Brand of the Pack - Tera Shanley


A huge thank you to Corinne DeMaagd for her work on cleaning up this story. To my husband and children, who put up with my ever-shifting work hours. For my parents, Paul and Paula Muller who always support me in whatever crazy schemes I come up with. And finally, thank you to Lyrical Press and to Renee Rocco for giving this series a home.

Chapter 1

Pain rippled through Morgan Carter, and her hand slipped from his grasp. She stretched her fingertips toward his warmth, but the rest of her body had already hunched in on itself like a tiny grenade before the explosion. The tingling waves that washed over her skin said there was no turning back. She screamed.

Greyson Crawford turned inhuman golden eyes on her. The color was so bright they looked yellow in the saturated afternoon light. He crouched, as if driven by instinct to prepare for some unseen danger.

The only danger near his cabin was her.

She thrashed as her bones snapped and stretched and burning tears slipped from the corners of her eyes.

He hovered, not quite touching her. To do so would mean blinding pain added to the agony. Plus, she would bite his hand clean off. “Do you want me to Change with you?” Worry laced his words.

“No,” she growled out through a mouth that elongated with the popping sounds of a hundred tendons stretching. Her wolf wasn’t shy about her intentions, and she didn’t want him to see what she was about to do to his property.

“Okay,” he said. “I’ll be on the porch when you’re finished.”

He left her to die in pieces alone. Bless that man.

What started as a quick Change slowed and gradually stalled. She was at the dreaded in-between state that haunted her nightmares on a regular basis. She whined but couldn’t do much more. Her legs protruded at odd angles from her hips, and her chest had only half ripped through her nicest shirt, the bottom buttons still intact. She had specially picked out the cobalt-colored blouse when she’d decided to take a more proactive approach to winning her mate back. Sure, wearing his favorite color might not garner his forgiveness instantly, but it was a start. Damn the white-furred little beasty ripping out of her. Being Silver Wolf was hell on the wardrobe. It was hell on every part of her life.

Her skin was hairless and the exposed muscle was misshapen and malformed. Panic washed over her like stormy ocean waves, and she tried to scream for help. She was going to die there in the yard by the bull nettle and bluebonnets.

Against the debilitating sun, she closed her eyes and tried to concentrate. It hurt. How could a living soul survive a hurt so bad? The smell of her fear was bitter and metallic against the soft sensors that lined her nostrils. She couldn’t go out like this. She was Morgan Carter, the only living silver wolf. Survivor, fighter, werewolf—she’d been attacked, kidnapped, and had lost the man who meant everything to her. And dammit, she wasn’t leaving this earth until she had a chance to make things right with Grey.

She ignored the blood that had started to water the plants beneath her and pushed the Change. Wicked slow, it started again, and she gritted out a groan through her clenched teeth. Grey would hear her struggle because he was the Demon Wolf, Beast, Bringer of Death. His heightened senses made him lethal—and also impossible to hide from.

She lay spent and panting from the stress of the unexpected Change.

No. The human part of her feebly protested but instinct and animal ruled now.

Morgan stood on all fours and shook her head to try to rid herself of the uncomfortable buzzing that ran through every muscle fiber. It took a second to remember how this strange body worked. Oh geez, she was really going to do this.

Please, please, please, please. Don’t let Grey see what she was about to do to his yard.

She found the nearest tree to the house, sniffed once, then popped a squat. Spritzing the tree, she moved on to the next.

Lovely, the irritated human side of her groused.

Her wolf growled. Marking her territory felt right. Grey was hers. She wanted him even after everything they had been through: his Change, the murder of her sister at the teeth of his maker, finding each other again only for her to pull away from him when their bond became too intense. And Montana—her own personal hell. After all, it seemed he