“The primal wolf in him craved her as he had craved nothing before. She would give up the only life she had ever known for him.”
It is the night of the snow moon. Sweden, 1790.
Maiden Kaia is days away from being married to the handsome Leif when her mother suddenly becomes gravely ill. Desperate to save his wife, her father sends his only daughter to the village on his horse to obtain help for her beloved mother.
But Kaia will not be returning home.
Out on the path, wolves emerge from the trees, surrounding her and spooking her horse. Fainting in sheer terror, the next thing Kaia knows, she is being dragged through the snow back to their lair. Shivering cold, half naked and bound, she startles awakes to the feel of warm breath blowing out over her body.
The following day, she realises she sees no wolves around, but does see several other women there. Noticing they are all pregnant, Kaia fears her fate. Her fears are validated when one of them complacently informs her that her initiation is imminent. The moment her scent is ripe, she is to be mated by all males of the pack.
Still worse than that is the struggle she is having with herself upon being presented with so much blatant man flesh walking about, leaving Kaia flustered with the responses of her body which are swiftly summoning forth to betray her. And then, she feels herself drawn to one in particular, Dane, the youngest member of the pack. But she swears she will not allow herself to fall for one of them.
Will Kaia ever escape this primitive place to see her family again? And if she does, will she be able to suppress the primal need she feels awakening in her? Worse yet, will she want to?
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Being the youngest member of the pack— and therefore the lowest ranking and least threatening— Dane was ordered to visit the newest human female daily to coax her arousal and reception of the pack for the big event. Not having been considered old enough to mate, priming the young maidens which they captured during each changing of the moon for the breeding ritual had been his duty for the past two years now. But lately, his frustration was quickly becoming exasperated. He didn’t know how much longer he could stand it.
Of course, at first he was thrilled for the chance to get at some female flesh. But after a while, he realised he would have rather not done it at all, rather than to get all worked up just to be left with no warm place to relieve his throbbing cock. However, this time things would be different. He could actually allow himself to get worked up since he now had something to anticipate. For this was to be his first time to participate in the breeding ritual.
Dane was given free rein to do anything and everything in his power to rouse the new female’s receptiveness, so long as he did not actually penetrate her. The privilege of deflowering all of the females automatically belonged to Thorin, his Alpha.
He had been eagerly anticipating his first mating for so long now. The night he would be officially considered as a man. But now that it was imminent, he was not so sure anymore.
Perhaps it was this particular female which made Dane feel differently about the whole thing. He probably should not have lain by her side in the night. But he just couldn’t stand by and watch her shuddering in the cold as she was. He told himself that he had only done it for the sake of the pack. Had he not, she surely would have been dead by morning.
As Dane strode around the corner to head for the human woman who was their latest captive, he stopped dead in his tracks, taken aback by her beauty. It was as though he was seeing her for the first time— which he was, as a man. Her golden hair cascaded down the ivory skin of her back, and over her shoulders, veiling her rounded breasts. Beholding the soft curves of her body produced an instantaneous thickening of his organ, something which by now, rarely occurred, as it was nothing new to see naked females about the camp.
And sure, he had been around countless fresh females there, and many of them had indeed been beautiful. But none of them could compare to this one. For with her, he instantly sensed that her beauty was far deeper than that which enticed his eyes.
Dane swallowed in attempt to gain control of himself before moving towards her again. The girl’s eyes flared and she wrapped her arms tight about her legs, cowering into the corner of the cage. For a reason which was entirely unfamiliar to him, her frightened reaction troubled him. He forced himself to shake it off and moved forward to do what he was sent to do.
Kaia’s attention was suddenly alerted to a man walking towards her, one which she had not seen before. His towering, muscular physique put even their leader to shame. He had stopped dead in his tracks several metres away and was just standing there staring at her, the strangest expression upon his face.
She gasped. Knowing not what his intentions were for her, her first reaction was to protect herself. She pulled her legs into herself and wrapped her arms tight about them, shrinking into the corner of the cage, the coarse iron bars cold and abrasive upon her bared skin.
As though wounded by her defensive reaction, the man grimaced, only further perplexing her.
What does he care if I am frightened of him? Is that not what they want, after all?
Even in her present state, Kaia was not blind to the fact that he was attractive. To be truthful, gorgeous would be more accurate. She couldn’t help but notice the way his muscles rippled enticingly beneath his bronzed skin with every move he made. But still, more than that, he was strangely familiar somehow, though she was certain beyond a doubt that she had never seen him before.
