Authors: Elle Boon
SLATER’S ENCHANTING MATE
Iron Wolves Book 4
© Copyright 2016 Elle Boon
All cover art and logo © Copyright 2016 by Elle Boon
All rights reserved.
Cover by Tibbs Design
WARNING: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.
Slater’s Enchanting Mate
Slater’s Enchanting Mate, Iron Wolves 4
Copyright © 2016 Elle Boon
First E-book Publication: June 2016
Cover design by Valerie Tibbs of Tibbs Design
Edited by Janet Rodman Editing
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED:
This literary work may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, including electronic or photographic reproduction, in whole or in part, without express written permission.
All characters and events in this book are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is strictly coincidental.
There are so many I’d like to thank, starting with Jenna Underwood, who has helped me so much. Thank you for all the crazy calls and wacky conversations. Debbie Ramos of course you are a gem. Janet Rodman, thank you for dropping everything to edit this thing. You ladies rock! Thank you to my crazy crit partner Caitlyn O’Leary for helping me become a better writer.
Of course I have to thank my family…my hubby who is my rock, my kids and my writing buddy Kally Kay aka my lab who is always at my side to bounce ideas off of. She’s sort of my inspiration for the heroine in this story, because I swear if she were human she’d totally be just like LeeLee.
Huge shout out to my awesome pimping crew, the
you ladies rock
Last but certainly not least my fans aka you readers who are more friends than anything else. Without you I’d just be that crazy lady with funky hair. Love y’all sooo hard.
LeeLee stared at the tall red haired man as he glowered at her. His order to shift back would have been comical if she only knew how. Deep inside she knew what he wanted her to do, had wanted to become like her friend Cammie Raine. Heck, if she was honest she’d tried since the day Cammie’s father Rasmund had saved her all those years ago. Squeezing her eyes closed against the pain that always came when she thought of that time, from memories that only brought her close to a meltdown of epic proportions, she glared back.
“Damn it, I know you understand me.” Slater O’Neil squatted down, his green eyes flashing fire at her.
Of course she understood him. She understood everyone around her, but couldn’t communicate like they wanted her too. The man showed up as she was protecting her charge during a huge snowstorm, and thought he had the right to boss her around. Well, LeeLee was not his. She answered to her alpha Rasmund, Cammie’s father. Not some shifter who made her heart pound and made her wish she could do as he asked.
His big hand reached out and stroked her head. “Please,” he cajoled.
Did he not realize she couldn’t? Jerking away from his touch, she whined. They’d taken Cammie and her newborn son to the hospital. Keanu had shown up just in time, saving them all from freezing, until the paramedics had shown up and airlifted the mother and child out. LeeLee was sure her best friend and new baby was safely ensconced and surrounded by family and friends. If she could shift into a human she’d have done it in a heartbeat, and not because this Neanderthal was yelling at her. No, she’d have done it so she could be with the only family she had left. Instead, she was stuck on all fours inside Cammie and Keanu’s newly built home. She wanted to cry at the injustice of it all, but she kept the pain locked away like she did with all the others.
It wasn’t the first, or the last dose of hurt in her reality she was faced with. LeeLee took a few steps away from Slater. The man’s scent called to her, but he was not for her. He needed a woman who was whole, and LeeLee was not that. Hell, she didn’t even know what her last name was. To her horror, she wasn’t sure what her first name truly was, only that LeeLee was what her family had called her. Although, she was only a child when the massacre had occurred, so it could have been a nickname for all she knew.
She needed to get away from the tempting man. His voice alone did things to her that no being had ever done, which was absurd. Turning her head, she spied the small door Keanu had installed so she could come and go at will, and wanted to snort. A freaking doggie door. Yeah, she was so not cut out to be with a man like Slater. Before he could realize what she was about, LeeLee quickly spun and ran for the exit.
“LeeLee don’t you dare run from me,” he growled.
The sound of clothes ripping had her looking back before she pushed through the small flap. A huge red wolf with flashing green eyes stood where Slater had been, determination stamped on his features. LeeLee didn’t stop to think, her fight or flight instincts took over. Flight won out over fight, knowing the big man in either form would win, but since she knew the area like the back of her hand, she was positive she could lose him.
Her red coat stood out in the thick snow that had fallen as she raced across the yard into the hillside, losing herself in the chase. A howl split the air. She knew
that sound. The same one that had scared the crap out of her, when she’d been protecting Cammie as she’d been about to deliver her precious little bundle of joy. Goddess had that been only hours ago?
