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The Healer

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Victoria, "Tori", a naive young lady just graduated from nursing school landed her dream job at the prestigious Hidden Falls Medical Center burn trauma unit. Excited to start her new life along with her best friend, until one day when her boss asks her if she would be interested in working with a local young man injured in a house fire. She learns he is the next Alpha to the Hidden Falls Pack, and she will live in the packhouse during her stay. Memories of her mother taking her away from her father, an Alpha himself, due to infidelities and her mother wanting to keep her away from her father. Learning at a young age that she has a Genesis wolf, or healer wolf, but unable to shift, she uses her abilities to help others. Little does she know that her father has been searching for her for seventeen years. He has sent out his wolves to look for her in every town, and other packs. His Beta, Victor, and his Gamma, Eric, have stumbled upon her by sheer chance. Having known Tori when she was a little girl, Victor is excited and impatient to find her and bring her home. He is so close until he learns from Eric, who happens to be Tori's best friend's fiancé and mate, that she will be going to another pack. As her friend accompanies her to the pack as her assistant. As she works with the injured Alpha, who turns out to be her fated mate, but later rejects her, she learns about herself and more of her abilities. Those abilities, that are more powerful than she ever expected, are desired by the greedy Alpha who will stop at nothing to have her in his possession, even after rejecting her

Prologue

Ronin

    I heard the alarm clock blaring as I rolled over and slapped it off. Before opening my eyes, I took a deep breath and realized someone was with me in bed. I threw off my covers and sat up, rubbing my face. Glancing over my shoulder, I saw a lump in the covers that was last night's conquest. Remembering the activities from the evening, a small smile came across my lips. I nodded to myself, proud of the she-wolf. I was finally able to get into my bed. Too bad for her, it ends here. Game over. Onto the next conquest.

After getting ready, I coldly told her it was over and that she needed to move on. She gave me an angry growl as she dressed and left the room, slamming the door.

‘Stop it! My wolf ordered. 

'What?' I asked Thorn, my wolf.

'You should be waiting for our mate!' He spat through the link.

    'Yeah, but we're done with her.'

    'You are disgusting! Using them like that! We should be looking for our mate. We are meant for only one, and you are ruining it!'

    'Shut up, you stupid wolf,’ Thorn grumbled, shutting the link. I smirked and left my room.

    I walked down the long hallway and the four flights of stairs to the kitchen. Clara flips around the stove, cooking eggs, bacon, pancakes, sausage, and homemade grits. She's been taking care of me since I was in diapers. I loved this woman like she was my mother.

    "Good morning, young alpha. How are you this morning?" I gave her a big smile and leaned over to kiss her cheek with a hug.

    "I am quite well today. You?" I reached around her, stole a sausage link, and plopped it in my mouth.

    " Fine. I saw your father and beta head up to the office. Here, have some breakfast before you go. I feel it will be a busy day". She handed me a plate full of food. I smiled and nodded as I sat at the counter and began eating. 

    "Hey man, where have you been?" I grunted without looking at my beta, Jax, and continued eating. "Thought you were coming to training this morning?" He sat beside me as Clara slid a plate towards him. He nodded in thanks and began eating.

    "Busy," I answered, swallowing some pancakes and drinking juice. 

    "Yeah, I bet. Blonde, brunette, or redhead?" He asked, wiggling his eyebrows.

    I shook my head and took another bite of my eggs as Clara smirked and side-glanced at me. 

    "No way, you got the redhead!?!" he asked, turning to me. I shoved him away and finished my plate. 

    "Mind your own business," I answered, getting up and putting the plate in the sink. 

    "Lucky, but I wouldn't want to be your mate. Hell is coming for you!" I furrowed my brow and stared at him.

    "What are you talking about?" 

    "What happens when you meet your mate, and she finds out about all your conquests before her? She's gonna be p*ss*d!!" I rolled my eyes at him and started to walk out of the kitchen towards my father's office for the meeting. 

"You're supposed to wait for your mate, dude," Jax called out to me, but I ignored him and continued to the office.

I saw my dad sitting at his desk with his Beta across from him.

