Stein Willard @2020





“A refill, Alpha Prime?”

Leland wanted to decline, but the man looked so eager to please her.  She resisted the urge to look at her watch, knowing that it would come across as incredibly rude to the people in the group. Especially, since she was their host as the Head of the North American Alliance. She gave the man a thin smile.

“I would like that. Thank you.” Maybe she could stay for another half hour and then make her excuses. It was the weekend, and for once, she wasn’t expected at the office for the next two days. Having hosted the Worldwide Alliances for the past two weeks had earned her the weekend off and after tonight, she could lock herself in her penthouse apartment and spend the next two days in the company of a good book and a movie. Her parents were on a European tour and wouldn’t be back for another two months, so no calls to field from her mother either. She could actually hear the silence of her house with the exception of the sound of a page turning as she indulged in her favourite pastime.

However, for now, she needed to survive another half hour of the awful music and the smell of sweating flesh as she glanced down at the dance floor of the upscale nightclub. She was happy to be seated in the VIP section and not crushed amongst the gyrating mass downstairs. As she studied the dancing mass, she saw a flare of a lighter and at that moment, her craving for a cigarette made her climb to her feet. She whispered to the man next to her that she was going to catch a bit of fresh air but would be back soon. With her bodyguards trailing her, she made it down the stairs and steeled herself for a moment before she plunged into the sweaty, dancing chaos. She made for the back door where she knew the smokers ended up and inhaled deeply of the nicotine-filled air as she approached a group of young women to ask for a cigarette. They had recognized her, which made all three of them go for their cigarette packs. Taking one from the nearest pack, she thanked the gaping women and moved to a secluded area to smoke her cigarette.

Those things will kill you one day.

The memory of one of her college girlfriend’s warnings surfaced as she pulled deeply on the cigarette. Leland had quit appeasing her friend, but she had already known that she would outlive the girl either way.

But for some reason she craved a smoke tonight. Must be that the intense past two weeks had taken a toll on her without her even noticing? She had inherited her position ten years earlier when her father announced his retirement. The Oakridge Pack had been at the helm of the North American Alliance for the past five centuries and Leland was the first female Oakridge to inherit the Pack and the Alliance seat. There had been a few rumblings in the beginning, but she had quickly quelled them when she issued a challenge to the would-be dissidents. Let their wolves decide. Winner takes the crown. Three senior Pack members were relegated to omega status after the sound thrashing she handed them and another two exiled from the pack.

After ten years in the position, Leland had refrained from doubting herself and her choices had turned the Alliance, which stretched from Canada to the Caribbean, into a profitable and peaceful zone.

Well, somewhat peaceful.

There was that one small issue that had been the sole source of tension during the two-week long congress.

The Rogues.

They had claimed some of the remotest wildernesses in the country as their home base where they remained, secluded and unaffiliated. Several attempts by her to get them to join the Alliance had been ignored. She had sent out envoys to engage the leader of the pack in dialogue and ease the path for Leland to make an introduction. All that amounted to nothing. Without their elusive leader, who had fewer sightings than Big Foot, reaching a deal was impossible. Leland unconsciously pursed her lips.

A group of rogues didn’t look good for her, especially not when she took so much pride in having united the various packs in her short tenure as the regional leader. Her father had suggested she leave them be, seeing as they seemed to be determined to remain on their own and weren’t causing any trouble at all.

He was right about one thing. The Rogues, as she had dubbed them, were harmless. They rode their motorcycles and didn’t harm humans. There had not been a single complaint with regard to them or their behaviour and they also adhered to the strict hunting codes set by the various states. Leland had also not heard of animal numbers dwindling inexplicably in the area they are known to reside.

And she had checked.

She needed something to prove her father wrong and failed miserably. Just as she was about to throw in the towel and leave the Rogues to go about their way, the Worldwide Alliance Conference brought them up again and so did the pressure to bring the pack into the fold. She crushed the butt under her heel and looked around to find that the number of smokers had dramatically increased. They didn’t even hide their stares. It was quite rare for her to frequent such an informal setting.

Leland grinned. “Be careful, guys, I’ve heard that smoking could kill you.”

A few chuckles sounded as she let herself back inside. She grimaced at the sight of the churning crowd as she considered her path back to the VIP section. She was in the centre of the dance floor, surrounded by dancers, when her senses began to hum. Leland stopped and glanced at her bodyguards, they appeared not to have noticed anything. The humming continued and she glanced around.

