Here’s Chapter One of Amber Flame, in its entirety! You may return to the regular web page here! Five Bridges has several alter species: Vampires, shifters, fae, dead-talkers and witches. AMBER FLAME, book 4, begins the shifter wolf portion of the Flame Series and features Border Patrol Officer and Alpha Wolf Fergus of the Gordion Pack. Fergus played a supportive role in DARK FLAME, book 3, and he rocks!
Against his alpha wolf principles, Eric Fergus, seduces a beautiful fae woman in the dreamglide and soon discovers she’s the only woman who can save his life…
~ ~ ~
CHAPTER ONE OF AMBER FLAME, Book #4 of the Flame Series
FERGUS SAW A GLINT of something metal slide out of his challenger’s black leather wrist guard. Before he could move, the skewer pierced Fergus’s gut, then punctured the base of his heart.
A searing pain drove through his abdomen.
His whole body seized.
A blow followed as Sydon, the contender in the wolf dominance battle, used his fist to knock Fergus into the sand.
Fergus landed on his side and the air fled his lungs.
He had only one chance of surviving the illegal skewer stab; he had to shift. With a thought, he transformed into his wolf shape.
Since Fergus’s heart was leaking blood, he couldn’t move and he couldn’t defend himself.
But Sydon didn’t stop. He added more blows with his fist to Fergus’s head.
Fergus watched Sydon leap into the air.
Shit, this was going to hurt.
Sydon came down hard, jumping onto Fergus’s ribs.
Fergus heard the bones crack. He couldn’t breathe, he couldn’t think. He couldn’t do a damn thing.
Sydon howled his victory.
Fergus heard a shrill whistle which ended the Savage Territory dominance battle. About the same time, Fergus passed out.
When he came back to consciousness, he was still in wolf form. Instead of the sand pit, though, he was on the bed of a truck being bounced to hell and back. His tongue lolled out of his wolf mouth.
His heart barely beat, and he couldn’t breathe very well, except for small puffs of watery air.
He passed out again.
When he woke up, he’d been thrown onto a heap of broken up cement, dirt and weeds. He heard a lot of male laughter and the roar of a truck engine. A spray of gravel hit him as the vehicle wheeled out of what he recognized as the Graveyard.
So, this is where he would die.
He knew the place well. As a Savage Territory Border Patrol officer, he was familiar with the central part of Five Bridges where at least a dozen alter creatures were dumped every night. Most were dead. But the few that arrived still breathing, yet unable to move, would perish once dawn arrived. Long-life came with an aversion to sunlight.
Thirsty, cold and shaking, Fergus knew he didn’t have long to live. He was already half separated from his corporeal being.
But he didn’t want to die, and he sure as hell didn’t want to leave the Gordion Pack in the hands of a fucking psychopath like Sydon. Worse, he’d felt his bond with the pack break, a sudden severing that felt as painful right now as the puncture in his heart.
Bile filled his mouth.
The rogue alpha would send the female wolves into the sex and drug trade along Savage Strip, he’d rape the women at will, believing it was his due, and he’d order the strongest male wolves to begin moving drugs in and out of the territory.
Sydon represented everything evil in their world.
His thoughts took a sudden hard turn.
Oh, God, he didn’t want to leave her.
For the first time in years, since his wife’s murder, he had a woman in his life. Over the past month, since he’d helped rescue Mary Somers from a despicable sex club in Revel Territory, he’d been sharing her bed. Sort of.
The problem was, she didn’t know about their relationship in real-time, only in what was called a fae dreamglide. When he’d fabricated his first dreamglide, something a wolf shouldn’t be able to do, he’d had one purpose in mind: To bed the woman he craved. Having reached the peak of his mate-hunting cycle, he’d wanted Mary as though she was rain to his parched earth.
A woman’s voice penetrated his fading mind. It wasn’t Mary’s, but sounded a lot like his dead wife. Fergus, use the dreamglide. Mary can save you. Let her save you.
Yes, I’m here. But don’t waste time on me. Focus on Mary.
What did he have to lose?
With the last ounce of his strength, he formed a dreamglide. Once within it, yet weaker than he’d ever been before, he stood up in his human, non-wolf form, and took the helm. Focusing on Mary, he located her, then piloted the dreamglide swiftly.
He found her sitting on the floor of her family room going through photos of her life from before her alter transformation. She’d been in Revel Territory five years. All of her family was gone. He’d learned a lot about her over the past month.
Three of her several rescue cats lay stretched out near her, one with his paw on a photograph.
For a moment, Fergus didn’t know what to do. He usually reached Mary in her dreams, but right now she was awake. Could he even make contact with her?
He had to try.
He called to her telepathically. Mary?
She straightened her back and grew very still, definite signs that she’d heard or felt something.
Mary, it’s Fergus and I need your help. I’m dying. Hell, I may already be dead.
She rose to her feet and turned in a full circle, wild-eyed. The cats scattered, running away from her obvious distress. One of them bumped a bird cage near the window and set the inmates chattering as well.
She must have heard him. Hope sent a flame through his chest.
“Fergus? You mean the wolf from Savage?”
