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Therianthrope: A Hybrid's Curse

 

 

Therianthrope

A New Kind of Curse

 

Taylor Lowe

 

Copyright 2015 Taylor Lowe

Shakespir Edition

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Book cover image: Models: Mahia Keepa-Hale, Stellar Management and Photography by Cathleen Tarawhiti 2007 – 2012 (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Hamilton-New-Zealand/Cathleen-Tarawhiti-Photographer/95878166172); Man in Fur by cyraphotography|depositphotos.com; Graphics: Blue Forest by CD-STOCK (http://cd-stock.deviantart.com/); Texture Set 038 by Proverbial Sunrise (http://proverbialsunrise.deviantart.com/); Skillman Village 20 Dracoart-stock (http://dracoart-stock.deviantart.com/)

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Chapter 1

~

Lily Nawassa sighed as she leaned back in her chair and looked around the cramped little room that was her home for eight hours of the day. It was her attempt to put criminals behind bars where they belonged. She loved her job even if the forensic chemistry wasn’t as glamorous as it seemed on the criminal science series on TV. With another loud sigh, she glanced over at a large machine. Lily awaited the test results to confirm what she already knew; that the white powder she had on her rickety old desk was, in fact, cocaine.

It should only take a few more minutes; she told herself silently and moved her neck in circles. It was stiff from her sitting in the same position for so long. Finally, the results reached the computer and confirmed it was cocaine she had on her hands and quiet, pure cocaine at that. “Oh someone surely wasn’t happy when NYPD confiscated this,” she mused with a half-smile. She grabbed the case file information and glanced at it.

TJ “Dawg” Carter charged with drug trafficking, human trafficking, extortion, fraud, and the list went on and on. This douchebag was going to be probably facing some serious jail time with the evidence against him. Lily saved the result on the computer with the correct case file data then shut it down for the day. She got up from the little office chair stiffly, shaking out her limbs as she walked over to the large file cabinet to store the hard copy.

Once the hard copy was in its place, she locked the cabinet and stuffed the key back into her pocket. Law Enforcement was a stickler for their chain of custody. So everything had to be under strict lock and key to making sure that nothing got mixed or tampered. She walked out of the small room locking the door behind her then rescued her black hair from the tight bun that had it captured.

Lily continued down the hall until she reached an overcrowded office that made her laboratory appear grand and spacious. “Good Night Doctor Henry,” Lily told the small balding man buried under mountains of paperwork. He nodded in recognition that he heard her but gave no other reply. With a small smile, she shook her head and walked down the hall towards the locker room. It was like her lab and Doctor Henry’s office in the fact it was small and crowded.

The little locker room is a tight fit, cramped with rows and rows of tiny gray lockers. She walked up to the number “38” and absentmindedly dialed the combination. She removed her keys and hung them up on a little metal hook on the side of the locker then pulled the white lab coat off of her shoulders with a relieved sigh that comes only from a long day of work now completed. Lily carefully removed the elastic band that held her dark hair captive before grabbing her purse. A loud echo ripped through the room as she closed the locker and slung her purse over her shoulder.

She ran her fingers through her dark hair, enjoying the feeling of having it down again as she left the little locker room into the hallway that led out of the old building. The elated feeling of finally being on her own time filled Lily as she walked to her banged up old car. It may be a thousand years old, but it was the first car she bought one hundred percent on her own, and that fact made it her baby.

Lily sat down in the driver’s seat and slammed her door shut, the only way to make sure it closed. She set her purse down next to her then rummaged through it to find her cell phone. She checked for missed calls and noticed she had two voicemails. “Hey Lilly pad,” started the first message and Lily knew it was her best friend and sister through adoption, Lacy immediately. “I have some great news; meet me at the folk’s house after work, okay! Bye!” Lily smiled and waited for the next message.

“Hey, Sunshine this is Sandy. I know you’re working. I just wanted to invite you over for dinner tonight; we hardly see you lately! I love you and don’t work too hard,” spoke the motherly voice of Sandy Roberts, Lacy’s and Lily’s mother, though Lily never called her mother but Sandy. She couldn’t keep the smile off her face as she returned the phone back into the little purse and started to coax the car to start for her.

To say she was eager to see her family tonight would have been an understatement. They never made her feel any different even though she stuck out like a sore thumb. Not only because they were all blonde with blue eyes while she took all of her biological father’s Native American features but because she was human and they were all werewolves.

Like most things in life, the legends and Hollywood movies where werewolves were nothing more than hideous monsters that only thought of dragging children out of their bedroom windows for dinner were not even close to the truth. They were like pretty much like normal humans. They did have their differences from humans, mainly being their ability to shift into wolves and that delicate moment of the month but who was Lily to judge. She had a delicate moment of the month too, and hers lasted more than one night. She would even go so far as to say she was worse pmsing than any werewolf under the full moon.

Driving to her apartment, Lily needed a quick shower and had to change into a t-shirt and jeans before driving over to the Roberts. No one cooked better than Sandy and Lily hadn’t enjoyed one of her meals in weeks. Between school and work, she had no free time at all. Her mouth started to water just thinking about the wonderful meal that she was going to eat that night.

She smiled as the large white house came into view. The strong feeling of home filled her as she pulled up onto the long paved driveway. Tony, her brother, waved to her as she got out of the car. He was a good six feet and had the Roberts’s characteristic blonde hair with a little bit of a goatee on his chin and blue eyes making him a natural heartthrob to most women though Lily only ever seen him as a big brother. “How goes the life of busting crime?” He asked with a teasing tone.

“Oh, you know a lot of work and long hours. There have been a lot of drug busts last week in New York, and the NYPD is sending us some of the drugs their labs can’t get to,” she explained with a bit of boasting in her voice.

“You sound so CSI when you talk like that,” he stated with a sly smirk clearly mocking her now.

“I’m just awesome like that,” she teased back and gave him a hug.

“Hey Lily,” Elizabeth, Tony’s wife or as the werewolves term it- mate, greeted her, and Lily broke the hug taking quickly a few steps back. Elizabeth took the chance to wrap her arms possessively around Tony. Lily gave Elizabeth a warm smile in hopes to disarm the territorial instincts of the werewolf before her. Elizabeth was one of those types of women that had it all. The perfect body with right amount of everything in the right places and she was easy going and easy to get along with, typically, but for some reason, she always saw Lily as a threat.

Elizabeth had accepted Lily as part of the family, more or less, except when it came to Tony and any physical contact between them. It didn’t matter if it was just a hug or small signs of sibling affection. No matter how many times Tony explained that the two of them saw each other as siblings and nothing more she’d get insanely jealous. She sometimes would get a tad too aggressive whenever she had seen such contact or affection and Andrew, their dad, had to step in and do his alpha lecture thing with her.

Now she was only passive aggressive but Lily didn’t hold it against her. The whole werewolf mate thing wasn’t just a term but much more. From what she had seen it seemed to really mess up their brains and make them do crazy and random things. It was one of the many reasons Lily enjoyed being human. Relationships were hard enough without adding the whole mate factor to it. Even the word mate seemed off; it just sounded such a primitive and animalistic word to call someone you love.

“Long time to see, how are you doing?” Elizabeth asked with an only slightly forced smile.

“I am doing good thanks, Liz,” Lily told her with a smile. “Well I am going inside see you two kids later,” she said with a smile and went into the house. She saw Andrew being thrown out of the kitchen. He was blond like Tony but a little lighter in color and cut almost into a buzz cut. He looked fairly around forty, but he was actually closer to sixty. It appears Mother Nature was kinder to werewolves than their human brothers.

“Where have you been, young woman? We have missed you terribly,” Andrew told her giving her a fatherly kiss on her forehead, and she smiled happily. Who could ask for a better family?

“I have been so busy, between school and work I hardly have time to get a full night’s rest,” she told him but instantly realized she should have kept that information to herself as his icy blue eyes hardened, giving her a stern disapproving look.

“Lily you shouldn’t work so hard, it’s not good for you!” He began to lecture her, and she nodded agreeing with him.

“Yes I know but one has to do what one has to do right?” She replied. He kept his stern look for a moment, so she gave him one of her best smiles and his face softened.

“What am I going to do with you,” he said giving up and she gave him another quick hug in reply. “Lacy is looking for you, and we have a guest joining us tonight too,” he told her as he left towards the living room. A guest, Lily mouthed silently with curiosity, wondering who it was. Usually, when they had members of their pack over, she had to keep her distance. Not everyone liked that the Alpha had a human living with him on a daily basis. So if anything packish was happening, she knew to keep her distance.

Lily shrugged and went upstairs looking for Lacy knowing she would find out sooner or later. She hopped up the stairs and opened the door to her room. “Hey Lace-” She called and then quickly turned around, covering her eyes with her hands, as she found Lacy and her mate Chris in a heavy make out session. “Oh come on you guys, what are you, rabbits?” She scolded them, and they both laughed.

“I am not joking! You’re going to scar me for life,” she complained.

“Your just jealous you don’t have any of this,” Chris told her and she lowered her hands after peeking through her fingers to see if they were decent. She gave the smug brunette before her a glare.

“Please, you’re the sole reason I have sworn never to date a werewolf…ever! Damn nympho,” she rebuked him, but his smug expression only grew into a full blown smile appeared on his face.

“Right keep telling yourself that. Denial is the first sign of jealousy you know,” he replied then gave Lacy a quick kiss. As he walked passed Lily he gave her a playful wink, and she rolled her eyes, shaking her head at him. Chris was a horrible flirt though never really serious. Thankfully Lacy didn’t have the possessive issues Elizabeth had or Lily would probably have been torn apart by now.

“God Lacy why do you always fall for the cocky ones,” she despaired with a non-serious disapproving tone and Lacy smiled mischievously.

“Men are much more fun that way and besides he is like a god under the sheets,” Lacy said dreamily and started to daze off into her fantasies. Lily shuddered, that was way too much information than she wanted to know about Chris.

“Earth to Lacy, earth to Lacy,” Lily called to her friend snapping her fingers in front of Lacy’s face. The daydreaming blonde blinked a couple of times.

“Oh sorry,” Lacy apologized a smile growing on her face, causing Lily to shake her head. Her friend was hopeless! She thought with another smile.

“What did you want to tell me so badly?” Lily asked her. Lacy looked confused for a moment then got all excited.

“Oh yeah, you remember that kid that stayed with us for about a year, James Lacrosse?” Lacy asked excitedly. Lily thought for a moment then nodded with a slight frown. They had never met face to face, but Lily knew of him very well. James Lacrosse was nearly legendary in the werewolf world, and Lily had heard more than a few horror stories about him.

She also remembered him from her childhood and how much she hated him more than anything when she was twelve. That boy robbed her of the only place she could come close to calling home for nearly a year. She felt her anger rise slightly, still holding a grudge against him after all these years.

“Yeah I remember him,” she started coldly but then smiled evilly. “I remember he was your first major crush. Man, you could spend hours doodling his name!” Lily teased, and her smile grew as Lacy turned pink.

“Oh God, I had forgotten about that,” Lacy replied with a shy smile then added. “Well, he’s back finally! He arrived today, and he will be eating dinner with us!” She gushed happily. Lily just barely managed to control a scowl that threatened to tear across her face.

“And he is so hot! Oh my God if I weren’t already mated I would jump him,” Lacy went on dreamily not noticing that Lily wasn’t impressed. She shook off the feelings of irritation she felt and laughed. Lily became convinced more and more every day that all werewolves were just a bunch of nymphomaniacs. “Laugh all you want! You haven’t seen him yet! In fact, hot doesn’t even begin to describe him,” Lacy said pointedly.

“Really? I wonder what he would think of Mrs. Lacy Lacrosse that is written all over your old pink journal,” Lily threatened her friend, grabbing the little book from the drawer of her little desk that she used as a teen. Lacy looked at her with a horrified expression.

“You wouldn’t!” she cried diving for Lily, who easily avoided her.

“I think I just might,” Lily laughed and raced out of her friend’s room and down the stairs.

“Lily Nawassa, get your butt back here now,” Lacy screamed, racing after her.

“Sorry, I don’t think so!” Lily ducked into the kitchen and hid behind Sandy using her as a human or better-said werewolf shield.

“Lily what in the world are you doing,” Sandy cried as Lily held onto her shoulders as if for dear life all the while keeping her mother between Lacy and her.

“I am a werewolf, Lily there is no way you can outrun me” Lacy cried trying to paw around her mother and grab Lily. Lily moved just fast enough around Sandy so that Lacy only grabbed air.

“I may not be able to outrun you, but I can outsmart you any day Lace,” Lilly teased as she pulled Sandy around the kitchen.

“Lacy and Lily stop acting like little girls and let me go,” she cried desperately as she attempted to free herself from Lily’s clutches.

“Sorry Sandy, no can do, at least not yet,” Lily apologized, continuing to pull her around the kitchen.

“I am going to burn the food thanks to you two! I will call your father,” she threatened, and Lacy dived for her again but Lilly crawled up on the kitchen island and jumped to the table and out of the kitchen.

“Lily!” Sandy exclaimed in horror, and Lacy chased after her. Lily ran into the living room. Everyone ducked out of their way accustomed to their childish ways. Lily may be twenty-seven, but sometimes she just had to let the six-year-old girl who was still very much alive in her out. Lily put the sofa between her and Lacy. She eyed the patio door discreetly.

“I am going to kill you for this you know that,” Lacy threatened.

“Oh, I am not worried Mrs. Lacy La…” Lily started, and Lacy nearly screamed in horror, making Lily nearly double with laughter.

“Don’t you dare finish that phrase,” she shouted, and Lily dashed out onto the patio. “Someone stop that horrible nasty thief!” Lacy cried, and Lily cheered with the surge of victory. No one would ever help Lacy, and she started to tell her that as she felt a pair of strong arms grab her and lift her up in the air. She cried out in surprise as she tried to free herself, but it was clearly not happening.

“Dude you just ruined my exit,” she complained to whoever was holding her. Lacy came up to her with a smug expression on her face, and Lily glared at her.

“Why thank you, James,” she said happily as Lily was set down on the ground and she looked up at the man that still held her arm with an iron grip. Oh holy hotness, she thought, looking all the way up at the man standing before her. Lacy wasn’t exaggerating when she said hot didn’t even begin to describe him.

His hair was dark brown almost black with hazel eyes, and he must have been over six feet easily which allowed him to tower over her easily. That was only his height; his width made her feel so tiny. He was nearly as wide as a truck! Oddly enough he had this good guy look to him that just didn’t seem to fit in with the badass reputation that went with him. Lacy tried to take advantage of Lily’s distracted attention and grab the book from her, but Lily pulled it away recovering from her shock at seeing James Lacrosse in the flesh. “Give me the book Lily,” Lacy threatened as she tried to take it away from her.

“Nope,” Lily refused and smiled a nasty smile. “Maybe I should give it to James here?”

“No you don’t,” Lacy cried desperately with a look of utter horror as she tried to grab the book from Lily’s grasp.

“What is going on?” James asked finally letting go of Lily’s arm and looking at them with confusion.

“It’s best not to get involved James,” Andrew told him coming up to them and looked Lily and Lacy both with disapproval. “How many times have I told you both to stop these silly races in and around the house?” He lectured them, and both women sheepishly apologized. Lily handed her friend the journal, and they tried to hide their laughter. The older man just shook his head.

“James, as much as I regret the manner in which you have met. Let me officially introduce you to my adopted daughter Lily Nawassa,” he started, shooting Lily another disapproving look. She just shrugged in response. “Lily this is James Lacrosse,” he continued. James held out his hand, and Lily swallowed with difficulty as his larger hand wrapped around her smaller one making her feel like even more teeny tiny.

“Nice to meet you,” he said still giving her odd looks.

“Same here,” she replied to him. She wondered just how much of the twisted tale of James Lacrosse was true.

“Later we have some matters to discuss Lily,” Andrew told her and she nodded as she tried to resist her urge to ask what those matters were. She knew when Andrew Roberts said the words” matters to discuss” that meant to they were to be discussed privately.

“Okay well until then,” she stated and grabbed Lacy’s arm and dragged her back into the house.

“Hey, hey, easy on the goods there sister,” Lacy scolded her, and Lily exhaled the breath she had been holding.

“Now that was embarrassing,” Lily whispered to her friend and Lacy gave her a smug smile.

“That’s what you get, journal thief,” she teased, and Lily rolled her eyes.

“You were right, that man is hot beyond belief,” she whispered to her friend who chuckled and wiggled her eyebrows suggestively earning another eye roll from Lily.

“I told you so,” Lacy shot back with a smile.

“Talking about me again,” Chris shot, and Lily scoffed.

“You wish Playboy,” Lily told him and strategically gave the werewolf a little push causing him to trip over the couch. She burst out laughing as he fell over back on the couch and bounced off hitting the floor. “Point one for Lily! Power to the human!” She teased him, and he shot her an irritated look.

“One day, you’ll get yours,” Chris warned her playfully and Lily was about to reply when Andrew and James entered from the back porch. James gaze turned to her and felt a shiver run down her spine. She had no idea why but even his gaze made her feel small and insignificant, like a deer in headlights. Lily closed her open mouth and instead gave Chris a threatening point of her finger. She got out of the room as quick as possible; she didn’t enjoy one bit feeling like prey.

Lily went into the bathroom and splashed her face with cool water. Chill woman, she told herself. Okay, James Lacrosse may have the fame of breaking people in two for just looking at him the wrong way but she was in Andrew’s house, and he was the alpha. He’d never let anyone hurt her while in his house. She grabbed a towel as she silently chastised herself for being so silly and heard Sandy call out that dinner was ready.

A smile crossed her face as her stomach rumbled and she left the bathroom letting the delicious aromas guide her to the dining room. Lily looked at the large oak table filled with several different dishes and Lily couldn’t help but wonder how Sandy had managed to make such a varied meal all by herself. “You know some of us are hungry…mind moving or at least taking a picture,” Tony shot at her.

“Well you can eat my socks, Rex,” Lily shot using her “pet” name for him that he hated. She turned to face her brother with a smug smirk that only lasted a second as she noticed James was behind him, and she got that whole small furry forest animal in danger feeling. So she quickly took her usual spot at the table.

Lily shrugged off the feelings the new wolf’s presence gave her and loaded up her plate with everything within her reach and some that weren’t. The meal was all that Lily expected and more! “So James tell us what have you been up to all this time,” Andrew asked, and Lily tuned out the other’s response. Honestly, she preferred to keep her nose out of werewolf affairs and going ons. It was a world that she didn’t belong to, and she didn’t feel the need to belong to.

Right now Lily preferred to keep her attention on her food and food alone. She wanted to savor every last morsel and was quite content to ignore and be ignored. “Do you always eat like a pig or is this just a special occasion,” Chris whispered in her ear. She smiled sweetly and answered him with a swift kick in the shin that caused him to jump and hit his knee on the table.

“Everything okay Chris?” Andrew asked with a concerned look that had Lily trying hard not to laugh.

“Uh…yes sir,” Chris replied shooting Lily a nasty look and she smiled at him sweetly.

After dinner, Lily helped pick up the plates until Andrew called her into his office. Let the fun begin, she thought bitterly as she walked down the long hallway. She was already feeling herself grow nervous as she got closer to the room. She didn’t worry about what Andrew had to talk to her about; it was the simple fact of entering into his office that made her nervous. There was nothing menacing about the room.

Bookcases lined the left wall from floor to ceiling. On the right wall were several old photographs of her father, his friends, and family. He even had a few photographs of her up there. In the center rested the large oak desk Andrew always sat behind that made him seem so much more intimidating, but that wasn’t what bothered her. What gave it the power to make her so nervous was the fact that she only entered that room when she and Lacy had gotten into big time trouble, and that was more often than Lily cared to admit. It was in that very room where Andrew told Lily that her biological parents had picked up and moved town abandoning her.

She frowned slightly, remembering that day, but pushed the memories deep down inside her. They were to cry for another day because today was not that day; she always said to herself every time those people came to her mind. “What’s up chief,” she asked entering the office then noticed James was also there. She cringed inwardly. “I mean what do you need Mr. Roberts,” she corrected with a more formal tone. She tried her best never to be too casual about him when other werewolves were around.

He was the alpha of the pack, and she was sure the other members wouldn’t take having a human talk so relaxed with their leader too well. Andrew smiled at her and asked her to sit in the empty chair next to James. Part of her wanted to scream, thanks but no thanks, but she bitterly sat down. He may be six feet and then some of pure hotness and intimidation, but that didn’t make her forget her carefully guarded grudge.

“You are familiar with James’s story right?” Andrew asked her once she sat down.

“More or less but honestly I don’t know how much of it is true considering all the things people have told me he seems like the werewolf version of the boogie man,” she started then gasped as she realized what she just said. Damn it, she swore silently, then cursed her inability to stop from blurting out the first thing that comes to her mind at the most inconvenient of times.

James started laughing a loud hearty laugh. “I’m sorry! I hope I didn’t offend you,” she said quickly. She may have a grudge, but there was a reason it was a secret grudge. The rumors were if you pissed James Lacrosse off you ended up in intensive care if you were lucky.

“No it’s okay and it isn’t that far from the truth anyway,” he said, continuing to laugh. She wasn’t sure if she should be glad he was laughing or not. Lily shifted in her seat nervously and swallowed with some difficulty.

“I will go over it briefly to make sure you have the right information,” Andrew stated, and she nodded to let him know she was listening though she wasn’t sure why they were telling her his history. She couldn’t care less really. “When James was thirteen he was kidnapped and disappeared. No one knew what happened. Two years later he appeared on our doorstep. He couldn’t remember what happened or who had taken him. We quickly discovered his shifts weren’t…normal anymore,” Andrew explained.

“I am told I am a hybrid of a man and a wolf. Basically, think Hollywood version of a werewolf,” James stated with a smile that chilled her. Great, she thought quietly and shifted in her seat again, so she was sitting as far away from him as possible.

“He also had difficulty controlling himself when he suffered strong emotions,” Andrew resumed.

“It’s still hard, but at least, I am not trying to rip out every idiot’s throat when they start to irritate me,” James stated lightly as if he was discussing the weather. Lily swallowed with some difficulty again as it took all she had to keep her jaw from dropping to the floor. She was not comfortable sitting near James Lacrosse even with the alpha in the room.

“Fascinating but how exactly does this involve me,” she asked roughly after a few moments. Andrew tossed her an orange pill bottle. She caught it a little clumsily and looked at it with curiosity.

“I am sure you have heard about the kids from last week,” Andrew asked, and she nodded mutely, opening the bottle. A week ago two kids were found dead in the forest, as to what killed them no one knows, not even the pack doctor, Xavier Thompson. She’d heard the scene hadn’t been pretty. She shuddered slightly, not wanting to imagine what their last moments were like. “That bottle was found near the boys. Doctor Thompson has no idea what those pills are, and no one else in the pack can even attempt to guess,” he explained and she started to understand why she was there.

“That’s not all, a day later someone tried to kidnap another kid around the same place as the teens were found. James isn’t only here to visit his hometown again. He is going to investigate the deaths and the near-kidnapping to see if they’re connected with what happened to him nearly twenty years ago.” Andrew told her and she nodded slowly, not daring to look at the man sitting next to her.

“I want you to help him in any way you can Lily, starting with those pills,” he finished, and Lily groaned inwardly. She did so not want to play Nancy Drew with the local Wolfman and her childhood enemy. However, Andrew didn’t seem to pick up on her hesitance as he turned to James. “Lily is a forensic chemist; her job is to identify drugs and such materials for the police around the country,” Andrew explained. She tried not to smile when she heard pride laced in his voice. She poured six pills into her hand and looked them over carefully.

“Well, they aren’t common club drugs that you can usually find with teens. I can tell you that much,” she said after looking them over and slipped them back into the bottle.

“How do you know?” James asked, and she smiled smugly starting not to feel so much like a rabbit trapped by the wolf.

“Club drugs are all marked with a particular symbol of some sort. Most of the times they are the same drug just marked differently and given a different name,” she explained. She snapped the cap back onto the bottle and turned her attention to Andrew. “I will take these to the lab tomorrow and see what I can find. Anything else I can do for you?”

“No Lily that will be all. Enjoy the rest of the evening,” he told her then looked at her with his stern stony face. “Take it easy at work, don’t over exert yourself!” A bored sigh escaped before she could stop it, but she at least managed to stop herself from rolling her eyes as she wanted.

“I will do my best,” She said getting up and leaving his office.

Chapter 2

~

 

James discreetly eyed the human woman beside him. He could detect her fear of him in her scent and see the nervousness in her movements, nothing new for him but something he was really getting tired of. He listened to the conversation between the alpha and the human woman with curiosity. Quickly he could see why Andrew wanted to involve her. She appeared to be smarter than she looked. “Lily is a forensic chemist,” Andrew stated to James snapping him out of his thoughts.

“Her job is to identify drugs and such materials for the law enforcement departments around the country,” Andrew explained, and James was surprised to see the pride on his face. Why would he feel proud of the human, James wondered curiously.

“Well, they aren’t common club drugs that you can usually find with teens, I can tell you that much,” The human stated as she put the little white pills back into the bottle.

“How do you know?” James asked, and she gave him a smug expression and actually looked him in the eye which something that only a few people did.

“Club drugs are all marked with a particular symbol of some sort. Most of the times they are the same drug just marked differently and given a different name,” she explained as she snapped the cap back onto the bottle and looked to the alpha. “I’ll take these to the lab tomorrow and see what I can find. Anything else I can do for you?”

“No Lily that will be all. Enjoy the rest of the evening,” he told her then looked at her with his stern stony face. “Take it easy at work, don’t over exert yourself!” The alpha added, and the human sighed with a bored expression on her face.

“I will do my best,” she said getting up and leaving his office. Andrew had a small smile on his face as he watched the human leave.

“I really hope we are wrong about this,” he said sadly once the door closed.

“So do I but I have a really bad feeling about all of this,” James told him honestly slowly, leaning back into the extremely comfortable chair. “The near-kidnapping of the Addams kid was way too familiar. From the details, I have heard it sounds a lot like how I was taken and then the deaths of the other two kids. All of them had recently gone through their first shift…it seems like too much of a coincidence to me,” he explained, wishing it was just that, horrible coincidence.

Nearly twenty years passed, but he could still feel the silver wire wrapped around his neck and hear the humans mocking him. He clenched his jaw, forcing the memory away. “I agree, unfortunately. We have to find this bastard before he ruins another life,” Andrew stated, slamming his fist angrily on the desk, causing James to flinch. He could easily kill Andrew within a matter of minutes, but the older man had that commanding Alpha presence about him that made everyone around him inclined to submit, including James.

“I thought about talking to the Addams kid and the friends of the other teens. See if anything suspicious happened before the attacks,” he explained, and the alpha nodded in agreement.

“That’s a good idea; tomorrow I can take you to them,” he started, but James shook his head.

“Actually Alpha, no offense, but I think it would be best to go by myself. As their Alpha, they would be hesitant to tell you anything that could make you ashamed of them or their families. Since I am not a member of the pack anymore and obviously an outcast among our people I think they would talk to me more freely,” James told him.

Andrew sat thinking for a moment then nodded. “I guess that does make sense. Okay, I’ll give you the names and directions of each of the children in question.” Andrew replied and wrote down the information James needed before handing him the piece of paper along with some photographs.

“Thank you, Alpha. I will start on this first thing tomorrow,” James stated and got up from his chair.

“Let me know what you find out as soon as possible,” Andrew told him as they shook hands. “And James,” the alpha started, and he turned to back towards the older man. “Welcome home, we’re glad you’re back. You know you always have a place in this pack and no one in this family sees you as an outcast,” he said, and James thanked him again. He knew the alpha meant those words and out of all the people in this world the alpha and his family were probably the only ones who seemed to understand halfway what James had gone through that first year before he decided to leave.

James left Andrew’s office and walked down the hall to the kitchen, “Thank you, Sandy, for the wonderful dinner. I don’t think I have eaten that good since the last time I was here,” he told her and she smiled warmly at him, drying her hands off the dish water, before giving him a hug.

“Well haven’t you turned into quite the charmer and you’re more than welcome James. We’re happy you came back,” she stated smiling her characteristic bright smile.

“I know, and I’m glad to be back though I wish it were under better circumstances,” he said solemnly, and she agreed with a hint of sadness in her eyes. “Well I will see you tomorrow,” he told her with one last hug and left the house out into the cool December night. He got on his bike and drove over to the little hotel…the only hotel in the whole town.

James swung the hotel key on his index finger trying to ignore the looks the people gave him as he walked to his room. Human and werewolves alike knew who he was, and their fear stunk up the whole place. He went to his room and shut the door with a sigh. Part of him reasoned he deserved it. Before he decided to leave, he had gotten into a lot of fights, put some in the hospital and even once had even killed a person but the other part argued that he was just a kid at the time. They could be a little more understanding!

The next day he stood waiting for the teens in question outside of the tiny brick building. It was Willow Creek’s only private and exclusively werewolf school. It was the reason the werewolf population counted for nearly half the town’s population of five hundred people and the reason the pack being as large as it was. The pack was nearly hundred and fifty wolves making it the second largest pack in the country. Normally packs average around thirty or forty wolves at best. The other werewolves were all visitors allowed to stay while their children were in school since their packs’ location didn’t have werewolf exclusive schools.

James took out the photographs Andrew had given him and looked through them familiarizing the faces of the kids he was looking for. The first one he saw was the Addams kid, Jake. He called to the boy who looked at him with confusion on his face. “Who are you?” he asked looking at James suspiciously.

“I am James Lacrosse,” he started, and the boy’s eyes bugged, and he gawked at him for a second before the suspicious look returned to his face.

“You’re the James Lacrosse? Yeah right whatever,” the boy replied, narrowing his eyes at James.

“What, you don’t believe me?” James asked a bit irritated.

“Isn’t that obvious,” Jake replied with an annoying look on his face that made James want to rip it off of his face. With a quiet growl, he took a deep breath to keep himself from doing just that.

“If I prove to you I am who I say I am will you answer my questions?” he asked, and the teen with a bored expression reluctantly nodded.

“I suppose…if you can prove it,” Jake replied, sounding extremely bored. James nodded removing his jacket and held out his left arm. He had learned a few years back how to shift only part of his body, as far as he knew he was the only know who could do it. It would be a nice little show for this punk. His arm grew and sprouted his fur but instead of turning into a normal wolf paw like all other werewolves. His fingers elongated and grew long black claws where his nails use to be.

The boy paled staring at James’s arm then slowly brought his eyes back to James’s face in pure terror and cursed before turning to run. James sighed with irritation and easily grabbed the boy by the back of his shirt, dragging him back towards him. Why do they always run? If they knew enough to piss their pants when they realized he was who he said he was, they should know they can’t just simply run away from him!

“Not that fast Jake! You have to answer my questions before you run and throw up,” he told him as the kid continued to look at him in horror.

“How do you know my name?” the boy asked, his voice cracking badly.

“Relax kid; I am not going to tear you apart unless you piss me off. Just tell me about what happened a week ago.” James replied as he returned his left hand to normal. The boy looked at him confused but nodded slowly.

“What do you want to know?” The boy asked then licked his lips, his whole body tensed to run at any moment.

“Start off by telling me what happened,” James suggested as he leaned against a nearby tree.

“Well I went out for a run then suddenly a bunch of humans came out of nowhere. They tried putting some metal cord around my neck but they missed, and I ran. That’s it!” James frowned making Jake nearly piss his pants but James didn’t care how he was affecting the teen at the moment. He was more concerned by what the teen just told him. Jake’s story was a near exact re-telling of his own.

“Where did it happen?” James asked, and the boy swallowed hard.

“About a mile heading west from the old mill,” the boy explained, passing his weight from one leg to the other.

“Did they say anything to you?” Jake shook his head.

“Not that I remember, but I was just concentrating on getting the hell out of there!” The teen exclaimed while he eyed the school with yearning look that almost made James burst out laughing.

“Before that do you remember anyone acting strangely towards you? Following you or anything like that?” He asked and Jake thought for a moment. Something passed over the boy’s face that James couldn’t decipher. It was there only a moment before the teen replaced it with the look of boredom again.

“No, nothing out of the normal,” he claimed, but James could hear the uncertainty in the boy’s voice. But he knew the boy wasn’t going to tell him anymore.

“That wasn’t so hard now was it? Get out of here before you’re late,” he told the teen who ran to the school as if the devil was chasing him. James looked at the other pictures of the other teens involved in the incident. He didn’t see them anywhere around so they must have slipped past him while he was talking to Jake.

James put his jacket back on then stuffed the pictures back into his jacket pocket. He waited around until he heard the final bell and got back on his bike towards the old mill. A normal werewolf wouldn’t be able to pick up much considering the time passed and the huge storm that had blown in shortly after the attempted kidnapping, but James wasn’t a normal werewolf. His shift different, but he also was stronger, and his senses were much more refined. He would be able to pick up the weak scents left by the attackers.

A small smile crossed his face as he parked his bike by the old mill. He remembered all the good times he had with his friends when he was a kid…when life was simple. He lifted his nose into the air and tested the smells. It had been a long time since he had been there and wanted to re-familiarize himself with the natural smells before seeking out the scents of the boy and his attempted kidnappers.

James walked back over to his bike to grab a small bag he kept packed on his bike. With the bag in hand, he entered the forest until he was well beyond the tree line. He began to remove his clothing and place it in the bag. He hid it under some bushes and started to shift. The intoxicating feeling of raw power flowed through his veins as his body morphed into the beast. Normal werewolves when shifted still maintained control and had most of their humanity intact, except on full moons. The human and the wolf, most of the time, was like two sides of the same coin but not James and the beast. They were two separate creatures when he shifted James knew what was going on but he had no control over what the beast did. On full moons, he lost even that.

The beast shook out his fur once the balance of control between man and beast tip until it tipped completely in his favor. He wanted to know what happened to those kids just as much as James did. He started to run on all fours, heading west, keeping his nose close to the ground to scout the smells of the forest. After about fifteen minutes, he picked up on the weak scent of Jake Addams and began to follow it.

He found the place he was looking for. The beast circled the area picking up on five different human scents, Jake’s scent and the scent of another werewolf. It was masculine, and he didn’t recognize it. Could a werewolf be involved in something like this? He growled at the possibility of a traitor amongst them. If he caught him, he’d break that betrayer in two and dine on his flesh! The idea alone filled him with excitement.

The beast lowered his nose to the ground and followed the scents that, unfortunately, lead right back to the old mill. The beast stopped just before the tree line; he wanted to follow the scent trails, but he knew that if anyone saw him, it’d be an angry mob with pitchforks in no time. The beast whined in disappointment; he didn’t want to give up the control just yet, but he also knew he didn’t have a choice. James had to tell the alpha about the possible traitor. With one last growl of frustration the beast gave back the control to James.

James shivered slightly in the cool fall breeze and retrieved the bag of clothing to dress quickly. He was disappointed as well, he was hoping to have gained more from sniffing out the site, but he would, at least, be able to recognize the traitor if he ran into him in town. As he snapped his watch back on he noticed it was time for lunch. Getting on his bike, he drove back to town and stopped at a little diner.

As soon as James entered the diner the usual chatter went silent. The occupants eyed him as a wild savage thing as he sat down at the counter. The older waitress looked at him with obvious fear, so he gave her a friendly smile, but she only got paler. He tried to keep a scowl from forming on his face. When would these people just get on with life and stop dwelling on what he had done when he was a kid? James swore if it weren’t for the alpha he would’ve never come back to this drab ass town!

He gave the trembling waitress his order, deciding that they were just going to have to deal with him until he had finished eating. Slowly the people in the diner talked again but none of it rose higher than a whisper but he could hear them just perfectly. It was the typical rumor swapping that he had heard a million times, and it wasn’t any surprise to him either to hear that they were all about him. Most of it was blown out of proportion, and even a few of them were simply not true.

The waitress set down his plate shaking so badly she nearly tossed the food to the floor more than once. He thanked her, but he doubted she was listening as she rushed off away from him. James sighed and picked up his burger and started to eat. All the while he kept wondering who could want to commit these crimes against the pack. Who would have the power to do such a thing? Who would stoop so low as to involve humans to capture the kids?

James finished his meal and pulled out his wallet. He offered the pale waitress the money for his meal. Just as she was about to take it, he pulled back and cried out “boo!” The woman jumped and shrieked out in fear causing the whole diner to go suddenly silent again. He burst out laughing before he laid the money on the counter and walked out of the diner. Hey, he had to have a little fun once in a while, he justified himself silently.

He went back to the high school and leaned against an expensive sports car that Andrew had stated that one of the kids owned. He watched as the kids streamed out of the school. He spotted the group of kids he was waiting for. He singled out the ring leader immediately without the help of the photographs. The teen was just like all the other ringleaders before him, tall, cocky, athletic, and probably the wet dream of all the girls in town.

It reminded James of himself before he changed. He watched the ring leader frown when he noticed James leaning against his car. The teen stormed over followed by his little gang of pups. “You have about three seconds to get away from my car before I remove you myself!” The teen threatened cockily, and James grinned at him, just as cocky.

“I have to say it’s been awhile since someone dared to threaten me,” he stated with a small laugh, but the boy just continued to frown at him.

“Whatever man,” he scowled, grabbing James with the intent of pulling him off the car, but James didn’t budge in the slightest. He was sure this boy thought himself as a real super wolf, but he was still a pup that could only dream of forcing James to do anything. The fact was James knew very well there wasn’t a werewolf alive that could match him.

“Kid, I am not moving until we have a little chat,” James told him smugly. The other kids whispered amongst themselves and the boy looked insecure for a moment but quickly returned to his cockiness.

“I am no kid, and there is no way I am talking to a loser like you,” the teen spat, and a couple of the other teens cheered him on.

“Then you will be walking home…kid,” he shot back and the boy became furious. “Don’t think for a minute that you and all your little friends will be able to move me from this spot. I’m James Lacrosse, and not even this whole town could take me out!”

The group of teens before him gasped and hurriedly whispered amongst themselves. The ring leader lost the color in his face and took a step back. “You’re James Lacrosse?” he asked, his voice raising an octave. “I highly doubt it,” the boy sneered once he regained his confidence and James took his jacket off and proceeded to show him his ability to shift partially. The boy had the same reaction that Jake had that morning. He paled to a pasty white and looked at James in horror. He would’ve run, but it was obvious his pride was bigger than his fear. “W-what do you want with me?” the teen stuttered.

“Actually it’s all of you I want to talk to. The two kids that died the last week were your friends?” he started, and everyone nodded mutely. “Do you know if they took something, a drug or similar?” he asked, and they looked at each other, obviously nervous.

“I heard them bragging about something. I don’t know exactly what it was, but I heard Tommy say it was going to make him really strong, stronger than Cole over here,” a dark haired girl stated, coming forward with a sickly sweet smile that didn’t reach her eyes and nodding toward the ring leader.

The ring leader, Cole, crossed his arms and frowned. “There is no way Tommy or Eric could have been stronger than me! They were just a pair of Omegas at best,” he said, eyeing the girl angrily.

“I heard the same,” another boy called out sheepishly.

“Did you happen to hear where they got it from or from whom?” he asked. The girl walked up to him, linked her arms in his, and gave him what was supposed to be a seductive look, but her touch and that look just made James’s skin crawl with disgust.

“No sorry, I only heard them speak of it that one time. The next thing I heard they were both found in the woods,” she said, running her lacquered fingernails over his arm without a trace of sympathy in her voice. Cole glared at her icily; obviously she was supposed to be his girl. James suddenly felt sorry for the boy as he detached her from his arm. The girl couldn’t be more than sixteen, and she was already a power hungry bitch! James was more than a little creeped out by her advances. Cole and a few others snickered quietly as she pouted at James rejection.

“Anyone else?” he asked, and all of them shook their heads. “Well if you remember anything or hear anything I am staying at the hotel,” he stated, pushing himself off the car and making his way towards his bike. He needed to let the Alpha know about the little information he had managed to gain during the day.

“Are you sure about this?” The Alpha asked him seriously as they sat in the cozy kitchen. James nodded solemnly, taking a drink from his beer.

“Yes, I picked up their scent in the forest, definitely a werewolf. None of your trackers could pick it up due to the time and the weather,” James explained. The pack doctor and Andrew’s Beta, Xavier Thompson shook his head slowly in obvious disgust. “I also have reasons to believe it was an important member of the pack by Jake Addams reaction when I asked him if anyone had acted strangely around him.” James continued then took another drink as the older werewolves stared at him with nearly identical frowns.

“How can this be? Who would want to do such a thing?” The Alpha asked to no one in particular.

“Lily is here” Sandy called out poking her head in the kitchen before disappearing off into the hallway. The human woman walked in the room shortly. James just glanced in her direction then did a double take; she looked a lot different from yesterday. He couldn’t stop himself from checking her out slowly. Her dark hair was pulled back on her head in a messy bun but still seemed classy somehow. She was wearing a dark gray blouse with a black skirt that stopped a little lower than mid-thigh that showed off her curves and shapes in an elegant but enticing manner, accompanied with a pair of black heels that accented the shapely curve of her legs in a way that James found himself unable to look away.

Andrew got up and gave the human a hug, breaking James trance on her. James felt a little embarrassed realizing he was staring and hoped no one had noticed. “How are you, Lily?” The alpha asked, and she gave him a small smile.

“I am good, just really busy. Every time we make a dent in the workload more arrives leaving us back where we started, but I did manage to analyze the drugs you gave me,” she sat down at the table suddenly looking very tired. She gave James and the doctor a quick nod in greeting, which James returned. “It’s not like anything I have seen before, and I am going to have to do a deeper analysis to determine its properties exactly. It may take me a few days, but I will get to it,” she explained, refusing the beer Andrew offered her.

“Don’t let anyone else know what you are doing,” Andrew told her quickly. “I am afraid it looks like someone in the pack is involved in all this mess.”

“No worries Andrew, strict discretion is laboratory policy to avoid compromising the cases,” she reassured them. It seemed odd to him to hear her talk about criminal cases and such, he couldn’t imagine her as some police investigator, even if she only worked in a laboratory. “I hate to chat and run but classes start in two hours, and I need to head home to get changed. It was nice seeing you again Doctor Thompson. It’s been a while,” she said before getting up.

“You too Lily, take care of yourself. Your father has been telling me you have been working too hard lately,” the doctor replied, and she rolled her eyes.

“Yes, yes I know. I will cut back when I can,” she said with a slight tone of boredom. James felt his curiosity grow watching the interaction. She seemed to belong and be accepted despite the fact that she was human, even Doctor Thompson was talking to her like she was one of the pack.

Once she was out of earshot, he couldn’t resist asking, “How did you come to adopt a human girl if you don’t mind me asking?”

The alpha smiled. “Just one of those things that happened but as far as details I don’t feel it is my place to tell the story. It’s not exactly a pleasant one, and I am not sure how Lily would feel if I were to discuss it without her permission,” the Alpha explained, and James nodded, but he was a little frustrated. Half of him wanted to know more about her while the other half wanted nothing to do with humans at all, adopted daughter of the pack or not.

“Which knowing her, will not be anytime soon,” the doctor joked, and James looked at him confused. “Lily is alright as far as humans go…as long as you don’t ask her about her past then she can get a little hostile,” he admitted. James nearly scoffed at that…she was just one small human and he didn’t see how she could be hostile in any sense of the word.

“Well I’m going to be going I’ll see you later Alpha and Doctor Thompson,” he told them respectfully.

“Alright James be careful and trust no one. Until we find out who this traitor is none but who is in this room can be free of suspicion,” Andrew told him.

“Yes sir,” James told him as he stood and left the house.

James returned to the little hotel room and at in the small chair thinking about what they had learned so far. From his memories and the scent, he smelled in the woods it was pretty sure that none of the women suspected. So he’d have to focus his search on the men, from the ages of forty and up. Even though he couldn’t remember the man’s face, he did remember the man was taller and older than he was. So James automatically ruled out those the same age as him or younger.

After several hours of thinking of the members of the pack, he was familiar with James had nothing to show for his efforts but a headache. He sighed as he got up from the chair and rubbed his forehead. No matter how hard he tried, he just couldn’t see why someone would do this to the pack. He decided to take a shower to help ease his headache, relax his tension, and clear his mind. As the warm water ran down him, James pushed all thoughts of the traitor out of his mind to force himself to take a break.

James frowned when the first thing that popped into his mind was the human He shut off the water with a growl as the thought of her awoken certain desires in him. There was no way in hell he was going down that road! She was the alpha’s adopted daughter and, more importantly, human; he didn’t ever share his bed with humans! James shook his head and threw himself on the bed searching for something else to think about, but he kept thinking about her and how she had become so involved with the alpha’s family.

James groaned angrily as he rolled over the lumpy hotel bed and picked up his noisy cell phone with his eyes still closed. Just as he was starting to get to the good part, James thought with a frown. It had been one of those few nights where he didn’t dream of being in a dark room full of pain, not that it made his night peaceful. He had been dreaming about that damn human woman all night! He glanced at the clock on the nightstand; it was only seven-thirty in the morning, and he normally refused to be up before ten. “This better be good,” he threatened with his voice rough from sleep.

“I understand that you want to find out what I did to you, it’s only natural.” A mechanical male voice began, and James shot up from the bed, immediately awake. The voice was being distorted by some device, and James couldn’t recognize it.

“Who is this?” he demanded, and the man laughed, making a slight chill run down James’s spine.

“Now I seriously hope you don’t expect me to answer that,” the man mused, and James scowled. “I don’t appreciate you involving that human pet of the Alpha’s,” the man proclaimed coldly. So whoever was behind this didn’t like the human, James thought and made sure to remember that little detail.

“You have your humans, and I have mine,” James shot back acidly.

“The humans I use don’t pretend to be one of us,” the man snapped, and James now laughed smugly. This traitor didn’t like the human. “Laugh as you like but when she is dead, her blood will be on your hands. Though maybe after this morning she may be just smart enough to stay out,” he sneered hanging up before James could ask him what he meant. He changed into fresh clothes quickly and dialed Andrew’s number.

“Hello,” Andrew answered, and James noticed the distress in his voice. He instinctively knew the man on the phone had done something.

“What’s wrong Alpha? What happened?” James asked hoping the alpha’s family was all okay.

“Someone broke into the lab where Lily was working. She is on her way to the hospital now.” Andrew explained, and James winced feeling a little guilty. It was his fault that she had gotten hurt.

“Did she get hurt badly?” He asked and heard Andrew sigh loudly.

“They don’t know; she was unconscious when her boss found her,” the alpha replied.

“I will be right there,” James told him hanging up and finishing dressing so he could get there as soon as possible.

Chapter 3

~

 

Lily groaned softly and slowly opened her eyes. The brightness of the light reflecting off white walls hurt her eyes. Her whole body ached as she tried to sit up but decided against it. Her head was pounding with a horrible headache. She reached up to rub her sore temple noticing the bandage there. Where was she and why did she hurt so much? Lily started to remember why exactly she was there. That morning she had gone to work as normal and was going to start analyzing the pills to attempt to determine what kind of substance they were dealing with.

 

“Hey Henry,” She greeted her boss as she headed towards the locker room. She tossed her things into the locker and put on the white lab coat. Lily pulled her hair forcefully up into a bun and made her way to the laboratory. She slipped on some latex gloves before removing the orange bottle from the locked cabinet. The process of analyzing the pills had just started when she heard Henry arguing with someone and then the sound of a struggle. She scrunched her brow in confusion, wondering if she should see what was happening but before she could move a man wearing a ski mask entered the room. Her body froze in fear as the large man stalked towards her.

“Where is it?” he demanded and she looked at him with confusion.

“Where is what?” she asked. He made a sound of disgust as he grabbed her lab coat and pulled her out of the chair roughly.

“You know perfectly well what,” he told her coldly. Lily had a feeling he was there for the drugs that her father had given her, but she decided to play dumb.

“No, I don’t know. There are so many dru-” she started and he gave her a strong slap across her cheek with the back of his hand as he made the sound of a buzzer from a game show.

“Wrong answer,” he snarled. She felt her world spin, and she shook her head as the metallic taste of blood slowly filled her mouth. She tried to clear her momentarily blurred vision and then looked up at the man before her with attempts to remember every detail of his face that was left exposed by the ski mask. He had cold, dark eyes and light brown or blonde hair, judging by his eyebrows. He was pale with full lips that were only slightly darker than his skin complexion.

“I don’t have all day human,” he snapped, shaking her violently and breaking her concentration. Human, did he just call her human? “Where is it?” he asked again harshly and she noticed his dark eyes were starting to change into a yellowish brown color. She swallowed hard, the man before her was a werewolf.

“I am not going to tell you,” she said determinedly, glaring up at him and he growled. The thief was obviously not expecting her defiance.

“What do you mean you’re not going to tell me?” He demanded in a low, threatening growl.

“Wow fluffy you sure aren’t a bright one; I mean exactly what I said. I am not going to tell you anything,” she said not able to resist a smirk. She suddenly realized that might not have been a good idea as he snarled at her, his eyes practically glowing.

“Stupid woman,” he cursed then tossed her across the room. She crashed against the wall and fell to the floor. Lily groaned as she pushed herself up on her hands and knees. Teasing an angry werewolf was really not a good idea! He pulled her up and once more demanded to know where the pills were.

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I’m not going to tell you,” she said slowly and he punched a hole in the wall dangerously close to her head causing her to jump as he growled like a rabid animal.

“If you do not tell me then I promise I’ll slowly kill everyone in this building as you watch and then I’ll kill you,” he threatened.

“You wouldn’t,” she gasped, and he gave her a cold smile. Lily swallowed a lump in her throat as she looked up at him; he looked like he was quite capable of cold-blooded murder. “Fine,” she snapped with a frown. The thief released her, and her limbs were a little shaky so leaned against the large analyst machine for support.

“Where?” he barked causing her to flinch, and Lily looked at him with a glare.

“I’m going fur ball,” she barked back then walked over slowly towards the file cabinet. She tried not to smile as she got an idea. She unlocked the cabinet and grabbed a similar orange pill bottle filled with ecstasy instead of the mysterious pills.

“Here,” she said quickly thrusting them into his hand, hoping he wouldn’t be able to know the difference. He shook the bottle and tossed it across the room, growling at her. He grabbed her by the back of her neck and pulled her dangerously close to him.

“I am really starting to lose my patience with you! Give me what I want or I will start killing people!” He demanded with a cold smile, and she narrowed her eyes at him. Lily let a breath out quickly through her teeth, sounding much like a hiss and walked over to her desk. She picked up the bottle that contained the real pills and held them out to him.

“Good girl,” he said approvingly and she glared at him.

“Bite me,” she snapped before she could stop herself. He raised an eyebrow up and gave her a curious look as he tucked away the pills in his pants pocket. Her eyes widened as she realized what she had said.

“That pretty little mouth is going to get you into big trouble someday,” he told her with a slight smile as doubled his fist and slammed it down on her computer totally smashing it to pieces.

“What are you doing asshole?” Lily shrieked, and he shoved his fist into another of the large machines. “Stop it, what are you doing?” She ran up to him up to him trying to stop him from destroying any more equipment. But she only achieved to lose her balance and nearly fall over.

“Should have done what I told you to the first time human,” he replied as he pulled his hand into a fist then hit her. She felt as if her head exploded, bright white light burst behind her eyelids and then went to black as she crumpled to the floor unconscious.

 

“Lily, you’re awake,” Lacy cheered breaking Lily from her thoughts, and she looked at her friend who looked very tired. Lacy’s normally well-groomed blonde hair was all a mess, her crystal blue eyes were red and puffy, and her clothing was all wrinkled and twisted.

“Hey Lace,” Lily croaked with a small smile as she tried to sit up. Her friend pulled her into a tight hug. “Oh easy, easy it hurts everywhere,” she groaned feeling her body protest against the iron gripped hug. Lacy immediately let her go with a guilty look and apologized.

“I am going to call the doctor, who is too cute by the way, and everyone else. They went down to the cafeteria about twenty minutes ago,” Lacy cheered excitedly giving Lily a quick but softer hug before leaving the room. Lily touched her temple again, wincing slightly with the pain.

“Good Morning Ms. Nawassa, I am Doctor Ryland,” the doctor announced as he entered the room a few minutes after Lacy left. Lily gave him a greeting smile noticing that Lacy was right. He was pretty cute. He had the prettiest brownish red hair and sparkling green eyes. His light freckles gave him this cute sexy air about him. “How are you feeling?” he asked, walking over to her bed.

“I’m feeling fine, considering I hurt all over,” she stated plainly and he smiled a charming smile at her.

“Well, that good to hear despite the fact you hurt all over, which with some good pain killers should go away. I need you to follow this light for me okay,” he told her holding up a small penlight and moved it side to side. The light caused her head to throb more, but she did as he asked and followed the light.

“Do you think I can get out of here soon?” she asked eagerly.

“I have a few more tests to perform, and if the results are what I expect then yes you can leave,” he explained. “I hope your eagerness to leave has nothing to do with my bedside manner,” he added with a flirtatious grin.

“Of course not, Doctor,” Lily replied with her own flirty tone. Someone coughed from the other side of the room and she noticed Andrew and the others standing there.

“My poor sunshine,” Sandy cried as she walked over towards Lily and planted a kiss on her forehead.

“How is she, Doctor?” Andrew asked and Lily noticed him giving the doctor a slight look of disapproval.

“She is fine; she only received a hairline fracture. I want to run some more tests, but she should be good to go in a couple of hours,” the doctor told him with a very professional tone.

Tony walked up to her, shaking his head. He gave her a gentle hug and whispered in her hear with a mocked scolding tone. “You’ve only been awake for a few minutes and you already flirting with the doctor?”

“Hey I am not dead yet, besides you’ve got to enjoy the little pleasures in life,” she whispered back, and he shook his head again with a hint of a smile on his lips but gave her the older brother “shame on you” glare. The doctor excused himself, stating he would return in about an hour to start the final tests. Lily gave him a sly smile and a flirty wave as he left. Lacy and Lily tried to hide their laughter as the doctor nearly walked into the door. Some guys were just too easy; she thought with her smile growing a little more.

“Nothing like making a cute guy squirm,” Lacy giggled and Chris looked slightly jealous.

“Please I am so much better looking,” he pouted.

“Sure you are, baby,” Lacy told him and he gave her a kiss that quickly got a little too intense for Lily’s taste, so she threw her pillow at them.

“Okay enough you two or I swear I will call security,” she snapped.

“Yes, I have to agree,” growled Andrew with a look of displeasure. Chris paled slightly nodding quickly. “Now out please so I can have a word with Lily,” he demanded and everyone except James, who was standing silently near the door, left. Lily groaned silently, what the hell was he doing here? Her father sat down on the bed beside her with a look of concern marking his face.

“I want to know if what happened to you this morning is related to what I asked you to do.” He asked, and she knew where this was going.

“Yes Andrew it was, the thief was a werewolf looking for the pills,” she told him and saw the guilt flash through his eyes.

“How do you know it was a werewolf?” James asked leaving the corner where he’d been lurking with a grumpy look on his face.

“His eyes turned yellow the angrier he got which was quite a bit. Plus only you people use the word “human” as an insult” She told him pointedly but gave him a sly smile at the end.

“So he took the pills?” Mr. Roberts asked her and she nodded.

“Unfortunately, I eventually had to give him what he was looking for when he threatened to kill everyone,” she said with a slight frown.

“Eventually? You actually refused to hand them over?” Her father asked as he looked at her with obvious disapproval on his face.

“Of course I did! I am not going to give in to threats that easy, werewolf or no werewolf,” she told him, crossing her arms.

“He could have killed you and easily,” James spoke this time with an oddly stern sounding tone.

“Yeah he could have, like many other things in this world I might add but he didn’t,” she told them. “It’s a good thing I had a plan B,” she added.

“A plan B?” Andrew asked and she got a large smile on her face.

“I figured the lab would get broken into sooner or later, especially once you told me yesterday that there was a traitor, however, I never thought he would be so stupid as actually to do it during operating hours. So I have some pills stashed at home and sent any results I had to my home computer. I can continue to analyze them at school and compare the results.” She told him with a feeling of satisfaction.

Lily expected him to share her feelings and at least appreciate her forethought, but instead he crossed his arms over his chest with a frown. “No Lily, you’re done! Involving you was a mistake. No more analyzing, no more tests, nothing…it’s over. I will take what you have and deal with it,” Andrew told her. She recognized that tone in his voice, it was his alpha persuasion tone of voice, but that stuff never worked on her. It only made her angry that he was trying to control her like one of his little wolfies.

“Oh don’t go all Alpha on me, Mister, I am not one of your mutts! I will not give you anything and I’m not going to stop because someone decided to play it rough. If that mangy beast thinks he is going to intimidate me, he has another thing coming!” Lily told him pointedly. She didn’t care if he was in the presence of another werewolf or not, she wasn’t going to let him push her around like she was some sort of child!

Andrew let out a small growl. “Lily!” he warned her, but she was in no mood to listen or compromise. There was no way she was going to stop. No one breaks into her lab, steals from her, threatens her co-workers and gets away with it!

“Andrew,” she shot back at him imitating his tone. She tried hard to keep her face serious when she noticed James’s expression of complete surprise at their confrontation. It wasn’t the first time they fought like this. Though it made her angry as hell Lily got where Andrew was coming from, she really did. He was the all mighty alpha, and everyone did what he said, the end. The fact that she didn’t cower at his feet like everyone else drove him absolutely nuts. She usually tried not to push him, unless it was something very important to her, like now.

Just at that moment a couple entered the room and identified themselves as detectives who wanted to talk to her. She smiled with a gloating expression towards her father and claimed victory. He just glared at her and then left with James. “Hello Ms. Nawassa I am Detective Scott, and this is Detective Santiago. How are you feeling?” asked the female detective, a woman of maybe late thirties with auburn hair streaked with gray.

She smiled at Lily, but Lily didn’t feel any warmth in the smile. “Ms. Nawassa we would like to ask you about the break in,” she went on to explain, not waiting for Lily to answer her first question.

“Go ahead,” Lily stated coolly, trying hard not to frown and scold the woman on her rudeness for asking a question but not waiting the answer.

“We are to understand the thief had spoken to you, correct?” the man, Detective Santiago, asked. Lily turned her attention to him, he appeared to be about the same age, but he seemed a lot kinder than the woman.

“Yes, he spoke to me,” she started. “He was a little taller than me, and I am five foot eight. He had a fair complexion, dark brown eyes, his hair was a light color, blond or light brown or at least that what I assumed from the color of his eyebrows. No discernible accent that I could tell of, so it’s possible he could be a local,” she explained before they had a chance to ask. She was hardly able to contain her grin when they looked at her surprise.

“That’s… a really detailed description” Detective Santiago said, appearing to be impressed, but the Detective Scott looked at her suspiciously.

“I spent four years studying criminal investigation; I learned how important little details are. So when I realized someone broke into the lab I forced myself to pay attention to his appearance,” Lily told him smugly but directing her boastful gaze to the overweight woman at his side.

“What was he looking for?” Detective Santiago asked, writing down something on a small pad of paper.

“He was looking for drugs,” she explained not exactly lying. “I tried to tell him we didn’t carry large quantities of drugs, but he wouldn’t listen and kept demanding to know where they were,” Lily continued and he nodded as he wrote down what she told him.

“What did he do then Ms. Nawassa?” Detective Scott asked and Lily noticed a slightly harsh edge to her voice.

“He threatened to harm my co-workers, so I opened the storage to show him. When he was unhappy with what he saw he hit me, and I fell unconscious,” she finished crossing her arms, letting bitterness slip into her voice this time.

“Anything more you can tell us?” Detective Santiago asked and she shook her head.

“No, but I would like to ask if he put any of our criminal cases in jeopardy?” It was the one thing she was really worried about. The lab was in charge of nearly a thousand cases and if that stupid werewolf did any more damage than to her computer and the large machine it would be quite possible that the evidence from the lab would have to be thrown out and not useable in court. Which meant a lot of hardened criminals could walk free. The detective Santiago looked at her with sympathy, and she got a really bad feeling.

“He must have been really pissed at not finding what he was looking for because he destroyed all the computers and equipment and all the evidence was thrown about the storage room.” He started, and Lily looked at him in horror. “Any evidence that was in the lab has been contaminated and is no longer admissible,” he finished with an “I am sorry” look written all over his face. She let out a growling fit for an Alpha and threw herself back on the bed, sending a shooting pain through her temple. That ass! That stupid mangy mutt! I will kill him; she vowed silently.

“I am sorry, I will leave my card here if you remember anything or have something you’d like to add,” he told her and they left. Lily grabbed her pillow and smothered it over her face, letting out a long scream of frustration. Not only did the big bad druggies get to walk, but she was also now officially out of a job. That lab had been slowly built over the years and with this break in she doubted the founder would be able to replace all the equipment. Then there was the fact this would make them lose all their accreditation. “Damn werewolves,” she cursed in a quiet whisper.

A couple hours later Lily stuffed the business card of Doctor Ryland in her jeans pocket with the intention of throwing it away when she got home. Somewhere amongst the playful flirting during the final exams and waiting for the results he had gotten the impression that Lily was the easy type and went from the playful flirting to innuendos, many of them crude and insulting.

If that douche thought she was going to call him he was in for one sore disappointment, she thought, trying to enjoy the surprisingly warm December afternoon as she walked the short distance that was between the hospital and her car at the lab. Her day was really turning out be rotten, and when she noticed the blonde figure of her brother leaning against her car, she knew it was only going to get worse.

“What are you doing here Tony? I thought I told the grand and powerful alpha I can make it to my house on my own,” she said letting her irritation show.

“Aw, not happy to see me?” he teased with a pout, she just narrowed her eyes at him.

“Not if it means what I think it means,” she told him, crossing her arms and waiting. Tony looked at her with a sly expression.

“Yeah, Dad sent me here to keep watch over you for a few days and make sure the werewolf doesn’t want to finish what he started. He also wants you to give me what you have left,” Tony explained, and Lily just stood there grinding her teeth together; usually she could keep herself pretty level when it came to her temper but today was really turning out to be close to the worst day of her life.

“Tony there is no way I am going to let you follow me around!” Lily told him with a matter of fact tone.

“Yes you are because its alpha’s orders and you should feel lucky he put out the future alpha at your disposal,” he bit back with a charming smile that did nothing to sway her opinion.

“Oh, I am going to dispose of you alright! Just not like you both planned,” she snapped at him automatically and he started to laugh.

“Be nice Lilliput or I promise I can make this really un-fun for you,” he teased, using the nickname he had given her when he had read Gulliver’s Travels in school and she absolutely hated it. She started to pace back and forth rubbing her temple that wasn’t bruised to calm her horrible headache. Then she smiled as she realized the loophole that would get her out of this mess. She’d hit Tony with his greatest weakness.

“Great Rex then I will just let Liz know you will be spending the night with me,” she replied with a sickly sweet tone and she couldn’t’ resist a smile as the alpha’s son suddenly paled. “Hey Liz, I hope you don’t mind, but Tony and I are going to be spending the next couple of nights together. Oh and I only have one bed so we will be sharing!” Lily said fluttering her eyelashes and holding her hand up in the mimic of a telephone as he growled at her.

“You wouldn’t,” he boomed at her, but she gave him a sly grin. She watched him tense with nervous anger.

“No, I wouldn’t,” she admitted after a few moments of letting him sweat it out, removing the teasing tone from her voice. “I value my life too much for that, but even if you told her the fluffy bunny version Liz would still want to paint my house with my blood Tony. Don’t say you won’t tell her because then she will undoubtedly kill us both when she finds out! You and I know how territorial she is. But all this is beside the point because I do not need you to babysit me!” She told him and he started to open his mouth to comment.

“I know “Alpha’s orders” and I will just have to take it up with him obviously,” she said, pushing him off the car door so she could get in. He hopped in the passenger side.

“Geez Lilliput you can be so rude, you know that?” Tony told her as he buckled his seat belt.

“Geez Rex, you can be such a pain in the ass, you know that?” She shot back with a smirk as she started her car and drove to their father’s house.

They arrived quickly at the Robert’s home, where an unhappy Liz was waiting for them. Tony wasn’t out of the house, but an hour at best and Liz was already getting upset. Lily glanced at him with a “see what I mean” look before she got out of the car. Liz immediately ran up to Tony, wrapping her arms around him tightly and gave Lily a cold look. “How are you feeling Lily,” she asked with an icy voice that at the moment sounded like she wished Lily had been thrown off a cliff.

“I’m feeling better thanks, Liz,” she told the territorial female werewolf as she dashed up the porch stairs to put as much distance as she could between them. Lily entered the house with a quiet sigh of relief. Sandy came out of the kitchen and quickly gave her a warm motherly hug. She repeated the same question Liz had just made. “I am quite honestly having one of the worst days of my life and Andrew isn’t making it any better by trying to boss me around,” Lily replied.

“Maybe you should stop and listen to him. Lily, you always want to do everything by yourself. You know not even an alpha does everything alone. He has the beta, the enforcers, and other elders to help him,” Sandy said, concern painted upon her face. Lily let out a tired sigh, feeling as if the world had settled on her shoulder.

“I can’t live my life waiting for someone to come and save me every time the forces of nature decide to screw with me,” she explained, really not wanting to continue the topic. She loved her family, but they couldn’t understand why she needed to be independent and do things on her own. Life had taught her one thing, the only person who would always be there for her was herself and only herself

“I’ve got to talk to Andrew,” Lily told the older woman and left quickly. So lost in her dark thoughts she completely forgot to knock and simply walked in. Unfortunately, he was meeting with the pack doctor, Xavier Thompson, and James. God damn that man! Lately, she couldn’t take a step without seeing his cute as hell face! The Alpha’s expression was stern, and he raised an eyebrow, waiting for her to explain her unannounced intrusion.

