“Are you crazy!?” Bo whispers in a rough, hardened tone. “You want to send the girls!?” He hisses the words out through clenched teeth, as if they burn while leaving his tongue.
“Yes,” Gray says simply.
“I don’t like it,” Bo says. “I don’t like it one bit.”
“You and Alazaer have both made it abundantly clear that this is the path you advise I take,” he strongly replies.
“I meant me! Or you! Hell, an Omega! Not two teenagers, much less our nieces!”
“As I said, neither you nor I can go,” Gray says. “And Abraxas will laugh if we send an Omega. The girls are our only hope.”
There's another long pause, Bo huffing quietly to himself.
"At least send someone with them," Bo pleads, his voice defeated and filled with anxious desperation. "For protection."
"The girls can hold their own," Gray refutes.
"Not against him!"
"We need all the help we can get here."
"I don't have many options here," Gray says.
Bo scoffs in disgust. "If only Jorgen could see you now."
Grayson growls and a loud commotion, things breaking, smashing against the walls and floor can be heard from inside the room.
“Dad,” I whisper. “He knows how Gray gets about dad.”
“Yeah,” Iselyn scoffs. “Bo’s trying to piss him off.”
"Don't you ever mention his name to me again!" A demonic animalistic roar sounds from the room.
To my left, Iselyn's hand finds mine. "I guess we know where I get my temper from," she whispers, holding in a giggle.
"Challenge me, if you don't like it!" Gray says, his voice back to normal.
"I'm not going to challenge you," Bo tells him. "I don't want to kill you, Grayson."
"Then don't question me," he replies. "Because the next time you do, I'll take it as a formal challenge."
"So you're sending the girls?" Bo asks, his voice as calm as ever, seemingly unfazed by Grayson's outburst. "Alone?"
“Do you have a problem with that?” he asks.
“No,” Bo responds lowly, through clenched teeth.
“Good,” Gray says happily, a smacking sound echoing out, he must’ve clapped his hands together. “Then it’s decided.”
“So, we’re going?” Iselyn whispers beside me.
I slowly turn to look at her, nodding my head even slower. “To Thantos Abraxas.”
Iselyn’s eyes darken at my whispered words. “When?”
I shrug my shoulders. “Probably as soon as possible.”
“Call Jace,” she whispers frantically, nodding her head. “Find out everything you can about Abraxas.”
I nod my head, still dazed, thoughts running through my mind.
I understand why Iselyn and I have to go. To see what can be done to help our people. Our family. But at the same time, how are we expected to leave them? To go and do what? Ask nicely, for a known murderer to save our lives?
I take a deep breath and pull my phone out of my sweater pocket. I quickly send Jace a text, asking him to meet Iselyn and I in Riverglen forest in an hour. He texts back a “sure thing,” before I even have time to glance at Iselyn. I flash her my phone and she nods and listens for movement deeper in the house.
The house is quiet, Gray and Bo busying themselves with their respective tasks, now in separate rooms. Iselyn pokes her head up above the counter.
‘This was a bad plan,’ I mouth to her.
“They’re not listening for us,” she whispers, narrowing her eyes at me. Annoyance dripping from her tongue, silently calling me an idiot. Her eyes dart to the back door just a few feet away. “We can probably make it out if we’re quiet.”
Sneaking out of a house run by an Alpha and a beta has never been easy, but we have managed to do it a few times. While they were asleep, that is. I inwardly groan. Iselyn must’ve seen the look on my face because she rolls her eyes at me.
“Wuss,” she whispers, getting to her feet.
I listen. Bo’s on the phone and Gray’s rifling through papers. Ugh. It’d be easier if they were still arguing. I move as quickly as possible as I stand up and follow her to the door. I bump into her back as she stops in front of the door. She shoots me a death glare before quickly opening the door and sliding out into the cool night air. I softly shut the door behind us, wincing as it clicks closed.
We walk a few feet away from the house, the dewey grass wetting my bare feet, before I pointedly look down.
“See?” she says. “Not hard.”
She turns to look at me and follows my eyes.
“Shift and run,” she shrugs.
I give her a blank look, taking my phone out of my pocket, holding it up and giving it a wave before putting it back in my pocket.
“You can talk!” she says loudly. “Goddess, you are such a wimp! They’re not listening for us.”
I roll my eyes and groan. “I don’t have shoes, clothes and I have my phone.”
“Screw it,” she says, waving her hand and laughs. “I’m sure Jace would love that.”
“Ew,” I tell her. “He’s like thirty.”
“He’s twenty-two,” she says, like it’s no big deal.
“Whatever,” I say. “I’m sixteen. And he left his pack when he was fifteen to prance around the country. He might as well be thirty.”
“Oh my holy-!” she groans, clearly frustrated. “Do I have to do everything!?”
She grabs my phone out of my pocket. “If it’s such a big deal, text Jace to bring you some clothes!”
I look down at the ground, mentally smacking myself for not thinking of that. She types quickly before sending the text and shoves the phone into my hand.I just hope he hasn’t left his house yet.
I hand Iselyn my phone before shifting, the ease and pleasure of it all but pushing the events of last night out of my mind. I take time to stretch and shake as she secures the phones inside her bra before climbing onto my back.
I immediately start running, enjoying the feel of the earth underneath my paws, and the icy wind blowing through my fur. Though, I do have to shake my head every so often to counteract the sting of Iselyn’s tight grip around my neck, pulling at my fur. She buries her face between my shoulderblades to keep the wind out of it. She’s light enough that if it weren’t for that I probably would forget that she was even there.
