The Guardian Alpha: A Paranormal Werewolf Romance (Nameless Sentinels Book 3)

BOOK: The Guardian Alpha: A Paranormal Werewolf Romance (Nameless Sentinels Book 3)
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PROLOGUE

 

The night stretched out before Jay from his vantage point on the familiar, old hill. The gathering of Sentinels – both their trailers and their bodies – differentiated the situation from two months ago. Well, along with the hotdogs being roasted over various grills and the light conversation lilting through the air.

 

Jay glanced skyward to the full moon that lulled in the sky. Unless Kristi changed tactics, a raid would descend tonight.

 

Scattered around the city of Goldbridge, his four squads grouped together. Each party was situated at cardinal directions and each pretended to be a jolly gathering. Jay sighed and checked his cellphone for the thousandth time. Around him, his squad traded jokes and cooked hotdogs over the open flame of his grill. He was still amazed Mayor Stone had caved. Granted, every phone was five years old and practically useless, but they worked for texting, at least. It garnered the element of stealth among the Sentinel warning system and, not to mention, the community liked the idea of a soundless alarm, especially while they were wolfing out.

 

No new messages since he last checked, though.

 

His anxiety gnawed at his brain and, again, his gaze flickered to the moon above. Surely, she hadn't altered their plan of attack. Jay couldn't be sure, though. Over the extended weeks, he was only able to make the briefest connection to Kristi. Ghosts of strong emotions vibrated into his head, tenuously. It was like trying to grasp wisps of smoke. Jay knew they were there and could faintly feel them, but he was unable to get a clear picture.

 

Faintly, he wondered if Kristi knew about his plans. That might explain the change in the feral wolves' schedule, which meant the people of Goldbridge would be displeased.

 

A faint scent of dirt and rock wafted on the breeze. Jay tensed as familiarity sent his olfactory senses into memories. The pack carried the scent of the cave on them. Almost as soon as he realized this, his phone began buzzing. South and East squadrons were reporting sightings, and he could smell a group to the North. That left the West with no sightings.

 

Jay sent off a text to the squadron, before he pushed himself off his trailer's stairs. The Sentinels all around him instantly turned their eyes to him. Pocketing his phone, he gave everyone a somber nod, “The ferals are coming. Remember our new rules.”

 

Every Sentinel exchanged uncertain glances before saluting their leader. Then, one by one, pairs took off among the city. Jay watched them scurry into the night, apprehension trailing behind them. They weren't used to the new rulings, which called for open dialogue and less blood. They were too used to the old way. Jay hoped there wouldn't be further incident as he slowly, softly, crept into the city.

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

As Jay stepped into the hospital room, he was greeted by Thad's ice-cold glare. The curtains were pulled tight against artificial illumination. A moon lamp was the only illumination in the whole room and it bathed Thad in light. The staff had restrained him to the bed, using silver cuffs lined with supple leather. The leather prevented silver burns, but kept their charge in bed.

 

Jay's gaze traveled over Thad's body. Well, over what wasn't covered with a blanket. The scent of antiseptic and ointment swathed him in a strong miasma. Cuts peppered his arms and a few nasty bruises colored his skin. There was an especially nasty shiner. Annoyance flickered through Jay's mind. He'd have some strong words with Marie over her methods of capture.

 

“Hello, Jay,” Thad muttered, his glare never lifting.

 

“Thad,” Jay nodded as he moved farther into the room, “I'm sorry about all this.”

 

“Sorry enough to let me go?” Thad belligerently rattled his restraints as he attempted to sit up halfway. He managed a flop, looking like a hapless fish out of water.

 

Jay slowly shook his head. The cuffs were on Thad for the safety of the nurses. He knew, as well as Thad, that any promise of escape would tempt the feral lycan. It was easier to simply keep him cuffed for the duration of his stay at the hospital. Not fair, definitely. However, it put everyone else at ease. Jay couldn't go against their trust for Thad's favor.

 

“What are you going to do, then?” Thad tensed in his hospital bed, fingers clenching into his palms.

 

Jay skirted farther into the room, until he stood beside Thad's bed. There was no point in being sneaky. Thad was their hostage, for all intents and purposes. For now at least. Still, guilt dug deep into Jay's guts. “I want to ask you some questions.”

