“Hello Zane,” Gamma Wyatt says softly, my stomach churning with fear in his presence.
How did he find me? I wonder, blinking hard to make sure I am not dreaming.That is the least of our worries, Grayson mutters.What the f**k is that shit-stain of a brother doing here?
“Him?” Caine snaps questioningly at Wyatt, his eyes narrowing to slits.
“That mute rapist mutt is my brother? He’s the Almighty silver wolf the King wants?” Several thoughts fill my head but the loudest one makes me squeeze Talia’s hand in a pleading manner.
Would she believe the rape accusation Caine just tossed my way? I think to myself, wondering how I would explain to her that Sara lied.My eyes fixate on my mate, her face neutral and unbothered by his accusation.
Without saying a word, she gives my hand two squeezes, her thumb gently rubbing against my knuckles.
Following her gaze, I realize she is looking at Queen Aurora, likely speaking to her telepathically.
Whatever Aurora is saying seems to keep Talia calm and composed.
“I should have killed you while I had the chance for what you. Why are you just standing there? Do your damn job and kill him! Kill him for touching your Luna!”
Wyatt does not even bother to look at his future Alpha, his eyes focusing on Talia’s hand still holding mine.A look of pain flickers in his eyes.
Did he pity Talia for being stuck with me? Ignoring my brother, Wyatt clears his throat and looks me in the eyes.
“You have a mate?” Wyatt asks, though it is more of a statement than a question.
I nod silently, a hint of a smile curling on his lips as he eyes my mate.
“She’s beautiful…” he murmurs, Talia remaining silent but her cheeks getting a pinkish hue to them.
“Hi, I am Wyatt.I’m the Gamma of the Scarlet Haven Pack, Zane’s pack,” Wyatt explains, holding out his hand to shake hers.
Talia only smiles politely at him, though, the smile on her face not reaching her eyes.
“You mean former pack,” Aurora corrects him, rising to her feet.
Although she is a head shorter than Wyatt, her power ripples off of her like heat waves, everyone in the room feeling its intensity.
“Zane no longer belongs to the Scarlett Haven pack.Your Alpha made sure of that,” she says in a low growl.
“I still don’t understand what game you are trying to play here but Zane is under no obligation to return to his former pack and this,” she adds, holding up a sheet of paper.
“This means nothing to me.
“Well I can’t imagine such big words meaning anything to you,” Caine scoffs, Evan’s calm demeanor evaporating upon hearing the insult made against his Luna.
Aurora, however, remains calm and poised.
“So why don’t you let the adults talk, pipsqueak while you go take a nap? We’ll speak to your Alpha-“
He does not get another word in before he starts choking on his words, his hands clawing at his throat as his face becomes flushed.
Caine’s knees buckle and he crashes on the floor while gasping for air, Wyatt and Korbin staring at him in shock..
“Sounds like you’re choking on those big words, Alpha” Evans snickers, a pleased grin on his face.
“Maybe you should leave the big words to the adults.”
Aurora shakes her head disapprovingly at Evan who only shrugs innocently at her and she releases Caine from her telekinetic grip, Caine gasping frantically to fill his lungs with air.
Caine stares wide-eyed at Aurora, the Queen paying him no mind and returning to her seat.
“Evan, please escort Caine and Korbin downstairs to wait with the other guards,” Aurora instructs.
“I think Gamma Wyatt has a lot to discuss with Zane.”
“You can’t kick me out,” Caine scoffs, his hands forming into fists at his sides.
Aurora says in her royal voice, Caine abruptly standing up and walking past me towards the door, a look of like a fool and walks towards the exit.
“I told you she’s an Ivory Wolf!” he hisses in his father’s ear.
“I told you!”
Wyatt only rolls his eyes in annoyance as he watches his son disappear out the door, Evan escorting the two wolves downstairs.
Aurora lets out a tired sigh, grabbing the sheet of paper from earlier and gesturing at me to sit down.I hesitate, turning to Talia to see how she’s feeling when Aurora’s voice interrupts me.
“She knows the truth about Sara,” Aurora explains.
“I showed her your memory of that day.You don’t have to worry about her believing you.”
As if to prove her point, Talia stands on the tips of her toes to kiss my cheek, her fingers still interlocked with mine.
“I believe you,” She murmurs, pulling me towards the chairs and inviting me to sit down beside her.
Gamma Wyatt follows our lead, turning his chair so that he faces me when he speaks.
He looks to Aurora for permission to speak and swallows the lump in his throat, shifting nervously in his seat.
