Authors: Viola Rivard
Tags: #Fantasy Romance, #Love Story, #Menage, #Menage (MFM), #Menage Trois, #Paranormal, #Paranormal Romance, #Romance, #Shifters, #Werewolves
|Number V of|
Running With Alphas
|Viola Rivard (2014)|
|Tags:||Fantasy Romance, Love Story, Menage, Menage (MFM), Menage Trois, Paranormal, Paranormal Romance, Romance, Shifters, Werewolves|
|Fantasy Romancettt Love Storyttt Menagettt Menage (MFM)ttt Menage Troisttt Paranormalttt Paranormal Romancettt Romancettt Shiftersttt Werewolvesttt|
Putting Hale in her past isn’t easy for Taylor -
especially when he’s determined to be part of her future.
An unexpected arrival reveals a revelation about Alder that Taylor isn't sure she's ready to handle.
This story takes place over multiple entries and is approx. 75 pages. Readers should be 18+ and comfortable with menage romance & profanity. This is not a standalone book.
Running With Alphas
Copyright © 2014 by Viola Rivard
All rights reserved.
This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
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Taylor stared up at the blue sky for an indeterminate amount of time, her eyelids becoming heavier by the minute. When her eyes refused to reopen, she began to doze off. A sensation of weightlessness overtook her and she assumed that it was sleep, carrying her off into oblivion. Then, she felt something tickle her neck.
Her eyes sprang open and she winced as sunlight flooded her vision. A big hand came down to shadow her eyes. After blinking several times, she found herself looking up at Alder.
It was less of a surprise than it should have been. Taylor was learning to sense when her mate was near. It wasn’t only smelling him or recognizing his touch, it was as if she were in tune with Alder on a deep, mental level.
“Hey, you,” she said, reaching up to put her hand on his cheek. There were faint smudges of darkness under his eyes, marring an otherwise perfect face. “You look tired.”
A grin tugged at his lips. “I only fell asleep an hour ago. I almost bit Holly’s head off when she came barging into my room.”
The memory of her exchange with Holly came back to her. Taylor attempted to sit up, only to find that Alder was cradling her in his arms. How had he managed that?
His hand moved to cover her abdomen. “You have no idea how happy you’ve made me, Taylor.”
“I haven’t really done much,” she remarked.
She realized then that her work had only just begun. Getting pregnant had been rather easy, but she suspected that being pregnant, especially while living in the wilderness, would be no walk in the park.
“Do you think it’ll be okay, you know, raising children out here?”
She nodded towards the woods for emphasis.
“It’s the best place for them,” he said, rubbing his thumb in a soothing motion. “They won’t be like human children. They’ll be able to shift from the time they’re very young. It’s better to raise them where they can be themselves.”
. That’s what their children would be.
A smile broke out over Taylor’s face at the thought. It was hard to believe how far she’d come in just over a month. She’d gone from bored intern to wanted assassin to werewolf mate and for the first time, she realized that she wouldn’t change a thing. She was exactly where she wanted to be.
Taylor craned her neck to kiss Alder on the cheek. His stubble was scratchy against her lips.
“We’re going to be parents,” she said, crinkling her nose. “Are you excited to become a father?”
Alder hesitated, a flash of tension crossing his face. Taylor was concerned, until she remembered what he’d told her the week before. He’d had a mate before and had nearly become a father.
Resting her hand over his, she said, “You’re going to be a great dad.”
The tension evaporated and Alder leaned down to press a kiss to her lips. This time, he didn’t pull away. His hand went to the back of her head, his fingers tangling in her hair. She parted her lips in invitation and Alder readily accepted, slipping his tongue in to dance with hers.
Desire made her insides quiver. Her hands went under his shirt and she groaned as they came in contact with rows of hard muscles. As long as she lived, she would never get tired of his ripped chest.
Returning her groan, Alder deepened the kiss. She could feel his growing erection and couldn’t resist rubbing her soft bottom against it. His grip on her hair tightened.
A loud commotion had them both tearing apart from one another, their attention shooting over to the tree line. A chipmunk darted from the woods and seconds later, two wolves, one brown and the other dark copper, came crashing into her front yard after it.
They were practically leaping over one another to get the terrified rodent. The brown wolf, who Taylor recognized as Glenn, tripped the copper wolf, Penny. Losing her balance, she went careening into the quail coop, taking out one of the posts. The birds squawked and made a mad dash for the hutch.
Scowling, Alder set Taylor aside and stood. Arms folded across his chest, he bellowed, “What the hell do you think you’re doing?”
Both wolves froze in place. To Taylor’s relief, the chipmunk managed to escape under the safety of her porch.
Penny bowed her head in submission, while Glenn shifted, his guilt evident on his face. He opened his mouth to speak, but Alder cut him off.
“That was a rhetorical question. I know exactly what you’re doing. Acting like a couple of juveniles.”
Glenn said, “We were just—”
“I don’t want to hear it. Get back to your posts.”
Glenn shifted back into his animal form and both wolves headed back towards the forest, their tails between their legs. When they had disappeared from sight, Taylor placed a hand on Alder’s leg.
“They’re bored. It’s been a week and they have nothing to do.”
He frowned down at her. “They’re supposed to be protecting you.”
“From what?” She arched a brow. “Chipmunks?”
Alder sat down beside her, his long legs stretching over the steps. “There’s no telling what Tulip told Silas. They could be planning to—”
“Kidnap me?” Taylor resisted the urge to roll her eyes. “For what? What could they possibly gain from holding me hostage? Any agreements you make to get me back, Hale would just renege on.
“Besides,” she went on, hoping to hammer her point home, “I can see the den from here. I highly doubt they’ll come this close to the den to steal me away.”
