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Under Investigation

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Adira Lee, the daughter of a cruel and sinister Alpha. For years she and her pack have suffered at the hands of her father and the minions he has turned into ranked wolves. Her patience grows thin the more abuse her pack and herself endure. Feeling as if she is one of the only people left to fight her father, she’s about to do something she never dreamed of. That is until two men appear on her father’s door steps. Magnar Price, and Ekon McBride are Council enforcers, sent to investigate the horrors of the Blood Lust pack. Arriving Magnar Price is met with a sight he never thought that he would be honored to see. His mate, standing in the thick of things, he has to fight to keep her alive even as the members of her pack are put up for execution. Her name is on the list, unless their investigation, and her pack members can speak for her. Only the Council will be able to have the final say and spare the one made for him.

Fantasy / Romance
Lillianne Young
4.7 62 reviews
Age Rating:

Chapter 1

Roberto Lee paces the length of his office, my eyes trail after my fathers form, on edge. Even if we do share blood, he makes my skin crawl. My wolf, Nera growls softly to me, angered by his presence. His tall, muscled build encased in a simple, elegant gray suit. “Where’s Anthony?” My father pauses at the window, his stern features overcast, like the pack, in an ominous gray cloud. “We’re supposed to be in a meeting.” At that, he turns his shadowed black eyes on me.

His direct stare makes my wolf glare, disgusted as he tries to hold rank over us. “I’m not sure, last I heard he was on his collection rounds.” I offer a bland expression and an uninterested shrug. The pack would be better off rogue, away from the greedy man. He siphons any and everything from the pack, hoarding it for himself and his status. To keep them all trapped. Paying to be under his ‘guidance’; to pay for his abusive, narcissistic mistreatment. How kind of him. He stares at me for a minute before his brow flicks up in annoyance.

“Go find him then Adira.” He nearly spits my name out with a growl, hating to use it. It reminds him too much of mother after all. A constant reminder of his actions, a fit of rage at her disobedience killed her. She was in cahoots with the council, against him in his eyes. Unacceptable to have his own mate disowning his ways. It was too easy for him to kill her, to leave her to rot as if she were no better than a rogue on trial for killing a pack member. He’s a disgrace of a man.

Nera released a silent snarl at the thought, he’s evil, always has been, always will be. So riddled with greed no amount of love or warmth could break the frigid shell of him, nor his wolf. “As you wish.” He offers a sharp glance and a low growl in warning as I bow mockingly and step from the room. The tightness in my skin of my bristling fur slowly eases with each step I take from the office. We’ll never make it right with him here. I hate to agree with Nera, but I know she speaks the truth. No matter how many times we’ve tried to right the wrongs of his ways, we’re always steps shy from making a difference.

It’ll always be that way. Nera snorts her disgust. Father keeps such a careful eye on me it’s impossible to talk with the pack, to do anything really. We’re prisoners, just like them, if not worse. The bland walls echo an impossible lifelessness, a dull cry of sorrow, strict order and hatred. A lack of decoration has always left this house a prison, even when mother was alive. The only difference between the cells and these walls is the expensive furniture bought with stolen money.

Built from the pack’s poverty. How can you live with yourself? I may not whip the members of the Blood Lust pack, but I share a name with the devil himself. To some, I’m just as evil, just as tainted. Some days, I’m not even sure I know the answer to that. Maybe I am just as bad as he is, possibly worse. I hide behind the thin guise of ‘attempting’ to protect the pack, in all reality I’ve caused just as much pain. Who’s the bigger evil?

As I step from the grand mansion I pause and let my eyes scan the clearing before me. The barren landscape, even in the middle of spring, always looks as if it’s on the cusp of death. Brittle and sickly yellow grass is tinged with an invasive brown. The trees are barren, branches stretch wide, grasping at the air like bony fingers. It’s rare to see the ill trees with a canopy, even when leaves do grow, it’s a thin meager greenery, destroyed by the weight that’s settled over the pack grounds.

Nothing about this pack is inviting. People only come to this pack because they’ve been banished and pray the rumors are false. Going rogue is almost less of a death sentence nowadays; at least you can find others to make a pact with. Father is a horrible dictator. He makes an example out of anyone who doesn’t bow down to him immediately. Our world has changed, not for the better either. We’re devolving, more feral than our predecessors who were more wolf than us.

Nera’s right, our pack alone is more animalistic than the legends of the first shifters. The Council should be informed of a rogue’s interaction, good or bad; in theory, to keep track of their movements. My legs carry me down the path to the pack’s housing district, the rundown homes sending a wave of shame through me. It disgusts me that father can steal money from the hard working members of this pack, build his empire and watch these people starve, freeze, and grow ill.

