Jace Shaw is one of the few survivors of an extraordinary, rare wolf pack. He spends his days on the run and his nights in another world with a man he’s only dreamed about. To sleep is to feel his dream man’s hands on his body and hear his wicked whispered words. But when the sun rises reality crashes in: the evil that destroyed his birth pack hunts his kind down in search of a way to control their power.
Merek Wahya is an alpha dealing with all the issues of being newly appointed, but they all fall away when he closes his eyes at night. Then, a man with moonlit hair and mercury eyes crawls into bed with him. When he wakes it’s to a painful arousal no one can satisfy. When Merek’s wolf catches Jace’s scent he knows he’s found his mate, and he soon learns their nocturnal meetings were only foreplay. The joy of this discovery is shadowed by the trouble that follows Jace. Merek’s mate is embroiled in a battle between two ancient packs, a war Merek must now fight. If he fails he could lose Jace forever.
Jace’s scent hit Merek like a pile of bricks. The familiar scent called out to him. He took a deep breath, and there it was—Jace’s sweet and earthy smell. His mate. Here in the real world. There was no doubt about it. Merek’s wolf perked its ears up and stood waiting to change beneath the shifting sands of his skin.
With that thought panic slammed into him. His heart pounded a savage beat as the urge to get to his mate swept through him. He rose. His form changed even as he prowled forward, away from the meeting hall and in the direction of Emma’s cottage.
“Merek?” Sean asked, apparently confused by his sudden movement. “Wha—”
“My mate.” Merek growled and quickly shifted into the form of a midnight-black wolf.
He advanced through the underbrush, Sean following close behind in wolf form, scarcely a consideration. The only thing that remained of their human forms was a pile of ruined clothes.
The pull to get to his mate made the distance seem never ending, although it only took about five minutes to reach the clearing just beyond the tree line from Emma’s house. Two dead half-shifted weres lay in the center. A third were—a large, mangy gray—slammed the body of a man against the base of a tree. Merek felt the pain of that impact as if it were his body.
He snarled a sound full of fury and looked over at Sean. Their gazes briefly locked. Sean’s were alight with the strength to battle.
Merek and Sean burst into the clearing. The action was enough of a distraction to cause the gray wolf to turn before he could deal a killing blow to Merek’s unconscious mate.
Sean leaped at the gray as Merek advanced toward his mate, who was slumped on the ground. Jace’s body was sleek and elongated in a partial transformation. Before Merek’s eyes, the exposed claws on his mate’s feet and hands drew in. The long, toned muscles of his body retracted into his human form. His figure was pale in the moonlight, but streaks of blood marred its perfection. The slender lines of his body denoted strength and stealth. Merek knew those skills alone were what had kept Jace alive. His mate was naked save for the silver hair that flowed around his shoulders and concealed his face beneath its weight.
Merek howled into the night. He crouched closer and nuzzled the pale silver hair from Jace’s face—the soft lips, the bottom fuller than the top, square jawline with the dimple on his chin, and his aquiline nose. Altogether, they made up the man in Merek’s dreams. His mate. A mate who was bleeding from gouges on his chest and stomach. He had bruises already forming around his neck, but what worried Merek most was the blood that was changing his beautiful silver locks to a bright red.
In mere seconds Merek shifted back to human form. Naked, he knelt over his mate. With trembling hands he checked Jace’s pulse. It rebounded faintly against his fingertips. Breathing deeply to keep the pain at bay, he managed to lift the heavy weight of his mate’s body and bolted as fast as he could to Emma’s house.
It wasn’t exactly how he wanted to be naked for the first time with his mate. He would have preferred much different circumstances. Non-life-threatening circumstances. Before he reached for the doorknob, the door flew open to reveal a panic-stricken Emma.
She stepped aside, and he stalked through the door. He laid his mate on the couch in the living room and stared down at him with something akin to wonder.
