Authors: Viola Rivard
Tags: #Fantasy Romance, #Love Story, #Paranormal Romance, #Romance, #Shifters, #Werewolves
Over the years he had encountered a few human females, most notably his older brother’s mates. Hale had been fourteen when Cain took his first mate, Dawn, and it had caused some friction within their small pack. Although he was young, Hale was a natural alpha, already larger and stronger than a normal male his age. Cain had taken her away from the den when her scent had begun to change, not trusting Hale to be able to control his urges.
Cain had been right to do so. Regardless of the fact that she was a shallow bitch, Hale had wanted her, more than he’d wanted any other female he’d ever encountered.
A few years later, long after Dawn had died, his brother had taken a second mate, Sarah. Unlike Dawn, Hale had taken an immediate liking to her. He had taken to ref
erring to her as his ‘little sister’ and it had helped to create a line of separation between them, though the few times she was fertile, he still wanted to fuck her.
Neither of those situations could compare to the urges he was feeling for Taylor. Part of him had believe
d that if he could touch and taste her he would come to his senses and realize how absurd he was being. But when Taylor was moaning and shivering beneath him, a part of him he hadn’t known existed had been incited.
Hale hadn’t given a damn about Alder because as far as his wolf was concerned, the human belonged to him.
The only thing that mattered was getting inside of her and fucking her until he’d spent every last bit of his seed into her womb.
He would have taken her right there on the forest floor
, had she not rejected him. His wolf had considered taking her anyway, his instincts telling him that if he could just get inside of her, she’d accept his claim.
Hale had never
wanted a female so badly that he would consider forcing himself on her.
It disturbed him.
It intrigued him.
He watched as Alder rocked his hips in and out of his human. Her head arched back, her lips parting in a silent cry as his brother drove deeper into her. Beneath the pelts that hung on his hips, Hale’s erection ached for release. He would have taken matters into his own hands, had he been alone.
Beka approached him from behind. He couldn’t smell her through the rain, but there were few members of his pack who would approach him unannounced, and even fewer who lacked the grace of a predator.
She stopped behind him, not touching, but close enough that he could feel her heat.
“I’m afraid my brother is otherwise occupied,” he told her, keeping his voice low.
“Are you imagining you’re him?” she asked.
Hale turned to look down at her. She was naked, one mocking brow arched. Rather than being annoyed, Hale was glad she was there. There were days’ worth of frustration coiled within him and he need something to lash out at.
“Do you know she doesn’t even love him?” Hale asked, taking a step forward.
“How does it make you feel to know that to Alder, nothing you have is better than what’s between her thighs?”
Beka flinched, but didn’t back down. “How does it feel to know that as long as she has him, she’ll
Alder ascended to Hale’s perch, disappointed to find that his brother was in a mood. Hale sat on his throne with his legs crossed and his posture rigid. He glared at the dying fire in front of him, hardly acknowledging Alder as he approached.
When they were younger, Hale had been prone to bouts of aggression. They would generally last for a day or two, until he would either wander off on his own or Cain would kick him from the den. He would find a female to couple with for a few days and then return, refreshed and revitalized.
Since they’d formed their own pack, this ritual had become obsolete. There were several unattached females within the pack
who were always willing to satisfy Hale’s overactive libido. That was why it was strange to Alder that his brother didn’t smell like he had been with any of them recently.
“I imagine you have nothing important to tell me,” Hale said, his nostrils flaring.
“Seeing as how stopping to fuck your female took priority over coming here.”
Alder allowed it, knowing it was best not to engage Hale when he was like this. “Winter isn’t going to join us, not for a few months at least.”
Hale’s lip curled. “Why not?”
“His mate is due to have their first cub any day now,” Alder explained, taking a seat beside his brother. “He doesn’t want to get involved.”
He had been able to empathize with the bear shifter. Alder was taking a mate of his own, and with the responsibility of providing for his female and possibly pups, he wasn’t eager to play war with Hale and Silas either.
Hale remained obstinate. “Did you remind him what happened the last time Whiteriver held the valley?”
“He remembers,” Alder assured him.
former clan had been eradicated by Silas’s father, Maruk. Not something anyone would soon forget.
“We have the numbers without him, Hale. I suspect
that’s why Silas hasn’t made a move yet.”
Finally, Hale looked at him. “Halcyon won’t have the numbers if you leave. Half the pack will want to go with you.”
“I’m not leaving you,” Alder said.
The words came out on reflex. Up until the past few years, their lives had been in a perpetual upheaval. The only constant
s they’d ever had were each other. While Alder recognized that he would have to let his brother go, the reality of it was unsettling.
“One of us has to go,” Hale said, looking away again. “I don’t have any sort of feelings for your female, but I do want her, Alder. I get hard just thinking about her.”
Alder felt himself tense. He tried to keep his voice even as he said, “I didn’t know you were interested in taking a mate.”
Hale gave a dry laugh. “I don’t
want her to be my mate. I only want to know what it’s like to be inside of her.”
Alder should have been furious at his brother, but it was just the opposite. For years, Alder had often felt as though he was living in the shadow of his more dominant twin. The idea that he had something that Hale
coveted made his chest swell with pride.
“It’s not that different
from being with one of our females. A little warmer, a little softer,” Alder said, carefully watching his brother from the corner of his eye. “It’s the scent that really does it. The smell of her arousal mingling with the smell of yours, it does something to you. Makes you harder than you’ve ever been before. Then, when you finally come, it’s like a revelation. Like your entire life has just been leading up to that moment.”
