Ryann walked into the room after Jace left and sat on the bed beside her friend. “Are you okay?”
Layla shrugged, “I’m not sure. Hunter was one of my best friends. And then my mate. I have all of these strong feelings toward him but he isn’t the same person anymore. It’s like something snapped.”
Ryann nodded in understanding, “Layla, I don’t think this place is safe for you anymore.”
Layla lowered her head, “I had the same thought. But I don’t really have anywhere else to go. This is my home.”
Ryann thought for a moment before looking up with a bright expression, “You could go to Blue Moon!”
Layla squinted her eyes, “Blue Moon?”
“It’s my old pack, my dad is Beta there, I’m sure I could get them to take you with no problem. They’re good people, they would take care of you.” Ryann said hopefully.
Layla spoke with hesitation, “I don’t know... I mean they could catch Hunter tonight for all we know.”
Ryann nodded, “let’s give it a few days. If they don’t catch him in a week we’ll revisit it.”
Layla smiled, “Deal. Thank you for sitting with me, you are a great Luna.”
Ryann smiled, “Thanks, I always feel like I don’t know what I’m doing.”
It had been almost a week since Hunter had broken into Layla’s room. There had been two sightings of Hunter at the pack boundary and Jace was hopeful they were closing in.
“Good morning!” Layla chimed as she entered the pack dining room.
“Hey!” Jace hollered from a table, “Come join us!”
Jace hugged Layla as she sat down. “You’re in a chipper mood today,” Layla smiled.
“Am I?” Jace asked innocently.
“What’s going on?” Layla asked, looking at him sideways.
Jace smiled, “Ryann has a surprise.”
Layla looked at Ryann who seemed to glow with happiness, “What?!”
“You’re going to be an Auntie!” Ryann yelled.
Layla screamed before embracing her two friends, “You’re having a pup?!”
“Found out this morning. The pack doctor says I’m a little over two months along.”
“How are you feeling?” Layla asked.
Jace smiled proudly, “She’s a champ.”
Ryann rolled her eyes, “I feel okay. A little nauseous in the mornings but other than that I’m good. Maybe a little more tired than usual.”
Jace smirked, “And more heated.” He gave Ryann a wink and she smacked his arm in reply.
“Eww stop Jace,” Layla squished her face. “We’re talking about babies, not how you made one.”
Jace laughed, “well I just hope it isn’t twins. I don’t want this situation we’re having now to happen to my kids.”
Layla placed a hand on Jace’s shoulder, “You can’t know that. Hunter let his ego and pride get in the way of thinking or acting clearly. He thought he deserved it because he behaved himself. Nobody deserves to be Alpha, you have to earn it. And you earned it.”
Jace smiled and patter her hand, “Thanks Lay.”
“Besides,” Layla continued, “Can you imagine two little boys looking just like you and Hunter running around getting into mischief? It would be adorable.”
Ryann laughed, “Or it would be chaos.”
“Oh, definitely chaos,” Layla laughed.
“Okay you two, I have work to do. Why don’t you spend the day baby planning or shopping or something to celebrate?” Jace smiled as he walked away.
“Oh my gosh,” Layla jumped up, “Ryann let’s go buy all the baby things!”
Ryann laughed, “We still have months!”
“So?! We can start decorating Jace’s old room and buy a few cute outfits for the pup.”
Ryann smiled, “Let’s go!”
At the large department store, they wandered the baby aisles, making a list of all the things they would need to get before the little one came. They ended up buying a crib that was on sale and a couple of cute gender neutral outfits for fun.
As they walked out of the store they walked to the car, loaded up their things, and headed home.
“Thanks for today Layla, I had fun.” Ryann smiled.
“Me too, it’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed myself like that.” Layla replied.
Ryann nodded, “I’ve been thinking about that actually. I’m going to make one of the monthly pack meetings a dinner, to let everyone unwind and enjoy being together.”
“That’s an amazing idea,” Layla said, “see! You’re a great Luna.”
Ryann smiled before looking forward in shock, “Layla look out!”
Layla hit the brakes just in time and they came to a halt in front of a large fallen tree. It was in the middle of the road just as they reached the pack boundary. Layla could feel her wolf pacing. “Ryann, call Jace and tell him to get here now. And bring warriors.”
“Just do it! And stay in the car. Don’t get out for any reason do you understand me?”
Ryann nodded as she placed the phone to her ear, “Jace..”
Layla heard her begin speaking to Jace and she stepped out of the car, ready to shift at any moment. The tree had not been there when they left the pack boundary, which meant it was downed after they left. Layla heard rustling in the trees and she took a defensive stance, “Hunter, I swear!” Layla yelled at the trees.
Hunter stepped forward with a smile, “Layla. You look beautiful today. I’ve been waiting for you to come find me.”
Layla shook her head, “Stop Hunter, we are no longer mates. Now come with me and turn yourself in before things get any worse.”
Layla heard a gasp behind her and she turned to see Ryann standing behind her. “Ryann..” Layla whispered.
She turned back to Hunter to see a darkness in his eye. Layla stepped in front of Ryann, “Don't you dare, Hunter. She’s your brother’s mate. That’s something you can never come back from.”
Hunter shifted and lunged forward, prompting Layla to do the same. When they connected, Layla tore at wherever she could sink her teeth into. Even though Hunter was bigger and a bit stronger, Layla was faster and the better fighter. She had been training hard with the warriors for months. Hunter yelped when she got her jaws clamped on his hind leg. She released him and he stumbled backward. Suddenly he jumped forward and slashed his claws, missing Layla, but catching Ryann in the arm. Ryann yelled in pain and crumpled to the ground. Layla saw red. She howled loudly and was relieved when she heard howls in response nearby. Hunter’s arms perked up and he darted off into the woods. Layla shifted back and threw on a large shirt from the trunk of the car before running to Ryann. The large gashes on her arm were bleeding heavily and she wrapped an extra shirt around them to help stop the bleeding.
“Ryann I’m so sorry..”
“It’s not your fault Layla, you protected me.” Ryann said with a wince.
“Layla?! Ryann?!” Jace called from the other side of the fallen tree.
“Jace!!” Ryann cried.
Jace rushed to his mate, paling as he saw that she was hurt. He turned to Layla, “What the hell happened?!” He yelled.
Layla lowered her head and Ryann placed a hand on his arm before speaking, “It was Hunter. He fell the tree and trapped us. Dont be mad at Layla, Jace she protected me with everything she had. Look at her, she’s worse than I am.”
Jace looked at Layla, bruised and bleeding from the random cut. “Thank you Layla. You kept Ryann and our pup safe. I owe you so much.”
Layla frowned, “It’s my fault, I should have said something when Hunter first began to show signs of being different. Then he would be caught and none of this would have happened.”
“The only one at fault here is Hunter. And the fact that he tried to attack my mate means it’s worse than we thought.” Jace said sadly. “Let’s get you two home and cleaned up. I’ll have the pack doctor meet us at the house.