Claiming your mate can be murder…
Bitter memories have kept Wolfe Trevlian away from New Orleans, but an alpha’s call for help has him reluctantly returning to the Big Easy. His tasks sound simple: Keep an eye on things, and initiate a truce with the pack’s enemies by killing a local pest.
His target turns out to be the last creature on earth who should be his mate. His instincts insist otherwise, even after she fills his hide with silver and warns him to leave her alone.
Arden Moran looked into the mind of her dying friend and saw the face of a killer. Vengeance has brought this half human, half vampire to New Orleans. Nothing will stop her from nailing her target, including the bossy, sexy werewolf who stirs both fear and desire within her.
Wolfe’s never been one to back down from a challenge, but saving, and then claiming, his female is easier said than done. Particularly with a mate who’s pissed off every supernatural creature on the planet—and is walking around with a price on her head.
Contains a reluctant substitute alpha who didn’t sign up for complications, a wary half-breed vampire who’d love to take “no” for an answer—especially since it’s her “no”—and friends who refuse to interfere, figuring it’s more fun to sit back and watch the fur fly.
Wolfe squeezed out of the booth, growling as his knees hit the bottom of the table. It was a blessing and a curse being so large. On one hand, it meant a heated glance got the job done in most cases. On the other, it meant low ceilings and too-small furniture were a common occurrence. Once free, he tossed money on the table and followed Taylor and his men from the pub.
Along the way, he glanced at the corner. The girl was gone.
Damn it to hell.
His lack of a sex life hadn’t bothered him before, but it did now. It had been decades since he’d been interested in any female and even longer since he’d had a decent lay. He hated dredging up memories of Deidre Varmour, but he couldn’t always control his mind or emotions. His hackles rose in disgust. The bitch had used magic to bewitch him, wanting him as a pawn in her personal vendetta.
The experience had almost ruined him.
People had talked and he’d been a laughingstock. Worse? His wolf had been duped by magic, believing it had found its mate. Once the cobwebs had cleared, he’d felt like a total tool. He hadn’t had much use for females after that, swearing them off permanently. Perhaps it was best the mystery woman was gone. He’d likely take his contempt for one female out on another who’d done nothing wrong.
“We’ll take the lead,” one of the vampyren announced, moving in front of Taylor and striding to the entrance. The human exited the building with the remaining leeches directly on his heels. They were all business, scanning the area as they opened the door.
The crisp autumn air swept into the building, the delectable scent of jambalaya and red beans making Wolfe’s stomach rumble. Dinner was next on the agenda. Most definitely. Nothing took care of a werewolf’s hunger like fresh biscuits, refried beans and rice and a side of gumbo. He hadn’t had the opportunity to enjoy a proper meal prior to his journey to the pub.
Alcohol on an empty stomach was just asking for trouble.
The vampyren in front of him came to an abrupt halt. Wolfe stopped thinking about his ravenous appetite and peered over the heads of the guards. A small black shape appeared, blocking the progression of the group.
“I suggest you move,” a soft feminine voice warned.
Her request was met by the threatening baritone of the vampyren in front. “Move me.”
A wet gurgle, bubbly and out of place, followed. Wolfe watched in disbelief as the vampyren’s head wobbled and detached from its shoulders. Taylor pressed against Wolfe as the remaining guards flew from the building and went on the offensive.
Growling thickly and shoving him away, Wolfe demanded, “What the hell?”
“It’s her.” Taylor’s fear was apparent in his face and voice. “I told you the bitch would be here. She’s not smart enough to leave well enough alone.”
Wolfe watched the small figure spin and duck, dodging blows and kicks from the vampyren. He stilled, taken off guard when he recognized her. Son of a bitch. The female from the bar. Her skill at physical combat was impeccable, her speed uncanny and definitely not human. The daggers in her grasp were like an extension of her hands, delivering deep slices that sent blood into the air in a vivid red spray.
“If you want peace with Lucius”—Taylor wheezed like a ninny who’d cashed his last check—“stop her.”
