Drew Tao is loving life. His pack is happy. And it’s time for the holidays. But his mate is keeping secrets and there is a crazy mother bear circling his borders. Can they survive the holidays or will everything fall apart?
Join the Black Hills Wolves as we celebrate a year of good fortune, love and rebuilding since Drew became Alpha. It all begins with a Wolf’s Holiday.
Excerpt of Wolf’s Holiday:
The bar buzzed with the sounds of laughter and romance. His pack laughed, joked, and propositioned each other. He sat back and soaked in the happy. So many days, the rebuilding of Los Lobos didn’t have moments with anything other than pain and anguish. No good decisions, only bad choices, and trying to figure out which bad scenario was best.
When he’d killed his father, it had become his honor to lead the fine Wolves he called family. Drew pushed the thought away. Magnum had no place in the gathering in Gee’s bar. In the corner, a burst of high-pitched squeals sounded, drawing his attention. His mate, B, and four other women were giggling. He really didn’t want to know about what. Females could keep their secrets, the male population benefited from not asking too many questions.
He looked up as the chair across from his pulled back and Ryker, his Enforcer, settled in. The other man clunked his drink down with a grunt and didn’t make another sound to indicate his arrival. Drew had initiated these get-togethers at the bar with Ryker about three months prior. Once a week they sat and had a state of the pack discussion.
Or at least that was how Drew got him to show up. Ryker wasn’t what anyone would call chatty. Truth was, Drew was determined to forge some kind of real, lasting friendship with his Enforcer. In a pack where they both shouldered the burdens of leadership, they needed each other.
At least a decade with the humans had taught him, they were stronger together. He wasn’t certain if Ryker would agree.
But the Enforcer showed up. Every week. On time.
“Get your usual?” Drew motioned toward the beer. Gee didn’t have a great deal of choice at the bar, their need to keep Los Lobos all but completely off the grid, meant he didn’t do business with microbreweries or anyone who delivered fancy liquors.
Yet, he kept Drew’s favorite whisky in stock.
Ryker nodded toward the unopened bottle. No one save Gee opened his drinks; everyone else knew to serve him a sealed bottle. “I don’t know that I have a usual.”
The other man didn’t argue which didn’t mean he agreed with Drew’s statement. It simply meant he was done talking on the subject.
“Do you smell that?” Drew motioned his hand in the air.
Ryker raised a dark, severe eyebrow. “Smell what exactly?”
“That smell in the air. It’s happiness.” He grinned. “This is the way a happy, relatively functioning pack scents.”
The Enforcer leaned back in his chair, popped the lid from bottle, then took a deep pull from his beer. “They’re certainly loud tonight.”
“I’ve been thinking of what you suggested about the holiday celebration and the pack run.”
Drew nodded. “Right.”
Ryker gave his human mate credit for most innovative ideas. Drew liked Saja and he was more than happy to give the woman her due. “I talked it over with B. We think it’s a great idea—let’s face it, you and I are not decorating trees or lighting candles—if the others want to do it, I say have a good time”
The other man gave a brief nod. “Is there anything else?”
“You seem tense.” Ryker’s usually solid shoulders seemed hiked even farther than usual.
“We had ten returns this month. That’s a lot. Not everyone who has come back can immediately be trusted. And you keep letting them, letting them blood oath.” Not a criticism. Ryker didn’t critique him—but maybe a quiet suggestion lurked within his statement.
“Which makes your job harder.” Drew nodded; he valued the older wolf’s opinion even when it utterly disagreed with his own. The pack might be shocked by how much he relied on Ryker’s cynicism and experience or maybe they wouldn’t. It didn’t matter—the Enforcer never lied or sugarcoated anything. “We invited everyone back, told them the pack was reforming. This was their home. It can be again, if that’s what they want.”
He had a deeper belief in the goodness of his wolves than Ryker did. Then again who knew how much fucked-up stuff Ryker had seen under Magnum that Drew didn’t even know about? If Ryker distrusted, it was with plenty of pack history to back him up.
“Is there anything else?” When the Enforcer was done with a conversation, he was finished.
“Actually there is.” Drew let the whisky burn down the back of his throat. “I want you to know I’m grateful. This happiness tonight, the way the pack is gelling. That’s thanks to you. I want you to know I see what you’re doing, how you take care of our safety so I can bring us back to life.”
The other man stood. “Saja is waiting.”
“Right.” Drew set down his drink. Apparently, the man couldn’t take compliment. “See you next week.”
With a fast, smooth step and a nod to Gee, Ryker walked away. Drew watched his exit with a heavy heart. He’d not had friends for ten years because he had to keep himself separate from the humans; he couldn’t get too close. Since his return, he was Alpha. A solitary position. And although B kept him loved and busy, he would have liked a buddy to talk things over with on occasion. Like what to get B for Christmas. One week away. He’d asked him a couple of times and Ryker’s answer remained the same. Get her something she likes. Not. Helpful.
The Enforcer seemed to have less than any interest in opening that door. However, Drew was a shifter who got what he wanted. He’d keep working on it.
“You got eight minutes.” B slid into the chair next to him, a smile on her face. Her red hair was up in a bun with curls sliding down the side of her face. His mate was, without a doubt, the loveliest female ever born. “Is that some kind of record for Ryker? Eight minutes of conversation before he abandoned his beer and ran like you’d threatened him?”