Can two wild souls survive the storm?
Mira, a zoologist and secret cryptozoologist at Vegas Zoo, has observed an unusual wolf prowling the confines of the zoo and her own property. But her dream of discovering a new species and documenting her find brings her up against Vegas’ werewolf community when rumors of her discovery of this dangerous hybrid threaten to expose them.
Calan Creig, a Highland Heathen Wulver Enforcer and head of Worldwide Security for Lycans, is summoned to Vegas to investigate. Although Mira’s eager to study this Tasmanian wolf lookalike, thought extinct for almost a hundred years, Calan is convinced he’ll be able to distract her and put obstacles in her path to prevent the discovery from being widespread. A playboy, he enjoys women and looks forward to seeing what Vegas can offer him—only, what it brings him is Mira, his mate!
But the hybrid wolf craves Mira to strengthen his own bloodline and will stop at nothing to have her. Now Mira and Calan must work together to eliminate the threat of this renegade wolf…if they can find their way past their deep mistrust issues. It seems impossible, but with Mira’s life and all that Calan holds dear at stake, it’s the only hope left.
Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of slight dubious consent concerning fated mates, references to drugs, non-nuturing parenting, and murder.
General Release Date: 9th May 2023
The night wind lashed the casement windows of Castle Creigbourne, driving rain against the tower’s glass. The din woke me from a battle I was winning, striking down the enemy with my mighty claymore that I’d named Slayer. They don’t accuse me of having an iron soul for nothing. I never give up, and danger’s my life’s blood, even in my dreams.
Stretching, then grimacing as the numerous cuts and bruises from my recent cage fight made themselves known, I checked the time. Five a.m. Early enough to avoid company. I treasured time alone, a rare commodity in the Creig clan.
My bleary vision was made worse by a pounding headache curtesy of a night spent in our local pub celebrating the Burryman and my earlier knockout victory of a worthy opponent. I rubbed my eyes, blinked and spied my cell phone lying by the bed, reminding me of the encrypted email I’d gotten last night.
Right. Today my attendance was requested at virtual council. More like demanded, but also to be expected as my clan’s enforcer and one of a select team of experts that composed the Worldwide Security for Lycans or WSL. The position was made for me…when I didn’t have a damn hangover. Well, a good run across the moors would clear my head of the remaining cobwebs.
With no thought to dress, I strode naked from the room and took the stairs leading to the outdoors two at a time, exiting from the back of the keep. The scent of heather and moss stirred my senses as the rain ceased and a rainbow appeared over a rise in the land. I transformed to my other nature, entering through the glimmering doorway in the dimension next door, then exiting the portal as wolf. That split-second moment in time when my energy shifted, then reformed, exposing my wild nature, never got old.
On my massive paws, I loped across the wet green fields of Eilean maddah-allaidh or Wolf Island, eager to patrol our vast holdings and check for any interloper or breach of security. No one who knew of our piece of off-the-beaten-path real estate took the chance of riling one of us, the Highland Heathen Clan born of Wulvers and Vikings and ancient warriors, but I still kept a sharp lookout for the unexpected.
Someone finding our shores and causing havoc could not, and would not, be tolerated. The freedom of our heritage needed to continue, and I would protect my clan and our secrets to my dying breath. It explained why I’d chosen to live my life on my own, not willing to allow another to suffer if it was cut short. Not that I intended that to happen, but in this world, shit happened.
I was halfway across the island when my nose picked up a scent. I skirted the area, recognizing the perfume of a woman best left to her own devices. Last thing I needed was giving Sherry, a cousin with whom I’d shared a mutual love of fine whiskey in the pub last night, any hope of us spending time together, old friend or not.
The longer route took me past Wulver Cave, and I slipped inside to quench my thirst. I had a secure location that no one, not even my clan, was aware of in the Highlands. I keep it fully stocked and ready in case of a need to evacuate my entire family at a moment’s notice. Thankfully to date, there had been no need for its use.
At the edge of the underground freshwater lake, a feature of Wulver Cave, I peered around, making sure I was alone and not about to be ambushed by one of my brothers or cousins. It would be just like them to sneak up on me and try to pin me down. As if. It would just lead to a fight, then a standoff, something my headache could do without, though the fresh air was helping it fade.
I bent to lap the water with my tongue, then stilled as a vision appeared on its mirrorlike surface. Danger. An unknown wolf. Strange stripes marred its back. I swung my massive head around but there was no presence behind me or anywhere in the cave. It was a warning then. But where was this wolf? This interloper? Lachlan was the one of us blessed with second sight. This was normally his domain, being first born. Why was I being shown the image? Perhaps being enforcer, it was sent to me to aid in protecting my clan?
Grateful for the advance warning but growling with deadly intent over there being a threat somewhere that needed answering, I left the cave. I needed to speak with my brothers, warn them.
