Ember's Curse (Prime Wolf), p.19Gena D. Lutz
The truck didn't halt; it just kept barreling down the alley, screeching around the corner. Tyson had escaped. At least, even though he looked a little worse for wear, Nathan was now safe. I'd take the small victory, and in honor of that small win, I released the breath I'd been holding and let out a resounding, "Fuck."
"Are you sure you don't want to stay a few more days?" I asked Nathan as he stuffed his clothes into a duffle bag. "There’s no need to rush home. Your wounds have barely finished healing."
He shook his head and hefted the bag over his shoulder. "I need to find her, Ember. I let her run off to figure shit out. Foolishly watched her leave so she could get use to her new life...like she asked me to, but my patience is tapped out."
I nodded, "You have to do what you think is best, but be gentle with her and remember. You were born into this life, Roxanne was thrown head first into it. She'll be ready when she says she is, not because you want her to be."
His expression turned gentle and he clenched his hand around the hair ribbon that Roxanne had left behind when she took off almost a week ago.
"I don't want to force her into anything. He said softly. "My heart can't help but want to follow her, it's like I don't have a choice."
"It's the bonding; makes you feel incomplete when your mate isn't close."
I took a step closer to him and pried open his hand. The light blue ribbon unraveled from its crumple and I snatched it up. "I hope you find what you’re looking for, my dear friend. Everyone deserves love, even a hard headed man like you."
I wrapped the silk strand around his wrist, right over his new bonding mark, and tied it. "When you do find her, can you tell her something for me?"
Nathan reached over and held my hands. He gave me a brotherly kiss on the forehead and smiled. "What would you like me to say to her?"
I gave his hands a squeeze, then walked over to the bed. Picking up his jacket, I handed it over to him. "Let her know that my door is always open. Tell Roxanne that she has a home here with you and all of the prime wolves when she is ready to accept us."
It was movie night at the pack house and almost every wolf was accounted for. I had taken over the Alpha position after Tommy's death, or to be more accurate, I was thrown into it. So, it was my job to assign everyone their new rankings in the pack hierarchy before normal business could begin. It felt awkward standing high above my wolves on the deck while they sat below me, spread out randomly in the courtyard. Some of them were in wolf form, but most of them human. I knew this was how it was supposed to be. There were certain traditions that could never be broken, and the most important of them all, was every pack needed a strong and competent Alpha leader. There was no getting around it.
"So did you finally decide on who you're going to choose to be your second?" Collin asked me over the murmurs and excited giggles of the crowd. I had originally planned to appoint Nathan to the position, but after our brief conversation this morning and his abrupt departure, I didn't think it would be wise. He had too many other things to worry about right now, other than pack politics.
"Yes my love, I have."
At my signal, two large men stepped up beside me and Collin, one on each side of us, and hushed the crowd. My stomach flipped around like a gymnast on crack when all their eyes zeroed in on me. Collin laid his hand at the small of my back, a show of solidarity between the Alpha pair. I swallowed down my apprehension so I could begin.
"Our pack has gone through a complete collapse of faith and structure due to the evil machinations of our former Alpha." I tried to make eye contact with as many wolves as possible while I addressed them. It was a show of both respect and dominance. Everyone was careful not to hold my stare for more than a few seconds; that was until my eyes landed on one wolf in particular. Sylvia stood in front of the whole pack with two of my soldier wolves holding both of her arms captive in theirs. She sneered at me and pulled against the wolves that held her. Her efforts were futile. This gathering wasn't called together only for the purpose of establishing our chain of command; it was also assembled to hold Sylvia accountable for her part in the crimes committed against the pack.
"I plan on rebuilding that faith," I continued. "My first act, as your new Alpha will be to set an appropriate punishment for those who have wronged you."
The crowd turned their attention on Sylvia. A low growl, amplified by everyone joining in, built up and filled the night air. She tried to hold her head up and stand tall against their judgment, but there was no use. Her wolf was not strong enough to face such a threat and she cowered, diverting her gaze to the ground, not daring to look at any of the wolves that she so grievously wronged.
"Amos, Wesley... please bring her to me." The two soldiers nodded their heads and did my bidding. Amos gave me a side smile and a quick wink, as he helped Wesley direct Sylvia up the stairs. He was one of a very small group of wolves that had been a part of the pack when my grandmother was Alpha. That would make him around three hundred years old. He was tickled pink that in his own words I, "finally regained my proper place in the pack." I gave the old wolf a wink of my own and smiled.
When they stopped beside me, I turned and motioned for them to step back, all but Sylvia. Her head was still downcast and tears rolled down her face. When I found the right words, I delivered them soft but sternly.
"You are charged with committing numerous crimes against the pack. The same pack that you swore to protect as one half of the former Alpha pair. Do you have anything to say for yourself before I decide on suitable reparations?"
"I have done no wrong," she said, cupping her hands in front of her. "I was simply following the orders of my husband and leader."
I shook my head at the laughable excuse. "Your Alpha didn't order you to shoot me," I said, slinking closer to her. "When you stripped me of my clothes while I was restrained and half dead from silver poisoning, was that for your amusement or his? Because I remember your words to me quite vividly."
Sylvia's body began to visibly shake and her eyes shifted over everyone, frantic to find a friendly face, but all she got instead was a view of their backs. The pack had taken it upon them to unite as one in deciding the traitor’s fate. Her face paled and her mouth opened and shut several times. She was trying to say something, but nothing would come out. She looked like a fish out of water, gulping for air.
"You are no longer a prime wolf. From now on, until the last moon rises, you are banished," I decreed.
