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Next: "The Test"

Series 10 Episode 6

Social situations were where Oscar thrived. There was nothing he enjoyed more than the company of good friends, and meeting new people always made him excited.

Not this time, though.

Strangely, Oscar felt nervous. He was about to meet three new people, but his usual enthusiasm was completely absent. Perhaps it was the fear of the unknown? After all, these weren’t just any old people.

It didn’t help that Oscar was grieving, somewhat. Nobody had actually died, but his old life may as well have. He’d had to leave his pack behind. His friends. The first people he’d met in Crystalshaw. He couldn’t see them again, and that was hard, even though he knew he was protecting them.

Then there was his mum. The only person he’d had in his life for an extended period of time. He rarely saw his dad, and they never had any other kids, so it was just the two of them, wherever they happened to be living. Now, she’d be on her own. Oscar felt horrible, but this was his sacrifice. This was the way he got to keep everyone alive.

Cody led the way from the college campus to a warehouse ten minutes down the road. Outside, it looked completely normal. So normal that nobody would ever look twice at it. Inside, though, it was surprisingly homely. Oscar noticed a central area with a couple of tatty sofas and a TV, with doors leading to makeshift side rooms. It seemed quite cosy.

“Here they are,” Cody introduced. Occupying the sofa were the tree people Oscar had been told about already. Cody’s pack. Oscar couldn’t lie – he felt a little intimidated. He trusted that Cody would protect him, but he’d seen his ruthless side. Now, there were three others that surely shared that attitude, “Guys, this is Oscar.”

Awkwardly, Oscar waved. He didn’t know how else to react. His throat was too dry to speak. Nerves had taken over.

“Hey, I’m Archie,” a tall, muscly lad stood up to shake his hand. Oscar obliged, taken aback by the very tight grip of Archie’s huge hand, “This is Mariana, and that’s Keisha.”

“I can speak for myself,” Keisha hit back, without even looking at Oscar. He felt uncomfortable. He didn’t want to cause any bother. It was obvious, though, that he had some work to do if he wanted to make friends with all of Cody’s pack.

He’d have done anything to go back home.

With every second that passed, Dylan’s rage was building. He was never one to get angry – anger only caused problems as far as he was concerned, so it wasn’t even worth thinking about being anything other than calm. It was very much his nature.

Cody was provoking that reaction from him, though. He was the first person to ignite that fire in so long. It was the sheer temerity and audacity of his arrival. Turning up and taking over, after everything he’d inflicted on Oscar.

Five minutes had passed and his claws were still in the back of Gemma’s neck. Dylan had seen this before – it was a method of retrieving information from the depths of someone’s memories, but he’d never seen it used to share information in return. This told him a lot about how experienced Cody was. Far more than Dylan, clearly, and that was terrifying.

Dylan could see the concern building in Oscar’s face. He’d gone from immediate panic, to confusion, and back to panic again. Dylan certainly couldn’t blame him, though. The thought of his mum being in danger was Dylan’s greatest fear, and it was evident that Oscar was similarly close with his mum.

Rapidly, Cody backed off, gasping for air as if he’d been underwater for an hour. Gemma backed off, her instincts pulling her away from Cody and towards Oscar. If Cody wanted to win Oscar back, he’d just made the worst possible move. Dylan reacted quickly, blocking the path between Oscar and Cody.

“Outside,” Dylan demanded, making direct eye contact with his fellow alpha.

“Pleasure to meet you, Dylan. I’ve heard so much about you. My boyfriend’s your biggest fan. Wouldn’t be surprised if he fancies you. Oh wait, that was your boyfriend, wasn’t it?” Cody spoke with such fury and spite. It was having the desired effect, too, as Oscar’s rage was skyrocketing. He lunged forward to attack, but Dylan blocked him. Fighting would have played straight into Cody’s hands.

“Outside,” Dylan repeated, “Now. Gemma’s not part of this. This is between you, me and Oscar.”

“Whatever you want, alpha,” Cody shrugged, making his way to the back door.

“By the way,” Oscar yelled out, “You’re dumped.”

Dylan tried to hide his smirk. He knew Oscar was hurting, but he was so much better off without Cody. Dylan wasn’t naïve, though – he knew Cody wasn’t finished.

This was a long way off being over.