Reaching her, the man crouched down to unlock the cage, his coal black hair falling into his face so that it shielded his light blue eyes. The fear magnified in her, even as his looks inspired something else entirely conflicting with her defensive response.
“May I ask your name?” the man asked, carefully opening the cage door. She could not help but be put at ease under the low softness of his tone.
She was surprised by his civil manner. “Kaia,” she answered hesitantly in response, peering into his eyes in attempt to assess him. They had to be the deepest eyes she had ever seen on anyone.
“Kaia,’ he repeated, the smoothness of his voice soothing her more. She quickly reprimanded herself for falling for the cunning ruse. “Lovely name. It means ‘pure one’, does it not?”
She nodded her head with a slight snort. The irony of it all was not lost on her.
“I am Dane,” he returned, offering his hand out to her. She looked to him, her eyes filled with confusion. His crooked half-smile lit up his pale blue eyes making them shimmer, tugging at her heart without her consent. Kaia’s unwanted reaction to the man-wolf instigated her to stiffen against the unexpected emotion. The last thing she was going to let herself do would be to fall for one of them.
Hesitantly, she placed her hand within his still out held one. Dane closed his large hand over hers. The intense warmth of it travelled up her arm, seeming to penetrate her whole body.
“It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance, my Lady,” Dane said. “If you will, come with me.”
Come with him? Where is he taking me? Has he been sent to kill me? No, I cannot believe this man means to harm me. But what does he want with me?
Powerless to do anything else, Kaia crawled from the cage and rose to her feet to follow him. The other men about the camp leered at her, making lewd remarks as Dane led her through the camp. Coming to a small tent, he pulled the entrance flap aside and motioned her inside. Upon the ground was a makeshift bed. Grasping the apparent significance of it, her stomach twisted anxiously.
Does he mean to have his way with me?
“Lie down,” Dane directed gently, yet firmly.
Kaia raised her eyes to him, trying to discern the intent upon his face. But she could not. His face beheld a strange mixture which she could not quite decipher, as though he, too, had conflicting feelings about something.
Though, about what? Me? His status in the pack? What he is about to do to me? She exhaled in frustration.
Her hands still shackled, Kaia knelt down and twisted sideways to lie upon the bed as directed, groaning at finally being able to stretch out fully.
Dane smiled at her as though he understood, giving her a moment to become comfortable.
She studied him for a long moment. He truly was quite beautiful. By far, the most attractive man she had ever been in the presence of. And now, here she was without a shred of dignity, naked. But then, so was Dane. Yes, he certainly was. And God, what a build the man had! She endeavoured to divert her eyes from his prominent manhood, but suddenly they seemed to possess a mind of their own, and kept reverting their gaze to his thickening groin.
Yes, indeed. He was the prime specimen of male perfection.
Then Dane sat down beside her on the bed. Him being so close to her caused a strange feeling to infiltrate Kaia’s belly. Whatever it was, it was something she had never experienced before and, therefore, had no words for. But she knew it was something which she should not be feeling for a man she had only just met, not to mention a man who was not her husband. Shame at her own thoughts washed over her, causing her defenses to bristle. She had to resist him.
Dane reached out to touch her and she recoiled from him, anger filling her eyes.
“No! Stay away from me!” Kaia screamed. “You have no right to touch me!” She realised she was powerless against this man, but she felt she had to do something. If nothing else but for her own sanity, she had to know that she had at least tried to fight him off. What she didn’t expect was his reaction.
Needing a moment to decide how to best handle this feisty maiden, he drew in a deep breath, though he did not move from her side. Dane was saddened by her reaction, though he understood it completely. He was certain he would have behaved in the same manner were he the one locked up naked in a cage like an animal. He knew that was no way to treat a woman. Especially a woman like Kaia.
But he also knew he did not have any say in the matter. He was a mere inferior in the pack. If Dane uttered a single word of defiance, Thorin and his pure-bloods would obliterate him. His role was to carry out the orders he was given, which was exactly what he intended upon doing. Not that he minded one bit having to spend time with the soft and fair human female.
“I know you are scared, Kaia, but I promise I am not going to hurt you,” he expressed softly.
“You do not understand!” she retorted, the hot tears pooling in her eyes.
“You’re right, I probably don’t understand anything you’ve been through,” Dane responded, softening his voice the best he could. “So why don’t you tell me about it.”
He remained by her side patiently as she glared at him for a long time. Eventually her expression softened, again becoming one of fear. She looked like no more than a scared little girl. It stirred something in him, something other than that which stirred his loins. Then he comprehended just what it was. Protectiveness. Dane wanted to protect her. Suddenly, he could not imagine allowing anything to hurt her. But how was a man of his inferior status to do that?