As long as his pockets are cushioned and his people are trapped, he’ll always be in charge. I always knew him to be a power hungry monster, abusive in his iron handed rulings. He’s done so much to this pack. Nera simmers, hackles raised in her own disgust. These are good people, deserving of a good life; not this maltreatment and abuse. We’ll forever be a stain on these people’s lives. It’s a thought that burns me every time I wake up and haunts me every night.

As always, empty streets greet me, the silence is disrupted by a ball bouncing against cracked pavement. Two kids play in their driveway, it’s a sight that I wish could be seen more. Everyone’s afraid to be seen by a ranked wolf. Automatically they freeze in their spot at the sound of foot falls. Frozen for moments before the siblings offer a tentative wave and dart inside; the ball rolls forgotten. There have been enough examples made of people to threaten my father’s ruling. Too many slaughtered to make his point.

My legs carry me through the barren streets as I scan my surroundings; on the hunt for one particular face. Anthony, my father’s Beta is almost as bad; with an ego two sizes too large for himself, it astounds me. He needs to face death, forgo the trial. Nera snarls at the thought, his voice drifts over the empty streets all too easily. “You ungrateful fools! The deadline has passed and I’m tired of giving you a break.” Anthony snarls to someone.

The only fool is you, you pitiful excuse of a wolf. Anthony is a cruel, greedy man who abuses the pack members and steals anything he sees and wants. He shouldn’t hold an ounce of power… neither should Father. They are lower than any rogue could be. Father only enjoys the company of Anthony because of his cruel loyalty. Anthony isn’t afraid to make an example out of anyone in the pack. Elderly, adult… children… To him their blood is still fresh to spill.

The sight I’m met with makes my wolf snarl and eyes flash to Nera’s. Anthony stands partially transformed over the open doorway of the Gerald’s home, scaring the elderly couple. They are retired! They can’t afford your stupid ‘protection’ fees! I can’t with hold the low growl that slips past my lips, a sharp whistle follows. “Beta. Alpha wishes to have a meeting with you.” Anthony directs his next growl towards me as he pulls away from Mr. and Mrs. Gerald. My eyes flash out of anger and clear disrespect.

“I’m busy… Why don’t you open your eyes for once?” He growls lowly, turning to focus his attention back on Mr. Gerald. Pompous asshole.

“Then I guess you should find a good excuse for disobeying the Alpha’s direct orders once you’ve finished playing cat and mouse. I’m sure he’ll understand.” Anthony turns his glare on me, releasing a snarl, a weak attempt at a scare tactic. Pathetic excuse for a man.

“I’m busy.” I arch an eyebrow, unamused with the snarls that leave his trembling form. Nera, you can’t eat him. She snarls in my head, ready to attack and take him down for the blatant disrespect.

“You can explain that to the Alpha on your time, I’m sure he’ll be understanding.” Anthony snarls as he fully turns towards me, his eyes a vibrant golden orange.

“Then finish the collection; these two scrounges have yet to pay. They’ve used their leniency days. Get their payment or bring me their heads.” He walks past me and drives his shoulder into mine, his last ditch fear tactic. Nera snarls, pacing my mind at his blatant disrespect. We are an Alpha and demand respect. We want him to hang for his actions. He needs to die. I force a breath through my nostrils and roll my shoulders, welcomed by the loud cracks of my bones in frustration.

“Are you two alright?” I struggle to calm down as I stop in front of their door with my hands in my back pockets, positive my claws are on the verge of bursting from my knuckles. Mr. Gerald stands behind the door, keeping an arm around Mrs. Gerald who leans against her husband, pale.

“We don’t have the rest of our fees; we can’t get it. We needed food, I’m sorry but we were so hungry.” Father and his plans to kill the elders. In recent weeks he’s lowered the social security ‘benefits’ given to our elder wolves, all a way to stop money from leaving his pocket. Greedy bastard. Mr. Gerald’s voice quakes and it makes me want to kill Anthony all over again. The lot of them are greedy bastards.

“It’s alright, Mr. Gerald. I hate to do this to you.” I sigh, disgusted with myself. “What can you offer? Without hurting yourselves for money; I’ll cover the rest of the fee ok?” Mrs. Gerald offers a watery smile, her hands shake as she wipes under her eyes.

“Thank you Adira.” Her shoulders sag with relief as she shifts more out from her husband’s shadow. I offer her a tense smile, more aggravated at myself. I hate myself more with each passing day. I’m happy that this interaction can end in a better light than it started. If I could excuse their fees, I would in a heartbeat. Father would make them an example without a second thought.

