Daniel left us to be there when Ryan woke from surgery. It was good that he left us alone, I needed to pick Nick’s brain. Alpha Stefan was from the South territory and he was the Alpha who was plotting to kill Alpha Phillip, the Alpha before Nick. But he was also plotting against our pack with Nick’s uncle, Jackson. It’s very likely that the reason my mother was killed was because she knew too much. And this all linked back to her.
“Your uncle died in the same fire that killed my mom.” I boke the silence.
“Yes.” Nick nodded.
“He was plotting to kill Phillip with the help of Stefan’s pack.”
“Yes.” Nick nodded again.
“What were you doing there with him?” I asked.
“Jack looked after me when my dad died. My mother died when I was two, giving birth to my brother who also didn’t make it. My dad was never the same, he drank himself to death. Well, that’s what Jack used to say. He got so drunk one night he drove his truck off a cliff. The explosion killed him instantly.”
“I’m so sorry, Nick.” I rubbed his arm.
“Yeah, me too.” He took my hand in his and held it gently. “Jack was Phil’s Beta, that’s how Phil and I got close. We spent more time together than anyone else. Jack wanted to be Alpha. He wanted the power more than he wanted anything for the pack. When he realized that Phil was going to give it to me, he decided to kill him. Pack law states that if an alpha were to die, the beta would take over unless a new alpha was appointed before the alpha’s death. He wanted to use Stefan’s pack to make it look like a rogue attack gone wrong, swoop in and save the day, but not before Phil’s death. If Phil didn’t have time to appoint me to Alpha before his death, Jack would automatically take his place.”
“So, what went wrong?”
“Jack was working with your mother to make a deal with Stefan’s pack. He wanted a contract drawn up so that Stefan didn’t betray him and take the pack for himself when Phillip was killed. Client privileges stopped your mother from being able to tell anyone about the plan.”
“That’s why she wrote the letter.” Nick nodded. “She knew it would get her killed.”
“She wanted to protect you. She knew she was going to die either way.”
“Jack would have killed her once the contract was done to hide it.” Nick nodded again. “How do you know all of this?”
“I didn’t know until after the fire. Phillip told me after Jackson died. With your mother’s letter he was able to get an army together without Jack knowing. He threatened Stefan and his pack, knowing they didn’t have the resources to go up against our pack. Stefan realized the risk virus reward wasn’t there and backed off.”
“So, who started the fire?”
“I don’t know, Emma.” He squeezed my hand, but honestly, I was glad he didn’t know. If he knew what happened to my mother and kept it from me, I don’t know if I could forgive him. “I believe Jackson was the target.” He pushed some of my hair behind my ear. “Jack told me he wanted to put some assets in my name. That was why we went to see your mother that day. I don’t know if he was telling the truth because we never got a chance to see her.”
“What do you think happened?” I asked.
“I’ve gone through so many theories in my head, I really don’t know which is the truth. I don’t even know if any of my theories are close to the truth. But I thought maybe Phillip did it.” I looked up at him in shock.
“You and Phillip were so close; would he risk your life and the lives of so many of his pack just to take Jackson out?”
“It’s possible.” Nick said. “I also thought that maybe it was Jackson who started that fire. Maybe he was working with someone in the South pack and they turned on him. Or maybe he was working alone that day and thought he would have time to get out and didn’t make it.” Nick shook his head. “I honestly don’t know. That part I can’t seem to figure out.”
“Phillip was killed a few weeks after that by rogues. Was it really rogues or was it someone else?”
“I don’t have the answers you’re looking for. It was simpler to tell the pack it was a rogue attack, but it could have been someone from the South pack. For weeks we waited for Stefan to come and try to take the pack over after Phil died, but when he never did the idea that it was a rogue attack just seemed to fit. I had another theory that the elders did not like.” I locked eyes with him. I needed to know. “I thought maybe someone in the pack had proof that Phillip started that fire and wanted revenge.”
“Someone who lost a loved one?” He nodded.
“The elders thought that if I started snooping around and interrogating pack members that it would cause an uproar within the pack. They didn’t want to cause any disturbances after twenty-two wolves were killed in a fire and then we lost our Alpha. They said it was too much for the pack to handle and put it to rest.”
“So, you let it go?” I asked.
“Kind of.” He grinned. “I have been looking into it, but that is why I didn’t want you looking into your mother’s death. This is dangerous and I didn’t want you getting hurt.”
“You think that explosion was someone targeting me?”
“I think someone knew you were looking into it and tried to get rid of you. Derek was just collateral damage. I couldn’t let the pack know there was an attack but believe me when I say I have been tracking down who did this.”
“Do you have any leads?”
“Everything leads me back to the South pack.”
“But why would they be starting a war with us now when they backed off before?”
“That was ten years ago, their resources could be much better now.”
“So, what do we do?” I asked.
“We prepare the pack for war. It might come, it might not. Either way we will be prepared if it happens.” Nick’s phone went off and he grabbed it. “Ryan’s out of surgery and he’s doing okay.”
“Good.” I smiled.
“You make a good Luna, Emma.”
“Why do you say that?” I asked with a smile.
“You were concerned about the pack when Daniel said Ryan was hurt. You put them first.” I wrapped my arms around his neck and kissed his lips. Sweet Moon Goddess, I was falling hard for this wolf. The sound of Nick’s phone had me pulling back. He put it to his ear. “What now?” He seemed irritated. “Dammit.” He shook his head. “I want everyone in the pack house. Now. I’ll be there soon.” Nick hung up the phone and picked me up off his lap only to set me on my feet. He stood up and slammed his hands on the desk. I jumped, not expecting the outburst.
“Nick, what happened?”
“More rogues at the border, they’re more aggressive. I need to get the Omegas assembled and get out there.”
“Wait, you’re going?” He stepped beside me and started walking out of the office.
“Of course, I’m going. I’m not leaving my pack.” I followed him out of the office.
“Okay, so we meet at the pack house, then what?” He stopped and turned around to face me.
“Yeah, I’m going with you.”
“No, you’re not.”
“The fact that you think I’m not is actually funny.”
“Emma, this isn’t up for discussion.”
“Exactly. I’m going.” I crossed my arms over my chest.
“This is dangerous, I’m not throwing you into a rogue invasion.”
“You’re not throwing me in, I’m going in with you. You said it before, the Omegas wanted me in their ranks and I denied them, they didn’t deny me. I can handle it.”
“I spar with your Omegas and I kicked their asses every time. I’m more than qualified to defend our pack.”
“That’s not what I’m worried about.” He rubbed his forehead.
“Then what are you worried about?”
“If something would happen to you out there—”
“I’m not leaving your side.” He let out a long sigh and I knew I won this fight.
We sped to the pack house in silence. I knew Nick was deep in thought and all I could do to calm him was hold his hand. I wasn’t nervous to face the rogues; I was more nervous to see Nick face them. I knew why he wanted me to stay behind because I felt the same about him. I didn’t want to see him get hurt, I didn’t know what I would do if—no, I couldn’t think like that. I saw him fight in the ring for me, I know how much of a force he is. The rogues attacking our pack wouldn’t have a chance against him. We peeled into the driveway and he led me into the house. All the Omegas were squeezed into the living room, some on the couch, some sitting on the floor and the rest standing. Daniel stood by the huge television. Nick held my hand as he took a stance by Daniel. Daniel has always been the one to make the speeches, which I’m sure took a lot of time going over with Nick, but this time it was Nick to speak to the warriors.
“Time to get ready for war boys.”