It did not take her long to get to her most favourite place in the world– the Silver Mirror Lake. This was the only place where Riannon could be alone. Far enough from the packhouse and close to the borders of the pack, it was safe since they did not have any rogue attacks in that area. One pack away from here was the Lycans territory, and it was rumoured that the Lycan King’s residence was also someplace close. No one was foolish enough to enter these lands and check, though.
So, Ria did not think twice when she stopped by the edge of the lake, naked, and jumped into the water. It was cold, but at the same time, it was exactly what she needed to calm herself down Embracing the dark night with only the full moon shining upon her, causing crystals of water to sparkle on her skin, she soon felt an unknown presence. It was powerful and dominating, yet did not belong to her husband and made her alert at once.
Pretending that nothing had happened, Ria carefully looked around, and her eyes caught the figure of a huge wolf on a hill on the other side of the lake. He was dark, probably black, though his eyes were shining golden.
It was a bad sign. Very bad, indeed.
Riannon decided not to risk it and slipped underwater, aiming for the shore as quickly as she could and running for her life. A loud howl followed her.
She was back in her safe territory in no time. Luckily, her clothes were right where she had left them. She pulled on her dress and tried to do the zipper at the back, but her fingers were not reaching it.
“Let me help.” Two hands touched her back as Beta Ash helped her with her little problem. Ria wondered if he had been there the whole time. It did not matter in the long run. Werewolves were used to naked bodies. It wasn’t the first time he had seen her without clothes. It wouldn’t be the last… probably.
“What are you doing here?” she asked the man, turning to face him.
“I’ve been waiting for you,” he said with an unreadable expression on his face. “Found your clothes and assumed you were on a run. Why didn’t you shift?”
“I did,” she lied without blinking. If anyone knew she couldn’t shift, her fate would be sealed sooner rather than later. She couldn’t afford that. Ria knew that she needed time. “But that’s not important.” She decided to quickly change the subject“There was an intruder at the Silver Lake. Send wolves to check it out.”
“Of course, Luna,” he said, as his eyes lost focus for a second while he gave orders via the mind link.
Riannon decided against waiting for him and walked slowly into the house. Ash soon caught up with her and chivalrously opened the door to the mansion for her.
“It’s going to be alright,” he suddenly blurted out. She stopped. Back in the day, he used to say that to her all the time. Yet when hard decisions had to be made, he always took her husband’s side. It was one of the betrayals that hurt the most because she was sure that her relationship with the Beta had been good prior to her betrayal. Yet he hadn’t even objected when they stripped her of her title. There were a lot of things that she wanted to tell him, but she couldn’t.
So, she just placed her delicate hand on his broad shoulder and looked him in the eye, smiling sadly, “You knew, didn’t you?”
His expression changed as if a flash of lightning hit him, and his lips parted slightly.
“Yes, Luna,” he confessed, darting his eyes to the ground.
“It’s okay,” she patted him, “I understand. You can’t go against your Alpha’s command.”
“If I could…” he started to speak, but she placed her finger to his mouth, making a shushing sound.
“Doesn’t matter,” she shrugged her shoulders, “At least I will always have your support, Ash. Right?”
“Always, Luna.” His breathing became heavy, and Ria tilted her head, watching him. This was an interesting development. Why was he reacting like that?
“Then of course, I’ll be fine,” she chuckled and went inside. She had to think of what to do next.
Ria closed herself in her bedroom. She knew that Brayden would not be coming back tonight to share the bed with her. As far as she remembered, he wasn’t sleeping with Roxy at this point and spent the whole time in his private office drinking and thinking of life. In the morning, he would bring her flowers and gifts, an apology even. But Roxy would still remain.
After a long and relaxing bath, Ria went to her desk and pulled out her old journal. She hadn’t used it for many years, but it was dear to her heart, and it was just the right place to write down every single event that was important, and that was going to happen within the year leading up to her death.
She tried to remember everything while she still could.
She knew too well what she would do with this information. The game was on.
Her plan was simple, really. Since she couldn’t change the main event and get rid of Roxy, she had to leave. But she couldn’t leave without her pack and without making sure that all her dear friends were alive and well. Not to mention that it was particularly important to try and show Brayden and the rest of the pack Roxanne’s true face. Everyone around thought she was an angel when in fact, she was the devil. Ria was afraid to even think about what would happen if Roxy became Luna because she for sure wouldn’t have the pack’s interests in her heart.
Although Ria’s own heart craved revenge, she didn’t want her life’s work to be ruined. Plus, she didn’t have it in her heart to hate everyone. She saved hate for just a select few. The ones who betrayed her trust and led to her demise, the ones who promised her respect and protection but gave her humiliation and suffering. Yes, those were the ones she was going to concentrate on.
