Jackson Harris walked slowly into the alpha’s office. His father had called him at six that morning to request his presence no later than nine. Unfortunately, Jackson had been in the middle of investigating a break-in on the east side of Garland County when his father had called.
It shouldn’t have surprised him that his father had hung up before giving him the chance to explain that he was in the middle of work. It wasn’t like his dad had changed from the same person he’d always been.
For some reason, Jackson expected to meet on more equal footing, and it caught him by surprise when the man still treated him like a child. Granted, he was and always would be one of the alpha’s children, but he wasn’t an actual child, so he was experiencing some mild irritation.
“You’re late.” His father looked up from where he sat behind the large oak desk.
Jackson looked pointedly at his watch. “It’s one minute past nine.”
“I told you to be here at nine. Punctuality is important. It says a lot about who you are as a person… as an alpha.”
“It’s one minute, Dad, and if you’d taken a moment before hanging up on me, I would have explained I was in the middle of an investigation.” They had argued this point before, and he was sure they would do it again because Jackson refused to let himself become this rigid over a lousy minute. When his father just stared at him with his hands steepled in front of his face, Jackson gave up on making his point with a wave of one hand. “I don’t want to have this argument again.”
His father continued to stare at him silently for the pace of several heartbeats. Silence wasn’t something he was used to with his father. There was one thing he knew he could count on with his dad, and that was that the man was always ready to speak his mind.
Jackson stared back at his alpha, meeting his gaze unflinchingly as his father took his measure.
“Jackson, I’ve prepared you to lead to the best of my ability. Though I know we don’t always see eye-to-eye, I am proud of the man you’ve become… the alpha you’ve become.”
His father’s words meant a lot to him, but he wasn’t at all sure where this conversation was going. His father wasn’t ready to give up the leadership of his pack. At forty-eight, Warrick Harris was still a young man, but besides that, his older brother Silas was the heir apparent for the Hot Springs pack.
Jackson frowned. “What’s going on, Dad?”
“Have a seat.”
Jackson sat down in one of the chairs facing his father’s desk and tried not to be irritated by how long it took his father to get to the point during a scheduled meeting. When he was a kid that had almost always meant he was in trouble, and he had hated feeling like he was waiting for the proverbial axe to fall.
Now that he was an adult and an alpha in his own right, it was even more irritating. Sadly, patience wasn’t a virtue he’d inherited from his father or his mother—who had the patience of a saint. He barely managed to resist the urge to look at his watch. They were burning daylight and Jackson needed to get back to work.
“You know I sent your brother Si out a few weeks ago to look into problems with the pack in Wolf Creek, Texas?”
“Elliott’s pack?” Jackson had fond memories of visiting the Texas pack as a child. Elliott and his father had grown up together in a small Texas town on the border of Texas and Mexico. They’d stayed friends when they’d both become the alphas of their own packs.
“I hadn’t heard from Elliott in several years, and when I heard rumors of a new pack leader and shady dealings down in Texas, I couldn’t get any answers. Si and Grady volunteered to go down and check things out.”
“What did Si find?” Jackson prompted when his father fell silent again.
His father sighed and Jackson could tell from the set of his father’s shoulders that it was bad. “Elliott was killed by this new alpha that rolled in to town. The man’s name is Maddox Trace. He killed Elliott, then forced Evelyn to become his mate. From everything Si discovered, it isn’t a true mating. He keeps her tied to him with fear for her mother and the child that was the product of his rape.”
Jackson sat up straighter. He remembered Evie from his childhood visits. She’d been a sweet kid with wide, curious brown eyes. “Forced mating?”
“I know, it’s like something out of the darkest periods of shifter history. Apparently, Maddox also has the police chief in his pocket—a human he can pay to turn a blind eye to the pack running drugs and girls to put a hefty profit in the alpha’s pocket.”
Jackson was sickened by the information. It bothered him that a member of law enforcement would allow criminal activity. Being an officer of the law was supposed to mean you had more integrity than the average person, not less.
Jackson took his duties as a deputy for the Garland County sheriff’s office seriously, and he expected the same from other members of the force. In addition to his job for the sheriff’s office, he also served as an enforcer for his father’s pack.
He had to be above reproach to serve in either capacity.
His father cleared his throat. “It would be a risk, but how would you feel about going to Texas to challenge Maddox Trace, then taking over as the pack alpha for Wolf Creek? I can’t expose the flank of our own pack by directly challenging the current alpha and causing war with another pack, or risk sending your brother as he is my second.”
Jackson understood. War would expose the women and children of their own pack to risk, and Silas was needed here if something happened to their father. He thought about the sweet girl he remembered, hating the idea of what had befallen her. Evie deserved so much better, and he could ensure she got it.
Jackson frowned as he thought about his job with the sheriff’s office here in Garland County. If this worked out the way his father seemed to have planned, he wouldn’t be returning. Though he liked his job, he’d also be glad to be out from under his father’s feet to lead in his own way.
