Book 7 in the Redwood Pack Series
The war between the Redwood Pack and the Centrals is one of wolf legend. Gina Eaton lost both of her parents when a member of their Pack betrayed them. Adopted by the Alpha of the Pack as a child, Gina grew up within the royal family to become an enforcer and protector of her den. She’s always known fate can be a tricky and deceitful entity, but when she finds the one man that could be her mate, she might throw caution to the wind and follow the path set out for her, rather than forging one of her own.
Quinn Weston’s mate walked out on him five years ago, severing their bond in the most brutal fashion. She not only left him a shattered shadow of himself, but their newborn son as well. Now, as the lieutenant of the Talon Pack’s Alpha, he puts his whole being into two things: the safety of his Pack and his son.
When the two Alphas put Gina and Quinn together to find a way to ensure their treaties remain strong, fate has a plan of its own. Neither knows what will come of the Pack’s alliance, let alone one between the two of them. The past paved their paths in blood and heartache, but it will take the strength of a promise and iron will to find their future.
Wicked Wolf is Book 7 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:
There were times to drool over a sexy wolf.
Sitting in the middle of a war room disguised as a board meeting was not one of those times.
Gina Jamenson did her best not to stare at the dark-haired, dark-eyed man across the room. The hint of ink peeking out from under his shirt made her want to pant. She loved ink and this wolf clearly had a lot of it. Her own wolf within nudged at her, a soft brush beneath her skin, but she ignored her. When her wolf whimpered, Gina promised herself that she’d go on a long run in the forest later. She didn’t understand why her wolf was acting like this, but she’d deal with it when she was in a better place. She just couldn’t let her wolf have control right then—even for a man such as the gorgeous specimen a mere ten feet from her.
Today was more important than the wants and feelings of a half wolf, half witch hybrid.
Today was the start of a new beginning.
At least that’s what her dad had told her.
Considering her father was also the Alpha of the Redwood Pack, he would be in the know. She’d been adopted into the family when she’d been a young girl. A rogue wolf during the war had killed her parents, setting off a long line of events that had changed her life.
As it was, Gina wasn’t quite sure how she’d ended up in the meeting between the two Packs, the Redwoods and the Talons. Sure, the Packs had met before over the past fifteen years of their treaty, but this meeting seemed different.
This one seemed more important somehow.
And they’d invited—more like demanded—Gina to attend.
At twenty-six, she knew she was the youngest wolf in the room by far. Most of the wolves were around her father’s age, somewhere in the hundreds. The dark-eyed wolf might have been slightly younger than that, but only slightly if the power radiating off of him was any indication.
Wolves lived a long, long time. She’d heard stories of her people living into their thousands, but she’d never met any of the wolves who had. The oldest wolf she’d met was a friend of the family, Emeline, who was over five hundred. That number boggled her mind even though she’d grown up knowing the things that went bump in the night were real.
Actually, she was one of the things that went bump in the night.
“Are we ready to begin?” Gideon, the Talon Alpha, asked, his voice low. It held that dangerous edge that spoke of power and authority.
Her wolf didn’t react the way most wolves would, head and eyes down, shoulders dropped. Maybe if she’d been a weaker wolf, she’d have bowed to his power, but as it was, her wolf was firmly entrenched within the Redwoods. Plus, it wasn’t as if Gideon was trying to make her bow just then. No, those words had simply been spoken in his own voice.
Commanding without even trying.
Then again, he was an Alpha.
Kade, her father, looked around the room at each of his wolves and nodded. “Yes. It is time.”
Their formality intrigued her. Yes, they were two Alphas who held a treaty and worked together in times of war, but she had thought they were also friends.
Maybe today was even more important than she’d realized.
Gideon released a sigh that spoke of years of angst and worries. She didn’t know the history of the Talons as well as she probably should have, so she didn’t know exactly why there was always an air of sadness and pain around the Alpha.
Maybe after this meeting, she’d be able to find out more.
