Enforcer - 10. Chapter 10
Gravel flew from underneath Jed’s truck tires as he slammed on the brakes. He pulled into the ranger station’s parking lot next to Colton’s Lincoln, and had barely put the truck into park before Buzz and Zef jumped out.
They tore after Colton, running full steam across the lot into the vet clinic.
“Doc!” Colton shouted as he pushed through the front door.
“Back here,” the vet called from the back.
Doc had moved Curtis onto a table in one of the clinic’s exam rooms. He appeared to be unconscious. A damp folded white cloth contrasted sharply against the dark skin of his forehead.
“What happened?” Colton asked.
“I found him out in the parking lot,” Doc explained. “He had this embedded in his backside.” He lifted a red-tipped dart. “Tranq.”
“Fuck,” Colton cursed under his breath.
“He was out pretty damn quick. He likely started to shift, which accelerated the drug’s absorption into his bloodstream. That would have dropped him within seconds.”
“Can you wake him?”
“Given the amount of drug in the dart and the speed at which his metabolism absorbed it, it won’t last long.”
“Shell!” Curtis screamed as he suddenly sat up. The shouted name turned into a snarl as his body shook from the shift overtaking him.
“Curtis,” Colton warned. “Calm yourself.”
Curtis closed his eyes for a few moments to get his body under control. When he opened them, they were haunted and glistening. “They took her. My mate. My pup.” His voice cracked and his emotions threatened to overtake him once again. He balled his hands into fists as he trembled with barely controlled rage.
“We’ll find them,” Parker stated emphatically.
Through gritted teeth, Curtis snarled. “They were stupid to leave me alive. They left their scents all over the place. I will find them and kill them all.”
“They know we’ll come after them,” Jed explained.
Buzz nodded. “They’ll set a trap. It’s how they work. We learned that at Conclave.”
“We’ll just have to outsmart them,” Colton said. He placed a hand on Curtis’s shoulder. “We’re gonna get her back. We’ll teach them not to fuck with the Timber Pack.”
Nervously chewing his bottom lip, Parker looked between everyone. “Not that I doubt our abilities, but maybe we should call someone for help.”
Jed, Buzz and Zef all glanced first at Parker, then Colton. Jed couldn’t help but wonder how the alpha would take Parker’s suggestion. Buzz and Zef both looked like a deer about to be jumped by a wolf. They immediately dropped their eyes, and Zef took a slight step back.
Not all alphas would appreciate such a comment, even from their mate. And to be said in front of others was enough to get your throat ripped in some packs. Jed knew that Parker had nothing to worry about, but he couldn’t help but think of Buzz and his old pack.
The sudden ringing of a cell phone startled everyone.
Colton pulled his phone off his belt carrier and looked at the screen. He held it up, giving Parker a sideway glance. “Well, it looks like that someone is calling us.”
Colton answered the phone, putting it on speaker. “Colton Butler.”
“Alpha Butler, this is Alpha Miller Poundstone. I’m giving you a courtesy call. We’re tracking a group of hunters, and we are going to be passing through the Timber/Forest View area.”
“Those motherfuckers took one of my pack-mates. She’s with child.”
“Fuck,” Miller cursed. “They have three of our pups. We need to talk. Where can we meet?”
* * * *
“We don’t have time for this,” Colton snarled.
Jed agreed with his leader. The longer they waited, the farther away those fuckers would get with Shell.
After the phone call, they had returned to the camp to wait for Miller Poundstone and his pack-mates. Jed had sent an uncooperative Zef home to let their dad know what was going on. He knew if he didn’t, Zef would want to join in—and his mom would have had his head on a platter.
Now they were waiting in the pack common building. Miller and his pack had arrived, but Miller insisted on someone from the Forest View Pack participating in the hunt. Jed didn’t understand why. According to Alpha Forrest, no one from Forest View was missing as far as they knew.
In case there was, Miller wanted someone from Forest View to participate.
The Glacier Pack delegation consisted of Miller, his beta Rico and his enforcer Kittner, as well as a dozen lycans. Each of them wore all-black military style clothing. Jed wondered if maybe these men had served in the armed forces at some point. They certainly looked the part of a mercenary. It was a good thing these guys were on their side.
Miller was unfazed by Colton’s impatience. The older alpha calmly circled the room. He only paused momentarily to openly sniff Jed.
Buzz stiffened next to Jed. He balled his fists, but he didn’t otherwise challenge the Alpha. It gave Jed a sense of pride to know his mate responded in that way, even though their relationship status was still somewhat undefined.
If Miller noticed Buzz’s reaction, he did not show it. He simply moved on. Sitting down on the sofa, he said, “They’re not disguising their trail. We wait for Alpha Forrest to send representatives.”
“This is my pack.” Colton had calmed his voice and demeanor to match Miller. “I don’t need Alpha Forrest’s approval or his help.”
Parker looked over at Jed and whispered, “They just better not send Seth Forrest or Colton will lose his shit.”
The door opened and John Stone entered. Large and imposing, the man looked ready to fight. Jed gave his father a nod, acknowledging him as the enforcer he was.
John greeted Colton with a handshake. “Alpha Butler,” he spoke formally. Jed’s father then looked toward Miller, who rose from the couch. “Alpha Poundstone. I’m John Stone, prime enforcer for the Forest View Pack. Alpha Forrest sent me to assist you.” He held out his hand.
For a split second, Miller looked puzzled. His nostrils flared before he put on a smile and shook the enforcer’s hand. “Thank you, John. I see the family resemblance.” Miller shot Jed a look before turning to Colton. “We’re ready to go.”
* * * *
“You don’t have to go,” Jed spoke softly to his boy. “This isn’t your fight.”
