Facebook-AllureoftheWolf

Allure of the Wolf Preview

1

“While in training, the standard FBI issue is the Glock 23, .40mm handgun,” Ralph, our certified shooting instructor explained as he held one up. He carefully turned it by the handle, and I could see there wasn’t a clip loaded, which made it almost as safe as a toy gun for the demonstration of what that model Glock looked like.

It was the first day of the new training protocol I was trying to put into place, and I was there with my team, standing at the back of the group, observing. While I had trained at Quantico, it never hurt to have a refresher course. I also wanted to know that he was going to train my people the right way since I didn’t know him personally and not blow it off because of what we were.

Not human.

The rest of the week the office would be split up for classes. I wanted my team—the five special agents in charge I’d recently promoted—to go first because they’d be in the field with me until they were proficient enough to lead their own teams. Friday was going to be an open day to pick Ralph’s brain for any extra help needed.

“Once you qualify there are a variety of weapons that you can choose from.” Ralph gestured over to me, and I pulled out my gun of choice, laying it on the range table so everyone could see it. “Chief Thomas has a Beretta PX4 Storm, 9mm, full-size semi-automatic.”  He ejected the clip and made sure there wasn’t one in the chamber before pulling the slide back and locking it into place. “It packs a bigger kick with its recoil and isn’t for everyone.”

“It looks big compared to her hands,” Harris commented, glancing between the gun and my hands.

I met his eyes to let him know I appreciated him being the first to ask an intelligent question and get the ball rolling so others felt this was a safe environment to learn. Training didn’t work otherwise. “I changed out the grip to the smallest one and it fits just fine.” I picked up the gun, unlocked the slide, demonstrated my normal grip of the gun and how I held it.

“Still too big for my hands,” Davis chuckled, holding up hers to show me. Sure enough, it wouldn’t have fit. Then again she was shorter than me, and it made sense she would have smaller hands.

Ralph taught them how to field strip their new guns and clean them. I more than approved. Maintenance and familiarizing themselves with the Glocks would help them relax and get used to the feel of the guns. Then he went over how to load the magazines, arm the gun, and get into a comfortable stance.

After two hours, I was impressed. Ralph covered everything I would have and then some. He was thorough, patient, and adapted his lesson plan to what anyone needed. Harris and Cooper were on one side of the range with me, having already gone through qualifiers. Harris had trained at the Indianapolis police academy and Cooper was a former Army Ranger.

I didn’t need to worry about them with shooting training. And I did appreciate them gracefully accepting the refresher course this was for them, so the three of us were trading guns and seeing who could score highest.

I got the phone call I’d been dreading since I found out Vlad and Noah where plotting the expo fight. I’d agreed to a sparring match with Noah when he had been helping me move into my new house. I guess everyone had been discussing the way I’d kicked some wolf ass at my first full-moon gathering with the Chicago pack. Noah had taken the position that if I ever fought someone who had paranormal strength and hand-to-hand combat training, I wouldn’t win. My team had disagreed.

And opened a can of rabid worms.

I had agreed to the fight if Noah would train my office in fighting tactics like I learned at Quantico. Paranormals weren’t allowed in with the human FBI trainees because we had an unfair advantage and the potential for creating severe injuries. When sparring with people who could have claws and fangs, there were more risks involved.

So, in the interest of getting all the people in my office certified as field agents, I’d made a bargain with the devil—in a manner of speaking. Noah and I had a side bet as well. If I won, he’d do any follow-up training I’d need. If he won, then he’d be my moon mate the next full moon. It seemed like a win/win idea, even if the terms were overly personal and made me uncomfortable. It was a risk and sacrifice I was willing to make for my people.

Why was he the devil then?

He went to Vlad, the Chicago vampire Master, to set it up. Here I figured we were going to have a friendly sparring match at a gym where all our friends could watch. No extra chance for major mortification when I went up against a vampire who fought in the Crusades and got my ass handed to me.

Wow, was I wrong. I really had to make sure that I made the details clear going forward. I now understood that old saying the devil was in the details. I’d never quite comprehended that one before. Honestly, I’d thought it was a shot at attorneys and contracts.

Apparently not.

“What do you mean the fight is going to be at a casino?” I growled into the phone.

“Well Vlad figured you wouldn’t allow betting unless it was legal and in a gambling-zoned area,” Noah explained, seeming completely oblivious as to how pissed I was. “It’s set for eight on Friday night.”

