Excerpt for Orion's Circle(Sirius Wolves 1) by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

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Contents


Title Page

Copyright

Dedication


Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Epilogue


Preview of Broken Circle


About Victoria Sue

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Orion’s Circle


Sirius Wolves: Book One



Victoria Sue


About The Book You Have Purchased


This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously to further the plot of this story. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.


Cover content is for illustrative purposes only and any persons depicted on the cover are models.


Editing and formatting: Story Perfect Editing Services


Thank you for downloading this eBook. This purchase allows you ONE LEGAL copy for personal reading on your device of choice. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This book is licensed to the original purchaser only. Duplication or distribution by any means is illegal and a violation of international copyright law. Violators of same are subject to criminal prosecution, and, upon conviction, fines and/or imprisonment. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including but not limited to: photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the express written permission of the publisher and/or author, and where permitted by law. Reviewers and/or bloggers may quote brief passages in a review or for promotional purposes only. To request permission and all other inquiries, contact the author directly.


Orion’s Circle

Copyright © 2017 by Victoria Sue

http://www.victoriasue.com



To my Alpha, who has been running his pack with love for twenty years.


Chapter One


Aden was running for his life. The howls and snarls from the pack reverberated off the trees. Lungs bursting, heart pumping, and legs shaking he careered on desperately, losing count of the number of times he fell and pushed to his feet. The gammas who were chasing him were getting nearer. His skin crawled with trails of blood from where the branches had cut his body, and he cried out in pain as his bare foot caught on some creepers and catapulted him headlong to the ground. Exhaustion shook his arms as he tried to push himself up, but a bolt of agony through his ankle kept him on the floor. Dizziness, pain, and hopelessness swirled around him.

He hung his tired head. He was done, he simply couldn’t fight anymore. Months of imprisonment, starvation, and torture for the Alpha’s amusement had all led to this moment—the Ceremonial Hunt to mark the acceptance of a new Alpha was to the death—his death. His thin, bare shoulders shook as he heard the wolves surround him, but it was the overpowering hatred that assaulted him. Hatred—in every look, in every word, and finally in every punch.

He lifted his eyes heavenwards, half searching, but it was futile. He didn’t believe in any super beings—the enchanted that had been whispered about by his grandparents—Sirius’s magical wolves that would bring about the order that mankind needed, the balance. There was no mythical being to save Aden. He would be dead before Sirius ascended, and as he peered to the east, he knew it wouldn’t be long until the earth’s brightest star shone.

As the wolves circled and brought with them their familiar stench, Aden’s head echoed with his mother’s entreaties to run and his father’s pleas to the Alpha to spare him. It had done no good, and if he’d known their blood would have been sacrificed to mark the start of the hunt, he would have done his best to stop them saying anything. At least he would have been spared the sight of the Alpha and his gammas ripping their flesh as they were butchered.

“That’s right,” the booming voice of the old Alpha sounded. “Cower like the filth that you are. You’re completely useless, boy. We’ve had no sport at all.” He’d clearly shifted back, and by the sniggers and taunts so had some of the pack. Aden hung his head; he knew better than to attempt to reason.

“I think that would depend on your definition of sport.” The forest suddenly went silent at the new voice. Aden gazed upwards towards the speaker, a man, his voice practically vibrating with anger. The hair on Aden’s arms prickled with the fury that swept around the clearing, and while Aden had cowered at the sound of the Alpha’s voice, this one sent chills through his body as each word resonated through the forest.

Aden zeroed in on the huge man leaning casually on a tree. His jet black hair fell over his smooth, tanned face, and he was huge, at least six foot five—hell the man’s body was nearly the width of the tree trunk he leaned against, his shirt material straining against his biceps as he casually crossed his arms. He was clothed, that in itself a crushing disappointment as his clothing marked him as obviously human—and the man didn’t smell like a shifter. All Aden’s pack smelled like the Alpha—musty, like something was decaying. Their humanity, Aden thought, feeling helpless.

All the shifters including himself were naked. Whatever clothes they were wearing either discarded or destroyed as the hunt started and they shifted. Aden was naked because that’s how he had been imprisoned. He hadn’t been allowed clothes for such a long time. For one second…Aden shook his head, angry that the man had given him a tiny kernel of hope, only to be crushed. He was clearly a powerful man, but no man was a match for any wolf shifter, never mind a whole pack. He would be ripped apart, and Aden had had enough of people being slaughtered because of him that day. He had to try and distract the wolves so they would let the human go.

Aden tried not to wince as he managed to get up. He focused away from the constant pain that made him feel sick—as if he had any food in his stomach to make him so. He didn’t think he had been fed for at least two days, and the ever present hunger made it very hard to mark the passing of time.

“Alpha Richard,” he said, “ignore the man, he doesn’t understand. I will try again and will be better sport this time.”

Aden ignored howls of laughter that surrounded him. Wolves were supposed to be better than humans. He’d been taught their superior strength and speed was a gift of the gods, and just because the others chose to ignore the old teachings didn’t mean he had to. No one else was going to die today because of him. The human pushed himself away from the tree.

“Sport?” The stranger spat the word with contempt.

Aden almost shook his head. The stupid man was digging his own grave. Humans had known about wolf shifters for years, had even tried to contain the packs in smaller designated areas, ignoring traditional pack land boundaries. When that hadn’t worked humans and wolves had chosen to ignore each other, their existence buried with each passing century, but just because Aden had been taught to mistrust humans for years didn’t mean he wanted to see one of them die.

Aden glanced at the man. He had to try and get him out of trouble, try to keep him alive. Maybe Sirius was looking down and had deemed Aden’s suffering would come to an end, maybe—just maybe—this was a test. That’s what his grandfather would have said.

He had to try. “This isn’t your business,” Aden said. “For your own safety you must leave.”

The large man swung around and his bright blue eyes burned into Aden. “Don’t be frightened, little one. Your desire to protect does you credit.” Aden blinked as a feeling of calmness washed over him. It was unreal. He wasn’t even sure he was afraid anymore. The man looked almost fondly at him, and then turned to Alpha Richard. “This isn’t sport. How can a smaller wolf—a submissive wolf—go against a whole pack?”