Jackson nodded, then looked at his father. “I’ll do it. Evie and her mom deserve better, and I can make sure they get it…”
“You would be on your own, son. I don’t know how many of the original pack members are still there. I feel I owe it to Elliott, his family, and his people to try to right this wrong, but I can’t do it myself. I need to take care of my own. You’re ready for your own pack, but if you don’t feel called to handle the situation in Wolf Creek, I will understand.”
“I’ll do it, Dad. Evie and her mom need someone to fight for them and for the rest of their pack.”
“Since he’s in town, I’m sending Calvin along with you to act as your second. Once everything is settled, he can choose to remain with your pack or return to his own in Oklahoma.”
Jackson nodded. “Thank you, Dad. I will not let you down.”
“I’m proud of you, son.”
Jackson’s father put his arm out and they clasped each other’s forearms in the traditional way of two alphas giving one another respect. It was a surreal moment for Jackson. His father had never before offered his arm to him in that way. Generally, Warrick hugged his sons or pounded them on the back. It wasn’t that he didn’t respect them and realize they were men; it was just that to his father, they were his children first.
Jackson had always appreciated that fact. He’d seen other packs alphas that gave very little affection to their sons. Warrick had always openly told all of his children he loved them as well as giving physical affection when they came to see him. He loved them fiercely and unconditionally and didn’t think it diminished him as an alpha to show it.
“Now we should go speak to your mother. She’s been worrying about you since I told her what I wanted to do.”
Jackson wasn’t fooled. His father was nervous too. He trusted Jackson to take care of business, but he would never forgive himself if something he could have prevented happened to any of his children.
They went to the kitchen—where Allison Harris could always be found during the day. His mother was just putting a batch of her famous chocolate chip cookies in the oven while his baby sister, Catriona, watched with eager anticipation.
At twelve, she still had the rounded cheeks of childhood, her thick, short blonde hair curling around her ears as she grinned up at him. “Mom made cookies!”
He felt a pang in his chest as he smiled at her. The next time he saw her, she’d probably be half grown. She’d have left behind romping through the woods and playing with her friends and instead be looking for a boyfriend.
Jackson grabbed her hand and pulled her against his chest with a tight squeeze. He would miss her and his mother so much.
Cat put a hand in the center of his chest and pushed as hard as she could. “Let me go! I need to get ready to pull the cookies out when they’re ready!”
“Brat.” Jackson tweaked the end of her upturned nose as he released her.
“Go on outside, Catriona. Jackson and I need to speak to your mother,” Warrick told his youngest child.
She frowned. “I guess this means you’re going.”
Jackson looked from the scowl on his sister’s face to where his mother stood blinking furiously in an effort to keep from crying.
He shook his head. “There’s no need to cry, Mom. I don’t plan on dying.”
“Bite your tongue, Jackson!” His mother pressed a hand to her heart with a frown. “Idle words are a young man’s folly.”
Jackson grinned and kissed his mother hard. “I’m not that young, and they aren’t idle words.”
“You have your father’s confidence, and that’s for sure,” she whispered as his father pulled her against his side.
“Jackson will be fine, love. You’ve nothing to worry about. Do you think I’d send my son or any of my children to their death?”
“Not intentionally,” she said softly.
“Woman, you underestimate your son. He will be fine.”
Just then the buzzer went off, signaling the cookies were ready, and Cat danced back across the room.
“Outside, young lady.”
“But, Daddy!” Cat’s wail of dismay was impressively dramatic.
“Catriona Harris, what did I say?”
She heaved a put-out sigh, then headed through the scarlet door.
Jackson watched the Wolf Creek pack from a distance for a few weeks to get a lay of the land. He needed to completely understand what he was dealing with before challenging Maddox Trace.
When he saw Evie taking her young son to school, he was downwind and her enticing scent drifted on the breeze to tantalize his senses. Every nerve in his body sprang to life…
It took everything in Jackson to fight the urge to swoop in and take her… She was his by right, but he had to play his hand carefully to ensure the safety of his mate, her pup, and the pack as a whole.
It had only taken a day to see that Maddox was as crooked as a corkscrew and the Wolf Creek police chief was just as bent. He kept watching to give himself time to determine the best way to approach the problem of Maddox Trace.
One thing was certain: once the pack was secured, there would still be a lot of clean up necessary to ensure the mess in Wolf Creek was taken care of entirely.
Evelyn watched Jackson Harris warily as he stepped into her small living room behind Maddox. When Jackson glanced in her direction, she immediately looked at the floor. She knew from experience if Maddox caught her daring to meet the gaze of any man, he’d knock her flat.
She’d been barely eighteen when Maddox had claimed her as his mate, and not because she was his fated mate, but because she was the daughter of the pack’s previous alpha.
He’d killed the alpha in order to claim his pack, and he’d claimed her as his spoils of war; as far as he was concerned, as the new alpha she belonged to him.
Her father’s body was probably still warm when Maddox chased her through the woods, tackled her to the ground, and raped her… No one had tried to stop him… They’d all been terrified.
With her father dead, her mother had been helpless to protect her or anyone else from the alpha that ruled his pack with an iron fist.
Maddox saw his pack not as wolves he needed to guide and protect, but as slaves to do his bidding.
They were his property. Nothing more, nothing less.