Something wasn’t right.

Yet, her two bodyguards appeared completely relaxed. She gave the dance floor one last sweep. Maybe it was the cigarette. She hadn’t had one in over twenty years. That could be what was messing with her senses. Wolf senses were extremely sensitive to the slightest pressure that affected her equilibrium. She continued her trek across the dance floor when, out of nowhere, a large hand shackled her wrist and she was pulled against a hard, sweaty body. It happened so fast and Leland first thought it was a dancer, who had pulled her close.

When she felt a sharp, tearing pain in the tender flesh between her shoulder and neck, she knew that no dancer would be so forward.

No one would dare.

Specifically, not one who hoped to live afterwards.

The bite was hard and deep, and it left her paralysed with shock for a few moments before she growled her outrage and pushed her assailant away. As if in slow motion, she saw her bodyguards spring into action as they tackled a tall, dark-clad figure to the floor. The sudden eruption of violence startled the people closest to them as they screamed and trampled each in their hurry to move away. Nonetheless, a number of them were caught in the action as her bodyguards struggled to subdue her attacker. Bodies were strewn around her bodyguards as patrons tripped over flaying limbs.

Leland held her hand to her neck where she could feel the stickiness of blood seeping through her fingers.

“We need to take care of that, milady,” the owner of the club said next to her, but she waved him away. The wound was the least of her worries. It was what it symbolized that made her blood boil with rage. She could see the shock and horror on the faces of the onlookers. They, too, knew what it meant.

The other seven Alpha Primes appeared next to her. The expressions on their faces varied from shock to concern.

“We need to get you away from here, Leland,” Guillermo said in his heavy Spanish accent.

“No. I want to see the….I want to know why this happened.”

Guillermo looked worried. “It will serve no purpose. Let your men deal with the perpetrator. We could cauterize the wound and maybe stop the process. Come now.”

He made sense. Lots of sense, but Leland was pulled between leaving with him and burying the heel of her stiletto in the heart of the person who dared do this to her.

“Guillermo is right, Leland-San,” Aiko Nakamura, the Head of the Asian Alliance offered. “We need to see if we can stop this.”

Leland reluctantly allowed herself to be escorted to the exit and stood, numbed, as they waited for their cars. They drove to the headquarters were Leland had a doctor on standby. She was rushed to the on-site infirmary and as the doctor worked on her; Leland prayed soundlessly that they could halt the process. If the pathogen’s spread couldn’t be stopped, Leland had no other choice but to find her attacker and kill him. For that would be the only sure way to end this.

She would stop at nothing to reverse this.




Lady Antonia Buckley-Grey looked up at the soft knock on her bedroom door. She had thought she had asked her aides not to bother her for the rest of the evening. She hated flying and the daunting trip back home was going to keep her up for the rest of the night unless she meditated to clear her mind and settle her nerves.

“Come in.”

Her aid, Jessica, entered the room. “A phone call for you, milady. It’s Mr Ortega.”

She held out her hand and nodded at the girl, who soundlessly slipped from the room.

“It’s late, Guillermo.”

“I know, madam, and I apologize. However, something happened tonight that I thought should be brought to your attention.”


“Leland was bitten tonight.”

Antonia held the phone away from her ear to stare at it. Bitten?  “Are you sure? You know she’s a pure-born, don’t you?”

There was a short silence. “That’s our biggest concern, madam.”

“Thank you for informing me, Guillermo.”

“Good night, madam.”

She stared at the phone long after the call had ended. What was happening? Another wolf had just publicly claimed her Head of the North American Alliance. What made matters worse, is that mix-breeds didn’t have the authority to claim a pure-born. She threw the phone on the bed and walked over to the window.

This couldn’t go unpunished.

They will have to make an example to remind all Wolven of the purpose and meaning of the hierarchical structure and the way of the Wolf. They risked chaos should they allow something like this to slide. As the Supreme Alpha of the Worldwide Wolf Alliances, every wolf, in all the corners of the globe, felt like her own child and as much as it would hurt her to harm one of them, some things needed doing.

“Jessica.” The door opened behind her. “Call Rupert and Sergei. We’re leaving for the headquarters immediately.”

“Yes, milady.”

Antonia got her phone and punched in a number. It rang five times before the call was picked up. “Hello.”

“It’s me, darling. Are you home?”

“No. I’m out shopping with Priscilla and Macy. Is something the matter?”

