Bronx's Wounded Wolf, book 4
Mystic Wolves Series
A WOUNDED WOLF…A FIERCE PROTECTOR…AN UNSHAKABLE BOND…Will Bronx and Taya be able to create that mystical bond without her inner wolf, or will their love be enough?
A WOUNDED WOLF… Having suffered at the hands of a rogue pack, Taya’s wolf retreat’s deep inside her. She learns to rely on her humanity as she seeks sanctuary from the pack she’d been taken from as a child.
A FIERCE PROTECTOR…Bronx feels an instant connection to Taya the moment he set eyes on her, even though he couldn’t sense her wolf. Her pain and wariness stop him from claiming her right then and there, keeping him and his wolf on edge.
AN UNSHAKEABLE BOND…Neither Taya nor Bronx can deny their feelings for one another, and as the weeks go by, they both give into their desires. Bronx’s wolf is ready to claim Taya, wolf or not. Taya misses her wolf, but when her past catches up to them, she’ll need more than her humanity and Bronx to save her. They’ll need the strength of the pack and help from the Fey if they hope to come out of the battle alive and whole.
Bronx had to battle his wolf back to keep from demanding the names of all the ones who’d come before him. Yeah, he didn’t expect to take her V-card. In all actuality, he was glad she wasn’t a virgin. Most females couldn’t really handle him and his size, especially when he was close to shifting. Unlike the others in the pack, he was a little more feral. He needed the pack to tether him, or he worried he’d be more like the rogues who they had to put down.
If he ever came face to face with any of the men who she’d been with, he feared he’d hurt them.
“You’re growling, and your eyes are glowing. You need to dial it back, wolfman.” Her hands were sifting through his hair.
“Why are you not smelling like you should?” He adjusted his hold on her.
She tilted her head to the side, her eyes blinked a couple times as if she was thinking before answering him. Smart woman. He didn’t want or need her to try and lie to him.
“First off, I’m not scared, so I don’t know what you want me to do or how you think I should smell. So why don’t you tell me what you’re expecting from me.”
“You’re a wolf, and don’t give me any bullshit, or shake your damn head. Inside you’re still wolf. She’s there, and we will get her to come out and play one day. Now, to get back to the original question. You know that everything has a unique scent. Lies, arousal, fear. Fear is an acrid odor that is damn offensive to my nose when it comes to you. I don’t ever want to smell it coming off of you when it comes to me. Feel me?”
“Oh, I feel you all right.” She wiggled in his hold.
“Sassy little thing, aren’t you?”
The sound of a twig snapping had Bronx releasing her legs. He spun to face the woods and inhaled, allowing his wolf to push forward. “Fuck, we need to get out of here.” He reached back and pulled Taya with him back toward his bike, his eyes scanning their surroundings.
“What’s wrong? You can smell if someone was here, right?” The acrid scent he’d been talking about was so strong now, he wanted to reach around and kick his own ass.
Keeping his tone low, he tried to reassure her. “Baby, when it comes to you, I’m not willing to take any chances.” He handed her the helmet and pulled his on while his eyes searched the semi-circle. The fine hairs on his arms stood on end. “Hop on and hold tight. We’re gonna ride fast and hard.”
She nodded, making him fall a little harder for her. Fate gave him a mate worthy of him, if only he could be worthy of her. He sent a prayer up to the goddess to watch over them.
His bike rumbled to life, and without any preamble he turned them back the way they came, a sense of foreboding made him reach out to Niall on their pack link. “Niall, I think something is coming, and it feels real bad, man.”
“Where you at?” Niall’s no nonsense response was exactly what he needed to take a deep breath and make the curves without hesitation.
“I took Taya up to Look Out Point.”
“You trying to pull a Jett?”
Jett was a member of the pack who was known for taking his mate up to the same spot, or as he called it, their spot and if someone happened upon his car and it was rocking, you most definitely shouldn’t bother knocking. “No, I wanted her to see how beautiful it was up here. How…peaceful it could be.”
Silence met his declaration, and then Niall sighed through the link. “She’s your mate, Bronx. You don’t need to convince her, we just need to find her wolf. I’ve talked with Payton and she says there’s some things she’d like to do to help. Um, Taryn would also like to try some things she’d seen her dad do. Now, don’t say anything stupid, just get your woman home and safe on pack lands. We’ve upped the wards and patrols.”
Bronx held back the growl and the mental fuck you. Barely. “I’ll check in once I have her settled.”
“She going to stay at the Glades, or you taking her home with you?”
Damn, he hadn’t thought of her going back to the small studio at the back of the old alphas, instead he’d steered them toward his place. “Mine for now. I’ll update you later.”
“If you ain’t neutered,” Niall snorted. Even through their link he could hear the other man, and pictured him laughing.