Sprinting along the narrow forest road, Sammi was delighted to see Dylan’s house sliding into view. As much as she enjoyed running, she’d definitely fallen out of practice since school finished. Sammi was out of breath, as was Felix, but Jeremy made the sprint look easy. His body could handle far more than either of theirs, and it had never been this obvious.

Regardless, they had made it. Dylan needed to hear their news, as much as Sammi hated to be the one to break it to him. She still hadn’t processed it fully; perhaps it wasn’t much of a shock after seeing the eyes at the hospital, but either way, Sammi was definitely thinking more about the effects on everyone else than herself.

The whole journey, Sammi kept checking up on Jeremy. Physically, he’d never been better, but Sammi wasn’t worried about that. What David did to him was scarring, and there was no denying how much he’d screwed up the formative years of Jeremy’s life. He would have every reason to run and hide in fear, but he looked to be holding up. Perhaps it hadn’t sunk in for him either?

Not only did they need to talk to Dylan, but Josh had to be warned too. Sammi knew he would find David’s return to be highly triggering, and she understood wholly. What he put Josh through was torture. The ripple effects on his mental health continued for months. Sammi had to be gentle when breaking the news to him; it wasn’t going to be easy, but he deserved to know.

“Oh, hey,” a chirpy voice called from the front door. Sammi had been staring at the floor as she walked the remainder of the distance, too wrapped up in her own mind to notice Freddie watching them approach.

“Hey,” Sammi smiled, “How did it go?” She’d been so wrapped up in David drama that she’d almost forgotten Freddie’s important chat with his dad.

“Yeah, pretty well,” Freddie nodded casually, “Thanks.”

“What for?” Sammi wondered.

“Being there for me. You’re the best girlfriend I could ask for,” Freddie grinned proudly. Sammi hadn’t seen him so happy in ages. That smile was infectious; she loved it so much.

“I’m gonna throw up,” Felix teased. Sammi chuckled – things weren’t remotely frosty between Felix and Freddie, much to her relief. Felix could easily have resented their relationship – maybe finding someone new in Jeremy helped?

“Hey, is Dylan here?” Sammi queried.

“No, he’s with Oscar at his mom’s. Caroline’s taken Maria out for coffee. Josh is upstairs sleeping, otherwise it’s just my dad here,” Freddie replied, “Everything okay?”

“Not really,” Sammi sighed, “We’re gonna need your help to talk to Josh. He’s back, Freddie. For sure. He bit Lily and made her a full werewolf.”

“Did you see him?” Freddie was taken aback.

“No, I caught his scent though,” Jeremy answered.

“Shit. Josh needs to know. Come on,” Freddie turned around to lead the way upstairs. Sammi felt nervous, but relieved that Freddie agreed with her. Josh needed to know, but bursting his bubble was going to break her heart.

“Okay,” Freddie skidded to a halt just outside their bedroom, lowering his voice, “He’s been sleeping. He took the night shift to guard Lily. I’ll wake him gently, then we’ll tell him,” Freddie suggested. Sammi nodded – his plan was perfect. Freddie quickly pushed the door handle and inched the door open. Suddenly, all hopes of tranquillity vanished. Freddie dashed inside, looking around frantically.

The bed was empty. Josh was gone.

“Where is he?” Freddie panicked.

“His scent,” Jeremy’s voice quivered, “It’s here too.”

“Whose scent?” Freddie stressed.

“Dad’s,” Sammi realised, her stomach turning, “David was here.” The situation was getting serious very quickly, and Sammi felt beyond uncomfortable.

Cowering in the corner, Josh was frozen to the spot. He didn’t know what to do. He’d never felt more terrified, and that truly meant something considering everything he’d been through. This was on a completely different scale.

His worst nightmare had come true. David was back. Somehow, he’d survived the explosion. Josh had seen this before, in his nightmares, where David seemed to be omnipresent. At least Josh had some comfort from his nightmares not being real. Now he didn’t even have that.

Every feeling he’d worked so hard to overcome had resurfaced. Josh, primarily, felt angry. David had taken advantage of him, opening old wounds and almost ruining the life he’d built for himself. Thanks to him, Josh lost Yasmin for good. His dreams of a future with her were ruined.

“Aren’t you going to say anything?” David provoked. He’d taken Josh to some abandoned, dusty shop, and he was standing behind the counter as if he were hosting guests at a bar. Josh remained silent at the opposite end of the room. He had nothing to say to David. All he needed to do was wait for his moment to escape. The door was locked – he’d seen David lock it, just before he took Josh’s phone – but there must have been another exit.

