Authors note: This is the second book in the Wolves of Artemis trilogy. Though I have tried to write it so it can be a stand alone novel, it will make much more sense if you go to my page and read Ember Rains first!
Also a warning this book contains the mental aftermath of abuse, some sexual content, and some post traumatic stress. You have been warned.
The sun hung high in the blue sky as we walked through Fredericksburg Texas. It was a beautiful town. Full of old southern buildings and stunning foliage. I had never seen palm trees before, and I quickly decided they were a new favorite of mine. I absently wonder if there was a chance I could grow one back in Idaho. Then quickly dismissed the thought.
Despite that, it wasn’t safe for us to be this far south, we all knew that. However, we weren’t left with much of a choice. We had been scouring the country and the first promising lead we got was here. My brother and his mate were taking care of the pack and trying to find out where Azreal Black was, and what he would do next.
The politics were driving me nuts. Throw me a pack of rogues to deal with any day, as long as you don’t expect me to smile and make friends. I didn’t trust any of the pack leaders aside from Richard and his best friend Logan. Several of the other leaders had tried, and failed, to hold me hostage at one point or another.
However it was a necessary evil, I knew that. Just like I also knew that if this lead ended up being a dead end, we would have to go back and try again. I was starting to think finding the shadow we needed would be impossible, as we walked through the streets. I had lost track of how many towns we had searched. Richard walked next to me squeezing my hand reassuringly.
I still got butterflies when he looked at me like that, with his overjoyed lopsided grin. His silver eyes glittered admiringly. His flawless tan skin stretched tightly over his sharp square jaw. He had recently gotten his hair cut so it now just barely covered the tips of his ears.
I struggled to believe I could be this lucky. Despite my horrific past and insane trust issues, this man had persisted and proven himself trustworthy a million times over. Now I trusted him with not only myself but my son’s life as well.
Tyler had grown incredibly attached in the almost three years we had known Rich. Ty had learned so much from him and looked at him like he was a superhero. Though lately he has started copping an attitude with me all it took was one look from Richard and he was backpedaling.
‘He’s perfect.’ My wolf Ember swooned.
I smiled inwardly agreeing with her. It was a relief to hear her again, but she was slowly regaining her strength.
It had been over two years since we had fought Victor, my ex and Tyler’s dad. For eighteen months I had no connection with my wolf. It had been annoying and terrifying to be without any of my powers or my best friend. Ember meant the world to me. I could only be glad that we were sure nobody else would know how to do what Victor had done. I wouldn’t lose her again.
We had all, including my brother and his wife, gone back to take over the territory that was rightfully Richards, after Victor’s death. It had taken almost a year and a half to get the pack back to decent standards. Victor and his leaders had all but ran it into the ground.
Now it was still small, but safe. Rogues knew not to come around anymore, and the humans nearby were feeling safe in their homes. The wolves who had lived there had three choices. Most chose to stay and follow the new rules, some ran off as rogues, but there was a group who chose to fight us. Those few were what took so long to be able to start our search.
However, shortly after all of that we had started working to build up our own pack. Now, we continued to search for the one wolf who we needed to make our vision for our pack a reality.
“Tyler, not too far bud.” Richard called to the eight year old, who jogged back towards us.
“Okay Rich.” Tyler smiled at the man.
I watched thrilled as Richard ran his hand over the boy’s shaggy black hair, and Tyler didn’t even flinch away from him. I was glad to see how far my son had come. We had found a therapist and had both been working with him. Tyler was done, I was still a work in progress but better.
“You okay, Myra?” Richard asked, frowning down at me.
I smiled and nodded.
‘What’s wrong?’ Richard asked in my head.
‘I’m really just tired. I still haven’t regained all of my strength back.’ I reminded him gently.
I hated the worried look that flashed across his face, but he quickly recovered and reached down to ruffle Tylers hair again.
“Ready for some lunch kiddo?” Richard asked happily.
“Yes, please!” Tyler nodded, his black curls bouncing with the movement.
“What do you want to eat baby?” I asked, meeting his excited bright green eyes.
Having spent basically the first six years of his life either imprisoned by Victor or on the run from him, everything still pleased Tyler. Something as simple as picking lunch would make his green eyes glitter in delight.
“Um, cheese burgers and fries?” He asked.
Richard chuckled, taking the boy’s hand. “Burgers and fries it is.”