Can a strong Alpha learn lessons of the heart from someone who refuses their own emotions or will the Ghost of Christmas Future be forced to interfere?
New pack alpha Reinhold struggles with control over his pack, trying to provide the best for them while maintaining his relationship with the Sisters of the Moon.
Mistress Crissy is the solid, logical member of three sisters that have been granted possession of all wolves in this world by Diana, Goddess of the Moon. Her connection to Reinhold is purely lust based, or so she thinks until he pulls a stupid stunt and injures himself and her heart.
Can either of these two see heart to heart or will it take a little intervention from the ghost of Christmas Future to force them both to realise that they need each other as Mistress and switch?
Three sisters gathered around the small fire, each taking points where power called to them. Smoke billowed upwards along with the smell of burning wood that filled the air. The fire crackled occasionally, sending a wayward spark flying from the fire. Lynne, Crissy and Theresa stood, joining hands and looking up into the night sky. The full moon revealed a presence more powerful than man itself could comprehend. A wolf howled in the distance.
A beautiful, feminine figure appeared in the sky with long flowing hair the colour of silver. Eyes shone midnight blue with irises that looked like bright stars illuminating the soft features of the woman.
“I am Diana, the Moon. Know me as you worship me on this night of the full moon.” Her voice was sweet, soothing. Full lips parted as each word spoke, and the sisters stood in awe of the new creature hovering before them.
“I am Lynne, first and last of man. Know me as one who follows strong female figures.” Lynne spoke first.
Theresa lifted her head and looked up at the Goddess. “I am known as Red. You are not my symbol or my chosen goddess, but I offer myself to you in earnest that I may learn and grow with my sisters.”
Crissy lifted her head last, looking around. “What?”
“Oh, right.” Crissy snorted at her sister’s irritation. She never was one for putting on a show for any deity. “I’m Crissy. Know me as Air’s companion throughout ages, though why he chose me—ouch!”
Lynne elbowed Crissy.
The goddess chuckled. “Very well, ladies. I have visited your dreams, calling the three of you here on this night to offer you a gift. The special bond you three share is like that of soul sisters, yet you share no blood relation in this lifetime. You call yourselves sisters.”
All three sisters nodded. A wind blew back their hair, causing a visible chill to rush through Lynne. Crissy and Red held onto her tighter, sending warm thoughts towards her.
Lynne spoke first. “We do. These are my soul sisters as you’ve indicated. I serve the elements before I serve man, yet…” She looked down at the ground.
“Yet we have lived a long time and need a rest. We need…something,” Theresa spoke up for her sister.
Crissy gripped her sisters’ hands and tugged. “What these two mean is that we’re fucking tired. Given all this power is great, but having gone through centuries of bullshit is tiring.” Crissy heard Lynne gasp. She turned. “What? Am I wrong?”
“No,” Lynne glowered.
Crissy turned her attention back to Diana.
The goddess nodded. “I understand. Then I shall gift to you something most cherished to me in order to provide comfort to the places that ache the most. From this night, you three are now owners of my wolves. They will still need me and call to me. But you three shall seek them out and inform them. They will know you in spirit, recognising you as their keepers. One in particular shall be bound to all three of you, plus his wolven mate. He will love you all and you will all grow to love him, though,” Diana sighed heavily, “he’s a bit stubborn. The alpha you will deal with needs a loving dominant or three.” Diana grinned. “One of you especially needs the Alpha as of late.” Diana glared at Crissy.
Lynne and Theresa smiled at each other, nodding at the Goddess.
No one had been mated to Crissy in this lifetime. She couldn’t let that happen. Not without sacrificing a part of herself. Not without giving something she no longer had inside her to another person.
Wolves were greedy and jealous. Some were downright mean. Others were assholes. They were all territorial. Crissy was not someone’s puppet; she would not be some wolf’s bitch.
“He’ll love you deeply, all three of you. And you’ll be my emissary to the wolves in times of trouble when I am not able to help them as they need. ”
“Fuck,” Crissy muttered. The thought of being loved by someone else brought to mind incidents that had wrecked her life before she’d met her sisters in this lifetime. She couldn’t afford that. She fully admitted to being a bitch, had been told so by previous lovers and partners all her life.
Even her sisters had occasionally said that of her and meant it.
Still, she let out a long, slow sigh and nodded in acknowledgement. The thrill of being mated to someone on this planet that was dangerous sent a chill racing through her. Could there actually be someone for her who would willingly submit to her every whim and desire?
“Thank you for your servitude, even you Miss Crissy.” Diana’s lip curled up in a sneer, but she continued, “I must bid you farewell, ladies. The hunt is on.” With that, Diana dissipated into the night, leaving the sisters with their new blessing.
Crissy felt herself being pulled into the arms of both her sisters. Loving heat surrounded her, filling most of her with a feeling of comfort that didn’t quite reach her entire heart.
She frowned but kissed both her sisters on the cheek before they all turned and began walking back to their house.
Though silent the entire way back, Crissy pondered what the Goddess had said. A mate of hers to share with her sisters. One who would love her.
Ha! The idea of love as she’d heard it expressed by others was false.