“I’m sure you’re wondering why I am here, Zane,” Wyatt begins, clasping and unclasping his hands.
“I’ve been asking myself that question a lot lately.”
“Get to the point, sir,” Aurora snaps, her eyes flickering between gold and violet.
“Tell him exactly what you want from Wyatt bites his cheek and proceeds.
“King Arthur found out about your existence recently after Ravenstone left a message for us during an Alpha meeting.He has …” he clears his throat and sits up right.
“He has requested that your father bring you home.”
My body tenses almost instinctively at the prospect of returning to Scarlett Haven.I have gotten used to the idea of never returning there and it scares me to think I might be going back to the place where I never felt wanted.
“Tell him why,” Aurora growls, her fingers crumpling a sheet of paper in her hand.
Wyatt looks uncomfortable but he does not disobey the Queen’s command.
“King Arthur would like you to train alongside his army and perhaps even take the lead in defeating Ravenstone and their growing allies,” he explains.
I stare at him in confusion.My own father didn’t even want me in his pack and now all of a sudden the King wants me in his army? For what? To get myself killed? “I understand you might be a little wary,”
Wyatt adds with urgency, reading my anxiousness and confusion like a book.
“But the King has offered you a warrior rank and you would stay in the Crescent Mane Palace with the other warriors.”
His words bring me no comfort, however.
After all, it is King Arthur requesting my presence, not my father.To him and all of What good would come out of going back there?
“Zane, this is a really great opportunity for you,” Wyatt insists.
“They are offering you a rank and shelter.That’s rare for someone cast out as a rogue for a rape crime, regardless if it’s true or not.I’m sure we can work something out for your mate to stay with you.”
“I’m not leaving River Moon,” Talia shakes her head at him.
“And you’re not taking my mate to fight some war,” she adds, her hand trembling in mine.
“You can’t do that,” she snaps, jumping to her feet and pointing an accusing finger at him.
“Your pack rejected him already.He’s mine now.We already have a home and a family so we don’t need anything your pack has to offer.”
My heart skips a beat with every word she says, a warmth spreading across my cheeks in delight.
We’re her family now. Even Grayson cannot help but swoon over our mate as she stands her ground against my former Gamma, his tail wagging furiously from side to side “Miss, I don’t think you understand.We are werewolves.We have to abide by certain laws that I’m sure a human would not understand,”
Wyatt says calmly.Little does he know, he’s speaking to a former Luna, Grayson snickers, settling down to watch the show.
Talia does not say a word to contradict him but I can see the hint of an annoyed smirk curling on her lips explaining something to a child.
“His King is requesting his return and as a royal subject of the Crescent Mane Kingdom, Zane must fulfill that request.”
A cold laughter erupts from Aurora’s mouth, a document dangling from her fingers.
“This decree is a sham,”
Aurora shrugs before beginning to read the document aloud.
“By decree of King Arthur of the Crescent Mane Kingdom, Zane White, is henceforth restored to his original omega rank.Mr.White is furthermore promoted to Warrior rank and will receive all titles, duties, and rights accorded to him by his position.This includes but is not limited to training, food, shelter, and a guarantee to move up ranks if he proves himself worthy.By will of the King, Mr.White has two weeks to present himself at the Crescent Mane palace or face charges.”
She crumples up the paper in her hand, her palm bursting into flames and engulfing the decree until all that is left is a pile of ashes.
“Last I checked, a rogue is no longer the subject of any King or Queen.That is why they are rogues,” Aurora smiles politely.
“And besides, Zane was never a full member of your pack, was he? Your Alpha never gave him a mindlink, did he?” Wyatt remains silent for a moment, a smile of satisfaction appearing on Aurora’s lips.
“You have no case, Gamma, and you do not have the power to take one of my guests from my pack my eyes widen in shock at the Queen.Her pack is already preparing for war against the French packs.She cannot seriously be considering making another enemy with Crescent Mane.They are small but vindictive.They will not go down without a fight.
“Unless Zane accepts your conditions willingly, you will not be taking him anywhere.That’s my decree,” She snaps.
Wyatt rises to his feet, his eyes pleading with me to reconsider.
“Zane.This is your chance to prove to Sebastian that you are an Alpha.That you are the true Alpha meant to Scarlett Haven.If you work hard enough, your life will be very different than it was before,” he urges me.
“Please.Think about it. I know you have it in you to be our Alpha.”
I look over at my mate and know there is nothing to think about.I have found my family in her, in Agnes, and in Kota and I do not plan on leaving them all behind for a title.
For once in my life, someone sees something of value in me, and not as an Alpha, but as a person.I am home now.