“Tell me you can fix him.” His voice was a hoarse rasp as if he’d been screaming. He wanted to let loose a pained howl. He wanted the world to know how unfair it was he hadn’t been able to protect his mate. He didn’t want to feel the fear and helplessness that covered him now.
Not even standing in Emma’s domain, filled with light and decorated in shades of emerald and amber, could he find comfort. All he wanted was for his mate to wake up so he could see Jace’s silver eyes sparkling with life.
Emma knelt next to Jace and threaded her fingers through the silver fall of his hair. She closed her eyes and hummed softly. Merek was shocked when the soft locks wound around Emma’s hand. Merek had thought the magical hair was a trick of his imagination played out in his dreams. Then again, he’d thought Jace was a dream, but here he was, in the flesh.
Emma’s eyes opened, tears cresting in them.
“Oh, Jace, sweet child, what have you gone and done now?”
Merek couldn’t have been more surprised if Emma had slapped him. “You know him?”
Merek pinned Jace’s wrists to the ground. The man loomed close, his muscular frame pressing against Jace’s so he touched all the right spots. Jace squirmed in a halfhearted effort to get free even as his body screamed at him to yield to the pleasure that Merek could provide.
Merek leaned down to whisper, “You’re always so damned difficult.”
The moon shone down, filtering through the webwork of trees that canopied their nocturnal wicked activities. In the pale silver light, he could see Merek’s face. It was composed of sharp angles, a prominent nose, chiseled jaw, and a sensual mouth. That mouth never failed to make Jace’s cock twitch. Merek’s face was almost always partially shaded by the long locks of black hair that flowed down to touch his broad shoulders. Hair so dark it refracted light in shades of blue—an eerie color reflected in his eyes. They were the palest blue Jace had ever seen. The eyes of a wolf, and he growled like one too.
Letting the primitive nature of their wolves loose in the magnificent embrace of the wilderness was instinctive. The smell of damp grass and pine trees wafted around them. But beneath that scent was Merek’s—rich, primal, and addictive.
Jace strove to stop his grin as he bucked his hips in an attempt to get Merek off him. The man was too strong for his own good. The move only resulted in Merek chuckling and adjusting to hold both of Jace’s wrists in one hand. The other he used to lightly caress Jace’s cheek and jawline. Merek brushed his thumb over Jace’s bottom lip, causing a shudder to flow through Jace. He knew just what those hands were capable of.
No matter how hard he fought himself, he couldn’t help but tilt his neck into the soft touch. Merek gave him a sensual smile.
Jace tried to twist away again, to get the upper hand, but to no avail. Merek trailed his hand lower, and Jace arched into the gentle touch. The man was doing his best to destroy Jace’s control, and it was so tempting to catapult to the carnal command.
“Just one word, Jace, and I’ll give you everything.”
Merek leisurely traced his fingertips down Jace’s naked chest, along the hard muscles of his stomach, and stopped at the waist of Jace’s low-riding jeans. Jace curved into the touch. Desperate for Merek to go lower.
“Submit to me.”
* * * *
Jace Shaw sat up sharply in bed. The image of sweat-slicked bodies and the sound of throaty growls saturated his mind. The sex-laden dreams had his heart pounding with lust and his cock pulsing with raw need. Rampant desire raged through him so intensely he could barely catch his breath.
All because of some hot mountain of a man whose wolf seemed determined to dominate him. He could easily overpower Jace. He was more muscled and towered over Jace’s five-eleven frame by at least half a foot, and that was in human form. Yet Jace had never been intimidated by or afraid of him. It was through their dreams he had eventually found out the man’s name was Merek.
Every one-night stand he had to assuage the fire Merek inspired failed miserably. All the men had lacked in some way. He had tried to drown his sexual appetite in men who mirrored the man he wanted so badly to fuck. He’d screwed men from the East Coast to the West Coast, but not one of them had lasted more than the a few hours he’d rented the hotel room for. None of them tempted the wild nature of his wolf. At the end of the night, he was left with the sick feeling he had in some way betrayed Merek.
