“Absolutely not,” I shake my head at Gwen as she explains her idea.
“There is no way in hell I’m moving to some pack in California with Kota. It’s out of the question.No f*g way!”
She steps forward and grabs my hand.
“I said no, Guinevere!” I snap, pulling my hand from her grasp.
“You of all people know what those monsters have done to me! You can’t ask me to trust another pack with the safety of my son!”
“I give you my word, Queen Aurora will protect you and your pup with her life,” the wolf beside Gwen says, his eyes burning with indignation.
“Your word means nothing to me, wolf,” I spit back, my body trembling with anger at having yet another wolf in my home.
Couldn’t they just leave me alone?
“Salvador, please stay out of this,” Gwen sighs before looking at me with a scowl.
“You can’t ask this of me,” I shake my head.
“You know why I can’t.”
“I would not ask this of you if it were not urgent” Gwen says.
“If it’s so urgent,”
I snap, “Then explain to me what the danger Gwen balls her hands in a fist and stomps her foot on the ground.”
“For Goddess’s sake, Natalia! Would you just listen to me?! I’m trying to save Kota’s life! I can’t tell you why you need to run, you just need to trust me! Don’t trust the wolves, trust me, the woman who has never failed you!”
Zane snarls at the mention of Kota in danger and I force myself to ignore the butterflies in my belly and glare at my witch friend.
“Who is after my baby?”
Her face turns grey and she shakes her head.
“They will hurt him if I tell you…”
I cup her face in my cheeks and plead with her.
“Who is after my baby?”
She stares at me for a moment before she takes my hand and pulls me down the hall into my bedroom, locking the door behind her.She mutters a spell under her breath, the room filling with an uneasy silence.
For a long time, she says nothing, wringing her hands nervously and wiping the beads of sweat clinging to her forehead.
“I can’t tell you the specific details,” she whispers after a long silence.
“But I have a job to do and if I don’t complete it, they’ll kill Kota.”
The blood drains from my face and it feels like the world is collapsing around me.
I cry, rushing up to her and grabbing her by the collar of her shirt.
“Tell me who!”
“I’m sorry, Talia, but to protect that little boy, I can’t tell you who,” She sobs.
It feels like the wind has been knocked out of me.
Will Kota and! ever be able to live in peace? “I’m so, so sorry, Talia.I truly am.I never meant to put your baby in danger,”
She weeps, the guilt in her eyes immeasurable.
“I don’t know how they found me…but I swear to you when this is all over, I will never come back into your life.I’ll disappear and I’ll-“
She bursts into tears of shame, her words slurred from the guilt in her heart.
“You shut the hell up, you stupid British w***e!”
I snap, pulling her into my arms and holding her to my chest.
Gwen gasps as I stroke her hair gently and kiss her gently on the temple.
“You are the only person I’m not okay with leaving my life,” I say through my own tears.
“We’re in this st together, remember? A witch and a b*h, that’s what we are.”
She giggles as she wipes her eyes.
“A witch and a bitch.”
“Always, I murmur back, squeezing her tightly.
“I swear to you, Talia, I will do everything in my power to complete my task.No one is hurting your baby,” She says as she pulls away from my arms.
“But I need you to go to this pack just in case I fail.Queen Aurora will protect you with her life.I swear to it.” I bite my lip anxiously, hating the idea of putting my life back
“Please Talia.I can’t do my job if I’m constantly worrying about you and Kota,” she pleads.
I take a deep breath.
“Are you sure you can trust this pack?” I ask, doubt swallowing my every thought.
“I promise, The lvory Phoenix kingdom is nothing like Silver Crest.They are good wolves,” she nods reassuringly.
“There is no such thing as good wolves,” I reply.
“Just loyal ones.” She frowns at me and sighs.
“I’m even going to try to argue with you,” she grumbles.
“I’m too tired.” I take a good look at my friend and realize she looks absolutely exhausted, as if she hasn’t slept well in days.
“So is this the reason why you left for California?” I ask, wanting to get as much information from her as possible.
I then lower my voice.
“To protect Kota and I?” A darker thought enters my mind.
