During one of his nightly jogs in the park, Rory is attacked by a wild animal. His biggest fear is that he’ll need a new tetanus shot, but then odd things begin to happen. He’ll do just about anything for a raw steak and hair begins sprouting from places it has no business being, like the palms of his hands and the soles of his feet. Stranger still is his desire to cock his head back and howl at the moon. But werewolves are the stuff of legend, right?
After a very curious encounter with a mysterious stranger, Rory is convinced he is losing his mind. Why does he want to rub himself all over the handsome man and bite him? The stranger talks about shifters and pack laws, and about a war between the species that Rory is now, apparently in the middle of. All Rory wants is for his life to get back to normal, but he is turning and whether he likes it or not, life is never going to be the same again.
Dante looked down at the man’s rapidly decomposing corpse and let out a heavy sigh. The body was partially hidden by blackberry bushes, but the injuries that had caused his death were unmistakable. He’d been torn apart. By a wolf. The smell indicated that he’d been dead for at least a few days, maybe more. Dante wrinkled his nose.
“This is the third body in as many days. We can’t keep covering up all these deaths. This will make five missing people in total and all within our limits. The police are going to be out in droves plus we’ll have the damn council elders breathing down our necks. I don’t have to tell you how difficult that could make life for us.”
Bram, Dante’s beta and oldest friend ran a hand through his unruly brown hair as he scanned the small wooded area which sat beyond Maesteg golf course. At just over six feet tall, Bram stood a few inches shorter than Dante, but his shoulders were equally as wide and his muscles no less defined.
“I’ve had the boys out patrolling every night, but they never see anything that can help us.
The men in Dai’s pack are as cunning as foxes. They know we’re onto them.” Bram looked down at the body and shook his head. “They’re well aware of the risks of getting caught.
They know it would cause a war between our packs if we have evidence they’ve been killing humans on our land.”
Dante knelt beside the man’s body and sniffed the air around it. “I don’t recognise the wolf’s scent. Are we sure a member of Dai’s pack did this?”
Bram frowned. “Who else would it be?”
“Rogues?” Dante suggested.
“It’s possible, but I don’t think it’s likely. We’d know if there were any in the area.
Besides, I’ve never met a rogue with enough sense to be this discreet. Most of them are insane from bloodlust. A rogue would leave the bodies out in the open where anyone could find them. These have been hidden from humans, but they’ve been left in places where our pack runs regularly. It’s too much of a coincidence. Dai’s pack has to be behind it.”
Dante got to his feet and muttered a curse. “There has to be something we can do to stop him. If Dai is responsible, we can’t let him get away with it. Can we put any more men on patrol at night?”
“Like who? We’re already stretched to breaking point. Liam is still grieving his brother’s death. That boy has got so much anger in him it’s not safe to have him out on the streets.
He’d put us at risk of exposure. Justin’s doing overtime at the steel works to support his new cubs and Glen, well, his heart is in the right place, but I don’t ever see him making it as a pack enforcer. He’s not as strong as the others. I wouldn’t fancy his chances against any of Dai’s boys. Everyone who can patrol already is. Colin’s cubs want to help, but…”
“They’re barely out of school,” Dante finished for his beta.
Dante sighed. “I’m happy to start their training, but it’ll be another five or six years until they’re ready to take on the full responsibilities of an enforcer.”
“I already told Colin that and he understands, but his cubs are giving him shit. They want to be more involved.” Bram shrugged. “That’s cubs for you.”
“I’ll talk to them—see if I can take the heat off Colin.”
“I know he’d appreciate it.”
Dante looked down at the body again and frowned. “Do you think Dai’s gearing up to challenge me?”
Bram’s head snapped up so quickly that Dante was surprised he didn’t get whiplash.
“Dai is a coward,” he spat. “He wouldn’t dare challenge your leadership. He might want to get his grubby hands on our pack lands, but he doesn’t have the guts to fight us for them fair and square. If you ask me, he’s doing this to bate us. I think he’s hoping that one of us will snap and attack him or his pack mates. That would give him the perfect excuse to go to the council elders and demand retribution.”
“I think you might be right.”
When Bram grinned, the action exposed his uneven, chipped molar. “I’m always right.”
Dante snorted. “Yeah and you’re always modest too. Can we get the boys to come over and give us a hand with the body?”
“Already done. I called Justin and Glen before I set out. They’re on their way here.”
When Dante’s mobile buzzed in his jeans’ pocket, he pulled it out then took a few steps away from the body before answering the call. “Dante.”
“Alpha,” Colin’s gruff voice greeted. “We have a problem.”
Dante pinched the bridge of his nose before replying. “What is it?”
“I just heard from Liam. He’s found another body in the park opposite the hospital. He said it’s been torn apart like the others. Wounds are fresh, must have only just happened.”
“Fuck!” Dante turned to meet his beta’s inquisitive gaze and shook his head. “Call Liam back, tell him we’re up near the golf course. We’ll get there as soon as we can.”
When Dante hung up he let out a low, rumbling roar of frustration. “This has to end now. I don’t care what it takes. I want every available man out on patrol tonight. When I find out who is responsible, I’ll kill them with my bare hands for this. Make the calls. I want the entire pack at my house at six tonight for a meeting. No excuses, they’re all to attend. As soon as the meeting’s over, we hunt.”
Bram nodded then pulled out his mobile phone. “You got it, boss.”
* * * *