Scarlett Haven is nothing but a scar, one that is slowly healing but will one day fade away completely.I shake my head at Wyatt, informing him of my decision to remain in River Moon.
Wyatt stares back at me in disbelief and maybe even a little disappointment.
“Zane,” he begins to explain.
“Ravenstone killed your Mother and your brother.They have destroyed every aspect of your life drive to annihilate the very wolves who have taken so much from you?” He asks.
‘Don’t you want to avenge your family?”
Anger boils through my veins at the suggestion that I did not love my family.
Wyatt knows more than anyone just how much I loved my mother.
She was the first person to ever protect me, to ever love me unconditionally, but while I am saddened for the loss of my mother, my brother and uncle, this war is not mine to fight.
Scarlett Haven never saw me as a pack member.
Why would they see me as a warrior now? I do not respond and get up to open the door for Wyatt, my old guardian staring solemnly at me.
“Zane-” I gesture toward the door, no longer willing to listen to any more of his pleas.
Hurt and anguish wash over Wyatt’s face, but seeing that he has overstayed his welcome, Wyatt walks to the door.
“I pray to Moon Goddess that you won’t regret this decision,” he says softly, raising his hand to pat my back but retracting it so as not to upset me.
I slam the door shut once he crosses the threshold of the frame, my knuckles turning white from my strong grip on the doorknob.
My mind reels from Wyatt’s visit and I lean my forehead against the door, searching for peace and counting my breaths.
A pair of small hands snake around my waist, and Talia’s firm body presses up against my back.
She does not say a word as she holds my stomach.
“It’s going to be okay,” Talia murmurs.
“I’ll fight too if it means I get to keep you.”
“You lying piece of s**t!” I snarl, shoving Wyatt against the car.
“You knew, you knew all this time that that mutt was my brother and you said nothing-“
In a matter of seconds, Wyatt has me pinned to the car with my arms behind my back, the old hound still stronger than I am.
Just you wait, I mutter to myself as he slams my head against the car door.I‘lI get you back for this soon enough.
“You do not get to question me, pipsqueak,” he mocks me.
“I was following my orders.His identity was on a need to know basis.You and Sara did not need to know.”
“He raped my mother!” I snarl back, attempting to shake my arms out of his grip.
“Your mother is a lying w***e,” Wyatt says in a low growl.
“The cameras in her office say so.”
“What?” I ask, resisting the urge to fight.
“I said,” he whispers with a snicker.
“Your mother is a w***e. She tried seducing Zane and when he refused, she cried rape.
“You’re f*g lying,” I snap back, Wyatt laughing at my reaction and tightening his grip on my hands.
“I hope so,” Korbin gags.
“Stepmom and stepson? That’s got the makings of a bad porno.”
Wyatt snarls at his son, meanwhile my stomach churns in disgust.I’m shoved into the back of the car and Wyatt starts making a phone call, the sound of my father’s displeased voice loud enough to send shivers down my spine.
As we drive back to the Redwood Pack to regroup, my mother’s instructions replay in my head.
Kill him.But is it really worth it now?I ask myself.He declined to come back? And you think Father is going to take no for an answer? Abel, my wolf, scoffs.Our days as heir are numbered.
Father has been protecting Zane for years and yet he’s never hidden you.
We have always been a decoy, a dispensable puppet for the real Alpha.We were never meant to be the Alpha of Scarlett Haven.
No, I snarlto myself.No.I am Alpha and no mute mutt is going to take that from me.
I announces, hanging up his phone.
“We’re ready to move in.” I let out a sigh of relief and nod at the driver to head North towards River Moon.
The city of San Francisco is bustling with life, thousands of humans running around without a clue that we live among them.
How nice it must be to be so oblivious to our existence, to our problems, to our wars.
Rionna kisses my cheek, resting her head on my shoulder.
I did not initially intend to bring her along, but she knows well that she is my weakness and that I would rather die than deny her anything within my power.
She taps my chin three times the way she always does when I am stressed.I kiss her forehead gently, looking up to see my son watching us from the rearview mirror.
There’s a knowing smirk on his lips, a small chuckle erupting from his mouth.
Rionna may not be his mother, but he adores her and all the good she has brought into our lives.I was not always a doting husband nor a caring father and I know he is grateful to her for changing that.
He would die protecting her if things do not go as planned on this trip.
“It’ll be okay,” she whispers, nuzzling up beside me.
“I promise we’ll come out on the other side in one piece.”
Little does she know our lives are about to change forever because after almost 30 years, I am finally going to end this war.