Rori King’s POV
Arrowhead Pack House
We’d evacuated half of the Pack to Oxbow Lake, but the Pack House was almost as full as it was during the pool party!
I hadn’t asked for help; it just showed up. Warriors from Sawyer and Carson’s Packs I had expected since as Chase’s brothers, they would always come to our aid. They slid in with the warriors from Oxbow Lake until they were paired up with ‘local’ wolves. What I didn’t expect was to have squads from Adirondack and Casper arrive as well. They had escorted their Alpha and Beta to the conference, then came over to help us.
As for the Steel Brotherhood, it didn’t matter that I told them I was all right. It didn’t matter that ‘officially’ we were no longer part of the Club. All that mattered was that Three Tequila knew I was pregnant and still in danger.
Brothers and Ladies from all over the country dropped what they were doing, and drove or caught a flight to Minnesota. Renting cars in Minneapolis or Duluth, they would show up at our gate and say they were there to help. I was thanking Luna we’d had the foresight to put the bunk room in the basement of the Pack House. That gave us dozens of beds, plus all the extra rooms in the homes that weren’t needed. Possum was in her element, greeting friends and acquaintances and making sure they got settled in quickly.
The Alpha mansion was still a mess from the grenades and bullets, but at least the crime scene guys were gone. The investigators had cut up and removed patches of blood-soaked carpeting, and there were sheets of plywood over the grenade holes in the floor to make it safe to walk. The Brotherhood wanted to help, and Roadkill put the men to work on repairs. Drywall got patched, subfloors repaired and carpeting removed before we got to dinner.
The babies stayed with their nannies and guards while the Ladies took over the cleaning of my kitchen. The radiant-heated floors had dried the blood quickly, and it took a lot of scrubbing to get it up. With eight people working, the evidence of the deadly battle was soon gone, and only the scent of bleach and cleaning products remained.
Most of our Omegas were at Oxbow, so some of the Ladies pitched in to get dinner rolling. We had tons of food leftover from the aborted pool party, and we turned that into a buffet in the Pack House. With the cold and the people, we were keeping the tunnel doors open, and briefed our friends on the safe room locations. If the attack came, the safe room doors were open and ready for them.
Everyone at the Pack was armed unless they declined. Our Pack Armory had more than enough weapons; at a minimum, people carried a pistol. Most of the men picked out a rifle they were comfortable with and kept it near where they were. Since this was private property, we didn't have to worry about permits or anything for the visitors.
We all gathered together in the Pack House dining room, only the ones actively patrolling or manning the checkpoints at the entrances not present. All told, we had four dozen warrior wolves, forty Brothers, and a dozen Ladies who were willing to fight. “More are coming,” Three Tequila told me as she held Cheryl in her arms. “We’ll have double this number by midnight.”
Mighty Elk was sitting next to her with Mark. “Some couldn’t get on a flight to Duluth, so they are driving up from Minneapolis,” she said.
I looked around and saw everyone had been through the food line. I stood up, and the room quieted as everyone saw me getting ready to talk. “Thank you all for coming to our aid when we are under a grave threat. As you know, the Sons have attacked our home twice now. The first time, we stopped them without injury; we were not so lucky in the last attack. Now, we know they are gathering in Duluth, expecting they can roll in here with numbers and finish what they started. That will not happen, because so many of you have volunteered to fight at our side.” The room erupted in applause and shouting, wolves and bikers, united in our defense. “I’m in awe of your friendship and your courage. I pray we don’t fight, but if the fight comes to us, I know we will triumph. I salute you, Brothers and Ladies!” I held up my glass as everyone stood.
“TO THE BROTHERHOOD!” All of their glasses raised together as we toasted the Club.
“Eat and talk, the leaders will meet in our Conference Room to discuss defense plans at eight.”
I sat down at the long table where most of the senior people were seated. I hadn’t seen many of them since the post-Sturgis party we’d hosted, and hadn’t thought I would see them until or Florida trip after Christmas. At my table were my closest friends in the Club. Mongo and Three Tequila, my surrogate parents in the Orlando chapter, were to my left with Vice President Tripod and Bowlegs. From the Renton, Washington chapter, Mighty Elk and Wolfman were next. My baby boy was on her leg, mesmerized by her magnificent rack. I could understand why; they are five times the size of my boobs, and he’s a guy. Mighty Elk is used to guys staring at her, and Wolfman is used to beating up guys who stare too long.
