A few dips in the dirt road woke Julian. He rubbed his eyes and peered out the RV window. “Turn right at the end of the fence.”
Ryan pulled up to a gate. A large man stepped out of the guard house at the side.
Julian rolled down his window. “Hey, Eddy.”
Eddy pulled out his clipboard. “You aren’t supposed to be back until tomorrow.”
“We had car trouble.” Julian gestured to the burnt-out vehicle being towed behind. “Ryan and Troy gave us a ride back.”
Eddy narrowed his eyes. “And who are Ryan and Troy?”
The back door popped open so fast, Eddy reached for his gun.
“I’m Troy. Ryan is behind the wheel. He’s alpha of the Black Hills pack, in case that gets us a discount on RV parking. We also have Triple A.”
“Anybody else inside?” Eddy asked.
Julian yawned. “Just my sisters.”
“I’ll have to check the vehicle.” Eddy drew his revolver and climbed the steps into the back.
“Well, aren’t you a unique welcome committee,” Troy mumbled.
Eddy scanned the interior. “Any weapons?”
“Just my sharp tongue,” Troy said. When Eddy growled, he added, “Let me guess. No sense of humor.”
“Well, they say there’s someone for everybody, but you might just be the exception.”
Ryan put his hand on his mate’s shoulder. “Troy,” he warned.
“He pulled a gun on me,” Troy replied. “I’m allowed to be peevish.”
“He’s TJ Macks,” Sarah said, jumping to Troy’s defense. “The famous author.”
“I wouldn’t say famous,” Troy replied. “But I’m glad you did. Though I bet my next book will be even better. In fact, I think I’ve found my new villain.”
Eddy holstered his gun. “I’m going to have to call in before I can open the gate.” He went back to the guard house, but kept an eye on the RV while speaking into a walkie-talkie.
In a few minutes, a wolf ran to the gate. He shifted into his naked human form at the door of the RV. “Hi. I’m Mack. I’m pack leader for Lone Wolves Ranch.”
“What a pleasant surprise,” Troy said, staring at the newcomer.
“Not so peevish now?” Ryan whispered, before stepping in front of his mate to block the view. “I’m Ryan, pack leader of the Black Hills wolves.”
Ryan repeated their story, but before he could finish, a spry older woman pushed Mack out of the way and jumped inside the RV. She scanned the room before stalking toward Troy. Pulling his shirt up, she studied his belly. “You’re an omega. And you’ve had a cub.”
Troy pulled the hem of his shirt down. “Some things are private.”
Grabbing Troy’s hand, she pulled him to the door. “Come with me.”
Mack blocked the way. “Helen, what are you doing?”
“I’ve got an omega going into labor, and I’ve never delivered one before.”
“How many omegas do you have here?” Troy asked.
“Four, counting you,” Helen answered. “Now hurry.”
After watching the two disappear into the night, Mack stuck out his hand to Ryan. “Welcome to Lone Wolves Ranch.”
Troy followed Helen past rows of cottages to the one with lights blazing. She didn’t bother to knock as she pushed Troy inside.
A pregnant omega sat in an easy chair, whimpering softly, while his mate rushed to greet them. “Where have you been?”
“Getting backup,” Helen replied.
“Bill,” the anxious alpha replied, pointing to himself. “And Cory.”
“He’s kicking harder now,” Cory said.
“Or she,” Helen replied. She turned to the expert. “What do we do?”
Troy crossed the room and lifted Cory’s shirt. “He hasn’t sprung a leak yet. But we should get you undressed.”
He struggled to get the omega up out of the chair until Bill lent a hand. Troy put his hands on his hips. “When I gave birth, they had a chair with a motor to help you up. You may want to get one for next time.”
“There’s never going to be a next time,” Cory yelled.
“We’ll need some blankets and towels,” Troy informed Bill. “I suspect it’s going to get messy pretty soon. And you might want to get naked, too.”
Bill nodded. “For the cub?”
“No,” Troy replied. “But it will help me stay awake.”
There was a knock on the door, followed by Ryan’s voice. “Troy, are you in there?”
Troy frowned. “Better yet, keep your clothes on.”
It took fifteen minutes before water sprung from Cory’s birthing line, giving Troy enough time to extract the full story of Bill and Cory’s romance. The rest was quick. Once the cub (a girl) was delivered, they helped Cory shift to his wolf and then back to his healed human self.
“You’re unusually quiet,” Ryan said as the two walked back to their RV. “Are you thinking of having another baby?”
His mate knew him so well. “I don’t think Black Hills is ready to see a pregnant omega. They’re already barely civil to us.”
“Who doesn’t love a baby?”
Troy shrugged. “I was thinking of Cory and Bill’s cub. And Helen. She scared me until I saw her with the baby. There was love there.” Troy turned back to look at the cottage of the new parents. “I don’t think being an omega or the child of an omega is that big a deal here.”
“Maybe we can learn how they did it and bring it back to Black Hills.”
“Maybe. But Black Hills was never our dream. This might be the happiest I’ve been in months. The sad part is I didn’t even know how miserable I was. It felt normal.” He wrapped his arm through Ryan’s. “I’m scared when we go back, it will all feel normal again.”
“We don’t have to decide anything tonight,” Ryan said. “We’ve got a long drive back to figure it out. Let’s get some sleep. I think we earned it.”