Titus groaned as bright light flooded his cell. “Shut that bloody door.”
Joel Blackheart, alpha wolf of the Tundra Toughs pack, laughed and shoved the door wider. “Hungover again, T.?”
“Sober’s overrated”—Titus ran a hand over his unshaven chin—“I need a drink.”
Joel passed him a bottle of water. “Thought you might. A shower and a change of clothes wouldn’t go amiss either.”
Titus glowered at his tormenter. “Whisky. I need more whisky.”
Joel’s good humor evaporated. “Damn it, T. you can’t keep doing this to yourself, and I can’t let you beat up any more idiots with bigger mouths than brains.”
Titus ran his hands over his short-cropped hair. “My true-mate abandoned me—just walked away without a bloody word. After I spent almost a century trying to protect her, she left me. No note. No message, Nothing. What the hell else am I supposed to do?”
A flash of sympathy lit Joel’s eyes. “Not this, T. Not this.”
Titus loosed his natural wolf—the sort of grey giant that roamed the Russian Steppes—then turned back human. “There. I’m hangover free and hungry. I’ll even promise to lay off the booze until after the celebrations. Now let me out. I need to shower and eat.”
Joel and the Lykae King, Caleb, had won Titus’s respect after they mobilized the Lykae army and rescued his true mate from almost a century of captivity. Titus’s nightmare should have been over. Instead, his life became a mess of alcohol, anger, and pain.
Jilly had only been a child when a red-haired witch kidnapped her and forced Titus to dance to her tune. He’d left everything—home, friends, and pack—to keep his immature mate safe. Not that he’d ever tried to claim her, but when she’d reached adulthood, he would have.
His torn ear and broken nose were a testament to the battles he’d fought. His quick reflexes and even quicker wits had kept him alive. His desire for Jilly had kept him obedient. Then, when the Lykae freed her, Jilly wanted nothing to do with him. Hell, after six weeks living with her brother, she left him a farewell note and vanished. Titus, like always, she ignored.
He flashed to his cabin, showered in record time, and flashed to the pack’s great hall. It resembled a Viking longhouse more than a castle, but Lykae were informal creatures—unless they turned so formal it hurt.
Ellie, the alpha female, kissed Titus’s cheek. “Good to see you, T. Sit. Eat.”
A moment later, Joel drew her into his arms and stole a kiss. Titus flinched when their embrace turned lingering. A whisky bottle beckoned, but he’d promised Joel he’d stay sober. After the celebrations, he’d return to his solitary cabin—without the whisky he craved—and try not to think of the hole Jilly had punched through his heart.
Sammy, one of the pack’s cubs, burst through the doors and high fived Titus. “You’re coming to watch me play in the soccer, aren’t you?”
Titus once dreamed of having his own cubs. Now his dreams were alcohol infused hazes that left him empty inside. “Wouldn’t miss it for the world.”
Sammy clapped his hands. “And tomorrow me and the other cubs get to track you again. I almost found you last time, didn’t I?”
Titus glanced across at Joel and shrugged. “Their parents asked me to help hone their tracking skills. Okay, Sammy, you and the other’s meet on the green after school tomorrow.”
As Sammy skipped off to tell his friends, Joel clapped Titus on the back. “You’re a natural with the cubs and an asset to the pack. At least, you are when you aren’t drinking and picking fights.”
Without Jilly, Titus felt more like a loser than an asset. “Yeah. Maybe. I’m going for a run.”
* * * *
Tundra Toughs’ territory straddled a huge valley. A river—often swelled by ice melt from the surrounding lands—dissected the valley and a microclimate kept the place balmy. Titus flashed across the river, turned grey wolf, and ran. The scents of the forest filled his lungs. Birds sang overhead. If he hadn’t lost his mate, he could have been happy here. Instead he spent his time boozing and brawling. What sort of example did that give the cubs? For them, he’d clean up act.
Unfamiliar voices sounded from the henge the first settlers had built. Still in wolf form, Titus dropped to its belly, and slunk into the undergrowth, always moving closer to the interlopers.
“Bloody unnatural, living surrounded by snow and ice.” Broken tooth snarled.
“Stop moaning”—Big Ears snapped—“Mordred will make our trek worthwhile.”
Scarred cheek glowered at his comrades. “And don’t think about using magic,”
Red hair balanced his blade on his fingertip. “At least, not until we grab the king’s cub and flash home. We should all have enough magic to flash twice.”
Long beard and Baldy said nothing.
Titus backed up. Elves? Planning to kidnap the king’s son? Not on my watch. Titus’s primal wolf—all fangs, fury, and menace—clawed at his chest. It demanded he break bones and shed blood.