“Sorry Mr. Roberts, but I really wish to speak with you…now if it is possible.” She told him and noticed his jaw muscles tightened with irritation. She was really pushing him today.

The doctor got up from his chair, “I could use a little break.” He stated then nodded at the Andrew before turning to leave. Lily gave him an appreciated smile which he eagerly returned. James got up as well following him out of the office after giving her an odd look. He may be able to kill her in less than a second but if he kept giving her odd looks she was going to have to punch him.

“Lily Nawassa what have I told you about just walking into my office?” Andrew snapped when the door was shut and her anger quickly began to surge to the surface.

“I don’t really care right now,” she snapped back before she could stop herself. His eyes flashed a golden hue with his anger.

“Young lady I am the alpha of this pack and you may not be a werewolf or a member of the pack, but you will obey me when I am in such company!”

“I am not a little girl anymore Andrew! I am not a mutt groupie of yours either so I will not bow down to your every whim like everyone else,” she replied letting her voice rise. He slammed his fists on the table and stood up, glaring at her. She could feel the anger coming off of him in waves. Part of her wanted to start screaming “I am sorry” but the other part needed to challenge him and make him see she could handle herself. She had to be able to stand on her own two feet without his help.

“Do not insult my pack, Lily! You will obey me while you are in danger. I don’t care if you like it nor not!” Andrew demanded, shouting at her. Lily stomped up to his desk angrier than she had ever been in her life.

“I am not in danger; he wanted the pills not me! If the guy wanted me dead, I would be dead! You and I both know that! I will not obey you this time. I refuse to give you anything, and I refuse to have your son follow me around. That would put me in more danger than ever! You know how Liz is, and she would absolutely freak out if she found out! You can’t force me into obedience Andrew, and I need you to understand that I can handle things on my own!” Lily argued heatedly.

“No Lily, you think you can handle everything by yourself, but you can’t handle this. You are simply human and seemed to have forgotten even the weakest among us could rip you apart easily! You may not be of my blood, but you are my daughter all the same. Until I am sure you will be absolutely safe someone will be coming over to keep watch over you!” Her father roared back at her.

“No Andrew I put my foot down! I one hundred percent refuse some needless bodyguard,” she demanded. He growled at her loudly, stomping around the desk before grabbing her arm, startling her.

“You have no say in this matter! As my daughter you will do as I say,” he snarled at her then dragged her out of his office and down the hall. She attempted to free herself from his grip, but he was much stronger than her. This was a side of her father she had never seen before and it scared her a little. She had considered apologizing but when she noticed everyone staring at them, open-mouthed in horrified awe, she scowled even more with embarrassment. She demanded he let her go, but he ignored her as he pulled her down the hall.

Andrew opened the front door and pushed her out onto the porch. “Stop trying to act like a one-man army,” he demanded in a harsh snarl. “I will tell you once more that you will do as I say! A pack is as strong as its weakest member, and you will be protected! Now go home and get some rest!” He shouted at her then slammed the door in her face. Lily stood there for a moment in surprised shock before she turned around and walked down the stairs, feeling embarrassed and hurt.

Chapter 4

~

 

James could hear the alpha shouting at the woman in his office. “Here they go again,” Doctor Thompson said, shaking his head. James gave him and questioning look. The beta nodded his head. “Yes, they do this often. They may not be related by blood, but they both are cut from the same cloth,” he told him with a chuckle. His curiosity flared once more and almost asked the beta about her when the door suddenly flew open. Andrew stomped out of the room with the human in tow. Both were glaring at each other and the anger filled the room making everyone, even him, tense.

The human tried to break free from the alpha’s grip as she demanded that he let her go, but the alpha simply ignored her. He opened the front door and pushed her out onto the porch. “Stop trying to act like a one-man army,” he demanded in a harsh snarl. “I will tell you once more that you will do as I say! A pack is as strong as its weakest member and you will be protected! Now go home and get some rest!” he shouted at her then slammed the door in her face.

James shifted uncomfortably from one foot to the other. For some reason, it bothered him to see the alpha treat her like that and part of him was tempted to step forward ask the alpha to ease up a bit. However, he also couldn’t help but wonder why she was refusing protection. The human had to know that if she were attacked by a werewolf, she’d probably die. She couldn’t be stupid enough to think she could actually fight off such attack by herself.

“Let us continue,” the alpha demanded and ordered them to follow him back into his office. With a shrug, Xavier followed Andrew back inside. James glanced at the front door for a second before following the other two into the alpha’s office.  

“So then what do you think we have on our hands?” Andrew asked, directing his question towards the pack doctor, once everyone had taken their seat.

“I still am not sure that this is all connected,” Doctor Thompson replied, knotting his fingers together and resting his elbows on the edges of the chair.

“I am afraid we have strong evidence to believe that is in fact connected. Jake Addams was nearly abducted exactly like James. Also, James informed me this morning that the mad man contacted him admitting to being the one who caused his particular way of shifting and attacking Lily,” Andrew explained.

“This is horrible,” the beta started with a sad tone. “Who would want to do such a thing to our children?” He turned to the alpha. “I am not sure what we can do now to be honest. We’ve no leads and the pills have been stolen.”

“We do have one lead. James will be able to recognize the werewolf present in the attempt to kidnap the Addams child,” Andrew began then looked to James. “Speaking of which, I want you to stop by the laboratory and check out the scent. I have already talked to the pack members who are on the police force. You will be able to enter without any problems. I want to know whether it’s the same or we are dealing with more than one traitor,” he finished.

“I will go over there as soon as we finished here,” James answered.

“Good. Now as far as the pills, we haven’t lost them all Xavier. Apparently Lily foresaw a break in at the laboratory so she kept some of the pills hidden somewhere else,” he explained and the doctor smiled brightly.

“Did she? Well, what an intelligent move. I have to say I am impressed,” he cheered and the alpha smiled too.

“Getting them from her though is going to be…challenging. She refuses to give up the pills or back down,” Andrew said with frustration. “She seems to have taken this personal and has refused to let me attempt to protect her,” he finished with a growl. Xavier’s lips stretched into a small smile.

“I have to agree with her on that last part Andrew; I don’t think she’ll need protection. The attack at the laboratory wasn’t against her; it was to get the pills back. Now that this thug thinks he has the pills he won’t bother her again. She is only a human, after all,” he explained to the alpha. Andrew sighed, shaking his head.

“You may be right Xavier, but you know how she is, she’ll find a way to piss this mad man off and like you just said, she is only human,” he expressed concern.

Xavier laughed, “Of course she would! She’s your daughter even if she is human! Give it a day or two to calm down then send someone who has the gift of extreme patience to talk to her,” the beta explained and the alpha smiled tiredly. James felt his curiosity flare up once more as he listened to the conversation. Never in his life would he have ever imagined it possible for a human to become a part of an alpha’s family.

“That’s a good idea, Xavier, I knew I could count on you,” Andrew expressed with gratitude and then turned to James. “Once you have checked the lab out I want you to check out the local hot spots of the pack and see if you can identify our unknown werewolf. If you find him don’t engage him or make him aware that you know who he is, just come back and immediately inform me,” the alpha explained.

“Yes Alpha,” James answered with a nod and all three men stood, understanding the meeting was now over. James got up and started to make his way out of the house.

“Hey, wait up James,” Tony called after him. “I am going to tag along,” he added and James smiled.

“It will just be like old times then,” he told his best friend and they walked towards Tony’s old jeep.

“Be careful Tony,” a dark-haired beauty called out to Tony, looking worried.

“I’ll be okay Liz…it’s nothing dangerous I swear. You don’t need to worry,” he told her with a wave. “What?” he asked once he noticed James giving him an intense examining look.

“How the hell did you get a mate like that?” he asked and Tony smiled brightly.

“I am the alpha’s son and the next in line to be alpha. I get nothing but the best,” he replied as his smile spread from ear to ear.

“Apparently so…damn lucky bastard,” he muttered as they got into the jeep. Tony laughed loudly, a proud look on his face.

“How does that work out for you by the way?” Tony asked pulling out of the driveway and onto the street.

“How do you mean?” James asked as he looked out of the window.

“Well, I mean do you have one or are you too different?” Tony asked, looking unsure.

“Hell, if I know. I just know that I have yet to meet a woman that has caused any of those telltale signs that she’s my mate,” he explained with a flat tone. He didn’t want to let on to how much he had thought about that question himself.

“Man that sucks,” Tony admitted and James shrugged in reply.

“Suits me just fine, now can we change the subject I swear we sound like a group of girls,” he teased and Tony looked at him for a moment with his whole face scrunched up in disgust.

Once they arrived at the lab, an officer was waiting for him. “Hey Tony, and James Lacrosse, I presume?” he asked and James nodded. The officer seemed a little nervous. “Only you can go in, sorry Tony, and please don’t touch anything in any way or otherwise Detective Scott will have my ass! That woman is a real bitch,” the officer complained and James gave him an encouraging smile.

“Don’t worry about me. I won’t touch a thing since I only need to check out the scents which will only take me a few minutes,” James told him, passing the yellow tape and walking into the lab. James walked through the narrow hallway. He saw that the room at the end of the hall was a mess and he knew that was what he was looking for. He entered the room and was immediately shocked at the amount of destruction around him.

Not a single piece of equipment was intact. This must be where the human woman worked. Her scent covered the room, but the heavy smells coming off the drugs that littered the floor made it difficult for him to distinguish any other smells. He walked over to a small desk and noticed an open file spread out across it. Staring back at him was the mug shot of some man who screamed bad news. He read some of the reports and shook his head; the man really was bad news. He made James look like a choir boy.

He glanced around the room at the distinctive powders on the floor and started to understand why the human had taken the break in so personally. Thanks to the thief, men like this one in the mug shot would be able to go free, and all because of some stupid pills. Remembering why he’d come, he focused on his sense of smell and began separating the several scents in the room.

Finally, he was able to get past the woman’s scent and the hundreds of different drugs and pick up the scent of the werewolf. He recognized the scent from the one in the woods. Well, at least they until had only one traitor to deal with. Being careful of his step he left the wrecked room and walked out of the crime lab. They thanked the officer and walked back to the car. “So?” Tony asked, wanting to know what he had found.

“It’s the same scent as the kidnapping,” James told him and Tony was silent as he started the car.

“So where to next?” Tony asked as they left the parking lot.

“Well, your dad wants me to check out the local hot spots to see if I can put a face to the traitor. Since it’s getting pretty late the best place to get started is probably Lupin’s,” he explained. Tony nodded, started the car, and drove towards the werewolf only bar.

The bar descended into complete silence as soon as James entered. All eyes followed him with fear, suspicion, and blatant mistrust as he and Tony walked up to the bar and ordered a couple of beers. “Damn, remind me never to bring you along if I want to go unnoticed,” Tony said shaking his head and James gave him a weak smile as they sat down. Once the crowd decided James wasn’t there to kill them and rip them all to shreds, they began to go about their business.

James began the slow task of separating each individual scent and connecting it to its owner. “So, when this is all finished are you going to stay or take off again?” Tony asked him. James brought his attention back to Tony for a moment and shrugged.

“I don’t know, I haven’t really thought about it,” he told his friend, taking a drink of the untouched beer that sat in front of him.

“Well, I for one would like to see you back for good,” Tony told him, taking a drink. James nodded as he continued to identify the scents. “No one is nearly as fun as you are. Chris is okay, but, I don’t know, it’s not the same since he is Lacy’s mate and all,” he added and James laughed.

“You only think I’m fun because I was the only kid that didn’t kiss your ass because you were the alpha pup,” James corrected him and Tony smiled, taking another drink.

“That’s basically what I said, but not so colorful, and they only get worse the older I get,” Tony added with a look of irritation.

“Yeah, because being adored is so horrible,” James teased and Tony shook his head.

“You should try it, people always wanting to be your best buddy and agree with everything you say. If I told them to eat silver, they would do it!” He grumped and James laughed again.

“No thanks, between the angry mobs and women wanting to tame the big bad wolf, I’ve got enough on my plate,” James replied with a look of disgust and now it was Tony’s turn to laugh.

“Tame the big bad wolf eh?” he asked suggestively and James shook his head.

“It’s not as good as it sounds,” he told his friend and Tony smiled.

“Looks like there is a couple over there that wouldn’t mind trying,” he teased and James looked over his shoulder to see two women staring at them, practically drooling. He narrowed his eyes at them with a scowl, but they didn’t respond as he wished. Instead of paling and nearly fainting, they only giggled to each other.

Tony laughed harder. “Yep, your right, it sucks to be you,” he teased and James glared at him. Tony finished off his beer and leaned back in his chair. “I have missed this James; I really want you to stay. A lot of time has passed, I am sure the pack can forgive and forget,” Tony pushed and James shrugged. That was one thing he didn’t think the pack could do honestly, he thought as he finished about a quarter of the scents around them by then.

“I don’t know Tony; I really don’t like staying where I am unwanted,” he replied, taking another drink of his beer.

“Well, you’re wanted in our family,” Tony stated. “For the most part” he added so quietly that it was barely a whisper. James looked at his friend confused.

“Now, what exactly does that mean?” James demanded.

“You heard that did you?” He asked looking sheepish and James nodded, leaning closer towards his friend.

“Yes, I did, now tell me exactly what it meant,’ he insisted. James started to worry; did he burden them too much with his problems? Which of them could have a problem with him? He glared at Tony, who was obviously very hesitant in discussing it.

“You have to swear you won’t tell anyone! Hell she doesn’t even know that I know,” Tony explained and James nodded even more confused. Who could this she be, Lacy or Sandy? He had thought he was on good terms with both of them; they both seemed excited to have him back in town. Tony took a deep breath and let it out slowly, “It’s Lily, she really can’t stand your guts,” he admitted.

“The human?” James asked with a scoff, yet irritated by the mix of feelings he felt. One part was relieved it wasn’t Lacy or Sandy because he could care a less if the human didn’t like him while the other was curious and bothered by the idea of her disliking him.

“Don’t call my sister that! She has a name so use it,” Tony shot at him, looking so angry that it surprised James. Did he really consider that human to be as much as a sister him as Lacy?

“Alright…sorry man,” he apologized. “So why does Lily hate my guts? I just met her a few days ago,” he asked, finishing off his beer. Tony shrugged, his anger disappearing as quickly as it came.

“I don’t know. I just know she does,” he told James. “She gets this look every time she sees you. The kind of look someone gets when they just stepped into a pile of crap,” he explained. James frowned growing more troubled by the fact she didn’t like him. He couldn’t figure it out why it bothered him so much; lots of people didn’t like him. In fact, he could only think of a handful of people who actually did like him. His feelings about Lily’s dislike must be because he didn’t know the reason, he decided finally.

After nearly an hour, James had sorted through all of the scents in the bar. “Nothing,” he declared with frustration, bringing his fist hard on the table, making it wobble. Tony frowned and shot a glanced around the bar.

“It’s Friday night and nearly the whole pack has passed through here at one point or another. Are you sure you didn’t miss anyone?” Tony asked and James glared at him.

“Of course I didn’t miss anyone Tony,” he answered, feeling a little insulted and Tony held up his hands in signs of surrender, apologizing. James took a deep breath to reign back in his anger. “Sorry, Tony I didn’t mean to snap like that. This narrows down our traitor to a kid, a golden oldie, or a new parent, they’re the only members who haven’t been here already minus the alpha and beta,” James finished and Tony looked skeptical.

“Yeah, you’re right but it seems highly unlikely on all accounts unless our traitor is only passing along information while another werewolf commits the crimes.” Tony replied and James nodded. That would mean two werewolves were involved and that didn’t make things any better. If the other werewolf were not of this pack, it could cause a pack war. There hadn’t been a pack war in the area for over two hundred years.

“Yes, I think that is the most probable option but first I will have to check out the other places. Can’t rule out any member of the pack until I have been able to assess their scent,” James replied and once more they both looked at the people in the bar.

“Well, it’s late and Liz is probably pacing the whole house up and down by now,” Tony announced placing his hands on the table as he grinned happily. James laughed quietly with a small shake of his head.

“Okay, well let’s go lover boy,” James teased him and they left the bar.

Tony dropped James off at his hotel room. As he watched his friend leave, he felt a pang of jealousy wash over him. He had come to accept who he was and all that it entails, but there were times, like that night, where he wished his life was different. He would give up being one of the strongest and most feared creatures in existence just to be able to have a home to go to every night, instead of a hotel room.

To have a nine to five job, instead of doing odd jobs here and there just so he could eat and have a roof over his head. He also wondered what it’d be like to have a mate waiting for him at home. To give him a kiss when he got home and ask how his day was…a woman that would complete his life and make him a father…what it must be like to know that because of him life was created. How it’d feel to be called daddy and receive the unconditional love of his child.

James shrugged off the unwanted feelings and told himself to quit acting like a pussy as he walked into his hotel room. He slowly got undressed, passing through the events of the night in his head. It all seemed like a confusing mess, but there had to be a way to sort it all out and find the person responsible for all of this, responsible for what he had become.

He laid down on the bed, staring up at the ceiling and passing through what memories he had of that time. He remembered a dark room, a cold metal bed, lots of needles, a lot of intense burning pain, and someone always nearby. He had tried every way imaginable to remember that person. He had tried drugs, some legal and some not so legal, he had tried hypnotism, meditation, but nothing had proved useful. The face of the man who made him into the beast he was today refused to surface to the light.

Chapter 5

~

 

When Lily got home, she grabbed a bottle of Jack Daniels and threw herself on the couch pushing her thoughts about the fight she just had with her father away. Andrew had embarrassed her in front of everyone, dragging her out of the house like that. Lily opened the bottle and took a long drink. There was nothing that a good bottle of Jack Daniels couldn’t fix; she thought as she took another drink and she was in need of some serious JD therapy. “Damn werewolves! Who needs them,” she grumbled loudly and took yet another drink.

The next morning Lily woke to feel as if someone had jackhammered her head the whole night. She let out a long slow groan as she forced herself up off the couch. She wobbled to the bathroom and opened the medicine cabinet to grab her strongest pain killer. Once she had swallowed the two large white pills, she brushed her teeth, hoping to rid her mouth of its horrible ashtray taste.

Lily surveyed her slightly pale face in the mirror. She had an enormous blackish-purple bruise where the thief of the lab, or Fluffy as she had nicknamed him, had hit her in the temple and another lighter bruise on her cheek where he’d slapped her. She had to admit the bruises, mixed in with the bloodshot eyes and the huge bags under them did make her look kind of pathetic.

“But I am not pathetic,” she told her reflection. She stripped off the clothing from the previous day and got into the shower, hoping the hot water would help relieve her pounding head. She let the warm water wash over her until it had run cold. The tension in her body had slowly eased, and her head felt a little better. Lily shut off the water with a loud sigh and wrapped herself in a towel. She winced as her phone started ringing, sending daggers of pain shooting through her temple. She walked into her bedroom and laid down on her bed, reaching for the phone on the nightstand.

“This is Lily,” she answered with little enthusiasm.

“Poor girl, you sound awful. I hope you are not suffering too badly from that hangover,” A mechanical sounding voice stated. What the hell? She thought with her face scrunched in confusion.

“Who is this and why do you give a flying flip about my hangover?” she asked wondering how the hell he even knew she had a hangover.

The mechanical voice laughed, “I’m afraid I’m not going to tell you who I am…yet, and I really don’t give…a flying flip was it?” He stated and she suddenly felt nervous, wondering who this person was. “I have to say I am impressed Lily. You are braver than I’d figure a human to be. I was sure the incident at the lab would have put you off from helping that sad excuse of an alpha,” he continued. His voice was calm and smooth until he mentioned the alpha. Then Lily could pick up the aggravated tone of anger in his voice.

“Well, I don’t take kindly to being pushed around, especially when you destroyed the lab, jerk!” She snapped, feeling furious again. She suddenly realized that this man wasn’t the same man that had broken into the lab. If were then he wouldn’t have wasted his time masking his voice, this man was someone else entirely.

“I had to get my pills back Lily,” The caller replied, as if what he said was the most logical thing in the world.

“You should never have given them to those poor kids in the first place,” Lily argued and she could hear him laugh quietly. The sound sent shivers down her spine. “You could have done it after hours as well, dumb ass, or at least without destroying the equipment!” She shot, not able to stop what was coming out of her mouth.

“Oh Lily, you are full of surprises, but you ought to be careful what you say. You already are on the outs with your father, best not be on the outs with me. Unlike the alpha, I can have you killed before you even have the chance to scream for help.” He told her. The cold amusement in his voice made her extremely nervous and she swallowed hard. How did this man know so much about her?

“How do you know if I am on the outs with him or not?” she asked, hoping she sounded more confident than she felt.

“Everyone in the pack knows a certain werewolf who can’t keep her mouth shut.” The caller answered and Lily cringed, knowing he was referring to Lacy; she was a horrible sucker for gossip.

“I am not afraid of you so if you’re going to do something then come on and try it,” she snapped back, then cursed herself furious. Why she could never keep her mouth shut!

“Don’t tempt me, my dear, don’t tempt me,” he answered with a tone that almost sounded like a tease. “Lily, I have a proposition for you,” he told her and she scrunched her brow, wondering what he could possibly want from her.

“I thought you were only another stupid human and wannabe werewolf, but I have to say these last couple of days I see you are so much more…interesting. You know, an artist always likes to hear what others think of his work. Since you are the forensic chemist after all, I would love to hear your opinion on my work. I realize you still have tests you want to perform so I will give you until tomorrow to finish,” he told her.

“As much as I would love to talk about your work, I’m afraid I can’t play along since you so quickly took away the pills I had in hand,” she said with a bittersweet voice.

“Now Lily, do you really think I would have gotten this far if I wasn’t more astute than that? I know you were smart enough not to store all the pills in one place so you can, and will continue,” he told her pointedly.

“No, I don’t want to play this sick game with you, Dr. Frankenstein,” she told him, hanging up. She stared at the silent phone with a bad taste in her mouth. She jumped slightly as the phone began to ring again. She debated whether to pick it up or not. She sighed and finally picked it up.

“Now that was rude Lily,” he stated with irritation.

“I don’t really care,” she shot back.

“Well then, that’s bad news for your friend Lacy,” he replied with cool, cold calm.

Lily rolled her eyes with a sarcastic nod, “You can’t do anything to her; she’s the alpha’s daughter and always has some enforcer around her!”

“Lily, I honestly don’t care whose daughter she is, I am not afraid of the alpha. If I want to use her as my little play thing, I can, and no one would be able to stop me. If you don’t play along I will use her for the next phase of my experiment, but she isn’t James and I don’t think she would survive the process,” he explained keeping his calm tone.

Lily balled her fist in anger, why was this freak dragging her into this game a cat and mouse? “Fine, you win…this round,” she relented, not willing to risk the life of her friend. She swore she could feel him gloating.

“Now that’s a good girl. All you have to do is continue with what you were doing already. I will call tomorrow evening to see what you have learned,” he stated and Lily wanted nothing more than to strangle him.

“Why do you even care what I think?” She asked bitterly, feeling like she was missing pieces in this whole jigsaw puzzle.

“Don’t flatter yourself my dear. It’s more curiosity than actually caring, you are showing promising signs. If you please me, then I will reward you if not…well let’s not make that an option shall we. Now get yourself cleaned up and to work, the clock is ticking!” He finished and hung up.

Tossing the phone down Lily started to wonder if she had begun to wade into waters too deep for her, not that she would ever admit it to anyone. After what happened with Andrew yesterday, she wasn’t about to go crawling to him, telling him that he was probably right. “No,” she told herself getting up, “I can handle this. I don’t need anyone’s help!” She dressed quickly and ate a meager breakfast, as she was too nervous to eat more then went to the University to do just what Dr. Frankenstein wanted her to do.

The ringing of a cell phone caused Lily to slowly lift her head up from the keyboard where she’d fallen asleep. She rubbed her keyboard imprinted face, hoping to wake herself up some. She had spent the last two days examining the pills she had hidden at her home. She had learned quite a bit, using her own blood as a sample to test the effects of the drug. She didn’t have James blood to compare it with, which would have given better results.

The truth was she didn’t even ask him because she avoided any and all contact with the werewolves. Lily felt angry at her father and embarrassed that not only did her family, the doctor, and James overhear their fight but thanks to Lacy’s big mouth, the whole pack knew of it. Her phone continued to vibrate along the table and she answered it, croaking out a rough greeting.

“I’m glad to see you’re working hard Lily, so please tell me what you have learned?” the mechanical voice asked. She sighed, hating the feeling of being manipulated.

“Well, the drug is a stimulant, that’s for sure,” she started and he made a sound of approval. “However, it would take me weeks to figure out all the details that this substance entitles, if not longer. You have created one of the most complex drugs I have seen in my entire life. I am guessing the pills are your attempt to create a more passive manner of doing what you did to James Lacrosse, but from what I can tell it doesn’t work. The tests I have done on my own blood shows that the pills formula is too volatile. It not only changes the genetic code but ends up destroying it; at least, that is how it appears. I am only beginning to study pathology, so I can really only guess on that part,” she explained and she heard him clapping.

“Bravo Lily, bravo. I don’t know how I didn’t see it earlier,” he told her, making her feel worse than she already felt. “You are brave, attractive and intelligent! I believe you are perfect for the next phase of my plan.”

“Thanks, but no thanks,” Lily replied hastily, feeling her stomach clenched violently at his words.

“I am afraid this isn’t negotiable Lily,” he replied and she felt really sick.

“What exactly is this phase Dr. Frankenstein?” she asked, trying to keep the fear out of her voice.

“Quite simple, Lily, in nature there must always be a counterpart. Night and day, summer and winter…male and female,” he explained then hung up. He couldn’t possibly mean that he wanted to make her… like, James? But that was impossible; James had always been a werewolf and was then changed into…well, whatever he was now. Lily was human and unless she was with a werewolf, there was no way she could become a lycanthrope. She swallowed with difficulty as she placed her cell back to her pocket. As a human, she would never survive what he’d done to James. Hell, he said even Lacy wouldn’t survive!

“Maybe he’s just bluffing,” she told herself as she got up from the large desk. “I can handle this; I don’t need anyone’s help. He is just bluffing,” she continued to tell herself, walking out of the small laboratory. Lily looked around nervously and held onto her jacket tightly, looking frantically around the darkened parking lot, fearing the masked werewolf would be waiting in the shadows for her.

The next morning, just as she was about to make her morning coffee, someone knocked on the door. She tightened her ponytail and opened the door. “May I help you?” she asked the unfamiliar man suspiciously before her.

He shot her a bright smile. “The alpha sent me, I am Greg,” he told her and held out his hand. A huge sense of relief washed over her. Lily had hardly slept last night; she jumped at every little sound and had terrible nightmares about monstrous werewolves. She feigned a frown as she took his hand, she didn’t want anyone to see her worry.

“Well you can turn right around and go where you came from Greg; I don’t need a babysitter,” she told him nicely but firmly, hoping he would repeat that “alpha’s orders” speech that Tony used on her often.

“I am not here to babysit you, Lily, seriously! Yes, the alpha sent me but not to babysit. He wants to keep you safe that’s all,” Greg insisted.

“Well, I don’t need protecting Greg,” she replied. Why couldn’t she just shut up and let him in?

His head dropped to his chest and he looked up at her. “Can you please just let me hang out for a few hours? If I go back now the alpha will have my hide,” he told her with a pleading look that she had to admit was really cute on him.

“Fine, you can stay here awhile. I don’t want you to have problems because of me but only a few hours and that’s it,” she told him, seeing an open opportunity to accept help without looking like she really needed it. He gave her another charming smile that Lily found very contagious. She moved aside so he could come in the house and shut the door. “Do you want some coffee Greg?” she asked, entering the kitchen.

“Yes, please and thank you very much,” he told her politely and followed her into the kitchen. He helped her make the coffee and she couldn’t remove the smile on her face. At least Andrew had the good sense to send someone cute, fun, courteous, and did she mention cute?

“So what did you do to get punished by babysitting duty?” she asked as they sat down at the little glass table. Greg laughed full heartedly.

“I don’t think sitting here with an attractive woman drinking coffee is punishment,” he told her with a flirty glint in his dark brown eyes.

“Wow, aren’t you the smooth talker? I guess Andrew has more tact than I gave him credit for,” Lily flirted back at him.

Her phone rang in the living room so she excused herself and went to answer it. “This is Lily,” she answered. Someone immediately started chattering off quickly in a language she didn’t know. She attempted to say slowly and loudly they had the wrong number, but they continued to chatter off mindlessly so she just decided to hang up and hope that they got the point. She returned back to the kitchen greeted by Greg’s bright smile.

“Something important?” he asked and she shook her head.

“No, someone got the wrong number,” she told him, drinking down a mouthful of her coffee. She scrunched her nose slightly; she really had to switch brands, this one tasted funny.

Lily and Greg spent the morning chatting about this and that. She loved how easy it was to talk to him. He seemed somewhat familiar, but she had no idea where from. She figured she had probably seen him, or a glimpse of him, at one point since he was a member of the pack. She was surprised when she found herself telling him about her whole sad and neglected childhood.

“So, your biological parents spent all their time partying, doping up, and drinking until one day they just picked up and moved, taking everything but you? That must have been hard,” he told her and she nodded slowly.

Lily could have kissed him right then and there when he didn’t get the sad pathetic look of sympathy and pity on his face that everyone else got when she told them. It was one of the reasons she had refused to talk about it until now. “Thanks for not giving me the whole you poor thing speech,” she said finally and he shot her a bright smile.

“No thanks needed, I know what it’s like to be the subject of the pity party thing,” Greg told her and she eyed him skeptically. Once more he laughed loudly and Lily relaxed, enjoying the sound.

“I had it a little rough as a kid too,” he admitted as his face turned into a dark hard expression. “I was quite the disappointment to my parents, mostly my father. I wasn’t the son they had expected while my mother tried to change me into her idea of a better son. My father preferred the insults and the beatings.”

“Well shame on them,” Lily said and he looked up at her surprised. “I’ve only known you for a little while, but it’s enough to see you’re a great guy, Greg,” She told him and he brightened immediately. She took another drink of her coffee.

“You’re not like the other werewolves,” she told him and he didn’t seem to be pleased. “That’s a good thing Greg; most of the others either insult me because they think I am something of a groupie or like Andrew and Tony, who order me around like I am some idiot child. Not to mention the cocky ones like James Lacrosse!” She snapped.

“You don’t like the famous James Lacrosse?” he asked with a wide smile and she shook her head.

“I think he is an egotistical jerk! Thanks to him I had to deal with my biological parents for a year without the safe haven of the Roberts’s home. Andrew told me I couldn’t come over when they fostered him that year,” she admitted with bitterness.

Greg cringed. “Now that really sucks.”

“Totally sucks, I don’t think James has gotten any more humble with age,” she continued sourly.

“I am glad to finally meet someone who sees him for what he really is,” Greg told her positively, beaming with happiness.

“Now, see that is what I am talking about! You’re such a pleasure to have around,” Lily told him eagerly.

“Just remember you said that when you really get to know me,” he told as a playful warning.

“Well, if the alpha is going to send you every time he wants to babysit me then I don’t mind,” she replied. He got an odd expression on his face, but it was gone before she could attempt to decipher it.

Someone else knocked on her door and she got up with a little hesitation. She was enjoying Greg’s company. “I will be right back,” she told him, taking another drink of her coffee and walking towards the front door.

She frowned slightly when she opened it to find none other than James Lacrosse standing there. “What’s up?” she asked, moving aside to let him in.

Chapter 6

~

 

The next day James and Tony hit some more local hot spots, but the cold rainy weather meant very few people were out and about. It was Sunday afternoon; James shook off the rain from his jacket and entered the diner where he’d eaten at on Friday. The mummer of the diner quieted and people turned to look at him. It flared his irritation and he wanted desperately to shout at all of them to turn around and stick their noses in their own business. Instead, he walked over to the large corner booth where Tony, Lacy, and their mates sat.

“Hey everyone,” he greeted as he sat down next to Lacy. Chris held out his hand and James took it for a moment then released it.

“Heya James, nice to see ya,” Chris greeted with a laid-back ease that surprised James a little since apparently laid back or ease didn’t describe the typical reaction he got from people. James hadn’t spoken to the werewolf much, but he decided Chris wasn’t too bad. He wondered how a werewolf from California ended up all the way on the east coast. Either way, he and Lacy seemed to be great together. He better be good to her, James thought. She was like a sister to him and anyone who hurt her would have to deal with him.

“You too, Romeo,” James told him with a small smile and Chris laughed.

“Nah, I am way better than Romeo,” he replied with a wink and Lacy rolled her eyes at him, a hint of a smile on her lips. James’s smile grew as he started to sort out the scents in the diner like he had Friday night and the previous day. Their waitress walked up to the table, visibly shaking, and stood as far from James as she possibly could.

“W-what c-can I g-get you t-today?” she stuttered eyeing James as if he was a rabid animal that would jump for her throat at any moment. Everyone started to give their orders when the waitress accidentally brushed up against Tony. Liz growled at the already rattled girl.

“Watch it, girl,” Liz threatened her. “Don’t touch my man again if you don’t want to get hurt,” she snarled and James swore the waitress nearly fainted from fright.

“Liz relax,” Tony demanded placing his arm around her shoulders to keep her calm. When she started to complain, he gave her a quick peck that seemed to calm her down and James couldn’t be happier that he didn’t have to deal with that crap. Despite his moments of feeling lonely, he really did hope to hell that he was too changed for a mate. He didn’t need that possessive clinginess that came with mates or just women in general.

They always thought they could change him and mold him to be just like every werewolf out there. That just wasn’t happening. James was always honest with the women he got involved with and made sure they knew it would never be serious or anything more than casual sex. They never listened though and would always expect more. Of course, they’d then blame him when he wouldn’t give them that.

James smirked as a different waitress brought out their food. This one wasn’t safe from the jealous possessiveness of Liz either. The dark haired beauty glared at the waitress as if they were mortal enemies. When the woman placed the plate in front of James, she didn’t shake like the earlier one, but she stank of fear that almost caused James to choke.

“You sure do make an impression on people don’t you,” Chris joked and Lacy slapped him in the arm with a scolding look.

“Yeah, comes in handy when you don’t want to stand in line,” James joked back and now Lacy shook her head at him with a slight smile.

“That’s just horrible James,” she told him lightly.

“Hey, I have to find a silver lining somewhere,” he replied. They ate lunch and chatted about this and that while James idly continued to search the scents. He sighed in frustration, just like Friday and Saturday he wasn’t finding the werewolf involved in the kidnappings and the break in.

Monday morning James parked his bike in the driveway of the Roberts’ home, his mood dark with frustration. He had spent the rest of Sunday revisiting old sites and was sure he hadn’t missed a single member of the pack, but the werewolf remained unidentified. Sandy greeted him warmly and he tried to greet her with the same warmth, but he was simply too angry to put much effort into it. “Andrew is waiting for you in his office James,” she told him with a sympathetic tone.

“Thanks, Sandy,” he told her with a quick hug and walked down the hall towards the Alpha’s office. He knocked on the door and Andrew called him in. James plopped down in the chair of the alpha’s office and relayed the disappointing news to him. When he was finished, he leaned his head back, staring at the ceiling, aggravated with the situation.

“Well, this proves that there are at least two involved,” the alpha stated with a tired somber tone. He hoped like hell whoever they were and whatever they were doing it didn’t lead to a pack war. Pack wars were always bloody, usually resulting in many more innocent deaths than need be, the losing pack’s alpha family was usually always murdered including the children. That was something James didn’t even want to think about.

“The question is how we find these bastards before they hurt anyone else?” James growled as he looked at Andrew again.

“I don’t know James, but right now I can’t help but think of another problem. Would you mind doing me a favor?” the alpha replied.

“That’s what I am here for Alpha,” James respectfully told him, feeling curious at what he was going to ask.

“I haven’t yet heard back from Greg since he was sent to keep an eye out on Lily yesterday. Can you please make sure she didn’t silver him to a chair or something like that?” he asked. James remembered Greg Malcolm, he was an omega werewolf that had an unfortunate tendency to tremble and nearly piss his pants with the tiniest of frights. James managed to contain a laugh at the idea of poor Greg going up against that human. Then he frowned and leaned forward to rest his hands on his thighs.

“Why did you send Greg?” he asked, wondering why he’d ever send Greg if he actually feared for her safety. The guy would faint at the mere thought of going up against another werewolf.

“Because he is the most patient man I have ever met and if anyone can get her to give up something she doesn’t want to it will be him,” the Alpha explained with a tone that suggested James shouldn’t even have asked. James nodded and got up from his chair.

“I will head over there right now,” he told the alpha.

“Thank you, James,” Andrew replied, handing him a piece of paper with her address on it.

“If she has silvered him, please remind her I sent him there for her own good and if not send Greg back here immediately. I would have thought Greg to be more responsible than this.” James nodded and left the office.

He felt some irritation at being asked to be the messenger boy. With what was going on he was sure he could be doing more important things than making sure an omega and a human were playing nice. But the alpha’s orders were the alpha’s orders and with a sigh he got onto his motorcycle.

When James arrived at the small apartment complex on the edge of town he couldn’t help but wonder why Greg wouldn’t have done what the Alpha told him to do; if Greg was anything like he remembered he wouldn’t ever do anything that could possibly make the alpha angry. As he walked the concrete steps to the second floor, he started to get the nagging feeling that something was wrong. He knocked on the door and part of him relaxed a little when Lily quickly answered the door. She frowned at him and gave him that look Tony had told him about earlier. What the hell did he ever do to make her look at him like that?

“What’s up?” she asked and moved aside so he could come inside. He walked into the quaint little living room and was about to explain why he was there when he smelled it, the scent of the werewolf he had been searching for these past days. James tensed, looking around for the werewolf.

“Who else is here?” he demanded in a growl. The human looked at him with surprise and fearfully took a step back.

“Just Greg,” she stated. “Andrew sent him this morning,” she added quickly and a blonde man walked into the living room with a smug look on his face. “See here he is now,” she said, indicating to the man.

“That isn’t Greg or anything close to him,” he snapped, taking a step towards the intruder.

“What do you mean that’s not Greg?” She asked her voice full of confusion. The man smiled even brighter then made a buzzing sound and her face turned from its normal tanned complexion to a sickly white as she seemed to recognize him.

“Surprise Lily,” the man teased her, taking a step forward. Lily quickly backed away. “My maker said you’re just as intelligent as you are attractive. I’m really surprised after the fun we had in the lab you didn’t pick up on it sooner,” he teased her again and James watched, amazed as she pulled herself up into an erect position. She changed from the pale, frightened woman into an outraged one. The human stomped over to a small table, ripping open a little drawer. Before James could stop her she marched right up to the impostor. He looked at her as one would a fly before they’re about to smash it with a fly swatter.

“This is for my lab,” she told him and threw something she held in one of her fists into his face. The werewolf screamed, grabbing his face as the small silver pellets burned him. James cringed as the man fell to his knees, calling her several nasty names as she quickly backed away from him. James now saw what Doctor Thompson meant when she could be hostile and made a mental note not to piss her off.

The impostor stood up, looking like a rabid animal. “You are lucky the maker wants you alive or I’d tear you to pieces, bitch!” He snapped, and James saw his face was littered with small red burns.

The human lifted up her chin confidently. “Oh, talk tough to me big boy! I’m not scared of you, Fluffy!” She barked back, and James watched her wide-eyed, wondering if she had a death wish.

The blonde growled at her loudly. “You should be scared Lily, very scared.” He snarled his voice sounding more like that of an animal than a human. He shook violently, and his eyes glowed a bright yellow. James knew it was his turn to step in, or this woman would end up getting herself killed.

“You’ll have to go through me first,” James warned him. The familiar tingling ran across his skin as it always did before he shifts. The other werewolf looked at him for the time with a cold smile and a smug expression on his face.

“I wouldn’t be so smug if I were you,” he told James then shifted into a large beastly monster that was almost a mirror image of how James thought he looked when he shifted. For a moment, James gawked at the creature before him unable to believe his eyes. Was this imposter like him? Realizing that the human was still there and probably in danger, he gave himself a mental shake and growled at the other werewolf.

James’s beast was clawing at his insides, howling to be let free and rip this punk to shreds, and James gladly set him free to take over. Once the shift was complete, the beast demonstratively flexed his muscles and growled at the impostor a loud growl of warning. The imposter had the audacity to growl back at him. So this imitation wants a fight does he, the beast thought with a feral pleasure filled him.

The imposter leaped at him and the beast sunk his claws into the flesh of the blonde as they crashed onto the couch, it groaned and exploded into pieces by the brute force of their fall. The imposter yelped as the beast pierced his shoulders more and tried to free his flesh from the beast’s grip, but the beast refused to let go. Instead with another growl of anger he brought up his hind legs and kicked the imposter forcefully in the chest. He watched satisfied as the other went flying through the air, crashing through the wall and into the other room.

The beast jumped to his feet and rushed into the room. He refused to give the other beast a chance to rest. The imposter had just stood up as the beast came into the room. He swung his clawed fist down upon the snout of the impostor. The imposter whined and shook his massive head then returned the hit. Pain unlike he had ever felt pulsed through him and the beast backed up a few steps. The imposter hit him again and sent the beast flying through the wall, making yet another large hole in it.

He landed not too far from the human, and she shrieked. She crawled backward away from him and looked at him then to the hole in the wall. He snarled at her, wondering why the hell she was still there. She needed to get out of here; he couldn’t beat the other beast if he had to worry about her. The beast was so focused on her and his attempt to get her to get out of there that he didn’t see the beast come at him. He whined as the impostor landed on him with a forceful thud.

The impostor snapped his large jaws at the beast, but he held the impostor back easily. They may have been similar, but the impostor was nowhere near as strong as he was. He grabbed the intruder by the neck, letting his claws sink into tender flesh. The impostor whimpered, grabbing his wrists and pulling at him. When he found he couldn’t get the beast to release him, he stomped on the beast’s chest, painfully causing him to release the intruder. He backed away from the beast and grabbed the large heavy old television at him. The Beast roared in laughter as he swat the television from him as he would a bothersome insect.

“You can’t beat me, intruder,” he growled through the mental connection all werewolves shared, and he could feel uncertainty and hate coming from the other in waves.

“We’ll see about that,” the impostor shot back. He took the beast by surprise when, instead of attacking him again, he fled through the door, breaking it into hundreds of splinters. The beast smashed his fists against the wall, making it crack and complain as he roared out his anger at the intruder’s cowardice. The beast vowed not to let him escape, and he dashed after him, sparing the human a glance to see that she remained unharmed and jumped from the second floor to the parking lot, quickly following the impostor into the woods.

The beast tackled the other to the ground and slammed his fist into his gut. The impostor growled and swiped his large clawed hand at the beast, but the beast avoided the attack. The impostor continued to snarl at him and attempted to throw the beast off of him, but the beast refused to be moved. He wanted to see this fraud’s blood spilled on the ground and his insides decorating the tree limbs. He raised his claws for the final blow when the other threw a handful of dirt into his eyes. He howled in anger as the intruder slammed his fist into the side of the beast’s head, knocking him over. He snarled rabidly as he attempted to clean the dirt out of his eyes.

Once he could finally see again he howled with fury as his blood boiled, he would rip that impostor limb by limb very, very slowly. He lifted his snout into the air and caught the other’s scent and hurtled off in the direction as fast as he could. When he found him, the impostor had shifted back to his human form, looking surprised that the beast had followed him.

“Damn you, James! Damn you,” he cursed, and the beast roared in defiance. He wasn’t James; he was the beast! James would be merciful and spare his life, but the beast was going to paint the forest with his blood today. He raced towards the impostor with his right fist raised, ready to give him finally the finishing hit. He had never felt so much pleasure and so satisfied as he felt at that moment! The impostor looked at him with a smug look as he pulled on a rope at his side and a net swallowed the beast.

He howled and roared as the silver laced net feel on top of him and burned. The impostor laughed with the pleasure that the beast had expected to be his. “I hope it burns you until you’re nothing but a charred mass of ash,” he sneered with an evil smile on his face and walked off into the forest. The beast growled with fury and disappointment as he realized he was about to lose the chance to rip apart the impostor. Despite the rope that continued to burn him, he attempted to follow the impostor. He refused to let him get away; he needed to feel the intruder’s blood on his clawed hands.

The beast yelped as a piece of the silver sunk into his flesh, and he growled, ripping at the rope. He had to get it off of him if he was to have his victory. He tore and pulled at it, but he only seemed to become more tangled. The pain started to become very intense as he continued to fight against the net. The beast collapsed to his knees as the pain began to get the better of him. He felt himself losing control, and James had started to return. He fought it; he couldn’t leave without killing the impostor! He struggled but eventually lost the battle against the silver laced net and lost consciousness.

Chapter 7

~

 

Lily watched the two werewolves if they could be called that anymore, fight each other viciously. James flew crashing close to where she was. She shrieked backing up away from him, afraid to be caught in the middle. He turned his attention toward her with a soft growl and she shrank against the wall not sure just how much of him was James the man and how much was an uncontrollable rabid beast. The fake Greg came crashing down onto the distracted James. She cried out in surprise and realized she had to get out of the house. She ran towards the door of the apartment just as they wrestled over to the spot where she was at.

Lily took a deep breath of fresh air once she got out of the apartment and thanked God she had left her phone in her pocket after that strange call instead of leaving it where she usually did. She tried to dial the familiar number, but her fingers were shaking so much it was difficult to hit the correct button. “Andrew Roberts,” her father answered when she finally was able to make the call.

“I think you guys should get here quickly,” she said with a trembling voice and yelped as she felt the violent vibration of the two werewolves smashing against something.

“Lily, what’s wrong?” He asked her with worry and she began to explain just what happened quickly in one breath. “Okay, we are on our way. Don’t go near any of them, if the other is anything like James then he can’t control himself when he is shifted,” he warned her. Oh God, she thought as she swallowed loudly. Suddenly one of the monstrous wolves burst through the door breaking it to tiny splinters of woods. She cried out in surprise and ducked, covering her head. He rushed past her and into the forest with the other following closely behind him.

Lily lifted up her head to see them disappear into the woods before she slowly stood up, unsure of what to do. She peeked into the disaster that used to be her apartment with a heavy sigh. She cautiously entered the apartment and noticed that there wasn’t a piece of furniture that had survived. Almost all the walls were badly cracked and damaged.

“Holy crap,” Tony exclaimed and she jumped in surprise. Tony gave her a sheepish grin then apologized as she turned to see Andrew, Tony, and Chris just outside her door.

“That about explains it,” she replied flatly. She was relieved to see the three men standing outside of her apartment.

“Where is James?” Andrew asked looking around with a look of concern.

“He ran off into the woods after the guy who said he was Greg.” She explained and he had a dark expression on his face. After a moment of silence, he ordered Tony to stay while he and Chris went to find James.

“Are you okay?” Tony asked.

“Physically I am perfect. I managed to keep out of the way of them fighting,” She replied as she walked around the room feeling so lost. Tony nodded obviously not sure of what to say. Lily went to her room to pack some clothes since her apartment was clearly uninhabitable. She couldn’t wrap her mind around what she had just witnessed.

“I’m going to go back some clothes,” Lily told him and walked into her bedroom. She shook her head in disbelief as she packed her suitcase. How didn’t she recognize the sandy blonde as the man who attacked her in the lab? Where was the real Greg? Why did the fake Greg come to her apartment? With that last thought she shuddered not wanting to think what he wanted with her, it was a good thing James show up when he did.

That thought made her scowl in disgust. Great, just what she needed, to owe one to James Lacrosse. She zipped up the full suitcase and dragged it over to the wreck of her living room. What was she going to tell her landlord? What could possibly explain the mess? Lily sighed as she suddenly felt drained and overwhelmed.

“So the other guy was like James?” Tony asked when he noticed she’d returned and Lily nodded.

“He wasn’t as big as James or the same color but yeah he was like James,” she told him.

“Wow,” Tony stated with excitement and she gave him an odd look. “Wish I could have seen it,” he said to no one, in particular, examining the cracked walls as one would a piece of art. “I have only seen him shift once. He looked pretty awesome then,” Tony said with his face now clearly full of excitement. She kept giving her brother a look of disbelief for a moment.

“Once was enough for me. I’ve never seen anything more terrifying in my life,” she admitted with a shudder. It was one thing to see the monster in the movies, but another to see it in real life. She sighed once more and leaned against the wall and rubbed her temples. She was starting to get another headache; she seemed to be getting a lot of those lately.

“Are you sure you’re okay,” he asked looking at her with concern and she smiled at him.

“Yes, I’m fine big brother…just a little overwhelmed with all of this,” she told him and he came over and gave her a comforting hug. She rested her head on his shoulder enjoying this moment of affection that she didn’t get to share often with him.

At that moment her father and Chris returned, “What did you find?” Tony asked just as Lily opened her mouth to ask the same thing. They both smiled at each other.

“We found James but didn’t find the other,” Andrew answered.

“The coward used a trap net laced with silver wire against him,” Chris added and Tony winced.

“How bad is it?” Lily asked feeling a bit concerned.

“He was burned pretty badly, but he’ll live. Right now he is unconscious,” Andrew explained. He opened his mouth to start to say something else, but Lily cut him off.

“I know, I know,” she began. “I have already packed, and I am ready to go and please can you save the “I told you speech” for later.” Andrew gave her a small smile in return with a nod.

“What about Greg?” Tony asked with worry creasing his face and Andrew shook his head.

“The only person I ever saw around here was the fake Greg when he showed up this morning,” Lily told them and the three men before her all shared an expression of grim seriousness.

“As soon as we get James and Lily to the house we will send out a search party,” Andrew affirmed as Tony picked up Lily’s heavy suitcase and they left the shattered apartment. She took a glance at James in the back of Andrew’s car and gasped in horror. Someone had partially covered him with a blanket, but all of the skin she could see was crisscrossed thin bloody red marks. She hated the guy but not so much as to enjoy seeing him so injured. Her hate was more along the lines of replacing his shampoo with orange hair dye.

“Are you sure he is going to be okay,” she asked her father wondering how anyone could survive that, and he nodded grimly.

“It’s going to take a few days though even with our healing speed,” he replied and she shook her head sadly.

Once they arrived at the house, Sandy swallowed Lily in a suffocating motherly hug showering her with kisses while Andrew Chris and Tony took James out of the car. Sandy released Lily for a moment to check on James. Lily heard her take a sharp intake of breath as she looked at him. “My poor boy,” She said with a saddened tone. “Go on and take him to the guest room. It’s already been prepared, thank goodness,” Sandy added then turned back to Lily and gave her another hug.

“It’s good that James went over there when he did,” Sandy stated. Lily remained silent not wanting to admit vocally how right her mother was. “Go on upstairs and put your things in your old room Sunshine,” Sandy told her, and Lily gave her a tight squeeze. She hated to have to depend on them again. Especially since she wanted nothing more than be able to stand on her own two feet, but she knew that if she didn’t want to end up dead or a monster she was going to have to accept help.

“Thanks, Sandy, you guys are the best,” she said with another squeeze and walked up the stairs with her heavy suitcase. She entered the nostalgic room with a small smile. It was exactly like she left it when she moved out a week after she graduated school. She laughed at the old posters of her teen crushes mostly Johnny Depp and Nick and AJ from Backstreet Boys. She pushed her suitcase over by the closet and laid on the bed feeling drained. Little by little she began to relax until she drifted off to sleep.

Lily opened her eyes slowly and sat up on the bed stiffly. She felt as if she slept for a hundred years. She released a jaw-popping yawn and got up from the bed wondering if this was what it felt like to be a zombie. She laughed and started to fan herself, suddenly feeling incredibly warm. Did someone turn up the heater? Lily left her room and started down towards the stairs. She pulled out an elastic band from her pocket and pulled her hair up into a messy ponytail.

A delicious smell drifted out of the kitchen that made Lily’s mouth water and stomach growl. She licked her lips with anticipation and hurried quickly down the rest of the stairs and into the kitchen. “There you are I was starting worry,” Sandy told her with a shake of her head and Lily gave her a sheepish shrug of the shoulders.

“I guess I was really tired,” she said sitting down at the round wooden table, and the older woman set a plate down before her. Her stomach grumbled loudly, and Lily didn’t waste time in shoving the food into her mouth as quickly as possible.

“I told you; you work too much Lily. A full-time job and three classes daily are too much for anyone to handle. I am not surprised you slept nearly twenty-four hours!” Sandy explained, and Lily choked on her food. Her eyes watered, and she drank almost a whole glass of water to get it all down.

“Nearly twenty-four hours!” She exclaimed when her mouth was empty, and the older woman nodded. She had never slept so much in her life.

“Wow…I guess you’re right…I really must’ve been in need of some rest,” Lily added still amazed by the number of hours she slept. “So what has gone on while I been dead to the world,” she asked before resuming to stuff food into her mouth. Sandy gave her a skeptical look of disapproval as she cocked her head to one side. Lily shrugged but kept eating her food similar to a starved pig. Sandy shook her head with a sigh.

“The search for Greg goes on. No one has heard from the poor young man since you’re father sent him over to your house,” Sandy explained, and Lily felt a wave of guilt strike her. If she hadn’t caused such a fuss with Andrew, Greg wouldn’t have gone missing. “James hasn’t woken yet, but his burns have scabbed over so I am sure by tomorrow or the next he will be awake.”

“Is the heater turned up, Sandy? I am so hot…Look I am sweating like a pig,” she asked suddenly changing subject holding out her arms that were covered with beaded droplets of sweat. Sandy looked at her concerned.

“No, it’s not,” Sandy told her putting her cool hand on Lily’s forehead. “You’re burning up Lily. You’ve caught a cold not that I am surprised! They don’t call fall the cold season for anything. Especially when you add the workload you’ve got and I bet you haven’t been eating properly either,” the woman scolded her.

Lily had to admit she hadn’t bothered with really taking care of herself lately. Sometimes she would only eat once a day and usually something out of a vending machine or quick and microwavable. “Sorry Sandy, I guess I just got caught up in everything,” she told her mother apologetically, and the blonde made a “tsk” sound while she shook her head. She went over to the large wooden cabinet to her left and pulled out some bottles.

“Take some of these and go back up to your room for some more rest,” she ordered, and Lily nodded taking the pills. Before she went up to her room, she decided to check up on James. She opened the door slowly and quietly trying not to disturb his rest. He was lying on the bed with brownish-red marks scarring his body. She would’ve thought he was dead if it wasn’t for his chest rising and falling with his breathing.

Guilt filled her again, why did she have to be so stubborn? She brushed some of his hair out of his face carefully and admired how attractive he was asleep. Lily pulled her hand away from him as if she had been burned and chastised herself. He may have saved her life, but he was still a cocky and arrogant jerk that she hated. “Thank you for saving my life, Mr. Lacrosse but if you think that makes up for what you done then you are sadly wrong,” She hissed angrily and stuck her nose up in the air then stalked off towards her bedroom.

Lacy entered Lily’s room during the evening with a steaming bowl of Sandy’s special chicken noodle soup. “Hey Lily pad how are you feeling,” she asked with a soft tone and Lily smiled at her.

“I am fine just really hot,” she told her friend who set the little tray on the bed. Lily had opened the window and made a paper fan to fan herself with. She’d changed into a small tank top, and small thin short but she was still sweating like crazy. “My luck sucks right now,” she added pulling the tray into her lap. “I get threatened, beaten, robbed, threatened again, lied to; witness two giant beasts fight each other and now a cold,” She listed grumpily and Lacy smiled.

“Did a black cat cross your path or something,” Lacy teased, and she smiled a little at the blond.

“Not that I know of, any luck yet finding the real Greg?” Lily asked, and Lacy’s face darkened as she shook her head.

“Nope and they’ve searched half of the forest and nothing. His scent goes half way to your house then suddenly vanishes. There is no trace of him anywhere,” she explained.

“How is that possible? How can he just disappear without leaving at least a trace of his scent?” Lily asked, and Lacy shrugged with an expression that told Lily that she was just as confused as her about it. She finished her soup and they talked a little longer before Lily decided to get some more rest and Lacy had to go to back to her house.

Lily didn’t get much rest that night; she kept getting hotter and hotter until she thought she was going to burst into flames. As the dawn approached, she started feeling better and didn’t wake up until late that afternoon. She got up from the bed feeling cool enough to close her window that was wide open despite the December cold.

She grabbed some clothes and headed off to take a nice long cool shower, feeling well enough actually to do something today, and she had a lot to do. She’d missed days of school, her apartment was an unnatural disaster, and she was jobless. She had some money in the bank to cover her for a while, but she wanted her savings to stay just that, savings. She let out a sigh of relief as the cool water washed over her. That was incredible how screwy things had gotten.

Lily hopped down the stairs attempting to keep her good mood; she forced the thoughts of the heavy tasks she would have to do out of her mind. “Hey Lily, how are you feeling?” Andrew Roberts asked her and she smiled at him brightly.

“I am feeling a lot better; I think I needed just to take a time out,” He gave her an “I told you so look” and then said exactly that. “Alright, I have learned my lesson. I’m not superwoman, and I’ll obviously have to cut back on some things,” she admitted, and he gave her an approving nod. “So what’s the news?” she asked as she walked into the kitchen and grabbed some juice from the fridge.

“Nothing, we can’t find Greg anywhere or the mysterious stranger that was in your house,” Andrew replied as he rubbed his chin that was showing signs of days without shaving. “Why do you think he was at your home?”

She cringed a little knowing he wasn’t going to like the answer. “Well….uh…Saturday the guy behind all this…sort of called me,” Lily started hesitantly. She watched as surprise then anger flashed through his face. “And…again on Sunday….he knew I had pills at home and wanted to know what I learned from them. He seemed to get an ego rush by it and to be testing me for something,” she finished and saw his jaw visibly clenched with anger.

“Why didn’t you tell me about this before?” Andrew demanded through clenched teeth, and she threw her hand up in frustration.

“Because of my stupid pride!” She admitted angrily as she sat down in front of him. “I didn’t want to admit that maybe I needed help after I insisted so badly that I didn’t need it. I never imagined he would actually send someone over to my house, and now thanks to my stupidity one man is missing and the other unconscious with hideous marks all over him,” she finished letting her head drop against the table hiding her face in her arms, her good mood was now long gone. She heard him get up and move his chair next to her with a sigh.

“It’s not your fault, Lily. The only one to blame is the lunatic that is doing all of this,” he told her, the anger gone from his voice. He laid a comforting hand on her back. “As much as I hate to admit it, I would have done the same if our places were reversed. You remind me so much of myself at your age. I can’t believe we aren’t blood-related,” he told her and she looked up at him with surprise, he’d never told her that before.

“Really?” She asked with awe. He gave her a loving smile and nodded. She hugged him tightly and thanked him, feeling her good mood return.

“Oh look, it’s a Kodak moment,” Chris teased, and Lacy giggled like a small child. Lily rolled her eyes at both of them.

“Feeling better lily pad,” Lacy asked skipping to sit beside her. She nodded then turned serious again as she faced her father.

“There are two of them at least,” she told Andrew, and he nodded. “Yes James said this morning,” he stated.

“He’s awake already, how is he?” she asked.

“He’s good as new,” Chris told her, and she nodded relieved she didn’t have to add another casualty to her conscious.

“He was more concerned with how you were, we all are,” Andrew added getting up from his chair. James Lacrosse worried about her? She very well doubted it.

“Nothing to be concerned about, just a silly autumn cold,” she said with a wave of her hand, and he gave her a kiss on the forehead.

“We were worried the man had done something to you,” he told her.

“No, he didn’t do anything. Thankfully he didn’t have a chance too,” she told him quickly. Did he do something; was that the reason for his visit? She shook her head; he didn’t do anything. No pills, not shots, the werewolf didn’t bite her…he didn’t do anything at all. Maybe he was just as a warning that the “maker” guy could get to her if he wanted, like some kind of mind game. Besides she was human, and he turned werewolves into monsters. Only God knows what would happen if he had tried to give her the same pills he gave those teens.

Chapter 8

~

 

The young boy pushed his soggy hair out of his eyes. The wind lashed at him, and the rain beat him to the point the drops almost hurt when they crashed into him. The thunder roared in fury, a fury James felt inside him, but he didn’t know why or what against. The lightning tore across the dark sky allowing him brief seconds to glimpse the forest around him. He heard a hint of something on the wind that chilled him, was the man coming after him? Terror struck the boy like he had never felt before.

He couldn’t let that man take him back to the dark room. He ran as fast as he could through the forest. James wasn’t sure where he was going, and he didn’t care as long as it was away from the man, the dark room, and the needles. Bright lightning ripped through the sky and blinded James, causing him to trip on a tree root. He could hear them coming after him now, they most likely being the man’s humans, he always used them to hurt James, and now they were coming for him again.

James had to get away; he told himself as he quickly pushed himself up, ignoring the pain in his knee from falling on the cold ground. He pushed his long dark hair out of his eyes again and continued to run. James swore they were nearly on top of him now, and he forced himself to move faster. The wild dark forest passed him in a blur as he ran and he was nearly blinded by the storm. The stray branches reached from him snagging his dirty clothing and scratching his face.

James’s determination grew, and he kept up his quick pace, even as he heard the voices growing quieter. He had to keep creating distance between them. James knew when he thought he was safe was when he was in the greatest danger; he learned that from the man.

Just when he felt like he couldn’t run anymore, the forest suddenly ended and he stood in the backyard of a large house. The house seemed familiar yet unknown at the same time. He stood there for a moment pondering what it all meant when he heard the humans that were searching for him. Panic struck him and he decided that who ever lived in this house couldn’t be as bad as the man. Maybe they could protect him even; at least he had the feeling that they could keep him safe.

He rushed up the porch steps and knocked urgently on the plain back door of the house. Please let them be at home, he begged as the sound of the humans got closer. He couldn’t go another step; he just couldn’t. A light shone through the small window of the back door as a tall blonde man opened the door looking at him with confusion. “James, James Lacrosse is that you?”

James suddenly awoke and the dream ended. It was the night he had escaped from the mad man who had kidnapped him. But it was always the same, just the bits and pieces he could remember of it. He didn’t know how he had done it, but he had managed to find his way back to the alpha’s home. He felt almost exhausted as he did that night. He groaned loudly as he slowly sat up and noticed the light brown marks all over his arms. The coward knew he couldn’t beat James’s beast, so he’d trapped him in a silvered net.

“Damn coward,” he cursed quietly as he looked around the familiar room; it was the same room the Roberts had let him stay in while he lived with them. Once his parents realized the monster he had become they wanted nothing to do with him. They kicked him out of the house and refused to allow him to see his sister, the only one who didn’t see him as a monster. His father had bluntly told Andrew that James was no longer his son and that his son was dead.

James pushed away the bitter emotions and got up from the bed. He found some clothing sitting on the old dresser by his bed and quickly dressed. He needed to know how long had he been out and what had happened during that time. James could hear everyone in the kitchen, and he soon could smell why, Sandy’s marvelous cooking!

He walked into the kitchen, and every single person greeted him happily. Lacy jumped from her chair and gave him a hug while several others patted him on the back. “Good to see you back in the land of the living,” Tony said happily.

“I am glad to still be here,” James replied.

“How are you feeling?” Andrew asked with clear concern.

“I feel fine alpha,” James replied, enjoying the feeling of normality that came from everyone. None of these people saw him as a monster or a freak. They saw him as one of their own. Sandy waved off everyone demanding they give him some room. She guided him with surprising force to an empty chair and placed an overflowing plate of food in front of him. He should have more near death experiences; he thought as he rubbed his hands together with eager anticipation. He didn’t know if he was going to be able to eat it all, but he was certainly going to try.

“Mom, want me to wake Lily for breakfast?” Lacy asked, and Sandy’s cheerful face darkened.

“No let her sleep, she was up nearly the whole night,” her mother told her.

“Something wrong with the hu-Lily?” He asked not liking the sudden worry everyone seemed to have. Sandy gave him a smile that seemed more forced than authentic.

“Nothing to worry about, she just came down with a cold. The fever doesn’t let her get too much sleep,” she told him.

“It’s her fault; she works too much,” Tony added with a look of disapproval that James noticed made him look a lot like his father.

“As long as it’s a cold and nothing more,” Andrew stated darkly, and everyone fell silent.

After everyone had eaten breakfast, Andrew announced they were going out to search for Greg. “I want to come along,” James told him after swallowing the last bit of food on his plate. He was much hungrier than he had originally thought.

“Are you sure you’re up for it,” the alpha asked.

“Of course I feel as good as new,” he replied getting up and putting his plate in the sink.

“Great, because honestly we could use your help, we keep losing the trail of his scent somewhere between here and her apartment.” James nodded and thanked Sandy for breakfast before following the others out of the house. In the yard stood a group of twenty werewolves, some he knew, some he thought he knew, and others he had never seen before.

Andrew organized them into ten groups of two and gave each of them instructions on where to search. He walked up to James after they had entered the forest. “James you are better with trails than us, I need you to follow Greg’s scent and see if you can track it further than my trackers have been able to, they always lose the trail at the same spot.”

James nodded in agreement and sniffed the air; even though it was a few days old, he quickly caught what he believed to be Greg’s scent. He followed the scent slowly so he wouldn’t miss a single detail. The trail went relatively straight, but he wondered why Greg had cut through the forest to go to Lily’s apartment when the roads were much more direct and easier. When he was about halfway to her apartment, the scent just ended. This must have been the spot where the trackers lost the scent; he thought and retraced his steps until he found it again.

