Updated: Mar 28, 2022
“You didn’t need to cook for us,” Lionel tells his mate. “We could’ve gone out instead, Emmi.”
“I know,” Emma responds. “But I know for a fact that both Rhett and Wyatt have had nothing but takeout whilst we’ve been visiting my parents.”
“You’re not wrong,” I say, shrugging. “I’m pleased you’re both finally home.”
I grab the plates she has set out and set them up on the counter as Wyatt grabs drinks. We try to have dinner together quite often since Emma worries we don’t eat properly, and with them being gone for the last week, there’s a lot for us to share.
Well, in terms of gossip anyway.
“How have things been here?” Lionel asks. I add my lasagne to my plate, and Wyatt hands me the salad.
“Well, the wolves at Lupine Valley have been up to something,” Wyatt says. “Everett was meant to be coming over for a lunch meeting today, and he cancelled.”
“How does that relate to Lupine Valley?”
“Well, I was out hunting, and I saw Everett, Malcolm and a few enforcers out for a run. I followed”—because he’s a nosy fuck—“and they went onto Lupine Valley lands.”
“Why?” Emma asks, scrunching her nose up. “That’s strange. I wonder if they’re okay.”
I roll my eyes because she’s far too nice. They’re up to something. I just need to know what. Relations between Golden Eclipse and us are good... relations between Lupine Valley and us are not. The pack is run by twin Alphas who don’t know their heads from their asses, but Wyatt likes their Beta, so maybe there is hope.
“It is,” Wyatt agrees. “I really don’t know.”
“I’ve tried calling, but he hasn’t answered,” I add. “I had our enforcers patrolling, and they told me that the enforcers and Malcolm left, only for Malcolm to return with Grace a little while later. Everett hasn’t left.”
“You’re such a gossip,” Wyatt teases. Yeah, well, he wants to know because he’s nosy and can’t take missing out on a secret. I need to know because I’m Alpha to a pack that relies on me for safety. “I didn’t know you did that.”
“We don’t have great relations with Lupine Valley,” I murmur. “So, excuse me for trying to stay in the loop.”
“I have great relations with them,” Wyatt counters. “The twins are boring as fuck, but I like River.”
“The twins are so boring,” I agree. Called it. I don’t get Wyatt’s obsession with River, but it works in my favour. I get to sim him over, guilt-free, instead of me needing to go. Win-win.
“Rhett, you’ve not seen them in years,” Emma says. She’s a good cook, but her motherly tone is annoying. I don’t want them in my life. It’s that simple. “Stop being mean; I bet they’re lovely.”
“Sure.” I roll my eyes and continue eating.
“Who else do they have?” Emma asks. “David, right?”
“Dillon,” Lionel responds. “Although I love that you forgot his name.” She blushes and takes a sip of her wine as his hand falls to her knee. My wolf whines in my head, something he’s been doing for a week or so now. It’s annoying as hell, and I really don’t know what his issue is. It’s like he wants something, but I don’t understand what.
“We’re going to need to get help for Arthur,” Wyatt adds.
I turn to him, confused. “What do you mean? I thought that was dealt with.”
“Nah.” He sighs, and my wolf paces in my head. I hate that one of my wolves are sick, but I really don’t know how to fix it. I don’t have medical knowledge, and our physician can’t help him.
“What about asking Golden Eclipse?” Wyatt and Lionel both nod at my suggestion. “I know they’ve clearly got something going down with Lupine Valley, but I can imagine Everett would help.”
“Especially if you ask Grace,” Wyatt says. “If not, I could speak to River.”
“What’s River going to do?” I demand. Did the unstable hybrid get a medical degree overnight? I fucking doubt it.
“Speak to the Alphas,” Wyatt says, ignoring my grunt. “I’m not doing that. They’re pussies.”
“They’re still wolves ranking higher than you,” I remind him. “Don’t be disrespectful.”