Aden just had time to wonder why the guy knew what a submissive wolf was, and how he knew that Aden was one, when snarls started again, as at the Alpha’s nod the gammas closest to the Alpha shifted back. The large man smiled. To Aden, he looked almost pleased at the Alpha’s reaction, which was impossible. Alpha Richard threw his head back and laughed in contempt, and the man just tutted. “Alpha Richard, this is your last warning. Stand down.”

To be fair to the old Alpha, he did look shocked that the stranger knew his name. Then he blustered, deciding to ignore the fact that the man knew they were wolves. “I have no quarrel with you. Be gone, stranger. This is wolf business.”

“Exactly.” The word was no sooner uttered by the stranger when everyone heard the rustling behind him and two of the biggest wolves Aden had ever seen calmly padded out of the trees and stood on either side of the stranger. One was golden brown, and the other was simply breathtaking—the coat looked pure silver. Aden had never seen a shifter that color.

The closest golden brown one immediately pricked his ears up and fixed his gaze on Aden. Before Aden had the chance to wonder if this was a new threat, and yet something else that wanted to kill him, the wolf put its head back and howled. Aden shivered and his pack immediately backed away slightly at the noise. The howl wasn’t something most of their wolves did anymore, at least not like that, the howls from his pack were almost scratchy as if they had lost their power. This echo was a statement. A challenge.

The blue eyed stranger looked as startled as Aden, and quickly turned to Aden as if appraising him. Then, before Aden could even think to panic, the golden wolf calmly trotted up to him and rubbed his flank along Aden’s legs. Aden stumbled at the weight, his arms flailing slightly since he didn’t have anything to grab a hold of. Quick as a flash the wolf had bent around him and pushed his head up into Aden’s other hand to steady him. Aden didn’t question it, he just grabbed a hold of the thick coat and tried to concentrate on locking his knees together. He barely had a chance to register the fresh, clean scent of lemons. The stranger nodded as if in agreement with the brown wolf, and turned to the Alpha.

“Be gone, Alpha, and take your miserable pack with you. The gammas from Jefferson have already been summoned to monitor your pack lands. I am not pleased with what I have witnessed here today.” The man suddenly pushed away from the tree, muscles rippling, and advanced towards the Alpha.

“W-what?” The Alpha, shocked, took two steps backwards and nearly stumbled. Then he seemed to recover and Aden’s heart sank as he registered the look in the Alpha’s eyes that he had seen countless times before. It wasn’t determination; it was cruelty, cruelty and glee. Richard smiled, and Aden tensed, wanting to shout a warning.

With a flicker of Richard’s eyes the gammas bunched their hind legs and prepared to launch at the stranger. If Aden had blinked he would have missed it.

Just as the gammas pounced, a silver flash of fur swept in front of him and the strong smell of blood rose in the air. Five gammas lay dead with their throats torn out. Aden blinked, horrified, and swallowed down sudden nausea. The silver wolf sat and casually licked the blood off its paws.

“Do you want to try that again?”

Alpha Richard goggled at the stranger, awestruck. The gammas that were left alive whimpered and slunk back. Aden’s heart was hammering so loud he swore all the others could hear it.

Entranced, Aden stared at the wolf. Its long tongue wrapped around each paw, slowly, sensuously. Each swipe sent shivers down Aden’s spine. Such focus, such…Aden shook his head to clear it. It was mesmerizing. The silver wolf paused and cocked its head at Aden. He barely had time to blink before another massive, fury body entwined itself around Aden’s legs. The silver wolf paused as its nose bumped with the golden one, seemed to consider Aden, then pushed its head under Aden’s other hand.

Aden cried out at the sudden explosion of pain in his wrist. He closed his eyes and bit his lip furiously. His wrist had been crushed yesterday when the Alpha had grabbed him, but with everything else that hurt, a wrist wasn’t so important. He opened his eyes as he felt the silver wolf cautiously sniff his fingers, then slowly a pink tongue licked the tip of his finger.

Heat bathed Aden’s hand and the pain trickled out of his fingers until it was gone. Aden blinked, his sluggish brain trying to catch up. How had the wolf done that? He stared into mesmerizing gray eyes, so calm. Aden took a slow breath, and dug his fingers in as the wolf’s silver head butted his hand again.

Alpha Richard was stammering at this point. “I-I have no quarrel with visiting shifters on my land.” If Aden had the strength, he would have laughed. No quarrel? The Alpha would have ripped them limb from limb. Everyone knew they were forbidden to have contacts with any other pack.

He must have made some noise, because Alpha Richard looked at Aden. “Come,” the Alpha said furiously.

Aden’s heart jumped, then constricted. He felt the Alpha power swirling around him with the order, warring with the misery he knew it would bring. He was helpless to disobey and knew the punishment he would receive for the hunt being spoiled would make him wish the strangers had never interrupted his death. At least it would be over now. It was his susceptibility to Richard’s power that marked him as an omega, everyone said so. Unconsciously he tightened his grip in the golden wolf’s fur, and felt the huge animal lean closer.

“I don’t think so.” The stranger added determinedly. “The omega stays with us.”

“Aden, come here.” The Alpha completely ignored the man and pushed a little too hard. Defenseless, Aden let go of the wolf and raised his hands to his head to stave off the pain. He felt battered. Stumbling, he sank to his knees. He didn’t have the pride to keep him upright anymore. His body was worn down, beaten and starved for so many weeks while he was held captive for amusement.

His parents had managed to keep him out of sight for so long when he hadn’t shifted at fifteen like all the other wolves. It had been a stupid game of tag with the younger cubs he had been minding all those months ago that had sealed his fate. Jay, his best friend, had chased after him, and he’d run, only realizing he’d wandered onto the Alpha’s personal grounds when the gammas surrounded them all and had commanded they shift and pledge obedience. One by one his friends had shifted and lay prone in the favored position of obedience shown to the Alpha. Until it was Aden’s turn. And of course, he couldn’t. Aden had been thrown into the small cage in the corner of the Alpha’s hallway, after being stripped naked and beaten until he lost consciousness. Then that became an almost daily occurrence, and it had been worse today because of the hunt. He’d wished for so much in those first few months, wished that he hadn’t been cursed as an omega, wished that despite his inability to shift he still didn’t have the recovery of a shifter body, because while his injuries wouldn’t heal totally, it healed him enough so they didn’t kill him. Then, finally, when he gave up on being rescued, he simply wished for his own death.

