One virgin. Two dominant shifters. One last chance to claim their destiny.
Xander, alpha of the Royal Winchester pack, has chased his true mate through the centuries. And screwed things up with her each time their paths have crossed. She's always been too soft, too innocent, too perfect. He's not. He's wicked, dominant, and demanding...especially in bed.
The moment he sees Gwen, though, he realizes he's been given another chance to make things right. That's exactly what he's going to do too. He has a plan--earn her forgiveness, unleash her sexuality, win her love. Simple. Or maybe not. His best friend claims Gwen belongs to him too.
Vlad has made a mistake. Instead of claiming his true mate in this lifetime, he slept with Gwen's sister. Then dozens of women after her. And when Gwen needed him most, he failed her. Now her virginity is being offered up to the best hunter.
Rescuing Gwen is the easy part. Saving her friend from captivity, proving their three-way relationship is worth fighting for, and staying alive long enough to soul-bond are not. But when faced with their last chance at happiness, Xander and Vlad will stop at nothing to win.
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Last Chance Copyright © 2017 by Nancy Corrigan All Rights Are Reserved.
Xander had betrayed him.
Growls reverberated in Vader’s head. For the first time in thirty years, his wolves shared the same want—their alpha’s blood.
Vader tightened his hold on their metaphysical leashes. No matter how much he understood his animals’ rage, he would not give in to their primal demands. Xander was the rightful host of their pack’s spirit. He was also a good leader, at least where the pack was concerned. His loyalty to Vader was another story.
He shoved away thoughts of the past. They wouldn’t help him save Gwen. That was more important than his strained friendship with Xander.
Movement drew his eye. Gwen was running west, toward the falls. Why would she go that way? She’d break her neck trying to navigate the steep, rocky slope. Surely she could hear the water. Or didn’t she care about her safety? She hadn’t in a previous life.
Past and present merged, choking him with regret. Gwen’s hair brightened, from dark brown to a fiery red. Her parka morphed into a long, flowing gown. The trees disappeared. Rich, green grass replaced the branches and leaves littering the forest floor. Rain fell. Thunder boomed.
She’d been Elizabeth in that lifetime, and she’d chosen Xander over him. The resentment twisted his gut, stirring his darker emotions. He’d often wished Xander harm but had never acted on it. Elizabeth had loved him. Her devotion had been unwavering until the day she’d died.
Anger and sorrow had sent her running into the night. Xander had been the cause of her pain, but Vader had stood by and watched her flee. He hadn’t stopped her. Hadn’t saved her. Hadn’t warned her not to use the rope bridge. He’d known it needed repairs. One of the boards had cracked underfoot the last time he’d crossed, but it had given way under her small frame, sending her tumbling into the rapids.
Her screams still haunted his dreams.
Not this time. He wouldn’t let fate take their true mate—his and Xander’s—again. He shoved back the memories of Elizabeth. The present mattered. Gwen mattered. Nothing else.
Where was Xander, anyway? Gwen shouldn’t be alone. As much as Vader disliked the knowledge that Xander had found her first, Vader had breathed a sigh of relief with the text he’d gotten.
Dante, an ex-Shifter Affairs agent who’d been helping him and Xander search for Gwen, had alerted Vader of Xander’s plans. Although annoyed Xander had acted on his own, Vader was grateful. Xander wouldn’t let their true mate die, even if he still refused to acknowledge she was theirs and not merely his.
Roars and snarls broke the silence of the afternoon, suggesting the reason why Xander wasn’t with Gwen. The other shifters in the hunt had found them, and she’d run, probably on Xander’s orders.
At the moment, no shifters followed her, but she wouldn’t be alone for long. The sounds of fighting weren’t far off.
Vader quickened his pace. Calling out to her would only clue the others in to her location, but he had to reach her before she decided to attempt the rocky slope. The mist from the falls would slicken everything, making the path treacherous. Exactly as the rope bridge had been all those years ago.
He veered south. The roar of the falls drowned out the sounds around him. Even with his enhanced senses, he couldn’t pick up much. Gwen would hear less. Startling her might send her darting off in another direction or cause her to fall. She had to see him first. Once she did, she’d know she was safe. No matter how much he’d screwed things up with Gwen in this lifetime, she’d be relieved to see him. He was a familiar face.
The word pissed him off. If he’d listened to his instincts, he could’ve been more. Instead, he’d slept with Gwen’s sister, Lena, and hurt not just one female, but two.
