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She woke to the most beautiful sound in the world. Greer was singing, his voice weaving her back together, mending the broken bones and the torn flesh. She sighed with happiness as she opened her eyes, eager to watch her mate work his magic.


And magic he was. His light blond hair tapered to a pale orange at the tips, the mark of his birch tree. His pale brown eyes were closed as he concentrated on his song. The faint, magical light of the Throne bathed him in a soft glow, giving him an ethereal look.


Unfortunately, he looked more ghostly than godly. Damn. She knew something had been going on with him, but the rest of the dryads were so pissed off at her they refused to tell her what was wrong. If Mollie had been free to tell them the truth of her relationship with Carter, they might have been willing to give her what she asked for, but Carter had begged her to keep silent, citing his alpha’s infamous temper. The alpha hadn’t ordered them not to hunt for more traitors in their town, and Carter hadn’t wanted to run to him with mere suspicions. He wanted proof, and Mollie, not bound to an alpha, had trusted Carter’s insistence on silence. The last thing she wanted was her friend’s face ripped off because he’d overstepped his bounds.


She was paying for that trust. She glanced around, seeing the anger on the faces of those around her, and wondered if she’d just jumped from the frying pan into the fire. She didn’t know if they’d believe her if she told them she’d been fighting for her life, and mentioning her bond with Greer might only seem like she was attempting to win them over to her side.


This whole situation was viciously fucked up. Knowing not to interfere when Greer was healing, she focused on the only one who might be willing to listen. “Hi.”


“Don’t move.” Ash kneeled next to Selena, his expression grave. His green hair was disheveled, and his green eyes were assessing. Had she interrupted something between him and his mate? “If you move, you could do more harm than good.”


Mollie obeyed. The last thing she wanted to do was make things difficult for Greer. Dark circles were thick under his eyes, and his skin was pale, even for him, almost vampiric in its translucency. She could count the veins on his thick forearms easily.


Something was seriously wrong with him, and as soon as she was healed she was going to find out what. The thought of losing him was worse than anything she could imagine.


She’d give up her fire to make him whole.


Greer sang, swaying slightly, his voice echoing across the Throne. The power behind his voice was incredible, belying his apparently fragile state. If his magic was still strong, then perhaps whatever had reduced him to such a state wasn’t as dire as she feared.


Hell, the last time she saw him had been at Ash and Selena’s wedding not that long ago. He’d looked tired, but otherwise fine, and she’d chalked it up to being Ash’s best man. Perhaps she’d been wrong to think so, because he still seemed exhausted, like a dryad about to commune with his tree.


She’d find out what was wrong with Greer if she had to stalk the damn man, but she’d save that for tomorrow. Mollie needed to let the others know what had happened and the danger they might be in. She turned her gaze to Dragos. “Bernadette.”


His brows rose. “What about her?”


Noah was suddenly filling her field of vision. “Why do I smell my cousin all over you?”


She gulped in fear. She’d forgotten Noah would be here, guarding his vulnerable mate. “She tried to kill me.”


Noah snarled. “Why would she do that? What did you do?”


Greer’s arm shot out, and Noah was halfway across the Throne before she could even open her mouth to reply. The truly amazing part was that Greer kept singing, not one note out of place.


Ash coughed, obviously amused. “Yeah, I wouldn’t say anything about Greer’s mate in his presence.”


Mollie blinked. Greer was defending her? Maybe things weren’t as bad as she’d thought. He’d barely spoken to her at the wedding, and afterward, when she tried to find him, he’d been gone. Greer was surprisingly good at not being found when he didn’t want to. She’d been forced to go on with her investigation without speaking to him again, and now it appeared she might have to give him up to his tree before she got a chance to clear the air with him.


“So I see.” Noah was back, but this time he kept a respectful distance from Greer’s throwing arm. “Tell us what happened.”


Mollie nodded and took a deep breath. “This is going to take a while.”


Noah crossed his arms across his chest. “We have plenty of time.”


She closed her eyes. “Bernadette has been acting…suspicious lately.”


“How so?”