 

Again, Thad rattled his restraints in irritation. “What makes you think I'll talk?”

 

“Why did you let me take the horse?” It was a low blow, Jay knew. Guilt puckered at his guts as he watched the guilt flutter over Thad's face. In addition to guilt, though, there was understanding in the feral lycan's expression. As Thad's eyes lowered in concession, Jay continued, “I just want to know a couple of things.”

 

Thad's eyes remained averted, but his head nodded a fraction of an inch.

 

Feeling that was the best he was going to get, Jay pressed on, “Is Kristi the alpha now?”

 

Again, a slight nod. Thad blatantly refused to look at Jay and, frankly, Jay couldn't blame him. This was his only act of rebellion, while being forced into obedience for the enemy. The thought would have made Jay's skin crawl, too. Yet, questions were not physically threatening. Likely, if Jay talked of the packs whereabouts, Thad's lips would clam up. But that wasn't the point of this interrogation.

 

Jay ingested the fact that Kristi was now the leader of her pack. Mixed feelings swarmed inside him. Pride and regret stumbled and staggered through his veins. Jay's voice softened as he asked, “How's she doing?”

 

This time, Thad's eyes flicked to Jay's face. Suspicions splayed over his expression as he surveyed Jay. He seemed momentarily unsure. Should he answer a question concerning his alpha? Should he answer vaguely? Thad swallowed, a decision soon met. “She's intense, agitated, sometimes scary.”

 

“I'm sorry, Thad.”

 

Thad's eyes softened and he opened his mouth. But he stopped. His brows furrowed and slowly his mouth closed. Jay felt an extra pang of guilt, knowing what was on Thad's lips. 'It's not your fault' but, really, it was. That's why Thad stopped.

 

Jay shook his self-pity off. There was no use dwelling on it. They had to strive forward with the plan. The sooner a compromise could be discussed, the sooner this exhausting feud would end – and, maybe, the sooner he'd be able to see Kristi again. But that was a mighty 'maybe.' Jay pushed the hope to the back of his head as he stated, “The mayor wants to work toward a compromise, between Goldbridge and your pack.”

 

“Mayor?” Thad listed his head to the side, his eyebrows bunching up on his forehead.

 

It took Jay a beat to realize the word had never crossed Thad's vocabulary. Why would it, after all? The pack didn't talk about Goldbridge, unless to disparage. Who cared about the hierarchy or democracy of the town? “She's like an alpha of the town, I guess.”

 

Thad nodded in understanding, but his brows didn't smooth out. Jay quietly stood at the side of his bed as Thad chewed on the inside of his cheek. The young man had much to contemplate. Slowly, Thad's blue eyes swung up to meet Jay's hazel-grey gaze. “You're going to let me go if I take this message?”

 

Jay simply nodded. He was afraid, should he speak, he'd destroy Thad's whim to assist him.

 

“How do you know I'll deliver it once I'm away?”

 

“I trust you, Thad.”

 

Thad's eyes widened a fraction. Jay couldn't tell if he was pleased or frightened from the unwavering confession. He hoped it was the former. Thad drew his gaze away from Jay, staring off into the distance. His eyebrows twitched with thought. When he turned his eyes back to Jay, the determination shone in his blue gaze. “Okay. What should I relay?”

 

CHAPTER TWO

 

Frustration pricked at Kristi's mind as she listened to the reports on the most recent raid – more injuries than normal, less loot than usual, but no deaths. Also, from various accounts, one of their members had been kidnapped. Namely Thad. An unnerving feeling tickled at the back of her mind, but Kristi chalked the incident up as coincidence. Something inside her knew it wasn't that simple.

 

“Sounds like the Sentinels have lost their edge,” scoffed Selene. The other alpha's words drew Kristi from her reverie.

 

Faintly, she considered the gut feelings she had been feeling for the last month. She had a mighty suspicion that Jay was the new Sentinel alpha – or whatever title they used. Kristi gave Selene a meaningful look as she muttered, “Or they're going easy on us.”

 

Selene's eyebrows raised in curious surprise. Kristi braced herself for an onslaught of questions. Before Selene could manage to pose her questions, though, a commotion broke out near the cave's entrance. The alphas exchanged looks before taking off for the chaos.

