Chapter Three: The Leader of the Pack
“I honestly thought that I’d turned Dad gay,” Drezden said with a shrug of his shoulders.
“You can’t turn someone gay, Drez,” Dylan said with a shake of his head.
Drezden grumbled. “Yes, I know that…”
“He had stayed to himself, thinking we would blame him,” Daryl said as he studied his brother’s face.
Drezden’s cheeks turned a bright red when his brothers all stared at him.
“Yeah, well. Before Tamara, I was an idiot…”
“Before Tamara? Are you saying you’re not an idiot anymore?” Dylan asked with a snort.
Drezden gave his brother a shove, and Dylan laughed, then pulled his brother into a hug.
“We never blamed you,” Dylan said as he stepped back.
“Not even a little,” Dominic said as he placed his arm over his younger brother’s shoulders.
“Speaking of Tamara. How is she doing?” Daryl asked.
Drezden shrugged. “She killed a man, and Sharissa was taken by a Vampire. She’s surviving.”
Daryl nodded. “And now the Vampire has our brother.”
“Whatever Tate had shown Dustin, it was important enough for Dustin to leave Joy behind,” Dylan said with a nod.
“Wait,” Dominic said as he looked at Daryl, then pointed a finger at him. “No more changing the subject onto one of us. Why were you at the cave?”
“Nicely done,” Dylan said with a laugh.
Daryl sighed heavily. “I don’t know why I was at the cave. I just found myself there.”
“Daryl, what is really wrong? You’ve been acting strange since Drezden found Tamara.” Dominic said as he moved closer to their oldest brother and Alpha.
Daryl sighed. “I guess I may as well tell you all.”
They waited, and Daryl looked up at the ceiling, then at his brothers. “I don’t think I have a Fated Mate.”
“And why not?” Dylan asked.
“Because he thinks she’s dead,” Dominic said as he watched his oldest brother. “Don’t you?”
Daryl looked at Dominic, then nodded. “I do.”
“The cub,” Drezden whispered.
Daryl nodded. “Yeah. I think Ivy was supposed to be mine when she got older. I don’t think I was meant to find her that day. She’d followed my scent and gotten trapped. If I hadn’t been there looking for that hunter, she’d never have come to that field and gotten snagged in that trap, and we wouldn’t have met…”
Dominic slapped his older brother upside his head.
Daryl glared at his brother as he rubbed his head. “What the fuck was that for?”
“She still would have died, you idiot. Those hunters knew where they were. You didn’t kill her.” Dominic said with a growl.
Dylan grunted. “Really? That’s what has bothered you all these years? You think it’s your fault Ivy died?”
Daryl shrugged. “A little.”
“You still have a Fated Mate, Brother,” Drezden said as he placed his hand on his brother’s shoulder again.
Daryl looked at Drezden. “How do you know for sure?”
“Because you’re a Kraftman brother, and the Kraftman brothers are the Goddesses favorites,” Drezden said with a grin.
Daryl chuckled. “I am also your Alpha. And if I die, it will ruin all of their plans.”
Drezden shrugged. “Potato, pototo.”
“We still have plenty of time for you to find her,” Dominic said.
“Right,” Daryl said with a nod.
“And we’ll help you,” Drezden said with a grin. “Even if we have to visit every bar and café.”
“Maybe she’s looking for you,” Dylan said with a smile.
Daryl snorted. “I doubt that.”
“Always so negative,” Dominic said with a shake of his head.
“I say, we put out a notice for more help,” Dylan suggested.
“Great idea,” Dominic said with a smile.
“Sure,” Drezden said with a grin. “It worked for me.”
“You really think this will work?” Josie asked as she looked at her mate.
Dominic shrugged. “Worth a try.”
Josie shrugged and opened her computer. “What do we need help with?”
“The bar. With Shar and Dustin gone, we’re low on help.” Dylan said.
Josie nodded. “What if a Human walks in the door again?”
Daryl smiled. “I wouldn’t care if she was a Rhinoceros Shifter. My mate was made for me, no matter what she is.”
“Okay,” Josie said with a nod. “We don’t want any Shifter haters. So, I will word it, so only those who are pro-Shifter; will respond.”
“If you get a Rhino, for a mate, I’m challenging her to a duel,” Dylan said with a laugh.
“You will lose.”
They turned to find Pearl standing behind them, her two-year-old in her arms.
“Daddy wants to fight a Rhino,” Ruby said with a giggle.
Dylan smiled as he walked up to his mate and daughter and tickled Ruby’s stomach.
Ruby giggled as she pushed at her father’s hand.
“Are you hoping Daryl’s mate will show up for a job; like Tamara did?” Pearl asked.