Bronx projected himself flipping Niall the bird, then cut the connection.
The long driveway to his place was similar to the other members of his pack, they liked to be able to hear if anyone was coming onto their property from the highway. The gravel road led to an A-frame home he’d chosen, instead of the ranch style his alpha and Zayn chose and he hoped Taya approved. He went with the natural materials most of the other wolves used, of stone and logs, mixing them into his designs with the backside of his home almost all made of glass. The two car garage held his truck and had space for his bike, or her car. Shit, he was already making plans to build another stall for their bikes.
“Wow, this place is incredible,” Taya said as they came to a stop by the front door.
He sat, looking at what she would see, wondering what she would think of the inside. He’d continued with the natural inside, too, but added all things needed for modern day necessities in hopes of one day bringing his mate home. No use putting off going inside, he sighed.
Holding his arm out, he helped her steady herself, knowing he’d taken the twists and turns faster than was wise for a human, but he had his shifter strength and speed that helped him keep the bike straight and on the road. When her legs wobbled as she tried to stand without his help, he hopped off his Harley and swung her into his arms. “Dammit, I’m sorry, babe. I shouldn’t have taken you up there without making sure we had backup.”
She grinned. “Now that would’ve been embarrassing.”
“What do you mean?” He grimaced, unsure why she was smiling when he could’ve gotten her killed.
“If we’d have had backup, they’d have seen us dry humping, saw me orgasm like a floosy, and sure as shit smelled me as well. So, yeah, I’m glad it was just you and me up there.”
He growled, the sound came from deep within. “You are no floosy, and nobody gets to see or smell you come but me from here on out.”
Her eyes narrowed. “Listen here, caveman. Don’t go spewing that bullshit with me. I’m here cause I want to be, but I can leave just as easy.”
It took all his power to dial back his beast, knowing she was speaking the absolute truth. If her wolf was present they’d already be marked and mated. However, this woman, his mate, didn’t have the same instincts as him because she’d been wounded. It was his job to protect her, heal her, and accept her for what she was, even if she didn’t ever truly accept him.
“I’m sorry, babe. My wolf is riding me hard right now. We weren’t alone in those woods, and I can guarantee you it wasn’t my pack that was out there.”
A gasp fell from her lips. “I should leave.”
His arms went around her to keep her from trying to flee. “Where do you think you’re going? First off, how you gonna get there? Second, the safest place you could be is with me on pack lands. Now come on, don’t you want to see inside?”
She shivered, her eyes darted around the clearing in front of them. “How do you know they didn’t follow us?”
“The Fey have set up wards to protect us. Only those we allow and humans who mean no harm, can come on our lands. We’re safe here,” his voice dipped low.
He didn’t want to scare her by telling her about the unknown wolf scent or the possible human connection they’d smelled on their lands the other night. No, if he kept her by his side, he’d keep her safe, or die trying.
Kurt watched through slitted eyes as Taya allowed the large wolf to hold her like an animal in heat. He could scent her desire and wondered why she was such a whore. If he’d been the one to raise her instead of the thieving bitch of an aunt, she’d be a good girl. He’d have already worked the serum into her slowly, making the Fey in her come to the surface. Then, he’d have access to the realm that held so much power. Power he needed. Power that should be his.
Listening to the degenerate speak in growling terms, he wanted to put his fist through the man’s chest and pull his heart out. Oh, he pictured it clearly and made a list of all he’d do to the big bastard once he had him in his lab. Yes, Bronx would make a fine specimen. Maybe he’d even allow Taya to mate him before he killed the wolf. A deer came close to where he hid, startling him as he was too focused on his prey. The animal skittered in fright, making a branch break.
He watched the wolf lift his head, saw when he realized he wasn’t the largest, most dangerous predator in the woods. That’s right, boy. I’m going to kill you slowly. You’ll beg for mercy, only there’ll be none.
Taya looked up, still shocked at how large the man was. Damn, he had to have eaten every damn little boys Wheaties in a five state radius. Six and a half feet tall with dark blond hair, blue eyes, muscles upon muscles, tattoos upon tattoos and he scared the ever-loving-shit right out of her. When she’d first met him, he’d been the one whose arms she’d woken up in after she’d blacked out. He carried her around like she was precious, calling her his, but she couldn’t feel her wolf. She knew he thought she was his, but there was no way she could allow him to claim her without that same instinct clawing at her. A one-sided mating would tear them apart, and she didn’t think she could ever allow a man to… dominate the way he would want, or need to do with his woman. Taya was no longer the same female she used to be. Sex had been great. She loved the way it felt to be with a man, and wasn’t ashamed of her past. What she was ashamed of, was what had happened to her. Not being in control broke her. She shut the memories down that threatened to pull her under, knowing they’d send her into a space where she didn’t want to be for days.
