Have you had a chance to read my Mystic Wolves series yet?
With a new week beginning, here's your chance ...
The Mystic Wolves (#1) is currently FREE on both Amazon and Smashwords!! And to whet your appetitie, here is the first chapter of Forget Me Not (#2)
If you're a lover of Patricia Briggs and Kelley Armstrong, you'll LOVE my Mason and Darcy!
I looked the woman up and down. It irritated me how she hung on Mason, as if she had every right in the world to do it. I growled and stepped forward, ready to go to war for the man I loved. I didn’t even care about whatever excuse she would give for invading our lives with her false presumptions—I was pissed. I could feel the change happening, and I smiled. Judging from the way she blanched, I knew my fangs must have shown.
“Darcy, stop.” Mason’s voice broke through my anger, and luckily for him he’d moved away from her. “This is Amber, and it’s not what it seems.”
“Who is this, Mason? And why does she think she has a hold over you?” Amber asked.
The syrupy sweetness of her tone set my teeth on edge, and I launched myself at her. I was acting on the most primal of levels, hospitality be damned. I was instantly caught up in strong embrace of Alpha, and pulled in tight to his chest. I lunged again with my hands clenched into fists.
“Calm down, baby,” he whispered into my ear, his deep, rumbling timbre trying to soothe the savageness rising within me. “There’s no threat here. Trust me.” I felt a small layer of power under his words, and my wolf stood down—for the moment. I realized I was panting as my body tensed—ready to fight.
Wrapped tightly in his arms, I glared at the intruder, and tried to unclench my jaw. Everything inside was on high alert, and I refused to look away. Listening for Mason’s response, I almost missed the flicker of amusement that crossed her face.
“What are you doing here? I’m pretty sure I made myself clear.” It was the coldness in his tone which finally caused me to relax. He was surprised to see her, but there was no mistaking the anger as well. There was history between them, but whatever designs this Amber had were all one sided.
“I heard, but it still doesn’t change that it was the wish of our parents. I thought you needed time to see the sense between the pairing, and now with the death of your sister, I knew you would need me.” Her focus was on Mason, but her body language told me she was still aware of me. “Maybe this is a discussion we need to continue away from your girlfriend.”
Finally meeting my gaze, she smiled sympathetically. “I’m sorry, I know this is sudden, but whatever you have with the Alpha is over. He is betrothed, so any promise you think you have with him can’t ever become a reality.”
“Amber. We are not betrothed.”
“But, you’re not tied to anyone. You don’t bear the marks. Why else would a male of your virility and status remain alone?” She looked at me again. “Surely, she’s not the reason why. She’s nothing, Mason, merely something to slake your lust with.”
He’d loosened his grip on me, and I broke free from his embrace. My vision zeroed in on her throat, restarting the process of shifting. I was determined that one way or the other, there would be one less werewolf on the property when I was done.
“Darcy.” Not only did he use my name, but Mason also slammed his plea through our mental connection, layering it thick with his love and need for me to stop. I wanted blood—needing to do something to show this two-bit hussy I wasn’t so easily tossed aside. I was the one Mason would be mating with, and another growl escaped from my mouth in warning.
I felt myself start to waiver, understanding the worry reflected in his eyes. Calming, I dragged a deep breath into my lungs. I ignored the words of apology he sent, the look of regret. I didn’t ignore the triumph on her face, however.
“I refuse to leave until you at least listen to what I have to say. We have much to discuss… privately,” she answered, looking down her nose at me.
“Enough, Amber. I don’t care who you think you are, you do not come into my home and threaten my future mate. Do you understand?” He waited for her to nod before he continued. “I don’t want you, and I thought I made that perfectly clear. If you need a reminder, then by all means, let me explain it one last time. But this ends tonight.” He jabbed his finger at her to add emphasis.
Gesturing for me to wait a moment, he led the stunned Amber into the living room. Signaling for me to lead the way, we headed toward my bedroom, the tension and unanswered questions hanging between us. The anger I’d been feeling began to diffuse as a need to know what just happened replaced it, and I let out a heavy breath.
Was this a sign of things to come? I thought to myself. Lately it seemed we’d suffer from one tragedy, and before we could even recover, someone else stepped in to wreak havoc. I knew life as a werewolf was a constant source of ups and downs, especially being closely tied with an Alpha, but somehow I’d gotten used to things being quieter. We’d gone from a relatively peaceful pack, to losing our pack sister, to having to deal with a vampire with a need to control everything, and now this.
Thinking about Avery still made me cringe. The measures he’d taken to get what he wanted were extreme and the image of Mason chained to the basement wall of the vampire’s estate still haunted me. Avery had thought to use me as a bargaining chip, but with the help of Devlin, a vampire enforcer, I’d managed to stop his plans. But it came at a high cost—Mason’s sister Jasmine had been killed by a human Avery had been manipulating.