Her paws were used to the snow, and they ate up the ground. With cat-like grace, which was a total oxymoron since she was a wolf, she leapt into one of the low hanging pine trees that stretched as far as the eye could see. Her
smaller wolf body easily jumped from limb to limb, leaving no tracks below for the large red wolf to follow.
By the time she was sure Slater was no longer following her, she slowly climbed down. With her claws digging into the bark, LeeLee leapt the final few feet to the ground. Her sides heaved from the exertion. Why did her soul ache? She shook the snow from her coat, glancing around, realizing she’d gone a lot further than she’d planned. With the sun setting it had dropped a few more degrees, making her shiver.
LeeLee raised her head and took a sniff, trying to catch her bearings. Strange smells assaulted her. Dear Goddess, was that the scent of a wild wolf pack? Now that she was on the ground, and taking stock, her brain registered just how far she’d allowed herself to travel. Hours had passed, meaning she’d left the protection of Keanu and Cammie’s lands. Out here she was a lone female wolf, and the wolf pack who had caught her scent were circling. Her heightened sense of smell counted at least five, all male. They would not be able to communicate like a human since she didn’t recognize them as shifters, but one hundred percent wolf.
Damn it, she should have stayed in the trees. Looking up, LeeLee was just about to jump when the first wolf stepped through the trees. His grey and white coat and wolf eyes locked onto her with clear intent. LeeLee bared her teeth, letting him know she was not up for his attentions.
The rest of the pack formed a circle around her, coming at her from all sides. LeeLee refused to allow them to see she was scared. No way in heck was she going to be mounted for the first time by a full blooded wolf. She’d die fighting before that happened.
A growl behind her had her spinning and baring her teeth, which was clearly what they’d planned. She felt the first nip on her flank. The bite burned as she used her own claws to rake the maw of the closest wolf to her. In her wolf form she was larger than the natural wolves, giving her a slight advantage. Using every brutal thing her alpha had taught her during her training, she fought, growling out in warning, hoping they’d give up as one of their pack members went down under her jaws. His blood filled her mouth as she latched on to his throat. Another wolf lie bleeding from her claws raking open his underbelly, but still three attacked.
LeeLee’s sides heaved, blood oozed from too many wounds to count, yet she didn’t allow them to see her pain. The trio tried to circle her again. Her brain worked through the best advantage on taking them down, and latched onto killing the alpha. If she could take him down, the other two would surely leave her alone. Mind made up, she launched her body at the first wolf who’d entered the clearing, but was tackled in midair by one of the other wolves. She struggled, rolling in the cold blood covered snow.
Her howls of pain and regret rent the air. Another wolf joined the first, pinning her to the ground. No, she screamed in her head, wishing she’d stayed in the warm garage.
Then she heard a familiar howl. Slater, her mind screamed.
The large red wolf barreled into the fray, knocking the heavy weight from her. He stared at her with his green eyes, their message clear even though he said no words. She was to stay out of the way, which was exactly what she planned. It hurt to breathe, and she wondered if a couple ribs were broken. If only she could shift like she’d seen Slater do. Like she’d seen Rasmund and the other pack members. Healing always happened quicker after shifting a few times.
Her ears picked up the sound of battle, making her realize she’d shut her eyes. Opening them, she focused her attention back on the now dueling pair of wolves. The large red one, and the one she’d thought was the alpha of the natural wolves. The two who’d jumped on her were lying in a heap, a whimper escaped before she could stop it.
Slater bared his teeth, the sight making the other wolf’s hackles rise. If the smaller beast could understand what Slater was saying, he didn’t show it, nor did he back down. The flex and play of his hind quarter muscles gave away the fact he was ready to leap, and she knew without watching he was going to die. At the last moment, Slater knocked him away, then jumped on him, teeth latching onto his throat.
LeeLee closed her eyes, unable to watch the scene before her. The myriad of wounds and exhaustion took hold. Behind her closed eyelids she dreamt of a time long ago. Images of a life before she was locked in her wolf form filled her vision.
A beautiful woman with flowing white blonde hair and laughing blue eyes danced with a large blond man. His features were much harsher than hers, but the love shone out of the couple. They were in a small courtyard surrounded by others. Everyone was laughing and seemed to be having a good time. From beneath the table she watched, spellbound as the adults cheered and danced around.
“LeeLee, you come out from there this instant.”
