“We’re mates…we’re mates, Carson! How could you do this?”
Tears ran down Abigail’s face as she looked at her mate. Her father and mother were furious, growls ripping from her father’s throat. Warrior Michael was the lead warrior of Pack Oru.
“I’m sorry, Abby, this was a mistake,” Carson mumbled, not wanting to specify that they were the mistake.
“We’re mated, and you just marked me weeks ago! I felt it Carson…I felt all of it after that.”
Abigail rubbed her chest, her stomach clenching with the memories of being marked. They had been waiting to move in with each other until after the final ceremony to bond them together.
How could this be happening? A mated pair was supposed to be together forever. She’d imagined having pups with Carson. Standing beside him through everything life could throw at them.
He’d betrayed her.
Her dad snarled another fierce growl in the large meeting room.
“Stand down, Michael! I understand you are not happy with my pup. I’m not either.” Alpha Edward projected a gentle but firm warning to his fiercest warrior.
“Where is Luna Hazel?” Abigail’s mom, Fiona, asked as she stood tall and proud, her head held high in the air.
She was a fierce warrior in her own right. Her eyes flashed from human to glowing wolf. She wanted to protect her pup, who’d been torn apart by her mate’s indiscretion.
“She will be here momentarily.” Edward was not looking forward to this. Hazel was bringing the woman that his son had bedded. Her parents would also be with them.
Abigail smelled the air. Her wolf scented the wolf her mate had been with coming closer. Growls and snarls erupted from her throat as her parents each moved closer to her.
She could sense their concern, but her own grief and fury were too great for her to hold her wolf inside for another second.
“Abigail, you will rein your wolf in immediately,” Edward commanded.
Michael stood straighter, his teeth showing as the door opened. The second he saw their pack beta, his mate, and their pup, Michael went into fighting stance.
Edward rumbled his chest in warning. He could not have his beta and top warrior fighting because of their female pups.
Hazel took her place to the left of her alpha and folded her hands together. She was silently devastated. She’d been training the young woman since Abby had been fourteen, when they all realized she was Carson’s mate. Seven years of training the girl to be a luna who would take Hazel’s place when she and Edward retired.
Hazel wanted to weep, but she had to stand strong for her family, and for her pack getting ready to implode. As for her son, she could barely look at him. He’d brought such shame to their pack.
“Beta Jacob, Tabitha.” Edward didn’t address their pup, Taylor. “Thank you for coming.”
The beta and his mate both bowed, showing their necks out of respect to their alpha. So did Taylor, who kept her eyes on the floor.
“Alpha, Luna, and Carson.” Beta Jacob bowed. “Warriors Michael and Fiona, Abigail.” He gave them a curt nod. It was a tense situation for all.
The alpha sniffed the air deeply, his brow furrowing. When his eyes started to glow, everyone in the room lowered their heads.
“Your pup is pregnant,” Edward announced.
A roar tore itself from Abigail’s throat as she lost control and began to shift. The rage in her veins set her on fire, and she was going to kill the threat. Her wolf’s coal-black fur sprouted from her exposed skin as she leaped.
The alpha grabbed her by the scruff of her neck, halting her in midair. Only half shifted, Abigail fought in his grip. Her dark green eyes glowed, and her muzzle extended, saliva dripping onto the floor as she snapped her jaws.
“Carson, remove Taylor and your unborn pup now!” Edward roared.
Carson felt the alpha blood he was born with surge forward in that moment. He knew he was hurting Abby, but he had to protect his pup.
He scooped Taylor up and ran out of the room with her, heading toward her family’s home across the flat land.
Jacob was crouched, and Abigail’s dad and mom were in a warrior stance. Abigail’s body rippled in the alpha’s grasp.
“Stand down, everyone!” Edward projected his alpha power across the room.
He gently put Abby down as she curled into a ball on the floor. The entire pack felt her sobs and burning grief. Mournful howls rippled across the vast pack lands. His own chest burned, and he could feel Hazel’s pain.
