Book 4 in the Redwood Pack Series
Maddox Jamenson is the Omega of the Redwood Pack, the one burdened by emotions stronger than his own. He’s spent his entire life shrouded in the secrets of his “gift” and the price he has to pay to keep it, yet the cost just escalated. He’s known a mate could be in the cards for him, but he can’t have what he wants. Not when the battles he has yet to fight could destroy her.
Ellie Reyes was the Central’s princess, the daughter of the most hated Alpha of all time, yet not prized. No, she’s spent her life as the toy of her brother’s sadistic torture and has endured a pain that no one else should have to even contemplate. Though when she’s rescued, the one person who could help her, her mate, turns his back on her for reasons unknown to her. As each day passes, the strength that everyone sees in her dwindles to a point that there may be no coming back from.
When the Centrals find a new way to attack, leaving Ellie’s only protection a mate that she doesn’t think wants her, they’ll both have to overcome their fears and fight for something stronger than their pain. The war isn’t over and new players are coming that will decide the outcome. Maddox and Ellie’s connection will be tested even as their fragile bond is only newly forming.
Shattered Emotions is Book 4 in the Redwood Pack series
- Book 0.5: An Alpha’s Path
- Book 1: A Taste for a Mate
- Book 2: Trinity Bound
- Book 2.5: A Night Away
- Book 3: Enforcer’s Redemption
- Book 3.5: Blurred Expectations
- Book 3.7: Forgiveness
- Book 4: Shattered Emotions
- Book 5: Hidden Destiny
- Book 5.5: A Beta’s Haven
- Book 6: Fighting Fate
- Book 6.5: Loving the Omega
- Book 6.7: The Hunted Heart
- Book 7: Wicked Wolf
- Boxed Set: Redwood Pack Box Set 1
The full series reading order is as follows:
Maddox Jamenson ran a hand through his too-long hair and looked out onto the land that had for so long called to his family and Pack. The tall trees weren’t redwoods, but damn close because they seemingly touched the clouds, reaching for something that he didn’t even know if he needed. He looked over his shoulder at the sound of the party he was late to, but ignored it.
They’d just have to wait a bit longer.
The cool October air tickled the back of his neck, sending shivers down his body, though those shivers didn’t just come from nature. No, the power he held as the Omega of the Redwood Pack drained then filled him with more emotion than he should have been able to take.
Being the Omega was his job, his destiny. He could feel every emotion from his Pack, every need, want, desire, and heartache. It was up to him to block it all out or take it in and try to help.
One day he’d take a break from it though.
Step away from the Pack and the den, if only for a moment.
If only to breathe.
He held back a laugh. No, that wouldn’t be any time soon. Not in a time of war and strife. In a time of loss and new life within his own family.
He was Maddox—he’d stay where he needed to be.
Alone, but surrounded.
He was so freaking tired, and he really didn’t know why.
Thoughts of dark eyes and an even darker past flashed through his mind, and he closed his eyes.
Oh, yeah, that’s why he was so tired.
“Mad?” Cailin, his baby sister, called as she came up to stand beside him.
Maddox looked down at her striking beauty, her black-blue hair and stunning Jamenson-green eyes. Even though she was only in her twenties, he knew he’d have to start fighting off potential mates soon. No way was he going to let his little sister get hurt.
“What is it, Cai?” he asked as he wrapped his arm around her shoulders. Unlike the rest of his family, he wasn’t that comfortable with touching others. He’d held Bay when she’d needed him after the birth of her son, but he didn’t like hugging anyone else—except his sister.
And maybe her…
No, never her…
“Why are you out here standing all alone?” she asked. She leaned into his hold, loneliness, a common emotion with her, leached off her and seeped into his chaotic hold on his own emotions.
He shrugged, not really knowing the answer. He’d always preferred to be alone, especially these days. The feelings that came from being the Omega fell on his shoulders with a heavy still silence that never went away.
Cailin scoffed, and he was pretty sure he could feel her rolling her eyes. She wasn’t very subtle.
“You need to stop moping, brother mine.”
“I’m not moping,” he countered.
“Oh, shut up. You’ve been moping since you-know-who came you-know-where.”
“Oh, my, however shall I figure out that code of yours?” he teased, not liking that she saw right through him.
“Well, I could say her name for you if you’re that lost.” This time a happier emotion drifted from her. She smiled, and he pinched her arm.
“Hey! I’m going to tell Mom!” She rubbed her arm and stuck her tongue out.
Maddox threw his head back and laughed—something he hadn’t done much of lately. “Oh, my God, you’re like twelve.”
“I’m not going to argue with you.”
“Why are we fighting?” she asked and smiled again.
