“Since Finn became the Heir to the Pack at such a young age, it has changed a few things on our side,” Jasper said softly. Finn was her brother, Melanie and Kade’s oldest biological child. “The younger generation will be gaining their powers and bonds to the goddess earlier than would otherwise be expected.” Her uncle looked at her, and she kept silent. “That means the current Pack leaders will one day not have the bonds we have to our Pack now. But like most healthy Packs, that doesn’t mean we’re set aside. It only means we will be there to aid the new hierarchy while they learn their powers. That’s how it’s always been in our Pack, and in others, but it’s been a very long time since it’s happened to us.”
“Gina will one day be the Enforcer,” Adam said from behind her. “I don’t know when, but it will be soon. The other kids aren’t old enough yet to tell who will take on which role, but since Gina is in her twenties, the shifts are happening.”
The room grew silent, with an odd sense of change settling over her skin like an electric blanket turned on too high.
She didn’t speak. She’d known about her path, had dreamed the dreams from the moon goddess herself. But that didn’t mean she wanted the Talons to know all of this. It seemed…private somehow.
“What does this have to do with mating?” she asked, wanting to focus on something else.
Gideon gave her a look, and she lowered her eyes. He might not be her Alpha, but he was still a dominant wolf. Yes, she hadn’t lowered her eyes before, but she’d been rocked a bit since Adam had told the others of her future. She didn’t want to antagonize anyone when Gideon clearly wanted to show his power. Previously, everything had been casual; now it clearly was not.
Kade growled beside her. “Gideon.”
The Talon Alpha snorted, not smiling, but moved his gaze. “It’s fun to see how she reacts.”
“She’s my daughter and the future Enforcer.”
“She is right here, so how about you answer my question?”
Jasper chuckled by her side, and Gina wondered how quickly she could reach the nearest window and jump. It couldn’t be that far. She wouldn’t die from the fall or anything, and she’d be able to run home.
“Mating,” Kade put in, the laughter in his eyes fading, “is only a small part of the problem. When we sent Caym back to hell with the other demons, it changed the power structure within the Packs as well as outside them. The Centrals who fought against us died because they’d lost their souls to the demon. The Centrals that had hidden from the old Alphas ended up being lone wolves. They’re not truly a Pack yet because the goddess hasn’t made anyone an Alpha.”
“Then you have the Redwoods, with a hierarchy shift within the younger generation,” Gideon said. “And the Talons’ new power dynamic is only fifteen years old, and we haven’t had a mating in long enough that it’s starting to worry us.”
“Not that you’d say that to the rest of the Pack,” Mitchell mumbled.
“It’s best they don’t know,” Gideon said, the sounds of an old argument telling Gina there was more going on here than what they revealed.
“There aren’t any matings between our two Packs, and I know the trust isn’t fully there,” Kade put in then sighed. “I don’t know how to fix that myself. I don’t think I can.”
“You’re the Alpha,” Jasper said calmly. “If you tell them to get along with the other wolves, they will, and for the most part, they have. But it isn’t as authentic as if they find that trust on their own. We’ve let them go this long on their own, but now, I think we need to find another way to have our Packs more entwined.”
The dark-eyed wolf came forward then. “You’ve seen something,” he growled.
Dear goddess. His voice.
Her wolf perked, and she shoved her down. This wasn’t the time.
“We’ve seen…something, Quinn,” Kade answered.
Quinn. That was his name.
And again, so not the time.