“Three witches, three vampires, and three werewolves…” I heard myself say.
The corpses of Carmen and Devin came to mind, both strategically placed shortly after their gruesome murders. It brought me no peace to learn that their deaths were for a specific purpose. Learning the truth had renewed my rage, but also invoked a wave of disgust that made me nauseous.
I had no doubt that the witches were more than willing to knock off a few of their own if it meant getting what they wanted.
‘That’s why we’ll win in the end. Even under Tyler’s rule our pack had more loyalty for its members than the witches. ‘ Maya huffed, her tail swishing in agitation.
“We have to assume they’ve already sacrificed three of their own. There’s no reason why they’d wait if they have three witches readily available. H**l, they probably offered themselves willingly. We know they’ve k***d more than one Vampire, which leaves…” Tristan trailed off, his voice fading but his grimace was answer enough.
“Which leaves one more werewolf.” Deacon mused gruffly, one of his thick arms crossed over his chest as he tapped on his chin. The way he regarded me wasn’t the way an uncle would look at his niece, but the way a predator would size up its prey.
‘He’s sh*t out of luck, then. We’ve never been prey, and if he’s stupid enough to a**k, he’ll learn that fast. ‘ Maya chimed in, hackles raised and ready to fight.
I anticipated Deacon’s comment and had a retort dangling off the tip of my tongue.
“We could n*p all this in the bud real quick by just k**g you.” He shrugged one of his meaty shoulders, “You’d be saving one of your own.”
“Go ahead and try.” I dared him.
Off to the side, Dina stiffened. She’d jump in if it was brought to a fight, that was a given. I didn’t have to divert my attention from Deacon to know Tristan was glowering at her, issuing a silent dare of his own.
For half a second, Deacon looked like he might just take me up on my offer, but after a long pause of silence, he huffed and shook his head.
“Don’t really feel like fending off a feral Alpha. I’m banking I’d k**l him in the end, but not before he s**d half the Vampire population.”
I twisted my lips into a humorless smirk. “Looks like hiding all these years made you smart. Good to know.”
Deacon barked out an amused laugh, “You sure you aren’t my kid? Can’t see my brother removing the stick up his a*s long enough to make one.”
I was about to tell him how unappealing his question was when Dina’s mate came sprinting through the stacks of metal shelves. His greasy hair was slicked back, giving me the perfect view of his wide eyes and gaping mouth. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that was his ‘oh s**t’ face.
It seemed I hit the nail on the head with my assumption, because the moment Dina spotted him, she was at his side in an instant.
“What is it, baby?” She asked, her tone hushed.
Dina’s mate wasn’t looking at her, though. His eyes were square on Deacon, the earthy tones bright with fear.
“They’re here, the witches…” He stammered, swiping his fingers through his hair hard enough to tear a few strands out. “S**t, Deacon. They just pulled up. They must’ve been watching us. What the fu-“.
“Relax, Spence.” Deacon commanded, his tone firm but not harsh.
There was a sort of understanding on his face that piqued my curiosity, if only for a moment. He stared Tristan and I down, towering over us both in height and physique.
I knew he was noticing how Tristan had inched closer to my side, his hand wrapped firmly around my arm. Before my heart could thud a second time, Deacon had come to whatever conclusion he’d been searching for.
“Spence, get the others ready to evacuate. Have them meet at the fire exit on the west side of the building. Bring the witches to me, then join the others.”
Deacon growled, frowning when Spence scrambled into action, nearly wiping out on some scraps of cardboard. He glanced at Dina. “He going to be alright?”
Dina, whose face had somehow become even more grim and severe, nodded her head.
“Yeah, he’ll manage. Thank you, by the way, for not making him stick around the witches. He’s got a bad history with them.”
“You’re welcome.” Deacon murmured, his brows still furrowed, then jutted his chin at Tristan and me. “You can repay me by getting these two out of here safely.”
I’m sure my eyebrows crept halfway up my forehead once I heard him say that. He let out a puff of air that sounded like both a scoff and a snort, but I wasn’t sure if it was in response to my expression or Dina’s.
The dark-skinned Vampire stared at Deacon like he had two heads, just as surprised as I was that he was keen on helping me live.
“Don’t think I’m doing you any favors, kid. Turning you in might save my people in that moment, but long term it’ll only lead to our destruction.
Best chance we got is if you somehow win this thing, considering you weren’t lying to my face about how much you care about Vamps.” He grunted, puffing out his chest as he stared down Dina.
Even though she was a few feet shorter than him, Dina wasn’t afraid to put on a scathing d***h glare. Her spine was rigid, and her jaw set in harsh angles that added to the deadly aura she was giving off.
