Now that we had the evidence, it was up to the Council to decide the fate of a man I should have killed a decade ago. Had I killed him then, I would be the Alpha of the East Coast Pack because I know Travis was tired. His pack had grown too large to deal with. Too many people doing too many things, and very few of them seemed to be aligned with what Travis had laid down as law. He was never supposed to be the alpha in the first place, but the deaths of his predecessor’s family made him the only viable option.
Had I killed Angus then, I know what I would have done to the pack. I would have split it up into smaller ones, let them duke it out for whoever wanted to run that damn things, and just live my life the way I do now. Homestead is a very large pack with a huge area for our territory, but I’m not power hungry, so I’ve only expanded twice from the original borders. Once to absorb a small pack in Canada, upon their request, and once to eliminate a threat to Homestead from a psycho alpha wannabe. I didn’t want power or land. I wanted to sleep in after a night of epic sex with my man, watch my son and his loves get married and have kids, and grow old to watch my grandchildren playing in the yard with their grandchildren.
Had I killed Angus then, my life would be totally different, and that would be a shame. I probably wouldn’t have Dean as my Beta. I know I wouldn’t have Kao in my pack. Who knows what would have changed, but I knew I wished I had killed that fucking bastard. I could play the What If Game all day and never come up with much good. Still…how many lives would have been spared if I killed him? How many lives would have been lost?
I sat there fuming as the Council just talked about the crimes he had committed. By this point I wasn’t surprised to find SFB and the rest of the Councilmen from the east coast were staunchly supporting Angus. They were coming up with an endless supply of reasons he was not guilty of any crime. The amount of bullshit coming out of them was more than the time Heather caught the Little Dude with a Playboy. She wasn’t mad or even all that surprised, but when you say that the magazine belonged to a friend, and his only real friends were all gay…oh the shit was so deep I needed hip waders. She waited until he had run out of steam, raised a brow when he hung his head in shame for his obvious lies, and then grabbed the magazine to look at it with him.
Yeah. I was again noticing that Tony was quiet. His eyes were downcast, his face withdrawn, and even his scent seemed to be smaller. When everyone paused to take a breath, I jumped in. “Tony, as Head of Council Security, what do you think about all this?” He slowly looked up at me and went to open his mouth, but nothing came out. “Tony? Would you please answer the question?”
“He is obviously speechless, Alpha Davenport. Do not presume to order around this Council or its members,” said the rep from the south east.
“Shut it,” I ordered, and he shut his mouth very quickly. “I don’t presume, because I can order all but a handful of you around. Since this Council is elected by the regions they represent, I can only assume your support of Angus is due to him buying your seat on the Council. You’re no alpha. I wouldn’t even classify you as a beta, so sit there and keep silent, you sniveling little shit weasel.” More than one person in the room snickered.
“Jon, what is a shit weasel?” asked Jack Conners. I just pointed at the man cowering from my glare. “You kids and your Urban dictionary.” Despite being angry, I had to chuckle.
“Tony, please answer the question,” I repeated.
He just sighed and looked up. “I cannot speak against Alpha McLeod. I cannot tell you if the calls come from him or someone else in the building.” It seemed he honestly could not say anything. Not that he didn’t want to…he couldn’t. Something prevented him from doing it.
“But you can say they do come from the building.” He nodded when Travis spoke. “That is more than enough to get our forces in for an arrest.” I could tell Travis was trying to be political about it. He was trying to do this peacefully. He wanted to rip his fucking throat out, but he was doing his best to be neutral.
My tactful response was, “Fuck arresting him. Do we execute, or do I go in and kill him myself? Those are the only two options for what he has done or allowed to be done under his nose. There is nothing that will convince me he doesn’t know what is happening in his territory. I am giving this body one week to decide, or I will take action.” I stormed out with the rest of my pack and allies on my heels.
“How many soldiers do you need, Jon?” asked Goldie. She said it loud enough for everyone in the chambers to hear.
“This isn’t your fight,” I started, but shut up when just looked at me. “I have one hundred, RVF has fifty. Anything you can spare will be helpful. I just need them to cover me until I get to Angus.” We made our way out of the building and onto the lawn where I flopped onto my face, and Pat began to massage my shoulders.
“You’re not going in alone, Dad,” my son said, and I heard the finality in his voice. The worst part was I could order him to stay home, and he would follow. As my son, he was within his rights to help me. As my Enforcer, he was duty bound to save my ass from danger.
“He’ll have me there, Dylan,” said Goldie. Her tone said she would kick my ass if I even tried to say no.
I opened my eyes and looked at her. “Why?”
“You know why,” was all she said. I did know. She had been attacked, too. We were also close friends.
“Will you be sending Miss Thang back to your mate?” I looked over at Alice who was poking Dylan in the side, making him squirm. The thought that crossed my mind was Homestead and Cali Sands would have a long friendship.
“That would be the plan.” Goldie’s tone said the plan would not go according to plan. Nothing with Alice went according to plan.
