Taken By The Alpha (Timber Valley Pack)

By: Georgette St. Clair

Chapter One

Deep in the forests of Colorado, in a town which doesn’t appear on any human maps…

“I think we’re in trouble.” Joy’s tone was nervous as she glanced across the town square. “Hot-but-douchey alert at two o’clock.”

Katrina glanced across the square. “There’s no-one at two o’clock.”

Joy pointed a perfectly manicured finger across the broad sweep of green, past the white latticework gazebo where bands played in the summer, past the families sitting at picnic tables.

“That’s ten o’clock,” Katrina said impatiently. They didn’t have time for this. They needed to make this shopping trip a quick one and hurry back to their pack property, or things could get ugly. “I swear, woman, how does a shifter have such a bad sense of direction? You’d think - ” She froze. “Oh, cowflops.”

Joy was pointing at Maddox “Mad Dog” Killingworth, who was standing near the park benches on the far end of the town square, with half a dozen members of his pack.

Katrina felt a flutter of nervousness run through her. Yesterday Maddox, the Alpha of the Killingworth pack, had issued an edict saying that the Mordhaus pack was no longer allowed to visit Greenville – ever. They were banned. Apparently her stepfather’s nephews had gotten in to some kind of argument the last time they’d come to town, and because of that, Maddox had felt he had the right to actually ban her pack from town forever.

Except that was crap. Greenville had always been shared by both packs. It was the only shifter town within two hundred miles, and shifters tended to avoid human towns whenever possible – there was always the risk of exposure. Sure, the Mordhaus pack had enough resources on their land to live off of forever, but that wasn’t the point. They didn’t have grocery stores, clothing stores, coffee shops, movie theaters, book stores, gift shops, all the things that made life worth living.

She’d been waiting for her stepfather, Roman Coffman, to issue a Death Challenge since the moment they’d been told of the ban. She was surprised he hadn’t even addressed the issue with the pack yet; that kind of ban was a direct insult to Roman and his authority.

The Killingworth pack and her stepfather’s pack had been clashing more and more, ever since her stepfather took over. Property line disputes. Fistfights and barfights. Accusations of her pack’s alleged misbehavior in town, which Roman had explained were just excuses and lies intended to discredit them.

She looked across the square. How would she feel if her stepfather killed Maddox? A Death Match seemed inevitable; if not over the ban, then over something else, and soon. Roman couldn’t continue allowing Maddox to challenge his authority.

She’d known Maddox since high school, although because of their pack rivalry, she’d always avoided him – and admired from afar. He’d been the hot guy that all the girls swooned over, the sure bet to take over the Killingworth pack after his father passed away. And so he had.

Unfortunately, he was turning out to be an asshole and a bully, trying to assert his dominance and hem her pack in at every turn.

Who would win? Maddox was the only Alpha she knew of who might actually have a chance against her stepfather. So far, both her stepfather and Maddox were undefeated in every death challenge they’d taken place in. It would be a close contest.

Her mind flashed back to the Death Challenge that Roman had issued to her own father, three years earlier. He’d won that like he’d won all of his other challenges. She mourned her father’s death and personally couldn’t stand Roman, but she’d been forced to accept him as the pack’s new leader. That was the way of life for shifters. Her own mother hadn’t just accepted him; she’d accepted his offer of marriage.

“I bet they came to town today to make sure none of us come here. And I really wanted some new shoes.” Joy gazed longingly at the Such A Heel shop across the square. To get there, they’d have to pass right by Maddox’s pack, which would probably be a bad idea. “They have a sale.” Her lower lip jutted out.

“My stepfather will put a stop to this soon enough,” Katrina said, scowling.

“So Roman definitely didn’t say we’re not allowed to be here? Right?” Joy sounded anxious, which was understandable. Nobody wanted to be seen as disobeying their Alpha.

“I would have told you. He hasn’t said anything yet.”

Maybe coming in to town hadn’t been the best idea, but Maddox’s ridiculous order had sparked her rebellious nature – the nature that her mother continually despaired of, because she wanted Katrina to behave like a proper lady and a perfect potential mate for an Alpha.

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