Authors: Viola Rivard
Tags: #Menage (MFM), #Menage Trois, #Menage, #Paranormal Romance, #Romance, #Shifters, #Werewolves, #Fantasy Romance, #Love Story
|Number III of|
Running With Alphas
|Viola Rivard (2014)|
|Tags:||Menage (MFM), Menage Trois, Menage, Paranormal Romance, Romance, Shifters, Werewolves, Fantasy Romance, Love Story|
Taylor isn’t sure what the rules are to their polyamorous arrangement, but Hale isn’t letting his new female talk her way out of his bed.
Now that he’s had a taste of Taylor, he can’t think of anything but having her in every way possible.
While Hale is chasing after Taylor, Alder delves deeper into the Whiteriver conflict, finding out that his brother isn’t as innocent as he claims…
Readers should be 18+ and comfortable with menage romance & profanity. This is not a standalone book.
Copyright © 2014 by Viola Rivard
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 publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
Wolves are endurance hunters. Large packs rely on large prey, and in order to fell creatures that are bigger than they are, wolf packs have to be well coordinated and patient. Hours can turn to days as they hunt their prey, slowly chipping away at its strength and resistance.
That strategy had never suited Hale. As an alpha werewolf, he was stronger, faster, and larger than all of his prey. He rarely needed assistance and never needed patience to get what he wanted. That was why his brother’s mate posed such a unique challenge to him.
Yesterday, Hale had been inside of her, fucking her as though he could somehow brand her with his cock. Today, he was back to referring to her as his brother’s mate, as if the title could put some distance between them and make his inner wolf stop obsessing over her.
With any other female, Hale would have asserted his claim without hesitation. All females of his own kind recognized that he was an ideal partner and he’d never had any need to court a female before now.
While his mind formulated a plan of attack, Hale did his best to ignore his baser urges. But no matter how hard he concentrated, his subconscious continued to seek out his brother’s mate.
Her scent was always the first thing to draw his attention. The warm summer breeze would roll by, bringing with it the barest whiff of her. She smelled like the fresh earth of her garden, the sun-ripened strawberries from the nearby field, and like him.
When he lost her scent, Hale would tune into the sound of her voice. It was different when she spoke to her friends, firm and confident. He liked listening to her take charge of them. It pleased him to know that she was a strong-willed female, because it made his conquest of her all the more satisfying.
When she wasn’t talking, his keen ears would pick up the rhythm of her heartbeat. The human heart was naturally slower than one of his kind, but hers had an unusual cadence, an irregularity that made her even more unique than she already was. He enjoyed listening to her heart, though it was made difficult by his brother’s insistence on talking.
They had been standing on the porch for a half-hour at most, though time seemed to crawl by when all Hale could think about was getting his brother’s mate alone and to himself. Alder did all of the talking while Hale nodded his agreement, occasionally offering a one- or two-word opinion on whatever part of Alder’s conversation he’d picked up on. Finally, one statement captured his full attention.
“I’m taking the body to them tonight,” Alder said. He was staring off towards the Mistwood, where they had left the wolf’s body the day before.
“You aren’t giving him back to Whiteriver,” Hale said, folding his arms across his chest. “I’m stringing him up on the border as a warning.”
His mind went back to the day before, when he’d followed Fenix’s shrill cries. The hawk shifter had led them to the Whiteriver wolf. Hale had arrived before his brother, catching the scent of a pack mate’s blood in the air, along with the acrid smell of fear.
Despite what he had told his brother’s mate, he hadn’t intended on killing the wolf. He had reacted on instinct and without thinking which, contrary to what many believed, was not typical for him. Hale always considered consequences before he acted—he just often chose to act in spite of them.
“I’m taking the body back to them,” Alder repeated. “And I’m going to give them a strong warning that if they step into our territory again, there will be war.”
Hale’s temper flared. “We should already be at war. This is their third offense in a week.”
First, Silas had attacked Hale, then he and his wolves had nearly captured Alder and his female, and now one of their wolves had attacked members of Halcyon within their own territory. Had Hale been the only wolf in charge, they would have been at war at the first offense. Then again, were Hale the only alpha, he wouldn’t have needed an excuse for war.
“Do you really want war, now, of all times?”
Alder inclined his head towards Taylor, and Hale couldn’t pass up the opportunity to look her way. She was perched on top of the frame of the whatever-it-was that she and her friends were building. Sweat trickled down her body and between her breasts. They seemed more rounded today and perkier, as well. Later, he would figure out how she made them look like that.
“I don’t see why now is different than any other time,” Hale said, still watching Taylor.
The raccoon sat on the sidelines, fashioning something from twigs and twine. Beka’s brother, the runt, worked below Taylor, and Hale suspected he was trying to look up her dress. As Taylor tried to position a plank of wood, her knee nudged the hammer she’d put aside, causing it to fall through a gap in the structure and onto the runt’s head.
Hale watched with pleasure as she climbed down, letting out a string of apologies.
Serves him right
“She’s been through enough in the past few weeks,” Alder said. “Right now, she needs safety and stability, otherwise she’s never going to be comfortable here. There’s no safety or stability in war.”
Hale knew that his brother wasn’t entirely right. Of course, he wanted Taylor to feel safe, but there was too much that was already in motion. Taylor was much stronger than his brother gave her credit for. She would adjust to life with them, regardless of whether or not there was war.
