Authors: Gemma K. Murray
Tags: #Paranormal Romance
Rowan rode back to the station with me. “Thank you, Adam,” he said softly. “You aren’t as bad as Dad says you are.”
I snorted. “Thanks, Rowan.”
The kid sighed. He was acting as if he had something to say, but couldn’t spit it out. I watched him out of the corner of my eye. “You got something you want to say, son, just say it. You won’t offend me, I promise.”
Rowan looked at me with these huge brown eyes. “I want to be a deputy when I’m done with school, but Mom and Dad say I can’t.”
It was my turn to be shocked. “Well, uhm, I can’t see why it
be a career option for you. You’d have to hit the weight room and bulk up a little. Put some muscle on your bones. Are you sure being a deputy is what you really want to do? You’re so good with technology and computer stuff.”
Rowan took a deep breath and replied, “I’m tired of being scared all the time. I’m scared the hunters will come back and try to destroy the town again. I’m scared of the bigger guys. I’m tired of getting pushed around by the other kids in the pride.”
I pulled the car into the parking spot behind the sheriff’s department. “Are you being bullied?”
“Geesh, Adam. Look at me. I’m a puma kitten who weighs a whole eighty pounds. My parents still treat me like I’m a newborn. The pride elders look at me in disappointment. They wish my parents would have let me die.” I opened my mouth to protest. “Don’t deny it, Adam. I’ve heard Roman and Alicia talking to my parents about it.”
I made a mental note to speak to my aunt. Hearing the Alpha wanted him left for dead had to be devastating to the young boy.
Bowie called the parents into the office to figure out what to do next. The wolves and their mates walked in, ready to simply take their sons and leave. Bowie directed them all to the conference room to wait for Rowan’s parents and the Alphas. Rock McIntyre called for this action and he needed to be held accountable. Uncle Roman needed to be made aware of the situation before “things” started to happen on Pride land.
Uncle Roman walked into the office on my aunt’s arm. “What the hell is going on?”
“If you go into the conference room, Bowie will explain it all.”
“I don’t mean with the situation here. Rock McIntyre has always been an asshole. It will never change. What I’m talking about is you and Rock’s daughter.”
“I’m sorry, Uncle Roman, but, frankly, it’s none of your business.”
He slapped me across the face. “I am your Alpha. You should be on your knees, begging for my forgiveness. I am your Alpha and
makes this my business.”
My jaw tightened. “You will never do that again, old man, Alpha or no. The only reason you are still Alpha is I don’t want the crap that goes with being Alpha. You need to remember one fact.”
Roman’s eyes hardened. “The day you think you can take me, you let me know.”
“I know I could take you out today, but I don’t want the position. I defend the pride when I need to. I take care of the pride members who need care. I help the kittens who need help. However, I will not tolerate you sticking your nose in my business again. I do not live on Pride lands.” I refused to bow to him and it had always pissed him off. He felt as a member of his pride, his wife’s nephew and, in his mind, his inferior, I should always submit to my Alpha.
“You had better watch your back, Adam. You are making enemies at an alarming rate. If you turn your back on the pride, who will stand with you?”
I watched my aunt and uncle walk down the hallway.
“It appears as if you just keep pissing people off, Adam.”
I turned around to find Rock McIntyre standing in the doorway.
“Hey, if you’re good at something, you should do it often, right?”
“What’s it going to take for you to stay away from my daughter? Do you need for someone in the pride to be injured or worse?”
“Gee whiz, Rock. It sounds as if you are making threats and in the presence of an officer of the law. I guess if something happens to any member of the Pierce Pride this would make you suspect number one.”
Rock stalked off to the conference room.
Bowie walked out and looked at me. “You gonna come in here and help me with this mess?” he asked.
“I don’t want to, but it looks like it has to do with me, so I had better.”
“Oh, goodie, this all has to do with you and Luna?”
“It’s looking like it.”
“Get your ass in there and straighten this out then. I’ll put my two cents in as sheriff and put on my scary sheriff face to help you out.”
I laughed, “Thanks, Bowie.”