He shouldn’t make them pay for his ‘protection’, he’s an Alpha, it’s his responsibility. “Please contact me if you need help with your fees. I don’t want you two starving or freezing to death.” I smile, wanting nothing more than to reassure them. Not that it really matters. Mr. Gerald hands me over a portion of the fee with a smile. “Stay healthy.”

“Thank you Adira, you are too kind for this pack.” If only that were true. I wave to the sweet couple and step off of their porch with a heavy sigh. I’m just as bad as he is. I turn to make a slow walk back to the Alpha’s house lost in my thoughts. I’m not doing enough for these people; not for Nera, not for myself to feel remotely like we’ve done good for anyone in this pack. We share his blood, his anger. How can you refuse authority that will behead you for a question? Me being dead won’t help a soul.

Few members of the pack dare to peek through their blinds, I watch as I’m met with scared eyes and a timid smile before they disappear. That’s not normal, not right. It’s known that Father has a reputation for violence; scares everyone witless. No one leaves their homes, visits with one another. You only find solace in your in house family. Father rules with a heavy iron fisted hand and everyone knows it.

A quick inspection of the housing district I make sure no one is in dire need. Not that we can do much without Father being aware. No matter what, he’s always quick to steal any aid and hope the family has. As I finish I make my way down the neatly trimmed path to Father’s house. It’s the only place that’s left neatly maintained, immaculately clean. As if it was just built. It’s a beautiful design, cathedral concept of architecture. A miniature castle if you will.

Grande windows line the front and allow fresh light into the house. Large pillars support the secondary porch, the modern facade of the home a testament to the grand structure. It’s sad the house could be beautiful if not ruined by its owner. The atrocities that have been committed within its walls leaves a dark stain. All funded by the pack, their money, their blood, their sweat. None of it given in generosity.

The peaceful sounds of nature are disrupted by the subtle sound of a car engine. I cock my head as I turn my back on the house and watch the large black SUV with tinted windows drive up the drive. I wasn’t told of visitors. I didn’t feel a disruption at the border when they crossed, I know it’s not a pack member. They aren’t allowed to leave unless they wish death.

I stand in wait, it’s only a moment after the SUV shuts off the doors. My nose is assaulted with two strong dominant male scents. Council members? Now I understand the secrecy, Council members are granted admission to all packs freely without notice. A wonderful ability for surprise visits. The driver pauses, shades over his eyes as he stares me down. I can feel his eyes on me, smell a shift in his scent. What is that smell? His shoulders fill out his suit beautifully, well made for him.

“Can I help you two?” The passenger moves around the front of the vehicle, shades over his eyes, form filling out his suit. Clearly these aren’t your typical Council members.

“I’m Ekon McBride, this is Magnar Price. We’re from the Council, who are you?” Basic information. I’m sure the time has come for an investigation.

“Adira Lee, Daughter of the Alpha.” Not something I’m proud to admit to. I lean against the railing watching them with interest. I wonder what’s going to come of this.

“Where’s your Alpha and Beta?”

“Last I heard, they were in a meeting.” Ekon removes his glasses as he steps forward his green eyes glitter with a golden ring. Clearly he comes from power.

“Your duties in the pack are suspended until further notice.” I can’t help the smirk that appears on my face as I shrug.

“That won’t be a problem; you have my full cooperation.” This pack deserves better, if I die making this right, so be it. “If I can make a recommendation. I’d request for me to be your guide. Not every wolf here with rank will be so cooperative.” Magnar’s brow flickers up as Ekon nods slowly, a skeptical look on his features.

“I see. How much-” Ekon’s cut off by the door opening behind me, Anthony’s putrid scent greets me.

“Adira… Who are your guests?” He growls under his breath to me as I turn, my eyes twinkle amused. This is gonna be worth it.

“Alpha, Beta, this is Ekon and Magnar; they’re from the Council.” I’ll let them break the good news. I watch as both of their eyes travel of my head to inspect the men. Father’s eyes burn bright with anger; his gaze falls to mine.

“Why didn’t you notify me of their arrival?” He releases a subtle growl and I smile. This will hurt.

“I’m sorry, I knew you were in a meeting with Beta, I didn’t want to interrupt.” I watch amused as the vein in his neck bulges out. Just to prove a point I pull out the payment and hand it to Anthony with a smile. “I made sure to collect in full.” Anthony’s eyes narrow and his lip raises in a silent snarl. I’ve pissed them off… Good.

“Adira, you’re dismissed, go run patrol… Now.” Father snarls as his eyes flash and I feel a sudden sense of calm. I’m ready to die for this pack. I’ll bow down and bear my neck when the time is right. I turn and meet Ekon’s eyes briefly, the golden ring flares as he uses mind link with his partner. They know what’s happening.

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