Hello everyone! =D I've got another fun blog post for you today! As promised, I said when we hit 100 reviews of Pack Violet Shadow, I would post the first chapter for Pack Obsidian Gold.
If you're not familiar with these books, this is a new adult/werewolves/vampires/reverse harem (one girl with seven alpha males as her love interests) series called The Seven Mates of Zara Wolf. The first two books are FREE to read with Kindle Unlimited, and book three is up for preorder with a December 31st release day (I'm doing a double release with Tate James' new book The Tiger's Ambush--eek!).
If you haven't read this series, I highly recommend it as it's one of my all-time favorites--right up there with Groupie, Real Ugly, and Tasting Never. Give it a shot and let me know what you think! And for everyone who left a review on either Pack Ebon Red or Pack Violet Shadow--thank you from the bottom of my heart, and I hope you enjoy this sneak-peek!
A werewolf pack is only as strong as its weakest link and ours … ours is a traitor. The only people I can trust now are my mates, the seven alpha males I call my own.
Allies and enemies wear the same skins: witches, demons, faeries, vampires … werewolves. It's impossible to tell what's hiding beneath the carefully crafted facades, the sinful slashes of smiling lips.
Magic died in our people long ago; today, it blinks sleepy eyes and wakes up. Ancient gods raise their heads, spirits once thought to be whispers of myth, urge us to fight. They give us the power to defend ourselves from those who would take our magic as their own.
This war we're fighting, it started with a seed of hate centuries ago. Now, it's here, and the fates are unwavering in their predictions—the White Wolf heralds the start of a new era for my people … or the violent thrash of their downfall. My men and I, we'll defend ourselves with love and magic … or die trying.
Waking up with seven boyfriends sprawled across my lap, I was both elated ... and amused. There were feet and hands, faces and ... cocks all over the place. It was hard for me to say which of my alpha males went with each body part.
Carefully, so as not to wake them up, I moved a leg here, an arm there, and carefully crawled from the pile with a small groan of disappointment. Lying in bed with the mixed scents of the packs, the musky scent of werewolf, and the pungent reek of our earth magic was ... well, it was heaven.
"Had about enough of that, huh?" Silas asked from the end of the bed, smoking a vape pen--basically a cigarette without the smoke, just steam--and looking sexy as hell dressed in ink and nothing else. His wolf and tiger tattoos watched me as I climbed off the end of the bed and looked over at him. Sitting like that, with an elbow on one knee, blowing smoke from his beautiful lips, the morning sunshine catching on his scars, it was hard to remember that I had a meeting with my grandmother planned for later that day.
No, staring at Silas Vetter like that, the only thing that seemed to register in my wolfy brain was how much I wanted to mate with him.
Not make love to or sleep with or even fuck, just mate.
I needed to make a girl's date with Faith to get my head in order. As soon as my best friend's name came up in my head, I started to think of her mother Diya, and the way she'd risen from the dead as a revenant, a broken body with an attached soul that was most decidedly not hers, just some awful clinging entity looking for a free ride.
"Oh, no, I liked it," I said and he smirked. "Warm, comforting ..."
"Lots of penises for the picking?" Silas added and I laughed, shaking my head as I opened the top drawer of the dresser and pulled out a tank top and a pair of pajama pants. Being naked was fine and dandy, and it didn't bother me, but my plan was to make some coffee and sit on the porch so I could talk to Faith for a bit.
Normally, any day that was a school day was fair game for us to hang out, since I'd be on campus anyway. But tomorrow hadn't even happened yet, and it was already shaping up to be a doozy.
Julian was supposed to deliver his message ... and whether it came or not, it'd be bad news. That much I knew for certain.
"Good point," I said as I dressed myself and Silas watched. Somehow, the act of getting dressed in front of him was more intense than simply being naked, like I was acknowledging the fact that there was something I wanted to cover up. There wasn't. It just ... made it more apparent that sexual tension hung heavy in the air between us, even after last night. "Coffee?" I asked and Silas grinned.
"I was trying this stupid thing out inside, so I didn't kill you all with smoke," he said, looking at the silver pen in his fingers, "but smoking this and smoking a cigarette are two entirely different things. Maybe I'll go have a drag on the real thing outside?"
"Be my guest," I said and smiled as he snagged a pair of sweats from a small box in the corner, the side scrawled with the words Pack Obsidian Gold. While we'd been out the last two days, Lana had gotten a crew together and moved a bunch of stuff over to the Pairing House. Most of it was sitting stacked against the wall on the opposite side of the gravel driveway, a tarp covering it to protect it from the weather. But a few of the boys had snatched a small box or two already.
Silas pulled his pants on and followed me downstairs. If I said I couldn't feel him behind me as I walked, I'd be lying. His warmth, and his naturally sweet scent of cherries and vanilla, followed me down the steps and into the kitchen.
