Note: may contain sexually explicit scenes of a homoerotic nature.
The humans were not the only outsiders at the meeting. Two representatives from the Angel Hills Wolf Pack had arrived late that afternoon in order to attend the conference — an alpha by the name of Milo, and a beta named Ace. Leo sat studying them while Rafe read out the minutes of the last meeting over five months prior. Like most alphas, Milo was tall and well-muscled. He had a head of black hair pulled into a top knot and chiseled features with cheekbones that stood out below hawk-like dark eyes. His arms and one side of his neck were covered in tattoos of strange symbols, and Leo wondered what they signified.
The beta was slighter, with lean, toned muscles and long runner’s legs. His short brown hair was sun-streaked, and he had a long, straight nose and attention-grabbing icy blue eyes beneath dark, well-shaped brows. Leo noticed a tattoo peeking out from under the right sleeve of his shirt. He seemed to be taking in everything with interest, particularly the group of humans. Leo couldn’t help but feel sorry for the females, Cara and Beth, who stood out like sore thumbs among so many males.
Stone’s sharp, deep voice cut into Leo’s thoughts, and he turned his attention to the front where the contentious alpha had already begun arguing his points.
“… no place for females. Do they even have any werewolf in them?”
“Of course they do; they’re mine. They are developing as quickly as any werewolf child.” River said more calmly than Leo would have under the scrutiny of so many condemning eyes.
“But have they shifted?” someone asked.
“Not yet. You know as well as I do that they could be a year old before they shift.”
“If they shift,” Stone muttered. “And most do by seven months.”
“If they don’t shift,” someone else said, “they aren’t werewolves. They’ll have to leave.”
“They don’t belong here.” Stone stood, feet apart and hands on hips. Justin, Stone’s pregnant omega, cowered in submission at the sound of Stone’s displeased voice. His three beta mates sat with eyes downcast, although Leo saw Canaan glance up more than once. There was something shrewd and calculating about Canaan, and although Leo felt sorry for him after his son was killed, it didn’t make it any easier to like him.
“As my children, they certainly do belong here, as yours do, and the progeny of everyone else present,” River said, tone brooking no argument.
Stone made a frustrated sound and looked around, eyes landing on Griffin, an alpha of Stone’s age.
Griffin stood. “Your own father drove your mate’s father from the pack for having relations with a human female.”
“My father did not drive him out. Derrick was punished — told he couldn’t leave the compound. But he ran away.”
“This is true,” Old Ben called out.
“The fact remains that Thorn did not approve of the boy’s actions,” Griffin argued. “He didn’t invite Derrick to bring his female lover into the pack because females don’t belong with werewolves.”
“I don’t know what you’re getting at,” River said with a sigh. “I am not attempting to bring a female among us. My daughters were born to me, and are therefore a part of this pack.”
Before Griffin could speak again, Stone interrupted. “Which wouldn’t have happened if you hadn’t mated with the half-human, which you did without consulting the pack.”
“Josiah is a werewolf,” River said. “And I do not need to consult my pack before mating.”
“Half-werewolf,” Stone corrected. “Unlike someone who willingly takes the bite and transforms, your mate will always be part human. Which is why he spawned twin abominations –”
In two steps, River crossed the room and had Stone’s neck between his hands, thumbs cutting off the alpha’s air flow. Leo glanced at the humans. Several flinched, and others looked horrified.
“Don’t you ever,” River breathed heavily into Stone’s purpling face, “ever speak of my mate or children in that manner again. Am I clear?”
Stone’s eyes bulged and his mouth gaped as he tried to dislodge River’s grip. Leo stood, along with the other alphas in the room. As pack alpha, River had the right to kill Stone for such an insult, and Leo found himself almost hoping River would.