He was surprised, then realized they’d never even met in real-time. He might have carried her out of Roche’s hellhole, but she’d been unconscious the whole time.
Yes, the wolf from Savage.
It seemed strange that she didn’t know him. How many times had he had made love to her in the dreamglide? Dozens, yet the blocks she’d put in place kept her from knowing who he was.
“Where exactly are you?” She searched the room.
In the dreamglide, the one we share.
At these words, she grew very still once more. “What do you mean, the one we share?”
He’d never expected that these would be the circumstances under which Mary would come to learn what they’d been doing together. She had no idea right now how much he’d grown to care for her or how many times they’d talked and shared their thoughts with each other.
Was it possible he’d fallen in love with her?
For a moment, as he watched her, he forgot about his plight in the Graveyard or how dizzy he felt or that death was riding his heels. Instead, his wolf was all about the barefoot woman in jeans and a purple silk tank.
She had large light brown eyes and a rich scent that captivated him, layered with roses and a sharp, wood-like yarrow. His nostrils fluttered. Even in the dreamglide he could catch her scent.
Her long, blond hair hung around her shoulders and down her back. He’d loved holding her thick hair in his hands when he made love to her, especially when he took her from behind. He’d slowly wrap the length around his forearm to control her. She’d howl softly, like a wolf despite the fact that she was a fae woman from Revel Territory.
“Fergus? Answer me. Are you still there?”
Sorry. Got distracted. Can you come to my dreamglide? I need to talk to you.
“Okay, but I don’t get it. How can you create a dreamglide? You’re a wolf. And are you saying we’ve been together in the dream-world?”
Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying. But you didn’t want to know what we were up to, so you set up blocks.
She put a hand to her breast. “You mean, you and I have been together?”
“Physically? As in sex?”
The full month that they’d been lovers, since he’d helped rescue her from Neal Roche’s perverted sex club, had been the most satisfying and intense four weeks of his life. Mary had been a willing, enthusiastic participant in the dreamglide, but she’d refused to let her real-time self know that she was involved with him.
Mary didn’t like wolves.
“Fergus, I’m so confused. Wait a minute, what did you mean, you’re dying?”
The dizziness increased as he explained about Sydon and the dominance challenge.
Mary blew the air from her cheeks a couple of times. “And you say you’re in the Graveyard?”
I am, but I’m fading.
“All right, let me think.” He watched her move to the couch and stretch out. “Okay, I want you to pull me into your dreamglide, then take me where your body is.”
As Mary began dropping into a meditative state that would allow her to join him, his dizziness grew more intense. He felt the dreamglide falter. Summoning his strength once more, he pulled the remnants of his consciousness together and kept his dreamglide intact. But he could tell he was slipping away.
~ ~ ~
Mary lay on the couch and breathed deeply. She didn’t understand what was happening at all. Fergus was here, in a dreamglide, one that he said he’d built, which was impossible. Fergus was a wolf from savage Territory. Wolves didn’t have the power to even enter a dreamglide by themselves, never mind build one.
Worse still, how could she have been with him in his dreamglide for the past month and not have had an inkling in real-time? Talk about denial.
But if what he said was true, and he was near-death, she’d worry about their sexual relationship later.
As she fell deeper into her meditation, she focused on Fergus. Though he’d saved her life over a month ago, she’d never really met him. She’d been unconscious when he’d carried her out of a prison-like cell where Neal Roche had held her captive. Later, she’d done a search on the web, so she knew what he looked like. He was a handsome man, with long, thick, black hair that had an intricate braid on the right side.
She held that image now in her mind.
As she began to sense the presence of Fergus’s dreamglide, her blocks started to dissipate.
A new image arrived, something from the past, of being with Fergus, one arm slung around his neck, her fingers tracing the flow of the three separate braids into one larger one and the thin amber leather cord that held it in place. His wife, Sharon, had created the design.
He’d loved his wife, who had served as his alpha-mate until she’d been murdered three years ago. Her neck had been bitten almost in half by an unknown wolf, her spine shattered. Mary had learned about the brutal attack from accounts on the web as well.
The deeper she dropped, the more the memories began to return. She could see him more and more clearly as well.
The next moment, she was in his dreamglide and there he was. He stood in front of her, deathly pale. But his dark eyes were lit with an amber glow, very wolf.
The air left her lungs in a one long worshiping sigh. Fergus was ungodly handsome.
Memories of her time with him rushed through her mind, of making love with him repeatedly. Chills traveled up and down her body and a sudden overwhelming desire for him raced through her blood. Without a moment’s hesitation, she moved into him and slung her arms around his neck. She kissed him, nothing held back.
She was so into this wolf.
In return, he wrapped her up in a powerful embrace. He had massive corded arms and shoulders, and a beautiful wolf’s body, athletically perfect, including washboard abs she’d kissed and licked dozens of times.
She and Fergus really had been lovers for the past month.
As quickly as the passion had bloomed, however, it began to dissipate. No, that wasn’t right. The passion wasn’t fading, it was Fergus. He was fading.
Just as he’d said, he was near-death.
She drew back. “There has to be something I can do. Fergus, tell me what to do?”