Of course, in doing so, she’d have to not look at a certain wolf in the corner. His gaze was so intense she was sure he was studying her. She felt it down in her bones, like a fiery caress that promised something more.
Or maybe she was just going crazy and needed to find a wolf to scratch the itch.
She might not be looking for a mate, but she wouldn’t say no to something else. Wolves were tactile creatures after all.
She blinked at the sound of Kade’s voice and turned to him.
She was the only one standing other than the two wolves in charge of security—her uncle Adam, the Enforcer, and the dark-eyed wolf.
Well, that was embarrassing.
She kept her head down and forced herself not to blush. From the heat on her neck, she was pretty sure she’d failed in the latter.
“Sorry,” she mumbled then sat down next to another uncle, Jasper, the Beta of the Pack.
Although the Alphas had called this meeting, she wasn’t sure what it would entail. Each Alpha had come with their Beta, a wolf in charge of security…and her father had decided to bring her.
Her being there didn’t make much sense in the grand scheme of things since it put the power on the Redwoods’ side, but she wasn’t about to question authority in front of another Pack. That at least had been ingrained in her training.
“Let’s get started then,” Kade said after he gave her a nod. “Gideon? Do you want to begin?”
Gina held back a frown. They were acting more formal than usual, so that hadn’t been her imagination. The Talons and the Redwoods had formed a treaty during the latter days of the war between the Redwoods and the Centrals. It wasn’t as though these were two newly acquainted Alphas meeting for the first time. Though maybe when it came to Pack matters, Alphas couldn’t truly be friends.
What a lonely way to live.
“It’s been fifteen years since the end of the Central War, yet there hasn’t been a single mating between the two Packs,” Gideon said, shocking her.
Gina blinked. Really? That couldn’t be right. She was sure there had to have been some cross-Pack mating.
“That means that regardless of the treaties we signed, we don’t believe the moon goddess has seen fit to fully accept us as a unit,” Kade put in.
“What do you mean?” she asked, then shut her mouth. She was the youngest wolf here and wasn’t formally titled or ranked. She should not be speaking right now.
She felt the gaze of the dark-eyed wolf on her, but she didn’t turn to look. Instead, she kept her head down in a show of respect to the Alphas.
“You can ask questions, Gina. It’s okay,” Kade said, the tone of his voice not changing, but, as his daughter, she heard the softer edge. “And what I mean is, mating comes from the moon goddess. Yes, we can find our own versions of mates by not bonding fully, but a true bond, a true potential mate, is chosen by the moon goddess. That’s how it’s always been in the past.”
Gideon nodded. “There haven’t been many matings within the Talons in general.”
Gina sucked in a breath, and the Beta of the Talons, Mitchell, turned her way. “Yes,” Mitchell said softly. “It’s that bad. It could be that in this period of change within our own pack hierarchy, our members just haven’t found mates yet, but that doesn’t seem likely. There’s something else going on.”
Gina knew Gideon—as well as the rest of his brothers and cousins—had come into power at some point throughout the end of the Central War during a period of the Talon’s own unrest, but she didn’t know the full history. She wasn’t even sure Kade or the rest of the Pack royalty did.
There were some things that were intensely private within a Pack that could not—and should not—be shared.
Jasper tapped his fingers along the table. As the Redwood Beta, it was his job to care for their needs and recognize hidden threats that the Enforcer and Alpha might not see. The fact that he was here told Gina that the Pack could be in trouble from something within the Pack, rather than an outside force that Adam, the Enforcer, would be able to see through his own bonds and power.
“Since Finn became the Heir to the Pack at such a young age, it has changed a few things on our side,” Jasper said softly. Finn was her brother, Melanie and Kade’s oldest biological child. “The younger generation will be gaining their powers and bonds to the goddess earlier than would otherwise be expected.” Her uncle looked at her, and she kept silent. “That means the current Pack leaders will one day not have the bonds we have to our Pack now. But like most healthy Packs, that doesn’t mean we’re set aside. It only means we will be there to aid the new hierarchy while they learn their powers. That’s how it’s always been in our Pack, and in others, but it’s been a very long time since it’s happened to us.”
