The Devil’s Dires Series, Book #7
There’s no escaping a Dire Wolf on the hunt…
No one can understand the tormented life of Dire Wolf Luc. As Alpha of his pack, he should be the most powerful and confident in the bunch, but his ability to sense others—the emotions and presences of existing as both shifter and human—has worn him down. Dire Wolves seem to live forever, but Luc has begun feeling as if the end of his road is approaching. He’s also stuck on a mission he can’t solve, searching for shewolves he can’t find, and failing his pack all the way around.
Cassiel is a woman who makes her own rules and lives her own life—a solitary one in the bush of Alaska with just her sled dogs and a healthy respect for the dangerous lands around her. She has no interest in other people or trying to follow someone else’s rules. But anyone alone in the bush needs to be prepared for predators, and while she’s ready to tackle any threat, there’s one that scares her more than the others. A creature from her nightmares lurking in the dark and howling at the moon.
One soldier struggling with the overwhelming chaos in his mind, one woman terrified of the monsters that seem to haunt her world, and a chance encounter that brings each of them closer to the edge of death than ever before. In the world of the Dire Wolves, the leader of the pack is the strongest and surest of them all. But when the mission stalls out, Luc will have to use any means necessary to find the women he can’t be sure actually exist…even if that includes scaring off the one woman whose very presence quiets the storm inside him.
One soldier, one fight…one chance at forever.
Noisy humans forgotten, mind clear and on a new hunt, he followed the scents, wanting to know the who and how and why of growing those particular flowers and herbs. The how question was answered when he hit a patch of flat land with little spruce trees growing in the sunlight and discovered a structure. A very human structure. There was a shed in the wilderness, blooms of all kinds brightening the small windows on the sides as if some forest fairy had taken up residence there and figured out a way to grow her flowers in the harshest of environments.
Luc stared at those windows for several seconds, letting the colors and scents calm his spirit. He couldn’t resist taking a peek, so he trotted closer and stretched his neck upward, looking inside the steamy windows. Flowers lined every wall, bottles and jars sitting on a far shelf, and something copper that looked like a small version of what moonshiners used to make alcohol rested on a table in the middle. This was no moonshine operation, though—this was a place of healing. He could sense it. He could feel—
Luc jumped and spun, nearly growling as a small woman rushed toward him. As fate sucker-punched him square in the gut when he finally saw the person who had somehow snuck up on him. Short with golden skin and dark hair, she sucked the air right out of the sky with her beauty, but it was her peaceful nature, the pure aura of calm around her, that truly set her apart from the rest.
Calm soul…but she looked terrified.
“Get out of here, wolf, before I have to shoot you.”
Luc watched with amusement as the woman scampered closer. Brave little poppet. Something about her appealed to him, something in the way her emotions touched him felt less intrusive than most. Hell, he hadn’t even realized she was coming, hadn’t sensed her out in the woods. Not until she was already right up on him. That alone was enough of an oddity to incite his curiosity. But when she finally met his eyes, when she looked right into the depths of his very being, curiosity went flying into space as fate slammed into his heart.
A bond, a sense of essential connection—a need to be with her and her alone. And yet…
The woman stood completely motionless, staring back at him with an intensity that seared him from a distance. Not breaking eye contact. The emotions within her—fear, mostly, along with some anger and quite a bit of yearning—danced along his senses, tiptoeing their way into his mind. Not blasting him as he would have expected. His emotions were, for once, stronger than those of others and they were clear—he wanted the little woman.
There was just one problem he could see. The pull from her, the rebounding attraction he’d felt through others including his own brothers and their mates, wasn’t there. But something was. Her feelings weren’t clear, but his were. He wanted to be with her, to befriend her. To care for her. All feelings he’d never experienced before. Especially not for—he sniffed, taking in her scent and verifying his assumption—a human.
But that felt wrong, calling her human. He sniffed again, pulling more of her scent even deeper into his lungs, not catching the notes of a wolf on her at all. And yet, again, there was something. A lupine whisper on the wind that didn’t belong there. A shadow of a beast teasing the air around her. Was she truly human or something else? A shifter of a breed he couldn’t place? A witch or a fairy, as he’d imagined? How was that even possible? All of his brothers had experienced bonds to females and found mates in Omega shewolves, strong creatures with a storied past and a legendary link to the Dires. If this woman was somehow supposed to be in his life, was to be bonded to him in some way, where was her wolf?
Unable to skip an investigation into the creature, he took a single step closer. That movement seemed to break the spell he’d put her under, though. Her eyes grew large, and her heartbeat raced loud enough for Luc to pick up the sound. He’d scared her…badly. Fuck.
The little woman turned and ran, staying in her human form. Not shifting as one of his kind likely would have done. Perhaps she really wasn’t a shifter—wolfless, but not quite human.