Update on Wolf's Claim, Book 2 in the Texas Ranch Wolf Pack Series
In a previous post, I shared my revised cover for the next book in the series, Wolf's Claim.
The writing is going well, and I'm over 11,000 words, now.
I received my work back from my beta reader and made some changes that tightened up the prose and made the book a better read. At least that is my hope.
I would love to read your comments. Please post them below.
Here is an advance look at the first two Chapters:
Lost to Were
One will rise
Nate ran his hand through his hair and tried again to make sense of the figures in the spreadsheet columns. So much had happened in the last week, he felt out of his depth. I’m a cop, not an accountant! Cops are supposed to work in the public, not be cooped up in an office reading complicated spreadsheets.
We are Alpha. Nate raised an eyebrow at Koreth’s thought. “Yes, I know.” He sighed. “And I don’t regret resigning from the force. I just don’t like working with numbers much.” He shook his head. “Just don’t have the patience for it.”
Though he knew Koreth would hear and understand his thoughts, Nate had decided it was easier to keep his own thoughts separate from Koreth’s by speaking out loud when there was no need for silent communication. Deep in his mind, Nate felt Koreth’s amusement.
When his cell ringtone sounded, Nate felt relief for the interruption. “Nate, here.”
“Nate, it’s Ben.” Ben hesitated, then spoke in a rush. “The clowder is in trouble. I will explain later, but I would like to bring them all to the ranch.”
“What kind of trouble?”
“Flora got a call this morning from a friend of hers that works with the Were Council. They got the reports of the attack that Jonathan sent them. They’ve decreed clowder extermination, because of Lorena’s actions.” Ben cleared his throat. “You are their only chance, Nate. I hate to beg, but . . ..”
“Bring them in, Ben. We’ll see what we can do to fix this.”
“We’re on our way. Umm, there are 27 of us, counting me.” Ben cleared his throat.
Nate frowned. Twenty-seven? “How soon will you be here?”
“We’re in Seguin, so it won’t take too long. Thanks, Nate.” There was a strained silence on the cell, then Ben cleared his throat again. “The Council Execution Squad won’t be far behind us.”
“We’ll be ready.” After ending the call, Nate shoved the spreadsheets into a drawer. Koreth sent an assembly call to the pack as Nate headed downstairs.
“They’re coming here?” Reese seemed to strangle on his words. “Here? After they killed most of the pack?”
Nate’s gaze pinned the teen, only letting up when the boy started squirming. “The old Queen caused all the deaths. Those coming are innocent and will be treated as such unless it is proven they were involved. Understood?”
When Reese nodded, albeit unhappy with the command, Nate turned to look over the group gathered at the table. “There will be 26, in addition to Ben. They’ll be here within the hour. The Council Execution Squad is on their heels.” He stopped and looked at each of the were. “I plan to offer them asylum.”
Several voices started at once, then silenced when Nate held up his hand. “I know why you feel like you do. I understand that you probably hate them and maybe fear them.” He leaned forward, again capturing their full attention. “These people did nothing. Just as you follow the orders of your Alpha, they follow the orders of their Queen. Lorena and her family caused the deaths here. Lorena and her family are dead. These people were not involved.”
Reese muttered under his breath, “They knew.”
“Maybe. We don’t know that.” Nate frowned. “I don’t condone what they did. I won’t pretend it didn’t happen or that there are no repercussions, but neither will I allow innocents to die if there is something I can do to prevent it.”
“Nate, going against the Council could get us all in trouble, too.” Janelle bit her lip, then shrugged. “I don’t want to see innocents hurt, either, but what can we do?”
“You can do nothing.” Nate stood and walked to the window. Staring out at the yard, he lifted the melded medallion he wore and fingered the design. “Koreth and I will deal with the Execution Squad.”
“They’ll kill you!”
The fear in Janelle’s voice brought Nate around to face her. “Koreth,” he said quietly, “it’s time.”
Nate closed his eyes and tilted his head back. Sudden silence swept the room as he changed. Not into a wolf, but into the wolf-man of ancient legend. Instead of shrinking into Koreth’s wolf form, Nate grew until he stood seven feet tall. His shoulders widened, the fabric of his t-shirt shimmering away.