“Gina will one day be the Enforcer,” Adam said from behind her. “I don’t know when, but it will be soon. The other kids aren’t old enough yet to tell who will take on which role, but since Gina is in her twenties, the shifts are happening.”
The room grew silent, with an odd sense of change settling over her skin like an electric blanket turned on too high.
She didn’t speak. She’d known about her path, had dreamed the dreams from the moon goddess herself. But that didn’t mean she wanted the Talons to know all of this. It seemed…private somehow.
“What does this have to do with mating?” she asked, wanting to focus on something else.
Gideon gave her a look, and she lowered her eyes. He might not be her Alpha, but he was still a dominant wolf. Yes, she hadn’t lowered her eyes before, but she’d been rocked a bit since Adam had told the others of her future. She didn’t want to antagonize anyone when Gideon clearly wanted to show his power. Previously, everything had been casual; now it clearly was not.
Kade growled beside her. “Gideon.”
The Talon Alpha snorted, not smiling, but moved his gaze. “It’s fun to see how she reacts.”
“She’s my daughter and the future Enforcer.”
“She is right here, so how about you answer my question?”
Jasper chuckled by her side, and Gina wondered how quickly she could reach the nearest window and jump. It couldn’t be that far. She wouldn’t die from the fall or anything, and she’d be able to run home.
“Mating,” Kade put in, the laughter in his eyes fading, “is only a small part of the problem. When we sent Caym back to hell with the other demons, it changed the power structure within the Packs as well as outside them. The Centrals who fought against us died because they’d lost their souls to the demon. The Centrals that had hidden from the old Alphas ended up being lone wolves. They’re not truly a Pack yet because the goddess hasn’t made anyone an Alpha.”
“Then you have the Redwoods, with a hierarchy shift within the younger generation,” Gideon said. “And the Talons’ new power dynamic is only fifteen years old, and we haven’t had a mating in long enough that it’s starting to worry us.”
“Not that you’d say that to the rest of the Pack,” Mitchell mumbled.
“It’s best they don’t know,” Gideon said, the sounds of an old argument telling Gina there was more going on here than what they revealed.
“There aren’t any matings between our two Packs, and I know the trust isn’t fully there,” Kade put in then sighed. “I don’t know how to fix that myself. I don’t think I can.”
“You’re the Alpha,” Jasper said calmly. “If you tell them to get along with the other wolves, they will, and for the most part, they have. But it isn’t as authentic as if they find that trust on their own. We’ve let them go this long on their own, but now, I think we need to find another way to have our Packs more entwined.”
The dark-eyed wolf came forward then. “You’ve seen something,” he growled.
Dear goddess. His voice.
Her wolf perked, and she shoved her down. This wasn’t the time.
“We’ve seen…something, Quinn,” Kade answered.
Quinn. That was his name.
And again, so not the time.
Gideon nodded. “Something is coming. Maybe not within the next year, but soon enough that we need to work on the foundations of our bonds if we want to persevere.”
Gina sat back in her chair. She didn’t have the connection the others had. She had only the glimpse into her future that spoke of her powers as the Enforcer. One day she’d stand by her father’s side and help protect the Pack from outside forces. One day she’d gain new bonds to each wolf so she could protect them.
She’d be the first half witch, non-blood family member in the history of the Redwoods to do so.
That fact had led to tension within the Pack, but that was her problem. One she’d deal with later. Now she needed to focus on what was being said in front of her.
“So what do you propose?” Adam asked.
“We should form a council,” Gideon answered. “But not one of wolves who want too much power and won’t decide on anything but how to rise in the ranks without lifting a claw.”
“Agreed,” Kade said. “One the two Alphas will join in regularly. The council will answer to us because that is how power is handled. But the council will be focused on the Packs themselves and how they can work together.”
“We didn’t do this before because it was important to let them find their own way,” Gideon said. “But I don’t think we have that kind of time now.”
