Fractured Silence - Carrie Ann Ryan
Carrie Ann Ryan Carrie Ann Ryan
Carrie Ann Ryan Carrie Ann Ryan

Fractured Silence

Book 5 in the Talon Pack Series

The Talon Pack continues with a dark secret that could shatter the future of the Packs, or save them all.

Parker Jamenson is the son of three Packs, the sole mediator between every Pack in the United States and Europe, and…he’s dying. He knows he doesn’t have much left in him and is in desperate need of a mate. But with the new and unyielding changes thanks to the Moon Goddess, he might not have as much time as he thinks.

Brandon Brentwood is the Omega of the Talon Pack and the youngest of his family. He’s not only one of the famed triplets; he’s also the most secretive. There’s a good reason for that, however, and when a shocking revelation meshes the past and present in a very unexpected way, he’ll look to not only Parker but also a disgraced human to save them all.

Avery Montag knows she’s the daughter of a traitor and doesn’t have much to give the wolves in the way of atonement. But she’ll do everything she can to pay for her father’s sins and find a way to end the war between the humans and the wolves.

When the three turn to each other in a time of unrest and for vastly different reasons, temptation burns and seduction beckons. Only, the past, present, and future are never as solid as they seem, and the path the trio thought to travel may just vanish before they’re ready.

 

read an excerpt

Fractured Silence is Book 5 in the Talon Pack series

Fractured Silence


Chapter One

Before

Parker Jamenson woke with a start as someone knocked on the door to the small cabin he’d been staying in for the duration of his visit to this particular European Pack. Using his wolf’s senses, he inhaled deeply, noting that the person on the other side of the door was one of the younger wolves that had shown him around when he’d first gotten there. He hadn’t met most of the Pack, as the people of the den hadn’t been too keen on his presence. He’d only just fallen asleep in the armchair fully clothed, exhausted from the trip.

He’d already spoken to the Alpha about coming together with the Redwoods in times of war, but the damn man hadn’t been too eager to reveal his existence to the world. All Alphas were required to meet with Parker as the Voice of the Wolves because he was goddess-touched, but that didn’t mean they had to listen. Hell, most of them would rather bury their heads in the sand and ignore what was going on around them. And while his own Pack might be older than most in the United States, the European Packs were ancient and set in their ways. No one wanted to deal with the fact that the humans were aware of the shifters’ existence, but Parker knew that soon, no one would have a choice.

He opened the door after a moment and nodded at the young woman on the other side. “Tatiana.”

She smiled coyly at him before licking her lips. He could scent her wolf brushing up against her skin, wanting touch, but Parker wasn’t interested. He just wanted to get this meeting with the elders over with and head back home. Her long, honey-colored hair had been in a braid when he’d first met her, but now it looked as if she’d brushed it out over her shoulders and back so it cascaded over her curves. She’d also put on a long, white, flowing dress instead of the tan one she’d worn when he’d shown up.

And though she looked to be his same age and her power felt even younger, she dressed as if she were some maiden from a bygone era on the hunt for a knight.

Parker would not be that knight—no matter how much those eyes of hers flashed yearning.

“Parker,” she breathed. “I’m to take you to the elder circle for your last meeting before you go.” A pause. “It’s a shame we didn’t have more time to get to know one another while you were here. I understand you leave in the morning, but perhaps the meeting won’t take long, and I can show you more of the grounds. I’m sure your wolf could use some exercise.” She smiled. “And though it’s not a full moon, there’s just enough moonlight for the run to be…thrilling.”

He held back a chuckle that wanted to spill out since that would have been rude. She wasn’t hiding anything she wanted, and while he might have appreciated that on another day, he just wanted to go home. Besides, his wolf wasn’t interested in the woman in front of him, and while that might not matter for a quick night of heat, he didn’t have it in him to ignore his wolf tonight. Maybe I’m getting older, and in need of a mate, he thought. Or maybe he was just tired and missed his family. Either way, Tatiana wasn’t for him.

“I’m afraid I will have to get ready to head out after the elder circle.” He held back a frown at the crestfallen look on her face. They hadn’t said more than a few words before this, and though he was a new wolf to her, he wasn’t the only healthy adult male wolf around.