The hunt? It was pitiful. Starvation was making him lightheaded, but the hours he spent in the cage atrophied his muscles to the point where walking was painful. How he had managed to run at all amazed him. No, he thought bitterly, that wasn’t why he was so amazed. It was why he’d bothered to run at all that defied belief, because it was futile. He’d thought today was finally his day to die anyway. Defeated, he struggled to his feet for what he hoped would be the last time.

He must have made some small whimper of protest, since the stranger swung his gaze away from the Alpha and back to him. In the distance, Aden heard Richard snarl and take a step towards him, but he didn’t have a chance to be afraid as an enormous black wolf appeared from nowhere and struck—once, deadly. Even the birds overhead didn’t screech to interrupt the shocked silence. It was as if the very forest held its breath as Richard’s head rolled away from his body, his unseeing eyes staring heavenward, a fat pink tongue extending from his mouth, following the gasp he made as his life ended. The stench was incredible, as if the Alpha had died and rotted before he ever lost his life. Aden barely was aware of two of the younger gammas still in human form, turning and losing whatever they had eaten that day.

As the black wolf turned back to face him, Aden shook his head in confusion at what he was seeing, and he swayed. The same brilliant blue eyes of the large stranger were staring at him, but not in a human body. The huge black, Alpha-marked body of the biggest wolf Aden had ever seen took a step towards him. He watched, almost fascinated, wondering if now was the time he would die.

Do not fear me, little one. No one will ever hurt you again.

Aden stared, confused, into two brilliant blue eyes, kind eyes. His last thought as he gave up his fight to stay conscious was whether or not the strong arms that gently caught him would keep a tight hold on him forever.


Chapter Two


Aden blinked awake as the most amazing smell hit him. Like pure snow in a pine forest, clean and sharp.

“I think that woke him up, Alpha.” Aden opened his eyes, saw the dark-haired stranger from the forest smiling at him, turned to the voice that spoke softly by his ear, and was met by the sight of another beautiful human being. But where the first stranger had been dark, this man was fair. His blond hair flopped casually over tanned skin and warm brown eyes. Aden blinked at the smell—lemons—and moved closer without any conscious thought. The first stranger he had seen in the woods walked fully into the room.

The fair-haired man next to him chuckled. “Do I have to?” He smiled softly at Aden. Aden’s lips curved in answer, and as the man set the tray down, he almost wept as his stomach growled, the delicious scent of bacon and sausages meeting his nose.

“Yes, Alpha.” The fair-haired wolf bobbed his head, and climbed out. Aden was just trying to understand the odd one way conversation, when his throat completely dried up. The guy had got out of bed completely naked, and reached to the chair for his pants. Aden stared shamelessly at the rippling muscles that bunched and fell and fairly danced across the golden skin on his smooth back.

He turned, put his head on one side, and extended his arm to cup Aden’s face. Aden was suddenly assaulted with a desperate need to lean into the man’s hand. It felt so warm, so right, as if he belonged just there. Aden’s eyes drifted closed as he bathed in the feeling of safety it gave him, and the soft scent of lemons still present. The bed bounced lightly, and the first guy sat down. They both looked at each other and the second man dropped his hand. Aden couldn’t help a small sound of protest.

Without looking at him, the first man nodded at the second. “Join Darric, Conner. I must speak to the omega first.”

Aden watched the man—Conner—walk away, and was immediately swamped with distress. He moved restlessly. No, he didn’t want him to go.

“Pl—” Aden bit down furiously on the begging words, and ridiculous tears threatened to roll down his face—ridiculous because he had stopped crying weeks ago, all his tears had been beaten out of him. He must have made a small choking sound because the man immediately frowned.

“I’m sorry, little one. I forget you will feel the loss more acutely until the bond has been formed.” Aden closed his eyes on the burning, and despaired at the desolation he was surrounded with. He sank further into his own misery, convinced this was an elaborate trick of the mind. How could he feel so strongly about someone he had met barely seconds ago? He had probably been dreaming, his beating so bad this time he had finally lost his mind.

“You are as sane as me,” the stranger said slowly, and moved towards him on the bed. Aden opened his eyes as the man held his arms out. “Come here.”

Aden didn’t hesitate, not once. His brain registered the immense feeling of power emanating from the man, but where it should have caused him distress and pain—as it did with Alpha Richard—he was just desperate to get as near to the stranger as humanly possible. He nearly sobbed in relief as he was drawn into strong arms and wrapped up protectively. This felt so right, so perfect, and whatever this insanity he had descended into, he would revel in it for however long he was granted. Aden closed his eyes, and released a happy sigh.

“Shh…” He heard a chuckle and felt the man’s chest rumble as he was pulled against it.

Aden inhaled the man’s scent once more, and it sent tingles of sensation down his body. He hardly dared open his eyes for fear the feeling would go. If someone had told him he had been given drugs he would have believed them, believed them and asked for more.

“It’s natural. Your wolf recognizes its mate.”

Aden’s eyes shot open at the outrageous statement. As omega it had been drilled into him painfully that he would never mate. His lot was to take on the suffering of the pack, simply stated, his suffering was for the greater good. There was no part of that suffering that involved him having the comfort of a mate. Besides which, he couldn’t shift so he didn’t have a wolf.

“Who told you all those ridiculous lies?”

The stranger tipped his head at him; Aden didn’t realize he had just spoken out loud.

“I’m dead aren’t I? Or insane?” Aden persisted.

He felt the man’s smile as his lips brushed against his hair. “No. I need you to eat, try and get your strength back. I have much to explain—” The man tipped Aden’s face back gently. “But for now, please eat.”

Aden shook his head in total disbelief, but eyed the plate longingly.

