Jo-anne woke to find Luna Natalia sitting on the side of her bed, a hand on her shoulder. She looked around, knew West and T.J. had been in here when she’d fallen asleep. No longer here, he’d told her she’d likely wake up to his mother.
“Morning.” Jo-anne returned as she sat up in the bed.
“How are you feeling?”
“Honestly, I don’t know,” Jo-anne admitted to her.
She hada lot to take in; what Karen had told her, how it had been Karen who’d done that hideous thing to her and West. That she had been so angered by the woman’s tale, not just angry for herself, but for West too, so very angry she’d felt something bubble up inside her, so white hot and then suddenly she’d raged and snapped that woman’s neck. Killed her dead and right in front of her mate. She hadn’t even cared she’d done it at the time, did she care now? No, was the answer. She had orchestrated the whole thing, stood and watched, stated she had enjoyed watching, she was a terrible person. T.J. or West would have killed her for it, likely his mother and father as well.
Karen had also stabbed her, right through the chest with a silver dagger, all because she had some delusional belief that Jo-anne was going to kill Heath. Unlikely to happen, they may not be blood bonded anymore, but she still had all them memories of him as her dad. Still now, even after what he’d done, she didn’t want him to die. But was likely going to.
Then she had died, let go, to be with Clova forever with the moon goddess watching over them until she decided to allow them to be reborn, she guessed. Only to meet Selena herself, finding out T.J. was mateless because of her, because she had been born. So cruel.
Then woken up to find not just West was her Mate, but also Alpha Jayden, so confused about that. Then Alpha Jayden trying to Mark her against her will. It really was a lot for one person to absorb and it all happened in the space of just a few hours.
When she really thought about it, what her most pressing need was, it was T.J., she needed to make that right, had to figure out what choice and then make the right decision to free him of her, to give him a Mate. A choice she would actually get to make for him, it was obvious to her Ella was the choice. Now she had to figure out what the question was. Only one could be happy. One what?
It was too vague, it was like a riddle, she supposed, this was not easy at all. She had been warned and accepted it anyway. To save T.J. a life of loneliness.
Jo-anne’s eyes fell away from the Luna, “I’m very confused and so much is going on.” she shook her head.
“l imagine so. But sweetheart, why do you look so very sad? A Mate is a good thing.”
Jo-anne didn’t look at her, it wasn’t having two Mates that was hurting her, it was TJ.!’s fate that weighed heavily on her.
“Jo-anne, just tell me. Better to let it out, than hold it in.”
She knew the Luna was right, “I died.” she said softly.
“I know, but you’re alright now. West and T.J. resuscitate you.”
“No they didn’t” she shook her slowly, “The moon Goddess sent me back.”
“You saw Selena?” she sounded somewhat shocked.
Jo-anne finally lifted her eyes to meet Luna Natalia’s, nodded her head, couldn’t stop the tears from brimming at the pain she felt for him, “T.J. is mateless, always will be, because of me.”
“Sweetheart, I’m sure that’s not true,” she offered, trying to console her.
“It is, she told me. To be my protector, she had to strip him of his mate.” her tears fell down her cheeks and a sob escaped her “I don’t want that.” she cried suddenly, torrents of tears washing down her face, as sobs Wracked her body once more.
Found herself in the Luna’s arms, hugged the woman back and just sobbed into her for a long time. The Luna didn’t try and stop her tears, just let her cry it all out, then looked down at her and sighed a little heavily “Okay, why did Selena send you back?”
“I begged her to give T.J. a Mate, to find a way.”
“And she said to me, coming back would not be easy for me, but ifI made the right decision, the right choice, I could choose a Mate for him.”
“Interesting. What’s the choice you have to make?”
Jo-anne shook her head “I don’t know, she wouldn’t tell me. Only stated it would be hard and only one could be happy, but that my choice would affect many people,” she sighed, “that maybe everyone could be happy, if everything was revealed. I don’t understand what that means, it makes no sense to me.”
“Not very helpful, but I guess it’s all we have to go on. That it would have to be difficult in order for her to grant him a Mate after stripping him of one.”
“Not even my death would have resolved it, still would have been Mateless. I came back Luna, not to be given a Mate, but for T.J. to fix this for him, I don’t want him to be alone forever.”