He circled the area and managed to pick up something the other’s had missed, the very faint scent of the werewolf who pretended to be Greg. It crossed right in Greg’s path just before it ended. While he couldn’t determine if they had passed at the same time or not, he was sure it was proof that this psychopath had kidnapped, attacked, or maybe even killed Greg. James continued to search the area for any signs of Greg or the blonde that pretended to be him.

There were signs of a struggle but nothing that indicated what happen to Greg, no blood or trail of any kind. He moved some of the dead leaves, looking for any hint, but his hand only landed in sticky sap, probably from one of the trees. He swore, wiping his hand off on his jeans, frustrated with the realization that there was nothing left to find.

He returned to the alpha’s, house keeping his eyes and nose alert for anything that he might have missed the first time. The alpha looked hopeful when he returned, but James shook his head side to side.

“Nothing?” Andrew asked, the disappointment clear in his voice.

“I wasn’t able to find Greg, but I did find something. The imposter crossed paths with Greg. I can’t tell if it was at the same time or not, but I am pretty sure it means that they got him,” James explained.

“They took Greg but why? Greg isn’t strong; he doesn’t have a high position and what could they possibly want from him?” Andrew asked echoing James own doubts.

“What worries me more is why they removed the real Greg to put someone else in his place at Lily’s house. When the psycho called me the day of the break-in he sounded as if he hated her and wanted her out of the way, so why send someone over to her house…”

“And do nothing,” Andrew finished his thought, and James nodded. “If he didn’t harm her then that means he has some other interest in her but what could he possibly want?”

“Maybe we are overthinking things; he probably knows we are after him. Tony lives here and Lacy spends most of her time here too, Lily is the only one who isn’t always here. That could be the reason this lunatic did this stunt with Greg, to try to prove something and it’s not actually about her at all,” James explained. Andrew clapped a hand on his shoulder after a moment of silence.

“You’re probably right James, either way that doesn’t bring us any closer to Greg,” the alpha stated.

“Did you track the werewolf after I was in the net?” he asked. Andrew sat down on the picnic table, looking exhausted, and shook his head side to side.

“Only a little bit, but at the time I was too worried about getting that horrible thing off of you,” he admitted.

“Well, I think I’ll see if I can’t pick up something from there. No point for me to just sit here without doing anything,” James told the alpha. Andrew replied with a simple nod and James turned and walked back into the forest. There had to be something they were missing, he was sure of it, he just needed to look harder.

The hours passed into the early evening and James had yet to find anything at all. Feeling frustrated, he decided to undress and shift. Maybe this way he could pick up something. However, the beast had other plans. He was much more interested in the delicious scent left by a deer. He hadn’t eaten since breakfast and the beast wasn’t one to work on an empty stomach. So the few precious hours of daylight left were spent tracking, stalking, killing, and finally dining on a large buck.

It was nearly pitch black when the sated beast shifted back to James. “Great,” James complained, wiping the blood off his face. He was covered with blood and other things he preferred not to think about. The cold winter wind blew past him, causing goose bumps to break out on his skin and he complained silently as he quickly made his way towards a small river nearby. “I will never forgive you for this,” he cursed the beast as he bent down to the edge of the water.

The water was ice cold, but he had no choice, he couldn’t go to the Roberts’s covered in blood and gore. He cupped some water and splashed it on his face, then on his arms and chest. By the time he was finished he was shivering from head to toe and was worried he might’ve actually caught hypothermia. “I will never ever forgive you for this,” he repeated through chattering teeth and dashed off to find his clothing. He’d never been happier to put on a shirt and jeans before in his life, but they did little to ward off the chill. He ran as quickly as he could to the Roberts’s home.

“What the hell happened to you?” Chris asked as soon as he saw him enter the house, still trembling.

“I shifted to see if I would have more luck finding a scent, but the damn beast of mine preferred to spend the evening deer hunting and leaving me to clean up the mess,” he told him and Chris rubbed his chin, obviously trying not to laugh. “It’s not funny man, do you know cold it is out there, not to mention the Appleton River is like ice!”

Chris lost it then and slapped his thigh, laughing until tears ran down his eyes. James balled his fist with every intention of knocking a few of Chris’s teeth out when Sandy entered the room.

“Oh James, you look nearly frozen! Go into the kitchen now…let’s get something warm into you before you catch your death. I swear I don’t know what you’d all do without me,” She demanded pointing in the direction of the kitchen.

“You got lucky this time,” he warned the other werewolf, only half serious. Chris paled and suddenly stopped laughing.

Sandy shook her head with a disapproving look. “Now quit that James! How can you expect people to see more than the beast if you keep acting like some wild animal?” she lectured him as she led him into the kitchen.

“We were just joking Sandy, no need to get all worried,” he replied. Chris agreed with his usual smile, but James noticed it was a bit weak. Maybe he was too much of a brute with people. He sat down at the table and Sandy placed a large steaming bowl in front of him as Andrew came in.

“There you are James, I was starting to worry. Where you’ve been?” he asked and James repeated what he told Chris. He frowned as Andrew had the same reaction as Chris, except for the tears. “That must have been…rough,” he admitted through fits of laughter. Why did everyone see his brush with frostbite so funny? After a few more minutes of laughter, Andrew calmed down and turned serious.

“I don’t think we will find Greg anytime soon. The forest is massive and there is no way we can effectively search it all, especially with winter snows about to fall at any moment,” Andrew explained and James could see just how difficult it was for him to admit defeat.

“There’s something else. I had a talk with Lily while…your beast was out…hunting. Placing the impostor at her house wasn’t a show of power. That bastard called her. He knew she had the pills and wanted her to continue to examine them as some sort of morbid test against her,” Andrew explained and James frowned as he took a spoonful of the broth in front of him. A content sigh escaped him as he felt the liquid start warm him from the inside out.

“I don’t get it,” James admitted. “He hates her. The psycho accused her of pretending to be one of us and something like a groupie for werewolves,” he explained and Andrew nodded with a sigh.

“Yes, that is a common conception of most the pack but it appears somewhere our psychopath has changed his mind. Which I am afraid won’t mean good things for my daughter. We have to figure out what he is planning James and stop it at all costs,” Andrew demanded.

“Of course Alpha,” James replied but he knew as well as Andrew that such a thing was easier said and done. Both men sat in silence and James took another drink of the hot broth. He couldn’t help but wonder what that crazed loon could want with the human. He had to admit she was attractive, apparently intelligent, and smelled nice, but she was only human in the end.

With a sigh of frustration, James stared down at his bowl of steaming broth as if hoping to see the answers he sought in the creamy yellow liquid. No matter how he looked at it none of this made any sense to him at all.

Chapter 9

~

 

Lily stared up at the ceiling of her old bedroom and watched the morning sun fill the room as she enjoyed a few moments of doing nothing. She had spent the last two days attempting to reschedule her school workload, find another job, and appease her landlord. The school was time-consuming, but she’d managed to cut down her six classes to three. There weren’t any other crime labs in the area so she was going to have to look for something minimum wage which would hurt her bank account badly. The landlord totally flipped when he’d seen the apartment and started threatening to call the police, press charges, sue, and any other legal action he could think of.

If it wasn’t for Andrew stepping forward and offering to repair the damage done and pay for all of it his own pocket while also paying the rent due each month until the apartment was good as new, she wasn’t sure what she would have done. She tried to offer to pay back the money to Andrew, but he refused, claiming she was in this mess because of him and it was the least he could do for her.

If only he knew, she thought darkly. Ever since she got over the fever, she’d felt different and it gotten worse with each passing day. She hadn’t told anyone yet; she’d wanted to make sure that she wasn’t paranoid. She sat up on the bed with a loud sigh. She picked up the classifieds of the local paper scanning them once again, before tossing them to the opposite edge of the bed. Her phone vibrated across the little nightstand.

“This is Lily,” she stated with a bored tone.

“How are you feeling Lily?” The mechanical voice asked and her blood ran cold.

“What do you want?” She snapped, shivering from the chill that ran through her.

“Let’s not be rude my guinea pig,” he told her with a teasing tone.

“I am not your guinea pig so don’t call me that,” she snapped once more.

“Too late for making such demands…guinea pig,” he replied.

“So I’m not paranoid then?” Lily asked as she held her breath waiting for the answer. Please don’t let it be true, she pleaded silently.

“Ah, so you have noticed? I have to say Lily you keep surprising me,” he told her. She suddenly felt a hot flash of anger and wanted to throw the phone across the room, stomp like a little child, and scream but instead she forced herself to calm down.

“How did you do it and how bad is it,” she asked, attempting to keep her voice calm.

“Impressive you are still able to control your anger to some degree. I believe I did make the right choice,” he stated avoiding her question.

“Just answer the damn question! Quit playing with me you jerk!” She belted at him angrily.

“Ah, there’s the typical lycanthrope temper. You know Lily; I have been researching a lot on werewolves and our condition. I’ve created a serum that causes the same effect of a werewolf bite, but it’s much easier on the host since they are only affected by the effects of the change and don’t have to go through the recovery of the bite. Just a little is needed to make a simple human into one of us. The serum is nearly undetectable; it is odorless and colorless with only a slight taste to it.”

Her mouth fell open as she remembered having coffee with the fake Greg and even left the room when she got a phone call. She felt as if she was going to get sick, that weird ass phone call was to get her out of the room so Greg could slip the serum into her coffee. She groaned, realizing how easy she had made it for him.

“Yes, it was quite easy from what my creation told me. As for how bad it is, you’re no worse off than any other werewolf, thanks to James getting in the way. But no matter once you have passed through the first shift I will complete the change. Don’t think that hiding in the Alpha’s house is going to protect you; I can get to you just as easily as I did the first time. It’s four days until the next full moon, until then my guinea pig,” he finished and hung up abruptly.

Lily set down the phone on the nightstand. She grabbed her pillow and screamed into it. She felt so powerless and so used but what was worse was she knew she was completely alone; no one had been able to stop this man before and they certainly could stop him now. She locked her bedroom door unable to bring herself to talk to anyone. She felt so embarrassed, so ashamed of herself and her pride.

The next day Andrew called her into his office. “You wanted to see me?” she asked with a flat tone, entering the office and closing the door behind her. He nodded then indicated her to sit. She’d wondered if someone else had disappeared or did they find the real Greg.

“What is wrong Lily? Since yesterday, you have been hiding in your room and you look as if someone told you your puppy just died,” he asked her with concern.

She smiled slightly at his description of her expression but wasn’t surprised that Andrew had been able to notice she was upset. “I have a problem,” she confessed. His face filled with even more worry but remained silent. “At first I thought I was just paranoid but yesterday I got a call from…him and he confirmed it. He told me that he created a serum that acts on humans like a werewolf’s bite…the fake Greg gave it to me,” she explained, feeling so violated. She looked at him wondering if he’d be disappointed with her.

“Maybe he’s just playing with you, Lily. Why would he possibly want to make you a werewolf?” He asked and she realized she’d forgotten to mention the psycho’s plan for her.

“He…uh…wants to make me like James,” she replied, feeling dirty. His eyes opened wide and he gave her an accusing stare. “I’m sorry it slipped my mind after what happened with Greg and James. I didn’t worry about it because I thought I’d be safe here, but I am not! He knows I’m here and says it won’t stop him from continuing,” she told him. Her panic rose and tears slipped down her cheeks. Andrew moved quickly to her side and swallowed her in a warm hug that made her feel safe.

“Don’t worry Lily, there is a chance this is just a bluff. We can’t trust this man, so we can’t be for sure until the full moon. If he’s made you like us, then we’ll deal with that. I think for your safety I’m going to have to set some rules, especially if you might be a future member of my pack of mutts,” he said with a slight smile and she burst out laughing.

“You are not to leave the house, not even the yard, alone. In fact, I’m afraid I don’t want you to leave the house for any reason that is not a hundred percent unavoidable which means no school or work.” He explained and she nearly laughed at the look of surprise on his face when she simply nodded in agreement.

“I’m sorry Andrew,” she told him letting her head sit on his chest as he hugged her tighter. “It’s all my fault, everything since the break in is my fault. The stupid phone calls, whatever happened to Greg, and now this! It’s all my fault if I could just stop saying the first thing that comes to my mind…”

“No, I have told you before Lily none of this is your fault. The blame is only on the one behind this. You have no reason to feel ashamed or embarrassed do you understand me,” he told her seriously and she smiled feeling a little better.

“We’ll have to tell the others. I’ll call a meeting for this evening,” he added getting up from her side. She got up as well and gave him a quick nod. She left his office and went directly to her bedroom again. Andrew said she didn’t have to feel ashamed or embarrassed, but she still felt it all the same.

That evening Lily felt uneasy and uncomfortable when Andrew called the Roberts family, Doctor Thompson, and James into the living room to explain what she had told him that. Lily feared how everyone would take the news, especially Liz and Chris. Would they understand or would they end up thinking that she was just like what the rest of the pack thought of her: a wannabe werewolf that wormed her way into the alpha’s family.

“First, until we know who the traitor is none of the information of which I’m about to discuss can go outside this room, is that understood?” Andrew started and everyone nodded silently, looking a little confused. “I’ll go straight to the point…it is quite possible that Lily will be one of us after the full moon,” he started and everyone gasped in surprise. They began shooting off questions immediately, but Andrew held up his hands to silence the room.

He explained for the most part what she had told him. He left out exactly what this mad man wanted to do with her, for which she was thankful. “She’s going to need our help, we’ve only got four days until the full moon and if the traitor is honest in his threats, we need to help prepare her as much as possible. As well I call on all of you to keep her safe because she may still be in danger from this mad man,” he explained.

Lacy squealed eagerly capturing Lily in an iron grip hug. “Oh my God, This is great! Now we can be even more like sisters,” she cheered excitedly and Lily couldn’t help but smile at her enthusiasm.

Chris gave her an arrogant smile and she knew he was going to say something stupid. “Jealousy, denial and now this, I knew you wanted me but geez Lily to go so far,” he teased proving her right and she rolled her eyes at him and threw a pillow at him.

“Please, I wouldn’t touch you with a ten-foot pole player,” she snapped back at him. He gave her a look that told her he didn’t believe a word and laughed. Sandy swallowed Lily into a hug and smothered her with kisses.

“Don’t worry about a thing Lily; we’ll do everything we can to keep you safe. You’re like my own child and there is nothing more protective or terrifying than a werewolf mother,” she whispered in Lily’s ear and then gave her a squeeze. Lily smiled at Sandy affectionately, appreciating the gesture. Liz’s expression was stoic, but Lily suspected she was worried more about what this would mean for Lily and Tony’s relationship more than if Lily was a type of werewolf groupie.

Andrew thanked them all for their words and explained the details of the new rules he was going to put into place until the threat the traitor presented was over. “Thank you all again for your attention and help in this matter. You can go now,” he told them and everyone started leaving only her father, Tony, the doctor, and James remained. Her mood darkened as she wondered why James was still there; he seemed to have become her shadow lately. No matter where she went he was close behind, it was starting to get irritating.

“We have to stop this! This man is playing with the natural balance of the world,” Andrew stated angrily once the others were gone. “He’s successfully changed how we shift and has now created a synthetic method of turning humans into werewolves. If he places this serum as he calls it, in the human’s water supply, he could not only upset the balance but destroy it completely! I do not want to think if the repercussions that will cause! We must find this man and put a stop to him and all his dark work destroyed,” he demanded heatedly and James winced.

“Of course, I’m not referring to you, James. I apologize for how that sounded,” Andrew apologized and James gave him a simple nod in return. Lily discreetly covered her mouth to hide the smirk she couldn’t resist.

“I’d think you of all people wouldn’t laugh at something like that,” James said with a frown and she attempted her best “who me” look.

“I don’t know what you are talking about,” she told him fighting hard to keep her face straight as she got up from the couch.

“I saw you hiding behind your hands,” he snapped. Lily wasn’t sure why but she smirked as she walked up to him.

“I wasn’t exactly laughing James and you should lighten up. Sometimes you just need to laugh about things,” she told him, patting him on the shoulder.

“I will make you eat those words woman, just you wait!” James replied frowning even more.

“Sure you will James,” she told him with a sarcastic tone then pressed her lips together to keep from laughing. “Good night Andrew and good night Doctor Thompson,” she told them, leaving the room to go to her bedroom. Both gave her a nod in acknowledgment. Man that felt good, she thought happily as she slowly walked up the stairs, but she immediately scolded herself for goading him. Goading werewolves were what helped get her into this mess. Lily really needed to learn how to keep her mouth shut.

Lily shut the door of her room and walked over to the window. She looked up at the moon that had just risen above the tree tops. It was nearly full, only two more days left actually. She could feel whatever had changed inside her stir restlessly and the moon itself became almost hypnotic for her. She just stood there staring at the moon as if there was nothing else in the world. Realizing what she was doing, she shook her head and closed the curtains. She dressed in her pajamas and threw herself on the bed, hoping to get some sleep, but it didn’t come. She could almost feel her insides crawling, twisting, and morphing into something else.

Lily was determined to enjoy the next two days since they would be her last as a simple normal human, but it was easier said than done. Her skin tingled with anticipation, her mind raced and her stomach twisted in nerves. Everyone had eagerly given her advice and tips on what to expect from her first shift and other pieces of good to know stuff, to the point she was feeling overwhelmed by the information overload.

What had surprised her most was that Liz had been very encouraging, kind, and understanding. Lily couldn’t stop the weirdest questions from popping into her head too. For example, what would happen if she was allergic to dog hair? By the time, the fated night was approaching Lily had started to seriously doubt her sanity.

Andrew knocked on her door, announcing that the time had come. Her stomach dropped to her toes and she nodded weakly to no one in particular. “You’ll stay in the shed. If you shift you can easily get out and if you don’t shift then you will be protected from us,” he explained. The full moon was always a touchy night for werewolves, it was the one night they were forced to shift and the one night the wolf was more in control than the human.

“Alright,” she replied quietly and checked to see if she had everything she would need for the night. She followed him toward the shed, taking deep breaths.

“Good luck Lily,” Lacy cheered and Lily smiled at her weakly. Sandy swallowed her up in a tearful hug.

“No matter what you’re my little sunshine,” Sandy told her and Lily’s smile grew a little stronger.

“Nothing can bring you down Liliput, I know from experience,” Tony teased her. Liz frowned at Tony’s words but forced a smile when Lily looked at her directly.

“Yeah, no worries Lily,” she stated and Lily nodded.

“No worries,” Lily repeated as if trying to convince herself. Chris gave her an arrogant smirk with an impish look on his face. “Don’t Christopher,” she warned him, pointing at him with her index finger and he gave her a “who me” look.

“What do you mean, I was only going to wish you good luck,” he replied with a small smile.

“Yeah, I’m sure,” she replied back with an eye roll.

“Good luck,” James told her and she simply gave him a nod in reply. She felt as if she was walking down the corridor of Death Row to the gas chamber. “Everything will be fine, either way Lily,” Andrew told her before leaving her alone in the shed. She set down the bag with spare clothes and began pacing the small area of the shed with extreme nervousness.

Time passed and Lily started to feel sick to her stomach. She heard several howls echo into the night from those who have already shifted. She’d waited in the shed for an hour and nothing. Could it be that Andrew was right, that this idiot had been playing with her? She thought and glanced at the clock she had brought with her. The sun had set and it was nearing eight o’clock.

At 8:30 she smiled, shaking her head. It was all a bluff, she thought with a smile as she left the shed. She was sick of this man’s twisted games. She looked up at the moon, her smile growing. It was incredible that she’d actually made herself feel different just because she was told she was changing. She hurried towards the house; it wasn’t safe to be outside with the whole pack running around the forest.

Just as she reached for the back door of the house hot searing pain washed over her. She gasped in surprise and fell to her knees. Oh no, it can’t be, ran through her mind as she let out a slow painful moan. She heard a sickening pop and a stinging pain burned through her shoulder. Lily looked over and saw her shoulder had somehow popped out of its socket.

It was happening, I’m changing into…one of them, she thought horrified her ribs, one by one, cracked and snapped. Lily felt as if someone had kicked her in the chest. Tears welled up in her eyes as she fell on her side. Her whole body seemed to tense and contract inwardly, forcing her into a fetal position. A scream of pure agony tore from her throat as slowly one by one the bones in her body snapped out of place and hot pain seared through her. Oh God, how they can do this every month, she wondered through the pain.

Tears flowed down her cheeks as she continued to cry out, wishing she’d just die already so it would stop, but it didn’t stop. Once she felt as if every bone in her body had been smashed to dust something else started to happen. Another scream ripped through her raw throat as what she could only assume was her body morphing into the wolf form. Whatever was happening, it made the pain she suffered before looking like a scrape on the knee in comparison to what she was experiencing now.

Chapter 10

~

 

He laughed silently in pleasure as he watched Lily leave the shed. God Andrew was so predictable. Well, at least it made his job a whole lot easier since he wouldn’t have to go looking for her in the woods. She slowly made her way up the porch steps towards the house. She obviously didn’t believe him, probably thought he was playing with her. Not that he could blame her, he did enjoy toying with her.

He ruffled his fur watching her scream and fall to the floor as she started her first transformation. He chuckled silently, wondering what was going through her mind. He smiled with morbid pleasure as she was changed into her wolf form. She was dark black which highlighted a cobalt blue from the moonlight. Satisfaction filled him; he had chosen the perfect woman for his plan.

He watched her get up with clumsy stiffness and decided that now was his chance to act. She was weak and unfamiliar with her new form, practically like a newborn pup. He’d easily be able to overpower her and take her to the lab without the help of Kyle. He was just about to step out from the shadows where he’d hidden when the large monstrous form of James came out of the woods. With a frown, he wondered what James was doing there.

He eyed the large beast as he slowly approached the new wolf. When she saw him, she whimpered softly and backed up with obvious fear. He watched with curiosity as the beast dropped on all fours to bring himself closer to the ground and whimpered back to her just as soft.

She sniffed in his direction but didn’t move. The beast moved forward ever so slightly, continuing to whimper to her. The observer nearly laughed with amusement, seeing such a massive creature as the beast acting like an eager puppy in attempts to draw the new wolf away from the house. He smiled as the beast had seemed to have convinced Lily’s wolf away from the corner of the porch she’d huddled up in.

He felt a surge of victory watching them. The beast was coaxing her down the stairs with a calmness and patience that the observer had never seen him before. He decided that the situation had worked out much better than he’d planned. It was clear that James and now his beast was attracted to her. He wondered how no one had noticed the attraction between the two yet. Well, it didn’t surprise him too much considering the pack was full of idiots, the biggest one being the alpha.

The observer had noticed it within ten seconds when he first saw them together, it was only a hint, but it was there none the less. He hoped that changing Lily would make the simple attraction grow into something much stronger, into mate attraction. If Lily could become James mate, when he’d have her in his possession James wouldn’t have any choice but to do whatever the observer told him too.

He continued to watch them until they disappeared into the woods together. He turned away from the Alpha’s house and walked through the forest. He had to admit he was disappointed that he couldn’t take Lily tonight, but it really didn’t matter, he could get to her easily anytime. Besides the more time she spent with James, the more chance that they’d become mated.

He found Kyle waiting for him near the laboratory. Even though he was shifted into his beast, the wolf suppressant he used kept Kyle in control. It was similar to the one he used on himself to keep his wolf under control during the full moons. He looked up at the blond beast before him and felt a father’s pride. How could anyone think that James or Kyle were monsters, they were the next step in Lycanthrope evolution.

Why didn’t James see the beauty of what he was? “Where is Lily? I thought we were going to bring her here tonight?” Kyle asked through their mental connection and the observer could sense the confusion and disappointment from him.

He shook his head. “I was going to, but James showed up. He must have heard her scream as she started her transformation,” he explained and Kyle growled in anger.

“Stupid James is always getting in the middle of everything! Why don’t we just get rid of him,” he asked growling loudly. The observer just laughed at his creation.

“Don’t be foolish Kyle; I want James at our side. How exactly do you plan to get rid of him anyways? Didn’t you just run with your tail between your legs a couple of days ago? He was able to stuff you in your locker when you both were just wolves in middle school and he can do the same now that you are both new generation. Don’t forget the transformation only made you stronger and superior to the older generation but not James,” he warned the eager Kyle.

“The fact that they went off together is a good thing, I want them to get closer and hopefully mate. Only then will I be able to control him,” he added. A wave of jealousy hit the observer strongly from Kyle who growled, slamming his clawed first into the tree next to them and it cracked against the force of the hit.

“You don’t need him! It won’t even work she hates James, she told me so herself. She’d accept me before him any day. I want her, let her be mine! I’m just as good as James if not better,” Kyle demanded. “James is just like them and most certainly like the Alpha! Always thinking he was the best when we were kids because he is stronger and faster than the rest of us,” Kyle raged and the observer grew irritated with Kyle’s jealousy. Did he seriously think the observer would just hand over his perfect pawn to him?

“No she’s not for you, so forget any misguided illusions you have of ever having her for yourself. You’re wrong where James is concerned. He is nothing like the alpha. The alpha is a brainless idiot who became alpha just because his father was alpha before him. I wasn’t even allowed to challenge him when his father died. The elders laughed at me! Idiots just wanted to follow brute strength and ignore the value of intelligence. I choose James for his strength because I hadn’t tried the serum on anyone yet and knew the stronger the wolf, the stronger the chances of survival,” the observer explained.

“However Kyle, don’t mistake me, I didn’t just choose him for strength alone, he also has intelligence and cunning! You should consider yourself lucky because if I must remind you, you can’t even find your way out of a paper bag!”

Kyle growled and hit the tree again making the crack grow larger. “I am not stupid! I’m tired of you calling me that,” he snarled at the observer.

“Whatever, Kyle I don’t have time for your misplaced super ego,” he stated and turned from his creation to enter into the lab, but Kyle blocked his path.

“I have had enough of all of this! If you don’t start respecting me, I will make you regret it!” Kyle threatened, but the observer only shook his head, almost feeling sorry for him.

“Yes whatever you say, boy, now if you will excuse me I have other things that need attending,” he said coldly moving past the very angry Kyle. He believed more and more that it was a mistake bringing Kyle into his plans. At first he was impressed by the boy’s eagerness but Kyle seemed to believe he was some kind of promise child and the observer was getting quite tired of dealing with him.

He entered the lab and walked over to the caged werewolf before him. He was much smaller than the average werewolf male and would even be considered on the small side for the normal wolf. The wolf whimpered with fear as the observer entered but when he noticed that the observer wasn’t Kyle, he got excited. “Good evening Greg,” he sent to the timid creature mentally.

“I know you…you’re…are you here to help me? Please help me get out before that monster returns,” the small werewolf pleaded.

“Sorry, Greg I am not here to help you or at least not as you think and you need not fear Kyle or “monster” as you have so incorrectly named him,” the observer told him.

“You…you’re the one behind all this?” Greg asked. He trembled and his tail tucked between his legs. “But how could you do this you’re-” Greg started to add, but the observer cut him off.

“Yes, yes we all know who I am but that is not what matters. Aren’t you tired of being pushed around by them Greg? You are a brilliant, kind, and compassionate person, but I’ve seen how the others treat you, especially the enforcers. The names, the pranks, and the insults,” he began to explain, feeling his anger rise. Greg lowered his head, looking away from him.

“Don’t be ashamed Greg; it’s the alpha who should be ashamed! How many times did you help him with dangerous rogues with your intelligent plans? Yet he does nothing to ease your suffering caused by your own pack members! Don’t fool yourself into thinking that he doesn’t know because he does. He does nothing because just like the elders of the pack, he is a total idiot who only appreciates the brute physical strength,” the observer continued.

“What I offer you is a chance to be valued as you should be! Greg, I know the alpha considers me a psychotic mad man but I’m doing this for the better of the pack and all werewolves in general. James and Kyle are the next steps in evolution. If you listen to me with an open mind I promise you it’ll well be worth your time,” he finished and he knew he had Greg’s attention.

 

Kyle listened to his maker practically beg Greg to listen to him. He growled inwardly, the prick kissed everyone’s ass, flattering them with just what they wanted to hear only to turn around and stab them in the back. The maker called him a stupid idiot as many times as he found possible, but Kyle was smart enough to put two and two together before anyone. He saw them take James, and when James returned he understood perfectly what had happened. He could’ve been a good little pack member and gone straight to the alpha, but he didn’t, no he understood what his maker wanted to do.

Instead of giving his maker to the alpha, Kyle had gone to him and asked to be a part of it too. He never asked for anything in return except for was a little bit of respect for the maker and the pack but that was the one thing it seemed neither of the pack or the maker could give him. Not Lily, Kyle thought. She saw his worth and appreciated him. He knew about her history too, she was just like him. If she was anyone’s mate, she was his, not James. God knows he’d treat her better than that arrogant bastard.

Tonight was the final straw for Kyle, he was no longer going to be the maker’s little pet. No, not anymore! He considered going to Andrew and explaining every little detail of the maker’s plan, but he hated the alpha and the pack almost as much as he hated the maker. As soon as he discarded that plan another one came into his mind. Kyle smiled with satisfaction, it was perfect.

Not only would his new plan make the maker, the alpha, the pack, and that stupid, arrogant James Lacrosse pay but he’d have the prize all to himself. A growl of satisfaction ran through Kyle at the thought. Soon they were all going to see what his worth was soon and it’d be too late for any of them to stop him! Kyle glanced towards where his maker was talking to that pathetic omega before running off to begin preparations.

Chapter 11

~

 

James scrubbed his skin until it was pink and tender. How the hell did he manage to get so dirty last night? He shut off the shower and grabbed a towel hanging on the wall. Werewolves were not too different than most humans. The wolf influenced them, but it was nothing a little willpower and self-control couldn’t handle. All werewolves have to shift during the full moon, and the balance between wolf and human tipped to the wolf’s advantage.

The human becomes a small influence on the wolf, but it’s the wolf that calls the shots in the end. They’re able to remember what happened during the night and know where they are when they come back into control. When James shifts the beast always gains control but James is always aware of what is going but he can’t influence the beast in any way and vice versa for the beast. During the full moon shift, James is lost completely. So he never had any idea of where he is, where he was when he wakes or how he got there. Normally James got flashes during the day of the events of the night before, and he’d be able to piece together more or less what had happened.

James dried himself off, wondering how he’d come to wake next to Lily. She freaked out once she had woken next to him and realized she was completely naked. At the time, he was too surprised to react, waking up to a woman screaming and demanding that you to look away wasn’t exactly the best way to wake up. Though she did provide a nice view. He got a sly smile on his face as he remembered just what a nice view she had provided for him.

James felt his blood warm, and his body grew tense as he let out a lusty sigh remembering her nude athletic form. He refused to give her a second look before due to she was only a human, but now she wasn’t human anymore. He’d probably never actually get to act on his already forming fantasies since she was practically the alpha’s daughter, but that was the point of fantasies in the first place. James left the bathroom with the smile on his face as he pulled on a t-shirt and jeans.

He tried once more to remember the events of the previous night, wondering with a little jealousy if his beast had gotten to taste her first, but his mind was still blank. Though as he thought about it, that probably wasn’t even possible due to their differences in size and shape. With a mental shrug, he decided to try later in the day to figure out what had happened. For now he had more important things to do.

He wanted to check out the woods this morning and see if he could find the scent of the imposter; James was sure he would be able to pick up something out there. Maybe he could find where the little prick was hiding, and that might lead them to the “maker” as the imposter called him. James left the hotel after a large breakfast. Whatever the beast had done last night, he obviously hadn’t gone hunting.

James crossed the parking lot into a small field that lead to the forest. Once he reached the tree line, he raised his nose to the air and sniffed testing the scents on the wind. He didn’t catch the scent he was looking for, but that didn’t surprise him. He entered the woods about fifty feet before he removed his clothing and safeguarded them by a tree before he shifted. The beast lowered his nose to the ground and began the search for the scent of the imposter werewolf.

He was still angry at him for getting away and using such a cowardly trick when he used the net. The woods were full of fresh scents from every werewolf that had come to the shifting age. It would take even his superior sense of smell a while to decipher all of them and find the scent he was looking for. After a couple of hours, he finally found what he was looking for. Now it’s time for you to lead me to your little den pup; he thought eagerly, quickly rushing through the woods following the trail.

He halted in surprise when he realized the scent lead him around the alpha’s home. How he could’ve come so close without being detected by a pack member, he thought confused and continued to follow the scent. The imposter had walked all around the house until if went off in another direction deep into the woods until it suddenly stopped. The beast growled angrily wondering how the ass managed to mask his scent so well.

The beast howled in frustration and continued to sniff out the forest, hoping to find the scent. It took him nearly three hours but he finally picked up the scent again, it was a fresher than the trail around the Alpha’s den and the beast growled with anger when he discovered the scent revealed that the imposter had been snooping around Lily’s. If that pup thought the beast would allow him to get within fifty feet of her, then he was dumber than the beast initially thought.

The scent then moved off in another direction, deeper into the woods. But just when the beast thought he might be getting somewhere the scent just disappeared, again. He let out a loud, frustrated growl frightening several birds into flight. He started from zero once more and with his nose close to the ground went in search of the scent.

It was late in the afternoon when he finally gave up and headed back to the edge of the woods near the hotel. He hadn’t been able to pick up the imposter’s scent again. He shifted back to James, who quickly dressed and walked back to his room. He wondered why the imposter was hanging around the alpha’s house and Lily’s apartment, which James didn’t understand why that made the beast so angry.

He got on his bike and headed towards the alpha’s house to see if they encountered anything strange that night and to warn Andrew that the imposter has been checking out his home. “Where have you been, man?” Tony asked with clear concern when he’d seen James. “We have been trying to reach you all morning,” he stated.

“Did something happen?” James asked, worried that something had happened to Lily. That single thought nearly stopped him in his tracks. Why was the hell that his first thought? He gave himself a mental shake and reminded himself to stay focused. It was one thing to have some fantasies, but it was another to let her take over his thoughts. Tony moved his head side to side with a look of disapproval.

“No or at least nothing new anyways but you had us all worried man. Dad wanted to have a meeting today, and no one could get in touch with you. We thought something had happened to you,” Tony told him with a harsh tone and James felt the alpha factor flow through him making James bow his head and quickly apologize.

“But honestly nothing could happen to me, Tony. I am the feared James Lacrosse, after all,” he replied with a small smile, but Tony just gave him a stern look. “I’ve been tracking the imposter through the forest all morning,” James explained sheepishly sticking his hand in his pants pockets once he realized he should have told the alpha of his morning plans.

“Did you find anything?” Tony asked eagerly, and James sighed heavily, shaking his head negatively.

“Not much, just that he was hanging around the house and Lily’s apartment last night. But just like the trail with Greg, his scent suddenly disappeared and not even I could pick it up,” he explained looking up at his friend who was a good head taller than him since he was standing on the porch. Tony let out a growl of frustration.

“How the freaking hell does he do that? I thought it was impossible to mask one’s scent completely!” He scowled angrily, and James wished he could offer him something, but he was just as clueless as him. They walked inside the large house which was buzzing with life.

“James there you are! Where have you been, young man?” Mrs. Roberts asked him from the kitchen with the same harsh tone as Tony had used. Tony gave him “I told you so” look and left James to fend off the angry alpha female alone. He put on his best charming smile and walked into the kitchen. Lily was helping Mrs. Roberts with lunch; she looked at him only second before averting her eyes, and his smile grew brighter at her apparent discomfort.

“Don’t you even try to charm you way out of this one mister,” an outraged Mrs. Roberts stated with her hands on her hips giving him a look that made him squirm. He quickly muttered an apology and explained briefly what he had been doing. “Well, you have a cell phone for reasons like that James. Next time try to remember that!” She told him with her no-nonsense tone, and he nodded quickly in agreement, not feeling brave enough to debate the matter. “Now go on and get out of here and stop getting Lily all flustered so we can finish lunch,” she demanded. Lily head shot up in surprise.

“He is not making me all flustered,” Lily demanded with a horrified expression nearly tossing a large mixing bowl to the floor in her anger.

“Of course he’s not,” Mrs. Roberts replied with amused tone and James smiled evilly seeing the perfect opportunity.

“You should really lighten up Lily. Sometimes you just need to laugh about things,” he teased, throwing her exact words back at her. She narrowed her eyes at him with a scowl that made him burst out laughing; he told her he would make her eat those words. Revenge never tasted so sweet; he thought still laughing.

After a bountiful and delicious lunch, the alpha held a meeting in his office. Andrew sat behind his desk; Lily and Doctor Thompson sat in the two chairs in front of him while Tony and James stood each on opposite sides of the desk. “So James I heard you were investigating the scent of the imposter,” he asked once the meeting had started. James nodded and explained what he had found. The alpha seemed surprised, and the doctor cursed.

“This is intolerable, Andrew. An extremely dangerous rogue was able to trample all over the forest and get so close to your home and that of your daughter! What exactly are the enforcers doing because they obviously weren’t doing their job?” The doctor snapped with irritation, and the alpha held his hand up for Doctor Thompson to calm down.

“It was a full moon; they can’t be expected to uphold to the best of their abilities, Xavier. However with that being said, it doesn’t mean that this isn’t a cause for concern. Lily has already informed me that these criminals have planned to make her like James,” he replied. James took a sharp intake of breath in surprise. Why in the hell would that lunatic want to do something like that?

“That’s not going to happen,” Tony snapped, and the doctor nodded.

“I agree Tony, already this “maker” has caused two mutations, no offense James, and we can’t allow more, it’s…unnatural,” the doctor agreed.

“I don’t see how you are going to stop him,” Lily suddenly spoke, and everyone turned her, some surprised, some looked a little insulted. “He has been a step ahead of us all the time; no matter what we have done he has been more than prepared to counter it. He knows our strengths and our weaknesses, yet we know nothing about him. We haven’t a single shred of evidence that could even allow us to guess who he is,” she explained looking at them very seriously.

An uncomfortable silence fell in the room as everyone seemed to get suddenly lost in thought. James hated to admit it but she was right, and he didn’t like that at all. “Then we do something he doesn’t expect,” Doctor Thompson spoke suddenly breaking the silence. “This man seems to think of himself as a grand man, and we are all inferior idiots. Hopefully to the point we could use it to our advantage.”

“What do you have in mind?” the alpha asked, leaning forward and resting his arms on the desk in front of him.

“We may not know who they are or why they are doing this, but we do know what they want. They want Lily, and I suggest we play on that. He already thinks we are idiots so he wouldn’t be surprised if Lily slipped off into the woods alone to explore the new facets of her being. She’d be ripe for the taking being a new wolf and all but we would be waiting for him,” Xavier explained.

“Are you crazy, use Lily as bait? No way, it’s too dangerous, and anything could go wrong,” Tony exclaimed, shaking his head and James nodded with his jaw clenched tightly. He didn’t like the sound of this plan at all.

“Yeah it’s dangerous but I think it’s a great idea count me in,” she told the doctor.

“No, you can’t do this! You said it yourself that he has always been one step ahead and that caused Greg to go missing. If you do this you’ll be handing yourself to him on a platter, and I’m not going to let that happen,” James demanded, surprised by the force of determination behind his words. Why did he seem to care suddenly so much? It bothered him more than he was willing to admit, even to himself.

Lily narrowed her eyes at him; if looks could kill she would’ve had him dead on the floor within a second. “You aren’t going to let that happen?” Lily repeated, her voice laced with venom. “Who exactly are you, James Lacrosse, to let me do anything?” She asked, pronouncing his name as if it were a nasty insult. Once more he was curious as to why she seemed to dislike him so much. He didn’t do anything to her!

James shifted his weight uncomfortably as he was unsure what to say. He wasn’t sure why he felt like he had a say in what she did or not, but the feeling was there. She looked away from him and gave her scathing look to the others, much to his relief. “This is the best plan of action I’ve heard yet but if any of you have a better plan I’d love to hear it,” she demanded.

“Just because we have a fool’s plan doesn’t mean we should follow it just because it’s the only one we have,” Tony shot heatedly.

“Use your head for once Tony, don’t you see a fool’s plan is the only plan that will work. We have to use what we know about him, and the only thing we know about him is how stupid he thinks we are. So we should appear to make a stupid mistake, he will never suspect a thing and with all of us there, we will be able to overpower him!” Doctor Thompson shot back at Tony.

All of the sudden Tony, Doctor Thompson, and Lily all began to shout at each other at once. James kept silent instead focusing on controlling his anger that was close to raging out of control. The beast raged inside him demanding to be set free. James didn’t understand the way his beast was acting today. “Enough! Bickering and shouting at each other will not solve anything!” Andrew told them all sternly.

“I do not like the idea of putting Lily in harm’s way, I really don’t,” he continued and Tony gave the doctor a smug smirk. “But Xavier is right, a teen was nearly kidnapped, two others are dead, Greg has gone missing, and Lily has been drugged into becoming one of us. This mad man is beating us at every turn, and we have to act now before it gets any worse!”

“Alpha I agree with you on that point, but I also agree with Tony. I don’t think we should use Lily like this. This is a bad idea,” James told him. Lily shot him a nasty look, and Andrew shook his head.

“I am sorry James but she is the only advantage we have over him, and I agree with Xavier that we must use it if Lily is willing to play the part,” the alpha told him. James frowned but kept silent.

“I’m ready,” she started then looked to Tony with a serious, but pleading look on her face. “He’s proved that he can get to me when he wants. He’ll get me, but we don’t know when. Our best shot is forcing the when,” she explained. The Alpha and Xavier Thompson nodded in agreement. James just shook his head silently. She made all the sense in the world, but it just seemed too easy. This “maker” would see through it, and James knew he would have the perfect counter to it.

“This won’t work, and you’ll end up being his plaything for his insane experiments. But obviously no one is going to listen to reason so I will do my part,” Tony stated.

“We’ll proceed and the sooner, the better. I suggest tomorrow you host a pack meeting in an announcement that Lily has joined our pack, and she is one of us now. During which Lily at some point will make a scene, something that gets the pack’s attention so they see her go alone into the woods. This will cause our traitor to alert this “maker”, and he won’t be able to pass up the opportunity. What he won’t know is James, myself, and the wolves of your choosing Alpha, will be waiting for him. James can take the other imposter, and the rest of us will take the maker,” the doctor explained, and everyone even Tony seemed to agree.

James, however, did not because it seemed too easy and the feeling in his gut didn’t go away. “I believe this will work,” Andrew announced, and they began to plan out the fine details of the plan. James kept silent and only half listened, but most of his attention was on the beast. He could feel the beast’s anger and outrage, which wasn’t something that happened often. What was up with him, James wondered.

The next afternoon everything was set up. Doctor Thompson, Chris, and two wolves were already waiting in their designated positions. James waited at the tree line hidden in shadows, along with Tony to follow Lily as she made her way towards the spot where she was to await the “maker.” Andrew had organized a large picnic in his backyard.

Nearly an hour into the event James heard the Alpha call Lily up to the porch. Once she stood next to him, he announced that she was now a werewolf, and she would be joining the pack. He was surprised when almost everyone began shouting insults at her or demanding to know how she had become a werewolf. Biting a human was cause for severe punishment with the only exception being human mates.

Andrew held up his hands to reply, but Lily, taking it as a perfect cue to make her exit, ran off the porch and into the wood near where James was waiting. She slowed to an easy walk as soon as she was out of seeing distance and kept her face in a sadly distressed expression. James wondered if that was all part of the act or that the reaction of the pack had gotten to her.

Shaking himself from such nonsense, he forced himself to keep focused. He kept his human form since it was easier to blend in with his surroundings as he crept along behind Lily to her left while Tony, in his wolf form, followed her on the right. They both kept as much distance as they could from her. In an attempt to mask their scents, everyone involved had taken a nasty bath in vinegar. The smell was nauseating to James, but he managed to keep his concentration.

They arrived at the spot where they were to await for the maker and his lackey. Lily sat down on the boulder that would put her in clear view. Time seemed to drag on while nothing happened and no one came and James was convinced that this plan wasn’t going to work. When she had been playing bait for nearly a half hour, he noticed the imposter. The imposter looked around nervously before walking into the clearing towards Lily.

James frowned, something was wrong. The beastly creature before them wasn’t the imposter but yet different one. Damn that makes three, how many of us are there? He wondered heatedly. The new beast was a reddish brown color, and the scent seemed a little familiar, but James didn’t have time to get into the details of the scent as he quickly shifted. Lily backed away from the other creature like she was supposed to and the beast rushed the brown beast.

The brown beast yelped in surprise when he saw James. Xavier and the others rushed out from their hiding spot behind him. The brown beast suddenly howled loudly. Several other, normal werewolves appeared out of nowhere with three or four humans behind them. The beast looked at the new arrivals with a pleasant surprise. He was worried this pathetic excuse of a beast before him was going to be the only action he was going to see.

The brown beast leaped at Lily, but James’s beast knocked him to the ground. There was no way he was going to let this pathetic creature touch her. Tony let out a loud warning call to his father and just barely avoided a silver net thrown at him by one of the humans. “Lily, get out of here,” the beast roared to her and continued to wrestle with the brown beast. He heard the alpha’s reply howl alerting that reinforcements were on their way to even out the numbers to their favor once more.

With a sharp punch to the snout, the beast quickly subdued the brown beast before him and turned his attention to the battle around him. A human had Chris in a silver net and was laughing at him as Chris squirmed in pain. The beast let out a loud menacing growl and swiped at the man with his massive clawed hand. The human looked at him with horrified surprise as the man fell to the ground, dying almost instantly. He clenched his jaw as he painfully ripped the net from Chris and threw it away from him. Chris gave him weak thanks, but the beast placed his attention on a new target.

After Andrew had arrived the battle was quickly won. Nearly all the humans had perished, half the wolves working for the “maker” had died too, and despite his repeated attempts at escape the brown beast was captured as well. James’s beast glanced over the crowd happy to see all of them were alive and accounted for. Except for Lily, but she probably was at the alpha’s house. Feeling satisfied, he released his control and shifted back to James.

“James, go to the house and make sure Lily made it there safely,” Andrew ordered mentally, still in his wolf form. James nodded and raced off to the house.

“Did everything work out?” Sandy asked as soon as she saw him. She handed him a towel to cover himself with.

“Yes, nothing to worry about. Andrew wanted me to come and make sure Lily got here okay,” he replied wrapping the towel around himself but freezing when he noticed Sandy’s face. “She is here right?” He asked, and Sandy shook her head no.

“She hasn’t been back here since she left; I thought she was still with you. Oh God, James you don’t think?” Sandy stared, and James jumped off the porch, racing into the forest. This couldn’t be happening; he thought as he shifted. The beast quickly caught her scent where she’d left the battle and headed off towards the alpha’s house but half way there he let out a long howl of frustration as he came up with the familiar dilemma, her scent just ended. The beast slammed his fists in anger and distress like he hadn’t felt ever. He and James knew this was a bad idea, and now she was gone!

Chapter 12

~

 

“Lily, get out of here,” an animalistic voice echoed through Lily’s head, and she gave a small squeak of surprise. They could honestly communicate telepathically; she thought with amazement but quickly realized this was not the time to think about it. She had to get back to Andrew’s house as soon as possible. So without another thought, she ran off into the woods.

She nearly stumbled in surprise by the fact that she had automatically oriented herself in the direction back to Andrew’s house by using the scents of the forest and that of the other werewolves. Lily knew everything would be different but never had she imagined the magnitude of the change. It was as if all her life she was seeing the world in black and white and now all of the sudden she was able to see in color.

Everything was so much more alive. Everything appeared to be sharper and brighter, and that was just her sight! The world of smells she could now detect was abundant if not overwhelming. Some smells were familiar and just grew stronger while others were so new she had no idea how to describe or name them. Lily was so caught up in the little details of the forest and the new capabilities of her senses that she didn’t notice the werewolf behind her until it was too late.

A low growl sounded behind her, and she instantly froze, turning around slowly to see the monstrous form of the blond shifter that had pretended to be Greg. “Not good,” she muttered, turning back around running off in a sprint but the beast was much quicker than her. She only managed to take three steps before he had wrapped his burly hairy arms around her, trapping her in his grip. “Let go of me Fluffy or you’ll regret it,” she threatened but he made a sound she assumed would be the equivalent of a laugh.

“I doubt you are in a position to make threats…Lassie,” his voiced echoed in her head as she felt a sharp prick on her neck. Even though she knew her chances of getting away from him were near impossible, she continued to struggle against him. Lily shook her head as everything started to get blurry. With a growl, she fought to keep consciousness as she realized he’d drugged her. How did he know where to find her? Lily wondered, fighting to keep her eyes open. The sedative was too much for her to overcome and she fell into darkness.

Lily groaned and felt her sluggish body slowly start to wake. Her head pounded, and her mouth was parched. She pushed herself into a sitting position and noticed that her clothes and skin were incredibly sticky. “Ugh, what is all over me?” She croaked hoarsely scrunching her face in disgust. She heard someone laugh in response. Lily jerked her head towards the sound and saw the blonde werewolf sitting over to her far right at a small wooden table, staring at her.

Remembering what happened, she glanced around at her surroundings. Lily was in some sort of log cabin. It was disturbingly quaint in decoration and didn’t look anything like a mad scientist lab or evil lair. “It was my parents place,” he told her as if he knew exactly what she was thinking. A pit in her stomach grew as she worried if werewolves could read each other’s minds since they could communicate telepathically.

Nervously she returned her attention to him. “Why I am here and why am I so sticky?” she asked, eyeing the door that was about twenty feet to her left. She wondered if she would be able to get to the door and out run him.

“You’re here so I can screw over a lot of people at once and you’re sticky because I drenched you in a special liquid to mask your scent. We don’t want them finding you just yet,” he told her with a teasing tone and she scowled back at him. That explained why the scents suddenly disappeared. All thanks to another one of Dr. Frankenstein’s marvelous experiments, she thought acidly.

“How long will I be like this, can I wash it off?” she asked, prying off a piece of her hair that was glued to her cheek while discreetly keeping an eye on the door.

“It comes off easily with water, but you’re going to be staying like that for a while. I can’t have you stinking the place up with your scent,” he replied, and she grew irritated, but she simply huffed with a frown, tugging at her clothing that was plastered to her skin.

“So what’s next, Fluffy? You hand me over to the “maker” like a good lap dog?” She asked bitterly and once more cursed her big mouth. He angrily narrowed his eyes at her but gave her a smug smirk as he stood up. She stood up as well and backed up into the wall behind her. He quickly crossed the room to stand in front of her.

“Not exactly Lily, he just happens to be on my “screw you” list,” He told her as he unsheathed a long knife from where it was holstered on his belt. She swallowed loudly, pressing herself against the wall not being able to take her eyes off the knife, it shined brightly, and she suspected that it was silver.

“Not so mouthy are you now?” The blonde teased.

“What happened to make you turn against him?” She asked feeling horribly curious. “I thought you had the whole Dr. Frankenstein, monster bond?” She had blurted before she realized she had said it. He narrowed his eyes at her again, and she eyed the knife still in his hand. For a moment, she was sure he was going to plunge it into her chest, but instead he smiled and returned the knife to its leather sheath.

“Well, I already told you part of it when you so kindly offered me coffee the other day. I didn’t lie about anything but my name that day,” he started moving back towards the little wooden table. “Here’s some water if you like, those damn sedatives really can dehydrate you,” he told her indicating to a bottle of water on the table. Lily stepped away from the wall eyeing him skeptically but instinctively licked her dry lips. “I didn’t do anything to the water, scout’s honor,” he told her holding up two fingers with a playful smile.

“Right…says the psychotic kidnapper,” Lily grumbled, and he surprised her by laughing in response. Despite her better judgment, she walked over to where he was sitting and took the bottle of water. “So what happened to Dr. Frankenstein and you?” She asked and sat in the chair opposite of his, taking a long drink from the bottle. Maybe she could get some clarity into why Dr. He and Frankenstein are doing these things.

The blonde smiled and leaned back in his chair. “Well as I told you my parents were disappointed in me. I’d never been very strong and in our world strength means everything. I was always picked on by the other kids, mainly your brother and good old James. My mother and I had hoped when I was able to shift it would get better but when the day finally came, I nearly died. I was just as weak of a wolf as I was like in my human form. That’s when my father started with the insults and beatings,” he explained, taking the knife out again.

“If that wasn’t bad enough after that day, your brother and James decided their usual pranks on me weren’t good enough. They took it upon themselves to make every day a living hell for me! Every single day they had some prank for me, the bigger the crowd, the better,” he snarled, stabbing the table furiously.

“I was there, you know. The day the maker took James, and it was one of the happiest days of my life, the daily torture stopped, and the maker gave James his just what he deserved! When I learned of what James became I went to the maker and asked him to do the same thing to me,” Fluffy explained.

“But why; why would you want to be a monster?” Lily asked her curiosity getting the better of her.

“Because it would make me stronger Lily, stronger than any other wolf and I would be able to take the respect I deserve and much more. No one would ever push me around again! Wouldn’t you want an opportunity to stop being beaten, threatened and pushed around forever?” he asked but didn’t wait for her answer.

“The only problem is that things didn’t change! The maker has just been using me as his little errands boy until he can get his prodigal son, James Lacrosse, back. Which is where you come in at; the maker needed something or, in this case, someone to bait James back to his side, in other words, you. The perfect little piece of bait,” he mused, and she narrowed her eyes at him while crossing her arms.

“Now Fluffy, why the hell would he think I’m effective bait for James?” She asked baffled, and now he narrowed his eyes at her.

“Because the maker thinks you and James are the perfect match, mates if you will,” he told her. Lily’s jaw dropped, and she stared at the man before her awestruck.

“Please tell me you’re joking, is he really that crazy? That is the most absurd thing I’ve heard in my life,” she shot back once she recovered from her stupefaction.

“Actually, it’s not that farfetched, if James had half a brain why wouldn’t he want to get in between those pretty legs of yours,” he sneered She scrunched up her face in disgust and growled, surprising herself. She actually growled…like a dog! She had never done that before.

“Don’t be crude, I highly and severely doubt that’s true besides I’d rather put out on a street corner before I allowed that to happen,” she said not believing the madness she was hearing.

“And that is why I like you,” he said with a wink and a smile.

“Like I give a damn about your opinion Fluffy,” she shot back noticing her crossed arms were stuck to her chest.

“Now, now Lily, don’t be like that you’ll hurt my feelings. Besides that is not what you said last week. What was it you said…oh yes, that I was such a pleasure to have around, right?” he teased her.

“That was before I knew that you were the one that broke into my lab, beat me, destroyed that lab, and then later drugged me into becoming this,” Lily told him feeling so angry and insulted. The look of regret that washed over his face when she said that flared her curiosity.

“Sorry about that, I didn’t mean to put you in the hospital. I’d forgotten just how much stronger we are compared to humans,” he told her with a tone that almost appeared to be sheepish and apologetic. “But I’m going to make it up to you Lily, the maker intended to experiment on you and use you to get to James but I got to you first, precious little piece of bait. I just don’t know what to do with you yet,” he said with an over exaggerated expression of perplexing.

“Stop calling me bait and I got a great idea, let me go,” she replied managing to uncross one of her arms from her chest.

“I can’t just let you go so the alpha, and James can have you back,” he told her and she growled at him again, pulling at her arms roughly to get them unstuck from her chest.

“So the alpha or James can have me back? I do not belong to anyone, do you hear me you sorry piece of fuzz! Not the alpha, not James, not Dr. Frankenstein and most certainly not you!” Lily shouted and jumped from her chair. She stomped over to Fluffy furiously and poked him hard in the chest. He laughed again, and she stomped her foot angrily like a three-year-old who didn’t get the candy they wanted.

“My, you do have a lot of spunk; I am definitely going to keep you for myself,” he told her with a hungry look that only made her grow angrier. Since when did people suddenly see her as a something that could be owned and traded off?

“You son of a…” Lily started, but he got up quickly trapping her against him.

“Now bait, don’t say something you might regret,” he whispered in her ear brushing his lips softly against her cheek.

“Let go of me or…” she threatened. Fluffy laughed and pulled his face away from hers so he could look her in the eye.

“Or what Lily? I believe I made it clear you’re not in the position to be making threats,” he teased, and she growled rabidly, kneeing him between the legs. He collapsed to the ground with a painful groan, and she smiled victorious, before running to the door.

“Damn woman,” He cursed grabbed her by the ankle. He pulled her foot out from under, sending her sprawling to the ground. She turned and tried to kick him, but he caught her other foot and pulled her towards him. “Don’t think I am going to let you go that easily, my pretty piece of bait,” he told her regaining is arrogant confidence as he trapped her against him again. She roared in anger and started to tell him what an ass he was when he slapped his hand over her mouth.

The teasing expression was gone from his face and replaced with another much more serious as he looked at the door. She strained to hear what he seemed to have detected, but she couldn’t hear anything. “Damn it,” he swore quickly, getting up and dragging her into the bathroom.

“Listen to me Lily,” he told her sharply. “I may not be on the good guy team, but I am honest when I say I am not going to hurt you…again. I know what I did was wrong and if I could do things over I swear I would never go into your lab that day and destroy everything. Nor would I have hit you like that. Please believe me when I say I mean you no harm, but the men who’re coming will,” he told her, looking deadly serious.

“Stay quiet if you don’t want to become the maker’s newest experiment,” he added, and she mutely nodded not sure what to think. As soon as he closed and locked the bathroom door, she could hear someone knock on the door. She pressed her ear against the door wondering if it was the maker.

“Where is she Kyle?” she heard someone ask, that voice was familiar but she wasn’t sure from where.

“Where is who?” Fluffy’s teasing voice replied. So his name was Kyle, she’d have to remember that if she ever escaped.

“Don’t play dumb with me boy! You know very well who,” the other demanded and Lily suddenly got very excited as she recognized the voice. He wasn’t the maker; he was one of the good guys! If he was here everyone else probably was out hiding somewhere waiting for his order to rescue her; she was saved!

“Oh you mean the pretty little piece of bait, Lily I think is her name. Haven’t seen her,” Fluffy or Kyle, responded. She started pounding on the door and shouting that she was in the bathroom.

There were sounds of a struggle and someone cried out in pain and then all was silent. She wasn’t sure who had cried out; she just hoped it wasn’t her rescuer. The door suddenly opened, and she let out a long slow breath of relief.

“I’m so glad to see you,” she told him and he smiled in return, grabbing her by the arm and pulling her out of the bathroom. She was surprised by the harsh treatment.

“Are the others here?” Lily asked but frowned when he didn’t respond. He just kept pulling her towards the living room. She saw Fluffy bound in silver on his knees as two humans, or, at least, that is what she thought of the scent; each had a hand on his shoulder. She looked at her rescuer to the blonde feeling as if something wasn’t quite right. “What exactly is going on?” she demanded, trying to get her rescuer to let go of her arm but his grip only tightened.

“I told you to be quiet,” Kyle growled, “Lily why can’t you keep your mouth shut! You’ve just put yourself into the maker’s hands. I hope you’re happy!”

She gasped, looking at the man who held her. “You…no it can’t be,” she cried and tried to pull herself away from him.

“Why not my guinea pig, am I not to your expectations?” The maker asked with cold amusement in his eyes. How could she be so stupid, she thought as she realized the clear indications that she had so foolishly overlooked. The man that held her knew she was here before she ever made a sound from the bathroom and he called Fluffy by his real name. Fluffy was right, she just gave herself to Dr. Frankenstein. Honestly knowing now who he was, she saw that they never had a chance to beat him.

Her captor released her arm and walked over to the wooden table. He picked up the silver knife stuck there and Lily got a sinking feeling. “Don’t call me a guinea pig,” she snapped. Lily was determined not to go down without a fight. The man walked back toward her with the knife and she backed up a few steps.

“Don’t worry I am not going to cause you any harm, all I ever offered to you is a gift of being something better than what you are,” Her captor told her then turned to Kyle. “You, however, have betrayed me; after all, I’ve done for you! It was a mistake to bestow on you the gift. You’re nothing more than a base born subspecies that has illusions of grandeur. She’s not yours; you stupid fool! She never was meant to be yours!” Lily’s irritation flared realizing they were talking about her. Who the hell did they think they were, treating her this way?

“Screw you, everyone is right! You’re a God damn psychopath! I’m never going to do anything for you again,” Kyle shouted at his maker, who simply gave him a cold smile.

“You are right about one thing Kyle; you won’t be working for me any longer,” He told him then plunged the dagger into Kyle’s chest. Lily gasped as she watched her new kidnapper pull the dagger from his chest with a cold laugh. He kicked Kyle to the floor like a piece of garbage and tossed the knife away from him.

Everything seemed to slow down to a painfully slow pace. Kyle looked shocked as he looked at his chest where blood gushed from the wound. He crumpled to the ground with a solid thud and Lily rushed over to him. She covered the stab wound with her hands, trying to stop the bleeding. He placed his hands on top of her bloodied hands.

“Thank you,” he told her with a gruff voice, and she looked at him confused. “You’re the only one who’s ever been nice to me…I…just…wanted to…repay the favor,” he told her, his voice growing weaker. Tears blurred her vision as guilt bubbled up inside her; this was all her fault. If only she had just stopped and listened to people.

“How touching,” her new captor sneered, and she growled at him angrily. How could he treat a human life with such disrespect?

“I’m sorry Kyle, I’m sorry I didn’t listen to you,” she told him apologetically and he gave her a faint smile.

“Run…Lily…don’t…let him…do this…to you,” he told her so quietly that she almost didn’t hear him.

“Enough, if I want to see this kind of crap I’ll watch the Lifetime channel,” her captor sneered again, and the humans grabbed her by each arm. Lily was just about to toss them away from her when they wrapped a silver chain around her wrists, and she cried out as it burned her skin. She looked back at Fluffy. He was deathly pale with a glazed over look in his eyes, and she felt sick to her stomach as she realized he was now dead.

“Why did you do that?” She cried as a few tears slide down her face.

“Why do you care? Did you really believe all that crap he just spilled out? Come on Lily, you’re smarter than that,” her kidnapper scolded her with a harsh tone. Lily looked at him; he didn’t seem to have any remorse for taking another life. His eyes were dark and cold, void of any sign of kindness she once believed he possessed. She wondered how she hadn’t seen the evil that lay inside him this whole time.

“All he wanted was your respect you bastard,” Lily spat at him and struggled against the chains. Her kidnapper laughed coldly but frowned as a quiet whimper escaped her with the pain the chains caused her.

“Let’s go, we don’t want you too harmed. You must be healthy for the process,” he told her and she scowled at him.

“Why are you doing this? You and Andrew have been friends since forever,” she asked, feeling so defeated.

“That is a story for another time, dear Lily, right now we have other things to attend to,” he told her with a cold smile then ordered the men to follow him. They roughly pulled her out of the cabin and into the forest. Lily kept her chin up but on the inside was terrified, more so than she had ever felt in her life.

Chapter 13

~

 

James looked at the men before him; the werewolves were bound around their wrists with silver laced chains so they were unable to break free and the humans with normal handcuffs. All of them were on their knees in a straight line; there was a total of five werewolves and three humans.

James kept his shoulders back in an erect, rigid position, glaring down at them in hopes of appearing intimidating and Tony was doing the same to his left. Andrew walked in front of them with an angry expression that James, if he didn’t know him better would consider hateful. Doctor Thompson stood not far behind the alpha glaring at all of them with an angry expression as well.

He watched as Andrew began his speech to the werewolves. He started out kindly promising that they would receive the highest level of mercy if they cooperated with him. James was sure some were about to speak, but something seemed to keep them quiet. The alpha let his disappointment show then turned to the humans. He promised no harm would come to them, and he wouldn’t turn them into the police if they would cooperate but just like the werewolves they seemed as if they wanted to talk but something kept them silent.

Andrew waited several minutes, but no one spoke. He sighed heavily then ordered the werewolves be taken to the basement for holding while the Alpha and other elders discuss what was to be done with them. The humans were to be sent to the police station; there was enough of their pack on the force to ensure that they would be busted for a breaking and entering charge.

Chris and another werewolf dragged a very distressed Greg before the alpha. It was a surprise to everyone when it was revealed that he was the third unknown beast. Another three werewolves stood near in case Greg attempted to resist. James eyed the werewolf before him with curiosity. He was no longer the trembling, weak omega James remembered. This Greg was muscular and radiated power that he had only seen in himself and the blonde.

Even though Greg was upset, he didn’t have his characteristic tremble whenever he was in a state of distress. “Explain to me Greg, what happened when I asked you to go over to Lily’s?” Andrew asked him with a clear note of sympathy in his voice and Greg’s head fell to his chest.

“I was ambushed by some a werewolf, but not a normal one but one like…him” he said looking towards James when he said the last part. The alpha nodded for him to go on. “He knocked me out and next thing I knew I was in a silver cage” he explained hesitantly.

“Then what happened Greg, why are you like this and why did you attack your own pack?” Andrew asked.

Greg looked slowly up towards Andrew with hate in his eyes. “At first he tried to get me to join him by using lies, and when I refused to listen to him, he threatened my family. He forced me to become like…this and said that if I didn’t do what he told them then he would kill my mom and Brandy,” he growled with anger his eyes were not leaving Andrew’s. Doctor Thompson scoffed with a look of disbelief.

“You attack your own and expect us to believe really that you did it because this man threatened you? Why would he want to change someone like you when he has so many other stronger wolves to choose from? Take Tony here, for example, he would have much more to gain from threatening him instead of you,” the doctor told him and Greg hung his head against this chest but didn’t reply.

“Go easy on him Xavier; Greg has always been loyal to the pack and me. I don’t doubt this lunatic would use threats to get what he wanted. He apparently sees the other beings in this world as his play things and doesn’t understand nor hold respect for life,” Andrew explained, but that only seemed to anger Doctor Thompson even more.

“You are too generous Andrew,” the doctor snapped, and Andrew gave him a warning look, and he fell quiet. Andrew turned to Greg again.

“Who is this mad man Greg? What does he want,” Andrew asked with a soft tone and Greg didn’t answer for a long time.

