Wolf Betrayed(4)By: Carrie Ann Ryan
Bram shrugged. “Your family is so close, I’m pretty sure all the older generation knew what was going on with their entire passel of kids but let us get into some trouble anyway. I mean, it’s how we learn, right?”
Charlotte smiled and continued walking toward her parents’ home. The only reason she and her cousins had been able to run as wild as they had was because the Redwoods were healthy. Though she’d lost her grandparents in the final battles with the Central Pack, the rest of the den had risen up to protect their own. The battle that had taken Edward’s and Pat’s lives had fundamentally changed the Pack’s structure and bonds. Charlotte’s generation of wolves had been forced to come into their powers far earlier than they should have, and children like Bram had lost their parents in the seemingly unending battles.
From the ashes, the Redwoods had grown into a power to be reckoned with.
The Talon Pack, their allies and friends, were still learning how to become a Pack like hers. They didn’t have the same history as the Redwoods, and because of that, they were technically weaker. But because they were allies, and so many within each of the Packs had mated with each other, they were almost one large Pack now—with two Alphas. She wasn’t sure how things would work in the future, but for now, they had a solid alliance and shared a threat.
When the world had found out about the existence of shifters, some humans had chosen to take them in with open arms. Others had created a war. Politics and grandstanding were now commonplace, and Charlotte’s people were on the edge of a blade that would either protect them or cut them down to nothing.
She wasn’t sure what all was coming for them, but she knew she would fight for her family no matter what…they just needed to give her a chance.
When she stepped into the first true home she’d ever known, she smiled at the sight of her parents making out in the middle of the living room. They’d been mated for over thirty years, and still, Maddox and Ellie couldn’t keep their hands off each other. The two of them were standing close together, caught in an embrace that should have embarrassed Charlotte, but merely showed her what she would never have. At least not with Bram.
Finally, the two wolves in front of her seemed to notice their presence, and they pulled apart, but not before Ellie traced her finger over the scar on Maddox’s face.
The scar Corbin—the brother Ellie and Charlotte shared—had put there in a heated rage.
Maddox kissed Ellie’s palm and pulled away to face Charlotte and Bram. “How was your run?” he asked, his wolf in his eyes.
Charlotte held back a sigh and moved forward to hug her father and mother. “Good, I needed it.”
Her dad kissed her temple before looking over her head at Bram. “Bram.” His voice was a little rough, a little cold, and Charlotte almost rolled her eyes. Maddox loved Bram like a son, but as soon as it looked like Charlotte might be mates with Bram, Maddox had turned on the overprotective father charm and hadn’t been able to turn it off again.
Bram found it funny, but it annoyed Charlotte to no end.
She met her best friend’s gaze, and he shook his head. Today wasn’t the day to get into it, she knew, but one day soon, she’d have to explain that she and Bram weren’t what the others thought. What she had hoped.
“I’m glad you’re here,” Ellie said with a soft smile. Her mother always saw too much, just like Maddox did, and Charlotte was afraid they already knew the truth about her lack of bond with Bram. “Finn called earlier and asked for you.”
“Oh, really?” Finn was the Heir to the Redwood Pack, the eldest son of the Alpha, and would one day be the Alpha in truth. He was also her other best friend and former roommate before he’d mated with Brynn, a former Talon Pack member.
“He’s headed to the Talon den and asked you to join him and Brynn,” Maddox said. “You know that we’re not letting anyone go off alone outside the den, and while Finn and Brynn would normally be okay on their own as a duo, three would be even better.”
Charlotte’s eyes widened even as a slight thread of excitement wove its way through her. She didn’t normally get picked for assignments like this. Yes, she’d fought alongside others when needed, and even helped saved some of the Talon Pack members who had been too close to an explosion, but since she didn’t have a clear role in the Pack yet, those assignments were few and far between.
Maddox nodded. “He’s leaving soon, so meet him at the main sentry gate if you’re joining him. I’ll phone ahead to let him know.” He looked over at Bram. “Finn also said Kade was about to do an all call for the enforcers.”