For once, Titus thought things through. Rather than attack, he flashed back to the Great Hall. “Joel! Elves in our henge, planning to kidnap one of King Caleb’s sons. You warn him while I convince them it’s a bad idea.”
Titus flashed back to the henge, but the Elves had moved on. He shifted to his natural wolf form and tracked them through the trees. An arrow shot past his muzzle and skimmed the fur on his right flank. With a howl of pure fury, Titus turned primal and charged. Before the archer could knock another arrow, Titus’s claws sliced his jugular. Blood flowed in an arc, staining the forest floor.
Titus raced onward. One punch from his battering ram of a fist floored Broken Nose. He wouldn’t be getting up for hours.
The remaining Elves jumped Titus.
Glad to release some of his present anger, Titus spun, punched, and clawed. Long beard fell, his kneecap shattered by Titus’s savage kick. Big Ears turned and ran. Red hair and Baldy drew daggers and stood their ground. Rather than stop, Titus swerved. He kicked Baldy’s legs from under him, toppling him sideways. He struck his head on a rock and lay with his neck at a strange angle to his body.
Rather than stab or slash, Red Hair threw. His blade sank into Titus’s forearm. Like a linebacker on a mission, Titus tackled him. They went down hard. Titus sank his claws between Red Hair’s ribs and clawed into his heart. The Elf died in an instant.
Pulling the knife from his arm, Titus shifted into natural wolf form. His angry charge saw him closing in on Big Ears.
Panicked, the Elf ran flat out. Titus loped after him, changing to primal form as he ran.
His claws dug into Big Ear’s shoulder, yanking him backward. One leap and Titus pinned him to forest floor. Jaws open, he planned to take Big Ears’ throat.
Joel Blackheart and King Caleb burst from the trees.
“Hold,” the king commanded.
Titus growled but didn’t close his jaws.
Joel laid one hand on his Titus’s shoulder, “Sorry to spoil your fun, but I need to question any Elves you’ve left breathing. Don’t worry. It’s only a temporary reprieve. Keep this one pinned down while I bind him.”
Titus grinned, sat back on his haunches, and slammed his ham-hock fist in Big Ears’ temple. The Elf slumped, unconscious.
King Caleb grinned. “That works. Thanks, T. I’ll have the army scour the forest but I think you got them all. Go enjoy the football then I’ll see you at the party.”
* * * *
The tournament finished in the early evening. Sammy’s team only progressed to the second round, but his brother’s more experienced squad made the final. Embarrassed by his newfound celebrity status, Titus spent an hour avoiding she-wolves who wanted to dance with him later. Finally, he took refuge in the boys changing rooms. He’d expected them to be empty, but Sammy and his friends sat in a circle, giggling as they played Truth or Dare.
Sammy squished up against his brother and patted the floor. “Come on, T. Sit here. It’s your turn in a minute.”
Not wanting to spoil the youngster’s pleasure, Titus sat. “You wouldn’t rather pit your tracking skills against me? You might catch me this time.”
Sammy’s brother shook his head. “I’ve got a question for Sammy. So, squirt, have you ever kissed a girl?”
Sammy screwed up his face. “Yech. No way! My turn. Titus, do you fancy Ellie?”
Titus laughed and shook his head. “She’s a sweetie but she’s not my type. “
“Good answer.” Joel grinned as he slipped into the changing room. He ushered the cubs outside. “Okay, boys, go get ready for tonight.”
King Caleb followed Joel. “I’ve got a truth of dare for you. What color are Jilly’s eyes?”
What sort of dumb question’s that? Eyes are eyes. Titus shrugged. “Brown, I guess.”
Joel shook his head. “Not the answer of a man in love. Amber flecked jewels or shimmering gold, yes. Brown? You guess? No. You get a dare T.”
King Caleb leaned against the wall. “I need you to check out the Rock Prowler Pack and do whatever it takes to put them to rights. Apparently, if you marry their alpha’s daughter, he’ll stand down in your favor. I dare you to marry—not mate—a she-wolf you’ve never even seen.”
Titus shook his head. Run my own pack? Marry someone who isn’t Jilly? I can’t do that. Besides, he was too angry to be alpha, but maybe… Starting over and raising a family sounded good. Yeah, he’d do anything for cubs of his own. Besides, how bad could the alpha’s daughter be?
He met the king’s gaze. “I never refuse a dare.”
* * * *
To read the rest of the story, check out To Seduce an Omega by Kryssie Fortune: Available now at Loose Id: http://www.loose-id.com/scattered-siblings-4-to-seduce-an-omega.html, Amazon, ARe, and wherever fine ebooks are sold.