Darlings, I am SO GRATEFUL for the overwhelming response to "Her Alphas" - Book 2 in my Wolf's Mark series! Thank you for making this book an INSTANT BESTSELLER!
I'm pleased to offer the complete first chapter and hope you'll be titillated enough to see what happens next.
Sending love and gratitude from beautiful Northern California...
Jenny tilted her face to the full moon and breathed in the cool forest air. Her nose twitched as she detected pine needles, rotting leaves and the musk of living creatures. Each scent brought with it an image, creating a flickering mental slideshow.
In the months since her change, Jenny’s senses had grown almost unbearably acute. It was as if she were experiencing the world for the first time and her mind raced to take it all in.
She could get lost in the complex flavors of fresh fruit—or raw meat—and the glitter of sunlight on the lake took her breath away. This new reality was a better high than she could get from any drug—and she’d tried them all.
A light breeze swirled through the clearing, and when her long blonde hair brushed over her bare skin, she shivered. Every nerve ending seemed to bloom at the slightest touch and she’d begun chasing the feast of new sensations.
Sex used to be the currency she’d traded to survive, but now it fed her ever-growing power. Right up until the night she’d been bitten, Jenny had used her tight little body to get what she needed—food, drugs, a place to crash. She’d coasted from one meaningless business transaction to the next—fucking rich old men in limousines and B-list rock stars on tour busses.
Jenny had never told her new lover about the things she’d had to do to. That woman was dead. She’d been reborn into a new world where her past meant nothing and she could create the future she knew she deserved.
The moment she’d laid eyes on Sergei Markov on her first night in Talbot, she’d known he was her ticket out of life as a drifter. She hadn’t counted on him being able to transport her mind and body with his big cock and the magic of the moon.
She didn’t know if he loved her—and that didn’t matter—she was pretty sure she didn’t love him. One thing was clear—he wanted her desperately—and that was something she could work with.
Just walking naked with him to the clearing—their clearing—was enough to drive her mad. The anticipation of the mystical energy they were about to share made her pussy throb. She knew that when they were done, her body would be wrecked, but she would have stolen some of his strength for her own.
Even as Jenny wondered at the limits of her potential power, she felt her body ripple and contort as the shift overcame her. The howl burst from her chest as she smelled his musk and felt his hot erection press into the small of her back.
So small. So wild.
Sergei stood back on the path, watching Jenny lift her face to the blazing moon. She seemed to be pulling at its energy. The rays turned her silky hair nearly white and he followed the curve of her back past the narrow waist to her tight, round ass.
He tried to probe her mind but was met with static—like a radio that had been tuned between stations. Early on, he’d wondered if she’d been shielding her thoughts, but knew that was impossible for one so freshly turned.
It took years of experience to put up such psychic walls, especially against one as skilled as he was. He had been pack alpha not so long ago. Reading the minds of his lessers and making them cower beneath his crushing strength had been a benefit of his position. But this one… this one was different.
From the moment she’d stumbled into Talbot—like so many did—freshly bitten and full of anxiety, he’d wanted her. Perhaps it was simply that he’d been alone for so long. Or maybe he was seeking a fresh start.
Jenny was so willing—that was part of her attraction. He’d made a vow that he would never take a female by force.
Once, in a moment of weakness, he’d almost done the unthinkable. He had been frantically clutching to his place as alpha and driven by moon lust when he’d tried to claim the human consort, Gwen Chaney, as his own.
An inexplicable fear had overwhelmed him that night and Sergei had felt an instinctive need to crush the threat he perceived in Gwen. He would never understand what had happened to him—what had fueled his rage—but he would die before he let it happen again. Though he’d been pardoned for that transgression, the shame of it haunted him.
Sergei shook away the memory and focused again on Jenny’s lithe body. It seemed to vibrate with her volatile energy. She was willful, untamed and unpredictable—fueling his frustration and his desire.
His attention was drawn to her beautiful backside. Saliva flooded his mouth as her willowy limbs stretched and the muscles became hyper-defined. Her delicate fingers morphed into claws and fine golden fur erupted through her creamy skin.