“Heather will watch me,” she said as if it the most natural thing in the world. She held up her tablet showing the chat window with my future daughter-in-law. It was there in pink and green. With a chat history dating back for at least six months. The adults shrugged. I mean, if Heather was willing to watch her, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
When the Little Dude’s phone rang, he looked at the screen. “Hey, Tommy, what’s…? Oh, yeah, they both shattered their phones.” He handed me his phone.
“Hey, Tommy, what’s up?” While it wasn’t odd for Tommy to call Dyl or Heather, it was for him to call me.
“Alpha, can you verify that the ECP has been involved in illegal activities?” He sounded scared right now. No doubt rumors were already starting or had been going around for a while.
There wasn’t much that scared the man. I’d known him for years and never knew him to be this rattled. “Yes. Past that, I cannot say officially.”
“Alpha, I would like to petition for membership in Homestead along with my Pop and sister.”
Oh boy. Were the good people trying to get out before it hit the fan? “Granted. Pack your stuff, call Heather to make the arrangements for lodging, get out of Dodge, give your sister a hug from us, and if you know anything about anything, make a statement and send it to me, Pat, Dyl, or Travis.”
“That easy?” Tommy asked, surprised.
“Like I would say no. Just get out of there by the end of the week. That much I can say officially.”
“Will do, Jon. Or should I call you Alpha, now?”
“Try and see what happens, you cheeky fucker.” I hung up when he laughed at me. “Well, if you didn’t overhear, we’ll have three new people in Homestead by the end of the week. Hon,” I said as I turned to my husband, “you’ve still got connections with the ECP. Find out how many people hear the rumors and how many are planning on jumping ship.” He nodded but continued to knead my shoulders and back. “Someone should warn Heather…” I began.
“Done,” said Alice.
“I’ll need to ask Pop if I was this annoying when I was young.” The two of us shared a grin as she booped my nose. Such a darling little turd. “Sarge, are you okay with taking Miss Thang to Homestead for a bit?” He just nodded. “Okay then. Jack, what brings you here?”
“Just bringing more info to the party. I had some information that someone was putting a hit out on your betas, funded by Angus McLeod himself. I warned Goldie since the last known whereabouts of your boys was in her territory, and I believe one attempt was made, although Beta Dean had already left.”
Dean’s scent went frigid cold, followed very quickly by Kao’s and Xander’s. “Are you saying that the attack against Cali Sands main office, the one that nearly cost Goldie and Mirabelle their lives, the attack that put the woman I care about in the hospital, was a botched assassination attempt against me and my mate and contracted and funded by Angus McLeod?”
I love watching other Lycans lose their shit. Dean’s eyes were such a bright gold. Oh, he was pissed.
“It appears you pissed in someone’s Wheaties, Dean. Who did you piss off?”
Even with his anger, Dean snorted a laugh. “We don’t have all day to list even the ones from before puberty. Lately, I would say the rogue named Kai. Getting him kicked out of his flock because I didn’t let him kill my mate would have pissed him off enough to try and kill me. Alpha Rogerson, the other person Goldie may have formed an alliance with, would have cause since I advised Goldie to choose Alpha Olsen. Those are about the only two Lycans I can think of.” He turned to Kao. “Unless your father wanted me dead.”
Kao shook his head. “He’d do it himself.”
Jack spoke again. “Considering Alpha Rogerson was among the group that tried to take down Cali Sands, I’m guessing he would be the one.”
Dean turned to Goldie. “Tell me you caught the fucker and have killed him.”
“Didn’t have to. Jack did it for me since Rogerson violated his borders running from my people.”
So, all of this shit could be tied to ECP and Angus. He would never be allowed to live, but then who knew what shit he had been up to. I’d read the info Dylan had gathered about the missing people from Equis Camp and the other smaller packs. If Angus was up to his old tricks and had gathered their combined powers, it might take several alphas to take him down. This would not just be me going after him. I would need help.
“After very careful consideration, I will need all the help I can get. Dean, you and Kao will be going back to Homestead at the end of the week. I know the pack will be in good hands should I get killed. Dyl, you’ll be with the support troops to get me in. Pat, I know you won’t like it, but I want you with Dyl. The two of you can keep each other safe.” I looked over at Goldie.
“With Alice safe in Montana, and Lars in Cali Sands, I’ll be right there with you, Jon.” Once again, her tone said she would have it no other way.
“Me too,” said Jack. “I hate the cloak and dagger shit ECP has been doing. I got your back, Jon.”
Three alphas. Might be doable. If Angus hadn’t gotten a shaman’s powers, we could take him down with very little problem. If he had them, we’d need some major juju on our side. I had one potential card up my sleeve.
“Little Dude, does your aunt have a cell phone?” With very little ado, he dialed and handed me the phone.
“Dylan, I’m happy to hear from you,” came Minerva Davenport’s voice from the other side.
“Wrong Davenport, Aunt Minerva,” I said with a grin.
“Well, well. It is nice to hear your voice, Jonathan. I am going to assume you did not just call me to say hello.”
