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Authors: Clare Atling

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Fourth Hope

BOOK: Fourth Hope
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Fourth Hope

Penn Lake Wolves Book Four

By Clare Atling

 

This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental.
  The characters are productions of the author’s imagination.

 

Fourth Hope

Copyright © by Clare Atling

All rights reserved.  This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author except for the use of brief quotations in critical articles or reviews.

 

 

Dedication

I have so many thanks to give on this book.  Firstly to my wonderful husband who encourages me to keep going and designs my amazing book covers.
To Bridget at ABC Proofreading for taking my books and making them so much better.  To my usual wonderful friends Debbie, Claire and Michala for pushing me in the right direction and listening to me go on and on about my books.

Mostly though thanks to
all my fans who have bought my books.  I hope you love Book Four as much as I do and this one is for you.

Clare

xxxxx

 

 

Chapter one

SLAM!

Hope was pissed.
In fact, she was worse than pissed, but right now she needed a hot shower and a very long drink.


Hope Penn, you slam that door once more it’s going to come off its hinges.’ Hope cringed at her mother’s voice. At 60 years old, young in wolf years, Hope still felt like a child when her mother reprimanded her. To the non-shifter world, Hope still looked about 24, as wolves aged very differently to humans. She hated being the youngest in her family as she was constantly being watched over by her three older brothers and her parents, but even that didn’t bother her at the moment. The bane of her life, the soul reason she was so pissed off, was trapped in a holding cell at the marina. Colt, her mate, had been kept captive for the last two weeks ever since they had got him and Maggie to safety. Hope just couldn’t help herself but go and visit him every day. It was the mating urge, she told herself; but, if she was honest with herself, it was just because she wanted to see the rugged, handsome alpha wolf. Today, however, he had truly pissed her off.


Sorry, Mum. I swear they cannot ship him off this island soon enough,’ she replied, even though the thought of him leaving left a sharp pain in her heart.


Well, that might not be for a while yet,’ replied her mother, ‘as Seth doesn’t want him loose while that Marcus is still at large. Plus, if you wake your father up you will be on dinner duty at the cell for the rest of the week.’ Her father had been injured whilst protecting Sarah, Callie and her mum from Colt’s father, Marcus. He had nearly died, but two weeks on he seemed finally to be on the mend and not in the least bit bothered by the fact that Colt had now become Hope’s mate.

Hope
, however, had a long list of things she’d wanted to do before she settled down with a mate, a mate that was not Colt. Every time she had gone down to see him he’d sat there smirking at her, making her panties instantly damp. She couldn’t help but be attracted to him as he was spectacularly handsome. His beautiful face had been marred by a long scar down his left eye and across his cheek when her brother, Seth, had fought with him for Sarah. Colt had been acting on his father’s commands, but that still didn’t make them friends. Family, almost, but not friends.

Callie had been to see
Colt a few times but he never spoke to her, just sat on his bed and stared at the walls. Sometimes, Callie would come away crying, which made her other brother, Logan, want to scar the other side of his face. None of her brothers liked him, but Logan was more understanding since they found out Callie was his sister and that was why Marcus had wanted her so badly. Hope felt like the whole world was spinning just that little bit too quick.

She thought
about everything that had happened to each of her brothers’ mates and yet life still went on. Seth and Sarah got married, Callie and Logan were mated, and now Brandon and Maggie were making goo-goo eyes at each other. If they didn’t mate soon she was going to be sick. Nope, she sure as hell wasn’t mating Colt, especially as he was at the centre of everything that had happened.


What has he done now to upset you?’ Her father’s weak voice caused her chest to tighten a little. She would never have survived if he had died.


Are you even supposed to be out of bed, Daddy?’ She went to him and he wrapped her up in a warm hug. ‘And are you kidding me? That man is set to try my patience. I went down there to ask him why he wouldn’t talk to Callie and he asked me on a date. A date! Like he had just popped into town and was thinking of settling down.’ She blew out a breath.


Well, maybe he is thinking of settling. He
is
your mate. Some wolves never find their one true mate. Think how lucky you are.’ Her father released her and sat slowly on the kitchen chair.


