Scent of a Wolf
By Draven St. James
Jace Shaw is one of the few survivors of an extraordinary, rare wolf pack. He spends his days on the run and his nights in another world with a man he's only dreamed about. To sleep is to feel his dream man's hands on his body and hear his wicked whispered words. But when the sun rises reality crashes in: the evil that destroyed his birth pack hunts his kind down in search of a way to control their power.
Merek Wahya is an alpha dealing with all the issues of being newly appointed, but they all fall away when he closes his eyes at night. Then, a man with moonlit hair and mercury eyes crawls into bed with him. When he wakes it's to a painful arousal no one can satisfy. When Merek's wolf catches Jace's scent he knows he's found his mate, and he soon learns their nocturnal meetings were only foreplay. The joy of this discovery is shadowed by the trouble that follows Jace. Merek's mate is embroiled in a battle between two ancient packs, a war Merek must now fight. If he fails he could lose Jace forever.
Merek pinned Jace’s wrists to the ground. The man loomed close, his muscular frame pressing against Jace’s so he touched all the right spots. Jace squirmed in a halfhearted effort to get free even as his body screamed at him to yield to the pleasure that Merek could provide.
Merek leaned down to whisper, “You’re always so damned difficult.”
The moon shone down, filtering through the webwork of trees that canopied their nocturnal wicked activities. In the pale silver light, he could see Merek’s face. It was composed of sharp angles, a prominent nose, chiseled jaw, and a sensual mouth. That mouth never failed to make Jace’s cock twitch. Merek’s face was almost always partially shaded by the long locks of black hair that flowed down to touch his broad shoulders. Hair so dark it refracted light in shades of blue—an eerie color reflected in his eyes. They were the palest blue Jace had ever seen. The eyes of a wolf, and he growled like one too.
Letting the primitive nature of their wolves loose in the magnificent embrace of the wilderness was instinctive. The smell of damp grass and pine trees wafted around them. But beneath that scent was Merek’s—rich, primal, and addictive.
Jace strove to stop his grin as he bucked his hips in an attempt to get Merek off him. The man was too strong for his own good. The move only resulted in Merek chuckling and adjusting to hold both of Jace’s wrists in one hand. The other he used to lightly caress Jace’s cheek and jawline. Merek brushed his thumb over Jace’s bottom lip, causing a shudder to flow through Jace. He knew just what those hands were capable of.
No matter how hard he fought himself, he couldn’t help but tilt his neck into the soft touch. Merek gave him a sensual smile.
Jace tried to twist away again, to get the upper hand, but to no avail. Merek trailed his hand lower, and Jace arched into the gentle touch. The man was doing his best to destroy Jace’s control, and it was so tempting to catapult to the carnal command.
“Just one word, Jace, and I’ll give you everything.”
Merek leisurely traced his fingertips down Jace’s naked chest, along the hard muscles of his stomach, and stopped at the waist of Jace’s low-riding jeans. Jace curved into the touch. Desperate for Merek to go lower.
“Submit to me.”
* * * *
Jace Shaw sat up sharply in bed. The image of sweat-slicked bodies and the sound of throaty growls saturated his mind. The sex-laden dreams had his heart pounding with lust and his cock pulsing with raw need. Rampant desire raged through him so intensely he could barely catch his breath.
All because of some hot mountain of a man whose wolf seemed determined to dominate him. He could easily overpower Jace. He was more muscled and towered over Jace’s five-eleven frame by at least half a foot, and that was in human form. Yet Jace had never been intimidated by or afraid of him. It was through their dreams he had eventually found out the man’s name was Merek.
Every one-night stand he had to assuage the fire Merek inspired failed miserably. All the men had lacked in some way. He had tried to drown his sexual appetite in men who mirrored the man he wanted so badly to fuck. He’d screwed men from the East Coast to the West Coast, but not one of them had lasted more than the a few hours he’d rented the hotel room for. None of them tempted the wild nature of his wolf. At the end of the night, he was left with the sick feeling he had in some way betrayed Merek.
Merek hadn’t always been so rough and hard. They had grown and matured together over the years. Merek’s dark features had developed into granite lines. His body had become sculpted muscles built by hard work. It wasn’t until the past couple of years that the interaction had become two-sided. Before, it had always been as though Jace were a ghost on the sidelines…watching.
