Authors: Jamie Klaire,J. M. Klaire
Alphas Divided Part 2 of 3
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By Jamie Klaire
writing as J. M. Klaire
This is part 2 of 3 aprox 18 - 20,000 word wolf shifter romances.
New Adult Paranormal Romance
In the days following the Alpha challenge, nerves are shot, feelings are raw, and Emma finds herself in the middle of her first 'heat.'
Deciding between letting Elam guard her or claim her becomes the least of her problems as the pack's respected Alpha dies, leaving a pack divided against tradition, brothers in competition, a friendship torn, and changes from within that Emma never saw coming.
This is part 2 of a 3 part serial. This serial will be bundled for those who do not like cliffhangers.
Alphas Divided Part 2 of 3
It was two weeks post-challenge, the entire pack was still trying to adjust to Elam's sudden and deciding win over Galen at the Alpha Challenge, and Emma was damn tired of tiptoeing around everyone on eggshells.
Kate was pissy and resentful that she wasn't actually going to be the new Alpha's mate, since Elam had so soundly kicked Galen's ass by surprising everyone and turning into a freaking bear out of the blue, and she was taking it out on everyone around her, including Emma.
Emma had tried for days to be there for Kate, but Kate wasn't having it. She did seem to be letting Ziva, her new mother-in-law, comfort her, though. Every time Emma tried to get some alone time with Kate, Ziva swooped down out of nowhere with something important she needed Kate to help her with.
Emma tried to understand. After all, both Kate and Ziva had something in common now, after Galen's loss.
Although, since it was Ziva's other son, Elam, that was going to be Alpha now, you'd think she would be proud of whichever son won, but Ziva seemed to take it as a personal affront that her adopted son Elam was now officially a step above her actual son, Galen.
Ziva and Kate seemed to bond over the surprising, and disappointing to both of them fact that Galen wasn't actually going to step into his father's paws, Elam was.
Galen seemed to be valiantly trying to adjust to the sudden switch in hierarchy, but Emma could tell he was operating at a low boil. She had a feeling that it wasn't going to be much longer before Galen exploded out of pure frustration.
All his life he had been groomed to take over this pack, and then in one defining moment, everything changed. He was no longer heir to the throne, Elam was. And Elam didn't want it.
Elam was just as pissy as everyone else. He hadn't wanted the Alpha position, and yet it was his. Or it would be, once Thomas passed.
The only thing the pack had talked about in the weeks since the challenge was the upset, how Galen was no longer next in line for the throne, and how Elam had won instead, turning into a bear out of nowhere and surprising everyone.
The fact that Elam turned into a bear during the challenge surprised Emma the least of everyone. Emma was still coming to terms with the fact that practically the entire seemingly human pack out here in the middle of nowhere could turn into wolves at the drop of a hat, so she wasn't all that shocked when Elam's wolf shifted into a bear.
She just took it in stride, not knowing that most shifters only had one animal form and one human form. Since she was still adjusting to learning that werewolves were real, it wasn't a big leap for her that a werewolf could also become a bear.
But, according to the rest of the pack, that just wasn't done.
According to the rest of the pack, Elam wasn't a werewolf, like the rest of them. He was a shapeshifter. And from the sounds of the word, whispered in quiet tones, behind hands, with eyes shifting around and watching for listening ears, shapeshifting wasn't entirely a good thing.
Emma though, didn't really see a difference, and was beyond caring about any of it.
Her mood this past two weeks had gotten more and more dark as well.
Her best friend wasn't turning to her, but to her new mother-in-law, and she really didn't have any other friends here yet, unless you counted Elam. And Elam had his hands full with all the suddenly turning from a wolf into a bear stuff, so he wasn't exactly pleasant to be around either.
Add to all that the fact that Emma was getting more and more hormonal every day. And more and more horny, to boot.
She figured everyone else's issues where just spilling over at her, making her grumpy and short tempered, having to deal with them all, while also still trying to get comfortable with the place and people who were to be her home for the next year.
She spent the last two weeks trying out different aspects of the pack, trying to find a place for a shoplifting college student with no major skills to fit in in a society that had run perfectly well forever without her presence.
She was currently trying to help out in the garden, hoping the combined physical labor and mindlessness of harvesting with others would calm her frustrations for a while.
It was working, too, right up until Ziva showed up.
Emma was pulling ears of corn out of the tall corn fields and filling baskets with them when she heard Ziva berating someone nearby.
