Pack Warrior Greg Barks’ POV
Arrowhead Alpha Home
I woke to the banging on my door. “GREG! Meet me in Heather’s room in ten minutes.” I recognized my boss’s voice.
“Yes, Beta Coral.” I looked at the clock; it was just after midnight. I’d gotten maybe an hour of sleep, and I had a feeling I wouldn’t get much more. I quickly dressed and was out the door in eight minutes.
Betas Coral, Keith, and Teri were waiting for me in Heather’s room. She looked at me, confused as to why everyone looked like they did. “What’s going on? Is it the Club?”
“Everyone remember not to reveal our nature to her,” Coral reminded us. “In a way. There have been some developments down in Florida you need to know about, Heather.” She filled both of us in on what had happened; the eleven Sons of Tezcatlipoca who were found dead in Mongo’s garage and his arrest.
“Oh my God, Three Tequila must be beside herself,” she said as it all hit her. “She’s all alone now.”
“She’s never alone, the Ladies will close ranks and help her out,” Coral said. “You know that.”
She nodded. “I should be there for her.”
“You’re in more danger than ever, Heather. We thought we got you out of there without a trace, but Rori called me tonight. They think enough clues were left behind that the Sons might come here looking for you.”
I stiffened, any threat to the Pack had to be acted on decisively. “When?”
“We don’t know. The Sons might have eyes on us already; they might be here in a few days; they might never figure it out. What they are sure of is that we cannot have you here if they come looking. We don’t think the Sons will risk attacking us unless they know you are here since there are so many places you could be,” she said.
“The police think the Sons have you, and we wanted the Sons to think the Feds have you. The Task Force announced that you are presumed dead, and they are searching for your body at a lake near Ocala. The Sons know better, they’ll think the Feds are lying to throw them off. What we found out last night is that the Sons may have figured out Chase and Rori had something to do with your disappearance. We need to get you out of here quickly, and keep you away until it is safe to return.”
“Where am I going,” she asked. “I’m not very mobile right now.”
Coral sat on the bed with her. “We had a few ideas, but the best one was the most radical. Moving you to other chapters, or with people you know, won’t work for long. The Cartels and the Sons WILL find you eventually; they have too much money and resourcefulness not to.” She looked over at me. “That is why we decided that simple is best. Mrs. Heather Barks will be on an extended honeymoon with her husband, Greg.”
My jaw dropped, about the same time hers did. “What the fuck did you just say?”
“You have a new identity that should be good, but by traveling with Greg, it gives you protection and another layer against leaving a trail. He’s still a Canadian citizen, no one knows he is here, and he’s close enough in age you make a believable couple. By pretending to be a married couple, you don’t need to provide identification, and you won’t raise any eyebrows.”
I thought about it; it made sense. One werewolf could keep Heather hidden, and a couple would be able to travel without raising any flags. “Where will we go?”
“Don’t fly, and only cross the border into Canada if you think you need to,” Coral told us. “We want to minimize your paper trail. I just want to make sure that you two are going to be all right with this plan.”
“I’ll do whatever is needed to keep Heather safe,” I said. “You can count on me.”
Heather didn’t look as confident. “This is what Chase and Rori think is best?”
“Yes, she told me an hour ago.”
That settled her. “I know how much they risked to get me out of there. If they need me to do this, I’ll do it.”
“Thank you, Heather. Trust us to keep you safe, and we will.” She looked over at me. “Teri is going to help her pack, you leave in an hour,” Coral said.
“I don’t have anything,” Heather said.
“I went shopping for you yesterday,” Teri said. “Chase let me know your sizes and preferences after he cleared your clothes out of your house. I couldn’t pull off the Florida look on the North Shore in December, but I think you’ll like your outfits.”
I followed Beta Coral out of the room as Teri went to get the suitcase and clothes for her. She led me to her office, where she opened a safe. “Stay well clear of other Packs and Steel Brotherhood clubhouses, and the entirety of the American Southwest. We want you to limit your trail and your chances of detection. Avoid big cities, and keep her out of sight if you’re going through them; they have too many cameras, and cameras can have facial recognition. The same thing applies to casinos; even the smaller ones are using the technology. Don’t get pulled over or attract attention, and travel at night if you can.”
“I’ll stick to smaller resorts and hotels then.”
“Exactly.” She opened up a safe behind her desk and pulled out a small stack of cash. “This is mostly 20’s because hundreds attract attention. Use cash as much as possible.” I looked at it before putting it in my pocket; it was close to ten thousand dollars. “Where you need credit cards, like gas stations, use these. They are reloadable debit cards, completely untraceable; each contains about ten thousand dollars. Hotels will still insist on photo identification and a credit card, so use your credit cards for that. Transfer money from one of the debit cards if you need to pay the bill.”
I looked at the cards and put them in my hoodie pocket with the cash. My old Alpha wanted a receipt for coffee and a McMuffin at McDonald’s to get reimbursed, but Coral was handing me a small fortune up front. “This is a lot of money.”
“I don’t know how long you’ll be out. I’m not expecting you to stay at the Ritz-Carlton every night, but rooms and room service aren’t cheap. I also expect that you will take advantage of this time to train her in self-defense, defensive driving, losing tails, and surveillance. She needs to keep busy.”
“I understand.” One thing about this plan made me nervous. “What if I get into trouble, or you need to reach me?”
“Heather doesn’t know we are werewolves, and we need to keep it that way. I will work out a rotation where a pair of warriors or Betas from this Pack stays near enough to lend assistance you get in trouble while staying far enough away that you won’t ever see them. Charlie and Bonnie will be leaving after you do; every time you change locations, we’ll change teams out. Look at the bright side, a lot of people get vacations out of this. Keith owes me a trip, so pick somewhere good.”
