Riley’s sister-- he would kill me if he heard me call her that-- was different from all the other Sirens. For one, her hair was a stark
white. And her eyes were so light a purple--I had thought them light blue like Riley’s until she had stepped right in front of us.
Her companions on the other hand, Freya included, had hair and eyes, in the range of black and brown.
Another thing about the white-haired Siren was that she called to me. Not in the way Riley and Freya called to me, or in the way Everest and Ethan called to me, but in a purely protective and nurturing need.
The way her pack had sent her forward like some kind of sacrificial lamb meant to appease Cole had sickened me, and everyone too from the looks of it.
The scars littering her body were unmistakable. Abuse. I knew the second I had seen them. They made my skin crawl. But why didn’t her scars fade? Shifter scars always faded.
In other news, my darling minx was the Siren pack Alpha.
“I don’t understand,” she said awkwardly. Which was so unlike her. She was always so.....well, cocky.
The only people who could explain the circus that was happening had their faces buried in the dirt. I had been around Cole’s pack before, but even they had never bowed to him like this.
As if hearing my thoughts he said scornfully: “My pack is seriously lacking in their leader worship.”
“I think they worship you enough each time they try to kill me,” Valeriya said sourly.
“That was one time, Valerie,” he sighed.
“Tell them to rise or something,” Riley stage-whispered to Freya.
“Oh yeah, ummm. Rise,” she yelled.
They got up, eerily graceful like cats.
Speaking of which, “Those leopard shifters work for you?” I asked Valeriya over Cole’s shoulder.
She nodded. “Yep. More loyal than wolves, if you ask me.”
“Oh for crying out loud!” Cole burst out, making everyone stare at him. It was weird how childish and unguarded he was with Valeriya. He let his temper flare around her, in an almost affectionate way.
“Oh. My. God.” I turned to him with wide eyes. “She’s your--”
“Shut up, Webb!” he cut me off. He turned to his pack members.
“We’re leaving.” He walked to the back and led them away in the direction of the house.
I turned questioning eyes on Valeriya, hoping to get the juicy gossip on my cousin. She narrowed her eyes in the direction Cole had taken. “He’d probably shoot me if I said anything. I’ll go check on my guys.” She left, trailing behind Cole’s pack.
“Well that was...” Riley trailed off.
“Interesting?” I offered.
“I was going to say odd.”
“Guys,” Freya said, her voice a little panicked.
The Sirens were inching closer.
“Don’t you guys have any clothes or something?” Riley asked. He kept his eyes upturned away from groins and other tidbits.
“We do,” the Siren who had approached us earlier said.
“Please put them on,” Freya asked. “We’re not pack wolves--”
“Shifters,” Riley interrupted.
“We’re not pack shifters,” Freya amended, “and we’re not accustomed to nudity.”
When they turned back and disappeared into the treeline, we huddled up. Ethan and Everest quickly jammed on their clothes and joined us.
“I can hear Ethan in my head!” Freya said.
“What?” I asked, taken aback. Had the shock taken a toll on her?
Ethan nodded. “Somehow, I’m her Beta,” he said coolly.
“It was expected. You two have gotten closer over the passed few days,” Everest said, looking intently at his brother.
Then why didn’t we have have a similar bond?
“Dustin and I will get there eventually. We were supposed to get there before the two of you, but the appearance of the Siren pack rushed it along, so relax, Dustin.”
“You knew I was an alpha?” Freya asked him.
“Well, yes and no. Ethan acts so....civil with you, which is strange and very unnatural for him. He’s only that way with me, his twin, and Cole, his alpha. So either his human feelings were starting to kick in, or....his wolf was reacting to your Alpha energy. Fifty-fifty. I just had to wait and see.”
Ethan of course, frowned at his brother’s less than stellar assessment.
“What do we do?” I asked. “This shifter business is only getting crazier and crazier. Fuck! How are we going to explain all those new people? Or are we supposed to run off into the wild with them? Or have they simply come to acknowledge Freya and then go on their merry way? I highly doubt that. Even I know that isn’t how packs work. So. What. Do. We. Do?”
Freya had increasingly paled through my rant. Riley was still unnervingly quiet.
“Riley?” I said, nudging him gently.
He blinked up at us as if just noticing we were there.
“What is it?” Freya said.
“She’s an Omega,” Freya and the E-Twins said in unison.
An omega. That made sense.
“I know,” Riley said. I could tell how carefully he chose his next words. “Like me.”
“She looks like you?” I asked him.
He shook his head slowly. “No. She’s an Omega. Like me,” he said so simply, as if it were an everyday, normal sentiment.
“Are you nuts!”
“Something’s not right,” he said, ignoring me. “They don’t treat her right. ”
“Alpha. Alpha mates. We’re back,” the Siren from before said from behind us.
We all jumped in surprise, except Freya. She had obviously heard them coming.
“Do all Sirens move that silently?” I asked her.
She smirked at me. “I guess so.” She pointed at the guy who had been speaking for the pack all this time. “You. What’s your name?”
“Loki,” he said.
“Explain all this.”
“Of course, Alpha,” Loki said, causing Freya to frown.
I grinned. I knew how weird it felt for people to just wake up and decide you were their Alpha. Happened to me with Everest. Must be even worse when you had plans for an afternoon run with your mates squashed twice in a row.