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            Chapter 9

Paige’s POV:

            Sixteen, eight months until I’m seventeen. The day after my sixteenth birthday they brought another girl in. Her name was Valerie and she was the mate of a Beta to a pack that was dominant in Florida. After a week they took her to the restroom and she never came back. Just like the girl that was there before me. I can’t say I missed Valerie all that much though. All she did was lie on the bed and moan about being stuck here. Her cries kept me up that entire week so when she never came back, I was glad to finally get a good night’s sleep. There might have been a time when I would have cried for her but I’ve hardened into nothing almost nothing, feeling sorry for no one.

            The good thing Valerie brought was news. She’d been on the outside almost two years longer than us and apparently a lot has changed. Ariel’s mate still hasn’t given up looking for her, something she’s both happy and sad about. Happy about his devotion to her, sad about the fact that he’ll never find her and spend the rest his life searching in vain. On to my old life, there were definitely a lot of shockers. Valerie reported that my parents, Sutton and Evan, are now the leaders of three packs, making them one of the most powerful and influential Alpha couples. Apparently one pack joined after being attacked by rogues and another smaller pack followed suit for protection. Luckily for me, Valerie had recently visited their territory for Taylor’s wedding. I had no idea that she’d even found her mate. Lisa and Sutton are the only one of their group of friends that had no kids, Jason and Elise were actually expecting their second child. Sutton was well on her way to becoming a surgeon and Evan was well respected in both the werewolf world and the human world. Oddly enough, the only person she didn’t know anything about was Claire. Valerie told me she wasn’t at the wedding and wasn’t around the week before.

            After Valerie left, I would lay on my bed and reminisce about everything she told me. I was imagine that I was at Taylor’s wedding, that I was there with my pack. After a while, I stopped because I realized once again that all this was doing was reminding me that this would never happen.

            “What do you think they’re arguing about?” Ariel asked, nodding towards the doors.

            All morning the hunters had been in a frenzy over some news they heard. I don’t know what it was, but it definitely got them riled up. The only words I could gather were something about “they’re getting closer” and “we have to clean up the mess and move on”. I could only hope they were talking about werewolves getting closer and the mess was me. I was hoping they would finally release me from my misery and kill me. But life isn’t that easy and the hunters are far too cruel.

            “I don’t know.” I answered Ariel’s question. Just then the door burst open and two of the guards that usually guard us rushed in.

            “Let’s go, we’re leaving.” They both quickly unlocked the doors to our cages and pulled us out. As soon as we got to the door another guard rushed towards us.

            “They’re here.” His voice was slightly higher than a whisper, filled with anxiety and seriousness.

            I couldn’t help but shake the feeling that what was about to happen next would be a milestone.

Evan’s POV:

            “Line up and circle around, I don’t want any of them escaping.” I ordered, standing in front of the large group of wolves assembled.

            “Yes, Alpha.” They all murmured, moving noiselessly.

            Spencer stood at my side as we approached the corner of the woods surrounding the large compound. The group of wolves assigned to follow me fanned out while the other group leaders guided their groups so that we were spread in a circle. For the past year and a half my newly enlarged pack has taken it upon themselves to help neighboring packs get rid of rouges and hunters that were causing problems. The pack in charge of this territory reported hunters were staying nearby and while they made no move to attack, it was still causing the small pack some discomfort. The stalemate ended a week ago when one of the pack’s guards was attacked while running a patrol. We’d come immediately and it was how I found myself surrounding a compound filled with hunters.

            I can’t deny the fact that every time we raid a house filled with rogues or hunters I felt a small ounce of hope that Paige was still alive, being held captive by them. I know it’s selfish of me to wish that she’s been held captive for more than three years, but I can’t help but want to find her alive. I know it’s pointless of me to want this because it’s never going to happen, but you can’t stop wishing for things even if they’re impossible things to wish for.

            “Ready?” Spencer murmured in my head, echoing the questioning thoughts of all the other pack members. He flanked my right while James, a newer member, flanked my left.

            Just as I was about to give the command to attack, the doors opened and about ten men spilled out, all carrying weapons. I snorted, like they could take all of us down. We all stepped out of the woods, showing ourselves and our broad number. I could hear their hearts start to pound faster and their eyes widened. They knew they wouldn’t make it out alive. I was once again about to give the command to attack when three more hunters stepped out, two of them shielding their bodies with something else. As the other hunters stepped away to give us a clear shot at the other two hunters, I realized they were shielded by two squirming figures. They were both skinny and pale, one with striking red hair and the other with dark black hair. Given that they were both fighting against the hunters hold with their hair covering their faces, I couldn’t see their faces. Sniffing the air, I recognized their scents as werewolves. Looks like we were going to be reuniting two families with their missing werewolves.

            I took a step forward and growled. Both girls stopped struggling and stood still. The one with black hair stiffened as she sniffed and looked up. I froze when the hair fell away from her face and I saw her shock filled expression as she looked around at us. When her gaze flicked past us, I almost gasped. It couldn’t be…it’s been so long. She has to be dead, right?

            But here the evidence was. Paige Warren was standing in front of me, alive.

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