“Why should I?” Wolfe’s gaze followed the girl as she moved with a grace that belied her nature. She was too damn fast to be mortal. He turned to Taylor with a sarcastic sneer. “You’ll be too dead to tattle.”
“Fool,” Taylor snarled and pressed his back into the door, obviously wanting to escape. “My death is how he’ll know. If I don’t return, he’ll take it as a declaration of war. He’ll come here. He’ll expect you to answer for my death. You invited me here. I traveled as a display of goodwill. Mark my words. You’ll pay.”
“Your king doesn’t want to screw with the lycae. He knows better.”
“Adam Trevlian doesn’t need another burden on his back. We didn’t come here because you fear our kind. We came here because we’re an obstacle you can’t cross. Think with your head, not your morality.”
Wolfe’s vision shifted, allowing him to see in wolf clarity.
Taylor had stopped sneering and backed away, but not before Wolfe delivered a hearty blow to his nose. The bones beneath his knuckles gave way with a satisfying crunch. Taylor’s pitiful cry was muffled by the hand he pressed to his injury. Blood trickled through his fingers.
“You’re right. It’s an obstacle Adam doesn’t need. But don’t threaten me or mine. You might get what you want, but you won’t leave happy.”
Wolfe turned and watched as a vampyren moved closer to his opponent and the female seized the opportunity, pushing into his body with her smaller one. Her fingers gripped his jaw and she forced his head up and back. The dagger in her hand severed tissue and muscle with practiced ease, nearly decapitating the vampire. She released her foe and went back to work.
The two remaining vampyren went for guns hidden under their jackets. In a blink, she slid her daggers into sheaths at her sides and retrieved the weapons tucked against her ribs. She fired her sidearms, leaning forward for better aim. Bullets whizzed past her as the vampyren returned fire and she ducked behind an alley. In a breath, she reappeared with fresh clips and resumed shooting her weapons.
“What the hell is she?” he whispered.
Taylor removed a handkerchief from his pocket. “She’s an outcast, unwanted by either of her races, living off the lives of others. She’s of no concern to you. Do what I’ve asked. No one will miss her.”
Wolfe’s jaw ticced and he stared at the vampyren servant. “She moves like a vampire and fights like the Thymeria.”
“That’s probably because she was a member of the Thymeria human faction, but that was years ago. As for being vampire—”
Wolfe stopped listening, forced to intercept the oncoming female in question. The remaining vampyren were down and squirming weakly atop the blocked concrete. She was focused on one person—one he didn’t particularly care for, himself.
Subduing an unwilling female wasn’t how he envisioned his first night back in New Orleans. He had wanted to relax with decent food and even better music. Not engage in a scuffle with a tiny girl who’d just put the beat down on four vampyren.
Should be thanking her for the community service.
“Get the hell out of here,” he snarled at Taylor and took a step forward.
If the beautiful female was intimidated by his much larger size, it didn’t show. She never slowed, releasing the magazine in her sidearm with a flick of her thumb, sending it dancing along the asphalt. Her free hand wound behind her back and returned with a fully loaded clip. She slammed the ammunition into the gun and locked it in place with her palm.
She moved forward and he finally got a glimpse of her eyes. Her irises were a deep-hued blue, as dark and vast as the clearest midnight sky. And the determination glimmering inside those devastating, beautiful orbs was unshakable.
“Out of my way, lycae.”
Her soft voice was like velvet rubbing against his spine, causing his skin to ripple in pleasure. The hair on his arms lifted, the wolf inside him stirring to life, an inner key sliding into a lock. The bones in his body seemed to thrum. Something that had been dormant his entire life took hold. How could he have been so blind in the past? The way he’d felt for Deidre hadn’t even come close to this level of recognition. He shook his head and faced the furious female who had the voice of a siren, the face of an angel and the body of a goddess.
“I can’t do that.”
“Of course you can,” she purred and lifted the gun.