Wolf's Mission PreviewWolf's Mission is the third novella in the Texas Ranch Wolf Pack series. Nate and Eli must rescue a captured werewolf from men who plan to use her to coerce her father, Secretary of Defense Bianchi, to assassinate their target.
Can they get to her before her captors kill her and before her father becomes an assassinator?
I have a good start on this novella, with more than 11,000 words written. Plans are to publish by August 5th.
The current version of the cover is shown at right. The cover is subject to change.
The current version of the cover is shown at right. The cover is subject to change.
As mentioned in a previous post, I am actively searching for ARC (Advanced Reader Copy readers).
If you are interested in being an ARC reader, learn more on Seeking ARC Readers.
Renate Bianchi sat on the cold concrete floor, her back pressed into the corner of the concrete wall, one shoulder resting against each side of the corner. Knees up, arms resting on her knees, and hands dangling between them, she kept her eyes closed, trying to get some rest. With cold silver bars set at five-inch inch intervals meeting the two walls extending from the corner behind her, she was imprisoned in a small equilateral triangular cage, 10 feet to each side. In the center of the bars, a door also made of silver bars was the only way into or out of the cage. No getting through concrete walls, and no ability to touch the bars long enough to get through them. Renate wasn’t sure her werewolf strength would be enough to bend the bars, but the silver kept her from even trying.
In Renate’s cage, a flea-infested bed she refused to touch stretched along one wall. A toilet occupied the opposite corner. Only the thin, almost see-through shower curtain taped over a few bars hinted at privacy to use it. On the other side of the bars, two men dressed in black and gray camo trousers and black t-shirts played poker at a folding card table, ignoring her as long as she stayed quiet. Renate didn’t recognize the uniforms. They each carried Glock’s in holsters under their arms. Not that they needed them. Unless they opened the cage door.
Beyond the two men was another door. She didn’t know where it led. She didn’t know where she was. Only that she didn’t want to be here, and didn’t have much choice. She sighed inaudibly. It never occurred to Renate that she was unsafe at a campaign dinner in Washington D.C. Someone must have slipped her a roofie. That’s the only thing she could figure out. She remembered going to the Ladies Room. The next thing she knew, she woke on that fleabag bed. Fleas would not bite werewolves, but the thought of them crawling on her made her ill. She hated bugs. All bugs. Even the pretty butterflies her mother hatched in her sunroom garden.
When the door beyond the card table opened, Renate strained to hear. Hoping they would believe her sleeping and open the cage door, she felt her muscles tense, ready to move fast if they did. Two, no three people walked into the room. The two men playing cards scraped their chairs against the concrete floor when they stood up.
“At ease, men.”
The voice was new to Renate. Stomping footsteps approached the bars of her cage. “I know you’re not sleeping.”
Renate considered her options, decided she didn’t have any and looked up at the man looking in at her, the other men with him standing at his back. This man was in charge. She could see it in his alpha stance. She almost snickered. Even humans had their alphas. “Why am I here? What do you want?”
The alpha man tilted his head and frowned, his face in the shadow. The only light in the room was the single bulb hanging from a cord in the center of the room behind him, giving his dirty blond hair a halo effect. “From you? Nothing. From your father?” His teeth showed ghostly white in the shadow of his face. “Let’s just say he has a job to do for us.”
Renate glanced at the cage bars. This man knew she was a werewolf. Otherwise, her accommodations would be much less expensive. The silver bars must have cost a fortune. “Dad won’t cooperate.”
“He will if he wants to see his puppy again.”
Something smelled off. Nate Rollins frowned and glanced at his foster brother, Eli Thomas, as they followed the general into the bowels of a massive military compound. Eli’s expression showed he, too, was uncomfortable. Trying to identify what was bothering him, Nate thought back over the last two hours. That the general was unhappy when he found Janelle, Jonathan, and Ben at the helipad was clear. They drove Nate and Eli to the airstrip to wait for the helicopter the general sent for them. The minute Nate and Eli climbed into the chopper, General Brighton put a headset on, started writing something on an electronic tablet, and refused to talk.
He still refused to talk. He marched ahead of them, their steps echoing in the underground corridor, before finally stopping at a metal door. The general pressed his hand to a palm scanner, then led them inside when the door swished open. Behind them, the door swished closed with a finality that had Koreth, Nate’s wolf, on edge. Koreth hated being in confined areas even more than Nate did.
The cold, metallic smell of the walls surrounding them felt like an itch he couldn’t reach. He hoped he and Eli would be out of the compound and away on their mission soon. They marched down another corridor, then into a small room. In the center of the room, a small table held a block of silver toned metal. Four metal chairs were scooted up beneath the table’s edges, one on each side. A combat unit standing against the walls was armed with M16s faced the center of the room, their weapons at ready.
Nate’s right eyebrow climbed as he took in the rifles not quite aimed at him and Eli. He turned his attention to the general, waiting for him to speak. General Brighton walked to the opposite side of the table, out of the line of fire, and turned to face Nate and his brother.
The general’s piercing gaze studied them, one at a time, then he motioned toward the block of metal on the table. “Pick it up.”
Nate frowned. “Sir?”
“Pick it up.”
He reached forward. Just before his hand closed on the metal, he felt the itch in his palm increase. Solid silver. As a Royal werewolf, silver didn’t affect him much. While it was uncomfortable to his touch, it didn’t burn him like it did most werewolves. He swallowed and cast a glance at the general. The general’s gaze hardened as Nate hesitated.
He knows about were. Koreth’s thought was confirmation of Nate’s own. Without further hesitation, he picked up the silver block, bounced it in his hand as if weighing it, tossed it from one hand to the other, then looked at the general again. “What do you want me to do with this, General?”
The general’s tension eased a bit, and he shoved his chin toward Eli. “Give it to him.”
Nate kept his panic from his expression. Koreth, can Eli handle silver? He felt Koreth’s affirmation. He can if we protect him. Nate looked at Eli. Koreth, tell Jabril that we will protect him. Tell him to act like it is nothing to handle silver.
The only indication that Eli received the communication from Jabril, his wolf, was the glance he threw at Nate. Without hesitation, Eli lifted the metal from Nate’s hand and turned it in his hand. His expression curious, Eli set it on the table and looked at the general. “What’s up, General?”
“Hold out your hands, palm up.”
Nate and Eli extended their arms, showing the general their unburned palms. The general sighed and nodded toward the chairs. “Sit down, men.” He turned to the combat unit. “Dismissed.”
Nate and Eli sat and waited until the soldiers left the room, closing the door behind them. The general sat and faced them. “Sorry about that. After finding you on the ranch, I had to know for sure.”
Nate’s eyes narrowed. “Know what for sure, sir?”
General Brighton chuckled. “You’ll think I’m crazy, but the truth is, I needed to know if you’d been turned.”
“Turned?” Nate ignored the tension rolling off Eli. “You know we’re loyal.”
“I knew you were loyal, but things can change if a man turns.”
Nate studied the general. He schooled his expression into one of confusion. “How would a block of metal tell you we weren’t loyal?”
“I needed to know if you are werewolves.”
Nate laughed. “Werewolves? There are such things as werewolves?” Inside, he wasn’t laughing at all. He shrugged. “Okay, then, if there really are werewolves, how about you pick up the metal. Just so we know you’re human.”
The general looked at the block of silver and shook his head. “I can’t. It would burn me.”
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