Merek hadn’t always been so rough and hard. They had grown and matured together over the years. Merek’s dark features had developed into granite lines. His body had become sculpted muscles built by hard work. It wasn’t until the past couple of years that the interaction had become two-sided. Before, it had always been as though Jace were a ghost on the sidelines…watching.
Merek hadn’t shown any sign he even knew Jace existed, with one exception. Merek stopped cutting his hair the day Jace’s parents were killed. The day Jace’s safe world came crashing down. The moment when he had been forced to grow up, learn how to survive, and how to fight those who would continue to hunt what remained of his family. That had been his new reality.
But now, despite the fear and insecurity that followed him, there wasn’t a night when he didn’t end up tangled in sweaty sheets with Mr. Tall, Dark, and Dangerous playing opposite him in some Kama Sutra porn marathon.
Sean Maddox has one basic goal: to protect the Northwest Pack. That priority helps him stay grounded—until the day the pack rescues Liam. Suddenly Sean is finding any excuse to be around the sweet, blind shifter. But trying to focus his thoughts on keeping Liam safe and not exploring the whole laundry list of carnal fantasies he’s been having is anything but grounding. It doesn’t help that Sean’s wolf makes it damn clear it believes Liam belongs to him.
From the first deep breath of Sean Maddox’s intoxicating scent, all Liam wants to do is strip naked for the sexy beta and let the wolf claim him. Hiding away his desires seems like the best plan, given after a lifetime in captivity Liam is just learning what it means to be free. What does he know about being a mate? More to the point, would Sean even want him if he knew the truth?
As Sean and Liam struggle with their growing craving for each other an old enemy steps out of the shadows. With secrets lurking and fate twisting two worlds together a sacrifice must be made, but can the two mates live with the consequences?
While he was certain Liam didn’t intend for it to be a sensual strip tease, Sean’s mind drifted in that direction anyway. Birds sang and the wind bellowed, while Liam’s hands danced over the contours of his body.
“I can feel you staring at me,” Liam accused, although amusement colored his words. The levity kept him from turning away and giving Liam privacy.
“I’m just standing here,” he replied in a low rough voice. Standing there envisioning someplace much more private so he could do wicked things he shouldn’t be considering.
“Uh huh.” Liam shrugged his shirt from his shoulders and Sean bit his lip to keep his groan at bay. Screw the water, he wanted to press the man to the ground and lick him from head to toe.
Facing him directly as though Liam could actually see him, Liam toed of his shoes and shimmied out of his pants. He did manage to keep on a snug pair of black boxer briefs Sean had taken him shopping to get.
Deep breathes. Deep breathes.
“No more than this,” Liam said with a stubborn twist to his lips. The words effectively jerked him into the present. “I may not be able to see you looking at me, but I can feel it.”
“Oh?” His curiosity peaked at that admission, but he left the statement alone, for now. Deep within he wanted to know everyone about Liam, but didn’t want to push so hard the man locked him out. The last thing he needed was for Liam to know how much he wanted him to remove that last scrap of clothing.
“Well?” Liam held his hand out. “I need some direction here.”
Sean grinned and closed the distanced between them. He laced their fingers together and directed Liam toward the edge of the water. “The rocks are a bit slippery, so be careful.”
He waded into the chilly water and towed Liam in after him, not surprised when the man gasped, “Shit, that’s cold. Are you sure we should be doing this?”
“I swim here every morning. Your body will adjust.”
“Or you’re crazy,” Liam muttered under his breath. “It’ll adjust when hypothermia sets in.”
He chuckled and carefully turned away from the lake so he could direct Liam out into the water. “Come on. Today I won’t throw you into the deep. It will be about getting you comfortable with the water.”
“Define comfortable? You’ll leave me in here until I’m too numb to climb out?”
“No, smartass,” Sean responded with a snort. “It’s about you feeling the stones under your feet and the slight current along your body.”
Liam’s face crinkled into a looked of disgust. “It feels gross down there.”
