It's hard to believe Enemy Mine's release date is next week. Since I'm swamped with work, I decided to share the prologue with you now. This story is different, with multiple plots that come together. I hope you enjoy this installment and return to read Trey and Sadie's book, as well as future characters in the series.
Have an awesome week!
The stench of fire and death merged, the unappealing combination of scents burning like powdered red pepper in Emory Veznor’s nose. Despite the smells, the wolf inside of him basked in the glory of the kill, reveling in the coppery taste of blood on his tongue. He lifted his head from the throat of his prey—noting the blank stare of the dead man who gazed at the midnight blue sky—before he studied the carnage around him.
His pack mates were tormenting two Shepherds, snapping at them with sharp teeth while issuing throaty growls. They rotated around the men in a slow, deliberate circle. The only human in the pack—Caden Stone—was to the far left of the group. He was busy reshaping the face of the Shepherd he’d tackled to the ground, punching him repeatedly in the nose. When the pack had attacked there had been six Shepherds ready to intercept them. That number was now down to three. Emory was tempted to join the brawl, to snap and snarl at the murderers he’d come to destroy, but that wasn’t what he traveled hundreds of miles for.
Finally his journey was coming to an end.
He started the shift into his human form, aware his mate would only fear him if he came to her in his wolven state. Hell, she was already terrified of what he was. She’d been given a glimpse of what lingered beneath his skin once and it had sent her running. At the time he couldn’t go to her to attempt to explain. He’d been too busy dodging buckshot from her bloodthirsty relatives and trying to escape their attention alive. They’d issued a challenge as he’d fled, threatening his mate and destroying any hope he’d had of making Mary understand who and what he was. Because of that he’d been forced to return to his pack in New York. Only running didn’t help. Instead it brought danger to his door and destruction and loss to those he loved. So many lives had ended in an explosion the pack had never seen coming, bringing Emory to this moment.
Don’t think about that now. Focus on who you came for.
He finished the change and swiped the back of his hand across his lips. The skin came away bloodied, the thick red smear vivid against his tanned knuckles. Not good. He’d have to clean his face at the very least before he sought out his mate. Going to Mary in this condition would only make things worse. She was too young and innocent to fully comprehend what he wanted from her. Time wasn’t on his side but he was determined to do everything in his power to ease her into the transition, to help her accept their future together.
“She’s not in the building, Emory.”
Emory looked up and met his brother’s gaze.
Trey had transformed into his human form as well but his bright golden eyes revealed he was in the grip of a fighter’s bloodlust. It wasn’t a shock. As the pack had traveled to the location where Mary lived—deep in Shepherd territory in Northern Colorado—Trey’s control had been on the decline. The former Alpha mourned the deaths of his New York pack mates in the only way he understood—by tracking down those responsible and making them pay.
His temper was thread thin and his desire to kill was off the charts. If it weren’t for the presence of Gerald Night—the werewolf Alpha from the area—Trey probably would have disintegrated into madness. Trey was forced to play the part of a respectable Alpha to save face, even if everyone close to him knew that he’d lost the control necessary to properly guide the pack that had traveled with him to exact a revenge of their own.
Rising smoothly to his feet, Emory stared at the house in the distance. The front door was smashed in and he could see the shadows of wolves as they moved inside. Loud crashing noises drifted to his ears, a chilling melody of shattering glass and breaking wood. The noises indicated the wolves were demolishing everything in their path, as though they had picked up a scent and were searching for the source.
That meant someone was inside.
Emory took off at a dead run, blood pounding in his ears, fear and adrenaline flooding his system. Damn Trey and his short fucking fuse. Once upon a time his brother had been responsible. Now he was a ticking time bomb. The moment they had arrived Trey’d ordered the pack to surround the house and building at the back of the property and attack at his command. Not smart planning at all. More like reckless and stupid. Gerald had tried to talk sense into Trey but it hadn’t worked. Not when the object of Trey’s hatred was so prime for the taking.
Emory flew across the porch and into the house, drawing a lungful of air as he stepped inside. Panic caused his heart to slam into his throat. Mary’s scent was present but fading. If she had been kept here the unique fragrance of lavender and linen would be stronger, easier to identify. His nose piloted him through the ransacked home until he came to the room where Mary’s smell was strongest. Two of the pack wolves were at a closet, clawing and snarling at the wood barring their path to their prize.