“I understand,” she said softly. “Follow me, then.” She turned without another word, but he didn’t miss the extra sway to her hips—an invitation if he were to change his mind.

Keeping his thoughts to himself so he wouldn’t inadvertently hurt her again if he were to change his mind—which he wouldn’t—he followed her through the winding, dirt paths of the den toward the oldest part at the edge of the center. It made sense that this was where the elders chose to live—just slightly outside the most used part of the den for privacy but not near the edge in case of an attack. As elders, they were to not only be respected but also protected.

Tatiana left Parker with a nod, and he bent to walk under a low-lying branch so he could make it to the elder’s circle. Encircling the firepit were seven older wolves of various sizes—three women and four men. At his entry, they all looked up as a unit and stared at him.

If he hadn’t seen his own elders do this before, he would have been creeped out. Elder wolves were those who had either lost their mates long ago or had never been mated, so they didn’t have a connection to the new world or the Pack except through their bonds to the Alpha and those in the hierarchy. After living for centuries, some wolves could no longer deal with the drastic changes of society and chose to cloister themselves. Many of the wolves held immense power on their own because of their age and used that strength to protect the Pack in any way they could.

Parker looked back at the elders respectfully. Though each of the wolves had at least two centuries on him, none of them looked a day over thirty-five. Wolf genetics never ceased to amaze him and he’d been born a wolf.

“Parker Jamenson, of the Redwoods,” the woman closest to him said after a moment. “Welcome. I am Aurora. We’re pleased you were able to take the time to meet with us before you head out on your journey home.”

Parker bowed his head in deference. “I will always meet with my elders, Aurora. To ignore those who have lived the past is to ignore what the future may bring.”

She smiled softly at his words and gestured for him to sit down before introducing him to the others. He kept their names in the back of his mind, but he knew that it was Aurora who led here, and she would be the one to speak.

“We’ve asked you to join us because we believe we have something that once belonged to your people. Your line.”

Parker’s eyes widened. “The Redwoods?” How did something of theirs find its way here?

“Not that line.” Aurora’s eyes went gold, her wolf rising to the surface. “The line of the first hunter. You are the son of the son of the son of the line of the first hunter, are you not?”

Parker froze. Not many people knew that his family came from that line. In fact, he’d only recently learned that his ancestor was the first human to be made into a wolf by the moon goddess as a punishment for what the man had done to defenseless prey. She’d forced the man to become the thing he killed for sport, compelled him to share a soul with that of a wolf. From there, new wolves were made, and shifters were born.

His uncle, Logan, had dealt with horrible side effects from that past, but other than his strength, Parker hadn’t really thought about what that meant. Logan had been far too aggressive even at a young age, and it had taken him years to learn how to fully control his wolf. He, like Parker, had also had to learn how to use their strength wisely when they’d been mere pups and still had to deal with some bursts of overextension some days. The family bloodline was diluted over time, and Parker had had more recent issues with it thanks to his birth father. His mother might be of the line of their honorable ancestors and campfire stories, but his birth father had been one of nightmares. He’d never truly met the man as he’d been young when Corbin died, but he knew the stories. Knew that the former Central Alpha had killed countless in his quest for power.

He pushed that thought out of his head, as he knew just letting it in would enrage him.

“I’m of that line, yes,” he answered after a moment. No need to lie as he had a feeling these wolves knew far more than this. “What did you find?” he asked.

Aurora nodded at one of the male wolves after Parker had spoken. The male stood up with shaky hands, a large box wrapped in cloth clasped between them.

Aurora took it gently from him. “This box is made of the woods of our people—Redwood, Aspen, Oak, and so forth. It is said those first Packs, along with the first ever, came together to make it.”

Parker frowned. “What’s in the box?”

“Open it and see.”

Though his wolf had stood at attention as soon as they’d mentioned the box, it wasn’t until Aurora unwrapped it—keeping her hands on the cloth rather than the wood—that his wolf howled.

He frowned. “I’m not going to open something I haven’t looked into with wolves I don’t know. I’m sorry if that’s disrespectful, but that just doesn’t seem like a good idea to me.”

Aurora’s eyes flashed, but he had a feeling it was more out of respect than anger. “It’s good you’re cautious. That will help.”

“Help what?”

“There is a prophecy,” she said after a moment.

