I was just getting done with training when my mindlink alerted me that Lucy was poking at the walls in my mind.
West? You there?
I would have smiled had my Lucy not sounded so stressed through the link.
Baby, what’s wrong? Of course, my mind went to the worst of scenarios.
Baby, is the baby ok? Are you in pain? Where are you?
My mind went numb, horrible thoughts rushing through it like a fast-moving river current with unwanted ideas that were centered on only one thing: our baby.
The baby’s fine, West, she scolded. I mean, he or she’s still in there, as far as I know. This…this is different. Faith and I are at Bye, Bye Baby, and we heard something. News.
The baby was okay. An agonized gust of air left my chest and my pace slowed thankfully, since I was fucking winded from training. Ever since we had heard of the unknown Alpha that Zach had told us about, we had trained hard every day from early in the morning to late in the afternoon. We never knew where he would attack first, though we thought we were relatively safe, as secluded and small as we were. Our land was vast, but it was surrounding by rugged terrain too difficult to traverse even in the best of circumstances.
Angel, what did you hear? Tell me everything.
She told me a little bit, though I could tell her mind was elsewhere, and I wanted her to focus on driving. When she had wound down about Carla, I told her to concentrate on getting home safely and that we would speak more about it when she arrived.
What should have been a forty-five-minute drive home felt like an endless eon at the very least. When I finally heard the rumble of my truck’s engine coming down the road, I worked my way over to the front door and stepped through to see her and Faith in the front seats, looking tense.
Once she jerked the truck into park and bolted out of the door, I was off the steps and running to her. Framing her face with my hands, I saw the raw panic in her eyes. I’d felt it through the bond as it grew, but it was right there in front of me, making my heart beat fast and uneven.
“What happened? What else did they say?”
“Paul,” she choked out. “We need to tell Paul, too.”
Leaving the truck full of baby stuff with the cover over it, I pulled her into my side as Faith walked behind us. At one point, she said she was going to head over to her mate’s, and I grunted in response to her farewell as the breeze carried her scent to the west.
At one point, Lucy started to slow down, and I picked her up under her knees and pulled her into my chest.
She normally gave me grief about toting her around like that even in the house, so something must really have been really bothering her about what she had heard in town. All I knew was what she’d said about Carla, and I hadn’t been too keen on that. I quickened my pace and walked into the Packhouse before moving to Paul’s study.
Completely having forgotten to “call ahead” through the mindlink to him, I knocked on in his door before pushing through it without waiting for a response. He was going to kill me if I walked in on him and Kassidy having one of their—ahem—meetings, but I didn’t care and I wasn’t a fucking prude like Carla thought.
Carla…that treacherous, traitorous bitch.
“We need to talk,” I told him as he looked up from his desk, startled.
“Nice to see you too, West. Happy that you came bursting in here while I was just looking over third quarter financials. I always did find it diverting to—”
“You can bitch me out later, Paul. This is important. Lucy’s heard something.”
His usually jovial face flickered from mine to Lucy’s for a moment and back again. “About?”
“I was at Bye Bye Baby when I heard a couple of wolves talking. They didn’t smell like Destiny wolves, and they were whispering together. Faith and I heard. They mentioned Carla screwing some Alpha that wants to attack—” Her head snapped over to mine, panicked. “They want to attack Arrowhead, West. My parents are there! I may not be a huge fan of Artemis, but I don’t wish Zach or his brother and sister any harm. Who would do this? They’ve done nothing wrong!”
“Wait—these she-wolves said they were going to attack?” Paul asked, cutting in. “Who? When? Did they give a time or date?”
Lucy shook her head, shivering. “Soon, was all they said. Before the snows come. They were sure on that regard.”
Paul mulled that over as he rubbed a hand over the scruff of his beard. “Kass, baby! Get in here! Bring the rolodex!”
Rolodex? Was this guy some throwback from the 1960s?
I didn’t care, because Lucy was shaking. Shaking so hard I could feel it through the floorboards. She was scared—scared for her parents. I couldn’t blame her. She’d had enough turmoil in the last several months to last her a lifetime, and there was bound to be more with the new information.
Kassidy came into the room holding onto an old plastic rolodex that almost had be snorting into my palm. It had probably been a hand-me-down from his dad, and Paul cut me with a look even as my lips twitched up in a smile.
He was so going to get razzed for this when this was all over. Probably buy his doddering old ass an old-timey typewriter from the 1940s to go with it. Maybe throw in one of those Morse code machines just to see the startled look on his face when he tries to figure out what the fuck its function is. At least with a typewriter, it would be pretty fucking apparent.
Kass brought in the rolodex like it was the Holy fucking Grail, and I had to smirk. I think she was trying to be funny as I could see her lip curving a bit, but her pomp and circumstance was enough to stow my curling lip as I tried not to snicker.
Okay, the news Lucy told us wasn’t at all funny, but Kass had a tendency to find the humor in any situation, appropriate or not.
Placing the rolodex on the desk before him, she moved off to the side like she had placed a chalice of wine for Communion in front of a priest to be blessed.