The four men nodded, and Pearl looked at Josie. “Put on there that we’ll pay double the normal wages if they can start right away.”
Josie smiled, then went back to typing.
“What is that going to do for Daryl?” Dylan asked.
Pearl smiled. “Nothing. I’m just tired of picking up the slack here at the bar.”
The others laughed, and Dylan kissed Pearl on the forehead.
Daryl pulled his bike into the parking lot to the bar he owns with his brothers. Today has been a long and dreary day. His latest client’s daughter had disappeared a week ago. Daryl and his brothers had found that she had run away with her boyfriend. When they told her that her father had hired them, her boyfriend had offered them twice the money to forget they had found her.
When they found out why she’d run from her father, they decided not to take the couple’s money. They won’t be telling her father that they’d found her, either.
Not like they need either of the men’s money, anyway.
He sniffed the air and smiled when his stomach growled. Shar’s idea to sell food at the bar; has been a huge hit. And the chef she had found, is a marvel. They ate at the bar more often than at home.
He opened the door to the bar and stopped short. The bar was fuller than it has been in a while. He looked over at the bar and almost laughed. Two beautiful women were bartending, and every eye in the bar was on them.
Neither woman was a Fated Mate, or at least not an activated one. But they were beautiful, and if he’s correct on their smell, they’re both wolves.
“Like the new help?”
Daryl turned to one of his brothers, still smiling. “When did you hire them?”
“Earlier today. They answered Josie’s add. They’re not activated Fated Mates, but we were hoping one would activate when you saw her.” Dominic said, his eyebrow lifted to his hairline.
Daryl chuckled. “Sorry, Brother. Neither of them are my mate.”
Dominic frowned. “Shit, we’d hoped this would work.”
Daryl shrugged. “I’ve already told you, I lost mine forty years ago…”
Dominic shook his head. “We don’t believe that. The Goddesses wouldn’t be that cruel.”
Daryl sighed. “You would think so, wouldn’t you?”
Dominic snorted. “Go meet the new employees. Maybe talking to them will activate something. You need to get laid.”
Daryl laughed. “Thanks, Brother.” He said as he placed his hand on his brother’s shoulder, then moved away from him and made his way to the bar.
“He doesn’t look happy,” Josie said from behind her mate.
Dominic turned to his mate and smiled. “He just discovered that his new client’s daughter hadn’t just disappeared. She’d run from an abusive ass hole of a father. She’s happy with her boyfriend and is expecting the guys kid in a few months.”
She frowned. “I guess neither of our new employees is his mate.”
Dominic shrugged. “Guess not.”
She sighed. “We can’t give up on him, Dom. He’s our Alpha.”
Dominic nodded. “I know. And we’re not.”
“I like them, even if they’re not a Fated Mate,” Maddy said, as she sat next to her twin.
The bar has been closed for over an hour, and the new employees had just left for the night.
“So do I,” Tamara said as she placed her hand over her slightly rounded stomach.
“I guess we keep them,” Dominic said as he closed the book he’d been going through. His eyes were killing him. Sharissa has great penmanship, but Dustin’s was like reading an eight-year-old’s.
“So, this is what goes on when the bar is closed.”
Everyone’s heads shot up at the sound of the man’s voice.
“Elder,” Dominic said as he moved towards the man.
“Dominic Kraftman.” The Elder said with a smile.
“What do we owe this honor?” Dylan asked as he moved away from his mate, who had hidden behind the piece of wall, close to the booth the others were gathered at.
“I am looking for your Witch.” The Elder said.
No one looked in the direction they had last seen Pearl. They would never give one of theirs away.
“What do you need my mate for?” Dylan asked as he stopped beside his brothers.
The Elder smiled. “Just a little spell I need her to make for me.”
Dylan almost snorted at the man. If Pearl trusted this man enough to give him a spell, she would not have hidden.
“She’s not here right now,” Daryl said.
Dylan looked at his brother. Daryl had felt the same thing he had. Pearl never hides, unless it’s too dangerous for her to show herself.
The Elder looked around at them. Not a single face showed any emotion, and no one looked behind the wall, where Pearl was still hiding.
“Very well.” The Elder said with a nod. “I will seek help elsewhere.” He said, then disappeared.
“No.” They heard Pearl whisper.
“Pearl?” Dylan asked as he looked towards his mate.
“Oh, God.” Pearl cried as she ran towards the stairs that led up to the apartment.
The others didn’t even wait for a second, before following her.
“Get your fucking hands off her!” Pearl screamed as she barged into the bedroom where the cubs and pup slept.
“Ah, so you are here.” The Elder’s voice echoed out into the hall.