So wrapped up in the feeling of freedom as I glide through the trees, I don’t even realize that we’ve made it to Riverglen until Iselyn yanks on the fur at the base of my throat. I hear myself whine and skid to a halt. I sniff the air for any sign of Jace and pick up on his scent to the west. Lemon and mint and cedar wood with a hint of gasoline. I follow the scent. Intoxicated by it as it gets stronger and stronger.
Iselyn laughs and yanks on my neck again, slowing me down and pulling me out of my daze. I continue walking, letting the scents blowing past me in the breeze guide me. The faint smell of gasoline leans to the east, but the lemony and minty cedar wood is dead ahead.
I pad around, enjoying the feeling of my nails digging into the earth, playing in the dirt as I walk, until Jace comes into view. He’s sitting on top of a wooden picnic table, his feet resting on the bench. He gets up when he sees us and takes off his black leather jacket.
When we get to him Iselyn climbs down and raises an eyebrow at him.
He holds the jacket up and shrugs. “I didn’t get the text until I got here.”
“Sure you didn't,” She mutters, laughing and shaking her head. Then she puts her hands on her hips, looking between him and the jacket, blinking rapidly with a dumbfounded look on her face.
"Take off your t-shirt. What's leather gonna do for her? It's damn near winter and she will be human when she shifts back. It's cold, you moron," she says, making a finger motion at Jace to take his shirt off.
He struggles to quickly take his shirt off. Half shocked by my sister's demanding bark, I let out a cackle, almost forgetting I hadn't shifted back to my human form yet.
She crosses her arms over her chest with a small smirk. "Unless, of course, you'd prefer to just hold her in your lap to keep her warm."
Jace chuckles softly, now holding his shirt in one hand. I can't help my eyes as they wander down his body, taking in the amazing view in front of me. Tracing each line that contours his body, lingering on every bulge of muscle and dip in the perfectly smooth peach cream skin of his chest and abdomen.
A sharp pain to my left wrist catches me off guard as it jerks to my right. I fall onto my left side in the grass before I can balance myself. I shoot a sideways glare up at Iselyn, who just kicked me and let out a small huff.
Jace hands her his black t-shirt, before turning his back to us, still holding his jacket out in front of him.
I get up, dipping my head down, resting my forehead against the cool wet blades, focusing on the human within. Willing my wolf to retreat. I slowly retract my claws and canines, pawing at the ground and licking my teeth as they do. My bones swiftly and smoothly shorten their length, seeming to gliding into each other, like the rods of a tent as they click into place. I can feel my wolf melt away along with my fur, and shiver at the cold breeze blowing over my bare naked body.
Iselyn loops the t-shirt over my head as I lift it up towards her. She helps me to my feet, which is difficult considering I'm surrounded in a cloud of intoxication. I cross my arms over my chest, trying to center myself, as we start towards the picnic table. Jace turns around and hangs his jacket over my shoulders.
Great. More of his scent.
I don't want it, but only because instinctively I do want it. Get it away from me but give me more. I feel myself pull the jacket tighter around me, trying not to be weird and deeply inhale in front of him.
"Thanks," I tell him, as I hop up on the table beside Iselyn.
She immediately intertwines her legs with mine, trying to fend off the harsh bite of the wind. I take the jacket from my shoulders and drape it over our legs.
"So?" He asks. "You wanted to talk?"
Iselyn takes the lead, nodding her head. "We need you to tell us everything you know about Thantos Abraxas."
The two of us glance at each other. 'It's Jace.'
"We're going to Maine," I tell him.
"Just the two of us," Iselyn answers, glancing at me before looking back at him.
"Why the hell would you do that?" He snaps, crossing his arms over his chest. "You guys can not go to Maine!"
"Things are a lot worse around here than anyone has been letting on, Jace," I tell him.
"We don't have a choice," Iselyn says. "We just want to be prepared. Know what we're in for."
He sighs and runs a hand through his short dark hair. Then he seems to pull himself together and nods his head. " Well, first off, he's a legend for a reason. The worst of the worst. All he cares about is blood."
"Blood?" I ask, confused.
He nods. "All Thantos cares about is blood. His pack is solely made up of pureblooded, born, wolves."
"Wait, I thought he took in all the wolves that bowed down to him twenty years ago. That must've included made wolves."
"It did," he says. "The rumor is, he uses made wolves as slaves. So much so, that they're not even really a part of the pack."
"They're not included, they're just there," Iselyn says.
"Okay," I muse."That's bad but not as bad as I thought."
"Oh no," he says. "It gets worse."
"Like?" Iselyn asks.
"He's the Alpha. In his pack, he has total say. Complete control."
"Okay?" I ask slowly.
"When someone goes against him or disobeys him," Jace continues. "He forces them to shift and locks them in cages."
"What?" Iselyn and I gasp in unison.
Jace takes a long breath and runs a hand over his face, shadows dancing across it as he does. "If he deems it bad enough, he'll take it a step further. It's been said that he'll go as far as killing their children or…"
"Or what?" I press him.
He looks at me, a grim expression taking over his features. "Or their mates."
A sick feeling tugs at the core of my soul.
"That's why under no circumstances can the two of you ever set foot in Maine," he says firmly, severely. "If Thantos finds out who you are, he will kill you."
"Why?" I ask.
"We don't even have mates yet," Iselyn says, furrowing her brows at him.
He shakes his head. "No. But the rumor is…Your father killed his."