Home > Golden (The Golden Wolf Book 1)

Golden (The Golden Wolf Book 1)
Author: Shannon Mayer





Fuck me sideways with a fork



The dreams were always the same, though calling them dreams was maybe a bit of a stretch. That place between sleep and waking, where memories you’d rather not remember lived, that was where I was, stuck, unable to move forward or back.

Just like every other night.

Even though I could feel the soft flannel sheets around me, the steady rumble of my cat purring as he lay across my chest, there were also other sensations that hailed from the past—the ones that held me tighter even than the present.

The staccato pop, pop, pop of Richard’s gun, the rush of air as I tried to throw myself to one side. Bullets laced with silver slamming into me. Right hip. Center of my belly. Left shoulder. My body spinning with the concussive force. I landed face down in the mud of the riverbank, pain numbing my mind. I should have fought them harder. Should have figured out what they were up to. I turned down one of my older brother’s advances, I should have known he would get rid of me. Fear and shame raged a war inside of me.

My fingers clutched at the sheets, and I scrunched my eyes harder, as if that would push the memories back and allow me to go to sleep.

But how could I have known that my own brothers would try to kill me? Even in our family, that was an extreme response. Or at least that’s what I’d thought. The warmth of the blood, the sting of the bullets. I held my breath. There were times to fight, and times to hide. This was the latter, and both me and my wolf knew it.

“That should do it. Shove her in the river,” Kieran said. “Bitch should have known her place.”

A booted foot slammed into my side, flipping me over a full three hundred and sixty degrees so I was facedown again, only this time in the edge of the water.

My hip, belly, and shoulder were on fire, as if a flame had been set to a pool of gasoline. The silver was flooding my system, slowing my heart, and casting a fog over my mind. Kieran didn’t have to waste any more of the bullets that were so hard to come by. Silver poisoning would do me in with a single bullet given enough time.

Another kick, the crack of my shoulder blade as I was booted fully into the river. I rolled with the current as my lungs burned. Face up, I dared to open my eyes. The images were unclear through the water, but I knew the faces. I’d known them my whole life, but perhaps…I’d never truly known them at all.

This was the hardest part of the dream, worse than the bullets or the fear of dying. No, reliving that moment when all my worst fears were confirmed about myself was the one that bit deep. I wasn’t truly part of the family. I never had been part of the pack despite my parents being the alphas. I was the mistake, the oops, the turn your head and look away after Mother had an indiscretion that led to my birth. I’d never felt that truth so keenly as in that moment.

Richard, my oldest brother. Kieran, my second oldest brother. It was the third face that hurt the worst. Shipley was just a little older than me, the one person in my family I’d thought I could rely on and trust. The one brother I’d thought was my friend.

“Get rid of her,” Shipley said, his voice wobbling through the water. “Or Mom will have our hides. You should never have tried to fuck her.”

“You heard Mom; either she submitted to me, or she was out,” Kieran snarled. “She had one chance to stay in the pack, that was it.”

I jerked out of that in-between limbo as the remembered sensation of cold water rushed over me, the bouncing of my body against the rocks along the bottom of the river. My hands went to the scars on my left breast, just above my heart, tracing the ripples in my skin. Not much could leave a scar on a werewolf, silver shrapnel did the trick pretty nicely though.

My sheets were soaked with sweat and my pillow with the tears I’d shed while sleeping. Fucking-A. I could tell myself the sweat soaked sheets were from the muggy summer air, but the tears on my pillow were harder to explain away.

I leaned over to the fat gray cat lying stretched out on his half of the bed, obviously he’d gotten tired of my thrashing. “Will it ever stop, Martin? Don’t answer that, I know, I know.” I ran a hand over his sleek fur, and he opened one eye and gave me a rather disgusted look before going back to sleep with a yawn and a twitch of his tail. If he could have talked, I could only imagine what he’d say.

Probably something along the lines of ‘take a Prozac and stop bothering me’.

Martin was used to my thrashing at night. A cat who didn’t mind werewolves was a rare thing. Then again, we’d both nearly died in the river together that night. That was the kind of thing that bonded two beings together.

Running my hands over his fur, I let myself go back through the rest of my near death experience, try to pick out the bits and pieces that were good. To find the bright spots.

Sitting on the edge of my bed, I gathered Martin into my arms. “Remember how we met, Martin? I was washed up on the edge of the river, must have been at least ten miles away from where they dumped me. And that miserable old biddy, she had you in a sack, and was swinging you around in it?”

Martin yowled and tipped his head back, teeth chattering. I laughed. “I know. What a bitch, right? And she had the nerve to throw you into the river, with a brick tied to your sack!”

He growled and tried to burrow his head in the blankets. Meowing away, as if in answer to me.

She’d seen me and gotten scared and ran away, dropping the sack with Martin at my head. Mind you, I was probably pale as a fresh sheet of snow. I could still smell the burlap, feel it under my fingers if I thought about it. Martin had come out hissing and spitting mad. Seen me and had gone still. He’d licked my face and bounded away.

“But there are still good people in the world,” I said softly. “Good people found us, Martin. That has to mean something, right?”

Two hunters out early had found me and Martin. Or more accurately, Martin had impossibly brought them back to me. They’d gathered me up and taken me to the nearest hospital.

Yeah, I know werewolves and hospitals don’t normally mix, but there are always exceptions. The hospital near the pack had a couple of doctors who were in the know, and still kept the confidences of their less than human patients. Human themselves, but they’d had training in dealing with supernaturals. Martin began to purr again, making biscuits in the thick feather stuffed duvet.

I scratched him down his spine, then checked the clock on the bedside table.

Early, it was stupid early. Ass crack of dawn, nobody was going to be up for hours, that kind of early. Didn’t matter, I knew I wouldn’t be going back to sleep, even after my mini therapy session with Martin. I padded through to the bathroom and flicked the shower on full cold. That was the best thing at this point.

Stepping into the freezing spray, I gasped but held still as the water pounded over me, prickling my skin and sweeping away the fear- and pain-laced sweat. Not body pain, I’d healed from that years ago, but heart pain. It was a real bitch, and it seemed that the more I tried to put it behind me, the more it bubbled up. But let me tell you, trying to find a therapist for a middle-aged werewolf dealing with a murderous family wasn’t as easy as it sounded.

Drying off, I dressed in jeans, over-the-knee boots with a lovely thick poof of black fur at the top of them, a long-sleeved flowy top that I tucked in just at the button of my jeans. The cream color was not something I’d wear to any other job, but this one allowed me to be a bit more… feminine.

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