Maybe this was an elaborate trick and the food was poisoned? The man reached out and snagged a piece of bacon. He pushed it between his lips and crunched.

“Safe, see? And you will offend Lilly if you don’t like her cooking.” Aden was astounded. Snatches of memory came back from last night. This man, whoever he was, seemed to know what Aden was thinking; Aden hadn’t said out loud the food may be poisoned.

“I do. I know what all my mates think. And, I’m sorry, my name is Blaze. I should have told you that already. Eat, it isn’t poisoned. I need you well, and happy.” Blaze ran a finger down Aden’s face again, and before Aden could even respond to the astounding feeling of being called someone’s mate, he was struck with a sense of peace. Peace and security. He leaned further into the big chest that was supporting him, and smiled when he felt it rumble in response. Blaze reached a large hand out and snagged a piece of bacon, but instead of eating it, he brought it to Aden’s lips. Aden opened his mouth automatically, and crunched down on the best tasting food that had passed his lips in so very long.

He shivered at the memory of being force fed the slop they had given him, when he had tried to refuse. Eventually he’d hoped starvation would bring him death, but they had always seemed to know how much to give him to barely keep him alive. He turned his face away slightly, stomach protesting, at the fourth piece. The hand dropped. “You have been starved for a long time, little one. You will eat small amounts regularly until you adapt to being able to take full meals.”

“Aden. My name’s Aden.” Not that Aden minded really what Blaze called him when he was being treated so well, but “little one” made him feel like a child.

“Aden, of course.” Blaze laid him back against the soft pillows. “I will try and remember, but compared to me, you are little. It’s not an insult.”

Blaze was still smiling as he said it, but Aden had a hard time concentrating on him. He was getting sleepy again, but he also really needed to go to the bathroom.

“Come on then, I will help.”

Aden blushed furiously. There was no way. Then he remembered Blaze could hear his thoughts and tried to look apologetic. He stared, fascinated, as Blaze’s big-bellied laugh resounded in the room.

Blaze helped him to sit near the edge of the enormous bed that was wide enough for nearly all his old pack to climb in. “I will help you get there, then leave you to your privacy.” Blaze cupped Aden’s chin again, and he raised his eyes. “I will only leave you if I am satisfied you will not hurt yourself.”

He brushed a thumb over Aden’s cheek. “You are mine to protect, little—Aden.

Aden smiled in gratitude at his name, and shuffled to his feet. He must have stood too quickly, as giddiness nearly had him on the floor, and Blaze held him steadily. Aden raised confused eyes, and wriggled his fingers. He hadn’t just dreamt that the silver wolf healed him—he suddenly realized his ribs no longer hurt either.

“You are healed, but not even Darric can reverse your body’s mistreatment so quickly.”

“He can heal? He healed me?” Aden almost gaped in astonishment. That was one powerful gift. There had been whispers in the pack about shifters that had such power, and some wolves that could heal just by shifting, but most thought them old wives’ tales now.

Blaze frowned. “Your pack is unable to heal by shifting?”

Aden looked confused. “Yours can?”

Blaze sighed and gazed at Aden with troubled eyes. “I think I have been very remiss in not taking a closer look at your pack before. We have been establishing larger ties with the help of Jefferson pack.” A warm thumb grazed his cheek, and Blaze smiled slightly. “But enough for now, we must get you well first.”

“We?”

“Lean on me, get your bearings.” Aden did gratefully, even knowing Blaze had completely ignored his question, and managed to get to the bathroom. He’d heard of Jefferson pack before. Alpha Richard had banned all their wolves from having any sort of interaction with them for conspiring with humans. Aden hadn’t really taken much notice of the order to be honest, it wasn’t like he would ever get to meet any of them. Blaze helped him lower a soft pair of shorts down he hadn’t realized he was wearing, and sat him down. Blaze gave him a careful look, and disappeared outside the door.

Aden relieved himself with a sigh, and gripped the seat, determined to stand to wash his hands. He never got the chance as Blaze reappeared almost clucking in annoyance at his small attempt at independence. If Aden was honest with himself, he would have never made it to the sink and then back to bed without Blaze.

“Come here.” Not that Blaze gave him any choice, as he sat him down on the bed and pulled him closer. “Thirsty?” He held out a glass of milk, and Aden tried not to be totally embarrassed as he guzzled it in delight.

“Did your pack have any interaction with the other local packs? Jefferson? White Waters?”

Aden shook his head when the milk was finished. “We were told not to.” He thought hard. “To be honest, I’ve never heard of White Waters, but Alpha Richard always said our pack was stronger than Jefferson.” Aden didn’t bother saying Jefferson was conspiring with humans, he knew Blaze would have heard his thoughts.

Blaze smiled knowingly. “Jefferson pack has over thirteen hundred wolves. Their pack lands stretch for thousands of miles from Fort Collins to

Canon City, and as far west as Glenwood Springs.”

Aden gaped, he’d only vaguely heard of Fort Collins. “But we had only around three hundred wolves.”

“Which is exactly why we haven’t bothered your pack yet. Hunter told us your pack, Black Lakes, was very old fashioned, and…closeted.”

Aden stared at Blaze. He knew what he was saying. “You mean all packs aren’t like that…and who’s Hunter?”

“Hunter is the Alpha of Jefferson.”

“You don’t belong to Jefferson pack.” Aden frowned, confused. “You have your own pack, then?”

Blaze settled down further and pulled Aden in comfortingly. “Were you ever told about the legend of Sirius?”

“Vaguely, I think by my grandma.” Aden tried to keep up with the odd conversation, trying to decide if Blaze was deliberately not answering him. “The older wolves used to say Sirius sent a wolf shifter to save mankind. I can’t remember much else though.”

Blaze frowned. “I hadn’t realized so much of our history was being lost, although I think your old pack is maybe one of the worse I have come across in a while.”

Aden looked at Blaze and suddenly wondered how old he was. He took a breath to start asking questions when there was a knock at the door, and a smaller man with gray hair put his head around the door.

“My apologies Alpha, you’re needed. There is a delegation from the Black Lakes pack enquiring after their omega. One of them is being—”

Aden gasped and the man stopped speaking. He looked apologetic, but Aden took little notice.