I gave this a little chuckle. “Someplace warmer?”
“That would help. You have thirty minutes to be packed and out front.”
“Yes, Beta,” I said.
“It’s important we don’t give up your location by other means; she cannot access any of her social media accounts, and all computers and accesses need to be in your name. Her phone and computers are still in Florida, and she is not to have any other access. If she uses a computer, it’s yours, and you monitor it. Even a search history might give them a clue if you aren’t careful.”
“I understand, and I’ll make sure she maintains that discipline.”
“Good. I need you to remember that Heather is important to our Pack and our Alphas. You need to be alert and professional at all times. Don’t let your proximity lead to an inappropriate relationship or letting your guard down. Your shadows will be kept informed of any threat updates and pass them to you. No one except your shadow will know where you are, including me.”
“I won’t let you down.” Thirty minutes later, I’d re-packed my limited belongings. I’d have to buy more along the way since my gear wasn’t here yet.
I stepped into the garage, where Heather was buckling into the passenger seat of a 2015 Ford Escape 4x4 in dark green with black leather seats. Tina was folding her wheelchair and putting it in the back seat. “Nice car,” she said.
“It should be, it’s yours,” Coral said.
“We’ve been keeping up the identity you’re using for years. When you got your driver’s license, you bought this car for cash from one of my friends. Insurance and registration are in the glove box; both are in your name. We’ve disabled the GPS, but there is an old Garmin in there too.”
“Nice,” I said. “This won’t attract any attention.”
I got in as Coral leaned down, helping Heather lean her seat back so she could rest. “Have a good trip, and don’t do anything stupid. If something doesn’t feel right, get out of there.”
I fired up the engine as the garage door opened. Ten minutes later, I was on the road, heading east to Highway 61. “Well, Mrs. Barks, any preference where to go?”
“I’m not leaving the hotel room, so just give me a nice view,” she said.
I pulled over, getting out my phone. It was already the middle of the night, so I didn’t want to drive too far before we stopped. Duluth wasn’t far; I called and made a reservation at the South Pier Inn. Located by the historic Lift Bridge at the harbor entrance, it was far enough out of the way to give us isolation, while close enough to the city and the Harbor Walk. If nothing else, we could watch the ships go past from our room. They comped the first night for the late arrival based on my four-night stay in a suite.
Why four more nights? I figured that it would take that long for her wound to heal enough that she could shower and travel comfortably.
She fell asleep by the time we hit the highway. “Charlie, you back there?”
“We just left Pack lands,” he replied.
“We’re heading for Duluth. Find a place to stay near the Lift Bridge.”
“Roger that. Drive safe.”
The roads were quiet and the weather was good, so it was just after three when we pulled into the parking lot of the Inn. I left Heather in the car as I checked in, then pulled around to the back entrance. “Time to go,” I said as I unfolded her wheelchair.
“Take me to bed,” she moaned as I lifted her out of the seat and into the chair. I took her up to the room, getting her settled in the king-sized bed before going back down to get our luggage. I finished in the bathroom, then grabbed the extra sheets and a blanket from the closet and tossed them on the couch. “What are you doing,” her soft voice said.
“Going to bed.”
“This bed is huge, just stay on your side.” I wasn’t going to turn that down, but I did put a long pillow between us. The last thing I needed was to hurt her grabbing her at night.
“Good night, Mrs. Barks,” I said as I turned the light off.
“Good night, Mr. Barks,” she said.
I woke up when she started to talk in her sleep. The talk became screaming, the screaming became tossing and turning, and the tossing and turning were tearing her stitches. I could smell the blood, and I didn’t have a choice but to grab her and hold her to me. “HEATHER,” I said into her ear. “WAKE UP.” She suddenly stilled, her eyes opening, and the panic faded as she realized where she was. “You were having a nightmare,” I said as I tried to let her go.
She hugged me tight, her face buried in my chest as she broke down. I just held her in my arms, my hand rubbing her back while I told her she was safe with me. She fell asleep that way, and eventually, I did too.
I woke about noon to the sound of a ship’s whistle with my arm around her shoulders and a hard-on a cat couldn’t scratch. I got it to go back down by the time I came back out of the bathroom, so I didn’t embarrass myself or Heather.
The light was coming through the drapes by the deck, and I was hungry. I called for room service, thankful it wasn’t too late to get a big breakfast. “Steak and eggs for me,” she said from under the pillow. I smiled and put her order in.
“Good afternoon,” I said as I pulled her pillow away. “How did you sleep?”
“It was better in the second half,” she said. I helped her stand, then into the bathroom. When she was done, I had her lean against the vanity while I got the medical supplies out of her suitcase. I removed the old dressing and cleaned off the blood. “How bad?”
“You pulled out a couple of stitches, but it’s not that bad.” I cleaned the area and used butterfly bandages to hold it together, then covered the whole thing with a large bandage. “You need to rest today, no more sudden motions.”
“I heard the ship,” she said as I moved her to the table.
I opened the drapes, and her jaw dropped as she saw the view. Our deck looked out over the harbor, which was still active for the shipping season. “Nice place,” she said.
“I’ll head out later and get drinks and snacks to stock the fridge. They have room service, and there are delivery menus under the television. We really shouldn’t do much until you can move without hurting yourself.”
“I’m sorry. I was just back there in my dream for a minute, back when I came home, and the Sons were coming out. I felt myself getting shot again.”
“It will get better.” I looked up at the clock. “The memorial service starts in a couple of hours. It’s streaming on the Internet if you want to watch.” I thought of something. “The Club thinks you are dead, and you are going to be in the service. Can you handle that?”
“Just hold me, Greg. Hold me, and I’ll be all right.”