Rhys sat on the edge of her bed in the bedroom that was now hers. She kept hearing Max's words--In fact, he won't even remember you.
Those words kept echoing in her head. A gentle knock on the door shook the words out of head and drew her attention to her visitor.
It was Josh.
He half smiled at her. Rhys sighed. In all this sanity she had found someone who actually seemed trustworthy and to boot was a little brother that she never knew she had.
Josh came inside the door and stopped as if he needed more invite to get any closer.
Rhys smiled at him and patted a spot next to her. "Come, sit beside me."
Josh casually strolled up and sat down. He looked thoughtfully over at her. "I'm sorry for the way things turned out."
"It turned out the way it should Josh. We rescued Kellan and that was the main thing. It's best he doesn't remember me. That will keep him safe."
She knew by the look on Josh's face that she left him confused but that was better too she thought. The less Josh knew of his new found sister, the better.
Josh stared down at his feet and rubbed his hands together for a moment while they sat in silence.
"Well, I guess you and I should go." He grinned. "I was sent up here to get you."
"What, you didn't come and see me because you were concerned about me?" She laughed.
"I was concerned," he shot back at her. With a mischief grin he said. "Be thankful that I insisted on coming to get you or you would be fighting with Garrett right now."
"Hmm, that sounds intriguing. I haven't thrown him up against a wall lately."
"You'll get plenty of chance to do that when he moves us all."
Rhys noticed right away that he didn't call him "father".
"Yeah right, well what does he want anyway?"
"Family meeting is all I was told. That could men anything."
Garrett, Max and Simon were sharing small talk when Josh and Rhys entered the room. Each one of them stopped and shared glances at Josh and then settled on her. Max smiled warmly, Garrett's grin was more of smug look and Simon smiled proudly like a winner.
"Come my children and join us. We have lots to talk about and plan."
Rhys held back her sharp tongue that wanted to lash out at them. They all stood there victorious. They had indeed showed her what they were capable of. They took her wolf from her.
She sat herself down on a chair that was a good distance from them. Simon noticed but didn't insist on her sitting any closer. He was giving her space.
Garrett just ignored her and Max tried to keep the mood light in the room.
"As I have told you we will be leaving this house to go to New Orleans where I have bought a new home. You will be safe there and I will have my family in one place."
Rhys listened to his words but nothing registered. What am I going to do--go with them? Or do I stay and fight? They would kill me in a heartbeat if I was that difficult. I can't put Josh in danger. If they can use Kellan for leverage against me, they will use Josh as well.
"You are deep in thought my dear. Do you want to talk about it?"
Rhys startled out of her thoughts. She looked up at Simon and then around the room. They were alone.
"Where is everyone?"
"I sent them away. They have things to do."
Simon pulled up a chair and sat opposite her at a far enough distance that he knew would make her comfortable.
"I wanted us to have a chance to speak in private. I know this whole thing doesn't sit well with you. I know you don't trust me and Garrett and that is fine. In time we will earn your trust."
Rhys just about choked on that lie. She would never trust them and he knew it.
"What happened with Kellan is for the best. I spared his life for you, you know and I wanted to show that I can have compassion."
Rhys tilted her head slightly. "Is that what you call --compassion?"
"I could have been ruthless and killed him in front of you but I didn't. You would have hated me even more than you do now and that is not that I want."
He leaned forward resting his elbows on his lap. "I know your mother poisoned you against me and she had every right. I was not a good father to you and husband to your mother. I was young and foolish and had lots to learn."
Rhys pushed her back up against her chair. This speech sounded all too rehearsed and she didn't want any more of it.
She held up her hand silencing him.
"You have only one agenda and that is to gain power. I don't want any part of it. Why don't you just take Garrett and Max with you and leave Josh and me out of it.?"
He smiled. "It makes me happy that you have bonded with your little brother."
"He's innocent and has a chance if he gets away--from you."
Rhys looked for a reaction but there was none. It was as if it was what he expected from her anyway.
Simon sat up straight in his chair. "I knew when I brought you here you would be the one that would give me a challenge."
She threw up her chin at him trying to hold back the tears. She felt defeated and all he and to do was look at her in a certain way or use the tone of voice he just used.
"You will come with us to New Orleans and settle into your new home and become a part of this family. If you don't I could go back on my word."
She raised an eyebrow, "your word?"
"Yes, if you insist on pushing me I will drag Kellan back and tell him who you are. Then you can watch those eyes that he looked at you with love, turn to hate. I knew he wanted to kill the Diamond were cat and I of course knew that was you. Even though he doesn't know you, it won't make your betrayal any less painful."
The stab in her heart felt deep. She couldn't watch his eyes go dark with hatred at her. It would be worse than dying.
Rhys stood up. "Fine, have it your way. I will go to New Orleans with you but don't expect me to ever love you."
Simon smiled. "I'll take it. And to help you get over Kellan I have a surprise for you in New Orleans."
Rhys crossed her arms. "What surprise?"
"I have arranged for you to meet someone. I'm hoping he will become your future husband."
Rhys mouth just about dropped. "Husband? she choked. What are you talking about?"
"You will see, don't be mad. Just give him a chance."
"Can I have a name?"
A shudder went through her. She knew who he was. Jaden McMillan was a powerful were cat and he was like her--a Diamond Were cat.
He was also a former lover and their relationship didn't end well.