“I can’t say Alpha,” he finally replied bitterly looking at the alpha then at his beta, the doctor. “He…he didn’t reveal himself to me.” James eyed the Omega curiously; he had a sneaking suspicion there was more to this story than Greg was letting on.

“You’ll be staying at my home, Greg. Victor, you keep watch over him until further notice, don’t let him out of your sight for any reason do you understand me,” Andrew ordered a dark haired werewolf who nodded and led Greg into the house. The Alpha slammed his fist against the railing of the wooden porch causing it to rattle and groan against the abuse. “Nothing, we have nothing,” he growled, and Doctor Thompson patted him on the shoulder.

“Don’t worry Andrew, we will figure out how to get one of them to talk until then we need to find Lily. She was under our protection, and we’ve failed her. We should organize a search party quickly before any possible trail gets too cold,” the doctor explained, and Andrew nodded.

“You’re right of course Xavier, can you please take the lead. I need to clear my head,” He told his beta.

“Of course Andrew, it’s entirely understandable. Don’t worry I’ll do everything in my power to get your daughter back,” Xavier swore, and the alpha thanked him, walking into the house looking completely crushed.

Within a half hour, there were ten werewolves gathered in Andrew’s backyard, not including Xavier, Chris, or James. They prepared to start the search for Lily, and James was surprised not to see Tony anywhere. Lacy had quickly joined no matter what Chris or the alpha said.

“Lily is my sister, and I will not be sitting around at home waiting for news. Now either you can take me with you, or I will go on my own,” she yelled at them, and it was clear the only solution was to take her along. The search party began to enter the woods when Tony finally showed up and grabbed James’s arm. Tony pulled him back towards the house. James was about to complain but noticed the grave look on his friend’s face.

“What’s wrong Tony?” he asked, and Tony looked toward the search party nervously before he pulled James closer to the house.

“I just had a talk with Greg. I didn’t buy all of his story. I could feel he was holding something back, so I wanted to talk to him in private. After some persuasion and promising to take his family’s safety as my personal duty he agreed to speak to me,” Tony started then looked towards the now disappearing search party before he once more pulled James closer.

“The maker is Xavier Thompson James,” Tony said in such a low whisper that only James’s superior hearing could pick up. James looked at Tony in shock and disbelief.

“Xavier Thompson? But he’s been friends with your father since they were kids. He’s the beta and the pack’s doctor, he helped me when I was found,” Jams replied, feeling skeptical.

“Apparently Xavier has had something against my dad for a long time, and this is his plan for revenge. From what Greg tells me he wants to be the alpha,” Tony explained.

“How can you be so sure he is telling the truth, Tony? Maybe this is the psycho’s plan to divert our attention from him. If it’s Xavier and he wants to be alpha why didn’t he attack you or Lacy instead of me, Greg, and Lily. Greg and I have no sway over Andrew and Lily may be like his daughter, but she was only a human. Why would he plan a trap for himself and head a search party for Lily?” James asked, crossing his arms over his chest.

“Well, the trap didn’t exactly go as planned did it now James? We were outnumbered and even though we beat them we only caught his little lackeys, not to mention that Lily disappeared. I didn’t see the other werewolf, the one like you, anywhere, but he’s always been in the middle,” Tony argued, and James did have to admit he had a point.

“As to why the search party? Why not, it’s an excellent way to keep us away from where she really is! I admit it does seem far-fetched, but I believe Greg. He is a lot of things James, but he is a good guy and loyal as they come. I know it’s not enough to openly accuse the doctor, but it’s reason for you to keep an eye on him while you’re searching for my sister.” Tony finished, and James looked to the forest where the search party had gone.

Could it be that Xavier not only is the traitor but the mastermind behind it all? “Alright Tony, I’ll keep an eye on him and see if he does anything suspicious,” James told him after a few moments of thought.

“Thank you, James,” Tony stated, looking relieved. “I wish I could come and help you find my sister, but I’ve got to protect Mrs. Malcolm and Greg’s mate as I promised,” Tony told him.

“It’s cool, you’ve got to keep your promises,” James said his friend, turning to run so he’d catch up with the others.

It didn’t take much to catch up to the search party. He watched the beta and pack doctor carefully. Doctor Thompson didn’t seem to act suspicious at all; actually, the pack doctor looked rather upset that Lily was kidnapped. When two hours passed, and they were obviously not getting anywhere, Xavier split the group up into small groups of twos and organized the area they were to search.

“I’m leaving to report to the alpha and let him know how we’re progressing. I’ll be back shortly,” he announced. James watched as he disappeared off into the dense forest in the direction of the alpha’s house. He just couldn’t see the pack doctor as the maker. Doctor Thompson was a good man and had always been there for James during the hard times when he’d first changed.

He debated whether he should follow Xavier or not, before deciding against following the beta. Instead, he decided to go on his own to look for Lily. He was sure the search party wasn’t going to find anything; they didn’t even go in the direction where her trail had stopped. James ran to where he had lost her scent after the battle. Tony’s words echoed in his head, and he wondered if it was true, but what would make Xavier turn on his best friend and his pack?

James reached the spot where Lily’s trail ended. His sensitive nose was unable to detect anything. He examined the area and found some footprints in the dusty ground. He walked around them carefully, making sure not to destroy them with his own. There were two pairs, one smaller, obviously human, and another much larger, more like a wolf print. The footprints became chaotic near a tree as if there was a fight, and he looked at the tree to see if there was anything that could reveal what had happened. He was about to give up when he noticed something about five feet from the tree.

He walked over carefully and slowly bent down to touch the ground. There was a puddle of some transparent liquid. Whatever it was it was incredibly sticky. James suddenly remembered his search for Greg and the sticky sap he’d accidentally put his hand in. He dipped his fingers into the liquid and brought it to his nose. He sniffed the substance carefully, but he couldn’t get a scent from it.

“Well, well what do we have here,” he said out loud. Was this the explanation to how the “maker” and the blonde werewolf managed to mask their scent and that of others? He searched the area hoping there would be a trail of the liquid, but it was only in that one spot. He sighed loudly then turned his attention to his fingers that were still covered in the stuff.

He refused to be beaten by that lunatic again so he paced back and forth trying to come up with a new plan of attack. James closed his eyes and forced himself to ignore all the information coming from any other sense that wasn’t his nose. After several minutes of intense concentration, he attempted to capture the scent of the substance. His eyes snapped opened and he grinned ear to ear. He had it; he had its scent!

James raced through the forest easily following the scent. He wasn’t too surprised when he realized he was heading in the exact opposite direction of the search party. It made his doubt about Xavier Thompson grow. Could Greg really be telling the truth about the beta? This part of the forest wasn’t often traveled by anyone human or werewolf. After nearly a half an hour, he came to a small clearing. A cabin sat perfectly in the middle and the scent of the liquid went straight to it.

He eyed the house cautiously for a few minutes, trying to detect any signs of life. When nothing happened he finally started a slow walk to the cabin. He glanced into one of the dusty windows and saw someone lying on the floor in a puddle of blood. His heart crash against his chest and his breath stopped, this psycho wouldn’t have killed her would he? In the end, his goal was to change her to be like James.

James rushed around to the front door and kicked it down. He entered the little house and looked down at the body. He let out a long slow breath when he realized that it wasn’t Lily on the floor but frowned as he recognized the body, it was the imposter. This didn’t look good, James thought, kneeling down to take a closer look. He placed his hand on the imposter’s bloodied chest and noticed it was fairly warm.

He then looked at the wound the imposter had in his chest, it was a long thin cut that showed no signs of healing. That could only mean one thing; the wound was inflicted with a silver object. He looked around the room and saw a bloodied knife lying on the floor under a small table. James wondered who had killed the imposter. Was it Lily in self-defense or did the imposter have a falling out with his “maker.”

James stood up and started sorting out the scents of the room. There was the scent of the imposter, the sticky liquid and James was sure he caught traces of Lily’s scent as well, but he also caught another scent, one very familiar. Doctor Thompson had been in that very cabin and he’d been there recently. With a loud growl of anger, James attempted to calm his anger. There could a reasonable explanation for Xavier’s presence within the cabin.

He could’ve found her and taken her home, James reasoned. With one final deep calming breath, he ran back towards the alpha’s house as quick as he could. “Alpha we have to talk,” James demanded as soon as he saw Andrew. The alpha gave him a worried look.

“What is it?” Tony asked, having overheard James. Before he could answer Chris came out of the woods and walked towards them.

“Alpha, we have searched everywhere the doctor told us too and still no sign of Lily or anything out of the ordinary. What do you want us to do now?” He asked and Andrew looked at him confused.

“Why aren’t you asking Xavier? I left him in charge,” the alpha told the younger werewolf.

“I haven’t seen the doc since he’s gone to report to you and never came back.” Chris replied, looking confused, and scratched the back of his head.

“Well, I haven’t seen him since the search party got started,” Andrew stated with a frown and James realized that Tony was right. Xavier was their traitor and the mastermind of all this. He growled with a blinding rage and nearly shifted into the beast right there, but he forced the raging beast back. If he shifted now the beast would probably attack anything that moved, friend or foe.

“That God damn…” James growled, the doctor played every single one of them for fools and most importantly he played James for a fool. All those days he pretended to help James control himself when he’d returned to the pack, but he was only testing his lab rat!

“What did you find James?” Tony asked again.

“Greg was telling the truth! Alpha the maker is Xavier,” he started then explained everything Tony had told him. He told them about the sticky liquid, the cabin, and Xavier’s scent.

“This can’t be! He is my beta and most trusted friend. I’d place my life in his hands without hesitation,” Andrew exclaimed to no one in particular.

“He hasn’t been with the search party for hours and he hasn’t been here. So where the hell has he been?” Chris snapped.

“That is the million dollar question! Dad, let’s go back to that cabin and track Xavier. We may be able to end this all tonight,” Tony said and the Alpha stopped pacing.

“Yes, you’re right son but you’re going to stay here. If what Greg said is true then he wants to take the pack from us. I’m not delivering the both of us to his very doorstep,” the alpha demanded angrily. Tony started to complain but nodded knowing his father was right. “Now Tony, bring me, Greg,” The alpha added. He turned to Chris and James. “We’re going to finish this and we’re going to finish it tonight!”

It only took them fifteen minutes to return to the cabin. They entered the house and Andrew frowned as he looked over the body. “It can’t be! Why this is Kyle Patrick,” he announced.

“Yeah, I remember him but I thought he ran away,” Tony admitted. The name sounded familiar, but James couldn’t place it.

“Poor boy was always so sickly. The day you disappeared, James, his mother came to me and told me how Tony and you’d been bullying him. I’d planned on punishing you both severely for it,” the Alpha explained and James now recognized him. They use to call him Omega K. At the time, it seemed pushing Kyle around was the best way to prove how tough he was. James looked at Andrew; he looked even more crushed if that was even possible.

“So now that you found the cabin can I go back please?” Greg pleaded and James eyed the man with curiosity. He was now one of the strongest creatures in the world, yet he still whimpered like a pup.

“Grow a pair, Greg,” James barked. “You’re the second strongest creature here and I am almost sure that Xavier is a normal werewolf. He can’t do anything to you anymore man!”

“Yeah, well tell that to Kyle there on the floor,” Greg shot back fearfully.

“You don’t know what happened to him, besides he was a traitor and alone,” James reasoned with Greg. “You’re not alone! Chris, the alpha, and I are here. Hell, there’s enough strength between the two of us to take anyone down. Now we are wasting time! As long as Xavier is out there your family is in danger and so is Lily. He wants to change her to be like us, do you want that too on your conscious too?” He demanded.

Greg hung his head as he shook it side to side. Let’s go before Xavier has a chance to do anything to her,” Andrew ordered and everyone nodded.

Xavier’s scent was easy to follow. He hadn’t taken any precautions in hiding it. He must have been convinced that everyone would still be following the bogus instructions he gave them. They walked into the deepest most secluded part of the woods. Travel was slow and hard going due to the amount of debris of the forest. The group had to maneuver through slippery dead leaves and large rotten tree branches and trunks.

But James knew they were going on the right path because the scent of Xavier was getting stronger; he’d also picked up the imposter, Kyle’s scent everywhere, along with a few other scents. He recognized a few of the scents from their captives, but others remained unknown. “What the hell?” Andrew exclaimed once they saw an old large brick building suddenly emerge from the darkness of the forest.

James stumbled as if he had suddenly been hit and his face paled. The memories of those two years that he had been missing started rushing to him all at once. James remembered everything now. He recalled escaping that exact building on that dark stormy night after another day full of painful needles filled with liquids that burned him from the inside out. He remembered his screams and his pleas for mercy.

James would beg until his throat was completely raw. Most importantly he could remember Xavier’s face, looming over his while he was strapped to a cold metal table easily ignoring those screams and please. “Let’s go,” the alpha commanded and James growled in agreement, feeling his body shaking and tingling. It was time for payback, he vowed silently.

Chapter 14

~

 

Lily attempted to move her wrists as little as possible, that way the silver didn’t burn her nearly as bad. She licked her dry lips and kept her head down with a feeling of defeat. Several “what ifs” were running through her head, plaguing her with the ever pressing question of could she have avoided this situation?

Lily glanced at Xavier through her eyelashes and clenched her fists tightly as her rage flared. How could he do this to the pack, his friend, and her! When she was adopted at thirteen by the Robert’s family, he’d become her doctor. He saw her through a broken wrist, vaccinations, colds, and even when she needed birth control for the first time. Now he had violated her, making her something she was never meant to be and he was just getting started.

She looked up into the tops of the trees; it would probably be the last time she would see them. She was sure she’d never survive the experiments the doctor had planned for her. She kicked a rock in the path as she looked back to the ground not ready for this to be the end; she had so many things to do. She had future nephews and nieces to spoil; she had to thank her parents for taking her in and loving her despite that they had no obligation too! Maybe even one day she could have her own little baby to hold and love. “Here we are Lily,” Xavier told her once they reached a large brick building.

“So this is the secret lab, Dr. Frankenstein?” She asked with bitterness in her voice. This may be her end but if he thought she was going down without a fight, then he didn’t know her at all.

“Lily, you really are a treat, my dear,” he said with a nasty smile and Lily couldn’t stop herself. She kicked him in the shin, quickly knocking him to the ground, and head-butted him in the nose. She cursed vividly and silently, her vision blurred and a sharp pain flared between her eyes.

That wasn’t exactly as impressive as she expected and then cursed herself for actually doing something just because it’s what they did in the movies. The two human brutes pulled back on her chains, and she cried out as the chains burned and sunk into her flesh. Xavier got up slowly cursing wiping the blood from his face, and he looked at her in pure rage.

“Now that was a waste of your energies young lady,” he told her as she could literally hear how his broken nose mended itself. She glared at him and merely shrugged, and he laughed. “That’s a good girl, keep that spirit. You will need it soon,” he told her as they entered the building and her mouth suddenly went dry. Even though she was terrified she refused to give in to fear, she wouldn’t be the victim again!

The beta ordered that the humans remove her chains, and as soon the chains were off Lily shifted as quickly into her wolf. She leaped on at the human to her right. Wrapping her sharpened teeth around his neck, she tore into his throat more on instinct than anything else. The disgusting metallic taste filled her mouth, and she did her best the spit it out, not willing to focus on the fact she had just murdered someone. She dashed for the open door when she felt someone grab her hind legs. She growled with rage turning to see it was Xavier who grabbed her.

Lily was consumed with anger, leaving no room for anything else. Only one word jumped to her enraged mind: Kill! She turned and jumped at the beta. Knocking him to the ground, she snapped her jaws at him but he managed to keep her just far enough. “Get the wire,” he yelled to the surviving human. Seeing a window of opportunity, she sunk her teeth into his arm.

Xavier cried out as she whipped her head side to side, destroying the flesh. She released his arm and just as she was about to wrap her hungry teeth around his neck a flash of something crossed her eye and suddenly her neck burned as something strangled her. Lily howled, and she attempted to free herself. She turned to see the human pulling a long wire that was connected to her neck.

When she looked at the man before her, she didn’t see a person who probably had a wife and kids at home. She saw a disgusting creature that prevented her from her revenge and held her trapped with silver. With a rabid growl, Lily leaped at him, and he cried out in surprise. The human tried to flee, but she was faster. She swiped her powerful paw across his face, causing his head to snap to the right with a sickening crack and he crumpled to the floor like a rag doll.

“Enough Lily, you’re not achieving anything,” the beta yelled at her, and she quickly turned, wincing as the wire still around her neck sunk in deeper. He pointed a gun of some type at her, but she wasn’t afraid. Lily would rather die by a bullet than his experiments. It would be quicker and cleaner. “You’re only causing unnecessary death,” Xavier said waving the gun towards the dead men. “And unnecessary harm to yourself. Now I will have to wait until you heal from all the silver burns and that is something that doesn’t make me happy at all,” he told her and she laughed silently like she gave a damn what made him happy or not.

She started towards him, growling when he shot her. She winced and expected more pain, but it was only a little sting. She then realized he shot her with a dart; he wasn’t going to kill her but simply to knock her unconscious. She howled with rage. “No, the coward,” she screamed in silent fury as her vision started to blur. She shook her head, trying to clear it but to no avail. She stumbled as she felt her limbs starting to go numb. She begged her body to wake up; she wasn’t ready to stop fighting. She collapsed to the floor as everything went black.

Lily moaned as she felt the darkness starting to recede. With much more effort than she had expected, she managed to open her eyes slowly. A bright light rained down on her, and she squinted. She turned her head with another moan, attempting to get her eyes to focus. Slowly the sterile white wall came clear, and she was aware she was lying upon something uncomfortably cool. She tried to sit up to escape the chill but found she couldn’t move her arms or legs.

She lifted her heavy head and saw she was shackled to a metal bed with thick metal bands; she couldn’t move in the slightest. At least she was dressed in a thin white gown but shuddered, not wanting to think of exactly how she had gotten dressed. She had destroyed her clothing when she’d shifted.

Lily suddenly noticed the array of tubes attached to her arms. Some each was filled with a liquid of a distinct color. “No, no, no,” she began to plead pulling at her arms. Only God knows what Xavier was injecting her with, maybe he had already changed her. She shook her head in denial; she can’t be changed. She screamed, pulling at her arms with all her strength. She had to stop it, no matter what the cost!

The cold bands bit into her flesh, and the warm blood dribbled down her wrists, but she still didn’t stop pulling her wrists against the restraints. “Lily, you’ll never be able to free yourself. You’re only hurting yourself frivolously. Seriously you are such a willful woman,” Xavier said from somewhere behind her. She snapped her head towards the sound and saw him smiling at her smugly. She curled her lip in a snarling growl at him.

He smiled down at her with a look one could almost confuse with affection. He brought his hand closer to her, but she snapped at him. He chuckled again managing to avoid her sharp teeth as he brushed the hair from her face. “Now Lily, don’t be foolish,” he said, kneeling down until his face was level with her. “This is going to happen whether you want it or not so save your energy instead of wasting it on such futile attempts of escaping,” he told her with a soft tone.

“You are something special; you know that. You’re intelligent, attractive but what amazes me most is the incredible strength you have. You keep getting up no matter how many times you are knocked down. Your parents neglected you, and you had to climb out your own bedroom window in the dead of night to escape some of their more moral guests,” he started, and she looked at him in shock.

She never told anyone about the men that would creep into her bedroom during those parties that her biological parents had thrown, except Andrew. “Yes, the alpha told me the story. Many people become hateful, bitter creatures or timid, fearful ones with experiences like that but not you. You fearlessly faced Kyle even though he could have killed you more quickly than you can imagine. I forced you to change into one of us and yet you have completely embraced what you’ve become,” he told her as he stood up and walked until he was in front of her.

“What the hell do you want, what’s with all this flattery Xavier?” she snarled, and he laughed loudly making her even madder. “You better not change me or I swear the first thing I do is kill you,” she threatened him pulling against the metal bands again.

“Yes, yes I know you will try, but you won’t get anywhere with that one,” he told her with a cold smile. “Did you really think I would create creatures much stronger than myself without any type of protection? You should know that I wouldn’t do something so stupid. Out of all of those idiots, you were the only one who recognized that none of them could stop me. So you should know by now that I always have an ace up my sleeve!”

“Why are you doing this, what is the possible gain for creating monsters?” Lily asked glaring at him.

“None of my creations are monsters, but the next step of evolution and I have created this evolutionary step because dear Lily, Andrew and most of the pack is a bunch of slobbering idiots. Andrew has no right being alpha! I should’ve been alpha, but I was denied my right to challenge him when his father died. The elder council laughed at my request; they laughed at me! Said it would be a waste of time for me to challenge him. Of course, I could never beat him with brute physical strength but I had intelligence on my side,” Xavier explained with a passionate, crazed look in his eyes.

“I knew his weaknesses, and I knew I could beat him in a physical fight using a strategic defense! So I decided if they only respected brute strength I would give them brute strength! I had planned to crush the alpha and the elder council. I wanted to change myself at the start, but I realized I am too old for such a physical change so I would have to use my creations,” he told her kneeling down to face her once more.

“However, that didn’t work out quite well. Kyle was eager but foolish, always acting before thinking! Even though he is a superior being, Greg is submissive as a little pup with that only seeks to please his alpha. The only one true perfection is James but he hates what he is, and it’s really rather disappointing! Recently I have acquired some new allies that are interested in my research. We have come to an agreement,” Xavier went on.

“You’re nothing but a traitor, betraying your pack with another. What exactly is it that you promised them?” Lily asked wondering how far the betrayal of Xavier had gone and just how much he is willing to risk for his stupid idea of being the better alpha. Xavier laughed at her once more so loudly it echoed off the walls.

“Sorry, my dear but I am not going to tell you the little details of my plan, but I understand you to think the way you do, but I’m sure someone like you will understand in time. Don’t worry I won’t hold these words against you later,” he told her with a forgiving tone that made Lily scowl at him, hating the fact he could be so delusional to think that she could want his forgiveness one day.

“The pack will never accept you, Xavier,” she started looking up at the ceiling. “Even if you kill off Andrew, Tony, and all of the elder council, the pack will never accept you!”

“Yes I know, those idiots would resist a good thing when they have it right in front of their faces and in this lifetime I could never get them to submit but once again as I said my new allies are going to help me with that. The pack will submit eventually once they realize they have no other choice, I shall create a new order then,” he told her with excitement, and she stared at the man before her. She looked into his eyes and literally could see his insanity.

He walked over to some metallic cabinets pulling out a syringe and returned to her side. She attempted to move far away from him as much as possible “Originally I had planned to make you like James for him. So he could have his mate, someone to care for. Let Adam have his Eve…as long as he did what I said. However after speaking with my new friends, I realized I have been thinking too small, and I’ve made changes to my plan accordingly,” Xavier explained flicking the syringe and squirting some of the bright blue liquid from it.

“Why change just our pack, when I could change the whole world. With the help of my allies I have recently finished my masterpiece but this is only for someone special, someone really deserving of such a gift, of such power,” he continued, and she swallowed hard keeping her eyes on the syringe in his hands.

“You really are Dr. Frankenstein and just as freaking crazy too,” she shot pulling on the shackles that held her down. Xavier frowned and narrowed his eyes at her.

“I am not crazy Lily just a visionary. In this syringe is the first step towards a gift that will make you and others like us the elite of all the creatures in this world. Under our wise rule, we can rebuild this world. No longer will the physically strong be valued over intelligence. No longer will it be survival of the fittest! I will create a new law of nature!” Xavier proclaimed the crazed look in his eyes growing.

“No, I don’t want any part of this! You can’t just use people as your personal guinea pigs and change the laws of nature because you don’t agree with them,” Lily demanded pulling at her arms and legs.

“My dear Lily that is where you’re wrong, I can, and I have, you are an example of that. A human turned werewolf without being bitten. I am afraid you are already a part of this and thanks to me you’ll become something incredible and unique. Call it destiny, fate, or whatever the hell you like, but you’re going to be the first step into a new era,” Xavier told her and she squirmed against the table as he got closer.

“Stay away from me you freaking lunatic,” she screamed but he ignored her as he took her arm in his hand. “Oh God no, please Xavier! Don’t do this, please,” she begged trying to pull away from him but he ignored her yet again and sunk the needle into her flesh and the liquid entered into her skin. Warmth spread through her body; it was actually rather pleasant, but it didn’t stay pleasant for long. The sensation grew warmer and warmer until the pleasantness turned to discomfort then pain as it burned through her.

Lily bit her lip to keep her moans and whimpers to herself, not wanting to give the doctor the pleasure of hearing her scream. However, the pain kept growing until Lily felt as if she was literally being set on fire and burned alive, from the inside out. She cried out as it started to become more than she could bear. She felt Xavier’s cool hand brush across her forehead removing the hair from her face. “I know it’s painful my dear girl, but it won’t take too long,” he told her in a soothing voice.

Tears fell down her face as she squirmed on the metal table and against the restraints, her cries turning into screams. “Please,” she managed to croak, and the doctor smiled coldly at her. “Make…it…stop,” she begged him, panting like a dog on an extremely hot day.

“There is no stopping it Lily, this is your gift,” he told her and a scream ripped through her throat with rage and pain that kept growing and growing to impossible limits. Another scream tore through her already sore throat, and she lurched against the restraints again feeling her mind become flooded with pain, she couldn’t think or feel anything that wasn’t pain. At some point in the distant corner of her mind, she could hear some alarm going off, and Xavier cursed.

“Well, looks like Andrew found us already,” Xavier told her coldly. “I had planned to help you, but I am afraid I’ll have to leave. I can’t let them find me; I’ve got far too much work to do. Until we meet Lily again,” he finished and left her.

Chapter 15

~

 

James and the others closed on the brick building with caution. Nothing was stopping them from approaching the building and that made him worried. Andrew opened the plain metal door; it wasn’t locked. “Okay, this is just creepy dudes,” Chris said obviously he shared James worry, looking around for some kind of sign of a trap or ambush. The alpha didn’t seem to be concerned by the lack of activity and waved them on. All four men stopped at the sight before them.

Two human men lay dead on the floor. One lay in a pool of his own blood with a gaping hole where his throat used to be while the other had clearly died from a broken neck. “You know what I think I forgot something back home,” Greg said, turning towards the door and James stopped him, giving him another “man up, dude” look.

“Who do you think did this?” Chris asked as they stepped around the blood and entered deeper into the building. All though he couldn’t pick up her scent, James was sure this was Lily’s handy work when he saw the pieces of clothing strewn as well across the floor. He was glad to see she wasn’t going down without a fight. We’re almost there; he vowed to her silently.

“Doesn’t matter they are neither my daughter nor Xavier, it’s them we want,” Andrew told him with determination. Chris nodded silently, and James pushed Greg forward, who whimpered very quietly. The building appeared to be empty as they entered in a long cement hallway. Silence dominated the building and gray metal doors with small square windows littered each side of the hall reminding James of what a mental ward would look like.

Xavier’s scent led off to their right. “How could a place like this exist right in the damn middle of my territory without my knowledge?” Andrew stated with awe in his voice. No one answered him because it was clear there was no answer to his question. James peered into one of the small windows of the closest doors. The walls, floor, and ceiling were made up of cement like the hallway. A little cot was placed at one side of the room while a sink and toilet were located on the opposite side.

Just like a prison, James thought coldly as he remembered his time there. The room where Xavier kept him for two years was exactly identical to this one. “Let’s continue,” Andrew demanded, and they followed Xavier’s scent down the hallway. Several halls and corridors crossed their paths and if it wasn’t for the scent they probably would have been horribly lost within minutes. James’s nervous grew as they continued and nothing but grim silence waited for them.

This was taking too long; he thought as the turned the corner only to be greeted with yet another long gray hallway. Surely Xavier had to have known they were there already, and they needed to hurry. After what James could only guess had been nearly an hour since they had gone into the brick building did they finally a corridor that didn’t look like the others. It was a much wider and generally more massive hallway that ended in a set of two large black doors.

“Finally seems like we are getting somewhere,” Andrew stated quietly and waved them to follow him.

“Be careful Alpha something just don’t look right,” James told him and he frowned as Andrew ignored him and started down the hallway. Chris merely shrugged, and Greg didn’t move until James gave him a little shove. He shook his head but froze as he heard a woman scream. The sound made his blood run cold. Greg looked at him with fear, and he started to tremble like he used to. He started to call the alpha, but a loud alarm began to sound.

Greg cried out clapping his hands over his ears as he fell to his knees and James flinched covering his ears as well. The sound was like knives stabbing into his brain due to his powerful hearing but Andrew smiled with an excited expression “We must be getting close,” the older werewolf called out to them his voice flooded with eagerness. James growled at the alpha’s devil-may-care attitude. “Alpha,” he barked in a shout as he heard the scream again.

“What is it James?” the alpha asked, finally getting a concerned look on his face.

“I can hear someone screaming I think it may be Lily unless Xavier has another woman here.” James explained, and Andrew growled loudly.

“Hurry, she needs us now,” Andrew demanded running down the hallway with Chris quickly behind him. James started to tell him to be careful, but he knew it was a waste of time. So after giving Greg another shove to get him moving, they followed the alpha. Andrew pushed the two large black doors aside, and they entered the large room. James’s breath caught in his throat when he saw the scene before him.

It was the room, the room where Xavier had performed all his experiments, but it wasn’t James strapped down on the table now but Lily. She was screaming and pulling at the metal bands that kept her on the table. Her wrists and ankles were bloody from the struggle. Her arms were filled with several tubes all colored with different colored substances. He wanted to move and stop whatever Xavier had done to her, but he knew they were too late.

“Oh my God,” Andrew explained as he ran to her side. “Lily, it’s okay! I am here,” he told her as he frantically he ripped out the tubes in her arms and tossed them aside. “James, help me get these things off of her,” the alpha demanded as he struggled to remove the metal bands.

“You guys look for some kind of switch or something while I try to break them,” James told the other two werewolves as he walked up to the alpha and his daughter. He grabbed one of the metal bands holding her ankle and tried to break it but surprisingly it resisted his strength.

“Here it is,” Greg called out as he hit something on the edge of the table and the metal bands opened. Lily jerked violently, and if it weren’t for Andrew and James, she would have fallen on the floor.

“Lily, it’s me, Andrew,” the alpha told her with a soothing tone holding her down, but she didn’t seem to recognize him or did his tone sooth her. Lily’s eyes were clenched closed as she continued to scream and squirm against Andrew’s grip. James knew how she felt and at the time he thought it was the worst thing on earth, but he was wrong. Watching her go through the pain and not being able to help her in any way was worse, much worse.

“Please,” Lily panted suddenly her eyes snapping open looking at Andrew. James stared at her eyes; they weren’t the same color anymore. Her once brown eyes were now a golden brown and outside the iris was a thin blood red ring. What did that mean? His eyes were never like that.

“Make it stop, please,” she pleaded, and Andrew gave her a helpless look. “Kill me,” she whispered and James felt those words stab him and by the look on Andrew’s face, he felt the same way. The alpha pulled her against him as she resumed screaming.

“We’re too late aren’t we?” Chris asked, his face looking pasty and pale. James nodded; his voice seemed trapped in his throat.

“Yes, she is passing through the change now. It’s like being injected with acid that starts eating at your insides that are set on fire. Your skin hurts as if it’s burning, blistering and falling off your bones. Bones that feel as if they are being broken and jostled over and over again,” Greg explained with a surprising level voice.

“That son of a bitch,” Chris swore shaking his head as his gaze fell to the floor. Lily suddenly stopped screaming, and her body began jerking violently so badly that James had to help Andrew hold her down.

“What’s happening? What can we do to help her?” Andrew asked, and James simply shrugged. He wished he knew what they could do, but he feared there was nothing that they could do. Suddenly Lily stopped jerking and fell limp. “Lily,” the alpha called to her, but she didn’t respond, and James took a sharp intake of breath as he noticed she wasn’t breathing either.

“I think she’s,” Chris started, but Andrew growled at him shaking his head violently.

“No, she isn’t! Lily can’t be, she can’t,” he demanded and called to her, but she remained still, and he placed his fingers against her neck. The alpha suddenly paled and pulled her against him. “No, no, no,” he pleaded then called for Chris to help him. James knew he should do something, anything, but he couldn’t move. James found himself frozen with horror as he noticed her tanned complexion had become much paler than before. He glanced slightly to the alpha and Chris performing CPR, but she didn’t show any signs of recuperation.

James began remembering his own time at the hands of Xavier Thompson. For a year, Xavier forced him into perfecting his physical form, strenuous exercise, and strict diet. If James refused, Xavier threatened the lives of his family and friends. When that didn’t work, James was wrapped in silver chains.

Every day Xavier would draw blood from James to test his new experiments on until finally the day came when the doctor was ready to submit James to his first experiment. It nearly killed him, but Xavier didn’t seem to mind. It was the first of many experiments, in fact, during that second year, James had been put to the test and nearly killed each week. It wasn’t long before James had begged just like Lily had. He was only fourteen at the time, but he wanted more than anything just to die so the pain would stop.

A few weeks before his escape Xavier achieved what he considered his success; James was now changed. That experiment was the worst of all of them. It was exactly how Greg had described, and it lasted for hours. He had screamed so much he wasn’t able to speak for nearly two weeks afterward. Xavier sat there watching him the whole time, watching his suffering with morbid excitement.

Once Xavier saw the results of James change he began to train him as a soldier. James knew that the doctor wanted to use him to kill Andrew and his entire family, but he couldn’t do that. Andrew was like a second father to him, and he couldn’t allow Xavier to make him into a murderer as well as a monster. So he escaped but something happened to him while he ran that stormy night through the woods. He felt a sharp pain in his head that caused him to fall to his knees. When he had gotten up, he only knew his name, and that he wanted to escape “the man.”

He was never really sure how he managed to find himself on the doorstep of the alpha’s house. Xavier probably did something to him to make him go there. Xavier probably didn’t count on Andrew taking James in and accepting him as he was. If it wasn’t for Andrew, James might have become the monster Xavier wanted him to be.

“I’m sorry Alpha,” Chris said to the older werewolf and breaking James out of his memories. Chris turned away from the alpha and Andrew only growled at him refusing to give up. He picked up the lifeless body of his daughter hugging her as if she might break if he held her too tight. He rested his forehead against her cheek as he sobbed apologies to her. James turned away from the alpha feeling as if part of his own world was falling to pieces.

“Are you okay?” Greg asked him but James shrugged him off, furious. How he could he be so stupid in ask such a dumb question, James thought with immense irritation. He growled rabidly. Of course he wasn’t okay, Lily was dead. If he only had followed Xavier instead of going back to the Roberts’s home he could have stopped Xavier in taking Lily! James punched the wall repeatedly as guilt consumed him. It was his fault she was dead now. If only he acted quicker!

He leaned against the wall, feeling so angry, guilty and lost. Suddenly a loud gasp made James turn to look back at the alpha. He couldn’t believe his eyes. Lily started coughing and gasping for air. “Thank God, Damn you, Lily! You scared me to death! I thought I had lost you,” Andrew said with a happy smile on his face. James felt an enormous wave of and other emotions that he didn’t understand or want to focus on at the moment as he watched her sit up

“I guess I am a hard one to kill,” she croaked out. James shook his head with a smile, apparently she was a very hard one to kill, and he couldn’t be happier for it. With a sigh of clear exhaustion, she leaned against the alpha closing her eyes.

“Lily, where’s Xavier?” he asked her softly, and she opened her eyes again with another sigh.

“I…don’t know,” she started slowly. “He was here…then he wasn’t” she explained closing her eyes once more.

“We need to get her home,” Andrew explained but before he could say more, James walked up to them.

“I’ll take her,” he told the alpha with stern determination. Andrew gave him a curious look but said nothing as he carefully handed her to James.

“Thank you, James, Greg why don’t you go with him,” Andrew stated, but James was surprised when Greg refused.

“I can’t leave you unprotected Alpha. I may be able to find where Xavier kept his research,” Greg explained, and Andrew looked thoughtful for a moment then nodded.

“Okay then Chris, go with James and both of you return as soon as you are finished,” he insisted, and both Chris and James nodded. He held the limp form of Lily carefully and tried not to focus on how nice it felt to hold her against him. He followed his own scent to find his way out of the maze of a building with Chris silently following behind him. Every now and again James would steal glances at Lily fearing she might stop breathing again, but she kept breathing deep even breaths.

They quickly found their way out and into the forest. Lily groaned quietly and turned herself towards James snuggling close against him, causing his heart to beat a little faster. Once more he felt unfamiliar emotions swirl inside him as the edges of his mouth turned upward in a hint of a smile, but he chose to shove them aside, now was not the time for such things. He had to get her back home so they could find Xavier.

Sandy burst from the house when James emerged from the forest. “Oh my god! Lily, are you alright?” She cried running up to them. Lily groaned again slowly turning to her mother with a weak smile and mumbled something before closing her eyes again.

“I think she is alright, on the whole,” James told her as the alpha female ushered them into the house. Sandy led him to a room upstairs.

“Put her here James,” she told him, indicating to the small bed, and he set Lily down carefully. Sandy covered her up with the blankets and tucking her in with motherly tenderness. “What happened?” She demanded as she sat down beside Lily. James swallowed and shifted his weight.

“She’s been changed….she’s like me now,” James told her. Sandy closed her eyes shaking her head slowly side to side.

“Why, why did he do this?” She asked rhetorically as she took Lily’s hand in hers.

“I have to go back with Andrew and Greg. We haven’t found Xavier, but there may still be a chance,” he told her and she nodded keeping her gaze on Lily.

When James and Chris returned, they began searching the building for any sign of Xavier. The entered a small office that looked like his center of operations. Greg clapped his hands together and rubbed them. “Finally something I can do,” he stated and before could ask him anything he walked over sitting down at the desk where a computer sat.

“Mind explaining,” Andrew asked looking as confused as James felt. Greg flashed them a convinced smile nodding and cracking his fingers.

“Of course Alpha,” he replied with a smug confidence that surprised James. He had never seen smug, or confidence come from Greg ever. “Xavier had to keep his information in some place, and I am betting it may just be here,” he explained turning on the computer. “If we’re lucky he didn’t have a chance to erase anything so it will all be here,” he continued and started typing furiously.

After a few minutes of intense typing, he looked up from the screen. “This may take a while so I think you guys should continue the search for Xavier,” he explained. Andrew gave the other werewolf a small nod.

“Alright, boys, you heard him, how about we continue to look for the rat in this maze,” Andrew told them and they restarted the search for Xavier.

The sun was nearly setting when James caught the scent of the strange liquid he used to find the cabin in one of the hallways which led him to a hidden passage that in turn led down into a tunnel that went about a mile before it ended opening up to the forest again. A few feet from the exit of the tunnel James lost the scent of the liquid. With a sigh, he hung his head and noticed on the ground some tire mark in the dusty dirt. “Damn it,” he cursed realizing that Xavier had gotten away from them yet again.

With a feeling of defeat, James turned around and walked back into the tunnel from where he had come. He found everyone in the small office where Greg had been working on the computer. “Ah there you are James,” Greg said with a nonchalant tone then handed him a big plastic box. “Hold the hard drive for me but be very careful with it,” he added.

“Any luck finding any trace of Xavier?” Andrew asked his hands full of different types of cables.

“I found a hidden tunnel that led outside of the building. I believe he used a car to further his escape. Sorry Alpha but we’ve lost him,” James explained, and Andrew nodded with a frown. “What exactly is he doing?” James asked nodding towards Greg.

“There’s too much information on the computer to be to investigate accurately in one sitting, and I don’t know about you but staying here longer than I have is not on my top three things to do,” Greg started before Andrew could answer James. “But there is no way I am leaving the computer here, so you’re helping me take it to the Alpha’s house,” he finished then took a look around. “Okay that should be everything so we can head back now,” he added.

James eyed the omega with curiosity. He seemed to have completely changed once he sat down at the computer. “Alright, let’s head back to the house,” Andrew ordered, and everyone left the building in silence. Once at the house, Greg set up the computer in the living room and started back where he had left off apparently. Sandy had already set up the guest room for James to stay the night while Andrew disappeared upstairs to be with Lily.

The next few days Andrew was meeting with the elder council while Greg still was typing away at the computer. Tony and Lacy each took turns watching over Lily. James wasn’t sure what to do with himself, sometimes he’d go and sit with whoever was watching over Lily but, on the whole, everyone seemed to keep to themselves and not talking to anyone else. It seemed to James that everyone was trying to deal with the disaster Xavier had caused in their own ways.

Chapter 16

~

 

It was everywhere; no matter where Lily turned blood was everywhere. It oozed from the walls; it flooded the floor threatening to drown her. Lily ran down the hallway trying to escape the wave of blood that chased her only to reach a dead-end. She begged and pleaded hitting her fists against the wall. There had to be an escape!

“Why should you escape it, when I didn’t get that chance,” a rough voice demanded, and she turned to see Fluffy or Kyle as he really was named, standing there with the gaping stab wound in his chest. “I was only trying to help you and look what I got for it!” he shouted at her.

“I was only doing what the doc told me so I could put food on the table for my children,” another rough voice called out to her and she turned to see the human who she killed accidently by tearing out his throat. “My children will starve now because of you,” he demanded blood bubbling up from his mouth and running down his chin.

“It was an accident, I didn’t mean to,” she squeaked backing away from him to bump something. She turned to see the second human, his neck in a sickly twisted form.

“But we’re dead all the same,” the second man demanded and she screamed backing herself into a corner trying to flee the dead, but they kept advancing on her with the river of blood at their heels. Suddenly she noticed her hands were covered in blood and she tried to clean them off, but they only got bloodier. “It’s your fault, Lily,” the corpses chanted at her advancing on her.

“No!” Lily screamed and jolted up from the bed, breathing so hard her breath came out in pants. The walls were no longer the same white tile, but a peach cream color and the blood was all gone too. She blinked a couple of times, unsure of where she was.

“Welcome back Lily,” Lacy said with a small smile. Relief washed over Lily as she realized she was in the Roberts’ home. Lily smiled at her friend with a little frail smile. “How do you feel? Do you need anything?” She asked and Lily suddenly noticed her mouth felt it was full of sand. 

“Water,” she croaked roughly.

“Alright, I’ll be right back,” Lacy replied getting up from her chair and leaving the room. Lily turned and pulled her legs over the edge of the bed. She glanced at the walls with nervousness, almost expecting the blood to start oozing through them again. She shook her head chastising herself silently. It was just a nightmare silly! No more watching The Shining for you, she told herself as she willed her racing heart to slow down. She wondered what had happened. Was she changed? Where was Xavier? How’d did she get home?

Lily closed her eyes and hung her head against her chest, still feeling tired. Suddenly she heard something, it sounded like quiet drums. She lifted her head and listened intently, there were six different ones and she was surprised to realize that she knew exactly where they were in the house. Two were in the kitchen, two were outside, and two were in the living room. What the hell is that? She listened to one of the drums leave the kitchen and it grew louder as it came upstairs towards her room.

Lily mouth went even drier when Lacy opened the door and Lily understood she was hearing her sister and everyone else’s heartbeat. “Here you go Lily,” Lacy told her, handing her a tall glass. Lily nodded and took the glass. She gulped down the water and set the empty glass on the nightstand. A wave of new smells hit her now that her thirst was sated. Mainly the new smells came from Lacy.

She could smell the natural scent of Lacy, the smell of her shampoo and body wash, the scent of perfume she used…and a tangy sweet smell that Lily wasn’t sure where it came from but radiated from Lacy and made her mouth water ever so slightly, it smelled…good. Lily could also hear every breath Lacy took, even when she was across the room and a “whooshing” sound that fell in rhythm with her sister’s heartbeat. She could only assume it was the blood flowing through her.

Oh God, I’m freak, Lily thought as she buried her face in her hands. “I let everyone know you’re awake now,” Lacy told her. Lily nodded, trying to hide any signs that could reveal that Lily wished she was dead instead of being the freak that she was now. Lacy walked over to the window and threw open the curtains, the late morning sunlight filling the room. Lily winced at the brightness of the natural light, she felt as if someone had just shown a spotlight on her face.

“Do you want something to eat?” Lacy asked and Lily shook her head side to side unable to open her eyes much more than a squint.

“No thanks, Lacy, I just think I need to rest some more,” Lily told her honestly, trying to not offend her sister but the scents coming off of her was overwhelming.

“Of course,” the blonde told her with a flat tone and Lily looked up at her sister. Lacy looked tired and upset. She felt guilt bubble up inside her for feeling like she’d rather be dead than a monster and how selfish such a thought was. The Roberts saw her as the family; she was Lacy’s best friend and sister. Lily never stopped to think what this could be doing to them, what her suffering could be causing them.

“Thank you for everything, Lacy. It means a lot,” Lily replied and got up to give her sister a hug despite the uncomfortable intensity of the scents coming from her sister. Lacy gave her an odd look then a small smile.

“You’re welcome Lily, that’s what B.F.F.’s and sisters are for, right?” She said cheerily. “I’ll let you rest now!” Lily let out a small sigh of relief as Lacy left. She didn’t want to be rude but right now she was in sensory overload and wasn’t up for being around away one. She walked over to the window squinting from the brightness of the sun and noticed how the sun was uncomfortably warm against her skin. She closed the curtains and felt much more relaxed now that the room was dark.

Lily returned to the bed and though the house was relatively quiet, she was being slammed with a variety of sounds. She could hear mummers of people talking throughout the house though she didn’t know what they were saying. She heard their heartbeats clearly, like rhythmic beating drums that never stopped. She heard water dripping in the bathroom and running through the pipes. She heard a radio in the kitchen a television in the living room.

Then there were the smells that flooded her nose and brain. She smelled the paint from her walls. The room was painted long before she started living there but the smell stank as if it had just been painted. She smelled the laundry soap and fabric softener that Sandy used to wash her sheets. She could smell Lacy’s fading scent. She could smell the dusty smell of her aged old books and the posters that clung to the wall. She could smell everything!

During the rest of the day, one by one of the Roberts’s family came to see how she was doing. Sandy brought her some food and Lily nibbled on it a little, but she simply couldn’t eat too much before she started to feel odd. As much as she loved to see every single one of them but every new person brought with them new smells and sounds. Although she hated to admit it, she wished James would come to see her.

He was the only one who could possibly relate to what she was going through and maybe knew a way to help her, but he never came. The idea of leaving her room terrified her. What scents would be waiting for her out there? She was already feeling overwhelmed with the smells of just her room, what would happen if she left and went into the house? Lily spent the rest of the day and all of the night, trying to assimilate her powerful senses.

The next morning Lily started to feel claustrophobic and a bit lonesome. She really felt like she was about to climb the walls when a knock came to the door. She got up and opened the door to see James standing there. Lily felt something literally stir inside her and she was aware of emotions inside her, but they weren’t hers. She didn’t have time to really analyze what was going on when she was hit with the multitudes of scents.

James said something, but it was lost to her ears. Lily took a few steps back, feeling dizzy with the information overload her nose was giving her. “Close the door,” she demanded then pinched her nose, trying to stop more the flow of smells.

“Are you alright?” He asked and Lily sighed with relief as he closed the door. “Lily what’s wrong?” He asked again with a look of concern on his face. She didn’t know why but suddenly laughter bubbled up out of her and James gave her an odd, confused look. She felt like she was going insane as she couldn’t stop laughing. James crossed his arms over his chest with a look of irritation.

“I’m sorry James,” she panted when she’d managed to stop laughing. “I don’t know why was laughing, none of this funny. How do you do it James?” she asked him and he looked at her confused. “The smells and the sounds, it’s so much…too much. I’m on the verge of going crazy,” she admitted. James got an apologetic expression on his face.

“I just got used to them,” he replied with a shrug and she frowned with a sigh.

“I realize this must be incredibly overwhelming for you, especially since you’re new to being even a normal werewolf,” he told her and she knew he was trying to be sympathetic, but her patience was spent.

“Tell me something I don’t know Sherlock,” she snapped then sighed, it wasn’t a good idea being rude to possibly the only person who could help her. She groaned and plopped down on her bed. “I’m sorry James, I didn’t mean to snap like that,” she told him honestly.

He smiled at her and sat down on the bed next to her. “It’s okay, after all you’ve been through you’ve earned the right to snap and be a little bitchy. With time, your body will adjust to the new amount of information your senses are giving it and you won’t even notice them anymore,” he told her.

“It seems really impossible for me to get used to all of this,” she admitted and he smiled at her again.

“You’d be surprised what you can get used to,” he placing a hand on her knee. She gasped as her body seemed to suddenly go crazy. It tingled all over with little electric shocks, her breath quickened but her heart slowed and she felt extremely light headed. “Lily, what’s wrong? You look a little pale?” James asked, worry filling his voice. A silent growl rumbled in her chest and she moved closer to him but not at her own accord.

“Lily, what’s wrong? Talk to me,” he told her but all she could think of was how hungry she was all of the sudden and that smell coming off from James smelled so appetizing. All she had to do was sink her teeth into the soft flesh of his neck. She could feel her teeth change and she slowly started to lean closer to him.

“No, stop!” She demanded to whatever was controlling her and she threw herself away from him, feeling repulsed by what she almost had done. Lily buried her face in her pillow to hide her tears. Why the hell did she want to bite him?

“Lily, are okay? What happened?” He asked and she felt the bed shift then a warm hand placed on her back. At his touch, she felt the strange tingling and so on spike again.

“Please, James, go away…now,” she pleaded with him, afraid of what was happening her and horrified when she remembered that she wasn’t really like him but something else entirely.

“Lily what’s wr-” he started, sounding apprehensive, but she inched farther away from him.

“Just go! Please James, now!” she shouted at him, not sure if she could hold back whatever it was inside her. When he got up from the bed and she heard the door shut Lily sighed with relief as whatever was happening to her, calmed down. She turned on her back and stared at the ceiling. God what just happened? She asked silently, disgusted with herself and couldn’t stop from wishing once more that she had died instead of lived.

The next day, Andrew insisted she come down to his office. Lily stood in front of her door nervously. I can do this; she told herself and slowly opened the door. The smells and sounds washed over her like a thunderous tidal wave. She heard Sandy cooking dinner in the kitchen, the faucet dripping in the bathroom, the water flowing through the pipes in and around the house, and Andrew and others talking in his office.

The same went for the smells; the house, Sandy’s cooking, the water, dust, and basically everything else around her wafted up to her and threatened her sanity. At first Lily wanted to panic but she forced herself to remain calm. James said there was no way to shut them out, so with a deep calming breath Lily simply let them all in. She was surprised that when she stood in front of the office door, the intensity of the smells and sounds seemed to dim in force. Well at least that’s a little bit of good news, she thought as she entered Andrew’s office.

Tony was leaning in a corner with his arms crossed and James mimicked him but on the opposite side of the room. Another man, she didn’t recognize sat down in one of the chairs in front of Andrew’s large wooden desk. Lily felt uncomfortable as whatever monstrosity was inside her flittered around when James’s scent hit her. Oh hell no, we are not going through that again and most certainly not with him! She demanded silently and was shocked when it settled.

Lily took the last chair and Chris stood by Tony with his hands in his pockets. “Glad to see you finally out of your room Lily, how are you feeling?” Andrew asked her with a small smile.

“I’m still alive,” she replied flatly, shielding her eyes from the evening sun that spilled into the room from the large windows behind Andrew.

“It’ll get better Lily, you can overcome this. James could do it and so can you,” Andrew told her and if it weren’t for the fact she was starting to get a major headache, she’d roll her eyes. “How about I introduce you to the real Greg,” Andrew started and Lily turned to the man sitting next to her. He appeared to be smaller in height than her, his light brown hair was cut in a short buzz cut with brown eyes. He gave her a shy little smile and a quick wave gesture with his hand.

She returned the gesture, wondering when he’d been found. “I really need to know if Xavier told you anything. Why he is doing this, where he went, and so on,” Andrew told her and she turned her attention back to her father. She nodded feeling a little hesitant to discuss what had happened.

“He is totally insane Andrew,” she started, wondering how she couldn’t see just how insane that mad was. She explained everything he’d said about Andrew and the pack, feeling horrible seeing the look of hurt on her father’s face. “He’s working with another pack, sharing information, researching for them for their protection,” she explained and Greg cleared his throat.

“Actually it’s much worse than that, he isn’t working with another pack,” Greg told them and everyone fell silent. What could be worse than betraying your own people? “Xavier is working with, protected by, and even researching for…vampires,” he said slowly and Lily gawked at the man sitting next to her.

“Vampires, you mean they actually exist?” Lily asked not being able to hide her surprise and Andrew nodded his head slowly.

“Yes, they do. Normally they stay to themselves and when they do relate with others, it’s usually never with our kind,” Andrew said and Lily suddenly grew worried. Oh my, God, Lily thought as she remembered all the things Xavier had told her while she was strapped to the table. Her blood drained from her face and she felt faint. He couldn’t have? Oh God no, she pleaded silently hoping that her suspicions were wrong.

“How do you know he’s was working with vampires?” She asked Greg, hoping he didn’t have any hardcore proof.

“He states it bluntly in the files I found on his computer,” Greg started and Lily grew dizzy. This couldn’t be happening, anything but that! Before she knew what she was doing Lily had leaped from the chair and grabbed Greg by the shirt, pulling him out of the chair.

“Tell me everything you know about them! What were they doing with Xavier?” she demanded, feeling the familiar tingling sensation over her whole body, her breath raced but despite the adrenaline pumping through her system making her blood feel like liquid fire, her heart beat was actually slowing down. Greg looked positively horrified as he opened and closed his mouth several times, but no words came out.

“Lily, what are you doing? Release Greg right now,” Andrew demanded but she ignored him. She grew irritated and impatient. She shook him violently, needing to know everything!

“Tell me!” She shouted at the terrified werewolf, but he didn’t answer as he shook head to toe with fear. Her lip curled in a snarl, she’d make him talk, no matter what she had to do. James and Tony each grabbed her by the arm attempting to get her to release Greg.

“Let go of me,” she demanded and Greg’s shirt ripped, allowing him to get away from her. Fury like she had never felt before filled her, realizing he was running for the door. Lily elbowed Tony in the gut and shoved James against the wall. She ran after Greg, but Andrew stood in the doorway blocking her path.

“Lily, calm down!” Andrew ordered but with a soothing voice. She started to complain he took her face in his hands. “Don’t worry, we’ll find out everything Greg knows but for right now you need to stop before you hurt someone,” he told her. The cloud of rage cleared her mind and Lily was horrified at what she had just done. That poor guy, she could’ve hurt him…she wanted to hurt him. Her head fell to her chest feeling ashamed, she was worse than James.

“Let me take a look at you,” Andrew asked and gently pushed her chin up so he could look at her directly in the eye. He pushed up her lip and the sharp intake of breath confirmed what she already feared. “My God, what has he done?” Andrew whispered and it took all she had to keep from breaking down right then and there. She didn’t want to cry in front of Tony and James.

“What’s wrong Dad?” Tony asked as Andrew pulled her into a tight hug.

“I’m so sorry Lily, you have no idea how sorry I am,” Andrew told her, ignoring Tony’s question for the moment. “You can go back to your room if you like,” he told her. She nodded wiping a tear away from her cheek. She closed the office door.

“Dad, what’s wrong?” Lily could hear Tony ask as she closed the door and Andrew sighed.

“What is it alpha?” James insisted.

“I’m afraid she isn’t like you, James. It appears Xavier has achieved to create something worse than your mutated shift,” She heard Andrew tell him and Lily felt as if what pieces of what was left of her world crumble to pieces. She ran upstairs and slammed her door shut. Locking it, she sunk to the floor allowing her tears to finally fall. How could Xavier had done this to her, what did she do to deserve this?

Lily shot up from the bed, waking from yet another bloody nightmare. Her heart was racing and her breath came out in pants. She turned letting her legs hang off the side of the bed, trying to dispel the horrible images of the deaths she had caused. Guilt bubbled up inside her making her feeling sick to her stomach. Lily sighed loudly, getting up from her bed and left her bedroom. Slowly she walked down the darkened staircase, feeling gloomy and depressed.

She walked past the living room and noticed Greg was also up, typing away at a computer. More feelings of guilt washed over her. She didn’t mean to attack him like she did. Lily entered the room seeing this as the perfect moment to at least apologize for that afternoon. She walked over to him, but he didn’t seem to notice her so she tapped him on the shoulder.

Greg jumped in surprise causing her to gasp and jump as well. “Bah geezers, you scared the crap out of me,” she told him and he eyed her nervously. Lily grabbed a small stool and sat beside him. “See I am not the only night owl,” she said with a little smile in an attempt to break the ice but he simply shrugged in reply eyeing her as if he expected her to go for his throat or something. Okay, tough crowd, she thought feeling nervous.

“Greg, I…I would like to apologize for…you know…attacking you like I did,” she told him and he gave her a sidelong glance.

“I guess it makes us even,” he said finally. “Since I was the one that tried to take you in the forest for Xavier,” he continued still eyeing her nervously. She nodded.

“That sounds fair,” she told him happily with a smile and Greg smiled a cute little shy smile. “What is all this?” She asked looking at the computer screen.

“This is Xavier’s notes and research information. We found it when we went looking for you,” he explained.

“What have you learned so far?” Lily asked, trying to keep her excitement and hope on the down low. Greg sighed leaning back in his chair looking more relaxed now.

“What parts I have of his research I honestly can’t begin to understand. I do have some of his journal entries discussing his plans. Xavier is very careful when he mentions the vampires he is working with, normally giving them code names. I am not even sure if we knew the surrounding vampire population we would be able to figure them out,” he explained leaning forward opening a particular file and showing her its contents.

“He even does the same with locations, see here he talks about his backup location should we have ever discovered the one in the forest, but he refers it only as Second Hope. I have searched nearly a thousand miles surrounding here and no town, river, or any other landmark has a name even close to that,” he finished. She nodded leaning over his shoulder and reading the document.

“The alpha is wrong thinking that these documents are going to give us anything we can really use,” Greg told her then looked nervously at her again and she shot him a bright smile.

“Don’t worry, I won’t tell him you said that but it’s true none the less. Xavier seems to have thought of everything. He always has a plan B, C, D and probably E, D, and F,” she told him and he relaxed once more. Her excitement and hopes were starting to wane at the lack of good news. “Have you seen in any of his research that may be marked as or hint to a way to reverse this?” She asked hopefully, but her hopes dimmed with his grim face.

“Nothing, not so much as the use of the word, I think we are stuck like this,” he replied fully blowing to the wind all her hopes of ever being a simple human woman again.

She got up and patted him on the shoulder, refusing to give up allow all her hope to disappear. “Well just because he didn’t research it doesn’t mean it’s not possible Greg, there may be hope yet,” Lily told him and herself at the same time. “See you around,” she added with a wave and returned to her bedroom.

Chapter 17

~

 

James, Tony, and Chris were in the front yard playing some football to help blow off steam, Tony and Chris were against James. They extended the invite to Greg, but the smaller werewolf scoffed and made some snide comment about having better things to do. James smiled as he watched Tony and Chris before him. He knew Chris had the ball, but Tony was trying to distract him. He pretended to go after Tony while Chris raced to his right, just like James wanted.

With a growl of satisfaction, he did a spin and quickly changed directions and slammed Chris to the ground before the other werewolf knew what was happening. Chris groaned as James helped him up. “Damn Tony I think we need maybe two or three enforcers with us to make this fair. Your wicked fast James,” Chris said with a crooked smile which James returned.

“I’m just that good,” James teased as they set up for another play when Andrew called them over. “Duty calls boys,” he stated and jogged over to the alpha.

“Come on inside, I want you to meet some people,” he told them and all three nodded, following Andrew into his office. There sat three people James had never met before, their scent was unfamiliar, neither human nor werewolf. “King Silvano, this is my son Tony, my daughter’s mate Chris, and our guest James Lacrosse who I’m sure needs no introduction,” the alpha stated and James felt a flare of irritation at that comment.

“Boys I’d like you to meet the vampire king, Silvano Raul Alvarez DeCastilla,” Andrew stated indicating the pale man sitting down in one of the chairs. His reddish brown eyes slide over all three of them and a faint smile appeared on his pale face. He was elegantly dressed with long straight black hair and Hispanic features.

“It is my pleasure to meet you all,” he replied with a heavy Hispanic accent. “This is my friend Dorin Stancu,” he said, introducing the other man. The other was paler with dark hair and eyes. He appeared to be bored out of his mind and would rather be anywhere but there. “And my newest liege, Bianca Woll,” he said, indicating the woman to his left. She was also pale with perfect features and fiery red hair, her purplish eyes lit with excitement.

“I can’t believe it, James Lacrosse, you’re so much better looking in the flesh,” she told him with a large smile on her bright red lips that showed off her sharp fangs perfectly. James shifted uncomfortably and both Tony and Chris were trying to stifle their laughter. The vampire king gave her a pointed look and she pouted.

“Well, I must return to my territory, the idea of our kind working with that despicable executor of these repulsive crimes is atrocious and I will not rest until I discover them. As agreed Dorin and Bianca shall return tomorrow night for the hybrid,” he told Andrew. “But remember my warning,” he added then turned back to Tony and them. “Again it’s been a pleasure,” he said with a small bow and all three vampires left the room.

“What were vampires doing here dad?” Tony asked once they had gone.

“They came to see Lily and confirm what she is,” Andrew said with a heavy voice.

“And what is she? I thought she was like James?” Chris asked and the alpha shook his head.

“Sadly no, Xavier’s made her into a hybrid between the beast and a vampire,” Andrew told them. “The vampires are going to help Lily understand and control her vampiric side. That’s all boys. I just wanted to make introductions,” he finished.

Later that night James sighed as he got up from the bed. He had another damn nightmare about Xavier’s experiments on him. He thought when he learned the truth the nightmares would end but apparently he was wrong. He pulled on a t-shirt and jeans and walked out of the guest room on the Andrews’s home. With a yawn, he walked into the kitchen, surprised to see Andrew still awake and looking worried. “What’s wrong alpha?” He asked.

“It’s Lily,” he stated and James frowned. “She’s not in her room and no one knows where she is. I think she’s out into the woods for a walk,” he explained and James frowned even more. Andrew turned to him. “James, could you do me a favor and please bring her home? I’m worried about her being out there alone,” he asked and James looked at him confused.

“I don’t mean to question you Alpha but why me?” James asked.

“Honestly James because I think she can relate to you better now that she’s changed. You two may not be the same, but you’re as close as it gets,” he replied and James nodded, enjoying the amount of trust Andrew was putting on him. “Plus if she refused to come home, you’re the only one who can force her to come home,” he added with a chuckle and James’s enjoyment turned to bitter dust. “Bring her home James, one way or another.”

James went out onto the back porch, feeling angry at the alpha. The alpha buttered him up just to insist he bully Lily to come home. He raised his nose into the air checking the scents and vowing that he was going to have to talk to the alpha. He caught Lily’s scent even with all the changes to it he could recognize it.

The earthy tones of the lycanthrope scent were somehow pleasantly mixed with the musky scent of the vampire along with her own unique, engaging hints as well. He entered into the forest following her scent easily and quickly found her, her back facing him and leaning on her side against a tree apparently just standing there. “The alpha is looking for you,” he called out as he walked towards her. She shrugged as an answer, not looking at him.

“So…let’s go,” James told her and she ignored him. “Now please,” he added, becoming irritated that she was ignoring him. She looked over her shoulder and gave him a nasty glare, a glare accompanied by that nasty expression she got when he was around.

“What’s your problem with me?” He asked, determined to find out why she didn’t like him because as much as he didn’t want to admit it, James wanted her to like him. Once again Lily shrugged with a sigh.

“What’s it matter. Not like I’m going to be around long enough for it to matter anyways,” she replied quietly.

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” he demanded confused, his irritation growing. Lily sighed as she looked up into the night sky then back at him.

“Go away James, I’m not in the mood to deal with you right now,” she replied. He felt as if she had struck him. Deal with him? She wasn’t in the mood to deal with him? He growled at her, feeling insulted.

“As much as I’d love too, I can’t! The alpha sent me to find you,” he replied bitterly.

“Well you found me so now go away,” she shot back. James growled louder. Why was she treating him like yesterday’s trash, seriously what the hell was her problem? He sighed and tried to calm himself. Let’s deal with this democratically, he told himself.

“Lily it’s not safe for you to be out here alone,” he told her, trying to bring things down to a less hostile level, but she simply laughed a cold, bitter laugh.

“Not safe for me? Now that is a good one,” she mused and he narrowed his eyes at her. Screw being diplomatic, if she wanted to be a bitch then let the alpha deal with it, not him. He had enough!

“None can say I didn’t try to be nice! The alpha says you’re to go back to the house,” he told her, grabbing her arm and pulling her away from the tree. Lily jerked her arm out of his grip, her nasty expression growing even nastier.

“I don’t care what Andrew says! I’m not going back,” she snapped at him and James clenched his jaw. Patience James, just be patient, he told himself.

“Well I do care what the alpha says, so you’re going back,” he told her angrily, grabbing her arm again. She attempted to jerk out of his grip again, but he held her tight. He pulled her back to the alpha’s house.

“Let go of me, James! I said I’m not going back,” Lily yelled at him trying to pull herself in the opposite direction, but he only gave her an angry growl in reply. “Let me go,” she yelled again but this time she punched him in the arm. James stopped and turned to her with a growl, giving her a warning look. She was seriously starting to piss him off. He’d put people in the hospital for less.

“I won’t go back do you hear me, I won’t! I refuse to go back while everyone sits there waiting for me to lose control so they know when to take me out,” she screamed at him as she repeatedly hit him in the arm. James stopped and turned to face her again with confusion.