“Okay, I’ll start,” David sat on the counter, “I know you’re wondering how I survived. Same way as my son and your alpha brother. The Lunar Sanctum have their uses, or should I say, ‘had’?”

Josh wasn’t stupid. He knew David was fishing for information, but Josh wasn’t giving him anything. He’d have to work a lot harder to get any level of conversation out of him.

“Turns out their fire alarm went off and their security system was temporarily disabled,” David continued. Josh shuddered. That was Dylan and Jeremy making their escape. They’d inadvertently released David back into the world.

“So I bided my time. Waited for college to be over, but I just had to come and see my protégé,” David riled. Josh’s blood was simmering, and he was seconds away from bubbling over, “You look well.”

“No thanks to you,” Josh finally snapped.

“Ah, he talks,” David smirked, victorious.

“I owe you nothing, David,” Josh regretted opening his mouth, but it was too late now.

“Your friend Lily does, though,” David smugly smiled. Josh’s mind was spinning. The pieces began to slot together. Lily mentioned a shop, and David was an alpha. It made perfect sense.

“Wh…why?” Josh was even more disgusted.

“My niece is the first member of my new pack,” David was revelling in his plan.

“Lily won’t go with you,” Josh knew Lily like the back of his hand. She had a moral compass like no-one else.

“Lily may not, but the wolf in her will be craving an attack. When she gives in, I’ll be waiting,” David chuckled. Josh felt sick. This was bad news. He needed to warn the others, and fast.

Breathing fast. Dizzy mind. Jono needed space. He stumbled clumsily out of the car and tried to stand up, but balance was proving a challenge. Something was seriously wrong, and he couldn’t help panicking. After all, Jono had been in the supernatural world for long enough to know that signs like this never meant anything good.

Why were his eyes red? They were the colour of an alpha’s eyes, and he was absolutely not an alpha. Jono had seen how much pressure Dylan had on his shoulders, and Jono never wanted that for himself. How Dylan coped, Jono didn’t know – his strength was admirable – but did Jono’s eyes being red affect Dylan’s status too? He had so many questions.

The last time Jono’s eyes were red was when Ranulf had taken over his body, and Ranulf was gone for good, or so Jono hoped. He couldn’t cope with being banished to the vision world again. Jono would do anything to stop that happening.

“Jono, are you okay?” Alex followed him, “Come on, sit down.”

“No,” Jono insisted, “Because this can’t happen. Something’s not right. I need to sort it.”

“Jono, sit down,” Lily ordered, raising her voice. Jono looked round in astonishment – Lily never raised her voice at him, so he was taken aback. She mattered so much to him, though. What she said carried weight. Jono listened, sitting down on the curb. Alex and Lily sat snugly either side of him, which felt like a safety barrier for Jono.

“I’m scared,” Jono confessed, noticing his breathing was slowing.

“I get it,” Lily replied, “I’m scared too. I don’t know what I am anymore.”

“That’s different,” Jono sighed.

“Okay, maybe it’s a bit different, but my point is the same,” Lily admitted, “You didn’t think twice before helping me out. We do things together. We’re not like mom and dad. Family matters to us, Jono, because you’re the only person I can guarantee will be there for me forever.”

“Hey,” Alex playfully interrupted, pretending to be offended.

“Don’t start,” Lily smiled, “My point is, I’m here for you, Jono. There’s no need to panic, because no matter what, we’ve got each other, and we’ll get to the bottom of this. You, me, Alex, and Dylan.”

“He’s busy,” Jono sighed. He knew and understood that Dylan’s priority was with Oscar that day, but he wanted a hug from his fiancée so much.

“Then he can join in later,” Lily reassured, “Don’t think I haven’t noticed that ring on your finger, either.”

“I was going to tell you, things got in the way,” Jono quickly defended. He didn’t want Lily to think she was the last to know.

“I know, don’t worry. I’m so happy for you guys. As long as I’m groomsmaid,” Lily hugged him tightly.

“Duh,” Jono chuckled.

“Okay, back on track,” Lily sat back up, refocusing, “First question, why the hell are we here?”

Jono looked around. They were on the edge of the forest, the opposite end to Dylan’s house. He hadn’t been in that area very much, so it was a pretty strange place to end up.

“Honestly, no idea,” Jono shrugged, “I wish I knew.”