An annoying scent brought his attention back to Taylor. She was crouched over the runt, running her hands through his hair. The bastard was aroused.
“I don’t see any bleeding,” she said, her brow knitted in concern. “Do you feel dizzy at all?”
“I’m f-fine,” the runt said.
His eyes lingered on her breasts for a second too long and Hale felt hot anger surge in his chest. Alder placed a hand on his shoulder in an effort to calm him.
“Glenn,” Alder called out. His tone was even and held no malice, but the runt’s head snapped over towards them, apprehension in his gaze.
“Yeah?” he asked nervously.
“You’ve done a good job today,” said Alder. “Why don’t you take a break from construction and join Hale on the hunt tonight?”
Hale swallowed a growl. He didn’t want that runt anywhere near him, but at least it would get the boy away from Taylor for a few hours.
It pissed him off that Alder could be so damn composed when it came to Taylor. While Hale was standing there, barely able to think of anything besides having her again, her presence did not seem to distract Alder in the slightest. Most annoying of all, Alder seemed more amused than angered at the runt’s attraction towards their mate.
“Does that mean we don’t have to clean tonight?” the raccoon asked, referring to their nightly duty of preparing the meats.
“The last time I checked, you and the runt were two different people,” Hale said irritably. “Unless you’re joining the hunt, you’re still on cleanup duty.”
“I really want to get this finished by tomorrow,” Taylor said, frowning at him. “Can Lark and I please have a break, just for tonight?”
Hale considered telling her no, if only to make a point that she wasn’t going to get special treatment from him just because they were fucking. Then, he remembered that Alder would be gone for the night, meaning Hale would have Taylor all to himself. He had every intention of getting her into his bed and would prefer that she didn’t smell like animal blood when he did so.
“Fine,” he said. “Tonight only.” And any night he saw fit to have her for himself.
“Lark, too?” Taylor asked.
It would be much easier to get her alone if the raccoon was otherwise occupied, but Taylor looked so damn hopeful.
“Fine,” he said again, not bothering to mask his annoyance. “But only if you can find someone to take her place.”
Hale turned his attention back to Alder. “Don’t stick around and try to negotiate with them. I wouldn’t be surprised if they attacked you, even on the border.”
Hale stepped off the porch and shifted, not bothering to pick up the pelts he’d been wearing. He was eager to start the hunt, but even more eager to be done with it. As soon as his brother was gone, he would come back for Taylor.
As Hale and Glenn set out into the woods, Lark shot Taylor a what-do-you-know-that-I-don’t look. Lark wasn’t usually so perceptive, but Hale was lacking in subtlety today.
Aside from letting them off the hook for cleaning duty, he had also done a blatant perusal of her body in plain view of the others.
She liked that Hale was still attracted to her, but she didn’t want Lark to know about what was going on between them. While Taylor was dying to talk to someone about her sexual interlude with the two alphas, if Lark knew, the whole pack would know and that definitely wasn’t something she wanted.
“He’s just being nice because his brother is here,” Taylor said, hoping to dispel Lark’s curiosity.
Alder approached them, swinging an arm around Taylor’s waist.
“Has my brother been bothering you?” he asked, nuzzling his face in her hair.
Taylor’s toes curled inside of her moccasins, both from his touch and the light, teasing tone of his voice.
After their tryst in the river, she had fallen asleep in Alder’s arms. It had been dark out when he’d brought her back to the den to nap and she’d only been half conscious at the time. Since then, she’d only seen Alder and Hale in passing and she still didn’t know what to make of the entire situation.
“Hale is the worst,” Lark said, looking around nervously as she did. “He never lets us have any fun.”
“He’s just looking out for the best interests of the pack,” said Alder.
Her shoulders fell. “I know, I know.”
“Do me a favor and go get Fenix,” he said to Lark. “And while you’re up there, make sure you have someone to cover you for cleanup.”
Lark sighed and took her leave. The raccoon shifter had impeccable hearing, and she was relieved when Alder kept the conversation innocent.
“What are you building this for, anyway?” he asked, motioning towards the quail coop. While not aesthetically pleasing, the quail coop was coming along nicely. Glenn was a surprisingly good builder.
“We’re going to keep quail hens in it,” she explained. “That way, we can contribute to the food supply without having to skin any animals.”
The thought of having to pick apart another animal carcass made her grimace and she hoped they’d be done with the coop tonight. Maybe they could even get out of cleanup tomorrow by saying they were quail hunting.
Alder leaned against the hutch. “You know that you never have to do anything you don’t want to. All you have to do is ask me.”
“Thank you,” she said, feeling her cheeks warm. “But I really want to earn this on my own.”
After making sure Lark was nothing but a speck in the distance, Taylor said, “About yesterday…”
Alder flattened a hand on her back, pulling her in close so that they were hip to hip. “It doesn’t have to mean anything if you don’t want it to. We can still leave, just the two of us.”
“No,” she said, a little too quickly. Trying to backtrack, she went on, “I mean that I’m…okay with our arrangement. I’m just not sure what the rules are.”
Alder’s hand rubbed circles in the small of her back. “You’re mine in every way that matters, but if we’re all going to live together, this arrangement will make things easier.”