They had come for him. He knew this wasn’t real, it wouldn’t last. Tears burned in his eyes and the old familiar misery crept over him. This was it then. He had enjoyed a fantasy for an hour. He buried his head and counted the seconds until it would be ripped away.


Chapter Three


“Aden.” He ignored Blaze’s voice as panic set in.

“Aden,” repeated Blaze when he got no response. Aden lifted miserable eyes.

Blaze smiled and pulled him nearer. He brushed a kiss over Aden’s head and Aden looked up in shock. He stood up and Aden felt the same desperate sense of loss as he had before when Conner had left. “I think,” Blaze said, bending down, “it will be better if you hear this too.” Aden gasped as he felt himself swung up into Blaze’s arms. “Besides which, it will make you sick to be parted from us all. Rest your head. You are not strong enough yet.”

Aden was more than happy to rest his head. In fact, anything that involved him burrowing in that amazing fresh scent was fine by him. That and the fact he was sure his face was probably crimson as Blaze marched out of the room carrying him. In between the milk, his nickname, and the fact that he doubted he would be able to walk anywhere near as fast as Blaze, he felt about seven years old. Aden smiled into the chest as he felt it rumbling in amusement. He felt Blaze’s arms tighten a little as he walked into another room, and didn’t really want to look. He could smell the rancid odor surrounding his pack, and he buried his nose again.

Low growls sounded around the room; another voice spoke up, low and powerful. “How dare you come here and think to threaten us?”

Aden immediately lifted his head at the other voice. He quivered, and didn’t understand why. It wasn’t fear exactly, more a recognition of…he didn’t know, but whoever had spoken was out of sight, and he strained his neck to see around the crowded room. It looked like half his pack had turned up. He moved out of Blaze’s embrace. “Let me down, I can stand.” He took a step forward and tilted his head to see the man who had spoken earlier. Aden stumbled in shock, as the most beautiful man Aden had ever seen turned to look at him. Aden’s eyes were riveted to the smile that spread slowly on the man’s gorgeous face, the smooth ebony skin with high cheekbones, and the nearly silver hair. It was a stunning combination, making Aden gulp.

More growls sounded and Aden glanced at the wolves from Black Lakes. He cringed. He loved being held after being denied any kind human touch for so long, but he really had to man up. Aden tilted his chin higher and he took a step away from Blaze as he turned to face his pack. He felt the emotions bounce around the room, and coalesce into him as usual. He stood straighter. This was what he did, even though it was painful; an omega, he was always told, absorbed all negative emotions and diffused them. He’d just never been able to be good enough at it for Alpha Richard, and taking his hatred had hurt him most of all.

He surveyed the men in front of him. Bayer, the Alpha’s old beta, and his two sons. The gammas that had survived yesterday. He was surprised to see Kellan—he didn’t know he was being trained as a gamma. Jay, Aden’s best friend, was Kellan’s younger brother, but Kellan had his blond head firmly lowered and wouldn’t look at Aden. A few of the young men looked downright terrified, and he was grateful that Jay wasn’t here to witness this.

Two men moved and Aden’s breath caught as his gaze landed on the green eyes staring from the pock marked face of the man Aden hated the most. Gregory Madden, Alpha Richard’s personal physician. He tried to swallow, but his throat felt stuck. This man had made every punishment ten times worse, and it wasn’t even the pain, it was the sick sound of bones popping as he put them back. Blackness edged Aden’s sight as the simpering voice he’d heard nearly every morning echoed in his head. Have to make sure they don’t heal crooked. That was what Madden had said every time, but the bastard had always made the healing worse than the injury in the first place.

Snarls penetrated Aden’s thoughts at the same time as he was wrapped up in strong arms. Aden blinked the panic away, and inhaled slowly. Lemons…it was Conner that held him, and he breathed deeply. He was safe, safe for now anyway.

Safe for always.

Aden raised grateful eyes to Blaze. He knew it was him that had spoken. He shook the thoughts away as another snarl from Conner stole his breath.

“You look well, omega.” Gregory Madden casually pushed to the front, and Aden backed further into Connor. That’s what he used to say every morning. Then he would laugh, as the Alpha planned all that was guaranteed to make Aden unwell. Aden shivered as the green eyes lit with assessment, and memories plucked from nightmares slithered up his skin.

The arms around him shook slightly, pulling Aden into the present. Another tremble worked its way through those arms and Aden looked up concerned, then stunned, as he took in Conner’s face.

Conner’s furious gaze pinned the doctor. The hand that wasn’t curled around Aden was fisted and shaking. Conner’s whole body was shaking and Aden could tell he was barely controlling himself. A sheen of gold fur had sprouted along Conner’s arms, and his soft brown eyes glinted amber.

Without thinking or even registering that Conner could also hear his thoughts, Aden lifted his hand to Conner’s face and pulled it down to him.

The big man was shaking because he was holding in check his need to shift.

You don’t have to do this. I’m safe, Aden sent.

The effect was immediate, and Aden was stunned as the tension bled out of Conner’s face and the stiff hold of his shoulders loosened. Aden braced and waited for the inevitable pain that would accompany taking Conner’s anger, but his lips parted in absolute shock when it didn’t come. It always hurt. How was this time different?

Conner nuzzled Aden’s hand. It’s not supposed to hurt. Not from us. Aden’s lips parted in wonder as he heard Conner’s voice clearly in his head, then another voice jolted him into the present.

“You stole our omega. We demand return of what is rightfully ours. He is the property of Black Lakes pack.” The man that had spoken pushed through between Bayer and Gregory. Aden trembled slightly and pushed back into Conner’s chest. It was Craig, the son of Alpha Richard. His Alpha ceremony had been the cause of the hunt. When the current Alpha reached the age of one hundred, either he relinquished to his elder son, or he was challenged. That must mean Craig was Alpha now. That, and the fact his father had had his head ripped off by Blaze.

Craig shot Aden such a look of disgust. Why? Why did everyone hate him so much? Memories of the cage battered him, of Craig laughing and being egged on by his father. The sharp pain of the knife when it was prodded through the bars and there wasn’t enough room for him to get away.