Grunting, he flipped through the stack, settling on the G’s. He plucked the little card out of its spot and picked up the landline. It wasn’t a true landline because it was routed through the cable modem he had set up for the internet. I didn’t know the specifics; all I knew was that when the power went out in the winter time—which it often did—no one got internet and no one could call anyone outside of the pack. It made you feel a little cut-off from the world, made you feel small, but when the chips were down, we all helped each other. Shoveling paths and digging cars out of ditches or snowbanks. Helping the elderly chop wood for their fireplaces or bring them fresh food from the small grocery store in the center of the community. We were close, as close as a small pack could be, and I didn’t want that to change. Not for some rogue Alpha, and not because of any supposed war coming our way.
That thought sobered me, and I stood by as Paul dialed the phone and waited for someone to pick up the other line.
“Hello? Is this Artemis Greenwood, Alpha of Arrowhead Pack?”
There was silence as the person on the other line spoke.
“This is Alpha Paul Weiss of Destiny. Is your son, Zach, available? This is in regards to the rogue Alpha that there were rumors flying about—” He was cut off. “I see. Well, could you please give him my number and have him call me as soon as he gets in? No, it’s not that important.”
I went to object, but the look in Paul’s eyes cut me off.
“Yes, just some more things to discuss in regards to what we talked about last time. Just give him my number and have him contact us as soon as he can. Thank you, sir. Goodbye.”
He sighed and set down the phone on its cradle before rubbing his forehead with his fingers.
“The dad?” I asked, wondering why he didn’t tell the man what he knew. Knowing his son, he probably had said something already to him, even though only a few days had passed. It would have been inherent in him, even if there was some obvious tension between father and son.
“Yeah,” Paul grunted. Sighing, he kneaded at his temples to ease the tension away.
“Why didn’t you tell him what Lucy told us?”
“I don’t trust him, that’s why. He made a stupid mistake—no offense, West—by denying his son his true mate in Lucy, and I don’t trust him not to fuck up elsewhere and take us all down with another one.” He took a deep breath, held it, and let it out slowly. “He has a horrible reputation as an Alpha, brother. He seems to make decisions based on his own desires and needs, and not based on the good of his pack. It’s why we haven’t made allies with them in a good fifty or so years. His father was the same, as was the father before. I’m hoping the tide will turn with Zach. He seems different from his father, and thank the heavens for that.”
Lucy was nodding, seeming to agree. “He is, Paul. He’s almost the exact opposite of his father, especially when it comes to the betterment of the pack. He’s never seen eye to eye with his dad, and I hope his brother, Nolan, is the same. I don’t hold out much hope for the sister, for Leah is as fickle and weak as her mother.”
I’d almost forgotten she knew the entire family all too well. She’d only been my mate for a couple of months, but it seemed so much longer than that. The bond worked fast in mates, second chance or not.
Gripping her thigh, I squeezed reassuringly, hoping my touch was enough to calm her lingering tremble. She sighed and looked out of the window, her worried expression lessening as the seconds ticked by.
When we got back to house, this time with her walking the entire way, I ushered her in first, knowing that a good cup of tea would soothe her a bit as I started a much-needed fire.
Starting up the electric kettle in the kitchen before walking into the living room with some kindling, I watched Lucy as she pulled her knees up to her chest on the couch. I hurried through the motions and stoked the fire into a good blaze, the air warming significantly as the minutes passed on.
Hearing the water starting to boil, I made a quick cup of tea, adding a little honey to the chamomile, as it was all we would have in the house until the baby was born. It helped Luce sleep at night, and even though it wasn’t even 6 PM, I thought she looked like she needed it.
She thanked me softly and blew at the top layer of heat before taking a small sip. Sitting down next to her, I pulled her into me gently so she didn’t spill her tea.
She drank about half before putting it down and then curling her arms around my waist until she was half-sprawled on my lap, her legs over my thighs as her face buried deep into my neck.
If she needed silence, I would give that to her. Lucy was always good about knowing what she needed and expressing that. Silence or endless chatter—and anything in between—she wasn’t shy about her desires.
“I hope Zach calls Paul back soon.”
I murmured my agreement and dropped a kiss on the crown of her head. She still smelled a little like acrylic paint, but I could still smell the undertones of her strawberry shampoo that she favored these days. There was a light hint of clean sweat underneath that, and I figured washing her up was a good way to relax the tension in her body.
Coaxing her up from the couch, I prodded her gently at the small of her back before moving her upstairs to the master suite.
“Hush, sweetness. You’re as tight as a tick. I’m getting you in the shower and then rubbing you down into a pliant puddle of mush.”
She didn’t argue, and I followed her into the en suite before stripping her down and turning on the hot water taps to warm up.
I rid myself of clothing and pulled her into me as soon as I was bare, my dick jerking awake at the first touch of her soft breasts against my skin.
“Come.” I patted her on her ass and moved us into the walk-in shower after testing the temperature. “I think you need a little stress release before I wash you clean, sweetheart.”