By TJ Klune
Sequel to Wolfsong
A Green Creek Novel
Gordo Livingstone never forgot the lessons carved into his skin. Hardened by the betrayal of a pack who left him behind, he sought solace in the garage in his tiny mountain town, vowing never again to involve himself in the affairs of wolves.
It should have been enough.
And it was, until the wolves came back, and with them, Mark Bennett. In the end, they faced the beast together as a pack… and won.
Now, a year later, Gordo has found himself once again the witch of the Bennett pack. Green Creek has settled after the death of Richard Collins, and Gordo constantly struggles to ignore Mark and the song that howls between them.
But time is running out. Something is coming. And this time, it’s crawling from within.
Some bonds, no matter how strong, were made to be broken.
For those who hear the songs of wolves, listen well: your pack is howling you home.
“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!—
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted—
On this home by Horror haunted—tell me truly, I implore—
Is there—is there balm in Gilead?—tell me—tell me, I implore!”
Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”
—Edgar Allan Poe, “The Raven”
THE ALPHA said, “We’re leaving.”
Ox stood near the doorway, smaller than I’d ever seen him. The skin under his eyes looked bruised.
This wasn’t going to go well. Ambushes never did.
“What?” Ox asked, eyes narrowing slightly. “When?”
He said, “You know I can’t leave yet,” and I touched the raven on my forearm, feeling the flutter of wings, the pulse of magic. It burned. “I have to meet with Mom’s lawyer in two weeks to go over her will. There’s the house and—”
“Not you, Ox,” Joe Bennett said, sitting behind his father’s desk. Thomas Bennett was nothing but ash.
I saw the moment the words sunk in. It was savage and brutal, the betrayal of a heart already broken.
“And not Mom. Or Mark.”
Carter and Kelly Bennett shifted uncomfortably, standing side by side near Joe. I wasn’t pack and hadn’t been for a long, long time, but even I could feel the low thrum of anger coursing through them. But not at Joe. Or Ox. Or anyone in this room. They had revenge in their blood, the need to rend with claw and fang. They were already lost to the idea of it.
But so was I. Ox just didn’t know it yet.
“So it’s you,” Ox said. “And Carter. Kelly.”
And now he did. Ox didn’t look at me. It might as well have been just the two of them in the room. “And Gordo. Where are you going?”
“To do what’s right.”
“Nothing about this is right,” Ox retorted. “Why didn’t you tell me about this?”
“I’m telling you now,” he said, and oh, Joe. He had to know this wasn’t—
“Because that’s the right—where are you going?”
Once, when Ox was a boy, his piece-of-shit father had left for parts unknown without so much as a glance over his shoulder. It took weeks for Ox to pick up the phone and call me, but he did. He’d spoken slowly, but I’d heard the hurt in every word as he told me we’re not doing okay, that he was seeing letters from the bank talking about taking away the house he and his mom lived in down that old familiar dirt road.
Could I have a job? It’s just we need the money and I can’t let her lose the house. It’s all we have left. I’d do good, Gordo. I would do good work and I’d work for you forever. It was going to happen anyway and can we just do it now? Can we just do it now? I’m sorry. I just need to do it now because I have to be the man now.
That was the sound of a boy lost.
And here in front of me, the lost boy had returned. Oh sure, he was bigger now, but his mother was in the ground, his Alpha nothing but smoke in the stars, his mate, of all fucking things, digging his claws into his chest and twisting, twisting, twisting.
I did nothing to stop it. It was already too late. For all of us.
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