Yet, Diana had never let the sisters down. Of course, trust and love went hand in hand. Crissy could barely trust anyone other than her sisters. She’d seen them both through many lifetimes, thick and thin and they’d proven themselves.
Crissy looked up into the clear night sky then back towards the house in front of her. Leaves crinkled underneath her feet. The ache in her chest seemed to grow larger, bringing a tear to her eye. She wasn’t lonely. The world was full of fools who believed in a bullshit thing called love.
She sighed. Looking up at the bright moon then back at her sisters, she realised a part of her needed to heal. With Diana’s decree, the choice had been taken from her, which pissed her off. Crissy hated others making decisions for her.
She liked being the one her sisters had said was damaged.
Still, she didn’t want to love anyone or be loved by anyone. Not when they tended to let her down.
With Diana forcing a “gift” on the sisters, it looked like winter was going to be a long one this year.
Snowfall coated the entire forest as it had been falling for days. Fresh pepper scent mixed with asphalt filled the air. The snow had stopped shortly, allowing enough time for Reinhold to get away from Katiera to go find food for the two of them.
Both had been in wolf form for travel. It’d been easier than driving due to the roads being jammed with all the holiday traffic or buried in snow. Christmas was near. Reinhold had left Katiera in charge of the pack to raise the new babies and help the first time mothers while he was away but leaving wasn’t easy.
Rather, he’d been forced out. That pissed him off. But Katiera had good reason, and he couldn’t argue with that. “Look, I need time with the pack, and you need time to spend with those who own you.” Katiera’s words echoed in his mind. It’d been only a few months since he’d been introduced to the three who owned all wolves, but he’d fallen hard for them all, first for Lynne, then her two sisters. The problem was that the three sisters insisted on a Dominance/submission type of relationship.
Katiera persuaded him to follow his heart and accept the D/s relationship that the sisters imposed despite the obvious issues any wolf would have submitting to a human. No proud wolf submitted to a stupid, weak human.
But Katiera had logic. Besides, I know what you’ve been doing. Even her glare was cute.
Huffing at the memory, his head raised to scent the wind. A deer was nearby, marking territory.
The musky, forest scent mixed with the stain of deer piss alerted him that his prey was not more than four hundred metres away. Slouching low, he padded through the snow until he reached site of the deer. A twig crackled beneath his paw.
The deer looked up. The deer was large and brown, and more of a buck. Large antlers protruded from the buck’s head. It snuffled in Reinhold’s direction.
Reinhold narrowed his eyes and glared.
The deer took a step towards him.
His heart thumped loudly in his chest, he’d never taken down a buck before without pack help No one was around for about a mile, but he damn sure wasn’t about to retreat. He’d taken on corporate suckers in the real estate world to amass millions of dollars, surely he could take down a buck without the aid of the others. He was alpha, after all.
Do it. The buck raised his head proudly and looked askance.
Reinhold heard mocking laughter in his head. Fuck you. He snarled and charged forward, leaping into straight into the air at the buck’s throat.
The buck turned and ran, galloping off into the woods.
Reinhold landed where the buck had been. Jaws opened and his tongue hung out as he chased after the buck down a dirt trail that led deeper into the forest.
The buck took a sharp left and continued charging down an unbeaten path.
Reinhold kept track of the buck’s scent and skidded into the tree nearby, causing snowfall to land on him. Damnit! He growled and shook the snow off his fur before continuing his pursuit.
Sunlight disappeared above the thick canopy of pine needles and branches as Reinhold ran deeper into the woods.
He stopped and sniffed the air, looking for deer scent. He smelled nothing amongst the thicket and bramble that lay in his path. Blinking, he stood as a man again, dressed in jeans and a loose fitting dress shirt with his long blonde hair pulled back. The tips of his hair had been dyed blue to match Katiera’s new hair colour, leaving him with an interesting look and a lot of dye on his rather pale skin.
Scanning the area, Reinhold waited, listened. A few birds chirped and leaves rattled in the distance as a wind blew past him.
He’d shiver but the wolf in him revelled in the cold. Timber wolves tended to relish the cold weather, and the Northern Midwest was just beginning to get cold in December.
The air grew thick around him as a fog set in. Voices whispered in the distance as the sound of a shovel scraping against rock echoed throughout the forest.
Something caught his attention. He quickly became the wolf, his ears perking up. Setting his nose to the ground, he sniffed the snow covered path before him, picked up the scent of dirt and blood. Odd, by the looks of the forest, it would seem to him that things were hibernating, not dying. The trees were healthy, thick branches sticking out to blanket the setting sun behind him. The wind howled as it cut through the forest, a low, wailing sound that reminded him of a wolf’s howl.
What is going on here?
Reinhold crept slowly down the path towards the sound of the shovel and voices. The closer he got, the more the voices seemed familiar. Having forgotten the deer momentarily, Reinhold changed back into a man, standing to his full height of six feet three inches. Dressed in black jeans and loose fitting dress shirt that Lynne had purchased for him, he ducked low in the bushes as he came upon a clearing.
