Read Azure (The Silver Series Book 5) Online

Authors: Cheree Alsop

Tags: #fantasy, #werewolf series romance action adventure love

Azure (The Silver Series Book 5)

BOOK: Azure (The Silver Series Book 5)
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AZURE

 

The Silver Series: Book 5

 

By Cheree L. Alsop

 

 

Copyright © 2012 by Cheree L.
Alsop
All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be
reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express
written permission of the author except for the use of brief
quotations in a book review
. 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
return to Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for
respecting the hard work of this author.

This is a work of fiction. Names,
characters, places, and incidents are a product of the author’s
imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, events, or locales
is entirely coincidental.

Smashwords Edition

Cover Design by Andy Hair

www.ChereeAlsop.com

 

To my husband, Michael Alsop,

The best content-editor

A wife could ask for.

 

To my family for their support,

For their love, and the

Endless adventures.

 

I love you!

 

Chapter 1

 

I tossed a kernel of popcorn into the air,
caught it in my mouth, then a bullet buzzed past my face close
enough for me to smell the silver. I fell back in my chair and
landed on the red sand with a thud. I rolled to my feet, my heart
pounding and eyes searching the darkness. Sounds of a struggle
parted the moonless night around the red rocks. I wondered how they
found us and what had happened to Riff on night watch, then a
shadow rose in front of me and lifted a gun.

I ducked under his arms and barreled him
into the stone pillars that rose like sentries through our camp.
The huff of air forced from his lungs with the impact sounded loud
in the still night as the pillar collapsed behind me. I let him
drop to the ground, then punched him in the jaw for good measure. I
threw his gun into the darkness and took off to search for my
friends.

Brian struggled on the ground with a man who
looked to outweigh him by at least a hundred pounds, but he still
should have been no match for the werewolf's strength. The scent of
warm iron touched my nose and I saw a knife sticking out of Brian's
thigh. I grabbed his attacker and hurtled him across the ground
where he crashed into the dying remains of our fire. I spared a
quick glance for Brian's leg, worried that the knife might be
silver.


I'm fine,” he growled
between gritted teeth, his hands clamped around the knife to
prevent it from doing further damage. “Help the others.”

His attacker was rising from the coals and I
kicked his arms out from under him as I passed, sending him back
into the fire. The sounds of a struggle came from the shadows.

I found Sam just outside the camp with a
bullet between his eyes. Loss throbbed through my body and I knelt
to check for the thump of his pulse, though my ears told me his
heart no longer beat. My teeth clenched in anger and a growl
escaped my lips. I couldn’t control it any longer. Someone had to
pay. I phased into wolf form; my clothes tore away in the haste of
the phase, but I didn't care. Black fur ran up my body and settled
as the phase completed. I longed for the reassuring touch of
moonlight, but my wolf eyes easily made out the rocks and brush of
our desert surroundings. I took one last look at Sam, then loped
toward the next sounds of battle.

Johnny kicked one man in the stomach and
turned to face another, but before he could touch him, I leaped,
grabbed the back of the man’s neck in my teeth, then turned in the
air so my weight and momentum flipped the man backwards into a
tree. I ran to the next clearing and tore a chunk out of the leg of
a man who was trying to skewer Max with a black bladed knife. He
used the distraction to take the knife from the man and slice his
throat. Max then phased and followed me to the next struggle.

The other werewolves joined us and we took
down our remaining attackers in a smooth, synchronized group as we
had practiced so many times with deer and elk. It was easy to
pretend they were just game instead of humans sent to kill us. To
protect my friends, I pulled down human after human and tried to
ignore their struggles and protests. They fought back with
surprising skill and several werewolves were hurt in the process,
but we protected our camp and didn’t stop until the threat was
gone.

I phased back into human form behind a
convenient stand of scrub brush and rocks that also served as a
hiding place for one of our many stashes of clothing. I pulled on a
set of shorts and rose slowly. The scent of blood tangled with the
cinnamon and sun scent of the desert sand. It was a hard battle,
but the werewolves were safe. I almost felt the same triumph as
when we had a successful hunt, but the taste of blood lingered in
my mouth and the sharpness of it reminded me that we hadn’t
survived easily.

I avoided looking at the faces of the fallen
men and focused on my injured comrades. Johnny was hunched next to
a tree, his arm sliced to the bone and a bruise forming around one
eye, but he shook off my efforts to help, insisting that others
needed it worse.

I could barely look at Sam's body; a pang of
guilt tore through me. I should have known they were coming. I
should have protected him. I took a steeling breath and walked back
to camp. Several of my group had gathered around three men, two of
whom shouted insults and threats. My head throbbed from a blow I
had taken during the heat of the fight. I rubbed my eyes.


Shut them up,” I
growled.


They say there's more
coming,” Zach, a gray, said over his shoulder.


They would have been here
already,” I replied. “It wouldn't make sense for them to attack at
separate times.” I gave the loudest man a piercing stare. “Isn't
that right?”

He sputtered for a second, then replied,
“You're wrong. They're on their way and you're gonna die like the
filthy beasts you are.”


We aren't the ones who
came into your home and killed your friends and family for no
reason,” I barked out with an edge of anger. Sam’s death and the
attack threatened to break my control in the face of a man who so
openly defied me.


