I was calm when I walked back to the pack house. Then every fucking thing came flooding back.
Every word. Every fucking feeling. The fact that I can’t even hold on to what calms me for five minutes before she destroys the memories and I’m angry again.
I have other outlets.
I walk behind the pack house to our yard. In the back corner, is an old 1956 Ford pick up truck. It’s beat up, rusted and no tires.
I look at the truck and sneer. I pull off my hoodie and put my ear buds in. I throw on ‘I Will Not Bow' by Breaking Benjamin and walk to a stump. I pick up the fifteen pound sledgehammer that’s leaning on it and run.
Raising it above my head, I bring it down on the hood with a growl.
Without hesitation, I swing it into the fender which crumbles and falls off.
I smash the head of it into the one window left. Glass flies out all around me.
I see red. I feel the hot, burning anger. I see her face as I smash the hammer into the windshield.
I walk around fast and use all my power to bury the fucking thing into the grill.
I put the hammer on my shoulder and walk around some more.
I hear her orders and the head goes into a door.
I hear her insults and the hammer goes into the side of the box.
Her holier that thou look? I slam that fucker right into the floor of the box.
I pull it back and hit again and again and again.
My face is twisted into an ugly, demonic look of seething rage. Everything I hold inside, i'm just shoving up this trucks ass.
I bring it down harder and faster.
The hole in the metal box is getting larger and more jagged as I destroy it.
Sweat is pouring off of everywhere.
Then my focus switches to Adeline. Her face, her voice, her scent of lilies. The anger rose again. This time because I can’t have her. I swing and hit the inside of the box on one side and then the other. My screams follow the flow of each hit. My chest heaves hard. My muscles burn like they’re on fire.
I flip the sledgehammer up into my hand over my head and throw it like a javelin with an Alpha growl. It smashes through the back window and explodes out the windshield, landing and making a divot in the grass in front of the truck.
I look over my damage and turn on the balls of my feet.
I pick up my hoodie and wipe the sweat off my chest.
As I walk onto the porch, I blow a lock of hair in my face. Of course, she’s still here. She’s not done with me yet.
Her face has this smart look on it as she bites the inside of her cheek with that smart ass smile. She has her arms folded and is tapping her foot on the wood.
“Feel better?” She says sarcastically as she pats her pinned back hair.
I look at my mother with a scowl. “No.” I say low and deep.
I walk in and throw my hoodie on a chair in the common room.
My mother looks at it and points to Chris. “Could you…” She points to the shirt.
Chris, my Beta, was just about to put food in his mouth. “Uh…sure.” He glances at me. I grab a container of juice and twist the cap. He gets up, grabs my shirt and takes it upstairs.
“What do you want?” I growl.
She struts her heels over to the kitchen island. “I want my son to grow up and behave in the manner that is required of this house.” She grits.
I scoff. “You’re asking a lot.” I point to her and lean on the counter.
“Clearly. Look Ashley. If you want full control of the pack, listen to your mother. I know what’s best.” She arches a brow.
“Right.” I tick my head and huff a laugh.
“Ashley.” She walks over to me and takes the container from my lips. I hold out my hands. She puts the lid on it and puts it in the fridge. “You need a Luna. A good one. I will not be replaced by just anyone.”
“I can choose my own.” I growl.
“No, Ashley. You can’t. I have final say.” She leans on the island.
To explain a bit. My pack, Briar Hill, it’s small. Not only that, but it’s old. Generations old. With multiple generations, comes multiple traditions. Several make perfect sense, others not so much. It’s these ones I mean to change if I can ever get my damn mother out of the way.
She’s Matriarch Luna. Which means she took my father’s power when he passed his torch to me. Because I didn’t have a Luna at the time, she’s my acting Luna. And because she’s my mother, she has more power over me. Think Queen of England. She fucking thinks she is too.
Snobbish, conceited, selfish. My mother in a nutshell. She only does this because she can. She likes control. She pretty much ran the pack and controlled my father until he handed that title file to me six years ago. He retired. My mother? No fucking way. Since his death four years ago, she’s gotten worse.
The tradition states my Luna must come from an Alpha or a Beta at worse. Where it came from? I don’t care. I will be ending it as soon as I’m able. If interpreted correctly, this even trumps fate. Should an Alpha be fated to a class lower than Beta he must reject her. Again, I have no idea who made this shit up, but my people live it. They fucking breath it. They live it so hard, that if I chose someone not according to tradition, civil war could break out and the challenges would start. I could lose my position or be killed.
