Wolf Betrayed(8)By: Carrie Ann Ryan
He blinked at Gina’s words and shook his head. Hell, he’d been woolgathering rather than what he should have been doing. That wasn’t like him, and he didn’t like that this wasn’t exactly the first time he’d done it recently either.
“Sorry, I was just lost in my head.” He ran a hand over his face and tried to clear his mind. He’d been called here along with the other enforcers—those wolves charged with protecting their Alpha—and yet, he couldn’t seem to focus.
Gina studied Bram’s face and sighed. “If you need to talk about it, I’m here. Quinn, too.” Quinn was her mate and a former Talon Pack member. And when Gina rested her hand on her belly ever so slightly, Bram held back a smile. Apparently, Quinn was also the father of her unborn child. Good for them.
“I’m okay. Really.” Lies, but lies he was good at telling. He’d been repeating them for years.
Gina opened her mouth to say something but closed it as her father walked in. Kade, their Alpha, frowned only a for a moment before schooling his features. As the man held special Pack bonds with each member of the den, as well as tighter ones with his enforcers, he could sense minute changes within the room. Bram hoped Kade couldn’t feel what Bram felt as he didn’t want anyone to have to go through that, least of all his Alpha.
“Sorry, I was detained,” Kade said as he walked into the room. He took a seat in one of the high-backed chairs in the living room, his wolf’s presence soothing and commanding at the same time. While Bram was a dominant wolf—much more than he let on—he was nothing compared to Kade, or even Gideon, the Alpha of the Talons. There was a dominant wolf, and then there was an Alpha. Bram’s wolf didn’t want to fight against them for hierarchy; instead, it wanted to fight alongside them and protect them, unlike how he needed to keep the submissives safe. The fact that his wolf had those dual needs was what had led him to be an enforcer rather than being in another field within the den. While he could never fully relax around Kade as he could a true submissive or maternal, he at least didn’t feel the need to prove his own strength. That was a comfort in itself.
Usually, they met at the enforcer’s house, which had once been owned by Kade’s parents. When they had been killed during the great war, the enforcers had moved in to make it a different kind of home as Kade and his siblings had already built homes of their own. When Bram had first heard about the new enforcer’s home, he wasn’t sure how he felt about it. But now that he lived there full-time, he knew he wouldn’t be the wolf he was today without it. The close quarters had created a sense of unity with his fellow male and female enforcers. The fact that the place held its own history gave it another purpose, and added to the feeling of home Bram hadn’t had since he’d been a pup with his parents.
He pushed away the long-worn grief of losing his parents in the war and once again focused on his Alpha in front of him.
Kade hadn’t aged a day since turning thirty, but Bram could see the stress he wore on his shoulders. It resembled the weight Gideon wore. The two Alphas were the leaders of their Packs and the unintentional leaders of the entire population of wolves in the US. Because the government had focused on the Redwoods and Talons at first, whatever those two Alphas did next would forever alter the way all shifters were able to live. Bram wasn’t sure how the other Alphas were taking everything as his focus was on his own Alpha and Pack, but he knew Kade was being kept apprised. Parker, Kade’s nephew, and Bram’s friend, was the Voice of the Wolves, and even now visiting each Pack within the US in secrecy to ensure cooperation. Bram didn’t envy that job, and he was pretty sure the Alphas weren’t too happy with everything going on in their part of the US.
No wonder Kade looked like he needed a nap—not that Bram would mention that to Kade. Ever. That was what Kade’s mate was for, and Melanie was good at making sure Kade didn’t take on too much.
The pang of not having a mate of his own hit Bram once again, and he had to push it away. This wasn’t about him. It was about his Pack as a whole. He needed to get over what he couldn’t have and move on.
Only he wasn’t sure he would be able to.
The moon goddess gifted wolves with mates, so in theory, he had other potentials out in the world. Yet his wolf craved Charlotte. Everything pointed to the fact that he should have been able to create a bond with her.
When it hadn’t happened, they’d shattered. He knew she’d thought it was her fault because of her birth family, though she’d never said as much. On the other hand, he always felt it was his fault because he didn’t know his wolf as well as he should.