She turned to see the angry look of Greta staring at her from the end of the table. Scooting backward, she left the sanctuary of her hiding space. “I only wanted to watch the dancing and hear the music,” she pouted up at the scarred face of her keeper.
Greta had been her nanny for as long as she could remember, and hated her just as long. LeeLee didn’t know why the older woman continued to stay if she hated her so much, or why she was so mean. It wasn’t like she couldn’t go to another home, or heck, retire. The pack always took care of their elders.
Her parents took a bow, making LeeLee smile at the grace and love that shone from their faces. The crowd cheered.
“One day I’m going to be as pretty as my mama.” LeeLee looked on with awe.
“You’ll never be like her,” Greta sneered, her fingers digging into LeeLee’s arm. Pain shot through her, but she kept her mouth shut.
Tears threatened to fall, but over her six years of life, she’d learned not to let the old woman see it. Her parents didn’t seem to notice, or care. The last thought almost had her resolve cracking, but the shimmer of triumph on the old crone’s wrinkled face kept the moisture locked inside. Tonight, when she was in her grand room with its cotton candy pink walls and canopy bed, she’d let the tears fall. Until then, she’d stand straight and pretend like nothing could hurt her.
Following, or more like being dragged out of the hall, she took one last look at the party. Her parents hadn’t even noticed her presence. Although they were shifters, and surely they had smelled her, not once had they welcomed her. Not like the other parents who’d brought their children to the celebration.
Back at the home she shared with her family, Greta took great delight in shoving her into her room.
“Did you enjoy watching the entire pack having fun without you? Why do you think they don’t invite you to the parties?” Greta’s black eyes stared down at her with hatred.
Shrugging her shoulders, LeeLee walked around to the other side of her bed. “Because it’s too dangerous for the entire royal family to be in one place at the same time.” Conviction laced her words, but doubt filled her heart.
Even at the young age of six she knew that wasn’t the truth. Something wasn’t right with her family, but she didn’t know what.
A loud cackle came from her keeper. “Awe, you stupid child. I’d bless your heart, but that would mean I thought you were stupid.” She held up one misshapen finger. “But, we both know better than that, don’t we?”
Not wanting to answer, she turned away to stare out the small circular window overlooking the back of the property. Trees as far as the eye could see stretched out like sentinels. Her bright red hair bothered her. Maybe that was why her parents didn’t like the others to see her often.
“You can go to bed without supper since you decided to skip off to the party. I’ll have the power shut off at eight o’clock sharp, so don’t think to stay up past that.” Greta’s voice rivaled that of the fiercest wolf. The thick door to her room slammed shut, the locks engaging from outside.
She counted as high as she could, then started over five times before she climbed into the big bed. The tears she’d held at bay for hours came once the power was shut off, just as Greta had promised.
If she could shift into her wolf she’d show Greta who was the boss, but she was too young. When she grew up she’d show Greta, she promised herself, pulling the blanket up to her chin.
Hours later she woke to the sound of howls and screams. The terror filled shouts of her pack reached her through the thick walls. Scrambling out of the bed, she fell onto her knees, the pain woke her the rest of the way up. From the small window, she stared in horror at the view below highlighted by the moon. There, in the clearing was her family and pack, surrounded by dozens of wolves. Her father stood with his head high and her mother next to him. The other wolves moved as one, attacking in mass before any of them could shift.
LeeLee shoved a fist into her mouth to keep the scream from ripping forth. Her head jerked to the door. She needed to get out and save her family. Where was Greta? The sound of several feet coming down the hallway alerted her to danger. Her only escape was the one small window four stories up. With no other choice, she pushed the small octagon shaped window open, glad to be small enough to fit through, and climbed onto the edge.
“The girl is probably sleeping. She can’t shift yet, and is actually pretty stupid. I’ll unlock the door and leave you to it,” Greta said.
“I don’t think so, old lady. You will fulfill your duty and kill the brat.”
LeeLee didn’t recognize the man’s voice, but his deep baritone was one she’d remember for the rest of her life, if she lived past the night.
“Oh, no. I only promised to allow you entry onto the lands, not kill anyone.”
The sound of Greta’s pain filled gasp was cut short as the imperceptible sound of the locks disengaging, letting her know time was up. Looking left and right, she spied a tree. Praying to the goddess she made it, she kicked off the ledge toward the tree. Wind rushed toward her, but then bark bit into her fingers, arms and legs. Blessed Goddess, she made it.