Read Savage Silence: A Dire Wolves Mission (The Devil's Dires Book 4) Online
Authors: Ellis Leigh
© 2016 by Ellis Leigh
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
ire Wolf Thaus
preferred the silence, having spent most of his time alone as the weaponry expert of his pack. But a mission outside of his expertise will challenge him more than he ever expected and threaten more than just his life.
ome memories are too
horrific to forget. When Ariel’s fragile balance is upended, she’ll do whatever it takes to stay alive. Including running off with a man who scares her almost as much as he intrigues her.
n unexpected hero
and a woman with scars deeper than one can see crash together on a mountainside fraught with its own dangers. In the world of the Dire Wolves, an Omega shewolf is a blessing none of them deserves. But when an angel sings his name, Thaus will go to hell and back to keep her safe and at his side.
, one fight…one chance at forever.
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Throw away thy rod, throw away thy wrath; O my God, take a gentle path.
is paws pounding
against the rocky ground beneath him, Thaus raced along a jagged cliff. A cold rain misted over the forest, quieting the fauna until there was nothing but his breaths, his footfalls. Him.
Noise killed. Of that, Thaus was convinced. When constantly barraged with the cacophony of human life in a city, he could almost feel the tenacious train toward death begin to roll. The sounds would build, piling high on his psyche in a mountain of nothing but input, until his inner wolf slowly dimmed. Until the presence of the beast within quieted in a way that made his human side actually feel the slow drag toward the end. The release from the animal who’d shared his mind since birth felt as much like a death as anything else could, more even. He should know. He’d survived far longer than anyone should have and technically had been dead more times than he could remember. He’d hopped on and off that train a few times.
But one of the benefits of being a Dire Wolf shifter was regeneration. Death could come calling day after day, but Thaus and his wolf would walk away from that edge and return to their life. There had been a time or two—or five—where they couldn’t walk back. Times where the damage done had been too great, the injuries too extreme to get up and shake it off. At those times, he’d been carried by the other Dire Wolves, rescued and ferreted away someplace safe and quiet until he healed. That’s what brotherhood was about—no man fought alone, and no one got left behind. That noisy train of death wasn’t taking one of his six packmates, for they were the last of the breed, the final Dires left on earth. And they were far more stubborn than death itself.
But the noise…the cars and sirens, the constant talking and endless screeching and creaking of vehicles. It was all too much. Modern life of humans wore on the ancient shifter. When Thaus needed an escape, when the humanity of city life grew to be too much for his wolf spirit, he sought silence in the great forests of the Pacific Northwest. Where tall trees and even taller mountains ruled the scene, where most humans didn’t dare to explore, and where his wolf was happiest.
Thaus ran faster, hugging the precipice, his eyes locked on a deer. His prey ran on a parallel path below him, running hell-bent toward a thicket of trees he probably thought he could get lost in, looking to escape. That wouldn’t happen, though. Thaus knew this range better than anyone else. He knew every crag and valley, every path and goat trail. The Pacific Northwest was his home in many ways, and these mountains his playground. He’d beat the little deer racing toward its own death without really trying, simply because he was better prepared to take on the terrain.
As the trail dipped lower, Thaus spotted his chance. He quickened his steps, letting his wolf come fully forward, giving the animal the reins of their shared mind so he could relish the hunt. Knowing his opportunity was coming. And then his chance presented itself, just as he’d known it would. The deer slipped on the pebbly ground, stumbling twice before regaining its footing. The last mistake it ever had a chance to make. Thaus growled and leapt, back claws scattering stones as he pushed off the edge of the ridge. He landed on the back of the deer with enough force to roll the thing far off the trail, coming out on top when they finally slid to a stop. But Thaus released the gentle creature, content in a successful hunt without the kill. Besides, he liked his food a little more well-done.
Hours later, after a long run through the woods and a dip in the stream to clean his fur, Thaus padded up the steps to the little cabin tucked deep in the shadows of the tall pines. The place wasn’t anything special—just some old hunting lodge he’d come upon one summer—but it was the one location he considered his den. His home. Plain old his.
Thaus had made a few changes over the years, of course, adding things like satellite dishes and electricity to run his appliances. He had no phone line. Though, with the invention of reliable cell phones, he didn’t feel he needed one. Besides, this place was his escape. His safe place. He’d rather not have rings and pings disturbing his silence.
As if on cue, the cell phone on the kitchen counter rang right as he nosed his way inside. Figured. Thaus growled low in his throat, not ready to face the outside world, but knowing his packmates wouldn’t bother him if they didn’t need to. He wasn’t exactly the pack sounding board, after all.
Thaus shifted human just before he hit the old, knotted rug he’d purchased from a native woman decades before, stumbling at the pain in his shoulder as he morphed from one form to another.
“What?” he grunted as soon as he swiped to pick up the call.
“We have a mission for you, Dire Thaus.”
