I run down the hill as fast as I can go, slipping and sliding on the loose rocks.Please don’t be Patrick.Please don’t be Patrick.“Rylie!” Val calls after me. “Slow down!”She thinks I’m plowing head first into danger.Perhaps I am.But I have no choice.If my mate is in danger, I must go to him.I must help him.I can’t lose him.I push through the leafy undergrowth, clambering over dead branches and barking my shins on the rocks.I am so close now.Then I hear the howl again.He’s close.I push myself harder, faster.Brambles scratch at my arms and legs, but I hardly feel them.“Rylie!” Val calls after me. “Wait!”I ignore her.I’ll just have to hope that if I run into trouble, she’ll be there to help me.The howls are coming from the clearing.Our clearing.Mine and Patrick's.Panic grips me. The howl comes again. I can tell by how clear it is that whoever is howling, they're in trouble.More than ever, I want to be with my mate.I pick up my pace, push
We bring the rogues to Hunter.My stomach drops the moment he lays eyes on me.I squirm uncomfortably as his gaze follows me across the room.When he sees the rogues enter, his expression turns to confusion.“What’s going on?” he asks.“Your girlfriend wants pets,” Murray says, glowering at me.Hunter looks at me too, his expression perplexed.“Rylie?” he asks. “What’s going on? Why are you bringing vermin into our home?”I wince at the word, but make sure I don't show my disdain on my face.“We found rogue traps," I say. "We thought it would be better to take them alive. For information.”"We?" Hunter asks.I feel Val tense beside me. I don't want to throw her under the bus again, but everyone knows we work in tandem. There's no way to keep her name out of this without arousing suspicions."Val and I."Val glares at me. I hope she understands why I had to say what I just did.“What kind of traps?” Hunter asks, moving on swiftly.“Hidden ones. Ones designed to kill.”“W
I run all the way back to the dorm.I can't stop thinking about the three rogue prisoners.I hope I have bought them time. I can only pray they are in their cells now scheming a way to get out.I open the dorm door and head inside.Tomasina and Alia are inside. They look up as I approach."What's wrong with you?" Tomasina asks."You look like you saw a ghost.""I'm fine," I say, hurriedly."What happened?" Tomasina asks."Is it Hunter?" Alia asks.I sit down on my bed and rub at my temples."No.""You're obviously upset about something," Tomasina says.I look at her. I want to tell her everything. I want to spill my guts. But having it all out there in the open will be too risky. Val knows and that's already one person too many."I think I might have just made a bad situation worse," I say."I don't understand," Tomasina says. "Explain.""It's kind of long," I say."We're not going anywhere," Alia offers.I sigh."We have prisoners," I breathe."What?" Tomasina asks
I stare at the space Patrick just left.I cannot believe what just transpired.My heart feels shattered.I am distraught.He thinks I've betrayed him for my pack.And I suppose, from his perspective, it must look that way.But I haven't and I can't even explain what really happened.What exactly was I supposed to do?Let them be executed?I didn't have a choice. I had to save them.And I will get them out of here, just not in the way Patrick wants.I wish I could tell him everything. That if I had it my way, none of the rogues would be dead. But I can't, and now he is gone. Possibly forever.Footfall approaches.I turn, expecting to see the guards coming around the corner.Instead, I see Val.She locks eyes with me and her face turns stern.My stomach plummets. I know I am in trouble.She reaches me."What are you playing at, Rylie?" she demands. "You're not supposed to be here."She looks around nervously, clearly on edge."What do you mean?" I ask, trying to play
Val takes me to her den. Due to her high rank, she gets her own.I've never been in here. It's basic, but comfortable. I think about how much better I'd sleep if I didn't have to listen to Tomasina and Alia snoring every night.“What are we doing here?” I ask as I step inside.“Getting some privacy.” She shuts the door behind her and bolts the lock. Then she walks over to her desk and flicks on the light.She takes a sheet of paper out the drawer and lies it on the desk.“What’s that for?” I ask.“You’re going to write your mate a letter.”"A letter?""A break-up letter. Tell him you don't like the ultimatum he gave you."My heart flies into my throat.“What?" I cry. "I can’t do that!”“You can,” she insists, “and you will.”She pulls the chair out for me.I sit heavily and blink at the empty page.Then I look up at Val hovering beside my shoulder, her face lit by the lamplight.“And you’re going to deliver this to him?” I ask skeptically."Yes.""Won't that be dange
PATRICKI cannot believe what has just transpired.Rylie, my mate, my one true love, has betrayed me.She has taken my friends prisoner.Why? For what?She said there was an explanation, but what can she possibly say to justify locking up a teenager?She is too loyal to her pack.She is trying to have both.Them and me.But it does not work that way.We are enemies.She has to choose.I cannot have her playing me while she tries to find a way to have both.It's too cruel.She said she was sorry.But she is not.She is a liar.I was truly hurt by what she deceived me with.I trusted her, and she used that trust to fool me.I cannot believe she is putting the needs of her pack over me.I am her mate.She is putting the pack over me.And that scent...It was all over her. The scent of an alpha. She has been up close and personal with him, I am certain. And I saw the look in her eyes when I challenged her on it.My entire body is tense with anger.All I see is re
RYLIE"Rylie," a voice says from behind.I turn, already knowing who I will see.Conner. Hunter's right hand man. His best beta. The lacky who does his dirty work."What do you want, Conner?" I demand.I am so not in the mood for him. Not after sending Val off with the break up letter for Patrick. Though, to be honest, I am never in the mood for Conner.He strides up alongside me. "Hunter wants to see you."Panic flutters in me."What?" I ask. "Now?""Yup.""Why?"Conner wiggles his eyebrows. "That's for me to know, and you to find out."It is the sort of typically infuriating comment I expect from Conner.He reaches forward to take my arm.I yank it back away from him."I don't need guiding," I snap. "I can walk myself."He laughs and holds his hands up. "Whatever you say, luna."I clench my teeth.He is goading me by calling me luna.It takes all my strength not to smack him.We walk in silence.The whole way, I wonder what Hunter has summoned me for.I'm sure
I run to the training ground as fast as my legs can carry me.Please, please, please, I beg to the sky. Don't let me be too late.Behind me, I can hear Hunter and his betas following. They're all still laughing. This is just a fun game to them. I feel sick to my stomach that I am aligned with such cruelty.I reach the training grounds.The captive rogues are all lined up and blind folded.They are tied with silver ropes.They try--and fail--to shift into wolf form.They are helpless.Standing in front of them are about ten guards with their bows and arrows poised.They prepare to fire.I feel paralyzed.It is too late.I burst forward."Stop!" I cry.But I am too late.An array of silver-tipped arrows arc through the air."No!" I scream.Arrows bury into flesh.My heart breaks.The rogues fall to the ground in a heap of death.With sickening thuds.Everyone of them.I run to their side.Even though I know it's too late.Even though I know they're already dead.