“You’d like Caden,” Lionel tells Wyatt. “Honestly. You’re practically the same person. Like Noah is more like Rhett. Nice, friendly. You’re more like Caden. A grumpy asshole.” Emma and I roar with laughter, and Wyatt rolls his eyes.
“Why am I still friends with you?” he asks as I get up and grab us all another beer before returning to sit back down.
“Because without my mate, you’d starve?” Lionel counters. At least he knows it.
“How are your parents doing?” I ask Emma. “Tell us about the visit.” Emma gets animated, telling us about her sister and how she’s pregnant again. We move from the kitchen to the living room once we’ve finished eating.
“Okay, I’m ready to go home,” Emma declares. I glance at the time, and it’s nearly eight. They’ve been here for three hours, and I doubt they stayed at home any longer than a few minutes to drop off bags. Oops.
“Thanks for cooking.” I stand and give her a hug.
“See you in the morning,” Wyatt adds. “Let’s do breakfast.”
“We’ll go out,” Lionel says.
“Sounds good.” I follow them out, and as Lionel opens the door, an invisible force slams into us all.
I’ve never felt power like this before, and for whatever reason, it has my wolf excited. I submit to whoever is sending out the dominance—whilst it kills my pride to do this, there isn’t a chance I could ignore it.
“What the fuck?” Wyatt groans, his wolf as excited as mine. “Rhett, is this you?”
“No,” I gasp out.
I close my eyes, drawing upon the strength of the pack to lock down the pack boundaries. It’s great that I can still access the pack link and use the energy to my advantage because otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to build these barriers.
I don’t know what this force is or where it’s coming from, but before I can figure that out, my pack needs to be safe. They’re shifting, trying to leave to go to this power surge. I grunt because this isn’t happening on my fucking watch. I don’t know who the fuck is attempting to take over my pack, but I won’t allow it.
“What’s happening?” Lionel whimpers.
“I’m trying to figure that out.”
I close my eyes again, connecting fully with my wolf so that we can try and trace the energy signature. It doesn’t take long for my desperate wolf to lock onto the energy signature and locate it in Lupine Valley. Big fucking surprise.
Inwardly, I’m furious. Now I know Everett was over there due to this, and neither he nor the stupid fucking twins thought to let me know. I don’t know whether this a ploy from the two of them working together, or there’s a threat they knew about and didn’t think to warn me.
I try to locate the person, but the energy stops. It wasn’t a gradual withdraw but a sudden yanking back. Did they run out of fuel... or are they gearing up for round two?
I’m just grateful I can fucking sit up so that I can think it through and get a plan in place. I might have the least experience as Alpha, but there’s not a chance I’m going down without a fight.
“What the fuck was that?” Wyatt growls.
“I’m working on it. Lionel, can you gather the pack and reassure them? We’re safe for now, and I need them to know that whilst I’m chasing down a lead.”
“I’ll go with,” Emma says, and I nod as they both head out.
“This was Lupine Valley,” I inform Wyatt. “They’re trying to take over our pack.”
I head into the living room, ignoring my wolf because he doesn’t seem to think the energy was a danger. Asshole. He’s excited and wants me to shift and find the person that was taunting him. I don’t think he understands that this is a blatant attack on our power because he wants to roll over and give the person whatever they want.
Not on my fucking watch.
“Try and contact the twins,” Wyatt says. “This is a fucking shit show. Whoever did that is powerful. How the fuck do they have enough energy to be able to affect all of our pack?”
“I don’t know,” I whisper. “I need to shift.”
At Wyatt’s command—something that would usually have my wolf bristling in defiance—I head outside, immediately shifting. It’s not often that my wolf and I disagree about things, and right now, I need to understand his thoughts. His whining is stopping me from doing my job. Our job.