Several people he recognised stood in a circle while Katiera stood at the head of them, holding the shovel.
Overjoyed to see that she wasn’t mad at him, he started forward, but his leg was caught on thick bramble. Looking down at his leg, he cursed and removed his foot from the thorns before returning his attention to the group. Before he took another step, he waited.
“I decree this to be the burial spot of Reinhold, Alpha and lover.” Katiera wiped a tear from her eyes before returning to shovel to the ground and heaving out a large pile of dirt.
“What the hell?” Reinhold took a step forward into the clearing. Nobody turned to face him. “I’m not dead yet, Katiera.”
“With this fire, we commit his body to the ground, to the earth as our Lynne would have wanted. I miss her and the fact that she and her sister could not be present.” Katiera’s voice was hollow, filled with an emptiness Reinhold had only seen when he first rescued her.
“I’m right here, Katiera.” He reached for her, unaware that he was passing through the bodies of his pack as he did so. When he got to her, he set his hand on her shoulder. It slipped right through the image. “What the fuck?” His eyebrows rose. Looking around, he saw that Katiera, along with the rest of his pack who attended this funeral were all ghosts.
His jaw hung open. Fear coursed through his veins as he realised where the deer had led him.
The forest of Vision. How the hell had they traversed through time and space to get here was beyond him. This place was known to man in legends as a nightmare for men and a breeding ground for death to shifters due to the often psychotic visions others had come back reporting after an accidental visit. No one was certain how they arrived here or how they left.
“Katiera, I’m right here,” he yelled at her when she finished covering the grave where his body was buried.
The ghost turned and looked at him with blue flames dancing in her eyes. The spark of life that was Katiera was not present. The Forest of Vision was real. The visions before him were just that, visions. His heart ached at the sight of his mate crying even as he tried to pull himself together.
A hand clamped down on his shoulder, sending an instant chill so cold that even the wolf shivered. “Are you satisfied, Reinhold?”
Jumping back, Reinhold jerked his head around and stared at the new being in front of him. “Who are you?”
The being wore a long brown trench coat and fedora with hiking boots. His pants were black as was his dress shirt. His face was slender, angled. Eyes peered from narrow slits in his head beneath the hat, but all Reinhold saw were two beady black dots. Long bony fingers protruded from the cuffs of the trench coat.
He grinned, exposing a row of pale teeth. “I am just a messenger. Some say I’m a ghost of perdition. Others know me as a spirit who shows men their truths.”
Reinhold cracked his knuckles, knowing there was no way he could defeat a spectre. Power rose off this being in waves that threatened to make Reinhold sick to his stomach. “Why am I here?”
“Because you wandered into the forest after my pet and didn’t think about your actions. Those who act carelessly end up here, Reinhold. You never think about your actions. And it was time that someone forced a change in you, otherwise—“
“Skip it.” Reinhold waved a hand dismissively. “Get out of my way so I can leave.”
The ghost raised his hat, revealing thick black eyebrows that rose upward. “You’re not even interested in anything I have to say? Or the fact that Diana sent me to warn you?
Reinhold shook his head. “Not in the least. I need to feed my pack.”
“Funny,” the ghost scoffed. “I don’t smell fear on you, how odd.”
“The Elements are tougher masters than you are. My Owners would have warned me if I was to encounter someone whom I should fear.” Smirking, Reinhold settled his arms across his chest.
“Ah, yes. Your owners. Now we come to the penultimate topic that can rankle your hide.”
Reinhold scoffed. “Hardly. They can take care of themselves.”
He tapped his chin with a long, bony finger. “Indeed. All humans can take care of themselves. All wolves however, especially those who engage in man’s games, need a little help, do they not?”
“No.” Infuriated at the suggestion that he needed help, Reinhold smelled pepper and ammonia, the scent of annoyance. It was his own. Startled, he straightened his posture and repeated the word. “No.”
“I see.” The ghost lowered his brim over his eyes. “So you deny that which is key to your existence?”
Reinhold smiled derisively. “The wolves have always been loners. We’ve survived without the aid of anyone for centuries. Some even say that this world was once theirs.”
“Indeed, I remember a time when that legend was born. But it is not so today. The species struggles against man, against a changing world. And man struggles as well, does he not?” His voice remained calm, even.
Reinhold nodded. “Man struggles against his own kind, yes. But I do not.”
The ghost stared hard at Reinhold. “So that is why you play man’s game with such high stakes?”
He felt the spectre’s gaze burn into him but didn’t bother flinching. “Your scare tactics don’t bother me.”
The ghost glowered. “I don’t mean to bother you, Reinhold. I merely mean to show you a truth you’ve missed.”
“The only thing I’ve missed,” his voice rose with every word, “is dinner. Your deer was that for me and mine. My mate hasn’t eaten in two days because of her workload and our schedule and—“
The ghost held up a hand. “Is that not the matter at hand? The workload?”
“Fuck you.” Reinhold spat out the words.
With a shrug, the ghost let out a visible sigh that turned to frost before them. “Very well then. I suppose the next time I see you shall be your funeral.”
The ghost waved his hand, and Reinhold lost consciousness.