It takes every ounce of strength I have to hold myself back from proclaiming my mate, but now is not the time to be proud. I have to buy Rionna and Vanessa time to get my Kota out of here safely.
“Who. Marked. You!?” Jack snarls again, his hand wrapping around my throat as he invades my space.
It does not escape me that I feel no sparks when he touches me, relief washing over me that there is not a chance in the world Jack and I will ever be bonded again. Jordan instinctively growls at Jack for touching me, but I lightly kick him to back off sol can execute my plan.
The look of pure rage in Jack’s eyes reminds of the night he rejected me all those years ago, but this time, I will be in complete control. gently place my hands around Jack’s arm and lightly tug at his hand. Forcing tears to my eyes, I put my plan into action.
“Jack,” Jgásp when he squeezes my throat. Jack, my love, please! Please, let me explain!”
“What are you going to explain?” he snarls back. “That you were whoring around while waited for you?”
I almost laugh in his face but manage to keep my composure.
This f**g prick… Devina growls.
“No! No!” I sob back. “No, I would never! I-I was marked by force by a wolf who took me.”
“You expect me to believe your bullshit lies!?” he growls. “Kota told me all about his new daddy.”
Goddess, l love my little boy but why is he so damn stubborn! I snap. Gee, I wonder who he gets it from? Devina snorts.
“I-It’s not a lie!” I wheeze, struggling to get air into my lungs as he crushes my windpipe. “I-love you Jack.
I-I was just hurt by what Christian did to me sol left. I didn’t think you loved me anymore, “I cry. “I ran into some wolves not too long ago and their Alpha became obsessed with me! He made me believe he loved me but he didn’t. Not like you. He hurt me, Jack! He forced his mark on me! But I know in my heart, I belong only to you. I turned so l Could get rid of his mark,” I sob.
“But it didn’t work! It didn’t work and I was so disgusted with myself that I didn’t want you to see me because the honor of marking and turning me belongs only to you. I’m sorry Jack! I’m so sorry for being so weak. I just love you so much and I was afraid you wouldn’t take me back if you saw what I became.”
“You love me?” He asks with a softness in his voice.
“Yes,” I nod. “Of course I do,” I whisper, pushing against his hand to lean in closer for a kiss. “Can you forgive me, Jack?” I ask, standing on the tips of my toes so that my lips graze against his when I speak.
“Please,” I beg. “I just want to spend the rest of my life with you.”
Something flickers in his eyes but before I can decipher what he thinks or feels of my story, he loosens his grip on my throat and pulls me towards him, pressing our lips together in a hot, wet kiss. Jack tastes of vinegar and salt, nothing like my Zane, whose lips can soothe the turmoil in my soul with just one kiss, and I resist the urge to gag as I wrap my arms around his neck.
Forgive me, Zane, I whisper to myself.
Please forgive me for not claiming you.
Jack swipes his tongue along the seam of my lips and despite Devina’s protests, I part my lips and let him taste me.
Savor me, Jack, I snarl with disgust. Because it’ll be the last kiss you ever have.
I pull away breathlessly, blinking my eyes innocently at the wolf still holding my throat hostage in his hand.
“Take me home, Jack,” I whisper, Jack nodding in response. “Take me home.” He looks behind me with a gentle smile.
Where’s our pup?” he asks, my heart nearly skipping a beat as I search for an explanation.
How did you know to come here? I didn’t mention the cabin.”
Jordan comes to my rescue. “I brought her here. Vanessa was furious about the divorce and threatened to hurt Kota unless Natalia backed off so we raced here to meet her but she was already gone by the time we arrived. We were in the middle of searching for clues when you arrived,” he explains.
“Is this true?” Jack asks, almost with relief.
“Did Vanessa threaten to hurt our son?
I can’t bring myself to say yes for fear of what he might do to her if he finds her, but my silence seems to only verify Jordan’s story.
“Don’t protect her, Tiny,” Jack snaps. “She has our pup. Goddess forbid she hurts him!” He turns to his men and points to the house.”
Search the house! Check the tunnels! Leave no stone unturned and bring me back my son!
“I’ll lead the team,” Jordan volunteers, my body relaxing knowing Jordan will keep
Christian’s men away from my pup. “I’ll make sure your son is safe, Luna,” Jordan adds, getting down on one knee and bowing before me.
