Jason Blue is a new alpha and still trying to figure out how to run his pack. One thing he knows beyond a shadow of a doubt is vampires and litches are a bad thing, and he wants nothing to do with them, particularly after the litch who’s trying to control the local vampires killed the previous alpha pair of the Sky Ridge pack. When he finds vampires fighting in his territory he does the only thing he can, help kill the aggressors. But he’s unprepared for a request for sanctuary.
Saul Ledo chafes under the tight, unchanging hold the litches have on the vampires. Like a good number of the younger vampires, he’s ready for a change, even if that means taking on the rulers who’ve controlled his people for thousands of years. The problem is he’s going to need help. Running out of choices, he finds hope of getting out from under the litches once and for all when he meets Jason.
As these two unlikely allies come together, more than simple fire sparks between them.
Will they survive long enough to reap the benefits of those sparks, or will the litches extinguish them before they can truly find each other?
The cold wind ruffled Jason Blue’s coat, but he didn’t mind. His fur was thick enough the winter chill didn’t bother him in the least. He’d grown up in the mountains, in the land his pack claimed. A few inches of snow and the Arctic gales that carried them barely slowed him down. If he was human, he’d have been called a mountain man, but Jason Blue, like his many ancestors, was a werewolf. He was large and imposing in both his human form and his wolf shape. As the biggest and meanest wolf in the Sky Ridge Pack, he was the alpha, although it wasn’t a position he’d gone out of his way to get. He’d been happy being the beta, just having to back up their previous alpha Bert, until the litch who moved in on the regional vampire covens had tried to take over the wolves as well. They’d beaten Alfredo back, but Bert and his mate, Catherine, had fallen to the litch’s undead power. The wolves had voted, and nobody wanted to challenge Jason for alpha, so he’d won the position without a fight.
In the months since he’d ascended to his new position, Jason had done everything he could to keep his pack safe from the vampires and their like. It had taken a while before he felt comfortable enough to go out on his own. The snow storm rolling down the mountains was the perfect opportunity for him to slip out and run alone. He also needed time to think about finding a mate. An alpha couldn’t be without a mate for too long. It would weaken the pack.
Jason’s biggest problem with choosing a mate was there wasn’t a wolf he wanted to sexually bind himself too. They were an older pack, and most of them already had mates. As alpha, he could dissolve any of the matings he wanted to, but they were his friends and family. He didn’t want to casually dissolve a long-term relationship just to suit his own needs. That might have been what other alphas would do, but he didn’t want to run his pack by force. The fact that he was the only gay wolf in the pack made things that much more awkward. Again, any wolf would have to obey his order, but he didn’t want to force himself on anyone. When he found a mate, he wanted it to be a mutual attraction. He wanted to find love, not just sexual release.
The wind curled around him, carrying a number of scents from the inhabitants of the mountain. With the storm rushing down on them, the majority of the animals were bedded down. But there was a hint of blood. Jason turned toward the aroma. It had been two weeks since the full moon when he’d led the pack in their monthly hunt. He was ready to bring down prey. As a wolf, he lived to hunt. It was just his human side that kept him from pursuing everything that caught his attention. He only hunted the weak prey, things that couldn’t survive. Over the years, he’d lost track of how many elk he’d killed that had been maimed by a human’s bullet, but the wound had eventually weakened the animal, leaving it for the wolves and werewolves to bring down.
The blood scent he caught wasn’t elk, but he wasn’t exactly sure what it was. There were a lot of things in the mountains that could need his help in passing into the next life. The smell of the storm grew stronger, and for several minutes, it blocked the odor of blood. Jason kept trotting in the last direction he’d smelled it. He bent his head against the wind, which now plastered snow to his muzzle. The storm was growing more intense, and for the first time since he was a pup, Jason thought about finding a cave to hole up in until the storm slackened. Whatever was injured wouldn’t make it much farther with the amount of blood they were losing. He could always find them when things let up and if they were still alive, he’d finish them off.
Turning to head toward the caves that were up on a nearby hill, Jason stopped as a rancid scent filled his nose. Vampires. Old, nasty vampires who were on the edge of being litches.
Jason was too far from the pack to howl for backup. But he’d never called for help before. He was the alpha. His pack was only as strong as he was.
“Go home, doggie.” A vampire rose up out of the storm.
The way it appeared, Jason wasn’t sure if it had used its supernatural speed or something else to get close to him. He growled and bared his teeth. They were in pack territory. No vampire was going to boss him around.
Something moved behind the vampire and Jason froze. He scented more than one of them, but the storm was making tracking difficult. The blood smell grew stronger.
Another vampire rose out of the storm behind the first. It grabbed hold of the first and twisted its neck. There was a loud crack that rang out over the storm.
The second vampire let the first one fall to the ground. “You know, if you would treat the wolves with a little respect, they might not feel so strongly against us. We’re in their territory, after all.”
“Mario!” shouted a vampire from the blizzard. It appeared much the way the first two had. “You killed him.” The third vampire rushed the second.
“And you’ve been trying to kill me for two weeks.” The second vampire caught the third by the shoulder and spun him around.
Jason lunged at the third vampire, catching it as it fell. He grabbed its head in his teeth and shook until he was rewarded by a loud snap and the vampire went limp.
“I guess I found the wolves,” the second vampire said.