Primal law, p.12
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       Primal Law, p.12
 

         Part #1 of Alpha Pack series by J. D. Tyler  
Page 12

  Author: J. D. Tyler

  "Fae . . . as in a faery?" Her eyes widened.

  "Yep. Specifically Seelie, because of his physical beauty and his unwillingness to do us any real harm, which are typical traits of his kind. How he ended up on our plane of existence is anyone's guess. Unless you can get him to talk. "

  "Jeez," she muttered. "No pressure or anything. "

  Nick chuckled. "A lot to take in, huh? The important thing is not to rush him, or any of them. I think you'll do fine. "

  "What about the black wolf? I think he's going to be my toughest challenge. "

  The boss's humor died. "You're right about that. Raven is completely feral, but we haven't given up on him. We can't. "

  "Why not? I'm all for rehabbing, but if there's no hope it seems cruel to let him pace that cell day after day, going mad. "

  Jaxon cleared his throat, which had suddenly gone tight. "We can't give up because Raven is one of us. Five and a half years ago, he was the finest SEAL we'd ever known. After we were attacked by rogue weres in Afghanistan, he turned wolf. Unlike the rest of us survivors, he never came back. "

  Kira's head reeled with the overload of information Nick and Jaxon were dropping in her lap. Never had she imagined having such a bizarre conversation with anyone.

  Fae. A Seelie running scared through Ireland.

  A maddened wolf with his human counterpart stuck inside.

  Weirder and weirder.

  Which led to the obvious question. "What about the others? The snake and the furry gremlin thing?"

  Jaxon folded his arms, causing his biceps to bunch enticingly. "The furry guy is just what he appears-a little pain in the ass. He bites. Ask me how I know," he deadpanned, causing Nick to laugh. "The snake isn't your typical garden variety, as you no doubt noted by his size. But it's not just the fact that he's the size of a small horse. He's a basilisk. And before you ask, forget almost everything you've read in the legends about them. "

  "I haven't heard much. Just that they're extremely venomous and supposedly kill with a glance. Fairy-tale stuff. "

  "The venomous part is correct, but they can't, or don't, kill with their gaze or everyone in the compound would be dead. The most interesting thing is that he can take human form. "

  Of course he can. "So he's a shifter. Does he talk?"

  "Unfortunately, yes. " Jax curled his lip. "Belial is . . . Well, you'll see for yourself. "

  "What?" She glanced between the men. "Is he hideous or something?"

  "No, quite the opposite. His power is seduction and he knows how to wield it. He's a sly son of a bitch, and that makes him more dangerous than anything. I can't get a vision of his past. Even Nick can't get a good reading on whether he'd hurt anyone in the future, though he swears he wouldn't. "

  "Despite biting and nearly killing Ryon," Nick added, his voice hard. "The only reason he wasn't terminated is he insists he never would've struck if he wasn't terrified when we tried to take him in. "

  "With all due respect . . . most of us mere mortals will never know if we can truly trust the most sinceresounding person not to hurt us. We have to abide our neighbors because we have no choice. We can't go around locking people up just because we're not sure. Is it really fair to hold this person to a different standard just because he's a basilisk and he rubs you the wrong way?"

  Both men had the decency to look guilty at that statement. Still, Nick wasn't totally sold. "Most people can't swallow you whole while you're sleeping. "

  She sighed. Seemed she had a lot of work to do with her new charges before they could even begin to be integrated into life at the compound. But she was looking forward to the challenge more than she had anything in ages. Sure beat working for Bowman, the jackass.

  "Okay, I'll make a prediction," she began, watching their reactions. "Within one month, I'll have them ready to socialize with kings. Well, maybe not kings, but a bunch of flea-bitten wolves and the occasional human. "

  Jaxon gave her a smoldering look that made her nerves tingle, but didn't rise to the teasing "flea-bitten" remark. "I say it can't be done within a month. Six months, if you're persistent. "

  "Wanna bet?"

  "You're on. If it takes you longer than one month from today, you have to do the entire team's nasty, sweaty laundry for six weeks. " He grinned at the idea.

  Smelly underwear and bloodstained shirts? "Eww. Three weeks. "

  "Four. That's fair-same as your month with our socalled guests. "

  She thought about it. "You're on. I believe they'll come around. And if they prove me right, you have to . . . " Take me to dinner. Right, like she'd blurt that out in front of his boss.

  Forget that. With Jax, I'd rather be dinner. And dessert. Yum.

  And where the heck had those naughty thoughts come from, anyway? Couldn't be those full lips or the angle of his cheekbones. Those smoky blue-gray eyes regarding her in amusement. Or that sexy tribal tattoo creeping from under the sleeve of his T-shirt to run down his muscular arm.

  "Kira? If you win?"