 

As they made their way through the corridors, a crowd already seemed flowing in that direction. Hushed conversations lapped around Selene and Kristi. Lycans were no less prone to gossiping than humans, though. Kristi tried to will her ears to turn off and not listen to any of it. The excitement sizzled along her veins, with hope and anxiety.

 

A throng of pack members filled the entryway. Excitement buzzed in the air, but conversation was too muddled with variations of horror to delight. Kristi couldn't figure out what, or who, stood on the other side of the crowd. All the chatter ricocheted off the walls as members scuffed their way to the entrance. Scents mingled and tangled, becoming a ball of various odors. As Kristi and Selene approached, the crowd cleaved in half, giving the two alphas a beeline for the central figure.

 

“Thad? What happened?” Kristi asked, concern dotting her words as she saw the young man standing dead center in the throng. Curiosity and concern sunk into her head. At the back of her mind, she remembered Thad was the one who assisted Jay's escape. She shoved the thoughts to the farthest part of her mind.

 

Suddenly, despite his grateful exchanges with the other members, Thad appeared shamefaced before the alphas. His eyes swung between Selene and Kristi, before he forced the word from his lips, “I – uh – I talked to Jay.”

 

Silence fell over the 'welcome back' party. Members shifted awkwardly and, attempting inconspicuousness, they side-eyed Kristi. Everyone shared the same thought and it hung over their heads, like a dark thunder cloud rumbling. They waited for the lightning to inevitably strike.

 

When longer than a breath had passed, Thad decided to test the waters. His eyes swung to Kristi, his tone softening as if his voice were failing him, “He asked me to send you a message. The Goldbridge leader wants to talk to you.” Hastily, Thad added, “Both.”

 

“Why?” Selene's eyes narrowed in suspicion as she shifted her footing. She ignored the cold fog of feelings that emanated from Kristi.

 

Kristi was still in a state of muzzy shock. Thad had spoken to Jay. Jay was working with Goldbridge. Equal parts betrayal and gratitude writhed inside Kristi. Faintly, she wondered if the gratitude was all Jay's, but she knew it wasn't.

 

“They want to come to an agreement, I guess.” Thad shrugged. “That's just what Jay told me.”

 

“And on whose authority did he send the message?” Selene pressed, her lips pursed and her arms crossing. Silence hung heavily around the three of them. The rest of the pack listened with sharp ears and bated breath.

 

“His.”

 

Kristi scoffed, loud and belligerent. Eyes turned toward her, slightly shocked at her informal snort. Kristi crossed her arms, her lips screwing into a scowl. Despite her nonchalance and irritation, even she was surprised at her own reaction.

 

Thad seemed to hesitate for a moment. His mouth opened and shut, the jaw muscles working back and forth as he looked for the best words. His brows lowered in uncertainty, before he muttered, “He's the leader of the Sentinels now, Alpha Kristi.”

 

“I see,” said Kristi, with no inflection to her tone. Despite her measured reply, intense pain swamped her body. Betrayed, lied to, used. Was Jay only using their connection to get back to Goldbridge? She swallowed heavily at the mere thought. She shifted her weight from one foot to the other. While half of her stewed in self-pity, the other part cried out on Jay's behalf. He'd never be so callous. What they had was genuine! Kristi felt sick from the quick-change of emotions in her head. The last thing she wanted was to see his face again. Not with her emotions flip-flopping all over the place. She shook her head, announcing, “I will not meet with them.”

 

Selene shot Kristi a look, brows furrowed, “I think it's a good idea to talk to them.”

 

“Then you do it. But I will have no part in it,” Kristi snapped. She didn't give Selene time to retort before she turned on her heel and stormed out. Whispers followed in her wake. An embarrassed flush crawled over her cheeks. In her head, she knew it was her duty as alpha. She should march to that meeting, head high and will strong. Yet, her heart wavered and made her bones feel like jelly. She didn't want to see Jay and no one could make her.

 

Behind her, she heard Selene sigh, “How do we reply to Goldbridge? “

 

“They asked to meet us at an agreed neutral point,” Thad answered, just before Kristi stormed out of earshot.

 

BOOK: The Guardian Alpha: A Paranormal Werewolf Romance (Nameless Sentinels Book 3)
4.6Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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