“Son of a bitch,” Bronx cursed, then bent to face her. “Stop it right now. We will fix this.”
She nodded at his vehemence. Nothing sounded better than being fixed, but the saying and doing were two very different things.
She could see the small filthy room with the full-sized bed every time she closed her eyes. The chains that held her down had left their marks on her wrists and ankles. Without thought she ran her thumb across one raised scar, then wrenched her eyes open as Bronx pulled her hand away and placed a kiss on each of her wrists.
“I wish I could have saved you from this. From all of it.” Anger glistened in his beautiful eyes before he stood and abruptly walked away.
In a blink, he went from extra-large man, to extremely large and angry tawny wolf. Envy hit her at his ability to change, yet her wolf didn’t even stir.
“He’s not angry at you, you know,” Taryn said, sipping on her drink while she stared out into the woods.
Taking a deep breath, she turned to look into familiar eyes. “Yeah, but that doesn’t make it easier to deal with.”
Taryn nodded. “I suppose not. So, how we gonna get your wolf back? You know, sorta like that movie with Stella, only you don’t need to get your groove back. Or maybe you do, but I don’t need to know that. Well, maybe I can help you there too. I mean Jett has taught me a shitton of things. I could totally help you,” she stopped talking as the man in question growled out a warning.
“I’m thinking that is his way of telling you to pipe down?” Taya put the straw in her mouth to hide her grin. Taryn was just too damn cute. Oh, she was aware her little whatever she was had a hell of a life before finding her mate in Jett, but damn, she was adorable.
“Really, you should not make fun of me. I’m a total badass who has multiple forms,” Taryn growled.
“Way to rub it in.” Taya stood, her own lack of one form made the food she’d eaten earlier turn in her stomach.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean that to be bitchy. I was teasing.” Taryn’s hand on her arm, holding her in place felt like a tether, taking her back to a place she didn’t want to be.
“Don’t touch me.” She stumbled backward, falling over the back of the bench, she scrambled up, backing away from the crowd. She felt their eyes on her, saw the way Taryn held her hand against her chest. Watched Jett come to his mate’s side, worry written all over him.
“Taya, you’re safe here,” Cora Malik soothed from a few feet away.
She looked at the tiny woman who she’d been talking to for the last week or so. Although she wasn’t a therapist, but a doctor, a fucking vet, she wanted to laugh at the absurdity. “I’m okay. I just need to go home.” Home. She didn’t have a home. She didn’t have a pack. She had nothing. Shoving her fist in her mouth, she turned away from the knowing eyes of the Mystic Wolves and went down the path toward Emerson and Payton’s cabin. They’d been gracious enough to allow her to stay in the small studio space their daughter had when she was alive located at the back of their property line.
The lighted path led the way to the one room place she slept in. It was quaint with enough space for a bed that folded up to be a couch, a small kitchen area and a bathroom. She didn’t need any more room. Hell, she wasn’t sure how long she was going to be here. Looking before she unlocked the door she didn’t sense anyone watching her, but without her wolf, she was like a normal human. “I hate you. Why did you leave me? Come out so we can shift,” she begged her wolf. When nothing rippled beneath her skin, she screamed then slapped a hand over her mouth, not wanting to alert anyone to her distress.
Bronx listened to his mate scream, her words breaking his heart. He didn’t know what to do for her and wanted to kill the men who’d hurt her, taking her wolf from her. Fuck, they may not have raped her body, but her mind was almost just as bad. He sat just at the edge of the woods near her cabin; watching as she went inside, listening as she went through her nightly routine. Yeah, he was a fucking stalker of epic proportions. Every night she did the same damn thing. She washed up, and then the sound of her tears mixing with the shower ate at him until he couldn’t stand it any longer. He wanted to burst through the door and hold her, tell her everything would be fine. He wanted to claim her, make her wolf come back to her. Yet, he didn’t know how to do that. Hell, he’d never heard of a wolf receding the way hers had except for Slater’s mate, but magic was involved there, not so with Taya.
“You gonna sit out here all night, again?” Niall asked.
He’d heard his alpha moving through the woods, they were connected as a pack should be and shifted so they could talk. “Yep.” The one word answer came out clipped.
“I spoke to her alpha about what happened. I know she calls to your wolf, but man, if she can’t shift, you can’t turn a full blood who’s suppressed her instincts back into a shifter,” he sighed. “I don’t know what to tell you. You would be living a half-life with her.”
Bronx growled, the sound low and deep. Niall was his alpha but he wouldn’t let anyone tell him who he and his wolf called theirs.
“Don’t growl at me, boy.” Niall got in his face.
“I’m not your boy, Niall. You may be alpha, but I’m not a pussy and I won’t back down on this. You want to take me on over my mate?” His muscles bunched, bones ached to shift. He could feel Niall forcing his will on him, but with the thought of his mate being taken from him, the fucks he gave went out the proverbial window.