Aden felt two large arms surround his shoulders possessively, protectively, and he could have wept with gratitude. His hand itched for the memory of Conner’s face, and Conner lightly clasped Aden’s wrist, turned it gently palm upwards and softly breathed a kiss onto his skin. It was the gentlest touch Aden had felt in months, and he blinked quickly as his world seemed to still.

Conner gazed at him with his brown eyes and Aden’s heart jumped. He’d felt an incredible attraction to both of them from the start, but this? This was stronger, and he was only just beginning to realize that. His mom had always spoken of the second she’d seen his dad. Perfect mates. It didn’t happen much in his old pack anymore, and Aden had never given that much thought either as he wasn’t destined to have one, but…perfect? The look in those brown eyes was so perfect and alive, Aden could nearly reach out and touch it. His breath caught and Conner seemed to shimmer in front of him.

Aden blinked furiously.

“That’s disgusting,” Craig spat, and took a step forward.

Blaze opened his mouth, but he was beaten to it once more by the silver-haired man. “Be very careful not to insult our mate. Nothing would give me greater pleasure than helping you to meet your father again.”

Aden nearly gasped. Mate? Conner had a mate? Aden bit his lip furiously. Well of course he did. Aden tried to step away from Conner but Conner held him tightly.

“Omegas can’t have mates,” Craig insisted.

Aden wanted to laugh hysterically. Craig had misunderstood, how could anyone think this beautiful man would ever mate someone as pathetic as him?

Craig stood, hands fisted, face reddening. Aden could feel Craig’s Alpha power start to throb around the room, and he wanted to weep as he waited for the pain in his mind to increase until he capitulated. Any minute now he would have no choice but to agree.

Conner bent and murmured in his ear. “You have nothing to fear. You don’t have to go with them.” Aden’s lips parted on a word of denial, until a feeling of peace washed over him. He lifted grateful eyes to Blaze, who had moved silently and touched his arm.

With dawning confidence, he turned to face the Alpha.

Craig looked confused, frustrated, and Craig’s gammas were murmuring indecisively. They looked equally surprised that Aden wasn’t prostrate at their feet.

“This has gone on long enough.” Blaze stepped forward and everyone instantly quieted. Blaze fixed his stare on Craig. “You are Alpha of Black Lakes. If you choose to conduct yourself appropriately and run a good pack according to shifter law, you will be allowed to remain. If not, I will choose a new Alpha to lead your wolves.”

Craig gaped unattractively at Blaze’s words and Aden shared in his astonishment.

“You will allow? Who are you to interfere?” Craig scoffed, and Aden thought if he had been present yesterday when his father had lost his head,

Craig wouldn’t have been so sure of himself. Aden heard a quiet laugh behind him, and smiled.

Can you hear everything? Aden asked.

Yes, little one. Aden glanced, startled, at Blaze. He knew he had called him that deliberately so he would know who had spoken to him. He looked at Conner.

Yes, mate.

Aden’s eyes rounded, that was definitely Conner that had spoken.

Conner’s brown eyes softened into a smile.

Mate? You mean me? Aden stared in complete disbelief.

Of course we mean you. Aden stared at Blaze, astounded. Two? He had two mates? Aden barely had time to register their words as the silver-haired man’s voice echoed through his mind.

Three, Aden, three. You have three mates.

Vaguely aware of Conner behind him, the gray eyes speared his gaze. His chest heaved, lungs unable to work, the cogs in his brain no longer able to turn as brakes slammed in surrender. Powerful eyes scanned his body, peeling back every layer, and despite all the times he had spent naked, Aden realized this was the first time in his life he had been truly stripped bare. It was a good job Conner kept a tight hold, because standing on his own was impossible, he wanted to dissolve in a puddle of desperate need at this beautiful man’s feet.

He didn’t register the other words being spoken by Blaze, he was too busy being aware of every inch of his skin glowing, and his body pulsing. He drew in a shuddering breath, trying to calm his body—a body that hadn’t responded favorably to anything in almost a year—and was grateful as Conner’s possessive arms wrapped tighter around his abdomen. Steadying him. Grounding him.

Aden blinked as he heard shouting. His old pack were surrounded by Blaze’s gammas, and Craig, seeming to be blessed with the same lack of self-preservation as his father, was yelling and protesting as the gammas shoved him out of the room. Blaze ignored them and nodded to Conner. Conner calmly turned Aden around and hoisted him up. The friction on his dick was immediate and Aden groaned and laid his head on Conner’s shoulder. He heard a soft laugh behind him from Blaze, and Aden burrowed his head as Conner started walking, convinced his face must be scarlet.

He felt amusement from Conner, and snuggled unashamedly. His dick was being pressed flush against Conner’s hard abdomen, brushing a little as Conner walked. Aden reveled in the delicious sensations.

He’d known since he was ten that girls weren’t his thing when Alicia Feltman had tried to kiss him in the clearing next to his house. His friends, especially Jay, had whooped and whistled until he’d blushed. What they didn’t know was he’d have rather been kissed by Jay’s older brother, Kellan. He wasn’t stupid though. The Alpha hated gays with a vengeance, spouting about abominations at the monthly pack meeting. When his shift didn’t happen and he knew he would be relegated to an omega, fancying boys suddenly became the least of his problems.

Conner deposited Aden on the bed again, and brushed a lock of Aden’s too long brown hair out of his eyes.

Little one. Blaze sat on the bed, on the other side of Aden from Conner. “I know you have questions. We were hoping to take this slower for you, but your old pack interrupted that. You still need lots of rest and food.”

Aden looked up at Blaze, exasperated. Yes, he was bone tired, but hungry? Not so much. Thanks to his old pack he was used to existing on tiny amounts. He heard a low growl and swung his head to an angry looking Conner. Aden automatically rested his hand on top of Conner’s much larger one and felt the man’s anger fade.

“Thank you.” Conner brushed a kiss on Aden’s cheek and Aden’s face flushed as immediate heat washed over his body. Conner smirked.