“There is moss covering the floor of the lake. I promise it isn’t anything that is going to come out and grab you.” Sean brushed his thumb over Liam’s hand in reassuring gesture. “I’ll protect you.”
“Somehow that sounded condescending.”
“I know this lake like the back of my hand. I’ve been swimming here since I was a boy. I probably can map out about every rock.”
The chill from the water was a relief from the heat the sight of Liam’s nearly naked form inspired. The man’s pale body reflected off the surface of the water, his narrow waist, and slim toned torso. The fall of his hair danced around his shoulders from the soft breeze that blew across the lake. His brow furrowed in concentration.
Sean had never taken anyone to the lake with him. He considered it a private place, one he now shared with the puzzling man before him. A man who he wanted to unraveled to reveal all his secrets and protect him from any harm that may still be lurking in the shadows. Now if Liam weren’t so damn stubborn.
Liam screeched, slipped and fell against him. “Something touched my leg.”
Liam’s arms snaked around his body as he tried to climb Sean’s form to the point his legs had a strangle hold on his waist.
He laughed. “There are fish in the water and sometimes you’ll feel them glide over your skin, but they won’t hurt you.”
“You couldn’t have told me that sooner?” Liam released the grip he had around his torso with his legs.
He groaned when Liam slid along his body and right over an erection that hadn’t deflated since Liam had released the first button from his shirt.
A soft exhale of breath met his response and Liam’s arms remained around his neck. He mapped out each knob of Liam’s spine and settled on his hips. The midline length water concealed the way he held Liam lower body plastered to his.
“I would have told you,” he said gruffly. “I wasn’t aware the fish would take such a liking to you.”
With one damp hand he brushed the locks of Liam’s hair behind his ears. The remaining water trickled along Liam’s neck making a path along the curve of his neck and over Liam’s nipples, pebbled from the cold.
“Sean?” Liam whispered his voice heavy laden with uncertainty.
Sean cupped the side of Liam’s face and traced his thumb across the lips he so badly wanted to explore. The heated flick of a tongue against the pad of his thumb broke his resolve and he leaned in until a breath of space remained between them.
“Liam, if you’re done playing hide the water snake with beta Sean, we need to go do that work thing,” Cory’s voice shattered the moment.
Origin of the Wolf
CORY SURVAYED FROM the shadows as Jacob secured his bag and climbed on his motorcycle. Jacob snagged his helmet and covered the silver locks of hair Cory so loved. The engine roared to life but Jacob just stood frozen and Cory felt a faint glimmer of hope. Jacob couldn’t leave him again; Jacob was part of him. But his hopes were dashed as quickly as they rose, when in crushing pain he watched Jacob let up the kickstand and leave with only a trail of dust as proof he’d been there at all.
The need to curl into a ball was so intense he almost died beneath it. Oh God, he could barely breath. Jacob’s words vibrated through his numb mind.
“This isn’t over. You need protected. You’re not strong enough!”
“I’m not a child. I don’t need protection. I’m your mate. This whole time you’ve been here you’ve been giving me shit, bossing me around, pushing this mating on me, like you had some control, like you wanted to…like you wanted…”
A weary sigh had fallen from Jacob’s lips. “I can’t do my job here. It’s my duty now to find Dimitri so he can’t hurt anyone else.”
“So, you’ll just ignore a fated mate and leave?
“Yes, the fates chose poorly for you. I’m sorry, Cory.”
Those parting words alone had almost been enough to shatter him. Jacob’s remorseful expression cut deep, and his complete rejection of their mating twisted the knife.
Tears threatened to fall down his cheeks as he sunk to his knees. “Jacob.”
His lips trembled. The agony washed over him and something broke inside. The numbness in his head spread with cold fingers through his blood and into his heart. He stood on shaky limbs, his hands clenched into fists.
When Jacob returned Cory would not be the man he’d left behind. Cory would not belong to Jacob. Cory would never be his mate.
Excerpt from Origin of the Wolf, Pack of Light book three.