This is an unedited sneak peek from Bleacke Spirit (Bleacke Shifters 4), writing as Lesli Richardson. It’s coming in September and is available for pre-order now. Enjoy!
Honestly, Dewi preferred fighting the Segura drug cartel to having a frou-frou wedding. But she’s survived both with her sanity intact.
That’s due in no small part to Ken and Nami accidentally finding her grandfather, who everyone believed was dead for nearly fifty years. In addition to serving as the Targhee Pack’s Head Enforcer, and head of the expanded Pack Council, Dewi’s next challenging mission is trying to teach Duncan about safely navigating a whole new world.
Like texting. And Facebook.
And of course life is never easy for Dewi, Ken, Badger, Beck, Nami, and the rest of their extended family. So when Badger’s old friend comes asking for the Targhee Pack’s help, they can’t turn him away.
Even if it brings a new and fuzzy foe into their lives when they’re asked to help his loved one stay…incorgnito.
Who knew cute could be so deadly?
Dewi’s mental howls choked off at Badger’s…unhappy tone. “Wait, what? Are you talking about Faegan Lewis?”
“Yeah, I’m talkin’ about Faegan Lewis!” Badger crossed the room and jabbed a finger in Trevor’s face. “I oughta make ye take a knee and bare yer throat to Dewi right now, withholdin’ that kind o’ information from me. I offered our help in good faith! Do ye know what this’ll do?”
“You’ve faced loss,” Trevor said. “You know pain. What would you have me do? Hand her over? I love Tamsin as if she were my own child. Was I supposed to say good-bye and let them kill her baby? My grandchild? They murdered two of my children over a valid mate bond! I’m not letting them take Tamsin and her baby, too.”
“They know about mate bonds,” Dewi said. “I know they do. They have to. Why wouldn’t they recognize it?”
“They didn’t recognize it because they’re gay. They refused to recognize it. I negotiated, believe me. Had it been Rupert who’d mated with Tamsin, I could have paid a dowry for them to back off.”
“This’ll start a bloody war,” Badger gravely said.
Trevor shoved past Badger and strode over to Dewi. She sensed Ken was prepared to throw himself between her and the wolf shifter, but he didn’t have to.
Trevor dropped to one knee in front of her and tipped his head back, completely exposing his throat and making Badger, Beck, Joaquin, and Martin all gasp.
“As Alpha of the Staffordshire Pack,” he said, “I present myself and submit completely to the Targhee Pack. I hereby pledge, on my life and honor, our pack’s complete allegiance and fealty from this day forward.” Tears rolled from his eyes. “Please, I’ve lost enough loved ones. My wife…this has nearly killed her. We can’t lose Tamsin and her baby, too.”
Stunned, Dewi stared down at him for a long, silent moment. Then, she reached down and gently gripped his vulnerable throat. Under her fingers, she felt sick fear tinged with hope pounding through his veins with every throb of his pulse.
He was beyond desperation, nearly broken and out of options.
Dewi knew she had no other choices—not and still be able to look at herself in the mirror tomorrow. Although she suspected Peyton was rightfully going to chew her a new one for agreeing to this without consulting him first.
Except he wouldn’t cross her on this.
“As head of the expanded Targhee Pack Council, and as a representative for the Targhee Pack, and speaking for the pack Alpha…your pledge is accepted upon our honor. Your pack is now considered Targhee.”
He sobbed with relief. “Thank you.”
She released him and had to wipe her hand against her jeans, trying to rid herself of the sensation touching him had filled her with. He sagged, slowly climbing to his feet. Tamsin shifted back and pulled on her sundress before Trevor hugged her, long and hard.
Like a relieved father.
One of the bad things about being a Prime. It wasn’t just a bag of fun party tricks she could pull out when needed. It meant she could feel things others couldn’t. She was a living lie detector whether she wanted to be or not.
And right now, she wished she wasn’t.
Badger stood with his arms crossed over his chest. “This is bad, Dewi,” he said. “Ye don’t know what the man is capable of.”
