The first book in my new series, Harvest Moon Wolves, is now available at Changeling Press and online retailers. For those of you familiar with my books, you may know that I started out writing about werewolves. It’s been a while since I’ve written a shifter series and I decided to go back to my roots for this one. I hope you enjoy it as much as I loved writing it!
Alpha wolf Torren lost his mate a year ago. They weren’t fated mates, but he’d tried to give her a good life and thought she was happy. The day he found her mangled body, everything changed. Now he lives for his pack, keeping busy to forget the nightmares that plague him. When Torren wakes to discover a human has been brought onto pack lands, he doesn’t know what the hell his Omega was thinking, but the last thing they need is trouble.
Olivia Grant has never been accepted by the townspeople where she lives. Her parents are sorry excuses for human beings. The day she’s attacked and left for dead, her friend, Omega wolf Jaxon, takes her back to his home. She’s one breath away from dying, and only the Alpha’s bite can save her, but at what price?
Bonded together, Olivia and Torren discover a passion neither has experienced before. They’d thought they had found their happily-ever-after, but someone from the past is lurking in the shadows, and they aren’t happy the Alpha has a new mate.
Note: No Cliffhanger. No Cheating. Guaranteed HEA. Bondage. Spanking.
Copyright ©2018 Jessica Coulter Smith
Torren washed, scrubbing away the dark memories, the doubts that plagued him. Shutting off the water, he quickly dried himself and wrapped the towel around his waist. He pushed his wet hair back off his forehead and made his way to the kitchen. Almost on autopilot, he set up the coffeemaker and waited for a pot to brew. The gray light of dawn was seeping through the kitchen blinds, and he raised them, surveying the area around his cabin. Fall had come early and already the trees were tinged with orange, yellow, and red. There was a crispness to the air that usually excited his wolf. Now, the beast inside didn’t even stir at the thought of romping through the fallen leaves.
The coffeemaker hissed and sputtered as the last drops fell into the pot. Torren grabbed a mug off the nearby shelf and poured a cup. Lifting it to his lips, he took a swallow, letting the strong brew scald his tongue and slide down his throat. He stood at the window, listening to the peace of the early morning, as he finished his first cup, then poured another. It was going to be a busy day, but that was pretty much the norm. Ever since Gwen had died, he’d tried to stay occupied as much as possible. When he was focused on his pack, he didn’t have as much time to think about her, or how he’d failed her.
Torren downed the entire pot of coffee, then pushed off from the counter and went to find some clean pants. Laundry hadn’t been high on his list lately, which meant he was likely down to his last set of clean clothes. Torren found a pair of well-worn jeans and a black tee and pulled on his boots. It was time to face the day head-on.
The screen door slammed shut behind him as he stepped out onto the porch and breathed in the cool morning air. Fall had always been his favorite time of year, but he couldn’t find any joy in it now. It had been a crisp fall day when Gwen had died, and he wondered if seeing her gruesome remains would stay with him forever.
He started down the trail from his house to the other pack homes. His nape prickled as he passed several homes with all the lights on and their doors wide open. It wasn’t that his pack was lazy, but few wolves were out and about this time of morning. Not unless they had a job to do. And they never left their homes wide open like that. Unease settled in the pit of his stomach as he continued through their small village, pausing when he saw a crowd gathered outside of his Omega’s house. What the hell had Jaxon done now?
A murmur went through the crowd as he pushed his way through. His Beta, Baxter, was standing at the foot of the steps, arms folded over his chest and a dumbfounded look on his face. Jaxon wasn’t exactly known for doing the smart thing, but the kid let his heart lead him. Torren had a feeling this would be one of those times. He just hoped the proverbial fire he’d have to put out wasn’t too large.
Torren stopped next to Baxter and waited to see if his Beta would say anything. The blond slowly turned his head, an eyebrow raised.
“Why is half the pack outside of Jaxon’s house?” Torren asked.
A whimper came from inside the small cabin, and every muscle in Torren’s body tensed. The sound hadn’t come from Jaxon because it had been distinctly feminine. What the hell? Torren scanned the crowd, wondering if he had a female wolf missing from the ranks. Surely Jaxon wouldn’t have been stupid enough to lure one to his home then try to keep her, would he? The Harvest Moon pack was still fairly new compared to most packs, and most of the males and females were unmated. He’d heard his Omega speak often of finding a mate, but had the younger wolf finally snapped and tried to force a mating?
“Deep breath,” Baxter said in a low voice.
Torren inhaled through his nose and his beast rose to the surface. He felt his eyes shift to that of his wolf, and a rumble rolled through his chest. Human. And not just human, but… He breathed in again. There was the strong stench of blood, but underneath that was something intoxicating, something that made Torren want to tear Jaxon limb from limb if he’d harmed the female. What the fuck was wrong with him?