Jenny widened her stance, trembling as her feet elongated, the heels sliding up the back of her legs until she balanced on wolfen paws. The marriage of woman and beast was exquisite.
When Jenny threw back her head and howled, Sergei’s own transformation was instant and her human shortcomings were extinguished by his desire. In two long strides the man-beast was pressed against her back, his own moon cry mingling with hers.
Sergei sank his teeth into her shoulder—not with full force—but hard enough to sting. The howl ripped from Jenny’s throat and even now, six months after her change, the savageness of it still surprised her.
“Does it please you, little one?” Sergei growled. His muzzle was at her ear and his hot breath ruffled her golden fur.
“Yes, baby, it pleases me,” she panted. She dug her claws into the mossy soil at the edge of the clearing, bracing herself against his assault. The enormous werewolf curled his elongated fingers around her hipbones and rammed into her again.
His thick cock filled her completely, stretching her to the limit between pleasure and pain. As a man, the big Russian had been a professional basketball player and, after his change, his supernatural strength was only enhanced by his athleticism.
During moon week, he could fuck her for hours. And he did. Jenny’s own strength and stamina had increased to degrees she couldn’t have imagined before, yet these sessions often left her so weak that her mate had to carry her back to the house.
Before he’d taken her from behind, Sergei had made her come over and over again. He’d plunged his fingers into her wet pussy and snaked his long tongue deep inside. He always made sure she was satisfied before entering her because, once he did, there was no turning back. When they were sexually joined, a shifted pair fit together like lock and key and couldn’t be separated until the male reached his climax. The mystical bonding was as real and unbreakable as a physical one would be.
Alex—their alpha—explained that this love-tie occurred in all wolves. Canids he called them. He’d been a veterinarian before becoming a big TV star and he always used words like that. It was just one of the many ways Alex made sure everyone in the pack knew their place. Sergei had been pack master once and, as far as Jenny was concerned, he still should be.
Steam rose from their sweaty bodies in the cool autumn night. The fur between Jenny’s lean thighs was already matted with wetness when he flipped her onto all fours. As ready as she was for him, she still ground her teeth when he pressed his huge shaft inside.
Every sense was heightened and each time he grazed her engorged clit, shockwaves radiated from her core and sent fresh juices flowing. No drug could rival the high she felt during moon week.
Jenny’s slick inner walls registered every steely inch of him. It was as if she could even decipher every thick vein. His hot breath on her neck and the musky smell of him flooded her consciousness.
Her muscles quivered and ached and just when she thought she couldn’t take any more, she lifted her head and focused on the full moon hovering over the pines. For so many months she’d had to look at it through iron bars. She’d been locked in the fledgling cave every night of her first four moon weeks. Bathing in its light out here in the open—with Sergei buried deep inside of her—was a rush like none other.
The lunar rays washed over her and sent energy coursing through her cells. Jenny pushed her ass backward to meet Sergei’s animalistic thrusts. She contracted her inner muscles, squeezing down hard and enhancing the already snug fit. His pace quickened and his heavy balls slapped at her engorged clit. The sensation was magical and she feltherself climbing again. Staring at the huge white orb in the sky, Jenny gave herself over to its power and let it rip the orgasm from her lithe body. She howled and panted in release.
The rippling spasms shook her so violently that she barely noticed that Sergei too was reaching climax. It wasn’t until she felt the hot jets of cum spurt into her and she heard his feral snarls that she understood. The supernatural tie that had bound them slowly unraveled and Sergei’s cock slid from her bruised and aching pussy. He flopped on his back and pulled her against his broad chest. Jenny lightly brushed her claws over his hard muscles. “You are so fucking strong,” she whispered.
“And you are so beautiful,” he replied.
Jenny listened to his breathing slow and become deep and even. Looking up into his face, then down his ripped torso and powerful legs, she watched as he shifted back to human form. The moonlight illuminated his massive body, casting shadows in the valleys between his defined abs. Yes. You are the strongest and I am the hottest. We should be this pack’s alphas.
