A Mate's Sacrifice: (Hot Paranormal Romance) (Ozark Mountain Shifters Book 2)

BOOK: A Mate's Sacrifice: (Hot Paranormal Romance) (Ozark Mountain Shifters Book 2)
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Vesh is a ferocious and cunning guard, and second in command of the Ozarka pack. But he didn’t get that way overnight. The cruelty was bred into him, passed along the generations on his mother’s side. His wolf side. When the alpha sends him to spy on the drifter, Trager, and his new mate, Vesh vows to make their life hell… and possibly steal the luscious Kerrigan away from a wolf who isn’t good enough for her. His plans fall to pieces when he comes face to face with the bold and lovely Braeh, who by some ironic twist of fate, is not only Kerrigan’s sister, but his mate.

It’s been four years since her sister moved to the lower 48, leaving Braeh to deal with small town Alaskan politics. And their father’s controlling ways. When things get crazy at home, she decides a visit south is just what she needs. What she finds in Missouri is a sister mated to a mythological creature, herself in the middle of a turf war fueled by revenge, and… a wolf whose sadness unlocks the portions of her soul she’d swore to never open again.

 

A Mate’s Sacrifice

By P. Jameson

A Mate’s Sacrifice

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 in this Series

Ozark Mountain Shifters

A Mate’s Denial (
Book 1
)

A Mate’s Sacrifice (Book 2)

A Mate’s Revenge (Book 3 – coming soon)

Dedication

For ‘rita, and the godmother of my gallbladder babies.

And to the lion, the wolf, and the vamp for making my days interesting.

Chapter One

Vesh couldn’t have asked for a better gig. Alpha had been on edge since receiving news of a possible war with the Ravendale pack. Now he wanted Vesh to keep tabs on the wolf who’d brought news of the threat. And his mate. Hard to believe it had only been two weeks since the drifter had returned to the Ozarka camp.

Fucking Trager.

Vesh was going to steal his mate. He was tired of waiting for his own. Sure, Kerrigan wasn’t his intended, but she was exactly what he wanted. The connection he’d felt when he first laid eyes on her was undeniable. And not just because he found her attractive. He found lots of curvy women attractive. This was something more. Something beyond the physical. They were bound in some way that didn’t make sense. It didn’t matter what the reason was, it was there. And she would be his soon.

The drifter could go straight to hell.

Two weeks. He hoped Trager hadn’t marked her yet. Vesh smiled. He’d take care of marking Kerrigan. But only when she was ready. After she’d realized Trager wasn’t worth her time.

Vesh hadn’t yet been able to track down Trager’s location. Even though he was a lone wolf, he had his own camp somewhere. A den. A hideout. A place to call his own. Through the benefit of technology, Vesh managed to track Kerrigan instead, and found that she lived in Joplin.

That had sealed the deal. He was taking a short road trip. After packing a small bag and jumping on his Harley, he’d set out to find the couple.

Easier said than done.

Three days later, he still hadn’t located either of them. He’d caught traces of Kerrigan’s scent in the vicinity of the address he’d found for her, so he was on the right path. But no sign of the wolf, and he’d yet to set eyes on that sweet and sassy female.

Stopping at the small road-side bar shouldn’t have been any big deal. He’d gone outside of the city a ways so he could let his wolf out for a run. On the way back, he stopped off for a drink.

Big fucking mistake.

Although the bar was primarily filled with humans, five massive Ravendale wolves were in the mix. That was five too many. They’d immediately recognized Vesh as Ozarka. And not just Ozarka, but second to the alpha.

The beat down hadn’t been as bad as he’d expected, seeing as it was five against one. It was meant as a warning. He was too close to Ravendale land. Though according to what he knew, the closest Ravendale claim was at least twenty miles away.

Vesh made it out with a few broken ribs, a busted nose, and shredded pride.

As he sped down the interstate, the cool breeze soothed his wounds and his wolf went to work trying to heal. Vesh scowled, hoping it wouldn’t take as long as it had last time. His animal was sick. He didn’t know what was wrong with it, or how to fix it, but it had been slowly getting worse for years now. Luckily he’d been able to keep it a secret. No one knew just how weak he’d become, and he planned to keep it that way.

On a whim, he decided to stop by Kerrigan’s apartment building before calling it a night. He didn’t think she’d actually be there, but it wouldn’t hurt to check. He pulled in, parked his motorcycle in the corner shadows of the lot, and climbed the stairs. Using his senses, he followed the scent he remembered until it was strongest. Stopping in front of a door, he stared.

Apartment 4D. This was where his little kitten lived. Her eyes—and their cat-like shape—were one of the first things he’d noticed about her when they met. Those eyes of hers even frequented his dreams. Soft and brown and expressive.

Too bad the only thing they had expressed when she was at the Ozarka camp was disgust. Oh, and anger. Disgust though, disgust for Vesh, is what stood out the most. He’d seen that look too many times before. From people he cared for, from people he didn’t. He was used to it. He knew he could change her mind.

Lifting his hand to knock on the door, he caught wind of a new scent. Something… amazing. It was earthy like the woods, but fresh like snow, and uniquely feminine. Juniper or apples or… something that had no name. He breathed deep and slow, trying to put a label on the scent.

It had to be his kitten. It wasn’t the same as he remembered exactly, but it was
divine
. His wolf, which had been barely more than a ghost, whimpered a single sad sound.

To his surprise, he heard footsteps coming from behind the door. She was home.
Finally
. And there was no trace of Trager.

Vesh almost smiled but his face hurt too bad.

None of that mattered once the door opened. Not the bar fight, not Trager and the war, nothing. The heavenly scent was all he could fathom. It was a punch to the gut from an invisible hand. The woman behind the door was
not
his kitten. Not even close.