“Is that wolf threatening you? Is he the reason you can’t tell me what’s really going on?”
She throws her head back in laughter at my accusation.
“Salvador isn’t threatening me…” She smiles sheepishly.
“He’s…well he’s my mate.”
Her cheeks flush with embarrassment as I glare at her.
“Your mate?” I scoff, my eyes narrowing to slits.
“You hate mates.” surprise when I come here to find a wolf and his mother living here!”
I cross my arms over my chest and gnash my teeth together.
“Well, he gave me no choice,” I mutter.
“I can’t seem to reject him properly and he won’t accept my rejection unless I give him three months to change my mind.”
“Good luck to him,” she laughs, plopping down on my bed and laying flat on her back with her arms stretched out.
“He’s going to need it.” I lay down beside her and throw my leg over her thighs, spooning her.
“Why can’t men just leave us alone?” I mutter, my comment making her laugh.
“We could always become lesbians,” She shrugs.
“Too bad I like a good c**k and Salvador….” Her pale skin suddenly turns bright pink.
“He’s well equipped.”
I giggle, Gwen turning a darker shade of pink.
“Well he is!” She laughs.
“And the bastard knows how to use it!”
I think back to last night when I caught Zane putting on his boxers.
“Zane’s well endowed too,”
I blush, Gwen howling with laughter.
“You sneaky b***h.You already tried him?”
She giggles recalling the many scars I saw that covered his back.
A shutter runs through my body as I wonder how he could have gotten such injuries.
I don’t know a thing about his past and it frightened me to think that he could be dangerous after all.
You don’t become a rogue for nothing.
As if reading my mind, she hugs me tightly.
“He seems like a nice guy…although I’m not the best judge of character,”
She adds nervously.
“If he hurts you though, I’m there in a heartbeat.”
I hug her back, having missed her reassuring presence these past few days.
After a few minutes in each other’s arms, Gwen sits up and helps me pack while I call both of my jobs to explain my unexpected hiatus, providing some bullshit excuse for both Zane and I at The Masque.
Luckily, I had plenty of savings to pay for my mortgage this month and any other travel expenses thanks to my untouched Luna money still sitting in the bank.
The house turns into utter chaos as we all pack, my stomach in knots at the thought of returning to a pack of wolves.
“Don’t worry, darling,” Gwen reassures as I pack the last of Kota’s underwear.
“Queen Aurora is a wonderful person.You’ll be in good hands.”
I scrunch up my nose and she laughs.
“No faces until you meet her for yourself.” troll my eyes at her and zip up Kota’s bag.
“Why do you keep calling her Queen? Wouldn’t she be Luna?”werewolf ranks,” She laughs.
“Aurora is half Silver wolf, half Gold wolf, which makes her an Ivory wolf and a royal.She is Queen Luna.”
“Ivory Wolf? Silver Wolf? Gold Wolf?” I ask.
“I’ve never heard of such a thing.We didn’t have any of those wolves in Silver Crest, I don’t think.”
“There are few gold werewolves left in the world,” Gwen sighs.
“And maybe a hundred or so Silver wolf clans left in North America so it makes sense you’ve never even seen one before.”
She chews on her cheek before looking up at me.
“You’re mate is a silver wolf according to Salvador.He’s a silver wolf too.”
“What exactly does that mean?” I ask, curiosity getting the best of me despite my resolve to never meet Zane’s wolf.
“Silver wolves are werewolves with special gifts or powers.Salvador’s gift lets him create anything he wants with his mind.It’s quite extraordinary,” she blushes.
I blurt out my question before I can control myself.
“What is Zane’s gift?” Gwen shrugs.
“I don’t know.He doesn’t say much,”
She chuckles.She stops laughing when I go silent and sighs.
“Don’t worry too much about it.Whatever his gift, if tries to hurt you, Queen Aurora can stop him.” I raise an eyebrow at her.
“How can you be sure?”
“Like I said, Aurora is an Ivory Wolf,” She says, puffing up her chest with pride.