“What do you mean so they know when to take you out? You’re with your family, you’re part of the pack now and no one is going to kill you,” he said replied with a flat tone. Why were all women so damn crazy? Lily laughed again bitterly.

“Yes they are, the vampires said as soon as I lose control they are going to eliminate me like all the other hybrids before me and Andrew said that he understood!” she shouted looking completely distraught. “I can’t do it, James! I know I won’t be able to control it! I’ve already attacked Greg before I even realized what I was doing! You only have the beast to control and everyone knows about the terrifying James Lacrosse,” she finished.

James simply stared at her in surprise; the vampires were threatening her life? Of course she was going to lose control at some point; the wolf was now a beast and no longer a part of her. They were two separate creatures in one body; it would be chaotic before Lily could find balance with it, that wasn’t counting her vampire side. Suddenly Lily leaned against him, burying her face in his chest and started to cry.

James froze unsure what to do. He’d been around upset women before but never in his life had they seen him as a source for comfort. He wrapped his arms around her, in what he hoped was a comforting gesture. Honestly, he’d never felt more uncomfortable and so awkward in his life. As she continued to soak his shirt with her tears, he’d give anything for her to yell at him again. James knew how to handle that.

“No one is going to kill you, Lily,” he told her finally and she shook her head side to side but didn’t say anything. “I’m sure you’ll be able to control it and probably faster than I did. When I changed, I was a hormone-crazed teen. So I not only had to the beast to deal with but all the problems that being the typical teenage boy have as well,” he told her, desperately trying to snap her out of this sobbing mess she’d become.

Lily continued to cry and his words obviously didn’t have the effect he was looking for. “Look, Lily, you may be irritatingly crazy and frustratingly hormonal, but I know you can handle this,” he told her with a playful tone hoping that it’d ease the situation to more comfortable grounds for him. Much to his relief Lily started to laugh and lifted her face away from his chest. She looked up at him as she brushed away stray tears from her cheeks, her eyes red and puffy.

Her sad expression made his heart go out to her; he hated to see her suffer like this. He wasn’t sure why but he did. “Until then if anyone tries to kill you, they’ll have to go through me first,” James told her and she looked at him confused. James was just about to ask her what it was about when she wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him.

James froze, taken completely by surprise again. She was kissing him…but she couldn’t stand him! His body tensed, instantly responding to her closeness and the feel of her lips against his. He wanted nothing more than to respond the kiss, but he knew it wouldn’t be a good idea. She was for all rights and purposes the alpha’s daughter and he could actually feel the beast urging and pushing him to return the kiss and so much more, which worried him.

Only once before had the beast been able to push James into doing something he wanted. That time James could feel the beast awake and become active, almost like when James was about to shift. He felt exactly the same now and it wasn’t good. Last time when he regained control, a man was dead. The beast roared inside his head with anger that James didn’t return her kiss and he knew he had to stop this before it got out of control.

James broke the kiss and forced some distance between him. “Lily, this isn’t a good idea,” he told her. Lily only closed the distance between them and wrapped her arms around his neck again. She tangled her hands in his hair, causing him to shiver with pleasure, and she kissed him again. A growl escaped him as his body started to burn with desire and her intoxicating scent of arousal surrounded him though James wasn’t sure if the growl was his or the beast’s.

He placed his hands on her hips with the intention of pushing her away; instead he found that he pulled her closer. No longer being able to resist, James returned the kiss and with another growl he demanded to deepen it. His grip on her hips tightened as his control of the situation was get dangerously low. Mustering all the willpower he could, James broke the kiss once more. “Lily if-” he started and once again she crashed her lips against his forcefully, making him take a step back.

Another wave of desire washed over him and a deep thunderous growl rumbled through him. He grabbed her pulled her against him roughly. James had reached the point that he wasn’t sure who more in control, he or the beast was. He couldn’t distinguish what feelings and thoughts were his and which were from the beast. He had to get control over himself and fast or he was sure something bad would happen.

James broke the kiss yet again but with much more effort than before. “Lily, I don’t know how much longer I can keep control over myself. If we don’t stop now, I don’t think I will be able to,” he told her, surprised by the rough tone of his voice. Lily made a whimpering sound that threatened break him.

“I don’t want you to stop,” she replied with a soft, sultry tone then started to nuzzle and kiss his neck. James closed his eyes with a moan, what she was doing felt so damn good.

“Lily,” he started, but she nibbled on his ear softly and he forgot what he was going to say.

“James,” she whispered in his ear and he shivered with lust at the way she said his name. Lily grabbed his hands which were in fists by his side and placed them on her hips. James grabbed her hips with a strong grip, his whole body tense with his growing desire to take her right there. “Don’t push me away…not tonight,” Lily asked him and James closed his eyes again, trying to remind himself why he didn’t want to have sex with her, but he was having a hard time remembering why.

She wrapped her arms around his neck, pushing into to him and he barely suppressed a moan. “I’ve felt so miserable lately. I need so bad to feel good if only just for a little while,” she whispered in his ear again and a low moan rumbled from his chest. When did she suddenly become such a siren? “Tonight, make me forget…make me forget everything! Please James, make me feel good again,” she practically begged him.

James swore silently and he no longer could come up with a rational reason not to do just as she asked. With another loud animalistic growl, his control shattered into a million pieces. His beast had taken over. He grabbed her and pushed her against the nearest tree, pinning her body against his. He crashed his lips against hers with intense ferocity. He devoured her mouth and attacked her tongue in a passionate battle.

Breaking the long, fierce kiss for the need of air, James laid quick hot kisses along her cheek and down her neck to her shoulder. With heated impatience, he tore their clothing and tossed the pieces aside. He kissed every inch of her skin, no woman had ever tasted so good before. Content with the way the night was going, the beast backed off and allowed James to have most of the control back but he was still unable to stop and he no longer wanted to either. It’d been too long since he last had a woman.

James’s hands freely roamed her torso, feeling every curve her body had to offer while her moans of pleasure filled his ears and into his very core, fueling his desire. His exploration took him lower down her body, his mouth literally started to water. His body was so tense with anticipation, he was shaking. When he reached her hips, he grabbed her and pulled her down to the ground, barely containing his urge to just satisfy his carnal cravings.

James took her leg in his hands placing a soft kiss on her ankle causing a little gasp to escape her. With a wolfish smile, he kissed her calf trailing more kisses up her leg. He placed a kiss on the inside of her knee with another nip that caused her breath to hitch in her throat loudly. He smiled with a primitive feeling of satisfaction as he continued to lay kisses along her leg. He nipped her hip and his smile grew as she shivered in response.

Her scent flooded his senses to the point it was the only thing he was able to smell, it was intoxicating and he had to find out if she tasted as good as she smelled. With another growl, he moved in between her legs and devoured her. She gasped and jumped as soon as he touched her, but he wrapped his arms around her thighs and held her tightly so she couldn’t escape from him. Lily’s taste was even better than her smell; he’d never tasted anything or anyone for that matter that tasted as good as she did.

She squirmed and moaned his name over and over. Lily tangled her fingers in his hair, pulling him closer until she cried out in a climax. He kissed her inner thigh when she’d come down from her peak, once more smiling as she shivered in response. He trailed kissed up her abdomen, up her stomach, through the valley of her breasts until he was face to face with her. She moaned his name softly, kissing him and resting her hands on his chest. He moved the kiss to her cheek and along her jaw line until he reached the tender spot under her ear.

James grazed the sensitive skin with his teeth rewarding him with another lusty moan from her. He grabbed her wrists with his hands and pinned them above her head as he kissed and nipped his way down her neck. With his other hand, he parted her legs placing his body between them. He couldn’t wait any longer; he needed to be inside her and the beast couldn’t agree more. He sucked lightly on the skin on her neck as he started to make love to her.

Lily tried to free hands from his grip, but he held her tightly as she moaned softly turning and kissing his forearm causing him to thrust against her involuntarily. She gasped in surprise, but he could see the small smile on her lips. Two could play that game, he thought with a wolfish smile and nipped the harden nipple of her left breast. She made a soft whimper of pleasure that nearly finished him right there.

James released his grip on her wrists wrapping his arms around her and quickened their rhythm. She moaned his name loudly against his ear almost threatening once more his small thread of control. He nipped her shoulder hard, nearly breaking the skin, and suddenly the beast started to take control again. James told him to back off and tried to push the beast back and let him enjoy this moment, but the beastly wolf refused and took over once more.

His mouth watered as his teeth started to elongate as if he was about to shift. Panic seized him as he realized the beast’s intentions. It couldn’t be, he thought alarmed and desperately tried to get the beast back. She kissed the left side of his chest then nipped him hard filling him with a jolting pang of pleasure and pain. ~She feels it too; her beast is calling to us~ an animalistic voice echoed through his head,

James jolted with surprise; the beast just spoke to him! The beast had never spoken to him before; he didn’t think such a thing was possible! This was going too far and it was really freaking him out. His libido be damned, James had to stop this! He couldn’t do this of all things with her, she’d kill him! He fought with the beast and managed to take some control back. “Lily, I don’t think I can stop-,” he groaned in a lust filled pants, trying to warn her.

“Then don’t,” she replied back in a husky tone, kissing him again on the chest and obviously not understanding what he was trying to tell her.

~See she wants us and she is ours~ the beast told him with obvious satisfaction. Like a dry twig, what control James had snapped and was taken by the beast. James growled with lust and animalistic sense of possession to mark what was his. He bent down and sunk his sharpened teeth into the flesh of her shoulder. Lily cried out with her second climax and to his surprise returned the bite but on his chest. He grunted and bit down harder on her shoulder as he reached his own.

James fell limp on top of Lily; completely spent and the beast, now content, returned to the deep recesses of his body. He looked down at Lily, who was drinking from him. It shocked him at first then satisfaction filled, realizing his blood would sustain her. She smiled up at him when she was finished and snuggled against him, kissing his jaw. James growled softly burying his face in her soft hair pulling her against him tightly, oddly feeling completely satisfied.

James woke the next morning with Lily snuggled against him asleep in his arms and he couldn’t believe what had happened, really had happened. James brushed her hair off her shoulder just to see if it really was there. He licked his lips nervously as the mark on her shoulder was very much there. He honestly thought it was impossible that any woman would be able to wear his mark. Now that Lily had it he wasn’t sure what to do.

He looked at her sleeping face feeling strange and unfamiliar feelings bloom in his chest along with a strong sense of possessiveness as the words “she’s mine” jumped to his head. James continued to watch her sleep; she was beautiful and strong. She was his mate, the one meant for him and now that James thought about it, he was glad the beast had done it. He couldn’t think of a better woman for the part than her. He just hoped she wasn’t going to kill him for it.

The cool wind blew through the trees causing James to shiver. It was a wonder they didn’t freeze out there, he thought with a smile. The smile suddenly vanished when he realized why he had gone to find Lily in the first place. With a difficult swallow James realized the alpha was going to silver him for sure for being M.I.A. for the whole night then inject him with silver when he discovered why James had been out all night.

He gently shook Lily awake. She yawned and stretched stirring arousal in him once more, but he forced himself to ignore it. Lily gasped once she realized she was undressed and attempted to cover herself. “Oh my God,” she shrieked then looked at James. Her eyes quickly ran over his still nude body and a small smile threatened to break across his face. “Oh my God,” she repeated. “Don’t look at me like that and turn around,” She demanded hotly.

“That’s kind of pointless don’t you think?” He asked with a smug grin and she narrowed her eyes at him. She was definitely back to her old self again, he thought amused. Not being able to resist, he leaned over and kissed her on the cheek.

Lily gasped and swat at him, but he dodged her. “Don’t do that,” she told him as she grabbed her shirt and pants.

“Why not?” James asked and laughed as he started to get dressed. He heard her gasp and he turned around to see her with a horrified expression. She held up scraps of black cloth then glared at him evilly.

“What did you do?” She demanded harshly and he laughed again as he put on his pants. “It’s not funny! This was my favorite and you ruined it! You brute,” she scolded him.

James shrugged with a smile. “It’s your own fault. I did try to warn you, but you wouldn’t listen. You practically violated me,” he teased and she gasped as she looked at him in disbelief.

“You’re an awful man, James Lacrosse,” she told him as she put her shoes on then stood up quickly. “Just awful! God, I hate you,” she added with anger dripping from her voice.

“Didn’t look that way last night, you know what they say: actions speak louder than words,” he teased but once more wished she tell him what he did to earn her hate. Lily growled at him and he couldn’t help but think how sexy she was when she was angry. What he’d give to have the time to argue with her and eventually tame her anger with round love making but, unfortunately, there was a pissed alpha waiting for them.

“Anyways we better go, your father is probably freaking out by now. I was supposed to find you and bring you back to the house,” he explained.

“Don’t you dare James Lacrosse,” she started, marching up to him and he looked at her confused. “Don’t you dare mention this to anyone do you understand me,” she demanded and he smiled an impish smile, causing her to give him a hateful glare.

“I won’t but we need to come up with a good excuse and fast,” he told her.

“We? I don’t know what you are talking about! I went for a walk last night then spent the night in my room. I never even saw you, James,” She replied with an evil grin. He growled with a mix of irritation and attraction as he watched her walk off with a confident stride.

“So you’re going to just leave me to hang then?” He asked her sternly when he caught up with her.

She smiled at him giving him a pat on the shoulder and he barely resisted the urge to toss her to the ground and make love to her yet again. “Better you than me, plus you deserve it after what you did,” she told him as they reached Andrew’s backyard. He watched her run off towards a large tree, she climb up it jumping easily from a branch to the roof later to disappear through a window, leaving him most definitely to hang.

“Damn woman,” he cursed pacing back and forth. What the hell was he going to do now; the alpha would demand an explanation. When he thought of one idea, he quickly discarded it; the alpha would never buy it. He thought of another then discarded it too. After several minutes of repeating of discarding ideas, he decided to just go with his first idea, blame his disappearance on the beast! Since he completely lost control when he shifted into his monstrous beast it was his best shot.

With a sigh of a condemned man he walked into the house, as expected he was greeted with a very angry alpha. “James, where have you been?” Andrew demanded when James entered the living room.

“Sorry Alpha,” he stated, trying to not look as nervous as he felt. “Last night I couldn’t pick out Lily’s scent very well since it’s different now,” he lied and the alpha nodded sternly. “So I decided to shift but the beast decided he rather do his thing,” James finished.

Andrew’s stern face turned softer for some reason. “The beast, huh?” he asked with a smile and James nodded. “Seriously that was the best you could come up with? I hope you don’t really expect me to believe that?” The alpha demanded.

“I was hoping,” he replied honestly with a small smile and Andrew started to laugh again.

“Son, you couldn’t fool anyone walking around with her scent all over you like that. I can’t wait to tell Sandy, she now owes me one of her apple pies. She said you two would wait until it all of this was over. I was sure it’d just speed things up and of course, I was right.” Andrew told him laughing and James looked at him confused which only made Andrew laugh harder.

“James Sandy and I’ve known for a while that Lily and you were mates,” he replied and James got even more confused.

“How?” he asked, how could anyone possibly know something like that when he didn’t? The older man smiled.

“It was obvious if you looked at the little things. She didn’t fear you the way she feared other werewolves and you were showing hints of protectiveness for her without reason to do so. Plus I saw the look on your face and how you hit the wall until your fist was bloody when we thought she was dead,” Andrew explained.

James fidgeted in his seat feeling a little uncomfortable with the fact that not only did Andrew and Sandy know about him and Lily but they had made a bet on it! “I’m glad you two are together now because she is going to need your help, especially with King Silvano’s vampires spying on her,” the alpha told him. “It won’t take much for him to call out a command of elimination for her. Hell, he was close to issuing it already if I didn’t call on him for a favor he owes me she’d already be a target for a kill on site,” Andrew told him and James gawked in surprise.

She was telling the truth, he realized and anger flared up inside him. There was no way in hell James would allow those leeches to touch a hair on her head. “Don’t worry Alpha, I will help her in any way I can,” he started then smiled brightly. “Even if she doesn’t want it,” he added and they both started laughing. They got up and Andrew patted him on the back.

“I hope you realize what you have gotten into James,” the alpha told him and James looked at him confused. “Lily could make even Gandhi go into a psychotic rage, but I have to admit I’m glad it’s you and not someone else,” Andrew admitted. “Now get yourself cleaned up unless you want everyone to know about it,” Andrew finished as they left the office. James nodded to the alpha then tried his best to avoid anyone else as he walked towards his room to grab fresh clothing and rushed to the bathroom to wash away the evidence of last night.

It’s not that he was ashamed, just the opposite, but it was clear Lily wasn’t ready for everyone to know just yet that they were mates. As James arrived at the bathroom, he was assaulted with a black tennis shoe right on the side of his face. “What the hell?” He exclaimed turning to see Lily stomping up to him with a furious glare. He resisted a smile, wondering what she was going to yell at him about now.

“What is this?” She demanded pointing to his mark on her shoulder. He started to explain to her that it was his mark and they were now mated, but she interrupted him. “Don’t you even dare utter the “M” word, do you understand me! How dare you,” she complained.

“That’s a little like the pot calling the kettle black don’t you think,” James replied lifting his shirt to reveal the bite mark on his chest where she had not only bitten him but drank from him. Her eyes widen but quickly narrowed them at him again.

“That is not the same, James Lacrosse, not even close,” she demanded, punching him in the shoulder.

“How is it not? I have heard some pretty intense stories about vampires and who they choose to bite,” he replied, leaning against the door jam, and she narrowed her eyes at him. “And I remember my name perfectly you don’t have to keep calling me James Lacrosse all the time!” Lily glared at him and hit him again.

“Don’t you dare mock me! I’ll call you how I like, James Lacrosse! Though right now I think a more fitting name for you is Jackass,” she shot with another punch and James suppressed a quiet growl of arousal, she was so damn sexy when she was angry. “Call me whatever you like, it doesn’t bother me one bit,” he teased then added in a quiet whisper, “because you’re mine.”

Lily growled at him, “Like hell! I hate you, James!”

“You forgot the Lacrosse,” he teased then quickly disappeared in the bathroom as she picked up the shoe and threw it at him again. This was going to be fun; he thought with a smile as realized he was going to have to win her over. Lily may try to push him and run, but she couldn’t hide and he was up for the chase.

Chapter 18

~

 

Lily grabbed her shoe and stomped back to her room. She swore when she was done dealing with Xavier she was going to pump James with so much silver that people would think he was the silver surfer. She looked in the mirror of her bedroom once more viewing the horrendous mark upon her skin.

“No way in hell,” she demanded then adjusted her t-shirt making sure it wasn’t visible; she didn’t need someone to see it and think the wrong thing. After an attempt to hide the mark, she decided to put on a sweater to be safer and walked downstairs. Her mother pulled her into a hug when she walked into the kitchen and gave her a kiss on the cheek. “Good morning to you too Sandy, what was that for?” She asked and the older woman smiled warmly.

“I am just happy for you,” she replied and Lily looked at her confused as she sat down at the table.

“Happy for me, what are you talking about?” She asked once more and Sandy looked a little hesitant for a moment then smiled.

“I’m happy that you are taking this all so well and really accepting it,” Sandy replied and Lily shrugged, getting weird vibes from her mother but decided to just let it rest. Sandy placed a small plate in front of her as James entered the kitchen and Lily scowled. Why was he everywhere? She complained silently.

“James,” Sandy greeted happily giving him a hug and kiss like she had with Lily. He smiled and greeted her with a hug and kiss in turn. Lily scowled even more as she bit off a piece of bacon and gagged as it hit her stomach. She covered her mouth getting up quickly for fear she might get sick.

“Everything okay?” James asked, but she ignored him.

“What’s wrong, you can’t eat?” Sandy asked and Lily shook her head once the feeling of nausea had passed. Sandy shook her head then grabbed something out of the refrigerator. “Are you hungry? Do you need this?” she asked holding out a black container.

“No!” Lily cried out urgently as she leaped up from the chair. “I-I’m not hungry please, get that away from me,” Lily pleaded with her disgusted.

“What is that?” James asked and Lily narrowed her eyes at him.

“None of your business,” Lily snapped and Sandy “tsked” her.

“It’s…well…it’s blood James. The vampire king said she must drink it if she is hungry and can’t eat,” Sandy explained and Lily growled quietly, hating the look of concern on his face. “I really don’t like the idea at all,” Sandy went on. “How do we know how it’s safe, or how they got it? I really wouldn’t like you taking blood from someone who forced into it,” she explained.

“Well, I don’t have much choice really Sandy,” Lily told, feeling a little calmer. “Anyways, I am not hungry so please just put it away,” she added and Sandy nodded with a look that made Lily want to stop and scream like a child. It was a look of pity and she hated that look on people’s face. It was the look a person gave a victim and she wasn’t a victim!

Lily turned on her heel getting out of the kitchen as quick as possible. She walked into the living room where she found Greg, typing at the computer. “Good morning Greg, have you slept any at all?” She asked pulling a chair over towards him. He looked up from the screen and smiled at her.

“Morning Lily, and yes I have slept,” he told her with a quiet laugh and she returned his smile.

“Have you got anything new on the files from the lab or anything on Xavier?” She asked and Greg sighed loudly.

“Nothing useful yet, honestly the data is practically useless but,” he started then his smile grew. “I know where Xavier has been, and what direction he is going. He is still using credit cards and such leaving a nice and easy paper trail. I don’t think he is making any attempts to cover his tracks,” Greg finished and Lily squealed with excitement and grabbed Greg, hugging him tight. She could’ve kissed him at that point, but a loud deep growl sounded from behind them.

Lily turned to see James glaring at them. He wasn’t seriously going all werewolf caveman was he? She wondered as she returned his glare. If it weren’t for the fact that Greg looked like he was about to faint, she probably would’ve kissed him a hot sloppy kiss just to piss off James. So instead, she sat back down in her chair. “Ignore him, Greg, I think he is constipated or something,” she told the shaken werewolf and James glared at her and growled even more.

If he thought she belonged to him, then he was sadly mistaken. She’d sleep with every man in the town just to prove it! “So have you told Andrew yet?” She asked ignoring James; hoping he’d get the point. Greg looked at James, who had walked over standing directly behind Lily, much to her irritation.

“Not yet,” he started slowly not taking his attention off of James. “I need to organize it a little but this evening, I’ll show him,” he explained with a meek voice.

“Organize what?” James asked. Lily clenched her jaw with anger, why he had to stick his nose into everything? She was just about to tell him to go blow himself, with those words exactly, but Greg rushed to explain about the paper trail, much to her irritation.

“This is great! With this, we can follow him and probably even caught up to him,” Lily cheered, deciding to focus on her excitement as she got up from her chair. “You’re amazing Greg,” she told him and couldn’t resist the urge to piss James off. She leaned over and gave Greg a kiss on the cheek. He is too sweet, she thought as he blushed bright pink. With a satisfied smile, she started to go back to her room.

She was halfway up the stairs when someone grabbed her arm. She frowned when she turned to see it was James. “Do you mind?” she snapped glaring at the hand that held onto his arm and he was giving her a very nasty glare.

“What exactly was that back there?” He snapped back and she rolled her eyes.

“Doesn’t matter because what I do is none of your business…and don’t you dare say the “M” word or anything related to it or I promise you, James, I will mummify you in silver, got it,” she snapped pulling herself from his grip. She then noticed how his hazel eyes were strangely flecked with gold as he silently glared at her making her feel a little nervous. She intensified her glare, refusing to allow her nervousness show then turned quickly running up the stairs.

Lily closed the door, locking it with a heavy sigh feeling a strange mix of relief and frustration. Did he not get that last night was just a one-time deal and nothing more? She seriously hoped he didn’t think they were really mates because there was no way in hell she’d be his mate. She’d rather have a hole in the head to be honest.

Lily walked over to the small bookcase near her window and grabbed her pathology book feeling as if she had fifty-pound weights on each shoulder. As if she didn’t have already enough to deal with, now she had to deal with a possessive love sick lycanthrope. If it could’ve been anyone other than James, she thought with a pout.

Lily had read her textbook all the morning and well into the afternoon when someone knocked on her door. “Come in,” she called, not lifting her eyes from the page. When the door had closed again, she finally looked up to see it was James.

Lily’s heart jumped to her throat and she frowned. “What the hell do you want?” She snapped, trying to ignore whatever it was inside her that was happy to see him. She was so done with being polite to this man; he’d get the point one way or another. He crossed his arms across his broad chest with a frown.

“It’s nice to see you too,” he snapped back. “I seriously wonder if Sandy calls you sunshine as some form of a morbid joke,” he added sitting on the bed next to her. What did he think he was doing, walking in her room, sitting on her bed as if he owned the place? She shifted her weight nervously on the bed, not at all comfortable being this close to him.

“I am a very nice positive person,” Lily shot, keeping her mind clear by focusing on her anger but he didn’t seem offended. In face, he smiled which bothered her more.

“One day Lily I am going to make you tell me why you don’t like me so much but for now I’ve come to help you,” he replied grabbing her book out of her hands.

“Uh, excuse me I was reading that,” she complained heatedly.

“Well take a break because I’m going to offer you some help to control the beast,” he told her as he stood up from the bed.

“I don’t want your help, James,” Lily barked with irritation.

“Oh, I have no doubt about that one,” James commented with a smirk as he grabbed her hands and easily pulled her off the bed, ignoring her protests once more. “But Lily you need it. Andrew has been telling me about this King Silvano. It won’t take much to make him order your execution,” James told her seriously and she went cold at the mention of the vampires. “Now let’s sit on the floor, I am going to show you a breathing technique to help calm yourself when you feel like you’re getting out of control,” he continued indicating for her to sit.

With a sigh, she sat down and crossed her legs. “Straighten your back,” he said pushing her spine and forcing her to sit up straight causing her skin to warm and tingle where he touched her. “It may seem uncomfortable at first, but good posture really helps,” he told her then placed his hands on her shoulders making her tense up as memories of what happened in the woods flashed through her mind. “Relax your shoulders, just let them loose,” he told her, noticing how tense she was.

“Well if you could keep your hands to yourself then maybe I could relax better,” she growled at him and he started to laugh.

“Sorry, I didn’t know my touch affected you so much,” he replied with apparent smug arrogance and she scolded herself allowing him to know how much his closeness affected her. Don’t add fuel to the fire Lily, she told herself. James walked around and sat in front of her and adopting the same pose as her.

“Let your hands rest on your legs or between them, whatever posture that lets them hang relaxed,” he continued and she did as he told her. “Now I want you to close your eyes, breathe in for five seconds and out for three. Try to keep your mind empty or think of some place relaxing and positive,” he continued and Lily nodded. She tried to empty her mind but found it impossible so she thought of a positive place.

Her mind immediately jumped to the old tree house Tony, Lacy, and her use to play at when they were just kids. She imagined herself sitting there on one of those perfect summer days. After a few minutes, Lily honestly felt more relaxed than she had felt since this whole mess had started. “Now Lily I want you to slowly give over control to the beast, just until you feel as if you’re about to shift. Your skin will tingle as if electric shocks are running across your body. Once you feel like it’s almost painful then take back the control so you don’t shift,” James told her.

Lily nodded and searched for the beast inside her. It was odd to have something inside her that wasn’t her at all. Slowly she connected with the beast and she wasn’t sure how it worked but it felt like as if she was underwater, pulling something towards the surface of the water. Needless to say, it was a weird feeling. At first contact she noticed the tingle; she had felt it before when she started to get angry or when James got too close. The more she pulled at the beast, the stronger the tingle grew.

When the sensation began to become painful, she started to take back the control. Her muscles flinched involuntarily as the beast didn’t want to lose the control she had given it and Lily wanted to panic but forced herself to remain calm. No, this is my body and I’m the boss, she commanded mentally and pushed at the beast. After few moments of them both pushing, the beast seemed to submit and go back to where it was. “Very good Lily,” James told her when she opened her eyes and completely in control again.

She allowed herself a small victory smile. “I wonder if I can do the same with the vampire,” Lily stated eagerly, but James looked doubtful.

“I don’t think that would be possible. Werewolves are always a dual force, man and the wolf. Vampires aren’t, they are always like that. They don’t ever become more human and less vampire or vice versa,” he explained.

“Well, I want to try it anyways,” Lily replied tartly, closing her eyes once again and breathing like James had told her too. After a few minutes, Lily was able to detect something else inside her. This something, which she assumed was the vampire side of her, was more murky and indistinguishable. With much more effort, she repeated the pull process. Lily felt her small fangs extended and her heart slow down. However, the right side of her face and her arm started to grow warm and then suddenly burst into a searing burning pain.

Lily shrieked and screamed trying to flee the unknown cause of the pain. James jumped to his feet and ran to the window, slamming the curtains shut. Oddly enough once the room was dark, the pain peaked and didn’t get any more intense. James came back to her and took her in his arms and cupped her face forcing her to look at him. “Lily take back control push back the vampire and give it to the beast, she’ll help you heal. Remember to breathe five in and three out,” he demanded.

She swallowed with difficulty trying to do as he told, but it was hard to think of anything but the pain. She started to panic when she couldn’t inhale or exhale. She felt herself losing control as the beastly wolf inside her tried to claw to the surface. Not sure what to do Lily started to count since for some reason she couldn’t breathe, she pushed the murky dark force away and the beast jumped to the surface causing her to almost shift but somehow she stopped the creature in time.

Lily suddenly took a sharp intake of breath and the pain quickly receded. Exhaling slowly, she started to calm down. She suddenly became aware of a really, really nice smell, it was almost intoxicating. She opened her eyes slowly and realized it was coming from James. Did he always smell this good? She wondered as she rested her hand on his chest feeling the hard muscles under his shirt. She looked up at his beautifully perfect face and felt the crushing urge to kiss him. She moved her hand up his chest and to the back of his neck and kissed him.

Her heart raced as he returned the kiss and she felt drunk on his taste. She opened her mouth and enticed him to do the same. The kiss deepened and she pulled him closer. She couldn’t believe how good he tasted. It’s all yours, she heard a little voice say and a sense of possession washed over her. This amazing smell and delicious taste are all yours! This perfect man is all yours! He’s your mate, the voice told her. Lily froze at the words “her mate.”

Her mate? Her mate! Her anger rose as she became aware of the fact that it was the beast telling her these things and making her kiss him! Lily pushed the beast back down deep inside her as quickly as she could then reached up and grabbed James hair. She pulled his hair and pulled his backward, breaking their kiss. “God damn you two,” Lily cursed. She stood up and mentally chastised the animal within her.

“Well at least one of you likes me,” James replied, laughing and rubbing where she had pulled his hair. Lily narrowed her eyes at him and walked over to the mirror looking at her arm and face that were completely healed with no sign she had ever been burned the first place.

“It’s curious, though,” he began sitting back on her bed. “It appears you’re not exactly a hybrid or my conception of hybrids isn’t correct.”

“What do you mean?” Lily asked with a slight irritation, turning and leaning on her dresser.

“Well, I always assumed it would be like hereditary genetics honestly, you know dad’s eyes with mom’s ears. Werewolf healing with vamp fangs that type of deal” he replied and she looked at him skeptically.

“What would you know about hereditary genetics?” she shot back and he gave her a cold look.

“You’re not the only one that’s gone to college you know,” James shot back and frowned at her as she gave him an unconvinced look. “I studied biology and genetics for a couple of years, I thought if I knew more about it I could understand more about what happened to myself,” he explained and she shrugged passively.

“I guess it makes sense. So what has made you so curious?” She asked sticking her hands in her pockets.

“Well, it appears you’re not like that, like me you can shift into the beast but when you kissed me,” he started and a smile spread on his lips making her glare at him. “You were being influenced by the beast, she seemed apart of you. I am not like that. I can feel him inside of me, I can feel what he wants, but he doesn’t really influence me to do anything…usually,” he explained.

“What do you mean by usually?” She demanded, hating that her curiosity was so horrible and it didn’t help that James actually looked a little embarrassed. What could possibly embarrass him?

“Well there’s been two times I’ve actually lost control to my beast and even though I’m still in my human form he was in control,” James explained.

“Really, what happened?” She blurted and he smiled, his cockiness returning.

“I’ll tell you if you tell me why you don’t like me,” he offered and she scoffed.

“You want me to start with the letter A and work my way to Z?” She asked with a smug smirk and he shook his head.

“I’m not talking about you insulting me alphabetically but the real reason Lily,” he told her and she shook her head.

“You being an arrogant bastard who’s too cocky is a real and damn good reason to me,” she told him with a smile, and once more he laughed. Why didn’t he get pissed! Lily wanted to piss him off! The fact that he wasn’t pissed made her pissed.

“I don’t believe you; I know there is more to that story. So when you tell me I’ll tell you about the times I lost control. Anyway, a lot of people are mistaken in thinking my badass reputation comes from the beast controlling me. Werewolves have the natural tendency to experience their emotions hotly, thus our famous temper. I’m the same just more intense,” he told her, and she nodded.

“But back to the subject at hand. What’s interesting is you not only seem to be able to give over control to the beast but to the vampire as well,” he told her. “When you connected with the vampire side you started to change. You got pale; I saw your teeth change, and you burned with sunlight that before didn’t harm you. Even your scent changed to a more vampiric scent,” he explained then stood up walking towards her until he stood right in front of her, much to her discomfort.

“Lily, I don’t think you’re a true hybrid but something else. Now you look almost human, and your scent has more of its older human characteristics. It’s almost like you’re three different creatures all smashed in one body: Lily the human, the beast, and the vampire.” he told her and she looked at him confused.

“How is that even possible?” She asked and he shook his head.

“I have no idea but what I do know is that no one should know about it. Andrew wouldn’t care, but the vampires…who knows how they would react. The king already wants an excuse to get rid of you. If he knew this, it might be all he needs to issue the order of execution,” he explained. Lily felt the familiar coldness run through her as she realized something.

“The vampires aren’t our real problem James, well they would want to kill me, and that is a problem for me, but there is a bigger reason to keep what I am a secret,” she told him, and he looked at her confused. “If I could learn to become a mix of both vampire and werewolf and keep my human rationality, with the right amount of control I could take all their strong points and not their weaknesses. I’d be nearly unstoppable,” she told him looking at him seriously, and she could see he didn’t quite understand yet.

Lily looked up at him. “Xavier Thompson, James,” she told him, and his jaw clenched as he frowned.

“If he finds out that you’re much more than a hybrid he won’t hesitate to start creating more,” he added, and she nodded.

“If he only creates five or so like me then I don’t know how we can stop him,” she explained. “We can’t tell anyone, James. Xavier is resourceful and who knows if he has some kind of spy here. I heard Greg was extremely loyal to the pack but with the right price he turned against the alpha and tried to hand me over to the doctor,” she finished.

“What you really are will stay between us,” James told her.

“Thank you, James,” she replied, and he gave her a cocky smile before he tried to kiss her but received a punch to the gut instead.

“Don’t James, we’re not a thing got it! What happened last night was a mistake and will never happen again got it?” She demanded. Hurt flashed through his expression but was quickly replaced with his arrogant expression again.

“We’ll see,” he told her with a wink, and she narrowed her eyes him in warning. “But we’ll argue about that later. How about you keep practicing your control,” he added, and Lily nodded in agreement.

Lily continued to practice her control, making sure James stayed away when the beast was more in control. After a few hours, someone knocked on the door and Andrew stuck in his head with a sly smile once he saw James making Lily to frown.

“Hello, Andrew, James was teaching me some meditation techniques and showing methods of controlling the beast,” she told him with a tone that she hoped clarified that that was all that was happening and nothing more.

“Of course,” Andrew replied with a tone that told her he suspected much more. “The vampires are here to see you,” Andrew stated then with another sly smiled closed the door. Lily punched James on the arm when she noticed he had a smug smile on his face.

“Quit smiling like that! He’s going to think something else happened here,” she snapped, causing him to laugh loudly giving her a suggestive wink. She punched him again then took a deep breath. “Well here we go,” she started walking towards the door.

Chapter 19

~

 

The next morning James sat at the long wooden table in the Roberts’s home totally absorbed in eating the wonderful breakfast Sandy had given him. So much so he didn’t even notice Tony come into the kitchen. Tony slapped him on the shoulder causing James to jump and Tony started to laugh. “That was awesome, the first time I got the jump on you, quite literally speaking too,” he teased, and James got a sour look on his face.

“Funny, very funny, did you want to say something before I kick your ass or should I just get started now?” James threatened good-naturedly.

“You’re not going to kick my ass; I’m the future alpha, and my ass is unkickable. To answer your question yes I did want to say something. Dad is going to have a meeting at the meeting hall of all places so it must be something important. We’ve got to get going if we’re going to be on time,” Tony told him moving his head towards the door. James looked at his uneaten food with longing but begrudgingly got up from the table. What could be so important that it had to be now? He got to Tony’s jeep as they drove to the meeting hall. It must have been something important if they were going to the meeting hall.

James got out of the jeep and noticed the whole pack must have been called to the meeting. He walked into the large room. Tony gave him a wave before he joined his father, who was sitting at a large rectangular table. Tony sat at his father’s right but to his left was empty. That’s where Xavier would’ve sat; James realized bitterly. The six elders were split with three on each side of the alpha. Curious what was going on, James took the first open chair he found and tried to ignore the looks that some of the pack was giving him.

He looked around and noticed Lily wasn’t there. If he was dragged to this meeting, why wasn’t she there? She was more of a pack member than he was. Andrew stood suddenly and held his hands up in the air. “Alright let’s get started,” he demanded in a loud commanding voice, and everyone fell silent almost instantly. He explained to the pack Xavier’s betrayal and the culprit of the deaths of the two teens and the kidnapping of the Addams boy.

Gasps and growls filled the room, and Andrew held up his hands one more time. “So the council and I’ve decided it’s in the pack’s best interest to enact some new rules. Travel outside our territory for the moment is forbidden, and we will no longer allow unfamiliar werewolves into our territory until the threat from Xavier has passed. Those that break these rules will face the strictest of consequences,” he explained then indicated to another werewolf that sat in one of the chairs near the front.

“Most of you know my brother, Hunter. He has come from Washington to help us better security,” he continued. James looked to see the smaller blond who suddenly came to stand by Andrew. James had only met him a couple of times but not too much as by the time he returned from what Xavier had done to him Hunter had moved. James wondered why the sudden lockdown and if it had to do with some new threat from Xavier.

“Thank you brother, Let me explain what I will be doing and what I expect from everyone else,” Hunter stated and explained the new security procedures but James really wasn’t interested in the details. He got the idea of it already, nothing goes out, and nothing comes in. He didn’t agree with them, though, they should go after Xavier not waiting until he comes back with more hybrids like Lily.

Suddenly he was aware that everyone had gotten up, and the meeting was over. “So this is the famous James Lacrosse,” Hunter Roberts said coming up to him holding out his hand. James forced a small smile on his face and stood up, taking the man’s hand. He hated when people called him “the famous James Lacrosse,” it was just another reminder that everyone saw him as a monster. “You are quite impressive if half of what I have heard is true,” he added with a bright smile.

“Impressive you mean Hollywood monster story then I guess yeah,” James replied with bitter tone and Hunter laughed.

“Only the ignorant think monster and miss the potential,” Hunter began. “You have the makings of being the best enforcer up to date. Any alpha would be willing to give anything to have you protecting him,” he went on, and James forced himself to keep a small smile on his face and not scowl like he wanted to. Another thing he hated was flattery.

“I doubt that, most usually tell me to leave as soon as I arrive,” James replied pointedly.

“Not if you were a trained enforcer. Your raw brute power would make you the perfect enforcer James and probably the best enforcer of all time. You could easily have your pick of the all the alpha’s daughters in the country,” he told James with a sly grin.

“I already have a mate,” James told him, really starting to get irritated and Hunter’s grin faltered ever so slightly but only for a moment before it returned full force.

“That’s a shame. Well, we can talk later about the enforcers but, for now, duty calls,” the blonde said the disappointment clear in his voice then returned to his brother’s side. James sighed with relief; it wouldn’t do him any good if he knocked the crap out of the alpha’s younger brother. It was obvious Hunter wanted something from James. He wasn’t the first to try and shower James with flattery to manipulate him into doing something for them.

James quickly returned to the Roberts house after that. He didn’t see Lily until the afternoon looking ready to tear off anyone’s head if they looked at her the wrong way. “Why am I not surprised to see you in the middle of this?” Hunter sneered as soon as he saw her. She smiled at him nicely, but James could see the icy glare she was giving him.

“Nice to see you too uncle,” she told him sweetly, and James was surprised when Hunter scowled at her.

“Don’t call me that,” he snapped at her bitterly, and she hissed at him causing the older werewolf to take a step back in surprise. “Nothing but trouble must be hereditary…” Hunter mumbled, and James watched Lily’s expression of shocked quickly turn to one of pure rage. She leaped for her uncle, but James pulled her back before she could get a hit. What the hell did he mean by it must be hereditary? James thought as he pulled her away from Hunter.

“Don’t you ever Hunter! Don’t you ever hint that I’m like them,” she snarled at him tearing out of James grip, with a hint of hurt on her face. “I am not like them!” She growled rabidly stomping out of the hall. James shot Hunter a cold look and quickly followed her.

“Like who?” he asked, he just had to know what was going on. She was his mate yet he hardly knew a thing about her.

She stopped taking a few deep breaths. “What?” Lily asked turning around to face him.

“You said you’re not like them, who are they?” James asked.

.”None of your business,” she snapped back, and he grabbed her arm pulling her back and she glared at him with a hateful glare.

“Actually as my mate it is,” he told her and she gasped with a horrified look on her face then practically jumped on top of him to cover his mouth with her hand.

“God damn it, James, shut the hell up! Someone could hear you,” Lily told him looking frantically around for anyone who could’ve possibly heard him, and he smiled, enjoying having her so close to him.

“Then tell me what I want to know or I promise you I will shout it,” James threatened once he pried her hand from his mouth.

She growled at him, but he knew she would tell him what he wanted; he had the perfect piece of blackmail. “Fine, “they” are my doped up and the drunk excuse of biological parents, okay!” she answered, backing away from him.

“How did the alpha come to adopt you?” James asked not being able to contain his curiosity and she growled again.

“There is no way I am going to go into my sad, tragic childhood with you James Lacrosse,” she shot at him.

“Don’t waste your time James, she won’t appreciate it. Just look how she treats Andrew,” Hunter said coming into the living room, and James clenched his jaw so tightly his muscles complained, and he could see Lily start to shake from the anger but she breathed as he had told her and stomped out of the room.

“I warned the alpha not to take her in,” Hunter started, and James wanted to tell the man to shut the hell up, but he kept quiet. “But of course, my brother is a charitable soul and didn’t think she was anything like her parents,” Hunter went on, and James decided to pump him for information instead of pummeling him.

“How were her parents, and why did the alpha take her in?” he asked anger in his voice but Hunter misunderstood it to be against Lily and not himself.

“I know it doesn’t make much sense does it. Her parents moved to the house next door when she was about four; I was still enforcer for Andrew at the time. At first, they seemed okay, for humans that is, but it didn’t take long for them to show their true colors. The mother was a complete slut, more than once she tried to get Andrew or I to sleep with her while the father chased Sandy and Lisa, my mate, around.

“As if that wasn’t enough, they had wild parties several times a week. This is where I believe Andrew made his mistake; he allowed that brat to stay here when she snuck out at night. To excuse her mischievous behavior she actually claimed that some of the party guests tried to break into her room and mess with her,” Hunter explained and laughed when he reached the end, and James felt so shocked that he didn’t know what to say.

“Of course, Andrew just kept letting the girl come over whenever she wanted, and as you can imagine it didn’t take her long to find out what we were. Andrew said we could trust her, but I knew better. So a couple of the enforcers and I gave her a nice little warning of what would happen if she ever told anyone. For an alpha, my brother is far too soft for some things. I was glad to hear though when you were found, he had kicked the little bitch out of the house,” Hunter continued, and James felt as if he had just been punched in the stomach.

“She was kicked out while I stayed here?” he asked. Was that the reason she hated him on sight. He felt a wave of guilt wash over him if he had known he wouldn’t have let the alpha do that.

“Yes she was but knowing my brother he can’t stay stern for long and as soon as you left he invited her back in. Then when her parents disappeared, leaving her behind, I told him to turn her over to the humans. The brat came from bad blood and would only give him more problems, but he didn’t listen. She isn’t like them, he said. She is only an innocent girl in need of a good home! Innocent my ass, she was always flirting with Tony when Andrew wasn’t looking,” Hunter went on with a look of absolute disgust on his face.

“I just thank God Tony went and got himself a good werewolf woman. I swear that girl is nothing but trouble! Just look at the mess she caused now,” Hunter exclaimed and James only barely suppressed a growl.

“Excuse me, I just remembered I have something I have to do,” James snapped harshly walking out the room. If he were around Hunter Roberts anymore, he would have to rip him to pieces. James had only known Lily around a month, and he knew enough about her to know that she wasn’t the woman that Hunter was painting her out to be, in fact, he understood her a lot more than now.

James tried to talk Lily a couple of times, but she just yelled at him from behind the closed door of her bedroom to go away. He’d give her some space, but he would make her realize that she could trust him, even if it killed him which knowing Lily it might just come to that. He got out of the shower running his hand through his dark wet hair getting dressed when someone knocked on the door.

“You can come in, what’s up?” he called, and Tony came in the bathroom.

“My uncle is looking for you,” he told him, and James frowned.

“Does he want something important or just another pathetic flattery attempt to get me to do what he wants,” James snapped grabbing his shirt and Tony laughed.

“I don’t know he was just asking for you…what the hell is that?” Tony asked looking at his chest, and James looked down to see the bite mark.

“It’s nothing,” he replied, turning away from Tony.

“If that’s nothing then I will donate myself as a blood donor to the vamps,” Tony said with a smug smile. James glanced at the bite through the mirror. “So who is she? I haven’t seen you with any women since you got here,” he joked.

“Maybe because it is none of your business,” James told him lightly with a grin as he pulled on the shirt and Tony actually looked a little hurt.

“Come off it, I’m your best friend man and as the future alpha everything is my business,” he shot, and James laughed.

“Boy, you just love throwing that out there don’t you…future alpha?” James replied then turned to his friend. “I can’t tell you who Tony, she’d kill me if she found out.”

“No way,” Tony said gawking at him. “You…and….Lily?” he asked with his jaw hanging open, and James couldn’t help but laugh, realizing that mentioning the threat upon his life had given the “who” away.

“Don’t let her know you know or I swear I am good as dead,” James told him with a smile.

“How the hell did that happen? I thought she hated you?” Tony asked, and James shrugged.

“I don’t know, it just sort of happened…and she hates me,” he replied and Tony smiled and had him a hard slap on the back.

“Only you’d managed something like that James. Guess that makes us brothers now,” he mused, and James smiled at his best friend. They walked down the stairs and Tony continued to snicker at him and James saw Lily leave with the vampires out into the back yard. He was just about to follow them; he didn’t trust vampires as far as an omega could throw them when Hunter ambushed him again.

Several hours had passed before James could get free of the persistent flattery and blunt insistence from Hunter that he should become an enforcer. It was nearing eleven at night and James hadn’t seen Lily return, but it didn’t surprise him, he figured she climb through the window to avoid Hunter and probably James too. He walked up the dark staircase and knocking on her door, just wanted to make sure she was safe.

He knocked again when she didn’t answer, and when he was only greeted with silence he opened the door surprised it wasn’t locked, she always kept it locked. He looked around the empty room, the window was closed and her bed was made.

It wasn’t until he saw the little note on the battered wooden desk that he knew something was wrong. He picked it up and read it even though it was addressed to Andrew. With a growl, he went to find the alpha.

He found the alpha talking with Hunter, Chris, and Tony. “She is gone,” James told him handing the alpha her note. Andrew looked up at him confused and opened the note and read it. Andrew shook his head.

“Stubborn woman,” Andrew mumbled as he passed it to Tony who passed it to Chris and then on to Hunter.

“We have to go after her,” James told them.

The younger blonde smiled as he finished it. “I say we don’t do a thing,” Hunter stated looking at the alpha. “Andrew this is what I was talking about! You gave the pack a direct order and not twenty-four hours pass before she disobeys you! That’s not to mention how she attacked you last night,” Hunter explained harshly.

“Lily attacked you?” Tony asked his father with a face of surprise.

“Yes, attacked and threatened his life,” Hunter told him. “When she heard your father had no intentions of going on some crazy chase after Xavier Thompson she threatened to use her vampiric persuasion to make him kill himself or shift and do it herself,” Hunt told him now yelling.

“That doesn’t sound like her,” Tony justified and Chris agreed, but James could see her doing it, but he doubted she meant it literally and more as a warning of what she could do.

“What Hunter says is true,” Andrew said sadly. “She thought we should follow some trail of Xavier’s credit cards to catch him and when I said no…”

“What a minute, trail of Xavier’s credit cards?” Tony asked looking shocked. “You mean you know where he has been going?”

“Yes, and it’s taking him far away from here,” Hunter answered, looking irritated with him. Of course she got pissed; James thought moodily. It was pissing him off at the fact Andrew was ignoring such information.

“Are you crazy dad? If we have a trail why the hell are we not following it?” Tony demanded.

“Because it’s a foolish idea to go chasing that lunatic around when we should be preparing for when he comes back if he ever comes back,” Hunter shouted at him. James glared at Hunter.

“She’s as strong as I am now! She can be as fast as a vampire and if what she said is true that she’s got the ability to persuade people then she is practically unstoppable! If he comes back he won’t come back alone,” James explained to him but Hunter merely scoffed with disbelief. This idiot was a lost cause; he realized and turned to Andrew.

“What about Lily, Alpha?” James asked, changing subjects. “I could probably catch them quickly enough.”

“Let her go! She disobeyed her alpha; I say we exile her and if she ever dares to return we deal with her accordingly! Andrew, she can’t be trusted especially how she is now,” Hunter argued and James growled at him causing him to look at James with surprised.

“Alpha, I think she left with the vampires. You know they can’t be trusted; they could lead her into a trap and kill her like the king wants to do. If she is out of our territory it would be easy to come up with some excuse to execute her,” he told the alpha, hoping to make him see how much she needed Andrew at the moment.

“So not only did she disobey the alpha but betray him with vampires?” Hunter asked with an amused expression turning once more to the alpha. “Let them, let the world be rid of one less foul hybrid and she deserves it, after all, she had done,” He sneered and James snapped. He growled as he rushed toward him. James grabbed him by the throat and slammed Hunter into the wall. He wanted to kill that arrogant ass and tightened his grip on the werewolf.

Hunter tried to speak, but he couldn’t get even a whisper out and clawed at James’ hand to no avail. “That is my mate you’re talking about you pathetic piece of crap! You don’t know a damn thing about what she deserves,” James growled at the shocked man tightening his grip on his throat, even more, causing Hunter’s red face to a shade of purple.

“James, release him,” Andrew demanded and James growled but did as he was told. “There is no use in this senseless fighting, James I know we can’t trust the vampires and I would do anything to bring her back, but the ugly truth is that she disobeyed me. If she were anyone else, I’d have to consider them a rogue and do exactly what Hunter asks me to do. I can’t make exceptions because she is my daughter,” Andrew told him and James couldn’t believe what he was hearing.

“She isn’t a rogue!” Tony growled with a look of pure fury on his face.

“I am sorry Tony, I really am, but this makes her a rogue and there is nothing I can do. The laws stand for everyone. I will repeat I can’t make exceptions,” Andrew told him apologetically and covered his face with his hands.

“This is wrong dad and you know it! She isn’t going rogue! Lily is doing what has to be done,” Tony shouted at his father harshly. Andrew’s head snapped up and he gave his son a heated glare.

“I decide what has to be done Tony and no one else! Don’t you forget that, don’t any of you forget that!” Andrew growled at them using his alpha influence on them. Tony and Chris were silent, but both were giving the alpha icy glare.

“If you won’t help her then I will,” James demanded and Hunter gave him a look of disgust.

“You can’t be serious James! You would be disobeying Andrew as well and after all, he has done for you?” Hunter asked him with a rough voice.

“Andrew isn’t my alpha. It’s been a long time since I was a member of this pack! He also charged me to protect her, if he hasn’t forgotten,” James growled at him glaring at Andrew. “She is my mate and I will not just stay here and do nothing,” James snarled at him.

“She isn’t worth such loyalty from you,” Hunter shot back. “She is just some wanton little bitch; I thought I made that clear when I told you her history!” With a loud roar, James turned and gave the blonde a right hook knocking Hunter to the floor out cold before marching out of the room. He went looking for Greg. He found him in the kitchen typing away on his laptop. He glanced up at James and visibly paled looking extremely nervous. James gave the omega a wolfish smile, knowing his assumption was right.

James sat in the chair next to him. “Uh…h-hi J-James, h-how’s it g-going,” the smaller werewolf stuttered.

“Tell me,” James demanded and Greg swallowed loudly.

“T-tell y-you?” he asked trying to look as if he had no idea what James was talking about. James slammed his hand down on Greg’s shoulder, his smile growing larger and more predatory, making the other jump in fright.

“Now Greg, we both know perfectly well what I want to know. You actually have started to grow on me this past week, so believe me when I say I’d really, really hate to have to hurt you,” James started and Greg started to tremble. “But if you don’t start talking I am going to start breaking bones starting with your fingers,” James finished removing his hand off of Greg’s shoulder and grabbing his right wrist.

Greg yelped and attempted to pull out of his grip, but James held him tight. “She told me not to tell anyone,” Greg confessed with panic in his voice. “Especially you, she said she would get very mad at me if I did,” he continued.

James tightened his grip on Greg’s wrist and the smaller man whimpered with pain. “Greg, what would you rather have right now? Angry Lily miles away or me angry right here in front of you,” James asked. Greg’s eyes darted from James’s face to the hand that held his wrist then back again several times.

“Okay, okay,” he relented and James let go of him with another smile. “She is traveling with the vampires west following the paper trail Xavier left behind,” Greg started to explain as he grabbed a notebook by his side and started writing something down quickly. “I am supposed to keep her updated day to day and call her as soon as anything new pops up,” he finished handing a piece of paper towards James still shaking like a leaf.

He took the paper and quickly read it, it was the route she was taking and the places Xavier had stopped. James slapped Greg hard on the shoulder again causing him to jump again and yelp. “See now that wasn’t so hard,” James told him getting up and Greg gave him a weak smile. “I just got to know,” James started as he folded the paper and stuck it into his pocket and Greg looked at him confused. “Why are you helping her and going against the alpha’s orders?” James asked and Greg shook his head.

“I am not going against alpha’s orders,” he stated with a matter of fact tone. “Andrew ordered me not to bother him with the paper trail, not to stop following it. He also ordered me to stay in the territory and that is what I am doing,” he explained and James laughed. Greg seemed to be the master of technicalities. “Plus she asked me nicely and treated me nicely too,” he told James with a hint of attitude.

Of course, she did, James thought moodily and with a heated flare of jealousy. Never in his life did he think he’d be jealous of an omega but he was. He was jealous that she was so nice to Greg and not him. Hell, she was nice to everyone but him and well Hunter though Hunter deserved it. “When you update Lily, you will update me with the same information and where she is headed until I catch up to her,” James told him and Greg slowly nodded.

James left the kitchen and returned to his room and began packing when both Chris and Tony walked in. “I am ready when you are,” Chris announced and James gave him a questioning look. “It was either Lacy or me. There is no way in hell I am going to let her go chasing after vampires,” Chris told him and James nodded.

“I wish I could join you, but I can’t openly defy my father and I’m not ready to challenge him for alpha just yet,” Tony admitted looking a bit ashamed.

“Don’t worry Tony; I don’t need you to do that. However, if you’re willing to help I know something you can do for me,” James told him then explained what he needed. They said their final goodbyes then James and Chris left in Chris’s old pick up following the directions Greg had given him.

Chapter 20

~

 

When Greg told Lily that her father refused to follow the trail of Xavier, she was so pissed that she nearly shifted right there. She stomped over to his office and burst in, without a second thought or knocking. Andrew looked up from the papers he was reading. “Hey Lily, how are you feeling?” He asked and her temper flared even more. How dare he even ask such a question?

“Why are you being so stupid?” She barked at him and his eyes flashed gold as his face hardened.

“Watch that tone of yours Lily,” he warned her.

“No, I will not! Not while you ignore Xavier,” she demanded.

Andrew’s face turned angry and he growled at her. “May I inform you, Lily, that it is not your place to question me! You now are a member of this pack and I’m your alpha, you’ll follow my orders no matter what!” Andrew told her with a harsh tone and she could feel him trying to do his alpha thing on her, but even now it didn’t have any effect on her. “I’m doing what I deem best for this pack and most of all for you,” he added heatedly. Lily scoffed bitterly and glared at him.

“Ignoring Xavier isn’t what’s best for this pack or for me,” she shot back and Andrew stood up glowering at her.

“Staying away from Xavier is the very best for you! I nearly lost you once and I won’t risk losing you again,” he told her and Lily couldn’t believe what she was seeing and smelling.

“You’re afraid!” She stated in surprise.

“Lily that is enough,” he growled back, but it was in his eyes and in his scent, so much so it almost caused her to gag.

“You won’t go after him because you’re too afraid,” she told him bitterly. Andrew growled, stomping around the desk until he stood in front of her looking at her sternly. He was just about to say something more, but she knew he feared the wrong person. Lily snarled at him and hit him in the chest, interrupting him in mid-sentence and sending him flying across the room. It was the time she showed him just what he should be afraid of. She gave the vampire in her more control and she jumped on top of him.

“Look at me Andrew,” she ordered, trapping Andrew in her vampiric persuasion, and he looked at her in horrified surprise for a moment before his face went blank of all emotion. She hissed at him showing her fangs. “I’ve persuaded you, Andrew…yes, I can do that. Right now you’re under my complete control. I could make you shoot yourself with a silver bullet, or jump in front of a train! Just one little word from me and you wouldn’t be able to stop yourself,” she explained.

“Or I could simply keep you in this frozen state while I drain you dry or maybe I’ll let the beast rip you apart all while I order you not to defend yourself,” She hissed at him then lowered her lips to her father’s ear. “Guess what dear father; even if I let you free of my persuasion, you’d never be able to stop me. I’ve been testing myself and I’ve discovered that when I give the vampire control silver can’t harm me and when the beast is in control sunlight doesn’t bother me. I’ve become a bigger monster than James. I’m unstoppable and terrible,” Lily whispered to him.

She grabbed his shirt slamming him against the floor and he groaned in pain. “By myself I could probably wipe out this entire pack but Xavier isn’t going to just stop with me, just like he didn’t stop with James. Andrew, what are you going to do when five monsters just like me show up at your door hungry for your blood, Sandy’s blood and the blood of your children?” She roared at him, slamming him against the floor again.

“Are you willing to take the risk that once he has more hybrids, he won’t come back for his original prize, your pack?” She demanded. She pushed herself off of him, freeing him from her control, and left his office.

The next day, Lily took a walk to blow off some steam. She only meant to make Andrew see the threat Xavier presented, not for him to lock down the whole territory and bring in that idiot Hunter. God, that arrogant bastard was the icing on the cake! If vampires and James weren’t enough, fate decided to throw in the boogie man of her childhood! It took her years to get over the nightmares of the chase through the woods Hunter and his goons forced her through. Now he was back to just shove in her face her biological parents.

Lily was surprised when she found herself back at Kyle’s cabin. A pang of guilt washed over her as she noticed the fresh grave. Slowly she walked over to the headstone with Kyle’s name engraved on it. She looked down at it with a sigh, feeling so guilty. She walked into the cabin; his blood still stained the wood flooring. Lily bit her lip, fighting off the tears. Why didn’t her father see that going after Xavier was the only way to protect them from more death? She turned away from the stain when something caught her eye, the silver knife Xavier used to take Kyle’s life.

Lily walked over to where it laid under the table and bent down to pick it up. Walking over to the sink, she cleaned it off Kyle’s dry blood. Lily examined the silver knife with morbid attraction; it was so deadly but at the same time beautiful. Suddenly, she realized what she must do. Since Andrew refused to do anything about Xavier, she would have to, even if it meant trusting those who were just one command away from sentencing her death.

When it was finally, dark Lily got up from the bed. She set the note on her old desk, explaining what she was going to do and why. She wrapped the silver knife carefully and tucked it in her pants, at the small of her back. Lily took a last look around the nostalgic room and silently said her goodbyes. She walked down to the stairs and saw the two vampires already in the living room. “I was wondering if we can take our vamp 101 outside today,” she told them and Dorin eyed her with slight suspicion, but Bianca quickly agreed.

She led them to the tree line of the forest ignoring their curious looks. “Actually I would like to pass the classes for today,” she told them once they stopped.

“Why?” Dorin asked, still giving her that skeptical look while Bianca looked displeased.

“I want to speak with your king,” she replied and Bianca laughed as if Lily had said something hilarious while Dorin gave her a hard examining look.

“Why do you want to see King Silvano?” he asked, sounding at least interested in what she had to say.

“I want to talk about to Xavier Thompson, the one who cause all this,” she started and Dorin nodded. “I want to go after him, but the alpha won’t do anything and ordered all the other werewolves to do the same. I know I’m strong, but I don’t think I can do this on my own,” she explained.

“Do you have a plan or an idea where to start, or are you going to just start walking and hope you bump into him?” Dorin asked with sarcasm dripping from his voice.

Lily rolled her eyes at him and gave him a nasty look. “What do I look like, a dumb ass?” she shot and Dorin smiled a small smile that seemed to scream “yes.” As he opened his mouth, she pointed her finger at him menacingly. “Do not answer that!” The vampire laughed for the first time since she had met him while Bianca looked bored. “Yes Dorin, I do have an idea where to start. Xavier isn’t hiding his tracks and has left a trail of credit card uses that even a child could follow.”

“How long have you known this?” He demanded with anger once he got over his surprise

“About a day but Andrew won’t follow it! As long as Xavier is moving away from his territory he will sit and continue to do nothing,” she answered with despair.

“Basically giving this psychotic lycan all the time he needs to build himself a hybrid army and easily take your alpha’s pack and who know what else,” Dorin said with a look of disgust on his face.

“Exactly! Finally someone sees it,” Lily cried throwing her hands up in the air. “I could almost kiss you right now Dorin.” Bianca started to giggle giddily and he backed away quickly with a look of disgust on his face.

“If you want my help you won’t,” he demanded quickly.

“Oh please! You wish,” she told him with an expression of disgust matching his. “It was a figure of speech Don Juan. Anyways will you take me to your king so I can ask for help?” she asked and he shook his head.

“There is no need to take you to the king. I’ll help you, the real reason I came was to find some kind of lead and follow it,” he explained and Bianca looked shocked.

“What? How come I didn’t know about that?” she asked obviously offended and Dorin now gave her the bored expression.

“You’re here to help her with the basics, and my orders come from the Aequivalere, not King Silvano,” he told her. Lily scrunched her brow in confusion.

“The Aequivalere, you work for those sticks in the mud? Does the king know this, did he give you permission?” Bianca shot and Dorin gave her an irritated look of boredom.

“Yes I do and I don’t need the king’s permission. You know as well as I do the Aequivalere have more authority than him,” Dorin shot back at her.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa, can we rewind and clue me in here. What in the world is Aequi, whatever you said?” Lily demanded.

“Aequivalere, its Latin…for boring, stick their noses in other people’s business jerks,” Bianca shot in earning a heated glare from the other vampire.

“It’s Latin for balance,” Dorin snapped at Bianca then turned to Lily. “It’s an organization composed of all the intelligent supernatural species of the world: vampires, lycanthropes, demons, nymphs, fairies, mere folk, so on and even some human representation as well. They make sure humans stay for the most part in the dark of our existence and that a relative peace exists between the species, no species threatens the existence of another,” Dorin explained.

“The Aequivalere has been observing this territory ever since James Lacrosse became a household name, but it wasn’t until what happened to you did we decide to get involved. Now, what do you know hybrid?” Dorin demanded.

“So far the trail is heading northwest to Montana, where it’s stopped. One werewolf will work with us since he technically won’t break the alpha’s command; he’s going to give me updates if Xavier makes another move. I suggest we don’t waste any time and leave tonight,” she told them and they both agreed.

“I thought this lycan was intelligent, the Aequivalere western headquarters are there,” Dorin said with a frown.

“What better place to hide than the enemies back yard, it’s the last place they’d look. Xavier is just that arrogant to believe that we’d never try to find him but instead try to recover from what he’d done to us so your “A” Team wouldn’t ever realize the threat close to them. Plus he’s mastered the art of hiding in plain sight,” Lily replied.

“Then you’re right to let’s not waste any time and leave tonight. Come, I have a car on a country trail in the forest,” Dorin explained and she followed them into the forest. She gave a quick look back towards the house. Sorry Andrew but I said I would protect my family no matter what, she thought silently and turned quickly to follow the vampires.

They had been driving for nearly four hours when Dorin and Bianca insisted they had to stop for a “bite” as Bianca had giggly joked. Bianca invited her to tag along, but Dorin told the other vampire no for which Lily was glad for. She wasn’t ready to delve into that part of her vampire self yet, if ever.

Lily sighed loudly. What was taking them so long? She wondered, glancing at her watch. They had been gone already twenty minutes. After another ten minutes had passed she saw Bianca with some man. He had a dazed expression on his face as if he didn’t know where he really was. “I’ve brought you a gift,” Bianca told her when she reached Lily.

“Please tell me you’re not referring to him?” she asked Bianca, who giggled like a giddy teenager.

“Of course I am Lily dear, when was the last time you fed?” She asked her and Lily shrugged evasively. She skipped breakfast to avoid her father and her encounter with Hunter took away her appetite at lunch time, and she didn’t eat dinner. “That’s what I thought,” the vampire replied.

