The other alphas filed into the room behind him. One gestured me to stay seated when I would’ve tried to stand. “Stay down.”
“Thanks.” I could sit on my own, getting a little bit of my balance back now that I wasn’t trying to move. Ritch moved away and started opening cupboards.
Deke looked around. “What do we know?” Kraig pulled away from him, and Deke frowned but let him go. Kraig didn’t go far as he started to help Ritch rummaged around in the cupboards and drawers.
“This was definitely where they were running the experiments. My group found offices and labs on our end. We pulled what we could out before that crazy fucker blew shit up. I kept men stationed at that entrance to the underground lab just in case some of those things survived.” The bear alpha crossed his arms over his burly chest and spit in the corner. “Those abominations won’t make it past my bears.”
“You saw them too?” Landon asked.
He nodded. “Malformed ferals. They’re not like....” He glanced at Kraig then at Deke cautiously. Deke curled up his lip, but he dipped his head. “One of my guys got bit, and that thing’s muzzle nearly spanned his entire thigh. And none of us are small.”
“We noticed that too. Blood set them off, and they took out Trein and the guys he had with him.” Deke took the cloth out of Kraig’s hand and started cleaning the blood off his skin, not letting him do it. The sight of my alpha caring for my brother was so right, I couldn’t take my eyes of them. That’s what I wanted, what I needed, with Ritch.
He finished wringing out a wet washcloth in the sink and brought it over to us along with a few other towels. He didn’t even glance around or worry about skirting the alphas standing around the kitchen. The wolves’ alpha actually stepped out of his way. Ritch dropped to his knees next to me.
“Hey, what are you doing?”
“You’re bleeding all over the floor. Here.” Ritch handed me a towel all rolled up. “This is going to hurt.” He took a second one and put it around my calf and pulled it tight, creating a tourniquet. “Use the cloth,” he whispered.
The expression on his face was very, very serious. I already hurt all over, what was one more thing? But when he narrowed his eyes, I grabbed the cloth and bit down on it.
Good thing. When he wrenched that spoon he’d stuck in the knot, I about pissed myself. It hurt, a lot, and not even the washcloth could dull the shout and the breathless curses I muttered. The room fell silent, and I waved my hand weakly at the alphas.
“You can keep talking. I’ll tell him later,” Ritch said. “When I’m doing taking care of him.”
“Thank you, Ritch.” Deke inclined his head.
After that, I couldn’t tell you what was said, other than Ritch’s muttered instructions to me. He’d cleaned the wound and the smaller ones still trickling blood while I held onto the edges of the chair until the doctor came in and commandeered the table. I was unceremoniously ushered onto it with my leg over the edge. Multiple hands came down on me, and I lifted my chin to meet Deke’s eyes. He was standing over me holding onto my shoulders.
“Just a little longer. You’ll be just fine and running the perimeter again in no time.”
“Not until he’s better,” Ritch said as he squeezed my hand. He had one hand and Kraig had the other. A bear werekin held my legs down, one hand clamped onto each thigh. I was not going to move.
But I tried my damnedest when that doctor held my foot and slowly drew my leg out straight, pulling until my bones went back inside my calf, hyperextending it until they slipped back into place against each other with a sickening crunch and grind of bone on bone.
My screams echoed in my ears, and I blinked back tears when it was over. Passing out would’ve been a blessing, but I lay there on that flat service with my head turned and stared in Ritch’s eyes.
“I was so afraid when I saw you there, on your knees,” I said. “It would have ruined me, if you’d been hurt.” Apparently pain was as good as painkillers to make stupid stuff come out of my mouth. I hadn’t meant to say that in front of everyone.
“Oh, Park.” Ritch squeezed the hand he was still holding. “I know. But you got me away from Trein, and I’m going to be okay.”
“Do you really need to know that now?” he asked.
“I was wondering the same thing myself,” Deke said from above my head. “How did they get you? I didn’t feel any other deaths, but my guards would not have just let them walk out with you.”
“That’s because Lydia went to see that son of a bitch with her husband’s soul. Ritch refused to let her go alone, and when she got there, the guard called me. That bastard wasn’t nearly as out of it as he’d made himself appear, and apparently, taking the humans and leaving him behind was a feint to make you follow them, leaving us behind. Trein must have had men scout our territory, because he took us through the woods to where a car was waiting.”
“Another traitor?” Deke’s voice was rough, a snarl distorting his words.
“I don’t think so. I didn’t recognize him or his scent.” Deke had been working with Kraig on his bonded werekin senses.
I let out a sigh but then tensed when the doctor pushed a pad hard against the wound in my calf. “Fuck.”
“Hey, hey, look at me.” Kraig knelt and stared right in my eyes, pulling my hand up and kissing my knuckles. “That’s right. Just look at me.”
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