A Promise of Amber [Treeland PackTales 2]
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by Evanne Lorraine
Category: Erotica/Paranormal Erotica/Romance
Description: Genre: Paranormal Shape-shifter Menage
Series: Treeland Pack Tales; Previous Book: A Taste of Scarlet
Half-fae, half-psi werewolf, Amber is always in trouble. No matter how hard she tries to do the right thing and fit in with the pack she never succeeds. She barely passes as a psi werewolf bitch. She has a natural submissive's desire to be claimed along with dangerous powers she doesn't understand and struggles to control. On the brink of the sexual maturity her first heat will bring, she hopes for better control of her fae magic and dreams of her promised mate.
Isolated during a Goblin attack with the strong, brave, and wonderful Tru, Amber welcomes the comfort he offers. Then simple kindness blazes into desire. Opportunity provides an irresistible temptation and they make love. She wishes he was her pledged mate not the pack Alpha, Hunter, because Tru's already captured her heart.
Amber never realized how much an Alpha mate would scare her. Hunter is very dominant and he terrifies her. But he's so protective of her that he can't bear to force her obedience. Already in love with Amber himself, Tru gentles her and shares the gift of her trust with his Alpha.
But when her heat finally happens, their fragile tri-mating puts them under heavy-duty pressure and Amber's enemies are only waiting for the right time to attack.
Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual situations, graphic language, and material that some readers may find objectionable: Anal play/intercourse, Domination/submission elements, menage (m/f/m).
eBook Publisher: Loose Id, LLC, 2011
eBookwise Release Date: December 2011
14 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [257 KB]
Reading time: 158-221 min.
Minutes after clearing the first bend in the escape tunnel, Truman heard a creak from somewhere behind him. The noise quickly expanded into the crunch and crash of wood splintering and bolts tearing loose. A light sprinkle of rock dust was followed by the thunder of major dirt and rock crashing. The goblins were destroying the tunnel.
He swallowed to clear his keen ears and glanced over his shoulder. There was nothing to see except a cloud of dust moving his way. He hoped Conrad hadn't been caught in either cave-in and thanked the goddess the tunnel ahead was still clear.
A buzz from his jeans pocket signaled an incoming call. He answered without bothering to check the number. "Tru."
"Yes, Alpha. The tunnel isn't doing so hot." He eyed a crack in the ceiling and kept moving. "Did Conrad make it back okay?"
For a few seconds, the escape route was eerily silent. Then something above him rolled to a shuddering stop, spraying him with more pebbles. The sound of claws finding purchase and goblin feet scurrying jolted him. He lowered his voice. "I've got company, sir."
"Use your light," his usually unflappable Alpha snapped.
"Negative, sir. No visual. Can't even smell them. They're digging overhead."
"Watch your ass," Hunter growled. "Call when you've found Amber and the pups."
As Truman tucked away the phone, another trace of the Psi he'd been following taunted his nose with her sweet feminine scent. He sprinted. When that wasn't fast enough, he reached deeper for an extra burst of blurring speed.
Around the next bend, he ran out of tunnel. He skidded to a stop, panting. The wall of rock in front of him looked natural but made no sense. Where was the safe room? He sniffed carefully, catching a hint of the sweet-tart female he'd been trailing.
There was something about her scent he couldn't place. He shook off the distraction. No matter how hot she smelled, she hadn't melted into the rocks. There had to be a way in--it was just hidden. He patted the uneven stone surface, searching for a switch or a lever. No joy.
Maybe if he shifted, then his enhanced werewolf sense of smell would solve the mystery of the concealed door. But the place was crawling with humans--what if the firefighters broke through ahead of the pack? Unlikely as that was, he didn't want to take the chance. A full-grown male werewolf, three times as large as the biggest wild wolf, was damn hard to explain away.
With no immediate danger, he'd save shifting as a last resort if he couldn't figure out another way inside. He sat on the floor in front of the wall and ran his fingers through his hair while he stared at the barrier. After a few minutes he smartened up, stood, and closed his eyes. Letting his nose guide him, he moved closer to the rocks. His hand cupped the right rock, and he started to twist the cleverly hidden knob when the stone jerked. He let go and jumped back in time to avoid being dragged by a half ton of heavy metal.
The world's most beautiful female stood in the entrance.