The door suddenly opened, and Brayden walked in, making her rapidly close the journal with the list of events and names and hide it into the drawer. Luckily, he didn’t pay attention to that.
Guilt was all over his face, and while Ria wanted to roll her eyes, she held herself back. She couldn’t give herself away. This event had not happened prior. In her past life, he didn’t visit her that night. This was new, and she had to be cautious.
“Ri,” he walked further into the room, “Ash informed me that you encountered an intruder. Are you okay?”
This was funny. She was sitting there, clearly looking well and in one piece. Who was he kidding? Was it guilt because she put up a fight, and he still chose his mate?
“It was unpleasant,” Rhiannon shrugged her shoulders and stood up. If he decided to ignore the big pink elephant in the room, she could do the same. In the end, it was for the best. Their past conversations about Roxy never ended well. He would never believe what a monster his mate was. So, the less Riannon talked about her, the better.
“And, also disappointing”, she went to the window to hide her facial expression.
“How so?” Brayden caught the bait.
“We are one of the strongest packs, and some wolf just wanders on our territory, spies on your Luna, who is swimming naked in the lake—”
“He what?” Brayden growled possessively. Back in the day, it would drive her crazy in the best sense of the word. But right now, she was annoyed. He had just claimed another woman in front of so many people. He had no longer had a right to growl like that in her presence. She didn’t voice her opinion, of course.
“You heard me,” she said, “and instead of looking for that wolf, the Alpha is doing Goddess knows what. No offence, but this is exactly what I was talking about earlier today. Your mate has already distracted you from what is important.”
It was a low blow. Truth be told, right now, she needed him to be busy with something else. In the past, the closer he got to Roxy, the more power and supporters she received, and the worse it got for Riannon and her close supporters. If she could postpone the wheel of events for at least one day, she would do it.
“You are angry,” he sighed, “I understand, of course. I broke my promise to you. I—”
“Let’s not speak of it,” she stopped him. “It is what it is.”
“Ri, Baby,” he nibbled on her neck, right where he marked her years ago, bonding their wolves forever and acknowledging her as his chosen mate. “I hurt you, and I will do anything to fix that.”
Not everything. She knew that too well.
“Only you can be my Luna; you know that, right?” He started peppering her neck with kisses, trying to unzip her dress at the same time.
This was odd. She hadn’t been intimate with him for a while. Their paths had shifted in different directions for more than half a year ago in her past life. She was his abandoned and rejected wife.
Ria clenched her fists before turning to face him.
“No!” she exclaimed, causing him to stop. “Not today.” Or ever. He had his last chance, and he blew it. She did not want him anymore. If her wolf Onyx was here now, she would be howling from pain as she was attached to Brayden’s wolf, Ragnar. However, she couldn’t feel Onyx. She wasn’t under her influence. Besides, she was furious.
She did not show it, though. Her mom had trained her well to conceal her emotions. Finally, it was useful for something.
“Ri?” Brayden looked at her in shock. Before today they were happy together. This reminded Ria that he had probably found Roxy earlier and had been lying to her for the past few days. Or maybe weeks. “Honey, don’t do this. I love you, and we are family. We will always be family.”
“Believe it or not, I am not feeling well after everything that happened today,” she stated, looking him in the eye, “But it will make me happy if you bring me the intruder’s head.”
He nodded quietly, “Anything for you, Ri.”
Her husband brushed her cheek, and she tolerated it. She even forced a smile for the sake of the show they were putting on.
“You’ll have his head in the morning!” he promised before leaving her alone.
Maya tried to reach her mentally, but Riannon asked her to wait until morning.
After a mostly sleepless night, she knew what she had to do, and she also knew her first step.
In her office, she dialled the number that no other werewolves would risk dialling. was left with no choice.
“Hello, Beta Reid speaking,” the annoyed male voice sounded on the other end. Riannon gulped before speaking.
“Hello, Beta. This is Luna Riannon Thorn. Nee Michaels.”
It didn’t ring a bell to him.
“And?” he responded, seeming bored.
“Seven years ago, I saved your nephew from a rogue attack at his boarding school. Back then, you gave me this number and told me that you owed me one.”
The lycan paused before answering her.
“And I guess you are calling to collect?” he chuckled. “Here I thought that there were selfless people in this world—
“I wouldn’t ask if lives did not depend on it,” she interrupted him. Lycans were hard to get in touch with. Mingling with regular werewolves was a rare exception. Although at times they attended elite boarding schools for shifters. That’s when Ria’s luck was on her side.
“Fine,” the man agreed, “What do you want then?”
“I need to speak to the Lycan Alpha King,” Riannon said firmly.