Chapter Nine- Luna
Business was not going so well today. According to the town gossips, there had been a fight at the high school. Bowie and all the deputies had been on campus to break it up. My heart was in my throat, hoping that Adam was alright. My friend, Maria, stopped in for a quick word. “Luna, the kittens and the pups are fighting all because of you and that stupid puma.”
I was stunned. “I’m sorry. What the hell are you talking about?”
“My parents were called to the sheriff’s station. Your dad had offered my dad a higher position in the pack if my dad would encourage my brother and his friends to fight a kitten.”
My mouth was agape. “I do not understand what this has to do with me, Maria.”
“This is because your dad’s mad about you and Adam dating again. The hawks spotted you at Adam’s trailer and your dad is assuming the worst. Rock believes if he can start a war with the Pierce Pride, then Adam will be more concerned with protecting the kittens and the pride than he is with dating you.”
“By all that I hold holy…” I cursed. “Kelsie, you’re on your own, sweetie. I’ve got some business to take care of.” I threw my apron on the counter and stalked to the sheriff’s station.
The entire way I was cursing my father. This was going to come to a screeching halt today. I had enough of this bullshit. My father wanted me to take more of an interest in the pack? Well, he was about to get exactly what he wanted.
I threw open the door of the station. There was no one out front, but I could hear the shouting. I followed the noise down the hall. My father was screaming at Adam and Roman Pierce. Bowie was letting them have it out, but he would butt in if he had to.
I walked in to the conference room and stood there until Adam noticed me. He held up his hand and turned to face me.
“Hey, darlin’, can we help you with something?”
My father turned his purple face toward me. “Luna, honey, what are you doing here?”
I walked to the head of the table and stood beside Bowie. The dragon looked at me and took my hand. “Are you okay?” he whispered.
“No, I’m not okay, Bowie. It seems that my father is under the impression he can use me to get what he wants. That is
going to happen.”
I looked at the pack members who were there with their sons. “You all need to take your children and go home. I will not have your pups hurt because my father is angry with me. I will
have that burden placed on my shoulders.”
Maria’s father stood up, “I’m sorry, Luna, but until your father dismisses us, we have to stay.”
I felt my eyes shift to wolf. “I am the Shaman in this pack. I am your superior. You will obey me. Trust me; you do not want to challenge me.”
The pack members and their mates stood to leave, their sons in tow.
Roman Pierce looked at me, “Would you like us to leave as well?”
“I would like your pride members to leave, but this involves you so you might as well stay.”
The puma family began to leave and I took their son’s hand, “On behalf of the pack, I want to apologize for this. It appears my father thinks it is okay to pick on the weaker members of the pride because he’s afraid his pups can’t handle the stronger pumas.”
Rowan turned his deep green eyes on me. “I won’t be the weakest for long. Adam has promised to help me get in shape so I can take his job one day.”
Adam laughed, “I never said that. I said I’d help you get into shape so you can become a deputy someday.”
Rowan winked at Adam and smiled broadly, “Whatever, old man.” Adam just kept smiling.
Bowie closed the door behind them. “Rowan is one awesome kid.” I had to agree with the sheriff.
“Okay, princess. What’s on your mind?” my father asked.
“I walked away from the pack and your house for a reason. I’m your daughter. I am not the princess of the pack. I was sick of you interfering in my life. There is a reason I don’t run with the pack. There is a reason why I don’t recognize you as my Alpha. Alphas do what is best for their pack and their pack members. You are so concerned with how the pack will perceive you if your daughter dates outside of the pack and I’m sick of it. This is my life and I will live it how
want to live. I will not live my life according to you.”
Roman Pierce sat back in his chair with his arms crossed over his chest and a smug grin on his face. “Well, I guess your little pup has put you in your place, huh, Rock?”
I glared at Roman. “How are you any better? You both are scared old men. You are afraid of Adam because you know he could take your place as Alpha in a heartbeat. Adam simply has no desire to be Alpha. You just don’t get it. You should be watching your back because the rumors I have heard are your son will be the one to issue the challenge. You’re just so busy watching Adam you forget you raised a power-hungry puma who will take advantage of the fact you are ill.”