I run for about twenty minutes before shifting back. My whining wolf is pissing me off. He doesn’t seem to understand that crossing pack boundaries and infiltrating Lupine Valley is not a good idea. First of all, it could be a trap, but also, I do not want to fight one of the twins to death and take over their pack, which my trespassing will make the only choice.
I imagine the energy signature that sent out the dominance blast and try to form a connection with it. Surprisingly, it was pretty easy. Once I connect with the wolf, I smile. I can sense the familial bonds within her... and whilst confusing, this is a lot less worrying.
“Charlotte,” I call into her mind. Charlotte. A lovely name. I don’t know how it’s possible or how she’s back, but I now understand why Everett cancelled with me.
His daughter has finally been returned to us.
She doesn’t respond for a few minutes, which is extremely rude. I get that she’s an Alpha’s child... but she’s not an Alpha.
“We need to meet.” She still doesn’t respond, and I’m getting more pissed off. I’m standing in the fucking woods, communicating with an ignorant... oh shit. What if she doesn’t know how? “Think the thought to me. Direct them to me.”
“Who are you?” Fuck. Her voice. It’s sweet and soft. Even mentally, I can sense a musical element to it. Who knew I could love a voice this much?
Again, she doesn’t respond, and I sigh when her dad tries to connect with me. I sever our connection, ignoring the cries from my wolf, before letting Everett in.
“What?” Everett snarls. There’s nothing worse than an Alpha protecting his pup. “I was going to call you back.”
“Sure, you were. Was that before or after your visit to Lupine Valley?”
“That’s not,” he starts before changing direction. “We can meet tomorrow.”
“Good. Where and when?”
“Golden Eclipse,” he says. “It’s neutral for the both of you.”
Liar. He’s her dad, so his pack is clearly not neutral for her. I don’t care, though. I want to know more about the situation and understand why she’s at Lupine Valley instead of with him.
“No,” I deny. Got to act like it’s an inconvenience, even if it’s not. Politics. They suck. “My lands.”
“No. She’s a new wolf. Let her at least go somewhere familiar.”
“Fine. 2p.m.. Golden Eclipse.”
He disconnects, and I smirk. I shift and head back home, where my Beta is pacing angrily in the living room.
“Don’t worry. I’ve spoken to Everett, and we’re meeting tomorrow. Let’s alert the pack, and I’ll fill you in.”
Things are really going to change around here.
Last night went well once I filled Wyatt and Lionel in on the issue. The pack were still restless, but they understood that we’re handling the situation. I was pissed when another fucking dominance display occurred this morning, but luckily it didn’t last as long. I can’t wrap my head around how she’s this powerful. I’m currently having lunch with Wyatt and Lionel before I need to head over to Golden Eclipse. It’s only 1 now, so we have time.
I feel her connect with me, and I smile and let her in.
“Hi… Alpha Simmons,” she whispers. “It’s me. Charlotte. Well, Lottie.”
“I know. What’s wrong?” She’s so sweet. I’m really looking forward to meeting her.
“Meeting location has changed.”
Now, this sets me on edge. I don’t like that. We agreed upon Golden Eclipse for her, and so I don’t want to give her the home advantage. Why the fuck is she changing locations this quickly? I’m not stupid.
Even though she seems sweet, I know from experience how powerful she is. I don’t know her motives yet, but I can’t relax my guard until I can verify my suspicions. Is she trying to take over my pack?
“No,” I argue. “We said to meet at Everett’s place.”
“Then we can rearrange.” She sounds so disinterested, and for some reason, this has my wolf on edge.
“No. Fine. I’ll come to you, but I am not happy about it.” She’s silent for a moment.
“Why don’t you bring someone?”
I open my eyes and turn to the other two. “We’re changing location. Doing it at Lupine Valley, but I’m not happy. She’s offered to let you come. Grab Emma, please.” Lionel nods and leaves.
“Okay. At the town hall at two pm, yeah?”
I disconnect and turn to Wyatt, sighing. “She’s stressed. I don’t know. Get ready to go; I want to be prepared.”
