Authors: Ellis Leigh
Tags: #Fantasy Paranormal, #Ellis Leigh, #Claiming His Fate, #Paranormal Romance, #Wolf Shifter, #Fiction, #Feral Breed Series
CLAIMING HIS FATE
The First Book in the Feral Breed Series
Rebel Lynch has spent two hundred years searching for balance between his human side and his inner wolf. As a den President of The Feral Breed Motorcycle Club, a lack of control over the beast within isn't just a pain in the ass, it's a death sentence. One served by his club brothers: the judges, jury, and executioners of the wolf-shifting community.
At Amnesia Gentlemen’s Club, customers and staff check their real-world identities at the door. Charlotte, one of the club's best waitresses, ditched her legit career in corporate IT because she needs the kind of income those pesky IRS folks can’t track. When the smart-mouthed bombshell pulls a gig serving a private party, she expects nothing more than a few extra tips. That is until dirty-talking Rebel Lynch strolls into the room looking like sin incarnate, flashing motorcycle club colors, and blasting Charlotte's expectations about work, life, and love straight to hell. Or is it heaven? Rebel's throaty growl sure as heck sends her soaring...
One glance at Charlotte and Rebel knows she's his fated mate. But a wolf shifter is attacking women at the club, threatening Charlotte’s life, and putting the entire shifter community at risk of exposure. Rebel and his Feral Breed MC brothers must find the crazed shifter before he strikes again. If Rebel can't uncover the new monster in their midst—and learn to rein in the protective instincts of a fully mated Alpha—his future with Charlotte will be dead on arrival.
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“Feral Breed Boston, what say ye?”
The president of the Boston den stood and nodded his respect. “Down two, sir. Both to matings.”
Blaze acknowledged the response with a nod. The crowd in the meeting hall at Merriweather Fields conversed in whispers and growls, typical behavior during the quarterly club check-in.
“Look at these dens, losing members left and right to the love bite.” Scab upended his mug and guzzled the remaining ale. Most of it, at least. Some ran down the sides of his mouth and onto his shirt.
Jameson, President of the Four Corners den, gave a low growl. “Matings are sacred and should be treated as such.”
Scab belched. “If they’re so sacred, there wouldn't be the rule where the new couple goes to fuck for three days while we guard their lazy asses and listen to everything they do.”
“Scab,” I warned, my wolf giving a throaty growl at our errant denmate. The dumbass was pushing buttons he should have known better than to play with. The Rites of Klunzad were older than the majority of the countries on the current world map. They were rules and ceremonies surrounding the sacred bonding of a wolf shifter and their mate, handed down from generation to generation. Scab couldn’t understand the pureness of the union, the level of respect that’s to be given when the blessed joining occurs.
Nor could Scab grasp how much of a bad idea it was to rile the Four Corners president.
“Please,” Scab said, addressing me and ignoring Jameson. A stupid move on his part. “Like you didn't get hard listening to that guy from the Hollywood den and the fat whore he mated with? All that ‘Oh, yes, Daddy. Do it harder, spank me, yes. Get it, Daddy, get it.’ I was hard for a week. Must have jacked to that soundtrack a hundred times so far. Bitch had the ass of a rhino, but it sure sounded like her cunt was—”
The crash of Jameson's fist into Scab's face brought a little attention our way, but not nearly as much as we would have garnered in a room full of humans. Wolf shifters were used to a show of violence now and again, especially our group. The protectors of our species. The Feral Breed Motorcycle Club.
Jameson sat back with a snarl and reached for his drink.
I pointed my beer bottle at Scab’s prone form. “You realize Blaze is going to take a stripe out of your ass for that.” I knew why Jameson had hit the wretch, but that didn’t mean Blaze would appreciate the distraction during den updates.
Borzohn wolves like Jameson, the ones born as shifters into a family pack, put much stock in the centuries-old traditions their elders taught. He honored them. But those such as Scab, the Anbizen or turned ones, grew up in the human world. They usually had no patience for the antiquated ideals of packs long decimated by war and prejudice. They didn’t understand the peace brought to a shifter by a proper mating.