He blinked. “A prophecy?” Why did he feel like he’d suddenly jumped into an old Indiana Jones movie?

Aurora’s eyes unfocused as she spoke in a deeper voice.

A wolf of three Packs can break their will or unite them all.

Once united, the Packs will reveal

If broken, the Packs will fall…”

Parker’s wolf rushed to the surface at her words, and he tried to blink, attempted to reach out and catch the woman as she fell forward after she’d finished speaking. Only he felt as if he were moving slower than usual, his mind not quite where it should be. His hand brushed the top of the box, and it slid to the ground, opening on impact.

He looked down, his head going fuzzy, his mouth dry.

An ancient dagger, or perhaps the tip of a spear, rolled out of the box amidst a dust cloud that slapped at his face.

“The weapon of the first hunter,” Aurora croaked before passing out completely. The others surrounded them, yet he could do nothing but try to keep himself upright.

Parker tried to speak but couldn’t force his mouth to work. Instead, his body broke out in a cold sweat, and he fell face-first to the ground.

The last thing he thought about before passing out was his family.

They weren’t here to help him.

No one was here to help him.

He was all alone.

And it was his fault.

Again.

 

 

Now

 

 

The world hadn’t ended, but it damn well felt as if it were on the brink of something cataclysmic. Parker swirled the aged scotch in his glass, wondering why he’d been all the way over in Europe and not home in his den, helping his Pack through the end of the world.

Through their Unveiling.

He’d watched the screen with the rest of the world as their Pack’s ally, the Talon Pack, fought for their lives and were forced out into the open. Shifters were real and had been living amongst the humans for far longer than anyone could have imagined.

And when the witches were forced out into the open thanks to greed and death, Parker had been on his own once again, far away from home. Deep inside, he knew that even if he had been home, nothing would have changed. He was just one wolf against a world that had come to the point in their existence when they could no longer accept the secrets that had alluded them for centuries. Yet he hadn’t been by his family members’ sides through their struggles. He’d missed countless matings, births, and losses, but he knew he couldn’t change a damn thing. He was on an important mission—far greater than one man, one Pack. Though that didn’t make things any easier.

He sighed, the melancholy running through his veins sickening.

He might not have been home when the war started, but he knew now that he was home, he could do something. He’d spent years visiting the Packs to reaffirm their ties to each other so he could return to the Redwoods. And while technology had advanced tremendously, and Parker should have been able to do all of it via satellite, he knew that none of the wolves of old would allow that. Meetings of such importance and tradition had to be done face-to-face so their wolves could assert their relative strength of dominance.

Parker was born of three Packs, the son of a traitor on one side and a fighter on the other. His wolf was far more dominant than many of the Alphas he’d met, and yet, he knew he would never be Alpha. He didn’t want to. He was born to be a mediator thanks to the blood in his veins, and that was what he did now as the Voice of the Wolves.

With a sigh, he rolled his head over his shoulders and thought of what it felt like to be home. After leaving for each meeting with the elders and Alphas of other Packs, he knew he’d return to his families different than how he’d left them.

From what his family had told him, the Redwoods and the Talons were slowly becoming one Pack through their treaties and matings. Perhaps that’s best, Parker thought. With the war reaching a tipping point with the humans, perhaps having two Alphas with the strength of two Packs behind them would give the wolves a chance. It wasn’t about sheer strength anymore, and most of the wolves he’d met with had understood that. They needed diplomacy, as well as backdoor deals with higher officials—something they’d slowly been working into place over time. Humans didn’t know that the wolves had infiltrated their inner workings, wearing sheep’s clothing of politicians and lobbyists in Washington. Between using real wolves who blended in so well that unless you scented them you couldn’t tell they had a predator prowling beneath their skin, and human mates of wolves with connections, their kind had people in the right places within the government to ensure that they wouldn’t be outright slaughtered.

They’d seen the writing on the wall years ago and had done what they could to ensure that their people wouldn’t die at the hands of those who didn’t understand them. Yet, Parker wasn’t sure it would be enough.

He wasn’t sure he would be enough.

And that was enough of that. He didn’t have time to wallow, not anymore. He stood up and stretched before downing the rest of his scotch and deciding he needed a walk outside to clear his mind. It wasn’t as if the alcohol would do much for him thanks to his wolf metabolism. He just liked the taste. He’d spent a few days at his parents’ home, but he knew it was time to leave. It wasn’t safe for them if he stayed, and he’d tempted fate long enough.

