While their Alpha fights to survive, an elusive killer hunts among their pack, slaying humans and the wolves who mated them. The Enforcer’s rigid rule and terse attitude have everyone uneasy. On the hunt for madness, he may lose everything…
Ryker continues to hunt for the elusive murderer. The others have eliminated several suspects, but tensions in the Black Hills have never been higher. For all of his experience in hunting and dealing with the wolves, Ryker has never found himself torn between two loves before—to be the killer he is, means he has to turn off the softer side Saja awoke in him.
Saja’s life with the wolves is nothing she would ever have imagined. Being the center of Ryker’s attention is both a blessing and a curse, but her mate’s gentle, indulgent nature seems to be a thing of the past. While she understands his remoteness comes from a place where caring and fear collide, she doesn’t want to lose Ryker to the madness creeping through the pack.
Clashes with Colt and several other dominants heighten the danger, and Ryker refuses to allow her out of his sight unless she is with Gee. When the killer sets his sights on her, will the Enforcer drive his mate away rather than lose her?
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Seven dead, one mad.
Five bodies found. Two missing. A head count hadn’t revealed who the latest
victims were. All on my hands. The blood of every murdered wolf and
their mates—human mates—covered him. It wasn’t the first time he’d
failed his pack, or even Drew—Ryker had failed the boy he’d seen born when he’d
been unable to prevent Magnum from banishing him.
Remove my son. Magnum’s
twisted order whispered from his memory. Remove him permanently. So
Ryker had obeyed, he’d had to obey. He and Gee sent Drew from Los Lobos,
He’d failed Drew once,
but the murders were the first time he’d failed his mate. Anger crawled like a
sickness through his blood. Images flashed through his mind. Sonya. Sarah.
Sharon. All human mates.
Saja drummed her nails
on the wooden arm of the chair while he stacked fresh wood into the fireplace.
All of their names began with an S. As his mate’s name did. He’d all but caged
her in their home, far from Los Lobos, away from the deaths haunting them. She
hadn’t fought him on the order. Not yet. The cold air beyond his cabin held the
promise of snow—snow which hadn’t barricaded them inside as it had the year
before. Most of their Winter Solstice snow had cleared away with unseasonable
Ryker would have
preferred a blizzard. Foul weather to foul the murderer who kept skating away
before he could get a fix on the scent. One of the logs snapped in half, and
the crack of wood jerked him to the present.
“What did the mean ol’
wood ever do to you?” The light tease in her voice smoothed over him as though
she stroked his ruffled fur.
“Nothing.” He had no
excuse for the lack of control. If not for making sure Saja was safe and warm,
he would be out there hunting a murderer. Closing his eyes, he gripped the
uncharitable thoughts to rip them out by the root. His wolf paced inside of
him, a restless predator denied the kill too often. Denied even true pursuit.
They wanted the scent of their quarry. They wanted to be out hunting him, so
they could take him down….
Saja ran her hand over
his shoulder then along his back. Both wolf and man shuddered. Turning away
from the fire, he pulled his mate close and pressed his head to her chest. Not
one to retreat from him even in his darkest moments, she enfolded him in her
arms, cradling him. It wasn’t only killing their quarry they wanted. The
bastard had hurt his wolves, killed them, and damn near killed Drew.
“He’s going to be
okay,” she whispered, resting her cheek to the top of his head. “You heard
Bastian. He said Drew would be okay. He got the bullet out. Now he can heal the
way a wolf should.”
Yes. He’d heard the
physician. He’d heard Betty, too. Her sister. Colt. They all held him
accountable. As they should.
“You can be tall, dark,
and silent around them all you want,” Saja continued, massaging his tense
muscles. “You don’t get to shut me out. I’m in here, too. Remember?” The last
she delivered with a light tap to his back directly above his heart.
“Yes.” A weakness. A
true chink in his armor. His wolf snarled. “I can’t lose you.” The admission
cost him nothing. His mate’s wild, warrior spirit more than matched his.
Sunshine in the darkness.
“Not going to happen.
I’m armed, remember?”
The reminder had him
gliding his hands over her hips to her waistline. The handle of her gun peeked
out above the denim. Tugging the weapon free, he leaned away to meet her gaze.
Her head was above his, yet the dichotomy didn’t bother him. Not as it once
had. “Keep it at hand when I am not here. Even the time it would take you to
remove—a wolf could kill you.” His beast bucked at the charge but didn’t
Drawing a finger down
the center of his face, she teased the tip of his nose. “You are here. My money
is on you, so it’s not like I need to draw it at the moment.”
The killer had begun to
take the wolves mated to humans as well. Ryker almost wished the bastard would
come for him. It would end the hunt swiftly.
She needed a holster on
her hip, like the Westerns of old. “I have something for you.” Releasing her,
he rose. The weight of her gaze trailed him as he crossed the room. In the year
since he’d found Saja in the midst of the snow, he’d made changes to his cabin
to accommodate her presence, including the addition of a room for her office.
She’d ordered books and supplies from all over the country. Of course, she’d
used her keen intelligence, opening postal boxes at several different locations
in Rapid City and as far away as Sioux City. The supplies were also ordered
under a company name she’d made and filed with the city, ending the ability of
anyone to track her electronically. Only she hadn’t given him that information
to begin with. When she’d admitted needing to travel to Rapid City to pick up a
shipment, they’d had their very first fight.
A smile kicked at the
corners of his mouth. They’d also had their first round of make-up sex. For a
week after, Saja picked several battles with him, trying to elicit a furious response.
It had puzzled him, until he discovered she wanted another round of making
amends. Happy to oblige, he’d skipped right past the battle and seduced his
It worked for them.
Opening a trunk on the
far side of their bedroom, he searched through the various items he’d
collected. His aunt had hand tooled a gift he’d requested for Saja. He’d
intended it for his mate’s birthday. Drew had actually planted the idea months
before during one of their weekly beers. Gifts weren’t something he
spent a great deal of time considering, but his mate gave him a lot to
He’d aroused her
curiosity. After lifting the belt and holster from the box at the bottom, he
returned to her with his offering. Head tilted, his mate eyed the gift, wearing
an incredulous expression. “You didn’t…?”
“I did,” he admitted.
The tooling included a pattern of his aunt’s design, but she’d added paw prints
in three places, each one carved specifically from Ryker’s actual paw print. He
was possessive enough to admire the insignia marking her leather belt.
Threading it through each loop, he fit it to her thigh then buckled it
carefully before tying the jesses to secure it in place.
Then, after retrieving
her gun, he slid it into the holster. “Always leave it unsnapped when you’re
alone. You can snap it when I’m here or if you’re with Gee.” After the last few
days, Gee was the only one he planned to leave his mate with. The old bear had
been many things to him over the years, but he trusted him to protect Saja as
Gee had trusted Ryker to keep Amelia safe.
They didn’t fail each
Laughter bubbled from
his mate as she pulled the gun then twirled it once around her finger before
holstering it once more. It needed oiling some, softening so it didn’t grip the
gun too tightly, but Ryker approved her speed. “You like?”
“Yes, but you? You I
love.” The declaration always had the power to take him to his knees, but she
closed the distance between them and caught his face in her hands. “You’re
going to find this crazy bastard. I can’t imagine everything going through your
head at the moment, but never doubt my faith in you.” When she kissed him
rather than let him answer, he pulled her tight and soaked in her passion. The
easy access to her weapon satisfied him on a very basic level.
Even as he delved deep,
tangling his tongue with hers, he kept his ears attuned to the world beyond his
cabin and his nostrils flared. He couldn’t afford to relax his vigilance.
Not while a murderer
roamed his lands.