Of course, not all Anbizen scoffed at the old ways. Some of us respected the rites as much as the Borzohn wolves did. But the Borzohn had the advantage of growing up sharing their body with the wolf inside. They tended to balance the man and wolf better than us Anbizen.
“Feral Breed Buffalo, what say ye?” Blaze glanced our way but continued through the den roll.
Jameson curled his lip. “Boss man can take as many stripes as he wants. Scab here should be happy I was the one who got to him. Had any of the Hollywood den overheard his comment about their beloved pack sister, your pet Anbizen would be stuck in the med unit here at the Fields for the next month.” He gave me a wicked grin. “And if her mate had heard him, Scab would be dead by now.”
“There's no denying that. You never fuck with a wolf's mate.”
We clinked our bottles in response. The belief that mates were more than just bed warmers or broodmares was something we agreed on. Mates were pure souls amongst savages—the angels to our demon nature. Even female wolf shifters had an honor code when it came to their male mates. Especially female shifters—those bitches were brutal when provoked.
“Feral Breed Four Corners, what say ye?”
Jameson stood and nodded once at Blaze, the National President of the Feral Breed Motorcycle Club, leader of the National Association of the Lycan Brotherhood or NALB, and the closest thing we had to a pack leader. Basically, Blaze was the man with the biggest balls in the room.
“No losses, sir. Our club is static at forty-six members split evenly between a northern and southern den.”
“And the denhouse in Flagstaff? Have the repairs been completed?”
Jameson paused. The grinding of his teeth coincided with the way he curled his hands into fists. “Not yet, sir. I expect completion within two weeks.”
Blaze peered at Jameson from the dais at the front of the room. “Have the vandals been located?”
“We're still tracking them, sir,” Jameson bit out, hair sprouting at the back of his neck as he fought his shift. The wolf in him had to be boiling mad. It was an inherent risk when being in a room full of Alpha wolves. The slightest challenge could set off a violent outburst. That's why the club-style leadership of our individual regions worked so well. Voted presidents such as Jameson and myself, vice presidents, Sergeants-at-Arms… every man had his job and his place. It kept the violence to a minimum.
Plus our wolves got off on the feeling of riding a motorcycle. There was a freedom to it, something impossible to duplicate when stuck inside a box on wheels. If we couldn’t four-paw a trip, we wanted to do it on two wheels with nothing separating our senses from the world around us.
But place us in a room filled with other teams and the leader of the whole wolf population of North America? Even the strongest shifter would have trouble keeping his wolf at bay.
“I want them found, Jameson. They have desecrated a den of the Feral Breed. I desire justice.”
Jameson offered Blaze a tight nod. “No more than I do, sir.”
Blaze stood quiet for a moment, his eyes hard and locked with Jameson's. My wolf perked up at the tension between the two. He pushed his way to the front of my mind, ears pricked and eyes watchful. My hand gripped the bottle tighter as the human side of me prepared for a mental fight. I couldn’t get involved if Jameson challenged Blaze. Doing so could mean death or banishment, depending upon the outcome of the battle. But my wolf liked to jump into a good fight, and he had a tendency to do so whether my human side agreed or not.
When Jameson dropped his gaze and sat down, so did my wolf, the mangy fucker. I set my bottle on the table and opened my hand, stretching the tendons. My skin burned under my jeans and leather cut. Had Jameson not submitted when he did, my joints would be aching with the need to shift.
Giving myself over to my wolf form was the easiest way to relieve the tension racing through my veins, though it was not my preferred method. I’d need another hit of The Draught or a bit of balls-deeping before the night was over if I had any hope of staying in my human form.
“Moving on,” Blaze said. “Feral Breed Great Lakes, what say ye?”
I stood and offered Blaze a nod, fighting not to vocalize the snarl my wolf gave our leader. “Sir, we have no losses to report this quarter. We’ve added two new wolves to our club, bringing our membership to forty-two shifters divided into eastern and western divisions.”
