Chapter Three

The Black Wolf

“Has the counsel responded?” he asked Derrick, his beta, as he walked into the office. It had been a week since the damn hunters had snuck up on him and he’d been furious ever since. His shoulder still ached where the silver bullet had torn through it. Thankfully, it had gone straight through and not lodged itself in the skin. If it had, he might not be here.

“They’ve been silent,” Derrick replied and Tristan growled in frustration, causing his beta to raise an eyebrow at him. “There might be more of a response if you contacted them directly. You know how they feel about werewolf society and hierarchies.”

Damn it! I threw down the reports that I was looking over. He was right. I hated dealing with the hunters and their society. They were cowards, hiding behind stolen magic of witches they’d hunted down in the past. If it wasn’t for the need for peace, I would have happily moved toward wiping them out.

As alpha of the strongest pack in North America, I knew that I could unite our packs and rid our continent of them if I really wanted to. But how many innocent lives would be lost if we went to war with the hunters?

Shaking my head, I reach up and rub the puckered scar where the wound had been. The bullet must have been dipped in wolfsbane as it was taking too long to heal. Even with silver, once it was out of the body, healing took very little time but it had already been a week and the scar bothered me as much as the strange girl standing in the clearing.

“How’d he even get a shot off at you?” Derrick asked as he grabbed the report I’d been reading. He’d read it before. We’d all read it. Rogues were testing the borders of small packs and a few had even tested our borders. They were growing more daring with each attack and there were rumors that a rogue king was leading them.

And that’s why I agreed to continue the pact with the hunter society. We needed the hunters investigating the rogues so we could reinforce our borders and find out where this supposed rogue king was and what he wanted.

“There was more than one,” I murmured but even to me, it was a weak excuse.

Derrick waved his hand. “Yeah, yeah. How did two get the jump on you? Why didn’t you smell them a mile away?”

I shrugged. That was what was pissing me off so much. Morpheus snarled in my brain and I knew he was just as angry. “You know why,” Morpheus said to me.

Feeling my canines slipping out, I fought Morpheus from taking control. Ever since that day, he’d been unruly and trying to get out. He wanted to find her but I had no idea what he wanted to do with her. I don’t even think my wolf knew what he wanted to do with her.  Morpheus had been as surprised as he was when she came into the clearing.

It was almost as though she’d just appeared before him. He’d been out for a run with his wolf. When he’d reached the clearing, he laid down in the cool grass, enjoying the late spring sunrise. It was calming and he’d needed a break from all the responsibilities placed on his shoulders.

Up until 6 months ago, his father had been alpha. The plan had been for him to take over once he found his mate but every year that passed without finding her, the unrest in the pack grew. Eventually, his father conceded that he would become alpha without his luna.

And that weakness was noted by friend and foe alike. Without his luna, he was less of an alpha. Still powerful but he couldn’t draw on a mate bond to add to his strength. The sudden need for a mate had grown with each passing day and the last mating ritual held by Silver Moon pack had failed to produce even a whisper of a mate.

He was frustrated and that is what had driven him to find solitude. Keisha had been pestering him to mark her as his mate. To grow the strength of his pack, the Red Blood pack, with her father’s pack, Silver Moon.

In that clearing, he just breathed in. The hum of the pack’s thoughts in the back of his mind as he weighed the benefits of marking Keisha. She was beautiful, intelligent and the daughter of an alpha. The only problem was that she was too arrogant and notorious for looking down at the lesser members of the pack.

And she was a huge pain in his ass. She was currently here to negotiate new alliance terms on behalf of her pack and I knew she was hoping those terms would also include an engagement ring and a mate mark. As much as I hated to admit it, an alliance with Silver Moon would cement my stake as the strongest pack in North America. Hell, it might even make me as strong as some of the ancient packs in Europe.

All those thoughts had drifted through my head as I lounged in the cool grass. A noise caused my ears to perk in interest and I swung my massive head to look behind me and there she stood. A pale ghost dressed in black jeans and a black sweater. I could see black combat gear covering her body and a number of weapons stored on her vest and belt as well as a gun holster. Her green eyes widened in surprise and she froze, the steel blade in her hand wavering as she trembled.

Then her scent hit me, vanilla and the secret places in a deep forest. Calming and exciting all at once and Morpheus whined in confusion. He stood up and took a step toward her. And she stood there, mesmerized. “She smelled,” I said when I realized I’d been quiet too long and Derrick was staring at me. “She smelled off.”

“Off?” We’d been over this several times this week and Derrick still kept asking the same questions…questions that I couldn’t answer. “Did she smell like a hunter?”

I shook my head, taking a deep breath as if I could catch her scent even now.

“So a werewolf?”

I scoffed and said, “Why would a werewolf be with a hunter?” Even though we held truces with them, no werewolf trusted a hunter enough to interact with them outside of the sacred meetings places that were neutral ground to all of us.

He shrugged, “Well, did she?”

“No, she didn’t smell like a werewolf but she wasn’t human either. She smelt like nothing I’ve ever smelt before.”

“Witch? Vampire? Siren? Fairy?” He held up his finger for each creature he listed off and I shook my head with each one. The fact was, she smelt like nothing I’d ever smelt before. “So, let me get this straight, you have no idea what she smelled like but it was distracting enough that her partner managed to get a clean shot on you.”

My nails ripped into the arm of my chair and I cursed at losing another chair. I had been going through them like crazy this last week. The older hunter had snuck up on me. The girl with her lithe build and plump lips had drawn my attention and the sound of the shot was what drew me from her siren’s call. If I’d been mortal, I wouldn’t have been able to move fast enough to avoid being shot in the heart. I knew well enough that I was outmatched at that moment and I’d slipped into the darkness of the woods.

Although I didn’t run. Instead, I’d circled back and watched him shake the girl. I’d heard her stammer out her responses and wondered if I’d affected her as much as she’d affected me. From their conversation, the man was her father but he didn’t smell like her at all. He smelled cold. Like blood soaked steel and lacked any of the warmth that his daughter had. It had puzzled me and Morpheus had wanted to follow them as they headed away from him.

But we’d been too injured to stay any longer so I’d mind linked Derrick and told him to send Arianna, our best healer, to me.

“The question is why did a hunter attack you?”

And that was another question I’d been circling for the last week. We had a truce and they didn’t seem like rogue hunters…but maybe they were. “I’m not sure. Hunters only have permission to hunt pack wolves if they break the covenant. Maybe they confused me for a different wolf?”

Derrick’s blue eyes filled with worry as he leaned forward and said, “Or maybe there is a contract out on you?”

And that was another question I had. If there was a contract out for my life, who had put the target on my head?

Related chapters

Latest chapter Protection Status