Finally the maiden spoke. “I have never been seen, let alone touched by a man before. I come from a fine family and I am to be married in two days’ time. Now if I return home un-pure, I will not be fit for any husband.”
Not knowing quite what to say, Dane rashly blurted out, “You do not need to worry about husbands. You will not be returning home. Your place will be with the pack now.”
The look she gave him made him feel positively dreadful. After all, what right was it of theirs to rip away a young woman’s life? But the other pack members did not share his views, and until now, he had been plenty wise enough to keep them to himself.
“Please, Dane!” she pleaded. The sound of his name on her tongue only made it worse for him. “There’s more. You see, I was on my way home with a remedy for my ailing mother when you and your wolves attacked me and brought me here.” She had to swallow back the tears which shook her voice. Kaia took a deep breath before continuing. “Now she may be dying. Please, you seem to be a nice man. Just let me go.”
“I am truly sorry for what has happened to you, Kaia. It was not my decision, just as it is not in my power to let you go now. If I were to, you and I would both be executed.”
No longer able to hold back the tears, they came coursing out down Kaia’s face. The sight of this beautiful woman weeping was more than Dane could bear. He had to turn away to maintain his resolve, his duty to the pack.
“It would be much easier on both of us if you just went along with what I was sent here to do,” he said, his tone hardening.
Kaia glared hard at him, making him lose his words.
“They are going to mate you in a few days either way, Kaia. You may as well allow me to help you learn to enjoy it.”
“So your advice to me is just to simply lay back and enjoy it?” Her tone was dripping with aversion.
“Yeah, I am,” he responded, not really getting what was so wrong with that.
“And I should not have any concern for the fact that to do so would be going against everything I have been reared to believe in. Don’t you see, Dane? I couldn’t just lay back and enjoy it even if I wanted to. For me to do so would be virtually sacrilegious!” Of course she would never admit to him that she thought she might just actually enjoy it— particularly not when she could hardly admit such a thing to herself.
Unable to relate to her moral convictions, Dane scrunched his brow at her, his eyes searching to understand this woman. He did sympathize with her and he wanted to understand where she was coming from, really he did. But his upbringing had been as contradictory to hers as it could possibly be.
Dane thought long and hard before speaking. “Alright Kaia, here is the way this is going to go. I won’t force myself on you tonight. That will give you some time to adjust to the idea. But I am required to bring you here every night until the mating is ordered to ready you and I cannot shirk that duty to my pack. So, tomorrow night when I bring you here, you are going to be a good girl and let me carry out my duty.”
“No, I will NOT!” Kaia raised her voice again.
“Yes, you are. And we can either do this the easy way or the hard way. For your sake, I hope it is the easy way, although sometimes the hard way can be fun, too.” He flashed his crooked smile at her.
Deriving no humour from his comment, she held her stance.
“Right… well. Anyway, Kaia, trust me, you don’t want to go into the group mating without having been sufficiently primed. It will make it all so much easier on you. And I don’t want to see you like that. You may even enjoy it if you learn to relax enough. But you can’t do that until you let me do my job.”
Kaia shot a look of disgust at him. “Let us get one thing straight. I will not derive any form of enjoyment from that vile act. And furthermore, nothing is going to make it easier.”
“With all due respect, Miss, you are not the first female I have had to deal with in this occasion. Maybe it is just a facade they feel they must put forth, but they all say something similar. And if I am not mistaken, most of them seem to enjoy their mating rite exceedingly.”
“I will have you know that I am not just another one of the bitches that have been brought here for your pack’s vile group rape sessions! And I have no façade. I speak the truth.”
“If you say so. Just please consider what I have said. Tomorrow night can go a whole lot better than this. Besides, the more time you spend with me in here, the less time you have to be scrunched up in that cage. Speaking of which, if you are ready for me to take you back now, I will certainly oblige you.”
Kaia was fuming. Dane knew he had her right where it hurt. But she couldn’t possibly admit that to him now. She elevated her chin high with all the dignity she could muster. “Yes, that will be fine, thank you.”
When she was huddled back in the cold cage a few minutes later, Kaia suddenly wished she had not been so rash. She decided she preferred being in that room arguing with Dane to being alone in the cold, harsh reality of the cage, nothing more than a spectacle for every male which passed to leer at. Besides, she could look at him all day long, even if they were yelling at each other. Something about that man drove her crazy— in the worst and the best way possible.
She groaned to herself. Boy, am I in a heap of trouble.