“What kind of time are you talking about?” Quinn asked.
“A year? A decade? I don’t know.” Gideon sighed. “We live so many years that time is relative. And we’re all going on a hunch right now, but the fact that we don’t have matings between us, that’s something at least.”
Gina frowned and tried to understand what they were talking about. “You both want to form a council between the two Packs. What would it entail? What kind of power would the council have if they have to answer to the Alphas? How would you choose who’s on it? What would be their goal? This is a lot of change for Packs as old as ours, so how will you make sure that those who are not chosen will not be upset enough to do something to jeopardize it?”
Again, she shut her mouth. Damn her and her questions. She looked up at Quinn, who gave her an assessing glance. He looked impressed, but the expression came and went, so she could have been imagining it.
Instead, she looked over at Gideon to find him studying her. “I see why you brought her, Kade. She asks the right questions.”
Gina held back a frown. “But do you have the answers?”
Dear God, Gina. Shut. Up.
Kade snorted. “We hope so. The council would not have the power to change laws or the way the hierarchy works. That’s not how we rule. We are not humans. We are not a democracy. The Alpha’s word is law.”
Gideon growled in agreement.
“The council will be there to find a way for our two Packs to trust one another more,” Kade continued. “If there are issues between individuals that need to be resolved, the council can find out what those are. I don’t believe everyone is telling us everything when it comes to how they feel about the other Pack. I understand that. It was odd for us to form this treaty with one Pack while we were fighting another. The lack of true trust makes sense, but that doesn’t mean we can allow it to continue. It’s been too long for them to cling to their resentment.”
Gideon nodded. “We joined with you right after I became Alpha. It was the first major decision in my new position, and not everyone agreed with me. It was a major gamble. We need to show the others that we can work together when the time comes and when it is needed. We are still two Packs and have two Alphas. That doesn’t mean, though, that we need to fight over every little thing.”
“We need to be able to stand united while retaining our own identities,” Kade added. “Pack members who know the wolves in all generations, not just the older ones who have seen war, will be of an asset. If our submissives don’t trust their dominants to protect them within the two Packs, then we are lost. That is what the council is for. We need to be able to shift with the future, and I don’t think staying safe within our dens under the magic of wards will work forever.”
Gina swallowed hard. The wards had broken once before. She didn’t want to see that again. Her parents had died withinthe wards because of a traitor. When the wards had broken…that had been even worse.
“We are living in an age of technology, and we can’t hide like we used to,” Gideon said. “That is another part of the council. We need to be able to communicate with all Packs around the United States, not just between the two of us. If our plans work, that will be the next step.”
Gina’s eyes widened. “That’s huge.”
Quinn growled in front of her, and her wolf did a full body shiver. “That’s something that cannot be accomplished with a few words and paltry promises.”
“I know,” Gideon said softly. “But we need to start somewhere. If we show the others within our own Packs that we have a sense of trust, it will help us. It’s just one step in the process. We need a voice within the Packs that does not come from alpha authority. If the council can find ways for the Packs to work together on things outside of war, it will help when war comes.”
Their words scared her; she wasn’t going to lie. They’d had many years of relative peace, but that peace had been broken once before. Who’s to say it wouldn’t be broken again?
“I fear that if we don’t do this, we’ll lose everything we worked so hard for,” Kade said before meeting Gideon’s gaze. “The fact that you aided us in the war helped some people trust, but after the Centrals’ demise, I’m afraid it will take more than war for that to continue.”
Gideon nodded. “We had our own struggles, our own failures with our Pack. Fighting might help with the baser needs of our wolves, but actions that involve confidence but not dependence on the other Pack are the only things that can help bring true trust—and one day, hopefully, the moon goddess’s favor.”
“Who do you propose be on the council?” Jasper asked.
Kade tapped his fingers on the table. “Parker would be a good choice. He can mediate others with a sense of calm that I’ve not seen in many wolves.”
Gideon’s eyes widened marginally before he nodded.