Antonia grimaced at the brusque tone. “Not at all. Can’t I call to say hello to my daughter?”

“Not when you’re on a business trip. You’re usually too busy to be bothered…”

“I didn’t call to fight, Jeanine.”

There was a heavy silence on the other side of the line. “I need to go, Mother. I’ll see you when you get in tomorrow.” The dial tone sounded and Antonia sighed.

Antonia wanted to tell the girl that she might have to delay her trip by a day or two, but Jeanine ended the call before she could get to that.  Placing the phone on the bedside table, she pursed her lips. Jeanine and her tantrums shouldn’t distract her now.

She had complete confidence in Leland, but the girl needed help right now. Order needed to be restored before she went back home to deal with her temperamental daughter.




Leland stared at the two men as if they had grown horns. She blinked rapidly and raked her hand over her face.

“You had the attacker and then you lost him?”

George, the larger of the two men nodded, a faint blush on his face. “We were dragging the person outside, but between the van and the many onlookers, we lost them.”

Two abnormally large men and they couldn’t handle one lone Wolven. That couldn’t be possible. They both came highly recommended, and because they were good at what they did, the Alliance’s Head of Security had recommended them as her personal security detail. After seven years, they had proven themselves repeatedly to her. Thus, for them to have lost a suspect like that simply didn’t make sense at all. Unless they were lying. But why would they?

She tilted her head slightly. “I can’t help but feel there is something that you’re not telling me. Out with it?”

Harold, the other bodyguard, looked uncomfortable as he met her eyes. “We believe the attacker was a woman.”

That rocked Leland. A woman?  That’s not possible. Females didn’t claim other females. Not anymore, that is. The practice was outlawed about two centuries ago, when two female leaders of rival packs claimed each other in the hopes to merge their packs and wage war with a third pack. The three packs were locked in a bloodthirsty war lasting fifty years that saw many Wolven die in the prime of their lives because of the two women’s lust for power. In the wake of the war, the World Wolven Council revoked the right of privilege between two female pack leaders unless it was a union of love. In such a case, a special tribunal would convene to evaluate the situation and make a recommendation to the Supreme Alpha, the most powerful wolf and leader of all the Wolven. Failure to follow that rule had dire consequences. The female wolf that had claimed her broke a cardinal law and could be facing the death penalty for her insolence.

Leland closed her eyes briefly. However, despite the fact, something inside her stirred at the thought of having been claimed by a woman. As a lesbian, bold, forceful women always turned her on. She had found that amongst her many paramours, her human lovers were much bolder than the Wolven ones. It had baffled her for a long time, until she had consulted one of her closest confidants. Apparently, the Wolven held back, expecting her to be the one to be the dominant in the liaison, whereas the humans who lacked the knowledge about her true nature and rank simply saw a beautiful, rich, and powerful woman that they wanted to dominate. That explanation made a lot of sense and it had steered her away from considering Wolven lovers.

The bite itched like hell and she was tempted to scratch it. Only it had been doused with every possible reagent to reverse or completely stop the expected mating process.  She rubbed her hand over her face to clear her thoughts. How did she end up in this mess?

“You need to go out there and pick up her scent and find her.” She knew she was taking her frustration out on her guards, but had they been more observant none of them would be in this situation. “If we can’t stop this, then I’m going to need this woman’s head as backup.”

She saw that she had shocked them. If there was one thing Leland Oakridge didn’t do, it was to panic. What they didn’t know, was that it had nothing to do with her not panicking at all, but more with the fact that she preferred not to panic.

There was a knock on the door and one of the guards went to answer the door. She didn’t need to guess who it was. She had sensed the person’s presence the moment she had set foot in the building. She climbed to her feet as the door swung open.

“I need to know exactly what happened. And don’t leave out anything,” Lady Antonia Buckley-Grey snapped as she strolled into the room. She was dressed as immaculate as always in full black. Her tall, slender frame looked lethal as she came to stand at the head of the boardroom table. “Get the others in here immediately.” She turned her gaze on Leland and frowned. “How did this happen, Leland? And to you of all people.”

“I wish I had a clue, milady.” She said as she rose to bow deeply. “I’m sending my men out to see if they can pick up a scent and track it back to its owner.”

Antonia shook her head. “That will keep them busy for a while, but I doubt they’ll find anything.” She glanced at the bottle of cognac. “Mind if I serve myself?”