Baxter smirked and faced the small cabin again. It made Torren wonder what his Beta knew that he didn’t. There were times the other wolf seemed to have a sense of knowing, a second sight.
“Jaxon, the Alpha is here, and he doesn’t look very pleased with you,” his Beta called out.
There was a shuffling sound inside, then his Omega appeared. His lip was split, it looked like his nose had been broken, and there were countless bruises running down Jaxon’s torso and disappearing beneath his waistband. They had to have happened in the last few hours, since the wolf hadn’t healed yet. His blue eyes were pained, and his blond hair stood on end, like he’d been running his fingers through it.
“Alpha,” Jaxon murmured, lowering his head and tilting it to bare his throat in submission.
“Did you hurt the female inside?” Torren asked, his voice more beast than human.
Jaxon’s eyes went wide and he shook his head. “No, Alpha. Olivia is my friend. I was only trying to help her.”
Torren’s brow furrowed. “Olivia?”
He didn’t go into town as often as the others, but he didn’t remember meeting an Olivia. And he certainly hadn’t heard the name from his Omega before.
Jaxon nodded. “Olivia Grant.”
“You brought a human here?” Torren asked, his beast rising once more as his suspicions were confirmed as to who resided in Jaxon’s home. There wasn’t a single Grant amongst the wolves within his pack or the other outlying packs. “What the hell is wrong with you?”
“She knows what we are, Alpha, and Olivia would never do anything to hurt the pack. I know I shouldn’t have told her about us, but she caught me mid-shift one day. Someone made me so angry I nearly lost control of my wolf. I thought I’d gotten away from the populated areas, but Olivia saw. It scared her and I had to explain. I didn’t have a choice but to bring her here. If you only knew…”
Torren growled, silencing the younger wolf.
“She’s hurt,” Jaxon said softly. “Hurt pretty bad.”
“What happened?” Baxter asked. “Why didn’t you leave her with her people? Take her to a human hospital? She doesn’t belong here, Jaxon, and you know that.”
Jaxon sighed and hung his head. “Do you know anything about the Grant family?”
Baxter shrugged, and Torren couldn’t remember hearing the name. The stench of so many humans was a bit unbearable. One of the perks of being Alpha was that others could purchase the items he needed and deliver them to his home. The rest he bought online.
He waited for the Omega to continue.
“Olivia’s parents are not well-liked around town. She moved out when she was seventeen after hearing her parents talk about prostituting her for drugs. They’re into some really fucked-up shit. I’ve helped her when I could, but it wasn’t enough.” Jaxon bit his lip.
“You have a kid in there?” Torren asked, horror filling him. Not just at the thought that his Omega had taken off with a kid, but at the way his beast had reacted to her scent. He knew his wolf was fucked up after losing Gwen, but this was going too damn far.
“No. I mean, she’s not a kid anymore. She’s nineteen.”
That made Torren feel marginally better. Not much though. She was still really damn young.
“Get to the part about bringing her here,” Baxter said.
Jaxon gave a nod. “Right. Well, Olivia was living in a bad part of town. One of her neighbors broke into her apartment and beat her pretty bad. They cleaned out her place and trashed what was left. She managed to call me before she passed out. When I got to her apartment, she was bleeding all over the floor and I wasn’t even sure she was alive. The asshole who had left her for dead came back, probably to make sure she couldn’t identify him. He was strong, for a human. I left him breathing, but I got Olivia out of there.”
“What if people start looking for her?” Baxter asked. “You could bring the town to our gates if they figure out where she was taken.”
Anger blazed in Jaxon’s eyes. “No one will look for her. In that part of town, no one cares if someone disappears or not. They’ll see the wrecked apartment and blood and write her off as just another hopeless case. The police don’t look too hard into things around there.”
Baxter muttered something under his breath, then walked off a few steps before coming back. Torren could understand his Beta’s frustration. The fact that a dying human was on pack lands didn’t bode well for any of them. The humans had tall tales about shifters living nearby, and maybe some really believed them, but most chalked it up to folklore and fantasy. And Torren wanted to keep it that way. If people knew there really were wolf shifters living nearby, it would be the Salem witch hunt all over again. Or worse…
Once upon a time, long ago, shifters had made themselves known to humans. It had been a disaster, with entire packs wiped out. Never again.
“Show me the human,” Torren said. If the girl was dying, best to know now and figure out what the hell to do.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Award-winning author Jessica Coulter Smith has been in love with the written word since she was a child writing her first stories in crayon. Today she’s a multi-published author of over seventy-five novellas and novels. Romance is an integral part of her world and she firmly believes that love will find you at the right time, even if Mr. Right is literally out of this world.
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