Gina held back her own reaction. Parker was her cousin but, like her, hadn’t been born into the Jamensons. He was only two years younger than her but seemed far older.
The fact that both Alphas wanted him as part of their council was a huge step. Not everyone trusted Parker because of the blood in his veins. Gina had always thought that was a crock of shit, but then again, not everyone trusted her because of her powers.
She was a fire witch, her powers inherited from her birth mother, Larissa. But unlike her mother, she didn’t have full control of her powers. The only other witch she knew, Hannah, was an earth witch and the Healer.
There was no one to train her, and if she was honest with herself, she was scared as well.
Not that she’d tell anyone else that.
They named three more wolves, so that there were two from each Pack. Gina didn’t know the other Redwood, Farah, well, and had never met the two Talons, but that meant only that they weren’t high in the hierarchy or friends of hers.
“As for leaders, we need one from each Pack to work as a unit,” Gideon put in.
Kade nodded. “Agreed. I propose Gina.”
She blinked, more than a little shocked. Yes, they’d invited her to the meeting, but she was going to be the Enforcer. Wasn’t there a reason for not making pack hierarchy a requirement in the group?
Gideon nodded. “Good with me.”
Kade met her gaze, and she lowered her eyes. “The council will not always be comprised of the same people. It will fluctuate. I trust you to do right by our Pack. When the other kids grow up, and you all find your new powers, we can re-evaluate the council. For now, it will be a good experience. For all of you.”
She nodded, stunned at his trust, despite the witch blood running in her veins. Between her and Parker, they were the poster children for weird family trees within the Pack. But she would not betray her family’s trust and dishonor them by saying no.
She wasn’t sure she could say no.
“Quinn, one of my lieutenants, will round out the council,” Gideon said.
A lieutenant. That made sense. While the Redwoods had enforcers, lowercase e, to protect the Alpha, the Talons had lieutenants. They were strong wolves, loyal to the core, and would put their body in front of a claw or bullet to protect their Alpha.
Gina swallowed hard and looked at Quinn. He didn’t react. Instead, he stood there, his gaze on her intense, and for some reason, she felt anger…or something akin to it rolling over him. She didn’t know what she’d done to cause that kind of reaction, but she didn’t like it. The two of them would now have to stand side by side in order to find a way for the Packs to work together more than they already were.
They had to prove that the Packs could have faith in one another.
Her lusting after him and him looking like he wanted to growl at her for something or another wouldn’t help anyone.
“So that’s six people, three from each Pack,” Kade said finally. “We don’t know what’s coming, only that we need to stand united.”
“We can’t move on unless we know that we can help every person within our Packs, even those who feel they don’t have a voice,” Gideon said softly.
“Our jobs as Betas mean we look for those,” Jasper said, his eyes on Mitchell, who nodded.
“But that doesn’t mean we can help everyone,” Mitchell added.
“If we have an outlet for people who want the Packs to work together, then we’re one step closer,” Gina said, her wolf growling in approval.
Quinn narrowed his eyes. “Talking won’t do much, but action will, even if that action is showing that we’re in agreement after all these years.”
“The Packs fought together in the war that almost killed us,” Kade put in. “Now we need to show that, in times of peace, that collaboration is still needed.”
“Agreed,” Gideon said.
With that, they finalized their plans to tell the other new members of the council, and Gina stood up, her wolf needing to run. There was too much energy in the room, too many dominant males. She was a dominant wolf in her own right, but in this room, she knew she was most likely the lowest rank. That didn’t mean she was weak. That just showed how much freaking power was actually in the room to begin with.
“Gina? You and Quinn go for a walk along the neutral perimeter,” Kade ordered. “Get to know one another since the two of you are the leaders of this experiment.”
Gina stood, forcing her knees not to shake. If her father knew about the very dirty, sweaty images rolling through her brain right then, he probably wouldn’t have ordered her to undertake such a task.
“Come with me,” Quinn said then stalked out of the room.
She raised a brow at Jasper. “Bossy much?”