The dreamglide began to move like a swift rush of air, then stopped suddenly. Fergus glanced at the floor of the dreamglide and pointed.
She followed his line of sight. Through the dreamglide, she could see into the Graveyard. And there was Fergus, in wolf form, his black fur dusty. He lay on his side as still as death.
Glancing back at Fergus, she finally put all the pieces together. “You’re almost gone.”
He blinked slowly. “Get Warren. My heart was punctured. I need wolf blood.”
With that, Fergus’s eyes rolled back in his head and he faded to nothing. At the exact same moment that his dreamglide vanished, she was right back in her home on her couch.
She sat up. The blocks to all the former memories fell into place again, but she still retained the image from this dreamglide. The recollection would remain vivid, including the kiss she’d shared with Fergus and the tremendous wave of emotion she’d felt the moment she’d seen him.
She also knew she had only a handful of minutes left to save his life.
Her heart pounded and her hands shook.
Fortunately, her job as a veterinarian afforded her certain tools that would allow her to get him out of the Graveyard. She would need help moving him. She would need Warren and some of his men.
Her phone lay on the floor next to her photos. She grabbed it, then froze. She knew Warren was one of Savage’s most powerful pack alphas, but how was she supposed to reach him? In real-time, she’d never even met Fergus and definitely not Warren.
She released a cry of frustration that sounded strangely like a yelp, more wolf than fae. She wondered at the weird reaction, but her need to reach Warren kept her focused on the task at hand.
The alpha of the Caldion pack, like Fergus, was part of the Savage Territory Border Patrol. She could start there.
She put her feet in motion as she contacted the station. She asked for Warren and was given the runaround until she said she had information on Fergus.
The woman on dispatch grew very quiet. Mary grabbed the keys for her Four-Runner off the peg near her surgery. As she headed to the garage, she focused on the dispatch operator, extending her fae senses. She could detect both grief and rage for what had happened to Fergus.
Mary spoke quietly, “Listen to me. I know where Sydon dumped Fergus’s body, and I might be able to save him, but I need Warren and I need him now. Can you get word to him and can you keep this between us?”
“Yes.” The word came out hushed and was spoken with the wolf gravel. “I’m in his pack and we’re in trouble. We thought he was dead.”
“He’s not, but don’t tell anyone. Fergus asked me to bring Warren over to Revel, where I live.”
“You’re not a wolf?”
“No. I’m fae. Please, can you connect me with Warren?”
“I’m not supposed to, but I’d do anything if it meant getting Fergus back. Give me a sec.”
Mary got in the cab of her modified Four-Runner. She’d had a long bed installed as well as a sling apparatus she used for transporting big animals.
She set her phone on the dash-holder. She tapped ‘speaker’, hit the automatic garage door and cursed the damn thing for being so slow.
Turning the key, she revved the engine and as soon as she had clearance, she drove out, bouncing off the curved driveway and shooting down the street.
A deep wolf’s voice hit the airwaves. “Warren, here. Who’s this?”
“Dr. Mary Somers from Revel. I’m a friend of Fergus’s and a trained veterinarian. He contacted me.” She debated for a moment. She didn’t want to get into the whole dreamglide situation, especially since she didn’t understand why Fergus had the ability to even create one. He was a wolf, not a fae. “That is, Fergus reached me telepathically. He’s in the Graveyard and he’s still alive, though barely. There’s a chance we can save him. But I’ll need your help getting him into the sling and back to my surgery. He said he needs wolf blood.”
A long, tense pause followed, then, “Where in the Graveyard?” Exactly the words she needed to hear.
“Not far from the bombing that took place about three months ago, you know, the one involving the witch, Iris.”
“I know the location. I’m on my way.”
The Graveyard was the roughest part of Five Bridges, full of ditches and cacti. Dozens of small makeshift bridges were the only means a four-wheel-anything could get through the no-man’s land. The large central part of their province kept all five territories separated. But it was a hellish place, given to death.
She drove like a madwoman, but her powerful fae instincts told her every second counted.
When she found Fergus, she screeched to a halt and sent dust, rocks and bits of concrete into the air. She backed up close to him, ignoring the fact that she couldn’t detect the rise and fall of his abdomen.
He looked dead.
She didn’t care. She knew what she knew.
By the time she was using the controls to guide the sling over to Fergus, she felt a vibration in the air and knew Warren was close. “That you, Warren?” she called out. She didn’t turn to look.
“Flying in behind you,” he shouted. “I’ve brought two of my men with me.”
“Thank God for that.”
Warren landed and slid across some of the debris to grab for the far end of the heavy rubber sling. He moved it next to Fergus.
As soon as it was in position, she hurried to unlatch the closest side to her so that it lay flat.
The men wasted no time as they picked Fergus up and slid him onto the sling. Mary worked around them as she grabbed the latches, then locked them in place.
She stumbled heading back to the truck, picked herself up and with bleeding palms worked the machinery.
The wolves kept the sling steady. Like the garage door, the damn thing couldn’t move fast enough. She let loose with a long string of beautiful words. She sensed all the wolves staring at her, but she only had eyes for the sight of Fergus’s black and way-too-dry snout as the sling drew close.