“Hey, Eric wouldn’t you just love for Lily here to have a little drink from you?” She asked the man and he nodded with a small smile. Bianca took the man’s arm and held it out towards her and “See he don’t mind, have a drink,” the red head vampire told her.

“No way in hell,” Lily told her backing away from them. Her mouth watered as her fangs grew longer as her hunger grew and she didn’t like it one bit.

Bianca gave her a look of disappointment. “Don’t be silly,” she told her.

Lily glared at her. “I am not silly, I just don’t want to be a leech like you,” She snapped and a flash of anger flashed through Bianca’s face before she simply put on a childish pout on her face.

“Come on Lily,” she started bringing the man closer towards her and raising his arm towards Lily once more. “Honestly tell me you don’t want to feed on his blood and I’ll leave you alone,” she stated. Lily had every intention of lying and saying she didn’t, but her elongated canines gave her away. “Just take a little to take the edge off the blood lust. It won’t hurt him and he won’t remember a thing,” Bianca insisted.

Lily swallowed hard, hating the fact she was starting to consider it. She could hear the man’s heartbeat pounding in her ears, her mouth watered horribly and she started to feel so very hungry. Before she realized it, she took his arm in her hands. “Just take a little,” Bianca urged and Lily bit down into the man’s forearm. He grunted in pain and Lily noticed that Bianca had bitten his other arm.

Lily knew his free will was gone and he was persuaded to let them feed off of him, she knew it was wrong and she wanted to pull away and tell Bianca so, but instead she bit down harder into his arm. The taste of the blood was intoxicating, so warm, and so delicious. She wanted more!

“Now, now Lily, don’t take too much,” she heard Bianca tell her but Lily ignored her, she wasn’t ready to stop, she had to have more! Bianca gave her a hard push, but Lily didn’t budge. She pushed the red head away from her roughly as she continued to drink from the man.

“What are you doing?” she heard Dorin bark and he grabbed her hair and jerked her head back. She cried out in surprise and in anger, but the anger was quickly replaced by something else. A pleasant sensation ran through her body and a feeling of euphoria filled her, causing goosebumps to break out all over her body.

“Damn it, Bianca, what did you do?” Dorin demanded to the other vampire as he knelt down to the man that was now on the ground. A little voice inside her head told her she should help him, he might need to go to the hospital, but she was unable to move paralyzed by the elated feeling that had her trapped.

“I gave Lily, her first taste of fresh blood,” Bianca giggled and Dorin scowled.

“Are you an idiot Bianca? She could have killed him or fallen into a blood craze,” he scorned her. He stood up and walked over to Lily. She looked up at the moody vampire, wondering if he tasted as good as the human. He grabbed her face roughly and she felt a thrill of excitement tingle through her. He looked her over then swore. Dorin removed his hand only to pull it back and slap her.

Lily gasped in surprise, the euphoric daze gone. She snarled at the vampire and punched him in the stomach. He grunted and held onto his stomach. “What’d you slap me for?” she growled at him, preparing to hit him again and he smiled at her.

“Damn you got quite a punch,” he grunted and she glared at him. “Trust me as much I enjoyed giving you a nice bitch slap, it was for your own good,” Dorin told her as he rubbed his stomach and glared at Bianca. “Lily, if you need blood tell me. It’s too dangerous for you to feed like that. New vampires kill their prey more often than they don’t due to the high fresh human blood gives them,” Dorin explained.

“It takes a while until they learn control. Their maker helps them learn to control and can stop them when they start to go too far but since you have no one who can stop you it’s best you stay away from that aspect of your vampirism for now. If you start to leave a trail of bodies King Silvano has ordered me to kill you,” he warned her then turned to the other vampire. “And you Bianca know as much!”

“I wouldn’t have let her kill him,” Bianca justified.

“Really because from where I was standing, it looked like she easily knocked you off to the side,” he argued.

“I had it under control Dorin,” Bianca snapped. “How else is she supposed to learn control if she never feeds off live prey?” She demanded and Lily licked her lips nervously, she didn’t like the sound of “feed off live prey.”

“Bianca if you don’t follow my orders I’ll send you packing back to the king,” he threatened her. He walked over to the man on the ground and checked his pulse.

“Is he okay?” Lily asked, feeling truly terrified. What if she killed him?

“He’s not dead, that’s at least something,” he told her then bit into his own wrist covering the bite marks on the man’s arm causing them to heal almost instantly. “But I’ll have to take him to the hospital. He has lost a dangerous amount of blood,” he explained and Lily felt guilty. “Wait here, I will be back in a few minutes,” he told them and disappeared with the man in a blink of an eye.

“What a stick in the mud,” Bianca pouted getting in the car and Lily glared at the woman.

“Don’t you ever do that to me again,” Lily told her getting in the car as well and Bianca sighed rolling her eyes.

“Oh come on Lily this is who you are now, this is what we do,” she explained and Lily shook her head side to side gently.

“No I won’t do this, it’s wrong,” she snapped and Bianca giggled as if she had said something funny.

“Oh please, there is nothing wrong in this! The man will be fine, it’s not like you caused anything permanent,” Bianca told her but Lily remained silent, feeling so angry with herself for letting Bianca push her into feeding on that man. She was supposed to be stronger than that!

When Dorin returned, they continued to drive in awkward silence. It was clear he was beyond pissed. When the sun started to rise they stopped at a hotel, Lily collapsed in her small bed as Dorin closed the curtains tightly and taping the edges of the curtains to the wall as a safety measure that no sunlight could enter. She wasn’t exactly happy about sharing a room with him, but he insisted that she was not to be left alone.

Lily looked away nervously as he started to remove his clothing and she heard him laugh at her. “You can look if you want, I won’t mind,” he teased her and she growled.

“Who said I wanted to,” she snapped back and he laughed getting into the bed opposite of hers. God, I hate men, she thought sourly.

“Why can’t I have my own room,” she demanded and he sighed.

“I told you before; you shouldn’t be alone after drinking so much fresh blood. I want to make sure you don’t fall under a blood craze and I don’t trust Bianca not to try and throw another human at you. She’s too young to understand her actions yet,” he explained.

Lily found it odd talking about a person who was born in the eighteenth century as young. She huffed but turned her attention to the huge old television and waited until six to call Greg and get an updated on the situation. When the hour slowly crawled past she dialed his number. “Hey, Greg it’s me. So what’s the situation?” she asked once he picked up.

“Nothing new from Xavier,” he replied.

“How about Andrew and the others, how’d they take my leaving?” She asked feeling worried.

“Things have pretty much gone to hell,” he admitted and she felt a little guilty. “Thanks to your uncle the alpha has declared you as a rogue,” he told her and Lily gasped as if someone had smacked her. Even she knew that rogue werewolves were considered something vile and dangerous. How could Andrew call her that?

“Did you really threaten to kill the alpha?” He asked and Lily laughed bitterly.

“Is that what he told everyone, that I threatened his life?” She asked with sour disbelief. “Greg I didn’t threaten his life I was merely trying to get him to see what a hybrid could do to him if he didn’t act,” she explained feeling so insulted that her father would think such a thing.

“I’m sorry Lily,” Greg apologized. “Anyways there are rumors that Tony is going to challenge the alpha over it but so far nothing has happened. I just know they have been shouting at each other nearly the whole night,” he explained and her guilt grew. She didn’t want this, she just wanted Andrew to see the danger he and his family was in.

“Um Lily, there is something I have to tell you,” he started sounding very nervous and she knew whatever it was she wasn’t going to like it. “James and Chris are coming after you,” he told her and she growled angrily.

“Greg! I thought I told you to tell no one, especially James!” She roared in anger and he apologized quickly over and over.

“Sorry Lily, but he already knew I was helping you and threatened to hurt me if I didn’t tell him what he wanted,” he whimpered and she cursed James. God, why couldn’t he just keep his nose in his own business?

“You do know you can defend yourself! You’re the same as James for the love of God,” she snapped at him.

“No, I’m not Lily. I may be stronger now, but I’m not a fighter! The idea of actually hitting someone is enough to make me sick! I’m sorry Lily, I really am, please don’t persuade me or anything like that,” he pleaded and she couldn’t resist a small smile wondering if it was possible to persuade him over the phone.

“I’m not going to persuade you Greg nor would I ever do something so low, especially to my friends,” she told him. “It’s not your fault James manhandled you like a caveman,” she added and she could almost see his look of relief. “How much does he know and when did he leave?” She asked and Greg filled her on the details. She cursed silently; they only had about a five-hour advantage on James and Chris. What’s worse, they could travel during the day while she was stuck with night travel.

“Greg, can you delay as much as possible. Maybe I can get the biggest head start as possible,” she pleaded. Lily knew Greg wouldn’t be able to flat out lie to James due to his fear. Greg agreed to do what he could and she hung up and wormed her way between the stiff sheets of the small bed trying to get some sleep, hoping James and Chris too would stop to get some sleep.

It was near four when Lily awoke, and it was clear the sun had nearly set. She walked stiffly into the dark room towards her small travel bag. She grabbed a change of clothes and walked into the bathroom taking a hot shower. Letting the hot water wash over her she felt her tense knotted muscles start to relax.

Not wanting to leave the shower, she waited until the water ran cold and even then she waited until it became ice cold before stepping out. Wrapping a towel around her, she wiped the fogged mirror clean looking at her reflection. She scowled as she noticed the bite mark on her shoulder; it didn’t show any signs of disappearing. Just great, she complained as she got dressed and left the bathroom, into the nearly pitch black room as her stomach grumbled loudly.

“What hell was that?” Dorin asked, sitting up scratching the black of his head actually looking groggy. Lily’s stomach rumbled again in answer.

“It’s my stomach obviously,” she told him turning on the small lamp.

“But you fed last night,” he complained. “Damn, how are you not like five hundred pounds by now?” he continued to complain and she growled at him.

“I know you’re an old man but don’t you know the golden rule about a woman’s weight! When was the last time you spent time with a mortal woman?” Lily asked and Dorin gave her a cocky expression. “For something other than blood and sex obviously,” she added hastily.

“Not since I’ve been turned, what’s the point in “spending time” with a woman if it’s not for blood or sex or both,” he shot back. Lily gaped at the vampire.

“You’re such a pig,” she snapped at him.

“I’d rather be a pig than a dirty hybrid,” he shot back and Lily narrowed her eyes at him. With a growl, she grabbed the coffee pot sitting on a small dresser and threw it at him. Dorin easily dodged the coffee pot, but the shattered glass caused him a small cut on the arm. He glared at her, his eyes flashing a hue of red.

“You are going to regret that hybrid,” he threatened and tossed a chair at her. She screamed and ducked just in as it grazed the top of her head. Dorin gave her a cold smile with a look of challenge.

“I doubt that I will leech,” she shot back grabbing the little microwave and hurled it at him, but he easily dodged it as it broke through the window.

“You’ve got pathetic aim,” he snarled at her then grabbed the table and thrust it at her. Lily gasped realizing there was no way in this little room she could avoid that. She yelped as the small table barreled into her. “Don’t ever go against me hybrid I always win,” he warned her and she groaned pushing the pieces of the broken table off of her.

“What the hell is going on here?” she heard someone demand. She looked and saw a very angry James glaring at Dorin.

“Looks like we have company,” Dorin announced with stoic tone and Lily quietly got up grabbing the mini fridge while the two of them glared at each other. She laughed silently as she threw the fridge at the distracted Dorin sending him crashing into the wall.

“Point for Lily!” She cried pumping her fists in the air. “And another point for it being a freaking mini fridge,” She cheered and Dorin hissed tossing it to the side. “Don’t you ever go against me Bloodsucker, I’ll always be better,” she told the vampire happily. Dorin hissed as he tossed the mini fridge off of him.

“Don’t think this is over hybrid,” he swore and Lily stomped on his stomach before walking out of the room, doing her best to ignore James completely and her beast’s happiness at seeing him. Stupid creature, she swore at the animal inside her.

Chapter 21

~

 

James jumped awake as his phone started to ring. He ignored Chris laughing at him as he answered the phone. “For being the good guys, you sure don’t act like it,” Greg complained and James smiled.

“Sorry Greg but I knew you had no intention of helping me once I left. I had to have some backup plan,” James justified. Tony agreed to act as the extra persuasion for Greg to keep informing James of where Lily was.

“Well there is nothing to say, I told her that there was nothing new with Xavier, things here are a mess,” Greg replied then paused for a moment. “I also let her know that you are following her,” he added with a defiant tone that surprised James. He swore silently, knowing that would only make her travel faster.

James smiled again getting an idea. “Greg, you are the computer guy. I want to you track her using her cell and tell me exactly where she is,” James told him and, at first, Greg refused, but he could hear a loud slap then Greg’s complaining as James knew exactly what happened. Tony had hit him on the back of the head.

“Alright, I’ll do it,” he complained then hung up and within the hour had called back with a location that was only a couple hours from where they were.

“So we’ll be able to catch up easily,” Chris stated tiredly.

“And get some sleep, they won’t be going anywhere until the sun has set,” James replied just as tired.

They arrived at the small hotel where the vampires and Lily were supposed to be staying. They walked into the lobby and the woman behind the counter smiled as soon as she saw them. “Hello, we are looking for our friends. I think they are staying in this hotel,” James started then described the two vampires and Lily.

“Sorry I’m not really supposed to give out that information,” she replied, not hiding the fact she was checking them out…extensively.

~Hey Romeo, mind helping me out here?~ James sent Chris telepathically.

~Why me, why don’t you?~ Chris sent back and James shot him a glare and Chris sighed.

“We won’t tell if you won’t,” Chris said giving her a charismatic half smile. The woman smiled a naughty smile at Chris and glanced at James. He gave his best playboy smile, but he honestly wanted to just smack the crap out of her, she was wasting their time.

“I don’t know, if my boss found out I could get into a lot of trouble…you’d have to make it worth the risk,” she purred and James nearly burst out laughing as Chris’s smiled dimmed slightly but she looked at James. “The both of you,” she added and James’s smile now fell.

“What do you have in mind?” Chris asked. She laughed lightly and leaned over and whispered in his ear but James heard it perfectly. She wanted to meet with them, in one of the rooms after her shift at ten; together…at the same time…to…James shuddered at the idea.

“That sounds like fun,” James said, trying to sound like he was really into it since Chris was having problems keeping a straight face. She smiled as if she just won a million dollars then told him what they wanted to know.

Once they left the lobby, Chris looked at him seriously. “We never speak of what just happened in there…ever,” Chris demanded.

“And by ten o’clock we are a hundred miles from here,” James demanded and both men nodded in silent agreement.

James woke up to the radio alarm in his little hotel room, Chris groaned in complaint burying his head under his pillow. He sat up and shut off the alarm, it was three o’clock and an hour before sunset. James gave Chris a solid punch in the shoulder. “Time to get up sleeping beauty,” he demanded and Chris groaned again in a complaint. With a large yawn, he entered the shower while Chris sat up, looking as if he was still mostly asleep.

At four thirty the sky had darkened and they left to find the others. “James, James Lacrosse, what are you doing here,” the red-headed vampire called to him looking happy to see them. James forced a small smile and wondered why so many people insisted on using his full name.

“We heard Lily had gone after Xavier so we came to help,” Chris replied.

“Oh, how chivalrous of you,” she stated with a fanged smile.

“Where’s Lily?” James asked and the vampire pouted.

“Still in her room with Dorin,” she said unhappily and James suppressed a growl with a wave of jealousy. “He won’t let me alone with her after what happened last night,” she went on.

“What happened last night?” Chris asked and she was just about to answer when a microwave flew through a window, landing a few feet in front of them.

“Oh, they must be up now,” Bianca said with an easy tone and there was a sound of a loud crash. Panic filled James and ran, breaking open the door. He saw Lily on the ground with pieces of what appeared to have been a table, on top of her and the other vampire stood with a smug look on his face.

“What the hell is going on here?” He demanded.

“Looks like we have company,” The vampire said with a flat tone and James glared at him with fury. He started to move towards the vampire when suddenly something black crashed into the vampire knocking him into the wall and onto the floor.

“Point for Lily!” Lily suddenly cried pumping her fists in the air. “And another point for it being a freaking mini fridge,” she cheered and the vampire hissed at her tossing the appliance off of him. What the hell? Was all James could think as he watched them “Don’t you ever go against me Bloodsucker, I’ll always be better,” she told Dorin happily and James gawked at the two wondering what in the world was going on.

“Don’t think this is over hybrid,” the vampire cursed and Lily walked over to the vampire who was still on the floor and stomped on his stomach before walking out of the room, not even glancing at James, much to his irritation. Why did fate hate him so much? James watched the vampire get up before following Lily out of the room. Why did his mate have to be so…different?

“Hey Chris,” Lily called to the other werewolf. “Who’s chasing who now?” she asked him with a smile. Chris got a cocky grin on his face and started to say something, but James growled at him in warning. She may be odd, but she was still his, and he felt satisfaction as the smile disappeared from Chris’s face as if it was never there but it earned him a nasty glare from Lily.

“Well, I am going to find me something to eat,” Lily announced and the male vampire gave her a hard look. “If you as much as hint about my weight or the way I eat. I swear I’ll find the biggest appliance around and crush you with it,” she threatened and the vampire started to laugh.

“Dude, are you as confused as I am?” Chris asked him in a whisper. “I thought we were supposed to protect her from them,” he added and James merely shrugged, feeling as confused as he was.

“I don’t need you two for protection,” Lily told them then turned back to the vampires. “How about you two do your thing too before we leave, I don’t want to be sitting in the car for nearly an hour again,” she told them. “And keep her with you and away from me,” she added, stalking off towards a small dinner. James quickly followed her with Chris right behind him. He wanted to figure out what the hell was going on.

“So what happened last night?” James asked her as they sat down in the booth. He was sitting next her, despite her complaints and Chris in front of them. He didn’t care if she liked it or not, but there was no way in hell he was going to squeeze himself against Chris, especially after what happened with the woman in the hotel lobby. Plus when it came to sitting by Chris or sitting by her, there was no choice to it. He’d take any chance he could to be next to her.

“Last night?” Lily repeated with a look of alarm and guilt but before anyone could say more the waitress came up and took their order. Once she was gone Lily quickly changed the subject asking Chris about what was going on since she left. It irritated James that Lily was ignoring him and that she didn’t answer the question.

“So again what happened last night?” James asked once they were nearly finished with their food.

“What makes you think anything happened last night?” Lily asked, but she might as well had the word “Guilty” written on her forehead with a big red marker by the look on her face.

“Bianca mentioned something about last night earlier,” Chris jumped in.

“Damn bitch can’t keep her stupid mouth shut,” she mumbled in quiet anger but looked away from them with sick expression. He hated to see her like that. James laid his hand on her knee in hopes of comforting her but got a kick in the shin instead. He jumped cursing loudly and several people in the dinner were glaring at him.

“Damn woman I was just trying to be nice,” he growled at her quietly and Chris was laughing so hard he nearly choked.

“I don’t want your niceness, James Lacrosse,” she hissed back with the clear intention of keeping whatever happened last night to herself. They fell into a tense silence until Chris finally broke it.

“So where we going from here?” Chris asked before stuffing the rest of the hamburger in his mouth.

“Well preferably you two would go back home but since I doubt either of you will do that. Xavier is heading west, well more like the Northwest,” she explained. “It looks like he has gone to Montana,” she added pushing her hardly eaten food away from her with a scrunched face. “Move!” she barked at James giving him a push.

“Not until you ask nicely,” he snapped at her, tired of her attitude. She narrowed her eyes at him and grabbed his thigh causing him to jump then dug her long nails into his flesh.

“I said move,” she snapped back and James growled quietly not moving but refused to give in.

“Not until you ask nicely,” he snarled at her grabbing her thigh this time. She wasn’t the only one with claws.

“I think this is my cue to leave,” Chris said getting up quickly and neither James nor Lily stopped hm.

“Hands off mutt,” she growled at him and he moved his head slightly side to side.

“You first,” he told her and she growled at him. He gave her his best smile, but it only caused her to dig her nails deeper into his leg. James winced in pain and shifted just enough to grow his claws and burying into the soft flesh of her leg. Lily gasped softly and tried to remove his hand, but he gripped her tighter.

James leaned in towards her. “You want me to let go then ask me nicely,” he whispered to her and she threw vicious insults at him, but he gripped her tighter making her starting to whimper with pain. James hated hurting her but he was tired of her insulting him, being rude, and, in general, treating him like dirt, he didn’t deserve it and wasn’t going to take it anymore.

After several minutes of a staring match, she finally relented removing her nails from his thigh and he did his best to hide a sigh of relief. He let go of her leg and she demanded he move once more. “Nicely Lily, I know you can be nice,” he told her. She narrowed her eyes at him with a small growl.

“Fine! Will you please move,” she replied with a sickly sweet tone and James gave her another charming smile. “You’re a piece of shit, James, and I hate you,” she added harshly, stalking out of the dinner. Well, it was a start, he thought bitterly as he paid the bill and leaving the dinner. He glanced at his jeans, ripped and stained red with his blood, and swore quietly.

He caught up to everyone when Bianca gave him a fangy smile. “Mmm, you smell yummy James,” she told him giving him a hungry look. James swallowed nervously.

“Uh, thanks, I think,” he said, growing more nervous.

“I think we should get on the road quickly,” Chris said giving James a look of panic then glancing at his watch, it was already nine thirty. The woman’s lustful look popped into his head and James shuddered.

“Yeah, we should get out of here,” James said.

“We’re ready to go. Have you checked out yet,” Dorin asked.

“No!” Chris nearly shouted then gave everyone a nervous smile.

“And we don’t plan to. Just…don’t ask,” James told the vampire who gave them odd looks. “I’ll ride with you guys and Chris can follow in his truck,” James told them and the vampire nodded. James didn’t trust Lily to convince Dorin to try and lose them. Plus he didn’t want her out of his sight; he was going to force her to get used to him being around her. Even if it meant dealing with the hungry looks, the red headed vampire kept giving him.

They drove all night until the sun started to rise once more. “Why don’t we share a room,” Bianca suggested to him, fully fanged. James took a small step backward and to his surprise and relief Lily stepped forward, giving Bianca a pointed look.

“Bianca, it’s rude to feed off of your friends. Find your fix somewhere else,” she told the vampire who pouted with disappointment.

“Oh, I suppose you are correct Lily. How about you join me?” She asked.

“Bianca what did I tell you,” the other vampire warned and she pouted even more.

“But it’s no fun by myself! We’ll be more careful this time,” she pleaded. This time, what the hell she meant by this time? James wondered noticing Lily was looking guilty again.

“No Bianca,” he nearly shouted at the red head and then turned to Lily. “Do you need to drink tonight?” he asked and James felt a flare of jealousy rage through him as he swore the vampire looked concerned. Lily shook her head no. “Just let me know if you do,” he finished before walking towards the lobby. James followed him to make sure the vampire didn’t even think of putting Lily in the same room as him again.

“You have got to be kidding me,” Lily complained, her hands on her hips as they entered the room. James tried to hide a smile, following her. Not only did he have her sharing a room with him but it was a room with only one bed. “I guess you will be sleeping on the floor then,” she shot back and he laughed.

“Nope, I am going to be sleeping right here,” he said, plopping on the bed, and she narrowed her eyes at him.

“I should’ve let Bianca drain you,” she threatened and his smile grew.

“Speaking of Bianca what happened the night before?” he asked her and once more guilt filled her face before giving him another snooty reply of none of his business. James sighed loudly shaking his head. “You know I am on your side,” he told her.

“Well I would rather you be not on “my side” and go away,” she snapped at him sitting the corner of the bed. James frowned at her. Feeling a little hurt at first but realized she probably wasn’t used to people actually caring for her so he wouldn’t let her push him away.

“What happened Lily?” he insisted and she narrowed her eyes at him and turned back facing away from him.

“I nearly killed someone,” she said after a long moment of silence and he couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “Bianca pushed me to bite some guy when we were alone…and I did. I couldn’t stop, but Dorin got there just in time to stop me from killing him, but the guy had to go to the hospital. I should have been stronger,” she explained anger filling her voice at the end and James wanted to rip the red head to pieces instead he got up and sat beside her. He wrapped his arms around her waist.

“We all have set backs, what’s important is that you did stop and he is still alive,” James told her with a soothing tone.

“I can’t have setbacks and what is important is not to allow myself to be manipulated,” she said harshly then elbowed him swiftly in the stomach. “Now get your hands off of me or I will drain you myself,” she growled at him pushing his arms away from her and getting off the bed.

Once more he refused to let her harshness get to him, so he rubbed his stomach with a laugh. “Well if that is the only way I will ever get a repeat of that night in the woods then count me in,” he teased her with a wink. Her eyes widened with surprise then narrowed at him in a deathly glare.

“That will never happen again,” she retorted bitterly and stomped to the bathroom. He smiled as he removed his clothing and got into the bed to get some sleep. It seemed like he just fell asleep when someone started hitting him and calling his name. He complained until he saw it was Lily and began to smile. Deciding to have a little fun, he grabbed her and pulled her on top of him. She cried out and started to punch him.

“Change your mind already,” he teased holding her firmly on top of him ignoring her punches and insults.

“James quit being an ass, this is serious,” she told him and by the look on her face, he saw she was telling the truth. “I just called Greg,” she told him when he asked her what was wrong. “It’s Lacy, James, she has gone missing! They can’t find her anywhere and everyone is starting to think Xavier has something to do with it,” she told him and he let her get up.

“What could he want with Lacy?” James asked rhetorically sitting up.

“I don’t know! What are we going to do?” She asked sounding lost. “Do we go on; do we go back? I don’t want to stop tracking Xavier, but she’s my sister and best friend! What about Chris? He will go crazy when he finds out,” she ranted sitting down in one of the chairs chewing on her thumbnail. Chris would definitely go crazy, James realized. Their mate connection aside Chris was absolutely in love with Lacy. 

Chapter 22

~

 

Lily sat in the chair chewing her thumbnail and her leg bouncing nervously. James had gone to talk to Chris. Why did Xavier take Lacy? She wondered if Xavier had struck out, angry that they were going after him. With a growl of frustration, she ran her hands through her dark hair. The only thing she wanted to do was stop people from getting hurt, but it no matter what she did that was exactly what happened.

First, Greg gets kidnapped and changed because of her stubbornness, James got caught in a silver net and suffered horrible burns because she was too stupid to look really at things. She got Kyle killed because she didn’t listen, the guy the other night nearly died because she wasn’t strong enough, and now Lacy was gone because she insisted on acting.

Her phone started to ring, and she quickly picked up the phone without looking at the number. “What’s the news, anything about Lacy?” she asked immediately, and a mechanical laughter came on the other side. “Is that you Xavier?” she growled with anger but figured it couldn’t be. Why would he hide his voice now?

“No Lily, not Xavier but we are very close friends,” the person replied.

“Do you have Lacy?” Lily demanded, and the person laughed again.

“Yes, I guess you could say I have Lacy. Why did you want to see her?” they asked again, and Lily growled.

“Of course, I want to see her,” Lily replied feeling irritated by the person’s apparent amusement.

“Then drive a mile down the road, until you reach an abandoned farm! Be there in an hour and come alone,” the person demanded then hung up. Lily didn’t think twice, she grabbed her jacket and left the hotel. She walked over to Dorin’s black SUV and grabbed the key she saw him hide in one of the compartments in the driver’s side door. She knew she was probably walking right into a trap but if she could make up for one of her mistakes, then it didn’t matter what happened to her.

She found the abandoned farm quickly enough. There was a note on the door directing her to the basement. Every fiber in her body screamed that something was wrong, but she ignored it, she had to find Lacy! She made her way through the broken stereotypical country home slowly her body tense and alert.

Lily slowly stepped down the wooden stairs hating every noisy creak they made. She looked around the dark, damp room and saw Lacy sitting in a chair bound. “Hurry Lily, before they come back,” Lacy pleaded, and Lily rushed up to her best friend. “I am so glad you came! I was worried you wouldn’t come,” she told her.

“Of course, I would come even if it meant my life,” Lily replied starting toward her but stopped when suddenly Lacy began to laugh. She looked at her friend confused as Lacy got up from the chair, the ropes binding her slipped off her.

“So noble as always,” Lacy said her face and voice turning harsh.

“What?” Lily asked, taking a step back not understanding what was going on. Lacy kicked something and abruptly a silver cord wrapped around Lily’s ankles. She cried out as she was knocked down to the floor and the silver burned her. “Lacy, what are you doing?” Lily pleaded through gritted teeth. Her best friend looked at her with scornful hate.

“Taking back what should’ve been mine! What you took from me!” Lacy sneered at her, and Lily looked at her, even more, confused. Lacy scoffed. “Of course, you have no clue as to what I’m talking about,” she stated with bitterness then kneeled in front of Lily. “I don’t know what is worse, the fact that you have taken everything from me or the fact that you’re too stupid to realize it,” she pondered with ice in her voice.

“What could I have taken from you?” Lily asked in a daze.

“You have got to be kidding me,” Lacy scoffed with disbelief. “You seriously have no idea?” she asked, and Lily shook her head side to side, feeling stupid. “Everything you bitch!” Lacy screamed at her then slapped her across the face.

“First you take my family,” Lacy growled at her. “My parents were so eager to take you in and call you daughter. My parents were just so proud when you started college, and my parents couldn’t stop bragging when you began working in that stupid job at the lab! You captured their attention so much and left none for me!” Lacy sneered and grabbed her by the hair. She pulled Lily’s hair forcing Lily to look up at her. “Do you know how humiliating it was to hear people talk about how you and my father seem so alike?”

Lily looked at the blond woman before her. This wasn’t her best friend and sister, but someone else entirely. Lacy’s typical bright shining blue eyes were cold as ice and full of hate. Her normally smiling mouth was turned in a scornful scowl. Lily felt a few tears escape her as she looked at this stranger before her, how could this be happening?

“Why didn’t you ever tell me how you felt?” Lily asked trying to keep her voice steady and herself under control. Her beast was raging to break free and attack Lacy, but Lily couldn’t allow her to do that.

“Tell you!” Lacy repeated with harsh sarcasm. “Why didn’t I tell you?” she screamed and stood up. “So you can act like the kind, forgiving friend and make me look like a jealous idiot?” Lacy demanded then kicked her in the ribs. Lily grunted in pain, taking on the full brunt of the assault. Part of her refused to defend herself against Lacy because it agreed with everything Lacy was saying; she was nothing more than a malicious parasite.

“Though I have to say I’ve come to realize that losing my family to you is no big loss,” Lacy stated with a superior tone. “My mother is an old fashioned twat that can’t think of anything but being submissive mate. My father is an ambitionless idiot that cowers in fear when things get a little ugly. My brother is an egotistical dumbass that couldn’t lead a pack out of a paper bag much less to greatness,” she stated with callousness.

“Though my family wasn’t enough was it? You had to steal from me my one big opportunity to become what I should have been,” she growled and slapped Lily in the face.

Lily’s head snapped back, and she groaned in pain. “What opportunity?” Lily asked confused earning another slap. Her vision blurred, and she shook her head as Lacy barked out another bitter laugh.

“God, you’re so damn stupid, I don’t see what anyone ever saw in you! Did you ever stop to wonder why Xavier was able to kidnap James, you, and Greg but some omega teen wolf escaped or how he could change you in a hybrid but “accidently” killed two teens with some pills?” Lacy asked.

Lily’s head shot up and looked at the blonde in horror. “You mean?” Lily started but couldn’t bring herself to finish it.

“Yes, it all was a set up to get James to come back to Xavier and to me! I was supposed to be the one Xavier changed, not you! He promised! Xavier promised he would change me, but you had to come along and play Nancy Drew, and take it all away from me!” She screamed kicking Lily several times now.

“You’re working with Xavier?” Lily asked with horror.

“Of course, I am! He is the only one who had any bit of intelligence and ambition! And if you hadn’t gotten involved I would be changed, and James would be mine like he was supposed to be, you damn man stealing bitch,” She screeched, and Lily’s jaw dropped.

“That’s not my fault Lacy,” Lily demanded as she started to get angry. “I didn’t want it, any of it! I didn’t want to be changed, and I don’t want James! I hate James and wish more than anything he’d go back from wherever he came. You can have him, I swear,” Lily argued, but it only made Lacy even angrier.

“How dare you say I can have him, haven’t you humiliated me enough? As if I didn’t know you two are mated! James told everyone when you left,” she spat.

“Aren’t you mated already as well?” Lily snapped back, her anger growing.

Lacy scowled with disgust. “I am an alpha’s daughter, I should be mated to an alpha or, at least, a strong, powerful werewolf and not that pathetic clown,” she shrieked. “I should be mated to James, but you stole him from me,” She snarled and kicked Lily some more. This time, Lily tried to shield herself from her sister’s attacks.

“I am sorry Lacy,” she genuinely apologized. “I seriously didn’t want any of this! What can I do to fix this?” She asked, and Lacy smiled, but it wasn’t her typical smile. This one was a cold, harsh smile.

“I want what you stole from me! I want you to make me like you, bite me or convert me like the vampires. I don’t care just make me like you. Then I will give you a quick, merciful death. After your dead I’ll just have to take care of Chris, the clown. I’ll suddenly be “rescued” and James and I will become lovers to console each other for their lost mate,” Lacy explained with a dreamy look on her face, and Lily looked at her horrified.

“I…I can’t Lacy. You don’t know what you’re asking! I’m not like James; I’m something else. I’m a monster! And I can’t let you hurt Chris,” she said and Lacy’s eyes flashed with fury. The blonde grabbed a metal bar up off the floor and hit Lily with it. Lily screamed as the bones in her forearm shattered with the force.

“I know perfectly well what I’m asking! Don’t you dare treat me like an idiot!” Lacy screamed, and Lily held destroyed arm closing her eyes tightly, refusing to cry.

“Kill me if you insist but I won’t make you like me,” Lily demanded, and Lacy hit her with the bar again, this time across the back, making Lily cry out.

“How does it feel Lily? With the silver, you won’t be able to shift, and your healing is slowed down. It’s almost as if you were human again,” She sneered, walking towards a small table and holding up several knives one by one. “If you don’t do what I ask then I will make your death last for hours, if not days!” Lacy threatened her. Lily couldn’t hold back the tears any longer as she continued to cradle her arm.

She looked up at Lacy. Her once best friend held the biggest knife Lily had ever seen before, and she swallowed with difficulty, realizing it also was silver plated. Her breath caught in her throat as the blonde advanced towards her with a mad look in her eyes.

Hours later, Lily lay on the floor, exhausted. The metallic smell of her blood filled her nose. She wasn’t sure how much time had passed while Lacy merciless tortured her and showered her with insults. She’d been cut with silver knives, burned, kicked, and lashed. She glanced at the small rectangular window seeing that dusk was just about to arrive. When the night set in she could give the vampire control and the silver would lose its effect on her then Lily could over power Lacy.

Maybe she was delusional but Lily had the faint hope that she could make Lacy see how crazy she was being. Lily knew it was Xavier’s fault. He was a parasite; he fed people lies and impossible promises making them think he can make their greatest wishes come true. He used them up until they no longer served then he threw them away. “Lacy,” Lily croaked. “Please…let us talk…about this,” she started.

“I’m sorry. I never meant to do those things to you. I’m willing to do what I can to make amends, except try to turn you into this monster that I am. If I could get rid of this horrible mark on my shoulder and step aside so you and James could be together I swear to you I would” she explained, and Lacy’s face started to soften. “Please Lacy, give me back my best friend, I can’t lose you too! Let’s forgive and forget please,” she pleaded but Lacy’s face contorted with mad anger.

“You’re absolutely brainless! You don’t deserve to be forgiven and like hell do I want your forgiveness,” she screamed and hit Lily in the ribs with the bar again. Lily cried out and closed her eyes, feeling her heart break along with her ribs.

“Then I must tell you this,” Lily said looking at the little window seeing it was dark. She slowly gave over to the vampire. “I never wanted any of this! I didn’t want to have your parents; I wanted my biological parents to love me! I never wanted to be changed; I was happy being human! I never wanted James, I can’t stand him,” she snarled.

“You are the stupid one Lacy,” she snapped as she sat up, the pain becoming a dull throb. “If only you would discuss what was wrong, we could’ve worked it out but you choose to hold bitterly on to your grudges and let them poison you,” she growled, grabbing the silver that now no longer burned her and easily removed it. Lacy took a step back with a look of confusion.

“H-how did you do that,” she asked. “Y-your eyes?” she gasped when she saw Lily’s now brownish red eyes. She hissed at the blonde with rage.

“Once I allow the vampire to take more control, silver no longer burns me,” she snarled walking slowly towards Lacy. “But since you tortured me I’ve gotten very hungry,” she threatened, and Lacy continued to back up into the wall.

“Y-you can’t, y-you wouldn’t,” Lacy cried as Lily stood before her.

“Why not, you wanted me dead?” Lily replied and she could hear Lacy’s heart beat racing and she bared her fangs lunging at her friend. Lacy screamed and tried to escape from her, but Lily easily caught her and slammed her against the wall.

“Please,” Lacy squealed. “Please don’t drain me!” She sobbed.

“Seriously you don’t know me at all,” she spat at Lacy. “Or you would know I would never attack anyone like that, especially you. I thought we were friends, more than that I thought we were sisters,” Lily told her sadly. “Why couldn’t you just have talked to me, Lacy? Why would you rather destroy me than talk to me,” Lily pleaded, traitorous tears falling down her face.

Lacy’s face softened a little but hardened quickly. “Because you don’t care about anyone but yourself Lily, it’s always about you. Poor little Lily: mistreated and abandoned! Our own little Oliver Twist! You’ve got everyone falling for you! Kyle wanted you! Xavier couldn’t stop talking about how perfect you are and how if he ever had a daughter, she’d be just like you! James fought for you, not only against my uncle but my father too,” Lacy explained with icy calmness.

“Everyone quickly rose up to defend the great Lily Nawassa, everyone! It’s not fair,” she said, her voice cracked with a sob. “I left three days ago and only now did people notice I was gone,” she continued. Lily’s anger dissipated, and she wanted to hug Lacy so badly, but she couldn’t bring herself to trust fully in her Lacy again.

“I’m so sorry Lacy! You have no idea how much I wish I could go back in time and refuse to help your father with those pills! I know a lot of what happened was my fault,” Lily told her wiping away the tears from her cheeks. “We can fix this Lacy, I know we can,” Lily told her, and Lacy remained silent, her head hung against her chest as tears fell down her face. She pulled her sister over to the silver cord and snapped it away from where it was attached to the floor.

“Sorry, but I have to do this. You can’t blame me for not fully trusting you right now,” Lily told her and Lacy simply bobbed her head in reply. She wrapped the silver around Lacy’s wrists. Lacy cried out as the cord began to burn her.

Lily grabbed a dirty piece of cloth around one her hands and forced the vampire back down inside her. She grabbed the cord with her protected hand tugging at Lacy to follow her. “By the way, it may have taken three days to notice your absence but you have no idea the love you have from your family. Everyone went crazy to find you, that pathetic clown as you called him, thinks you are the best thing in this world,” Lily told her. She saw a small smile appear on Lacy’s lips that gave Lily a bittersweet feeling. They walked out of the abandoned farm, and Lily helped her sister into the back seat, tying the cord.

When Lily arrived back at the hotel, she felt utterly exhausted but forced herself to stay alert. Chris would have a hard time understanding that Lacy was now their prisoner. She opened the car door and dragged Lacy out of the back. “Lily everyone was looking for you, where did you go? Isn’t that the alpha’s daughter?” Bianca asked when she saw Lily then noticed Lily’s bloodied appearance and started to ask what happened, but Lily interrupted her.

“Where are the others, we are going to have to discuss some things,” Lily told her with a matter of fact tone. Bianca nodded turning to get everyone else and quickly she saw Chris running towards them. Seeing his relieved face just made her heart break even more.

“Stay back Chris,” she warned him as she held up her hand. James was close behind him, looking just as confused.

“What the hell Lily, why is Lacy being silvered?” Chris demanded.

“She’s gone crazy Chris! I think Xavier did something to her,” Lacy cried out, and Lily glared at her sister and shoved her backward. Chris growled and tried to help his mate, but Lily shoved him back too. So this was how it was going to be, she thought bitterly.

“Chris back off and let me explain,” Lily told him but he shook his head racing toward her again. Thankfully James grabbed him and held him back. “Lacy was never taken by Xavier, she is working with Xavier,” she said and explained everything that had happened that day, but Chris still didn’t look like he believed them.

“It can’t be, tell them, Lacy. Xavier made you do this,” he pleaded with her.

“Oh God shut up you pathetic idiot,” Lacy snarled at him. “Just when I thought you couldn’t get any worse,” she complained, and Chris looked at her in surprise. Lily shook her head; she thought she had gotten through to Lacy but apparently she was wrong.

“Dorin can you take her and keep her in your room,” Lily asked, and he nodded mutely glowering at the blonde.

“Xavier must have done something to her,” Chris argued, and Lily shrugged.

“It’s possible but like this, we can’t let her free. Talk to her if you want, maybe you can get our Lacy back. I tried, I really did, but you can see the result but be careful she is dangerous,” Lily told him and Chris looked hesitant but nodded, following Dorin.

“I need to rest,” she told Bianca and James, walking towards her hotel room and she collapsed on the bed no longer able to stand. She buried her face into the pillow, resisting the urge to start crying. She hated to cry.

“Are you okay?” James asked, entering the room.

At first, she wanted to tell him to get lost but she realized that she was treating him just like Lacy treated her. Honestly, since she met him, James hadn’t really done anything, besides biting her, that would warrant that she treat him like that. “I am not even near close to okay,” she replied through the pillow. She didn’t want to end up like Lacy; she thought as she slowly and painfully rolled onto her back. “How about you take a seat James,” she told him tiredly, and he sat down, looking, even more, concerned. “I owe you an apology,” she started, and he looked at her confused. “Seeing Lacy today made me realize how disastrous holding onto a grudge can become. I’ve been holding one against you for fifteen years,” Lily explained.

“I kind of figured after Hunter told me about how your childhood was and that the alpha didn’t let you stay at his house when I was there. I had no idea or I wou-” he told her but she interrupted him.

“Or you wouldn’t have let him but you didn’t know, and I didn’t want you to know. It was much easier just to hate you” she explained, staring at the ceiling. “It was so easy to blame you for all my problems instead of just facing them, but it’s got to stop. I don’t want to end up like Lacy. I don’t want to become a hateful person that mistreats all those around her because she feels wronged by the world,” she continued.

“I really don’t see you as becoming that type of person,” James told her as he got up from the bed to lay down beside her. A playful smile crossed his face suddenly. “Though I’ll agree if this means you’re going to hitting me every time I try to be kind to you,” he suggested with a hopeful expression that made Lily laugh. She groaned and held her ribs that throbbed with pain.

“Yes, James, it means I won’t hit you when you don’t deserve it,” she told him, wincing as she tried to adjust herself. James immediately, with surprising gentleness, helped her roll over on her side. “Thank you,” she said closing her eyes, trying to thinking of anything other than how much her heart ached. He scooted over next to her, wrapping his arm around her and nuzzling into her neck. Part of her enjoyed the feeling of his caring attention but made her feel incredibly guilty; he was the one Lacy wanted.

James kissed her neck softly while his hand rubbed small circles on top of her stomach. Though she wanted to turn over a new leaf, she wasn’t going to go that far. She grabbed his hand, stopping him and swatted at him with the other. “James you’re still not getting any,” she told him with a small smile.

“Damn,” she heard him mumble, and she laughed again, wincing with the pain it caused.

Chapter 23

~

 

A little disappointed that Lily still didn’t want to be intimate with him, James buried his face in her hair breathing in her scent and feeling his muscles relax almost instantly. His life had changed completely since that night in the woods, and now he couldn’t imagine life without her. He no longer suffered nightmares about his time with Xavier. When he was with her, a calmness and relaxation came over him that he’d never known in his life.

Even the beast was content and at peace when Lily was around, so much so that James almost felt like a normal werewolf. She was the type of woman James always wanted in his life. She was passionate about life as she was in making love. She was feisty and witty, always keeping him on his toes. She was incredible in her manner to continue being an overall good person, a person who knew how to smile and enjoy life, no matter what life threw at her.

After about an hour of lying there and watching her sleep, James gave Lily a quick kiss on the cheek and got up from the bed. Quietly he left the hotel room and the severity of the situation they were now in hit him like a cinder block. What the hell was going on? He walked towards the vampire’s room. He just couldn’t believe it. Lacy was working with Xavier and betrayed her own family? If someone would have told him that yesterday, James would have knocked their ass to the floor and demand, they stop lying.

James remembered the first day he met Lily, her and Lacy running through the alpha’s house like they were five instead of two grown women. They were best friends, and more like sisters, even he saw that after a few days. With a sigh, he knocked on the door when he arrived. Chris opened the door looking dejected. “Hey James, how’s Lily?” he asked, stepping to the side so James could enter the room.

Lacy sat in a chair her hands still wrapped in silver looking at Chris with a disgusted expression. “She’s fine, she is sleeping and healing now,” he told the other werewolf grabbing a chair and sat down.

“Can you…watch her? I need to take a breather,” Chris asked him with a pained tone.

“Of course man, take as long as you need,” James replied, watching Chris walk out of the room with his head hanging to his chest.

“Finally, I thought he’d never leave,” Lacy sneered then her face, which was twisted in disgust, changed to the Lacy he knew. Feeling curious James got up moving his chair towards her and a smile appeared on her face. “Hey James,” she said with a sultry tone.

“What’s going on Lacy? Why did you do this? I thought you would be one of the few people who would understand the damage that Xavier has done?” he asked her and she chewed her lip looking bashful.

“What he’d done? Look at yourself James, you’re perfect. Have you ever thought of what your life would have been like if he never changed you?” she asked him.

“Constantly,” he told her frowning.

“What is it you imagine James? You’d just be another wolf, probably my stupid brother’s beta, stuck in some dull monotonous nine to five job, with some just as boring mate that would never fully understand your potential!” she stated with a snarky tone making him frown more.

“Yes, what I got is much better Lacy,” he replied back with sarcasm. “I’m a monster that has to keep himself continuously in check. I don’t have a home, family, and barely make enough money just to keep a hotel room for the night,” James explained with annoyance. How could she think he was better off?

“I would gladly go back and change things if I could. I would’ve been able to grow up with my family around me! I maybe would’ve been your brother’s beta; it would have been an honor for me. I wouldn’t mind having a nine to five job that would allow me to not only have a roof over my head but a home, and I am sure Lily and I could have gotten to a better start than we did,” he continued.

Lacy’s face twisted in disgust as soon as he said Lily’s name. “You can’t be serious?” she snapped, and he growled at her quietly. Lacy looked at him with a sweet expression leaning over running her fingers over his knee and he resisted the urge to slap her away from him. “James she hates you! She doesn’t love you! She is always insulting you, hitting you, and giving you dirty looks,” she told him, moving her hands up his leg and giving him a lustful look that made his skin crawl.

“I love you, James! Ever since we were kids, I loved you! I knew from the age of six that you and I were meant to be mates! Just give me a chance James and I promise you’ll see it too. Why settle for Lily when you deserve so much more than her! You deserve someone like me! I’m smarter than her, more attractive than she is and I would never treat you like she does,” Lacy explained, and she got up from the chair and straddled him. James leaned back in his chair with shock and revulsion. Was this seriously happening?

Lacy gave him another smile apparently not noticing his expression as she placed her bound hands on his chest and slowly caressed him. “And I can please you so much better than she ever could,” Lacy told him with a low seductive voice then leaned down towards his ear. “Come on James, let me give you the best night you’ve ever had,” she whispered. James grabbed her arms to push her way and off of him.

“Lacy,” he started as he forced her off of his lap and to sit back down in the chair. She bit down her lip, giving what he could only assume was supposed to be a flirty gesture. “I have always considered you as a friend and like my own little sister, nothing more,” he told her. “The only woman for me is sleeping in the other room,” he added, and Lacy scowled at him.

“Even if I weren’t mated with her, I’d never be with you. At least not like this,” James tried to clarify, and Lacy was growling at him. He now leaned over towards her ear, feeling the need to make things clear. “And just so you know, you’d never be able to get close to the pleasure she has already given me,” he whispered to her.

James grabbed his chair and set it away from her. She was still scowling at him. “You’re a fool James, with me you could be great!” she snapped at him, and he sat down in the chair.

“I don’t want to be great Lacy, I just want to a simple life and be someone that Lily can be proud to call her mate,” he told her and Lacy glared at him with pure rage. James ran his hands through his hair with aggravation; things just kept seeming to get worse and worse.

Lacy tried several times to draw his attention or tried to argue with him about being his mate, but he only ignored her until the vampires and Chris returned to the room. Bianca plopped down on one of the beds. “So what’s the game plan, boys?” She asked, patting the bed for Chris to sit with her. His gaze passed over the red head and Lacy several times then sat down beside the vampire.

“I say we kill her,” Dorin stated coldly, “but not before we give her the same kindness she gave the hybrid!” Chris paled looking upset but said nothing and Lacy scoffed with a look of disbelief on her face.

“If we did that, we’d be no better off than she is. I say we take her to her father,” James suggested, and Lacy rolled her eyes with a look of disgust.

“I know you boys aren’t going to like this,” Bianca started looking at James and Chris. “Your alpha refuses to face the clear and dangerous threat of the ex-beta despite everything that has happened so far. You’ve seen what this woman has done. You saw how Lily came back,” she explained then looked to Chris. “You suffered her insults and anger,” she told him and looked to James.

“And you have heard her lies but even you both are hesitant to admit what’s to be done. Your alpha or his son have not seen such things so all she has to do is put back on the mask, cry a few tears, and blame it all on the doctor to make them look the other way,” she explained. “Your alpha won’t be able to do what needs to be done,” she finished.

James let out a long slow sigh leaning back into his chair, knowing the vampire was right. There was only one thing they could do to ensure she wouldn’t do any more harm, but he didn’t like it. “I will admit you have a point,” he said looking directly at Lacy and for once she looked shocked. “What do you think Chris?” he asked the other werewolf.

“I can’t man, I can’t just say kill her and be done with it,” he admitted and Lacy started laughing bitterly.

“You’re so pathetic,” she snapped at him and Bianca hissed at her.

“Silence little dog, you’re breathing now thanks him,” the vampire told her.

They argued for a little longer but still didn’t decide on anything. The vampires still believed she should be killed, Chris was silent, and James wasn’t sure, but he didn’t want to do anything without Lily having her say first. “I need to take a break; I’ll be back in an hour or so. Don’t do anything until I get back,” he told the vampires. Dorin nodded and Bianca rolled her eyes at him. He was really starting to hate that red head.

James sat down in a small bar he had noticed earlier, ordering a hard drink. As he nursed the drink, he passed all the events in his head. Bianca was right about one thing, it was very hard to admit that Lacy had done something so atrocious, even after he’d seen her new attitude with his own eyes. His thoughts passed to Lily and a sad smile formed on his face. She had forgiven him for the wrong she felt he’d done in the past and promised to treat him better, it was tragic that it came with such a high price.

Once he finished his drink, he paid the bartender and left the bar to return to the hotel. He felt exhausted but knew he wouldn’t be able to sleep.

“James,” Dorin called him.

“Anything new?” James asked as the vampire stood before him but got a bad vibe from the moody expression on his face.

“Actually yes and I don’t think you or the hybrid is going to like it,” he started and James narrowed his eyes at the vampire.

“What happened?” James demanded.

“It’s my fault,” Chris jumped in walking up to them with the red head vampire by his side. He stared in surprise and horror as he looked at Chris. The werewolf’s face was covered in scratch marks and on his neck was a large scar where it looked as if someone tried to rip out his throat.

“What the hell happened to you Chris?” he asked.

“I was sure that Lacy was acting like this because of Xavier doing something to her James. Just as I was sure that if I were patient, I could break her out of it. When you left, I went to talk to her some more. For a moment, I thought I was getting through to her. I really did,” he explained and James nodded for him to go on.

“She stopped shouting at me and calling me every name she could think of so I moved closer. I thought…I thought if I could touch her, our bond would help her go back…go back to who she was,” Chris went on.

“That’s where you’re an idiot,” Dorin scowled at him.

“Yeah I am an idiot! I get that loud and clear now! Thank you for shoving it in my face, even more,” Chris snapped.

“Awe you’re not an idiot sexy, Dorin is just being grumpy,” Bianca purred linking her arm with his. James eyed the werewolf curiously as Chris thanked the vampire with a small smile.

“Chris, tell me what the hell happened?” James insisted and Chris nodded again.

“As I said, she seemed to be receptive and I got closer to her. She started to shout at me how disgusted she was when she felt the mate connection between us, she wanted to reject me from the start, but Xavier told her not too. He said if she did she would fall out of her father’s favor and he needed her close to her father,” Chris explained looking at the ground.

“Lacy bragged about how she faked everything, she threw in my face every time we were together she’d think of…someone else. She told me how much she wanted to kill me and then attacked me. She almost killed me, but Bianca came into the room and stopped her,” Chris finished keeping his gaze on the ground.

“You’re welcome sexy,” Bianca told him giving him a peck on the cheek. “I don’t think I ever enjoyed ripping someone’s heart out so much and it tasted marvelously delicious too,” she added with a happy smile and James gawked at her.

“You killed her?” James exclaimed astounded. Chris looked up and nodded then returned his gaze to the ground.

“Of course I killed her,” Bianca snapped looking insulted. “That’s what you do with rabid little dogs James,” she stated then looked him dead in the eye. “You.Put.Them.Down,” she said slowly over accenting every word. James stared at the vampire then to Chris having no idea what to say.

“You got the mess cleaned up? The last thing we need is the maid finding the body,” Dorin asked with a flat tone.

“For the most part, I cleaned up the blood but sexy here wouldn’t let me dispose of the body. So it’s wrapped in the shower curtain in the bathroom,” Bianca replied as if it wasn’t the first body she had to dispose of.

“You can’t just dump her in a ditch,” Chris snapped at them angrily. “Tell them, James! They can’t just toss her away like a piece of trash,” he demanded.

“Why not?” Dorin asked looking genuinely curious. “That’s what she would have done to you,” he added and Chris growled at him.

“That doesn’t matter Dorin,” James jumped in. “Chris is right, we can’t just dispose of her. We have to take her body back to the alpha so they can put her to rest,” he explained.

“We don’t have time to take her back,” Bianca shot. “She’s dead and she is no longer a threat, but your pack doctor is! Who knows how long it will be before there are more hybrids running around,” she nearly shouted at them. James started to argue with her when Chris spoke up.

“No James, she’s right about that. You guys can’t go back, but I can. I’ll take Lacy back to her father. I’m sorry, but I’m done. I can’t go with you to stop Xavier. I just…I can’t do this anymore,” Chris said and James nodded.

“You heard him,” James said to the vampires. “He’ll take Lacy until then neither of you touches her. Got it,” he warned them and the vampires both nodded before leaving.

“How could she be my mate James?” Chris asked when they were gone, but James didn’t think he really expected an answer. “I felt it all when we met. The first shock when we touched, the connection, and attraction, I felt it all. I thought mates are supposed to complete you, not hate you then try to kill you,” he continued.

“Wish I knew, I’m trying to win over my own so I’m not the best for advice here,” James told him with a small shrug.

“You know what’s worse, James. She never gave me a chance to prove to her that I could be the mate she deserved. Instead, she used me, lied to me, and manipulated me!” Chris growled in anger. “She never gave me a chance and I deserved it,” he shouted looking as if he was about to lose control but with a couple of deep breaths he calmed down. “And as much as I hate to admit it part of me is glad she is dead,” he said with a cold, harsh voice and turned to walk to his own room.

An hour before sunrise James watched as Lily walked into the bathroom where the pale body of Lacy was. She had been furious when she found out. He had to hold her back from tearing the red headed vampire into pieces. “Oh Lacy,” Lily sobbed kneeling in front of the bathtub where Lacy was placed. “I’m so sorry,” she said quietly. Lily turned to James, her tear filled eyes cold and hard. “Get out James,” she snarled.

“Lily,” he started, but she growled at him.

“No, get out! I don’t want to see you or anyone else! You all let that blood sucking bitch murder my best friend,” she shouted.

“It was so fast,” Chris reasoned from behind James.

“Shut the hell up, she was your mate! How could you let this happen? You failed her, Chris! You failed me! You failed Tony and you failed Andrew so get the hell out,” She screamed at them then slammed the bathroom door. Chris sat down on the hotel bed covering his face in his hands.

“You’re just going to let her yell at you like that,” Bianca argued with them. “She has no idea what happened, but she dares to say that crap!”

“Leave it, Bianca,” Dorin spoke. “She’s just lost a piece of her family and has no one to really blame so she blames us. It’s easier for her to accept than face the fact that the blonde had it coming,” he explained, surprising James.

“Thanks, Dorin, you can have my room to sleep and Lily can be free to grieve all the time she needs,” he told the vampire.

It wasn’t until late afternoon, James jumped awake to the sound of the bathroom door opening. His heart went out to Lily when he saw her puffy red eyes from crying.

“Where’s Chris?” she asked in a stoic voice.

“He’s in his room,” James told her. “Look, Lily, it wasn’t his fault honestly. She was trying to kill him. It looked as if she almost did it too. I saw the scars that had yet to heal,” He added quickly. A pained expression washed over her and she nodded before leaving.

James watched her leave with concern, worried about what she was going to do when she went to Chris’s room, but he knew he had to keep his nose out of it. He paced nervously waiting for one or both of them to come back to the room. What seemed like forever to his surprise, they both returned…holding hands. James swallowed a hot flash of possessiveness, knowing it was a sign she didn’t keep Lacy’s death against Chris.

“Are you sure you don’t want me to go with you Chris?” she asked him her voice still heavy with sadness

“Yeah, you guys have to stop Xavier,” Chris replied and she nodded. They went into the bathroom and took Lacy to Chris’s truck. James offered to help, but both refused. They said their final goodbyes then watched as Chris drove off.

“I’m sorry for yelling at you like that earlier James. I know it wasn’t your fault as it wasn’t Chris’s either,” she told him, her voice flat. “But do me a favor and keep that vampire bitch from me or I swear I’ll rip her to pieces,” she said, anger filling her voice.

“I’ll do what I can Lily and when this is over, I’ll make sure she pays for taking Lacy’s life,” he promised her. She looked over her shoulder at him, her face cold and hard.

“Good,” she replied. “But first it’s Xavier’s time to pay. He’s the one responsible for everything. For you, me, Kyle, Greg, and Lacy,” she told him and walked away.

Chapter 24

~

 

“It had been three days since Bianca had killed Lacy. Lily refused to forgive Bianca for what she had done. She didn’t care if the vampire didn’t understand why she was so angry. It had been three days, and Lily still wanted to shove a stake through the red head’s chest as far as it would go. There had been a chance that Lacy was under the influence of something Xavier had done but thanks to that blood hungry leech they’d never know.

Lily’s thoughts went out to Chris. He no longer was the cocky, flirty, and funny guy she had come to love. She hated to see him go without her; it made the wound in her heart grow even more. As hard as that was, it was nothing compared to the phone call she had to make to Greg and Tony. James had offered, but Lily wanted to do it herself, it was her sister after all.

At first, Tony didn’t want to believe that Lacy was capable of such a thing but when she told him that she experienced it firsthand, he had no choice but to accept it. As if that wasn’t bad enough then she had to tell him that Lacy was dead. Hearing the strong future alpha and big brother break down and cry, tore her already hurting heart into more pieces.

Once he recovered Tony made her swear that no one would tell Sandy or Andrew the truth, and she agreed. They didn’t need to know, and it wouldn’t do them any good knowing. Her father was already beating himself up with guilt for not seeing Xavier’s betrayal and her being taken under his nose. If he knew his own daughter also had betrayed him, who knows how he would take it.

Lily stared at the ceiling of the hotel room sighing loudly. They were finally in Montana, and this little town is where the trail of credit card transactions stopped. James was sleeping, and Lily was bored out of her mind. She got up from the bed and put on her sunglasses with the determination to do some snooping around until sunset. She decided to stop at a tiny diner and try to eat some real food. She had only been drinking blood that Dorin gave her lately, and it was becoming bothering just how much she actually started to enjoy the taste.

She smiled at the waitresses as she sat down and ordered coffee and a donut. “This is a nice little town though a bit out of the way. Do you get many tourists in around here?” she asked the waitress with a friendly tone. The older plump woman smiled as she poured the coffee.

“No not too many but we get a few,” she replied keeping her smile.

“I am looking for a man, maybe he passed through here, Xavier Thompson?” The woman thought for a moment then shook her head no. “Oh, that was a shame I had heard he passed through here. He’s a doctor you see and a real good one,” Lily started with a sad expression. “My poor little sister is really sick and he is probably the only one can help her,” she said with a heartbreaking tone and the woman gave her a look of pity and compassion.

Lily suppressed a growl hating that look more than anything in the world. “I’m so sorry dear, but I haven’t heard of any Thompson around here,” she replied before leaving to attend another customer. Lily managed to keep her sad expression from turning into a scowl as she ate what she could of her food that was a two forced bites of her donut and three sips of her coffee. She had to stop there, or she was going to get sick.

After asking a few more people about Xavier, she decided to check out the woods. At first, it was difficult because she had to spend nearly an hour distinguishing what smell belong to what, oddly not all forests smell the same. She knelt and picked up a fallen leaf, finally starting to pick up a scent that didn’t belong to the natural setting of the forest. “Mind telling me what you’re doing here?” Someone asked with a strong, deep voice.

Lily looked up to see a group of three police officers, a sheriff, and his deputies, glaring at her. How the hell did she not hear them? The one in the middle was enormous, and it’s possible he was even taller than James. He had dark hair and eyes, beard and was nearly double the width as Lily. The other two were smaller but still taller than Lily. One had dark hair and the only lighter sandy brown color.

“I’m…” she started standing up dusting off the non-existent dirt of her jeans. “Just appreciating a nice walk among nature which isn’t against the law, I didn’t see anywhere it mentioned this was protected or private land,” she replied.

“But entering into my territory without my permission is,” he told her and that’s when she noticed their scent. They were werewolves and the big one playing sheriff appeared to be the alpha. Crap, crap, and double crap, she thought, wondering how to get out of this one. She had no idea about werewolf protocol. She also cursed James; he didn’t think to warn her about these things!

“Oh right,” she started sticking her hands in her back pockets. “I am kind of new to all this so…my bad,” Lily said with a shrug. The one of the sheriff’s left, the sandy brown, growled at her, and she narrowed her eyes at him.

“Well, your mate should teach you better manners. Where is your mate by the way?” the sheriff asked, and she frowned crossing her arms.

“What the hell does that have to do with anything?” Lily asked with a cynical tone. “For the record, I don’t have a mate and don’t need one, what is this the sixteenth century?” She barked back, and the alpha glared at her sternly growling at her quietly. She wanted to slap herself, why can’t she keep her damn mouth closed! “Look I am not here to cause your pack trouble; I am only planning being here for a day or two then I will never to return,” she explained.

“What are you doing here?” he demanded, and she could feel him trying to do his alpha thing on her but, at least, she couldn’t fall under that.

“Sightseeing,” Lily replied with a simple shrug and started to walk back to town.

“Stop right there,” he ordered and to her surprise, she was forced to stop. What the hell? She tried to take another step but found it was impossible to move.

“Turn back around and come here,” the sheriff told her, and she couldn’t stop herself from doing exactly what he told her. How could he be doing that to her? Andrew was never able to make her do anything! She glared at him when she stood in front of him.

“What is your name,” he demanded.

“Lily,” she snapped once more incapable of not obeying him. “What’s yours? Alpha Jerk Off with his pack of merry men,” she snapped in defiance, furious he was controlling her. His dark haired goon snarled at her and started toward her, but the alpha held up his hand to stop him.

“Yeah I know one day my big mouth is going to get me into trouble,” Lily said, crossing her arms before he could say it. The alpha kept his stoic face mask, looking neither angry nor bothered by her which made her, even more, irritated.

“Now what are you doing in my territory Lily?” he commanded. Lily glared at him and huffed.

“I am looking for someone, a doctor by the name of Xavier Thompson though I like to call him Dr. Frankenstein, His favorite hobbies are kidnapping and immoral experimentation,” she explained. Besides the fact, she couldn’t resist his commands she decided to keep his attention away from her.

“There’s no one here with that name,” he told her.

“Well, his credit card purchases say otherwise,” she snapped.

“Let’s go down the station and you can fill me in all the details there,” he told her.

“Thanks but I’d rather not,” Lily replied snootily.

“Well, I insist Lily,” he told her pointedly, “I’m Alpha Nick, by the way,” he added, and she growled at him. It was official; she hated alphas! She thought James was a pain in the ass.

Lily tried to ignore the looks of the people that eyed her they walked into the police station with the alpha in front and his two goons on either side of her. If she had any hopes of Xavier not knowing she was here it had been screwed over by Alpha Nosey here. The alpha ordered her to his office, and she followed stiffly glaring at him the whole time.

“So now explain to me everything Lily,” Nick demanded once his goons left the office and she sighed.

“I already told you everything, I am here to look for Xavier, what more do you want jackass,” she barked.

He gave her an intense look. “I don’t think I have met anyone who dared to defy me this much before,” he told her.

“First time for everything and I am the queen of defiance…jackass,” she shot back.

“With a very big mouth,” he added.

“Wouldn’t you like to find out,” she retorted acidly, and he raised his eyebrows at her questioningly with a small smile. Once more she scolded herself for her big mouth.

“You haven’t told me everything. For example, what exactly are you? Your scent is off,” Nick stated, and she cursed silently refusing to offer any information about herself.

“I guess I should take more showers if I smell that badly,” she replied with a smile. He muttered something under his breath, and her smile grew.