His heart sped up, then stuttered and sank. Lousy timing pretty much summed up his day. First he'd driven too slow, caught up in the rugged beauty of the coastline, or they might have been here in time to prevent the slaughter. Then he'd raced off before Hunter had finished giving orders. Now the female of his dreams turned out to be his Alpha's promised mate.
He gaped at her, as unsubtle as a pup who still stumbled over his own oversize paws. Sheer perfection would do that to a male. The combination of her delicate bones, blonde hair, and ripe curves more than lived up to the promises her sweet smell had made him.
Big, dark brown eyes shiny with pain met his stare. That and her fresh-snow odor of sadness made him feel like even more of an animal for forgetting she'd just lost most of her pack and was probably still in shock.
Her long, thick lashes lowered--a natural submissive's response to a more powerful male's dominance. Her automatic reaction wasn't one he usually--try ever--evoked. That made her effect on him headier. Only the smell of her grief kept him from sniffing and licking her in places he had no business even imagining.
She placed a finger to her perfect pink lips in the universal sign for quiet and mouthed, The pups are sleeping, sir.
Truman nodded, grateful for an excuse not to talk. Slightly famous for his smooth patter with females, right this moment he didn't have a coherent word to say. His tongue felt thick, dry, and hot. In fact, he was decidedly hotter all over than his normal one hundred and seven degrees.
Fluffing his loose Hawaiian shirt, he hoped to hide the instant erection straining the front of his cowboy-tight jeans.
She kept her eyes lowered and whispered, "Is it safe to go upstairs, sir?"
"Afraid we're stuck for a while. There's been a couple of cave-ins," he croaked.
When her face paled further at his news flash, he limbered up his tongue and raced on to reassure her. "Hey, we're in the safest place around. My pack brothers will dig us out before you have time to get bored with me."
Another scramble of feet jerked her attention to the ceiling.
"Goblins," he growled.
She seemed to shrink at his mention of the oily little monsters but gave him a small nod of understanding and crossed to the open door.
Following the sensual sway of lush hips under a thin skirt, he made the effort to keep his mouth closed. He was already hard enough to crush rock and felt like a complete beast. Make that more of a beast than usual.
Though he was young for the job, he was an enforcer and Hunter's second. An honor he'd fought for and won fairly. If nothing else did, then his pack rank made him a male of worth. Like every other Treeland enforcer, he held himself to a strict standard of honor. Hitting on the newly bereaved was definitely not part of the good-guy code.
She stopped, turned, and still swayed. A sharp urge to bang his head on the wall hit him as he realized the sway wasn't about being seductive. She was unsteady on her feet, and her chin quivered as if she fought back tears--confirmation of his brilliant deduction.
That put a blue ribbon on him in the who's-the-sickest-animal-around contest. Here she was about to pass out from shock and grief, and he was still thinking about how much he'd like to be skin to skin with her.
What she needed was what mattered. That would be his strength, comfort, and protection. Definitely not any hot and dirty action.
Another scurry of goblins overhead gave him fresh priorities.
"Company we don't want." He ushered her firmly into the safety of the reinforced bunker, keeping a hand on her back just in case she fainted. He found the switch to seal them inside and flipped it. "What can I do to help?"
"Could you give me a hug, sir?" Her impossibly thick lashes lifted, and her big brown eyes shone with enchanting glints of gold as she anxiously searched his face.
Everything about her said Psi, extra sensitive, and recently bruised to hell; handle with care. Yet here she was looking to him for kindness and a little simple comfort. Not exactly the ultracool, ultrafun, and ultrasmart Gamma guy's specialty.
For her, he'd sure as hell try.
Then she angled her neck, a gesture of respect due a more powerful male.
Natch, that cranked his chain. Ah fuck. A hug just might kill him, or erode the last of his self-control, but he opened his arms wide.
The world's most beautiful female moved into his embrace like she belonged there. She snuggled against his heat, fitting him perfectly. Too perfectly. He angled his hips away to keep his erection out of the comfort equation.
Everything about her felt wonderful, amazing, and way too cool, literally. Goddess save him for a fool, she really was in shock. He tightened his hold and willed his body heat into her chilled skin. When that didn't do the trick, he gently chafed her arms and back. Then he took off his shirt and settled the bright tropical print over her slender shoulders. The sleeves covered her elbows, and the bottom edge almost brushed her knees. Dwarfed by his shirt, she looked too young to be legal. He pulled her closer and used his greater size to curve his heat around her.
