Authors: Lorelei Moone
Book 2 in the Scottish Werebears Series by Lorelei Moone.
Find Book 1 here.
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Aidan McMillan is a bear on a mission. Together with a group of like-minded shifters called the Alliance, he’s uncovered the existence of one of the most infamous concepts in shifter history/legend: The Sons of Domnall, a secret society of humans sworn to destroy all shapeshifters. One of their cells has popped up in Edinburgh, and the Alliance is set on infiltrating them somehow. Meanwhile, he’s also investigating the death of his parents years ago. Everyone says it was an accident, but was it really?
Heidi Blackwood, the daughter of her pack’s alpha, has been sent to work with Aidan and the others in order to hunt down the Sons of Domnall and neutralise the threat they pose to wolves all over the world. When they first lay eyes on one another, they know right away: they’re meant to be mates. Although Aidan smells unlike any wolf she’s ever met, she doesn’t yet realise that he’s the one thing she shouldn’t look for in a mate: a bear, one of the wolves’ natural enemies.
Can they stay on task long enough to successfully fight the Sons of Domnall? Or will their complicated feelings for one another throw a spanner in the works before it’s all said and done?
This paranormal romance novella is the second in the Scottish Werebear series. Although each part stands on its own and can be read out of order, you'll get more enjoyment out of them if you read them one after the other.
Find Book 1 here.
This story is intended for adult audiences only.
© 2015 Lorelei Moone
Cover Design by Jacqueline Sweet
This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
Scottish Werebear: A Dangerous Business
All was not well in Rannoch, Scotland. Heidi Blackwood felt her heartbeat speed up, and the urge to protest grew ever stronger in her chest.
How the hell had this happened?
"You may not like the idea of leaving, but we need one of our own inside the Alliance. You said so yourself," Eric Blackwood said while giving his daughter a strict look.
I never thought it would be me,
Heidi thought. Her father's news came as a bit of a shock. Whenever the topic of the Alliance had come up, Heidi had always expected one of the young males of the pack to be chosen as their representative to the Alliance. Never once did she think it could be her.
"I've made the necessary arrangements. You are to travel to Edinburgh and join them. I've spoken to their local leader, Jamie Abbott, already." Her dad sounded firm. He wouldn't be receptive to any arguments she would think of, and she didn't have anything sensible to add, either. She just needed a moment to let the information sink in.
Of course, he was right. They needed someone they could rely on to join the Alliance. Who could be more reliable than Heidi herself? She'd learned at an early age that if you wanted something done right, you had to do it yourself. It was time to put her money where her mouth was.
She took a deep breath and tried to focus.
"I'll pack my things." Heidi turned on her heel and headed out of the living room of the cozy log hut where she lived with her parents, and up the stairs to her bedroom.
It may have been years since she had been of age technically, but the Wolves of Rannoch didn't follow the same rules that human society did. She would be considered her father's daughter first of all and her own woman second, no matter how old she was. Only her marriage to an eligible wolf would change that, but Heidi had no intention of throwing herself into yet another situation where she'd be forced to dance to someone else's tune.
In a way this assignment was a blessing in disguise, Heidi thought. She wondered if her father had picked her because he'd sensed that she would soon outgrow Rannoch and its strict rules. Or perhaps it was simply because he trusted her more than the others. She wanted to think it was maybe a bit of both.
As she started throwing clothes and a few weapons into an overnight bag, she wondered what the other members of the Alliance would be like. Jamie Abbott was a bear, she already knew that.
The rivalry between bears and wolves was one of the main reasons her father had pushed for one of their own to join the Alliance in the first place, even though they'd had a truce between their species for the past few years. She'd heard whispers over campfires about other, more unusual species of shifters inside the Alliance, but couldn't be sure if those were just rumors. Bears and wolves, that was the most likely scenario.
She also wondered what it would be like to stay in Edinburgh. She'd visited the city a few times, but had never actually lived away from home. It could be exciting, an adventure, something a little different. But if Heidi was completely honest with herself, it was also a little scary.
Twenty-two years she'd spent in this room, in this house, safe in the knowledge that there was an entire pack surrounding her who would do anything to protect the alpha's daughter. Not that she'd needed protection – she was strong, taller than most of the other females her age, and broader as well. She was no pushover and had gotten into plenty of scraps growing up. She was used to winning, even when fighting some of the boys in her pack.
But the outside world was largely a mystery to Heidi. Bears, especially. She'd never even met one, though of course that would change shortly.
It didn't take her long to pack a few changes of clothes and a good selection of knives and other weaponry she thought might come in handy, but she spent much too long poring over all that
A photo album, her favorite books. She even found herself holding her old diary, which she hadn't written in for years but which now felt like too precious a thing to leave behind.
