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Chapter 22: Debt

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I wake up on my side, completely embraced from behind. Theo's arm is draped over my waist, holding me against him, so I try to twist to see his face.

"Theo?" I lift his arm. "The sun is up."

"I know, go back to bed," he mutters with a deep, sleep-roughened voice.

"What are you still doing here? Don't you have to leave?"


I turn but Theo adapts, bringing me into his chest. His scent floods my nose; it beckons me to stay. "Why not?"

"Do you want me to leave?"

"No, I'm just confused." I reason, "You've never been here when I get up."

"I decided to sleep in—wait until you wake up."

With my forehead on his chest, I smile secretly to myself. "Well, if there are things you have to do, maybe I could come with you. I could see what you're so busy with all day."

"You want to?"

"Can I? Is that allowed?" I ask with an airy tone.

He looks down at me. "Why wouldn't it be? You're my Luna."

"I just assumed..."

"I have a meeting about our conflicts with Rowan after checking in at the fields. I don't know how interesting everything else will be—I need to stop in at every border post on the eastern side, take care of some things at the cells—and then Corbin and Dan are coming here for a separate meeting."

"And I can really accompany you? The others won't mind? I don't want to be to a distraction or a bother if there's—"

"This pack is as much mine as it is yours," he says, catching me by surprise. "Your title proves it."

"But a Luna can't lead and take charge like an Alpha—no woman can."

"A pack is nothing without a Luna; it can survive for a while, but eventually it's doomed. Without you, all of this—everything my family's built for generations—can be gone in an instant."

I mumble, "But we don't have a son."

"Not yet, but we will."

The bond thrashes, a feeling beyond butterflies. I fight it and ask, "Then isn't going to war with Rowan just as big of a risk for us as it is for him?"

"In a way, it is, but what it comes down to is the fact that Rowan isn't as young or physically capable as I am, which is why he hid during our attack."

His hold on me starts to loosen. I scoot back, questioning.

"He hid? He didn't fight?"

"It's shameful, but he'd be a fool to fight. He knows I'd go right for him."

"So, then what? You keep attacking until you infiltrate Rowan's border, and you find him where he's hiding?"

"That's the plan currently," Theo says as he starts to get up. "If you're coming along, we better get moving. I've missed almost all of the morning training sessions."

I react quickly, throwing the covers off of me and sliding off the bed.

"You know, while we're there, you could get another session in," he suggests. "I'll have Dan work with you."

I hesitate, fidgeting with the covers as I draw them straight. "Oh?"

He stands from the mattress. "You don't like training, do you?"


"We talked about running—being quick could save you more than fighting—so maybe that's something you can consider."

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