“You said you’d give me a week’s notice.” Now I was freaked and looking for any way out of this. My legs suddenly felt weak, and I found myself sitting on the nearest bench outside the shooting range as one thought echoed in my mind. They seriously thought I’d be okay with fighting in a casino’s boxing ring? I couldn’t seem to get past that one idea.

“Really? That’s what you’re focused on?” He gave a dramatic sigh. “We gave you a workweek’s worth of notice. Close enough. Unless you just want to chicken out and be my moon mate this month?”

“No, I gave my word,” I answered tightly, barely keeping my rage under control. I heard the phone creak in my hand and I loosened my hold. “But you know this wasn’t what I was talking about when I agreed to this. I’m not a fan of being taken advantage of Noah, and I won’t forget this.” I hung up before he could reply.

Childish? Probably, but I figured that was better than saying what else I had on my mind. Or vomiting while we were on the phone. Yeah, that was always really bad too.

“Chief?” Harris asked as I pinched the bridge of my nose and tried to calm down. I’d been so preoccupied I hadn’t noticed him or Cooper step outside as well. “Why don’t you go for a run during lunch? We’ve got this.”

“I can’t just leave work to go for a run anytime I get upset.” I wanted to roll my eyes at the idea, but he was just trying to help.

“Yeah, you can,” he countered, squeezing my shoulder gently. “There are perks that come with being part of MNSTR. What we are is taken into account, and we’re given certain allowances for it. Take lunch at the pack lands and go for a run.”

“You need it, Chief,” Cooper encouraged gently. “Your eyes have already shifted.”

That snapped me back from the conversation long enough to take stock of myself. They were right. “Okay.” I nodded and focused on letting my eyes change back. I grabbed my gear from inside, slipped my gun into my holster, and made a mental note to clean it later.

As I headed out, I was grateful for the suggestion because, honestly, a run sounded great.

I let the news about the fight sink in on the drive over. A smaller part of me wished I could get called out of state on a case now that I was assigned to a different division and there were so few MNSTR offices. Okay, fine, a big part of me, but that really wouldn’t solve much besides maybe getting the fight out of the casino.

Then again, knowing Vlad and all of his connections, he’d still be able to swing a big event. So really, I’d just be delaying the inevitable. Fuck! Didn’t that leave a sour taste in my mouth?

Twenty minutes later I was parking in the small lot with fifty or so spaces attached to the private forest preserves that held the pack lands. Hopping out of my car, I opened the trunk and put all my stuff inside, taking off my clothes and folding them neatly. The only thing I kept was the fob for my car. That I put on my necklace and locked the car before shifting into my wolf.

It was a little annoying to have a necklace on in wolf form, but I wasn’t going to leave my car unlocked with my guns and personal belongings in there. I wiggled my paws in the soft grass—ignoring some of the weeds because it wasn’t a backyard to be tended to, but nature and wild—feeling better already. Then I started off at a jog before letting my wolf run at full pace.

Hell, I was so excited to allow myself this time I ignored all the bees everywhere… Even when I swallowed one. That would teach me to run with my mouth open and my tongue hanging out. I heard tons of squirrels chattering, wondering what was up that had them so worried.

Until I realized it was me. Hello, predator in their midst. I smiled mentally and took off after a few that were on the ground, chasing them up their trees. No, I didn’t chomp on any furry rodents, but I did half expected an Open Season moment where some of them pegged me with acorns for being mean.

Hey, they needed some exercise too, right?

We’d had a good amount of rain so far this spring and it showed. Everything was green, lush, and just beautiful—peaceful. No brown grass, or bare trees, flowers blooming and…

Oh my god, I needed more stress-relief time or I was going to burst into song that the hills were alive with wolf senses or some shit. It was at that precise moment I caught the scent of other wolves of the pack marking their turf. That did it. Wolf pee. The killer of all nostalgia.

This was exactly what I needed. I hadn’t let my wolf out often enough since I was turned. Granted I’d been busy with a big case for most of the time and adjusting to my new life, but my wolf was grateful I was finally paying attention to her.

An hour later I was done… And I wasn’t alone anymore.

I sniffed the air and tried to distinguish the different smells. Harris had told me the longer I was a werewolf I would be able to find out certain things just from scent. For instance, he told me fear would smell different than anger, or lust. Lust I’d gotten down. Anger I was getting better at, but this was my first time scenting what I thought to be fear.