The Manchester chapter was well represented. Bear and Howler were at the table, along with their Master at Arms, Reaper. Smoke and Taco were in the room, along with the biggest surprise of the day. Smoke was still interested in my high school best friend Jenny, who was now a sophomore at the Air Force Academy. She was home on Christmas leave when he texted her they were flying into Minneapolis to help out. She told him she could drive them all here AND she would take a sniper position. She was in the military and determined to fight, and stubborn enough he couldn’t change her mind. They had arrived just before dinner and had found a quiet corner together to catch up.
Portland’s VP, Switch, was here along with Rattler and Slick. Las Vegas had brought a dozen, led by Aces and Bunny. Kansas City had Tank and five, a pregnant Double D staying home. Possum’s hero, Granite, and the Fort Lauderdale Chapter had shown up, obviously Florida-based from their tans and borrowed clothes. It was a good thing we had planned for visits like this, with spare snowmobile suits and gear!
I wandered around, greeting old friends and new ones alike. I felt energized by the room; before I knew what Pack was, I knew the Ladies and the Brotherhood. The Club and the Pack were the same in so many ways; if it was possible to change them into werewolves, they’d become great Packs and allies. They had kept my secret for years, without threats or bribes, just because they loved me even if I became a rust-colored wolf.
I had spoken to Chase earlier; he was staying in Oxbow with the Alphas, and that wasn’t going so well. I knew we’d face charges, and I didn’t care. Arrowhead was mine by bloodline and choice, and my Pack would accept no others in charge. I told him of the conversation with Captain McCluskey, and the likely attach in the early hours of the morning. He tried to get me to bring myself and the babies over, but I couldn’t do that.
I didn’t know who was the biggest threat to Cheryl right now. At least I knew where the Sons stood, unlike the Council or some of the Alphas.
The entire Pack was shocked at what had happened at the meeting earlier in the day. He told me Frank was getting good care, but it was too early to say what kind of recovery he might make. Coral killing an Alpha didn’t surprise me, or her mate Kevin. Fighting was in Coral’s blood, and that blood was from Alpha lines on both sides. Millner was cocky and stupid, and now he was dead. I didn’t look forward to them leaving for Canada, but this was their opportunity to have a Pack. Chase had never separated from Coral for an extended time, and Hope and my twins had grown together like triplets. It would not be easy to watch them drive away.
I was startled out of my woolgathering by a send from Beta Ron. “Alpha, we need you and the remaining Chapter leaders in the conference room, please.”
“I’ll gather them up.” I worked my way around the room, getting them to follow me. Thirty minutes later, we had a plan. Since the attack was set to happen around four, we sent half of the fighters to bed now; we would wake them at three. The remaining ones would stay up all night, along with the late arrivals.
The defense was in layers. We used all the vehicles we had to create barriers at the front and back entrances to the Pack, leaving a zig-zag lane for access. We would use them for firing positions when it was time. We built a bonfire near the turnoff for the sentries and another about fifty yards back from the barrier for the fighters. We would keep a visible presence of Pack and Brotherhood at each entrance.
The ice was the third way in, and it was the problematic one. We created three interlocking defensive positions of vehicles, with bonfires on the ice between them. They covered the tip of the point, right off of the Alpha house, while the others covered the boat ramp and the border with the civilian homes. The fires would allow the men to stay warm, while still being able to respond to fighting positions quickly. Our snowmobiles were put into use, creating moving patrols two hundred and five hundred yards out into the lake.
Every fighter not out at the defensive positions was taking up sniper positions inside the homes. We spent the time making the shooting positions safer. We piled wood, metal, furniture, and even books in bags to provide the shooters with some cover. Our layout helped; all houses could cover at least three directions, the Pack House and my home four.
The big disagreement was over the bonfires; Mongo didn’t like them. “They make us targets with the silhouettes, and they take away our night vision. We’d be better off sitting in heated cars,” he said.
“You can’t hear vehicles inside a car, and you need to stay warm to fight,” Ron replied. “If we fight, we fight, but we will have a hundred or more people out there. Even the Sons aren’t that stupid. It’s better if they see how many people we have and decide NOT to attack.”