Lucky! I’d be luckier if I got bit by a snake!’ She threw her hands up in dismay. ‘He is the most hated male there is and he is my
mate
. If, and that is a huge massive if, we all sit down for lunch, how do you think the family dinner is going to go? Seth only tolerates him because he brought Sarah back to him after Marcus attacked, Logan just shrugs his shoulders and mutters, in his Neanderthal way, that he did save Callie’s life, while Brandon can’t seem to take his eyes off Maggie long enough to form an opinion!’ Damn it! She was even madder now.


Well, dear, he is more than welcome for dinner once Seth releases him,’ said her mother, ever the hostess.


No fucking way!’ Hope didn’t care if she seemed childish, but she stamped her foot anyway.


Hope Penn, that’s it!’ said Christopher, as sternly as he was able in his weakened state. ‘You’re delivering that man his meal tonight and every night for the next two weeks! You never use that language to your mother, is that understood?’ Her father rose to his feet and Hope hung her head in shame.
He must be feeling better
, she thought. She was a daddy’s girl through and through and he had never raised a hand to her; only when pushed did he raise his voice, so Hope knew she had pissed him off.


Sorry, Daddy. And I am sorry, Mom. Just let me know when the royal pain in my arse’s meal is ready.’ With that, she stomped off through the door and slammed the screen door again. She stood waiting for her mother to shout but, hearing no recriminations, walked down towards her home.

In the kitchen
, Mary sat next to her husband of many years. She had nearly lost him when Marcus attacked her and the girls. She would have died along with Christopher if she could, as life would have been meaningless without him. He was getting stronger every day and she was glad that he had pulled through.


Christopher, you are up to something, I can tell.’ Mary walked towards where he was sitting and let out a little squeal when he pulled her into his arms for a kiss. After five hundred years together, the man still made her heart stutter when he kissed her. When she pulled away, he was smiling at her. ‘I swear, if you don’t tell me what you have planned I’ll make you iron your own damn shirts.’


Now, now, Mary, be nice. I am wounded, you know.’ He waggled his eyebrows.


Wounded!’ She let out an unladylike snort. ‘The only thing wounded will be your knees when I get up.’ That made him wrap his arms around her all the tighter.


I love you, Mary. You’re my beautiful, perfect wife and an even better mother.’ He kissed her again. ‘But sometimes, these kids need to be coaxed along. All my boys lost their mates because of their pride. I can tell Logan still has a long way to go with Callie, and Brandon will come to a crossroads with Maggie. But our Hope deserves the best. She’s our baby, Mary, and I suspect that Colt is the one wolf who can tame her.’


Aren’t you worried that he will turn like his father?’ asked Mary. ‘Or even be working with him still?’ She couldn’t help but worry about her children, even though they were all adults.


That boy has seen a lot of pain,’ said Christopher. ‘He’s been manipulated his whole life by the one man who should have been his father. He’s had a sister thrust on him that he never knew about, yet through it all he chooses the right path. He gave us back our Callie and protected our Maggie in her time of need. I think we should give him a chance to redeem himself before we have him condemned.’


You are a good man, Christopher Penn.’ Mary leant down to kiss him again.


Let me show you just how good…’ and, with that, he had her in his arms and barrelled towards the bedroom, his wife laughing in his arms. Even if his ribs still felt sore, he was as giddy as a teenager with his beautiful mate cradled against him.

 

Chapter Two

 

Colt sat on his bed in the makeshift cell they had kept him in for the last two weeks. There was no way this cell would hold a 400-year-old wolf like him, but it had given him time to rest and take stock of what he needed to do. Then there was the added problem of his mate. Hope Penn was beautiful. Her long, brown hair fell in loose curls just above her rounded arse and her eyes were like warm whiskey that he could stare into for hours. Sure, she hated him, but he had caught a scent of her arousal once or twice when he looked at her.

If he was to get out of here and go after his father
, he couldn’t take her with him, plus he hated the Penn Lake pack with a vengeance. Not only had the alpha, Seth, scarred his face and beaten him in a fight, but they had also never come to help his father’s ailing pack. The selfish pricks just stayed on the island building their empire and looking down at everyone else. He would rather sink his teeth into barbed wire than the warm, buttery softness of Hope Penn.

Shaking his head
, he knew he had to get out of this holding cell soon before it became too much for him to fight the mating urge. He had seen the way the other unmated males looked at her and that pissed him off. He swiped his hand across the top of his table, sending the contents to the floor.


Damn it!’ he shouted to no one. Hope Penn was going to be the death of him and he knew it.