“She out ranks him in virtually every aspect and sheAurora is stronger.Besides, Aurora has 8 packs under her control.She can easily take on a rogue Silver wolf if she wants.”
“You mean her Alpha controls the 8 packs,”
I groan, recalling all the times Christian reminded me that while I was the highest ranking female in his pack, his word was the only one that mattered in the end.
His pack, his rules.
“No,” Gwen shakes her head with a proud look on her face.
“SHE controls the 8 werewolf packs.Aurora outranks every wolf in her Kingdom, including her Alpha mate, Oliver.He bows down to her too.Every decision comes down to her although they rule their pack as equals and their Kingdom as allies.”
I look at her skeptically, doubtful that such a dynamic could exist.It goes against the very nature of an Alpha to obey another wolf, especially a she-wolf.
“Just you wait,” Gwen smiles mischievously.
“You’ll see her in action soon enough.It’s incredibly funny.Aurora is this tiny little thing but -“
“We’re ready when you are,” Salvador interrupts as he knocks on the door.
“All the arrangements are in place for them to arrive in California.”
“Thank you, Salvador,”
Gwen murmurs, Salvador offering her a bright smile before excusing himself.
We carry the luggage out to the living room where I find Kota and Zane playing with the stuffed wolf toy.
Zane and Agnes’ things are with the bags, Zane stops what he’s doing and takes them from me wordlessly, Kota continues to play while I search for his shoes and coax him to put them on.
“No!” he shakes his head, refusing to end his game.
“Kota, come baby.We need to go.I need you to put on your shoes,” I beg, crawling closer to him.
He screams, rolling onto his stomach and pushing his face onto the floor while he swings his legs angrily.
“I don’t want to!”
I pinch the bridge of my nose, attempting to conjure every last bit of patience left in my body.
Gwen tries to get him to calm down, but Kota only bursts into tears, screaming incoherently about wanting to play with his wolf toy.
“Kota, you can still play with the wolf,” I sigh.
“Just put on your shoes and you can play.”
Kota shakes his head and crawls into his little teepee in the living room corner, crying furiously that he wanted to play with his wolf.I’m on the verge of tears myself, already stressed about the sudden move to a werewolf pack.
Zane returns and upon hearing Kota’s cries, crawls beside the teepee and pokes his head inside.
“There’s no use,” I sigh, throwing myself on the couch in frustration.
“He won’t listen to you.” Zane frowns and takes the shoes from my hand, crawling back to the Teepee and poking his head back inside.
Gwen and I watch in amusement, prepared to see him fail.
Zane shoves the upper half of bursting into loud fake sobs, his cries quickly drowning out Kota’s.
We listen carefully and to our surprise, Kota stops his crying.
“Why you crying?” he hiccups to Zane who only cries even louder.
From where we sit, I can see Kota poking at Zane’s head while wiping his own tears to console his friend.
“Why you crying?” he asks again, resting his head on Zane’s elbow.
Zane shakes his head, only increasing Kota’s curiosity.
The little boy pushes at Zane’s head to see his face until Zane finally lifts his head up and makes a loud fart noise in his face.
Kota stares at him in shock before throwing his head back in laughter, making his own farting sound in return.
Within seconds, Zane has both of Kota’s shoes on and pulls him out of the teepee with a grin on his face.
“How the …” I mutter, once again realizing my son was a traitor.
Zane shrugs and places the now smiling pup in my lap.
Kota grins sheepishly at me and hugs his wolf to his chest.
Too mentally exhausted to even comprehend what just happened, I carry Kota into the car and strap him into his car seat.
The entire ride to the ferry, Salvador, who apparently prefers to go by Chava explains the plan for us airport.You’ll be staying in Aurora’ s main pack, the River Moon pack, in their guest house for the duration of your stay.Gwen tells me you’re a medical assistant and there’s a clinic in the pack you can work in if your stay extends more than two weeks.We can find something for Zane and Agnes too, “ he explains.
“There’s also a daycare in River Moon for Kota and I’m sure he’ll like being around other pups.” I grimace at the thought of Kota interacting with other wolves.
While I understood he was a part wolf, a part of me hoped he would never connect with that side of him and that he would choose to stay among humans instead.
