Minnie looked up to see the Alpha she’d noticed standing next to their table.
“Did you just come into town on the bus?” The Alpha questioned.
“Yes, sir. We thought we’d eat a bite, then find a motel,” Minnie answered respectfully, though she didn’t meet his eyes.
“Hm… not planning to stay then?”
“Maybe, if we’d be welcome, but I want no problems with the locals.”
Minnie knew her father was harsh to wolves passing through his territory. Most of the time he sent them on their way unless they found their mate in the pack.
“I have no problem if you don’t create problems,” the Alpha stated.
He then moved over to allow the waitress to put their plates down on the table.
“Enjoy your meal folks,” the waitress said with a smile. Then turning to the man asked, “You need anything, Mr. Pete?”
“I’m good Judy. Just talking to these folks. The girl looks like an old friend’s daughter,” Mr. Pete replied with a small smile.
“Oh?” Judy turned to look at Minnie curiously before leaving.
Pete sat down across from them and quietly said, “Human and nosey, avoid her best you can. I’m Alpha Pete Tanner, alpha of the Red Paw Pack, by the way.”
Minnie gave a short nod. Feeling Tony’s leg shaking against hers, she turned and found him pale and sweating. It caused her to panic, worried there might be something wrong with him. Wrapping her arm around him, she softly asked, “Tony, what’s wrong?”
He swallowed hard as he said, “He knows your dad.”
Alpha Pete looked at Tony sharply, his eyes narrowed.
Minnie ignored him and spoke gently to Tony. “No, baby, I don’t think he does. He just told the girl that, so she’d leave. She’s human.”
Tony relaxed as he asked, “May I eat then?”
Minnie frowned. Five minutes in the presence of an Alpha and all his insecurities had flooded back leaving him feeling like a worthless omega. “You don’t need permission to eat, Tony.”
He looked up, sneaking a glance at Alpha Pete. “But he’s…”
“Yes, he is, but not yours. You would need no one’s okay but mine and I just said you don’t need even that,” she reminded him.
He held her gaze for long moments before finally nodding. Then after giving Alpha Pete a quick glance, he began eating.
“Maybe I should be asking who your father is. I need to know if he will be a problem for me and mine.” Alpha Pete said, authority in his tone.
Minnie took a deep breath, letting it out slowly before stating, “All I ask is that you promise to let us leave and not tell him we were here if he comes asking for us.”
“I can do that.”
Minnie raised her eyes to meet his head on, no longer hiding her eyes of blue-ringed in gold. They were proof of her alpha DNA, courtesy of her father.
Alpha Pete sat back, crossing his arms with a frown. “An alpha’s child. Now explain the need to hide that you were here.”
“Your word as an Alpha or I tell you nothing. I have a mate to protect and I take that very seriously.”
He looked thoughtful for a moment then nodded. “Fine, as an Alpha, you have my word. Our conversation goes no further and no one will ever be told you are here.”
Minnie gave a quick nod and seeing Tony had finished his steak, she pushed hers in front of him.
Tony began to shake his head and pushed back.
“Eat it, you need it. I’ll order another.”
“Promise?” Tony asked in a whisper.
“Promise, now eat,” she repeated.
He picked up his knife and fork then and began once more to eat.
Minnie turned back to find Alpha Pete smiling softly.
“You’re a good mate,” Alpha Pete stated. “A good mate makes a good alpha.”
“Yes, well, that may be, but I’ll not be alpha,” Minnie told him in a tone that she was sure made him realize it was a sore subject.
“So, who is your father?” Alpha Pete asked then.
“Alpha Fredrick Grayson of the Grayson Pack.”
Alpha Pete’s eyebrows shot up.
“I’m guessing you know him?”
“I know of him… enough to know he’s a disgrace to the werewolf community. The council has been trying to oust him since his mate passed,” Alpha Pete answered. “But I was under the impression he had no heir.”
Minnie snorted and Tony’s head came up. Reaching over, she soothed him with her hand on his back. “He doesn’t. All he has is a worthless daughter, and females can’t be alpha.”
Seeing the waitress, she flagged her down and ordered another steak. Then she began to eat her baked potato and salad.
After a few moments of silence, Minnie heard footsteps.
“Pete, darling, are you going to eat? Our food arrived,” a soft feminine voice said.
Minnie turned her head slightly to find a pretty woman gazing at her curiously.
She held out her hand. “Hello, I’m Maura Tanner.”
Minnie shook it, giving a slight nod of respect. Softly, so not to be overheard, she said, “I’m Minnie Grayson and this is my mate Tony.”
Maura cocked her head.
“Grayson, I’ve heard that name before.” Then her eyes widened as she looked at her mate. “She’s?”
Alpha Pete nodded.
“Oh, you poor girl. That man is a menace!”
“Yes, he is,” Minnie agreed.
Maura smiled then as she sat down. Tilting her head, she said, “You seem nice enough though. I bet your pack will be glad to see you take over. Were you traveling to find your mate first?”
Alpha Pete laid his hand on her arm and she looked his way. “Honey, she’s not going to take over for him.”
“But, why?” Maura asked in a puzzled voice.
“Because females can’t be alpha,” Minnie answered for him.
Maura turned back to her with an offended look. “And whose lame brained idea is that? I have a daughter who most definitely is a…” She stopped talking as the waitress walked up with a plate.
“Here’s your second steak, miss.” The waitress said, placing it on the table.
“Thank you,” Minnie murmured.
“Anything else I can get you?” The waitress asked then.
“I’d like some more water, please. Perhaps with lemon this time,” Tony whispered.
“Sure, you can, honey!” She said with a wink before flouncing off.
Minnie felt a growl rising in her throat and barely held it back as she glowered at the woman’s retreating form.
Tony put a hand on her arm.
Minnie turned to look at his sweet face, her dirty look becoming a smile. “Did you get enough to eat?”
Tony nodded, then yawned. “I’m tired though, even after sleeping most of the bus ride.”
“I know. It’s your body’s way of healing,” she explained as she wrapped an arm around him, pulling him close. “Let me eat my steak and we’ll find a place to stay.”
“So, are you going to stay?” Alpha Pete asked.
Minnie nodded as she swallowed a bite of food. “For a while. I think I’m out of reach but….”
“Do you mind me asking why you’re on the run?” Alpha Pete asked.
“Same deal as before?”
“Same deal. It doesn’t leave this table.”
Minnie waited as the waitress came back, placing Tony’s water on the table, and left. “As I’ve said, my father believes females aren’t meant to be alphas. So, he’s grooming someone else for that I guess. As for me, he intends to mate me to his Beta.”
Tony’s head came up at that.
Alpha Pete asked, “His beta, not his beta’s son?”
Minnie ran her fingers through Tony’s hair calming him until he lay his head back down. “No, his forty-year-old Beta Brutus. Anyway, we went to all the packs, as required by wolf law, to find my true mate. The Windsor Pack was the only pack in our area I hadn’t visited. My father told me when we returned home from there, I would be mating with Brutus. Now my father is harsh, but Brutus?” She shuddered. “Just like his name, he’s a brute and would have no problems beating me into submission.”
“But you have obviously found your mate. So, why run?” Alpha Pete asked.