“Because you’re a pest and my baby sister.”
Cailin let out a breath. “I really wish all of you would stop calling me your baby sister. It’s not like I’m in diapers anymore. I’m a woman.”
Maddox closed his eyes and groaned. “Don’t remind me.”
“Hey! I don’t understand what your problem is. Kade and Jasper went out all the time and found women. Reed found men and women. Adam wasn’t a monk before Anna. You’ve had your fair share, even if you’re hiding most of it. And, North…well, I don’t really want to think about what North’s up to.”
Maddox shook his head, trying to get the images of North doing whatever the hell he did out of his mind. In fact, he tried to keep his twin out of his mind more often than not, especially lately when the betrayal that was of his own making tasted too fresh. He’d been the one to push them together so he’d be the one to deal with it.
“You’re not allowed to date,” Maddox ordered, ignoring the pain that came with thinking of North.
Cailin leveled a look at him. “Um, I think I am, and I have been dating if you haven’t noticed.”
Rage filled him, his fists clenching as his heart raced. “What? Who? What little prick do I have to kill?”
Cailin threw up her arms and stomped away before she turned around, stomped right back, and got in his face.
“You see? This is why I don’t mention it. I’m a woman. Not a girl. A woman. I’ve dated humans and wolves. Not that I’d let you know who. Oh, and I’m not a virgin. Just so you know.”
Maddox covered his ears with his hands and hummed.
No, there was no way his baby sister was talking about…well…sex.
No. Freaking. Way.
“Sex. Maddox. Sex. Sex. Sex.”
“Stop it, Cailin!”
“Oh, my God! You’re such a prude!”
“And you’re too young to have sex.”
“Oh, shut up. It’s not like I’m screwing every man I see.”
Maddox closed his eyes again and prayed for patience. “I would hope not. We’re already in a war with the Centrals. We don’t need to kill our own Pack members.”
Cailin rolled her eyes. “You need to grow up. Okay? I’m being safe—with my body and my heart. I haven’t found a mate yet, and my wolf is just now starting to want one. When it happens, I don’t want my brothers beating him up.”
“I’m not making any promises. You have six of us, plus Josh. Not to mention what the women will do. Oh, yeah, and our folks.”
“I know, hence why I’m telling you.” Acceptance seeped off her, giving him another taste of emotion.
“I don’t want to think about you and a man. Okay?”
“Fine, don’t think about it. Just don’t get in the way. Now, do we want to talk about your mating?”
“No.” Hell freaking no.
“No. Now, I’m going to go talk to Dad,” he said as he brushed by her.
“Maddox Jamenson! Don’t you dare tell Daddy what we talked about!”
“You know, you only call him Daddy when you’re in trouble.”
“Oh, shut up. Don’t you dare tell him I had sex.”
“You’ll have to catch me first.” He took off at a run, Cailin chasing behind him at full steam, which was difficult in the dress she wore for the party they were late to.
He wouldn’t actually tell his dad. Some things were sacred, though if some bastard thought he could touch Maddox’s baby sister, that would be another story. He’d have to do some digging on his own—after the party.
Cailin jumped on his back and wrapped her arms around his neck. “Don’t, Maddox!”
He laughed, even though she was blocking his air. She released her hold, and he tossed her to the ground. She glared at him from below him, her dress pooling around her and her eyes glowing gold as her wolf rose to the surface.
“I won’t, lady bug butt.”
“I hate when you call me that. And you got my dress dirty.”
“You’re the baby, get over it. They’re used to seeing you in mud. You’re a tomboy, even if you try to hide it.”
“I hate you, Maddox.”
“Love you, too, lady bug butt.”
Maddox gripped her hand and picked her up off the ground as they both walked toward the den center where Adam and Bay’s belated mating ceremony was being held. They’d have to be ready to smile and act like the two of them—Maddox and Cailin—were perfectly happy being the few unmated Jamensons. Even if it was of his own choice in his case.
His baby sister had put a smile on his face, even though she gave him more worries than he needed at his age. Maybe everything would be okay.
He spotted a wisp of dark hair out of the corner of his eye and froze.
Well, hell, maybe not that okay.
North, his twin, walked up to him, the object of Maddox’s pain on his arm. He and North looked almost identical with the same too-long sandy blond hair, same jade-green eyes, same athletic build.
North, however, was missing the jagged scar on the right side of his face.
Not that Maddox would have ever wanted his brother subjected to that.
Not for anything his twin had done in the past, present, or future.
He still loved the man, even if it hurt to look at him.
“Oh good,” North said, “I’m glad we’re not the only ones running late. I have a feeling Adam and Bay won’t mind since they only have eyes for each other.”