“Stand back,” he ordered, strode over and grasped the knob to open the door.
The woman hiding inside was older, with her hair pulled into a bun. Although standing, her back was pressed against the wall, as though she could vanish into the plaster if she willed it so. She had cell phone against her ear, the glow from the light shining brightly across one side of her face.
“They’re here. It’s too late,” she whispered hoarsely, her nearly black eyes focused on Emory. Her arm lowered as she dropped the phone and stomped on it, destroying the device.
Emory grasped the woman by the throat and pulled her from the closet. “Where is Mary? What the fuck have you done with her?”
She compressed her lips and remained silent. Emory growled and yanked her toward him, invading her personal space.
“Fast or slow.” He lowered his voice and revealed the fangs he had allowed to elongate. “Tell me what I want to know or I’ll make sure you suffer for hours. Either way, you will answer me.”
“Go to hell where you belong, spawn of Satan.” She spit in his face and struggled in his hold.
The wolf inside of him roared in fury and he had to hold back his animal instinct to lash out at the bitch and put her in her place. Fighting for control, he snarled, “Slow works for me.”
He didn’t wipe his face clean, turning instead and dragging the woman along with him. His pack mates moved out of his way as he stormed down the hall, walked through the living room and stepped onto the porch.
Trey stood where he’d left him, talking to pack members who had returned to their human form and restrained the Shepherds at their feet with rope. Emory couldn’t stomach the idea of torturing the woman for the answers he needed—there was no way he could look Mary in the eye and tell her what he’d done—but Trey could. His brother, desperate for blood, would relish each and every second.
“She won’t tell me where Mary is.” Emory shoved the woman toward the group. “Make her.”
Trey grasped the female by the forearm and flicked his wrist, and Emory forced himself not to wince when he heard a bone snap. She screamed in agony, her high-pitched wail echoing in the night.
“There are so many bones in the human body,” Trey said menacingly and snagged her uninjured arm, “as thin and brittle as toothpicks.”
Emory watched as Trey’s fingers drifted down her arm and tightened around her wrist. His brother’s knuckles turned white as he continued applying steady pressure, crushing the bones together. The woman’s knees wobbled and she sagged to the ground, crying out.
“She’s gone,” she whimpered between ragged breaths. “She’s been gone for weeks.”
“Gone?” Emory lost control of his temper, dropped to his knees and wrapped his fingers around the woman’s neck. He forced her to look him in the eye when he said, “You wouldn’t let her leave, even if she wanted to.” His hand shook as he dug his nails into her skin. “She’d better be in the same condition I left her in. If you hurt her, so help me…”
“You’ll what?” the hag asked with a twinge of spite when he didn’t finish. “Kill me?”
Emory took several deep breaths, barely holding the wolf back. The beast inside him lashed out, ordering him to leave the man behind and let the feral portion of him take over. It would be so easy to let his fangs descend, to clamp his teeth around the woman’s throat. He’d bite down until he felt the hardness of bone against his incisors. Then he’d wait, holding her in place, making sure she died slowly. As she gagged he’d enjoy the rusty taste of her blood against his tongue, bask in her struggles as she grew weak and knew her time in this world was at an end. There would be no mercy killing, no fast snap of his jaws to ease her passing. He wouldn’t break her neck and end her suffering. He’d make it last, draw it out, wrap the scent of death around him like a cozy blanket.
He could almost smell her death, taste her life’s blood pulsing against his tongue. His skin started to burn and he felt the wolf come closer to the surface.
Back off, he ordered silently, reminding the animal within who was in charge. A sharp pounding in his temples aided him in moving away from the train of thought, to let go of the growing fury, allowing him to think clearly. Finding Mary is the most important thing. This bitch is nothing more than a means to that end.
“Where is she?” he repeated, striving for calm.
When she didn’t respond Trey placed his hand over the woman’s biceps and another loud crack followed. This time her scream was so long and loud it made Emory’s ears ring. Tears streamed down her face and merged with the snot seeping along the crest of her upper lip. It sounded like she started choking but she didn’t stop yelling as she begged.
“Stop, stop, please stop!”
“You want me to stop?” Trey lowered his face until he and the woman were at eye level. “Answer. His. Fucking. Question.”
“I don’t know if she’s alive or dead.” The panic and misery in her voice were genuine and her eyes were wide and horrified. “She ran.”
“Ran where?” Trey snarled.
