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Wolf Betrayed (Talon Pack #4)
Author:Carrie Ann Ryan

They knew that shifters could change form at will, though they didn’t necessarily know how much pain they endured each time they altered their shape, or how shifters were made. Through the past year or so, the Alphas of the Packs around the world had slowly been letting key information about how dens worked and how wolves had human halves as well as lupine sides out into the public. Though some things would always remain secret and known only to those within the Packs, there were others that could no longer be kept close to the vest. The world had grown far beyond the ideas of hidden wolves and witches. Technology had begun to outpace the magic that had once kept shifters and witches behind the veil of illusion.

Bram wasn’t sure how long the wards that protected their Pack from the humans seeing too much and stopped the violence from the outside world getting in would keep up. As it was, the government and key groups already knew precisely where the dens were located, even if they couldn’t quite see them. It was only a matter of time before they found a way in, and the dens lost their security.

With each new mating of a witch into the Pack, the wards would gain strength, but they couldn’t rely on a fated mate to show up out of the blue to help their den. The witches had been thrust into the public eye only recently and had their own battles. Though both the Redwood and Talon Packs had formed alliances with the Coven near them, the relationship was still tentative at best.

Things were rapidly spiraling out of control, and Bram wasn’t sure what the next step would be. Though they had secret shifters within the government who had held those positions for years, they wouldn’t be enough if the delegation against shifters came into power. Senator McMaster was putting forth a policy that would essentially rip all human rights away from the shifters and label them as animals that could be studied, slaughtered, or locked up in cages. General Montag had already been doing some of that on his own without government approval, and Bram figured he wasn’t the only one.

Their Packs had two enemies with names, yet there were countless others that could come at them at any moment.

And yet throughout all of that, Bram couldn’t keep his thoughts off Charlotte. She wasn’t near him and was in another Pack’s den where he couldn’t protect her. And frankly, she’d been pushing him away so hard recently, he wasn’t sure she’d ever let him close enough to help her again.

Just because the mating hadn’t taken the first time, didn’t mean they shouldn’t try again.

Yet he wouldn’t put her through that pain again. He couldn’t see that look in her eyes if the bond didn’t come…couldn’t feel the look on his own face.

“Bram? You’re ignoring me, and Kade is about to come back to finish the meeting.”

He blinked at Gina’s words and shook his head. Hell, he’d been woolgathering rather than what he should have been doing. That wasn’t like him, and he didn’t like that this wasn’t exactly the first time he’d done it recently either.

“Sorry, I was just lost in my head.” He ran a hand over his face and tried to clear his mind. He’d been called here along with the other enforcers—those wolves charged with protecting their Alpha—and yet, he couldn’t seem to focus.

Gina studied Bram’s face and sighed. “If you need to talk about it, I’m here. Quinn, too.” Quinn was her mate and a former Talon Pack member. And when Gina rested her hand on her belly ever so slightly, Bram held back a smile. Apparently, Quinn was also the father of her unborn child. Good for them.

“I’m okay. Really.” Lies, but lies he was good at telling. He’d been repeating them for years.

Gina opened her mouth to say something but closed it as her father walked in. Kade, their Alpha, frowned only a for a moment before schooling his features. As the man held special Pack bonds with each member of the den, as well as tighter ones with his enforcers, he could sense minute changes within the room. Bram hoped Kade couldn’t feel what Bram felt as he didn’t want anyone to have to go through that, least of all his Alpha.

“Sorry, I was detained,” Kade said as he walked into the room. He took a seat in one of the high-backed chairs in the living room, his wolf’s presence soothing and commanding at the same time. While Bram was a dominant wolf—much more than he let on—he was nothing compared to Kade, or even Gideon, the Alpha of the Talons. There was a dominant wolf, and then there was an Alpha. Bram’s wolf didn’t want to fight against them for hierarchy; instead, it wanted to fight alongside them and protect them, unlike how he needed to keep the submissives safe. The fact that his wolf had those dual needs was what had led him to be an enforcer rather than being in another field within the den. While he could never fully relax around Kade as he could a true submissive or maternal, he at least didn’t feel the need to prove his own strength. That was a comfort in itself.

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