The Luna looked at her for a long time in silence, then sighed “Only one can be happy? That could mean either of your Mates.”
“I don’t think it’s that.” Jo-anne shook her head “only one of them will get me anyway, so that would mean only one of them would be happy anyway, to easy.”
“So what then?”
“I don’t know…maybe I have to choose between me and T.J. only one of us can be happy.”
“No, I don’t think that is it either. Selena would know you, you’d choose T.J. in a millisecond.”
Jo-anne nodded, she would indeed choose T.J.
“Well sweetheart, we’ll have to think about that one then. See what we can come up with. It might take a few days.”
Jo-anne had no idea, when her choice would have to be made, or who or what it referred to. “I have to fiqure it out. I won’t let T.J. be Mateless.” she stated firmly.
“Alright.” the Luna nodded “I will help you as much as I can. But firstly sweetheart we have to sort out your two Mates, West or Jayden.”
Jo-anne didn’t really want to have to think about that right now, shook her head no, “T.J. has to Come first.”
“What if that is the wrong choice? Selena would know you would put off your own happiness for T.J. a hard decision, might mean you have to choose yourself over him.”
“I don’t know Luna. I.I don’t know.” Jo-anne had no idea what she was supposed to do.
“Leave T.J. for the moment, the man is currently happy.” she smirked a little, “so let’s talk about your Mates, do you have a preference?”
“What? Um not really.” she admitted, her and West had not worked the first time and Alpha Jayden had tried to Mark her when she had not wanted him to, there was also that Clova was very happy with Volt and didn’t seem to like Loch, also that Jayden had chastised her and told her wolf to stay in line. Clova was a good wolf, always had been, didn’t need to be chastised. They may be Mate too, but she had another. One that had done nothing but hug and hold her since she’d found out.
It was too confusing.
“You might need to really think about it.”
Jo-anne was already thinking about it, it just wasn’t easy.
“So l have laid down some rules already, though Alpha Jayden has yet to see my wrath over trying to Mark you last night. You, Jo-anne get to make this decision, not West and not Jayden. Who you do not choose has to accept it and move on. Though from whatI read last night of these situations in my library, when you do choose one, the other should be released without any pain. So rejecting one for the other need not worry you, the other will be just fine.”
“Alright, that’s good to know. Anything else?”
“Yes, for your own safety during this time, there will be no being alone with either of them, a chaperone will be with you at all times.” she shook her head and huffed “Alpha wolves tend to be very possessive creatures…will want to claim what is theirs and getting you alone will likely be something they will both want to do, to seduce you into letting them Mark you.”
Jo-anne nodded, she knew they could be possessive, most Alpha’s were extremely protective, almost to the point of being overbearing, that thought stopped her. She frowned for a minute as she realised West had been like that for weeks now, looked right at the Luna. “How long as West known, what I was to him?”
“A few weeks, I believe.” she answered right away, no secret she guessed.
“Well that kind of explains a lot,” she murmured, thinking back to his instance on her being here, getting really angry when she told him she would leave, all the escorting around the pack by his top war general. Goddess, she was so bloody blind. When she thought about it, even Ella, Ava and Sonja had laughed when she stated she wasn’t his mate anymore, ‘could’ve fooled us.” they’d laughed.
“Yes it does.” the Luna chuckled “Though you have made him happy, he smiles quite a bit now, seen it on many occasions, even pack members are talking about him seeming happier.”
“When did you know?” she asked. She had not missed the Luna’s chuckle about it.
“Oh,” she waved her hand in the air “the moment he up ended his office desk when he realised you left to go to Korea. Flipped that desk clean over.” she laughed “nothing sets and Alpha off like the running away of his Mate,” she grinned,” l actually made Damien so mad he not only flipped his desk over, his wolf Tucker, picked it up and threw it out the window. What can I say, like father, like son.”
Jo-anne smiled. “What did you do?”
“oh, I k!ssed another. I didn’t know he was my Mate, but he knew. Went ballistic apparently, they still make fun of him for it.”
“Did you get in trouble?”
