We needed a place to live…a place my uncle didn’t know about. Some place we could hide and grieve. Then it came to me. Jimmy. He told me repeatedly to call him if I ever needed anything. I stepped outside the van and reached out to the person who would become our lifeline. After hearing his instructions on where to meet him, I got back in and drove off into the night, listening to Zane crying on Logan’s shoulder.
I was constantly worried about the wolves hunting us. Luckily, the highway was deserted and it gave me some degree of relief knowing I would easily be able to see any cars following. But that drive would be forever in my memory as I led my brothers to an unknown future. I had hours to think, to feel, to worry. And my emotions were all over the place. Every time I heard Zane’s fresh bout of crying, anger surged in me. It threatened to consume me to the point of shifting and hunting my uncle to kill him.
Then I would seesaw back to fear of the unknown…where would we be safe from my uncle’s enforcers hunting us? I remember forcing myself to ignore my grief and other emotions in order to organize a plan. Luckily, last year my grandparents released some of the trust funds they’d set up for me so I had money for us to live on. But where would we live? A question I had no answer for yet.
Finally Zane fell asleep, exhausted from it all and Logan climbed into the front seat. I was glad he did because I needed his support. I remember seeing grief in his eyes before I turned mine back to the highway. That’s when it hit me…he was now my second. Two twenty-one years olds, not even finished with college, now responsible for leading a pack. And that thought brought up a new one. Before I could give voice to it, Logan did. And he was right. All of our education now stopped. I was sure my uncle’s killing force had already made it to our college, trying to find us or, at the very least, where we had gone.
After driving for hours, I saw Jimmy’s place lit up even though it was after his closing time. I appreciated his gesture so much—like a port in our storm—it gave me comfort and a small sense of relief we were not alone in this world anymore. As I pulled in, Jimmy’s wife, Mystia, appeared and ushered all of us into their home. Shushing my words of gratitude, she showed us to bedrooms and told me to get my brothers settled. We would talk in the morning.
That was the start of our new life. Jimmy showed us where I could build a pack house and Mystia cast a spell to hide our scents from other paranormals. We would appear human and my uncle and his men wouldn’t be able to hunt us using their wolf senses. Surprisingly, that simple gift made me feel a lot more secure.
After several days of buying building materials we headed up Jimmy’s mountain to the location we’d picked and pitched tents. I knew it would be good for my brothers to have a purpose that summer…something to focus on other than their grief, especially Zane. He was the youngest and the brother I worried about most. I assigned him to Logan so he’d have some older Alpha influence to offset the loss of our father’s.
We were all finding our way. Before, even though I was the eldest, I rarely ordered my brothers around. But now I was learning how to do that and the process required me to lose some brotherly closeness now that I was Alpha. Yup, that summer was trial-by-fire for me. The shifting of roles was unnerving and hard but luckily I had Logan. I owe my twin a lot. He had my back…he was always on my side when one of my brothers got pissed off being bossed around by me. Shit, sometimes I question whether we would have made it without Logan.
One night, near the end of the summer, we were sitting around the
campfire, relaxing and talking about nothing much when Zane asked what the name of our new pack was. That question brought me up short. A name? He wanted to know the name of our pack? Really??? Hell, didn’t my brother understand the enormity of my job? Every decision I made had the potential to spell doom for us. Shit, even simple ones. Each decision was so hard for me in the beginning. And for a split second I remembered thinking how insensitive and unsupportive my brother was.
But thankfully, before it took hold in my mind, I realized Zane was asking because he needed the comfort and security a name for our pack would bring him. If it had a name, then it was real and Zane would wake up tomorrow knowing he belonged to it. He would know his brothers would come to his defense. He would know his place in the world…all the important stuff that he needed to help heal and go forward to make a new
I think it was Carson who said our pack was still the Fox River Pack but I knew it wasn’t anymore. That pack died when my uncle killed our
family. And I instinctively knew it would be a daily reminder that wouldn’t help Zane. But then what name? I listened to my brothers throw out different names and argue. I thought back to how we got here and then it hit me. We would be the Blackwood Pack, named after Jimmy and Mystia. It was their last name and our future. I held up my hand signaling for quiet and then I announced my decision. From that point on, we became the Blackwood Pack.