Kitty Rocks the House Page 44

“I don’t know if I can do this anymore, Ben.”

His frown made him look suddenly old, furrowed and worried. “What do you mean?”

It was a crossroads. I could walk away from everything. Flee Denver, like I had before. “You’re always saying that if I really want kids, if we want to adopt a kid, then I can’t keep on with all this, can I? Secret meetings with vampires, battling an international conspiracy, leading a werewolf pack. If I gave it all up, we could have a house, kids, a normal life—”

“You don’t mean that.”

Oh, but for a moment I did mean it. I could shed it all like a skin. All those people looking to me for answers, me standing tall and declaring that I actually had them. I was tired of it, and the thought of being just Kitty, lowly werewolf making do, made me feel light-headed. Giddy. And the kids thing—I still had hope, though I tried not to think about it. Werewolf physiology—shape-shifting—meant I couldn’t have a baby, but I had other options for having children. What would it be like, to explore some of those options, without feeling like I was dragging some poor kid into a war?

Could I really walk away from the life I’d built?

Ben was still talking. “It means leaving Denver. Your family, my family, the restaurant, everything. Is that what you want? If it is, I’ll back you.”

And if I stayed and fought, he’d back me then as well.

I drew myself close and kissed him. Nice, long, rich, wonderful. He tasted of beer. His muscles relaxed under my hands, and his responding touch gave me strength. I could straighten my back again, and square my shoulders.

Reluctantly, I pulled away, but stayed close enough that my breath brushed him when I spoke. “Darren’s making a bid for the pack, and he’s got Becky on his side.”

“And who knows who else? He’s had to have been planning this.”

“Yeah,” I said. “But I don’t think he realizes the job he’s taken on. He can’t have gotten to everyone. He’s assuming he only has to take out us two, then he and Becky step in as alpha pair.”

“That’s a really big assumption. He takes out us two, he has to deal with Cormac.”

I smiled. That was only one of our aces in the hole. “He doesn’t know that. He’s only thinking about you and me. The thing is, he just might be able to take us out in a fair fight.”

He huffed, indignant. “I wouldn’t make that assumption.”

“It’s okay. Moot point. Because we’re not leaving—and we’re not going to fight.”

Chapter 15

SATURDAY MORNING, back at the condo, we called everyone. It was an attempt at an end run. Darren had convinced Becky that she could be alpha, that they could be the alpha pair together. But I had a feeling he was working top down. Becky was the strongest, most eligible woman in the pack, and she’d been perfectly willing to be wooed—this was the only way she could move up in the pack, and her wolf must have thought that was a good idea. Darren thought Becky was all he needed to convince everyone else. But if we had a chance to warn people, they’d never stand with him. Becky had to know this.

Never mind what Rick would think of a takeover of the Denver pack. I liked to think he’d side with us and help us keep it from happening, if it weren’t for the fact that he was a bit preoccupied at the moment. Darren had never even talked to Rick, as far as I knew. Either way, I couldn’t count on Rick or his Family to pull us out of this fire. We could do that on our own. And if we couldn’t, we didn’t much deserve to lead the Denver pack, did we?

Darren worked top down. I worked from the bottom up, just like I always had. I called my pack members, told them what was happening, asked them to stand with me. Every single one of them said yes.

Shaun did more than that. “I should have seen this coming. The way he latched onto Becky—”

“I’m not entirely sure what to do about her,” I said. She had been with us since the beginning—she was the second wolf after Shaun to leave the old alphas and follow me.

“She wouldn’t turn on us, not her.” His very decisiveness hinted at his uncertainty.

“I’ll find out, one way or another.”

“I can take on Darren. Track him down in some dark alley. The problem will just go away.” I imagined him making a gesture in the air, a flick of his fingers.

“I appreciate that. But I want to do this in the open, so there isn’t any question. I’m trying to build a reputation here.”

“You face him down, maybe some of these foreign vampires will take you seriously?”

“I’m that transparent, huh? Darren’s a friend of Nasser’s. This’ll get back to him.”

“Whatever you decide to do, I’ll back you.”

“Good,” I said. This was my pack, not Darren’s, and I’d just proven it.

The hardest call to make was to Trey. All the help I hadn’t been giving him, and now here I was, asking for backup. The nerve of me. I thought about not calling him at all—he didn’t need to be worrying about me. But he was pack, and leaving him out would be the worst thing I’d done yet.

“Kitty?” he said, answering his phone.

“Hey, Trey? Couple of things. First off, you’re right, I haven’t been around like I should be, and I’m sorry. You needed help and I wasn’t there. I’m going to do better. I’d like to have lunch sometime and talk about Sam, but I’m in the middle of a crisis right now. That’s the second thing.”

“Kitty,” he said. “You’re always in the middle of a crisis. But it’s okay. Don’t worry about it.”

“I really haven’t forgotten about you, honest.”

“I know. But seriously, it’s taken care of. Everything’s good.”

I furrowed my brow, bemused. “It is? Well, that’s great. I guess.”

“More than great. Sam … she said yes. We’re engaged.” He sounded astonished and giddy.

“Oh my gosh, that’s great. See, you don’t need my help at all.” I might have felt a tiny bit conflicted about that.

“Oh, I wouldn’t say that. You know what turned her around?”

“What?” Maybe I could take notes for the next time this came up. God, I hope this never came up again, not like this. But please let him not say talking to Darren is what helped him.

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