He heard laughter around the room, and wanted to slap his head. “You can all do it, can’t you?” he said, half-annoyed. “Read my mind? Know what

I’m thinking?”

Blaze nodded solemnly.

“I’m sorry. I will try and guard my thoughts. I—”

“No.”

Aden raised startled eyes to the silver-haired giant who bent down to kneel on the floor in front of him. “Please, never shield your thoughts from us. I would feel…”

“Lost.” Conner added, and brushed a kiss on the hand that covered his own.

Aden opened his mouth. He couldn’t keep calling the guy by the color of his hair. The guy in question put his head back and laughed out loud. Conner snickered too.

“It’s Darric, beautiful,” the silver-haired man said, trailing his hand down Aden’s leg. Aden shivered at the touch and his cock grew hard again, making him blush.

“You have questions?” Blaze took Aden’s other hand and Aden smiled at the man that had cared enough to keep him alive yesterday. It was at that point when he gave up protesting at being called little one.

“So, why me? Is it because I am an omega?” As soon as he asked the question, Aden knew it was ridiculous. It wasn’t like he was the only omega in existence. There weren’t many, but he didn’t think for one second these three would have problems with guys lining up to get their hands on them. He frowned. Or girls. It could just as well be girls.

Blaze smiled. “To answer both your questions, it’s not because you’re an omega.”

“And it’s not girls either,” murmured Darric, “but I think you knew that.”

“But if it’s not because I’m an omega—”

Aden cringed slightly as his voice rose. He could hear the panic weave into his words. If they didn’t want him as an omega, he had no other skills. He wasn’t even good at being a wolf, he couldn’t even shift for pity’s sake. He sucked at that too.

Blaze immediately cupped his face. Conner leaned in closer, and Darric clasped his leg. Before Aden had chance to marvel at the show of comfort from all three of them, Blaze was speaking again.

“You aren’t actually an omega, and you were never made to shift.”

Aden looked at Blaze in astonishment. “But, they—he, Alpha Richard—they all said I was. That’s why I could take on their suffering, why it was my job.” Aden lowered his voice. “Why I will never get a mate, because all my emotion belongs to the pack. To take their suffering because I am no good at anything else.”

Conner growled low in his throat. Aden squeezed his hand automatically. Blaze stood up and paced.

Quick as a flash, Darric sat down next to Aden. Aden could feel the desire coming off the man like a battering ram. Aden wanted to pant. He couldn’t believe he would ever be the focus of such emotion.

“Darric.” Blaze growled the name out in warning. Darric glanced at Blaze apologetically and Aden felt some of the desire dissipate a little. Aden breathed a little easier.

“I’ve always been told homosexuality is a disease,” Aden said. “I thought that’s why my wolf had deserted me. Why I would never shift, and that made me an omega.” Aden bit his lip to stop it wobbling slightly.

Blaze looked softly at Aden. “Do we look sick to you? And your wolf is there in spirit, he is what gives your body its shifter strength. You just need to reconnect with him. But no, you will never shift. You are not supposed to. Your greatest achievement is your human body, and your abilities only manifest themselves in that form.”

Aden looked at what was possibly the best three specimens of manhood he had ever seen. They were even more beautiful than Jay, and he had girls falling over him all the time.

“Who’s Jay?” Darric nearly growled the question out, and Aden wanted to laugh with delight.

Then Blaze’s words finally got his attention. “What do you mean I’m not an omega?”

Blaze paused in his pacing. “Little one, you have been mistaken for an omega by wolves too selfish and too ignorant to know your true worth.”

“If they knew…” Conner shuddered.

Alarm skittered along his spine. “What do you mean?”

“You are Psi.” Darric laid his head on Aden’s shoulder.

“Psi? What?” Aden was really confused. He had no clue what this Psi was.

“Psi completes Orion’s Circle,” Blaze answered solemnly as if that explained everything.

Aden shook his head. Between the emotions rolling off Darric and the comfort he was giving to Conner, his head was spinning with confusion.

Blaze cocked his head to one side. “Leave us.”

Aden had a second to realize Blaze wasn’t talking to him when Conner and Darric smiled and rose. They both looked longingly at Aden, then turned and left the room.

Aden barely had a chance to miss their presence when Blaze started talking. He reached out a hand to Aden. “Come, sit with me. I have to explain how Orion’s Circle will help to save mankind.”


Chapter Four


Blaze studied Aden, who shut his gaping mouth with a snap. “Come, sit with me?” Blaze asked again.

Aden followed Blaze to the chairs in the corner of the large room arranged next to the window. Aden headed for the chair beside Blaze, but was stopped by him and pulled into his lap. Aden breathed a sigh and cuddled shamelessly, despite his mind whirling, feeling contentment creeping over him.

Blaze took a breath. “Thousands of years ago, the goddess Sirius created an animal in her own image to be a companion to the hunters that lived on earth.”

“Sirius?” Aden screwed his eyes up in concentration. “Sirius’s wolves. My grandparents told me some of the legends, humans call Sirius the Dog Star.”

Blaze chuckled and drew comforting circles on Aden’s back with his hand. “Humans have adopted the legend and turned it into a domestic animal. The original companion was the ancestor of the wolf, now extinct.

“Human hunters mistreated the animal, it was never taken for the gift it was intended for. It was eventually made feral and Sirius was heartbroken, but after time she relented and tried again to bring humans and the gods together once more. Werewolf shifters were created as a bridge between the two species, half human and half wolf.”

Aden studied Blaze while he talked. It was a nice story, but Blaze…it was almost as if Blaze believed every word.

Aden grinned, knowing Blaze had heard his thoughts when the man lifted a sculptured eyebrow. “Technically, I didn’t say I didn’t believe it, just that you looked like you did.”

Blaze smiled and nodded his head in acknowledgement of Aden’s point. “The goddess once again had her faith destroyed in humanity. Both species fought for dominance and humans, threatened by the power of the shifters, banded together to destroy them. The existence of werewolves was once again hidden and mostly became the stuff of fairytales and legends. The humans that did know decided to ignore us all together. The story goes that Sirius fell out of favor with the rest of the gods because of her insistence on trying to make a better mankind. They banished her.”