* * * * *
Gwen Chaney tossed the magazine on the coffee table then stared at the riot of fall colors on the trees outside the cabin window. After rereading the first paragraph of the same article four times, she still didn’t know what it was about. She was too distracted to read—or for that matter—think straight. It had been six months since Gwen had asked Alex to change her and she was still waiting. He’d assured her that it wasn’t impossible…
The pack needed her. She understood it was complicated, but her impatience was growing. In her role as legacy consort, it was Gwen’s birthright—no, her birth-obligation—to usher new werewolves through the early days of their transformation. The pack held her in the highest esteem, and she was safer among them than any human walking the earth. She was untouchable. Even so, she couldn’t help but think that her status was nothing more than an antiquated designation.
She didn’t really do anything. The newly turned were handed over to her care, but she thought anyone with half a brain could march the destined—or the doomed, as it were—through the underground tunnel to the ancient cell, lock the door then look on as they transformed.
After seeing three newborn werewolves through their trials, as far as she could tell her only real function was to sit outside the thick iron bars and watch as the change overtook them. Gwen neither interfered with, nor facilitated, the process. She merely sat on the creaky old rocking chair and looked on as human became beast. It seemed to her that the pack could have employed some minimum-wage short-order cook to do the same.
The one thing Gwen was sure of was that she wanted to be on the other side of the cell door. As violent as the transformations appeared to be and as wild and uncontrolled as the creatures became, she longed to experience the magic for herself. Before coming to Talbot, Gwen had never considered herself the adventurous type, but this place had changed her. She had seen things that she couldn’t have dreamed existed and now that her eyes had been opened to the new world, she understood that she was born to be a part of it. Looking in from the outside was no longer enough.
* * * * *
Six Months Earlier
The last fledgling she’d overseen had been Jenny—the waiflike neo-flower-child who had been bitten while attending an outdoor concert in northern Wisconsin. Jenny had made her way to the pack just two days before moon week and was both frightened and confused to find herself in such an unbelievable predicament.
By the time the two women had retired to the underground cell, Jenny had enthusiastically embraced the adventure.
“This is better than tripping on acid,” Jenny had said. Gwen supposed that the little blonde’s experience with psychotropic drugs had helped eased the transition.
Jenny and the pack’s former alpha, Sergei Markov, had made an instant connection and—with Alex’s blessing—were paired as life-mates.
Alex had come to Gwen that night as Jenny lay on the cot, panting and whining in her sleep. He’d pulled Gwen into the shadows and wrung every last bit of passion from her body. The session had left her aching and exhausted. The next morning, she’d asked Alex to let her drink the potion that would make her like him, but he’d refused.
“The pack needs you, Gwen,” he’d said. “We’ll look for a replacement, but it won’t be easy. It’s not like I’ve got a file folder stuffed with resumés for consorts.”
Gwen had lost it. “What’s the difference who does it? A trained monkey could sit in that fucking rocking chair and do nothing while the newbies storm around the cell doing their thing! Why do you even need anyone there? Couldn’t you just lock the door, hide the key and let them change? It’s not like they’re going to escape and go on a killing spree!”
She could still remember the look of disbelief on his face when she’d said that. “Gwen, I assumed you understood. Didn’t your grandfather’s notes explain why it has to be you?”
Gwen stared at the wooden box that lay on the coffee table beside her unread magazine. The symbol of the werewolf—a spiral within an inverted triangle—was carved on the lid. The box held her late-grandfather’s pipes and tobacco and—in a secret compartment—the journal. The thick leather-bound volume was a handbook of sorts, passed down through generations of human consorts and filled with notes from those who had held the position before her.
The earliest entries were made in elegant script, dotted with splotches of ink as if written with a quill. Others were in pencil and ballpoint. The most recent were from her grandfather. She recognized his small, neat printing in the blue felt-tip he favored. Gwen had received countless birthday cards and letters from John Chaney and the sight of his handwriting always made her miss him.