She could hear the disbelief in Noah’s voice and couldn’t truly blame him. After all, Bernadette had been his cousin, and a valued member of the community. “Little things. Blood samples gone missing, or tainted in such a way that Dr. Tyrone Douglas felt the need to contact me.” And hadn’t that been fun. The clinical pathologist was grumpy on his good days. That…had not been a good day. “As an EMT, she not only had access to the blood, she was the one who often took the initial samples.”


“She wouldn’t have had access to all of it.”


“No, she didn’t. Which is why we were worried she’s working with someone else, someone in Dr. T’s lab.” She groaned as her finger, which she didn’t even know had been hurt, snapped into place. “Ow.”




Damn. Noah would pick up on that, but she couldn’t give Carter away. Not yet. He’d had his own suspicions to follow up on, and together they’d narrowed their list down to three. He hadn’t wanted to believe Bernadette was one of the people who’d betrayed Maggie’s Grove. His ties to the pack were far too strong for him to doubt the alpha’s cousin. It was why he hadn’t been with Mollie tonight, instead going on his own investigation. If his panned out as well, they might have found the root of the conspiracy to bring down the Maggie’s Grove leadership from the inside.


She just hoped he hadn’t met trouble the way she had.


“I followed her into the woods tonight, thinking she was going to meet with someone, but I figured out I was wrong when her movements became erratic. She must have noticed I was following her.” Mollie swallowed hard as Greer’s song finished. “She confronted me, and we fought.”


“What did she confront you about?” Noah’s voice was closer, so she opened her eyes.


The alpha was right above her. Greer had moved, and now Noah Wulfenbach’s face filled her field of vision.

“She knew I was on to her. She told me she killed your beta’s mate, that she wanted to be beta in his place.”


The sudden horror on Noah’s face quickly disappeared. “I’ve gotten no word on that from any of my people.”


“Maybe she lied.” But Mollie wasn’t willing to bet on that. “Call him, see what he says.”

Noah nodded and stepped away from them.


Mollie glanced at Greer, who stood a little apart from the rest of them. “You believe me, don’t you?”


Greer stared at her for a moment before looking away with a shrug. “I don’t know what to believe.”


Ouch. That hurt, but she couldn’t truly blame him. She sat up, expecting pain, but Greer was far too good a healer to leave any of her wounds untended. She actually felt well enough to stand.


Now that the bites and breaks were dealt with, she was free to feel the itchiness of the dried blood and dirt on her skin. She did her best to ignore it, but she really needed a shower. “She told me that she wanted to be beta, that she felt she’d been robbed of the position. She betrayed us for power, giving our names, species and DNA to the Van Helsings.”


Noah snarled, but he was making the call, and that was all that mattered to her.


“Do you have any proof?” Dragos was staring at her with concern. “Something we can take before the wolves?”


Mollie nodded. “I have some, but—”


A howl cut her off, the sound filled with anguish. Noah had his head back, the alpha’s cry resounding through the Throne as he called to his pack to come to him.


Mollie’s shoulders slumped. Damn it. If she’d kept a closer eye on Bernadette, this wouldn’t have happened. If she’d just told Noah of her suspicions, given him a head’s up as to what was going on, maybe, just maybe, Bernadette would have been caught before she killed Lily Wulfenbach. This was Mollie’s fault, something she would carry for the rest of her days. “She’s dead, isn’t she?”


The alpha was enraged as he glared at her. “Yes. Burned to death.”




Oh, shit. That was what Bernadette had meant when she wondered if they’d blame Mollie for the death of Lily Wulfenbach. Was there any way for Mollie to prove she’d had nothing to do with it?



Noah scowled, stalking toward her as if he meant to rip her limb from limb.


Mollie backed up but refused to call her fire. If Noah wanted her dead, she’d be dead. She would not use her fire to defend herself from an innocent man. “When did she die?”


He snarled. “Two hours ago.”


Two hours ago she’d been driving to the forest, following Bernadette. “I was on the road from The Greenhouse to here.” And there was no way in hell to prove it.


There was only one thing she could do to make sure she wasn’t blamed for the death. She had to figure out who the hell might have done it. A witch, using fire magic? An elemental, one of her own people? Or something beyond her knowledge, something outside of Maggie’s Grove? Hell, for all she knew, it was some kind of demon, like the one that had attacked Selena. She’d need to investigate it herself if she was going to figure it out.

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