Before I became Alpha, our pack was under constant threat of the other smaller packs that surround my neck of the desert. Plus, being only forty minutes from Phoenix, red wolves were our worst enemy.
Since the Alliance occupation, that threat is gone.
As for the others? I just finished the truces last year. It’s been quiet.
A civil war would weaken us. Leave us vulnerable. Open us up for annihilation. With only 1500 wolves, it wouldn’t take much.
Now, here’s the sticky part. My mother will only step down if she approves the girl I get with.
There’s five classes in my pack.
Alpha, Beta, Delta, Gamma and Omega. Each one lower than the first. Omegas being the lowest. If you’ve met Jake, you know who they are and what they go through.
My pack, being old school, still believes children of age should be exchanged for things like money, power or titles. Nothing less. The parents are all up our asses. It’s a big mess. I’m no different, except I have a choice. As long as my choice is from the women my mother throws at me.
Have I got with these women? Uh, yeah. I’m not dead. Does it last the week. Hell, no. Would you want to be married to a younger version of your mother? No thank you. It’s all my mother looks for. Women just as snobby and conceited as her. She doesn’t even ask me. Which is a good thing because she would not like my answer.
I know what I want. I also know I can’t have her.
Class warfare is big in this pack. I try to informally change minds, but it’s like throwing a pebble in a lake. It doesn’t do much.
The girl I want? An amazingly, stunning creature.
I’ve been watching her since I was able to recognize that girls were hot. It’s always been her.
Adeline Cummings. Her name sings in my mind.
She lives just off main street. In a dead end street by the park.
In a little yellow, two story house with her parents.
Yeah it’s creepy that I watch her, but someone has to. I keep an eye on her because her mother hates her. She’ll never admit, but I know. I see it when she sits in the picture window.
If she wasn’t Omega, I’d take her from there.
As I listen to my mother lecture me about my manners. My etiquette and whatever bullshit she has in her head, all I can think about is milky skin, big, beautiful hazel eyes and gorgeous body. I like everything about her. Her laugh. Her smile. The way she walks. The way she cries. Everything.
Have I told her? No and I won’t. The only talking we’ve done is when I do my weekly pack inspections. I just take a walk around town and check in with those who want it. I stop by her house and if she’s out, I will talk with her. Only as Alpha and pack member. That’s all it could ever be. She doesn’t know it’s me who sits under that tree and listens. She can’t.
What makes Adeline so special to me? She’s blind. Full on blind. She plays the Cello like it’s nobody’s business and she can’t see a damn thing. She’s a fucking rock star and I love that.
You may be thinking, how can a shifter be blind. Don’t you guys heal? Well, I’m not clear on the details, but something happened when she was a baby and her brain got injured to a point it won’t heal. It took her sight. So she’s never seen the world at all. I’ve been watching her since we were kids, and she has no idea what I even look like.
I cross my arms and watch my mother rant on about I don’t know what. I pull out my phone and check the time. “I’ve got to go to work.” I grumble.
I don’t really, but there is a council meeting I was going to skip. My mother changed my mind.
“Ashley.” My mother snaps.
I turn around and walk backwards toward the stairs. “You may not have anything to do, but some of have responsibilities.” I say, turning around and stomping up the stairs.
Chris was coming down and I grab his collar. “Find her something to do before I kill her.” I growl.
He rubs his neck. “Will do.” He grins a bit. “You heading to Phoenix?”
“Yeah. I don’t know when I’ll be back.” I let him go and continue to have a shower and change.
Grabbing Craig, my protector, I jump in my SUV and head for Phoenix after about an hour. I’m late, but whatever. If it wasn’t for my mother, I wouldn’t be going in the first place.
Mateo’s vision had me fucked up. Once he mentioned Cello, I fucked off. I had to check on Adeline and make sure she was OK. When I sure she was safe, I made a promise right there. There was no way I’m letting these guys drag her into this Eternity shit. If she is connected, the guys will have to find something else. They aren’t having her.
We pull into the Phoenix unit and I make my way to the council room.
I can already hear it. I knew I would which is why I wanted to avoid the place at least for the day.