No, she was going to make a fresh start in Edinburgh. Plus, what would the other members of the Alliance say if they found all these girly mementos in her things? They wouldn't take her seriously, and she couldn't have that.
She hurriedly put all her old stuff into the top drawer of her dresser and zipped up the bag. She was ready.
A deep breath later, she picked up the bag and closed the door of her bedroom for what would be the last time in a good while. She had no idea when she would return, and did her best not to think of that too much.
Duty called. It was an honor that her father had picked her to represent them in the Alliance, and she would do her best to live up to his expectations.
Downstairs, beside her dad, Heidi's mom was waiting with her arms crossed. Clearly she was unhappy that Heidi was to leave, but she'd had no choice in the matter. An alpha's decision-making powers were absolute, even within the home.
"You just be careful, all right, darling?" Heidi's mom, Rebecca Blackwood, gave her a warm hug. Her voice betrayed the emotions welling up in her chest.
"I'll be fine, really," Heidi responded, trying to convince herself as well as her mom.
It was difficult not to be emotional, and all of a sudden, during this very rare embrace, it struck Heidi how much shorter and smaller her mom actually was. She felt fragile, sniffling slightly as she tried to keep the beginnings of tears in check.
"Call when you get there, promise me."
"Of course," Heidi forced a smile as she extricated herself from the continuing hug. Things were getting awkward now and if she didn't leave soon, she'd be crying puddles herself. It was important to Heidi to leave Rannoch with her head held high. No longer the little girl, but a she-wolf with an important job to do. An opportunity like this didn't come along every day.
Her dad cleared his throat and gave her a much more stoic, pat-on-the-back style hug when she approached him.
"Good girl. Do your job, follow orders, and do us proud. But always remember why you're there: in the end it's always us against them." He nodded at Heidi, and she thought she could see a little glimmer of something in his eyes as well. Pride? Worry? She wasn't quite sure what it was, but she knew she'd never seen it before.
"Yes, Dad." Although she couldn't guess what exactly was going on in her father's head, she understood his words perfectly. She was to make sure that the Alliance served the wolves as much as it did the bears and other species.
As long as it was humans against shifters, it would be easy to pick sides, but if she found out that the Alliance was in any way favoring one of the other species over wolves, she had to make sure her father was notified. She had to be his eyes and ears inside the Alliance.
"Now be on your way, before you miss the train." Eric Blackwood nodded at Heidi one last time, signaling it really was time for her to leave.
So Heidi picked up her stuff, along with the few provisions her mom had packed, and headed straight out the door without looking back even once.
With her head held high, she marched towards the edge of the settlement, where one of the pack's jeeps was waiting. The drive was short and quiet – she didn't exchange a single word with the young wolf who was driving. Honestly, she was so lost in thought for most of it that she didn't even remember who it was.
The whole journey, including getting off at the station and waiting for her train to Edinburgh, passed in a blur. She had no idea what would be waiting for her, so her mind couldn't stop speculating about it.
Once in the train, she barely took note of the cloudy, rain-lashed countryside as it passed by at high speed outside the windows. Her attention was focused solely on the mobile phone in her hand, and the address and directions programmed into it. From the station, she'd take a bus, and a short walk later she'd arrive at the Alliance office.
What would it look like? A shiny modern affair, bustling with activity, dotted with fancy computer screens and complicated maps and things, like you see on detective shows? Or perhaps it was more of a secret lair type of place, hidden away in an old warehouse, complete with training facilities and a stockpile of weapons.
Heidi closed her eyes and tried to relax, forcing herself to breathe more slowly. It would take a few more hours to get there, and somehow she was certain that she'd need all her energy then.
When Heidi awoke, she had no idea how long she'd been asleep. The train was still mostly empty, only a few seats were taken in her carriage, and luckily nobody had sat anywhere near her. She didn't feel all that sociable.
At least her nap had helped her get her thoughts in order. She was on her own now, and she would manage. Somehow.
Not long after waking up did the scenery outside change as well. The lush green landscapes had made way for more built-up areas. They were getting close to the city. Village after village zipped past outside, and Heidi started recognizing some of the station names from her last trip to Edinburgh. Within twenty minutes, they pulled into their final destination and it was time to collect her stuff and disembark.
The bus ride also went seamlessly, even though she had been a bit worried about missing her stop. With the help of the phone, making her way to the Alliance address was equally easy.
After checking and double-checking that the house number matched what was in her phone, she finally knocked against the weather-beaten wood. A few flakes of faded blue paint chipped off and fell to the ground as she did so.
Despite her expectations being vague, the outside of the office didn't match up. It looked neither modern nor particularly mysterious. The building was old, in a downtrodden part of town, and plain ugly.