“Warren, get up here on the back of the vehicle, your men with you. Take the Goddamn controls and keep Fergus steady. I’m taking off.”
Warren levitated swiftly toward her. “I’ve got it, Mary.”
She jumped over the side of the truck, landing in the gravel. She slid into the driver’s seat, started the Four-Runner and put the vehicle in motion.
The large tires gave it the traction she needed through the shitty roads and wobbly bridges.
She once more drove like she’d escaped from an institution.
As she turned down her street, tires squealing, she contacted Warren telepathically. I need one of you to give him blood right away.
I’ll do it, unless blood-type matters.
Not with wolves. She knew at least that much about the species she disliked so much.
As she pulled into the garage, she hopped out of the truck. “Warren, you and your men haul him to the surgery while I get the transfusion equipment set up. This way.” She gestured with a flip of her arm in the direction of the double swinging doors.
She didn’t wait for Warren to say anything. She ran up the ramp and into the surgery and propped the doors open. She raced around and gathered tubing and needles. She locked in the feet of the surgical table to make sure it didn’t slide around. She could hear the men moving in her direction.
Seeing them levitate up the ramp, she called out, “In here.”
They carried him straight to the surgical table. Though she’d cared for great Danes on this table, it still wasn’t big enough for Fergus in his wolf form. One of the wolves held his hindquarters in both hands. She directed Warren to pull up a second smaller table and place it beneath Fergus’s hind end.
Afterward, she threw a rubber tourniquet in Warren’s direction. “Tie yourself up. I need a strong vein.”
“You got it.”
From the corner of her eye, she watched him wrap the rubber strip around his arm.
She ignored Fergus’s open, glassy-eyed look. He was hanging on by a thread, but he wasn’t dead yet. She quickly shaved his front right foreleg, then waved Warren in her direction.
She wasn’t messing around with cleaning anything up. Time was her enemy.
She inserted a needle into Fergus’s vein, though with difficulty. Not much blood was moving through his body.
Without once making eye-contact with Warren, she began the transfusing process. She complimented him on the size of his vein, drove the needle home and watched as gravity did its thing and Warren’s beautiful red blood began to flow along the tubing.
As soon as it reached Fergus’s vein, she felt a roll of energy move through the wolf’s body and the blood began to flow.
Her eyes started to burn, and her throat felt tight.
Warren’s wolf-voice sounded through the space. “This is a good sign, isn’t it? I mean, that the blood is going in.”
“It is. It’s the best.”
She took a moment to breathe and to give thanks for small miracles.
With the most critical element in place, she began a careful examination of Fergus’s body. She quickly discovered the broken ribs. She couldn’t imagine what had done this kind of damage.
With Fergus unconscious, she felt the individual ribs then carefully pulled each one back into place. There was no way she could perform any kind of surgery, not with how close he was to death. But she also knew that as soon as he was able, he could self-heal the bones. Her greater concern was making sure his lungs weren’t torn up.
As more of Warren’s blood flowed into his system, she watched Fergus take a decent breath, then another and another. Her sense of relief increased.
But she remembered what Fergus had told her about being skewered. She ordered Warren to stay put and got her ultrasound equipment.
Once again, she shaved Fergus, though this time on his chest. Using the gel, she ran her wand over the area that allowed her to see his heart.
“Why are you doing that?” Warren asked.
“Something Fergus told me about how he was injured. I understand there was a dominance battle.”
“Yes. Sydon, a rogue alpha, challenged him. I was sure Fergus could take him. I wasn’t there during the battle, but I was on the phone with one of his betas and got a blow-by-blow. Sydon caught Fergus below the sternum with a heavy right punch, or at least that’s what we thought it was. Fergus seized while in the air, fell, then shifted, which indicated he’d been badly wounded. Sydon went in for the kill and punched at his head, then jumped on his ribs. I don’t know how Fergus survived.”
She kept moving the wand over his heart, and there it was—a small perforation, partially healed but leaking blood. “Well, here’s the problem. He was stuck with a metal implement, like a large needle, straight into the bottom of his heart.”
The atmosphere in the room changed, as surely as if electricity poured through the space. The air smelled harsh like heated metal and came from the wolves.
Warren’s voice dropped an octave as he said, “Are you saying Fergus was skewered?”
“Yes, that’s what he told me had happened, but he was lucky. If the puncture had been any deeper, he would have died instantly.”
Mary replaced the wand and turned off the machine. “What I don’t understand is how this happened. I mean, I’ve seen photographs of what you wolves wear during dominance fights, something like a pair of wrist guards and a leather loin cloth.”
“Right. I knew there was a word for it.” She felt her cheeks heat slightly. Fergus would look really good in a loin cloth. Or out of one for that matter. The man she’d met in the dreamglide was built.
That she could even think of him in those terms was a good sign he was leaving the danger zone. She still didn’t say anything to Warren, however, in case something else went wrong.
She cleared her throat. “With so few clothes, how could Sydon have had a skewer on him?”
Warren grunted, a rough wolf sound. “His wrist guards, if long enough, could have disguised hidden metal pieces. Jesus. Sydon must have done exactly that.”