I haven’t been able to trust Jordan since he failed me but he’s the only hope I have now to ensure Jack never finds Kota again.
“Thank you,” I whisper, praying to Moon Goddess that Jordan finally lives up to his title.
Jack approves of Jordan’s plans, his eyes fogging over as he assigns 10 men to his Command via mind link.
“Don’t worry, baby,” Jack soothes, pulling me to his chest and stroking my hair. “I’ll bring our son back to you.”
I nod silently, nuzzling against his chest while wishing I were in Zane’s strong arms instead. Jack slides his hands down my waist to the back of my legs and lifts me up, carrying me away from the cabin.
“So I have a question for you,” Jack says sheepishly.
“Yes?” I ask.
Will you marry me again?” he asks, his cheeks flushing in blush. “Tonight?”
The blood drains from my face but I smile happily at him. “Of course!” I squeal, leaning forward to kiss him again as Devina howls with rage.
No the f**k we won’t! She snaps.
“Let’s get you home, Tiny,” he murmurs.
Jack shifts and to my confusion, carries me to the pack clinic.
“I just want the doc to check you over,” he says as he shifts back to his human form.
“You’ve been away for so long at the mercy of a crazed Alpha, and turning must have taken a huge toll on your body,” he murmurs as he kisses the back of my hand.
“I just want to be sure you’re completely healthy for our pups.
“Our pups?” I ask and he nods enthusiastically.
“Yes, our pups,” he smiles. “After our wedding tonight, I plan on putting two pups in your belly”.
I shiver with disgust but keep the smile of delight on my face.
“B-but what if I have issues again?” l ask, trying to make myself seem small and weak.
“Will you hate me if l struggle?”
“Yøú just need to relax,” Jack snaps.
“you’re a wolf now. You’re better. If you think you’ll fail, you will.”
“Enough!” Jack snarls. “Do you not want. my pups?”
“I-I do but-”
“Then stop making up excuses!” he shouts, all the memories of our arguments racing back to me.
Zane would never blame me for my fertility issues. He would hold me and shield me from my fears with his love.
“Yes, Alpha,” I reply with a small smile. “I m sorry for questioning you.” Jack sighs and pulls me into his arms to kiss my forehead. “You are forgiven, He murmurs. “Now let’s go.”
Dr. Lila is already waiting inside for us and she leads ús to a private room for her examination.
It’s nice to see you again, Luna,” she says quietly as she works. “We’ve missed you around here. You look good.”
I don’t know how to respond and simply smile back at her as I sit on the edge of the bed and hold out my arm for her. She performs a full physical and at the end, has me prepare for a blood draw.
“How is your child?” Dr. Lila asks as she ties the ligature around my arm.
I study the doctor carefully, trying to make out if I can trust her or not.
“Did you know Christian was cheating on me?” l ask, the question catching her by Surprise.
She works silently for a moment before finally sighing out an answer. “Yes, Luna.”
“So you betrayed your Luna to save your Alpha,” I reply.
“I was protecting my family!” Dr. Lila snaps as she pushes the needle into my arm.
I wince from her aggressive stab and look away from Dr. Lila’s cold gaze.
“Would you betray me again?” l ask.
“In a heartbeat,” she says with conviction.”
And I suggest you think about your child first before doing anything stupid unless you want to have more blood on your hands.”
“Blood on my hands?” I snap.
“You left,” she retorts. “You left us and our Alpha went mad without you.”
“He rejected me!”
“But you had the truth in your hands!” she cries.
“He wouldn’t have pushed you away if he knew the truth. But you were human and humans are selfish creatures who don’t understand pack life. You swore to put the pack needs above your own and we lost a lot of good people in your absence. Now you’re back after all these years to resume your role? HA! Don’t expect a wárm welcome.”
Knowing where I stand with this b**“h and likely all the other pack members, I rethink my plan. The pack itself won’t help me, but perhaps I have allies among the elders and even Alpha Christopher himself. I just need to tread carefully from now on.
Conversation is pointless so I let Dr. Lila collect her specimens in silence while I scan the room for a possible solution for me.