It wasn’t safe for anyone.

Parker coughed, annoyed that he’d let that weakness slip, but he couldn’t help it. His body was failing him, and there would only be so much time before he’d have to tell his family the truth about what had happened when he was away. Thankfully, he stood on a path near his parents’ home in the Redwood den and not somewhere more populous, but wolves had too keen ears most days.

His parents’ the keenest.

“Are you done moping?” his younger brother, Blake, asked as he strolled toward him. “You’ve been here a few days now, and yet I’ve only seen you growl and brood like some teenage heartthrob trying to get a girl.”

“I don’t brood,” he said calmly, holding back a smile at Blake’s words. Parker had been sixteen when his sister Isabelle was born, and eighteen when Blake came along. Though they were technically half-siblings, it hadn’t much mattered in how they treated each other. He’d been calling North his father since the man mated his mother, and no blood ties could change that.

“You brood. Often.” Blake stuck his hands in his pockets and rocked back on his heels. “You’re really going to live with the Talons? You just got here, Park, and now you’re jet-setting off again.”

Parker resisted the urge to rub a hand over his heart at the hurt in Blake’s tone. “It’s for the best, Blake.”

Blake’s brows furrowed. “You keep saying that, but you never tell us why. You just say you should be another liaison since you’re part of the council with the Talons, but hell, you can do that kind of thing in our den, can’t you?”

Parker had been part of the original council formed over fifteen years ago that had brokered the first settlings of true partnership between the Redwoods and Talons. Though other members had come and gone, he’d always been a part of it—even if he hadn’t been in the den for long periods of time.

“I have to go, Blake.” His words were low, not a growl but close. He couldn’t tell them why he couldn’t stay, but they had to know it was for a good reason. He wouldn’t leave them otherwise.

Isabelle bounced over, her long, brown hair flowing behind her. While Parker might look somewhat like the two younger wolves, Isabelle and Blake looked like twins—even if they were two years apart. He still couldn’t believe his baby brother and sister were adults in their early twenties now, with positions in the Pack and everything.

Time flew when you had the potential to live centuries.

“Mom and Dad said you’d packed the car already,” Isabelle said as she went to his side. Parker immediately backed away, hating himself for the hurt he’d put on her face. “Crap. Sorry, I forgot.” She gave him a searching look and then leaned into Blake as he put his arm around her shoulders.

“That’s why I need to go,” Parker said suddenly, aware he would say too much if he weren’t careful. He hadn’t hugged his family or gone wolf with them in the two days he’d been back. While he might be standing right then and able to breathe, whatever had been in or on that box back at the European den had shaken him. And if it was because of the blood in his veins, there was no way he’d spread it to the other members of his family.

“I know you’re not going far, but you’ll call, right?” Isabelle asked, her eyes filling. She was a submissive wolf, one that needed to be protected above all others, though he knew she had a spine of steel, as well. Blake, on the other hand, was a dominant like Parker.

Hence the fire in the younger man’s eyes.

“Every day,” Parker promised. “Every damn day.”

Isabelle raised her chin. “Good. Because I’ll kick your butt if you don’t.” A pause. “Or I’ll get Blake to do it and distract you so it actually works.”

“Hey,” Blake put in, clearly offended. “I don’t need a distraction to take Parker down.”

Parker held back a smile as the two play-fought, knowing he needed to find a cure for whatever ailed him, and soon. There was no way he’d be able to live with himself if he lost his siblings because of what had happened to him.

Knowing he couldn’t hug them goodbye, he said his farewells softly, having already done so with his parents earlier. Neither of them had probed too much into the reasons Parker needed to be away, which had surprised him. At least until later when North had cornered him.

“We know enough about secrets, Park,” North had said softly. “Goddess knows our family has had enough of them. Just know that we’re here for you. Always.”

It had taken everything inside him for Parker to leave after that.

But he had no choice.

Not then, and surely not now.

After leaving the others staring at his retreat, Parker drove the distance to the Talon den. Over time, the distance had shortened as the dens grew and the neutral area between them became smaller. There were other ways to get into the dens that were hidden from humans, but the stretch of road he was on now was constantly patrolled and relatively safe. Still, his wolf was on alert just in case.

