We found Marcus when we located the car. He was furious and I couldn’t get a coherent thought out of him, whatever he felt through the bond made him want blood. He was more crazed than any forsaken I had come across, it took 12 of my men and myself to take him down. We had to sedate him, which only caused fear to twist in my stomach.
We found Zoe’s car down a ravine by the reserve. It was on its roof but no sign of the girls, yet tire tracks in the mud told us they were run off the road. We had the entire city out looking for them. None of us could locate them via the mindlink. Slasher pack was also out searching. John was beside himself and Everly was a frantic mess. In a matter of minutes our world’s were turned upside down and Everly was convinced Nixon had come back and took them.
I had men out looking for Carter and he was located quickly. He gave us the all-clear to search his pack. Two days they were missing for, it made no sense, until the first ransom call came in.
A growl tore out of me when I heard Everly answer the call and Carter’s voice was heard on the other end.
“Now that I have your attention and you have been unable to locate them, you will meet my demands,” Carter states. Everly stared at the phone checking the number and it was definitely Carter’s name. She puts him on loudspeaker and my brows furrow. The bastard even helped us search his pack territory. Was this some sick game to him?
“Carter?” I asked.
“Hello Valen,” Carter drawls through the phone.
“Done wasting resources? Though I am shocked at how hard you searched for Zoe, is it?” I growl at him opening the mind-link.
“You sick f*ck, Marcus will kill you when he gets his hands on you,”
“I never touched her,” he claims.
“Find Carter! He has them,” I call through the link.
“Well, that was fast,” he says, confusing me.
“Two seconds and I hadn’t even asked for anything yet and you called across the mind-link. You won’t find me,” he says and I look at Everly.
He laughs, I knew he was crazy but this was a whole other level.
“I have a mole. Don’t be surprised, you have plenty of enemies in this city. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to know one lives in your pack,” F**k! That renders the mindlink useless.
“Where is Ava Zoe?” I demand.
“With me, of course. Now call off your men or, I send Zoe back in pieces,” Everly whimpers beside me and I glance at her, the blood draining from her face. Macey bursts into the living room, she had been staying here while we organized search parties. She rushes to Everly side and helps her sit down.
“What do you want? I swear, if you have hurt them…” though I knew he already had, by the fact my Beta has had to be sedated for two days.
“You’ll do nothing Valen. I am calling the shots. Now I have two requests. One, I want the money John owes. Two, you stand down as Alpha, hand your pack over to me, and leave the city. Leaving your mate and son behind until I know you are far enough away for me to escape.”
“Like f**k I will! Hand them over and we can talk this out,” I tell him.
“Ah, ah, ah, you’re not in a position to compromise. As I said, I’m calling the shots not you but as a sign of goodwill, I want the money by 5PM. I will select the meeting spot, and send Everly to drop the money off,”
“No!” I snarled, cutting him off.
“I don’t think you understand the position you’re in Valen,”
“I’ll do it,” Macey says. I glance at her and Everly shakes her head trying to get out of her seat but I growl telling her to sit down.
“See, you have a volunteer. May I know who the brave lady is?” Carter asks and Macey growls.
“Oh, and she sounds feisty,” Carter chuckles.
“You’re a sadistic pr*ck!”
“Oh you have no idea how sadistic but nonetheless, money at 5PM. I will call with the drop off point and tell her where to go, in return I will give her Zoe. Once you see I made good on this, then we move on to the next part,”
“You want me out of the city? That is fine, but I am taking my mate and son with me.”
“That isn’t what I agreed to, but for now I need the money. If anyone follows her, I will get one of my men to slit Ava’s throat,” Everly gasps at his words making my eyes dart to her briefly.
“Why are you doing this?”
“I don’t know. Why am I doing this? Maybe I am just a sadistic pr*ck,” he laughs.
“Do as he says Valen, please,” Everly begs with tears in her eyes, though her rage was evident through the bond.
“Take the deal. I will meet him,” Macey growls.
“So the girl, what is her name?”
“Her name is Macey,”
“Ah, the rogue wh0*e. I heard about her, quite the brute,” Macey growls snatching the phone from me.
Macey gives Carter her number, and Everly starts calling banks to empty accounts to come up with the money. It just made no sense and who was the mole in my pack? There was only one way for him to know I used the mindlink, which means one of my men was with him.
“One person follows her, and I kill Ava,” Carter snarls as Macey hands the phone back to me.
“Yeah, yeah. I f*cking heard you.” I was about to hang up when he spoke again.
“Well, I will hand the little one back. Send the rogue to get her, but Ava stays until you stand down and hand the city back over Valen, and don’t forget my money,” he snarls into the phone before hanging it up.
“He had them all this time,” Everly says, her hands shaking as she rubs her face with them, wiping the tears away. “I have to tell my father”‘ she murmurs, getting to her feet and passing me the phone that she was on the bank with.
I send officer Derrick to retrieve the cash and bring it here, while I have Doc sent over to give Macey a dose of the cure in case Carter tries anything. We then waited by the phone for it to ring. John came over with my father, and the moment the phone rang he pounced on it and begged to swap places with Ava. My father had said John had called Carter on t he way here, but Carter refused.