“Oh, I was tethered to him for like a week, a very interesting week it was too.” she winked at Jo-anne seemed fully amused. “It was the week before my 18th birthday and the full moon was due just 2 days later. Used that tether to keep me away from boys.” she snort, “didn’t stop me winking or throwing around lewd comments at the other boys, ticked him right off, but I did enjoy being punished by him.” she burst out laughing. “lt was a very fun week for me. Apparently not so much for him.” Jo-anne shook her head and chuckled softly.
“Well sweetheart, enough about me and Damien, back to you, West and Jayden. What do you think?”
Jo-anne sighed she didn’t know, Jayden was an unknown man to her, and she’d not been able to make West happy and she had tried to for that first year. But the Luna said he’d known for a few weeks now. She frowned, he’d Mated her onlya week ago, He’d known then what she was to him. Bloody knotted her. Well, that did explain that she guessed, and his statement that he didn’t want to take it back.
“What?” the Luna suddenly asked.
“N…Nothing, don’t worry about it.”
“Spill it, I’m the Luna.”
“I don’t think you want to know,” she bit her lower l!p.
“Ah, so you and West have..”
“Goddess, how does everyone just pick that, is it written on my face?”
Luna Natalia chuckled, “No it’s not. But I know you, you’re not the type of girl to sleep around, limits the options, connect the dots and” she shrugged, “When may I ask?”
“Last week, so after he knew, but I didn’t know.”
Again the Luna chuckled, “Cheeky son of mine, couldn’t keep his paws to himself. Very naughty. Do you want me to go and beat him for you?”
Jo-anne snorted “No, not in your condition.
“Oh, you will learn, that’s the best time, can’t even get mad at you when you are with a pup.” She grinned right at her “So now where feeling better, let’s get you up and dressed. We’ll have breakfast and then see both your Mates. All visits with them will be in my office or the private dining room.”
“Alright” and she did feel a bit better.
“We’ll lay down some proper rules to keep them under control.”
“You mean not kill each other.” Jo-anne sighed as she got out of bed.
It was going to be a long day, she supposed.
Wondered absently if the Luna had told Damien or West the happy news about her pup yet. Got dressed in a simple peach coloured summer dress and a pair of ballet flats. Stepped out of her room to find not just Luna Natalia waiting on her, but Beta Ben and Ricky, Wests Gamma. She looked from one to the other.
“It’s alright, you will be escorted everywhere, one person from each of your Alpha Mate’s pack, something both West and Jayden have agreed on already.” the Luna informed her.
“Luna.” Ricky bowed his head slightly to her, showing his respect.
“She’s not your Luna yet.” Beta Ben snapped at him, sounded very angry.
“Actually, Jo-anne was Mated to West before, and is and always will be a Luna Ranked wolf, sol may address her by her title, anytime I see fit.”
Ricky shot back at him just as angry.
“Enough boys” Luna Natalia, chastised the both of them, slipped her arm through Jo-anne’s and walked her off to the second floor where her office was, and breakfast was waiting for them.
Jo-anne sat on the Luna’s couch in her office and watched her berate Alpha Jayden for his poor behaviour, and treatment of his Mate. His lack of respect for her other Mate and disappointment in his lack of respect for the woman who might or might not choose him as her Mate. Yelled at him about the fact that he had broken the agreement made to not mark her and allow Jo-anne to choose for herself, that it was unacceptable behaviour to take that choice away from her.
When she stated, if she was Jo-anne she would reject him for what he did, Jayden did not like it and snarled right at her, which saw West get to his feet, but it was the massive growl that ripped out of Clova that drew everyone’s attention. Very loud and so very aggressive.
Clova noi only surfaced so fast that it shocked Jo-anne, she shot herself between Jayden and the Luna. Felt Luna Natalia’s hand on her shoulder, but Clova was not going to back down. Unknownst to the whole room, her Luna was with pup and a threat to her was also a threat to her unborn pup.
Clova, it seemed, was having none of that, Alpha Jayden was staring right at her, his eyes more than wide, even Jo-anne could feel the heat rolling off of her, her anger was biling inside them hot like white fire.
“Calm down sweetheart, I can handle an Alpha, Mated to one myself.”