Mary didn’t want to say anything, but because her sister had died as fall-out from a dominance fight, she wasn’t all that surprised at the treachery of secret skewers. It seemed in keeping with her opinion of wolves generally.
She had a deep prejudice against Savage Territory. She didn’t want any part of a culture so easily moved to violence. Now that she had a partial awareness of what she’d been doing with Fergus in the dreamglide, she also knew why she’d set up the memory blocks in the first place. If she’d allowed herself any real-time awareness of Fergus, she would have refused to engage in the affair.
She got out a bag of saline. Using another tube set-up, she hooked the needle beneath Fergus’s fur, the same way she would a dog or a cat. Hydration would help.
She checked his vitals. His blood pressure was low and heartrate too rapid, but she sensed he’d begun the long journey back. Other than cracking open his chest and suturing the wound, she didn’t have another option. She was convinced, however, that surgery would have been far worse than letting him self-heal.
“Will he live?”
She realized she’d been so intent on Fergus and consumed by her own fear for his life that she hadn’t shared enough information with the men in the room. “Yes, he’ll live.”
She finally made eye-contact with Warren, but gasped softly. She knew very little about the alpha of the Caldion Pack and hadn’t known he was partially disfigured. The left side of his head was partially bald, a few inches back from the scalp line. Though the area was heavily tattooed, she could see he’d been burned, badly. His face was scarred as well, all the way to the area around his left eye, especially on and over the socket. However, he had full use of both eyes. The same side of his face also looked as though it had been burned. The rest of his head seemed normal. He had long blond hair, very thick and straight not unlike her own. His eyes were an unusual emerald green and very beautiful.
The physician in her tried to understand what had been done to him. Some of the scars looked like a wolf had bitten him. But the rest was caused by either a fire of some kind or chemicals. “Any of that causing you pain?”
He shook his head. “It happened a few years ago.”
“Here, in Five Bridges?” He should have been able to self-heal.
“Yes. A dark witch’s spell made it permanent. Fergus pulled me to safety, otherwise the spell would have eaten through my entire body and I would have died.” His gaze drifted to the line of red connecting him to Fergus, then back to her. “I owe him my life.”
She saw in his features the extremely handsome man he’d once been. Despite the disfigurement, he exuded a similar quality as Fergus, the strength and power of the alpha wolf.
His gaze narrowed and his jaw worked. When his nostrils flared and elongated slightly, she wasn’t surprised that he shifted his gaze away from her. He even side-stepped to create distance, though he was careful to preserve the tubing.
Sniffing the air herself, she detected his mating musk, the same kind of scent all alphas released. She sensed that Warren needed to establish a boundary with her because of Fergus. By way of clarifying the situation for him, she drew close to Fergus and settled her hand gently on his wolf-shoulder. “I belong to Fergus right now.”
She watched him release a sigh of relief. “I can smell his scent on you. He’s spoken of you often, but you have to understand, until you’re bonded every unmated alpha will be attracted to you.”
She was surprised. “Because of your mating cycles?”
He shook his head slowly and met her gaze, the emerald of his eyes glowing slightly. “No, Mary, I’m afraid not. This is about you. You have alpha-mate capacity, a rare thing even in Savage Territory and something I would have never believed possible in a woman from Revel Territory. Yet here you are.”
She noted the slightly pale appearance of the skin around his eyes. “You’ve given enough blood, Warren. But Fergus should have more.” Wolf blood was one of the greatest healing agents in Savage Territory.
Because the hole in Fergus’s heart was small, he hadn’t lost a lot of blood. The surplus provided tonight was more about restoration and would go a long way to bringing Fergus back to full health within the next few hours.
A terrible chill went through her. For a brief moment, she could feel the entire landscape of Savage Territory and that the wolves would soon erupt in chaos and violence. Again.
Her gaze shot back to Fergus. She had a terrible premonition what was about to happen in his world would hinge on the decisions Fergus made over the next forty-eight hours.
Warren gestured for one of the other wolves to come forward. “Alessandro, you’re up.” The shorter male didn’t hesitate.
Though Mary didn’t understand why, she knew instinctively this wolf was a beta. He could also be an alpha-in-training, but he definitely served in a more supportive capacity within Warren’s pack.
She shook off her visit with the future and carefully created a new transfusing line with Alessandro.
Mary saw that Fergus’s breathing was much easier now. She used the ultrasound again and saw that the hole was completely healed. She told Warren the good news.
Mary? Fergus’s voice entered her mind.
She gasped, then glanced at the black wolf. But he didn’t seem any more alert than before, though his eyes definitely weren’t as glassy. She touched his forehead and rubbed his ears very gently. Fergus? Are you able to communicate with me now?
Not exactly. I’m in the dreamglide again since I’m still too weak to do this through simple telepathy.
Do you want me to come to you?
No, it’s not necessary. But right now I need you to ask Warren a few things.
Sure. Give me a sec.
She kept her hand on Fergus’s head but turned to Warren. “I’m able to communicate with Fergus. He’s alive but still deeply unconscious.”
“I don’t understand. Then how are you talking to him?”
