Wounded(Rylee Adamson #8)(7) by Shannon Mayer
The howls ahead of him were those of werewolves, and if there was one place his instincts and Peter’s training came in handy, it was dealing with other wolves. Not to mention he’d called them in, asked them to attack the ogres.
Harry them. He sent the thought to the wolves who’d quickly come to his call. A damn nifty trick Peter had taught him, but it was the first time he’d actually had the nerve to put it in play. Controlling other werewolves was a gift and one he didn’t want to abuse.
The closer he got to the ogres, the more the sounds of the fight filled his ears. Ogres swung their wicked sharp, heavy weapons and the wolves around them dodged blows while inflicting devastating bites, but he could see they had listened to him. Even their lead bitch, who snarled as he loped by.
Between one step and the next he shifted back to human form.
His wolf surged forward again, though, and he used the power in his voice as Peter had taught him, blending the word with a command, with the very essence of what he was. Guardian, wolf, and alpha.
It was like a switch had been thrown, and the wolves fell to the ground, cowering. The ogres seemed about as stunned as the wolves.
“What is the meaning of this?” Came a soft, purring voice from somewhere within the mess of ogres and wolves.
Slim and tall, with legs that seemed to go all the way to her chin, a woman slowly rose from the ground and walked toward him. Long dark hair flowed around her, partially hiding her nudity. She had Asian features, sharp and pristine, like a doll come to life.
He ignored the woman’s question as he drew in deep breaths, scenting the wolves around him. Trying to pinpoint them and where they fit in. What he found shouldn’t have surprised him, but it did.
These weren’t just any wolves, though some of them may have been local by their scents; no, the majority of them were from Rylee’s territory. Yet they were here.
This was Beauty’s pack. He’d run into them more than once when he’d first been turned and had been staking territory around Rylee’s home.
Which meant the woman walking toward him, the woman he knew only by the power radiating off her, was Beauty herself.
“Why are you here, Beauty?” He all but growled the words, but they were for the ogre’s ears, really. He only hoped she would play along. Overconfident as she was, she played right into his plan.
She rolled her shoulders. “We roam where we wish.”
He doubted that. He infused his next words with power. “I want the truth. Why. Are. You. Here?”
She blinked and spoke almost without seeming to realize it. “The Great Wolf commanded us to travel here. That we would be needed.” A breath escaped her and then she glared at him. “Oh, dear, you think you can boss us around? You think you can run this pack, or,” she laughed softly and put a hand to the hollow of her throat in a delicate gesture, “take it from me?”
Taking the pack from her wouldn’t be that hard, not really. Peter had shown him how. Interesting, though, that the Great Wolf had commanded it of them. Could it be because of him? He had a feeling it was.
Before he could say anything, Raw stalked over to them, his feet sending up splashes of muddy ice water. This was what Liam had been waiting for.
Fury lit the red ogre’s features, carving it into a mask a devil would balk from dealing with. He held a pike over his shoulder, the tip gleaming with what could only be blood. “Are these your wolves, Liam?”
“No. Not yet. Were any of your people seriously hurt?” Time to play the part, though he couldn’t help scenting, trying to pinpoint the demon in Raw. Three breaths and he had it, a smell of swamp water lingered, though there were no swamps in the vicinity.
Raw shook his head. “No, these are werewolves, but not like you.” Raw’s eyes didn’t look like he believed Liam. He looked more inclined to keep fighting. Not a good sign.
Beauty let out another laugh, but under this one he could hear the nerves, and in her eyes there was a flicker of uncertainty. She was right to be nervous. “What do you mean, we are just werewolves? We are at the top of the food chain, ogre.”
Liam shook his head. “Not anymore.”
Of course, in that moment, he thought things were going to go peacefully, or at least as peaceful as possible.
He was wrong. Not that he should have been surprised; he’d commanded the wolves to start this fight, and now he had to look like he had nothing to do with it. Apparently, Beauty didn’t like that.
Beauty leapt at him, shifting mid-air, a flash of tawny fur and fangs. He dodged her, slamming a fist into her head and still managing to keep his wolf in check. The wolves around them started to rise from the ground, growls sliding along their throats. Beauty lay on the ground, shaken from the blow that would have killed a normal wolf.
“I said enough,” Liam bit out between his teeth and the wolves froze, lowering themselves the few inches they’d come up.
Raw laughed. “That’s it, hit the bitch.”
He ignored Raw and moved to stand over Beauty. “Either you submit, or I’ll kill you.”
She snarled up at him, blood trickling from her pale nose, golden eyes glittering with hatred. Even for her life, she wouldn’t submit, and he knew it a split second before she lunged at him, her teeth sinking into his right thigh. Right over the wound that had brought on his own change.
Her teeth sunk in deep and he gritted his jaw. Killing her was the only option, but that didn’t mean he had to like it; not when he’d asked her pack here.
He slid his hands around her neck and she glared up at him, but didn’t move. She knew what was coming.
No, there had been enough death and they needed strong allies. Beauty might not have been the nicest bitch in the book, but she was strong. With every ounce of power in him, with everything Peter had taught him, he spoke to her.
“Let go and submit.”
Her teeth withdrew from his leg and she sat back on her haunches, a look of consternation passing over her eyes. She shifted into her human form, panting for breath.
“That’s not possible. I am an alpha; you can’t force me to submit.”
A look of confusion passed over Raw’s face. “Are we going to kill them or not, Liam?”
Liam shook his head slowly, the wound in his thigh closing up already. “No. Not today.”
Raw let out a heavy sigh. “Then keep them far away from us. My ogres will not be controlled as easily as this.” He swept out the pike in a circle, encompassing the area.