“Abigail…my deepest apologies, sweetheart. I have thought of you as my own.” The alpha’s sorrow washed over the room and the pack. “Warriors Michael and Fiona, my deepest apologies.”
He bowed his head toward them, a rare sign of the utmost respect. Alphas didn’t bow to others.
“I have the right to challenge your pup. He has gone against the laws of the Moon Goddess and the pack!” Michael growled.
“He is my son, Michael, and he has a pup coming. I can’t sanction this.” Edward braced his hands against the table as he turned toward the beta and his mate.
“Beta Jacob, Tabby…I’m sure you can understand how devastating this is. I assume that your pup knew that Carson was mated and marked?” He bared his teeth as they both bowed their heads.
“Yes, Alpha,” Jacob answered.
“Did you not raise her with pack values?”
The beta and his mate bristled at the swipe toward their parenting.
“Perhaps it’s your son who should be answering some questions. He’s been seeing her for a year now. He informed both myself and my mate that he was going to reject Abigail when it came time for the luna ceremony,” Jacob said.
“He what?” The alpha’s anger rocketed through the entire pack.
Even though they weren’t in the room, older members recoiled, and several younger pups started to cry.
“I do not wish to bring any more harm to Abigail by repeating his words.” Jacob flashed his eyes; his wolf was angry at both the young alpha and the older one. His pup had been disgraced, but he swore she would not take all the blame.
“Alpha Edward, I’m taking my daughter home. I don’t want her subjected to any more talk of this abomination in her presence.” Fiona did not wait for permission.
She helped Abigail stand and ran with her back to their home. Howls of sorrow followed them. The pack was losing their future luna.
“Speak now!” The power and anger radiating from the alpha caused the remaining adults to bow and whimper.
Jacob’s voice rasped with anger. “While he was mated to Abigail, he had no feelings for her. He has had feelings for Taylor for many moons. He was trying to do what was right by the Moon Goddess but knew in his heart he did not love Abby the way he does Taylor.”
Edward sat down hard in his chair. He had never heard of this happening before. Hazel and Tabitha’s mouths hung open, each mother shocked for different reasons.
“Edward, we must do something.” Hazel held her husband’s glowing stare. “Carson must reject her, for her own sanity and his.”
“I am not concerned about your filthy pup’s sanity!” Michael roared. “My daughter…~my~ pup is shredded at the hands of your son! Did ~you~ teach him pack values? Did ~you~ teach him the value of a mate bond?
“My daughter has loved him since before she knew they were to be mates. We all saw it. We knew they were mated before they did!”
“I don’t understand, my friend.” Edward put his face in his hands. “I am sorry, brother.”
Michael fell into a chair. “My pup, Edward. The future luna of this pack. She’s dying from heartbreak.”
Even if Edward forced Carson to live with Abigail and honor the vows he’d made when he’d marked her, his son could never undo his betrayal. The shame he’d brought on the pack would never go away.
And then there was the pup. It had alpha blood and would be in line to take over Pack Oru, even if its mother would never be luna. All of this was a mess, and all of it was Carson’s fault.
“She needs to reject him, and he needs to reject her.” The alpha’s voice rasped.
“It’s going to kill her, Edward…and her heat is starting. She won’t be able to do it until it’s over.”
“I’m sorry, Michael. Having a rejected wolf in heat will cause a war in the pack amongst unmated males. We have to put her in a cell. We will sedate them both through her heat.”
“She has a mate! She shouldn’t have to go through the pain!” Michael slammed his fists on the wooden table. “Has she not had enough at the hands of your son?”
Edward growled at the warrior’s disrespectful tone. “There’s nothing else to be done!”
Michael bared his teeth. “If I am unable to challenge him, then I want him to be locked up but fully conscious. He deserves to feel every second of the pain.”
“Edward!” Hazel gasped. “You can’t do that to him…he will destroy everyone and everything to get to her!”
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