Leland quickly walked over to the drinks cabinet and poured two fingers in a cut crystal glass. Antonia took a long drink and folded her supple frame into a chair. “Let me have a look at the bite while we wait for the others.”

Had it been anyone else asking, she would have ripped their throats out for even suggesting it. As long as the cursed bite was covered up, she didn’t have to deal with it. It was a case of out of sight – out of mind thing. She lifted the padded dressing and watched Antonia lean closer for an inspection. She had barely glanced at the wound, before the older woman stumbled backwards, her face white as a sheet.






“Lady Antonia?” Leland was greatly alarmed. The older woman looked like she had just seen a ghost. “Milady?” When there was not response, she grabbed the woman’s shoulders and shook her. “Supreme Alpha!”

The reaction when it came was lethal. Antonia’s eyes shaded to an electric blue. A testament of her lineage. The Buckley pedigree. The rarest and most powerful amongst the Wolven bloodlines. Sleek black fur shot out of the woman’s arms as she reached for Leland with blinding speed and flung her through the air. Leland hit the wall with a thud. She slid down the wall with a soft groan, but instinct drove her back to the feet. Antonia looked horrified, her eyes having riveted to their normal grey.

“I’m sorry, my dear. You…you caught me by surprise.” She shut her eyes for a brief moment. “Tell me about what happened earlier tonight. I need to know everything.”

Leland straightened her clothing and walked over to pour herself a large drink. “There really isn’t much to tell.” She took a sip and when she looked up, Antonia stood a hairsbreadth from her, her eyes riveted to the bite mark. “I didn’t see much, only sensed something off.”

“What did it feel like? Scent?”

She shook her head. “There was no scent.” She frowned slightly. That in itself was a strong lead. “My guards couldn’t sense her either.”

Her?” Antonia’s gaze was intense. “It was a woman?”

“My guards seem to think so.”

Antonia drained her glass and walked over to refill it. “How did it happen? Where did it happen?”

Leland relayed the events that led to her assault and just in case, the woman wanted to know, also those that happened afterwards. Antonia didn’t interrupt her and when she finished her account, she noted that the British woman looked even more troubled.

“What’s wrong? It’s obvious that you’re disturbed by this.”

Antonia looked away. “Aren’t you?”

“Not really, no.” At Antonia’s sharp look, she held up her hand. “What I mean is, the component they injected to stall the progression might actually work. If it doesn’t, then there’s always plan B.” She knew she sounded flippant, which was not an accurate reflection of her emotional state. The Supreme Alpha was visibly shaken by all this but she wasn’t forthcoming about what it was that had her so on edge. Adding to the woman’s distress now was not advantageous in any way. Especially not if they wanted to know what she knew.

“And what is your Plan B?”

“Get that woman’s head, of course.”

Antonia froze, her eyes deepening to a peculiar blue grey colour. Leland had known Antonia for a very long time, since she was a little girl. Antonia always brought her gifts from London when she came for business. Not once had she seen the woman act so strangely. Whatever had transpired tonight ran deeper than any of them knew.

“Belay that. I have to return to London, but I’ll be back within a week. Promise me you won’t set off after that woman until my return. Do you promise?”

Leland nodded. Did she have a choice? Lady Antonia was powerful enough to snap her in two if she went against her wishes. “Yes, milady. I won’t do anything until you’re back. However, will you tell us what we…”

The doors open and the seven other Alphas Primes entered. Guillermo threw a worried look at her and Leland shook her head. Everyone took a seat and Antonia put her glass on the table with a loud clank.

“Tonight is a sign that we failed miserably in upholding our ordinances. Predators need rules and our principle governing action is to guarantee the unquestionable adherence of our laws to keep our society in check.” She planted her hands on the table and lowered her dark head. “What happened tonight cannot go unpunished.” She looked up, her blue grey gaze touching on each of them. “However, I forbid you to take action until I return from London.”

Leland noticed the quizzical glances the others threw at each other. Antonia watched them, her posture calm, but they all knew that the slightest whiff of dissent would have her react. And react, she would. Quick and brutal. If the Wolven Supreme Alpha issued an order, consider it done.

“Aye, milady,” Guillermo muttered. “What would you have us do in your absence?”

“You’re all free to go home. Upon my return, Leland and I will assess the situation. If we need your help, we will be in touch. I assure you that we’ll get to the bottom of this. You will be kept in the loop at all times.” She looked at them again, her gaze tender. “Thank you for your commitment and I’m lucky and privileged to work with you.”

