Jace stood outside the home of the Whitten family with sadness and a little bit of fear. Rick hadn’t told him much, just that Hunter had spoken of treason and had scared Layla so much she went home. Ryann gave Jace’s hand a reassuring squeeze and knocked on the door. A few moments later Rick answered the door, the worry and exhaustion imprinted on his face.
“Where is Layla?” Jace asked calmly.
“Through here in the family room,” Rick said as he led them through the house, “I want to warn you though, you aren’t going to like what you see but I need you to stay calm, Layla has already been through enough.”
Jace looked at him curiously before walking into the room and finding Layla sitting on the couch. She turned to him and Jace saw red.
“What. The. Hell. Is. That?” Jace fumed.
Layla gave Jace a small smile, “Jace don’t worry.. it’s okay. It’ll be healed up by this afternoon.”
Jace’s eyes began to darken, “He did this?!”
Layla lowered her head, “I’m sorry Jace.. I thought I could help calm him.. but..” Layla choked on a few tears.
Ryann touched Jace’s arm and gave him a good glare. He calmed down, knowing his anger was not what she needed. He sat next to his friend, “Layla I know it’s painful but I need you to tell me exactly what happened.”
Layla exhaled slowly, “It started after the challenge. Something wasn’t right. He was distant and cold and angry all the time. He would push me away for no reason and fight you at every turn. Last night he came back to the apartment angry again. When I asked what was wrong he went on about how he was tired of submitting to you, how he was meant to be Alpha. He called you names and yelled about how we were supposed to lead the pack, not you two. I told him no, that you were Alpha and that was the end of it, he got more angry and hit me.”
Layla paused, worried about how Jace would take the next part, “So I rejected him...”
Jace let out a gasp, “Layla...”
“I’m sorry Jace! But he was so hurtful and angry and talking about doing things that would get him and myself killed if I supported it. Which I would never do! When he hit me I lost it, I won’t have a mate like that Jace!”
Jace met Layla’s eyes with sadness, “Layla I’m not upset with you. I’m so proud of you. You stood up for yourself and for this pack against your mate. Do you know how much strength that takes?”
Layla smiled at her friend, “Thank you.. so what happens now?”
Jace ran his hand through his hair, “Well we weren’t able to find him. Hunter and all of his belongings were gone when I went to detain him. We searched all night. So he is officially a rogue and no longer a member of this pack.”
Layla inhaled sharply, “Jace, I’m so sorry.”
Jace lowered his head, “My brother no longer has the interest of the pack or his mate in mind, so I no longer have a brother.”
Layla frowned, “He was your best friend, you can still be sad that he’s gone.”
Jace smiled, “I am. But knowing what he has done only makes me want to find him more. He shouldn’t have hurt you Lay. I’m sorry you went through all of this.”
A few hours later Jace, Ryann, and Layla went back to the pack house. Jace insisted that Layla continue living in the pack house until Hunter was found, for her own protection. Parker was promoted to Beta and so Layla had to move out, but was placed in the guest room of the Alpha’s quarters. Layla fought it but Ryann insisted.
A few nights later, Layla laid in bed thinking about how things had turned out, disappointed she would probably never find another mate and would be alone for the rest of her life. Layla was snapped out of her thoughts when she heard movement. She sat up in the darkness of her room, “Is someone there?”
“It’s me sweetheart, I’ve come to take you to our new home,” Hunter whispered as he stepped out of the shadows and in front of the moonlit window.
Layla gasped, “Hunter.. you can’t be here.”
Hunter looked around the room, “This used to be my room. How did you convince Jace to let you stay here? Are you his backup Luna now? He gets two while I get none?!”
Layla shook her head, “Hunter! Just listen to yourself. You sound crazy! Now leave, or I’ll scream.”
Hunter stepped forward, “You belong with me, my Luna.”
“I am no longer your mate Hunter,” Layla whispered.
Hunter lunged forward and Layla screamed loudly. Suddenly Hunter was gone and she was by herself.
Jace burst through the door, “Layla! Are you okay?!” He rushed to the bed, “What happened?”
“It was Hunter, I don’t know how he got up here but he tried to take me away, something about me being his Luna.” Layla replied as she tried to calm her heavy heartbeat.
Jace scowled before running out of the room. He called his Beta and lead warrior, “How the hell did he get through? Where is the border patrol?”
Parker shook his head, “I don’t know Alpha, unless he had been hiding out somewhere on the pack boundary.”
Jace paced his office, “I want everyone out looking for him.”
“Yes Alpha,” the lead warrior said as he left the room.
Parker stepped forward, “Jace.. you know what will happen if we catch him..”
Jace lowered his head, “I know. But he’s gone too far. There was a point where I could have helped if he had come to me, but now it’s out of my hands. He’s broken pack law and has to be dealt with.”
“I’m sorry Jace, I can’t imagine how hard this is for you.” Parker said with pity.
“Thank you,” Jace smiled, “Now let’s go find my brother.”