Wolf on a Mission:Salvation Pack, Book 6(4)

By: N.J. Walters

He didn’t answer. She looked both ways before pulling out of the parking lot. She headed right instead of left. It was still difficult to turn toward the cottage she now rented on the edge of town instead of toward her parents’ home.

“How about pasta?” Billy loved pasta of any kind. “Macaroni and cheese.” None of the stuff out of a box for them. She made it fresh and then froze smaller portions for those nights she was late getting off work.

She glanced in the rearview mirror and sighed. Billy was staring out the window. Maybe she should get him a pet, a living creature he could bond with. He’d love a dog, but that wasn’t feasible, not with her gone so many hours of the day working. It wouldn’t be fair to a dog. A cat was a possibility.

Sue tried not to worry about her ex-husband, William. She almost snorted. He’d been Billy when she’d married him, but he’d recently insisted on being called William. The name might have changed, but he hadn’t. He was still looking for the easy way out, the quick buck, the big score.

She’d been young and stupid when she’d married him. She’d worked hard in those early years while he’d been in school. She hadn’t minded as she’d thought they were building a life together. He’d managed to graduate college with a degree in business, and she’d discovered she was pregnant around the same time. He’d left her soon after Billy was born and she’d moved back home to Salvation. She didn’t know what she would have done without her parents. They’d opened their home and their hearts to both her and her son.

Now they were both gone.

The landscape changed as they reached the edge of town. Houses gave way to wilderness. Sue drove a little longer and then turned into the driveway of their rental. It was a home she knew well.

Her best friend had lived here once.

Sue pushed all thoughts of Anny Conrad out of her head. She couldn’t afford to dwell in the past. Her friend had left town almost two years ago and, other than emails and the occasional phone call, they hadn’t seen each other since.

She parked the car, climbed out and went around to get Billy. He ran around the yard with his arms extended, making noises like an airplane. She grabbed his backpack and hoodie and leaned against the car. God, he was growing up so fast. He’d be starting school in less than a month.

But for now, it was still summer, and she planned to enjoy every moment of it. She headed toward the front door. “Hey, instead of pasta, why don’t we barbecue some burgers?” That got his attention.

“Can we eat outside?” He ran over to the porch and raced up the stairs.

“Sure.” Her son loved to be outside. If he had it his way, he’d never come inside. But she didn’t like him being out alone, not all the way out here. A wild animal had attacked Anny two years ago. The authorities still debated what kind of animal was responsible, but Sue didn’t care. All she knew was that Anny had almost died and everything between them had changed.

It had been the first loss in a series of them. Now it was just her and Billy.

“Why don’t you wash your hands and then you can help me get the burgers ready to grill.”

“Marshmallows too?” He grinned his sweet little boy grin that never failed to melt her heart. She saw it so rarely these days.

“Why not? Marshmallows for dessert,” she agreed. She could cut a couple of branches for them to use to roast the marshmallows. It was a warm August evening, perfect for a family barbecue.

* * * * *

“Don’t go far.” Elias knew his warning was probably falling on deaf ears but he trusted Reece and Sage not to do anything too stupid. They were well aware there were other werewolves close by.

Sage waved a hand in acknowledgement as both boys disappeared into the surrounding bushes to explore. He wasn’t worried about them getting lost. They had their wolf senses to guide them. If the unthinkable happened and they did get lost, it wouldn’t take Elias long to find them.

Elias surveyed the campground they’d set up. It was rudimentary to say the least—three sleeping bags and a propane stove for cooking. They didn’t need more than that. If the weather turned bad, he could build a shelter out of branches.

He hadn’t wanted to stay in town and draw unnecessary attention their way, so they were camped just beyond the limits of Salvation. It was a small town, but they had a grocery store, a couple of restaurants, a school, churches and various other businesses. Salvation was holding its own at a time when many towns were struggling to survive.

Still, a hot shower would be nice. Unfortunately, he was going to have to settle for a wash in a creek that flowed not too far from here. He couldn’t complain too much. It was a far cry from the Alaskan wilderness where he’d been born and raised.