Her Captive Wolf
Her Captive Wolf
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When I get word of an illegal dogfighting ring on the edge of town, I’ll do everything in my power to stop it. Once we bring those dogs back to Forever Home animal shelter and get them cleaned up, we realize they’re not dogs.
Doesn’t matter--we’ll nurse them back to health and give them a second chance at life before releasing them into the wild. I have to admit, I’m getting attached to the blue-eyed wolf who won’t leave my side.
On the full moon, they shift.
That blue-eyed wolf—his name is Shadow and he says I’m his mate. He’s got long dark hair streaked with white, muscles for days, and he’s so gentle with me, even after everything he’s been through.
The wolves call themselves the Sawtooth pack. They’re broken, throwaway wolves that were enslaved, abused, and deemed unworthy of mates. Taking a human mate is forbidden, but Shadow’s willing to lay everything on the line to claim me.
Those enemies who captured the pack want to put these wolves in their place, and they have the perfect target to get the job done. Me.
- Growly, protective cinnamon roll wolf
- Older woman, younger man age gap
- Curvy heroine
- Challenging old traditions
- Who rescued who?
- Fated Mates
Read Chapter One
Read Chapter One
The plan didn’t change because we were prisoners.
We weren’t meant to be in one place for this long. Wolves needed to move. We needed to hunt. Ryker, the bastard who captured us, knew it, and he’d set it up so we could only hunt each other. Chained, starving, and wallowing in our own filth.
The worst part of it was that we’d been outsmarted by one of our own.
We had the Lowe brothers in our sights when we’d been caught. We’d meant to scare them away from Ryker’s farm, and avoid a pack war. Little did we know what horrors were actually harbored here. Now we were all in a fight to survive.
Had the Lowes been caught with Ryker’s livestock, it would’ve started a war between the packs. We were minutes away from stopping them when we got caught.
A sliver of the moon lit the open doorway. The dull roar of the crowd rose with the old man’s arrival. No surprise. Nothing on Ryker Farm happened by accident.
“All right, beasts, I’m upping the ante this month.” Ryker curled his tobacco-stained lips in a nasty smile. “Whoever wins gets set free.”
Still in his human form, he was skinny as we were, the meanness consuming him. All that was left was flesh, bone, and a black heart. No hint of a soul. Ryker had every advantage over us. He knew our secrets and our traditions. He knew how to keep us weak. The new moon did us no favors, since we relied on its power for our energy. Every month Ryker starved us, beat us, and kept us in complete darkness when we should have been reveling in the moon’s full beauty. He kept us from shifting back to pissed off men.
My brothers and I looked at each other, wary. Then to the Lowes. We never saw eye to eye with them, but we were on the same page. Ryker’s promise wouldn’t come without a catch.
Ryker threw kibble on the ground. The Lowe brothers scrambled for it, their pride replaced long ago by the need to survive. Anticipation gnawed at my empty belly. Growls rose from the other side of the pen. They’d probably been built for pigs, and we didn’t have room to turn around without hitting another body. Even if we did, our chains were too short to allow it. There was no place to get away from anyone’s thoughts, especially my own.
The old farmer cackled as he brought the bag closer to us. My brother Baron nipped at the sack. For that, he was rewarded with a boot in the face. Kibble spilled from the torn burlap. “You want to be greedy? That’s all you savages get.”
Good. We’d be hungry for the fight.
“Who are we sending out?” my brother Dallas asked once Ryker left, his gaze fixed on me. My brothers expected me to have the answers, but it was impossible to think straight with the chain cutting into the skin on my neck. Anger and hunger swirled through my body. Every time I looked at my brothers, the less I thought I could save them. I couldn’t show weakness, especially with the Lowe brothers close enough to smell it. They’d been calling us weak for years. They’d be picking us out from between what was left of their teeth if I gave them the chance.
Dallas lowered his voice, so only the four of us could hear it. “Are we going with speed or strength?”
He wanted me to say speed. Last month Ryker had paired him against Xavier, and the fight got called with X’s paw on Dallas’ throat. X hadn’t shut up about it all month. Both wolves were raw, bloody, and barely breathing when they were thrown back in the pen, chained so healing properly was a luxury. I wouldn’t exactly call it a victory, but revenge would be so sweet.
I whacked Dallas. My paw was still sore from last night’s scuffle for food. Ryker had thrown chickens into the pen and the chance at actual meat had all of us slobbering, and baring our teeth at each other, brother or not. Ryker was treating us like livestock, planning to slaughter us in a different manner.
“Doesn’t fucking matter what you do.” Xavier, no it was Major, called out from the other side of the pen. Xavier knew better than to speak for his older brother. “Every single one of us can fuck you up.”
Major had trained his brothers to be bloodthirsty, to take what they needed and not look back. Search and destroy. It was a pretty good philosophy, shared by most of the werewolves in Sawtooth Forest.
The Channings had always kept order in the forest. For generations, our family had been the peacekeepers. We hunted and killed, but we didn’t destroy. That mindset didn’t make us popular in the Sawtooth pack, but it wouldn’t matter what anyone thought if we were dead.
