Ember Rains (Book 1)

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Chapter 20: Admissions

Late that night I parked in the driveway of a small, one story three bedroom, cottage deep in the woods. It was on our neighboring packs territory, but I had asked Zane to let them know we would be here. It was one of several cabins often used as safe houses for our packs. Normally they were just places for women and children when there was a battle.

We had several on our territory for them and they maintained several for us. The theory was that most enemies didn’t look beyond the borders of whatever pack they were attacking. It worked well and had saved many people over generations.

“Are you sure this is safe?” Myra whispered, glancing around desperately. “Other wolves were here only a couple hours ago!”

I understood her panic. She had been a rogue for a long time, and rogues are far from welcomed with most packs.

“Yes I’m sure. Grace, the alpha, knew we were coming and probably just restocked the cabin.” I responded, reaching over to squeeze her hand gently. “I’m not going to let anything happen to you Myra.”

I must have said these words a million times, but I would say them a million more if that’s what it took for her to believe me.

She turned towards me smiling cautiously.

“Can we get out?” Tyler groaned from the back.

The past several hours he had been trying to entertain himself with the limited amount of kids stuff I had in my car. I made a mental note to get more.

Worry flickered in Myra’s eyes for a second , but then she met mine again and said, “Yeah, it’s okay. Just stay close to the house.”

Then we opened our door and I quickly got into the back helping Tyler unbuckle his car seat. After Tyler ran a few paces he shifted into his wolf. The red sable puppy bound and leaped running circles around the house and darting in and out of the trees.

I couldn’t help but chuckle as I watched him. I could remember having that much energy, as well as not having complete control of your wolf. The first two to three years a child shifts they go through at least four times the amount of clothing as others their age.

“Again?” Myra sighed leaning against the car next to me. “This kid is going to be out of clothing soon if he doesn’t calm down.”

I shrugged, “Boys will be boys and pups will be pups. I’ll get him some new clothes next time I head into town.”

Myra surprised me then by smiling and laying her head against my arm. She was so much shorter than I was, so much more pale. She was by appearance my polar opposite.

However she was strong and brave, kind and nurturing, and once you get to see past her walls she just wants to be cared for. The way she watched Tyler made my heart ache knowing, hoping, one day she would watch our pups the same way.

As I glanced down I noticed something for the first time. On the left side and the base of her neck was a bite mark. Someone had tried to mark her as his own. Anger burned in my chest and Brooke growled lowly.

‘She’s already marked? Nobody does that. That’s beyond criminal. If the council found out he would be beheaded.’ Brooke snarled.

‘Why is it so jagged and ripped?’ I asked him silently.

With one hand I reached down, rubbing my fingers lightly over the scar. Myra flinched, pain flashing in her eyes, and I quickly allowed my hand to slip down and around her waist. I pulled her tighter into my side and kissed the top of her head.

‘Because she fought it. Being marked by someone who isn’t your mate is excruciating and leaves a lingering pain until it’s fixed.’ Brooke informed me sadly. ‘It’s been forbidden and considered a capital crime for years.’

“I’m sorry.” Myra interrupted our conversation.

Unsure what to say I gave her a light squeeze, “You did nothing wrong Myra.”

“I should have stopped him.” She rubbed her wrists nervously.

After a short pause I asked, “Why didn’t he get burned?”

At first I thought she wouldn’t reply. We watched as Tyler darted towards a tree and jumped as if trying to climb it.

I chuckled as he tumbled back the short distance to the ground, clearly not hurt.

“By then he had found a way to subdue the flames and silence Em.” Myra whispered so quietly I barely heard her.

“What do you mean?” I asked, trying to mask my anger.

Myra sighed, “Em doesn’t respond to cold well. If my body temperature drops too low she kind of goes dormant. I lose my abilities, she doesn’t talk to me, I…” She hesitated, “I basically become human.”

I nodded, “That must be terrifying.”

She shrugged, “I got used to it after a while. He used it frequently as a punishment and threatened it to get me to do what he wanted. If I refused completely he… he started threatening to kill Tyler.”

I stiffened and clenched my jaw.

“I was stupid enough to think he wouldn’t kill his own son…” Her voice trailed.

“That scar on his shoulder was because you weren’t following orders?” I asked quietly, I hoped at the tone the disgust was still obvious.

“Yeah. I messed up. I refused to set fire to a family’s house. The mom had apparently rejected his advances. Then the father refused to force her to participate in Victor’s games.” She shrugged, as if talking about him being with married women while forcing her to be with him was normal.

I noticed she rarely spoke the dirtbags name. He may have been Tyler’s biological father, but he had no place in their lives.

“That’s disgusting.” I spat, unable to hide my contempt.

She shrugged, “That’s Victor. He’s the alpha, he gets what he wants when he wants it or else.”

Suddenly she looked concerned again. It struck me that what Victor wanted right now was her and Tyler. He didn’t care about the mate bond clearly. This time though he was biting off more than he could chew. I would destroy him. I would protect my family with everything I had.

I squeezed her shoulder again, sighing contentedly as she leaned against me finally.

“How about we head on in and get dinner ready?” I suggested, “It’s been a long day for all of us.

I felt her nod slowly.

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