I walk in and everyone’s talking about Mateo’s fate bond. Lucky bastard. I could tell it was going to happen to him. He was crazy for Carmin. I’ve never seen him like that before.
Sawyer sits back and crosses his arms. “We’re dropping like flies, guys.” He smirks.
“Your time will come.” Darcy points at him.
Sawyer shakes his head. “Nope. I’m living the blissful single life. I don’t need to be leashed up. No thank you.”
I walk in and walk around the table. Parking myself against the wall. I don’t sit with these guys because even though we’ve been together for six years, I still don’t fully trust them. They’re nice enough, but that can change real quick. I also don’t want them up in my business. What happens in my pack, stays in my pack.
Zander sits at the head of the table. “Hunter, you called this meeting so what do you got.”
He adjusted himself and brought up a bag. He dumped the pieces we have on the table. “Ok. I’ve been studying the pieces, trying to see if I can get some idea on what the next piece looks like and I found something.”
He pulls out his phone and opens an app. “This app measures the energy signatures coming from the pieces. Each one has the same signature, but when you bring them close together, the energy changes and there’s a reason for that. Peter…”
Peter grabs his piece and moves it to the lock. As the end of his piece gets closer, tiny bolts of lightning start to form between the lock and his piece.
“Whoa.” The Alphas lean in.
“Now, it won’t connect, but it showed me what we are building here.” Hunter looked around the room.
Brody blinked at him. “Ok. What are we building?”
“A door.” Hunter states as he looks around the room.
Zander arches a brow. “A door.”
Hunter nods. He leans forward and points to the pieces. “Yes. We are building the door to Eternity’s prison which means…”
“The rest of the prison is out there.” Zander finishes.
“The question is…where?” Hunter replies.
Zander nods. “I know someone who would know.”
He stands and puts his hands on his hips. “Fate, get your ass down here!”
“What do you want, Zander.” I whip my head and she’s leaning on the wall beside me.
She turns her head to me and her narrow eyes look me up and down. I scowl at her. I hate cosmic beings.
I turn and there’s another one in a blue dress.
“Hope, you don’t have to be here.” Zander says.
“I want to. I want to help.” She says softly.
Sawyer leans back. “Don’t you think you’ve done enough?”
This gets him a cuff on the head from Zander.
“Ow.” He growls, looking at Zander and rubbing his head. “She let him out.” He points to hope.
“She didn’t, I did.” Zander says to him.
“Yeah, well, she helped.” Sawyer scowls.
“Where’s the prison, Fate?” Zander stands tall and commanding.
She pushes off the wall and walks over to him. “I have no idea what your talking about.” She says in her smug tone.
Zanders face twists into anger. He grabs her by the neck and pins her against the wall. His eyes glowing solid white. “I am so sick of your fucking games. Tell me!”
“Zander!” Ricky scolds.
The rest of us just sit back and watch the show. There isn’t an Alpha in this room that wouldn’t mind seeing the red headed bitch get her ass kicked.
“Zander, let her go.” Hope pleads.
He turns his head to her and back to Fate. “Tell me where the prison is.”
“I don’t know.” She grits.
“Bullshit.” Zander barks.
“She’s telling the truth, Zander. We don’t know where it is.” Hope says.
Zander rips his off Fates neck. “But it exists.” He turns to Hope.
“Yes, but it was stolen eons ago. We don’t know where it is now.” Hope supplies.
“So it could be anywhere.” Darcy says.
“Yes." Fate grinds, rubbing her neck.
“Just perfect.” Darcy slumps back in his chair.
Fate steps off the wall. “We’ve searched everywhere. We can’t find it.”
“That’s because you didn’t have me.” Hunter displays his phone in his fingers.
Fate narrows her eyes even more.
He holds up a finger to her and stands. “If my theory is correct, the prison should give off the same energy signature as the pieces. I just have to scan an entire planet for it.”
Zander looks at him. “Get started.” He orders.
“Right.” Hunter leaves.
Zander looks back at fate. “Where was its last location?”
“Why?” Fate asks.
“Maybe we can investigate and find something to help us.” Zander crosses his arms.
Fate mirrors his stance. “Unless you can go to hell, I can’t help you.” Both she and Hope blink out.
Zander shakes his head. “I fucking hate her.”
“We all do, sweetie.” Ricky says.