Mary drew a deep breath. “It’s a fae thing. Actually, it’s through the dreamglide.”
Warren scowled. “That makes no sense.”
At that, Mary smiled. “I know it doesn’t. It’s a fae thing. But humor me, Warren. Fergus has questions. Is that okay with you?”
He nodded but looked skeptical. “Of course.” She sensed he didn’t quite believe her.
Mary, tell Warren to take the stick out of his butt. When she hesitated, Fergus added, Go ahead. It’ll help.
Mary knew her brows were sitting high on her forehead. “I mean no disrespect when I say this, Warren, because it comes from Fergus. But he said to tell you to take the stick out of your butt.”
Warren laughed, then lifted a hand. “Okay, now I believe you.”
“Is Fergus always saying things like that to you?”
“I’m a little, how shall I say this, inflexible.”
Mary reverted her attention to Fergus. So, what do you want to ask Warren?
I need to know where my pack stands, what Sydon has done.
She relayed the information to Warren, adding, “Fergus can hear everything you say. I don’t need to pass it along.”
“Good to know.” Warren took a step closer. “Your beta told me on the phone that as soon as you were taken away, the representative of the Savage Pack Council pronounced Sydon the new Alpha of the Gordion Pack. You’ve never heard such silence before. Shortly after, however, some of the women began howling their grief.
“Sydon, by rights, had you hauled out to the Graveyard and left you there for the sun to do its work. I want you to know that your best men were in constant communication with me. I needed to know what Sydon’s first decrees as alpha were and it’s not good. He expects the youngest female wolves to form a harem and service his needs exclusively.”
What? Fergus’s distraught voice punched through Mary’s mind.
She pressed her hand against his forehead to calm him. Fergus, a little less forcefully, please, though I understand your distress.
Warren continued. “He announced to your wolves that he has plans to make the Gordion Pack more powerful than any other in Savage. He told the older unmated females to prepare to work Savage Strip, that he would expect them to earn money for the whole pack. The male wolves have been given a choice. They can either serve as drug runners or work in a local amber flame drug factory. Everyone in the Gordion Pack will work for the good of all.”
Were those his words? Fergus asked.
Mary addressed Warren. “Fergus wants to know if those were his words or yours, the last part I think, ‘the good of all’.”
Again, Mary rubbed his head. Ease down wolf, you’re too powerful for my poor brain.
Sorry, Mary. But I need to get out of here.
When she felt the wolf move beneath her fingers, she immediately pressed a hand down on his neck. Hard. Fergus stop this. You’re not going anywhere yet. You’ve only just healed the damn hole in your heart. To her words, she added the force of her fae ability and felt Fergus grow calm once more.
You’re right. Again, I’m sorry. He relaxed beneath her hand.
That’s better. She felt a powerful affection for him in that moment. She barely knew him in real-time, but it would seem some of her experience in the dreamglide had already started slipping through her blocks. Besides, it was clear he spent his life protecting his pack wolves and she admired him for it. He was a force for good in Savage.
She added, I’m going to send your friends away. You won’t be able to unseat Sydon until you’re on your feet again and that will require an entire day of healing. Understood?
She could feel his frustration as he battled within himself. Finally, he ground out a quiet, Understood.
She shifted a little to face the wolves in the surgery. “Now listen up. Fergus needs time to heal, probably the entire day before he can even shift back to his man-physique. He won’t be able to do anything during these last few hours of the night except to heal himself. I’ll keep him here and I’ll tend to him through the day as well.
“No one knows he’s in Revel and certainly not that he’s alive. Except the dispatch operator at the Savage Border Patrol, so you might want to have a word with her.”
Warren nodded. “I’ll take care of it.”
Mary continued, “Because you’re from a different pack, you won’t have pack-based loyalty to Sydon, so you won’t be breaking any laws by keeping silent about Fergus’s condition. Am I right?”
“You are,” Warren responded.
“Good. I want you to head out. But Warren, I’d like you to pull some things together for Fergus since he won’t have anything here to wear once he shifts back. Bring whatever you think he’ll need in the way of clothes. He’ll probably want shaving gear, maybe his weapons. I know that’s important to all you border patrol men.”
She then gestured to the southern end of the house, down a hall that backed up to the garage. “There’s a side door that I’ll leave open for you, but I’ll expect you to return well before dawn with his stuff.”
Warren inclined his head. “Yes, Ma’am.”
Fergus’s voice intruded once more. Mary, tell Warren that if he wants to risk it, I’ve got a stash of weapons in my compound—
Fergus, knock it off. Your only job is healing right now. And I’m not about to send Warren to your compound with a wolf like Sydon in charge. Get well, then you can go after Sydon yourself.
Enough talking. But she petted his head.
She then moved to Alessandro and unhooked the line.
“You’re sure he doesn’t need more?” Warren asked.
“His heart is healed, and he’s on the path to recovery. But he needs to be quiet now and not stirred up about his pack. Do you understand?”
Warren nodded slowly. “I do. I’m distressing him.”
“Only because he’s anxious about his wolves.”
“All right then. We’ll head out.”