No reason?” The man let
out a snort of disbelief. “You're an abomination and every one of
you deserves to die. The Hunters won't stop until every man, woman,
and child werewolf is wiped from this earth.”

I gritted my teeth against a retort and
tipped my head at Max who stood behind him. Max nodded and he and
Zach dragged them from the camp. I glanced at the last captive and
my heart slowed.

The Hunter was a girl close to my age. She
struggled between Drake and Seth, fighting to hold a knife that
Seth tried to pry from her hands. Her eyes met mine and I was
surprised by her irises, a bright green the color of spring grass
after a rain. Her eyes were clouded with pain, but held a spark of
defiance despite the odds she faced. She knew she was defeated, but
she didn’t give up. My heart went out to her. Against reason, I
took a step forward.


Let her go.”

Drake and Seth stared at me like I had gone
mad. Drake, a gray who always listened to his superiors, let go of
her and stepped back, but Seth kept a tight hold on her arm. “She's
a Hunter,” he protested.

I fought back a growl at his defiance and
attributed it to adrenaline from the attack. I met his eyes and
glared until he dropped his gaze and let the girl go. She fell to
her knees in the dirt, blood pouring from a long, narrow gash in
her leg and a scrape above her eye. I wondered how many other
wounds her dark clothing hid.


What's going on here?”
Brian demanded. He limped into the clearing with Ben's help. The
brothers looked from me to the girl and I stepped between them to
shield her.


She's been hurt enough,” I
said. I met their eyes, my heart pounding and an edge of
recklessness to my thoughts.

Both Alphas looked like they wanted to
argue, but Brian wasn't in any shape to fight and Ben wouldn't put
his brother in danger. The Alphas knew they would lose if they
tried to defy me on even ground, let alone with one of them hurt.
My strength and size was the only thing that kept the balance at
Two. Ben was about to say something, then he glanced behind me and
his eyes widened.

Before I could move, something sliced across
my back. I turned and stared at the girl in amazement. She stood
holding the bleeding gash across her thigh, the knife in her hand
and her chest heaving. Her long black hair tangled around her face.
My teeth lifted back in a snarl at the feeling of blood running
down my back. I fought down the urge to slap her. “Don't do that
again if you value your life,” I said in a growl.

She opened her mouth to reply, then her face
paled and her eyes rolled back. She fell forward and I caught her
before she hit the ground. The knife fell with a tiny thump to the
sand. I lifted her up and her head lolled against my chest. She
felt tiny in my arms.

I turned to the other werewolves and Brian
smirked at me. “Good luck with that,” he said. Ben helped him
inside and the other werewolves followed close behind. I glanced
around at the destruction of our camp, stone columns riddled by
bullet holes, chairs upturned, and the fire scattered with the
coals burning out. The sharp scent of blood covered the normal
sandy cinnamon and sage smell of the night air. The girl moaned in
my arms. I hesitated at the mouth of Two, then ducked through the
entrance. I ignored the stares of the other werewolves as I made my
way to my quarters.

The red rock walls and caverns that made up
our home held the scent of the many werewolves I lived with. The
floor had been laid with marble, but the thin red dust that coated
everything from the sandstone walls made the surface slippery in
the best of times. Brian and Ben had slacked off on sweeping lately
and it wasn’t worth the fight to keep them working.

Starlight from the thick glass above
filtered down to create snake-like patterns on the rocks and
marble. I turned at the fork and followed the left branch past the
cavern that made up the dining area and kitchen. I took a shortcut
through the empty workout room and stopped in front of my door at
the back corner of Two. It was solitary and secure, just the way I
liked it.

I turned the handle and pushed the door open
with my shoulder. Less light streamed through the glass along the
ceiling because we were deeper down, but I liked the cool air and
the solitude was welcome after the numerous fights that inevitably
broke out among the group. Two’s position as a haven for hideaway
male werewolves definitely came with a price.

My feet sunk into the thick carpets when I
crossed to set the girl on my couch. A small sound escaped her
lips. I folded my arms and watched her. She looked small on the
couch, younger than my nineteen years, but not by much. I wondered
if it was bravery or foolishness that gave her the fire to stand up
to a dozen werewolves alone. I shook my head and went back out the
door to find our resident doctor in training.

 

***

 


Tie it off
there.”

I followed Traer's directions and tied the
bandage together at the front of the girl's thigh. He had already
completed the stitches and was focused on a nasty looking bite on
her forearm.

He wiped his forehead with his sleeve and
pushed his glasses further up his nose. “Permission to be
frank?”

I rolled my eyes and dipped a cloth in the
bowl to clean a deep scrape along her other arm. “You're my friend.
Say what you want.”

He glanced at me, then concentrated on
stitching the gashes back together. “Why save her? There are over a
dozen dead Hunters out there and four werewolves. She's one of the
enemy.”

I didn't answer for a few minutes. I had
already asked myself the same question, knowing I would be held
accountable as soon as my mother called, but I couldn’t explain why
I felt so strongly about not letting her die with the rest of them.
I felt Traer's eyes on me and shrugged. “I don't know. Look at
her.”

He stopped stitching and studied her for a
minute. “Well, she's young, quite pretty, and a trained killer.
Quick with a knife, too, I hear.” He tipped his head toward my back
meaningfully.

I shook my head. “If she was trained, she
would have stabbed instead of sliced.”

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