“Goddamn stubborn ass wolf. Stand down. I am not fighting you over your mate.” Niall’s eyes glowed bright blue in the darkness. The sound of rustling broke through the quiet of the night.
“So, whose dick is bigger?” Alaina moved into view.
Niall tossed his head back, looking up at the canopy of trees. “Goddess save me.”
“I’m pretty sure my dick is bigger,” Bronx offered, then held out his hand. “Hey, she asked.”
“Yoohoo, did someone call me?”
Bronx spun to face a tiny creature he was sure wasn’t real. Holy shite, she oozed more magic than Payton and that was saying a lot.
“What’s wrong? Cat got your tongue? Well, not cat, but,” she stopped and waved her hand. “Oh, you know what I mean. My name is Jennaveve, but you will call me Jenna or I will kick you in the shin, or between the legs. Hard. Now, you called the Goddess, but you get me. You’re welcome.” She tilted her head to the side and then waited.
Alaina walked toward the ethereal creature, but was pulled up short by Niall. Bronx watched as his alpha and Alaina did a little scuffle. In a blink, the female named Jenna was in front of him. “I will not hurt you, unless you try to hurt me or mine. By the way, you are me and mine, so we are good. Now, you are Bronx, which is a total kickass name. Those two are Niall and Alaina, and they clearly like to play slap and tickle.” She shook her head. “Save it for the bedroom children, there are others present…unless you’re into that thing, then get a room at the right place.”
Niall froze with Alaina at his side. “Thank you for coming, Jenna. It’s been too long since we’ve seen you.” Niall’s tone was smooth and even. “Bronx, this is the Fey Queen.”
Jenna shrugged. “Fey, or Fey Queen. It’s potato or tomato. Depending on who you speak with.”
Bronx was pretty sure that wasn’t how the saying went, but again, he wasn’t sure the woman in front of him was completely sane, so kept his lips sealed. Having never met her, he waited for her to speak.
“Such a smart wolfie, yes you are. Who’s a good boy,” she cooed.
He narrowed his eyes, but kept his hands locked into fists at his sides. “You are seriously trying my very last nerve, Fey.”
Niall looked up at the sky, then back at him. “Bronx, watch your tone. This woman is more than meets the eye. She’s…just more and someone we will show respect to.” His tone brooked no argument.
Jenna waved her hand, then stared at Bronx. “Oh, I know you wolfies tend to be a wee uptight, but I like trying your last nerves. I’ll give you a direct line to my bestie. His name is Kellen, and he’ll tell you how awesome I am at doing just that.” She spun and faced the cabin, all signs of cheer evaporated. “My goddess, she is killing me.” Jenna’s feet left the ground. “I will speak with her, and let you know what we’re going to do.”
Before he could stop himself, he reached out, putting his body between the floating woman and the cabin. “You’re not going to hurt her.” He’d not allow anyone; woman or man, human or other, to lay one finger on Taya.
The Fey’s feet touched the ground her eyes met his. “You sure are a big fella, aren’t you?”
He shrugged, used to people saying those words. Right that instant he would use whatever he had at his disposal to protect what was his, and by all that he believed in, Taya was his.
A sigh that sounded put upon left the little woman’s lips. “I do so love you wolves, which is why you will land quite softly. You’re welcome by the way.”
Bronx was having a hard time following what the female was saying until he found himself being physically moved without anyone touching him. If she thought he wouldn’t fight the invisible bonds, she was crazier than he thought. His wolf burst out of him quicker than he’d ever done before, racing in front of the cabin door just as Taya was opening it. He growled, the sound had Jenna taking a step back.
“Down doggie. Bad doggie. Taya, be a good girl and get him a treat.” Jenna wagged her finger at him.
He bristled, but didn’t move an inch, even as he felt her magic rolling over him. He fought the bonds, growling as it tried to make him do what he wasn’t willing to do; leave his mate’s side. Hell to the no was he leaving Taya unprotected.
“I don’t think he’s housetrained yet. Um, who are you?” Taya’s hand landed on the top of Bronx’s head, making his wolf purr.
Holy hell, he was making the sounds of a contented cat, dammit. He clamped his jaws together enjoying the feel of Taya’s fingers on his wolven body. She didn’t seem to notice, or care as long as he wasn’t in human form.
“My name is Jenna, and I’m here to help you. Again, you’re welcome.” Jenna tried to step around Bronx who growled at her.
“Stop growling or you can’t come inside.” Taya tugged on a handful of his fur.
He was ready to roll over and show her his belly, or if he shifted, she’d get an eyeful of something else. Nope, better to stay wolf than man. No need for her to see his swinging junk at the moment.