“Bring the fight,” Reaper said. “These fuckers deserve to die at our hands.”
“No,” I said. “The FBI and Police want them, and Chase promised them he would keep the Brotherhood out of a gang war. This whole show of force is just in case they break through the police lines. I don’t want to go to more funerals for my friends.”
In the end, it was my land and my decision, and the Brotherhood respected that. I kissed my babies goodnight in the Pack safe room, then went upstairs to look out over the lake. Cases of canned food were under the windows that opened, scoped hunting rifles and ammunition at the ready. I could see the fires burning at the entrances and out on the ice, with a dozen or so people standing by each.
“Want a cup,” Coral asked as she came into the dark dining room after me. She had returned from Oxbow after the meetings ended about eight.
“I can’t drink coffee,” I said.
“It’s cocoa,” she said as she set it on the table and pulled me into a chair. “The waiting sucks.”
I nodded as I took a sip. “How was the Alpha meeting?”
“Mixed. I think we accomplished some good, but some of these Alphas are so tradition-bound it’s scary. They don’t like you, and they don’t like me. In their minds, dominant Alphas should never be female.”
“And yet, here we are. Alphas of Packs with our mates by our sides,” I said. “I’m so proud of you, not just for defending Frank, but for gaining a Pack. Your Mom must be thrilled with the news.”
“Mom doesn’t know anything yet,” she said, causing me to inhale some cocoa and start coughing. I looked at her like she had two heads. “The brothers are scared to tell her what happened to Frank, so they haven’t told her anything. Chase told her not to discuss anything but arrival times over the phone. It took them twenty minutes to figure out who had to pick Mom up from the airport.”
“Who drew the short straw?”
“Carson. Chase pulled the ‘I’m a doctor, and I’m needed here’ card, while Sawyer pulled the older brother card.”
I could see that fight. “I’m surprised Carson didn’t rope you into it.”
“Hope is here, and I needed to be with Kevin and start planning our move. I told them good luck and left before they could.”
I laughed at that, with three brothers, she had to stand up for herself. “Are you fighting?”
“I’ll be in command of the main entrance. Ron is taking the ice, and Keith the back entrance.”
I finished the cup, reaching forward to embrace her. “Stay safe,” I said.
“I’ll be in the security center, it’s hard to find a safer place than that,” I said. I took the cups to the kitchen and was walking downstairs when my phone rang. It was Chase. “Hi, baby,” I said.
“Hi, honey. I know you’re busy, I just want to say that I love you and the babies in case I don’t make it through tonight.”
I laughed at him. “You're such a drama queen. No one is attacking Oxbow.”
“Yeah, well, Carson will be here with Mom in ten minutes, and he refuses to tell her why they are coming here first. The little shit said he was coming to pick me up after the Alpha meeting. Mom keeps trying to link, and I won’t let her.”
“You’re an idiot, Chase. Link her now and tell her everything. That way, she can take some of her anger out on Carson for not telling her instead of it all exploding over you.”
“You’re a genius, baby. I love you so much.”
“Good luck.” He’d need it. Mom wouldn’t kill him or cut his nuts off, not when she wanted more grandchildren. That ear of his might come close to getting torn off.
I went down to the security station and looked over the monitors while talking with the warrior manning the post. My phone rang again, this time it was Captain McCluskey. “Hi, Uncle Mark,” I said.
“Hi Rori. I’ve heard some disturbing reports about things going on at your place.”
“Lots of cars going in, blocked roads, bonfires, snowmobiles on the lake.”
“All of it true, Mark. I didn’t ask for it, but the Brotherhood showed up in force. We will be ready if the Sons get through you.”
I heard a sigh. “I guess that explains the reports of biker cuts at the airport.”
“Just keep them off my land, Uncle Mark. If they cross our borders, you’ll have your gang war.”
He didn’t say anything; there wasn’t anything he could say. “I’ll let the others know. We won’t let anyone get close to you.”
“Then this will just be an all-night party in the cold,” I said. “Stay safe.”
“You too.” I hung the phone up and went back to watching the screens, as two more SUV’s turned into the main road. I watched as the men stepped out, immediately being embraced by the ones standing guard.
More Brotherhood fighters were arriving every hour.