After five years apart, Connor and Michael O’Brian are tormented by their love for Jona. Both sides of them want her. The wolf in them wants to possess her, ravishing her in every way possible. The human side wants to cherish and court her. As the attacks from their longtime enemy, Patrick MacNevin, become more frequent, Connor and Michael have to let go of the past and come together for the sake of the clan and for Jona. Together, they must claim her as their mate.
Thirty years ago
In the heart of darkness, with only the full moon as witness, Evelyn O’Brian stood still at the edge of the woodland. She was garbed in a translucent gown embroidered with gold around the bodice in a manner reminiscent of Arduinna, Celtic Goddess of forests and hunting.
A drapery of brume slithered its way toward her soul mate, Sean, before it enveloped him and the rest of his men, leaving six wolves surrounding her. Each of them displayed a variation in shade from white to black fur. They had large heads with broad foreheads, muscular necks, and distinctive facial ruff. Their chests were deep and broad, supported by their long, thick, and strong legs that ended in broad pads. They were all powerful and beautiful, but her favorite was the alpha of the pack, her mate. Her black wolf trotted toward her and sat on his haunches by her side. She gave a small laugh and trailed her hand through his soft coat. Leaning down to his level, she burrowed her fingers behind his ears and looked deeply into his eyes. The night already echoed with their call of the wild. Their powerful howls rang throughout the night sky, piercing through the lush wood surrounding her. She felt her own wolf rise within her, flushing her skin and making her hair stand on end. The moon called for her. It had been a year since she had found this beautiful place she called home in Glenariff, County Antrim, in Northern Ireland. It was also when she found Sean. Sadness crept within her like an uninvited guest. Their life together was perfect. They lived within a majestic forest of over a thousand hectares, in a beautiful two-story house, and had a profitable business, but a little dark cloud still hung over her head. She recalled the first time she told Sean about her sterility. It hadn’t taken him long to wrap his strong arms around her in comfort. According to him, he would rather be childless than not have her in his life. The large wolf beside her must have sensed her sorrow as he gave out a loud howl, pulling her out of her thoughts. He hesitantly nudged her flank with his large, black head, enticing her to follow before he turned away and took off toward the forest. He penetrated the tightly knit trees followed by the rest of the pack. Pushing her melancholy aside, Evelyn sighed. Sean was right. There was no point in thinking gloomily and persistently about her sterility for nothing she could do would change her situation. She was grateful they had found each other. Feeling strengthened by her decision, Evelyn stripped off her clothes and called upon her wolf. A gripping pain rushed through her bloodstream before she became engulfed in a pocket of mist. She fell to the ground panting as each muscle and bone in her body contorted. Her bones outstretched, and her facial structure morphed as hairs sprouted all over her body until the transformation was complete. Slowly, the mist dissipated to reveal her standing on four paws. She looked up at the moon and let out an ear-bursting howl of joy. She was no longer the woman she had once been but one of the white goddess’ children. It didn’t take her long to catch up with the pack. Following closely behind her mate, Evelyn let the rest of the pack chase and hound for small prey. When she heard the rustling in the bush beside her, she didn’t bother to investigate since she wasn’t in favor of killing. Not wanting to disturb their feast, she took off in the opposite direction. Evelyn didn’t realize how far she’d ventured until she arrived at the edge of the small prairie located thirty minutes away from her house. She was about to turn around and go back to her pack when she noticed two erected tents facing each other with a small fire blazing between them. Evelyn snapped her head up and sniffed the air when two men came out of the woods with a pile of firewood in their arms. Two women came out of their respective tents, each carrying a toddler in their arms, but she was too far away to hear their chatter. Evelyn guessed they were two couples camping out with their babies. It was common to see tourists in the area. Not wanting to alarm them with her presence, she began to turn away. At the same time, she heard rustlings coming from the undergrowth off to the side of the