The name couldn’t have been a coincidence, and I rocked up to my feet before grabbing Enid’s hand in mine.
“I need to call Alpha Paul and verify it, but I think that’s the name of West’s first mate.” When Enid looked only a little puzzled, I expounded upon the subject, forgetting that I hadn’t spilled everything I knew to her just yet. “Lucy’s new mate is a man named West. Carla was his first mate and rejected him. I hadn’t put two and two together before now, but I think she’s the same one your father has been fucking this whole time.”
I didn’t mention anything else because my mind was racing, trying to figure out what it all meant. Carla fucking an Alpha—it had to be some sort of powerplay on her part. Was being mated to a Beta not good enough for her royal fucking majesty? I had known a number of slick females like her in my short time, and most were greedy, scrabbling bitches who would have preferred to be mated to a higher-ranked wolf over an omega any day, though most were smart enough to steer clear of me knowing of my close relationship with Lucy.
Well, until recently.
I would need to make it known that my new Luna would be Enid so as to keep the selfish bitches at arm’s length. I might have been stupid enough to let my father bully me into rejecting my first true mate, but I wasn’t about to dishonor the one I had in front of me by not making it known that I was locked down.
Making a mental note to do just that later, I pulled Enid along with me towards the house just as I received a message from my father through the link.
You had a phone call, his gruff voice stated. Some Alpha you spoke to about the rogue Alpha situation. Greenwood the last name was. Destiny Pack, right?
Paul? I wondered what he wanted, and I moved even quicker, coaxing Enid to follow along with me.
Yes, I shot back. Did he say what he wanted?
Only that he needed to speak with you further about your conversation the other day. He didn’t go into specifics and I didn’t want to pry in order to keep the goodwill between the packs.
Understandable, but my hackles still rose as I tried to think what he could possibly be calling about.
Come to think of it, how did the fucker get my phone number in the first place?
My mind was shifty, and I hauled ass, nearly picking up Enid to hurry our pace before I saw the backdoor of my home straight ahead. Walking inside, I made my way towards the study just as my father was closing the door behind him.
“Mind if I use the study phone to return the call?”
He shrugged his shoulders stiffly, jutting his head back towards the door as if to say, knock yourself out, kid.
Things would probably always be awkward between the two of us, but it was a mess of his own making and I wasn’t about to forgive and forget so easily, even if it sort of worked out in the end.
And I wouldn’t begrudge Lucy her happiness. It still made me ache a little in the gut to think she was happy without me, but the sting still left a slightly dead feeling in the pit of my stomach, and I figured it always would until I marked Enid as mine.
Tapping out the telephone number that was scrawled on a sheet of paper, I waited anxiously for Paul to answer the phone.
“Alpha Paul? This is Zach Greenwood of Arrowhead Pack. My father told me you called but didn’t leave a message about what it was about. What’s going on?”
I could hear the man on the other end of the line sigh deeply like he was exhausted—like the mere thought of thinking about what he had to say made him bone-weary.
“If this has to do with Carla—” I started to say before a gasp on the other end of the line followed by words stopped me.
’Yes, but how did you know? I mean we mentioned her name in passing the other day, but you couldn’t have known—’
He seemed to stop himself, and I listened in as he mumbled something in the background and was quiet for a good long moment.
“Paul?” I called, which seemed to bring him back into the conversation.
’Sorry, I was calling West. He needs to be here too for this. Lucy and the new girl, Faith, were in town and heard some things earlier today. I wanted—no, I need to tell you so you can be prepared.’
He paused again before continuing.
‘Are you sitting down?’
After Paul said his piece, I was shocked to the point that I didn’t know what to think. I could hear West in the background, mumbling questions that Paul spouted back at me before I finally found my voice.
“Paul, I believe I know who the rogue Alpha is,” I told him, my voice as grim as I’d ever heard it. “Enid was telling me something before and it clicked. Your…West’s Carla—her last name is Moore or something, right?”
‘Yeah, Carla Moore. Still haven’t found the slick bitch yet and—’
“She’s the same person that’s been fucking Enid’s father, Paul,” I told him. “She’s been screwing Seneca for years—ever since his first mate died. I don’t…don’t know if they are second chance mates, though I doubt it. She wouldn’t have been so insanely jealous of Lucy if she had a true mating pull to Alpha Strasser. That means—”
‘That means that if those she-wolves are correct, Alpha Strasser is the one planning to attack you—maybe Destiny as well, though we would be harder to reach.’
I nodded my head, for all the good that did me. Glancing over at Enid, I saw her teeth nibbling on her bottom lip and reached my hand out to smooth it along her bare thigh. I was pretty certain she could hear everything Paul was saying, having Alpha blood in her and all. Her senses would be just as sharp as mine, though I had a tendency to use them more frequently.
“I wonder why he wanted me to mark Enid as my mate if he was only planning on taking over my pack anyway.”
‘To put you off your game maybe. Maybe to get closer to you. Who the fuck knows what that asshole wants? He’s batshit crazy if you ask me. Arrowhead is almost as remote as Destiny, and only a tiny bit easier to infiltrate the borders. What his goal is, I don’t know. Enid might, or maybe she has heard something that could lead to a motive.’