Mary watched Warren heave a deep, laden sigh. She could feel the concerned weight in him, the same one Fergus carried for his pack and for Savage. If tonight’s events hadn’t happened, she would never have believed that wolves existed who wanted good things for their territory. She’d thought them all a bunch of wild animals. Literally.
“Come with me,” she said. “I’ll show you to the side door so that you can bring his things back there when you return.”
She checked the garage first and was relieved to see that one of the wolves had already lowered the door. She took all three men out through the hall between the garage and her office space. She had a supply room and a small kitchenette as well as two examining rooms on this side of the house.
As she moved down the hall, time seemed to slow. She had the oddest feeling that her life was about to change in ways she would have never believed possible.
Warren’s voice disrupted the sensation. “You’ve got a solid set-up here. I’ll bet you see a lot of animals.”
“I do. It was the one of the few things the alter serum didn’t take from us as humans; we can still enjoy our pets.” She waved a hand straight ahead toward the side door. “My clients and their animals come in through this entrance. I’ll leave the door unlocked for you so that when you come back with Fergus’s things, you can just set the satchel inside the door, lock it then leave.”
Reaching the door, she pushed it wide for him.
Warren thanked her for saving Fergus. “You’ve done a tremendous service for Savage tonight, Mary Somers.” He even smiled. “We won’t forget it.”
With that, Warren and his men moved onto the cement walk, then rose into the air.
She watched Warren for a long moment. Once he cleared the neighbor’s trees, he headed swiftly toward the southwest, his blond hair flowing behind him like a wave. Within seconds, all three wolves had disappeared from view.
She closed the door but as promised, left it unlocked. She heard a yelp from the direction of the surgery and ran back to find Fergus’s entire wolf body spasming. She again put force on his neck, using a pressure point that helped him once more to calm down.
She spoke to him telepathically. You’re okay, wolf, I’m here.
Her words helped and his entire body relaxed.
The return to life wouldn’t be simple for Fergus and given what he’d been through, Mary knew she had several rough hours ahead of her…
~ ~ ~
AMBER FLAME, Book #4 of the Flame Series
Against his alpha wolf principles, Eric Fergus, seduces a beautiful fae woman in the dreamglide and soon discovers she’s the only woman who can save his life…
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
And now, have a wonderful day and an even better night! For more information about my books, keep scrolling! Live the fang!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Do you enjoy free books!?! All year, I’ll be giving away copies of my e-books through my newsletter. I also run subscriber-exclusive giveaways, so be sure to sign up on my home page in the right hand column where it says: Subscribe to Our Mailing List! Once you do, you’ll receive a welcome letter with a link to your free e-book! Enjoy and hugs, Caris Roane!
Be sure to look for your welcome letter which has the link to your free e-book!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Most Recent Releases:
A VAMPIRE’S SOFT EMBRACE
Taking the vampire into the past, changed the future…
The man held her heart in his hand.
He had for the past five years.
Did he even have the smallest clue?
~ A Vampire’s Soft Embrace
~ ~ ~
REVEALED: Rapture’s Edge 3, A Guardians of Ascension Novel #11
He’s a warrior deep in his bones, but all she ever wanted was peace…
As Duncan battles the dangerous death vampires at night, during the day he fights an even greater monster: He can’t believe he’s worthy of the woman he loves.
~ ~ ~
Mastyr Vampire Stone wants to bond with Aralynn, his battle partner, until he learns she lives a double life as a woman he despises…
For hundreds of years, Stone has lived a solitary life, serving Tannisford Realm as he battles the deadly Invictus wraith-pairs with his Vampire Guard.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
More about Caris Roane and her books!!!
THE FLAME SERIES
Vampire Officer Connor of the Crescent Border Patrol tries to suppress his desire for Iris, a powerful witch. Because the woman possesses the ability to kill him with the tips of her fingers, how can he possibly fall in love with her? When a double homicide throws them together, he soon finds his deepest fantasies fulfilled as Iris succumbs to his seductions.
~ ~ ~
Vampire Officer Vaughn of the Crescent Border Patrol gets called to a triple homicide in a deadly place called the Graveyard. When he finds that Emma Delacey has been summoned to the same crime scene, warning bells sound. He’s tried to suppress his desire for the beautiful witch knowing nothing good can come of a relationship in the alter world of Five Bridges.
~ ~ ~
Brannick works with Juliet Tunney to help several human women escape the nightmare of Five Bridges. But something isn’t right. Juliet acts as though she knows him really well, yet he’s only met her once. Unless…the dreams he’s been having about her aren’t dreams at all.
~ ~ ~
AMBER FLAME, Book #4 of the Flame Series
Fergus has been without an alpha-mate for three years, from the time his wife was murdered. He’s failed repeatedly to bond with the female wolves of the Gordion Pack. When he rescues a fae woman from a sex club, his need to bond with her goes into overdrive.
~ ~ ~
On Christmas Eve, vampire Officer Kyle Drake has finally persuaded the shy wolf shifter, Verena, to go on a first date. His plans include a little mistletoe and a lot of seduction.