Not only were we killing each other, but we hid our true nature from the humans in Granger Falls. Werewolf stories were nothing more than legend to them. But the nail in our coffin was that we had no possibility for mates. Our she-wolves had been sold to the highest bidder. The rest of us had been left to die off, alone and forgotten.
If we ever got out of here, I’d make sure we had something to fight for.
“I’ll take Major,” I growled, pulling on my chain to get as close to the Lowe’s alpha as I could. I’d had enough of his mouth over the last six months. I’d enjoy stomping on it. “Fight to the death.”
I’d sunk to his level, but hard time in hell did that to even the strongest wolf.
There was no reasoning with anyone during a dogfight.
Archer nudged my haunch with his snout.
“I want to take him on.” My youngest brother had taken my name, Shadow, to heart and become mine as soon as he was old enough to venture away from our mother.
Major roared with laughter, angry pink skin visible where the chains had worn away his fur. We could understand each other when we spoke in our wolf from, but a human spectator would only hear barking and growling.
I glared at Archer. He was weak, there was no hiding it. He hadn’t been a liability until we’d been captured.
“You lose, Shadow, and your little pup belongs to me. I’ll make him a man. Somebody’s gotta do it. I don’t have time for the babying bullshit,” Major snarled.
“He’ll never follow you.” I stood snout to snout with my lifelong nemesis. The edges of his nose were dry and his threat was empty. My brothers were restless behind me. If I turned around, the Lowes would know my family doubted me. “I don’t plan on losing.”
“I don’t either.” One side of Major’s lip turned up in a feral smirk. “Archie will be my slave. You can go to hell with that on your conscience.”
After a few more rounds of grunts and huffs, Major and I retreated to our sides of the pen. If we’d had the chance, we’d settle it here. That bastard Ryker made sure our chains were too short to do any real damage to each other. He wanted to save that pent-up rage for the paying customers.
They’d get their money’s worth tonight.
“Eat,” I huffed at my brothers, as kibble caught in my dry throat.
“This shit?” Dallas said, kicking at the kibble. “It’s barely food.”
No kidding, brother. “We need to be prepared.”
“Will you let me go in?” Archer’s eyes widened. “I want to take him on.”
I pushed more of the kibble toward him. I’d been too busy scarfing down chicken last night to notice if Archer got anything more than feathers stuck to his tongue. Omegas ate last, and I was ashamed I hadn’t taken better care of him so close to the fights.
“No,” I said. “This is my fight.”
“What’s your plan if Ryker actually lets you out of here, Shadow?” Baron asked quietly, not to be overheard by the Lowes. We learned long ago we could only trust each other.
I glared at Major, speaking loudly enough for him to hear me. “To bring that bastard down.”
We might be emaciated and humbled, but no one would mistake us for meek or common as Ryker’s thug farmhand herded us into the ring. Our heads were held high, with nothing to hide. Even in chains we were stronger than these bastards.
And so close to freedom.
The air was thick with beer, weed, and sweat. The audience who’d paid to see our destruction. But I didn’t care about them. I’d dreamed of this moment since Ryker and his thugs had shot us all with tranquilizer guns and enslaved us.
Now Ryker was using that to his advantage with his very own gladiator ring.
Blood and bad decisions were what packed the stands every month. No two fights were the same. Over the last six months, we’d been conditioned to be prepared for the worst-case scenario at all times.
Ryker scanned over the seven of us.
“You.” He pulled on Shea’s chain. Fuck, Shea didn’t have any limits or any conscience. He’d been a bloodthirsty lunatic since we were kids. Major needed to get a rein on his brother. The pack only had room for one alpha.
I didn’t care which one of them I fought, but tonight it looked like the opponents were already chosen. Ryker hated a fair fight. The crowd had placed their bets and Ryker loved to protect house money.
“And you.” Our chains were tangled, and all four of us skidded forward. Ryker exhaled loudly, pushing one of his thugs out of the way so he could untangle the chains, pulling roughly on them while he worked. We all stumbled off balance as the chains came free. One more tug made it clear who he wanted.
“No!” I dove at Ryker, who responded by kicking me in the ribs. The old man was rattled when I latched onto his ankle. My neck snapped back as he pried his bloody leg free of my grip, and a boot landed on my head. The thug didn’t press down hard enough to break anything, he just held me down as Ryker landed one last blow to my stomach.
Archer refused to move, digging his paws in the dirt and staring at my brothers Baron, Dallas, and me.
“Save it for the ring,” I called to him.
The pain in those blue eyes would haunt me forever.
Ryker dragged Archie through the dirt, and I nodded to him. Six months in captivity left me weak, but I’d give my brother everything I had.
Archer understood. He picked his feet and tail up, prancing with all the pride a beaten wolf could muster beside Ryker.
The thugs pulled us to the side of the ring. The crowd roared, and every month I was disgusted to see so many familiar faces come out to watch us fight. When we were in our human forms, we called some of these people friends. Or we had.
“I’m sorry, man,” Major said as the thugs hooked us into our places along the side of the ring. “Archer doesn’t deserve this. Shea won’t show him any mercy. He wants his freedom.”
I strained against the chain. At my strongest, I would’ve broke right through it. “I wouldn’t respect him if he gave any less than his best.”