Maddox nodded silently and forced his gaze to North’s companion.
Or, at least, his could-be mate. Wolves had a few potential mates out there, some more suited than others, so that didn’t mean when one found that potential they had to mate.
Maddox couldn’t mate Ellie. Though the mating urge had reared up and rode him hard, he hadn’t marked her, hadn’t mated her—despite how desperately he wanted to.
She wasn’t to be his.
His wolf nudged along the inside of his skin, whimpering but, as always, didn’t say anything.
Ellie stood by North’s side, that haunted look in her dark brown eyes reaching out to Maddox. He couldn’t feel her emotions though—just as he couldn’t feel North’s. It could have been considered a blessing, but Maddox was never sure.
He wanted to know what made her tick, what went on in that mind of hers. He wanted to be able to help her, even if he couldn’t bear to be near her.
North gave him a bland look, but Maddox could see his twin clench his jaw. Ellie stared at him as if she wanted him to say something, but he had no idea what.
“We’re already late, guys. We don’t want to be any later,” Cailin said over the rising tension.
Maddox shook his head, trying to clear his thoughts of the woman with dark eyes who could have been his and wasn’t.
North looked between Maddox and Ellie, a shuttered look on his face, then nodded. “Agreed. I’m not in the mood to deal with the wrath of any of the Jamenson women.”
Maddox blinked, tearing his gaze from Ellie. He was only torturing himself.
They made their way to the den center where the mating ceremony between Adam and Bay would take place. Though the couple had been mated for almost two years, they hadn’t had the ceremony or celebrated their joining with their family and Pack yet.
Maddox couldn’t really blame them for waiting, not when their meeting had been too tumultuous to begin with. Adam had almost lost Bay with his pain—Maddox hid a wince at that.
Goddess, that pain had almost been too much for him to bear—for Adam and Maddox. It was little wonder Maddox had tried to put a distance between him and his brother after Adam had repeatedly shaken off his help. There was only so much most Omegas could take before he broke down and sobbed uncontrollably.
Not that he did that.
No, he was stronger than that. He buried it all and worked with what he could. He could shut out the mid-level emotions, the ones that ran through the Pack daily. The high-level happiness was almost too overwhelming sometimes.
He thought back to the time Mel and Kade, his brother and Heir, had announced their pregnancy. The joy in the air had been so thick, so overwhelming, that Maddox had to set himself apart from the celebration.
The elation and cheer sometimes did help tone down the pain and angst within the Pack. For every person within the web who smiled, there was another who cried, and Maddox felt it all.
It was a wonder he didn’t go freaking crazy.
He started at the sound of Ellie’s voice.
Why was she talking to him?
She never talked to him.
They had an understanding. He wouldn’t talk to her, and she wouldn’t talk to him. That way they’d get over each other and their wolves would settle down, while she mated with North and made happy little pups.
It had never been spoken aloud, but damn it, it was their agreement.
Okay, fine Ellie hadn’t mentioned it, but he’d live in his own denial and be fine with it.
“Yes?” he asked, his voice gruff.
“You’re just standing there watching the Pack. I think it’s freaking out the children.”
Maddox frowned and looked at the group of pups around them, all standing still, their eyes wide. One of the little girl’s lip trembled, and Maddox cursed inwardly. It seemed that his scar and overall attitude scared everyone these days.
“Sorry, just thinking,” he mumbled.
“They’re about to start,” Ellie whispered, then left to stand by North without another word. It was as if standing by him hurt too much to deal with.
Well, it wasn’t a fucking picnic for him either.
“Uncle Maddox?” Finn, Mel and Kade’s son, asked as he walked toward him.
Maddox grinned at the little boy who would one day be Alpha and had so recently been broken beyond repair—or so most had thought.
He reached down and picked his nephew up, needing the comfort himself. He didn’t know why, but Finn settled him more than anyone else. If Maddox didn’t know better, he’d say Finn could have been the future Omega, but no, since he was slated to be alpha, it must have been just the strength of his character that shone through.
The little boy would make a great Alpha one day.
“You ready to see Uncle Adam and Aunt Bay kiss?” Maddox asked, and Finn shrugged. At two years old, Finn didn’t get the whole idea of cooties yet. It would come.
The rest of the family stood upfront surrounding Bay and Adam as Maddox made his way to stand near them, Finn still in his hold. He moved so he could stand by Mel and Kade, that way they knew their son was safe. He couldn’t blame them for the worry seeping off them. After all, they’d almost lost Finn before.
