The Reluctant Alpha (West Coast Wolves #1) - Susi Hawke Page 0,1
what I was worried about as the pain surged, and I felt myself drifting away.
Focus. You need to focus.
My wolf was alert, nagging me to pay attention to… something. Was it the boys? Did my little brothers need help?
"Noah? Saul? Where are you? I can't help you if you hide…" I barely recognized the raspy sound of my own voice. Something was wrong.
Agh! A shock of pain made my muscles spasm, and I somehow ended up on my knees with my face smashed into the pillows. Flinging myself to the right, I flopped back onto my side and curled into a ball, resting my hands over my small baby bump as I tried to ignore the loud, keening cry surrounding me.
As my vision began to fade, my wolf nudged me awake enough to realize two things. Death wasn't far away… and the awful wailing was coming from me.
After a hard day's ride down the California coast, parking my bike and standing on solid ground again felt good. I had no guarantees of it staying this way. A scruffy honkytonk on the outskirts of Los Angeles was iffy on its best day. Not to mention the very real possibility of an earthquake.
Right now, I wasn't worried about either of those things. My wolf would sense if a quake was on the way, and the human bikers hanging around this joint wouldn’t mess with us. While they'd never let us see them sweat, not even the toughest man in this place wanted to come up against me and my boys.
When five alpha wolves pulled up with matching cuts—complete with our own ‘WCW’ emblem proudly emblazoned across the back, letters arched over a snarling wolf—people tended to stay out of our way. Not because we were assholes or anything. Or because they had a clue shifters even existed. No, it was all in the vibe. While we might not have looked anything other than human, something about us made people nervous on a visceral level.
The little voice in the back of a person's head alerting them of danger or the gut feeling saying not to walk down a certain dark alley made sure the baddest sumbitches knew not to screw with us. Despite what people might have thought given our height and large muscles, none of us were bad guys. We were honestly pretty easygoing as a rule, unless we saw someone in need of protection.
Lacking a full home pack to defend didn't mean shit. Our wolves were wired to be protectors. Unfortunately, not all alphas were as sweet as we were. Wolf shifters were just like anyone, with free choice and individual personalities, and some alphas were real dicks. God only knew I'd met more than a few of them in the decade since I'd struck out on my own.
Plain luck brought the West Coast Wolves together. To a man, all five of us were ruled by a code of honor, making us look out for the weak and kick any and all bullies in the teeth. We rode together, we fought together, we bled together. We were the West Coast Wolves.
None of us was the leader. We worked together democratically, and we all liked it that way. I’d met the guys during my travels, after I’d abandoned my birthright as alpha heir to my home pack. My father was one of those dick alphas, and I hadn't liked the way he ran the pack with an iron fist. Or his home with a bloodier one.
Until I turned eighteen, my only claiming mark had been the scarred X over my heart where my father marked me at birth. As with all pups, it made me pack until I became an adult. At maturity, I got to choose. I could bend the knee and accept his claiming bite on the soft skin of my inner left wrist. To join the pack and prepare for the day I would become alpha. Otherwise, I could leave and never return. Hmm… his mark or my freedom. Turned out it wasn't as tough a choice as one might think. The beat-down my father gave me the night before my birthday, with the warning I'd ‘better not fuck this up,’ had been all the reminder I needed. I'd be better on my own.
Luckily, my maternal grandparents invited me over for a birthday breakfast. When they asked me whether I was going to bend the knee, I quietly told them no. My bruises and the swelling had already healed