I was in a meeting at Destiny pack discussing the power-hungry Alpha whose name we still didn’t know when Paul and I were interrupted by the last person on the planet I wanted to see.
West. Lucy’s new mate. Paul must have called him through the mindlink to be here for the meeting.
At first he didn’t even realize I was in the room and starting rambling about something that happened at his house earlier that day. Since it was nearing 8 PM, I figured they’d had the Carvers over for dinner, and it hadn’t gone as planned.
“For fuck’s sake, that couldn’t have gone any worse.” West’s head to seemed to hang down and his eyes were closed. “I was going to wait to tell them something, but then Lu started heaving up into the sink and it kinda went sideways from there. Christ.” He let out a low growl with the curse, and his hands fisted until his knuckles turned white.
“Uhm…” Paul seemed at a loss. His brow crinkled in concern, and he chanced a quick glance at me as if wondering if I knew what the man was talking about. I didn’t, and shrugged my shoulders minutely in response.
“West, it might be best if we talked about that at another time. I’m here with—”
“I thought the man was going to slug me for getting his 18-year-old daughter fucking pregnant, then he turned white and I thought he was going to stroke out. He—”
“You got Lucy pregnant?” I gasped out, shocked. That was when West realized Paul wasn’t alone in the room, though he had to have known by the scent in the air that there was another Alpha present. Or maybe he’d been too torn and inside himself to take a whiff of the air around him.
He flinched when he looked at me, and his eyes narrowed as he came to the realization of who I was.
“What the fuck are you doing here?”
I assumed he thought I was there for Lucy, but he couldn’t have been more wrong. The mating pull I had felt for her was gone—though the love hadn’t completely dissipated—but we had a pact with Destiny, and they needed to know everything we had gleaned about an Alpha set on destroying the packs nearest him. Since we still didn’t know who that was, we all needed to be on our guard. I still hadn’t contacted Seneca, but since he was planning on a visit in a few days, I figured telling him in person would be sufficient. A war as large as this would take time to plan, and until our foes had gathered enough force in numbers to take the rest of the packs on, they would be biding their time.
“Relax, West. He’s not here for Lucy,” Paul told him in a calm voice. “He’s here because he has information. Information we may need in the future. He’s an ally, not a suitor for your mate.”
I winced, but nodded my head, agreeing. It still stung, losing Lucy, but I understood and I wished her well. As much as I hated to admit it, there were more important matters to attend to.
West’s posture loosened a fraction, and he stood up from his defeated slump as he nodded his head. He looked like he was trying hard to relax the worry lines creasing his forehead, and I had to commiserate. Wallace Carver was a healer at heart, but when I first met him as my future father-in-mating, I was worried sick, even though we’d known each other for years before that.
I didn’t envy West. At least I knew Seneca was behind his daughter being my Luna. In fact, the man seemed quite insistent on it.
“Yeah, she’s pregnant.” West blew out a gust of air. “Just found out yesterday from Doc Denario. Then when her parents and younger brother came by for dinner earlier, she started heaving all up in the sink. Her Mom seemed to catch on right away and ran to her, but her father looked like he was going to have apoplexy. I thought I was going to have to resuscitate him if he didn’t start breathing soon. Man was as white as chalk until he turned every fucking color of the rainbow. And dinner was a fucking blast. No one said anything at all, and Luce looked like she wanted to be sick all over the potatoes au gratin.”
“Congratulations, man.” Paul sounded happy for his friend, though his brows were still drawn down with the significance of what he and I and been talking about a few minutes before. “I’m happy for you. Mated and expecting in less than two months? Making up for lost time, eh?”
He was trying to make a joke out of it I could see, but the wry tone is his voice was still a little strained, though I could understand why. A pregnant Beta female and a war coming? West was going to be split in half with his duties between home and his pack. It weighed heavy on a man’s shoulder’s, especially on one who was so newly mated.
I tried to be happy for Lucy, but I wanted to get back to the matter at hand and not have to think about the girl I loved for so many years having a family with someone I couldn’t help but loathe over a month ago when I saw his teeth mark the pretty skin of her neck. Shaking the vision out of my head, I tried to coax Paul back to the point of the meeting.
“Like Alpha Weiss was saying, I’m here on an important matter. One that may shape the future of northern California’s territories,” I told him grimly.
West blinked over to me and gave a slow bob of his head once. “What’s happening? What’s the important news.”
I sat back in my chair and started to explain. I had sent more new recruits into town and was able to at least get a description of the pretty female who was said to be sleeping with the Alpha we were concerned would try and take over our territories.
“From what people have said, she’s pale-skinned and has black hair. Some say her eyes are light blue, other say medium, but in all accounts they are blue. Her hair is down to her midback and black. Relatively tall for a female, maybe 5-8 to 5-10. She’s slim, and seems quite sure of herself and her sex appeal. She’s said to use that quite a lot in gaining information for her Alpha lover. They are not mates, or so I hear, and I have no idea if the Alpha has taken her as a mistress or if his mate has died.”
“Shit,” West cursed, his eyes closing. When they opened back up a few seconds later, he was close enough to me that I saw the hesitation in his eyes. He either knew something, or was very suspicious.
“Do you know anyone that can described like that?” I asked him, leaning forward in my seat.
He nodded, again closing and opening his eyes wearily. “Carla. It sounds just like her. Not many females with black hair, pale skin and blue eyes I know that are that tall. She’s 5-9 and a half.”