Buzz shook his head. “It is if I’m going to stay. I want to prove my loyalty.”
Jed’s grin could have lit up the room. He was simultaneously proud of his mate for wanting to fight, as well as overjoyed at the way he was talking about staying. It was only a matter of time before Jed claimed Buzz for the world to see.
“Can I kiss you?” Jed whispered.
“You didn’t ask before.”
“I was just so happy to see you.”
“You seem happy to see me right now.” Buzz’s eyes drifted south for a moment before returning to Jed’s gaze.
Jed smiled unapologetically. His mate made him hard. He would not make excuses for it. “You’re my mate,” he said simply.
Jed’s heart leapt up into his chest. “Yes?”
“Yes, you can kiss me.”
Jed didn’t need to be told twice. Holding Buzz’s face in his hands, he kissed him with all of the passion he had in him. When Buzz gave in and returned the kiss with equal fervor, Jed’s heart soared and his libido surged. He wanted to push Buzz forward, lower him to the ground, to make love to him. Bite him, mark him, claim him.
The slamming of Jed’s truck door broke the spell the two men were under.
Jed reluctantly glanced up to see Parker sitting in the back seat of his truck, arms folded across his chest. His face was beet red with anger, his lips pursed so tight they had gone white. Colton had the same look on his face. Jed immediately knew Colton didn’t want Parker on this hunt, but Parker was stubborn as hell. No way would he want to be left behind.
When Jed caught Colton’s piercing gaze, his alpha told him point blank, “Keep him out of trouble… and out of the fight.”
Jed nodded. “Yes, boss.”
He always did. He always would.
* * * *
When they finally reached the rendezvous site near the California border, Jed slowed his truck and parked behind one of the black SUVs.
Buzz got out immediately. Despite how big and roomy Jed’s pickup was, his legs were starting to cramp after being cooped up inside for four hours. He joined Jed, along with Colton and Parker, on the side of the two-track road. Curtis paced back and forth nearby, ready to go after his pregnant fiancée.
The Glacier Alpha, Miller Poundstone, was a lycan Buzz had never met before.
Surprisingly, he hadn’t heard anything about the Glacier Pack either, but Buzz was stunned to learn of a second pack led by an openly gay man. It rocked him to the core. Was everything he’d been taught a lie?
He glanced over at Jed. The hunky enforcer was his mate. Buzz knew it deep down in his gut and he could no longer deny it. While Buzz was no wimp, Jed was definitely the bigger and stronger of the two. From the way Jed talked, Buzz knew the bigger man wanted him. He wanted Buzz to wear his mark, a permanent scar at the base of his neck that would be a sign of Jed’s mating claim over Buzz.
Just the thought made Buzz’s cock go hard in his jeans. For the first time in his life, he didn’t bristle at being perceived as the weaker wolf. He was a strong wolf, but Jed was stronger. Buzz knew without question he would submit to Jed. All the enforcer had to do was ask.
As if knowing he was being watched, Jed looked over at Buzz. They exchanged heated stares.
“I’m sorry,” Buzz whispered, suddenly feeling guilty. “I’m sorry it took me so long.”
Jed didn’t reply; he just stared at Buzz with a tenderness in his eyes that made him want to cry. The only person who had even remotely looked at Buzz like that was his mother. And she had been gone for so long.
It would be so easy for Buzz to love Jed.
Buzz watched his man’s tongue slide across the width of his bottom lip. The smell of his bigger mate’s arousal filled the air.
Yeah, thank god his mother had never looked at him like that.
“Jeez,” Parker mumbled. “Were we this bad? It smells like a sweaty locker room around here.”
Jed finally broke Buzz’s gaze to look back at the alpha’s pup. “You two were way worse. Trust me.”
Colton wasn’t really listening to the exchange. His attention was elsewhere. “This waiting is killing me.”
“I’m ready too, Alpha,” Curtis said. His body hummed with pent-up frustration, his fists furled and unfurled as he fought the shift. “I’m ready to get Shell back.”
“We will, Curtis.”
Colton curled his hand around the back of Curtis’s neck and gave a squeeze. Curtis let out a slow breath and looked at Colton, giving him a grateful nod.
Buzz agreed with the Timber Pack alpha. He was ready to get a move on.
Miller’s plan was to surround the hunters and go on the offensive. With half of the men in lycan form and the other half in human form with military assault weapons, the hunters wouldn’t see what hit them.
Right now they were waiting for the tracker team to return.
Jed’s father, along with Kittner and Rico emerged from the forest. Kittner still wore his black mercenary uniform, but Rico and John Stone were completely naked. While shifters were generally comfortable with nudity, Buzz was always a little self-conscious about being around naked men. It’s not like he never checked out his pack-mates in a sexual way, but in the back of his mind, there was the constant fear someone would see something, or suspect something.
That said, Buzz couldn’t help but admire the older man’s body for just a split second. If that was what Jed was going to look like in thirty or so years, then Buzz was a very lucky man.
“We’re definitely on the right track, Alpha,” Rico reported to Miller. “There’s a sizable Quonset hut about four clicks down the right fork in the road.”
John nodded in agreement. “I spotted a couple of empty blinds up in the trees. The hunters are likely familiar with this area.”
“Are they expecting us?” Miller asked.
“Definitely,” Kittner answered. “But I bet they’re expecting some backwoods pack of amateurs—” He glanced over at Colton and his pack-mates. “No offense. They aren’t expecting this.” He tipped his chin toward his unit of armed lycans.
The corner of Miller’s mouth turned up in a smirk, and he looked between all of the gathered men. “Let’s kick some ass.”
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