“This has got to be the worst kind of wire-tapping listening device ever,” Katherine complained, her voice coming through the speaker on our phone. Lucien, Desmond, and I were in a tinted SUV about five blocks away.
“Just put it on the table, Katherine,” Lucien said, rolling his eyes.
“Sure, as long as you guys keep silent,” Katherine replied.
“We will,” Desmond said.
“Actually… you guys know we could pull this off from the pack house right? It’s not like we had to be out here,” I pointed out and I heard Katherine breathe a sigh.
“My point exactly,” she replied, “Okay, all of you shush, she’s coming.”
Just as Katherine spoke, I felt a strange feeling – it was like a pull to look a certain way. So I turned my head around and the doors of the building we parked in front of swung open and out came Ignus. He walked out casually, his hands tucked into the pockets of his thick and heavy-looking black coat.
“So you’re the Beta.” My sister’s voice rang from the phone. But I couldn’t focus as I saw Ignus stop and stand right beside the car.
I looked to Lucien and Desmond, but neither of them seemed to notice.
Come to take me up on the offer? I heard Ignus say and I turned my head to look at him once more. I was in the passenger’s seat and he stood right by the door. His eyes looking straight through the tinted glass and into my eyes sending chills down my spine.
Lucien? I mind-linked.
What? He asked, just as I swallowed a dry lump in my throat.
Tell me you can see him too. I said as I lay back in my seat. Lucien turned his head and gave me a strange look,
Who? He asked and I turned my head only to find that Ignus had disappeared.
We don’t need to cause a ruckus, Auden. Ignus said in my head. Though your sister might inevitably make a mess of things.
What the hell does that mean? I asked, hoping that it would reach Ignus, and apparently, it did.
You’ll see. I’m not your worst enemy… Well, that would depend on the way you see things.
Auden? Lucien called me and I turned to look at him.
What? I asked.
“So, how’s the half-ling?” Zaina’s voice filtered through the phone.
“She’s doing absolutely fine. Now quit changing the subject, I asked you about your involvements with this ‘I’ person,” Katherine responded, Zaina sounded like she had laughed.
“The man was willing to pay for information on my sister. A few more digits to the bank account was more than welcome.”
“You mean your bank account, the one you probably use to leech off of your sister’s work?” Katherine hissed.
“Say what you want, but profit is profit. Auden got us started, but I made Carmine rich- and it’s not like a human can take credit for raising our pack out of the wilderness and into… more modern interests.” I heard a growl come from Katherine’s mouth.
“She’s your sister.”
“She was a member of my pack and like the rest of them, they have to earn their keep. It only makes sense for a human to work for a… collective effort.”
“You’re a fucking lunatic,” Katherine seethed.
“Auden’s always been dad’s favorite. Did you know that? Despite being the eldest child of the Alpha, my dad would rather dote on his failure of a daughter? The human lost cause? Poetic right?” Zaina paused. “And now she’s wanted by people in higher places, mated to an Alpha of some rare bloodline – and she’s being helped by my own father who’s going around my authority to get information.”
“Maybe it’s karma for being a whiny bitch.” Another pause – a longer one.
And then there was a crash. The call ended. All three of us in the car looked at each other before we simultaneously rushed out of the car and sprinted for the restaurant where Zaina and Katherine were meeting. They were seated by the windows and Zaina’s cold blue eyes immediately met mine. She had pale brown hair that fell to her chest and she grinned like a disgusting cat as she saw me. The glass in her hand had shattered and a waitress had begun to frantically offer first-aid – or to wipe her down. In my anger, I grabbed my sister’s wrist and pulled her out of the restaurant, dragging her out into the streets until I found an alley that was safe and away from view.
“So you were listening in,” she said as I pushed her towards a wall.
“What the hell are you thinking?!”
“I was trying to get rid of a nuisance and profit,” she said with a smile.
“A girl – Zaina. You almost had a girl murdered in our building. Are you out of your mind?!”
“I’m getting real tired of hearing that,” Zaina snarled. Her teeth began to morph and she bared her teeth at me as she released a louder growl and just as she seemed ready to strike, three growls resonated from behind me. I turned around and felt my breath relax at the sight of Lucien, Katherine, and Desmond.
“Oh, well if it isn’t Alpha Lucien coming to the rescue…How’s your special little sister doing?” Zaina asked with a smile and Lucien simply stared at her, his eyes had morphed into a vivid green with golden yellow orbs surrounding his pupils. I felt the strength of his Alpha command and had to fight the urge to bow my head as I watched Zaina do so. She clenched her jaw and grit her teeth as she bowed her head.
“You may be an Alpha, but we are not equals,” Lucien said, his voice low and rough. As I turned to look around, I found Katherine and Desmond bowing their heads towards Lucien as well. “Kneel.”
I watched as Zaina fell to her knees. Her lips quivered from fear and an instinctive sense of respect.
I felt the same feeling from earlier – a kind of pull that wanted me to look in a direction… So I turned my head and almost immediately, my eyes found Ignus across the street. So I wasn’t wrong about you. Ignus’ voice rang in my head. Bow as you should Auden. Not many can resist your mate’s commands – not even his mate should be able to. I felt a lump in my throat as I turned my head back to face Lucien and then Zaina. I lowered my head.
“What business do you have in Vancouver?” Lucien asked, his voice still booming with the Alpha command.
“The final payment… it was going to be paid today,” Zaina blurted aloud, I looked at her and watched as her body began to shiver. Lucien stepped forward, his steps crunching the gravel beneath his feet.
“Payment for what?” He asked.
“Her services,” Ignus answered loudly. I heard him walk from behind me and Lucien growled as he approached. “The building rental and all that.”
