Mated in Darkness - Carrie Ann Ryan
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Mated in Darkness

Book 10 in the Talon Pack Series
Special Edition

As Tracker for the Redwood Pack, Kaylee Jamenson knows her duty. She’s seen war and heartache, but now the battle hits closer to home when a Packmate goes missing. With rogues on the rise, the Alphas of the Redwood and Talon Packs send her to find their lost wolf before all is lost.

Yet nothing is as it seems and as the hunt grows dangerous, so does the threat to her heart when fate throws a curveball in her path.

Her mate.

read an excerpt

Mated in Darkness is Book 10 in the Talon Pack series

Mated in Darkness Characters Profiles

Mated in Darkness

The wolf in front of me snarled and I glared at the stranger with red fur before I slid to the side, their claws raking down my skin. I cursed under my breath, rolled in the dirt, and shook off the pain.

Another wolf came at me, its dark fur sleek under the fading light, and pushed me to the ground before he jumped at the wolf who had clawed me.

I sighed, rolled my eyes, and got back up. “Conner, stop it.”

My twin didn’t pay me any attention, but I didn’t think he would.

This was why Conner and I were rarely on patrol together. The twin bond was a thing, and a growly over-protective twin brother who thought because he was a fraction more dominant than his baby sister that she needed protecting meant that the two of us should not be fighting together.

However, we were just out for a stroll, the two of us taking time between our shifts because we enjoyed each other’s presence.

It wasn’t our fault that the rogue had come at us—a rogue that we hadn’t even realized was out in the woods outside the Redwood Pack den.

My brother needed to remember that I was a dominant wolf, and I knew what I was doing. I was an enforcer for my cousin, Gina. She expected me to be able to fight, and I did. Conner was also an enforcer, and that meant he thought he needed to protect me at all times. No matter that I was bleeding, in quite a bit of pain, and my wolf kept batting at me.

Conner had shifted quickly, the ability coming to him faster than most of our generation. I didn’t have that kind of time, and so I had stayed in my human form.

Most wolves took at least a few minutes, if not longer, to shift into our wolf forms, but Conner could do it almost instantly if he needed to.

He’d be shit later, and he’d sleep hard and eat his weight in carbs and protein, but he could shift in a blink of an eye.

He’d seen the rogue come at us and shifted after stripping down quickly. He’d become his wolf at the exact moment I let my claws out to fight the wolf who’d lost his humanity and wanted to end our lives.

The Redwoods had been through more than one war to protect our people, as well as every single human, witch, and shifter on Earth.

I had been part of two of those wars, one against the humans when they had realized those things that went bump in the night were real.

The other against the Aspens when their former Alpha had tried to take down the Talons. The Talons were our allies, so much so we were practically one Pack at this point.

When they’d needed us, we’d fought alongside them. There had been losses, but we had done what we could to protect our people.

I pushed thoughts of the past from my mind and focused on the battle in front of me. The wolf seemed to be a lone wolf from the look of it, one who had gotten too close to their animal side and couldn’t find their way out. I could handle this on my own, yet Conner kept standing in my way.

We were usually a better team than this, but Conner was dealing with things in his own life that kept getting in the way of thinking—hence why he kept trying to save his poor little twin sister.

I snarled at my twin, knowing if I didn’t get my head in the game and protect his flank, both of us would be dead.

If Conner wasn’t going to let me fight completely, I would let him take the majority of it so he didn’t get hurt, and then I would kick my twin’s ass later.

If I didn’t kick his ass, one of our parents would. If they knew what Conner was doing now, they wouldn’t let him get away with it. Neither would any of our five siblings. Conner was the eldest, and right now, he was the jerk.

Conner let out a strained whine when the rogue bit at his flank and my claws went out, my fangs elongated, and I roared.

The ground shook beneath us at the sound and the rogue’s head twisted towards me.

That’s right, little wolf. I’m more dominant than you. More dominant than many of the wolves in our Pack.

I might be small, but I was mighty—at least according to my mother. That I was also in my thirties and I used that phrase didn’t matter.

This wolf had hurt my brother, and now, if we couldn’t control it, we’re going to have to end its life. That was the last thing we wanted, but the problem with this rogue was that its animal was too close to the surface, making it stronger and far more dangerous. That’s why it took enforcers and the strongest of the most dominant wolves in the Pack to take them down.

I leaped, taking the wolf to the ground in a quick movement. It let out a shocked gasp and groaned again, its entire body shaking. I cursed under my breath and held my arm around its neck as it twisted and turned.

Bone snapped, tendons tore, and the wolf let out another pained moan.

Relief slid through me for an instant, because this wolf was shifting back.

If they could shift back, that meant maybe we didn’t have to kill him.

The problem with rogues was that they killed indiscriminately, harming anyone in their path.

We were the protectors of this place, of the weaker shifters, of the witches, of the humans.

If we didn’t take care of the wolves, others could get hurt, and it could ruin the tableau that our peace was at the moment.