“He doesn’t know what I’m capable of,” she quietly said.
“If it dinna fash ‘im to murder two Alpha wolves over a mate bond, do ye honestly think he won’t try to bring it here, to our door?”
“My Enforcers are on his tail now,” Trevor said. “I have four after him for blood. I issued a pack edict for blood. I want his head.”
Badger turned on him. “How many then, aye? Ye kill off some o’ his, and more come back after yers. He’s got kin all the way into Norway, I’ve heard.”
“They’re less than forty strong now,” Tamsin said, her voice barely audible from where she stood with Trevor’s arm draped around her slim shoulders. “Lots of thin-blood cousins, but the core pack is nearly extinct. He wanted to mate me to my first cousin, my mother’s brother’s youngest son.”
“How old is he?” Dewi asked.
“One hundred and ten.”
Rage threatened to wash through her again. “Waaaait a minute. They were going to…” She couldn’t even finish.
Tamsin nodded. “Exactly. My uncle wanted him to take me at sixteen, but my mother apparently told my uncle when I was born that if he didn’t agree to eighteen, she would kill my cousin herself before he could get anywhere near me. He’s a gamma and Mom’s a beta. But he was my closest full-blood relative.”
“Isn’t that a charming family history?” Dewi snarked.
“Thin-blood?” Ken asked. “What’s that mean?”
“It’s shifter slang,” Beck said. “Means mixed blood. Usually meaning mixed with humans, but can also mean other shifters mixed in.”
“They’re starting to interbreed,” Martin commented. “That’s just…gross.”
“Yeah, stupid question,” Dewi said. “Why?”
“Faegan’s older than I am,” Badger said. “Barmy sod’s always had a…complex. Some o’ his kin fought with the British against the Scots and were granted land in Wales once everything settled. Always thought they were better than other shifters.”
“Then most of them were wiped out around 1898,” Trevor said. “One of the pack Alpha’s brothers returned after several decades in India. He carried a few unexpected visitors in his personal effects—fleas, which carried plague. Reports say several hundred died in their village, which was closed off to start with. The full shifters survived, but most of the survivors were closely related already and they closed ranks. Killed all but about seventy of them, total. From then on, especially after the Great Wars, their pureblooded numbers started rapidly declining.”
Trevor nodded toward Tamsin. “Tamsin is one of very few shifters they have in the current generation. If she hadn’t been able to shift, they would have cancelled the marriage. They had three other girls lined up in case, but they turned out not to be shifters after all.”
Dewi slowly shook her head. “Sounds like I should go there and clean house myself.” She cracked her knuckles. “I think a gene-pool cleansing is overdue. How could anyone allow him to do that? To mate off his own daughter, especially to someone that old, and a first cousin?”
“Dewi,” Badger said, “it’s not an uncommon practice. Well, I mean arranged marriages. Not the specifics. Even humans still do it in some cultures.”
“That’s just wrong. No wonder their pack is dying out. They need diverse genetics.”
“They’re the last shifter pack of their kind,” Trevor said. “Faegan actually killed one of his son’s mates. Ben. Ben brought home a human, and Faegan killed her right there, then had to kill Ben when he fought to protect her.”
“That was in 1961,” Tamsin softly said. “I never knew him.”
“How old is your mother?” Dewi asked her.
“Two hundred and seventeen.”
Whoa. “Awfully old for her to still be having pups, isn’t she?”
“She’d been trying to have another child since Father killed Ben. He was their youngest when he died.”
Dewi turned to Badger. “And you’ve known all this shit about them and never bothered to tell me before now?”
“I dinna know all of it. I’ve heard rumors. And we don’t go stickin’ our noses into other packs’ business without a legitimate reason or invite. Especially other shifter races, and technically they’re another race. Even other wolves are off-limits without a valid enough reason. Not to mention they’re across the pond, right? If they were in Georgia, sure, I’da told ye. But not our business.” He heavily sighed. “Until now, of course.”
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