Chapter 21: Cleaning House
I felt antsy as we approached the pack I used to call home. Given that I had about three days to stir over every possible reaction wasn’t helping my mental state any. I wasn’t sure how they were all going to react when Knox and I showed up with my father in tow, but no Alpha Rhymes. And with Knox radiating as much power as he does. I have no doubt the pack will understand what’s happened; they would have felt the loss of their previous Alpha through their shared pack bond that previously connected them all to Alpha Rhymes and his Luna, but now connected them to Knox and me. Still, though, that doesn’t mean they knew their previous Alpha was now dead.
Unless Luna Rhymes told them and they’re just waiting to attack...that was something I hadn’t considered until now.
Alpha Rhymes was nothing short of a selfish bastard in the last ten years of his reign, but there was always the chance of revolt from the ill-minded wolves whose thoughts aligned with Rhymes’ own. I was hoping that if just looking at Knox wasn’t enough to deter anyone from challenging him, then seeing my father in his current condition would make them realize Knox’s capabilities. There was still the possibility that Luna Adriana filled their heads with false garbage in hopes they’ll fight for her.
As I expected, there was a crowd of people awaiting us as when we pulled onto the pack lands. I frantically searched the mass, looking for any sign of Luna Rhymes, however I came up short. This wasn’t good.
“Knox, his mate isn’t out here…” I trailed off, my nerves skyrocketing. He nodded silently in acknowledgment of what I said. We were barely driving now, just cruising through the hoard of people as they parted for us. When we came close to the front door of the pack house, he finally pressed his foot against the break and pulled the car to a stop. My hands were sweating as my heart raced in my chest, panicking more than I thought I would. I still didn’t feel safe here.
This is not my home. I don’t think it really ever was.
“Flower, be still. You have me by your side and I will never let anyone get to you. Do you understand?” Knox rumbled confidently next to me. I swallowed thickly before nodding my head once. He pressed a quick kiss to my forehead then cheek before pulling back and unbuckling his seatbelt. “Do not get out until I let you out,” he instructed. I knew he wanted to gauge the mood of the pack as they all stood around with impassive looks upon their faces. Stepping out of the car, a collective gasp echoed throughout the crowd before whispers started to arise.
“Allow me to introduce myself,” Knox bellowed, effectively shutting everyone up. “I am Lycan Knox Carmichael and I am your new Alpha,” he continued. You could feel the tension and fear that arose from the crowd as they realized who Knox really was. Obviously seeing the reaction he’d mustered, Knox continued. “I know what you’re all thinking right now. Yes, I am related to who you’re imagining, but I can assure you that I am nothing like my uncle. In fact, I need your help as my fellow pack members to eradicate him and the threat he poses to our society. If there’s anyone who wishes ill upon either me or my mate, I’d advise you to be smart. I can promise you, you won’t like the consequences of your actions,” he finished before snapping his fingers. The few warriors Alpha Aaron sent with us exited the car they’d been following behind in. They pulled out my father with them, who was unconscious and clearly banged up. Cries of horror escaped the mouths of a few pack members.
“Are we at an understanding?” Knox asked, his question irrelevant as it was clear he wasn’t going to put up with disrespect from anyone. There was a silent agreement from the crowd that was mixed with a hint of terror. While I wished we could be leaders like Alpha Aaron and Luna Caroline, I knew it wasn’t possible under the circumstances in which we were taking over. A few seconds later, Knox came to the passenger side of the car and opened my door, threading our fingers together and helping me out. I leaned against him, exhausted from the turn of events over the last week, just wishing it would all be over and done already. Kiara and my mother gave me an encouraging smile as they hung back and waited for their cue to get out.
Knox wrapped his arm around my waist and walked us out from our shielded spot behind the car.
“This is my mate and your new Luna. As our first order of business, I’d like someone to bring me Adrianna Rhymes,” Knox ordered. Everyone stood still, reeling from the fact that I was Knox’s mate. “Now!” Knox hissed.
“Knox, what are you doing?” I whispered so only he could hear me.
“Cleaning house,” he murmured back cryptically. We didn’t have to stand around waiting for long before she was being dragged toward us by two older warriors.
“Adrianna,” Knox began. She sneered at him, tears streaming down her face. I felt my stomach turn with guilt at knowing my own mate caused the look of deep pain on her face. I just kept reminding myself that she was all too happy to stand by her mate’s side while they robbed me of the most important decision of my life. She was no better than he.
“It’s Luna Rhymes to you,” she spat looking deranged. Knox chuckled, but there was no humor behind it.
“No, it’s not. You are undeserving of the title in every way. Come to think of it, should we inform my pack about what you and your mate were trying to do just mere weeks ago?” Knox asked, his tone condescending. I watched as Adrianna’s eyes went wide and took on a worried glint.