“I think I’ve got an idea,” Alex spoke up, pointing above the treetops. Stretching over the top was an extremely wide branch, wider than any other tree had. It enveloped the forest like a tight, protective hug. Jono knew exactly what tree it belonged to, as well. He’d know it anywhere.

“It wants me to find it,” Jono realised, “The Nemeton wants to see me.”

It wasn’t like Yasmin to get nervous. She rarely had anything to actually get nervous over, in fact. While most teenagers were terrified of public speaking, Yasmin saw it as her chance to shine. It was the one time where everyone had to listen to what she had to say, so she relished those opportunities, particularly before she met Dylan.

Perhaps Yasmin had become quite settled. Life with her mum was surprisingly okay considering their occasionally frosty relationship. She had everything she needed, and as far as she knew, her mum had no dodgy, shady secrets hidden from her either. Life was surprisingly cosy – at home, anyway.

The truth was, Yasmin had worked extremely hard to move on from her father. His toxic reign over her life had ended, and now she was in a position where she didn’t need to have anything to do with him.

Until her hand was forced.

Whatever was happening in Crystalshaw, whatever happened to those poor victims, it was obvious that her dad had some level of involvement. Being behind bars was never going to stop him completely – after all, Yasmin still didn’t know everything about his hunter past, and, more specifically, all the contacts he surely had. Hunting was not a one-man job.

Therefore, it was time for Yasmin to confront her demons. Her need for answers was far greater than any emotions she felt towards her dad. She needed to know the full story, and only one person could give her the facts.

Nothing about sitting in a prison interview room brought comfort to Yasmin. Some relief came from the privacy – Ed had arranged the meeting to fast-track the process, so they were separated from any other prisoners.

Also of comfort was Yasmin’s company. Brett was sat on her right with Ed stood behind. It felt good to have people she trusted with her. After all, Brett knew exactly what her dad was capable of. They were each other’s support bubbles.

The heavy door in front heaved open with some difficulty. A prison officer led the way, followed by a greying man in orange overalls. That was him. He looked older, and he had more of a stubble compared to his usual clean-shaven polished face, but it provoked the same feeling of dread in Yasmin. That was Forsyth. A second officer brought up the rear and closed the door as the first handcuffed Forsyth’s hands to the centre of the table. Now they were face-to-face. Yasmin’s instincts were telling her to run and get away, but she wasn’t giving in. She had to see it through.

Brett gripped Yasmin’s hand under the table. Yasmin assumed it was just as much for himself as it was for her. After all, they were looking at the person who might have ordered Johnny’s death. It was tough for Brett, too.

“Hello darling,” Forsyth smiled. Yasmin shuddered. She hadn’t heard that voice in a long time – outside of her nightmares, at least.

“Alright, let’s not waste time,” Ed intervened. He knew exactly how Yasmin was feeling. Honestly, Ed had been more of a dad to her than Forsyth had ever been. He always understood her emotions.

“Excuse me, Sheriff,” Forsyth scoffed, “If you need my help, then it’s only fair I get something in return. A catch-up with my daughter isn’t too much to ask, is it?”

“I can send you straight back in there, losing your only chance to see your daughter,” Ed threatened, “And for good measure, I’ll get you thrown into solitary confinement. How’s that for an incentive?”

“It’s okay. Thanks, Sheriff,” Yasmin admired his protectiveness, but this was her fight. She turned back to face her father, “But let’s skip the small talk and stop pretending either of us care.”

“Whatever you say, sweetie,” Forsyth continued his doting father act. It disgusted Yasmin, but she knew she had to grin and bear it for the intel she desired, “Are you at college? I mean, clever girl like you is surely at Harvard, right?”

“I just finished my first year at Crystalshaw,” Yasmin replied. Inside, she despaired. She knew she was going to have to justify her choice of college, but he didn’t deserve any explanation from her.

“Crystalshaw? Really? I wanted you to get out there, Yasmin. You’ve got a big future ahead of you. You deserve better than Crystalshaw,” Forsyth harped on.

“Crystalshaw was offering the course I wanted. It means I can live with mom still and…” Yasmin tailed off, catching herself.

“And see your friends,” Forsyth realised regardless, “Oh, how I wish you’d never met that Dylan.”

“Well if it weren’t for Dylan, I wouldn’t be here now. We need answers,” Yasmin mentioned, swiftly changing topic.

“About?” Forsyth acted like he didn’t know.

