It’s night by the time I arrive back at my hotel in New Vegas. Who knew tracking down this egotistical prick with a flare for poker would be so hard to find. All I had to do was simply slip a drop or two of Wolfbane into his scotch and walk out of the bar as he choked and gasped his last breath. The look on his private security team was one that I will remember for a long time to come. The shock on their faces was more than I had hoped.
“Malik 865K” I speak to my laptop as it opens to my voice activated password.
“Good evening Malik.” It answers back to me and brings up a list of emails for me to look over.
There is about five messages but the one that catches my attention is the one from my old Alpha flashing on my screen. I hover the mouse over the unopened message but hesitate and lean back in my chair. This better not be another message begging me to come back to them. I’m rather enjoying myself at the moment. Being a gun for hire is turning out to be rather thrilling and there’s no one in the world that can take this away from me.
With my mind set on not caving into this guy, I click on the email from him. It simply says.
E.T. Phone home.
New job that’s right up your ally.
I roll my eyes at the whole E.T. crap. Seriously? The only thing that possesses me to even take out my phone is the fact that he said he had a job for me. If a job wasn’t involved then his stupid message would be heading right into junk mail. I dial in the number that’s not changed in seven years and hear the call ring. I shut the laptop and lounge back in the chair as I sip on a glass of scotch from the mini bar.
“Hello?” Alpha Norland answers.
“It’s me.” I speak into the phone with a hint of annoyance.
Why am I even doing this again? Oh, right the job.
“Malik.” There’s a slight pause as I hear a little shuffle on the other end of the phone. “I didn’t think you would call.”
“Well I am so what is this job you briefly mentioned? It better not be something trivial just to get me back there?” I growl.
“No! No. It’s something important that I need you to do. It’s not for me but another Alpha who now owes me a favour.” He explains.
“Then why am I talking to you and not him right now?”
What the hell does he want anyway?
“Malik. I know this isn’t your usual thing but I need your help. It’s serious and could affect the way the packs are run here. Where are you anyway?” He asks me.
“I’m around, you know that. Even if I told you where I was it wouldn’t mean I was there tomorrow so why does it matter?” I scoff.
“You’re going to get yourself killed one day you know that kid.” Alpha mocks.
“Call me kid one more time and it will be you with my rifle aimed at your bleach blond head next.” I warn him.
He quietens down but manages to explain what it is he wants from me.
“Do you know Alpha Peter? He’s the man running the Manhattan pack north of us.”
“What about him?” I tip the rest of my drink down my throat and feel it burn all the way down.
“He’s the one asking for help. I told him I knew a guy and that’s why I contacted you.”
I place the glass down on the coffee table and run my fingers through my hair.
“What would he want with me? Surly the guy has plenty of men there for an emergence? Or is the guy all bark and no bite?” I chuckle.
“Just let me tell you what happened and then you can judge for yourself alright Malik.”
I stand up from the plush chair and move over to lay down on the king size bed. If I’m going to listen to this man drone on for a good half an hour then I deserve to be comfortable doing so.
“Go ahead.” I sigh as I lay down and close my eyes.
Two days Prior
My father has called for me in his office as soon as I get up from my bed. Sally my maid has told me to wash up and make my way down there as soon as I’m ready because father has something he wants to discuss with me. I’ve taken a quick shower, let down my hair from the tight bun holding it in place from the night before and brush out all the tangled ends. I twist it into a plat then drape it over my shoulder. My bright red hair shines like gold in the sunlight and I put on the outfit that Sally has been so kind to lay out for me. It’s a simple dark blue dress with off the shoulder sleaves and a white flower pattern coming up from the hem.
“Thank you Sally. Could you tell my father that I’ll be down in a moment.” I ask as I dismiss her from my room.
She gives me a light smile and nods before leaving me to get ready.
It takes only ten minuets for me to be walking down the stairs of the pack house towards my fathers study. There is still some confetti laying around the hall from my nineteenth birthday party that my father held for me last night. Some members are cleaning it all up as I walk past and they give me a slight smile.
When I walk to the entrance of my fathers study there are two men standing at the doors that I don’t recognise. It alarms me but as I approach, one of them opens the doors to my fathers study and ushers me inside. When I enter there is a man I’ve never seen before speaking with my father and stands as I enter the room. My father is behind the desk and I beam at him as he stands up and moves around the desk to fetch me from the door.
“My child!” Father reaches out to me and kisses me on the cheek. “I have someone I want you to meet.” He turns and faces the mysterious man looking at me with a small frown.
“Keven!” My father calls out to the man and leads me over to meet him properly. “This is my daughter. The one I’ve told you all about. Sweetheart, this is Keven your new betrothed.” My father beams with joy.
“New betrothed?” I ask confused.
“My lady.” Keven bows to me and kisses my hand like a gentleman from the late eighteen hundreds.
“Father?” I look to him for help but he just beams at me.
“Now that you’re here darling, I would like you to take some time to get to know your future husband. Keven is going to be the next Alpha from our northern pack neighbour. He has agreed along with the approval of his father that the two of you shall be wed and that our packs will join and become one.” Father explains.