“Your past Alphas had set up a forced mating between Alpha Williams and my half to try and forge a bond between both packs,” Knox bellowed out, pausing for just a moment as I watched a horrified expression wash over the entire crowd. “Your Beta female, my half’s mother, helped her get away, but that didn’t stop the corruption. They continued to seek her out even after The Council warned them of the consequences. So now I ask you, what shall be done with her? Execution like her mate, or imprisonment?” he asked no one in particular.
“Make the bitch suffer without her mate in a dank cell. Neither she or her mate has had the pack’s best interest at heart for years. We’ve all sat back and suffered as conditions decreased and authority became hostile. It’s about damn time the previous leadership got what was coming to them,” an elderly woman called out as she pushed her way to the front. I recognized her from the days I would spend tending to our pack garden. When she was done speaking, her gaze flitted to my own as she gave me a soft smile to which I returned.
“Is that the consensus?” Knox asked, waiting a few seconds. When no objection came, he nodded his head and shared a meaningful look with the guards that were detaining Adrianna. His gaze moved to the guards we brought with us form Alpha Aaron’s pack. “Go with them so I know she makes it to where she’s supposed to go,” Knox ordered, obviously not fully trusting this pack just yet. He’s never been stupid. “Oh, and take the Beta with you. Give him his own cell,” he added in finality.
The crowd dispersed with a single wave of Knox’s hand. I released a heavy sigh before wrapping my knuckles against the car window, letting my mother and Kiara know that they could finally exit the car. We all silently entered the pack house I was so familiar with, pulling our luggage behind us. Watching my mother walk away to her and my father’s bedroom, a question began burning in my mind and wouldn’t leave as we trudged towards my room.
“Knox,” I called while dropping my things and plopping down onto my childhood bed. He emerged from my attached bathroom, a worried expression on my face. My tone must’ve conveyed more of my emotions than I’d thought.
“What about my mom? What if people start asking about her punishment? I love her to death, and she’s my mother, but that doesn’t change the fact that - in the eyes of the pack - she’s no better than Adrianna. She had a position of power, and regardless of the fact that she constantly fought against my father behind closed doors, everyone else doesn’t know that,” I stressed. I felt my stomach begin to swirl with nausea.
“I’ve already handled it. Apparently, your mother did a lot more than fight back against him behind closed doors. She started a grassroots uprising against not only your father but also Alpha and Luna Rhymes years back when your sister was born. It’s been very slow-progressing because she was terrified one of the three would catch her but almost everyone in this pack knows about it. All the trustworthy ones, that is. Her efforts will be very useful as we start to weed out those who will be working against us rather than with us; we need to figure that out soon. Word of my hostile takeover will travel to my Uncle quickly, so we need to start preparing. Unfortunately, preparation can’t begin until I know who the traitors are,” he murmured with a stressed expression. My hands itched to smooth over the worry lines on his forehead, needing nothing more than to comfort my mate.
It was still only morning, but we’d been on the road since before the sun was out and I could tell he was tired. He hadn’t slept much the past few days and I could understand why.
“I’m sorry,” I whispered quietly after a few minutes. His eyebrows scrunched in confusion before he made his way over to where I was sitting. He slid his hands under my thighs and lifted me up, positioning himself under me before placing me atop his lap.
“What in the world could you be sorry for, Flower?” Knox asked, cupping my cheek.
“Because all you want is to find your parents and take down your Uncle and I’m adding piles of stress onto an already stressful situation because of where I came from,” I husked out.
“If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t be happy, Flower,” he started, staring at me intensely; conveying to me just how important what he was saying was. “Before I’d met you, all I’d known was darkness. There was nothing good in my life. I had no family, I had no future, I had no hope. You’ve given me all of those things, baby. I found my sister because of you, I have someone I get to call my home and build a future with because of you, and I finally have the drive to finish my search and right all the wrongs that have been committed against my parents because of you. Don’t you ever let it get into your head that you’ve brought anything but positivity and happiness into my life, understand?” he ordered, his final words coming off harsher than I knew he intended due to the intensity of emotions he was feeling.
I knew because I could feel those same sensations running throughout my body like they were my own. I nodded before gently pressing my lips to his own and kissing him with all the passion and love I felt for him. He instantly followed my lead, his tongue slipping into my mouth to massage against my own as his unique taste that I knew and loved overwhelmed my senses. The kiss grew more heated as Knox’s hands began to roam my frame, igniting the heat within me that only he could bring to life. It felt like a trail of fire had been blazed everywhere his fingers skimmed. He gently rotated my body from where I sat sideways on his lap, swinging one leg to the opposite side so that I was now straddling him. I lowered my hips until I could feel his straining erection press against my already dripping heat. Grinding against him, I let my head fall back and released a strangled moan as Knox trailed kisses down the column of my throat.
