Read A Mate's Submission: (Hot Paranormal Shifter Romance) (Ozark Mountain Shifters Book 4) Online

Authors: P. Jameson

Tags: #werewolves, #Werewolves & Shifters, #werewolf romance, #Erotic Romance Fiction, #Romance, #Fiction, #Fantasy, #Series

A Mate's Submission: (Hot Paranormal Shifter Romance) (Ozark Mountain Shifters Book 4)

BOOK: A Mate's Submission: (Hot Paranormal Shifter Romance) (Ozark Mountain Shifters Book 4)
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Avan is finally Alpha to the largest wolf pack in the country. Her position as one of the few alpha females in existence means shifters will come from all over to challenge her, and try to gain control of Ozarka. Most concerning is the sudden appearance of a Ravendale wolf she never expected to see in her camp. But she has a secret weapon: she’s going to use the brains her mama gave her to outwit any opponent. And when that doesn’t work, she’ll lean on her sexual prowess, because it’s never failed her yet.

Lexar has given up on finding a person to spend the rest of his life with. His former mating ended as an epic disaster, with his
intended
unwilling to even speak to him, and living on an island in the pacific. He’s satisfied spending his nights alone and his days serving Ravendale as the pack’s most trusted guard. That is until an intriguing alpha female has him questioning his role as a wolf... and as a hot-blooded man. When Lexar is sent to support the new alpha, he finds himself caught in a seductive game of push and pull that sets his wolf on fire and makes him wonder if a relationship between two dominant wolves is possible.

 

A Mate’s Submission

By P. Jameson

A Mate’s Submission

Copyright © 2014 by P. Jameson

 

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, redistributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in any database, without prior permission from the author.

 

The characters and events in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.

 

Other Books by P. Jameson

Ozark Mountain Shifters

A Mate’s Denial (
Book 1
)

A Mate’s Sacrifice (
Book 2
)

A Mate’s Revenge (
Book 3
)

A Mate’s Submissin (Book 4)

 

Stand-Alone Holiday Novella

A Mate’s Wish (
Amazon
)

Chapter One

This was getting old fast. Not the punches to the face. Or the kicks to the groin which would fell a male, but only left her lady parts feeling numb. These assholes didn’t know how to fight a woman. Which was actually probably a good thing. It meant they were nothing like her predecessor. The dick-faced fucking bastard.

Avan drew from that anger and managed to land a throat punch to the massive wolf pummeling her. He choked, and that split second of hesitation gave her the opportunity to maneuver out from under him. She was far from having the advantage, but she also knew there was a teeny tiny hair-like line between the winner and the loser. A powerful enough jab to the nose, pushing the bone into the brain, or a snap of the neck, or even a well-placed punch could disable her opponent.

The only thing left after that was to kill them. She didn’t take pleasure in that part, but it was required of her. Even the ones fighting her required it. If she couldn’t kill them, she didn’t deserve to be alpha. Each fight was a test. Her people needed to feel safe and her challengers needed to know no one could take what was hers.

Over the past months, Avan had fought off so many wannabe alphas she’d lost count.

The crowd that gathered was silent. Her wolves didn’t cheer her on, but she didn’t take offense. They were beaten down. They wouldn’t cheer for a rainbow after a drought-curing flood.

Blood ran down Avan’s arms and dripped from her fingers to the dirt-covered ground forming small pools of crimson. Muscles flexed as her challenger reared back for another massive hit. She could feel it before he even made contact, the anticipation was so intense. And the actual blow was like a million bolts of electric hitting her nerves.

No. This wolf couldn’t be the one to take her down.

Without bidding, her animal sprang to the surface and she cursed it to hell. In all her fights since becoming alpha, she’d never been the first to change. It meant she was hurt worse than she thought. It meant she had to find a way to end this before he ended her.

She caught her mother’s worried gaze from the crowd. Mama never attended challenges. It was too hard for her to witness and too distracting for Avan. If she was here now, it was because someone had sent for her.

They thought Avan was losing.

The pack’s faith in her fucking sucked. Unfortunately until Avan bested every opponent, and the wolves pledged their allegiance, they weren’t obligated to support her.

Avan growled low. Blood coated her fur, and her eyes and snout were so swollen it was hard to breathe or see. She was hurt. She’d only win this by instinct.

The brutal male shifted to a snarling black mass of fur. He was going to fake right before swiping left. She’d caught on to the pattern after more than an hour of brawling, but she had to time her attack just right.

He did exactly as she’d anticipated, and Avan ducked to escape the blow. Before he was even done swinging, she lunged forward, clamping her jaws on his throat. But his rebound was fast. Too fast, and his claws sliced into the soft skin of her belly.

The pain was fierce. She could actually feel the flesh splitting and the warm gush of blood. She was going down. Down for good. But if this was the end, she was taking him out with her. Let the pack fall under Ravendale authority. They’d be better off under Cael’s leadership anyway.

With one last burst of energy, she locked her jaw and pulled with all her might, tasting blood and fur and sinew. But gagging wasn’t an option because in the next second, everything went black.

Grim reaper black.

Death.

***

Lexar stared at the jukebox selection for the hundredth time of the night. He was going to pay Charlie to load the fucker with something that had a better beat. Bullseye was a swell mish-mash of all walks of life, but the music choices leaned more on the side of the boot-scootin’ variety.

He sighed. He’d have to settle for some classic rock.

He clicked B-9 and the first notes of
Kiss You All Over
blared to life. Lexar bobbed his head. Okay, yeah. This was pretty good. And anything was better than that Maroon 5 song Breah had on repeat all night long. Talk about cliché. And her theory that Adam Levine was actually a shifter was utterly ridiculous. No shifter would risk singing about smelling their mate for all the world to hear.

“What the hell is this?” she asked, when he’d made his way back to their table.

“Exile. Why?”

“How am I supposed to shake my ass to this?”

Lexar shrugged. “Not my problem.”

Vesh pulled his mate closer, managing to look loving and protective of Breah while at the same time glaring at Lexar. Pure talent, right there. “Damn right about that. Come on, Brae, we’ll make it work.” There was a hint of a smile on his face as they slid from the booth and made their way to the half full dance floor.

Cael shook his head, his arm bringing his own mate close.

So many matings recently. Most of the time, it didn’t bother Lexar, but lately it was verging on irritating. Like a ringing in his ears. Or something worse. He was unsatisfied. But there was also nothing he could do about it. He already had a mate, and shifter mates were for life. It wasn’t like he could have a re-do.

He thought of Tandy. He thought of her daily. But she’d made a life for herself elsewhere, without him. She wanted nothing to do with him. Hated him, in fact. And even though he didn’t hate her back, he didn’t feel love for her either. Not anymore. Maybe not ever.

But even though she was willing to let him move on, his wolf was not.

After mating, were-shifters weren’t supposed to find anyone other than their intended arousing. This had been true for Lexar until a few months ago.

He stared hard at his alpha and first mate. They weren’t intended mates. They were something else entirely. Their wolves accepted each other even though they weren’t supposed to be together. They’d even survived the ceremony without their animals tearing them apart. It was a miracle. Or maybe not, since there was so much history between the two of them. Maybe that was the key. Maybe if you met someone else and made that soul deep connection before ever encountering your intended, the instinct could be overridden.

Lexar sat back, crossing his arms.

That wasn’t the circumstance he found himself in though. He’d met Tandy first. Fucked that up exponentially. And now wanted a second chance. Not with her though. He’d tried for that already. Spent years trying to do right by her. She didn’t want a mating, and it took two to make it work.

Cael dragged his gaze away from his mate to address Lexar. “I’m concerned. There’s been no word from Ozarka for weeks. Last I heard, challenges were in full swing, but I expected Avan to keep me updated.”

Damn. He’d tried not to think of what was happening several hundred miles south. He’d ignored the implications of the new alpha being continually challenged for her position. Every time he worried about her, he reminded himself she was a total hardass.

Besides, it wasn’t his place to worry about her. Not in any capacity other than relating to the safety of Ravendale. And her losing her position
would
put Ravendale in a kink. Right now, the packs were allies. If a strange wolf came into power, who knew how that would play out.

“Can’t anyone contact Farrow?”

Besh shook her head. “He’s shut away with Gabby. Not even Trager can get through.”

“Which means no one has Avan’s back,” Cael added. “We don’t know who she trusts, but I’m guessing the numbers are few. Someone needs to check on her.”

Someone
. Sounded like Alpha had an idea of who he wanted to send. But Lexar wasn’t the one for the job.

“Vesh,” he suggested.

Cael shook his head. “He needs to be here. His mating is still new,
and
his mate is still new to the life. They need time. Besides, he’s not exactly Switzerland. Ozarka was his home for too many years.”

Lexar shook his head. “Haze then. He could use some time away from camp.”

“You know that won’t work. Avan doesn’t know him, and they’d likely kill each other within the first five minutes. It has to be you. You two got along well before.”

Got along
well
? If by ‘well’ he meant she gave Lexar the first raging hard-on he’d had in a decade, then yeah, they got along spectacularly.

Damn.

But since she was Cael’s intended, it wasn’t like he could just tell the guy that. Sure, he was mated to Besh and seemed zero percent attracted to Avan, but… it was just a real fucked up situation. It deviated from the norm, and all the wolves involved seemed to be handling it fine.

All except for Lexar. His way of dealing was ignoring. And how was he supposed to ignore her if he had to stay in her camp?

“What if…” The idea stuck in his throat because it was horrible. “What if she’s already been defeated?”

Cael frowned, a deep crease forming between his eyes. “That’s what has me worried. Our bond is practically nothing.” He glanced at Besh. “As it should be. But I think I would know if she was dead. I just can’t be sure. I need you to go check, Lex. And stay until the challenges are over. She needs support, and her pack is still sick from…” his voice faltered. “They’re still recovering from the injustices done to them. They need us.”

Shit.

Alpha was right, he was, it was just… this was going to be a mess.

Lexar sighed. “I’ll leave tonight.”

Chapter Two

Avan didn’t even have the energy to wince as Mama replaced the soaked bandages. She drifted in and out of consciousness too many times to count. The pain was unbearable but there was nothing they could give her that would have any effect. She had to wait for her wolf to heal. It was the only thing to do.

Before she slipped into unconsciousness again, she prayed that no further challenges would be issued. If any wolves came now, they’d have to carry her to the field. And there would be no fight. Not when she couldn’t even stay awake. It would be quick, and the pack would have a new alpha.

“We should call for your mate.” Mama’s worried eyes held a hard edge.

“No,” Avan rasped. That was the worst idea.

“This is what he’s for,” Mama snapped. “That and cubs. He had no right to mate another.” Her lip trembled.

They’d been over this a million times. Avan didn’t want cubs. Not now, at least. And she definitely didn’t want a traditional mating. She’d rather be alone than strapped down to an alpha male. But Mama didn’t understand. She was a good little female who’d been properly mated to her intended and had a long list of successful births under her belt.

“I’d have chewed him to… pieces… Ma…” She was fading again, the darkness looming just outside her vision.

Mama smiled softly. “Yes, child,” she whispered. “You would have.”

The next round of waking was harder than the last. The healing hurt as much as the wounding.

Mama sat in a chair by the bed, her blond hair tucked behind her ears, head bent. Praying to the Elders. As if they could hear a damn thing she said. They were old; they weren’t gods. And Avan was pretty sure some of them were as wicked as the former alpha.

The door to the room opened but Avan couldn’t see who entered. Mama’s face sank and so did Avan’s stomach.

“There’s another.” The voice belonged to Seleka, her youngest sister and the only sibling remaining in the camp. The others got out long ago. Luckily, before they could be hardened by Jax’s rule.

“So soon?” Mama’s voice was despairing.

“How many days… has it… been?”

“Just one.”

One day. Word must have gotten out that she was weakened. Easy for the taking. Damn. Damn it all to hell.

“You must sleep, Avan. He can’t issue the challenge if you aren’t conscious.”

Avan managed to shake her head. “No, Mama. I won’t go out a coward.”

“Isn’t he the coward though? Issuing a challenge when you aren’t fit to fight? I can’t respect an alpha like that. None of us could.”

As always, she had a point. And Avan couldn’t leave the pack with someone like that.

“When it’s done,” she choked. “Send word to Ravendale. They will help you. They will honor our alliance and keep you from another shitty alpha. I trust Cael.”

“I knew this wasn’t going to end well,” she cried. “I didn’t want this for you, Avan.”

She was the strongest woman Avan knew, but she didn’t understand what it meant to be an alpha female. To have the instinct to dominate instead of submit. She didn’t get it, but she’d always supported Avan. Even when she suspected her daughter wouldn’t survive in a society built on brute strength.

“But I had to, Mama. It’s who I am. Promise me, you’ll find a way to get word to Cael.”

Tears streamed down Mama’s cheeks. “I promise, daughter.”

Avan looked at Seleka. The girl was timid. Always had been, but the stringent atmosphere of Ozarka had left her with no room to grow. No room to be herself. Now she was an adult and still confined to this little unhappy part of the world.

Cael would take care of them. Or Vesh. Or maybe even Trager. They wouldn’t let the pack disintegrate.

“Let him in,” Avan breathed, her heart hurting as much as the rest of her body.

Seleka nodded, but took her time getting the door.

Avan might have blacked out for a moment because when she opened her eyes again, the wolf standing before her was one she recognized.

A volley of emotions ripped through her. Relief followed by anger followed by betrayal followed by hopelessness. If Lexar had come for a challenge, then her pack wasn’t safe. It meant Ravendale had betrayed her.

Shit.

“Fuck,” he breathed. “Is she alive?”

“Barely,” Mama whispered.

What the hell? Didn’t they see her eyes open?

“You can’t fight her like this,” Seleka spoke up, her voice shaking like all hell. “You’ll be a murderer. Our pack has had enough cold-blooded alpha to last a lifetime.”

“Fight her?” Lexar’s voice came closer but Avan could no longer see his face. Was she fading again? “I didn’t come to fight. I came to help.”

Mother of all, that was worse. She didn’t need
help
. She needed time. To heal. And to prove to her pack that she could lead them. Without the help of a fucking man.

“You’re not here to challenge her?” Mama asked, her voice hopeful.

“No, ma’am.”

Ma’am
. He’d called Avan that every time they’d crossed paths.
Ma’am
. And every time those words came out of his mouth they sent a shiver down her spine. Even now.

It was the deference. The submission that she knew wasn’t natural for him. He was dominant but he called her ma’am.

A groan slipped past her lips, and she tried to open her eyes again.

“We need to move her. Quickly. We need to take her to Cael so he can help her heal.”

No
. No one else needed to see her like this. Least of all, Cael. What if he wanted to strip her of her title and give it to someone else? What if he wanted her to move to Ravendale so he could keep an eye on her? She didn’t want the connection it would take for him to heal her. She just wanted to be left alone.

“We can’t move her. It’s too dangerous. She needs to heal some first.”

“Bullshit,” Lexar hissed. “She’s going to die.”

No. She wasn’t that far gone yet. Her eyes were open only minutes ago. And she’d talked to Mama. Full sentences. She’d be fine.

If she could just move her mouth to tell him so. If she could only make her eyelids cooperate.

If only… If only…

***

Lexar paced the length of Avan’s bedroom again. Hours had passed since he walked through that door and into a heap of shit. There were a million political reasons the female’s death would be tragic, but in the moment, he could only think of the reasons that had his emotions spinning into a frenzy.

He hardly knew her. Had only talked to her a handful of times. But it was enough. Enough to know there was something about her that his wolf couldn’t ignore anymore.

Shit. And maybe he was too late. He could’ve come on his own instead of waiting for Cael to tell him to. He’d considered it more than a few times. But Avan was an alpha female who wouldn’t be dominated. Was even willing to kill her intended to prevent it. And Lex was an alpha male who needed to dominate. Him showing up here could look like he meant to challenge.

He stared at Avan’s mother where she sat quietly in a chair in the corner. Apparently that’s exactly what they’d thought of his arrival.

The pack probably thought he was their new alpha. Damn it.

“We need to hold a meeting,” he murmured. “Who’s second in command?”

Avan’s mother shook her head. “Technically… Farrow. But he’s gone. He took Gabby away for a while.”

“And after Farrow? Who?”

She shrugged. “No one. The Elders could call a meeting but…”

But Avan didn’t trust them. The people she trusted were in this room.

“What’s your name?” he asked.

“Hellena. Seleka, the one who let you in, is my youngest daughter, our alpha’s sister. And you are?”

“Lexar, ma’am. I’m from Ravendale. Cael’s personal guard.”

Her eyebrows raised. “Ah, that explains so much.”

Lexar frowned. What did that mean?

“The alpha sent you then? To bring Avan back to him?”

Lexar’s frown deepened causing his forehead to crease. “No. Just to lend my support until the challenges subside.”

“Oh.”

Yeah. Oh. There would be no
bringing Avan back to him
. She wasn’t his. Not… exactly anyway.

Lexar cleared his throat. “It has to be you then. You need to call a pack meeting and reassure them that Avan is fine but resting. That she’s saving her strength for the next challenge. And that I am not a challenger. They need to know that their alpha is still alpha.”

Hellena shook her head. “I can’t—”

“You can. You have to. If they think she’s too far gone, other dominant wolves might rise up. And I’m not talking about outsiders.”

“I’m her mother. What I say will never convince them. They need to see her.”

“And they will. But I need time to get Cael down here. Or get her to him. Whichever. Until then, someone has to say something. If we’re quiet, they’ll assume the worst.”

Hellena pursed her lips. “I’ll see what I can do.”

She rose to stand, reaching over and brushing limp strands of Avan’s hair from her pale, pale cheeks. The touch was loving. Lexar wished it was healing instead. As much as he hated the idea of Cael being Avan’s intended, he wished his alpha was here. His touch would heal. And fast.

Hellena rounded on him. “I’m going, but if you hurt her, I’ll kill you. She might be Alpha, but she’s still my cub, hear?” Her voice went from stern to quiet in a heartbeat, and her gaze went back to her beaten daughter. “And she’s hurt. I shouldn’t leave her.”

Lexar grabbed the woman’s shoulders, gently turning her to face him. “She’s safe with me,” he insisted, looking her straight in the eyes. “I’ll guard her as I would my own alpha.”

Hellena nodded, her throat bobbing to swallow her emotions. She took one last look at Avan and rushed from the room.

When she was gone, Lexar took the time to stare at the female who’d stubbornly taken up most of his thoughts for the past two months. A mere shade of what she was at her most vital. If she survived this, it would crush her. Knowing she’d been this vulnerable. Knowing she’d lost control to such an extent that she’d needed saving. No, he had to be careful with her. Somehow he had to keep the control in her corner, while at the same time, helping her.

Tricky. Especially when she was practically comatose.

For starters, he had to lay low. The pack couldn’t get any inclination that he was calling the shots. They would start to look to him for leadership instead of her. That couldn’t happen. And on that note, maybe it was a good thing Farrow wasn’t around. With Hellena calling the meeting, her submissive wolf would never be misconstrued as an authority.

Lexar sat on the edge of Avan’s bed. Someone had clearly tried to clean her up, but blood still caked her hair and nails. Her pale skin was pink-tinged in places. Angry red welts and deeper cuts ravaged her body.

Fuck. She must be in so much pain.

Avan let out a tiny whimper and Lexar’s wolf jumped to attention wanting to comfort her. He reached forward but there was nowhere for him to touch that wasn’t injured.

Lexar cleared his throat. He’d been told he had a decent voice. Whether it was true or not, he could rip a jam in a pinch. Maybe it would help.

Softly, he began to sing Earned It by The Weeknd.

The words seemed weightier singing them here, with her suffering like this. It made his chest tight. He let his voice flood the room, drenching the two of them with the soothing melody.

She settled, seeming to fall deeper asleep. He wasn’t sure if that was better or not. At least if she was making noise, she wasn’t slipping away.

Lexar pulled his cell phone from his pocket. This deep in the middle of nowhere, there wasn’t much for cell service. He had a bar or two, depending on which way he held the damn phone. Fucking big-ass cellular giants could afford to put a tower or two out here. It was 2015 after all. There were supposed to be hoverboards and self-tying sneakers by now.

Clicking through to Cael’s number, he tried to call out but it was no good. Instead, he tapped out a quick text message and hoped it would make it through. Cael could be here in a matter of hours and this could all be over.

Stuffing the phone back into his jeans, Lexar let his gaze roam over Avan cataloging every injury. He wished he could heal her. But it would mean they were mates, and that couldn’t happen because—

His wolf snarled. There would be no more dwelling on coulda, shoulda, woulda. Or wanna, gotta, hafta. It was pointless. Especially when there were more important things to worry about.

“Captain Funpants.” Avan’s soft voice rasped. That nickname. She came up with it when she’d called him to come get Cael and Besh from Magic’s freaky cabin-by-the-lake. Shit, she could call him that if it meant she was talking. He could deal.

Her eyes were barely slivers. He almost didn’t notice them open. As swollen as they were, it was a wonder she could open them at all.

Lexar sighed in relief. “Yep. That’s what they call me. And by ‘they’ I mean ‘you.’”

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