In the Company of Wolves (SWAT, #3)(7)

That wasn’t like her. She didn’t swoon over guys, regardless of how cute they were.

Maybe her strange reaction was because he was a particularly strong alpha. Maybe he put off some kind of pheromone that made female beta wolves go a little nuts. That made sense, right? The alternative was that she’d fallen in love at first sniff, which was completely crazy.

Not nearly as crazy as an all-alpha werewolf SWAT team. On top of that, she was pretty sure she’d gotten a glimpse at a female alpha.

Liam had told her there was no such thing as a female alpha. He claimed a woman could never be strong enough to control the rage that an alpha lived with every day. He’d also said there weren’t any other large werewolf packs in the United States. He insisted that only a strong alpha like him could hold a group of betas together, and that alphas like him were too rare for there to be more than one or two major packs in existence at the same time in the entire world.

Well, she now had it on good authority that he was wrong on both counts. Every one of those SWAT werewolves had been well over six feet and looked stronger than a herd of bulls. And the female alpha was faster and more aggressive than anyone in Jayna’s pack ever dreamed of being.

Jayna crossed the street, then cut through the parking lot to where the taxis were lined up in front of the airport terminal. She climbed into the first taxi and gave the cabbie directions to the renovated loft on Canton Street, where she and the rest of the pack were staying, then leaned back and gazed out the window.

While Liam might have been stronger than the other werewolves in her pack, he wouldn’t be a match for any of those guys on the SWAT team. Jayna couldn’t imagine how Liam would react if he ever came face-to-face with the werewolf who’d picked her up like a rag doll and stuffed her in that box like an oversized Christmas present. He’d probably run the other way.

Jayna mentally cringed, immediately feeling bad for thinking like that. Liam was the one who’d gotten her off the streets after she’d left home…when she’d been cold, hungry, and confused. He’d helped her understand what that night with her stepfather had turned her into, how it wasn’t a bad thing, even how to control the anger inside her. With his guidance, she’d come to accept that she wasn’t cursed but, instead, was amazing.

Liam had taken her into his pack and made her feel like she belonged. He’d given her friends and a new family, people who understood what she’d been dealing with because they’d dealt with it too. He’d taught her that the pack had her back, and she’d learned what it meant to trust people again. She owed him more than she could ever repay, and the rest of the pack felt the same way. He was like an older brother to all of them.

That was why they were here in Dallas stealing things for a group of Albanian mobsters when everything in her screamed they should get the hell out of Dodge.

It wasn’t like they hadn’t stolen stuff before. The pack’s nomadic lifestyle sometimes made it hard to pay the bills and still put enough food on the table for all of them and their crazy appetites. It had only been little stuff here and there, and it had never involved carrying guns or hurting anyone. But Liam had borrowed money from a man named Armend Frasheri, the head of an Albanian crime family, and the only way Liam could pay him back was to work off his debt. If he didn’t, Frasheri would kill him. It was as simple as that. And because Liam had used the borrowed money to support the pack, she and her pack mates felt obligated to go along with the plan.

Of course, they hadn’t known at the time that Frasheri was a mobster—or that Liam had told the man and the thugs who worked for him that they were werewolves. But when Liam had introduced them to the crime boss, Jayna had known the pack was in trouble. Because Frasheri wanted them to act as his enforcers, using their werewolf strength to help him take over the city.

When Jayna and the others had hesitated, Liam had promised they’d leave as soon as he paid back the money he owed. That had been almost four weeks ago. And in that time, Liam had not only gotten comfortable in his new role as lead enforcer, but had also brought in omega werewolves to fill out the ranks, though where he’d found them she wasn’t exactly sure.

The pack had run into omegas frequently over the years. Werewolves were rare, but they always seemed to find each other. It was like there was some kind of instinct that drew them to each other. And while the pack sure as hell never went out looking for omegas, those same omegas always seemed to come looking for them. Going it alone could be hard on a werewolf, so Jayna understood why one would want to join the pack, but that didn’t mean they were stupid enough to let just any omega run with them.

Omegas were loners who were big and strong…almost as strong as alphas. But unlike alphas, omegas couldn’t control their emotions or their rage. Something about being without other werewolves for company did strange things to their heads. It was like they were more animal than human, and when they lost it, look the hell out.

Even when they could control themselves, they weren’t suited to pack life because they could never put the group ahead of their own wants and desires. But now, without talking it over with any of them, Liam had decided to bring them in, saying he was the pack alpha and would do whatever he felt was right.

Jayna snorted. Liam was doing that a lot more these days, deciding his opinion was the only one that mattered. She didn’t care that Liam felt he had the right to do anything he wanted or that Frasheri wanted more enforcers. Omegas couldn’t be trusted. She’d known the moment Liam had hired them that things were going to go bad.

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