“Back off.” Clova snarled right at Alpha Jayden, uncaring that he was one of her Mates. She did not like the threat he was posing. He took a step back. “Apologise.” she growled low and menacingly.
Saw his wolf, Loch, surface and snapped their hands down and all her claws were out and shew was suddenly ready to fight him. Jo-anne panicked, they had no fighting experience, that though did not seem to bother Clova, Jo-anne was getting the distinct impression Clova was of the opinion she could kill him and easily so.
“Shh..” it was West, he had stepped right between Clova and Loch, who was all on the surface now, unhappy about the threat she posed to him and his human counterpart.
West reached out towards her, both hands open in a non-threatening gesture. “Calm down Clova.” his voice was soft and gentle. ‘everything is okay.”
Clova looked right at him, growled right at him too.
“Shh.. mothers alright, calm down Clova.”
Clova looked passed him to Jayden and glared right at him and his wolf, who after a moment receded and it was Jayden just watching her now.
He seemed more than curious, Clova snorted angrily and then receded away to the back of Jo-anne’s mind. Jo-anne looked from West to Jayden. She was not going to apologise for Clova’s behaviour they did not know the whole truth.
Turned to her Luna.
“Alpha Damien, should be in this room.”
“I’m fine sweetheart.”
“Please, Clova would be more comfortable if he was here now.”
“Alright.” she nodded.
Jo-anne watched as the Luna’s eyes glassed over for a moment, then returned to normal. “He’s on his way.”
West touched her arm gently. “Come sit back down.” he motioned her back to the couch.
Alpha Damien strolled into the office a few minutes later, smiled right at her and sat down next to her “What’s wrong my child?”
She frowned right at him, clearly he still didn’t know “I just clova wants you here. Trusts you.
“Alright.” he nodded to her and then he made himself comfortable on the couch next to her.
She did not look at either West or Jayden, while rules were laid out, looked around the room at one point and realised T.J. was not here at al, frowned.
He was always around, always with West.
She could hear the two of them baiting each other over her, didn’t really care for it, stood up and walked out of the room, glanced down the hall in both directions looking for him. It was odd that he was not here.
“What’s wrong, Luna?” Ricky asked her.
“T.J.’s not here.” she told him.
“Sleeping still, I believe,” he answered her.
“Oh.” she guessed he’d had a long night, wouldn’t have gone to bed until after she had fallen asleep, didn’t like that he wasn’t here though, stepped away from the Luna’s office.
“Jo-anne sweetheart, where are you going?” It was Luna Natalia.
“Huh?” she turned to look at her and found four sets of eyes on her. “Oh,” she’d been more concerned about T.J. not being here that she’d actually forgotten for a moment she was supposed to be in that room. “You don’t need me in there. Let them argue without me, about the rules, I don’t care for it at all.” Then she turned and left, headed for her room, left them all in stunned silence.
Heard Ricky chuckle as he followed her.
Heard Beta Ben snap “its not funny.”
Jo-anne turned and looked at the two of them, sighed. “I don’t want either of you following me. Go away.”
“That is not going to happen.” Beta Ben stated flatly.
“I can order you to go away if you like.” She shot at him and his tone, and she actually could. She was a Luna ranked wolf, was technically still one apparently, and both her prospective Mate’s were Alpha’s, so still going to be one. Though the way the two of them were arguing, didn’t sit well with her, she hated the atmosphere like a quiet, peaceful lifestyle, which was what she’d had up until a month ago.
“Where is Oliver and his team?”
“Oliver was outside your room last night, so sleeping now.” Ricky informed her.
“I’m used to them. Don’t take offence, but I’d rather have them.” not only did his team not interact with her, they didn’t stand on top of her.
Stood back and gave her space, unlike Ben and Ricky who were only two steps behind her.
“None taken Luna, and when I am not here, one of them will be.”
Jo-anne nodded and returned to her room, sank down on her couch. West and Jayden, she realised, were not her most pressing concern. She knew on a deeper level she should be feeling all lovey and smitten with one of them or both of them, but although she could smell them and recognize them as her Mates, her pull towards them was overlaid by her predicament with T.J., it was out weighing everything else.
If they didn’t like it, they could either lump it or reject her.