The smirk disappeared from the Alpha puma’s face. My father started toward me and I held up my hand. “If you know what is wise for you, you will sit down and shut up. I have had enough of this bullshit. You both are such arrogant assholes you can’t see beyond your own noses.”
Adam pulled up a seat next to Bowie and put his feet up on the conference table. He could be such a cocky puma, but it made me smile. “Your pride and pack are dying out because of the inbreeding. There are no new wolves joining our pack and the blood is beginning to show. You both want stronger members, but you are scared if they are too strong. You might be amazed at what could happen if you two would stop being so pig-headed.”
My dad sat back in his chair and crossed his arms across his chest. Roman Pierce stood up and slammed his fist onto the conference table. “How dare you tell me how to run my pride? A wolf? You have no idea what goes on in the pride!”
If I had learned anything as the daughter of an alpha, it was to stand my ground. “I’m not telling you how to run your pride. I’m stating a fact: you are exactly like my father! You both refuse to see how change would benefit both the pack and pride. A child of a puma and a dragon or a puma and a wolf might add certain elements to help the various communities. They would not be atrocities. They would be children who could join the pack and pride indefinitely.”
Now, it was my father’s turn to rant. “You know nothing about this, daughter!” he said, leaping to his feet. “A mixed breed child would be a monster! It would be an abomination! As Alpha of the McIntyre pack, it would be on my head to make sure a child of mixed breeding would be put to death to prevent the spreading of puma, dragon, bear, or any other shifter blood into
The fury was rising to the surface and I was about to explode. I took a deep breath and attempted to speak when Bowie interrupted. “You know, I’ve sat here and listened to you two blowhards just about long enough. Maybe you both forget, but my wife is a child of mixed breeding. She is a puma and a witch. Roman turned his back on her when her parents died. The dragons took her in and raised her. I don’t consider Ana a monster. Any child we have will not be a monster. Do you know who you sound like? You sound just like the humans who burned our town to the ground and tried to wipe out the community of Cedar Cove. They came here to save our souls because we are monsters in their eyes. Their belief says our relatives lay down with animals and shifters were born from the unholy union.”
His quiet, soft-spoken nature soothed the beast inside of me. My wolf wanted blood, but Bowie’s manner put her at ease. My mother spoke next. “I’ve had just about enough of this feud. I don’t want to see the wolf population die out. I certainly don’t want mixed breed pups on pack land. However, by encouraging our pups to bully a kitten, the way you did today, Rock, is a plan of the most ridiculous proportion. You took this way too far and I will not be part of it.” She stood up and walked to my side. “I love you, baby. I may not like the fact you won’t run with the pack, but sitting here today, I can understand why.” She kissed my forehead and left.
Alicia Pierce stood beside her husband as if she wanted to say something. Instead, she merely shook her head and walked out the door. I followed her out the door of the sheriff’s office. “I’m sorry about this, Luna,” she said.
“I’m sorry, too, Alicia. Your kitten should not have been attacked, let alone in a neutral zone.”
Alicia climbed into the driver’s seat of the four-wheel drive pickup and closed the door. The Alpha’s mate was leaving him in town without a ride home. At that moment, my mom’s car came around the corner. I chuckled as she left my father to find his own ride home. Maybe this would be the start of something good.
Kelsie had closed up the shop by the time I got back. I did up the dishes and started on the prep work for the morning. I had so much pent up energy and nowhere to steer it. I was on my hands and knees scrubbing the floor when I heard a knock on the kitchen door.
“Godsdammit!” I said as I went to see who could possibly be bothering me at this moment. I was so happy to see Adam’s face in the window.
“Hey, babe. How’s it going?” he asked as he leaned against my counter.
I glared at him. “Do you really need to ask? I’ve just brought the wrath of the pride
the pack down on my head.”
“Nah, I think you made a few points and they are going to think on their ways,” he said. “By the way, do you know Aunt Alicia and your mom left Uncle Roman and your father behind?”