~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~
THE GUARDIANS OF ASCENSION SERIES
(After Ascension, Burning Skies, Wings of Fire, Born of Ashes, Obsidian Flame and Gates of Rapture)
Includes Sub-Series: Dawn of Ascension and the Rapture’s Edge Saga
Warrior Gideon swore he would never see Elise Jordan again even though they’d been passionate lovers for two years. Her human nature couldn’t survive in his ascended vampire world; she would be vulnerable to attack on every front if he tried to continue a relationship with her.
~ ~ ~
Fearing that his newly emerged grayle power will kill innocent ascenders, Samuel Daman struggles to keep his distance from beautiful Vela Stillwell. But the breh-hedden has struck and her light floral scent tears at his restraint.
~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~
For the last few weeks, since Warrior Duncan professed his intention ‘to try’ to make his relationship with Rachel work, he’s failed on all fronts. But how can he explain that a serpent lives in his gut, poisoning him against her?
~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~
For decades, Warrior Duncan has had an on-again, off-again relationship with a woman opposed to his warrior lifestyle. When Rachel shows up in his life again, he wants to keep his distance, but the infamous breh-hedden, the myth-that-isn’t-a myth, bears down on him keeping him in a perpetual caveman-like state.
~ ~ ~
THE BLOOD ROSE SERIES – SHORT WORKS
The Blood Rose Tales, are much shorter stories than the “Embrace” books of the Blood Rose Series. Each ‘tale’ highlights one particular aspect of the world of the Nine Realms as well as a mastyr vampire in pursuit of his Blood Rose.
~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~
Zephyr can’t keep away from Alesia and feels obligated to keep her safe. They’d broken up, unable to reconcile painfully opposing views on what should be done to the evil Invictus pairs. But when several wraith-pairs attack her diner, he flies her to safety, taking her home where they’re trapped together for the entire day.
~ ~ ~
Yolen keeps his love life and his work life separate with one goal in mind – to protect Brianna. After seeing his best friend slaughtered by the enemy, he will do whatever it takes to ensure Brianna’s safety even if it means holding her at a distance.
~ ~ ~
For weeks, Mastyr Willem, agent for the Realm Investigative Unit, has been tracking Charlotte Vail, a human college student at the local Grochaire University. He’s had a thing for Charlotte that he doesn’t quite understand.
~ ~ ~
THE BLOOD ROSE SERIES – THE BOOKS
Enter a world of blood-starved mastyr vampires and the rare women who can satisfy their deepest needs…
How can he resist his blood rose…
Gerrod, mastyr vampire of the Merhaine Realm, never thought to have his blood-needs satisfied by a mere human. But Abigail is no ordinary woman.
~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~
Ethan, mastyr vampire of the Bergisson Realm, never thought to find his blood rose, the one woman who could ease the blood-starvation he’s endured for decades. But Samantha carries a surprising level of power as her newly discovered fae heritage emerges..
~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~
Quinlan must keep Grochaire Realm safe from the enemy at all costs. As ruler of his realm, a woman has no permanent place in his day-to-day existence. But when his lust takes him to Batya’s bedroom, he soon discovers he’s deep into a powerful experience that threatens to blow his life apart.
~ ~ ~
Seth, Mastyr Vampire of Walvashorr Realm, craves Lorelei, his new bodyguard, but he has a hands-off policy with those under his command. However, the sexy glint in her eye, as well as her wolf-shifter ways, keeps him in a fevered state.
~ ~ ~
Mastyr Vampire Jude has kept his distance from all women because he lost his wife and daughter to an enemy attack a hundred years ago. He won’t go through that kind of loss again. And he won’t jeopardize another woman’s life while the deadly Invictus wraith-pairs still pose a threat in the Nine Realms.
~ ~ ~
Mastyr Vampire Malik has only one goal: to serve the realm he loves. Battling both the dreaded Invictus wraith-pairs and an element in Ashleaf Realm that wants all innocent wraiths dead, Malik can’t afford to get distracted. But Willow has already become an obsession as he lusts for the powerful fae whose blood he craves.
~ ~ ~
Mastyr Vampire Zane didn’t want another woman in his life not after the dreaded Invictus killed his wife five years ago. He serves Swanicott Realm, the land he rules, and doesn’t want anything to interfere with his war against the enemy.
~ ~ ~
Mastyr Vampire Ian never wanted to see Regan again. He blamed her for the massacre at Raven’s Overlook, an attack that killed his sister and her children. He’s convinced Regan enthralled him, using her extensive fae powers to keep him by her side. If he’d been in his realm that night, he could have saved 200 people.
~ ~ ~
Mastyr Vampire Griffin hates his enslavement in Margetta’s fortress. He sought death a thousand times because of it, but was denied when the Ancient Fae brought him back repeatedly, forcing him to train her evil army. When a beautiful fae-slave, Sandra, tells him to live, he begins to believe his life could have more meaning…
Caris Roane is the New York Times bestselling author of thirty-seven paranormal romance books. Writing as Valerie King, she has published fifty novels and novellas in Regency Romance. Caris lives in Phoenix, Arizona, loves gardening, enjoys the birds and lizards in her yard, but encourages the scorpions to inhabit elsewhere! Her motto: Live the Fang!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~