“Father I-” Keven cuts me off.
“I know that you will make me very happy just like I hope to make you happy also dear.” Keven smiles kindly at me but I see no spark in the light of his eyes.
“Thank you but I really-” This time father cuts me off.
“Now my girl, take my card and go into town to find a dress for your wedding. Anything you want will be fine and make sure they will have it ready by the end of the week. Keven will be leaving us as soon as the ceremony is over. You’ll be aloud to take Lilly with you to his pack once the two of you are married.” Father grins with pride.
“Father!” I shout at him.
“What is it my dear?” He gushes at me.
“With all due respect to Keven I would rather wait to meet my mate before entering into such an arrangement. Surly Keven would also prefer to marry his own mate?” I try to make my father see reason.
There is no way I can go along with this! I have always promised myself to my mate and him alone. No man with a fancy title will come in and ruin all my plans.
“Do be silly child!” My father wails. “It’s already been arranged and set into motion. Keven here was bringing down the paperwork from his father for me to sign you see.” He gestures to the document on his desk.
“But father!” I plead.
“Enough with this Celest! You will follow my orders and go out into town with Sally to find something suitable! Now go!” He growls at me.
As much as I try to stay and fight I know that there is nothing I can do to go against my father. He’s the Alpha of our pack and the leader of everyone and everything in it. If he says jump, the pack jumps. If he says that I am to be married to a man I just met then nothing can be done about it.
I trot outside to a limo that is waiting for me and notice Sally sliding inside before me. The door closes from the security team that is escorting us into town and my mind and heart ache at the news from father.
“Sally.” I whimper and look across to my best friend. “He’s making me marry a man that’s not even my mate.” I sob in the backseat.
Sally is ten years older than me and has looked after me for as long as I can remember. She holds my hand in hers and makes me look over to her.
“Celest it cant be all that bad? Your father has always wanted the best for you ever since you mother died. I’m sure that this is just an option to make you have more things than he could have ever had on his own.” She tries to console me.
“But he married his mate! He’s making me marry someone I don’t even know! I wanted to marry my mate just like mother and father did when they were young but now I’m stuck in this world married to a man I don’t even know or want to know.” I cry.
“He can’t be that bad can he?” Sally wipes the tears from my eyes.
“He has a face only a mother could love.” I tell her.
The two of us burst into a fit of giggles as we pull up outside one of the bridal stores in town.
“Miss!” The driver calls out to us. “We’ve arrived.” He tells us.
I look out the tinted window at the shop and sigh heavily. Why do I have to do this? Nothing in my life felt more horrible then getting out of the limo and walking inside to speak with a wedding consultant that has already planned out my day for me. I sit there in a daydream as the lady reads out everything that my father has instructed without a single thought to what I might want or need from all this.
“We even laid out some gowns at your fathers request.” The bridal consultant smiles professionally at me but I can see the pity in her eyes.
Everyone in all the lands knows that you only get married if you found your mate. The look on my face tells everyone in a hundred miles that its not the case with me. My face is stained with tears as I enter the booth to put on one of the first dresses. It fits like a glove and feels light and airy but the thought of walking down the isle to someone other than my mate makes a stray tear fall from my eyes.
“She’s ready.” The lady calls out and helps me out onto a small platform that’s elevated from the grown and facing a mirror. Sally is there with a glass of champagne in her hands and looks over the soft pink dress. “What do we think of this gown.” The assistant beams at me.
“It’s beautiful.” Sally pipes up. “What do you think Celest? Do you like it?”
I look at the powder pink satin with silk trim and touch the light material. All I can manage at this point is a shrug. I couldn’t care less what I married Keven in. It’s not like I really had a say in any of it. They think I’ll be happy if I just get to pick out my dress. I would rather get married in a potato sack if it meant I could marry my mate.
“Let’s try on another. You might like one of the others we set aside?” The assistant chirps up and helps me down
After three hours inside the boutique, Sally and I make our way out and down the street away from the security. Her arm is linked in with my own and I lean my head on her shoulder as we walk down to a café that we love.
“I just don’t know what I’m going to do about all this Sally. I can’t marry a guy that isn’t my mate. I want to kill father for setting all this up like he has the divine right to tell me what to do and who I’m going to marry.” I scoff.
I look in the shop windows as we walk and take in the clothing that’s on sale. Maybe some retail therapy will help take my mind off things for a moment or two?
“Sweetheart. You know that he only wants what’s best. Why don’t you give this guy a chance and then make up your mind about him?” Sally tries to sway my feelings.
“That’s the thing Sal. I don’t want to get to know him. I want to marry my mate. You met yours not that long ago! Are you honestly saying that if you were in my position that you would give up on your mate so that you could be shoved into a marriage that you have no say in whatsoever?” I ask.
“No.” She concedes. “All I’m saying is that maybe he is a nice guy? You told me he has a face only a mother could love but could you really see any fault with him?”
I think back to the smile he gave me and how much it put me on edge.