We entered and I went to sit on the bed. Thinking better of it, I shifted the clothing resting on the armchair, and took a seat. Now that we were alone, and I could ask Mason to explain, I couldn’t find the words to start. It seemed neither could he, and we sat there in silence until I finally spoke up.
“You didn’t need to step in.” I couldn’t hide the hurt in my voice.
“I know.” His answer came out with a long sigh. “In my defense, if I hadn’t, you would’ve killed her.”
“She deserved it. She’s lucky to still be breathing.”
Mason chuckled, and I glared at him. Trying to judge my mood, he added, “I’m proud of you. I’m not going to lie—part of me was willing to let you go at it just to watch.”
His confession surprised me. “So why did you stop me? It was within my right.”
“I know it was, but it’s also my right to keep you from danger. Not that she stood a chance at hurting you. I just … I didn’t want another death on your conscience. I know I can’t shield you from this part of pack politics, especially with you as my wife. You’ll see your fair share of challenges, but this conflict was easily avoidable. Amber is no threat to you—to us—so once she sees that, she’ll be on her way. I guarantee when we go out there, she’ll apologize and then slink off back to wherever she’s been hiding.”
What he said made sense, even though it left a bitter taste in my mouth. It was just hard to bury the bloodthirsty need to destroy anything standing in the way of our mating ritual. I’d go to hell and back for Mason. Having just battled a power hungry vampire, who thought he could threaten him, some blonde werewolf was nothing. I took in another deep, calming breath.
“So, who is she?”
“Amber’s someone from my past who won’t stay there—the daughter of a family who’s been associated with this pack for a very long time,” Mason answered, finally taking a seat on the edge of my bed before he continued.
“It was all about power with my father. There was a joke circulating around the pack during my early childhood that the only thing saving me from a drowning was that I hadn’t been born a female. Nothing I did was right in his eyes. I was never good enough, and a constant source of derision. He was a tough man to please—impossible—and I know it created a lot of worry for my mother. She did her best to shield me, but it only made his belief in my weakness stronger so she eventually left me to his defenses. Things changed for the better, however, when a neighboring pack celebrated the birth of a daughter. Finally I had a purpose. I could be used to form an alliance to solidify his influence, so I became betrothed.”
“But that’s such an old practice, rarely used now,” I interrupted. I was shocked he’d been put under such obligation.
“My father didn’t care. Neither did I, because it meant he left me in peace. He never saw my worth, and with his focus now on different things, I secretly trained and prepared for the day I’d eventually have to face him.”
“What about Amber?”
“She was completely besotted with me and under the rule of her father. He wasn’t a fool to discredit me, knowing sooner or later I would become the new leader of the Mystic Wolves. While he sweet-talked my father, he had Amber try to win my affections. It almost worked too. But it was all for nothing when my parents were killed. I stepped forward and the pack accepted me as their Alpha without any fanfare. Amber’s father tried to push the issue of the arranged marriage, but I refused.”
“How long ago was this?” I asked.
“About five years. Amber’s father has done everything he could to force me to marry his daughter, even bringing me before the Council. They deemed it pack business, and dismissed the case immediately. Every now and then, Amber thinks she can try to change my mind, but each time I send her away. We last spoke two years ago, and I honestly thought I’d convinced her to give up her vain hope. Everything returned to normal and then I met you. I haven’t thought of her until today, and I was just as shocked as you were to see her.”
I looked into his strong, handsome face, the sincerity of his words blazing in his blue eyes. Getting up from my chair, I sat beside Mason. He opened his arms, and I relaxed into them.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been so mad. Seeing her hang all over you—kissing you—pushed me right over the edge. I’m the one who always tries to find a peaceful solution, but I wanted her blood. I still want it.”
“Just remember… I’m yours, and we’ll be mated in a few weeks. Nothing will change that. You’re stuck with me, Darcy O’Connor. Sounds good, doesn’t it?” he whispered in my ear.
“It’s perfect.” I smiled, holding my hand out to him. “Okay, time to see why she’s here. The sooner we do, the sooner she can leave and never come back.”
Mason kissed me languidly, taking his time, and when he was finished there was a grin on both of our faces, and the tension had completely lifted.
Reaching for the door handle, I paused. “Just so you know. Next time she insults me like that, I will eat her.” I flashed my fangs at him, my voice steady to show my seriousness.
He cocked his eyebrow, shaking his head at me. “I have no doubt. If she’s that stupid, I wish her luck. And by the way… this side of you is definitely a turn on.” He caressed the side of my cheek, studying my face. “Yep, sure is.” He kissed me once more, and then led us back to the living room.
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