Before Maddox and I could get out of the packhouse, we were intercepted by Emma. Apparently, she was a morning person. Instead of going for a run, we had an early breakfast with Emma and Langston and then got ready for our day.
The first thing we did was become members of Serenity Waters Pack. As we swore our allegiance to the pack and it was official, a strange feeling crawled over my skin, raising bumps everywhere. It felt different but not in a way I could put my finger on. We were officially members of a new pack.
Shortly after that was taken care of, Joshua joined us with Ronin. “Oh great,” Langston said as they came into his office. “Ronin, I would like you to meet Maddox and Missy. They will be taking over the pack as we discussed.”
“We’ve met before, I believe,” he said, shaking Maddox’s hand. He was a nice-looking guy, a little bit soft for a werewolf. He was as tall as Maddox with short brown hair and a few freckles on his round cheeks. He definitely didn’t look like the fighting type, which could explain why Langston wasn’t prepared to make him Alpha.
Werewolves, well, we lived by certain ways an no amount of modernization would change certain things. Packs were led by Alphas and those Alphas had to not only be effective at leading the wolves under their charge but also had to carry a certain energy. Not all Alphas came off as scary or unapproachable but there was need to be regarded as strong and dominant. Weakness led to problems for your people and that unfortunate truth led to difficult lives for those in Alpha lineages.
“We’re excited to be here and work with you,” Maddox returned.
“I’m glad Alpha will finally be able to retire. If he selected you to pass the title to, I’m sure you’re worthy,” Ronin smiled. He sounded genuine in his appreciation.
“Uncle Josh!” someone yelled from the hall. Seconds later, a girl appeared in the doorway. She looked like Ronin with the same color hair and similar freckles. While Ronin could be described as round-looking, she was more curvy but had a similar softness about her. “Oh! Is this them? Is this the new Alpha and Luna?”
The girl’s eyes lit up excitedly as she took in Maddox and me. She pushed past Ronin to greet us. “Hi! I’m Sadie. The Beta is my uncle. We don’t live in the packhouse, but Ronin is here all the time, so I tag along too,” she said very fast. Her soft appearance did not match the chaotic excitement oozing from her.
“Sadie, calm down,” Joshua scolded her. “Why are you even here? Don’t you have schoolwork?”
Sadie rolled her eyes. “I’m homeschooled. And I already did everything for today,” she informed us. “The school here in the pack wasn’t very hard, so our parents let me do homeschool. I could have graduated already, but they told me I should continue studying. Uncle Josh kept their wishes.”
I looked questioningly at Joshua and then at Langston. “My brother was killed a few years back by a hunter. His mate died about a year later. She missed him too much. I took guardianship of them,” Joshua clarified. “That is why Ronin is so knowledgeable about the workings of the pack. He has been helping me for years now.” Ronin nodded in acknowledgment.
“I’m sorry that happened,” I said. I could commiserate with losing a parent. For the first few years of living in the packhouse, I was Lea’s shadow even though I knew I wouldn’t be Luna when I grew up.
Sadie shrugged. “Mom’s not in pain anymore,” she said casually.
“Sadie is as sharp as they come, but she sometimes lacks tact,” Emma sighed.
“So, when is your ceremony? Do you have a dress yet? Is it going to be on the water? I’m so excited to get to see one!” Sadie started rapidly firing questions at us.
“I, uh, don’t know yet. We sort of need to learn how to do our jobs before we start them,” I answered her. Maddox laughed quietly.
“Alright, Sadie. Let’s leave them be. I’m sure there will be time for you to get to know them later,” Joshua said, trying to pull Sadie from the room.
Langston laughed. “I guess it’s time to get started,” he said.
Emma took me to her office while Maddox stayed with Ronin and Langston. We spent the morning going over all her usual responsibilities and the things Langston handled as Alpha. I quickly realized I did not have as good of a handle on everything Lea did back in Blood Eclipse. I felt a little dazed by the sheer enormity of it all by the time we breaked for lunch.
“I know that look,” Emma said. “It sounds like a lot. Probably like too much for one person, right?”
“Yea, kinda,” I admitted. She directed us toward the kitchen. “I guess I never paid close enough attention to Lea.”
“Want to know a secret?” Emma asked. I nodded. “These aren’t rules set in stone. These are just the responsibilities we take care of now. This is how things have worked best for Langston and me. You and Maddox get to figure out how it all fits together for you.”
“Now I feel a little bad for Liam and Lea. They have to do all this stuff and be parents, and Lea helps manage the inn. I know Lemon does a lot but still,” I said. “No wonder Damien and Lily were like our aunt and uncle. And Felix. I mean, what time is there for yourselves?”
“You make time. I promise you will get the hang of everything. And I’m sure you and Maddox will make improvements. Every Alpha couple makes small changes as time goes on,” Emma said. “You shouldn’t worry so much. It’s better to throw everything out at once and manage expectations. I was absolutely petrified when Langston’s mother taught me everything.”
We entered the kitchen, where two people were cooking. Emma introduced us. They were two of the six omegas the packhouse employed to make meals. Most often, there were only two to three of them around unless there was an event or guests. One of them grabbed some snacks and put them out on the end of the counter for us.
“Miss Marci would be jealous of this kitchen,” I said, looking around. Emma just smiled. When she said that this packhouse was bigger than Blood Eclipse’s, she was downplaying that by a lot.
