So guess what? Because of the election and the lovely Voter ID laws, I won't be home on November 6th when ENFORCER'S REDEMPTION should have been released. Rather than make you wait, I pushed up the release date to OCTOBER 30th!!! YEP that means ONE WEEK until the world gets Adam's story!!!!! Make sure you sign up for my newsletter (its the subscribe button on the left of this post) or follow me on Twitter or Facebook so you know when you can purchase it. Squee!!
Also, last month I put up the first Chapter. In case you missed it, here it is! The following is copyrighted please do not cut and past and share. You are more than welcome to share the blog post though. Thanks!
Adam Jamenson watched as Jasper swept Willow around the dance floor, which the family had built outside their den, delight on both of their faces. A sharp and familiar pang pierced his heart, rattled around his ribs, and then settled in his stomach like a rotting, dead weight. He took a swig of his Jack on the rocks, the burn not quite dulling the ache that had haunted him for two decades.
God, he missed Anna.
He rubbed a hand through his shorn, dark brown hair, trying to release some of the tension he’d felt over the past eight months. Well, if he was honest, it’d been much longer than that, but the intensity had increased dramatically since… No, he couldn’t and wouldn’t think about that.
Not again. Not ever.
He drained the last of his glass and wondered if he should get up and pour himself another. What he needed right now was to get blinding drunk, but his family was watching him. They were always watching him, and with this being Willow’s birthday party, the Pack was celebrating and trying to be happy.
Adam didn’t want to be happy.
He wanted to be fucking drunk, that way the feel of the spindly fingers wrapped around his heart in a death grip would dissipate to a dull clench. His body felt on alert at all times, as if, at any moment, something would come in and attack, taking away anything else he thought he had.
It wasn’t much, just a jumble of memories that wouldn’t fade away.
He was the Enforcer of the Redwood Pack. As such, he felt the threats to the Pack deep in his soul and held the duty to protect his family. Sometimes, though, he felt as if he were failing at every turn.
Willow’s laugh brought him out of his gloomy thoughts. She smiled, her face brightening as North took her from Jasper’s arms, and they two-stepped to the change in music. He loved Willow like a sister and would do anything for her. He’d almost taken her into his home when she’d had a falling out with Jasper. She wouldn’t have taken Anna’s place, but maybe her laughter would have warmed up his tomb slightly.
Did he even want warmth?
“You don’t want that other drink, man,” Maddox grumbled as he took the seat next to Adam without invitation.
“Damn it. Stay out of my head.”
“You know I don’t read minds.”
Adam held back a wince. Of all his brothers, Maddox was the one he did his best to avoid. As the Omega of the Pack, he could feel every emotion from its members, and Adam didn’t want Maddox to be privy to some of his emotions. Or, rather, any of his emotions. He didn’t even want to deal with them himself. But, Maddox knew everything. He’d seen the way Maddox looked after Anna’s…death. He knew too much, and Adam didn’t want to look his brother in his all-too-knowing gaze and see pity…or worse, understanding.
No one could understand.
He had been the first of his brothers to be mated. He’d met and fallen in love with Anna forty years before. He’d had twenty years with the love of his life and then had lost her and their unborn child. He gripped his glass tighter as the gaping wound bled just a bit more. Now, one by one, his brothers were finding their mates, in Reed’s case two mates.
Adam was left to sit back and watch. Alone.
He didn’t want to be around to watch the smiles on their faces, see the love radiating from their pores, watch the women grow full and ripe with their children.
He closed his eyes, the stinging increasing.
He didn’t want to see Finn, Mel and Kade’s son, and Brie, Jasper and Willow’s daughter, toddle and grow up. That was the worst part. The part he couldn’t ignore. They were the physical representations and proof of a mating bond so strong that the Redwoods had a chance of a future.
Adam had almost had that once…then the Centrals had taken it away from him.
“Tone it down, man. You’re projecting enough emotion right now that everyone else can feel it as well.” Maddox put his hand on Adam’s shoulder, and Adam flinched.
“Don’t touch me,” he snapped. God, he sounded like an ass. “Please.”
Maddox pulled his hand back, but he didn’t move his gaze. Adam’s gaze traced the jagged scar on the right side of his brother’s face. He didn’t know where he’d received it, but he knew it held more meaning than Adam knew.
“Adam, what’s going on?”
“Like you don’t know?” Adam growled. “Just leave me the fuck alone.”
“Stop lashing out at him, he’s just trying to help,” his wolf pleaded.
Adam ignored him. His wolf had failed him when he needed him most. He didn’t want to talk to the constant reminder of why he hadn’t been there for Anna.
“No, I won’t leave you the fuck alone. I don’t know what happened, but something’s changed. You were healing, Adam.”
Adam snarled and stormed away from the party, ignoring the cautious and concerned looks boring holes into his back. Yeah, let them look at the deranged Enforcer. He was used to that.
