Shocked, they all stared at her. Bray’s eyes went wide.
“Ri, my wolf—”. He started the same ole song again, and she wanted to laugh. She had heard it all back in her previous life. He would refer to his wolf each time he wanted to spend time with Roxy. He had never rejected her like they agreed, and very soon, she became his mistress.
Riannon tried to close her eyes even though it was extremely painful for her. She was the one who truly cared about the pack and had tried to drown herself in work. This was her other mistake. Albeit she now had a second chance, and she was not going to make the same mistake twice, She was going to get rid of Roxy here and now before it was too late.
Back then, Bray told her that it was her choice, and she chose wrong. Letting Roxanne stay for the sake of the pack was a big mistake. People died over this! She wasn’t the only one. Ria’s eyes met with her best friend Maya’s, and tears stung, threatening to escape from her eyes. Maya was one of those who were killed in Roxy’s schemes. She had her doubts before, but now she knew for sure. She was going to get rid of this evil once and for all.
“I said no,” she repeated and looked back at her husband with coldness. “We talked about this before and came to an agreement. We’ll find a good pack who will take care of her. But she will not stay here. You need to reject her just as we agreed.”
One question that was bothering her was why Bran chose to have this conversation in public. Although now wasn’t the time to think about it. She had more pressing matters.
“Riannon,” Bray suddenly got serious, stepping in front of Roxanne, who was hiding behind him and shaking like a leaf in the wind. “Think about this. I wouldn’t ask you if it wasn’t important. I am the Alpha of our pack, and my wolf is going crazy for his mate. We can’t risk—”
“Brayden,” she addressed him calmly. “Our pack is one of the strongest in the country. We are not at war with anyone, and you are a strong Alpha. I believe in you, I always have. You know that. I am sure that rejecting your true mate would not be easy, but we will get through it as the family that we are.”
“I just want what’s best for the pack,” Bray mumbled, not sounding so sure anymore, and Ria felt a prick of hope.
“If you want what’s best for the pack, do it now,” she pressed.“The longer you put it off, the harder it will get. If anything, she is your weakness. You have already gone back on your word, and this being day one.”
His lips twitched slightly, and Ria knew what it meant. Her victory was close. She was almost rid of this redhead monster.
Sighing, Bran turned to Roxanne and spoke to her softly, “I am sorry. I’ll make sure to take care of you afterwards. I promise.”
Ria did not notice how hard she clenched the fabric of her dress. Would it always be this easy? Could she stop all the disasters that happened to her if she could simply say no at once?
“I, Alpha Brayden Thorn of the Silver River pack, reject—”, her husband had started to say in a firm voice when the omega in front of him fell to her knees, bursting into tears.
“Please, no!” she whimpered, “I am still too weak! I will die if you reject me now! Please! I’ll do anything!”
Bray froze. He couldn’t bring himself to reject this little delicate mate of his. This was the moment when Riannon realised everything was lost. He turned to face her again, and she held his gaze with pride.
“Please, Alpha!” Roxy started to sob. Ria had to give it to her. If she hadn’t known who was before her, she would have bought it too. “I will be your slave! I can clean, and I can cook! I can do anything! Just, please, spare me! Don’t do this! I will serve your Luna!”
A wave of electric shock went through Ria at the mention of her. She looked at her rival and met a gaze full of well-hidden hatred.
“Please, my Luna!” the girl, still kneeling, kept begging.“My fate is in your hands! Please, don’t kill me! Please, spare me! I will be your slave forever. Don’t kill me!”
No one spoke a word, and the only sounds in the room were the pitiful sobs and sniffs of Roxanne.
“Sweet girl,” Riannon decided to try one last time, “There is no need for all that. You will be well taken care of, just not here.”
“Please, my Luna!” Roxy crawled to her way faster than Ria had managed to dodge her and grasped her dress. “The rejection will kill me! Please, spare me!”
“I—” Ria started to say, but a loud growl made her stop.
“Enough!” Brayden roared, looking at her with his eyes glowing red, meaning his wolf was at the surface.
“Calm down,” the Luna said firmly, but yet another growl emerged from him as he was furious.
“I said enough!” Brayden appeared next to Roxanne in no time and scooped her in his arms. “She is staying! We’ll find a way around everything!”
He walked determinedly towards the huge staircase, taking his mate upstairs to one of their guestrooms. Ria knew very well which room it would be–the one in the farthest corner of the mansion, where her husband would practically move into in no time. Roxanne’s head was tucked into Brandon’s neck, and Riannon was sure it was not a coincidence that she was now breathing into his collarbone, right where a mark should go.
Automatically, she touched the mark he gave her when she was nineteen and caught the omega’s gaze on herself. Roxanne was watching. Ria knew today she had lost just like the last time.
Nothing changed. Her words and actions on that day played absolutely no part in what happened. It was like a very bad movie on repeat.
“Ri!” Maya came up to her when their Alpha was gone, “Are you okay?”
Riannon looked at her best friend, the one that she had lost. Not thinking twice, she threw herself in Maya’s arms. After the death of her parents, this was the only person, apart from Brayden, whom she could trust with everything.
“There, there,” she patted her long platinum blonde hair, “It’s going to be all right. He will reconsider, I am sure.”
Reality dawned as Ria realised how the current events looked to the people around her and immediately distanced herself. She had already lost her husband. There was no need for her to lose face too.
“I am fine,” she said and caught the Beta’s gaze on her.
Ash nodded and gave her a soft, sympathetic smile before shouting loudly, “I feel like everyone’s forgotten what they were supposed to be doing! The work is waiting!”
“Let’s go to your room,” Maya suggested. “We’ll talk about everything there.”
No, Ria did not need this conversation. She remembered it very well. Because they had already had it.
What she really needed now was some time alone. Because she needed to process and strategize to come up with a new plan.
She couldn’t save her marriage, but she could still save Maya, other people who had died with Roxy’s help, her pack, and her own life.
“I just can’t right now,” she offered, smiling at her friend and squeezing her hands, still not quite believing that she was here. “Let’s talk another time. I have a lot of work to do.”
“Work?” Maya’s eyes grew wide, “Are you serious?”
“Yes,” Ria fixed the creases on her dress. “Now that our Alpha is… busy, I have to step in. The pack comes first.”
She gave her friend another warm smile and added, “Everything is going to be all right, Maya. We are going to be fine. All of us.”
Riannon locked the door of her Luna office and tried to control her ragged breathing. Too much! Everything was too much for her. She needed to clear her head and contemplate everything. She needed a plan. A good one. She had to save everyone, including herself.
But, the office was too stuffy. And she needed to breathe!
Only one thing could help her, and it was shifting into her wolf.
Riannon went into the woods that were surrounding their pack and stripped, preparing to change her form.
But nothing happened!
"Onyx, are you there?" She asked, speaking to her wolf for the first time since her sudden rebirth less than an hour before but did not get a reply. It was alarming. Onyx had been there for her whole life.
"Onyx!" Ria called for her second half but was met with silence. Angry, she ran as fast as she could using her human legs. She was still super fast and strong, which could only mean that her wolf was somewhere there. She was not weak. But what was wrong?