It was hard to define. It was like smelling a chill in the air, the one I got when something jumped out in a movie and startled me. That was the only way I could think of how to describe it. More than that though, because this I could taste. It was acidic and tart, like wine, though more like cheese someone knew had expired maybe but might get one more day out of it if a person was daring.

The women who were there, waiting for me by my car, were afraid of me. But why? Or maybe not of me, but to be near me. Was it that they were going to be seen with me or that they had something to tell me?

And just like that I guessed the answer to my own question. I quickly shifted back and unlocked my car, popping the trunk, wincing at how hot the asphalt was under my bare feet. Amazing how much tougher I was as a wolf than as a woman. “Hi.”

“Hello, Chief Thomas,” one woman greeted hesitantly. I recognized her, but I didn’t know her name. She was the one who had held my stuff at the pack gathering I’d been to.

“Are you looking for me or is this just a coincidence?” I had a feeling I knew that answer too, but how could they have known I was here? Plus, it seemed like an easy enough icebreaker that might ease whatever had them so scared.

“We were hoping to still catch you.” She twisted her hands together as she darted a look at me. “One of Alpha Engle’s enforcers saw you pulling in and reported to the Alpha that you were here. She’s his mate so I heard what was going on.” She paused then and looked towards her four friends, gesturing to one specifically.

“And you were hoping to speak to me in private?” I probed when she didn’t go on. I slowly got dressed, acting as if I wasn’t the only one naked around five people. They nodded as if not sure what else to do. I decided to start off easy. “What are your names? Maybe we should open with that.”

“Can you really help us get away from our abusive mates?” one blurted instead, her elbows pressed into her sides as if she was trying to make herself as small of a target as possible. This was a woman who screamed she knew to expect getting cracked one if she opened her mouth.

How sad. Once again my interaction with anyone in the pack left me wishing I had been made almost any other kind of preternatural being.

I stopped pulling on my bra and looked each of them in the eye. “Yes. If that’s what you want, I can keep you safe and get you away from your mates. You’d have to tell me everything and we could go from there.”

“I told you Simone said she was going to take over the pack,” the first one boasted with a smile. Simone was one of the panther leaders of Chicago. She had helped us out on a case and was convinced I would be Alpha soon.

I grimaced and then it was my turn to blurt something out. “I never agreed to that.” It wasn’t my finest moment, but I also didn’t want them going into this with false expectations. I did rally though and tried again. “That doesn’t mean I can’t help you. These men, pack or not, are breaking the law. I will put a stop to it if you tell me what’s going on.”

“But you can’t protect us in the pack then,” she argued with a sniffle. “Any one of them above you in the pack hierarchy could order you to drop the investigation and tell them where we’re hiding.”

“Sure they could, but that doesn’t mean I would.” I knew the pack was screwed up, but I couldn’t get over that they really thought someone of the law would just push an investigation under the table because the Alpha told them to. “I take my duty at the FBI very seriously. And I’ve been studying on the rules of a pack from the Shifter Council and the Chicago pack isn’t adhering to them. This is not the way a pack is supposed to be.”

“We know that, but unless someone steps in and challenges Alpha Engle, it’s how things will continue to be.”

“No, they won’t.” They were making a lot of assumptions on that. “Give me a chance to show you that we can make this better.” I sighed and finished dressing. “Look, I want to help but I’m a new wolf. I can’t just jump in and take over the pack. I’m dedicated to my job and just learning the ropes. Hell, I don’t even want to rule the pack.”

They were quiet a moment before the first one to speak took a chance. “I’m Gayle Harper.” I reached out and shook her hand as I made the connection to the name.

“You’re mated to Tony Harper? The guy I fought at the last pack gathering?”

“Yeah, but not by choice,” she admitted. “When I became of mating age, he told me I was going to be his mate. I tried to fight him but I lost and then next thing I knew he made me sign a marriage certificate.”

I swallowed loudly. She was maybe a few years younger than my twenty-eight, and I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to be forced into an abusive marriage for that long. “Do all of you have the same story?”

“Basically,” another answered. “I’m Joan,” then she pointed out the other three as she gave me their names. “That’s Margo, Connie, and Lillie. You haven’t met our mates yet. Mine is one of the Betas and the rest are mated to some of the enforcers.”