Maybe it was a bit poetic, but Alder indulged himself in a measure of satisfaction as his brother visibly paled.
Feeling smug, but also marginally guilty, Alder said, “You should start looking for a mate of your own. None of this land is going to matter if you don’t have a mate and pups to share it with.”
Hale tilted his head to scowl at Alder. “I don’t want a mate or pups. That’s always been your thing, not mine.”
“Then what do you want?” Alder asked, beginning to grow impatient.
“We could share her.”
Their eyes locked as the words hung between them, neither male sure what to do with them. After a moment, Alder averted his eyes and stood.
“I’m going to go speak with Fenix, make sure the patrols are tight.
Hale grabbed his wrist, his grip tight. “She’ll accept me, if you let her.” He
moved to stand in front of Alder. “You can have all the affection shit, any pups she has, all I want is her body.”
There was no face in the world more familiar to Alder than his brother’s, but in that moment he hardly recognized him.
Shaking Hale’s hand off, Alder gave him a final, hard stare before walking away.
“Pass me the spinach seeds,” Taylor said.
Her eyes burned and she rubbed at them with the back of her hand. Without a clock, she wasn’t sure how long she’d slept, but it couldn’t have been more than a couple
She wanted to believe
sleeping was an issue due to the pack’s strange schedule. They seemed to fall sleep either right before or right after sunrise, waking sometime in the afternoon.
had still been sound asleep when Taylor had woken up. It was still morning and try as she might, she couldn’t fall back asleep, so instead she had gone outside to work on the garden.
Alone time had been both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, it had given her time to process the events of the past few weeks and on the other, it had given her time to consider her future.
She wanted Alder, there was no question about that. But it wasn’t that easy. Alder wanted to start a new life with her as its focal point. It was all happening too fast for her to wrap her head around and she was afraid that once they got to know one another better, he would come to regret being with her.
Then there was Hale.
Taylor had avoided thinking about him for a while, but every time there was a lull in her thoughts, her mind seemed programed to conjure up images of the brash, abrasive alpha. She couldn’t deny that she was attracted to him on a purely sexual level. After considering it, she reasoned that it had to be because he was Alder’s twin, as there were no other qualities about him, aside from his body, that were remotely appealing.
Glenn pulled a packet of seeds from the crate
and tossed them to Taylor. She caught them and tore open one side of the package, sprinkling a few seeds into each of the holes she’d dug.
“Are you sure these will grow?” Glenn asked, peering over her shoulder.
Glenn had shown up not long ago to help with emptying out the cabin. Most of the junk had been moved, but it was still going to need a good cleaning and some roof work before it would be habitable.
“I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.”
“Do you really think Alder is going to stay in the valley?” Lark asked. The raccoon shifter was stretched out on the ground, not seeming to mind that she was covered in mud.
Hopefully,” Taylor replied.
Alder hadn’t actually said they could stay. On the contrary, he’d been pretty firm about the fact that they’d be leaving soon, but Taylor still had a few days to sway him.
She hoped that if he saw that she was making a home for herself in the valley, he’d be less inclined to uproot her.
“But what about Hale?” asked
Taylor felt her skin tingle at the mention of him.
“What about him?” she said, shooting him a look of irritation.
He seemed apologetic. “I only mean that he’s something you’re going to have to consider.
Brothers or not, Alder’s not going to tolerate another alpha near the valley once you’re—”
Taylor held up a hand to silence him. “I know, I know. I’m going to figure something out.”
She had given that some thought as well and had decided that she, Alder, and Hale would need to sit down and have a discussion at some point. There had to be something they could do to ensure that they could all live there together. Sure, they were wolves, but they were also part human and perfectly capable of reasoning this whole thing out.
“In the meantime,” Taylor said, “I want to build a chicken coop.”
“A chicken coop?” Lark repeated.
“Well, I guess it’ll be more like a quail coop.” Taylor
said, standing. “I was thinking about how you said the foxes like the quail eggs. If we can catch a few of the hens in the forest, we can keep them in our coop and trade their eggs. Maybe we’ll even have enough to convince the foxes to do cleaning duties for us.”
Lark’s face lit up. “That’s the best idea ever.” She turned to Glenn. “Can you build us a quail coop?”
To Taylor, he said, “I have some mesh wire in the cave. Not enough to build anything too big, but I can probably improvise. Do you know how to take care of quail?”
“One of my foster parents owned a farm. She didn’t have quail, but she had chickens and ducks. Can’t be that different.
Glenn nodded. “We should find some wood first. There’s an old structure a few miles from here. The pack used to use it as a lookout point, but it’s falling apart now. I’m sure we can use the
planks, we’ll just have to ask Hale first.”
Taylor waved a hand. “Forget about him. Let’s go get it. If Hale complains, I’ll deal with him.”
Green and gold afternoon light filtered down through the leafy canopy of the forest, lighting the wide dirt trail. For the first time in days, the sky was blue without a cloud in sight.
Walking and chatting as they were, Taylor almost forgot that Lark and Glenn weren’t human. She enjoyed Lark’s quirkiness and although Glenn was only seventeen, he was mature for his age and they got along well.
The structure that Glenn was referring to was a tall tower comprised of panels of wood that had been haphazardly nailed together by a novice builder. The entire thing was precariously positioned on the side of an uneven stone outcropping.