    "Son," he greeted me, and I nodded.

    "Where's Jax?" He asked.

    "He's on his way." I sat on a chair next to the desk and checked my phone. I swiped through all the texts from various girls who wanted to hook up. My latest one was from Gina, the redhead from last night. I was hesitant about opening it. As much as I'm not looking for a commitment, she would be in the running if I were. Intelligent, soft, agile, and open-minded. Someone who could stand beside me and run the pack. I’m not looking to be tied to one woman right now.

Just then, Jax walks into the office.

    "About time, Beta Jax," my dad said sternly, with a hint of amusement.

    "My apologies, Alpha Damon," he responded, giving him a bow in respect. My father nodded in return, and Jax sat beside his father, Beta Raymond.

    "Okay, let's get started,” Alpha began, pulling out some maps and a book of notes. 

Yup. This is going to be a long one. I sighed deeply, looked at my father, and gave him my full attention.

 

    It was just after 3 p.m. when we started wrapping things up. We spent five hours reviewing new patrol routes due to increased rogue activity. We also have new plans to strengthen the alarm systems and training. Jax will oversee building a new training schedule that will be stronger, longer, and more intense.

I will be doing more patrols with the warriors and the Beta and Alpha. I will be taking over Alpha of the pack soon, so I must be involved in every detail of the pack. Unfortunately, I still have much to learn, but I have a good handle on things.

    I left the office with Jax and headed to the kitchen to get something to drink. As I opened the fridge to grab a bottle of water, soft hands wrapped around my waist.

    "Hey Ronin,” I smiled at the sultry voice and slowly spun to find Missy, a small blond-headed wolf I occasionally spend time with. She’s one of my favorites, but that's my secret.

    "Hey, Missy,” I wrap my arms around her waist and lean down to kiss her when Gina enters the room.

    "You are such a f*ck*ng pig!" I rolled my eyes, released my arms from around Missy, and pushed her behind me. 

    "What do you want, Gina?" I squared off and stared at her.

    "I can't believe I trusted you, believed you. You're such a f**king man wh*r*!" She screamed and turned to leave. 

I wasted no time in grabbing her arm with anger and authority.

    "You wanna try that again? You have no right to speak to me that way!" I gruffly said as she whipped her head around and stared at me.

    "Let me slow it down for you… Alpha," She spat out the last word. "You. Are. A. Man. Wh*r*! You disgust me!" She yanked her arm free and spat at my feet. My eyes widened in surprise that she dared to speak to me like that. My wolf was on edge at her disrespect, pushing to come through. My eyes went black with my wolf and my anger.

    "You know that is no way to speak to your Alpha!" I yelled with my Alpha tone, but she stood still, seething in her anger.  This confuses me, but I hide my expression. 

    "You are not my Alpha!" She annunciated each word through gritted teeth. Her face flushed red with anger and humiliation. "You used me and threw me away like trash. Then I find you here with another woman." She turned to Missy, who now had stepped to the side to watch the exchange. "Do you know he spent last night with me? In his bed?" Missy covered her expression of shock and anger but kept quiet.

    "What's going on here?" Alpha Damon demanded as he appeared in the doorway.

    Missy bowed and kept her eyes down as I stared at my father while Gina glared.

    "Just a misunderstanding, Alpha," I explained as I stared at Gina, giving her a silent order to keep quiet. She glared at me and then turned away.

    "I was just leaving,” Gina answered and left the kitchen. My dad looked at Missy, me, and the doorway where Gina had just left.

    "Ronin,” I shifted my eyes to him and waited for the lecture to begin. "My office now,” I angrily sighed and ran my hand through my hair. Jax snuck out the back of the kitchen and was gone. Missy gave me a pathetic smile and bowed before leaving. 

    I followed my dad up the stairs to his office and sat back in the seat I had just sat in for five hours.

    "Dad..." I started, but he cut me off.

    "Right now, it's Alpha to you". Wow, he was p*ss*d. He never gets like this unless I majorly screw up or piss him off. I shut my eyes to try and calm myself and my wolf down before I say something I regret.

"Alpha, it was all a misunderstanding. Gina was under the impression that we were...."