woodland. This time, the disturbance attracted her curiosity. Slanting her eyes, she tried to identify the glowing orbs staring at the humans. Suddenly, she realized they weren’t her wolves, her pack. She counted about ten pairs. The foliage and the shadows cast by the full moon made it impossible to accurately count, and she could just make out the silhouettes of large wolves. Horrified, she almost leaped from her hiding place when the wolves strode out of the bushes then charged toward the two tents. Fearing the worst, Evelyn knew she was alone and powerless against them. She called on her mate through their telepathic link. “Sean. I’m at the prairie, and a pack of wolves are about to attack humans camping. You must hurry up. They also have babies with them.” “Evelyn? What are you talking about? What wolves? Never mind, my love. Do me a favor and get back to the house. We are almost at the clearing,” Sean urged her. “I can’t. They might sense me.” She almost whimpered before she heard a horrible scream from one of the women. She cried, “Oh, God, Sean! Just hurry up. They’re killing the humans, but I can still hear the babies crying.” Evelyn was in tears. “All right. We can see them now. Just promise me you’ll stay hidden until I come and get you.” “I promise. I love you, Sean.” At the same moment, a chill wind blew against her fur. Evelyn felt eyes on her, and the fur on her neck stood on end. “Well, well. Who do we have here?” She jumped and yelped when a large man appeared in front of her, viciously smiling down at her. From the corner of her vision, she saw more movement and turned her head toward the prairie. Her pack appeared, cresting the hill and rapidly closing in on the humans’ campsite. She was breathing heavily as adrenaline rushed through her body. She hoped her pack could save the humans, but she knew her mate couldn’t come to her rescue. Right now, she was on her own, alone, with her own battle on her hands. She was ready to pounce on the stranger when he brought out a gun and pointed it in her direction. “I wouldn’t do that if I were you. Don’t make me lodge this silver bullet between your pretty eyes, bitch. I’d advise you to shift now.” Evelyn swallowed audibly at the sight of a weapon. From behind her, the serenity of the woodland was once again disturbed with the screams of the humans and the roars of fury. When the stranger didn’t bat an eyelash about the butchery going on a few feet away, Evelyn knew he was with the attackers and, the same as them, a Lycan. Without any other option, she called upon her human form. She stood naked and at gunpoint. “Who are you and what do you want from me?” Evelyn inquired with a firm voice. Without a single word but with a smirk, the man reached out and grabbed a handful of her hair, pulling her against his chest and encasing her with his large arm. She heard him take a sniff. “Oh, my little red riding hood, you stink of O’Brian. You must be my old friend’s new bride. Allow me to present myself. My name is Patrick MacNevin, alpha of the of MacNevin clan, and I would like to send your mate a message. Tell him that the MacNevin clan is here to stay in County Antrim.” The sound of his deep, croaky voice—a low and rough brogue that sounded as if he had a sore throat—sent a shiver of revulsion down her spine. Evelyn’s heart pounded fearfully in her chest, but she needed to keep calm if she were to get out of this situation alive and see Sean again. “You won’t get away with this. I reckon that’s your men killing those poor, innocent people. You’re crazy if you think Sean will hightail it and let you dominate the county,” Evelyn snapped. He pushed his face against hers. “Yes, my dear, I will. I’m crazy enough to kill each one of you to achieve my goal. Although, I might reconsider your fate and take you as my mate after I kill Sean.” Patrick chuckled. “Over my dead body, asshole,” Evelyn whispered through clenched teeth. Patrick abruptly shoved her away from him with enough force to trip her before he turned his back to look at the carnage. “Not today, my dear, but soon enough,” he restated over his shoulder with a laugh before he disappeared into the woods. Trembling, Evelyn was about to change back into her wolf form when she noticed her surroundings were once again calm. Fearing the worst for her pack, Evelyn rushed onto the prairie to come face to face with Sean who was covered in blood and carrying two alive infants, one on each arm. Without taking her eyes from her mate nor a word said, Evelyn realized that her pack couldn’t save the adult humans. She forgot her own ordeal and approached Sean to take one of the babies, promising herself to give their parents a proper burial and love them as her own.