“Let me ask you one thing, Gayle.” I waited until she nodded before I went on. “Tony said he was looking forward to making me a proper mate. What did he mean if he was already mated?”

“He probably just meant having you submit to him sexually,” she sighed, her eyes filling up with tears. “Or making you a mate in name or claiming you as his wolf to the pack as well as me. On top of everything else, he hasn’t been faithful since I miscarried his pup several years ago.”

I somehow managed to keep my gag reflex in check at the idea of the man touching me, because I felt like I was choking. “Okay, let’s get you guys someplace safe,” I offered gently, realizing we were out in the open and anyone from the pack could come along. “I’m going to find you sanctuary while this is going on, but first I’m going to call in my team and we’ll escort each of you to your homes to pack a few bags.”

“You’re really willing to risk Alpha Engle’s wrath to help us?” Gayle looked shocked and her eyes had the smallest glimmer of hope.

“I’m not afraid of that man,” I promised her—all of them really. “He’s a bully and a criminal, no different than the others I’ve put behind bars. He could be the president, and if I caught him breaking the law or being an accessory to it, I would do everything in my power to stop it and see him locked up.”

“Thank you,” she rasped as she wiped her face, smearing a couple of tears that must have fallen on her cheeks.

“Let’s get a move on before we’re not alone. Follow me and I’ll keep you safe.”

I nodded to her SUV where they hurried to load back up. I called Harris and Cooper to meet me at the office. Once I had the five wolves settled in the conference room, I pulled both my agents into my boss’s, Chief Monroe’s, office.

“We have a situation,” I informed him.

“No shit,” he hissed, slamming down the office phone on his desk. “I was just informed I have a rogue wolf kidnapping pack members wearing an FBI badge.”

I smiled brightly, letting him know I’d heard him and was about as happy about the news as he was. “I’m pack now, remember? I’m not rogue, and they came to me. Harris and Cooper can vouch it was their idea I go for a run and burn off some stress. The women were waiting for me and asked for my help.”

Monroe tilted his head and actually gave me a real grin. “Thank you for explaining, Thomas. Until you did, I actually thought you went bat-shit crazy and were kidnapping wolves.”

“Right, sorry.” I wanted to roll my eyes, even as the tension that had been gathering in my shoulders eased from Monroe’s statement, when Harris and Cooper started chuckling. “Hey, I’m from the regular FBI where an accusation like that might land me in an office answering questions.”

“The regular FBI sounds like it blows,” Cooper muttered. He wasn’t all that off about it now that I was learning there was another way.

“How do you suggest we play this?” I asked the chief, deferring to him on all paranormal political minefields.

He winced and I knew it was gonna be bad. “You’re not going to like it, but if it was a vampire thing and Vlad was in charge of those being accused or asking for help…” he trailed off and met my gaze.

“You’d go talk to him.” I poked my tongue in my cheek and took in a long, slow breath as I thought the situation through. “Right, okay, so, these five might not want to talk to non-wolves, but who knows. Off to Engle I go.”

“He’s threatened you where as Vlad and I work well together,” Monroe cut me off. “Bring Cooper and Harris, but they stay by the car unless you call for them. Show this is serious, but don’t go storming in.”

“But, boss, I like storming in,” I teased, trying to defuse some of the escalating tension in the room. I felt it crawling over my skin.

“It is fun to watch her storm in,” Harris agreed, getting in on the joke. Monroe kicked us out of his office, promising to start trying to figure out how to find five wolves a safe place when their mates could track them anywhere. Hell, having them at our offices was a risk, depending how stupid the pack was.

God, I hoped they weren’t that stupid. I really didn’t want to have to shoot up some of my own.

“Can I offer a suggestion?” Harris muttered from the backseat after we were in the car driving to Engle’s. I’d been so lost in my thoughts on how to play this I’d barely noticed both of them were there with me.

“Yeah, by all means,” I chuckled.

“Pretend you’re going to talk to Vlad, a rational leader who has five hurt members of his group asking for help. Don’t throw around accusations, we don’t have official statements no matter what we know. Engle’s a power-hungry dick, but he is an Alpha, that comes with a certain amount of instinct to protect his own. Use that. I know it’s hard—put the past aside. Make it clear you’re not going to be his Alpha Bitch or whatever, but play the game, Chief. You are definitely a powerful ally.”

