6: Bait Taken

While everyone was seated, Reyan announced he wanted to tag along with Kano as he travelled the world. Walter looked at him sharply, but this time it was Barbra who spoke tactfully.

“I thought you were going to stay with us a few more days before you moved on.”

“I can always come back, dear mother.” Pause. “I want to learn as much as I can about the ways of the world before I am stuck in leadership.”

The chair creaked under Kano’s weight as he laughed and leaned back, a toothpick clamped lightly between straight white teeth. “Aren’t you just raring to go...”

Reyan grinned, too. “You could mentor me, aKaitano. What do you say?”

“Do you know Europe is cold, young man? It’s not like the sunny plains of Africa.”

Leaning in eagerly, “I have heard, but I would love to go see it for myself. I can pay for my own way–or work, whatever suits you best.”

There was a long pause as Kano stared at Reyan, almost as if testing the sincerity of the request. After a minute, he nodded. “Okay. We leave tomorrow.”


The next morning, Barbra put her hands on Reyan’s cheeks and blessed him. “Be safe, child. Your life is not worth giving in this mission, but I hope you are successful.”

Reyan hugged her and smiled. “Don’t worry about me. I intend to return.”

Walter Ringani looked at Reyan and held his hand out for a handshake. “Go well, boy. Remember where you came from.”

Nodding, Reyan gripped the older man’s hand.

Before either of them could speak again, Reyan felt a sensation he had only felt a few times before as Walter’s authority surged into his own body. Tears filled his eyes as he realized the import of that moment that no one else was privy to.

The older wolf had just pledged allegiance to him without prompting. The moment didn’t last long as Ringani, slapped his arm with his other hand and let go.

“Kano is waiting.”

“Yes, sir.” Pause. “Thank you for everything.”

Walter simply shook his head and then gestured toward the waiting car.

Kano was on his phone, so Reyan ran lightly down the steps to the flashy SUV that had showed up in a cloud of dust the day before. The doors clicked open and Reyan climbed in and waved at the couple he was leaving behind.

“I’m ready sir.”

“Good. We’ve got quite a journey ahead of us.”

Besides the time Kano Kaitano had looked at Reyan’s passport with keen interest as they booked their tickets and again when they boarded the plane to head to the United Kingdom, his behavior had been that of a businessman with varied interest. There had been no clandestine meetings or suspicious conversations. He had even advised Reyan early on that there wouldn’t be any need or time to hunt or shift. They would be in highly populated areas and he need to master his ability to blend in. Of course Reyan knew how to do that and so he was of little disturbance to Kano.

Reyan stayed close by Kano and asked a lot of questions of his new mentor, hoping to glean something about this man and maybe the people he worked for or with. He learned that there were many stops for them before they returned to Africa which made Reyan wonder just how many packs had been affected by the nature of ‘business’ Kano was into.

After leaving Zambia, there had been a brief stop in Tanzania, where Reyan gathered they were expecting ‘packages’ from both Kenya and Malawi. They were being shipped on the water by someone named Henry. When he had asked about the packages, he had been told they were ‘supplements’ and Kano had declined to answer much further than that.

Now they were in the U.K. and Reyan had been told he’d be meeting some associates of Kano’s. It was the first time Kano was introducing him to the people he worked with and Reyan wondered what kind of people they were.

Who could live with kidnapping and selling their own kind? He wondered.

The kind with something to lose... or nothing left to lose, his mind answered itself.

With a frustrated sigh, Reyan acknowledged the cursed streak of empathy that seemed embedded in his DNA as a royal. It had annoyed him many times when he wanted not to understand the actions of deplorable individuals, but it had also helped him when there was more to the story than he could see for himself.

So, with a calm his human self didn’t feel, his wolf squared its shoulders and faced the fact that he may be walking into a trap. A royal or powerful alpha was of as much value as a red-haired wolf and though they didn’t know everything about him, Kano Kaitano knew enough to sell him to some eager buyers.

Looking at himself in the mirror, Reyan thought he looked pretty well put together and that for someone who had never really been to a business meeting before, he would fit in just fine. His curly golden brown hair fell forward onto his darker skin. While his skin had always pleased his grandmother, his hair reminded her too much of his father and so in the past few months he had developed a new appreciation for it, away from the reminders of his childhood. The shaved sides and back of his head were probably the most obvious indication of his youth.

The designer suit with the shirt that felt like they made it to soothe him to sleep was beyond the pay grade of most 18-year-old boys.

The last thought made Reyan grin, his brilliant white teeth flashing for a moment.

He was nothing like most teenage boys.

Kano knocked on the door and a short woman in all black answered the door.

“KK,” she exclaimed with pleasure, “I haven’t seen you in far too long.”

Kano leaned forward and kissed her on the cheek. “Spira, it’s so good to see you.”

Handing her the bottle of wine he’d been holding, he turned to his young counterpart and gestured toward the woman.

“Reyan, this is Spira Huntley, our most gracious hostess.”

“Oh my, what a handsome boy you are, Reyan!” she said with the same enthusiasm she’d used when greeting Kano. “And that name is exquisite too,” she murmured, taking his proffered hand.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you Ms. Huntley.”

With a sigh, the lady with obvious Asian heritage turned to Kano rolling her eyes. “I want to keep him!” she confessed, an eyebrow arching wickedly over one eye.

Kano laughed. “He’s far too young for you, Spira. Let us in.”

With a chuckle of her own, she opened the door and ushered them in with a sweeping motion of her arm.

Beyond the doorway was a very plush home, clearly designed for entertaining and having a good time. Everything was black, white and gold, from the furniture with the elegant ornaments to the curtains and mirror frames. The lights in the ceiling and in strategic corners made everything glisten and Reyan suspected it was meant to awe and mesmerize people.

Spira led them through the open plan living room and dining area where the table was set for seven, out to the back yard where three men and another lady sat around a fire pit. Everyone was dressed stylishly and seemed much older than he was, but they all welcomed him as Kano did introductions. Maxwell and Andrea Cosby, Spira’s ‘house mate’ Ralph and a man they called only TK, who happened to be Kano’s brother.

Who knew mercenaries could look so well-kept, Reyan thought.

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