“Where do you want me, Flower?” He growled out against my ear while jutting his hips up to meet my every movement and intensify the feeling. I cursed myself for not thinking to wear something easy-access, but we had just gotten settled in from a long car ride. I shook the thought away while licking my kiss-bruised lips.
“Not want,” I panted, “need,” I rasped out, clutching at the material covering his chest.
“Fuck,” he hissed heatedly as his grip on me tightened. “Where? Tell me where you need me, Poppy,” he ordered, his tone so filled with power and dominance that it caused my panties to flood with wetness. At that moment, I decided to show him rather than tell him.
I grabbed his hand and intertwined our fingers before guiding the towards my midriff. He watched my every move like a predator stalking its prey, his pupils blown so wide from lust that I couldn’t see any of his beautiful blues. I slowly slipped our hands past the hem of my leggings and down to where my panties were soaked through. “Here,” I whispered against his lips, “this is where I need you,” I mewled.
“Jesus Christ, you’re going to be the death of me,” he cursed as I released my hand from his and waited for his magical fingers to begin working me over. He licked his lips once again before pushing the lace of my panties aside and began stroking my womanhood. I bit my lower lip to try and quiet my cries of pleasure in an attempt to be courteous to the others currently in the pack house. The task became harder and harder as Knox’s fingers grew more persistent. One finger turned into two as the pace morphed from slow and teasing to knuckle-deep and rapid.
“You like that, Flower? Does that feel good, baby?” Knox husked against the shell of my ear before biting and pulling at my lobe. I nodded frantically while digging my nails into his shoulders and began riding his hand, searching for the release I’d been denied for days.
Knox and I hadn’t gone this long without having sex since we mated and it was starting to negatively affect both of us. He’d been more snappy than usual during the car ride - almost like how he acted before we officially mated - and I became more clingy with him; my wolf and I both having the intense urge to make up for the lack of intimacy.
“More, Knox,” I plead, my voice taking on a desperate tone. “I need more!” I hissed. He sucked in a quick breath of air through his teeth before standing us both up. He had my pants and underwear off in record time before spinning me and leaning me over the edge of the bed. I clutched at the bedsheets as the sound of his zipper being undone met my ears. I heard his pants clang to the floor before he grasped my hips and stepped forward. I gasped as I felt his cock slip between my legs and slide against my aching lips, coating himself in my slickness. I cried out a slew of unidentifiable words as the head of his member nudged up against my clit. I reached one hand under me and cradled the underside of his cock up against my folds, causing him to rub against me with more pressure. The feeling caused my inner thighs to shake as the realization that I was going to come any second hit me.
“Knox, please,” I whimpered. He responded with a single hard slap to my left ass cheek before pulling back and thrusting all the way inside me. He slid in so deep that he pressed up against my cervix, nudging up against the one spot inside of me that had me seeing stars. Unable to hold back, my walls tightened around him like a vice grip as I came with such intensity I couldn’t breathe. I vaguely heard Knox release a quiet roar of pleasure as I tried to regain my bearings.
My brain was still hazy, but I was vaguely able to make out the telltale sound of knocking on the bedroom door.
“You have got to be fucking kidding me,” Knox seethed, staying rooted inside me. “Not now!” he growled out, his tone deadly.
“It’s important, you’ll want to see this!” I heard one of Alpha Aaron’s men respond.
“Is it life or death?” Knox questioned through his teeth, his cock angrily pulsing inside me with the need to move as his fingers dug into my thick flesh where my ass met my hips.
“Well, not particularly, but-”
“Then it can fucking wait! I’ll be out in a minute!” he yelled before beginning to pull out of me just a few inches. I moaned into the covers, hypersensitive from the orgasm I’d just recovered from.
“This is gonna have to be quick Flower, but I swear to God I’m going to fuck you in every position imaginable later tonight,” he grunted. I cried out a blissful yes! before he began pounding into me mercilessly. I couldn’t control my volume any longer, the only things that made sense at that moment were Knox, me, and his relentless cock bringing me to another earth-shattering orgasm.
Leaning down over my body, Knox growled into my ear, “C’mon baby, go there. I know you can do it. Fucking take us both there, Poppy,” he growled huskily. I used the last of my energy to clench around his member, mewling when I felt him swell before finally letting go and releasing himself inside me. His orgasm triggered my own as the building ball of pressure in my stomach gave way, the familiar feeling of euphoria washing over my body once again. I welcomed the incredible sensation with open arms.
By the time we were done, Knox and I were panting hard and covered in a light sheen of sweat.
“We’re never going without for that long ever again,” Knox murmured huskily, “it was torture.” I giggled at his deadly serious tone before sighing in content.
“So good to me,” Knox whispered while stroking my bare bottom. He kissed the crown of my head before carefully pulling out of me. “Let’s get you cleaned up before they send someone to look for us again.”