“I agree,” Cooper added, fidgeting with his seatbelt next to me. “He wants the brass ring of you under control, but any smart leader would settle for the second best of being able to name you an ally.”

“I really like you guys right now,” I praised, suddenly feeling lighter and almost giddy. “I mean really. Thank you. Now I know how to play this.”

“Good,” Harris sighed. “I didn’t feel like shooting any wolves today.”

I threw back my head and laughed as I took the turnoff to Engle’s house, already having his address memorized because I knew this day was coming. “I was thinking the same thing earlier.”

Of course my new cool and laid back plan went to shit as I pulled into his long driveway and saw four wolves kicking the crap out of some guy.

“Mother fucker,” I growled as I threw my car in park. I immediately recognized Tony Harper and Roe Smith, the two guys that had challenged me for dominance fights at my first pack gathering. I jumped out and raced over to the group, waving Harris and Cooper to stay by the car. “Get off the kid!”

Immediately all four stopped. Well that was a neat trick.

“We were toughing him up,” Tony defended, baring his neck to me… As were the other three.

“I’d guess you’re above all four of them in the pack now,” Harris called over, trying to fill in the blanks of my confusion.

“Is that true?” I asked, glancing between them. “Is that why you all immediately stopped?”

“Yes,” they agreed, not making any sudden or threatening moves, their body language telling me they really were standing down.

“Well glad that really works,” I muttered, moving over to the kid. “You okay? Do you need medical attention?”

“I’m fine, we were just playing,” he wheezed, not even able to open both eyes.

“Playing, my ass.” I turned and glanced over my shoulder. “Harris, check this guy out while I talk to Engle.”

“Where’s my mate?” Tony demanded, his hands fisting even as he kept his neck bared to me. I knew it was a wolf thing but the guy looked like a complete idiot. “You can’t take her away from me, dominant to me in the pack or not.”

“I didn’t. She came to have a talk with me and that’s it,” I assured him even as I narrowed my eyes at him. “She’s a free woman who can take a breather from her husband if she wants. That’s all she’s asked me for and nothing more. Don’t make this a thing when it doesn’t have to be, Tony. I’m not the police being called in for a domestic disturbance. This can be nothing but a time-out for you guys.”

“She needs to come home,” he grumbled, crossing his arms over his chest, almost as if he was pouting, but backed off. Maybe he did have a brain.

“She needs some space. Let her have it and miss you,” I tried, even going with a smile when I wanted nothing more than to punch him in the nuts. Then when I knew Harris had the guy receiving all the playing up and tended to, I kept walking to the front door.

“My Alpha Bitch, so nice of you to see your new home,” Engle purred as he opened the door and leaned against the frame. I opened my mouth to bite his head off but snapped it shut.

“Engle, I’m trying really hard here, but you have to meet me in the middle,” I ground out. “I will never be your Alpha Bitch, so just stop. Stop poking me and trying to make things always a pissing match between us. I’m a new wolf in our city. I don’t even like my own kind because of what you did to me my first full moon. I get along better with the damn vampires. What does that say about werewolves that you have one of the most powerful law enforcement agents in Chicago that could be an ally and you do everything to piss me off?”

“You should be mine,” he growled, his jaw clenching long enough to click.

“Well I won’t be,” I snapped, my eyes changing to my wolf’s at his blatant disrespect and demands. “And we both know now that you’ve tasted my power that you can’t make me. So be the smart Alpha I hear you can be and move past that. Vlad and I are friends and he’s found being my friend is a good thing. I know you two talk.”

“He has told me that,” Engle hedged, eyeing me as if not sure what to make of this more rational me.

“Then let’s try and be adults here and do what’s best for our pack because I’m one of you now. I might not like it, I might not understand it, but I’m coming to terms with it.” He gave a slight nod, and my wolf and siren both decided to rear their heads in the same moment—opening my mouth for more. “But know this, you ever try to name me a rogue wolf and accuse me of kidnapping again, I will swarm this place with SWAT and tear off your balls.”

“That was rash,” he conceded even as his shoulders tensed.

A feather could have knocked me over in that moment. Did he just admit to being a dick? Wow, I was never going to get an apology from this man but that was pretty damn fucking close.

“So it won’t happen again?” I pushed, not willing to let this one go.

