Alpha Rising by Quinn Loftis


“With every minute that passes, this life grows larger inside of me. I can’t help but wonder what kind of world the child will be born into. Will there be any good left at all? Will there be any security or peace?” ~ Bethany

Peri groaned. “Looks like we lost the element of surprise,” she said as she stared across the field where the army of their enemy stood waiting for them. It was as if the Order had this battle penciled in on their calendar and had decided to show up a few minutes early.

An hour ago, Peri had been at Jezebel’s shop promising she would get Z’s sister out of Volcan’s clutches, yet she couldn’t even manage to arrange a surprise battle on an enemy who should not have known they were coming. She was beginning to think maybe it was time to practice keeping her mouth shut about promises she might not be able to fulfill.

Now, here she was standing on the balls of her feet, magic pulsing through her body, preparing to fight for her life while at the same time praying to the Great Luna that her mate and the others were able to make it out of the In Between so the draheim realm could be breached. Yep, she was pretty sure making promises while being stretched so thin was one of her dumbest ideas. Which wasn’t so horrible when she considered the fact that she rarely had dumb ideas. But she digressed. The important matter at hand was the fact that the enemy they were supposed to have been surprising had been expecting them. There was no time for them to get the lay of the land. No time to do anything other than realize they’d been betrayed and kick some Order ass.

As she stared into the eyes of her enemy standing so boldly across from her, she decided that the battle with Volcan was going to look like a walk in the park compared to what the Order had in store for them. Because Peri knew this battle would not end on this battlefield. It was just the beginning.

“Stealing the pups is a bad idea,” Skender warned the high fae as they entered the back side of the mountain that housed the pack’s stronghold. It hadn’t been hard for Alston to break Skender out of the Romanian mansion once the vast majority of the pack had evacuated. The two guards had been disposed of, and that had been all Alston had needed to do. Then he’d simply flashed them to the werewolf stronghold, the location of which was known only to a few of the wolves. Skender happened to be one of them. Vasile was sure to be annoyed with himself when he remembered that little tidbit.

“It’s a brilliant idea,” Alston practically sang. “They will be completely at our mercy if we have their little mangy pups in our clutches. We will finally be able to control the great and mighty Vasile.”

Skender forced himself not to point out that it was also going to enrage the alpha to a level never before seen. Vasile was dangerous under the best of circumstances. Messing with his grandson was going to make him downright lethal. But Skender was just a foot soldier. He either did what he was told or Alston would have no use for him. As much as Skender believed in what the Order stood for, he didn’t like the idea of dragging babies and children into it.

“This way,” he muttered, following a scent that was fresh, easily identifiable as that of a young child. He got a whiff of his old packmate, Costin, as well. “We aren’t going to hurt them,” Skender finally said after several minutes of silence as they walked. “There has to be a line somewhere, and that’s where I draw mine. I won’t hurt children. I don’t care what the vamps are okay with. I’m not okay with it.”

“I’m not a fool,” Alston spat. “The wolves must be willing to cooperate. The mere threat of violence against the children will be enough to ensure compliance. Actually hurting them … well, even I’m not sure how the Romanian pack would respond to that. Let’s just get the brats and go. We need to be on the battlefield soon.”

After several twists and turns down a winding stone corridor, Skender stopped outside of a large door. He took a deep breath and then nodded. “They’re in there, with”—he took another deep breath and said—“two fae warriors and two female wolves.”

“They really weren’t expecting any trouble if that is the only guard they set,” the high fae said with a wicked chuckle. “This is going to be too easy.”

Alston held up his hand and spoke in the language of the fae. The door began to shake, and Skender stepped to the side just as it ripped away from the opening. It fell with a clatter, and Alston cast another spell. The two fae warriors, as well as the she-wolves, were frozen in a matter of seconds. Both fae warriors had gone for their blades, but Alston’s spell caught them before either could get their swords drawn. The she-wolves were immobilized mid-crouch as they had begun reaching for the two babies on the floor, who were now looking around with wide eyes. The oldest of the three children, the one that smelled like Costin, moved closer to the two younger kids and attempted to shield them, though his small form was ill-suited to the task. Skender could tell the boy was a dormant wolf and would one day be a very strong opponent.

“Settle, little wolf,” Skender said to him. “We do not wish to harm you or the other little pups. You need to come with us.”

The boy looked up at him, and his eyes narrowed slightly. “The angel told me I would need to be brave soon. She said that I would have to help Slate and Thia be brave. I might be afraid, but I am brave. I won’t let you hurt them.”