Merek hadn’t shown any sign he even knew Jace existed, with one exception. Merek stopped cutting his hair the day Jace’s parents were killed. The day Jace’s safe world came crashing down. The moment when he had been forced to grow up, learn how to survive, and how to fight those who would continue to hunt what remained of his family. That had been his new reality.
But now, despite the fear and insecurity that followed him, there wasn’t a night when he didn’t end up tangled in sweaty sheets with Mr. Tall, Dark, and Dangerous playing opposite him in some Kama Sutra porn marathon.
Jace’s scent hit Merek like a pile of bricks. The familiar scent called out to him. He took a deep breath, and there it was—Jace’s sweet and earthy smell. His mate. Here in the real world. There was no doubt about it. Merek’s wolf perked its ears up and stood waiting to change beneath the shifting sands of his skin.
With that thought panic slammed into him. His heart pounded a savage beat as the urge to get to his mate swept through him. He rose. His form changed even as he prowled forward, away from the meeting hall and in the direction of Emma’s cottage.
“Merek?” Sean asked, apparently confused by his sudden movement. “Wha—”
“My mate.” Merek growled and quickly shifted into the form of a midnight-black wolf.
He advanced through the underbrush, Sean following close behind in wolf form, scarcely a consideration. The only thing that remained of their human forms was a pile of ruined clothes.
The pull to get to his mate made the distance seem never ending, although it only took about five minutes to reach the clearing just beyond the tree line from Emma’s house. Two dead half-shifted weres lay in the center. A third were—a large, mangy gray—slammed the body of a man against the base of a tree. Merek felt the pain of that impact as if it were his body.
He snarled a sound full of fury and looked over at Sean. Their gazes briefly locked. Sean’s were alight with the strength to battle.
Merek and Sean burst into the clearing. The action was enough of a distraction to cause the gray wolf to turn before he could deal a killing blow to Merek’s unconscious mate.
Sean leaped at the gray as Merek advanced toward his mate, who was slumped on the ground. Jace’s body was sleek and elongated in a partial transformation. Before Merek’s eyes, the exposed claws on his mate’s feet and hands drew in. The long, toned muscles of his body retracted into his human form. His figure was pale in the moonlight, but streaks of blood marred its perfection. The slender lines of his body denoted strength and stealth. Merek knew those skills alone were what had kept Jace alive. His mate was naked save for the silver hair that flowed around his shoulders and concealed his face beneath its weight.
Merek howled into the night. He crouched closer and nuzzled the pale silver hair from Jace’s face—the soft lips, the bottom fuller than the top, square jawline with the dimple on his chin, and his aquiline nose. Altogether, they made up the man in Merek’s dreams. His mate. A mate who was bleeding from gouges on his chest and stomach. He had bruises already forming around his neck, but what worried Merek most was the blood that was changing his beautiful silver locks to a bright red.
In mere seconds Merek shifted back to human form. Naked, he knelt over his mate. With trembling hands he checked Jace’s pulse. It rebounded faintly against his fingertips. Breathing deeply to keep the pain at bay, he managed to lift the heavy weight of his mate’s body and bolted as fast as he could to Emma’s house.
It wasn’t exactly how he wanted to be naked for the first time with his mate. He would have preferred much different circumstances. Non-life-threatening circumstances. Before he reached for the doorknob, the door flew open to reveal a panic-stricken Emma.
She stepped aside, and he stalked through the door. He laid his mate on the couch in the living room and stared down at him with something akin to wonder.
“Tell me you can fix him.” His voice was a hoarse rasp as if he’d been screaming. He wanted to let loose a pained howl. He wanted the world to know how unfair it was he hadn’t been able to protect his mate. He didn’t want to feel the fear and helplessness that covered him now.
Not even standing in Emma’s domain, filled with light and decorated in shades of emerald and amber, could he find comfort. All he wanted was for his mate to wake up so he could see Jace’s silver eyes sparkling with life.
Emma knelt next to Jace and threaded her fingers through the silver fall of his hair. She closed her eyes and hummed softly. Merek was shocked when the soft locks wound around Emma’s hand. Merek had thought the magical hair was a trick of his imagination played out in his dreams. Then again, he’d thought Jace was a dream, but here he was, in the flesh.
Emma’s eyes opened, tears cresting in them.
“Oh, Jace, sweet child, what have you gone and done now?”
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