Dan frowned, limping over to pull out another chair, before sitting down and stretching out his leg.
“So, what’s been going on?” he asked, frowning.
“I should ask you that first,” Savannah exclaimed. “Lucas told me you were dead!”
Dan’s eyebrows shot up. “He thinks I’m dead?”
“The whole pack does.”
Savannah leaned forward, studying Dan. “What happened, Dan?”
He grimaced, sitting back in his chair. “Jo hit me with her car.”
“What?” Savannah gasped.
Dan shifted uncomfortably. “It was under Lucas’ orders. We were meant to try and kill Nick. I went for the death blow. She was only trying to save Nick – which she managed.”
Savanah stared at him, the blood draining from her face and turning to ice in her veins. Lucas had wanted them to kill another shifter? That was utter madness! For one thing, shifters didn’t kill other shifters and, for another, that would be murder. “Why?” she whispered, clinging to her chair as the world began to spin.
“He had his reasons,” Dan shrugged, his mouth set in a grim line. “And, as you know, we don’t always get to know what those reasons are.”
Taking great heaving breaths, Savannah waited for everything to stop spinning. At one point, she had thought that taking revenge on Nick or Tom had been the right thing to do, after what they'd done to Dan. Now, she realized, Lucas had been intending to kill one of them in the first place, without provocation.
“Lucas didn’t like it when they refused to join us,” Dan continued, quietly. “I guess killing one or both of them was the only way for him to assert his dominance.”
“I can’t believe this,” Savannah whispered, blinking a few times to orient herself.
Dan sighed. "I've had a lot of time to think, Savannah. These shifters aren't all bad if you can believe that. I know Lucas has said lots of things about them, but I'm beginning to realize that they're not all bad."
Savannah could only nod, feeling exactly the same thing herself.
“How long have you been working here for?” Dan asked. “I’m assuming that Lucas has sent you here for whatever reason.”
“I’ve been here a few weeks,” Savannah replied, miserably. “Lucas sent me here and just told me to get them to trust me, that’s all.”
Dan grimaced. “So you don’t know what his plan is, then?”
She shook her head. “No, I don’t.”
Studying her for a moment, Dan let out a sigh. “Doesn’t look like you’re happy about it, Savannah.”
“That’s because I’m not!” she exclaimed, her voice suddenly loud. “I don’t want any of them to get hurt.” She watched as Dan’s eyebrows rose but carried on anyway. “I know we’re part of the Northern Wind pack, and we’re meant to be loyal to Lucas but I can’t do what he’s asking me, Dan. I’m not sure what Lucas is planning, but he’s going to use the trust between me and Tom to his advantage and…I’ve decided I won’t let him.” Her breath began to come a little more quickly as she waited for Dan’s reaction. To her utter relief, he gave her a wry smile.
“You don’t need to be afraid of me, Savannah. I’m not planning to run back to Lucas any time soon.”
She looked at him, surprised. “You’re thinking about taking up Nick’s offer of joining this pack instead?”
He nodded, slowly. “I’m thinking about it.”
Savannah blinked twice, completely surprised. Dan had been one of Lucas’ most loyal supporters, so she was stunned that he was thinking about leaving the Northern Wind pack.
"I was furious with them at first, don't get me wrong," Dan continued, as if he could read her thoughts. "I hated being here, hated them. But slowly, I realized that they were just defending themselves against an unprovoked attack. I realized that we had been told to kill one or both of them, and I'd just agreed without asking any questions." His mouth twisted. "I’m not sure if I want to be a part of a pack like that anymore, Savannah."
Savannah stared at Dan, understanding him completely. Finally, everything she’d been struggling with made sense. The fact that Dan was struggling with his own loyalty made her feel a bit better about her own. She’d been right. There was something different about this pack and, it was so different, that Savannah knew she didn’t want to go back to the Northern Wind pack. She didn’t want to be told when she could shift and when she couldn’t. She wanted to be able to ask questions and to be respected in her own right – and she would have nothing like that with Lucas. In fact, if she so much as opened her mouth to question something he’d ordered, there would be immediate consequences. A shudder ran through her, as she closed her eyes to block out the memory.
