Page 46 of Redemption Road


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“Did you know this?” Jessie asked Ryder quietly.

He shook his head. “I was in Iraq,” he said. “By the time I got home, no one was talking about it. I heard the bare bones —the romantic rescue story —but not the rest of it.”

She nodded. She would have been 10, so of course she hadn’t heard any of it. She paused. “Was Alpha Chen involved in that too?”

“Benny’s the one to answer that one,” Ryder said, looking at the door. He looked back at the two men. “I’d tell you to go on, get out of here, and we’ll catch up with you later, but I’m afraid that whatever set Benny off is going to be a big enough disaster you’re going to need to be here for the rest of it.”

Dennis nodded. “And I might have information I need to share —not about what happened 15 years ago, but what Dad was up to now. Fifteen years ago? I’d decided we needed a medical doctor and had gone back to school. I was down at the University of Washington for about 10 years —turns out a college degree from the 1920s isn’t particularly useful for getting admitted to medical school. I came back here in 2010.”

Ryder nodded. Duncan was slumped, his face gray. “I swear to you, John kept it a secret,” he said. “Although I’m not sure what we could have done to stop him. He was a powerful man. I was surprised, to be honest, that you could take him.”

Ryder glanced at Jessie, but he didn’t say anything. She looked at him curiously.

Later,he sent. She nodded.

“We knew there was retribution, but he played the aggrieved innocent, and I suppose we did know that was unlikely. But he got bitter and angry. And most everyone just tried to stay out of his way,” Duncan continued. “There were some.... outbursts.... that made us all aware that he was dangerous to cross.”

Ryder frowned at that. Jessie didn’t know how much more she could take. Ryder must have sensed that, because he looked at her. “Would you go ask those two to rejoin us?” he said quietly.

Jessie felt like a coward but she was grateful for the chance to escape, and she fled.










Chapter 12

Day 159 of the re-emerged Hat Island pack, Wednesday, Nov. 13, Penticton

Ryder waited untilJessie was out the door, before turning back to the men. “OK,” he said. “Spill it. What do I need to know that is going to just set Benny off further?”

Dennis looked at Duncan and gestured that it was for him to answer.

“When I say that there have been explosions, I mean exactly that,” Duncan said finally. “He....” Duncan shook his head. He took a deep breath. “He killed....”

“He killed my sister,” Dennis said flatly. “Broke every bone in her body. Beat her to death. And that’s not easy to do, as you know. To be honest? I think he was trying to administer maximum pain, and her heart stopped.” He swallowed hard. “Mom called me in, but it was too late, by then. She was pregnant. Baby didn’t survive either.”

“Was there something that set him off?” Ryder asked carefully.

“She accused him of being the father,” Dennis said.

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