Instead of going straight outside to smoke, he followed me in there and watched me make a pot.
"So much happened yesterday," he said, voice soft and strange, not at all like his usual asshole self. It gave me pause, so I hit the button on the coffee maker and turned to look at him, waiting patiently, watching emotions play across his golden gaze like a silent film. "What's going to happen now?"
There was a small quiver there as he flicked his glance aside and I knew--I knew--he was talking about his father, the Alpha Male of Pack Obsidian Gold, Allister Vetter.
"I don't know," I said honestly, trying to keep my voice soft. I'd never forget the first time I'd seen Silas after he'd gotten his scar, the skin ragged and pink, almost obscuring his eye. It'd healed a lot since then, but it had never gone away. Why? I'd just pushed a silver bullet out of my body and had literally no wound to show for it. But Silas ... I needed to know more about what'd happened to him. "But I don't want you to be scared of your dad; I've got you." I paused, licked my lower lip. "We have got you."
"I'm not ... afraid of him," Silas said, pursing his lips. He glanced back at me, and his expression was fierce and wild. "I know because of what he's done ... that he'll have to die. I want to be the one that kills him."
Silas and I stared at each other for several long moments, and I didn't say this aloud but ... there was no way in hell I would let him do it, kill his own father. Even if he thought he needed to for revenge or vengeance or whatever the hell, it wasn't happening. It would break him.
I opened my mouth to speak when I caught sight of Nikolina making her way toward the Pairing House.
Her visit was not unexpected, just ... I hadn't even had a cup of fucking coffee yet.
'She's here,' I told Silas in wolfspeak, and he immediately stashed both his cigarettes and vape pen aside, and moved into the kitchen.
As quickly as I could, I poured myself some black coffee, snatched half and half from the fridge, and splashed it into my drink, letting Silas press his body against my left side--as far from my mother as he could get.
It was a respectful move on his part; she'd appreciate that.
"Alpha-Heir," Nikolina purred as she stepped into the Pairing House uninvited. She didn't need an invitation to cross the words nor did she need even a polite acceptance from me. Nikolina Hallett was the Alpha Female of Pack Ebon Red and this house, the land it sat on, and all the people on it belonged to her.
"Alpha," I said as I put a small spoonful of sugar into the coffee and approached the counter, head down in respectful deference. I gave the drink to my mother and waited while her nostrils flared and she sniffed it carefully, checking to see if it was prepared the way she liked it. She often said that once you got to her age--the ripe old age of seventy-four--you liked your coffee the way you liked it. Anything else was a waste of time.
"Get yourself a cup and sit," she told me, dropping any pretense of formality. Her red hair was long and loose, her silver necklace drawing blood from her skin. I watched as little drips of red drained down the front of her chest and soaked into the white silk dress she was wearing, the fabric decorated with images of red-red roses, the edges trimmed in black fur.
If Nikolina was wearing clothing, then it meant she was considering going off pack property at some point today--or bringing a non-pack individual onto it. She once told me it wasn't for her consideration, that it wasn't about hiding her nakedness, but rather because she didn't want to waste time trying to get down to business with some fool who was afraid of their own skin.
Good advice, that.
"Yes, Alpha," I said, because even if she was dropping formalities, she'd still expect me to call her alpha. I could count on my fingers the number of times I called her mom to her face.
I came around the breakfast bar, giving her a nice breadth of space, and took a seat on a stool two spots down from where Nikolina sat.
'How do you take your coffee?' Silas asked, because he knew that when my mother said I should get myself a cup, what she really meant was that my male should get me a cup. 'And by the way, that's something I've always wanted to know about you.'
'Can I take a guess?" Tidus asked, and I could feel him yawning and stretching, his body reveling at the idea of a new day. Silas and I were projecting to our special little pack rather than to just each other--smart move. Nikolina would be able to feel the buzz in the air, and we didn't want her to think we were just talking about her. Speaking through the rest of the pack would create a more even whisper of magic. 'Black?'
'Her coffee mirrors her moods,' Nic whispered, his voice groggy and sleepy and ... far away. He was still mired in yesterday's trauma, and how could I blame him? He'd died, literally died, and his soul ... it'd escaped his body and watched the entire scene from above.
Souls don't often stick around this plane long enough to tell fortunes.
Whitney's words echoed in my head. I knew spirits or souls, whatever you wanted to call them, almost immediately flew this plane to the next or else took up a new body and allowed themselves to be reborn. Since the soul entered the body at first breath, it was a matter of first-come, first-served. But Nic had stayed. He'd stayed long enough for the stag to come and bestow his gift.
And I knew without even asking ... that the reason he'd stuck around ... was for me.
'If she's stressed then make it black. If she's happy, add lots of cream and sugar. If she's sleepy and trying to stay up, then it needs to be some of that super sweet flavored stuff, like smoke caramel for long nights of studying or hazelnut for movie marathons ...'