Alder let out a heavy sigh. “I can’t leave you unprotected out here, Taylor.”
She put her hand over his. “Can we compromise somehow?”
She held her breath as Alder gave her a measuring look.
“Two guards during the night,” he finally said.
That was a start, but she could tell there was more.
He leaned down to press a kiss to the top of her head. “And I sleep here with you from now on.”
Her cheeks officially hurt from smiling. “I think I can accept those terms.”
Deciding not to go back to sleep, Alder had left to get an early start on his day, leaving Taylor alone and restless. She felt as though when she was with Alder, she was protected by a cocoon of warmth and affection. As soon as he was gone, her earlier feelings of peace and contentment became elusive.
With Hale still MIA, she couldn’t be wholly settled. Sure, she hadn’t been expecting him to settle down and be a father like Alder, but she felt like she at least deserved some sort of closure for their relationship.
After fixing the post that Penny had knocked down, Taylor spent the better part of the afternoon working on her garden. The spinach was growing nicely in the rich soil, but so were the weeds. When she was done with gardening, she went back inside to dust the cabin.
By the time she finished, the sun was beginning to sink, casting shadows throughout her room. As she didn’t like going in the lake after dark, Taylor decided not to waste the daylight and began gathering up her bathing supplies.
Her door swung open, hitting the wall with a
that made Taylor nearly jump out of her skin. The sound heralded Lark’s arrival.
The raccoon shifter was lugging an unfortunate-looking piece of furniture. Taylor recognized the chair as the rocker that had belonged to Old Fay. It was one of the many things they’d removed from the cabin when they’d first cleaned it out, and with good reason. Two of the wood rods that made up the back of the chair were missing and one of the legs had been gnawed bare by some sort of animal. The whole thing looked like a stray wind could send it flying apart.
Taylor tried to keep her irritation out of her voice as Lark set the chair down by the fireplace. Lark had been distant for days and as much as Taylor hated to admit it, she missed her friend.
As soon as she positioned the chair, Lark embraced Taylor in one of her too-tight hugs. Taylor missed those, too.
Pulling back, Lark said, “I’m sorry for being mad.”
Lark shook her head. “No, it’s not. You were right. We shouldn’t have gone chasing after Holly and Tulip. Part of me was mad at you for not siding with me, but most of me was mad at myself.”
Lark stepped back to take a seat. Taylor bit her lip in apprehension as Lark slumped over onto the rocking chair. The chair gave an ominous
, but remarkably, it didn’t give way.
“I always used to follow orders and play by the rules,” Lark continued. “And then you came here. Sure, you usually listen to Alder and Hale, but you don’t let people boss you around or tell you what to do. You live away from the den, you can get your own food, and you can do whatever you want with your time.”
Taylor was stunned by Lark’s admission. With the guards and not being allowed to go into the woods, she felt more stifled than ever. It was bizarre to hear Lark’s impression of her life.
“I’m not jealous,” Lark said. “But I do envy you and I wish I could be more like you.” Her chin dropped. “More than anything, I hate being weak and useless.”
Finding her voice, Taylor said, “You’re not useless.” She crouched down to clasp Lark’s hands in her own. “You’re my friend. And, hey, next year you’re going to be an aunt. I’m sure you’ll have lots of things to teach the baby.”
Grinning, Lark swiped at her eyes with the back of a hand. “You’re right. I could teach her how to climb trees and find truffles.”
Taylor gave her a weak smile. “I was thinking more like walking and talking, but um, we can work up to those things.”
Unexpectedly, Lark reached out to pull her into a second embrace. The chair groaned.
“I’m so excited for the baby,” Lark said. “Would you like help picking out names?”
“I’m going to give it a few months before I start thinking about those sorts of things. I don’t even feel all that pregnant right now.”
Lark nodded in understanding. “Okay. Would you like to try out the chair?”
“Maybe later. Wanna come take a bath with me?”
“Well, there is one more thing I brought from the cave.”
Taylor forced another smile. “Oh?”
“Do you have any idea how to use this?”
Lark notched an arrow onto the bow. “How hard could it be?”
Aiming at a nearby oak, she loosed the arrow. It went soaring all of two feet before falling to the ground.
Taylor remembered the bow from her very first day at Halcyon, when Lark, who had then been a vaguely endearing stranger, had taken her to the junk-filled cabin. It had been one of the few things in the mountain of crap that had stood out to Taylor, probably because she’d once had an interest in archery.
“People train for years to be good with these. Here, stand like this.”
Standing behind Lark, Taylor nudged her friend’s feet apart and adjusted her posture. She helped Lark to notch a second arrow.
“You’ll want to aim with your dominant eye,” Taylor instructed.
“Which one’s my dominant eye?”
“Whichever you can judge distance best from. It’s different for everyone.”
After four more tries, Lark managed to hit the tree. Taylor, who was only marginally better, managed to hit the tree almost every time, but was unable to land an arrow on the makeshift target they’d set up.
The hour flew by and the sun had sunk behind Halcyon Mountain by the time they made it to the lake. Taylor didn’t mind the dark water so much when she wasn’t by herself and they lingered in the lake for a while, chatting about archery, the baby, and teaching the baby archery. By the time Lark headed off for cleaning duties, Taylor knew without a doubt that she could never leave Lark alone with her child.
When she returned home, Taylor lit a fire and boiled the last of her quail eggs. When she was finished eating, she threw another log in the fireplace, grabbed a fur, and went outside.
All of her chores were done for the night and there was little else to do besides wait for Lark to return. As much as she loved her new home, living in the wilderness without television or radio was downright boring at times.