Deception

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Seren felt the bile rising up in her throat. Max...not dead. They had buried him alive. He had just been waiting in the freezing heavy soil to resurrect, and when he had, he had been taken by their pack. Did he know what was going on? Was he still there in some aspect of his mind?

His dad was probably out there, right now, trying to put down his own son. Her heart squeezed with the thought of what they must both be going through. She wanted to ask Gloria a thousand questions, but she was immobilized with the news and there was no air in her lungs to speak with. 

"How many are there of those things?" Daniel asked. 

Gloria could only shake her head. "We don't know how long they...have been doing this for. Caine and Zaine reported about a hundred in the warehouse, but it might not have been the only building."

Seren remembered how gruesome the fight between Liam and Max had been, and Liam was an alpha. This was going to be a massacre. "What if the Wind Runners can't beat them? What if they have to retreat?"

"There are five hundred men at least from all over the territory fighting tonight and over half of that number again in women. We have the upper hand in numbers, but they have insanity on their side, too. They will be unpredictable, yes. That is also expected of them. You have no need to fear, Seren."

Something was telling her that she should still be on guard. Things never went perfectly to plan, no matter how well executed. 

"Where are the children at during all of this?"

"They are in the basement having a movie night. Mayline, Eloise and a few others are watching over them. This is protocol during war. If anything were to happen, there is an escape route underground to one of the satellite pack houses an hour or so away. See? There is nothing to worry about," Gloria said calmly. 

Seren clenched her jaw. There was a current of nervousness running through her body, making her more and more agitated by the second. This was the same instinct that often told her to run when things got bad and let her know when not to trust someone. She rubbed her palms on her jeans. 

Something is not right. Something's not right, I know it! 

She glanced across the room at the place where many of her dreams had been enacted, where the wall had been covered in blood from half transformations and the chains still lay on the floor. Though, now, the only thing that proved Liam had ever stood there were the long scratches in the tile of the wall and floor. 

"Donovan told us you were having dreams about all of that, Pumpkin," McGreggor said, putting a rough hand on her shoulder. "We are sorry you had to see that. It wasn't pretty to be sure. I couldn't imagine watching Gloria go through that." His voice was nearly a whisper and it was clear that he felt very strongly for his new mate already. 

Seren turned her head away from the place where her mate had died. She needed to be strong now, she had to focus and figure out why she was feeling so edgy when the pack had clearly planned everything so thoroughly. 

"I want you to know that it was my idea, Seren," Gloria said quietly. "I advised him to send you away for your own protection."

She grimaced as if the old woman had struck her across the face. Gloria had been the reason that she hadn't been there when her mate had died? She had been the one to tell Liam to banish her? They should have stayed together! Seren was about to stand when Gloria held out her hands defensively and continued. 

"I saw what happened to Max, how he was obsessed with finding his mate, with the other females in the house. His wolf's most basic needs were driving him insane and were what led to him shifting. That was why he sought you out first that night. He wanted you. If you...if you had been here...he would have lost control immediately. His wolf's desires and urges would have consumed him and I'm sure he would have killed you unknowingly. He lasted as long as he did because you weren't here and he knew it- he was able to focus on keeping the beast at bay..."

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