’s still up. I’m glad he has someone and maybe with the arrival of his child, he’ll loosen up a little more. No one should be on guard all the time.”
“I guess you’re right,” Addy said. “I hope he starts trusting me a little too.”
“He will,” Pierce said. “Wait and see.”
Pierce cut off the conversation when the pack came into the room with Victor. He guessed it was time for the meeting to start. The pack stood until Victor was seated. Pierce didn’t bother to stand. Victor didn’t say anything which surprised the hell out of him.
“Okay, Hudson,” he said. “What are we up against?”
Addy watched the wolf called Hudson stand. He gave a little bow. He clasped his hands in front of him. “The vampires have informants scoping out our territory. They’re smart enough to sneak in close but not too close where they’ll be spotted by our scouts. If they are spotted, they're too fast for us to catch even in our forms.”
“Do you think they’re looking for something?” Bryce asked. “They never gave us trouble before.”
“We’ve got something they want.”
Addy looked straight ahead. She could feel Victor’s gaze on her. The vampires were after her. They knew she was one of them. When the pack turned to look at her, Addy wanted to disappear. She slumped down in the seat, her hand slipping from Pierce’s grip.
“We can’t give her to them,” Braxton said. “She belongs with us.”
Addy was glad this young wolf was on her side. She wondered if the rest of them would give her up. She listened to the pack conversing the best way to approach the vampires. Victor was quiet as they tossed out suggestions. Addy wanted to add her own input but she didn’t know if they would be willing to listen to her.
“One of the vampires is her friend,” Hudson said, gesturing toward her. “They’ll use him to get her to turn on us.”
“A vampire with eyes on the inside is probably what they’re thinking,” Jacinth said. “I say we let them think it and lure them here in the guise that Addison is betraying us.”
“What if she really does?” another wolf chimed in. “She’s a vampire. We can't be too sure of her.”
“and my mate,” Pierce said. “She wouldn’t do such a thing. I’d appreciate it if you kept your comments to yourself, River.”
Addy glanced at River. He scrunched up his nose at her. He looked away, muttering under his breath. A female wolf argued with Pierce. Soon, all the wolves started talking at once. Addy glanced at Victor. He watched them argue with amusement. He wasn’t the least bit put off by River and the female wolf’s accusations. He probably thought the same way they did. Addy was tired of this. She would prove to them once and for all, she was just as loyal to them as she was to Pierce. Addy stood up so fast, all the wolves went quiet and glanced at her.
“Believe what you want about me, I don’t care,” she said. “I don’t want any of you to risk your life for me.”
“Good to know,” River muttered which warranted a growl from Pierce.
“Yes, I’m a vampire but not by choice,” she said. “Danag turned me against my will. I wouldn’t choose this life for me no matter how hard living on the streets was. I don’t want to live my life drinking blood but it was the hand I was dealt. I didn’t expect to be living my life with a werewolf but hey, here I am. I don’t expect you to like me but I would appreciate it if you stop acting as you know me. I would never betray Pierce or his friends, but I will say this. If I had to choose between you and Pierce, I would gladly choose to save Pierce’s life any day over a bunch of wolves who give me a hard time because I’m not what they want me to be.”
“Addison…” Pierce said, grabbing her wrist.
“I’m sorry I’m not a werewolf,” she continued. “I’m sorry I came into Pierce’s life as a worthless human. I’m sorry I was too weak to fight Danag and he turned me into a werewolf’s mortal enemy. I shouldn’t be apologizing for something that isn’t my fault, but it looks like you guys aren’t going to give me a break no matter what I say.” Addy turned to Victor. “I think it’s best I leave the room. I’m not wanted nor needed here.”
With that, she left the wolves to their discussions. Addy was tired of them treating her like she was nothing. Addy hiked up her dress and walked to the front door. She’d show them she was good for something. Addy would put a stop to the vampires without the wolves’ help.