Her uncle snorted then shook his head. “He’s not a submissive wolf, that’s for sure.” He grinned. “Well, even submissives have a strong drive.”
She rolled her eyes. “You’re thinking of your mate, and now I’m going to tell Willow you called her submissive.”
Her uncle narrowed his eyes. “Do that, and I’ll tell Finn you’re the one who stole his favorite shirt.”
She held up her hands in surrender. “I won’t mention it then.” She grinned, knowing Jasper was only teasing. “I’d best be off to find Quinn since he’s probably brooding or something outside.”
“Watch yourself with that one, Gina,” Gideon said, and she froze, surprised the Alpha would say anything like that.
“Excuse me?” she asked.
Gideon sighed. “He’s a strong wolf. A good wolf. But he’s not the same wolf he once was. It’s not my story to tell, but don’t antagonize him.”
Kade growled, and she did the same.
“Don’t threaten my daughter.”
“Alpha, he didn’t threaten me,” she said, her voice cool. “He only warned a council wolf about a wolf she will be working with in the future. That’s how I’m taking it.” If she didn’t, there might just be bloodshed, and that was not a good idea in this small room with no real escape.
Kade tore his gaze from Gideon’s and met hers before giving her a nod.
Their family relationship was a slippery slope. She was the oldest of her generation, and therefore, the first to blend into the roles that suited them as adults, rather than children. It wasn’t easy finding a balance. Finn might be eighteen and older than his years, but he wasn’t allowed to be a part of many of the Pack decisions. That would be changing soon. Finn was, after all, the Heir to the Redwood Pack. His time would come.
With one last glance at the others, she left the room and looked for Quinn. She didn’t have to go far since he was right outside the main door. He probably had heard everything, but his face didn’t show it. Maybe he didn’t care that his Alpha felt the need to warn her about him, but she didn’t want to think of that too much. She had enough to worry about.
“Ready?” she asked, trying to keep her wolf at bay. For some reason, her wolf did not want to stay calm. Instead, the damn thing wanted to rub up against the man in front of her.
This was going to make for an interesting council.
Quinn nodded then started off toward the border.
Apparently, he wasn’t much of a talker.
Well, too bad because she was.
“So, what do we need to discuss?”
Quinn shrugged. “Anything we need to discuss can happen at the meetings. We can have the first one tomorrow at the place the Alphas choose. I’ll send you the information when I receive it.”
Gina stopped in her tracks. This domineering side of him wasn’t sexy. Well, not when he treated her like his secretary or something. Domineering in other places…
She held up her hand. “Whoa. Wait. The whole point of this council is to show cooperation and the good that came from the treaty. If you’re going to act all growly and rude, that’s not going to help.”
Quinn glared. “You are a young wolf, and this is your first real assignment I suspect. You’ll learn that not all things need to be done with roses and smiles.”
Of all the arrogant things… Okay, so this wolf had already pissed her off and they hadn’t even had the freaking meeting yet.
“You can’t be that much older than me,” she spat. “Your wolf doesn’t feel as old as the others, so watch it. I’m not a submissive wolf who needs protection or to be told what to do. I’m a dominant. I’m the one who does the protecting. So if you have this false sense of who I am, then you should back up.”
Quinn didn’t say anything.
“Fine then. We’ll meet at the place the Alphas tell us. Us. Get it? I won’t need you to tell me anything. Now since this isn’t doing anything but making me want to claw your face off, I’m going back. Thanks for the meeting, Quinn.”
She stomped away, pissed that she’d let herself be baited. The wolf clearly didn’t trust her for some reason, and that was the inherent problem in the Packs to begin with. She’d have to nip that in the bud and fix it. She would not let her Pack get hurt because one dumbass male didn’t understand his place in the world.
It was a shame that he was such an asshole though. Her wolf liked his wolf.
Thankfully, she listened to her brain, not her libido or her wolf when it came to her decisions because there was one thing for sure—she would not be spending much time with Quinn.
No matter the whimpers her wolf made…or Quinn’s sexy bedroom eyes.
She was stronger than that.