  She shook herself, struggling not to blush. "Um, you have to promise to do your best to see that they get home, or wherever they wish to go, within reason. "

  Jaxon glanced to Nick for confirmation. When his boss nodded, he agreed. "Okay. If it's within our power, they'll leave if they wish. But just so you know, it might not be possible for them all. I don't have a portal to the Fae realm hidden under my bed. "

  "It's a deal. "

  Nick stood, signaling a conclusion to the meeting. "Kira, welcome aboard. Give me a regular end-of-week report on Block R so we can discuss their progress. I'll have Mac see you about starting in the lab, too. "

  "Thank you, Nick. I won't let you down. "

  His gaze softened, and for a second, he appeared melancholy. "I know. " He turned to Jaxon as he walked them to the door. "Tell the guys I'll see everyone in half an hour, in the smaller meeting room. "

  "Will do. "

  As she and Jaxon walked out together, she was hyperaware of the big man at her side. He must put off some serious pheromones because all she wanted to do was rub against him like a cat in heat. She'd been attracted to men, but never like this. It was almost as if she had no control over the need to be close to him, and that scared her a little.

  "I'll show you around outside, if you want," he offered. "If you've never been to Shoshone, you're in for a real treat. "

  Just being with Jax was a treat, but she kept that to herself. "I'd love that. "

  "Come on. "

  He offered his arm and after a second's hesitation, she slipped her fingers around his biceps. The gesture was sweet and so old-fashioned, and so at odds with the raging beast that had torn out two men's throats, she didn't know what to say. It did funny things to her heart, and brought her defenses down several notches, which made her uneasy, too.

  She found it hard to comprehend that this man and his friends were shifters. Where was the line between man and beast? Or was there no definition, one simply meshing with the other to create an altogether different being? Could a woman fall in love with such a man?

  Could she make love with a shifter? And then came the inevitable disturbing thought-who would I be making love to? The man, the wolf, or both?

  She shuddered, and Jax misunderstood the reason. Thank God.

  His voice was concerned as he looked down at her. "Are you cold? It's usually warm during the day in the summer, but it can get chilly up here at night. "

  "No, I'm fine, but thanks. " He led her out a side door and she stood gazing in awe at the view. Towering aspen and pine skirted the edges of the compound, and beyond that a wide lake sparkled perhaps a half mile away. In the distance, the Rockies rose majestically toward the sky, defying mankind and the changes wrought by millions of years.

  She'd only seen one thing more impressive.

  "Stunning, huh?"

  She met his gaze squarely. "Very. "
Damn, she hadn't meant for that to come out so low and husky, betraying her inner turmoil. The awareness of him and how good he smelled, how warm and right he felt beside her. Solid. Why did he have to be so danged sexy?

  His pupils enlarged, and his voice was deep as he pointed to a part in the trees. "Want to take a walk? There's a great footpath and a stream that way. The view is awesome. "

  So tempting. "You have a meeting in thirty minutes. I don't want to make you late. "

  He shrugged. "I'm a big boy. Besides, we won't go far. "

  "Lead the way," she said, already cursing herself for her weakness. What was it about this guy that clouded her judgment?

  Gently, he peeled her hand off his arm. Disappointed, she started to put some space between them, but he took her hand instead, completely swallowing it in his. The spark from the contact zinged up her arm and spread all over her body. Tightened her nipples and made her ache to get closer.

  Lips hitching up, he tugged her hand and they started off. As they entered the mouth of the trail, she forced her attention to a different kind of scenery.

  "It really is beautiful here. I like to walk in the mornings if I get up in time, and I can't imagine any place more scenic to get my exercise. "

  "The trails are great for that purpose, but never venture out alone," he said, his tone deadly serious. "The grizzlies have been really aggressive again this summer. There are also black bears, moose, and any number of dangers. If you went off alone and got hurt, we could find you by following your scent, but it might be too late. "

  "I knew that, but it's easy to forget that dangerous things can be found in pretty packages. "

  He gave her an odd look. "Don't I know it. "

  Jax didn't explain and she didn't ask, though she was curious. She wondered what made the man tick, what pain lurked in his past. She sensed whatever rode him was more than losing his former life as a Navy SEAL, being turned into a shifter, though that was bad enough. Without being told, she knew it would take a lot more than a fledgling friendship and a few strolls in the woods to crack his armor.

  Had any woman ever managed that feat before? Had there been anyone serious?

  There wasn't now, she decided, or he wouldn't be holding her hand. There wouldn't be this spark that threatened to ignite when they touched. Jax didn't seem the sort of man to stray once he'd set his romantic course. If he ever did.

  Did he date? Did he do hearts and flowers? No. This man would take and possess. He'd envelop his lover and have her drowning in such a way that she'd never want to come up for air. He'd be her air, demand everything of her, and she'd willingly give.

  What nonsense! Daydreaming would never make the ultimate man of her fantasies emerge from the mist and carry her away to be delightfully ravaged until the end of their days.

  Men like that didn't exist, except in movies and books.

  "This is one of my favorite spots," he told her, pointing ahead to where the forest grew sparser. A small stream burbled, the sun catching the water tumbling over rocks. The area around it was green and lush, just right for lazing the day away.

  Too bad they couldn't. "Do you come here much?"

  "Not as often as I'd like, but I get out here now and then, mostly when I go for a midnight run. "

  She'd give anything to see his wolf in this enchanted place, in the moonlight. What would it be like to run with him, to be like him? Instead, she observed, "You told me not to come out alone, but you take the risk. "

  "I have an advantage, don't forget. The only creature that's likely to bother me in wolf form is a human, and out here there's little chance of that happening. "
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J. D. TYLER SERIES:

Alpha Pack

 

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