“You’ve been struggling, huh?”
She nodded, opening her eyes to see Dan's sympathetic face. "I thought you were dead, and that they'd killed you in cold blood. I didn't realize…." Savannah shook her head. "I care about these shifters, Dan. And about Jo too, even though she's not a shifter. I want to stay a part of this pack. I don’t want to go back to Lucas.” It would mean finding a new place to live in town, somewhere safe, but she could do that. Now that she had a job, there was no reason to keep living at Lucas’ old place.
Dan grinned broadly. “Then it’s settled. We’re staying. Both of us.”
A wave of relief washed over Savannah. Dan was alive and he wasn’t going to go back to Lucas. He was going to stay and so was she.
“We’ll have to tell him.”
Her stomach dropped. “No, we can’t. It’s too dangerous.”
“We have to,” Dan insisted. “Lucas has to know, Savannah. If we go together, then there’s no chance he’ll attack us. Not by himself.”
Savannah shook her head. “I can’t,” she stammered, beginning to panic. “I don’t know when or where I’m going to see him next and – ”
“Don’t worry, Savannah,” Dan interrupted. “We’ll work this out together. I’m not going to be able to shift for a couple more days anyway.” He tilted his head. “Are you going to tell Tom the truth?”
Heat crept up her neck and into her cheeks. “I don’t think I can.” The trust they’d built between them would be shattered in an instant. She didn’t want to see the look of betrayal on his face. Better that he didn’t know. Besides, now she’d made her decision, there was no need for the truth to ever come out. They could just carry on as they were.
“I think you should.”
She tensed, her muscles jumping underneath her skin. “I can’t, Dan,” she replied, quietly. “I don’t want to talk about this again.”
Dan, seeing her expression, nodded in understanding. There was more going on between Tom and Savannah than she wanted to admit to, but he understood. “Don’t tell me you’ve picked him for your mate, Savannah!” That just complicated things all the more.
A low rattle came from her chest, making Dan hold up his hands in defense. "Fine, fine," he muttered, looking away. "We won't talk about Tom."
Her shoulders slowly relaxed. “Good, thank you.”
"Just be careful," Dan replied, quietly. "If he's your mate, Savannah, then you can't hide the truth from him forever. Otherwise, you can destroy everything you've built."
Opening her mouth to reply, Savannah’s ears suddenly pricked up. The sound of Tom’s whistling was getting closer and it sounded like he was coming this way. Shooting Dan a warning look, she turned around in her chair and began to leaf through the documents.
Giving him a quick smile, Savannah tried to act nonchalant. “Hi. Jo and Nick went out. Something about going to pick up some parts.”
Tom narrowed his gaze slightly, seeing Dan and Savannah sitting so close. "Everything okay here?"
“Fine,” she mumbled, bending her head to look closer at one of the documents in her hand. “Dan and I were just chatting.”
“Getting to know each other a bit better,” Dan said, cheerfully. “I’m looking forward to shifting again soon.”
Tom nodded, trying to stop his body from tensing. There was something strange going on between Savannah and Dan, but he wasn’t quite sure what it was. Mentally shrugging, he walked over to the coffee machine. “Can I get anyone else a coffee?”
Ending up pouring them all a fresh cup, Tom heard Dan push himself up from the chair. Muttering something about going to sit outside, Dan left Tom and Savannah alone – although whether that was deliberate, Tom didn’t know.
“Savannah?” he murmured, putting down her cup of coffee beside her. “Is everything okay?” Brushing her hair away from her neck, he saw her tense.
“Everything’s fine,” she murmured, catching her breath as he pressed gentle lips to the curve of her neck. “Tom, I –”
“How about I cook for us tonight?” he interrupted, his voice barely above a whisper as he made his way down towards her collarbone. “And you can stay late.”
A delicious shiver ran through her, as Savannah closed her eyes and tipped her head back. She couldn’t resist him and, now that she’d made her decision to leave the Northern Wind pack, everything felt right. She was free to make her own choices, and her choice was Tom.
“Sure,” she whispered, her heart beginning to pound in her chest. “I’d like that.”
“Great,” Tom growled, his own body already reacting to her. “I can’t wait.”