Caedmon Wolves, #5
Tension grows between old rivals.
Cold-blooded murder sparks a feud between rivals that could lead to the deadliest civil war in Pack history. Alpha Devin Caedmon and his council are forced to risk all that is precious to protect their bloodline. Tristan Arnou, Caedmon’s rival, isn’t the only force trying to tear down the unity holding them together. The source of the threats must be eliminated before their entire race is destroyed.
Forbidden love burns like a wildfire.
There is one woman who Blake DeLuca loves more than anything else. Naomi Valentine. Despite the escalating battle and power struggles between their respective packs, the erotic fire between these two lovers has yet to be extinguished. Naomi’s heart belongs to Blake, but her allegiance lies with Arnou. She’s left with two choices: Assume her duty or accept Blake’s eternal bond?
In Wolf’s Strength, secrets are exposed and memories that should have been buried have resurfaced. The game of deception is a deadly one. There can be no peace until the bloodshed ends.
"Stop the car. Someone's in trouble."
Blake DeLuca sat straight up in the passenger side seat with each one his senses heightened in alarm. The sharp scream of the woman echoed in his head just like it had done across the evening atmosphere just moments early.
The scream was a cry for help and it sounded like someone was in despair.
"You heard it too?" Dawson asked, as he swerved into an empty lot and brought the Maserati to a screeching halt.
Blake's body lurched forward from the blunt maneuver, but he didn't waste a moment's notice. He was out of the car in three seconds flat, rushing toward the sounds of scuffling in the alley. His wolf was just below the surface of his skin urging him toward the incident. Plus, they were in unmarked territory where there was sure to be human eyes everywhere even at this odd hour of the evening. Dusk had just fallen, but that didn't mean every human was all cozy in their homes.
Dawson was right behind him, his running footsteps crunching the gravel and broken sidewalk with determination.
With their keen sense of smell, it didn't take them long to find the scene of the crime. Blake stopped short of revealing their arrival too soon, keeping his body positioned behind the shadow of a long dumpster. The woman screamed again, but louder this time.
There were three of them. The intricate pattern inked on the left shoulder designated them as belonging to the Other clan.
They had a Caedmon female backed into a darkened alleyway. A man lay dead on the pavement next to them. The deep gaping slit on his neck and the pool of blood draining from his throat evidenced that a cut to the jugular was a cause of death, if not the main one. What little clothing the female wore were tattered and torn about her body. The dead male didn't look that presentable either. Anyone could tell they'd put up a fight and as a result a man had paid with his life.
"We just wanted to have some fun with you, that's all," one of the men from the Other clan taunted. He and the others moved closer and closer to the frightened woman. "Your friend there shouldn't have stuck his snout where it doesn't belong."
One of the men kicked the dead body and grinned. "He's dead. Now we can play some more."
Blake emerged from the shadows with rage and curiosity running through his system.
"Help!" The woman cried out as she finally noticed he and Dawson folding in behind the Other clan.
The biggest one swung around and his gaze focused on the new threat. His irises were a murky dark gray which was very unusual for someone of the Other clan. Their eyes usually sparked a bright silver, especially when they were provoked and up to no good. But this man's powers were literally seething from his pores, kind of like a Caedmon's would do, but in far less vivid colors. Although Others were the human branch of Caedmon kind, they couldn't shift and their abilities and powers were reduced. Only through the wolf genes were the powers and Caedmon spirit more potent.
"Look what else we got," the biggest one said through clenched teeth. "More mutts. I wonder if they're even worth earning a dull blade. The last one fell quickly--like a limp rodent." He held up his knife, demonstrating the sharpness by pressing a pointer finger to the tip.
Dawson growled next to him. 'Let me do this one in.'
The statement came to Blake through projection. After claiming the lost relics and on the night of the delegation, this gift, along with others, was afforded to all six members of the Council. Thought projection was something that was only shared among mates and close siblings, so to have something this rare in common with his fellow Council members who were like brothers to him was a precious gift.
'But there's three of them.' Blake projected back. 'The one with the most kills wins.'
Blake pointed to the dead Caedmon on the ground. "Why is this man dead?"
"For the same reason you will be lying dead next to him," one replied, taking a step forward to show his seriousness. "Not being able to mind his own business."
"Westcott was trying to help me!" The woman blurted out, then shrank back into the building when the biggest one, presumably the leader, turned on her.
"Shut up, tramp!" he hissed at her and rushed her with the knife. "You were asking for it. I'll save you for last...after I get through with these scumbags."
Blake acted quickly, his wolf on the surface egging him on. He reached the offending male with lightning speed, grabbing him tight around the wrist. His determination was made clear as he snapped the offender's carpal bone in two. "Now that's no way to talk to a lady."
He hollered in pain and dropped the knife.