Since discovering the journal, Gwen had pored over the pages, trying to make sense of her strange predicament. Some entries were devoted to what pack elders called ”the mystery”. They believed that though werewolves came from every walk of life, they were not chosen at random. The Moon People tradition taught that the moment man and beast met was preordained. Neither could foresee it.
Neither could control it. Neither was to blame.
There were instructions on how to calm the newly bitten and what to feed them in preparation for the physical demands of the changes they would endure—lots of high-fat protein and plenty of water.
There was a crude map to the hidden cave and a faded drawing of the amulet the consort was to wear while on duty. Several of the entries stressed the importance of staying away from the cell bars, well out of the werewolves’ reach.
There were plenty of instructions on what to do and what not to do, but no insight regarding why.
When Gwen had told Alex that, he’d sat her down to explain.
“Keeping humans safe is one reason for locking up the fledglings, but that’s only part of the equation, Gwen. You’re also keeping the new werewolves safe from us. Our behavior is complicated and instinctive. We’re hardwired to maintain the status quo and part of that is keeping outsiders out of the pack. Until they’re fully initiated, we see them as a threat and we’re compelled to…well…destroy them.”
“Like I could stop a werewolf who wanted to get into that cell? I’ve seen the kind of speed and strength you all have!”
Alex had shaken his head. “No. You’re right. You could never stop us—physically. But as a human consort you have two things that make you invincible. One, you wear the amulet in the cave and—two, your bloodline makes you untouchable. One doesn’t work without the other, but in combination those things keep you—and the fledglings—safe.”
She had searched her memory for the first time Alex had told her that her bloodline protected her. “But you told me before that my lineage made me off-limits to attack. You never said anything about the amulet.”
“You misunderstood,” Alex had said. “I told you that the pack members are not allowed to touch you because you’re a legacy consort. It’s the law, but laws can be broken and if they are, the penalties are severe. However, if you’re in the confines of the sacred space—the cave— and you’re wearing the necklace, nothing can harm you. It’s physically impossible—like you’re in a force field.”
Gwen had thought back to the way he’d taken her in the cave while Jenny slept in the cell just a few yards away. “Well I seem to remember my ‘force field’ didn’t stop you the night Jenny was changed and I’m pretty sure I was wearing the amulet.”
“I didn’t harm you, did I?”
Alex had brought her from one orgasm to another and left her spent and satisfied, but no, he hadn’t harmed her.
* * * * *
With the memory of that night still fresh in her mind, Gwen rose from the couch and walked to the little side table near the front door. She opened the drawer and pulled out the thick silver chain. She ran her fingers over the heavy pendant, tracing each line and curve of the werewolf symbol.
Alex’s explanation had answered her questions but raised new—and devastating—problems. It would be easy enough to hand off the amulet to another person—if the pack could find someone willing to take on the responsibility. It would be another thing entirely to find someone who shared her DNA.
Following her grandfather’s death, Gwen had become the last of the Chaney line.
As soon as Gwen walked toward the front door, her golden retriever, Jezebel, struggled to her feet with a groan and waddled across the room, tail wagging. Alex’s black Lab, Bob, was right behind her.
Gwen dropped the amulet back into the drawer and slid it shut. “Feel like a walk, you two furry idiots? I think we could all use some fresh air.”
Jezebel’s long, fringed tail—and Bob’s sleek one—thumped against Gwen’s knees. She reached down and scratched both dogs’ heads. “I’ll take that as a yes.”
The three stepped off the front porch and headed toward the trailhead between the tall pines at the edge of the side yard. Bob ran ahead, pausing occasionally to sniff and pee. She lost sight of him a couple of times and wished she had Alex’s powers. The star of the hit TV show The Dog Talker had a secret to his success. He could solve canine behavior problems not because of his background in veterinary medicine and animal behavior, but because he could literally talk to the animals. He could hear their thoughts and they could comprehend his.
Alex had explained that it wasn’t so much a conversation as an understanding. Dogs, he’d told her, thought in emotions and their primary motivations were food, sex and safety. Alex was able to “fix” them by deciphering what it was that was upsetting that balance. It was all a mystery to Gwen. As far as she could tell, Bob’s only current motivation was identifying the ideal spot to urinate.