The Primes rose and bowed deeply. With a final glance at Leland, Antonia strode from the room. Aiko Nakamura, the Alpha Prime of the Asian region came over to her. The woman looked worried. She took the bandage from Leland’s hand and applied it.

“How does it look?”

Aiko’s expression was bland. “It’s not healing, but it’s also not getting worse either. Are you feeling anything?”

The mating bite preceded a number of physical and psychological changes. Her body would begin to prepare itself for mating. Her breasts and her sex would become sensitive. Irregular heartbeat and heated glows would follow soon.  Then the insomnia combined with sporadic visions would begin. The final stages of preparation were the ones she dreaded the most. Proximity. With her body and mind prepped, she would crave the nearness of the person who delivered the bite. Their nearness would be the lead up to the actual mating.

She shook her head. “Nothing.”

The slight tugging on her sex wasn’t something she would worry about now. It had been three weeks since she last had sex. She had hoped to remedy the situation over the weekend now that the conference had concluded.

However, that was not to be.




Antonia gulped down the whiskey and held out her glass for a refill. The flight attendant quickly complied. She nodded her thanks and sat back. This could not be happening. She took a sip, tempted to down it again. It would be out of character for her to do so again and although her team was very discreet, they were Wolven, too. If they saw her like this, they would begin to worry, and she didn’t want to stir up mass hysteria. She glanced at her wristwatch and wondered if Jeanine would answer if she called her. After a few moments of internal deliberation, she reached for her phone. It rang for a long time before it was answered.

“Twice in one day,” came the curt answer. “To what do I owe the pleasure?”

“Just because I love you.” There was a cool silence and Antonia continued. “I’m on my way home.”

“I know.” There was a slight edge to Jeanine’s voice. Jeanine had hung up before Antonia could tell her of her decision to stay longer in the States. Good thing it happened too.

“What are you doing?”

“I just got home and was hoping to take a shower and a nap before I meet Josie and Lily for dinner.”

Dinner would most probably be followed by dancing and further partying. A room at a city hotel would be called home for the remainder of the weekend. Antonia would be lucky if she saw her daughter before Monday.

“I was hoping to talk to you, sweetheart.”

“About what? Can’t it wait until next week?”

Antonia’s eyes filled with tears. No matter how hard she tried to connect with her daughter, Jeanine kept pushing her away. It just didn’t make sense to her. What had happened to the sweet baby girl with the bouncy ponytails and infectious laugh? The moment, Jeanine reached her teens, she began acting out. She had a few run-ins with the law and experimented with controlled substances soon after she made some rough-looking friends. Antonia had moved behind the scenes to have Jeanine’s police records expunged. As for her friends, Antonia had them all investigated. Not to make it too obvious, her Wolven guards had paid clandestine visits to the worst candidates. The threats paid off and they quickly disappeared from Jeanine’s life.

“I have to return to the States again soon.”

There was an explosive exhale. “I already made plans for the weekend.”

“Okay, let’s talk next week. Monday, perhaps?”

“Yes, Monday. See you then.”

Antonia still held the phone to her ear long after the dial tone sounded. It was only when the flight attendant returned to enquire after her, that she removed the phone from her ear.




The Jessop National Park was a remote wooded area that stretched for miles along the Adirondack mountain range. Though, most of the area has been converted to conservation status to house the resettlement of wolves, there was a part of the park that drew more tourists every year than the guided wolf tours conducted by the Park’s rangers.

Established in the 1800’s, the town of Owensville, a 10 000-acre parcel of land just outside the Jessop National Park, was formed when a wagon trail of immigrants decided to end their journey there. They had built a small logging town, which thanks to Jeremy Hayes, the first mayor of the town’s charters, stayed almost untouched. Over the years, modernity had reached the remote settlement, but the authenticity of the 1800’s western town remained. With the establishment of a modern suburb, they began renovations on the Old West town to serve as a tourist attraction.

By the time the1980’s rolled in, more and more people have migrated to the big cities, leaving the town almost deserted. An anonymous buyer stepped in, and suddenly life returned to the town. The school reopened, the empty houses started filling up, and the residential suburbs expanded to accommodate a growing community. The boarded-up shops were revived and once again tourists began to stream to the prairie town. However, this private community didn’t allow newcomers to settle unless a council of selected members vouched for them.

 Moreover, if visitors to the Old West Town of Canon Creek woke in the middle of the night to the chorus of howls, they simply argued it was due to the close proximity to a National Park that was also a renowned wolf sanctuary.