She backed up shaking her head then turned to flee. I heard the wind rush out of her when she ran up against Amos' rock hard chest. I knew from experience that there was no way she would be getting past that roadblock anytime soon. I sighed and turned my back on her as well.
"Now that we have that piece of business out of the way," I announced, dismissing all thoughts of Sylvia, "we can begin the process of establishing our hierarchy."
Everyone whispered to each other, no doubt discussing or betting on who would be placed in what position. It was a very tricky situation to deal with. I had to make sure I placed the proper wolves in the higher rankings, so as not to incite challenges. For example, if I were to place Amos as my Beta, even though he was built like a mountain, making him look very intimidating, he would be challenged on the spot. I had way too many wolves in this pack that were more dominant than he could ever be.
I watched the excited faces in the crowd. It had been a long time since I felt such joy emanating from the pack. The feeling was indescribable.
I pulled the first medal out of my pocket. It hung from a blue ribbon, our pack color.
"Dane, come join me," I said keeping a smile hidden. He jumped up from the ground so fast he almost fell back down. His face turned red but he handled his embarrassment well by holding his head high as he climbed the stairs. At once, murmurs filled the air and Collin had to growl at them so they would quiet down. When his little legs finished carrying him over to us, he stopped and bowed his head, resp
I reached over and tipped his head up by his chin. He looked at me and smiled wide. "As Alpha, I officially adopt you into the fold," I said loud enough for everyone to hear. "Are there any objections?"
Not one wolf spoke up to object Dane’s admission into the pack. It was a good thing because I probably would have issued challenge to anyone who dared.
I draped the medal over his neck and took his tiny hand in mine. Together we turned and faced the pack.
"I hereby take Dane under my roof and guard." I had essentially just adopted him as my own cub. The medal I carefully draped around his small neck signified his status as the pack’s new Prince. I had been planning to make him my own ever since we escaped the Gatherers. I had been decorating a room in secret, waiting just for him next door to ours. He jumped up and down; clapping his little hands and then ran over to Collin. With a hearty laugh, Collin swung him up into his arms.
I tampered down my excitement over the new addition to our little family; we would have to celebrate later over a heaping bowl of ice cream. I pulled out another medal. This one was made of platinum and with it came the privilege and responsibility of being the Omega of the pack. The peacekeeper. Declan was sitting in the back of the group. He leaned against a tree with a ferret curled up in his lap. Curious green eyes watched as I walked towards him, and light brown eyebrows rose in surprise when I came to a stop in front of his crossed feet. He had just recently returned from an extended visit with his half-brother’s pack in Scotland. The Highland Wolves. Tommy had sent Declan away years ago, after replacing him as our pack’s Omega. Amos had put in a request for his return immediately after Tommy's death. There was still a mystery to unfold as to the reasons why that all went down during Tommy's reign as Alpha, but that was another story to be told. "Do you accept the position of Omega for the prime pack?" I asked the docile wolf. Declan had a calmness to him that seemed to spread to anybody in his presence. He was a natural born Omega and I had always wondered why Tommy replaced him. "I'd be honored," he said while setting his pet on the ground next to him so he could stand. He tilted his head and his long blonde hair fell forward, cascading like silk over a set of broad shoulders. I placed the ribbon around his neck. When that was done I turned to face my pack.
I had one final slot to fill and scanned the crowd for the pack’s new Beta—my second in command. The air swelled with anticipation as I took the steps leading to her. "Sadie," I said stopping in front her. "Do you accept the position of Beta of the prime pack?" "I do," she answered, standing up before me. She then dropped to one knee and bowed her head. I was surprised when applause rang out after I placed the medal around her neck. Sadie had only been a member of the pack for a week. She must have made one hell of an impression on her new pack mates for there not to be even one challenge issued over the coveted position. "Remember that all challenges to the positions assigned here today must be brought before the Alpha pair before any actions can be taken. If there are no objections, I’ll now call this meeting to a close."
Later that night, while everyone was downstairs in the great room watching X-Men, Collin and I snuck away to enjoy a nice run together, underneath the stars. I hadn’t shifted since the dreaded night Tyson escaped and I couldn’t help but worry if I was going to ever be able to shift into full wolf form again. We still hadn't announced our engagement to the pack. After a long discussion, it was decided that we would begin planning the wedding in secret. It just wasn't time to share our incredible news while Nathan and Roxanne were having such a tough time with their bonding.
“Whatever happens, we are in this together, my heart,” Collin said after reading my thoughts. I no longer chastised him for jumping in and out of my head because it no longer felt like an invasion. It might have taken a little while, but after fully transitioning into our Canon wolves, our bond completed as well. We shared every thought, every feeling, without reservations. I had come a long way from being the she-wolf I used to be, the wolf that never knew what it felt like to experience the incredible feeling of love.
“Are you ready?” Collin asked as he ran passed me and down the steep hill that would lead us into the forest of Ash. My thoughts momentarily strayed to the pact that I had made with the royal Nymphs, Ash and Orea. I only had two weeks before my debt to them would be called in. Until then, I would enjoy being part of a functioning pack, and I would languish in the unending love Collin and I shared. The Darkin were a problem that wouldn’t be going away anytime soon, but they were a problem I could save for another day.
“Yes Handsome, I’m ready.”
About the Author
Gena D. Lutz spends most of her time conjuring up characters and figuring out devilish ways to torture them in between several cups of café mocha. She is a mother, wife, and hunter of the dreaded dust bunny. This book is the first step towards living her dreams of being a full time writer.
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Gena D. Lutz, Ember's Curse (Prime Wolf)
Ember's Curse (Prime Wolf) by Gena D. Lutz / History & Fiction have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes