Authors: Caryn Moya Block
Book Eight of the Siberian Volkov Pack Romance Series
Caryn Moya Block
Published by Caryn M. Block
Copyright © 2014 Caryn M. Block
Cover Design by Melody Simmons, Ebook Indie Covers
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the author, except for the inclusion of brief quotations in a review.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Book Eight of the Siberian Volkov Pack Romance Series
Brenda Scott, while being cured of cancer, had her world turned upside down when she shifted into a wolf. Now, living in Quebec with her new lycan pack, she wonders if her dream of joining a special operations unit is forever out of reach. Then there is the quiet man who watches her with the yellow eyes of a wolf wanting his mate. Will she be able to adapt to her new wild urgings?
Thibault wants his mate more than anything in the world. But he knows that if he pushes her, she will fight back. Once a soldier, and the Alpha female’s lycan sister, Brenda is a force to be reckoned with. Can Granger find a way around Brenda’s hard shell to the soft woman waiting to be loved?
Table of Contents
To Amberli Wilson, welcome to the family and thank you
the gift of my second granddaughter, Amilya.
Thanks go to Paula Scott Luddy, Nadine Winningham, and Patty Moya for being the best Beta readers an author could ask for. Thanks also to B. R. Asher and Fran Cecere for their wonderful critiques. To my husband, thank you for putting up with late nights and wild rants, and for your support on days when I’m chained to my computer. Thank you to Tina Winograd, my editor.
She ran headlong into the wind, tail streaming behind. Muscles bunched
. She leapt over a downed tree. She sprang away, a wolfy grin on her face. Her heart pounded. The raw cold filled her lungs. Claws dug into the earth. Leaves crunched. She ran faster. Her vision narrowed as the edges blurred. She was stronger, faster, more. She was Lycan.
ning full speed in her wolf form, Brenda Scott appeared a blur to the human eye. Not that there were any humans out here on this side of the mountain, at least not yet.
The first snow had left a light dusting of white crystals on the ground. The next snow would cover the mountain. When that happened, skiers would flock to the resort on the other side of the peak. It wouldn’t be safe to run like this. Even with no trespassing signs to keep the humans away, she had been warned they always seemed to end up on the wrong side of the mountain. She’d worry about that later. Today, she could run.
Brenda was surprised how much she liked her new lycan status. Shifting into her wolf form gave her a sense of coming home. Home to something wild that lived as one with all of nature. She heard better, saw in the dark, and smelled scents from the ski resort on the other side of the mountain. But most of all, the cancer that tried to steal her life was gone. Cured completely as if it never existed. That was the greatest gift of becoming a lycan.
Brenda growled low, remembering how angry she had been, at first. Resentful that the group, Doctors for a Better Humanity, had used her as a science experiment. Now, the wind whispered secrets in her ear. She paused. Sniffing the air, she caught his scent, woodlands with a hint of musk. He was coming. The man who would be her lycan mate. Her wolf spirit gave a happy little wiggle, while the human woman inside sighed. She wanted to see him, needed to see him. Too bad Brenda couldn’t let herself give in to that need.
She slowed her pace when she saw the cliff face ahead. Lowering her shaggy head, she shrugged her way out of the doggy backpack around her muscular neck. Calling the shift to her, she pictured herself in her human form. Light brown hair, gray eyes and pale skin, the long limbs of her runner’s body. She closed her eyes as white lights appeared to swirl around her. Bones broke and reformed, canine toes lengthened into fingers as her nails flattened and thinned. Her face rounded and the hair that covered her body sunk into her skin. Her tail receded. It was finished in an instant. The pain caused by the change only a wisp of a memory. She was human once again.
Naked, she grabbed the pack and donned the Lycra suit and special climbing shoes inside. She fitted the backpack on her shoulders, and taking a deep breath, reached for the first toehold of rock. Her focus narrowed as she shut out everything except the cliff face before her and the next handhold. In minutes she was nearing the top of the outcropping. As she reached to pull herself up onto the ledge, she saw the yellow eyes of the wolf waiting for her.
Brenda sighed, she should have known
would find her. The huge beast moved backwards out of her way as she scrambled to swing her legs onto the shelf. Brenda turned and sat, her legs crossed, facing the east and the early morning sun, refusing to speak and shatter the peace that she acquired through her physical activity. She listened as birds called to each other from the trees, squirrels chattered as they gathered their autumn harvest, and one lone hawk screamed a greeting as he soared on an updraft of air.
The huge silver and gray wolf sat beside her. She could feel his heat merging with hers. Her wolf spirit sighed in contentment from his nearness. Brenda closed her eyes, holding in the urge to wrap her arms around his shaggy form.
He didn’t speak or put his thoughts into her mind with his telepathy, he just sat next to her. The sounds of nature surrounded and cocooned them. They could be the only two lycans in the world, even though she knew that wasn’t true.
Her skin itched and her wolf spirit whined. The need to touch him overpowered her good sense. She slipped an arm around his body and leaned her head against him. She couldn’t resist her desire to be close to him, touch him, and it angered and confused her. The lycan mating bond demanded that she submit to this man hiding in a wolf’s body.
He never asked. He just watched her, always near. His beautiful light amber eyes following her, caressing her from across the room. Granger Thibault, Beta of the Quebec pack, drove her mad.
She fought her attraction, battled her need to be near him. It was too much, too soon after being turned into a lycan. But as time progressed she had to admit she liked him. He had a ready smile and a quick wit. He could defuse a situation between two aggressive lycans quicker than a lightning strike. He tempered the Alpha’s forceful personality with a quick joke, taking the bite
out of commands that should be requests, and leaving both parties’ dignities intact, often at the sacrifice of his own. He amazed her.
Granger may be the brunt of his own jokes, but when the need arose, he was ferocious. Protecting the Alpha and keeping pack members in line. He worked harder than any other at the defense of the pack, except maybe the Alpha. He trained the young men and worked with the head of security to organize the force. He was quick and strong, and often threw his opponent when working out at the pack gym.
She watched him, fascinated to learn what kind of person her heart was joined to. Her will was weakening, and the little golden line of light that linked them heart to heart wanted to be completed, wanted to grow and be cemented into place.
There was only one way to do that, by having physical relations with the man. Once done, it could never be undone. They would be mated, connected heart to heart, soul to soul, and body to body. He would live inside her, and she in him. One could not survive without the other. The idea scared her to death.
“Brenda, Esme needs to go into Quebec City for a fitting of her wedding dress. She wants you to come and pick something out to wear as her bridesmaid,”
Susan, her lycan sister said.
“Where are you?”
“Outside, enjoying the morning.”
Brenda glanced at Granger beside her. Was he picking up the telepathic message?
“I’ll be back to the lodge in forty minutes.”
“Great, I can’t wait to see the beautiful dresses. We’ll probably be there all afternoon, so we can have lunch at Le Cafe du Monde. Don’t dawdle out there communing with nature.”
“I never dawdle.”
Brenda heard Susan’s tinkling laugh ring in her head. Brenda smiled in answer to the sound. It was good to hear Susan’s happy laughter. Susan had been so afraid when she and Brenda were turned into Lycans. Esme’s brother was forced to turn them into lycans to cure their cancer, making them genetic sisters to Esme, the new female Alpha of the Quebec pack.
Brenda withdrew her arm from around Granger’s back. “I have to get back. Esme wants to go into Quebec City today.”
“I will walk with you.”
Granger’s thought touched hers.
“I’ll never make it if I walk. I’ve got to run.” The path down the cliff would take forever in human form. Only as a lycan could she get back to the lodge on time. “Turn around so I can shift.”
The huge male lycan gave her a grin and turned his back to her. She quickly removed her clothes, stuffed them into the backpack, and slipped it over her neck. Calling the shift, she let the wildness of the wolf come forward and encompass who she was. Lights began to swirl around her and the transformation was over in an instant. She was wolf.
She trotted past the sitting male, knowing he would follow her. In their wolf form, Granger was bigger and bulkier than her. He was also stronger, but not faster. She lengthened her stride as she headed down the winding path. Granger matched her pace effortlessly. Once she reached the bottom, she increased her speed again, and once more Granger matched her. He equaled her in every way, chosen by destiny to be her mate.
Brenda gave herself up to running, finding that space of inner calm. They were almost to the Alpha’s lodge when Granger growled low in his chest and bumped against her shoulder. Brenda turned with a snarl, her first reaction, one of defense.
“There is a human at the lodge. We must wait and approach after he has gone. Always use your senses to test if an area is safe. Even the Alpha’s lodge gets human visitors,”
Granger sent with his telepathy.
Brenda grimaced and felt reprimanded, even though Granger didn’t send feelings of disappointment through the mating bond. He explained as he would to any wolf, not just to his wayward newly changed mate.
They stopped near bushes at the end of the tree line. A door opened and a man’s angry voice rose on the breeze. “You’ll regret this, Wolfe. I’ll see you out of here, mark my words. You can’t stop progress.”
“My answer will always be the same,
Ouelette. The mountain is not for sale, not now, not ever. Now get off my property before I call the police,” Jared’s voice, the Alpha Male of the Quebec Province, came in answer.
A car started and gravel flew as it roared down the road. Granger nudged Brenda’s shoulder before getting up and moving toward the back of the lodge. Brenda followed closely behind. A wolf-sized door was cut into the wall next to the kitchen entrance. Brenda could smell breakfast and her mouth watered.
Granger’s mother cooked for the Alpha’s family, and as lycan sister to Esme, that included Brenda. In truth, Brenda wished for a kitchen of her own, so she could fix her own breakfast. She loved to cook and did so when she needed an escape. However, Felicity ruled the Alpha’s kitchen, and Brenda had no desire to cause waves by trying to use it. If she got the job with the ski patrol at the resort, then she might be able to rent her own place, one that included a full size kitchen.
The two wolves slipped inside the small alcove that shielded them from the kitchen, and Brenda immediately headed upstairs to dress. She would have to shower after her morning run. Granger continued down the hall toward Jared’s office.
Nudging the door to her room open with her nose, Brenda caught sight of the bright orange ski suit lying on her bed. She nudged the door closed behind her and called the change.
Fully human, Brenda picked up the ski suit and noticed the bright patch on the breast and arm, “Ski Patrol.” She got the job. Excitement raced through her system. A piece of paper fluttered to the floor. Brenda leaned down to pick it up.
Report to the Ski Patrol office tomorrow at ten
, was written in a strong masculine hand, one she recognized as Granger’s. Was he in charge of the ski patrol as well?
Her excitement turned to a smoldering anger. She wasn’t going to take a pity position because he was her mate. She could find her own job. She’d tell him what he could do with his interference. She started toward the door and reached for the handle before remembering her naked state.
Granger ducked into a small changing room at the back of the house stocked with clothes for shifting guests. Once winter hit, more of the lycans would run as wolves. The cold was their natural habitat and few could resist running around the community in their wolf form.
Granger called the change. His body transformed and he pulled on a pair of pants and a shirt in one of the built in cabinets. Slipping his feet into the boots he left in the changing room when he went after Brenda, he headed down the hall to Jared’s office.
The door was open, so Granger walked in. Jared stood at the window, looking at the woods. He turned as Granger flopped into the chair in front of the desk, propping his feet up on the surface.
“How was your morning run?” Jared asked.
“Peaceful. I understand why Brenda runs every morning. It’s her way of relaxing. Who was the human who left in such a huff?”
“Samuel Ouelette.” Jared ran his hand through his hair. “He works for some conglomerate that wants to buy the mountain and develop it. He wasn’t happy when Parker told him the resort leased the land from us and couldn’t sell, even if they wanted to. Ouelette hurried over here thinking to make a quick deal, and as you heard, left unhappy.”
“I think the whole mountain heard him. Do you want me to visit him at his office? I can put a telepathic suggestion into his mind that he needs to stay away from our property.”
“I don’t think we need to do that. Maybe later if he becomes more of a problem. How are things going with Brenda?” Jared asked, crossing his arms and leaning against the wall.
“I wish I knew,” Granger said. “I feel her wanting me. But she keeps a tight rein on everything she does. The only freedom she allows herself is her running. Every time I make a move, she withdraws. So, I don’t do anything to cause her to retreat. All I can do is show up, it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done, sitting back like this. My wolf wants me to take her. I could get her to respond to me. But she would never forgive me for taking her choice away. I don’t want my mate to hate me. Somehow, I have to find a way to have her choose me.”
“It’ll work out. Asena is the mother goddess of the Lycan race for a reason. She knows what she’s doing when choosing heartmates. She wouldn’t have chosen her for your mate otherwise.”
Granger rubbed his jaw. His teeth hurt from clenching. Sometimes, Granger feared Brenda would never come around.