“Wait here for 15 minutes,” Dr. Lila instructs once she’s finished. “I’ll go turn these samples over to the lab and then you can leave.”
I don’t respond and watch as she strolls out with vials of my blood in her hands.
b**h, Devina mutters as I swipe a pen from the bedside table.
I ignore my wolf and slip out of the room, looking both ways as I hurry down the hall.
I like your plan, Devina hisses.
I tip toe down several corridors, hiding behind walls and in janitor closets until I find the room l’m loóking for; the med room. It’s locked with a passcode and badge scanner.
Spotting Dr. Lila walking down the hall, I hide behind a wall and from the corner of my eye, watch as she enters her passcode and scans her medical badge. As she opens the door, I rush at her, shoving her inside and closing the door behind us. I pin her against the wall with my elbow pressed across her shoulder blades and hold the pen to her back like a knife.
“I’m not a human anymore, Doc,” I hiss in her ear. “Mindlink anyone for help and I’ll cut out your tongue and force feed it to your family.”
“What do you want? she snarls.
“Wolfsbane, silver, or a tranquilizer,” I snap, pulling her by the collar of her lab coat to the locked pyxis containing all the medications.
“We don’t keep silver or wolfsbane in the clinic, she mutters.” That’s kept in the warrior compound.”
Then get me a tranquilizer,” I growl.
She nods silently and selects Ativan from the list of medications. As she lifts her hand to the fingerprint scanner, she jams her elbow back into my stomach, turning around and punching me on the side of my head. I groan as I stumble back on my feet and crash against a shelf.
“Do what you want, Luna, she sneers as she rushes to the door. “But I will not be your accomplice.”
I race after her, grabbing her by the hair and slamming her forehead against the door twice before tossing her across the room. She Scrambles to her feet, reaching into a jar of syringes and pulling the caps off all of them before pointing them at me.
She swings her armed hand at me and I time her movements carefully to dodge her blows until I see an opening. When she lunges toward for a stab, I hook my arm around hers and step behind her, using my momentum to slam her against the wall. She retaliates and swings her arm at my head, landing a blow.
Shifting my feet, I kick her behind the knee, and slam my fist into her stomach so that she doubles over before slamming my elbow down on the back of her head.
She collapses on the ground and I climb on top of her, slamming my elbow over and over again on her head until I’m sure she’s passed out.
“We could have done this the easy way but you had to be a b***h,” I mutter I’m huffing and puffing as I get to my feet and I drag Dr. Lila’s limp body to the pyxis machine, grabbing her thumb and pressing it against the scanner.
The machine unlocks a drawer and I grab a vial of medication, loading it up in a clean syringe and shoving the cap back on before slipping it into my pocket.
I take a few moments to catch my breath and look into the glass shelves to make sure Dr. Lila didn’t leave a mark. After fixing my hair and my shirt, I carefully open the door and peek into the hall to make sure the coast is clear.
Once safe, I step out into the corridor and make my way into the main clinic waiting room when I suddenly double over as a pain spreads across my chest.
It’s very cold in the tunnels, my breath visible in the light of my phone and the ground is uneveen.
“So who is Nonna?” I ask, Rionna chuckling as Kota gives an answer.
“She makes cakes,” he replies, peeking at me through the blanket he’s wrapped up in. And Egg-ness? l ask.
“She makes cookies,” he smiles.
“Kota is well fed, clearly,” Rionna chuckles, giving Kota a kiss on the forehead. “I am his Daddy’s biological mother. Egg-ness is his adoptive mother,” she explains.
I see. And you all live together?” I ask.
“No, I only recently came into their lives,” she sighs. “It-it’s complicated.”
“Right,” I laugh nervously. ”Complicated.”
“I take it you and Talia haven’t spoken in a while?” Rionna asks.
“Not in years, no,” I reply. “l can’t say l blame Talia. I broke whatever ‘family bond’ we had.”
“But would you like to be a part of her life again?” Rionna asks.
“I-I would,” I sigh.
“Well I won’t pretend to know what happened between you or the severity of your issues but my advice? Give her time,” Rionna shrugs.
“Sometimes people need space to heal before they can move on and forgive. Don’t pressure her. She’ll come around when she’s ready.”