There was some scuffling behind them and Blake figured that Dawson had got into it with the other two. Dawson had just reached the age when a young male wolf was most aggressive. So Blake was almost certain that he would have lured them into a fight one way or the other.
His own opponent caught him off guard, throwing a punch with his other fist. It missed Blake's jaw by only a centimeter.
Blake shoved the big brute hard into the stone wall.
When the body hit, spittle and sweat flew away from his neck and face. He stumbled away from the building, shaking off what was likely the result of being disoriented from the hit. The brute appeared to give up but then he sprang back up with a second knife, slinging it in the air at him.
The blade caught Blake in the upper forearm. He bit his bottom lip and snatched the thing out. Blood pulsed from the wound down his arms through to his hand. He dug his fingers into his palms while the blood rage gathered in his fists.
Blake's eyes glazed over and he began seeing everything in a vivid red, but things were clearer, nonetheless. His body shuddered as he fought down his wolf, angry and ready to emerge. There was no subduing this animal any longer. The wolf was his other half, they completed each other, and they both hungered for revenge.
Blake's canines ripped violently from his gums.
He heard a squeak and discovered that the woman was still standing there, unmoving and shocked from what she was seeing. He caught her gaze and held it.
"Run. Never come back in unmarked territory again," he said to her.
She wasted no time gathering up her ripped skirt and running out of the alley.
"I'll carve you," his opponent screamed. "I'll slice your throat just like your dead Doctor there." His fingers shook as he pointed.
"Will that be before or after I stuff your mouth with your own guts?"
The next thing the coward pulled out from behind his back was a pistol.
Blake ducked out of the pathway of the first bullet. Within seconds his bones snapped and molded. His skin grew hot and stretched until he became the wolf. But it wasn't he who earned the first kill. Dawson had already ripped into the throat of one.
An enemy's treachery fueled the wolf's rage. The need for revenge of a murdered brethren harkened. As a Council member, he had pledged long ago to protect his people by any and all means necessary. Above all else, he wasn't ready to die tonight--not by any man's hand and not by a gun.
The third and fourth bullet came too close to his head and he sprang into action. He leapt into the air, hurling himself at the offender.
His claws dug into a meaty chest as he drove the man's body into the ground on his back. The wolf offered very little mercy when it came to cold blooded murderers.
Blood rushed into Blake's mouth as he tore into the man's stomach, pulling out a mass of guts and tossing them in heaps on the ground. This murderer's screams were too loud. The only mercy the wolf afforded that evening was putting him out of his misery by ripping into his throat to end it all.
After the kill, Blake's wolf spun around ready for more, but Dawson's wolf had just taken down the last man.
They shifted back into their human forms almost at the same time, heaving in and out with deep raged breaths trying to recover. Dawson stumbled to the opposite side of the wall, clutching his side.
Blake rushed over to him. "Were you hit?"
He held up his palm. "Dude, I'm fine. The bullet isn't deep. I got this."
Dawson was brother to the Alpha, son to a male descending from the original line of Caedmon ancestors. Despite his youth, Dawson was probably ten times more powerful than Blake was. In a matter of seconds, Dawson had expelled the bullet on his own and succeeded in stopping the blood leakage.
Blake pried a pistol from one of the dead man's cold fingers. He held it up to the light from the moon. "Just as I thought. This gun is hot. The serial number has been stripped. Bullets are probably untraceable too." He dumped the remaining bullets from the clip into his palm.
Dawson picked up a shell from the ground and pocketed it. "They popped off too many rounds during the scuffle. Chances that someone nearby heard are high. Let's get out of here."
They bent together to pick up the dead Caedmon from the pavement. When they reached the car again, they popped the trunk and slid him inside.
"I'll drive this time." Blake gestured to his wounded side. "You need time to mend." He pulled his cell phone out of his jacket pocket and hit the speed dial key then the number 9. His call was answered promptly.
"Max, we need another clean up," Blake replied, as he slid into the driver's side seat.
Max blurted out an expletive on the other end. "This shit is getting serious, ain't it?"
Multi-published author Ambrielle Kirk writes erotic, paranormal romance, and urban fantasy. Ambrielle lives in Atlanta, GA where she works in the accounting and finance industry. She holds a Master's Degree in Accounting. Since graduation she's worked in the public and private accounting sectors. She is the wife of a loving husband, and the mother of a beautiful girl. She works and writes full-time. A bestselling author in several sub-genres at ARe and Amazon, she has also earned a 2012 Swirl Award in the paranormal category. She's a PAN member of RWA, FF&P special interest chapter of RWA, and co-founder and treasurer of Cultural, Interracial, and Multicultural special interest chapter of RWA. Ambrielle Kirk is also an admin at the blog, IRMC Books.
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