Jasper and Willow stood beside them, their daughter Brie in Jasper’s arms. It never failed to amuse Maddox to see the big bad Beta holding the little girl with such reverence. Across from them, Hannah stood between his brother, Reed, and their mate, Josh, each of the men holding one of their twins. Again, the sight of the big men going soft and holding their babies made Maddox think it was all worthwhile. Beside them, Cailin, North, and Ellie stood, though Ellie stood apart from them, as if she didn’t want to be there.
After all, because she hadn’t officially mated North—or himself, no, don’t think about that—she wasn’t family, but that didn’t stop the Jamensons from wanting her there.
His parents stood at the top of the circle and began the ceremony. Maddox tuned out the words; he had to. The joy was so overwhelming he felt as though he was going to burst. Each of family members seemed to radiate happiness and promises of a future. Sweat rolled down his back as he fought to take it all in.
Sometimes too many good feelings were as bad as the painful ones, but he had to stick through it. He’d scream and curse at the goddess for his powers later.
His gaze met Ellie’s, and he froze, all thoughts of happiness fleeing him.
He couldn’t tell what she was feeling because even a bond he should have held with her through the Omega was non-existent, but he saw it in her eyes—envy…and pity.
She knew what he was dealing with.
Yet, she wanted what Bay and Adam had.
Maybe North would help with that.
Maddox couldn’t do it.
The crowd started to clap, and Finn touched his cheek. He met his nephew’s eyes and nodded. Yes, it was time to act like the happy brother, not the angst-filled Omega he seemed to be lately.
Maddox looked at the happy couple as they kissed, Adam picking Bay up easily, as if he hadn’t lost his leg in the war with the Centrals. Bay’s long red hair framed her face as the wind picked up, blowing strands around both her and Adam, bringing them even closer together.
A child’s scream pierced the celebration, and Maddox tensed.
“What the hell?” Kade asked as he took Finn from Maddox’s arms and handed him to Mel. “Take Finn. We’re going to find out what that was.”
Mel clutched Finn close but looked as if she wanted to join them. He pressed a hard kiss to his mate’s lips then turned toward Maddox and the rest of his brothers.
Adam growled, a line forming between his brows. He ran a hand up and down his mate’s arm as Bay frowned as well. Adam was the Enforcer, meaning he could sense danger and threats from outside forces. “I don’t sense anything. It’s not from outside the Pack.”
Maddox met his brother’s gaze, each of them knowing what that meant. If Adam couldn’t feel it, that meant it was from inside the Pack.
The brothers and other pack members ran in the direction of the scream. Pain, tension, worry, and anger pulsed at Maddox through the bonds, and he had to tamp them down. He couldn’t focus on what was in front of him if he worried about what was within him. Another scream echoed amongst the trees, and the sense of dread that had only been a small ball before now grew, tearing at his stomach, sending shivers down his spine.
Gina, the daughter of Mel and Kade’s closest friends, Larissa and Neil, ran up to them, tears running down her face, her dress torn and muddy. Her skin was as pale as a ghost, her eyes wide, haunted.
Kade picked her up and held her close. “What is it, baby?”
“Mom…” The little girl hiccupped and buried her head into Kade’s neck.
Maddox kept running, reached down, and felt for the thread that connected him to Larissa and Neil. With all the emotions running through the day, he hadn’t been able to deal with them all, so he’d blocked down some of them.
He stopped and closed his eyes, searching for the thread but coming up empty.
Maddox heard Jasper’s howl of anguish when he opened his eyes, knowing what he’d find when he stepped closer.
Larissa and Neil lay in a heap of tangled limbs and blood, their eyes vacant, their bodies cooling.
Melanie came running behind him, her scream tearing through him. The emotions of the others—terror, grief, and vengeance—slapped at him.
The scene was out of a horror novel. The scent of death lingered in the air, but that’s not what scared him.
No, it was the underlying scent of another that made his body shake as his wolf clawed at his skin. It wasn’t a new scent or a wrong scent. No, this one was familiar, almost comforting, and yet it was now all over the dead couple, blending with their fading ones.
It was the spicy scent of the most decadent dessert, the scent that haunted his dreams and, right now, filled him with dread.
Maddox looked over his shoulder as she walked toward him, the scent intensifying as her presence added another layer to the older scent trail. Her eyes were wide, unbelieving.
The others froze. Wolves that were not family growled as she came to his side.
She couldn’t have done this.
The evidence was there…wasn’t it?
He took her hand, and she gasped at the unfamiliar contact.
Her soft skin yielded under his, and he brought her closer, needing to protect her even though she wasn’t his. His wolf needed to do this more than it needed air.
There had to be another explanation because, if there wasn’t, the woman he’d hidden from, the woman who could have been his mate, had just signed her own death warrant.
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Past emotional and physical abuse, sexual assault victim (NOT ON PAGE), trauma, violence