I glanced over at Enid who was shaking her head, frowning. If she knew what her father’s endgame was, she had no clue—or at least not right then.
“She doesn’t know, and she can hear everything you say,” I told him plainly. “She was the one who mentioned Carla’s name to me first, and it clicked with what you said the other day. This…this thing with Seneca—that was a shock. I would have never thought he would do this. He seemed so adamant on me marking Enid and keeping the peace between Arrowhead and Emerald.”
’The man could be insane if he lost his mate. I’m too young to have seen it happen, but in my father’s time there was at least one tale of an Alpha gone berserk because of the loss of their other half. It…it’s quite rare because the Luna in most packs is heavily guarded, but it has happened.’
We talked for a few more minutes, planning to meet again soon to discuss strategies. From what he had said, the attacks would happen before the first snowfall, and that could have been weeks or even days away.
Hanging up on my ally, I looked over at Enid. Her eyes were glassy and a stray tear was sitting on the edge of her jaw before it dropped off onto her arm and fell over the side.
I got up from my desk quickly, pulling her up and out of the chair she was sitting in and into my side. Her body quivered for a moment, her body shaking with an emotion I couldn’t imagine. My father may have taken away my true mate, but Seneca was planning on death and destruction upon many.
He was not the man my father thought he was. He was no ally, and what he meant with joining our packs through his daughter only to take over decisively, I had no clue. Did he mean to stay Alpha of both packs with me as his protégé?
Not a chance in hell.
After Enid’s shudders steadied into soft sobs, I sat down in the chair she had vacated and pulled her into my lap. I just held her there, much like one would with a child until only infrequent whimpers were left and the small sniffling noises she emitted every couple of minutes.
I hated to do this with Enid feeling so low and all, but it had to be done, and quickly. She needed to be bonded to me before I told my father what a snake Seneca Strasser was. If she didn’t bear my mark and the mindlink with the other members of the pack, no one would trust her, not with her being Seneca’s daughter. If she was bonded to me…well, there would be little they could say or do, and they would be beholden to her as they were to my father, mother, and I. Not to mention my siblings.
And there would be no doubt then where her loyalty lay.
“Baby, we need to act quickly,” I told her. “I need to mark you, and then we will tell my father everything. He needs to know what your—what Seneca is planning. We must be one step ahead always.”
She lifted to her head to mine, a confused stare on her face. As if the words I’d said had made it to her ears but that she didn’t understand a lick of their meaning.
“You…you still want me after what my father is planning?” she asked, looking shocked by the fact I wouldn’t immediately throw her from our land.
“Of course not,” I assured her, bringing her head closer to mine. “I happen to like you a lot, and I know you knew nothing of your father’s plans or you wouldn’t have said something about Carla to me. It was your clue that let us figure out who was planning a war. You’re innocent in all this, I’d swear it on my life.”
She seemed to melt into me as I spoke, but I tipped her chin up again, laying a soft kiss on her mouth before curling my arm around her body to bring closer. I deepened the kiss, taking a moment to lick my way into her mouth, letting the sweet taste of her slip down to the back of my throat.
I brought us both upright, one hand tugging on the collar of her shirt as my lips descended lower to where I would mark her. All creamy flesh beneath me, I sucked at her skin, tasting it before I could feel my incisors growing longer as my wolf thrust himself forward to stake his claim.
The minuscule sting as my canines elongated was shunted to the side when I heard Enid gasp, the bite of my teeth marking her as mine for everyone to see. I lapped up the blood, keeping myself embedded for a few moments until I knew for certain my claim would take.
Healing saliva sealed her wounds, and my breathing became heavy in direct correlation with the tug in my solar plexus. Tilting my head to the side, I invited her to claim me as well, and she moved forward, the fragrance of her hair wafting up my nostrils as she bit down on my flesh.
What had started as a pulse thrumming in my veins spread out, overtaking my entire circulatory system as a wave of heated desire sprang up in the jutting appendage between my legs.
The urge the claim my female in the basest of ways after being marked flooded every sense, making me want to say, screw telling Artemis, and, need to have my female now.
I stemmed the urge, though I had a feeling that telling my father about Seneca while sporting wood wouldn’t be such a grand idea.
As I felt her teeth retract, I opened my eyes to look at the mark that lay at the base of Enid’s neck. Like my father’s, it was a paw print, arrowheads pointing out from the thicker pad instead of rounded little toes. The color deepened and became dark red, also like the one on my mother’s neck.
I wanted to stare at it for a bit, stroke the bruised flesh and then make her mine, but I needed to speak to Artemis first, even if every molecule in my body was calling out to complete the mating.
Standing up finally, Enid rose to stand close enough to be melded into my skin, and I shook off the crash of desire as her heat and scent blazed a trail of longing across my skin.
Kissing her temple with a need to be close, I murmured to her gently. “I want to complete this, I do, but I need to tell my father first about Seneca.”
It would be a task, but I had enough evidence, and Enid would be with me to back me up.