Nate brought his face down, his glowing red eyes fixed on his pack. His snout twitched, sniffing the pack. Behind him, his tail ripped through his jeans and swished from one side to the other. As one, the pack scooted their chairs away from the table and dropped to their knees, heads bowed.
Nate was surprised that his voice was so raspy and much deeper than normal when he said, “We will claim the clowder as pack. We will protect all.”
So, when did we start using the royal ‘we?’ Nate asked Koreth. In his mind, Koreth smirked at him. When we became Us.
As quickly as he became wolf-man, Nate shimmered and once again became human. The pack kept to their knees. Frowning, Nate walked to Janelle, captured her elbow in his large hand and gently pulled her to her feet. He cupped her face in his right hand and raised her eyes to his. There was wonderment in her eyes. That he could understand. He was a bit overwhelmed with his new change ability, too. What he didn’t expect and didn’t like was the touch of fear he saw in her eyes.
She swallowed and a single tear coursed down her cheek. Nate caught it with his thumb. “What’s wrong?”
Jonathan cleared his throat. “Umm, Nate.”
Turning only his head, Nate looked at him. There was fear and . . . Nate raised an eyebrow . . . compassion? After a quick glance at the kneeling teens, Nate sighed. “Get up, Jonathan. You, too, kids.”
Their move to their feet seemed almost reluctant. None of the kids would look at him. He blew his breath out in a loud whoosh. “Okay. Someone tell me what I obviously don’t know. What’s going on?” When no one answered, he looked specifically at Jonathan. “Talk, Jonathan.”
Adam’s apple bobbing several times, Jonathan raised his fearful gaze to meet Nate’s. “You are Lycos.” His voice held a slight tremor. “Lycos are the . . . ancient rulers of all shifters.”
“There have been no Lycos since just after the Time of Separation when the Ancient sent his sons out to build their own packs.”
“Okay. So why do I feel there is more to this than you’re telling me?”
Janelle turned her face and pressed a kiss into his palm holding her cheek. “Nate, we need to talk. Not here, not now.” She glanced at Jonathan. Nate frowned when Jonathan nodded at her. She turned back and took his face in both her hands. “You have much to learn, and little time.” She looked deep into his eyes. “With your permission, Koreth?”
Nate could tell all the pack heard Koreth. They each gave their attention to Janelle as she dropped her hands from Nate’s face and turned to face them. When she spoke, her voice dripped with the power of Koreth’s reinforcement. “This will not be discussed with anyone, not even among yourselves. Until this command is rescinded, this is a private pack matter.”
Again, as one, the pack bowed their heads to acknowledge and accept the command. Nate glanced at Janelle, right eyebrow raised. “You will explain?”
“I will,” she motioned toward the front of the house, “but not now. The cats have arrived. Nate, they cannot know of this new ability until you fully understand it.”
For a long moment, Nate studied her worried brow and her fearful eyes. Our mate is right. This is not for them to know, yet. Nate sighed and ran his right hand through his hair. Okay. I’ll keep quiet about it for now. He could feel Koreth’s sympathy for him and his questions.
Blowing a breath out puffed cheeks, Nate offered Janelle his hand. “The Execution Squad will be right behind them. Let’s get them in the house, for now.”
Janelle slipped her smaller hand inside his and walked with him through the house to the front porch. Behind him, he could hear whispers, then Koreth’s booming command filled Nate’s head. Command was given. You will obey!
Immediately, the whispers stopped. Nate was almost sorry for the teens when he felt the resulting fear that radiated from behind him. He sighed and glanced down at Janelle. “Will things ever be normal around here?”
Behind the fear that still gleamed in her eyes, Nate could see her sad smile. “We are were, Nate. You will never have the normal you grew up with.”
Nate heard the boys sniggering. Glancing over his shoulder, he quirked an eyebrow at them. The girls started giggling, hands covering their mouths. He could tell the boys wanted to laugh and were just a bit afraid to.
Jonathan grinned at him. “You might want to change your pants, Nate. Without the tail, your briefs are gaping.”
To be continued . . ..Thank you for reading this two chapter excerpt. Please let me know what you think.
P.S. The first book in the Texas Ranch Wolf Pack Series, Wolf's Man, is available on Amazon.com.
Click here to learn more about Lynn Nodima!
Click here to read the first chapter of Wolf's Man!
The cover has changed.
Wolf's Claim has published!
Read Wolf's Claim FREE in KindleUnlimited!