No. He had to let the guilt go. It was probably a good thing he’d ignored his lust for Gwen. Xander hadn’t been in the picture. Even if he had been, they would’ve ended up fighting over her, exactly as they had in the past. Until a couple of months ago, the idea of sharing her never would’ve been considered. It still might not be a viable option. Xander, as alpha, would resent the idea of sharing his mate with anyone.
Vader shoved the thoughts of the future and past aside and glanced over the area. A ledge overlooking the falls loomed ahead of him. The ground dropped off abruptly. A twenty-foot waterfall, one of several in this area, gushed over the cliff.
The deep pool at the bottom fed another, smaller waterfall. From there, the water cut a path leading down the mountain to the lake at the bottom. From where he stood, he couldn’t see it or the smaller body of water at the top of the falls, but he knew it was there. He’d studied the map of the area after learning this would be the location of the virgin’s hunt.
He cut a quick look at the rough-cut rock staircase leading down. If Gwen had plans to come this way, she’d use it. He didn’t see her, though.
Without another wasted second, he jumped, landing on the sharp slope. He slid several feet over the combination of wet leaves and slickened rocks.
The moment he came to a stop, he hopped from one moss-covered rock in the stream to the other. Once on the other side, he hurdled the wooden railing, slipping on each narrow step, but got to the top before Gwen made it down.
She skidded to a stop several feet from the natural staircase. Her eyes widened, and her mouth opened.
For one heart-stopping moment, her gaze collided with his. Recognition swept over her, exactly as it had the night he’d licked the wound on her hand. He hadn’t imagined their connection. She was his. His gift from the goddesses. His perfect match. His one true mate.
The one woman he could never satisfy completely.
“How did you find me?” Her rough breaths fogged the air.
“I’ve been searching for you ever since—”
A shot rang out. Chunks of dirt and rocks sprayed over Gwen’s legs. She shrieked and jumped back.
Vader didn’t bother looking for the shifter hidden somewhere in the woods to his left. Getting to Gwen was all that mattered. He ran toward her, blocking the shooter’s aim as best he could with his body. A bullet lodged in his back. Another in his ass. Neither slowed him. The sight of a second shifter stepping from the woods behind Gwen with a rifle aimed at her did stop him, however.
Gwen pivoted and faced the male. Vader didn’t know him personally, but he knew of him. Reno was one of the bear shifters from the Ulgran clan, a single-shifter clan who specialized in the human hunts and cage fights that had grown in popularity over the last decade. Anything to entertain the corrupted of their kind.
“I knew you’d make this hunt exciting, little Gwen. I’m glad I suggested it as your punishment.”
Reno’s words set Vader off. Claws slipped from his fingertips. He took a step forward. Another shot impaled in the ground inches from Gwen. She jerked but didn’t run.
“Move again, and the next shot goes in her pretty little ass.”
Vader glanced to his left, in the direction of the mumbled voice. The hazel eyes of the shifter who’d likely shot him peered from behind a camouflage ski mask. Vader inhaled. No scent. The male had masked it, the only conclusion.
With the Royal’s drug that eliminated a person’s scent in the shifter’s system, he was invisible, at least by smell. The military camouflage outfit added to the effect. It had been enough to get past Vader’s senses, not something he was proud to admit but true nonetheless. The sight of Gwen had distracted both him and his wolves.
The unknown shifter yanked off the mask. His flat, wide nose and deeply tanned skin identified him as a lion shifter, a single, not a Royal. No aura linking him to a goddess surrounded him.
The male grinned, showing off the tips of his fangs, then turned his attention to Gwen. “Hello, darlin’. Did you miss me?”
She used a trembling hand to brush a few strands of hair from her face. “What are you doing here, David?”
“Making sure your punishment is delivered. ’Cause if it isn’t…”
The lion shifter didn’t finish his threat. He grinned. The smile was enough to put a look of stark terror on Gwen’s face, though. Seeing her fear stirred Vader’s wolves. Nobody was allowed to frighten her.
“Enough.” Vader glanced from one male to the other. Both held rifles loosely aimed at Gwen. “No threats. The hunt is over. Gwen’s leaving with me.”
“Sorry.” Reno shrugged. “You didn’t pay the entry fee.”
“But I did.”
Xander stepped into view. Deep claw marks marred his chest and a hunk of flesh was missing from his bicep, but the wounds were shrinking, healing before Vader’s eyes and proving just how powerful Vader’s ex-friend had grown in the years since Vader had walked away from the Winchester pack.
“And I eliminated my competition.” Xander focused intent, brown eyes on Vader. “That means I get to enjoy Gwen’s body first.”
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