I find Rionna’s words a little comforting as we continue our walk and pray to Moon Goddess that I don’t completely lose my sister.
Kota plays with Rionna’s shirt in boredom, tugging at her collar and walking his fingers along her shoulder.
“Nanessa, what’s your family like?” he suddenly asks, my heart sinking as l realize l don’t have one anymore.
“Shhhh!” Rionna suddenly snaps, both of us going still to listen.
Kota whimpers and hides his face in the blanket when we hear howls and pounding feet echoing behind us.
I don’t think that’s Talia,” I hiss, pushing Rionna forward. “Run!”
We break into a full sprint, our phones barely lighting the way as we hear the howls getting closer. In our panic, I fail to see the hole on the stone path and trip, falling onto my knees.
“Nanessa!” Kota screams when from the shadows, a wolf pounces on my leg I let out a scream and dig my nails into the floor as the wolf bites down on my ankle and drags me back into the darkness.
Rolling on my back, I kick violently at the wolf’s snout in hopes of breaking free, but the wolf only bites down more viciously. Suddenly, a second wolf appears and I recognize him almost instantly as he slams my attacker into a wall.
“Jordan!” I cry, watching the two wolves claw and bite at each other’s throats.
We hear more paws storm towards us and I scramble back onto my feet, crying when I step on my wounded leg.
“s**t!” I whimper as I limp forward. Knowing I’ll only hold Rionna and Kota back, I shake my head at them and urge them to keep running.
“Keep going without me! l’ll catch up!”
“No! Nanessa!” Kota sobs.
Two more wolves attack Jordan, one slamming its head into his ribcage and the other grabbing onto his tail.
“Take Kota and get on me!l Rionna shouts, handing me the kid and shifting into her wolf. As she lowers herself to allow me to climb on, five more wolves come rushing down the tunnel.”
“There’s too many!” I sob, two of them pushing past Jordan towards us.
Rionna reacts and pounces on one of them, both of them rolling on the ground in a fight of claws and canines. I turn around and try to run, my teg screaming at me to stop as pain shoots up my spine.
The remaining wolf slows down and glares at me, cornering me like prey against a tunnel wall. He leans back on his hind legs, ready to pounce and attack.
“Please, he’s just a baby!” I plead, turning my body towards the tunnel wall to shield Kota.
“Don’t hurt him!”
I close my eyes and brace myself for impact when I hear a loud growl, looking up in time to see Jordan take the blow. His wolf whines but despite the many gaping wounds on his body, he charges my attacker.
Kota wails in my arms and I look around at Rionna and Jordan fighting for our safety, a feeling of anger and ineptness washing over me.
“I don’t want to be useless anymore!” I snarl through gritted teeth into the shadows.
“I don’t want to lose anyone else!”
My little wolf howls in rage as my shadow morphs into tendrils that crawl along the surfaces of the walls and tunnel floor toward Rionna. The tendrils wrap around her attacker’s shadow, and to my shock, pull the wolf off of her by its shadow.
The shadow tendrils stab and attack the wolf’s shadow, real wounds appearing on the wolf’s body until it falls dead.
The shadow tendrils attack the other wolves’ shadows, each wolf yelping and barking at their own shadow before dropping dead from their wounds.
From the corner of my eye, I see Jordan and a wolf still locked in battle. The wolf pins Jordan on a wall and clamps his jaws around his throat.
“No!” I shout, the shadow tendrils racing to Jordan’s aid and stabbing his attacker’s shadow.
The wolf falls dead on his side but I still feel a painful surge pulsate through my chest.
“Jordan!” I wail, feeling our bond begin to crumble. I limp to his side, gently putting down Kota to cradle Jordan’s head in my lap. “Jordan!
“I-m sorry,” he wheezes as he shifts into his human form. “Tell- tell Talia, I’m sorry I failed her.”
“I-m sorry I failed you too, he whispers as he coughs up blood.
“It’s okay, I whimper as I wipe the blood from his mouth. “It’s oka-”
A sharp pain burns through my chest as Jordan’s body goes limp in my arms.
“We have to go!” Rionna shouts, shifting back into her human form and collecting Kota in her arms. “We don’t know how many more there are here.”
I let her drag me away, all the while hearing a little voice whisper in my head.
I’m here now…