"Camphor. I said Camphor, not whatever the hell this is. What's wrong with you? Thomas is having trouble breathing and you give me..."
"I'm sorry Ziva. You said... Nevermind. Hang on, I'll be right back. I'll get the Camphor."
Emma watched on tip toe, peering through a few tall corn rows at the end of the corn field as the young, brow beaten girl disappeared into a greenhouse, trying to appease an obviously angry and frustrated Ziva.
Emma started to say something, thought better of it, and turned back to what she had been doing, but Ziva's voice pulled her up short.
"You. This is all your doing, Emma. Ever since Reine's upset things have been going sideways. Everything has been back on track on for years and then you show up. You show up and everything goes off the damn rails again."
"Reine was upset? What are you talking about? Do you know why she left?"
Emma put her basket down, all pretense of ignoring Ziva and carrying on with the harvest abandoned as she weaved through the corn to face Ziva near the greenhouses.
Ziva faltered at the direct questioning, but recovered.
"No. How would I know why she did the things she did? I didn't say she was upset, I said ever since her upset at the challenge, ever since she changed the natural order of things and a female was named Alpha..."
Emma tried to follow Ziva's angry rant, but not knowing much yet about how a pack was supposed to be structured, she couldn't understand what Ziva was so angry about.
"First a female Alpha coming to power just as my old pack was being wiped out by humans, and now a damn shapeshifter. When I left my own pack and mated into this one, it was to keep the peace. To cement the two packs and grow, then this pack was the only pack, and now..."
"Your old pack? I thought you were human. Ziva, I'm sorry, I don't know the history of this place yet. A lot has been happening and teaching me about my lineage, about mom's life here, hasn't been high on anyone's priority list, plus..."
"It doesn't matter. Whether you know anything or not, you are still in play. You carry your mother's blood in you. Everything changed with your mother and that damn challenge. Nothing has been right since. I've done everything I could to put things back on the right path. Then you show up. Now I have to deal with it. But don't worry, deal with it I will. This ends with you. One way or another, this ends with you."
Before Emma could respond the other girl was back with the Camphor. Without a word of thanks, Ziva yanked the leaves from the girl's hand and turned, storming off back toward the cabin she shared with Thomas.
"What the hell was that about?" Emma asked the girl, completely confused.
The girl just looked at Emma, wide eyed and blinking, and then shrugged her shoulders.
With an angry, frustrated and confused snort, Emma walked away. She wasn't sure where she was going to go, but she felt the need to move, to get away from here.
She aimed her feet toward the closest forest edge, slid between the trees, and started walking.
Emma had been hiking for about an hour when she found the cave-like tunnel.
Her first thoughts were of bats, snakes and spiders, but her curiosity got the better of her. She grabbed a large, thick, dead branch off of the wooded ground, and started smacking it against the opening of the cave, hoping her noises would drive anything currently inside of it out, while at the same time, scared to death that something would run or fly out at her from all the commotion she was making.
When nothing rushed out aiming for her head, she gingerly stepped inside, bringing the large branch with her for protection.
She was glad it was still daylight, picking her way slowly further and further inside. The cave got darker as she walked deeper, but her eyes adjusted quickly. Just as it started to get too dark for her to continue in safety without some sort of torch or flashlight, she found herself entering a large cavern, which had a crack in the top of the rock ceiling large enough to let a decent amount of daylight into the space.
She looked around, noticing a pile of what looked to be animal furs in the middle of the living room sized space, and every hair on her arms and neck suddenly stood at full attention.
She recognized this place. She knew this place somehow, deep in her bones. Her brain tried to figure out how, as her body just reacted instinctively to what it already knew.
She placed it suddenly. This was the cave with the furs she had seen in her visions. The place where she'd had flashes of herself and Elam locked in a passionate embrace. And more.
A sudden noise behind her, toward the cave's opening, made her heart jump into her throat and her pulse dance wildly in her veins.
She didn't know what, but something was headed in here to join her.
She looked for an escape route, but the way she had come seemed to be the only way in. Or out.
She turned to face the place where the cave closed in to become a tunnel, the dead branch held like a baseball player holds a bat, waiting on a pitch to cross home plate so she could swing hard at whatever was headed her way.
The beautiful auburn red of Elam's wolf form filled the tunnel.