Thankfully, the trip was uneventful and left Parker to his thoughts. Though, really, he probably shouldn’t be left alone with those as often as he was. As he was waved through the sentries and wards that kept the den safe, he noticed how much had been cleaned up since the battle that had cost everyone so much. He’d literally stepped off the plane and into the chaos of his best friend’s and cousin’s mating, kidnapping, and the battle that had included a freaking tank.

He’d fought alongside the Talon wolves, and a certain wolf in particular, who apparently couldn’t stand the sight of him. That would make living in the den near him interesting.

Gideon, the Talon Alpha, waited for him as Parker turned off his vehicle. He slid out of the car and closed the door behind him. While Parker knew his wolf was dominant, he had nothing on Gideon. The wolf bled power and strength, and yet he’d mated Parker’s very submissive cousin.

It never failed to surprise Parker how the moon goddess and fate liked to test the waters of the impossible.

“Good to see you, Parker,” the Alpha said, holding out his hand.

Parker shook it, his wolf bowing his head. There was a clear line of dominance here, and he wasn’t about to mess with anything as he was just a guest.

“Thanks for letting me stay.” And for not asking questions.

Gideon shrugged. “Over the past couple of years, a few of my wolves have ended up either in matings or close enough friendships that they now live in the Redwood den and vice versa. It’s not a hardship to have a strong wolf living with us.” Gideon met Parker’s eyes, and Parker did his best not to flinch. Hell, this guy was an Alpha, much like Parker’s uncle, Kade. “And you know how to behave and not get into dominance fights in the middle of another den with your position as Voice of the Wolves. So we’re not going to have any trouble.”

If that wasn’t a warning, Parker didn’t know what was.

“Either way, thank you.”

Gideon nodded. “With so many of our people back in the den since the Unveiling, we’re short on extra single bunks. I’m putting you with another wolf who could use a roommate.”

There wasn’t a question anywhere in that statement, so Parker didn’t nod in agreement, but he couldn’t help but ask the question, “And they’re fine with me staying with them?”

Gideon snorted, a smile playing on his face that didn’t make him look any less deadly. Seriously, how did Brie deal with the man on a daily basis? And with her pregnant, Parker assumed he just got worse as the months progressed.

“He will be.”

Hairs on the back of his neck stood up. “Who exactly am I staying with?”

“Brandon, my younger brother. The Omega of our Pack.”

Parker froze. Brandon. The wolf he’d saved on the battlefield…and the one wolf he knew couldn’t stand the sight of him.

Yes, this was definitely going to be interesting.

end of excerpt

Reviews of Fractured Silence

“"Wild, sweet, and sexy. Fractured Silence proves that true love comes in all forms."”

Audrey Carlan, #1 NYT Bestselling Author

“Carrie Ann Ryan knows how to get you to feel for the characters in her worlds then makes you bleed right along with them. Get sucked in and get ready for the future with this terrific story.”

In My Humble Opinion

“There are plenty of twists and turns for the triad as well as all of the wolf packs. This is the grand finale of the story arc that Carrie Ann has been leading us up to in all of the previous books in the series. And what a whopper it is.”

Goodreads Reviewer

I loved this triad's story and can't wait to read more!

Goodreads Reviewer

“I love this series it always has such a great story line that you can really get your teeth into, and sexy scenes that nearly melted my kindle.”

Petunia's Book Blog

“Ms. Ryan pulled out all the stops with this one between all the action and drama, ripping our hearts out, intense heat that scorched the pages and the awesome finish to a story line that has continued through several books.”

Goodreads Reviewer

“WOW! What an ending to a story line!”

Goodreads Reviewer

“WOW!!!! Action, suspense, love and lust. I couldn't put it down, it grabbed my attention from the get go, that I read it in one sitting!”

Goodreads Reviewer

FRACTURED SILENCE is the fifth installment in Carrie Ann Ryan's TALON PACK series. It was mind-blowing, steamy, emotional and filled with unexpected twists and turns. Carrie Ann Ryan had me hooked from start to finish. Two thumbs up and five fan-freakin-tastic stars.”

Goodreads Reviewer