Jezebel stayed close to her mistress. It had been a year since the cougar attack that had nearly killed Jez and she still seemed skittish when they ventured into the forest. The encounter had shaken Gwen too. Since then, she never ventured out after dark and always stayed on the trail. Knowing that she lived smack dab in the middle of a werewolf enclave also gave her pause.
Though Alex had assured her that her supernatural neighbors were bound by pack law to protect—not harm—Gwen, it wasn’t the law-abiders she was worried about.
She’d seen them at their worst—during the first nights of their change. Without exception they’d thrown themselves against the cell bars and snapped and snarled at her, spewing out animalistic threats about how they’d rip out her throat at the first possible opportunity. They didn’t seem at all like model citizens concerned with upholding the mores of polite society.
Gwen pulled the crisp autumn air into her lungs and concentrated on the crunch of the colorful fall leaves under her boots. She’d hiked this trail a hundred times as a child. Grandpa Chaney had walked by her side, teaching her how to tell the difference between a red oak and a white.
“The red oak leaf is pointed—like an arrow,” he’d said. “If you pricked your finger with an arrow, you’d bleed red. The white oak is smooth and round like a river rock. If you put your hand in the cold stream to pluck out a rock, your fingertips would turn white. That’s how you remember which is which.”
He’d taught her the difference between the whistle of a cardinal and the chirp of a robin. Before she could recite the alphabet she’d known how to identify poison ivy. A cozy blanket of nostalgia wrapped around Gwen and she wondered how she’d let herself drift so far from the love of nature that John Chaney had instilled in her.
He’d been preparing me even then, she realized. Though he couldn’t reveal to her what strange things her future held, he’d been quietly laying the groundwork.
Rounding a switchback in the path, Gwen spied Old Mossy—the enormous glacial boulder that marked the halfway point of the trail. The soft green carpet that covered its surface looked the same as it had when she was a kid, but she knew it was very different.
She remembered the day John had pulled a magnifying glass from his pocket and passed it to her. “Look closely now, Gwenny. See how the moss isn’t just one big plant but lots of little ones? Every one of them has tiny roots that work their way into the rock and break it up. Can you imagine such a thing? Those soft little plants can turn a great big boulder—millions of years old—into dust.”
It wasn’t until that moment that Gwen understood the lesson. It wasn’t about the erosion of some rock in the forest—it spoke to the thousands of things that could slowly destroy a relationship. She was letting this thing with Alex eat away at her. A year ago she hadn’t even known werewolves existed and now she was willing to risk what she and Alex had because she was intent on becoming one.
What they had was an attraction like nothing she’d ever experienced before. She was drawn to Alex’s sexual energy and it was clear that he hungered for her. Though Alex met all of her physical needs, the two were separated by their realities. Gwen wondered if they would have found each other in the real world. She doubted it.
Stepping over a rotting log on the path, Gwen thought about how the march of time would separate them even further. If she remained human, Alex would live for many lifetimes long after she was gone.
Pack laws regarding her bloodline protected her from the bite that would bring about the change. Only the potion that had changed Alex could make her like him. In that little packet of magical tea, he held her future.
Gwen longed to learn what it would be like if they were equals. More than that, she needed to discover her own potential.
It’ll happen when it happens, she decided.
The winding trail sloped downhill and Gwen knew that a wide, circular clearing was just around the bend. They’d stop there for a few minutes—as they always did—and give Jezebel a chance to catch her breath. Even in the cool air, the dog was already panting and foaming at the mouth.
The golden retriever picked up the pace—surging ahead on the trail—no doubt looking forward to a cool drink and some tummy rubs before they continued. When Gwen caught up with the dogs, both had stopped at the edge of the clearing. The fur along their spines was on end, their heads were lowered and their ears were flattened against their broad heads. But it was the low, rumbling growl from the dogs’ chests that caused Gwen’s blood to run cold.
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