“Where’s Kerrigan?” His voice was strangled and foreign.

The delicate, smiling face that held bright blue eyes hot enough to blister, suddenly looked concerned. Vesh’s wolf pawed at his insides in a futile attempt to get his attention. Instead, his gaze zeroed in on her plush lips as she spoke.

“She’s not here right now. Can I help you?” Her smile returned but it was not nearly as bright. More like she was trying to placate him.

Vesh glared, while his wolf stirred even more. The damn animal hadn’t shown this much interest in anything for months now.

“You a friend of Kerri’s?” The woman leaned her temple against the side of the door. No matter how hard he glowered, she didn’t seem worried. “Did’ya have an accident or something?” she asked, gesturing to his broken face.

“Where’s Kerrigan?” he asked again. But he was having a hard time actually caring about the answer. He just wanted to study the woman’s mouth as she talked, and a moment to work through the barrage of unwelcome emotions he felt.

But she didn’t answer right away. She crossed her arms over her chest and tapped a thin finger slowly against her bottom lip. He had the sudden urge to do that with his tongue.

His wolf whined as if begging for Vesh to act, and he felt ill. At war with himself, always. If ever his two parts came together, it would be a miracle of the ages.

“She’s where she is every night. At Trager’s.”

Trager’s. Maybe she could tell him where that was exactly.

A light seemed to click in her mind, and she gave him a good once over. Her blatant perusal did something to him below the belt, and he despised his body for reacting. He equally loved and hated her eyes on him. She was everything he didn’t want to want: blonde, like his sister. Thin and toned, like his mother, the horrible bitch.

“Are you one of
them
?” she asked.

Vesh frowned.

“You know, a little furry on the inside?”

“A wolf.”

She nodded, her bobbed hair bouncing with the motion. She knew about shifters. Who was she? Not one herself, that much he knew.

Vesh took a deep breath, trying to calm his dizziness. Between his ailing wolf and his wounds—and her scent bombarding him—he could hardly think straight.

“Why…” He squeezed his eyes closed against the light coming from inside the apartment. “Why are you in Kerrigan’s home?”

When he opened them again, the stranger’s smile had vanished, replaced with worry.

“Are you alright? You’re bleeding—“

“Answer the question,” he snapped.

She grimaced. “Oh, geez. The thing about wounded animals acting out is true for shifters too, huh?”

Vesh shook his head to clear it. What was wrong with her? Didn’t she hear the authority in his tone? Just because she wasn’t a wolf, didn’t mean she couldn’t sense his dominance. Maybe the weakness of his animal was starting to bleed through. If this small human could ignore his orders, surely the other guards under his command would do the same soon.

“I need to find the woman who lives here.” He breathed through his mouth as he fought his wolf down. Not much of a fight though, when neither man nor animal had much fight in them.

“Why?”

He narrowed his eyes but the action just made his head throb even worse.

She shrugged one shoulder. “Seems to me, if you needed to find her and she wanted you to, you’d know how to do that. Am I right?”

He opened his mouth to speak—

“Here, hang on.” She pulled the sleeve of her sweatshirt down over her hand, and reached for his face.

Vesh jerked his head back when he realized she was about to touch him, but his wolf growled, trying to push forward.

“Chill, dude. I’m just getting the blood.” Slowly—ever so carefully—she wiped from the corner of his swollen eye to his jaw.

The action was short and over quickly but it left him panting. Shaking. Damn near salivating for more. Fucking terrified for it to ever happen again—not that he’d admit it. Furious, and out of control. Desperate and fragile.

She stared up at him. “There.”

“Who are you?”

But he already knew the answer. She was what he’d been looking for his whole life, but had only ever found a cruel doppelganger. She was love. And he wanted nothing to do with it.

His intended. She was…
his
.

Now that he’d found her, he never wanted to see her again. He’d leave. Follow out his mission to keep tabs on Trager, go home to his pack, and never look back. He couldn’t even care that he’d never bed another woman because of the one in front of him. It just didn’t matter. He was done.

His wolf objected, but the bastard wasn’t strong enough anymore to get in Vesh’s way.

“I don’t think that’s important. How about you come back some other time, when Kerri’s here.”

Vesh scowled deeper.


Or
. If you don’t like that idea, you can tell me who
you
are and why you’re looking for my sister.”

Sister. This woman—his mate—was Kerrigan’s
sister
?

Vesh’s head spun. Of course. That would be the unexplainable connection he’d felt to Kerrigan. It was his instinct telling him he was honing in on his mate. Kerrigan had been close, but not quite. Kerrigan’s sister, though? Bingo. Bullseye.

God.

He needed to leave. Now. Right this minute.

Vesh moved to go, but his wolf went crazy. Snarling and clawing. Holy shit, he’d forgotten how ferocious he could be. His mate’s small touch had done a lot to heal him. On his wolf side at least.

Teeth clenched, he fought to keep from changing. Turning right here, right now, was too risky. And his psychotic animal might try to maul her. Shifters were uniquely protective of their mates, but Vesh had been sick for so long, who knew what he was capable of.

“Listen, are you okay? Do you need a drink or something? Some water? You seem…”

“I’m fine,” he ground out.

She mumbled under her breath but he caught it: “Yeah, you are.”

He didn’t have time to think about it though, because his world flipped sideways.

“Oh, no you don’t, mister.” He was brought upright, and braced by her thin shoulders. Still he fought his inner self. He wanted to push her away; he wanted to pull her closer… closer. “Come on, take a seat on the couch. I’ll get you some water.”

Before he could object, she’d dragged him, stumbling into the apartment. A brown leather couch was the last thing he remembered before wolf and man both succumbed to blackness.

BOOK: A Mate's Sacrifice: (Hot Paranormal Romance) (Ozark Mountain Shifters Book 2)
8.34Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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