Mac (Mammoth Forest Wolves Book 2)(3)By: Kimber White
I knew in my heart Birch Haven held the answer to whatever had happened to her. She’d gone missing two long years ago. Two years. Anything and everything could have happened. God help us both.
Had it been so long that I wouldn’t be able to recognize her scent? So many times over so many months I’d lifted my face to the wind and tried. She could be anywhere. She could be anything. Lena was strong, defiant. But she was still just a human girl. Surely by now she bore the mark of whatever wolf she’d been sold to. Even if I walked right up to her, that mark would burn hot and her wolf could call her back no matter how much she wanted to run. If she still wanted to run. If her wolf was powerful enough, he might have snuffed that light out of her as well.
I scented...something. I couldn’t be sure it was Lena. But, it was there, pulling me forward and stirring my wolf. It had to mean something. Birch Haven couldn’t just be another dead end or false hope. If it was, I would have failed my sister one final time.
Laughter rose on the wind again. A clock in the center of town struck midnight. Each clang speared through my heart. When it stopped, the streets grew quiet. To anyone else, it might seem like peace. But, I knew better. I knew better than all of them. The town had been constructed to make them feel safe, protected. It all looked so normal. It was anything but.
For Lena and every other woman behind those stone walls, Birch Haven was a prison. And yet they slept in their beds, probably suspecting nothing until it was far too late. For now, none of them knew that Birch Haven wasn’t the idyllic setting they thought it was.
It took me about a month to realize Birch Haven wasn’t what everyone else thought it was. Things were too perfect. Too clean. Too quiet.
I knew exactly what my mother would say if she were still alive. “Eve, you’re too picky. You keep looking for the worst in everything and everyone, you’ll always find it.”
I could never figure out why that was a bad thing. Isn’t it better to know that than to go through life gullible? It’s what she did. Mama had a string of loser boyfriends, half of whom had turned into loser husbands who took her money and left her with nothing. Well, nothing but me. One of those losers had been my daddy. Tyler Dawson. Southern Kentucky’s biggest deadbeat asshole. I’m not kidding. He’s got the dubious honor of holding the record for the most unpaid child support in the whole state. Mama sure could pick ‘em. I’ll give her that.
“Earth to Eve!” Nikki had great aim. Her ball of wadded up notebook paper hit me square in the forehead. I jumped away from the window and flipped her the bird.
“I’m listening,” I said, lying. We had an Abnormal Psychology midterm in two days and she wasn’t ready. I pretended that I wasn’t either just to keep her from freaking out any more than she already was. She needed to get at least a ninety percent on it to pass the class. She’d never gotten anything higher than a “C,” so the odds weren’t in her favor.
Nikki closed her laptop and set it to the side. She sat crossed legged on her bed. Our dorm room was spacious enough for two people. We each had our own bedroom with a pocket door for privacy. In the center, we shared a common room with our television and kitchenette. No private bathroom though. We shared one down the hall with the three other rooms on this floor. It wasn’t ideal, but I was slowly getting used to it.
Nikki blew a bleach-blonde strand of hair away from her face. “You’re going to let me fail this damn test, aren’t you?”
I raised a brow and finally moved away from the window. “Let you fail? That’s seriously the argument you’re going to go with?”
I had a whole list of examples to give her of how I’d tried to help her in the two months since the term started. She only attended one out of three classes. When she did go to class, she spent more time staring at her phone than the whiteboard. I knew for a fact that yesterday was the first time she’d even opened a book.
Nikki’s chirping smartphone drew her attention away. That’s always how it went with her. It meant if I planned on staying enrolled in Birch Haven College, I’d probably be looking for a new roommate next year.