Reuben Reed was the official mayor of Owensville and its longest serving one. He still served proudly in the position since his appointment in the 80’s. However, of late, he was becoming uneasy that their carefree life would be somehow upended. The reason for his discomfort was the woman sitting opposite him, dusty boots lifted on the desk before her.

Philippa Reed looked the part of a tough biker chick with her tight leather outfit and sun browned skin. Reuben walked over to the mini bar in the corner of the room and retrieved two bottles of water. He tossed one at the woman.

“How was your trip?”

Cool quicksilver eyes lifted. “The same.”

“Well, do you plan on leaving again soon?”

“Not sure.” A small smile formed on the sensuous lips. “Why? You want me gone?”

Reuben shrugged. “Just making conversation.”

Philippa swung her feet off the desk and sat up. “You want to make conversation, you say. Well, what happened in my absence?”

“Not much. Canon Creek’s doing great. Tourism is at an all-time high. I guess it had to do with that new western film by that hotshot director guy. Uh… Pierce Comey.” He noticed that Philippa’s mind had trailed off and sighed. “You need to pay more attention, Phil. It’s time for you to take your rightful place amongst us; your Pack.”

A soft rumble sounded and Reuben held up his hands in surrender when he caught the flash in the silver gaze.

“I don’t need you to remind me of my duties and responsibilities, Reuben.”

“I know. I know.” He shrugged. “I just wish you were here more so I could bounce ideas off you. The town is growing bigger and, in your absence, there have been a few incidences that even I couldn’t resolve.”

The woman slowly came to her feet. Her six foot three, leanly muscled frame dwarfed his by a head. “Who?”

“The Davies and Connors.”

Reuben hated to do this, but as his Alpha, he owed her the truth. It was in his and every Wolven in the town’s psychological composition to obey the will of their Alpha. Without that, anarchy would follow and dealing with aggressive predators, no leniency could be afforded to those who incurred the wrath of the Alpha.

Philippa combed her fingers through her long dark hair as she walked to the exit. She stopped with her hand on the doorknob. “You know what, Reuben. Maybe it is time for me to settle down. Shall we have dinner together?”

Reuben was elated at the news. He smiled broadly. “Of course. Angela will be happy to see you.”

Then she was gone. The scent of rich earth and crushed leaves lingered in the air.




Philippa was seething as she made her way down the street, acknowledging the nods and bows as she strode towards the end of the town. Reluctant to let her anger dissipate, she lost the battle when a small girl of about six years stepped into the path before her.

“Hello,” she murmured softly and lowered herself so she was almost on the same level as the girl. “Fancy meeting you here, Jamie.”

The girl smiled broadly. “My mom said I should always say hi when I see you.”

“She did now, didn’t she?” Philippa swept the area around her and spied a pretty, blonde-haired woman, who bowed her head. Philippa turned back to the girl. “And after you’ve said hello, then what?”

She chuckled when the girl threw herself into Philippa’s arms. “A hug and a kiss.” The kiss was the sweetest Philippa had ever received and she squeezed the girl a little tighter. Twenty-two years ago, when she had started going on her solitary bike trips across the country, she had thought nothing of it when lone Wolven, who sensed her presence, began to join her on her trips. Many of them followed her home and started repopulating Owensville. As the word spread, her entourages grew bigger and the town started expanding. Families formed and pups were born out of these liaisons. Rogues, loners, and outcasts found a home and purpose in Owensville.

Even then, Philippa never got tired of being the recipient of such affection. She hoisted the girl up in her arms and carried her over to where her smiling mother stood.


“Marianne. How’s your mother?”

“Much better. The doc came by to see her a week ago and he says there is a definite improvement.” Marianne’s mother suffered from acute osteoporosis. 

 “That’s good news. I’ll pop in later tonight to say hi to her.”

“Thank you, Alpha. It’s really wonderful to have you back in town.” She blushed. “I’m expected back at the saloon. We have a large group coming in for the weekend.” Bowing, she left with a waving Jamie in tow. She had barely taken a few steps, before two elderly women held her up.

As soon as she reached the outskirts of the town, she raced to her destination. By the time she reached her destination, four men stood waiting for her. Even before she had cleared the copse of trees to get to the clearing, she could smell their fear.

They had reason to.

Her jovial mood of earlier was gone and in its stead was an enraged Alpha, bent on retribution.


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