She let the breath she hadn't realized she was holding escape in a heavy sigh, but still remained ready to defend herself.
The wolf's eyes met hers, and if she wasn't mistaken, his gaze held quite a bit of humor as he looked her over, standing there on the defense.
The wolf took a few more steps, clearing the lower ceiling of the tunnel and stepping into the taller cave space before shifting smoothly into the man she'd hoped he was.
Her eyes ran up and down his naked, now human form, appreciation warring with irritation at having been so obviously followed here.
"You shouldn't be here."
"You shouldn't have followed me."
"I didn't follow you. I scented you. You're leaving a trail of breadcrumbs for any wolf to scent. You are coming into heat. It's only a matter of days before..."
"What the hell are you talking about?"
Elam sighed, and then spoke again.
"You smell fucking amazing. Like summer. And cinnamon rolls. And bacon. And sex."
He punctuated each statement with a step toward her, drawing closer, his eyes locked on hers.
She backed up a step, instinctively putting space between her and the predatory gaze he pinned her with.
His eyes were focused, determined, and dark with need.
She took a deep breath, trying to calm herself and her suddenly wild, hammering heartbeat. That was a mistake.
The intoxicating scent of him flooded her nose, her brain, with heat. She smelled sweat. Not the stinky, gym socks kind of sweat, but the clean, masculine, outdoorsy kind of sweat. The kind that, when mixed with the smell of wood smoke, and sexy male, and desire, raced straight through a woman's defenses, settling not in her bones, but between her thighs.
She blew a breath out harshly, through her nose, trying to clear her brain of the scent of him.
She pulled her eyes from his, trying not to fall into their depths. She looked everywhere but his eyes, glancing, seeking anything else to concentrate on besides the erotic pull of his primal stare.
Also a mistake, she thought shortly.
Her eyes followed every hard plane of his body, taking in the tight curves of muscle in his biceps, grazing the chiseled lines of his wide chest, and pausing for a few heartbeats on his nipples, which for some reason, she had a sudden urge to flick with the very tip of her tongue.
Her eyes were pulled lower, over the washboard abs, and pointed ever south by the trail of dark hair that ended in a thick nest, surrounding the base of an even thicker, fully erect cock.
She stared eye to eye with the first cock pointed at her that she had ever seen in real life. She'd seen a few cocks around the village, and quite a few sets of breasts as well, since all of the shifters were very comfortable naked, but the cocks had either not been standing at attention, or the ones that had been, hadn't been this close up and aimed directly at her.
She looked it over in fascination, only pulling her eyes from it when it jerked toward her during her examination.
She met Elam's eyes again, finally, wishing like hell she wasn't slowly growing an ever brightening shade of red.
She tried to buy some time, with words.
"What do you mean that I smell like...all those things? And that I'm coming into heat?"
"This is your first cycle here, among others like you. We talked about this. Your hormones are changing, the scent of other wolves is altering your cycle. Remember?"
"You've been irritated. Your patience is thin, you've been restless, yes? Something constantly wearing on you?"
"You've just described everyone in the entire pack, every day, since the challenge."
He laughed at that, agreeing with her with an acknowledging smirk.
"But there is more, with you. Your sense of smell is heightened. I saw you scent me, just now. And those smells I mentioned- cinnamon, and sex. Females in heat have a similar scent, to each other, but also a very distinct scent, to themselves. I followed the scent of your arousal. It is stronger now, both because of the enclosed space of the cave, but also because of my nearness. You want me."
"I want you?" She tried to say it sarcastically, mockingly, but it came out with a needy sigh at the end.
A confirmation instead of a question. An invitation instead of a rebuff.
She watched the reaction to her words in his eyes. His pupils widened, his heated gaze somehow shone even brighter.
She noticed other signs as well. His nostrils flared, as he drew the scent of her in deeper, and his jaw clenched as if he was biting back the words he really wanted to say, measuring them instead, specifically not to spook her.
"Yes. You want me. Badly. Honestly, any wolf would do. As you get closer to your full heat, the need will get stronger. In a few days, it won't matter which wolf was near you, I'm sure you've seen animals in heat before."
Emma was offended, her quiet need flaming instead to indignation.
"I'm not an animal. I've had many 'cycles,' thank you very much, and I've never indiscriminately fucked my way through a wave of horniness. I can take care of myself, not that it's any of your business."