Blaze glanced down at his notes. “I see the two additions are recently turned Anbizen wolves. How are they assimilating?”
I glanced at Scab, still unconscious on the floor. I wouldn’t have called his turning recent; he’d been a shifter for nearly sixty years. But an ancient such as Blaze would certainly view the years a bit differently than his human counterpart.
“They’re learning their places, sir.”
Blaze's brow furrowed until he followed my gaze to the lump of man on the floor. He grimaced. “Yes, well, some men take longer than others.”
He shuffled his papers, humming for a moment until he found what he was looking for. “There's been a report of a woman turning up at a Milwaukee hospital with claw marks on her body. Just the one case so far, and she claims to not remember what caused the injury. But it’s enough to garner the attention of the local NALB regional head. I'd like your team to head there and investigate the issue. Make sure we don't have a man-eating nomad on our hands.”
“Of course, sir. I can roll out my team as soon as the meeting is through.”
“With the location so close to the Fields, I would find it allowable for you and your den members to be excused from the meeting early. I can have Half Trac send you the final meeting notes.” His eyes locked on mine, causing a low whine to escape my throat. My wolf may have been dominant by nature, but his dominance didn’t compare to that of a shifter such as Blaze. With six hundred-plus years of life behind him, Blaze had more than twice as much time as I did honing his power and aggression.
Not wanting to start a challenge, I broke eye contact. “Whatever you require.”
“Perfect. Thank you, Rebel.” He grunted and looked down to the papers stacked on the podium. “Feral Breed Heartland, what say ye?”
I shot a look over to my Sergeant-at-Arms, a man who went by the road name Gates. He gave me a quick nod before he turned and exited the room. No doubt he’d collect the rest of my men, minus the still unconscious Scab. The brothers of my den were strong and efficient; they’d be ready to hit the road as soon as I said “ride.” Milwaukee sat only an hour north of Merriweather Fields, a giant colonial-style mansion northwest of Chicago. We’d be investigating before nightfall.
“Who's claimed the Milwaukee territory?” Jameson asked. “Is it still Ehrman?”
“Sure is. The old coot probably turned some college kid and forgot. At least that's what happened last time.”
“You think Blaze will let him keep the city if that's what happened this time?”
I shrugged. “Not sure, but I doubt it. Blaze isn’t a real bloodthirsty leader, but he's still not one to let his wolves get out of control. If the old man can't handle the territory, it’ll be turned over.”
“Isn't Ehrman the one who lost his mate in some kind of territory dispute?”
“Yeah.” My lip curled in a snarl, echoed in my mind by my wolf side. “Group of nomads banded together and snuck into the area. Killed off three mates and two wolves before Ehrman’s guys could stop them.”
“On both sides.”
No civilized shifter would wish the death of a mate on another. And the repercussions were usually brutal and swift, the widowed mate’s rage fueling them to a level of strength legendary amongst our kind. I wasn’t sure who the poor bastard in the situation would be—the shifter who’d lost his mate or the ones who’d taken her life.
Scab’s groaning interrupted my thoughts.
“You know, Jameson, next time you might want to go easy on the poor fellow.”
Jameson laughed. “And what fun would that be?”
“Not a whole hell of a lot.” I grinned and finished my beer.
Scab finally pulled himself to his feet, his club cut askew, and one hell of a nasty bruise appearing on his jaw. As shifters, we healed faster than human men and were pretty damned hard to kill. But a full-strength punch from a fellow wolf shifter was enough to do some damage.
Scab spit on the floor and glared at Jameson as Gates approached. With his black hair and bright blue eyes, Gates tended to wear the “pretty boy” moniker. But he was trained to kill in more ways than I could count, and his wolf was a strong tactician, which was why I’d named him Sergeant-at-Arms. Fighter, enforcer, and the man who kept the rest of our members in line—that was Gates’ role.