“Who are you?” Lucien asked and Ignus grinned.
“Just another wolf looking for a few things… However, I am not looking for trouble, Alpha Lucien,” Ignus responded before he bowed his head, “Though it seems…” Ignus turned to look at me and smiled.
“Trouble is inevitable between us,” Ignus commented before he turned to Zaina. “Lies don’t do for good business, Zaina. But your business is none of my concern. Let’s not make the mistake of framing innocents… I’d rather not deal with liars of your kind.” Zaina looked down on the ground and Ignus’ eyes landed on Lucien again.
“In all honesty, I meant no harm, Alpha Lucien.” Ignus bowed his head, “I’ve merely been looking for something I need and I’ve found it. I will leave you alone.”
“I have a feeling that isn’t entirely true,” Lucien replied and I looked between him and Ignus. In response, Ignus simply chuckled to himself.
“That depends on how much you get involved in my business, I suppose…” Lucien growled at that.
“Can the two of you call it quits for now? My sister’s still on the ground while the two of you quarrel,” I said with a sigh. Ignus looked to me and winked.
“Of course, I have places to be as well.” Ignus walked right past me, his arm brushing mine as I felt something land in my hand. I turned to look at him but he had simply begun walking away casually…
“Take Alpha Zaina to Mila’s house,” Lucien said and Desmond nodded.
“Will do, will you send your commands to her?” Desmond asked and Lucien nodded briefly.
“You can’t just-“
“We have enough evidence to mark you as a suspicious person and with your dad’s cooperation, I’m sure he’ll be alright with our ‘handling’ you and your petty little ass for a while,” Katherine added.
Desmond walked over to Zaina and lifted her up from the ground before tugging her towards the street – probably to get into the car we were in earlier. I turned to Lucien and watched as his eyes returned to their usual color. Katherine and Desmond, on the other hand, moved silently and efficiently. To be honest, it was like their usual personalities had faded.
You okay? Lucien asked and I sighed as I walked over to him. I shoved my hands into my pockets, placing the paper into one of them before raising my right hand and caressing Lucien’s face.
Are you? I asked, it was his turn to sigh as he turned and kissed the palm of my hand.
“Ignus isn’t done with us, is he?”
“I doubt it,” I said before stepping close to Lucien. “Thank you.”
“For what? We haven’t found anything yet-“
“For stepping in, dumbass,” I said, rolling my eyes.
“Your sister’s… certainly strange,” he said and I folded my arms over my chest.
“Strange? She’s insane. She basically took part in your sister’s kidnapping and she got involved with Ignus… Whatever the hell he is,” I said and Lucien chuckled before moving forward and kissing the top of my forehead and then released me.
“Speaking of Ignus… That guy was even weirder than your sister.”
“Tell me about it,” I muttered as I shoved my hands back in my pockets, feeling the piece of paper concealed in my pocket.
“And you were right… he doesn’t smell like a wolf – but he said that he was…”
“Well, he also said he wasn’t looking for trouble-“ Lucien laughed before looking at me.
“I’ve a feeling he likes you,” he said and I raised an eyebrow.
“What- where the hell did you get that idea?”
“Call it a mate’s intuition.” I rolled my eyes and nudged him with my elbow.
“Whatever, can we just go back to the house?”
“Unfortunately, I can’t. I have to go finish some business and… I promised Mila I’d go there to… follow-up on my orders.”
“Who’s Mila?” I asked and Lucien laughed as we made our way out to the sidewalk.
“She’s… the pack’s interrogator.”
“I thought you said you guys were peaceful-“
“For the most part… Peace always has a cost – and we’d rather be safe than sorry.”
“Oh.” Guess that makes sense. “You… aren’t going to hurt Zaina right?”
“Well, I wouldn’t want her to lose a body part-“ Lucien laughed.
“I don’t think we need to interrogate her that far. She seems to listen to my command.”
“Speaking of command, you need to explain that to me- I’ve never seen or felt anything like that.”
“I’ll tell you later. Lana and Xander are heading home, right now, if you’d like to join them.”
“You really are getting rid of me, aren’t you?” I asked and Lucien sighed. I smiled at him and planted a kiss on his cheek. “If you don’t mind, I’d like to go around… Maybe check a bit on the clinic.”
“I’m a little bit worried about that Ignus guy-“
“I’ll be fine, I’ll mind-link you if I come across him,” I said and Lucien opened his mouth in protest, but instead, I lifted my hands and pulled his face just a little lower as I kissed him.
Fine. As soon as you see him, Auden. He linked and I smirked as I pulled away.
“Thank you,” I said as a sleek silver car pulled up in front of us. The windows rolled down and revealed the driver to be Freya – the young wolf I had met early on.
“Alpha, Luna,” she greeted, bowing her head.
“Right on time, Freya,” Lucien greeted before kissing my lips quickly and smiling as he got into the car.
“Bye,” I muttered as I lifted a hand to wave goodbye. Lucien winked before Freya bowed her head again and drove off.
I took a breath and shoved my hands into my pockets. The paper still felt crisp as I walked in the direction of the clinic. After walking past about the fourth trashcan along the road, I pulled the piece of paper from my pocket and stared at it. It’d probably be best to throw it away… I thought to myself. The less secrets I keep, the better. I sighed as I threw the piece of paper into the bin and walked away, not bothering to look at it.
“It’s a good thing that was just a piece of blank paper,” A voice said from behind me and I froze. “But I’m afraid I do have business with you.”
I mentally groaned as I turned around to face the person behind me.
And of course, Ignus stood right there, flashing a smile in my direction.