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A Mate's Revenge

By:P. Jameson

Prologue


“Tell me the story again! Please, mommy, it’s my very, very favorite.” Dark curls bobbed around the little girl’s shoulders as she used her knees to bounce on the mattress. “I promise I’ll go to sleep this time.”

Her mother stood in the doorway, one hand on hip, contemplating her excited request. There was no way her girl was going to sleep anytime soon, promises or not. The wolf in her was amped up on anticipation for tomorrow. It was going to be a big day.

“Alright, Stella. One more story, but then it’s lights out or I’m calling your dad.”

The girl’s grin belonged in Texas for how huge it was. “Daddy loves the story too. He wouldn’t mind.”

She sat on the bed next to her squirming eight-year-old. “Your daddy does like this story. Do you know why?”

Stella sighed dreamily. “Because it’s a story of true love, and how no matter what, love always wins. No matter what bad guys try to destroy it.”

Her mother nodded. “That’s all true, but Daddy loves this story for another reason.”

A tiny line formed between the little girl’s eyebrows. Her mother brushed random curls from in front of her face so she could see the big blue eyes that reminded her so much of another wolf.

“This is a story about family. It’s the story of how daddy’s sister, and others, were saved from a big bad wolf.”

“Like the one in Little Red Riding Hood?”

“Sort of. But this wolf was real.”

The little girl nodded somberly.

“Climb under the covers, Stella, and I’ll tell you this tale once again. At this rate, you’ll know it so well, you will be able to tell your own young.”

She anxiously pulled the blanket up to her chin and settled back against the fluffy pillow. “I’m ready.”

“There once was a boy who fell in love with a girl, but no love story is ever that simple…”

***

Vesh stared skeptically across the table at his new alpha. He’d recently sworn allegiance to Ravendale, and instead of feeling trapped by his oath, he felt oddly liberated. This was the right decision for him and his mate. After marking Braeh, she’d insisted they return to the Ozarks and find their place here. With their family.

Family. It wasn’t a term Vesh could put a good thought to, but when he considered his sweet mate and what the future held for them, the idea that they’d one day have young, that they would have their very own family… the word started to really mean something to him deep in the recesses of his darkened heart.

He’d have to thank Lexar for letting him flee the Ravendale camp so he could get to Alaska. He would’ve made it there anyway, but if Lexar hadn’t let him go, he would’ve arrived bloody and beaten, and with Lexar’s blood on his hands.

But there was still one thing Vesh needed to do before he could finally settle into feeling safe. He had Braeh and he had a home. Now he needed his sister. He needed to save her and the other innocents of the Ozarka pack. He needed to kill the sick alpha who held them all captive.

But Cael’s plan?

“It’ll never work,” Vesh argued over the blaring music of Bullseye. “You won’t get past the guards. I trained them myself.”

Cael’s returning grin was wicked. “We already have.”

“When?”

“Last fall. A few weeks before Trager’s cabin blew.”

“No way. I was in charge of securing Ozarka land. There’s not a chance you or any of your wolves snuck in there.”

His alpha raised a sharp eyebrow. “Someone left a basket of fruit on the doorstep of the school.”

Vesh remembered Farrow mentioning the mysterious gesture during one of their guard meetings, but he’d brushed it off as an act from a well-meaning pack member.

“That was you?”

Cael jerked his chin upward.

“You snuck into our camp and left a fruit basket? Not a knife stuck in the door with a note or something, but a basket of fucking fruit?”

“Pretty clever, really. It’s not threatening, so it didn’t put you on guard, yet it’s enough to acknowledge we breached your boundaries.”

Sneaky brilliant bastard. “Just… how?” Vesh bit out.

Cael took a swig of his beer. “We made friends with the cats. The panthers from Ouachita? They’re very sly. Taught us a thing or two.”

“You’re kidding me, right?”

“I don’t kid.”

Magic and his little faction hadn’t left their commune for years. Or… that’s what he’d thought.

“The mountain cats are Ravendale allies?”

Cael smoothed the long part of his hair back so it wasn’t hanging in his face. “Of a sort. Yeah.”

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