“I said, hands off!” Pearl hollered.
“If you won’t help me, I’m sure this one will.” The Elder said.
Everyone made it to the bedroom just as a chorus of screams erupted from the room.
“Let her go!”
The soft, yet strong voice, vibrated through the room.
The Elder stared at the cub, who had such force with her voice.
“Sorry, but I need her.” The Elder said, then disappeared.
Everyone watched in shock as the Elder disappeared with Ruby. But that wasn’t what shocked them the most. Just as the Elder started to disappear, Joy threw herself at the man.
“Ruby!” Pearl screamed. “No, no, no.” She cried. “They have my baby.”
“Mommy.” Came a whimper from the floor, behind one of the beds.
The adults rushed to the other side of the bed and stared in shock.
On the floor, was Ruby, splayed out on her back, Joy on top of her. Both girls crying.
“Ohmigod.” Pearl cried as she rushed to the two cubs and pulled them both into her arms.
“Ruby.” Dylan breathed as he joined his mate on the floor with his daughter and niece.
“Joy knocked her out of the Elder’s arms,” Dominic said as he stared at his nieces.
“That’s our little leader,” Lyvia said with a grin.
“What’s going on?” Amirah asked as she and Pike entered the room.
Josie and Maddy quickly explained what had happened.
“I’m going up there,” Pike said with a growl.
“You can do that?” Dylan asked as he looked up at his father.
Pike nodded. “I can.”
“Why didn’t you when Shar was taken, or even when Dustin disappeared with the Vampire?” Drezden demanded.
Pike looked at his youngest son. “Because Tate asked me not to.”
Everyone stared at Pike. This was the first they’d heard of that.
“Tate contacted you after he took them?” Dominic asked.
Pike shrugged his shoulders. “Actually, he told me his plans before he’d taken Shar.”
Everyone started talking at the same time, and Amirah glared at her mate. He was doing it again. Keeping secrets from her.
Pike pulled his mate into his arms and kissed her.
“Stop doing that,” Dominic said, gagging behind his hand.
Pike chuckled as he lifted his head from his mate. “I couldn’t tell you, Mafilia. I was sworn to secrecy. It’s a long and dangerous story. And not one for me to tell. Tate will tell you everything. Once the danger is over.”
“Danger?” Daryl asked as he looked at his father.
Pike nodded to his eldest. “Yes, Son. There is something going on up there, with the Elders, and Tate needs Sharissa, to help him with it. And apparently, the danger was more then he could handle on his own, so he recruited the one man he knew would fight even the Elders…”
“Sharissa’s mate,” Raj said with understanding.
“So, she’s not in trouble for killing that jackass?” Dylan asked.
“You said a bad word, Daddy,” Ruby said with a sniffle as she looked up at her father.
Dylan smiled down at his little girl. “I know baby. I’ll give Aunt Shar a dollar when she comes home.”
“Technically, it’s not a bad word. It’s a donkey.” Drezden pointed out. Dylan gave his brother a nasty look, and Drezden put his hands up in front of himself with a laugh. “But don’t ever repeat it.” He warned his nieces and nephews.
“How did Joy knock Ruby out of the Elder’s grasp?” Mara asked as she lifted her cub into her arms.
“I think it’s part of being the pack leader,” Pearl said, then kissed her niece on the cheek.
“Get the cubs and pup to a safe house. I don’t trust the Elder to not try again.” Pike said.
“Pearl too,” Dylan said as he pulled his niece and daughter into his arms, then stood and helped his mate to her feet.
“I’m going with you,” Daryl said as he looked his father in the eyes.
Pike looked at his son, then nodded. “Could use some Alpha authority.”
“But he doesn’t have control over Elders.” Drezden pointed out.
“No.” Pike agreed as he looked at his youngest. “But the Elders know better than to mess with an Alpha. Especially when one of them just tried to kidnap one of his own blood. They frown on kidnapping, especially little ones. That is why Tate needed an excuse to bring Shar up there.”
“And she handed him the excuse in a brightly wrapped present, of a broken neck,” Daryl said with a growl.
“Right,” Pike said with a nod.
“Call Bridget and have her guard Pearl and the little ones,” Daryl said as he looked at the twins.
Josie and Maddy nodded.
“We should all go,” Dominic said as he looked at his brother and father.
“No,” Pike said with a shake of his head. “I can only take one with me, and Daryl is the Alpha.”
“Be safe,” Amirah said as she placed her hand on her mate’s arm.
Pike smiled at his mate. “I will. You watch over our family.”
She nodded and he quickly kissed her lips, then reached out and took hold of his son’s shoulder.
They watched as Pike disappeared with their Alpha.