This whole scenario was bizarre and I couldn’t figure it out, none of us could. We thought Carter was a victim in this. That is how he portrayed himself to be when his father fled. We found him in a padded room for f**ks sake. Was it all an act?
“Put the girl on,” Carter snarls, obviously getting sick of John’s begging. He hands the phone to Macey.
“Get in your car. I will tell you the directions. One person follows and Ava is dead, so don’t try anything,” he snarls and Macey swallows and looks at us.
Taylor comes out from up the hall. Tears brimming in her eyes. My father instantly tends to her escorting her off.
“Do as I say and no one gets hurt,” Carter says and she lets out a shaky breath.
Everly goes to lift the duffle bag but I take it from her and place it over Macey’s shoulder. Officer Derrick stops her as she passes him and holds a finger to his lips. He pulls his gun from his holster and turns the safety off and on to show her, and she nods before he tucks it down the back of her pants.
Macey was also wearing a tracking device and voice recorder tucked in her bra. The council was already alerted, there was no way he was leaving this city once I stood down. But what was the point of that if he was planning on leaving? All it would do is sever my ability to mind link and I know my people won’t bow for any other Alpha. Except whoever the traitor in my pack is.
It made no sense. I watched helplessly as she left out the doors, knowing he was watching from somewhere outside, and it wasn’t worth the risk knowing Ava would be killed. For now, I would play his game until the council arrived. Then I would kill him.
My stomach knotted and the gun dug into my lower back as I followed his directions. Yet he had me circling the city for ages like he was wasting my time.
“Turn at the next roundabout and double back,” this was the sixth loop of the city. I knew he was making sure I wasn’t followed. Valen wouldn’t risk Ava and Zoe. I knew that much but he was an idiot if he thought Valen wouldn’t come after him for this. Marcus would kill whoever hurt Zoe when he woke. The rogues would even hunt the bastard down for what he did.
“Pull over by the post office sorting facility,” I do as he says, yet I see no one or any cars.
“Get out of the car and walk up the alley and place the bag by the bin,”
“Where is Zoe?” I growl.
“Dump the bag first,”
“Not until I have Zoe!” I snarl.
“Little stupid making demands don’t you think? Very well, Zoe is with me,”
“And where are you?”
“Close. Now dump the bag,”
“No! Not until I have Zoe!” Carter snarls.
“Foolish woman,” he sneers and Zoe shrieks in the background.
“Okay! Okay!” I yell, shoving the door open. This part of town was dead, but close to the old meat factory and I had a sneaky suspicion he was in one of these warehouses.
I grab the bag from off the backseat, glancing around.
“There is a dumpster and one of my men is up there. Once you hand the bag over I will tell you where to find your friend,” I growl but do as he says. A man with dark -hair smiled and waved as I drew closer.
“That’s close enough, drop the bag,” he calls and I do.
“Do as he says,” Carter adds.
I hear a car pull up behind me and my heart rate picks up.
“Back up slowly,”‘ the man says, levelling his gun at me and I raise my hands in the air, backing up like he asked the phone clutched in my hand and I was aware a car had pulled up down by mine at the end of the alley. The man backs away, before rushing off.
I hear a car door open and hear a grunt behind me and whimper. “You can turn around, tell Valen this is a warning, if he doesn’t heed the warning what happens next is on him.” Carter says and I turn around.
I notice Zoe first wearing only a man’s shirt and covered in blood. I scream dropping the phone and rush toward her when his scent hits me and I see a man shove her forward to her knees. I stopped in my tracks as I peered at the man who no doubt was Carter. He appears just as shocked and I stagger, my heart near stopping. No!
No! Not him, anyone but him! Yet my entire body screamed mate!
“Macey!” Zoe screams, pulling us both out of our stunned stand-off. He shakes his head racing back toward his car while I raced toward Zoe. She screams the sound tearing my soul apart and I graze my knees as I fall to them to clutch her. Her entire body shook as I clutched her.
“He still has Ava,” she cried.
“You have to help her,” yet the scent of the man from the alleyway was all over her, and another man’s, though not Carter’s. Yet he let them do this to her, I didn’t have to ask, it was obvious when I picked up another scent. I was about to say the name when she did.
“Micha, Micha is helping Carter,” she choked out and sobbed.
“Micha did this,” I asked and Zoe whimpered. Wait, does Derrick know his son is in on this?
“Where is Marcus? I want Marcus.” She whimpers as I haul her to her feet.
“I will take you to him, come, we need to get you to Hospital.” Yet my stomach turned. How could I be mates to a monster?
A monster that hurt Zoe, hurt my sister! My blood boiled in my veins yet I contained it. He deserved what was coming for him.
“My Casey? Oh my G*d Macey, where is Casey?” Zoe was unbelievable. After whatever she endured, all she cared about was her mate and daughter. Her hands clutched me tightly and I opened the passenger side of my car and helped her in.
“She is with Everly, she is safe. But for now, I need to get you out here and alert Valen about officer Derrick’s son,” I snarl the last word.