“How about we tour the pack some after lunch?” Emma offered. “There is so much to see. I don’t think you’ve ever really spent significant time here. The lake is our claim to fame and definitely something you can’t miss. Maybe we can even start introducing you two to some pack members.”
“Sure,” I agreed. I didn’t want to tell Emma that meeting the pack members made me more nervous than training for my new job. My biggest worry about this whole thing was what the members of Serenity Waters would think about outsiders becoming their Alpha and Luna.
I was relieved to see Maddox at lunch. He had to feel how stressed I was because he immediately pulled me into a tight hug. “Doing alright?” he checked.
“Yea,” I said. “Busy first day.”
“Tell me about it,” he chuckled. I was glad he was taking this pretty smoothly.
“How are you ladies doing so far this morning?” Langston asked. We all took our seats at the table, and someone brought out dishes for us. Lunch was delicious as we all chatted. Emma asked Maddox a lot of questions, trying to get to know him. Ronin was a little reserved at first but eventually warmed up and talked with us more.
At the end of the meal, Langston suggested that Ronin show us around the pack. I might have been wrong, but he looked drained, and I wondered if the fight with the Sire took a more significant toll than we could see.
“If we hurry, we can escape from Sadie,” Ronin said as he stood from the table. Maddox laughed at that, and I wondered if they had talked about Sadie during their morning. She seemed a little chaotic but nice.
Ronin took us downstairs, explaining that the garage was underground. Emma hadn’t taken us down there when she showed us around. Half the garage was filled with a handful of cars. Ronin explained a few were for pack use and and then there were a few that belonged to Langston and Emma. I guessed the van was a newer addition.
Ronin took us to the other side of the garage with lawn maintenance tools and other things. He went straight for a thing that looked like a golf cart. “This is the side-by-side. It’s like an ATV but easier to ride around with people in,” he said. “We can get around almost everywhere in this.”
“Cool,” Maddox said.
Maddox and Ronin climbed into the first row of seats, Ronin taking the wheel. I sat in the second row. “Where are we going first?” Maddox asked.
“You guys should see the lake; it’s magical,” Ronin grinned.
Ronin first took us down to the lake. We drove around some of it, then parked the side-by-side and hiked around the shore. He was right; it sparkled so beautifully that it was like magic. No wonder this pack was called Serenity Waters. Even the river depositing into the lake looked calm.
Ronin showed us some of the main areas of the pack. There was a section that was modeled similarly to the downtown area near the inn with lots of older, connected bindings housing interesting shops and small restaurants. There was even a movie theater.
We parked the side-by-side and got out to walk around. The ice cream shop piqued my interest.
“They show new movies sometimes but lots of old ones. Around Halloween time, they show those gimmicky human horror movies with awful werewolves. It’s a pretty good laugh when you go with friends,” Ronin told.us.
“Sounds like a great date night,” Maddox smiled. I tried not to blush.
“Ronin, you found some friends!” someone called. He turned around, and his shoulders immediately dropped.
“Hi, Vera,” he said begrudgingly as the girl approached us. She was pretty in a very high-class way. Her blonde hair was meticulously styled back into a sleek ponytail, and her makeup made her features look sharp.
“Who is this? I’ve never seen them before,” she asked.
“This is Maddox and his mate, Missy. They are the pair chosen to take over for Alpha and Luna,” Ronin introduced us. “This is Vera Brighton. Her family are distant cousins to Langston,” he clarified to us.
“Interesting,” Vera said. She held out her hand to me. “So you aren’t from Serenity Waters?”
“No,” I answered, shaking her hand. “We’re from Blood Eclipse.”
“Her dad is the Alpha,” Ronin added
“Oh, juicy,” Vera said. She looked at me appraisingly. Suddenly I felt out of place in my jeans and T-shirt. Lea offered to take me shopping for a new Luna wardrobe, but I declined. When I was younger, she dressed more casually, but I always thought her wardrobe choices were affected by age. I didn’t think about what I might be perceived as dressing so casually before I took on such an important position.
She moved her eyes to my mate next. “You certainly look fit. Are you of Alpha blood as well?” she questioned.
“No,” Maddox said, his arm coming around my waist. “But I’ve been training with our pack’s leadership for a while now.”
“He fought in the, um,” Ronin got quieter, “the vampire war.”
Vera’s perfectly manicured eyebrows rose. “Very juicy,” she said under her breath.
“Who have you ensnared now?” the bored voice of a darker blonde guy said, coming up behind Vera.
“Valen, you should meet our future Alpha and Luna,” she said, turning to the guy. He was marginally taller than her but held the same poise. His hair was slicked back just as meticulously as hers. “This is Maddox and Misty. This is my brother, Valen.”
“Missy,” I corrected her.
“Oh, apologies!” she said sweetly. “I’m so glad Alpha finally found a suitable replacement. It really is a shame to have waited so long.”
“With any luck, these two are the right fit,” Valen said. “We should get acquainted soon. I’m sure having Serenity Waters natives educate you about the pack will help your transition.”
“We would appreciate that. We’re excited to be here,” Maddox said. His tone was appreciative, but I could tell he was still trying to figure them out.
“We should get back to the packhouse soon if we are going to make afternoon training,” Ronin cut in.
“It was lovely to meet you both,” Vera smiled at us.
“You too,” I said. Vera took her brother’s arm, and they went back in the direction they came from. “I don’t know how to take them,” I blurted out
“Most people don’t,” Ronin said. “They just make me tired.”
“I can see that,” Maddox agreed.