“Do you think she’d tell us where she was going?” After Trey took hold of her shoulder she added quickly, “She waited until she had an opportunity to escape and took it. She killed her own kin.” The reminder seemed to bring the aging female out of her haze of pain, snapping her to attention.
Killed her kin? The Mary he knew wouldn’t swat a fly.
What in the fuck happened since the last time I saw her?
The woman’s eyes narrowed as he processed the information and she declared, “If she’s not dead yet, she will be. When Elijah finds her, he’ll kill her.”
“Elijah’s after her?” Emory’s wolf roared in fury. Her uncle had already stated he’d take her life. If he was after her now, she was in danger. “She’s being tracked?”
“He told her what would happen if she didn’t repent. He warned her repeatedly. She didn’t listen.”
“What do you mean he warned her? What the hell did he do?” Emory’s temper snapped when she remained silent and he snarled, “Answer me, damn you!”
“I’m not telling you anything else. You’ve gotten all you can expect from me, seed of Satan. Take my life but you’ll never touch my soul.” She tore her gaze from Emory’s, stared straight ahead and started reciting the Lord’s Prayer.
Trey pressed his fingers into the woman’s shoulder—more than likely to demolish her collarbone—but Emory preventing him from inflicting more damage by flexing his hand and breaking her neck. She toppled forward when he and Trey let her go, her body landing motionless in the dirt.
“Why the fuck did you do that?” Trey stared down at her body with glowing amber eyes, his hair in disarray around his face. “I was just getting started.”
“We wouldn’t have gotten anything more from her, and what she didn’t say told us more than what she might have.” Emory stood and faced his furious sibling, trying to remain calm. If he was going to have blood on his hands, it would be for the right reasons. “Mary ran and she’s being tracked. We have to find her before her Elijah does.”
“Good luck.” Trey snorted. “She could be anywhere.”
“Not necessarily,” Gerald called out as he separated from the members of his pack. He and his wolves had guided them to the location where the Shepherds resided and remained on the sidelines. They were willing to fight but understood that vengeance belonged to Trey and the shifters who accompanied him. The New York pack members were the ones who’d suffered the ultimate loss. One from which some might never recover.
“How so?” Trey asked.
“We picked up the faint scent of cat in the storage building.”
“What does that have to do with anything?” Trey retorted. “They kill shifters here, in case you’ve forgotten.”
Gerald’s hazel eyes started to turn orange and Emory hoped he didn’t have to keep the two Alphas from going at each other. Gerald had been patient with Trey, after all his brother had lost, but his generosity would only go so far.
“The woman said that your mate had been gone for weeks.” Gerald’s tone was curt. “It just so happens that a young female cat shifter went missing months ago. Her Alpha spread word to the packs and prides, hoping someone would have information to locate her. When she returned a few weeks back she said a young woman helped her escape. The time frame matches.”
“You think it was Mary?” Emory tried to imagine Mary releasing a shifter. She’d been terrified of him when he’d instinctively started shifting in front of her. He’d had no other choice in order to defend her from her family months before. He’d seen the horror in her eyes, the revulsion. Had she overcome her fear? Was it possible she wouldn’t run when he found her, told her what she meant to him and initiated the bloodbonding that would tie them together as mates?
Gerald pulled out his phone. “I’m going to make a call and see what I can find out.”
“Do that.” Trey turned from Gerald and placed his hand on Emory’s shoulder. “If she’s being tracked we’ll have to get all the information we can from the Shepherds we haven’t killed. They might know something.”
Emory stared past Trey and studied the men lumped together on the ground. Elijah was the leader of this particular sect. Considering Elijah had sworn to kill Mary if she strayed, Emory knew he had to find his mate if he wanted to protect her.
He allowed his wolf to rise to the surface. It answered immediately, improving his eyesight and changing his fingernails to claws as he started for the men who were born and bred to destroy his kind. Killing wasn’t something he enjoyed but he wasn’t above it. Not if it meant putting an end to his misery and reuniting with the one person who could give him peace.
The only woman in the world he couldn’t exist without.
The men thrashed as he neared but he didn’t hesitate. His pack mates surrounded him as he knelt in front of his first victim and grasped a handful of the man’s hair.
“I want to know where Elijah is.” He growled, revealing his lengthening canines, and grinned at the Shepherds’ corresponding, alarmed expression. “And you’re going to tell me.”
(c) 2012 J.A. Saare / Aline Hunter