“Seven murders,” Ed took over, “Taking place all over Crystalshaw. The last letter of the victims’ surnames spelt out your surname.”

“I see,” Forsyth pondered, “I wish I could help, but I know nothing about them.”

“Bullshit,” Brett scoffed, “It literally spelt out your name.”

“Look, even if I weren’t in here, do you think I’d be stupid enough to leave a clue that obvious?” Forsyth reasoned. Yasmin sighed – she knew he had a point. He was always far smarter than that. Nothing made sense, but Yasmin felt terrified.

They knew even less than they realised.

His blood simmering with anger, Dylan was ready to give one clear message to Cody. He only needed to understand one thing – they weren’t going anywhere. His pack were there to stay. Somehow, Dylan sensed it wouldn’t go down well.

Quite why Cody felt so threatened by him was the most baffling thing to Dylan. He wasn’t a threat, and he and his pack had solved more problems than they’d caused. Why was that so bad?

Perhaps that was the issue in itself? Dylan wasn’t blind – he knew his name had found its way out there. It carried weight. It meant something. Maybe Cody couldn’t handle not being the most powerful alpha in Crystalshaw? It was a little pathetic if so, in Dylan’s eyes. Status was the least of his worries. The safety of his pack was all he cared about.

“What the fuck was that?” Oscar yelled. He was just as angry as Dylan – if not more so – but he wasn’t as good at concealing it.

“Nice to see you too, thanks for letting me know you’re alive,” Cody hit back, “Not even a phone call.”

“I don’t have a phone anymore, remember? I don’t have a fucking clue what your number is, because I’ve never needed it,” Oscar yelled. Dylan’s heart broke. Oscar wasn’t even allowed a phone? No matter how dressed up in romance this was, it sounded more like a hostage situation to Dylan. Cody got worse the more Dylan learned about him.

“You got what you signed up for,” Cody remained firm. Dylan had had enough. He always had Oscar’s back, and now was the time to prove it.

“No, he got what you signed him up for. Correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t you basically blackmail him to stay and be your boyfriend?” Dylan called it as he saw it.

“I never forced him to do anything,” Cody defended himself, “Did I, Oscar?”

“No,” Oscar sheepishly answered. It was obvious that he was hurting – his feelings towards Cody were real but built on false pretences.

“Exactly,” Cody boasted.

“But you manipulated him. You used me and my life as a way of stealing Oscar for your pack. And your bed too, it seems,” Dylan figured it out.

“I was serious about the deal,” Cody insisted.

“Well, you’d better kill me now then,” Dylan looked Cody straight in the yes. Cody scowled, scrunching up his face, before walking away.

“You’re not welcome here, Cody,” Dylan called out after him, hammering the point home, but Cody didn’t look back round. He’d been shown up. Now, Dylan could focus entirely on Oscar. He was putting on a brave face, but he didn’t need to any longer. Dylan wasn’t ever going to stop looking out for him.

Before Dylan could say anything, his phone buzzed. A text from Freddie, in all capitals.


Dylan’s stomach dropped like a ton of bricks. He was confused, but what he needed to do was obvious.

“I’m needed, pack emergency. Stay here with your mom, make sure she’s okay,” Dylan directed. Oscar nodded. His mum was more important, but Dylan needed to save his brother.

Freddie was at a loss. He didn’t know what to do or where to go. All he knew was that Josh was gone, and that was making him panic. There wasn’t any indicator of where he could be, so Freddie was having to rely on his senses.

The problem was that his senses weren’t detecting much at all. Josh’s scent seemed to peter out as soon as they left the house, so Freddie was stumped. His best friend was out there, and he hated just how helpless he felt. If he couldn’t find Josh, who could?

It was difficult to comprehend everything Sammi had told him, too. Freddie had seen the clues, but actual proof of David being back? That came with a whole tidal wave of horrifying memories. Nothing made him feel worse than saying goodbye to Dylan at the bunker, just before he blew it up. That moment lived in his mind on repeat every day until Dylan returned alive, against all odds. That was all because of David. His return was wholly unwelcome.

All they could do in the meantime was use their one remaining useful sense – common sense. What would David do? Where would he take a fully grown nineteen-year-old? Certainly not along the main road, which left one other route out of the Drummond house: the forest.

“Got anything?” Sammi queried, her anxieties at their maximum.

“Still nothing,” Freddie sighed.