In the shadow of Castle Creigbourne, I shifted back to human and strode inside, prepared to shower and dress before tracking down Lachlan and Logan, and ten minutes later I entered the huge kitchen, spotting my quarry breaking their fast.
“Morning,” Lachlan said, the intensity of his glance his normal modus operandum.
Logan was too busy stuffing his face to bother looking my way. The baby of our family, he was all about fulfilling his own physical needs first. Spoiled doesn’t cover it. I might have been left to my own devices the most, being the middle child, but I was glad of it. I had a duty and commitment to my clan that few, if any, could match. My brother was studying film for heaven’s sake, hardly the kind of pursuit our ancestors would have agreed with.
“Out patrolling again?” Lachlan asked.
Logan shook his head. “You know you don’t have to do that, right? Waste of time in my opinion. No one in their right mind would attack us here.”
“And what if they’re not in their right mind?” I answered. “You just going to pretend psychopaths and usurpers don’t exist?”
“Better than thinking something’s hiding behind every rock, bro.”
“You got something to say, spit it out, Logan.”
“I think you’ve said enough, Logan,” Lachlan, the clan’s alpha admonished him. “What’s up, Calan? You seem even more paranoid than usual. Something going on?”
I sat down across the expansive table from the pair and dove into the pancakes, sausages and eggs, a morning favorite. “Yeah, something’s going on all right,” I said after swallowing a bite of the food I’d piled my plate with.
“Something do with that lass I saw you drinking with last night?” Logan asked, slipping in a zinger from another angle. Incorrigible summed him up. I pitied the female that tried to straighten him out. Or maybe I pitied him more, for what female would put up with him? I did envy Lachlan and his female Esme. A perfect pairing and one that would keep them happy and blessed for their whole lives.
“I love them and leave them, bro. No other way for it,” I answered.
“Me too. I just prefer to acknowledge that one might be my Forever Mate,” Logan said. “Maybe I’ll get lucky like Lachlan.”
“Not bloody likely. No she-wolf would put up with the likes of you. She’d need a lobotomy first,” I said, enjoying the instant look of anger that replaced Logan’s customary smugness.
“Better than needing a heart or soul, Iron Man.” Logan pretended my hit hadn’t landed.
Or maybe it didn’t—he was so full of it. Well, confidence cannot be underrated, though true bravery in battle was of far more vital importance than interactions with the opposite sex, in my opinion.
My Iron Man tag, which our clan tied to the warrior god, Lugh, of Celtic fame, beat Logan’s Aengus, male god of love and youth, all to hell. Though on second thoughts, as someone had to continue our bloodlines, it had best be someone not heading into danger at every opportunity. An image of my best friend Galen rose, reminding me of the downside of being an enforcer and making my heart squeeze for the devastating loss to his family.
“Let’s finish up. We’ve got that council meeting in five minutes.” Lachlan glanced at the clock.
His words woke me from thoughts I would prefer to avoid and normally managed to keep squashed down flat in the back of my mind.
We got up and made our way to the library where all virtual meetings took place, in front of the big screen. Lachlan fired up the equipment and locked onto the weblink.
“Good tidings from the Highland Heathen Clan to the Houses of Luceres, Anche and Ribelle,” Lachlan said as the three alphas came on stream.
Polite interactions out of the way, Cristaldo, of the House of Luceres, the most powerful and rich family of werewolves in America, spoke first, as was his right.
“There’s been a disturbing incident in the desert just outside Vegas. Someone got sloppy and was caught on video shifting of all things! I don’t have to tell any of you of what vital importance this is to security. In the interests of all Lycans, we need to squash this video. Now. We’ve never been exposed like this before. No one knows how we really shift, only gathering their intel from books and movies. This shift was the real deal.”
My heartrate jacked up. This was bad news. I wanted to throttle the culprit. “Any leads on who made the recording?” I jumped in. So, the vision in the cave holds merit.
“A person with the online tag of Miracle. Don’t even know if they’re male or female. So far, the video’s only been posted on the dark web. But this needs addressing now.”
“I’m leaving now,” I said. “Expect me ASAP.”
No one disagreed with me, of course. This was my express domain.
“I’ll have someone meet you when you arrive, Calan,” Cristaldo said.
“Have the other members of WSL been alerted?” I asked. If not, I’d call them in as needed.
“No, we called you first.”
After the meeting concluded and the video feed had been turned off, Lachlan turned to me, suspicion clear in his green eyes. “You knew something of this?”
“I was going to tell you I saw something in Wulver Cave before His Highness interrupted.” I jerked my head in the screen’s direction. “A strange wolf with unusual stripping on its back.” I shrugged. “That was it, nothing else.”
“I know you can be trusted to get to the bottom of it, Calan. Go with my blessing.”
“Mine too, bro,” Logan said. And for once he did look sincere. Well, when push came to shove, we did stick together.
No one had better badmouth one of our clan, if they knew what was good for them.