It was getting close to the time his sister Callie would come and visit.
He had never said a word to her; he couldn’t bear to look at her and not think about what a fucked-up life he’d had before his father went nuts and started kidnapping everyone in sight. Colt knew the girls must have come from somewhere, but never had he imagined his father was as sick as he was.

How could he give
Hope a normal mated life when he didn’t know what normal was? She led a pampered life here and she was treated like royalty, being the alpha’s sister. Maybe today he could look at Callie without feeling sick and, maybe, he could finally start talking to her. When he heard her crying last week he just wanted to comfort her, but his feelings were so fucked-up that he didn’t know which way to turn, so he simply turned his back on her.

Jesus, when had he become so low and damn
-right self-pitiful? He was a god damn alpha and was supposed to be fighting for what he wanted. But what
did
he want? Did he want to give up his goals of becoming the new alpha and heal his father’s pack? Or did he want to spend the rest of his years here with the pretty little she-wolf who was constantly filling his mind? Both, he decided. But he knew he couldn’t have both. Hope would never leave her family, and he would never stop until his father was dead and the pack was put back to how it should have been. His thoughts were broken when the door opened and in walked his sister, Callie.


Hi, Colt,’ she said cheerily. ‘Brought you some magazines. They’re Logan’s, but I’m sure he won’t mind you having them.’

H
e smiled at the thought of Logan getting home to see his magazines gone. He hated that huge wolf who just so happened to be mated to his sister.


Although there are no dirty ones in there,’ she added. ‘Sorry about that.’ That made him laugh out loud. As if he would want to whack off when his room had a revolving door for people to constantly walk in through. Callie gave him a small smile, but he dropped his eyes back down to his hands. ‘Wow, an actual sound,’ she said. ‘A small bit of progress, but still better than anything before.’

Callie’
s eyes burnt into his back. He could feel her staring at him, willing him to look at her.
Argh! Fuck it,
he thought, as he lifted his head and faced the one person he didn’t want to. Her eyes were wide with tears and he couldn’t help but notice how much she looked like his mother. She was so beautiful and graceful and he would bet her wolf was just the same.


Callie…’ It was all he could say to her.

Callie couldn’t believe that
, after all this time, today was the day he’d decided to talk back. Sure, all he had said was her name, but he had looked at her when he said it.


I just want to say how sorry I am for everything that has happened between us…’ he said. Callie ran to the cell door and unlocked it. Before he knew what was happening, she was in his arms and squeezing him so tight around the middle he could barely breathe. ‘Callie, you’re going to have to ease up a bit.’ She hadn’t known what she was doing, only that she needed to hug him. Letting up a bit, she felt his arms come around her. ‘I am truly sorry...’ Callie could hear Colt’s voice was full of remorse.


Please. I don’t want you to feel sorry or even regret what happened,’ she replied. ‘You saved me from a man who wanted to turn me into a breeding bitch. But you also made Logan realise what a perfect mate I was.’ She let him go and went to sit on his bed and patted the space next to her. ‘Please, sit and talk with me.’ Although she could see he was wary, he came to sit down.


Callie, are you sure they’ll be okay with you sitting in here with me?’ He didn’t look much like he cared, Callie thought. But she knew he didn’t want to get her in trouble and, for that, she felt her heart melt a little for him. She shrugged her shoulders.


I don’t care. You’re my family, even if you don’t want to accept it. I know you won’t hurt me as you would have the night your father took me. We will learn this together, as we go along.’ She placed her hand on his knee to try and comfort him.


You’re a good woman, Callie,’ said Colt. ‘My mother would have been so proud of you.’

Callie felt the tears pricking her eyes as she asked the one question she knew could make or break the conversation.

‘Tell me about her, Colt. What was she like?’ Sitting back against the wall, she got herself comfy. Colt’s eyes glazed over before he stared down at her. He knew he had to tell her, so he sat back against the wall beside Callie.


She was as beautiful as you are, Callie, and I know she would have loved you so much.’ Callie was openly crying now as she listened as Colt told her all about his life and the horrible life her mother had led with their so-called father. Colt endured through it all and she hoped he had come through the other side unscathed. They sat, side by side, in silence for a moment until Callie reached over and took his hand in hers.


We’re going to be okay.’ She squeezed gently, hoping that now she would finally get to know her brother.

BOOK: Fourth Hope
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