Even her eyes, which were a few tones darker than her skin, seemed to glow with the same scalding emotion on the rest of her face. She had more ferocity than any of the Vampire’s I’d met so far.
I bit back the thought that popped into my head before I blurted it out, but that didn’t stop it from playing itself on repeat behind my eyelids.
Dina would’ve made a badass werewolf.
“We’re running out of time, Dina.” Deacon warned, his voice low and face blank, completely unaffected by her d***h glare.
She cursed under her breath and stormed over to Tristan and me, then jabbed her thumb towards the back of the warehouse. There were more of those rusted metal shelves sitting in rows, wedged so tightly together that I could only manage glimpses at the far wall.
“Let’s go.” She barked, muttering something under her breath that I would’ve caught had I not been lost in thought.
Even though Deacon made it clear enough he didn’t support my rule, he was intelligent enough to know that the best chance for Vampire’s was in my victory.
That decision came with risk on his end, and if he was willing to stick his neck out for me, I needed to do the same in return.
Unfortunately, the risk I was about to take came with stakes much higher than his, but I knew there was a chance it might turn him to our side. Worst case scenario, it would inspire other Vampire’s to switch teams.
I only realized Tristan was pulling me along when I dug my heels into the ground and forced him to turn back. His expression was equal parts bewildered and exasperated, but that was nothing new.
“Do either of you have a pen?” I asked, my eyes darting between Deacon and Dina.
“A pen? Girl, we don’t have time for this!” Dina snapped, rubbing her temple in frustration.
I snarled under my breath, feeling the faint prickle of magic ghost across my skin.
“Then why are you wasting time when you could be finding me a pen?”
“Here, kid.” Deacon’s gravelly voice called from a few feet away.
He stood off to the side, a pen in his meaty fist. While Dina and I had been snapping at one another, Deacon had quietly done as I asked.
I rushed over and snatched it from him. It was a bit rougher than I intended, but the prickling sensation telling me the witches were nearing was growing stronger, putting me more and more on edge.
Hastily, I glanced around for any shred of paper I could find, but there was nothing, but trampled bits of cardboard crushed to the warehouse floor.
Without hesitating, I grabbed Deacon’s hand and flipped it over. He didn’t fight or question me as I scribbled messily across his palm, running the tip of the ballpoint over his callouses and weathered skin.
“This is where you’ll find Bridgette, alive and unharmed. Don’t bring anyone you don’t fully trust with you.” I both pleaded and ordered, “There are a total of five people in this world who have the information I just gave you. I can’t stress this part enough. Protect these coordinates with your life.”
This time, Deacon did react. One of his bushy eyebrows lifted an inch as a flicker of surprise crossed his face.
He grumbled, “This wouldn’t happen to be the location of that safe haven some of the others were whispering about, is it?”
I didn’t answer his question with a simple yes or no. In my eyes and in the rigid way I stood was all of the experience I’d accumulated in such a short amount of time.
There was still so much I needed to learn as both Queen and Luna, so much maturing I still had left to do, but the Lola that had ran from her old pack and boyfriend like a coward was no more. In her place was someone new, someone both strong and vulnerable, with so much more to lose.
“I’m risking the lives of innocent Vampire’s by giving you this. Do not make me regret it.”
A hand wrapped around my upper arm, and I knew then that it was time to go. Deacon’s expression was guarded, a blank mask that watched stoically as Dina led Tristan and I away. The slight nod he gave me was the last thing I saw before we vanished behind the rusted shelving.
‘What do you think that meant?’ Maya asked, both curious and just a tad worried.
Dina began to weave in and out of the stacks, inching us closer to the back of the warehouse. She seemed to know which aisles weren’t jam-packed with the skeletons of old boxes, making it easier to keep our steps as quiet as possible.
‘I have no clue, but I’m hoping it’s his way of thanking us. Anything else would mean disaster.’
When the scuffle of two dainty pairs of feet hitting the warehouse floor found my ears, I had no choice but to tune my wolf out and strain to listen.
I must’ve slowed because Dina turned back and frowned. She cupped her ear and pointed in the direction we had just come from, a question unraveling across her face.
Assuming she was asking if the witches were here, I nodded.
“Can you hear them?” I whispered with a voice so quiet that even I had to strain to hear every other word.
Dina’s eyes flickered to my lips for a second when she mouthed, “A little.”
We continued moving through the stacks, concealed by the metal shelving and the decomposed boxes that remained. Even on sections of the shelves where nothing sat, there were so many in a single row that it was nearly impossible to spot us through them.
I was able to make out the exit sign when a feeling slammed into my gut so hard that I came to a standstill.
“Hello, Deacon. Our mistress wants to know if you’ve changed your mind about joining us.” A familiar voice said, somehow managing to sound both vicious and cloyingly sweet.