He looked over at me, his eyes tired as Paul sat back in his seat with a groan.
“She’s my ex-mate.”
After West described Carla rejecting him five years ago, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him. The hate disintegrated slowly until I honestly felt bad for him. Both he and Lucy had harsh rejection stories, and I was suddenly glad they had each other to put the pieces back together.
It also made me wonder if maybe I could do that myself. Mating with Enid would ensure a solid pact between Emerald and Arrowhead, but that wasn’t the primary reason to take her as a mate. She was good. Kind. Nurturing. She listened intently and gave good advice. No judgement, but still unabashedly honest.
I could do worse, and she was a damn sight better than I deserved. With that in mind, I decided that I would talk to Enid about it when I got my first chance. I had been lax in spending time with her after hearing about the threat of war, but I still made a bit of time for our wolves to bond in the twilight or evening hours. It was freeing, and I wanted to see if they would connect. It was slow work, but they were starting to trust each other more and more. The human part of me had some catching up to do.
“If it’s this Carla, do you think she’s expecting this unknown Alpha to take her to mate?”
The brief pause in the conversation made me stare at the two men. Something was on their minds, and I needed to know what that was.
“I don’t honestly know,” West said, since he knew Carla better than Paul. “After she rejected me, she was distant, always coy. She would pop up near me at social gatherings and try to tempt me subtly with her proximity, but she never made a move towards me until I was already mated to Lucy.”
Paul interjected at that point. “She caught West after a workout in the shower room once. The sly bitch tried to seduce him after she knew he was already bonded with another. West tossed her aside and she became a snarling, pitiful creature. We haven’t seen her much since.”
He looked over to his friend who looked deep in thought. “West, tell patrol to keep an eye out for Carla passing the border and detain her in the cells until she can be interrogated. She’s been stepping over boundaries for five years, and it’s about time that she sees the repercussions of the many sins she has committed, not only against you as a mated male, but Destiny Pack as a whole.”
West nodded and got up abruptly, turning to the door but halting his steps before his hand could connect with the knob.
“Say no more, West,” I interrupted assuredly. “I know she’s yours, and while that thought aggravates me for obvious reasons, I won’t step on any toes. For both your sakes.”
He sighed, his shoulders rising and falling heavily before stepping out of Paul’s office, resolute in his mission to advise patrol to detain the traitorous female that was once supposed to be his.
It would seem that he had avoided a landmine when she had thankfully rejected him all those years ago.
After talking with Paul for another hour or so, I left by SUV back to Arrowhead, intent on speaking with Enid as soon as I got back. The more I thought about West and his situation, the more sure I was of my own, and I wanted to know if Enid was feeling the same way as I.
The thought that she wouldn’t bothered me quite a bit, and I sped on the winding roads home, intent on telling her everything on my mind. Talking to her wasn’t like coming home—not yet, but it was feeling damned close to it. Her calm demeanor relaxed me after a hard day, even if it was just being near her and not saying anything at all. Sometimes the peace of silence was best shared with someone you trusted, and if there was one person I trusted besides myself, it was Enid.
I didn’t find her where I thought I would, and instead, walked down the hall to Nolan’s room. There were two voices talking, and one was definitely female, and definitely my Enid.
Pushing the thought away for the moment, I listened outside the closed door, curious as to what the two could be talking about. After eavesdropping for a few moments only to hear them saying nothing—except for Nolan cursing at the TV when he got shot playing one of his Black Ops games—I had to smile.
‘Are you going to be brother’s mate pretty soon? Dad said he was promised to you, but I thought only the Moon Goddess could promise a mate.’
I thanked God he was listening more to my mother’s stories about the Goddess than his father’s sense of “duty over deity”.
‘I’m…well, I’m supposed to be, though I know he had a true mate in the other girl…’
‘That’s Lucy. She’s nice. She went away, though, and lives somewhere else now. Dad said she fell off the cliff into the waterfall. She’s alive so that’s good. I heard Dad talking to Mom about it once. I think he feels bad. He sounded like he was crying.’
Certainly Artemis hadn’t been crying. Maybe he appeared irritable or growly, but not crying. My father did not shed a tear for anyone—maybe not even his own mate.
Enid didn’t say anything, not that I expected her to have an answer for Nolan.
‘Why would he cry? Do you think he felt bad that he made my brother reject his mate? Mom thinks so, and she knows Dad real well. I think that has to be it.’
I couldn’t hear a word being spoken for a good thirty seconds, and I thought that maybe Enid was trying to think hard about Nolan had said.
‘I supposed he could have been sad about that. Zach was very upset with him over the whole situation. He was forced to reject his destined. Wolves… We aren’t supposed to do that to our other halves. Not when it can be avoided.’
There was another long pause and the sound of machine guns and what sounded like a grenade launcher, if my hearing didn’t fail me.
‘Is he going to make me reject my mate when I get older? I don’t want to do that. Zach—he almost died when he came back the last time. He’s annoying sometimes, but I don’t want him to die, and I don’t want to reject my mate like he had to do with Lucy. I don’t want my mate to almost die because of what my dad made me do. Enid? If you become Luna, can you tell my dad I don’t want to reject my mate?’
The blood pounding in my head and the tears that welled up in my eyes didn’t allow me to listen for any longer. I wouldn’t let my little brother lose what I did. Not when I still had breath in my body.