Home > Ravensong (Green Creek #2)

Ravensong (Green Creek #2)
Author: TJ Klune

 

Ravensong

 


By TJ Klune

Sequel to Wolfsong

A Green Creek Novel

 

Gordo Livingstone never forgot the lessons carved into his skin. Hardened by the betrayal of a pack who left him behind, he sought solace in the garage in his tiny mountain town, vowing never again to involve himself in the affairs of wolves.

It should have been enough.

And it was, until the wolves came back, and with them, Mark Bennett. In the end, they faced the beast together as a pack… and won.

Now, a year later, Gordo has found himself once again the witch of the Bennett pack. Green Creek has settled after the death of Richard Collins, and Gordo constantly struggles to ignore Mark and the song that howls between them.

But time is running out. Something is coming. And this time, it’s crawling from within.

Some bonds, no matter how strong, were made to be broken.

 

 

For those who hear the songs of wolves, listen well: your pack is howling you home.

 

 

“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!—

Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,

Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted—

On this home by Horror haunted—tell me truly, I implore—

Is there—is there balm in Gilead?—tell me—tell me, I implore!”

Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

—Edgar Allan Poe, “The Raven”

 

 

promises

 

 

THE ALPHA said, “We’re leaving.”

Ox stood near the doorway, smaller than I’d ever seen him. The skin under his eyes looked bruised.

This wasn’t going to go well. Ambushes never did.

“What?” Ox asked, eyes narrowing slightly. “When?”

“Tomorrow.”

He said, “You know I can’t leave yet,” and I touched the raven on my forearm, feeling the flutter of wings, the pulse of magic. It burned. “I have to meet with Mom’s lawyer in two weeks to go over her will. There’s the house and—”

“Not you, Ox,” Joe Bennett said, sitting behind his father’s desk. Thomas Bennett was nothing but ash.

I saw the moment the words sunk in. It was savage and brutal, the betrayal of a heart already broken.

“And not Mom. Or Mark.”

Carter and Kelly Bennett shifted uncomfortably, standing side by side near Joe. I wasn’t pack and hadn’t been for a long, long time, but even I could feel the low thrum of anger coursing through them. But not at Joe. Or Ox. Or anyone in this room. They had revenge in their blood, the need to rend with claw and fang. They were already lost to the idea of it.

But so was I. Ox just didn’t know it yet.

“So it’s you,” Ox said. “And Carter. Kelly.”

“And Gordo.”

And now he did. Ox didn’t look at me. It might as well have been just the two of them in the room. “And Gordo. Where are you going?”

“To do what’s right.”

“Nothing about this is right,” Ox retorted. “Why didn’t you tell me about this?”

“I’m telling you now,” he said, and oh, Joe. He had to know this wasn’t—

“Because that’s the right—where are you going?”

“After Richard.”

Once, when Ox was a boy, his piece-of-shit father had left for parts unknown without so much as a glance over his shoulder. It took weeks for Ox to pick up the phone and call me, but he did. He’d spoken slowly, but I’d heard the hurt in every word as he told me we’re not doing okay, that he was seeing letters from the bank talking about taking away the house he and his mom lived in down that old familiar dirt road.

Could I have a job? It’s just we need the money and I can’t let her lose the house. It’s all we have left. I’d do good, Gordo. I would do good work and I’d work for you forever. It was going to happen anyway and can we just do it now? Can we just do it now? I’m sorry. I just need to do it now because I have to be the man now.

That was the sound of a boy lost.

And here in front of me, the lost boy had returned. Oh sure, he was bigger now, but his mother was in the ground, his Alpha nothing but smoke in the stars, his mate, of all fucking things, digging his claws into his chest and twisting, twisting, twisting.

I did nothing to stop it. It was already too late. For all of us.

“Why?” Ox asked, voice cracking right down the middle.

Why, why, why.

Because Thomas was dead.

Because they’d taken from us.

Because they’d come to Green Creek, Richard Collins and his Omegas, their eyes violet in the dark, snarling as they came to face the fallen king.

I had done what I could.

It wasn’t enough.

There was a boy, this little boy not even eighteen years of age, bearing the weight of his father’s legacy, the monster from his childhood made flesh. His eyes burned red, and he knew only vengeance. It pulsed through his brothers in a circle that never ended, feeding each other’s anger. He was the boy prince turned furious king, and he’d needed my help.

Elizabeth Bennett was quiet, letting it happen in front of her. Ever the muted queen, an afghan around her shoulders, watching this goddamn tragedy play out. I couldn’t even be sure she was all there.

And Mark, he—

No. Not him. Not now.

The past was past was past.

They argued, baring their teeth and growling at each other. Back and forth, each cutting until the other bled out before us. I understood Ox. The fear of losing those you loved. Of a responsibility you never asked for. Of being told something you never wanted to hear.

I understood Joe. I didn’t want to, but I did.

We think it was your father, Gordo, Osmond whispered. We think Robert Livingstone found a path back to magic and broke the wards that held Richard Collins.

Yes. I thought I understood Joe most of all.

“You can’t divide the pack,” Ox said, and oh Jesus, he was begging. “Not now. Joe, you are the goddamn Alpha. They need you here. All of them. Together. Do you really think they’d agree to—”

“I already told them days ago,” Joe said. And then he flinched. “Shit.”

I closed my eyes.

 

 

THERE WAS this:

“That’s shit, Gordo.”

“Yeah.”

“And you’re going along with it.”

“Someone has to make sure he doesn’t kill himself.”

“And that someone is you. Because you’re pack.”

“Looks like.”

“By choice?”

“I think so.”

But of course it wasn’t that it easy. It never was.

And:

“You mean to kill. You’re okay with that?”

“Nothing about this is okay, Ox. But Joe’s right. We can’t let this happen to anyone else. Richard wanted Thomas, but how long before he goes after another pack just to become an Alpha? How long before he amasses another following, bigger than the one before? The trail is already growing cold. We have to finish this while we still can. This is revenge, pure and simple, but it’s coming from the right place.”

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