“Same,” Jeremy added. He and Freddie were walking side-by-side, a couple of metres ahead of Sammi and Felix. Freddie could feel Jeremy’s nerves against his skin, they were that prevalent.

“Sure you’re up to this?” Freddie asked, keeping his voice low.

“I have to be,” Jeremy whispered back, still focusing on the path ahead, “I’ve got a life to protect now. People I’m not willing to lose. He’s taken enough from me already.”

“I get it,” Freddie replied calmly. The last thing he wanted to do was work Jeremy up any further, “I mean, it’s not a competition to see who has the worst dad, but I know how it feels to be let down. In a very different way, obviously.”

“I know, I’m sorry,” Jeremy finally made eye contact, “It’s just, I finally have a life of my own. I’ve got my sister, I’ve got my bo…” Jeremy tailed off, as if he’d caught himself revealing a secret mid-word.

“Boyfriend,” Freddie realised. Suddenly, things started to make sense. He’d noticed how close Jeremy and Felix had been, but the thought hadn’t crossed his mind.

“We’ve not really told anyone,” Jeremy justified.

“It’s alright, the secret’s safe with me,” Freddie insisted, “I’m happy for you, dude. You deserve someone that takes care of you.”

“He does. He knows everything I’m feeling, better than I do in fact. He makes everything better,” Jeremy explained. Freddie’s heart was full. Nobody deserved happiness more than Jeremy.

“Guys, I think we’re wasting time,” Sammi called out.

“There’s no sign of anyone being here,” Felix concurred.

“Okay, does anyone have any better ideas?” Freddie queried.

“I think I might,” Jeremy replied, “He took Josh to get our attention. To make a point. Let’s stop overthinking.” Freddie was intrigued – as long as they found Josh safe and sound, he was all-ears.

Jumping over tree trunks and swerving hanging branches, Jono wasn’t exactly sure where he was heading. He knew he was going deeper into the forest, but specifically where, he wasn’t sure. Well, his legs seemed to know, but they hadn’t passed the knowledge onto his brain.

The Nemeton was an unusual existence. It had to want to be found; nobody stumbled upon it by accident. Even if you’d been there before, it didn’t let you retain the memory of the location somehow. Jono wished he knew more about it – it was the biggest enigma in the supernatural world – but even the Bestiary was light on the details.

Nevertheless, it was calling Jono, and his body seemed to know exactly where to go. Lily was following, keeping pace, while Alex lagged further back. There was no time to waste, though. Jono had instincts to follow, and the Nemeton was waiting.

“Jono, wait up,” Lily called out. It felt strange to see her keeping pace with him. He’d been so consumed by her full transformation, but now that was just one thing on his growing list of problems to solve.

Jono turned right into a clearing, grinding to a halt like a car at risk of crashing. He was there. He’d found it. The Nemeton. That huge, wide pillar-like trunk with branches protecting the surrounding trees and leaves dangling from each one. Fireflies hovered around the trunk, making the impressive tree look even more magical.

“Oh my god,” Jono heard from behind him. He looked around to see Alex gazing wide-eyed at the impressive sight before him. He’d never seen the Nemeton before, “How have I never noticed this thing before?”

“It’s called the Nemeton,” Lily explained, “A beacon of supernatural activity. That’s all we really know, but it has to want to be found.”

“I’d like to be like that,” Alex chuckled.

“Why are we here, Jono? What does it want?” Lily queried.

“It wants me,” Jono nervously replied, building up the confidence to approach. He took a deep breath and stepped forward, one foot after the other, before pausing just in front of the trunk. Jono wasn’t sure what to do next. Did he need to say something? Do something? Instead of wasting time, Jono focused. Somehow, he’d known how to get there in the first place. Perhaps his instincts knew what to do next?

The instructions were there in his mind. Jono placed both hands on the trunk. Immediately, he felt a bolt of electricity shoot straight through his whole body. The connection was made. The Nemeton was reaching into him.

Time passed, but Jono wasn’t sure how much. It could have been seconds or even hours. All he knew was how much it hurt. Jono was in so much pain, wincing as he tried to bear it.

The link broke. Jono fell backwards, straight into Lily’s arms. He was exhausted.

“What? How long was I there?” Jono was gobsmacked.

“About a minute,” Lily replied, “Are you okay?”

Jono wasn’t sure how to answer. He was fine, but the wolf felt different. It felt stronger. It felt more capable.

Just what he expected of an alpha.

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