Byron Rhodes pulled up outside his house and turned his car off. He then sat staring at the front door and wished he didn’t have to go in.
He was the Alpha’s only child, and he knew his parents loved him unconditionally, yet he felt as if he was a failure, a failure to his family and his Pack.
You see, for some reason, the alpha gene had passed him by, and he was a… well, the Pack called him their ‘peacemaker’. He called himself a freak.
Byron sighed, honestly, he wasn’t quite sure what he was, just that he wasn’t alpha material. It was something unheard of until Byron was born. Nobody seemed to know how the alpha gene had passed him by since his father was of alpha blood, his mother beta. Somehow it had though.
Now, he wasn’t mistreated by anyone in the Pack. Quite the opposite, he was actually well-loved by everyone in the Pack. He had the kind of personality that drew people together and his calm voice seemed to calm even the angriest, wolfish temper. His mom often called him her ‘little peacemaker’, but he didn’t want to be a peacemaker. Byron wanted to be an Alpha like his father.
He gave a sad sigh and opened his car door, stepping out and closing it.
“Son, is that you?” He heard as he walked into the house.
“Yeah, Dad, it’s me.”
“Come into my office, I need to talk to you,” Dad commanded.
Byron straightened his shoulders and did as he was asked.
“Have a seat, son,” Dad said.
Byron sat and took a good look at his dad, who was an older version of himself, with his blonde hair and blue eyes.
Dad didn’t usually look old enough to have a twenty-four-year-old son because werewolves tended to age slower. Today though, his dad looked older than his forty-five years. His eyes were red with bags under them from lack of sleep. They had been battling with rogues on their borders and it was becoming a problem.
“You look tired, Dad. You should get some sleep,” Byron suggested.
“You sound like your mom now,” Dad teased as he rubbed his scruffy jaw. “I’ll sleep, soon, I promise.”
“Okay, so what did you want to talk to me about?”
“I wanted to tell you I think I’ve found a young man to start interning as my replacement. I’m getting too old for these rogues and all the paperwork they cause me to have,” Dad joked.
“I’m sorry, Dad, I know you wouldn’t have this burden if…”
“Don’t, Byron. It’s fine. I know you feel as if you are a disappointment to your mom and me but you’re not. Besides, not all Alpha’s hand their titles down to their sons, and this pack has been more peaceful since you were born. You have played a big role in that. The moon goddess knew we needed peace so desperately and sent you to help us achieve it,” Dad sighed as he shook his head.
The two of them had been over this ground many times recently. Byron knew his dad was tired of repeating himself.
I’ll just say this. Reading Pack history, I know our pack was once a blood-thirsty bunch of wolves. That was before Dad took over. When Granddad lost his mate, he went nuts, leading the pack into slaughtering other packs for fun. Dad had to fight him for rule of the Pack as soon as he was old enough. Dad still cringes when he remembers those dark days.
“Anyway, the young man I’m bringing in needs a pack because he has a brother that also carries the alpha gene. So, rather than them fighting for the right of their Pack I thought he could take over this one,” Dad said while watching Bryon with a thoughtful look. “First, though, I want you to meet him, talk to him, see if he will be a good leader.”
“Dad, I don’t know about…”
“Son, you’re good at reading people. I’ve talked about you enough that he knows who you are, but still, I think this would be a good thing for you to do. It will also give me peace that I’m doing the right thing.” Dad sighed tiredly and rubbed his thumb over his nose. “I need some peace right now, son. I know somehow you will just know what kind of person he is. You may not have the strength of an Alpha, but you are not weak either.”
Byron gave a deep sigh. “Okay, Dad, I’ll do it but only because you need less stress.”
Dad nodded, and Byron stood to leave the room.
Dad is right. I do just seem to know if a person was lying or not and whether they’re good people. I don’t let a lot of people know about this ability of mine because they might take advantage of me but… He shrugged. This is for the good of the pack and my dad.
Byron headed for his room. Once there, he flopped out on his bed only to jump up again. Pulling off his shirt and pants, he stood in front of his mirror.
The words his dad had said began to echo in his mind, ’you may not have the strength of an Alpha…’ as he stared at his reflection.
Byron was six-foot, six, so he wasn’t short, but he was lean. His dad was built like a tank though, with broad shoulders, a thick waist, and large arm and leg muscles.
Me, though? Byron sighed. I have muscle, but no matter how hard I work at it, and trust me I do, I can’t get BIG muscles.
Byron growled as he flexed his arms and saw his pitiful excuse for muscle definition. Then his gaze moved downward to his four pack that he had to go the gym every other day to keep. From there, he continued down to his legs, legs of a runner his mom had often said. They were fit, but not large, not like his dad’s legs at all.
He gave a disgusted groan and turned away from the mirror.
The question of why the alpha gene had passed him by would probably never be answered. So, it did him no good to dwell on it because all it did was depressed him more.
Walking over to the window, he opened it and stood staring out. Taking a deep breath of the fresh air his let his wolf senses flare. Suddenly, his wolf stood to attention in his mind, a sure sign he wanted to run. So, grabbing a pair of shorts, Byron shifted and jumped out the window.
With a low howl, he took off across the field, headed for the lake at high speed. That was one thing Byron did have, speed, and it was what gave him his runners build. His wolf was small and lean and built for speed, and they enjoyed the wind in their fur.
Off in the distance, Byron heard a sound, the sound of someone screaming in pain if he was hearing right.
His wolf slowed almost to a stop and whined as if asking, ‘what was that?’.
Making a quick decision, Byron turned and headed toward where it sounded like it had come from. The screaming had stopped, but as Byron drew closer, he heard sobs and moved faster. There in front of him was a girl sitting on the ground, holding her leg, and crying.
Then Byron smelled the blood. As he took a closer look, he realized she had a hunter’s steel trap on her leg. He gave a wolfish whine causing her to glance up and finally notice him.
She sniffled, “Help me, please.”