“Banish? How can a god be banished?” Aden asked.

“She was banished to the night sky. Her everlasting punishment was to shine every day to see how her experiments had failed.”

Aden’s heart shrank a little. “That’s so sad.”

Blaze smiled and kissed Aden’s cheek. Aden held his breath; that had been so close to his lips.

“She was granted one last wish before her banishment became permanent. She said that one day when mankind was ready, three werewolves would be created to change the way that man viewed his bigoted existence.”

Aden understood by the inflection in Blaze’s voice what he meant by the word bigoted.

“Yes, anyone who is not what society expects is therefore shunned. In many countries, homosexuality is still punishable by death, and a lot of wolf packs are as equally narrow-minded, as you know.” Blaze added. “It is mankind’s last chance to prove itself worthy of the lives the gods have given us.”

“Last chance?” Aden didn’t like the sound of that.

Blaze sighed. “Legends go that if mankind turns its back on this final effort, humans will be wiped from the face of the earth.”

Aden opened his eyes wide. “That’s what you are doing?” He gulped. Saving mankind? Aden felt like he’d stepped into an alternate universe.

“It was Sirius’s last request, before she was sentenced, that one day werewolves would form an impenetrable bond to work together for the betterment of the human race. Three werewolves—an Alpha triad—had to find something unknown in the whole of the human world before. Until they found it, the circle would never be complete.”

“Find what?” Aden could hear his heart beating so loud he wondered why Conner wasn’t rushing in thinking he was having a heart attack.

Blaze wrapped both arms around Aden and held him close. “An Alpha triad can only form Orion’s Circle when they have the fourth. That fourth has to be special, something unheard of in this world. It is you, Aden, you are Psi.

You are our fourth.”

Aden gaped, astounded. “But, how do you know all this? I mean, how do you know this is all real?” It wasn’t, obviously, but Blaze just watched him with calm eyes. “This Orion’s Circle, I mean, and how do you know I’m…” Aden waved his hand, his distress and panic growing.

Blaze caught his hand and slowly brought it to his lips. Aden calmed as the man’s warm breath rode his skin. “As pups, Darric, Conner, and I all played together. We were born into a remote pack at the base of the Himalayas in Nepal. It was a poor pack, and the elders were all greatly honored to be visited by the local trayoti, or liberator. He was the recognized medium to the gods. We were all summoned, much to our disgust.” Blaze smiled. “As soon as the trayoti saw us, he started wailing and chanting about the reincarnation of Orion’s Circle. Not what an eight year old boy wants to witness really, especially when our unusual coloring—Darric and Connor’s hair and my blue eyes—already set us apart.”

Or your names…

“We Americanized them shortly after we settled here,” Blaze answered promptly, and grinned.

Aden shared in Blaze’s amusement, and rocked into Blaze’s other hand. He had liked the comforting way Blaze rubbed his fingers on his back, and wanted more. Blaze chuckled, and Aden suddenly saw the attraction in Blaze being able to read his thoughts. He tried hard to imagine eight- year- old

versions of the three guys. “Are you all the same age?”

Blaze smirked. “We were born within minutes of one another.”

Aden’s jaw dropped. “B-but.” You don’t look anything like each other.

“We aren’t biological triplets, just raised together. Darric’s mother was sick for a long time and mine died giving birth to me.” Blaze’s smile faltered.

“Anyway, the trayoti insisted that we be released from the pack to come with him for schooling.” Aden felt the wave of disgust from Blaze, and nuzzled his neck in support. He didn’t want Blaze to feel any such emotion. He wanted to take it from him. There had been so many times he was forced to take negative emotion, but this he would suffer willingly.

“It doesn’t work quite like that with me, little one, but I appreciate the offer.” Aden wanted to demand why. Then an awful thought struck him. What if he wasn’t worthy of Blaze’s emotions? Blaze said Aden wasn’t the omega he’d always thought he was.

Aden toed the edge of the chair in frustration. He’d resented being an omega every second of the past three years. Now he was ready to weep because he wasn’t a good enough one.

Blaze bent his head so it was in line with Aden’s. “I haven’t explained properly. It’s not that you aren’t an omega, it’s that you aren’t just that. Psi has more powerful abilities than an omega. You become Psi when you mate with us, Aden. My heart hurts that we didn’t find you sooner. Will you ever forgive us?”

Aden lifted his head a little in surprise at the words, lined it up more so

his lips were resting nearer that full, wide mouth. He inhaled slightly, and caught a scent of something else, something even more amazing than Blaze’s usually clean, fresh smell. They were so close, every cell in Aden’s body screamed for Blaze’s touch. It was as if the world held its breath.

Blaze rested his forehead against Aden’s. “You test my reserve.” He took a breath and leaned back. “I need to finish my story.” Aden sighed, and nodded acquiescence.

“We were ‘taught’ by the trayoti for five years. Our schooling ended when we were thirteen.”

Aden was surprised, that sounded young to finish school, especially if they were important.

“The trayoti was unable to finish our teaching.”

Aden stared at Blaze. There was a wealth of meaning behind those words. “Why?”

“Because he was dead.” Blaze turned and looked unseeing out of the window.

Aden started at the abrupt words. “I’m sorry.”

Blaze sighed, and lowered his head slightly against Aden’s chest as if seeking comfort. “He was dead because I ripped out his throat.” Aden gulped at that, and Blaze zeroed in on the noise. “Aden, I would never—”

Aden melted. “I know.” He did know. This huge man should frighten the crap out of him. He could crush him with one hand, but somehow Aden knew he wouldn’t. “Finish your story.” Aden urged.

“The trayoti deserved to die. He knew Darric was kamuka.” He pulled Aden even closer to cuddle. It was as if Blaze needed the touch also, and he dropped a kiss on Aden’s head. “The nearest translation in English of the Nepalese word kamuka is sensuous. That is Darric’s gift, although in his blacker moments he has seen it as a curse. Any desire he has is magnified a thousand times, and at thirteen it was uncontrollable.”

“You mean if he desires”—Aden thought around wildly—“an apple, he absolutely has to have it or someone has to get it for him?”


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