Chava continues to explain the arrangements for us and before long, we find ourselves on the ferry.
Gwen and Chava stay behind while the rest of us travel to the airport and board a plane.
Kota immediately takes the window seat, pointing at the ant-like cities below us.
The Washington and Oregon forests give way to the bustling Bay Area cities, our plane landing in San Francisco.
My anxiety reaches its limit and I hold Kota tightly in my arms as he sleeps, needing him for comfort.
Noticing my uneasiness, Zane slips his hand in mine and for once, I don’t pull away.
The warm tingles of his touch soothe my racing mind and Kota’s heart beating like butterfly wings in his chest makes the fears go away.I would be okay so long as I had Kota with me.
Zane holds my hand as we track down our bags.
We keep our by now.
After a half an hour of desperate searching, we find a man holding up a sign labeled Dakota Ramos.
Zane tenses up upon seeing the wolf, eyeing the man carefully before we approach.
“Are you Talia Ramos?” he asks with a serious look on his face.
“Yes,” I reply timidly, his handsome hazel eyes scanning Zane and Agnes.
Noticing the pup in my arms, his face immediately softens.
“I’m Evan.I’ll be your escort to River Moon,” he says with a goofy smile.
“You guys hungry? We can stop to grab some food if you like.”
“I would just like to get to the pack as soon as possible,” I say in my most polite voice.
“It’s been a long day and my son is tired.”
“Right,” he nods sheepishly.
“River Moon is about an hour and half away so you can sleep in the car if you like.”
He leads us to an SUV and helps us load our stuff into the car before taking off for the road.
For the entire trip, I let Zane hold my hand, afraid that if he let go, I might actually burst into tears.
He looks like he wants to comfort me, but no words ever leave his lips as he watches me struggle to keep my composure.
We travel down winding roads before a pair of white gates appear before us.
Two guards let us through and I squeeze Zane’s hand tightly as I watch our surroundings carefully.
At first , the winding roads continue before we see a large pack of 20 or so fully shifted wolves run past us in what appears to be a training drill.
pack resembling a small bustling village with people and wolves wandering around, minding their business.
Along the main road, a large French style mansion comes into view, Evan pulling up to the driveway lined with rose bushes and a huge fountain in the center.
“Welcome to the River Moon pack house,” Evan chirps as he shuts off the engine.
“The Guest house is just a little ways back.Aurora would like to speak to you before you settle down for the night.Follow me.”
I turn to our stuff and Evan shakes his head.
“Don’t worry about that.The omegas will take care of it.Just follow me.”
As if on cue, an army of omegas scurry out of the house and begin to unload our stuff out of the trunk.
Zane is the first out of the car, reaching out a hand to help me out.I was too tired to push him away and simply take his hand.
He tries to take Kota, who was struggling to stay awake in my arms, but I hang onto my pup like a lifeline.He is the only thing keeping me sane at the moment.
The interior of the pack house is even more breathtaking than the exterior, a gorgeous chandelier hanging above us in the foyer.
Evan leads us up the stairs to the third floor and stops in front of a door.
Without so much as a knock, Evan bursts into the office, a full blown argument unfolding before us.
A small woman with long white hair sits at a desk with what appears to be building plans in front of her, three large men glaring at “Aurora, what you are asking for does not exist in any of our packs!”
One man argues.
“All the more reason to build it in the first place,” the small woman shrugs, her voice soft but commanding.
“This training center would be used by everyone, not just Amethyst lake.The benefits this could bring to the Kingdom greatly outweigh the cost.Look at it as an investment-“
Evan clears his throat, the woman and the three men all turning to look at us.
The little woman smiles up at us, her golden eyes dancing with excitement.
“You must be Gwen’s friends,” She smiles politely as she walks around the desk to greet us.
To my surprise, Zane, Agnes and Evan all bend over in a low bow before the small woman as she approaches us, her cheeks flushing slightly at the gesture.
Even Kota stirs in my arms and lowers his head in her presence.
“My name is Aurora Altamirano,” she smiles.
“Welcome to River Moon.”