The waiting is horrible.
I did exactly as Sinclair asked and followed the guards to the safe house, taking only a
few essentials. We left our phones and technology behind, and then I was piled into
the back of a car and hidden under a blanket just in case someone found a way to
glimpse through the black out windows. We drove for more than half an hour, making
all kinds of twists and turns. I’m sure some of it was just evasive driving to make sure
we weren’t being followed, which worries me more than I’d like to admit.
As I lay there I realized that Sinclair must have been afraid that this attack might be
used as adistraction for the Prince to make a move against me, and that possibility
seems more and more likely the more I think about it. Hadn’t the Prince been planning
a distraction just like this before the Queen died? It’s no wonder Sinclair hadn’t
wanted me to stay at the house even though it’s the most secure building in the city
next to the Royal Palace.
When we arrived at the safe house I was relieved to discover it was a veritable
fortress. It dídn’t even look like a house, In fact, when the car pulled to a stop in front
of a huge rock wall on the side of a mountain, I assumed one of the guards needed to
use the restroom or somethíng. I couldn’t have been more surprised when they all
exited the car and began pressing on the rocks, moving their hands around on the
granite until they found the right spot and pushed in. It took all four of them, each
pressing on a specific spot in perfect unison, before the mountain itself opened up.
The rock wall slid inward, even though it had looked completely solid from the outside.
One of the guards lifted ne out of the car and carried me inside, and all but the driver
entered with me. Just before the wall closed behind us, I saw the car speeding away
again. It had all happened in about 30 seconds, and when I look around I’m amazed
to discover that the interior of the mountain is as luxurious and comfortable as the
mansion. Despite being an actual cave, electricity lights the sprawling rooms, which
are fully furnished and decked out with amenities.
When I look back at the entrance I discover a keypad mounted in the rock, but no sign
of the door. A flash of claustrophobia overtakes me and I worry about how I’ll get out
again, but I take a deep breath and try to comfort myself with the knowledge that no
one could possibly find me here.
There are books and games filling the bookcases, as well as a space to exercise, but
little other entertainment. I investigate the kitchen and find only a pantry full of canned
goods, as well as a freezer full of frozen food. I decide to try and distract myself by
baking, thinking that I might be able to welcome Sinclair home with some homemade
cookies or something similar. However when I move towards the pantry, my head
guard Gabriel crosses his arms over his chest. “You’re still on bed rest, Luna.”
I arch my brow at him, experiencing a familiar rush of annoyance to be bossed around
by someone who is not my mate. “I can be on my feet for twenty minutes. After that,
I’ll sit at the counter.”
He rumbles wordlessly, as if he’s unsure whether or not he should allow me this work
around. I notch my chin up defiantly, cradling my belly. As if he could ever care more
about my baby’s well being than I do. I think grumpily. Besides, an extra five minutes
on my feet when I’m doing something that relaxes me.
“If you’re that concerned then you can bring me all of the ingredients and do the clean
up.” I suggest slyly, perfectly happy to let him take over the less fun job.
“Alright.” Gabriel agrees, seeming pleased to have a task. “What do you need?”
I rattle off a list, and begin opening ingredients as Gabriel collects bowls and
measuring cups. “Has something like this ever happened before?” I ask after a
moment, wondering if he resents the fact that he’s trapped here with me instead of out
fighting with Sinclair and the enforcers.
“Not in my memory.” Gabriel replies grimly.
Centuries ago this sort of thing wasn’t that uncommon. Bands of rogues would join up
and even form coalitions at times. Under a powerful rebel leader, rogues have tried to
take down entire packs before, but the idea that this is happening in this day and age
is unheard of.”
“How bad is it going to look for Dominic?” I inquire, measuring out flour and sugar.
“Im not sure.” He answers, taking a packet of butter from the freezer and setting it in
the microwave for me. “If he’s able to prevent the attack entirely he’ll get celebrated
for protecting the pack, but it doesn’t look good that the rogues felt emboldened
enough to take him on.”
“Like people might thing he’s not providing enough of a deterrent to keep them out,
that he looks weak to outsiders?” I clarify, trying to understand.
“Exactly.” Gabriel confirms. “I can guarantee that’s how the Prince will spin this.”
“That isn’t fair.” I argue glumly, beginning to cream the thawed butter. “I hate that he
keeps causing all this trouble but Dominic is the one who pays the price.”
Gabriel frowns. “Being Alpha is a thankless job most times. When every thing goes
right no one notices, because he’s just doing his job. But if something goes wrong
then he gets dragged through the mud.”
I catch myself growling, “Dominic does everything for his people, they ought to
“I agree.” Gabriel replies, smothering a smile.
“How long will this all take?” I inquire after a pause.
“The state of emergency? It could be hours, or days,- depending how serious the
situation is.” Gabriel explains with a grimace.
“Do you wish you were out there with them?” I ask, watching his expression closely.
Gabriel blinks, looking surprised. “Of course not.”
He answers, seeming amazed that I should even ask.
“You have to admit this is a lot more boring that being in the thick of it.” As the words
leave my mouth I realize how insensitive they might sound.
“I mean I know battle is a terrible thing, but it can’t be easy babysitting me when
everyone you care about is out risking their lives.”
Gabriel had been carefully closing the bags and boxes of ingredients once I finished
with them, but now he goes still. “Do you have no idea what an honor it is to be
assigned to guard you? The men in this room are here because the Alpha has
deemed us the fiercest warriors in his guard – the ones most trusted to protect you if
he can’t. Our positions are second only to his beta.”
“Oh.” I breathe, processing this information. “I didn’t realize.” This information dances
through my head, trying to make sense of this. “And you don’t resent the fact that you
might be hurt for my sake?”
He shakes his head, giving me a look that says he thinks I’m crazy. “You’re new to all
this, but you have to understand that without you, the pack is weaker. A pack’s Luna is
incredibly important sacred not only because she gives us heirs and the next
generation of Alphas, but because she leads the she-wolves, she is the Alpha’s rock.
The Alpha might be the pack’s backbone, but the Luna is its heart. Any of us would
gladly lay down our lives for you.”
“But I don’t want anyone to die for me.”I murmur softly, staring at the cookie batter in
front of me.
“of course you don’t.” Gabriel smiles. “That’s what makes you a good Luna.’
I find myself blushing, barely able to utter my thanks. Gabriel and I continue baking in
companionable silence, and soon cookies are coming out of the oven piping hot, with
melting chocolate sticking to the baking tray. The other guards appear as the scent
wafts through the house, and before long I have to confiscate the remaining cookies
so that there will be some left over for Sinclair.
Soon after the cookies finish, a deafening chime sounds outside, and all the guards sit
up in surprise.
“That was fast.” One of the other guards, Sean remarks in surprise.
“Is that the all clear?” I ask curiously.
“Yes, but maybe we should wait for Sinclair.”
“He told us to bring her home at the all clear.” Sean counters.
“I don’t know,” Gabriel hesitates. “Something feels off.”
“We have our orders.” Sean insists. “I say we follow protocol and take her home.”
“Alright.” Gabriel agrees with a heavy sigh.
We move into a room I hadn’t noticed before, which leads to a small garage. We climb
into a waiting vehicle and Gabriel presses a button on something which looks
suspiciously like a garage door opener. For the second time that day, the mountain
opens, and we take off into the night.
Of course, this is a decision Ill come to regret terribly. I wish we hadn’t left the safe
house. I wish we’d waited for Sinclair to come for us. If we had, my guards might still
be alive… and my own life might have gone very differently.
But we did leave.. we left, and walked straight into the Prince’s trap.
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