“That’s not what I meant, what are you?” he demanded and once more she felt his influence pull at her.

“I am an Aquarius,” she replied, trying to resist the urge to spill out everything, and he gave her pointed look. “It’s true,” she added with a smile, and he shook his head.

“Tell me what you are!” he demanded, and she felt the urge to tell him everything grow.

“I am one of a kind,” she shot at him, and he started to look irritated and pushed his control over her even harder.

“Damn it, leave me alone,” Lily growled at him, fighting his control.

“Not while you’re here in my territory sweetheart,” Nick demanded, and she again wondered how the hell he could control her so easily. She gripped the chair she was sitting in, and she started to break a sweat. Damn you, James, why didn’t you warn me, she cursed.

“Fine, damn it! I am hybrid,” she blurted out, no longer able to resist his influence, and he looked at her with shock.

“That is impossible! A hybrid never lives past its creation and if it does it becomes nothing more than an uncontrollable monster,” he shot back and she sighed with exhaustion and gave the alpha another shrug.

“Yeah well, a little more than a month ago I would have said that I couldn’t become a werewolf by drinking a cup of coffee but it happened,” she replied bitterly.

“Explain,” he demanded.

“Bite me,” she snapped, and he gave her a growl of warning. But she only gave him the full account if everything when Nick used his influence on her again.

“Well if he is here then he isn’t using his real name,” he stated after she finished.

“Wow, you’re a regular Sherlock, It’s no surprise you became Sherriff,” she jeered at him. This jerk was making her lose time; she already knew by now she was using a fake name. Nick gave her a look of irritation and narrowed her eyes at him. “Can I leave now, I got a lot more people to piss off today,” she argued.

“God woman you are difficult,” he replied with a sigh and she smiled at him sweetly just about to give him a witty come back when a familiar voice caught her attention. It couldn’t be; she thought as she shot out of the chair and running over to the large windows that were blocked out by the off-white blinds. Of all the oddball coincidences, she thought as she saw it was, in fact, him, Xavier Thompson in the flesh. He was joking and talking with the people of the small police station like he was one of the towns.

“That’s Richard Crawford,” the sheriff said making Lily jump a little. She didn’t notice he had gotten up from his chair and was standing so close to her. God she really needed to start paying attention to her surroundings more. She was a super werewolf hybrid and she becoming too damn easy to sneak up on.

“That is Xavier Thompson,” she said bitterly watching Xavier approach the sheriff’s office. Nick sat back down, and Lily pushed herself in the corner.

“Nick, how are you today?” Xavier said entering the office and sitting down in one of the chairs in front of the sheriff’s desk. “I heard you had some trouble with trespassers today,” he added.

“Always clinging to men of power but still not one yourself,” Lily sneered, coming out of her corner. Xavier turned and smiled at her, not the least bit surprised to see her.

“Lily, what a pleasant surprise! How have you been my dear?” Xavier replied.

“So what she tells me about you is true then Richard?” the sheriff asked, looking angry, but Xavier ignored him getting up to face Lily.

“You look wonderful Lily. How’s the change been for you? Have you been able to maintain control over your beasts and how much blood intake do you need?” He asked quickly smiling as if he was meeting a long lost friend. She growled and pulled the wrapped up dagger she had stuck in her jeans, pulling off the cloth pointing at him menacingly.

“You bastard, I should kill you right now. Stab you right in the chest like you did Kyle,” she growled at him.

“Put that down,” the sheriff demanded, and Lily tried to fight it but stiffly did what he told her to do and Xavier was laughing.

“Quiet powerful isn’t he, Lily. Not like Andrew at all,” Xavier said with amusement.

“Shut up Richard, and sit down! You have a lot of explaining to do,” Nick demanded, but Xavier gave him a cold smile.

“I don’t think I will Nick, maybe another time,” Xavier told him smugly, and Lily noticed the sheriff looked surprised and confused. Xavier turned back to Lily keeping his smug expression. “I’ve known Nick for a long time, and even as a child he had quite the alpha influence about him,” he explained.

“And you planned for it by finding some way to block it from affecting you,” she stated the grabbed the knife bitterly again. “So let’s just end the problem right now,” she growled.

“Oh Lily, always so brash and forgetting to think things through,” he told her with a tone a parent would use with a disobedient child. “Sheriff have you seen Wendy today. Lily, Nick has a thirteen-year-old daughter, Wendy. She went through her first shift the same night you did. In fact, she reminds me a lot of you, smart, beautiful, and lots of spirit,” he stated smoothly.

“Richard what exactly are you implying?” the sheriff growled as he stood and Xavier gave him another cold smile.

“Actually, it’s Xavier Nick, and she is safe,” he told the alpha then turned to Lily. “She is quite the fighter. I see the same promise I saw in you,” he told her and Lily’s looked at him horrified.

“Don’t you dare,” she threatened, taking a step towards him.

“Don’t he dare what?” Nick demanded with a worried tone, but no one answered him.

“Why not, are you honestly going to say you don’t enjoy what you have become? I can’t see how you’d prefer to be that droll normal human you were a month ago,” he asked her.

“How many lives do you have to destroy to be satisfied?” Lily snapped at him.

“Destroyed? I don’t think I have destroyed anyone’s life,” Xavier replied with a cynical tone and Lily laughed bitterly.

“I’d make you a list Xavier, but it’d take too long, how about we just say your latest victim, Lacy. Thanks to you she’s dead now,” Lily said, her voice rising slightly. Her blood boiled as she saw the look of relief on his face.

“Well, that gets rid of one of my loose ends. That girl was just like Kyle. Seriously how could she think that James would want to be with her? I guess we’ll never know,” he mused with a small smile.

“You son of a bitch, she was like a sister to me! How dare you? I’m going to kill you and be done with it,” She shouted shaking with so much anger.

“No, no Lily. I don’t think Nick here is ready to see your beast and besides if you don’t want Wendy’s blood and several other children’s blood on your hands, you best let me walk out of this building unharmed,” he warned. Nick growled. “If I’m not in contact with my people, all the children will be eliminated within the hour,” he told him.

“If you hurt her I swear I’ll rip you to tiny pieces,” the sheriff demanded, and Xavier smiled at the sheriff.

“My intention isn’t to hurt her Nick but to improve her. Like the charming Lily here,” Xavier told him smugly. “If I see that I am being followed I will kill one of the children,” he added as if he was commenting on the weather.

“Xavier if you harm or change one single person I promise to make your death that much slower! And do not doubt that I won’t be leaving this town until I kill you,” Lily threatened him but he just laughed in reply.

“Oh, Lily temper, temper! You know I’ve missed you,” he told her with an affectionate tone then left the office. Lily followed him as he left the building, growling rabidly. “Goodbye Lily, I am sure we will meet again soon,” Xavier called to her as he got into a blue car. Damn him, damn him to hell, she thought furious as she watched him drive off. With a growl of frustration, she stomped towards the hotel. He was always one step ahead even after everything!

“Wait a minute,” Nick called to her grabbing her by the arm. “Where are you going, what is that man going to do with my daughter?” the sheriff demanded. Lily pushed his hand off her arm taking a deep breath trying to calm down.

“I’m going to my hotel room. That lunatic is going to make your daughter like me if we don’t stop him,” She explained with a rough growl. “I have to find out where he is hiding before he can do that!” Lily snapped, turning back and marching off to her hotel.

“Well, I am coming with you,” he demanded.

“I figured as much,” she shot back.

James was already awake when she entered the room. James narrowed his eyes dangerously at Nick, who was following close behind her. She walked up to him and punched him, busting his lip. “Damn it, Lily, I thought you said you were going to stop hitting me,” James cursed.

“No, you asked if I would stop hitting you when you were trying to be nice. I’ll still knock the crap out of you whenever you deserve it! Like now,” she shouted at him and punched him in the arm. “You could have enlightened me about the whole entering into another pack’s territory protocol so I wouldn’t have made the idiot of myself today,” Lily growled at him.

“Well you weren’t supposed to leave the room,” he growled back, glaring at Nick. “Who is that and what are you doing with him?” he growled at her. Nick started to answer, but Lily cut him off, she was going to extract some payback.

“He found me in the woods,” Lily told him with a nasty smile and gave James a pointed look, making James growl even louder. “It was real fun, He really amazed me by the things he could do to me,” She shot noticing Nick was giving her a confused look.

“Stay away from her, she’s mine!” James growled at Nick who started growling back at him.

“Are you sure because she told me she didn’t have a mate,” Nick growled back and James started towards him.

“Oh God, this is so easy it’s not even any fun,” Lily complained as she stepped between the two. “You seriously need to learn how to detect sarcasm and learn what play on words is James,” she told James as she rolled her eyes.

“Don’t do that again Lily,” he growled at her.

“I will do what I want and for the record don’t you ever act like you own me got it or I swear…” She snapped at him and James gave her a look of boredom.

“You will mummify me silver, make me eat silver, or something similar I know I know,” he grumped walking over to a chair glowering at her. Nick was glaring at her too and she shrugged.

“Hey, you wanted to follow me. Welcome to the wonderful world that is my life and don’t forget to check your sanity and dignity at the door, thank you very much,” she told Nick with an evil smile, and the alpha continued to glare at her giving her a look of indignation. “Anyways now that I tried to have some fun, let’s get down to business,” she stated.

“Alpha this is James Lacrosse, James this is the Nick the local alpha,” she said introducing the two men.

“As in the James Lacrosse,” Nick asked and James looked at him smugly with a nod.

“I like to call him Xavier’s experiment number one or pain in the ass for short,” Lily jumped in earning a glare from James and she smiled at him sweetly. “Xavier is here James, we had a nice little chat which he happily revealed about him having kidnapped Nick’s daughter and another unknown amount of children,” she explained.

“I never suspected anything of him, he’s been coming here for visits for as long as I can remember,” Nick explained. “Never caught my attention as being anything but a nice guy,” he added.

“That’s his specialty,” James stated. “Appearing to be concerned, courteous, and generally a person you can count on,” he explained.

“I am pretty sure he will be in the woods. If he follows the same M.O. Then it will be a very secluded and dense part of the forest where even werewolves seldom travel,” she told the sheriff.

“The forest is pretty extensive there are quite a few places that could fall under that description,” he informed them.

“Nick, don’t trust anyone with what we discuss here,” Lily told him darkly. “Not even those you would trust with your life, Xavier is the worst type of predator and his prey is the secretly unhappy. He traps them with promises and lies, making even the most unsuspecting and most loyal person turn and you won’t even realize it until it’s too late,” she warned him.

“You sound as if you speak from experience,” Nick stated.

“Because she does, just a couple of days she was tortured by someone she considered her sister because of Xavier,” James told him and Nick’s expression turned dark and she could see he realized the threat before him, at least, they got that much from him.

They’d been making plans for hours now and Lily sighed exhaustedly rubbing her getting up from the table. She grabbed an apple from her bag and taking a big bite out of it, she was tired of looking over maps that she had no idea how to read. “I’ll have to have my pack help in the search, maybe using just the members that had children taken. The count is up to twenty children now,” Nick explained. Lily started to say something after she swallowed the piece of apple she was chewing but slapped her hand over her mouth.

Lily tried to force her body to accept it but had to run to the bathroom quickly and throw it up as well as the food she had eaten from that morning. She washed her mouth out and felt so disappointed. She walked out of the room and tossed the apple into the trash. “Is it getting worse?” James asked and she narrowed her eyes at him.

“What does it look like,” she snapped leaving the room. She leaned up against Dorin’s SUV, trying to dispel her fear.

“What’s getting worse?” she heard Nick ask her and she sighed.

“It’s none of your business,” she told him pointedly.

“Actually, it is, that man is threatening to make my daughter like you,” he told her. She sighed again and let her head fall back.

“I’m having a problem eating real food. It’s getting to the point I can no longer eat,” she confessed.

“Why can’t you eat?” He asked and she growled at him unwilling to admit it. “Lily why can’t you eat,” he demanded using his alpha influence on her and she growled at him once more.

“Because it makes me sick,” Lily spat forcefully. “Lately, the only way to satisfy my hunger is to drink…blood,” she told him and he made a face of disgust. She was so frustrated. The fact that the moon was getting close to being full wasn’t helping her any at all, it only made her more restless and nervous. “I’m going to stop him even if it means I have to go down with him,” she told him.

“Well let’s hope it doesn’t come to that,” he told her and Lily turned to look at the alpha who had a small smile on his face.

“Aw crushin on me are you?” She asked with a teasing tone and he started to laugh.

“You’re not bad to look at but no I am not “crushin” on you. You’d drive me nuts and make my pack doubt my capabilities as alpha within a week, if not less!” He told her and now she started to laugh. “Plus there is no way in hell I’d want to go through James,” he told her and she scowled rolling her eyes. “What is the deal between you two by the way?” he asked.

“He is messed up in the head, I blame Xavier’s experiments. I swear it fried his brain,” she told him and he gave her a pointed look.

“Okay, okay,” she started actually feeling glad to talk to someone about it even if it was Alpha Nosey. “Soon after I was changed to this, the local vampire king said if I made any mistakes and lost control he would issue my extermination, which obviously had me feeling like crap. James showed up in my moment of weakness saying just the things I needed to hear and well one thing led to another,” she explained.

“He thinks it meant something more than what it was; a bite mark doesn’t make me his mate no matter what he says. Especially when in all honestly if any man showed up saying those things I would have done exactly the same,” she finished feeling a little slutty.

“Actually, bite mark is the mark of a mate,” Nick told her.

“If that were true I’d have to be all mushy for him but I can’t stand James and he irritates the hell out of me,” she told him with a matter of fact tone and he laughed quietly.

“Well you two aren’t exactly normal wolves now are you,” he told her and she shrugged. “The line between love and hate is very thin,” he added and she gave him a disgusted look making him laugh loudly. “You say if any man showed up that moment you would have done the same, but it was him that found you and somehow he knew exactly what to say,” he told her with his own matter of fact tone.

“The alpha told him to find me,” Lily shot stubbornly.

“So basically he is clingy and you don’t feel anything for him at all that it,” Nick asked and she nodded in agreement. Before she could react, Nick turned and pushed against her as he kissed her. Lily stood there frozen by surprise for a moment before she pushed him away from her.

“What the hell are you doing?” She demanded and he gave her a sly grin.

“How did it feel?” He asked and she looked at him confused. “I’ve never had any complaints where my skills at pleasing women,” Nick told her slyly. “What do you think, did you like it or did it feel wrong?” He asked and she licked her lips not sure how to answer. “If it helps compared it to when James kisses you,” Nick added and she narrowed her eyes at him seeing what he was doing.

“I don’t know,” Lily admitted. Honestly, she didn’t feel anything from his kiss but now that she thought of it, she wasn’t too sure how she felt when James kissed her. The first time she was so needy, the second time and she was being influenced by her beast.

“If I were a betting man, I’d bet on James is closer to being right than you think,” he told her with a smile, returning back to the room. Lily frowned crossing her arms, not liking how he made her doubt herself. There was only one way to prove him wrong, she thought walking back towards the hotel room. Ignoring the look Nick was giving her as he sat in front of the map again. Lily grabbed James by the hand, pulling him in the bathroom.

“What are you doing?” he demanded but she ignored him and pushed herself up and kissed him. With a quiet growl, he kissed her back eagerly. “What was that for?” James asked her when the kiss ended, but she didn’t answer.

“Crap,” Lily mumbled with a frown. James’s kiss was not only better but had her whole body in an uproar. Her heart was racing, her blood boiled and she felt light headed. She could feel the beast howl inside her with delight urging her to kiss him again. Like hell, she thought bitterly. She turned to walk out of the bathroom.

“Whoa, wait a minute,” James said, grabbing her arm. “Why’d you just pull me in here to kiss me?” he asked with a sly smile.

“None of your business James,” Lily snapped, wishing she hadn’t kissed him. She freed herself from his grip and started to walk to the door again. Yet again James grabbed her arm, stopping her from leaving still with the smile on his face.

“It’s not like I’m complaining or anything. I was just curious,” he told her and she pulled her arm free again.

“I don’t care, it’s still none of your business,” she demanded, but he grabbed her again and pulled her against him.

“Fine, keep it to yourself, but you can’t just kiss a man like that and walk away,” he told her. His voice was lower and deeper as his sly smile turned into a naughty one.

“James, don’t get that look,” Lily warned him, but he pulled her against him. “James, I am serious! Let me go,” she demanded.

“Nope, I’m never going to let you go, Lily,” he replied her then kissed her again but more hungrily this time. She squirmed against him trying to push him away but he didn’t budge and her determination to get away from him was melting like snow on an August afternoon. Before she could think about it twice, Lily returned the kiss just as intense. He picked her up and sat her on the bathroom counter. Lily gasped in surprise and he quickly took the chance to deepen the kiss.

One of his hands snuck under her shirt while the other wrapped around her waist. When the kiss finally ended Lily felt light headed and breathless. James kissed along her jaw until reaching her ear where he gently nipped the soft skin of her ear. She bit her lip trying to suppress a moan that threatened to escape. The last thing he needed was more encouragement, she thought as James slowly trailed searing kisses down her neck.

“James,” she said breathlessly with the intention of saying something more, but she forgot what she was going to say. He growled against her neck making her shiver.

“I love the way you say my name,” he told her huskily as he pushed up her shirt removing it. He tossed it aside and continued to lay hot kisses where he left off. James nipped the bite mark on her shoulder and she gasped at the immense pleasure it caused. Her body quickly heated up and the beast howled in excitement. She moved her hands along his chest and hugged him with her legs.

Lily kissed him ardently lowering her hands slowly along his chest reaching the hem of his t-shirt. She slowly inched up his shirt and he let out a loud, slow moan. An evil smile crossed her face as she decided to have some fun. James grabbed at his shirt to tear it off, but she slapped away his hands and he looked at her with confusion. “If we do this, we do it my way,” she told him with a sultry tone. James swallowed loudly with a wolfish smile that made her heart skip a few beats.

“I can try, but I’m not so sure the beast will agree,” he replied with a rough voice and she smiled even more.

“He’ll have to learn to behave or he will do without,” she told him suggestively and he growled with a look of lust that made her feel powerful. She inched his shirt slowly up brushing her fingertips against his skin, making him shiver at her touch and moan loudly. She finally removed his shirt completely and she slid off the bathroom counter. She turned James around and pushed him against the edge of the counter, loving the feeling of control she had over him. She kissed his shoulders as she scraped her nails down his chest leaving pink marks.

Lily continued to move her hands down his stomach and he grabbed her, pulling her close. She pushed his hands away from her and making “tsk” sound. “Now I’ll have to start all over again,” she told him and he groaned in a complaint but didn’t insist. She placed back onto his shoulders and slowly lowered her hands over his chest enjoying the feeling of his skin against her fingers. By the time she reached his stomach, he was literally sweating and panting. Just how she liked him, she thought with another smile.

She continued down his strong hard stomach until she reached his pants. With her index finger, Lily traced the edge of his pants, feeling triumphant as she saw James was gripping the counter so hard his knuckles had turned white, causing the counter to have several cracks at its surface.

She kissed him on the chest as she slowly unbuttoned his pants and slipping her hand inside. James jumped and gasped as she wrapped her hand around him. “Damn,” she heard him pant as Lily continue to spread across his chest little kisses as she moved her hand along his length. Anytime he thrust his hips forward against her hand she would let go, causing him to groan.

Lily abruptly stopped and James started to complain, but she shushed him as she removed the rest of her clothes and his. He tried to wrap his arms around her and she pushed them away yet again. “Not yet,” she told before returning to kissing his chest.

“Oh God, you’re killing me,” he groaned and she smiled at him evilly.

“You haven’t seen anything yet,” she told him and he growled at her. She noticed his hazel eyes were flecked with gold. She smiled and continued to kiss quick soft kisses along his chest, slowly moving down towards his stomach. James leaned back moaning softly but let out a loud growl as she took him in her mouth. “Damn,” he groaned. Lily relished the sound of his heart pounding and his erratic breathing flooding her ears as she pushed him closer to the edge.

James let out a loud animalistic growl then pushed her away from him. Before she could react, he grabbed her by the arms and pulled her up to her feet and against him. His eyes were now completely golden brown as he pushed her back up on the counter top. “Mine,” he growled at her sounding more animal than human and sending shivers throughout her body. “All mine,” he growled again then smashed his lips against hers and frantically impaled her.

His tongue devoured hers in a hot tangled dance as she hugged him with her legs and arched her back to press against him. When the kiss broke Lily was no longer sure what was up or down as James’s frenzied pace was quickly driving her to the edge. He nipped her shoulder growling fierily and she wrapped her arms around his neck tangling her hands into his hair. Lily pushed into him more moaning his name loudly as she was so close to the edge.

“You’re mine and only mine Lily,” he growled again biting the bite mark on her shoulder and she cried out as she climaxed feeling him bite down harder as he reached his own. Lily panted in quick, erratic breaths as she continued to hold onto James tightly waiting for the world to orientate itself. James growled softly nuzzling into her neck and holding her just as tight as she was him. Oh God, that was amazing, she thought, realizing that it had been without a doubt the most incredible sex she had ever experienced in her life.

Chapter 25

~

 

James wasn’t sure how long they had stood there holding onto each other waiting for their racing heartbeats to slow. He nuzzled into Lily’s neck and breathed in deeply her scent letting it wash over him. This woman and how she made him feel was truly astounding. He thought last time was good, but this had been so much better. “James let me get up,” she told him attempting to shrug his arms off of her, but he only pulled her closer.

He smiled as she growled with clear frustration and attempted to pry off his arms. In this little bathroom, there was no Xavier, no vampires, no hybrid business, just them and he wasn’t ready to let go of that yet. He kissed her neck softly, ignoring her. “Seriously James we have more important things to deal with than your libido,” she snapped at him and he groaned in complaint.

“No one will miss us for a few more hours,” he told her and she attempted to punch him in the gut, but he had expected as much and caught her fist before she had a chance to hit him. “You’re starting to get very predictable Lily. Might want to work on that,” James teased her and she huffed at him.

“James, am I seriously going to have to hurt you?” she growled at him. He sighed, realizing that the moment was now gone.

“Fine but when this is all over you’re going to be all mine,” he told her with a kiss on the cheek, letting her go and grabbing his clothes.

“Whatever James,” she replied as she grabbed her own. When they had finished dressing, she turned and gave him a hard look. “Don’t get your hopes up because seriously, you and me, not happening…ever,” she told him then left the room. James smiled with skepticism. We’ll see about that one, he vowed silently following her out of the room.

He still had his smile when he knocked on Dorin’s door. When the door opened, he forced the smile off his face and entered the room. “Let’s get this over with,” James said bluntly, sitting in one of the chairs.

“I will have to take more than usual; she’s coming with me to the Aequivalere headquarters here. It’s overseen by the vampire Queen Hazar,” Dorin explained unsheathing a small dagger. “It’s necessary,” Dorin added once he saw James skeptical expression. “The Aequivalere need to see that Lily isn’t a crazed mass murdering beast like ninety-nine percent of the hybrids before her,” Dorin explained sitting next to James.

“If they can see she is intelligent and rational, well maybe we should just settle for sane and sentient being, the Aequivalere will protect her against any order, King Silvano. That is if Lily can keep her mouth shut, of course,” Dorin finished and James gave the vampire a small smirk.

“Why are you helping her so much?” James grunted when Dorin sliced into his arm with a silver dagger. The vampire scoffed as he collected the blood that fell from his arm into a black container.

“It’s not for her, I can tell you that,” Dorin replied and James gave him a questioning look.

“Then what’s it for?” he asked and covered the cut on his arm with a small towel. Dorin seemed really hesitant and he really didn’t expect the vampire to answer.

“My brother,” Dorin said slowly. “When I was made vampire I didn’t listen to the advice of my maker to leave my family. She warned me that I was dangerous, but I didn’t listen and one night, crazy with my blood lust, I attacked my brother and by the time I came to he was quickly dying. I loved my brother more than anything in this world so I did the only thing I could think of, I made him like me,” Dorin explained and James nodded.

“What I didn’t know is that my brother had become a lycan after discovering his love was a lycanthrope. Valeriu became a hybrid but like Lily my brother learned to control the duality of each beast. He never once took an innocent life and lived for a hundred years in peace until King Silvano, whose hatred for hybrids and anything, not pure blood is famous, discovered him and hunted him for another hundred years until he murdered my brother,” Dorin went on.

“So you’re trying to prevent history from repeating itself?” James asked, leaning back in his chair.

“Something like that. Why don’t you want Lily to know that it’s your blood I’ve been giving her? It might help you since yours is the only blood that seems to fully appease her hunger,” Dorin asked back and James gave him a weak smile.

“It wouldn’t help,” James told him, feeling the light headedness start to pass. “It doesn’t take a genius to figure out she’s got issues with trust and if she knew it was my blood she’d been drinking then she’d reject it and me even more,” he finished and Dorin shook his head side to side. “What’s this queen like?” James asked, wanting to change the subject. Dorin wasn’t so bad, for a vampire, but he really didn’t want to discuss the details of his relationship with Lily to Dorin.

“She is different than all the other vampire kings and queens, not only by her willingness to work with the Aequivalere but her manner of dealing with the problems and obstacles that present themselves in her path. A lot of rumors follow her, though. I believe the most popular is that she is a powerful witch, that uses the humans not only as a food source but for wicked blood magic too,” Dorin replied with a small smile.

“And you’re taking Lily to see her?” James demanded with concern and Dorin laughed loudly.

“You should know not to believe rumors James because what I’ve heard about you isn’t pretty either. My favorite being that no one could locate your victims because you ate them,” Dorin replied and James had to give him that one.

“Well if you think she’s trustworthy,” James told him but he wasn’t sure. Dorin nodded that he did in response and James left the hotel room. James found Nick, with four others that he assumed were of his pack and Lily, leaning over some maps.

“I don’t get these maps at all,” Lily complained, frustrated. James looked over her shoulder looking at the maps. He didn’t understand them all too well but understood that they were contour maps, not only did it show rivers, streets, and paths but also the shape of the land. “I’ll take cocaine and heroin any day,” she complained, James started to laugh as the others gave her looks of disgust and surprise. “No I am not a junky,” she snapped. “When I actually had a life I was a forensic chemist,” she explained.

“You don’t look the scientist or law abiding type,” Nick asked with a teasing tone and she glared at him.

“Oh, really and what type do I look like?” Lily asked pointedly. James could see the alpha swallow with a bit of nervousness. James crossed his arms with an evil smile, wondering how Nick was going to get out of this one when the vampires ruined the moment.

“My, oh, my Lily you sure know how to travel in good company,” Bianca stated, eyeing the alpha with a lustful, hungry look. Lily’s face twisted into a scowl when she heard the vampire’s voice.

“Bianca heel, we do not drain our allies! Remember that!” She told the vampire with a slight bitterness.

“You travel with vampires too,” Nick asked with a hint of repugnance in his voice.

“Xavier isn’t only werewolf problem Nick but a vampire as well. You don’t want hybrids and they certainly don’t want hybrids,” Lily explained. “Alpha Nick Daniels these are my possible executioners Bianca and Dorin,” she added.

“Possible executioners?” Nick prodded and Lily shrugged.

“If I happen to lose it like all other hybrids then they are conveniently here to take me out,” she explained with a matter of fact tone and Nick eyed her with obvious surprise. Nick gave the vampires a polite but cool greeting.

“This is Derek, Mike, Chase, and Bonnie, all of them have their children hostage,” Nick stated then introduced Lily and James to his group. As usual, they all took a step back when they heard James names and asked if he was the James Lacrosse.

“It’s not fair,” Lily demanded suddenly. “How come you get the “The James Lacrosse” treatment and I only get the dirty hybrid! I’m so much cooler than you,” she complained, her hands on her hips.

“Because I’ve been around longer and I’m more badass than you are,” he replied simply with a shrug.

“And James is a still a pure breed even if mutated and you’re just…well, a dirty hybrid,” Dorin shot at her and she narrowed her eyes at him. “Now we have more important things to deal with,” he added.

“I know you when you say dirty hybrid you’re really saying how much you care for me but don’t worry I won’t tell anyone,” Lily shot back with a smile. “However you’re right so what is the game plan,” she said rubbing her hands together.

“You and I have to take a trip to see the Aequivalere,” Dorin told her and she frowned. “Yes you have to go, no way am I leaving you alone with Bianca. It wouldn’t help you any if you slaughtered King Silvano’s liege,” he added and she crossed her arms in a huff.

“Why do I have to go since I am just a dirty hybrid, after all,” she asked him.

“Because you want their favor to stay alive and just so happens that the queen vampire who oversees this Aequivalere sector isn’t as strict as King Silvano on the anti-hybrid topic,” Dorin replied simply

“Great now I am a political debate,” she complained.

“Whatever hybrid, we should leave now,” he told her then looked to James. “We’ll be back as soon as we can and hopefully with some reinforcements,” James nodded.

“What are you two like buddies now or what,” Lily grumped.

“Quit complaining so much and for once in your life just do what someone tells you to do,” James told her with a smug expression. She narrowed her eyes and James was sure she was going to threaten his life again when Dorin insisted that they leave at once. James kept his smug expression watching Lily follow Dorin towards his car grumbling the whole way. He turned to back to the alpha that apparently was enjoying Lily’s grumpy mood. “How are things here?” James asked indicating the maps.

“There are five areas of the forest,” started the blonde woman pointing at five circles on the map. “I work as the park ranger for five years and these are the only places that are seldom traveled by us or the human community but they’re deep in the woods and getting to the closest will take a couple of hours,” she finished.

“Sounds good, I say we get started as soon as possible,” James stated but the woman, Bonnie, looked skeptical.

“Wouldn’t be better to wait until the morning,” she argued.

“No,” James told her pointedly. “We have to find Xavier as soon as possible. The children disappeared today and the longer they stay under his control, the higher the chances that he will do his experiments on them,” he explained, eyeing the five people before him.

“He’s right Bonnie like hell am I going to sit here and wait until that bastard does what he wants with Vicky and the others,” said Derek with anger in his voice and the others eagerly agreed.

“I don’t like the idea of waiting any more than you do Derek, but these parts of the woods are dangerous and overgrown. I just don’t want anyone lost or hurt,” she explained.

“I am leaving tonight, no matter what all of you decide. Anyone is free to join me,” James stated then turned to Bianca. “You should come to, Dorin wants me to keep an eye on you,” he told her.

“God kills one traitorous dog,” she started to complain with a pout then gave James a cold chilly smile. “But I guess, if you think about it, having your handsome person keeping an eye on me isn’t so bad,” she replied with a smile.

“So lead the way lascivious friend, I will be right behind you…admiring the view,” she replied making him feel a little unnerved by the idea of having her at his back. Everyone quickly agreed to start out that night, but Bonnie still seemed a little hesitant.

“Alpha Daniels I need to discuss something with you,” James told him moving his head towards his hotel room. Nick nodded and ordered Chase to start the preparations.

“You said those four have children missing?” James asked once they were in the room and Nick looked at him confused as he nodded. “The child of Bonnie, how is he or she? Strong weak, how well do he or she do in school and get along with the other children?” He asked.

“Zander is your average werewolf. He isn’t the strongest, but he isn’t an omega either. He used to do well with friends and school but ever since his father’s death two years ago he has become a bit reclusive,” Nick explained the look of confusion still on his face.

“How did the father die?” James asked.

“A rogue killed him. We got a warning from the surrounding packs a dangerous rogue could be in the area, but he managed to slip into our territory unnoticed and surprised Frank and Zander while they were out camping. We…arrived too late…for Frank. Why? Why do you want to know all this?” Nick asked and James frowned.

“There is something about Bonnie that strikes me as off Nick,” James explained and Nick shook his head in disagreement.

“You can’t be suggesting what I think you are suggesting James. I’ve known her my whole life and I know she would do anything for that boy of hers, anything!” Nick insisted.

“Yes that is what I am worried about; a woman loses her mate and nearly her son. If I were her I would do anything to protect him, anything and everything possible,” He continued and Nick gave him a hard look.

“She wouldn’t,” Nick started but looked towards the closed door with doubt written all over his face.

“Two years ago she lost her mate, now her son is kidnapped and she is hesitant to enter into the forest where we are sure he is! We have explained that he is at great risk of being turn into a hybrid and she is arguing to wait until the morning to start the search,” James argued and Nick frowned with a quiet growl.

“So what is your suggestion, we drag her in here and interrogate her like a traitor without proof?” Nick asked harshly and James shook his head.

“No, of course not, if she is working for him and we interrogate her Xavier will know we found her out. That will put her and her son in danger, Xavier has no objections to knocking off people that no longer useful for him. I don’t want that to happen, after all, if she is working with him she only is doing it to help her son and I can’t really blame her there,” James explained ignoring the look of surprise on the alpha’s face. “I suggest you tell her to stay here in case there is any news to keep us updated and so on.”

Within the hour, they started making their way towards the first area to search. James was surprised by the disappointment everyone showed when they realized he wasn’t going to shift. He had decided against it since he was in a new area, surrounded by unfamiliar people and smells, he wasn’t sure how the beast would react. Even though he was only on two feet, he wasn’t that far behind the other four werewolves and even Bianca was making good time.

They reached the first spot after only walking about forty minutes and found there was nothing there so they started out for the next one. The second one took longer to get to, they had been walking nearly an hour and a half until they reached the area and found that there was nothing there too. It was nearly five in the morning when they reached the third area. As they started to get close James knew they had found Xavier.

The area was flooded with several distinct scents and one of them was Xavier. Everyone slowed moving carefully clearly picking up on the scents as well. Out of the brambles and branches, a tall chain link fence blocked their path. It was seven or eight feet tall topped off with barbed wire. The other four had shifted back into their human form and by the look of Nick’s face that fence wasn’t supposed to be there.

One of the Alpha’s men grabbed the fence before James could stop him. He cried out and James grabbed the closest fallen branch and slammed it into him to break the electrical current that flowed through him. He jerked for a second from the shock but quickly recovered except for his hand. It was burned badly proving what James had suspected to begin with. “The damn fence isn’t only electrified but made of silver too,” James spat with disgust and Nick growled loudly.

“Got to give it to him, the man is through,” Bianca stated appreciatively and Nick glared at her but she ignored him. “I will cross the fence since electricity and silver don’t bother me,” she told them and started to climb the fence swiftly and easily maneuvered around the barbed wire. “Try not to miss me too much,” Bianca said sweetly waving towards them before disappearing into the woods.

“Chase and Derek take Mike back to the hotel,” their alpha ordered and both men quickly nodded helping the other to his feet and back to where they came. James feeling frustrated that he couldn’t see anything walk a few feet to his left following the fence, but he couldn’t see anything.

After about ten minutes, Bianca returned bloody and Nick swore quietly as she smiled a fully fanged smile. She licked clean her fingers as she walked up to the fence. “Miss me boys,” she asked with a sweet innocent look that made her bloody appearance, even more, disturbing. “I think you two should see this,” she stated as she grabbed the fence tearing a hole in it as if it were nothing more than aluminum foil. James passed through it then Nick.

They followed her until the trees suddenly ended and Nick swore while James couldn’t believe what he was seeing. Before them was what looked like a prison, there was another tall chain link fence, then a large brick wall where armed men walked along it. James couldn’t tell what the men were from this distance. There were bright lights every fifty feet or so keeping the area well lit, but James knew the lights made them blind to the area outside of the lights.

Behind the brick wall was a large brick building that looked to be at least double of Xavier’s old laboratory. “We are going to need more than the six of us to get in there alive,” Nick said voicing James own thoughts.

“Much more,” Bianca added coolly and James hoped like hell Dorin would bring some big fat group of reinforcements or things could get really ugly.

“Well, at least, we know where he is, and hopefully, Xavier doesn’t know that we know,” James said. “How many enforcers to you have Nick,” he asked tearing his eyes off the building before them.

“Strictly enforcers around ten but I believe I could gather up about another ten more who know how to fight,” he explained and that started to sound better.

“I suggest we go back and wait for Dorin and Lily to come back before we attack and hopefully with additional help,” James told him and Nick nodded.

“I am sure the Aequivalere will send at least some people. They love sticking their noses in everyone’s business,” Bianca admitted once they started back. “My King speaks highly of the overseer, Queen Hazar,” she finished. Though James didn’t really care what King Silvano thought of anyone, he didn’t care for King Silvano at all to be quite honest.

Chapter 26

~

 

Lily drummed her fingers against the door of the car. They had been driving for a nearly an hour and she was bored. Bored and frustrated, she could be doing something so much more important that going to see some referee organization for the supernatural. Dorin turned to the left down a wide little street that went into the woods and after driving ten more minutes Lily tensed as they come to a large black gate that crossed the street with four bulky men.

Dorin got out of the car, speaking to one of them looking perfectly friendly. She also noticed the dirty looks the men threw her way. She leaned against the headrest and frowned. “My list of fans just keeps growing,” she thought bitterly, the urge to hit something was growing.

Dorin returned to the car and they drove passed the gate and she shot the men on her side nasty looks. She huffed loudly crossing her arms across her chest earning a look of disapproval from Dorin. “Try to behave yourself tonight hybrid,” he told her and she scowled at him.

“Afraid I am going to embarrass you?” She asked with a sickly sweet tone and a mocked pout and he scowled at her now. She gave him a smug look, and turned her attention back to the dark street but gasped when the large…mansion come into view. It was quite honestly the largest and most elegant building she had ever seen; in fact the word mansion didn’t even begin to describe it! “Holy mother of Buddha,” she breathed as they got closer. “That leech queen really knows how to run the place don’t she,” she added quietly.

“I suggest if you want to live out the night, do not to call her a leech,” Dorin with a hint of a smile on the edges of his mouth.

“I may be mouthy and blurt out the most absurd things Dorin, but I am not stupid,” Lily shot back at him. “I’m sure while I’m here the only one that is going to get insulting nicknames is myself,” she added as the car stopped in front of the mansion. As they got out of the car, a teen boy or he looked to be a teen boy walked up to them with a look of boredom.

“Welcome Dorin Stancu, the queen has been awaiting you,” he said with a snooty tone voice. His gaze slide over to Lily, his bored expression turned one of pure disgust then he turned on his heel walking up the steps. This is going to be fun, she thought silently as she followed Dorin up the large marble steps feeling more out of place than she had ever felt in her life. The inside of the mansion was, even more, impressive than the outside.

Lily licked her lips nervously as she looked around the colossal room. It looked like something out of a movie. The floors were a white-grey glossy stone that worked perfectly as a mirror. The walls were bright white with elegant designs running across them; the height of the room was astounding and in the center of the ceiling hung a gigantic chandelier. There were two wide staircases each on the other extreme of the room.

At first, Lily didn’t notice the people coming down the stairs but when she did she wondered how she could have missed them. Each was vibrantly different than the other. The woman that stood at the forefront was about Lily’s height. She wore a long flowing dress of brilliant red and gold. Her hair and neck were covered by clothing with the same color and design. Beautiful didn’t even begin to describe the woman at all.

Behind her was a blonde that looked like he jumped out of a surfing billboard. He wore a loose white button down shirt but wasn’t buttoned exposing his perfect chest and abs with a pair of baggie shorts and flip flops. Next to him was another man, taller and darker. He just seemed to scream bad news all over him.

Coming up from behind was a girl that looked about twenty at best. Her blond hair was highlighted green that matched her bright green eyes. She was dressed in shades of greens and browns in punk fashion. “Dorin, it is a pleasure to see you again my child,” the woman who was in front started with a sweet musical voice.

“You too Queen Hazar,” he replied with a small bow of his head. Her striking brown eyes turned to Lily.

“Is this the hybrid I have heard so much about,” the Queen asked and Dorin nodded. Queen Hazar walked up to Lily with an examining look and for the first time in her life Lily felt insecure. The woman was elegant while Lily was graceless, she was beautiful and Lily was plain. She dressed strikingly while Lily was wearing a ratty t-shirt and jeans.

“Interesting,” the queen stated as she walked around Lily. “You are quite right Dorin, she isn’t like the others,” she continued and Lily felt a spark of irritation at being examined and prodded to see if she would turn into a crazed monster. She wanted to tell them both to shove it, but she physically bit the inside of her lip to keep herself from actually saying it. Queen Hazar suddenly stopped and gave a soft laugh that was just as sweet as her voice.

“I see the same spirit as I did with Valeriu,” she stated and Lily’s curiosity flared with the flash of emotion that washed over Dorin’s face for only a second, emotion that she had never seen the vampire express ever. “It is a pleasure to meet you, Lily, allow me to introduce my council,” the queen said turning her attention to Lily again.

She waved her hand to the surfer guy and he stepped forward. “This is Crocell, he’s a demon,” she explained. Surfer guy, a demon? Lily thought amazed.

“You can all me Cro and I’m not just any demon but a duke of hell. Welcome to the Aequivalere headquarters hybrid,” he said with a smooth, calm voice that had an Australian or maybe British accent to it. For some reason, his voice made Lily think of the sound of a waterfall. The queen nodded then turned to the darker man. He took a step forward to stand to the vampire’s left and Lily felt a little nervous. If surfer boy was a demon, what was this guy…Satan himself? “This is Uriel, he’s an angel,” the queen stated.

Lily released a gush of breath as if someone had hit her in the gut. “What? You’re kidding right,” she blurted before she could stop herself earning a glare from Dorin. However, the angel simply laughed a loud, joyous laugh.

“That’s the thing with stereotypes, no matter how we much we know they mean so little, somehow they managed to worm in and form our world,” Uriel told her and held out his hand. She eyed him skeptically for a moment then took his hand. His larger hand shook hers and he gave her a warm smile to seem to dispel all the bad vibes she had from him earlier. “It is a pleasure to meet you hybrid,” he told her.

Queen Hazar smiled and waved to the girl with green highlights. “This is Karya, she’s a dryad or forest nymph, if you will,” she said and Lily couldn’t help but wonder how much weirder her world was going to get.

The girl nodded and stepped up to her. “S’up hybrid,” she said with a quirky smile and Lily smiled.

“Now that we’re all introduced, won’t you please follow me,” The Queen offered walking down a large hallway. Everyone followed Queen Hazar silently into a smaller room, larger than any room Andrew had in his house, though.

There were bookcases, and statues lining the walls with old paintings on the walls. Plush sofas and chairs littered the room with a large fireplace that home an equally large fire was located in the wall front of them. Large rugs lay on the floor with immensely intricate designs that almost made Lily regret stepping on them.

The snooty boy from earlier rushed up with a tray of extravagant crystal wine glasses filled with a variety of liquids. Everyone took a glass and the queen turned to Lily. “Do you drink Lily?” She asked and indicated to the glass full of blood. She wondered how the queen knew her name since it seemed she was known only and simply as “the hybrid.”

“Only when I can’t avoid it,” she told the queen honestly earning another disgusted look from the boy but the others smiled at her or laughed as if she was joking.

“It does take some getting used to,” Queen Hazar commented taking her own glass and waving off the boy without another glance. “When I was made, I had difficulty coming to terms with that part of my existence too,” She admitted taking a sip from her glass.

“I don’t see how you could ever get used to that….honestly,” Karya demanded sitting on a chair with her legs hanging off the arm and the queen simply gave her an amused smile.

“I hope you don’t mind me asking but how often do you drink,” she asked looking curious. Lily couldn’t hold back a sigh that escaped her lips.

“When it started every week or so, but lately I am not able to eat real food so I have to drink when I am hungry,” she explained trying to keep as much bitterness out of her voice as possible and the queen gave a contemplative nod.

“But you can shift right into a lycan right,” Crocell asked and she nodded a little freaked out by their looks of curiosity.

“How do you drink?” The queen asked, but Dorin answered her.

“I give her what she needs through, as she insists, a willing donor. I’ve been keeping her from actually feeding off the living until she has more time to actually practice control,” he explained and the queen gave Dorin a curious look of affection.

“I am glad to see you are applying the past Dorin but be careful that it doesn’t repeat itself,” the queen explained and Lily bit her lip hard to keep from asking what they were talking about when another flash of emotion raced across his face. Everyone continued to bombard Lily questions for a while longer about her existence, Xavier and so on. “Interesting to say the least,” the queen stated and they all agreed then Queen Hazar turned to Dorin.

“I know what I need to know. I believe my council is in agreement that we must do what we can to stop this man,” She said looking around at the others. Each one agreed quickly and adamantly.

“What he is doing is going against the natural balance,” Karya demanded.

“I’d never thought I would agree with you but on this I do,” Crocell told her and the dryad gave him a sarcastic smile then flipped him off. Uriel laughed and shook his head at the two of them.

“Crocell why don’t you take Dorin to see to the barracks to see how much aid is needed and how many of our warriors we will send. Uriel can you please have Jessie plan for some basic training for our guest, and Karya see what news the trees can tell you about the misguided beta,” she ordered them and everyone nodded going to their duties. “I shall keep Lily company while you are busy with the preparations Dorin,” she added. Dorin hesitated a moment but nodded.

“Now that we have the facts I would like to learn more about you, please let me hear your version of things,” the queen asked once everyone was gone and indicated for Lily to sit down next to her. Lily sat down a little hesitant but told the queen what she wanted to know but kept certain things to herself. It’s a shame this James didn’t come with you. I have heard a bit about him already,” the queen told her and Lily scowled before she could stop herself.

The Queen gave a soft musical laugh and her eyes sparkled with amusement. “Your story is an interesting one, especially the parts you choose not to speak of,” the queen told her and Lily looked at her confused and shocked.

“I am going to tell you a secret Lily that not many people know, not even Dorin. When I was a little girl, I discovered that I could hear what people sometimes thought and knew things about them that I shouldn’t have normally been able to. I am a seer, it was one of the reasons my maker choose to make me a vampire,” The Queen explained. “So when you told me about your past I also saw the weakness that plagues your Alpha, you’re sister’s betrayal…and you’re relationship with James,” she continued and a small smile crossed her perfect lips when she mentioned him as Lily frowned.

“Don’t let Uriel find out about your history with James. He’s a defender of “true love” and will hound you until the end of time about it,” the queen told Lily with a laugh. “I also saw you’re not a normal hybrid as well,” She added with a more serious tone and Lily’s breath caught in her throat. “I am not King Silvano, your life is not in danger from me or anyone here,” the queen told her plainly.

“I haven’t seen much of Xavier in my visions but what I do know is he is having problems creating new hybrids like you,” the vampire explained and Lily gasped quietly thinking in the children. “They are safe, Xavier is thankfully saving them for when he has figured out what is going wrong,” the queen clarified.

“For now he is using vampires and the rogues he has captured but there is something about you that makes you special. Xavier doesn’t know what so all his creations are monsters. Which is why he is glad you’re here, he plans on taking you back as a prisoner to figure out what exactly is it about you that made you a success while others are raving psychopaths,” the queen continued to explain.

Queen Hazar took on a very serious expression. “I have seen what happens if he achieves such knowledge Lily and it’s terrible, more terrible than anyone can imagine. You must fight against Xavier, you and you alone. If anyone else goes after him or goes with you then Xavier will overcome you,” she told Lily with a dark tone. Lily swallowed loudly with a nod.

“It’s close to dawn time for me to rest for the day,” the queen told her standing up with the smile on her face. “A room has been prepared for you Lily if you wish to rest,” she explained and yet again the snooty boy returned to take her to her room. The room was huge, twice if not three times larger than her room in Andrew’s house. The bed was the show stopper, though; she couldn’t help but smile at the thought of sleeping with the most comfortable king sized bed she had ever felt while James got stuck with his little hard lumpy hotel room bed. She snuggled into the bed even more with a content sigh; life at that moment was good.

It was late morning when Lily had gotten up, showered, and dressed back into her ratty t-shirt and jeans but feeling like a new person, she had the best night’s sleep in years! She sat on the bed crossed legged and dialed Greg’s number.

“Lily, how are things?” Greg asked her once he picked up.

“Actually good Greg, it’s amazing what a good night’s sleep can do for a person,” she replied with a carefree tone. “How are things there?” Lily asked with some hesitance really not wanting to hear bad news.

“Well it’s official now, Tony is the new alpha,” Greg told her and she frowned, realizing she had no idea how the change of power happened, but she had the idea it was something violent. Fearing for her father, Lily asked him for details.

“Normally there is a challenge which is basically a fight between the alpha and the competitor,” Greg explained and Lily took a sharp intake of breath thinking of her brother and father pummeling each other to a pulp. “Don’t worry Lily, that’s not what happened here,” he told her interpreting correctly her reactions.

“Instead of a challenge, Andrew passed the leadership to Tony willingly and no one got hurt,” he explained and Lily let out a sigh of relief. “Though things are a little chaotic with the change of alpha, but I think things might actually be getting better around here. What’s going on with you besides the wonderful night sleep?” Greg asked.

“Well let’s see I have met a demon that looks more like the golden boy of surfing. A bad boy that is an angel who believes strongly in the idea of “true love” and a punk dryad. My life has become the definition of odd,” she explained and Greg started laughing.

“Sounds like fun,” he mused. They talked a little longer but Lily told him she had to go when someone knocked on the door, it was too early to be a vampire so with caution she opened the door. A brunette woman stood before her, she was about the same height as Lily with her smooth brown hair pulled back into a tight ponytail, and her green-grey eyes seemed to take in every detail around her. She dressed in a skin tight black tank top and black leggings just as skin tight as the top with a belt hanging on her hip that was home to a gun, stake, and a knife.

“Lily Nawassa?” the woman stated with a questioning tone and Lily nodded mutely, eyeing the woman carefully. “I’m Jessie Hart. The Queen told me to pay you a visit,” she stated and Lily opened the door letting her pass. The woman walked into the room giving a brief look around. “Queen Hazar tells me you’re going to come up with some nasty stuff and it’s a good idea if you knew how to fight,” the woman said, returning her gaze back onto Lily. “Do you know any fighting techniques or taken classes in self-defense?”

“No not really,” Lily admitted. “Before all this I was a lab geek,” she added and the woman gave her a small smile. “You’re human…right?” Lily asked with curiosity. The woman laughed with a nod.

“Yes, don’t need to be a supernatural freak to know how to kick some ass,” she commented. “No offense,” she added quickly and now it was Lily that started to laugh. “Put that on and I will lead you to the garden where I can show you some things,” the woman stated handing her some clothing. This should be interesting, Lily thought as she went into the bathroom to change her clothes.

In the garden, Jessie suddenly charged at Lily, swinging a large knife at her, slicing easily through her arm. Lily gasped, clutching her arm and giving a glare to the woman before. “Get out of your head Lily, you’re a predator start acting like one,” Jessie scolded her. “In fact, you are the sum of the two greatest hunters this world has seen, and I am a simple human! I shouldn’t be able to touch you,” she continued. Lily felt frustrated they had been sparring for an hour and she hadn’t been able to so much touch Jessie.

Lily pounded her fist into the ground with a growl then charged the human only to have Jessie easily avoid her and trip her as well. “Don’t get emotional, a fighter who fights with his rage is predictable and controllable,” Jessie lectured her. She groaned spitting out grass listening to Karya “boo” her as she pushed herself up. She was even more determined that before she left that place, she was going to knock Jessie to her ass at least once.

After two hours, Lily managed to not only knock Jessie to the ground but turn her own knife against her. “Very good Lily,” Jessie told her panting with a smile as Lily held the knife to her throat and she smile backing off so Jessie to get off the ground.

“Go hybrid, go hybrid, go hybrid,” Karya chanted.

“You do know I have a name right?” Lily asked her, but Karya ignored her and continued to chant.

“Remember every opponent is different, don’t be quick to go on the offensive, let them come to you first so you can see how they fight and their weaknesses,” Jessie explained and Lily nodded.

“Now for weapons training, since the freaky lycan has a variety of creatures working for him, I will give you a variety as well,” she started unstrapping a gun and showing it to her. “Silver bullets for the lycans,” she commented placing her gun back in its holder and then showed Lily a variety of sizes of stakes. “Good old wooden stakes for the vamps,” she went on then took out a long metallic stake. “Just in case you run up against any like yourself or one of his failed attempts, at least, a silver stake,” she finished. Lily licked her lips nervously as she eyed the stake.

“How do you know all of this?” She asked as Jessie led her to a different part of the garden.

“I’m a guardian of the Aequivalere,” Jessie stated. “Which basically means I and others like me take out any supernatural that refuses to follow the rules. So I know every single weak point of every single supernatural creature and have been trained to take advantage of them in a fight,” Jessie finished and Lily nodded impressed. They arrived at a small field. On the opposite side of the field were several bullseyes. “Let’s see how your aim is,” Jessie told her handing her a gun.

Lily found her strength wasn’t in firearms or anything that required aiming as Karya so happily pointed out. She was much better at hand to hand but after several tips, lectures, and scolding Lily was now able to, at least, hit her target. Once it was fully dark, she returned to her room for another shower and a fresh change of clothes. She wore a tight black t-shirt and another pair of black leggings and a pair of boots. She had the weapons Jessie had given her strapped on her legs and waist.

“Well don’t you clean up well,” Crocell said with a smile when Lily joined them in the entrance way and Uriel nodded in agreement. “I hope Jessie could be of some help to you,” the queen told her. Lily thanked her for the help politely and Queen Hazar smiled at her warmly then turned to Dorin. “Take care my son; it’s been good to see you after so many years. I am proud to be your maker,” she told him and Lily eyed Dorin with surprise, but his bowed his head ever so slightly and thanked her.

“Jessie, you have my orders. You know what to do when the time comes,” she told the brunette who nodded. Lily wondered if she should be worried by the cryptic nature of that.

“I’m going too Hazar, I haven’t seen action since sixteen hundred,” Karya said standing by Lily and swung her arm over her shoulder with a wink.

“Crocell, Uriel you can join the fight if you wish,” The Queen told them.

“Yeah…go out…and watch a bunch dogs and fangers tear each other apart…tempting but I think I’ll pass,” Crocell replied.

“Fighting really isn’t my thing, I more of a lover than a fighter,” Uriel said with a smile that seemed to brighten the whole room, but Crocell groaned with a look of disgust.

“I still have yet to see the proof of that one sweetheart,” Kayra told him with a wink.

“Maybe if you come back alive I just may give you that proof,” Uriel replied by with a sly smile.

“Back to business,” Queen Hazar jumped in. “Lily you have to succeed, remember at all cost it must be you and you alone,” she finished and Lily nodded mutely. They left the luxurious mansion there was a group of twenty supernaturals. Jessie harshly barked their orders and quickly they dived into two groups of ten getting into two black SUV’s.

Lily and Dorin got into his car joined by Jessie and Karya driving back towards their hotel. She was eager to hear what the Alpha Jerk off and the Pain in the Ass had learned while she was gone. When they finally arrived, Lily was surprised to find the hotel was buzzing with life. She saw Bianca’s flaming red hair first. “Lily your back,” Bianca greeted her with a fangy smile. “And looking hot,” she added her smile growing.

“What’s been going on here?” Lily asked pushing back her urge to stake the vampire right there.

“We found Xavier’s hide out but apparently he has learned from the past and has his little hideout guarded like Fort Knox. So the alpha is bringing in more lycans that he had planned originally,” the vampire told her and Lily saw the alpha, so she walked past the red head and towards him.

He noticed her and eyed her curiously. “I guess you don’t have a permit for that,” he stated with a half-smile looking at the gun at her hip. She shrugged with returning his half smile.

“I won’t tell if you won’t,” she told him teasingly. “Bianca tells me that you found Xavier. Dorin and I are bringing help from the Aequivalere. A group of twenty supernaturals, one badass human, and a punky dryad” Lily told him.

“I’m not punk,” Karya complained.

“Sorry, I’m not a fashion expert,” Lily complained then turned to the alpha to see what he had to say but by the mesmerized look on his face, he only had eyes and ears for Jessie. Lily called him a few times, but he kept staring at Jessie so Lily had no other option but to slap him. He growled at her threateningly.

“Oh knock it off,” she shot back at him.

“I swear when this is over woman, I am going to personally kick your ass out of my territory,” he threatened.

“You’re assuming I want to stay here…Alpha Jerk off,” she told him with an evil smile and he glared at her.

“Oh, you’re a lot cooler than I thought,” Karya cheered, giving her a high five.

“James! Get your mate away from me before I do something I may regret later,” Nick shouted and Lily hissed at him furious that he said the “M” word causing several people to turn and look at them. She started towards the alpha when someone stopped her.

“You’re going to regret that Nick, I promise you that,” She growled as James pulled her away from the smug Alpha.

“You haven’t been back ten minutes and you already have Nick pissed at you,” James stated with a small shake of the head and ran his eyes over her with a small smile.

“Keep your eyes to yourself, James,” she warned him with a punch to the shoulder but part of her couldn’t deny she enjoyed his examination. He laughed and pulled her against him and giving her a quick kiss.

“I missed you,” he told her and she narrowed her eyes at him swatting him away from her as she would an annoying fly.

“Awe now isn’t that cute, puppy love,” Karya said in an overly sweet tone then stuck a finger down her throat earning an odd look from James.

“I’m Karya, forest nymph or as I prefer dryad,” Karya said. “I come to kick ass and take some names, baby!”

“Okay,” James said slowly then looked at Lily. “What’s with the whole Rambo look,” he asked.

“Well, it’s good to be prepared. Especially when going after Xavier,” she told him.

“But do you even know how to use a gun?” he asked and Lily sighed growing irritated with him.

“Yes, Jessie showed me how,” she told him and he looked at her confused. “That’s Jessie,” she added pointing over to the human who was now talking to the stupefied Alpha.

“Wow,” James said with a dazed tone in his voice and Lily looked over her shoulder to see that he had the same stupefied expression that the alpha did.

“Eh I’m hotter and know more than she ever could,” Karya started but Lily ignored her so did James, who still kept checking out the human.

“Damn werewolves,” Lily swore rolling her eyes and walking over to Jessie ignoring the little spark of jealousy she felt. “So have you been able to get out anything out of him?” Lily asked and Jessie laughed quietly with a smug smile, but Nick gave her a warning glare, a warning like so many others she chose to ignore. “You got a little drool there Nicky,” she teased touching the edge of her mouth and he growled at her, but Kayra and Jessie were laughing which only made the alpha growl more.

“I am going to drop kick your ass out of here,” he mumbled quietly.

“Well let’s get down to business Alpha. We got a rat to catch,” Lily stated and everyone turned serious.

Chapter 27

~

 

“Wow,” James said with a mocked dazed tone as he looked at the woman talking with the alpha.

“Damn werewolves,” he heard Lily swear with an irritated tone and tried his best not to smile as he was sure his attempt to make her feel possessive if not a little jealous appeared to work. The woman was attractive to say the least, but the fact that she looked like she could kill him three times in ten seconds was a major drawback. Besides whether Lily liked it or not, his attention belonged to her and her alone.

By the look of the alpha’s face, Nick didn’t seem to mind that the woman next to him was potentially lethal, he looked ready to lay his life down. James watched as her and the nymph walk over to the woman and the alpha and he allowed himself a victory smile. He watched them talk and noticed there was something different about Lily since her visit with the Aequivalere, and he was sure it was more than her newly acquired arsenal, but he wasn’t sure exactly what it was.

Deciding now wasn’t the time; he joined them to see Lily was pushing the alpha’s buttons. “Well let’s get down to business Alpha. We got a rat to catch,” Lily stated and Nick began to explain the plan.

“I suggest we make groups of mix supernaturals so no matter what the lycan throws at us we can counter it,” Jessie explained.

“Sounds good,” Dorin agreed and Nick voiced his agreement as well. James could almost laugh as the two glared at each other obviously trying to win over the human’s attention, which appeared to be oblivious.

“We split four groups so we can attack all sides,” she continued explained then turned to Lily. “You’re going to be in the main attack on the front gate so you want some of the strongest with you but not all of them, I am going to lead one of the groups to the east side of the building, Dorin has already agreed to take the west. Karya is taking the south, I am not sure what the alpha or the other one have decided,” she stated and James frowned, the other one he repeated silently with irritation. She just called him the other one!

“I am James Lacrosse,” he told her pointedly.

“Right James,” she replied just as pointedly. “What are you two going to be doing?” She asked and James was disappointed when she didn’t have the typical reaction.

“Whoa wait a minute,” Lily stated holding up her hands. “You’re not going to do the whole “the James Lacrosse” and start to get that “I am about to piss in my pants” look?” Lily asked her and Jessie smiled,

“Not really,” Jessie stated with blunt honesty. “He may be a freakish lycan but still a lycan,” she continued then looked at James directly. “I know ten different ways to kill your kind in three or fewer moves, not counting the traditional silver bullet,” she explained with a simple matter of fact tone and cocking the gun. Every single werewolf within hearing distance took a step back but James. He returned her intense gaze with an unimpressed expression.

“Well Rambina, you just gained twenty points more in my favor,” Lily announced, slinging her arm over the brunette’s shoulders who laughed heartedly.

“Don’t forget you know half of those moves too,” Jessie told her seriously and James now fidgeted nervously. That was the last thing he needed, Lily becoming more lethal than she already was. “Remember silver is the key to werewolf death,” Jessie stated and Lily nodded. “Silver in their bloodstream is fatal and will kill quickly. Exactly how quickly depends on how much silver is in the blood,” she continued. Even the alpha was starting to look nervous as Jessie continued.

“But the lycans aren’t the only threat, vamps it’s the heart or head,” Jessie instructed and James smiled seeing Dorin shifted his weight suddenly as Jessie described a gun Lily had. It was specially designed for elongated wooden bullets that could paralyze vampires. Jessie then explained how to quickly and efficiently decapitate a vampire. James almost found it funny how these two women managed to make a whole group of werewolves and vampires squirm if he didn’t find it so disturbing himself. Who the hell was this human, he wondered as the woman finished her instruction.

“Now Alpha and James where are you two going to be?” Jessie stated

“I am going with Lily,” James told them determination, ignoring the look of irritation she shot at him. The alpha scratched his chin looking at the maps.

“I will be with the main attack, it’s my responsibility to be there,” he announced finally. “This has to be quick and swift before he has any chances of retaliating on the children,” he added.

“I agree Alpha so we should get into our positions as soon as possible,” she concluded. “I hope you’re a good marksman Alpha, each team should, at least, have one,” She stated handing him a pair of firearms.

“I am a champion shooter,” He told her, accepting them and gave Lily a sidelong glance.

“Lily’s weapons are the last resource,” Jessie stated answering the unasked question of the alpha’s. “She has really piss poor aim,” she added with a teasing smile.

“Okay, so I am not perfect, Geez! I am lethal enough hand to hand anyway,” Lily scolded throwing her hands up in the air and James let out a quiet sigh of relief. He may actually survive his mate in the end; he just had to keep his distance when she got pissed.

“Well let’s get started,” Nick stated with a commanding tone and everyone started to split up.

Jessie gave Lily a serious look as her team started to head out. “Remember what the queen told you,” she stated then handed Lily a piece of folded paper. Lily opened the paper discreetly then nodded to the brunette. “And remember what has to be done…no matter what,” she added cryptically.

“What does that exactly mean,” James snapped, not liking the sound of that at all.

“It means we can’t lose this one James,” Lily snapped back at him as everyone started to get in position, but he knew there was more, he could feel it.

“You’re lying,” he shot at her quietly following her closely. “What are you not telling me,” he insisted and she hissed at him glaring at him.

“Don’t act like you know me enough to accuse me of lying James. We can’t let Xavier beat us on this one, so stay focused and don’t be a pain in the ass if at all possible,” she growled at him and he growled back. She could be so damn frustrating he swore as their group joined them along with the Alpha. Some of the group were from the Alpha pack while most came from the Aequivalere. There was no two alike either. It made James curious as to just what all of them were.

He shook his head trying to keep focused on his objective, to keep an eye on Lily because she was planning on doing something and by her reaction it was going to be something he wasn’t going to like.

Once they reached the silver electrified fence, a forest nymph commanded the trees uproot themselves and literally tear down the fence. Now they stood on the edges of the woods at the brick wall they awaited confirmation that all the teams were in place. The beast was raging to be let out, but James kept him under control preferring to wait until he let the beast free.

Lily opened and closed her fists with clear nervousness as she kept her eyes the building before him and James would have given all he had to know what was going on in that head of hers. The crackle of the sheriff’s two-way radio came to life with the announcement that the last team was in place. He looked over to Lily, who nodded then to James. James gave a similar nod and Nick order for everyone to start the attack.

Lily and a few of the others charged the large black metal gate while the alpha and two other werewolves shot at the guards. Once they were passed the gate James would allow the beast to take over, he just hoped the beast knew how to behave himself…this time.

He was amazed at how easily and quickly they climbed the walls. James cringed slightly as Lily and the others were brutally efficient in dealing with those who tried to fight them off. Once the gate was open, James and the other wolves left the cover of the trees and joining with the first group. “Let’s go,” Nick ordered as they marched across the courtyard. Here we go, James thought as he removed his clothing to give control over to the beast.

The beast roared with the pleasure of being free, it had been weeks since he could come out. He could feel James insistence in the importance of what they were doing, much to his irritation, but he knew James was right. With a ruffle of his fur, he stalked forward until he reached the others. With James help, the beast sorted out friend from foe and charged into the heart of the battle.

The beast grabbed and twisted a started werewolf’s neck killing him before he could even cry out. The thrill of the kill flooded the beast and he roared in satisfaction as he moved on to his next victim. While the other’s attempted to open the locked doors of the building the beast was content to tearing apart any of Xavier’s men that dared to show their faces around them.

With a low growl, he stalked over towards the others wondering what was taking so long with the door. “You mind?” Lily asked him moving her head towards the door. “It’s locked and none of us can seem to break it down or pick the lock. I prefer not to shift,” she added and the beast gave a little nod. The alpha gave him a nervous glance as he ordered everyone to step away from the door.