My heart flip-flopped inside my chest, and I felt a slight bit of color coming to my cheeks. It was a rare, sweet thing that I ever blushed, and here I was, doing it in front of my mother, the most powerful alpha female on the continent.
'Roger that,' Silas said, and I knew I was getting a solid black cup of coffee this morning.
"You're enjoying your males, I see," Nikolina said, studying my reddened cheeks with her ebon dark eyes, smirking slightly with those full lips of hers. "How many have you mated?"
"Five of the seven," I said as Silas put the cup down on the counter, bowed his head and left through the back entrance of the kitchen, past the laundry room and utility closet and out the back door.
He knew better than to try to slip past the narrow space between my mother and the wall.
"Five of seven, such a lucky wolf," Nikolina said, picking up the spoon I'd set beside her mug and swirling it around her coffee. The motion made me think of Majka, stirring her tea with no hands. She had magic ... and I had magic, so why didn't my mother? If the silver really did protect a werewolf from the witches' slow drain spell, then why hadn't Nikolina inherited any? "I've mated three males in my life," she continued, and I almost dropped my coffee.
Her first love, my father, and ... someone else ...?
I blinked at her as she set the spoon aside and lifted her coffee to her lips, her eyes far away and dreamy. It was a look I had never seen on my mother's face.
But I knew better than to ask questions. If she wanted to tell me who this mysterious third male was, then she would. Maybe a new wolf she was considering as a mate? It was unorthodox to breed before becoming an official pair, but Nikolina was alpha and she could do whatever she damn well pleased.
I wondered if it was another alpha?
"You came to talk about the traitor," I continued, when it became obvious she was done with the previous subject. Nikolina surveyed the Pairing House with her strong gaze before turning it in my direction. It was like sitting under a spotlight.
"A traitor in the Convocation," she said, repeating my words from last night. "But you don't know who?"
"Just give me a few more days," I said, skirting the question. If I answered her directly, I had to lie, and I was tired of it. Montgomery's honesty was so refreshing, so ... invigorating. I wanted more of that in my life. "And then I'll let you know who it is. Alpha," I continued, nostrils flaring as I prepared myself for the rest of this conversation. "Please don't allow the Convocation to move on anything until I get back to you. This individual ... is manipulating the system. There are things ... that this person wants that can't happen."
"You're being vague, Zara Wolf," she said, still sipping her coffee, still staring at me like she was trying to pull out my secrets with her gaze. On a lesser wolf, it would have worked.
"You already know about Kingdom Ironbound and Coven Triad's involvement," I continued, because I'd had to give her something last night amidst all that chaos. "Well, Coven Triad has a spell around a large portion of the city, a sleep spell."
"A sleep spell," Nikolina repeated, waiting for me to continue, her pale skin glowing yellow-gold in the sunshine streaming through the window. "Go on."
"They want us to bring war to their doorsteps, charge the Ironbound Kingdom Seat and the Triad Historical Society, so they can put our warriors to sleep and round us up." My mother listened carefully, her long, delicate fingers holding the mug as she drank. One thing I did like about her was that she didn't ask questions either--and I'm sure she had a lot. How did I know these things? Why hadn't I told her sooner? Why were our people chained up and being eaten alive?
But she knew the things I wasn't going to tell her weren't important and the things I had yet to say would come eventually.
Nikolina showed no emotion, simply set her coffee mug aside and turned to face me, those Ebon Red eyes flashing with a hint of … mischievousness? It was a look I'd never seen on my mother's face before, not once.
“You're training with your grandmother today, are you not?” she asked, and I nodded, stiffening slightly as she reached out and put her hands on either one of my arms. “Make me proud, Zara Wolf. Prove to me and the rest of the pack that we've proven the right Alpha-Heir.” She stood up from her seat and moved toward the door.
“Alpha,” I said, just as she was about to step outside. It wasn't smart of me to keep her here really, not after I'd had a human, a witch, a fae, and a vampire traipsing about the Pairing House. But still … this question was already gnawing at me, and I had a feeling that the closer I grew to the boys, the worse it would get. “What happens if I can't choose just one?”
The Alpha Female of Pack Ebon Red raised a single red eyebrow at me.
“One male?” she asked, because my mother was nothing if not perceptive. “Good question.”
Her smile was a slice of wicked as she pushed through the door and started off across the wet, snow spotted field outside the house. She moved leisurely, as if she had nothing to do instead of everything to do, all at once. Run a kingdom, seek out a traitor, care for the wounded.
Nikolina Castille was a true queen.
I wanted to emulate everything about her except for her cruelty.
For a moment, I just sat there and let the sunlight stream in, grateful that in this instant, everything was okay. In this instant, my men were still alive, I was still here, and a small portion of my missing pack members were no longer suffering.
But in instant, everything can change.
In an instant, the whole world can fall apart.
I felt the spike of fear and pain through our pack connection.