The wolf finally finished shifting as I held it down, and I found myself holding a naked man, covered in blood, and crying into his hands.

He finally passed out, and I looked up at Conner, who had changed back to human, and thankfully put on clothes. We were shifters and usually didn’t care about nudity, but he was my twin brother. There were things I didn’t need to see on a daily basis.

“We’ll get them back to the den.”

I nodded. “Did you call Dad?”

“Yeah, Dad’s on his way.”

Dad being Josh, while Reed was our Father.

We were the children of the Redwood Pack Triad, the legendary story of Reed’s, Hannah’s, and Josh’s romance bringing thrills to anyone who heard it.

There was even a movie coming out about their romance. As one intrepid reporter had heard about it through the grapevine and had written the story on their own, some of it was embellished, at least according to my mother, but most of it seemed a little too genuine.

Not that I needed to see the graphic scenes that were going to be the triad that are my parents.

I shook my head and pushed those thoughts from my mind.

“This is the fourth rogue this month,” I whispered, and Conner nodded, his jaw tightening.

After we had found peace with the Aspens, we had a little bit of time to breathe, but not enough.

The Aspen Pack was dealing with their new hierarchy and were being quiet. The Talons were the ones that dealt with them more often than we did, because they were closer in proximity and in connections. Though I was an enforcer for my cousin, I wasn’t in the hierarchy where it came to being ‘in the know’ for some things.

The little bit of peace hadn’t been enough for those that were too close to their animals. Rogues were all around the nation, and they were starting to attract news stories.

That was a problem because we shifters were out in the open now, and though our current president was a fan of shifters and had them in the family, he would be up for re-election soon, and laws could be changed.

We needed to act like the civilized shifters that we were to keep the peace that we so desperately craved.

If we weren’t careful, whatever was driving these rogues, if it were something beyond the Moon Goddess, would be trouble.

Thankfully, our wolves now had the Supreme Alphas, a mated pair in the Talons that I knew decently well, who were taking charge of it and making sure that the world knew that we were on top of things.

Our cousin, Parker, the Voice of the Wolves, was also in the thick of things. He was the shining face and beacon for all those who wanted to see a wolf in action with a smile. He was the one who connected the Packs across the world, as it was his role placed on him by the Moon Goddess.

He was also the one that was getting on my last nerve because he needed my power. He wanted me to use it more than I was, but since I still didn’t have complete control over it, that wasn’t easy.

Not out of hatred or selfishness, but because my power was special.

I could find anyone in the world once I got their scent, their sight, or a vision. My dad, Josh, was the same way, though he was human.

Out of all of us seven siblings, we’d each received something special from our parents.

As Reed was a wolf of immense power with beautiful talents in art, some of my siblings took a shine to him. Our mother, Hannah, was a powerful earth witch, possibly the most powerful earth witch in the country, and a couple of my siblings held an affinity for her magic as well.

I was the only one with Dad’s genes that held through.

That meant I would have to leave the den soon to help find a certain rogue, and one of our Packmates that had gone after him.

A Packmate we hadn’t heard from in far too long.

I felt the itch between my shoulder blades. I knew I would have to leave soon.

Only, something told me I wasn’t ready. Or maybe that was me telling myself I couldn’t be prepared.

Conner helped me subdue the man and ensure he wouldn’t wake up soon and hurt someone, and we covered him with my jacket.

I looked up into the tree line as Parker walked through, a couple of our fellow enforcers with him.

“Another one,” Parker whispered, his wolf in his gaze as the gold rim around his irises glowed.

I cringed. “Another one.”

“We’re running out of time, Kaylee.”

“Stop ordering her around,” Conner growled.

I rolled my eyes. “I can take care of myself, numbnuts.”

“Love the attitude, sister of mine,” he mumbled, and I let go of the rogue as the other enforcers took him from me.

Parker helped me up, frowning. “Come on. Kade wants to meet with us.”

My wolf stood at attention, keening for their Alpha.

Kade was my uncle, our Alpha, and a man that I truly loved. I loved our huge family, the way that we took care of one another, and were always there for each other no matter what.

I did not want to leave the den.

Only, I knew I was running out of time, and so were the rogues taking over the country.

Parker needed me to find our Packmate, to ensure that they weren’t one of the rogues out there. I knew that once I met with Kade, I would be under an Alpha’s orders, and there would be no going back.

I killed two rogues this month alone, and nearly had to kill a third. If the man unconscious in the truck in front of me didn’t wake sane, our Pack would have to kill him too.

A darkness was coming. I could feel it in my bones.

My Pack had been through hell and back, and all I wanted was peace, only I didn’t think it was coming.

My wolf was antsy, tired of staying here, needing to be free, needing to find a resolution that I was afraid would never come.

So I stood on the precipice of two choices, both paths I wasn’t ready to take.

Yet, I knew one would be laid before me, and I wouldn’t have a choice. I was the Tracker of the Redwood Pack, and it was my turn to protect those I loved.

No matter the cost.

end of excerpt

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