“Adam, don’t run from it. You’re going to fuck up if you don’t stop this.” Maddox walked behind him, his voice low.
Adam stopped and turned, glaring at his younger brother. “What the fuck are you talking about?”
Maddox raised his chin, undaunted. “If you don’t reign in those chaotic emotions of yours, you’re going to fuck up, and the Pack will be the ones who pay the price”
Adam planted his feet on the ground and put his shoulders back, chest forward, shock radiating through him. “You don’t think I can handle my Enforcer duties?”
Maddox shook his head. “I don’t know. I don’t think you’d purposely put anyone in harm’s way, but you’re not yourself. What happened when you were away, Adam? You were finally healing, smiling more. Laughing and hanging out with Willow. What changed?”
Maddox frowned, disappointment on his face. “You need to trust someone, Adam.”
“I trust my family.” Just not with everything. No, not this.
“I just wish it were enough.” Maddox sighed. “I’m here if you need me.”
Adam nodded, unable to speak. He loved his family with everything he had…because they were everything he had.
“Adam? Maddox? Is everything okay?” Ellie Reyes, the Centrals’ princess and newest Redwood Pack member, came up to them, Maddox’s twin brother, North, on her heels.
Maddox stiffened at the duo’s approach, and Adam raised a brow. It looked as though he wasn’t the only one with secrets.
“We’re fine,” Maddox grumbled. “Just having a brotherly chat.”
North tilted his head. “Anything I should know about?”
Adam shook his head. “Nothing. Just dumb shit.”
Ellie looked at Maddox, her gaze unwavering. “If you’re sure,” she whispered, the scent of pain radiating off her like a thick blanket.
She still hadn’t healed from her lifetime of torture at the hands of her brother, Corbin. Frankly, Adam didn’t think she ever would. Though the female wolf was one of the strongest wolves he’d ever met. People just couldn’t get over some things.
Case in point: him.
“Let’s get back to the party then,” North said after a few moments of awkward silence. “The folks already are getting antsy over the fact that you guys walked out. I don’t want to make them think something was up.” He said the last part as an unspoken question, but neither Maddox nor Adam bothered to answer him.
North sighed, sadness on his face for a moment before he schooled his features into the pleasant expression he always carried. “Shall we?” He held out an arm for Ellie, and she took it with one last look toward him and Maddox.
“We should go back, as well. I don’t want to disappoint Mom and Dad,” Maddox said, his body tense.
“Fine. Plus, we haven’t seen Willow open her presents yet. God forbid we miss that,” Adam said, a small smile threatening to form.
Maddox grinned full out. “I swear those women and their presents, but I think Finn and Brie will be the ones to open them. You know how much they like getting into things.”
Adam smiled and walked back to the party with his brother, ignoring the pangs again. He’d never see his child grow up to break into presents. Never watch Anna celebrate another birthday with a smile on her face.
He’d lost his chance at happiness. He didn’t want another.
Bay Milton rubbed her eyes and looked at her GPS again. This was right, wasn’t it? She pulled over to the side of the road, not wanting to veer off and get into a wreck because she wasn’t paying attention. She pressed the top bottom on the screen to look at the next set of turns and frowned. Yep, she was going the right way, but it looked like she was out in the middle of nowhere.
On the other hand, it seemed like a perfect place to hide a werewolf den. It wasn’t as if she could just input “Redwood Pack den” into the search function and hit go. No, she’d had to quietly ask around to find the coordinates.
Then, of course, she could feel the other wolves.
But, that was something she didn’t want to think about quite yet.
Bay sighed, her body aching and radiating with tension. She looked out her window, hoping to see something confirming what she was about to do was a good idea. The tall trees seemed to reach up to the sky, touching the heavens but casting a shadow on the road in front of her.
Poetic justice at its best.
“What am I doing here?” she whispered to herself. She’d been doing fine on her own for so long she didn’t need or want to rely on others, but this time it was different. This time she could taste the danger on her tongue, like a heavy metallic film she couldn’t swallow.
As much as she wanted to turn back, she couldn’t. They would find her. Though she didn’t know who they were, she had a feeling. Dread threatened to choke her, and she took a deep breath, trying to calm her shaking body. It wouldn’t do her any good to have a heart attack on the side of the road. No, she was a werewolf, dammit; she’d be fine. She just had to get through the next few hours, and she’d be fine.
Well, as fine as she could be in her situation.
Bay took a deep breath, straightened her shoulders, and pulled onto the road again. She could do this. She could. She’d been on the road for five days, taking the long way from Southern California to Northern Washington. She’d backtracked a couple of times and gone in circles to lose any tails she might have. She wasn’t sure if whoever wanted to cause her harm was actually following her, but they’d come eventually. She didn’t want any harm to come to the people she was about to ask—no, beg—for help, nor did she want to get hurt herself.
That final thought might have long since proven futile. The Redwoods might shut their doors to her and leave her on her own. Or they’d take her in, and she’d have to be in the one place she didn’t want to be.