Dante. Of course. Mate to the political leader for North American shifters, the man doled out missions to the Dire Wolves on a regular basis. Things his private police-type forces couldn’t handle. Things no one wanted to deal with. Thaus didn’t often get called directly—usually, he would be added to a mission assigned to one of his packmates. His skills and talents tended to lean toward the weaponry side of their group—stocking, building, repairing, and knowing exactly how to use everything from handguns to C-4 charges. If the brass was calling him of all the Dires, the mission would probably be one that ended in bloodshed.
“Good afternoon, Dante.” Thaus rolled his shoulder to work out the ache. Fucking hell, the more time passed, the worse it got. He’d need to head back to Chicago soon, to the very building where Dante probably sat on the other end of the line, to see if the doctor could try to break it again. Perhaps realigning the bones would help with the stiffness of his shifts. “Mission instructions?”
“We’re going to need you to broker a contract negotiation.”
Ache forgotten, Thaus stared at the phone. Contract negotiation? That was the work of a Regional Head, some low-level political official. Not a Dire Wolf. Especially not one like Thaus.
“I’m unclear on my participation, sir.”
The other man coughed a single bleat of a laugh. “I bet. I know this isn’t your normal type of job, but the Glaxious pack is making a fuss, and I worry that the Alpha could cross a line. The other pack involved, the Kwauhl, have a new member. A shewolf who is now caught up in a contract for a mating claim that’s over two hundred years old. The Glaxious pack refuses to release her from the contract, even though she is adamantly opposed to a forced mating.”
Glaxious pack. Shit. Thaus had run into those bastards before. The pack was small if he remembered right, but the Alpha was a jackass and about as antiquated as a wolf could be. If a sought-after shewolf was involved in this dispute, Glaxious would be three times as bad as they normally were. Still…
“I’m not certain why you want me, sir.”
Silence. Long and weighty, it added a tension to the conversation that Thaus could feel deep inside of him. This wasn’t an ordinary case. He’d known it the second Dante had asked him to work a mission directly. Had felt it. And the drawn-out pause amplified that sense.
Dante hummed softly and took a breath that made the static on the line grow for a moment before dropping the truth. “The shewolf is an Omega.”
Thaus growled deeply, unable to control the fury those words incited. Omega shewolves were the pride of any pack lucky enough to have one. Fierce, strong, and with an innate power to strengthen the ties that bound the rest of the pack members together, the women were normally honored and revered. They were also coveted, stolen, and enslaved at times. Something he’d seen with his own eyes just a handful of years before. Images he could never forget and had vowed to make sure never happened again.
That aspect made accepting the mission so much easier for the Dire. “When and where?”
“Thank you, Dire Thaus. I’ll text you the coordinates. As for when, the sooner the better. The Kwauhl pack’s Alpha was hesitant to call us in because of the history of this particular Omega. She needs a strong guard, to say the least.”
And there it was, the reason they’d called him. He and his brothers believed all Omega females were descended from the original Dire packs, and therefore were to be treated as Dire Wolves. If this Omega needed a strong guard to settle her fears, Thaus would play that role. He’d do anything he needed to keep her safe. That was his vow—and one he took seriously.
“Understood and mission accepted. I’ll leave as soon as I receive the coordinates.” Without waiting for a response, Thaus hung up and stalked to the bedroom at the back of the cabin. Under the floorboards in a well-hidden cubby lay the proof of his place within the Dire pack. Pounds of explosives, guns of multiple calibers, and enough ammunition to hold off the US Army for at least a few days. As the weaponry expert of his pack, his job was to keep their safe houses armed and ready for battle. His own house was always ready, as well.
The ping of an incoming text barely registered as he counted out guns, knives, and bullets. He might hate how shifters had grown so comfortable with mechanical weapons, but he had to admit they were effective as fuck when an enemy attacked. And over the last few years, the enemies had all been heavily armed. Long gone were the days when two wolves would fight to the death with tooth and claw. It was the age of bullets and firepower, and Thaus always came prepared.
He packed everything he’d need into a specially designed backpack and headed to the kitchen to grab his phone. As expected, there was one text from Dante listing the coordinates of the pack he was to help. He stared at the screen long enough for it to go dark, trying to work out the possibilities that this was a coincidence. The pack was close. Real close. A hard half-day’s run, especially with his shoulder aching, but no more than that. Out of all the places he could have been and all the packs that could have called for help, it was oddly prophetic that he was at just the right mountain for just the right pack. Not that it mattered—no one fucked with a Dire Wolf, and any Omega shewolf was a Dire, which meant the pack could have been across the country or over oceans, and Thaus would have helped. Their proximity just meant it wouldn’t take as long to get started.
Once he shifted—cursing bullets and chemicals all over again as his shoulder burned through the transition—he crawled under the strap of the backpack. The weight of his supplies was minimal, though the strap rubbed his shoulder wrong. Still, it was better than trying to travel in his human form.
He’d run onto this land with the backpack over his shoulder, and he was running back out the same way. Only for a little while, though. As soon as this contract negotiation finished, he was coming back to his mountain.
He just had to make sure the Omega was safe first.