“No, no, it won’t, Chief Thomas,” he agreed with a smile I’m sure he thought was wonderful. Personally it made me want to gag, but whatever, I was playing nice.

“Good. Now, may I come in and discuss something that has come to my attention?” I nodded past him, grimacing when he smiled widely and pushed the door open but didn’t move so I would have to slide past him.

Yuck.

“Please, do come in.”

Oh, for fuck’s sake. “I was approached by five members of the pack after I went for a run, Alpha.” There, he used my title, I could use his.

“You call me Alpha, yet you don’t bare yourself to me.” He moved up behind me, close enough that his hand brushed my ass.

“I thought we were going to try and be friends here,” I chastised, turning around but not moving away as if I was letting him have the win. “You know why I’m not showing you my throat. Don’t push this, Joseph. I don’t want the pack, but I don’t like being backed into a corner either. So let’s be friends and stop with the games.”

“All right—for now.” He nodded and stepped around me, sitting on his couch as he gestured for me to take the chair to his right. I tried not to make some off-handed reference in my mind that to him it was probably the same as being offered the seat to the right hand of god or something but the man did have one hell of an ego. “Now why did my wolves come see you?”

“They asked for my protection as an officer of the law from their husbands,” I answered, choosing my words carefully. “They would like some time apart, and while no accusations or complaints have been made, they were worried this would not be allowed. I assured them that couldn’t be possible since they have every right as US citizens—which we’ve already established they are the last time we met—and as members of a wolf pack following Shifter Council regulations.”

“No, they are allowed to have a break from their mates,” Joseph agreed, his eyes flaring rage. “They should have come to me.”

“I’m sure you would have told them the same, but since some of your enforcers are their husbands, I think you can appreciate why they felt you might not take their side.” I held up my hand when he growled, feeling satisfied when he stopped at my gesture like our true dynamic might be seeping into his mind. “They came to me on pack lands as a woman of the pack, but they addressed me as Chief Thomas. This is a gray area for me, Alpha. I can handle this as a woman of the pack with the Alpha’s blessing if you back me and give these women, our pack, some space.

“As I told Tony, this isn’t a domestic dispute I got called in on and that’s not even my thing.” I sighed a little dramatically as if this whole thing was an annoyance to me and not what I’d been hoping for. “You want me to be part of the pack, I’m here, being part of the pack. This isn’t my job, Alpha. I catch murderers, go undercover to take down mob bosses. If I wasn’t a wolf, I promise a division chief of the FBI wouldn’t be here talking to you about this. A bunch of patrolmen would be here starting shit and we don’t want that.”

“No, no, we don’t,” he agreed again, rubbing his chin. “All right, they have until the full moon to sort out what’s wrong with their marriage, but then I expect them home to their mates and at the pack gathering.”

“I can’t promise that. They have every right to separate from their spouses,” I reminded him.

“Don’t push me on this,” he growled, his eyes flashing power I didn’t even feel. Wow. Why did everyone say this guy was so strong?

“I’m not. I don’t make promises I can’t guarantee. I don’t want to give them a deadline and freak them out into doing something they might not want to in the first place,” I placated, mentally rolling my eyes. “Let’s you and I set that as our goal, but know I can’t promise that on behalf of five grown adults. For now, I think three weeks of space would do wonders for their state of mind and reminding them that they’re part of this pack, not simply captives.”

“My wolves are not captives,” he snapped, spittle flying from his mouth.

Lovely.

“Alpha, I have seen abused women before,” I growled, my own eyes flashing power. “These five are not making this up. Keeping your wolves in line and having a pecking order is one thing, and I know the rules better and will abide by them. But they were not written to give a man the right to beat down his wife when they’re at home. You wanted me as part of this pack, you got me, but with me comes an advocate and enforcer of that. Make no mistake because this is a line I will not back down from.”

He blinked at me a moment, and I realized for the first time, he might be a little clueless as to what went on behind closed doors. “If a member of my pack is abusing their mate, not simply arguments that get out of hand when our animals ride us that happens to both sexes, then I support your action. You may never be my bitch but you would be a wonderful Beta, Seraphine.”

“One thing at a time, Joseph,” I sighed, rubbing my hands over my hair. “Let me get a few full moons under my belt and my life in some kind of order before we go giving me another promotion. How about we just work together for a change and see where that takes us?”

“To help the pack, I’m willing to try and be friends.”

Well praise be Jesus and heaven above.