"Blankets?" he asked in a hoarse whisper.
"The pups needed them, sir." She spoke so softly that he had to lean closer. So close that each word puffed against his ear.
"Let's get you snuggled up with the pups then." His voice had deepened with a roughness he didn't recognize. Keeping her tucked into his side nice and tight, he moved them through the entryway into the main room.
Designed to house at least fifty adults plus a half dozen young, the huge bunker felt cavernous. Casting a professional eye over the accommodations, he took in the low lighting, cork floor, and clean air. He made a mental note to check on supplies, especially the armory, for spotlights and salt canisters. In here, Amber and the pups should be safe from anything, but Hunter needed every weapon available.
A fluffy mound of blankets topped with a multicolored circle of fur drew his attention. The pups were so small and fragile. His heart squeezed in response. The instant fierce need to protect them jolted him. Their presence disturbed one of the young.
One dark eye glittered, and a miniature lip curled in a snarl. An Alpha. Tru held a sober expression at the small male's challenge.
"Friend," the female he wanted to claim said firmly, and the little Alpha sank back into the circle of warmth with a last warning glare.
The Psi shivered in his hold but kept her voice low and firm. "I'm Amber, sir."
Right, Hunter's promised mate. How had he forgotten so fast?
The smart move was to step away now. Then keep a nice respectable distance between them. The safe room was big, but two or three miles would be better. Except that she was still dangerously chilled, and she needed his warmth. Back to his heat and chafe duties.
Hunter's mate. He silently repeated his new mantra. Holding her close, he rubbed her arms and back with his free hand. He kept his touch as clinical as possible as he worked to improve her circulation. Hunter's mate.
His wolf growled in disagreement. Mine.
In spite of his honorable intentions, he didn't loosen his hold on her even when her trembling eased. Each breath he took was rich with her intoxicating smell and made his wolf more possessive. Each beat of his heart pumped more of her pheromones through his system. Each passing second he was more lost for her.
The full moon would happen in a few days. Her hormone levels would rise along with the orb. He understood way too clearly what that entailed. Soon he'd be helpless to resist the one special female the goddess had designed for him. The drive to protect her, to care for her already flooded his system. His heart twisted with the reminder that under a veneer of civilization, he was a beast--a creature of instinct. Adding to his misery, as a Psi, she would be picking up on every lowlife impulse that flickered across his dirty mind.
Werewolf nature had definite advantages--strength, speed, long life for openers--but it could be a real bitch. Bonding to the wrong female was about as bad as it got.
Truman felt like a giant fist had grabbed his heart and tightened. His situation was headed one direction--from bad to worse. The only thing preventing him from bonding to his Alpha's mate was her pheromones. When her heat got a little nearer, her scent markers would push him into bonding. A werewolf phenomenon that made the human concept of lifetime commitment look like a casual one-nighter.
His own feelings were a nonissue. "Hopeless" summed up his situation. The goddess had designed a fertile female to be irresistible to a suitable male. Typically, bonding affected the male first, making him fiercely protective, devoted to the female's well-being, and incapable of being aroused by any other female from first bonding for the rest of his long, long life. While the male was going through this chemical and emotional change, the bitch might, or might not, bond with the poor sap. In the goddess's wisdom, the process had been coded into their DNA to protect the more helpless females during pregnancy, birth, and nursing.
The only possible escape was distance and plenty of it. Right, like that was going work when he was Hunter's second. His position in the pack wasn't just a matter of rank or power. He was loyal to Hunter, obeyed him, and would've rather died than cause his Alpha a second of pain.
Fighting the goddess's will was as pointless as defying gravity. There wasn't a single damn thing he could do to change his destiny. He was screwed, and not in a good way. The only thing that would be even worse than joining the ranks of the permanently miserable, mated lone wolves would be if Amber were attracted to him. Because then Hunter would have to challenge him. His own death would be a relief for Truman, but having to kill him would seriously wound his Alpha, because Hunter protected the pack ferociously--especially his enforcers.
The power trip of being pack leader ruined too many Alphas. Hunter was rock solid and definitely one of the good guys. Tru was lucky to be part of a well-run pack. Luckier to serve as Hunter's second. He reached for his cell, uncomfortably aware he was late calling to update Hunter with the news that Amber and the pups were safe.