“I love you already. I have a situation, and I am calling the only shaman I might have brownie points with since Phuong is out of it. You know, negotiating her mating with your grandson and his bromantic love partner.” Yeah, I had read the entire file Dylan had written about Equis Camp and her peoples. I had family, which was way cool.
“If I can help, I will.”
“I love my family.” I told her everything she needed to know to make a decision, which turned out to be ‘I need help’ because she said she would be making her way out here. “So, not too much to think about.”
Her chuckle reminded me so much of Pop’s when he was amused by how much of an idiot I could be. Must be genetic. “You’re my nephew. Had I known you were so close, and willing to meet the black sheep of the family, I would have made contact years ago.”
“I’m the black sheep…well, black wolf. I’m looking forward to meeting you and thanks in advance for any help you can give.”
“Of course, dear. I have a few things to say to this Angus McLeod.” I could hear her voice turn to molten steel. That I knew was genetic because Pop and Dylan could sound the same when they wanted to knock some heads together. It was very much like water hissing as something hot hit it.
* * *
Turns out the Council didn’t need a week. It took six hours for the majority to vote in favor of arresting him, trying him for so many acts of murder that a vampire would die of old age before they were released, and killing him. It looked like the arrest was to appease some of the Councilmen more inclined to the letter of the law. Can’t fault them, but I can want to kick them in the balls.
They would give him twenty-four hours to turn himself in quietly. The notice had already been sent to him, which pissed me off to no end. No amount of wall-punching anger could change the fact they had sent the notice. Why send a notice? It gives them time to flee. Time to set up defenses. Time to come up with something.
“Why?” I had yelled out when I was told.
“It gives him the chance to come in peacefully. It would be a sign of faith he did not know what has been going on,” said the Head of the Council. I was about to yell something very rude when he spoke again. “It also gives you time to get your people into place so we can have that mongrel killed before he even leaves that building.”
Perhaps that spark I so loved in Gene was gotten from this man. “So, he’s holed up?”
“With four hundred Hunters, if my sources are accurate,” Travis replied. “It won’t be easy, Jon. Expect heavy losses before you even see him.” Travis’s eyes flicked to his son and Dylan. When he met mine, again, he saw I was trying to get prepared mentally for the deaths of my mate and son. There was no preparing, but if it happened, I would have to find a way to deal with it or the fastest way to kill myself to join them.
The doors to the chambers crashed open, a pair of security officers flying into the room and thudding to the ground without a sound other than their groaning. When I looked closer, they never hit the ground. They were floating an inch above the floor and then were lowered gently to it. I could only grin when a very tall woman serenely glided into the room. “I do hope I am fashionably late. Flights from Canada take so long.”
Dylan laughed and walked over to give her a huge hug. “Aunt Minnie, you could have knocked.”
“I tried, dear, but these men said the session was closed. Honestly, I was invited to come. Correct, Jonathan?” she asked as she looked over at me.
“This is Minerva Davenport. My aunt, in case you need clarification. She is here to provide magical support should it be necessary.” The entire room was speechless, the only sounds coming from the groaning guards. “Minerva, this is my mate Patrick.” He took the offered hand and kissed it.
“I do see why you kept him. Such a well-mannered and handsome lad. These would be your betas Dean and Kao.” They hugged her like she was a long-lost friend. “Kao, I cannot wait for us to be family. Your sister is a gem.”
There was a soft clearing of a throat, and I looked over to Travis. “This is the NALC. You may know Councilwoman Suzette.” There was a nod of respect between the two women. “The Head of the Council is the old wolf’s father, apparently.”
Her eyes teared up briefly. “Eugene will be remembered long by the Equis Camp and her peoples.” The Head merely nodded.
“And the dapper gentleman at the end is Travis Andrews, my father-in-law.”
Minerva looked him up and down, and I’ll be damned if she wasn’t checking him out. She leaned closer to me and said, “If Patrick looks this good when he’s the same age, you’ll be a very lucky man indeed.”
I just about died. Both Travis and Pat blushed so red it was uncanny. I had to put my two cents in. “Travis is single, Aunt Minnie,” I said with the biggest smirk when her own slow and sensuous smile lit her face. It looks like the cat had found a canary.
“Later,” said Travis, returning the look. Well now, seems like there might be something here. “Any other surprises, Jon?”
“None I had planned.” I couldn’t help but look at the two people who couldn’t take their eyes off each other. Could this be a fated mating? Hell, that could account for why Pop and Travis were such close friends and why Travis had taken to Dylan so quickly. They were blood kin to Minerva. Something to ponder later.
“Good. You have twenty-one hours to gather your forces and storm the ECP headquarters in Salem. Jonathan?” Travis looked at me when I raised a brow. “Make him suffer.”
I smiled, even Patrick taking a step back at the open malice in my eyes. “Yes, Alpha Andrews,” I said grimly.
Thank you all for your patience. Thanks again to Timothy M for his help as my editor