“I don’t know if this counts but the smile he gave me just felt so fake. It didn’t touch his eyes at all and there was no life in his eyes when he looked at me. Even my wolf can tell that there’s just something wrong with him. Like the man is just putting on a front.”
“Maybe it’s just your wolf telling you that he’s not your mate?” Sally offers as an explanation to my concern.
“No. That’s not it. There’s just something wrong about him. I haven’t put my finger on it yet but its as if everything about him is just a front for something dark and evil.”
“Now I know that’s your wolf talking.”
I shrug. Maybe she’s right? Maybe its in my head and nothing more? As the image of Keven’s smile comes into the front of my mine I hear tires screeches all around us as black vehicles close in.
“What’s happening?” I ask Sally whos looks just as frightened as I do.
Men with ski masks dressed in all black leap out of the cars and grab me. Sally screams as I’m pulled from her arms in hysterics and dragged inside one of the cars. It’s all to fast. One minute I’m on the street and the next darkness as a hand grips over my eyes.
“Sally!” I scream and hear the door to the car closes after a man climbs in and sits next to me.
Sally is held back by two men who hold her till the car I’m placed in roars and powers off fast as lightning.
“Who are you people!” I scream at them.
One man holds me down as another takes a syringe with a strange green liquid inside it and jabs me in the back of my arm. I’m flung back up in my seat once the needle is removed and start to feel my eyes glaze over. What the hell was in that needle and who are these men? Where are they taking me? What happened to sally!
“Who are yo.....you?” I mumble and fade away into darkness.
“So, the kid got taken huh? What has this got to do with me? Doesn’t this guy have trackers to find people like this?” I roll over onto my side and glance at my watch.
It’s a little past eleven and I still haven’t eaten yet.
“Malik! This is the only daughter of a very powerful pack here! She is the most important piece of a very important alliance between two highly strung packs. With her sudden disappearance the pack above Manhattan is now blaming Alpha Peter saying he did all this to gain more land and not keep his end of the deal. They’re threatening war Malik. You need to find this girl and fast!”
“I don’t do the damsel in distress cases Alpha Norland. Why don’t you call up Peter and say that one of his trackers can do it? I’ve got bigger pray to kill then find and deliver some stupid princess.”
I shift from the bed and decide to pour myself another glass from the mini bar.
“Dose a spoiled princess with a reward of fifty million dollars for her return change your mind Malik? Don’t tell me you’re not interested in that kind of money. How much did you make on your last job?” He asks me but I don’t answer.
I ended up tracking that sick bustard for a month and only got payed twenty grand for the prick.
“There’s no way that Alpha has that kind of cash to spend just to have his kid brought back.” I chuckle. “How do you know the kid didn’t just run off or something? You said she was betrothed to some jerk from the north pack. She might have just legged it for all you know.”
I top up my glass and take a drink.
“No way man. The kids friend was there when she got snatched up. She told everyone what happened. This was deliberate. It wasn’t something planned well but it was planned.”
“So what? I just find this little brat and bring her back home to daddy? Is that it?”
“She’s not exactly a brat Malik.”
“Oh yeah? Then tell me how old they’re marrying kids off these days? Sixteen?” I guess.
I hear him mumble to someone in the room before finally answering my question.
“She just turned nineteen.” Alpha Norland tells me.
“Practically in dippers.” I sneer and toss back the rest of my drink.
Alpha Norland just waits on the other end of the line for me to give him an answer.
“Malik. I know this isn’t something you do but you’re the best I’ve got. You’re only five years older than this girl so I’m sure she’ll listen to you more than anyone older that we send her way. You know that the money will get you anywhere you want to go in the world so take it man! You’re the only one with the know how and the skill to pull this off.”
I smirk at his words.
“Are you begging Alpha? I didn’t know people like you did such a thing?”
“Shut up Malik! You know that I can’t send just anyone to get this girl! I need this relationship between the two of our packs to work! Alpha Peter is desperate to have his kid returned and if I can do this for him then he said he will give my pack more land than what we already have.”
“I still don’t see what this has to do with me. I can make money doing what I’m doing now Alpha. I don’t need to go and fetch some kid that badly.”
He sighs on the other end of the phone.
“What can I say or do to make you change your mind Malik?”
My fingers run along my jaw as I think about it.
“I want you to find someone for me.” I negotiate.
“A man named Phillip Andrews. He’s rumoured to be traveling down the east coast right now from mane. I want your guys to grab him for me and dump him in one of your holding cells.”
“Is there a specific reason that you want this guy Malik? There isn’t a specific interest that might effect my pack now is there?”
“Not if you want a serial killer and rapist running around your territory. His body count so far is twelve and most are underage school kids. There’s a large stack of cash on top of his head and I intend to collect.”
“Then if I get this guy for you, you’ll find this girl?” Alpha asks.
My foot taps on the carpet for a moment in case there is anything else I could use.
“I’ll need a few things to find this kid but other than that I think we have a deal.” I grin.
You got to love it when money fall in your lap.