She choked back a sob and made another turn. She needed to get a handle on her emotions before she got there. As it was, the Alpha might be able to tell she was coming soon. Only her special abilities had kept her escape from being discovered for this long.
She had to find him. He’d help her. He had to. If not…well, she didn’t want to think about that. Damn it. She didn’t want to see him, rely on him. She didn’t want to look into those green eyes again and remember. The place at her neck thrummed, her body aching, but not only because of her long car ride anymore.
Damn. As much as she wanted to deny it, she couldn’t. Well, that wasn’t the only evidence…but that was another story altogether.
She took another turn and bit her lip as she felt the sentries posted at the gates to the den. Humans couldn’t see the den, nor could they feel its presence. In fact, the warding caused humans to want to veer away from the den altogether. But she wasn’t a human; she was Pack. The Redwoods just didn’t know it yet.
The sentries, who had been visually hidden by their stealth, crept from the shadows, their eyes glowing gold with aggression, but confusion marred their faces. She couldn’t blame them. Her wolf felt like Pack to them, but they’d never laid eyes on her. She pulled the car to a stop, rolled down her window, and held her hand out in a sign of peace.
“How can we help you, miss?” A tall man with gray eyes and brown hair came to her window, his posture on alert, ready to deal with her at any moment.
“I need to see the Jamensons.” She couldn’t state her true purpose, just like she couldn’t name the real person she needed to see. The name wouldn’t form on her tongue.
“Bay Milton.” As soon as she said it, she held back a wince. There was no hiding her identity now. She should have given a false name, but she hadn’t thought ahead that far. Damn. The sentry would relay the information, and they might not let her in. But there was no turning back. She needed them. She might have grown up a lone wolf, but she’d become Pack in truth if it meant protection when she needed it most.
“Why do you need to see them?” He gave her a pointed look, and she met his gaze. She might be a lone wolf, but she was more powerful than either of them.
Her wolf growled, but she held it back. No need to antagonize the poor wolf. The sentry ducked his gaze and cleared his throat. He looked over the hood of her car at the other sentry, who gave a slight nod.
“The Alpha has let you through, but be warned, you harm our Pack, we’ll take you out, even if you do smell like Pack.”
She nodded, grateful that her scent had at least raised curiosity in the Alpha so she could be let through. One hurdle down, just a few more to go to find her fate.
Bay drove along the winding roads, knowing she wasn’t alone. No, other sentries would follow her path and watch her. She was okay with that. She didn’t want to cause harm to anyone here; she just needed help. She held back the bile that threatened to rise. She didn’t like asking for help, practically never did it. But just this once, she’d let her pride die and beg if she had to.
She pulled up to what she assumed was the center of the den and parked. In the distance, it looked as if a party was going on. People were dancing and laughing. Children were playing, giggling when the adults tickled them or tossed them in the air. She clenched her jaw, forcing any tears that threatened to come to hold the pain back. She had to be tough, cool, collected for this. If she broke down and acted as if she were a helpless weakling, she wouldn’t earn their respect and maybe their protection. She might not have grown up with wolves, but she at least knew that much about them.
She sat in the car and watched as three men prowled toward her, their power radiating off them in waves. They had to be part of the Jamenson family, though she knew there were probably others hidden in the shadows, their eyes on her.
The center one must be Edward, the Alpha. She’d done her research. He looked the same age as his sons but looked every bit the Alpha with his power and grace. His hair was cut short, and neat. His green eyes pierced her as she sat in her car, waiting for them to give permission to get out. He wasn’t as big as the two sons who flanked him, but he was still a force to be reckoned with. To Edward’s left was a man who looked just like him, but the man had longer hair. Bay let her wolf come to the surface so she could taste his power, the energy of leadership and protection washing over her. This must be Kade, the Heir and next in line to be Alpha.
Bay forced her gaze to Edwards’s right and held back a gasp.
It had been so long since she’d seen him; eight months to be exact. He was taller than the other two, at least six-five, and built. She swallowed, hard. She’d seen every inch of him. Licked it, too. His hands were fisted at his sides as he strode to her. She looked into his eyes and suppressed a shudder.
Oh, yes, he remembered. He just didn’t want to.
Well, too damn bad; he’d have to get over it for just a little while. This was about more than the two of them and a night they’d shared.
“Well, get out of the car, Bay Milton,” Edward ordered. “You can tell us just how you came to have the scent of the Pack when I’ve never felt you before.”
Steeling herself, she opened the door, grabbed onto the sides, and then hoisted herself to a standing position. She closed the door, put a hand on her aching back, then the other on the very noticeable bump protruding from her stomach.
Kade and Edward gasped, but she had eyes for only Adam. He paled but didn’t say anything.
Bay forced herself not to shake or, worse, throw up, and opened her mouth. “Hello, Adam, I’m glad I found you. We have to talk.”