The beast slammed his clawed fists into the door sinking his claws easily into the metal. With a loud roar, he pulled at it. The hinges groaned in a complaint but eventually gave away to his brute strength. He tossed it to the side feeling satisfied with the fearful looks everyone was giving him. Though the feeling was dimmed when he noticed Lily didn’t seem impressed at all.

He growled quietly in frustration wondering what it would take to win her favor. They entered the large building to be met with more of Xavier’s goon which made the beast even happier. He tore into them killing two with one swipe of his clawed fist. He grabbed another breaking the creature easily and tossing it across the room. Quickly they, mostly the beast, had them running.

He could hear the sounds of the other teams in the building as well. He followed his group into the heart of the building searching for signs of Xavier or the children. The place was a maze and the beast had a hard time keep track of where they had gone and where they were going but any creature that wasn’t among them he quickly took care of before anyone else.

They eventually came to a long corridor that ended with a large door and some kind of number pad to the right. Lily took out a piece of paper and unfolded it. She walked up to the door and punched in a series of numbers and the doors opened.

“How the hell did you know the combination?” Nick demanded, looking at her suspiciously.

Lily shrugged. “A little bird told me,” she stated and neither the beast nor James liked the sound of that. “This is where we go our own ways boys. Xavier is mine and mine alone. Find the children,” she added as she passed the doors. Nick demanded to know what she was talking about and the beast started towards the door but before he could reach her, she pushed something closing the doors.

“What the hell?” the alpha cursed and the beast slammed his fist into the door but surprisingly it didn’t seem affected by his brute force. “She can’t really be stupid enough to try to face that lunatic alone,” he added and the beast knew that she was going to do just that, but he didn’t understand why. The beast continued to pummel his fists into the door to no avail. “Come on James, you’re not going to get through that,” Nick told him.

I’m not James; I’m the beast he sent to the alpha mentally while he growled with anger. Nick took a little step back in surprise.

“Well…beast then,” he said with an uncertain tone. “You’re not going to get through that door or you would have done so by now. Let’s do what Lily said and find the children,” Nick explained but the beast refused. He couldn’t let her face Xavier alone! He clawed at the door attempting to break through, but his claws only let small scratch marks. He roared with frustrated fury. Nick gave him an impatient look and he growled at the alpha who took a step back but his look didn’t change.

He could feel that James agreed with the alpha that there was nothing he could do to get through the door. He growled in angered defeat and agreed to follow the alpha. They backed out of the large corridor and down another hallway. Rabid with fury he tore into any of Xavier’s men he found leaving them in several tiny pieces, covering the halls with their blood. He never understood why James didn’t enjoy the pleasure of the brutal act of ripping one’s life from their bodies. He found it to be quite enjoyable and often rather entertaining.

It was clear from the looks the alpha and the others were giving him they felt the same as James did. He refused to let their looks of fear and disgust ruin his fun and continued ahead of them. The other groups had joined up with them. The human woman eyed the beast with mistrust and surprise.

“What in the hell is that?” the dryad asked seeing the beast.

“So that’s the other face of James Lacrosse?” The human woman asked. The beast growled at her sharing James dislike of her. Nick confirmed that he was James’s beast.

“That’s damn awesome,” the dryad cheered and the beast puffed his chest with pride, ignoring how the human continued to eye him with suspicion.

“Always impressive as ever,” Bianca stated, giving him a wink.

“We have more important things to do that discuss James and his unusual shift,” Dorin insisted and Nick eagerly agreed.

“Of course,” the human said with a small nod. “The west and east wing have been searched. The west wing appears to be the domestic are for his guards. We found their sleeping quarters, cafeteria, and so on. The East was basically empty and used more for storage. I think the children are being held in lower levels underground. We ran into a long corridor on the south end but couldn’t figure out how to get passed the door,” she explained.

“That sounds like where Lily had decided to act like a one man army and take Xavier on her own,” Nick told her with bitterness lacing his voice. The human gave him a sympathetic look, but the beast growled at her feeling angry. It was her fault that Lily had gone off on her own, he was sure of it. The human took a step back quickly taking out a knife as she eyed him with suspicion.

“Oh you pissed the big bad wolf off Jessie,” the dryad said in a sing-song voice.

“Back off lycan,” the human snapped at him but he continued to growl at her as he stepped towards her. She gave him a warning, look flashing the knife at him, but the beast swat at her arm easily knocking the knife out of her hand. The beast loved the look of surprise and fear that crossed her face, but it was short lived as the alpha got in his way.

“Back off Beast! She isn’t your enemy,” Nick demanded and the beast felt his influence trying to get him do what the alpha wanted. However, it only made him angrier and he took a step towards him. The beast wasn’t some domestic mutt to be ordered around! In fact, the beast still had the abundance of thirst for bloodshed and he was starting to not care whose blood it was he spilled. “Calm yourself down now,” Nick demanded and the beast was almost inclined to do what he was told but instead he simply growled at the alpha.

The beast took another step towards the alpha extending his clawed fingers menacingly, not taking his golden eyes off of the werewolf before him. The alpha returned his powerful gaze with no apparent sign of fear. “I’m the alpha beast,” Nick started saying the words slowly and clearly, each word filled with authority. “You will do as I say and I say you back down now,” he ordered. The beast stood before him snarling examining the alpha looking for any hint of fear or uncertainty.

The Alpha returned his growl and the beast saw nothing but powerful authority coming from him so he did as the werewolf told him and he backed off. “Good, now take these,” he said tossing a small cloth bag at him. “Go around the corner and shift back to James. Your help is no longer needed Beast,” he demanded. The beast growled at him again not wanting to leave. He wanted to kill more people, but the alpha threw his influence at him and the beast begrudgingly did as he was told.

James breathed a sigh of relief when he was now back in control dressing quickly in the clothes that were stored in the bag Nick had given the beast. When he rejoined them, he saw Nick had the same expression of relief. “That was a close one,” the alpha breathed.

“You have no idea. If you had shown any hesitation or doubt the beast would have killed you,” James replied.

“I figured as much, good thing I have a good poker face,” Nick told him with a small smirk. James laughed and made a mental note never to play poker with the alpha.

“Aw, I wanted to see you two go at it. It would have been an awesome fight,” Bianca stated with a small pout and James glared at the red head.

“I agree it would have been cool! I would have put my money down on the beast,” the dryad stated.

“We don’t have time for this,” Dorin told them with irritation and glaring at them.

“He’s right, as I was saying before I believe the children will be located in the lower levels,” Jessie told them and everyone nodded following her lead. They passed the corridor where Lily had gone on her own and James felt a pang of doubt. He should have gone with her and he didn’t understand why she had insisted being by herself.

It didn’t take them long before they reached the lower levels. There were more guards here and James felt rather defenseless. He couldn’t shift, or handle a gun; he didn’t even have any kind of weapon on him. When a few of Xavier’s men came after him, James found out, at least, he could throw a decent punch.

There was a maze of halls filled with doors down there. Some looked like the emergency rooms. They were sealed off with a sterile look to them. There were several small tables filled with syringes and terrifying looking metal tools. Several cabinets accompany the tables that James was sure was filled with even more instruments to experiment and in the center of the room was an examining bed with thick leather straps to restrain the arms and legs.

“Son of a-” Nick swore softly looking at one of the many rooms like this. His face paled and James knew he was thinking of his daughter.

“Let’s hurry up,” James stated and everyone continued silently. There was a mass of maybe twenty of Xavier’s men guarding a pair of metal doors. “This must be it,” James whispered quietly and the human woman nodded mutely. She began to make hand signals that seemed like something out of a cop movie when the swat team is about to move in on the bad guys. It was a shame James never paid attention to those types of movies because he had no idea what they meant.

“James, David and Brian since neither of you have much skill with arms or combat wait here until we take care of the bulk of the guards,” Nick ordered them through the mental connection. James nodded along with the other two wolves. As the sharp shooters started to fire on the guards, vampires, and other supernaturals went fighting hand to hand. James almost felt sorry for Xavier’s men as they were so easily cut down.

They entered the double doors into another long hallway that had several doors along each side. The doors appeared to be made of thick metal with a small square window. James walked up to the first door and looked into the room. It was like the corridor, the walls, ceiling and floor were a blinding white in color lit with florescent light. It looked like a prison with a sink and toilet on one side of the wall and a small metal bed on the other. James thought it was empty at first until he saw a pair of feet sticking out from the corner.

He grabbed the handle not surprised at finding it locked though surprised it took nearly all his strength to break the handle and open the door. Nick entered the room and helped the pale boy stand up on his feet. “Phillip,” a one of the men cried running up to the boy smothering him in a hug demanding to know if the boy was alright.

The boy nodded and mumbled that he was fine. Nick clapped the man on the back with a large smile. “Brian stay here with Phillip and Ethan, Amber stay as well. If any more of Xavier’s men show up call me,” he ordered and the selected wolves gave him an obedient nod.

They slowly made their way down the hall; each room contained one of the missing children. James glanced over towards Nick as they reached the end of the hall that intersected with another one. Nick’s face had become even paler as all the children, but his own daughter had been recovered. “Harry,” he called out to of the wolves. “Take Jessie and half of the teams to escort the children out of here and back to town. The rest will come with me to search for anyone else that might be locked up.”

“Yes sir,” the brunette werewolf stated then looked at his alpha with a look of sympathy before turning back to the others.

The human started to complain, but Nick shook his head. “I need you with the children just in case Xavier may have someone waiting for them on the way out,” he told her and after a moment of hesitation, she left with the others.

Nick and James lead the way through the next hallway. They found some rogue werewolves, a few vampires, even a couple of humans but what disturbed James the most is there were six rooms they hadn’t dared open because they contained those Xavier already experimented on. Much to Nick’s relief all they some were clearly male and adults and the others, at least, didn’t have the appearance of once being a thirteen-year-old girl.

“What do we do with them?” Nick asked as they peered into one of the rooms.

“Kill them,” Bianca quickly replied with disgust dripping from her voice. James glared at her with equal disgust.

“We open the door,” Dorin told them. “See if they remain some sanity left. If they don’t we give them a merciful death, if they do we free them like the rest and see just how much of them is really left,” he explained.

“Don’t be a fool, Dorin,” Bianca snapped but Nick stopped her.

“No, the vampire…Dorin I mean, is right. They deserve the same chance as Lily,” he told her.

“Don’t forget about the Aequivalere laws vampire,” Karya told Bianca and the redhead scoffed with a pout.

James opened the door slowly. The hairy man before them glared at them with glowing eyes and growled from his foaming mouth before he charged. Dorin shot him quickly with a silver bullet to the head. James caught a sad expression on the vampire’s face before he turned away from the dead hybrid and moved on to the next room. Unfortunately, all six creatures were just the same as the first. All were rabid frothing creatures that tried to attack them as soon as they opened the door.

“I told you,” Bianca said with a smug tone as the last one fell.

“We had to try,” Nick demanded angrily. “Now come on, there may still be people down here,” he snapped quickly walking down the hallway. James followed him feeling the desperation coming off the alpha in waves.

Two hours passed and they didn’t find anyone else down there. “Let’s go back and see if Lily has returned,” Bianca said. “Maybe she has some good news,” she added. The distraught alpha looked slightly hopeful and they returned back to the above ground levels. They headed directly for the sealed off corridor where the door remained shut. Nick contacted his beta that was with the kids and found out no one had yet to hear from Lily. He swore and James got very unsettled. All, this time, had passed and no one had heard from her at all, what if Xavier had overpowered her, James thought worried.

“We have to get this door open,” James demanded and Nick quickly agreed. One of the werewolves pulled out his gun and started firing at the door, but the bullets just bounced off nearly hitting them. Nick go the idea of using fingerprint powder to figure out the code on the number pad. However when they punched in the code, the doors didn’t open. Both James and Nick spun out a string of curses. Everyone stood there in silence attempting to figure out a way passed the damn door.

Chapter 28

~

 

Lily tensed as they came to a long corridor that ended with a large metal door with some kind of number pad to the right of it. Lily took out the piece of paper Jessie had given her and unfolded it. On it was elegant handwriting.

 

You’ll find Xavier at the end of an extensive hall with a door locked by keypad combination. The code is 5711. Remember you must confront him by yourself; no one else must come with you.

Good Luck Lily,

Queen Hazar

 

With a quiet sigh, she walked up to the door hitting the numbers the Queen had written down and the door slid open. “How the hell did you know the combination?” Nick demanded, looking at her suspiciously.

“A little bird told me,” she stated after she shrugged. Nick frowned and if a monster could frown, then James’s beast would be frowning as well. She knew he wouldn’t like what she was about to do, but it was the only way. “This is where we go our own ways boys. Xavier is mine and mine alone. Find the children,” she told them as she was on the other side of the door. Nick demanded to know what she was talking about and the beast started towards the door, but she quickly hit the key that nicely marked “close” on it.

Lily jumped slightly as she heard the beast slam into the door. With a nervous swallow, she noticed the door didn’t seem affected but if the beast was anything like James he would be annoyingly persistent. She smashed her fist into the keypad beside her destroying it. She tore what was left of it off to grab a handful of multicolored cables and rip them out as well. “Now no one can follow me,” she stated silently and turned on her heel to continue down into the hallway.

Her footsteps echoed through the lonely hallway eerily as she walked down it. Lily’s body was tense on alert waiting for something or anything to jump out at her. She came to a second metal door with another keypad and she punched in the same numbers as before. It slid open and she entered a very large room. The floors and half the way was gray concrete while the top half of the room was tiled with bright glossy white tiles like hallway before.

There were a couple of black metal doors along the concrete part while the tiled part was opened with large rectangular windows. One of which she saw Xavier looking down at her with an arrogant smile and at his side where two male vampires. Lily licked her lips nervously as she entered the large room feeling as if she was entering the den of a very hungry lion. “We meet again,” Xavier announced, keeping his haughty smile plastered on his face.

“And for the last time, Xavier it’s time you pay for what you’ve done,” she shot back heatedly and he frowned.

“You’re still on that? What a disappointment, I expected more from you. How is it possible that you are so intelligent one moment and so ignorant the next,” Xavier shot at her and one of the vampires frowned and leaned over to the other whispering something to the other.

“I’m a complex girl,” Lily snapped with a cocky smirk and Xavier laughed a small bitter laugh with the edges of his mouth turned up.

“That you are and like a daughter to me so I’m willing to give you another opportunity. I need you Lily; there is something about you that has made you a success while others succumb to rabid madness. I need to examine your blood,” he explained and Lily grew furious at the idea of him considering her his daughter.

“I’m no daughter of yours and I will never help you, Xavier. I thought you would have figured that out by now…maybe the ignorant one here isn’t me,’ she shot back at him smugly and he scowled at her.

“Are you sure you have your pet under control lycan,” One of the vampires said to Xavier with a flat tone which made him look extremely pissed.

“Foolish woman,” Xavier shouted at her and Lily smiled, even more, loving that she got under his skin.

“You have ten minutes Xavier before we leave, the Aequivalere are closing in on us quickly,” the vampire warned him and Lily kept her smug smile. Xavier’s face recovered and his calm smug expression returned.

“You can’t stop me, Lily. This is my destiny, my family legacy. I haven’t been entirely honest letting everyone believe I invented the serum to make humans into werewolves or block an alpha’s powers. They were works of my grandfather and my father,” he confessed.

“For centuries, my family has been working against the brutal injustice that the lycanthropes suffer for the foolish following of pure physical strength. Slowly my family has removed the barriers that have been blocking us since the dawn of time taking us closer toward today, closer towards a new world,” he continued. His face took on a wild expression and Lily could see the insanity flooding his eyes.

“Join me, Lily, take your rightful place as my child, I’ll reward you greatly,” he told her and she scoffed. Lily wasn’t falling for that one, besides there was no “reward” he could offer her that she would be interested in. “Ever wonder how Lacy turned against her mate when it goes against their connection,” Xavier started as if he had heard her thoughts.

“My uncle suffered like Lacy. His mate was inferior to him and he searched for a way to free himself from such vulgar devotion,” he went on then held up a little glass vial with a brownish liquid inside. “He invented this little wonder, it breaks the connection one feels with one’s mate,” he told her.

“I know you’ve been mated to James,” he announced and Lily narrowed her eyes at him. “I also know you are disgusted by the idea. Don’t be foolish as to believe he will get tired of you rejecting him constantly and go away. The moment he marked you, you lost your freedom. He sees you now as something he owns, an object, a piece of property and nothing more. We werewolves can get very possessive over the things that we feel belong to us. Lily, he will never leave you alone and you will never be free,” Xavier told her.

Lily felt as if someone had hit her in the stomach when he said that. She tried to keep her face emotionless but on the inside, she felt like she was being crushed with despair. She didn’t want to be owned, or treated as an object and expected to play the happy housewife. “You’ve fought so hard to be independent all your life, but James has ruined such hard efforts with one little bite. I can stop him, Lily, join me and I will give you this vile. He will no longer be able to have any control or sway over you again,” Xavier told her.

Lily looked at the vile in earnest desperation. James didn’t have any sway over her, but she wanted badly to get rid of this stupid affection he had suddenly developed for her, get rid of the expectations of being a mate. She wanted to be self-sufficient, independent, and free to live her life as she wanted. Lily glanced at Xavier then back to the vile seriously considering his offer and understanding Lacy, Kyle, and everyone else who worked for this lunatic much better.

Just because they all ended badly didn’t mean that she had to, a tiny voice spoke to her. She licked her lips nervously and focused on Xavier once more. His arrogant expression told her he knew exactly what was going on in her head. What the hell am I doing? She scolded herself. “Screw yourself, Xavier, I will never help you. Not even with the bribe of getting rid of James,” she snapped at him.

His face twisted into furious rage. “Foolish woman, I don’t need to get your blood from you alive,” Xavier screamed at her and one of the black metal doors opened. An enormous creature slowly entered the room; to say it was hideous was an understatement. It looked similar to James’ beast, but there were bald spots on him everywhere. One arm was covered with fur and clawed while the other was smooth and more human like.

“This is one of my many attempts to recreate what you are, as you can see he is a clear failure, but he does serve for other purposes. He has proven to be quite efficient in killing,” Xavier told her with icy calmness. “I will have your blood Lily one way or the other. It’s a shame you chose this way,” he told her then commanded to the monster before her to kill her. The creature turned to face her and she gasped in horror taking a step back.

Its face was half human and half monster. One side was covered with fur, ear like a wolf, and his eye was golden while the other was human but with an eye that glowed red. His mouth was the most grotesque of all; it was a twisted lumpy mix between a canine snout and lips. She took another step back as he advanced towards her with an angry snarl. “You don’t have to do this,” Lily stated keeping her hands up.

“You don’t have to do what he says, he can’t control you,” she continued to try and reason with the deformation before her, ignoring Xavier’s laughter. The creature charged her raising his clawed hand to strike her. Lily ducked and rolled out of his way just in time. Just as she turned to face the creature he was almost on her. This time, she wasn’t fast enough and he crashed into her. Lily groaned feeling like she had been hit with a semi-truck.

With his normal hand, he pinned her to the ground while the clawed he raised to bring it down on her. “Now we need to work together guys,” she whispered barely audible closing her eyes and trying to allow both the beast and the vampire to come closer to the surface at the same time without ending up in the monstrous form before her. Lily blocked the clawed fist coming at her while inside she fought for control.

She felt as if her body was trying to rip itself apart. She growled trying to force her will over the two monsters inside her while keeping the third one on top of her from ripping out her throat. Slowly she pulled the beasts under control. She threw the deformed creature off of her and she stood, feeling the pure power flowing through her veins. She could feel the brutal strength of the beast while she felt the lethal speed and deadly accuracy of the vampire.

Lily charged the creature moving faster than she had ever moved before. Before he had a chance to react she had landed several solid punches. Taking out her knife she dodged his attempts to strike her, they appeared to be much slower than they were before making them easier to avoid now. One more punch to the creature’s chest and he fell to his knees panting and she held the blade to his throat but stopped before sinking into his skin.

She was hesitant to kill him, he was a person before this and it wasn’t his fault he was attacking her, she still had hope for a cure. “Do it! Kill me,” he spoke with a raspy voice. She flinched startled that he could speak. The creature gave her a pleading look. “Please…kill me,” he begged. With a nod and a quiet apology she pulled the knife away from his throat and plunged it into his chest.

He gave her a grateful look before he slowly fell to the ground limp. Lily removed the knife and drove one the silver stakes into his chest to make sure he would stay down then turned her attention to the observing Xavier. “Now it’s your turn,” Lily snarled at him, her voice drastically changed to a more animalistic sounding tone. The truth was she felt more animal than a person at the moment.

Satisfaction filled her when she noticed the two vampires and Xavier’s look of uncertain confusion. “What is that Xavier,” One of the vampires demanded.

“Come down here and find out,” she snapped but the vampire only gave Xavier his attention and that made her grow angrier.

“This is most extraordinary,” Xavier cheered. “This is our success, Vincent! Look at her, Lily’s physical appearance has changed! She’s e taller, broader, more muscular, paler, and oh my I must have to investigate further,” Xavier explained sounding excited and Lily growled furiously.

The vampire, Vincent, started to answer, but Lily interrupted him. “You’re not investigating anything Xavier! Tonight you die,” Lily shouted at him and he gave her a bored expression that made her blood boil even more.

“You can’t get to me from there Lily,” Xavier told her with a teasing tone.

“That’s what you think,” she retorted rabidly. Her nails started to grow longer and darker until they were black claws. Lily ran up the wall and began to easily sink her claws into the concrete. She started to climb up the wall until she reached the observation window. The two vampires were nowhere to be seen now, but she only cared about Xavier! A smile crossed her face as she saw fear on his face as she slammed a fist into the window shattering it.

She crawled into the room and stood before the doctor removing glass that had embedded in her fist, arms, and even in her face. Lily tossed the pieces towards Xavier’s feet feeling the cuts heal instantly. Without a word, he turned running out of the room shutting the heavy metal door behind him. A predatory smile stole across her lips as she slowly walked towards the door sinking her claws into and tearing into the metal. She peeled it as easily as she would an orange, the thrill of the hunt fill her.

Behind the door was another mass of hallways but the stench of Xavier’s fear fill scent was extremely easy to follow. Her claws shrunk back into her normal fingernails as ran through the hall to her left but quickly changing direction once more. Lily slid to a stop when she found him and finally understood why she had to do this alone.

Xavier held a girl at the point of a syringe that was filled with a bright blue liquid. Lily took out a gun as she walked towards them and pointed it at Xavier. Nick would have done anything to keep his daughter safe, and James couldn’t hurt a child or let her do it. “Stay back Lily or I will inject Wendy. We both know you don’t want that,” he threatened. Lily stopped but didn’t lower the gun. “Now how about we make a deal,” he started and Lily scoffed at him.

“I will do a trade, her for you. Lay down on the examining table, I strap you in and let her go,” he explained and she smiled at him coldly.

“No,” she told him and he looked surprised and started to insist that he would be good to his word. “I said no Xavier, tonight you die. This gun is loaded with silver bullets. I am going to fill you with so much silver they will make silverware out of your ass when I am done. Now you can be a good guy, let the girl go so I don’t have to take her down with you because quite honestly I am not a very good shot,” Lily explained, in turn, ignoring the girl’s anguished sob.

“Nice try Lily, but you’d never hurt her,” he replied with smug arrogance.

“Yeah, normally you’d be right but not this time. I have to take you down here and now, I would hurt one girl to keep you from hurting hundreds, thousands, and maybe even millions of people,” she replied in turn with cold seriousness in her voice. Xavier’s smugness disappeared and she could see doubt in his eyes. “I am going to count to three Xavier and I will start to shoot,” Lily finished. The girl cried out and pleaded with him to let her go, but his grip only tightened.

Lily swore and hoped to hell Nick would forgive her for this. She took a deep breath, remembering everything Jessie told her about shooting. “One,” she shouted and Xavier’s grip tightened even more. “Two,” she shouted, once more begging silently that he would let the damn girl go, she didn’t need to get hurt. Xavier looked side to side for something to help him against her but found nothing. “Three,” she finished and Xavier gripped the girl so hard his knuckles were white. “You are a selfish bastard,” Lily snapped and pressed the trigger.

The girl screamed and the arm that held the syringe jerked violently as the bullet sunk into his shoulder, thankfully where she had been aiming for. “Let her go,” Lily demanded lowering the gun aiming for his ankle and firing once more. Hitting his knee, he leaned against the girl of support refusing to let her go as a shield. He tried to pull her against him, but the teen grabbed his knee and dug her fingers into the wound.

“Let me go you loser,” the teen screamed. He cried out as his face contorted with pain with no other choice but to loosen his grip on her. The girl ran away from him and Lily shot him a few more times resisting the urge to empty the firearm on him. The girl ran up wrapping her slender arms around Lily in a strong hug. “Thank you, Miss, thank you so much,” the girl sobbed. Part of Lily wanted to throw the girl away from her and focus only on Xavier but what was left of her humanity reminded her of that the girl was more important at the moment.

“Are you Wendy, Nick’s daughter,” she asked gruffly.

The girl bopped her brunette head wiping her watery eyes looking from her to Xavier. “Is he dead?” she asked.

“No these are normal bullets,” Lily told her. Silver was too quick, too dignified for him though she didn’t tell that to the rattled teen. “You’re father has been worried about you. Wait for me outside and when I am finished with Xavier, I’ll take you to him,” Lily told her focusing on the withering man before them.

“Are you going to kill him?” she asked and Lily didn’t see why to lie so she told the girl she was. “Good! He deserves it, he told me what he did to people and that he was going to do the same to me,” Wendy told her.

“Well not anymore,” Lily replied and repeated for the girl to leave. She was surprised to see the girl hesitant to leave but did as Lily told her.

Once the girl had left Lily walked over to the doctor searching through his pockets quickly finding what she was looking for. She smiled ever so slightly as she took the small and thankfully unbroken vial he had tried to bribe her with earlier. Xavier gave a pained laugh as she stored it away in a small pocket. “Shut up,” she snarled at him grabbing him by the back of his collar dragging him over to the medical table and strapped him there.

“Remember this,” Lily asked as she unsheathed her silver knife. Straddling the doctor, she held it before him. Xavier looked at the knife with fear. “This was the knife you used to murder Kyle. He came to you Xavier as a confused, upset boy, you promised to give him the power to make all those who bullied him and insulted him finally start to respect him,” she explained.

“He did everything you told him to. He faked to kidnap that boy a couple of months ago, and I am sure he was the one that gave those two teens the pills that killed them. He broke into my lab, destroyed it, knocked me out, stole those pills, and gave me the serum that made me into a werewolf! And he did all that at your orders in hopes everyone; especially you would give him a little respect!” Lily snarled at him running the flat of the blade across his cheek letting the silver burn him.

Xavier cried out in pain and Lily drank on it as her vampire drinks blood. “James is an arrogant jerk, but he didn’t deserve to be your captive for two years as your little test subject. I don’t even want to imagine the pain you made him go through,” Lily roared at him pushing the blade harder into his cheek. She removed the blade wiping the blood and burned flesh stuck on the blade off on his shirt.

“How long have you feed into Lacy’s insecurities, did you ever plan on giving what you promised her?” Lily asked ripping open his shirt. She ran the flat of the blade down his chest enjoying the sound of his cries. “Save some of your cries for later, dear doctor. It’s time for you to pay back every single ounce of pain and suffering you’ve caused. That’s a lot of pain and suffering, this is going to take quite a while,” She told him and he looked at her horrified.

“Lily this isn’t you. You’re not like this,” he panted. “You’re losing control to the monsters within you,” he tried to reason.

“Monsters?” Lily asked with an amused tone. “So before it was a gift and now you say they’re monsters. How do you like that, girls?” She asked once more speaking to the beast and her vampire; both raged with indignation and demanded blood. “That’s what I thought,” she stated turning her gaze once more to the doctor. He was shaking with fear now. “You’re going to have to pay for that one too,” she told him with pure morbid pleasure.

Lily looked at what was left of the now lifeless body of Xavier and a feeling of satisfaction filled her. His cries of pain and pleas for mercy filled her ears like sweet music that was until she drained him making him too weak to even beg for his life. With a smile, she left the room cleaning her hands with Xavier’s shirt. A small gasp escaped the teen’s lips when she saw Lily, who had completely forgotten about her. “What are you still doing here?” she snapped with irritation.

“You told me to wait for you…and I have seen the…things he keeps here. He made sure I knew them…and what they would do to me if I left my room,” she explained and “You know the way out and can protect me from those things. I am sure,” Wendy finished.

“That is if I choose to protect you. Why I should risk myself for some snot nosed brat,” Lily snapped back and the girl looked at her with confusion.

“But I thought that…” the girl started and Lily growled.

“That’s the problem you thought,” she barked back and the girl took a step back with fear. Lily scowled causing the girl to take another step back but the scowl wasn’t directed at the girl but herself. Now where the hell did that come from, she asked herself inwardly but already knew the answer. She was losing connection with her humanity and vampires aren’t exactly the most caring of species. “Give me a minute kid,” she snapped but with slightly less bitterness in her voice.

Lily turned away from her, taking deep breaths. Neither the beast nor the vampire wanted to go back, they like being this in control and fought against her. She growled as she attempted to dig deep inside herself to find her humanity and herself forcing the others back down into their cages within her. A little by little she grew stronger than them. With a sigh of relief and exhaustion, Lily felt herself return to normal as her body gave out from the exertion.

The teen grabbed her around her waist. “Are you alright?” she asked worried and Lily nodded without looking at her. “What are you?” Wendy asked again sounding curious. Lily couldn’t help but laugh as she leaned against the wall.

“That is a good question, I don’t think they have a name for me since I am not really a hybrid,” she replied. “I sort of have a split personality problem with a monstrous beastly werewolf and a vampire,” Lily explained and oddly enough the teen seemed to accept that.

“So what happened now? Before you were different than you are now,” she asked the curiosity easily notable.

“Well, we all three were smashed into the driver’s seat. I was closer to being a true hybrid then,” Lily replied. The girl nodded once more seemingly accepting Lily’s answer. “I’m sorry about before, I wouldn’t ever just leave you here. My beast and vamp kind of need to be taught about how the good guys act,” Lily apologized and the teen laughed as she accepted the apology.

“Come on Wendy let’s get you to your father,” she said pushing herself off the wall and walking in the direction she had come through before but stopping quickly. “I’m Lily by the way and you would do me a huge favor Wendy if you didn’t tell your father that I told Xavier I was going to kill you to get to him. You father isn’t exactly my biggest fan and if he found out I said that he probably would drop kick me out of his territory,” she stated and Wendy smiled a small smile.

“Don’t worry about my father, I’ll take care of him,” she replied offering Lily support while they walked down the hall slowly. “I got him wrapped,” she added holding up her pinky finger and Lily had to laugh. That she would have to see.

They returned to the observation room where she had broken through the window and Lily held Wendy and jumped down to the cement portion. “Did you do that,” Wendy asked amazed and Lily grimaced at the body of the dead hybrid and answered the girl. “Wow, that’s amazing. He made sure I saw what that monster could do,” Wendy replied and Lily shook her head. The world was a better place now that Xavier was gone, though when she started to think about what she had done earlier to him made her want to throw up. Now was not the time, she told herself.

They arrived back at the metal door and Lily wished she didn’t destroy the keypad. Now she had no way to open the damn thing. “Damn,” she cursed softly and Wendy gave her a confident, smug look.

“I think I can get it open,” she stated walking over to the mess of ripped out cables.

“Don’t get yourself electrocuted,” Lily warned her as the girl began manipulating the multicolored cables. Wendy laughed shaking her head side to side.

“Don’t worry I know what I am doing. Electronics is my thing,” she explained.

“As long as you don’t get electrocuted, we’re cool,” Lily told her with a smile which the teen quickly return. After several minutes, several sparks flew through the air and the door slid open. Wendy returned to help Lily with a smug “see I told you” look as they started towards the door but stopped as soon as they saw the mass of people suddenly looking at them.

“What the fu-” Lily started then glanced at Wendy. “Fudge…is everyone doing camped here,” she finished, but the teen gave her a pointed look with a sly smile.

“Wendy,” Nick called pushing through the crowd. Lily leaned against the door jam and the teen ran to her father. Wendy leaped into his open arms and he captured her in a hug, relief and joy all over her face. Lily smiled thinking of Andrew and how much she missed him at that very moment. Nick started to fire off questions so fast that Wendy couldn’t even hope to give them all an answer. Lily’s smile dimmed slightly as she saw James was also pushing through the crowd straight towards her.

“Are you alright?” James asked concerned when he stood before her and she nodded keeping her attention on the alpha and his daughter. “Good because I don’t really get what the hell was going on your mind to do something so damn stupid like go off by yourself,” he growled at her angrily.

“I had my reasons,” she snapped back. “How many times I have to tell you, James! What I do is none of your concern,” Lily added furiously.

“And how many times to I have to tell you, Lily! You’re my mate and everything you do is my concern,” he shot back and Lily flinched as if she had been hit. Her thoughts ran to the vile she had taken from Xavier.

“James this is the last time I will tell you. Get this whole mate business out of your head,” Lily told him in a harsh and hushed whisper. “Anyways this isn’t the place or time,” she added as she pushed herself off the door jamb and walked over towards Wendy, leaning against the teen for support discreetly. Wendy seemed to pick up on her desire to not show her weakness and gave her the support just as discreet.

“Well then let’s get out of here,” Dorin stated, emerging from the crowd and Lily quickly agreed. Wendy helped Lily walk through the building but to everyone else it simply looked like a grateful embrace the teen shared her savior. She ignored the looks of irritation and anger coming from James. She was sure he still had several minutes of long lecture for her later.

Chapter 29

~

 

James watched Lily walk passed him with the alpha’s daughter clinging to her waist. As much as he was glad to see she was okay, he was furious she had done something so stupid as to go off on her own. If that wasn’t bad enough she didn’t even have the tiniest amount of courtesy to at least apologize for worrying him, no she had thrown it in his face how little she cared for him and his concern for her safety.

Once they arrived back at the hotel, all the vampires practically ran to their homes except for Bianca and Dorin. “So what happened Lily?” Nick demanded.

“Xavier is dead, I killed him myself. Can the rest wait until I can recover some,” Lily replied and James noticed her typical sardonic tone was gone.

“No, no it can’t!” Nick barked right back at her and James shot the alpha a nasty glare.

“Actually yes it can,” his daughter suddenly shot back at him, surprising everyone. James could see why Xavier had compared the girl to Lily. The alpha started to complain, but his daughter gave him a stern look that didn’t quite fit with her round, girlish face. “There is nothing that she can tell you that can’t wait a few hours, besides I know pretty much what happened anyway,” the girl lectured her father. James allowed a crooked smile to escape when Nick hung his head with a nod mumbling in agreement.

The girl asked Lily where her room was and James eyed them with curiosity as she followed Lily to her room never removing her arm from Lily’s waist. He gave the alpha a quick nod and followed Lily.

“I think I can do it now,” Lily told the girl quietly as they entered the room and his curiosity grew, wondering what they were talking about as the girl asked her if she was sure. She started to take a step when her legs gave out and James grabbed her at the last moment.

“What’s wrong with you?” he asked his worry over taking his anger at her but, of course, received the same payment as last time as she demanded he put her down and it was none of his business.

“Are you her mate?” Wendy asked, eying them with a small smile. Lily shouted “no” at the same time he replied “yes.” The girl laughed and gave them an odd look. “Right,” she said drawing the word out for a few seconds. “Thanks for saving me Lily and don’t worry about the whole killing me to get to Xavier thing either,” she chirped happily. James looked at Lily alarmed and she glared at the girl with a hiss.

“Wendy! The point of a secret is to keep it a secret! Not going around and telling everyone but your father! Now I have to worry about James’s big mouth!” Lily snapped and the girl looked sheepish. “Will you put me down James,” she snapped once more and James couldn’t help himself giving in to his irritation tossing her to the bed. She shrieked out in surprise then glared at him. He gave her a smug smile and a small shrug “Damn you, James Lacrosse,” she growled.

The girl suddenly started hopping from one foot to the other making excited “oh, oh” sounds with an eager expression. “You’re James Lacrosse, as in the James Lacrosse?” she asked and James smiled as Lily groaned throwing herself on the bed.

“Not you too,” she complained and James nodded to the girl. Wendy hopped a small hop with a squeal.

“Oh my God, this is so amazing!” Wendy stated excitedly.

“Oh my God, no it’s not!” Lily demanded then tossed a pillow at them. James caught it easily, smiling at her, for once actually enjoying his fame. “Out of here both of you,” she demanded once more. James laughed tossing the pillow back at her and closing the room.

“So is it true that you totally kicked a whole bar of werewolves’ butt in L.A.?” Wendy asked with an excited expression.

“How do you know about that?” James asked in surprise and she gave him a look of disbelief.

“In the MWT,” she replied with a “you should know that” tone and James looked, even more, confused. “The Modern Werewolf Today…on Facebook” Wendy insisted with even more disbelief.

“I don’t really do computers,” he replied crossing his arms irritated with her tone.

“How can you not do computers…you’re not that old,” She replied mocking his posture.

“I am not old…at all,” he shot back and the teen rolled her eyes with a scoff.

“Please you’re what like thirty…that’s like middle age and that is getting old,” she replied.

“I may be thirty, but I’m not anywhere near middle age kid,” he snapped and she gave him a mischievous grin with a look of disbelief. “Nick! Get your daughter before I do something I regret,” James shouted at the alpha.

“Aw I was just joking,” Wendy whined. “Geez can’t take a joke…old man,” she teased and James frowned at her with a quiet growl.

“Now would be a good time Nick!” He added and Wendy started to giggle.

“Wendy, what are you up to?” The alpha asked coming up to them and her mischievous expression turned into a sweet look of innocence.

“Me? Why nothing daddy, I have no idea why he’s growling at me like that,” she told him with a pout. James glared at the teen balling his hands into fists.

“Wendy I’ve lived with you for all of your thirteen years and I’ve come to learn that when you use that tone, it means everything but nothing,” the alpha told her with a smile but had a stern expression. “This is James Lacrosse and it’s best not to push his buttons like you do everyone else,” he told her and James grinned seeing the alpha take his side.

“I know dad, do you know once he put five werewolves in intensive care over a drink in Florida,” she replied and James grimaced as Nick gave him a pointed look.

“That’s not exactly what happened. We argued over the drink, but they started the fight…I just finished it,” he started and Nick gave him an, even more, pointed look. “But…I was wrong…I should have…found a more…pacific way of solving our disagreement,” James finished clumsily. Wendy rolled her eyes and Nick shook his head at him.

“It’s clear you’re not around children much,” the alpha said before turning to his daughter. “I want to hear what happened to you,” he told her.

“I’d like to hear that myself,” James added and followed them to Nick’s car.

At alpha’s office in the police station, Wendy explained how Xavier tricked her into coming with him and her time with the doctor. He would make her listen to hours-long speeches about the new world order he intended to create and make her a part of, watch as he experimented on rogue wolves and vampires, threatening to let them rip her apart if she ever left her room. “Then today he came and got me out of my room looking panicked,” she explained getting to the part James wanted to hear most.

“He pulled me into one of the rooms he used to test on people and held a needle to my neck when Lily came into the room though she was different than she was now,” Wendy went on.

“What do you mean?” Nick asked with curiosity.

“She was…different. I don’t know really how to describe it. She was bigger and taller than she is now. Her eyes were different, they were reddish gold color, but it was more than her appearance. Her face was more…wild,” Wendy explained and James saw her shudder slightly. “She saved me from Richard or Xavier or whatever his name is,” she added quickly.

“How?” the alpha insisted and Wendy glanced at James then looked back to her father.

“He wanted to trade her for me and she pretended to accept. When he let me go, she shot him,” the teen explained. From what Wendy had let escape earlier in the hotel room, James knew there was more to it than that.

“Then what?” Nick asked once more accepting Wendy’s invented version.

“She told me to wait outside while she…took care…of him,” Wendy told him swallowing and looking at her feet. “It took her a long time to do that,” she said in a quieter voice. James could see the muscles of the alpha’s jaw clench tightly with a furious expression on his face. He couldn’t blame him, it sounded like Lily lost it a little bit.

“Then what?” Nick questioned again clearly trying to keep his anger in check.

“She came out and led me out. You know she killed one of the meanest hybrids that freak had! This thing was monstrous and killed a lot of people according to Xavier but not her,” Wendy told them beaming, but Nick didn’t look impressed and gave James a hard look.

“I’ll talk to her,” he told the angry alpha getting up from his chair.

James returned to the hotel room, feeling tired himself. Lily was sleeping on the bed; he sat down in one of the chairs so he didn’t disturb her. With a sigh, James leaned back in the chair and turned towards her. He couldn’t help but wonder what had happened when she found Xavier. He had wanted to ask Wendy, but the alpha didn’t give him a chance. He knew better than to ask her when her father was around.

Nick was already extremely pissed at her and if James suspicions were correct Lily had threatened to bring harm to the girl to get to Xavier, that would not go over at all well with alpha. With a yawn, he got up from the chair and laid down on the bed next to her. She rolled over and nuzzled up against his chest. With a small smile, he wrapped his arms around her allowing himself to enjoy the moment.

He ran his hand down along her back, feeling so relieved that finally it was all over until his hand rested on her hip. He felt something in her pocket and curiosity got the better of him. James removed a small glass vile filled with brown liquid from her pocket. He turned it over examining. It had a small white label with “MBKR” written on it with familiar handwriting. James would recognize the handwriting of Xavier anywhere.

With a soft growl, he wondered what the hell was it and, more importantly, why did Lily have it. At first, he thought of destroying it and asking questions later but it may have something to do with her mutation and he didn’t want to ruin her chances of going back to what she was because he suspected something else.

He continued to look at the vial, turning it over several times feeling more and more unnerved by the idea that Lily had it. James nearly woke her up a few times, but he simply placed it in the back corner of the nightstand drawer deciding to get some sleep himself and talk to Lily when she wakes up on her own.

James was snapped awake by Lily’s none too quiet cursing. He groaned in complaint sitting up watching her look for something. “Looking for this?” he asked taking out the vial where he stored it and she narrowed her eyes at him confirming that she was indeed looking for just that. Lily tried to grab it from him, but he moved it out of her reach. “What is it?” he asked.

“None of your business James! Give it to me,” she snapped and James got up from the bed, feeling suspicious.

“No, not until you tell me what this is. I know it is something from Xavier, I recognize his handwriting,” he told and she scowled at him.

“I don’t think I have to explain myself,” she started and James interrupted her.

“Actually, that is the one thing you have a lot of doing,” he told her and she narrowed her eyes at him. “You go off on your own to take on Xavier and Wendy said it took you a long time to “take care” of Xavier,” he explained.

“He didn’t get anything he didn’t deserve,” she shot quickly looking very angry. “Xavier had to pay for what he had done,” she added sounding as if she was trying to convince herself as much as she was him.

“And what really happened when you found Wendy and Xavier because I have heard enough to know that much more happened there than what the girl told her father,” James demanded feeling his anger grow. Lily growled at him.

“What do you want James?” she snarled at him. “You want to hear step by step how I had to handle the vampire and the beast at the same time to kill a big freaking ass monster and get to Xavier! How I started to lose control of them! How about when I had every intention to kill that girl as long as it meant Xavier would die too and I only changed my mind a split second before I pressed the trigger,” she shouted at him with a wild look in her eye.

“I guess you want to hear to how I continued to lose it to the point I enjoyed all the pain I cause Xavier much more than any good and sane person should! Or how when I was finished and I found that Wendy was still waiting for me I was tempted to do the same to her,” Lily explained with icy fury in her voice. She turned away from James to throw herself into a chair. “It’s a miracle I managed to come back…but not completely,” she stated the anger suddenly gone from her face. “I’m not the good person I thought I was. I have darkness inside me,” she finished.

“You’re a good person, the darkness comes from your vampire and the wildness of the beast,” James told her wanting to comfort her, but she glared at him her anger returning.

“You don’t know anything, James Lacrosse,” she snapped shooting up from the chair. “You want to know what that is,” she said looking at the vile he still held. “It’s what Xavier gave to Lacy so she wouldn’t be mated to Chris anymore,” she told him and James stared at her in horror.

“You were going to take it?” He asked her hoping to hell she had some other reason for having it.

“No I wasn’t going to take it,” she told him and James relaxed with relief. “I don’t suffer this whole mate thing. I had thought of giving it to you,” she added and James’s jaw dropped as he stared at her with pure disgust.

“To me?” he started and she shrugged in confirmation. “I bet you didn’t even plan on telling me either?” he asked and the look on her face told him she wasn’t going to. James’ rage flamed up to dangerous levels. “You’d play me just like Xavier played you,” he growled at her.

“I was trying to decide. This whole mate thing has screwed with your brain James; you didn’t look at me twice until that night in the woods. Now you think I am the one and you expect me to feel the same and act like the happy little mate!” she answered him.

It wasn’t true, James had noticed her before and he didn’t expect her to act any different except for her to love him back and let him in. Instead of telling her all this he could only focus on his indignation that she would do such a thing to him. “You’re a damn hypocrite Lily,” he told her.

“So this is what you want? To get rid of me that badly?” he asked her accusingly but she simply shrugged at him. James growled sick and tired of her indifference. “Fine, you got it,” he snapped and before she could say anything he ripped off the cap and drank the liquid.

Shaking from his anger, James stomped to the door ripping it open and found Dorin and Bianca standing there. He stepped aside to let them enter the room ignoring the sudden icy chill that washed over his body. Lily shivered demonstrating she felt the same chill, they were no longer mated. He was going to leave, but something in Dorin’s expression made him stay.

“Congratulations Lily,” Bianca cheered. “Xavier Thompson is no longer a threat! King Silvano was most pleased when I told him this evening. He gives you his thanks…but now that the lycan is dead, it’s time Lily,”

“Time for what?” James demanded, getting a bad feeling from this. Lily’s face fell and licked her lips nervously.

“But I haven’t lost control,” Lily replied and James tensed, realizing that the vampires had come to kill her.

“Doesn’t matter,” Bianca said plainly walking into the room while Dorin stayed next to the door. “You may not have lost control yet, but you will. Hybrids always do and lots of innocent people die. That is a risk King Silvano will not allow,” she explained.

“But the Aequivalere decide that not the king,” James snapped, glaring at Dorin. Was he just going to sit there and allow this to happen? Bianca rolled her eyes.

“Well they’re stupid enough to think Lily is actually stable,” Dorin snapped at him. James growled at him. Was all that story about his brother a lie just to get him to let down his guard? Well if they thought he’d let them kill her, they thought wrong. She may not be his mate any longer, but he would still protect her.

“You’ll have to go through me first,” he snarled at them.

“Oh don’t be so hasty,” Bianca told him. “The king figured Lily wouldn’t allow herself to be put down peacefully so keep your beast caged James and Lily don’t make this any harder than it has to be or innocent people will suffer, your family to be exact. The king’s men are in position and ready to take out all of the Alpha’s family,” she explained. James growled louder, shaking with fury.

Bianca took out a silver stake with a large grin. “The human had such nice array of weapons, I don’t think she will miss this one too much,” she stated starting towards Lily and James wracked his brain, trying to think of what he was going to do when Dorin stopped the redhead.

“You got to play with the blonde! Now it’s my turn,” Dorin told her and she pouted but he insisted. “I’ve wanted to stake her after the first five minutes of meeting her,” he explained and Lily sighed crossing her arms. Dorin took the stake from Bianca with a stoic expression on his face.

“I thought you were a part of the Aequivalere?” Lily snapped at him.

“Let’s just say I got a new deal, one that I couldn’t refuse,” Dorin mused then turned serious. He held the stake then turned to James and gave him a small nod. Before James knew what was happening the stake was impaled in Bianca’s chest. She gasped as if she couldn’t breathe. James watched with morbid curiosity as the vampire’s bright red hair started to fade and grow white as her perfect skin slowly started to age until she looked like she was a ninety-year-old woman. She went limp into Dorin’s arms and he let her fall to the floor. He bent over and removed the cell phone from Bianca’s pocket and dialed a number.

“Sergio this is Dorin, tell the king, he is ordered to report to the closest Aequivalere station on charges of disobedience and violation of Law three hundred and forty-six. If you don’t wish to go down with him I suggest you get the hell away from the alpha’s house now,” Dorin commanded then hung up. “Your family will be safe Sergio won’t go against the Aequivalere,” he told them.

“Is she dead, dead?” Lily asked looking at Bianca.

“No, I partially pierced her heart so she isn’t dead, dead but she was into a sort of forced hibernation. It’s her punishment for going up against the Aequivalere. As much as I would love to stake you the Aequivalere have recognized you as at least sane and sentient,” he told her and Lily rolled her eyes.

“Gee I can so feel the love,” she mumbled bitterly.

“I’m surprised you didn’t kill her to make Silvano pay for your brother,” James said honestly and Lily looked at them confused.

“You had a brother,” she asked with a surprised tone.

“Yes I had a brother,” Dorin replied and explained what he had told James.

“Oh so that’s what the queen meant by history repeating itself,” Lily stated and Dorin nodded.

“What queen?” James asked, not liking that he felt a little left out.

“Queen Hazar,” Lily answered and Dorin nodded. “She is sort of like a fortune teller of sorts. The queen told me I had to go on my own to stop Xavier if anyone went with me he would have gotten away.”

“That’s your reason, that’s your valid reason?” He demanded nearly shaking once more with anger. “Some vampire told you she foresaw it and you just accepted,” he snapped, insulted that Lily seemed to trust everyone before him.

“Oh get over yourself, James! Yes, it was my reason and guess what she was right!” Lily demanded back at him. James glared at her, shaking with anger once more.

“You know what, just forget it! This is clearly not my problem,” James added just wanting to leave that room before he lost control of his anger.

Chapter 30

~

 

That night there was a celebration for the rescue of the children, and even though no one dared say it out loud, they were also celebrating the doctor’s death. Wendy led Lily around the center of town, talking almost nonstop. With a smile, Lily let the teen pull her around and introduce her to all of her friends. Besides the weirdness of it all, she started to feel almost back to herself and that felt good. She was almost able to forget what had happened earlier with James, it made her feel awful things ended like that, but at least now he could think for himself.

Pushing away her dark thoughts she decided to enjoy herself. When she was finally free from Wendy, she looked around the crowded park where most of the celebrations were taking place. She smiled seeing Crocell and Karya, she bet they knew how to have a good time. “To the victory,” Karya cheered handing her a drink as soon as Lily walked up to them.

“To the victory,” Lily repeated downing her drink earning a look of approval from Crocell. They filled their glasses and downed them again. They continue to drink while they talked about the fights they been in and who did what better than the others. It had been nice, just to have some good honest fun for a change with anyone expecting more from her.

The next night was the night of the full moon. Lily was disappointed to see she still had to shift and apparently Xavier’s mate blocker thing didn’t work on the beasts though because the morning after the full moon Lily woke up against James. Surprisingly he simply got up without saying two words to her. It made her feel relieved but also a little rejected. She had been right in the end; the mate bond was the only thing making James feel attracted to her.

“Do you really have to go,” Wendy pouted as Lily prepared to leave and Nick gave Lily a pointed glare nodding his head slowly up and down where his daughter couldn’t see him. Lily nearly burst out laughing as she hugged the teen.

“Yeah Wendy I do, I need to see my family again,” she explained and the girl gave her an understanding nod. Lily turned to the alpha holding out her hand. “Thanks for your help Nick and I hope the next time we meet it will be under better circumstances,” she told him.

“There is no need for thanks, Lily,” he replied as he took her hand. “I should thank you for bringing Wendy back safe,” he told her then got an evil glint in his eye. “As far as next time I sure hope it won’t happen for a very long time,” he added.

“Dad,” Wendy cried out and Lily started to laugh.

“Don’t worry Nick, I have a lot of work to do at home,” Lily replied with a large smile then turned to Uriel. She was surprised he was there to see her off.

“I hope you have a safe flight Lily but before you go I wanted to talk to you about your mate,” he said.

“Well then there is nothing to talk about because I don’t have one,” she said, crossing her arms giving the angel before her a deadly glare.

“You know you’re only hurting the people around by this constant distrust,” He argued and Lily sighed.

“I’m not constantly distrusting people, first. Most the people I’ve met Uriel deserve to be distrusted for second. You may not see that Mr. Turn the Other Cheek Angel with the rose tinted glasses but I live in the real world. People lie, trick, steal, use, and abandon more than they tell the truth, be charitable, help, and stay around!” She snapped at him and James was no different. As soon as the full moon was over, he was gone. He said goodbye to everyone but her. It’s not that she needed James to say goodbye, but it was just one more piece of evidence James didn’t really ever feel attracted to her.

Uriel gave her a look like he wanted to argue, but she spoke up first. “I like my life just how it is! I don’t want friends, I don’t want more family than I already have, and I do not want to “share my life” with anyone ever,” Lily demanded. “Thanks for the advice but I don’t need it,” She told him and was relieved when she saw her taxi arrived. “Goodbye Uriel,” she told him walking to the taxi.

Lily now stood before the Robert’s house. She was back home, but it didn’t seem the same. So many happy memories came to her mind but soon after followed the bad ones too. She wasn’t even sure if she was welcome home anymore, after all, Andrew did declare she was a rogue. Part of her expected to come home and find everything back to what it was like before.

That she’d walk through that door to find the powerful alpha and her father being pushed out of the kitchen by Sandy because he was picking at the dinner, she was preparing while Tony and Liz hanging out on the porch. He’d ask her about his day and Liz would wrap her arms around him as a sign of possession, but she would try to be friendly. But most of all she wanted to find Lacy locked away in her room with Chris like they always were.

“Hello Lily,” Andrew spoke and Lily was surprised to find him standing before her.

“Hello Andrew,” she replied then swallowed nervously as she tried to spy some indications on how the man was feeling towards her.

“Are you going to come here and give me a hug or what,” he demanded with a smile. Lily returned it rushing over to him and hugging him tightly. “Things may never go back to the way they were but that doesn’t mean, that we can’t be happy again,” he whispered into her hair. She simply nodded and relaxed against him with the feeling of warmth and safety that only he had ever been able to give her and smiled glad to find that not everything had changed.

She looked up at her father with the intention to apologize once more for running off like she did, but he stopped her. “There will be time to talk young lady, for now, let’s go inside. Everyone is dying to see you,” he told her with a tone of authority and she nodded.

The next few hours were spent at the dinner table eating one of Sandy’s gloriously delicious meals. James was there, staying in the guest bedroom until he decided what he wanted to do. Or at least, that was what Andrew told her because James didn’t speak three words to her or even really look in her direction.

Tony explained to her about the shift of power from Andrew to him and Lily looked over at Andrew. He was looking very proud as he listened to Tony. She smiled as she saw the powerful man she knew as father had returned. He may not be the alpha anymore, but he seemed happy and back to his old self again. Once Tony finished, he exchanged look with Liz, who suddenly had a large ear to ear grin clearing her throat.

“Tony and I wanted to let you all know that six months we will be expecting our first,” she announced.

“Oh my finally my first grandbaby,” Sandy cheered leaning over and crushing Liz in a hug.

“About time you make me an aunt,” Lily teased. “This is awesome Liz! I am so happy for you both; you’re going to be an awesome mother! Just like Sandy, I am sure,” she told the brunette. Liz looked at her a little shocked then suddenly hugged Lily.

Lily gave her brother a thumbs up noticing he rubbed his shoulder painfully from the hard slap of congratulations James had given him. “Well,” Tony started, still rubbing his shoulder and looking at James. “I think this is a good time for me to officially invite you to stay James. I am going to need someone to be my beta,” he told him.

Lily felt her smile fall a little. She looked at her plate not wanting to look at James. She wasn’t sure how she wanted him to answer. He wouldn’t stay, Lily thought to herself. Why would he? This hadn’t been his home for years and he didn’t have any family. He’d probably just go back to what he was doing before all this happened.

“What about the pack?” James asked him with uncertainty and Tony told him not to worry about it.

“After that day in the woods when Lily was taken, everyone realized you weren’t the person you were when you were a kid James. Most don’t have any problems with you staying and those who do will learn to deal with it,” Tony told him with a matter fact tone. James looked unsure and Lily was, even more, convinced that he wouldn’t stay.

“Alright I’ll stay,” he told Tony and Lily looked up at him confused for a second then back down at her plate. As much as she tried not to part of her was glad that he was staying. Damn, she swore silently. This wasn’t good, she’d have to get her own place as soon as possible! “But I will only be your Beta until Chris returns. He was your beta first and I won’t take that from him,” James added and Tony agreed.

As soon as Chris gave Andrew and Sandy Lacy’s body he left. Didn’t say where he was going or when he would be back. Lily wondered where Chris was and how he was doing, she hoped he was alright. She started to toy with the idea of leaving herself. Lily had never really been outside of the town before; maybe it was time to change that.

Lily stayed with Andrew and Sandy a few days but moved quickly back to her old apartment, that was now good as new after the aftermath of the fight between James and Kyle’s beasts fought each other. It only took her a day to get moved in and now that she was in her own space. She didn’t see James except on Sundays when she went over to the Roberts’s for dinner, but they kept their distance. She tried not to let it bother her but on some level, she wasn’t sure why, it did bother her.

The crime lab where she worked had indeed closed, and everyone was gone so possibilities of it opening were close to none. She had gone to the police station to ask them about their forensic team, but they didn’t have a specialized forensic team. Some of the officers had forensic training that assumed their forensic team and the fat witch Detective Scott repeated very loudly and several times, that there was no place in that department for someone like her. Lily wasn’t sure what the woman meant by that since she was human and clueless to what Lily really was.

It had been a month since James and she had returned. James apparently got an apartment on the other side of town and was working with one of the pack members in some carpenter thing while Lily’s bank account was getting dangerously low. She had gone to the University where she studied as well, but they wouldn’t hire her since she had no official training as a teacher’s aide and wasn’t enrolled there anymore, minimum wage jobs were all taken by teenagers, there were no factories around there either.

With an angry growl Lily pushed herself to run faster, running was about the only constructive thing that kept her from really flipping out. Tears of bitter, frustrated anger stung her eyes. It wasn’t fair, after all, she had been through she was going to end up a dirty bum on the side of the street. She growled more and ran faster pushing herself to the limit. Why was everyone able to pick up like nothing had happened while she was slowly losing everything?

Lily panted as her legs wobbled from exhaustion as she approached her car…which she was even starting to debate selling. “Um excuse me are you Lily Nawassa?” A woman asked and Lily turned to see a small mousey looking woman. Her reddish brown hair was pulled loosely in a messy ponytail and her light brown eyes flecked with darker brown shined. Lily discreetly sniffed in her direction, she was a vampire. Lily nodded, panting from her run.

“Great,” the woman said actually looking happy. “I’m Veronica Holloway,” she added holding out her pale hand that Lily took hesitantly. “Ms. Nawassa I’m-” Veronica started.

“Call me Lily, I hate when people call me Ms. Nawassa,” Lily told her with a small smile which the mousey woman returned happily.

“The Aequivalere want to give you a job Lily, Jessie Hart recommended you’d be an excellent guardian and I volunteered to give you the offer since I wanted to propose something to you myself,” Veronica started. “I’m a bit of a genius when it comes to medical science especially genetics and DNA. With the Aequivalere, I’ve become an expert in supernatural genetic codes and DNA. I would like to take a look at yours if you wouldn’t mind. Maybe even take a look at the research the doctor who did this to you, if you still have it. With my supervisor’s approval maybe even try to reverse what’s been done,” the mousey woman explained and Lily just stared at the woman not sure if she heard it right.

“Reverse it, are you serious?” Lily demanded and Veronica nodded.

“Alright Veronica, I’ll listen to what you have to say through a cup of coffee,” Lily replied.

Lily sat in the little café sipping on her hot coffee enjoying the warmth it provided her as she listened to detail what Veronica wanted to do and the offer of a job with the Aequivalere. “Honestly, ever since I heard of James Lacrosse, I’ve wanted to get my hands on a genetic sample but he never stayed in one place too long and when he was in town I only found out after he left. Though honestly I’m kind glad, if everything they said is true,” Veronica told her.

Lily couldn’t resist the small smile appearing on her lips. “Well first Veronica I’m going to have to check you out,” Lily started and she nodded. “If you’re lying I will probably kill you,” she said with the intent to scare the vampire “When I confirm that you’re with the Aequivalere then you have yourself a little lab rat,” Lily told her and Veronica smiled happily.

Lily sighed looking out the window. It looks like her fate wasn’t to be here in this town, she thought. Except for her family, there was nothing left in this place for her. Maybe life was telling her that it was time to leave, she finished then turned back to the girl. They exchanged numbers and Lily would let her know when she confirmed that Veronica was who she said she was and when she would be ready to leave for Montana.

That night Lily called Dorin and Queen Hazar to ask them about Veronica Holloway. They both confirmed what Veronica had told her. Lily called Veronica and told her the good news; she wouldn’t have to kill her, after all, earning a nervous laugh from Veronica. “I just need about a week and a half to two weeks okay,” Lily told her and the girl eagerly nodded.

Lily sat around the large dining table at the Roberts’s Sunday dinner. Her leg bounced nervously wondering when it would be the best moment to say her piece. When the meal was nearly over, she cleared her throat getting everyone’s attention. “Um, I got some news I wanted to let you guys know,” She started a little hesitantly wondering why she felt so reluctant to tell them that she was leaving.

“Go on,” Andrew said looking curious and she felt uncomfortable having everyone’s attention directly on her.

“Well about two days ago I was talking with a woman; she apparently works with the Aequivalere. Well by the end of the week I’ll be going back to Montana to work with the Aequivalere and let the woman research my…situation,” she explained. Everyone seemed surprised and shocked to hear she was leaving. Lily glanced discreetly at James, but his expression was unreadable.

He probably didn’t care, she told herself. Over the month, Lily came to realize she missed having James being a pain in the ass to her. Secretly she was discreetly searching for any signs from him that he could possibly have any feelings for her despite they weren’t mated anymore but he never looked at her twice. So when James remained stoic and didn’t seem to care about her leaving, bitter disappointment washed over her.

“You think she can make you human again?” Sandy asked interested, breaking Lily from her depressing, lonely thoughts.

“I don’t want to get my hopes up but yes that would be our ultimate goal,” Lily replied.

“How long will you be gone?” Tony asked.

“I am not sure how long but I think it’s going to be a good chunk of time, it may take years,” she replied feeling a little depressed about leaving her family. She heard a few gasps and Sandy looked horrified.

“Why do you need to be gone so long?” Sandy asked.

“I’ll come back and visit when I can Sandy and I’m not going to miss seeing my little nephew. She’ll need to do extensive tests on my blood to see what she can do,” Lily explained.

“Do you think she could do something for me…I mean James and me?” Greg asked with a hopeful look.

“I’ve spent more of my life like this than being normal, I’m not changing now,” James said with a harsh tone that made Greg flinch and Lily almost did the same.

“If we figure out a way to reverse my condition then I’m sure yours will be reversible too, Greg. I’ll keep you updated as soon as we learn something,” Lily told him with a positive smile that he returned weakly.

“I want those updates too Lily,” Tony told her sounding more Alpha than her brother which irritated her slightly, but she nodded.

“Of course Tony, I’ll keep you updated,” she replied.

The week passed by quickly, quicker than Lily would have liked. Her apartment was empty and the keys turned into the landlord. She closed her bank account and had on her all of what she owed to her name, a whopping ten thousand dollars. It could maybe get her a car, at least, she could sleep in it if all else failed her.

Her family stood around her to see her off. Sandy was trying to hide the fact she was crying but did a poor job of it. “Call us as soon as you land Sunshine,” She blubbered and Lily smiled at her mother before giving her a hug.

“I hope if you can fix this, you figure it out soon,” Liz said with a beautiful smile and Lily thanked her. Tony hugged her, which Lily could see bothered Liz some, but the werewolf just clasped her hands together tightly trying to swallow her possessiveness apparently.

“Be careful and remember you don’t really need to change anything Lily,” Tony told her and Lily hugged him back.

“I know bro, but we both know I was never meant to be like this. I was meant to be nothing more than just a simple human,” Lily told him then turned to Andrew.

“Take care of yourself Lily, don’t over exert yourself, call me immediately if you need anything and hurry back to us,” Andrew told her then held out his arms for a hug.

“I will Andrew I promise,” she told him hugging him tightly enjoying for who knows how long, the safe, protected feeling she got every time she was in his arms.

“James would have been here Lily but he doesn’t do goodbyes well,” he whispered to her quietly.

“Is that what he told you,” she whispered back trying not to sound as bitter as she felt.

“No he didn’t tell me, I just know how he is,” Andrew replied still whispering and Lily wanted to laugh. Lily pulled away from Andrew and waved at all of them for the last time. “Goodbye guys, I swear I’ll come and visit when I can!” She told them and walked deeper into the airport towards her terminal.


Therianthrope: A Hybrid's Curse

Book 2 of the Therianthrope Series Lily Nawassa, human turned hybrid of vampire and werewolf by a crazed doctor, is tasked to return home to help capture a former vampire king, but home is the last place she wants to go. Painful memories and James Lacrosse are there. James, a werewolf with a beastly shift, knows there is more to Lily's return than a simple family visit and accepts the order from his Alpha to find out why she is there. Once all secrets are out, and the truth is known can Lily and James put their past behind them to stop the vampire king, Silvano or will history just repeat itself.

  • ISBN: 9781310076947
  • Author: Taylor Lowe
  • Published: 2015-12-14 17:05:15
  • Words: 121195
Therianthrope: A Hybrid's Curse Therianthrope: A Hybrid's Curse