“Sure thing. Don’t stress, we’ll be fine. She’s one girl, and despite being powerful, we’ll be fine.” If only I believed that. Lionel and Emma return and Wyatt briefs them. We shift and head over to Lupine Valley. I roll my eyes when we’re not stopped at all, and as we reach the town and shift, we’re ignored. Their wolves actively ignore us, and I don’t understand.
Once I enter the building, a large smile appears on my face. My mate is here. We walk to the receptionist, and I smile at her.
“Hi, Alpha Simmons here. I have a meeting at 2?”
“Yes,” she murmurs, blushing. “Of course. My name is Hannah. I’ll take you up there now.”
The four of us follow her to the meeting room, and I can’t contain my happiness the closer we get. As soon as the door opens, my eyes dart to the blonde. She’s tiny, but the panic in her expressive eyes is killing me.
Hannah is talking to the twins, but I couldn’t care less. The only person I have eyes for is my mate.
She’s glancing between Wyatt and me, seeming confused. It leads me to believe Wyatt is her mate too. For whatever reason, I don’t think she shifted whilst she was away from her biological parents, and I think she’s struggling.
I smile, trying to reassure her, but it doesn’t work. Whilst logically, I know it’s likely just because she’s overwhelmed, my wolf doesn’t feel the same. He’s worried she’s unhappy with me as her mate.
“Lottie, this is Rhett Simmons,” Noah snaps. Is it Noah? I get them confused. I don’t like his tone of voice with my mate, but I’ll wait before cutting in.
“Nice to meet you.” Her voice is a whisper, but it’s the same musical tone she uses when she communicates mentally.
I can’t contain my grin. My mate is precious. “It’s even nicer to meet you, Charlotte.”
“His Beta, Wyatt. His Gamma, Lionel, and Lionel’s mate, Emma.”
“I’m Caden,” Caden says. So, I was right. I don’t look at him, though, far more interested in my little mate. “This is my Beta, River. Gamma, Dillon. Warren is Lottie’s mate too.” Oh. So, she’s mated with all five of them. Curious.
“Everett,” Everett says. “And this is my mate, Grace.” Why is he introducing himself? I already know who he is and who his mate is.
“Lottie’s parents,” Caden murmurs. Ah. Makes sense now. I smirk because I had already pieced that together and sit down. I break eye contact with Lottie and glance at Wyatt. He sits, as do Emma and Lionel. Their party finally sits down too, and I glance around at them all. They’re very tense, probably nervous about us being around Lottie. As if we’d ever hurt her.
“Baby,” Noah whispers. Baby? Inwardly I scoff. I hate that he’s trying to lay claim. “What’s wrong?”
“So, Charlotte,” I say, smiling at her. “Where have you been?” More importantly... why haven’t I met you sooner?
“What’s that to you?” Everett demands.
“Lottie,” Wyatt drawls. Fucking hell Wyatt. He’s antagonising her other mates, and it’s working. “I like it.” I don’t let Caden and Warren’s snarls affect me because I don’t want my mate thinking any less of me.
“Stop being a dick,” Emma lectures. She places her arm on Wyatt’s arm, and I tense. My mate isn’t going to like that. She growls before looking embarrassed and dropping her head. I ignore my wolf’s whines because I don’t think me reassuring her right now will help.
“Charlotte.” Lottie glances up at her dad, and I hate the insecure look on her face.
“What the fuck is going on?” Warren demands.
I sigh. “Lottie is my mate.”
“And mine,” Wyatt adds.
That’s when our mate loses composure, and the rest of us start fighting. Her dad is snarling at us, her other mates are angry, and all I can see is the defeated look on my mate’s face. I hate that she is feeling this way. Finding your mate is meant to be a joyous occasion, not something that results in fighting. The Alpha in me won’t allow their disrespect, though, and that’s how I find myself joining in on the arguing.