"I know exactly what kind of misunderstanding you seem to have with the female pack members. This is unacceptable behavior for a future Alpha! What happens when you meet your mate? Huh? What are you going to say to her? How will you explain your behavior, especially when every female in this pack knows you intimately!?" He was so angry that he had to stand and pace the room to quell some of his furious energy. I've never seen him this mad at me before. He wouldn't even look me in the eye.

"Dad, it's no big deal..." At this comment, he stopped and spun around to stare at me. His eyes were dark green, meaning Brutus, his wolf, was on the surface. "Alpha Brutus...." I bowed slightly to acknowledge that he was present, to calm him a little. Rarely did Brutus come out, but it was not good when he did.

"Quiet pup!" He growled. "I am very disappointed in you. This is no way for an Alpha to act. Your mother and I did not raise you to be like this! When you find your mate..." Brutus glared at his pup at Ronin's interruption.

"I don't want to find my mate... at least not yet," I argued, but that was a mistake. He was before me in the blink of an eye, his hand gripped tightly around my throat.

"Your mate and your pack and your children are the most important things in your life. You will not forsake any of them!" He loosened his grip and pushed me away. Long ago, when my mother was pregnant with me, there was a rogue attack where she was injured so severely that she almost lost her life and mine. My dad never fully recovered from that, and after finding out that they could not have any more pups, he became even more protective over us. My entire life, he has been guiding me and teaching me how to be a good Alpha. Somewhere along the way, I lost interest in the good part of it and only saw the power and title that came with it—especially all the attention I received from the she-wolves of the pack.

My father closed his eyes and sighed heavily. I leaned back in my chair and stared at him, hoping this lecture was over.

"Son, I will be handing over the Alpha title to you as soon as you come of age... But..." he said the last bit with a bit of anger." Only if you find your mate." My eyes went wide, and I shot out of my chair.

"What!?" I shouted. "You can't do that!"

"I am the Alpha! I can do whatever I deem necessary and appropriate for MY pack! If you are not ready to step up, I will not be handing it over!" My father walked over to the large floor-to-ceiling windows that lined the office wall. Staring out at the training grounds, he sighed heavily.

"You will be Alpha one day, and I need to know that the pack is in good hands. I need to know that you will sacrifice everything to keep them safe. You will have your fated Luna beside you to help run the pack. I will not compromise on this, Ronin. Your mother and I have done everything for this pack. It is our blood, sweat, and tears that we gave up any future children for this pack so that they are safe and free." He finished quietly with a slight crack in his voice.

Damnit! I hate when he pulls the 'gave up future children" card on me. Of all things, that's one of the few things that tugs at my heartstrings. I feel incredibly guilty that I was their only child and heir, even though it was out of my control to do anything about it. Because of what they gave up, I'm an only child, knowing they wanted a large family. That's when the pack became the most essential thing in their life. They were not blood, but they were all family.

I dropped my head and sighed. "Yes, Alpha. I understand". He turned to look at me, his face softened and eyes full of sorrow.

"Dad," he quietly said after a few moments, trying not to get choked up on his words. I looked him in the eyes and saw all the pain and suffering he and my mom went through to get where we are now—a complete, healthy, thriving pack—one of the largest in the southern US. I smiled and nodded at him.

"Dad....I'm..." Before I could finish my thought, the loud blaring sounds of the air horn rained across the pack land. We stared at each other momentarily, then turned and ran out of the office. Flying down the staircase, we bust out the front door to see pack members running wild through the streets.

"What is going on?" I yelled to a passing warrior.

"Alpha. There is a fire in the rec center," he answered quickly, bowing before running off.

I turned toward the rec center to see clouds of dark gray smoke billowing into the sky. I looked around frantically, trying to form a plan.

'Ronin! Call the fire department to the center. I will get the teens out while we still can!" My father’s mind linked me as I saw him run off.

'All firefighters, go to the rec center now! We have an unknown number of occupants inside,' I called out in the pack mind link and ran to the center. As I arrived, I saw the building engulfed in flames and a couple of teens running out of the front door.