"You've never gone through a cycle in the company of others like you before. Your dad is human, your mother died way before you hit maturity. You have experienced human cycles, not a wolf's."
"So you're saying you guys just fuck like animals? That you're no better than dogs?"
She was trying to piss him off now, attacking as a defense.
He just laughed, taking it in stride.
His deep, rumbled acknowledgement threw her. He wasn't ashamed, or even slightly embarrassed.
"Unmated females in heat cause quite a frenzy. Especially because we have so few. The drive, the scent, the need, becomes undeniable. The female is in charge, no one comes near her that she doesn't allow. But sometimes she allows..."
He broke off, searching for the words.
"Sometimes she allows plenty. Again and again. Until she takes a forever mate, of course."
The images in Emma's head as she filled in the blanks he left made the ache between her thighs even heavier.
Staring at a very sexy, very naked Elam, discussing the primal needs of his kind, factually, as if they were discussing the weather, after days of frustration and horniness that she didn't quite understand, was driving her crazy with her own confusing needs.
"Then what happens?"
"When she takes a forever mate? We are monogamous then. Her heat belongs to her mate, and no one else. It is much like in your world, dating versus marriage. Only, we don't cheat. Or divorce. It really is 'til death do us part' for us."
He was standing so close.
She found herself fighting the urge to lean in, to close the narrow gap, to rest her hands on his bare chest, lift herself onto her toes and softly kiss his mouth.
"These feeling will get worse? For me, I mean? In the next few days?"
She asked him the question, dreading the response.
"How do I keep from...?"
She couldn't bring herself to finish the question, but he had no such issues.
"To keep from taking plenty? Again and again?"
She closed her eyes tight at his response. The words teased something primal, deep inside her. She held her breath until she couldn't any more, and let it out in a slow exhale, using every bit of control she still had not to let the air escape in a heated moan.
She heard his soft laugh, and was glad her eyes were still closed tight. She was glad she couldn't see whatever expression he had on his face as he looked at her.
His answer though, made her eyes fly open in surprise.
"I will protect you, of course. We will stay here. I will guard the tunnel, and keep every other wolf at bay until your heat passes. You are to be mine, remember? You have seen the visions yourself. You recognize this place from 'seeing' it, do you not?"
He smiled at the panic in her eyes, trying to reassure her.
"It will take everything I have to resist your begging, your throwing yourself at me, your sight, your smell, but I
resist you, if that is what you want. You are meant to be mine, forever. I won't let any other male get anywhere near you.
I may need to recruit a couple of other females, to help. It will be hard to fight the males off
resist you, otherwise, but I can wait, until you come to me sure. Rational. Undriven by heat. If that is what you want."
She just stared at him, desire raging with rationality already.
She tried to absorb his words. She would want him more? Even more than she did right now? How could that be possible?
It was taking everything she had not to touch him now. It was starting to hurt her not to kiss him, and he was saying this would only get worse?
"Is that what you want?"
He asked the question, but her brain had trouble processing it.
"You know what happens when we touch." He was still talking. "That is the only reason I haven't kissed you again. I have the feeling that a decision like this is something you would rather make rationally, not driven by an animal instinct that you still don't understand. I get that. It is painful to be this close to you, to smell the aroused, heated scent you are giving off, to know you were meant for me, and not kiss you again."
"I have to decide now? All or nothing?" She finally forced the words out, the desire to know stronger than the desire for self-protection.
"I have to decide whether to take you as a mate, forever, barely knowing you, or have you stand guard over me, protecting me from a hoard of wild, sex craved wolves while I throw myself at you, and you and a couple of female wolves protect me from myself? Do I have this right?"
"Basically. There is a third option, though."
"Oh? And what, pray tell, is that?"
"You have a few days until you are mindless with need. Meaning your body won't take over completely just yet. And I can control myself, as well. We could try a little experiment. Another kiss. Here, now. And see what happens."
Her gaze dropped to his lips.
He was smirking, damn him.
Did he really think that one more taste of his kiss would... what? Answer all of her questions? Calm all of her fears? That was insane.
Even as her mind kept up a list of reasons why this was a bad idea, her body didn't seem to be listening.
Her eyes still focused on his full mouth, his annoyingly sexy little smirk, as she leaned in. She raised her lips, tilting her head, until their lips were only separated by the tiniest space. She closed her eyes and inhaled his scent again. She felt his teasing breath on her lips, and parted them in invitation, leaving the last gap for him to close.