"How many inside?" I yelled at them. They stumbled up to me, coughing and gasping for breath.

"Alpha, Jackie, and Tommy got out, but we haven't seen Katy or Brent yet!" I nodded to them and sent them off to the medical tent just across the street. I saw my dad run out carrying a young female and dropping her off.

"Dad! There's one more inside missing! I'll go..." He handed her to me and started to run back inside.

"Take her to the medical tent. I'm going back in for the other boy!"

"Nooo! Dad, don't go in! Wait for the firefighters to come!" but he ignored me and disappeared inside. Just then, I heard a loud cracking sound and a deafening roar as the front door exploded, setting the front of the building on fire. I stood there horrified as I watched half of the structure collapse into a pile of burning rubble.

"Dad! Nooooo!" I ran towards the building, but the intensity of the heat pushed me back. I had to get to my father. I had to find a way in, but the entire exterior was set in flames as the fire department arrived and set out with hoses and ladders searching for the two known victims inside. With half the building in flames, nobody thought they would come out alive.

I stood there in shock, wondering what to do. My father just ran back into a burning building to save a young boy, a boy. In his father's eyes, one young boy was worth keeping his own life to grow up and have a life of his own. So that he could go to school, train, become a warrior, find his mate, and have a family of his own. That was worth the life of the Alpha. At that moment, I understood what it meant to be in charge of the pack, to care for and protect the members of the pack. Not just a pack but a family. The Alpha's family.

I realized what I must do and ran towards the fire as the fire department members brought in the hoses and started dousing it with water. They tried to hold me back from entering the burning structure, but I wrenched myself free and continued to find my father. Instead, they followed me as I fumbled through the side window, covering me with water. I broke the remaining glass, crawled through the opening, and fell on the floor. Looking around, all I could see was smoke and flames. Breathing was hot and harrowing, but I needed to find my father and the young boy, Brent. Staying low on the ground, I pulled my shirt over my nose, and army crawled across the floor to where the door should be. Unfortunately, I couldn't see anything and hit the wall inside. Following the wall until I found the door frame, I felt the wood with my wrist, and finding it hot to touch, I pushed it open anyway. On the main room floor, I saw my father trying to drag the young boy towards the only available egress. I realized they would both succumb to the deadly smoke by the time he made it to the window. I asked my wolf for energy to crawl over and grab the boy.

"Get out, Dad! Now!" I tried yelling in between gasping and gagging from the smoke. It got dead silent just as we were within a few feet of the window. Not a sound to be heard. I wasn't sure if I succumbed to the smoke or what was happening. I did not feel any movement from Brent, who I assumed had gone unconscious on the floor. Suddenly, I heard a loud crack and a whoosh of burning hot air came crashing into me, knocking me down. I instantly curled myself around the boy, and at that moment, I felt the second floor come barreling down on top of us. A searing pain was felt along my left side and onto my face and neck. I screamed in agony and tried to find a link for help, but I did not have enough energy for that. I saw a bright white light flash in my eyes, and a wave of refreshing coolness came over my body, and I could hear voices calling out to me and the Alpha. I had a slight surge of hope as I felt someone grabbing me and the boy next to me, and then all sight and sound was gone. My last thoughts were of my father and if he made it out alive before I slipped into total darkness and felt nothing.

    

    

 

Chapter 1

Tori

"Good morning, Tori, how was your evening?" I had just walked onto the unit and was heading for the nurse’s station to put my bag down when I heard the greeting from Tammy, a fellow rookie nurse and my best friend.

"Morning Tammy. It was good. I spent it with my father at the lake. How was yours?" She just stood there grinning like an alley cat before throwing her left hand in my face. I grabbed it, thinking she was going to swat at me when I saw a bright glittery flash.

"Oh my God, he did it!" I looked at her left finger and saw the diamond reflecting the fluorescent lights. It was beautiful, a princess cut stone surrounded by smaller green stones in a platinum setting. "Congratulations, it's beautiful!" She smiled brightly and giggled a bit before pulling her hand back to look at it herself.

"Thank you! He took me to our favorite little restaurant and then he surprised me by taking me to the county fair

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