Any hint of disagreement was dealt with brutally to ensure there was no chance for even the idea of rebellion to form.
She felt Jackson’s gaze on her and couldn’t suppress a little shiver. Her eyes sprang up reflexively, and she was surprised at the jolt of heat that shot to her clit when she met his dark brown gaze. Just then, the soft scent of sandalwood and male musk filled her senses, and her wolf stirred for the first time in ages…
Evelyn’s hand rose to her mouth in horror, and she turned to leave the room as quickly as possible. If Maddox even had the suspicion that Jackson was her fated mate, he would kill him without blinking an eye.
“Come back here, female!”
The barked command from Maddox made her freeze, poised on the edge of the doorway.
“I did not give you permission to leave.”
Swallowing hard, Evelyn walked back into the room to stand nervously in front of Maddox with her gaze fixed firmly on the floor.
“Good little bitch.” Maddox lightly patted her ass. “You may kneel at my feet while I contemplate this wolf’s application to join our pack.”
Evelyn sank to her knees beside the feet of her master. She couldn’t call him her mate… A mate was fated, or at the very least chosen. She would never call her forced coupling with Maddox a mating.
“What do you have to offer my pack?” Maddox’s tone sounded bored.
“You misunderstand the reason I requested this meeting.” The timber of the new wolf’s voice was deep and steady.
Maddox snorted. “What did I misunderstand?”
“My intent. I don’t want to join your pack. I intend to liberate it.”
Evelyn’s head sprang up in alarm at the firmly spoken words.
“Liberation? My pack is full of sheep that need a firm leader; they won’t appreciate your attempt to free them from my tender care.”
Evelyn forced her gaze back to the floor at the words of the alpha.
A small spark of hope bloomed in her heart. Could Jackson really challenge Maddox and free the Wolf Creek pack from their bonds?
“You have perverted the role of pack alpha to serve your own agenda. You don’t care about the Wolf Creek pack beyond the sense of power it gives you and the monetary gains they bring you selling your drugs,” Jackson said scathingly.
Maddox stood with a weary sigh. “God save me from idealists.”
Sensing that a physical confrontation was coming, Evelyn scooted quickly away when the alpha stood.
“I seriously doubt god has anything to do with your endeavors.” Jackson straightened, his whole body seeming to quiver in readiness.
Evelyn pressed her back against the wall as waves of alpha power bombarded her. She was glad her son, Gideon, was at school. He’d just turned eight and didn’t need to see the two men fight.
The power Maddox exuded always left her feeling the wrongness in him. The new power rolling over her skin and through her body was stronger… and somehow cleaner.
Jackson was a powerful alpha.
Maddox snarled, shifting partially as he charged his challenger. Jackson’s wolf sprang to the surface faster than anything Evelyn had ever seen, and he met Maddox in midair. Everything seemed to move in slow motion at the two alphas faced off in battle, but it was over in the blink of an eye.
Maddox was on the ground, gnashing his teeth and snarling while Jackson stood over him, easily holding him down.
“It wouldn’t pain me at all to kill you now, but I would rather not start as the Wolf Creek alpha with blood on my hands. This pack needs to learn that blood and brute force are not the answer to every problem.”
“I will kill you,” Maddox snarled.
Jackson smiled down at him. “Not today. Do you yield?”
Maddox glared but then looked away. “I yield.”
Jackson helped Maddox to his feet but gripped him firmly by the arm and led him to the door. “Evelyn?” Jackson looked over his shoulder to find her still pressed against the wall.
She rose uncertainly to her feet and followed the men out the front door. Evelyn gasped when she realized the entire pack was in the front yard.
Jackson dragged Maddox to the center of the yard and forced him to his knees before him. “Maddox Trace has yielded the right of alpha of the Wolf Creek pack to me. I am now your alpha. Maddox is leaving Texas. He is banished and will never return to our territory. Decide now if you can follow me as your alpha or if you choose to share your old alpha’s fate.”
Everyone turned to look at Maddox and began to chant as one, “I do not know you or recognize you as pack.”
Evelyn gaped, surprised at the ease of the shift of power from Maddox to Jackson. A knot formed in the pit of her stomach… What would happen to her now… to her child?
“I will take you to the Greyhound station and put you on a bus out of Texas. I’d be careful where you choose to go. Alphas in other territories know who you are and will probably kill you on sight,” Jackson told Maddox matter-of-factly as he led him towards a dually king cab truck.
“Female, get the boy and come on,” Maddox barked.
“You are mistaken if you think I will allow you to take Evelyn or her child with you,” Jackson said as he caught Maddox firmly by the back of the neck. “Evelyn and Gideon are part of the Wolf Creek pack and are now under my protection. They go nowhere with you.”
Tears filled Evelyn’s eyes; she didn’t have to go with Maddox.
“She’s my mate!” Maddox growled.
She felt Maddox’s eyes fix on her and though fear roiled in her belly, she could not allow this man to taint her son further.
Jackson turned to face Evelyn. “Evelyn, is this wolf your fated mate?”
“No.” Her eyes automatically fell to the ground. It was disrespectful to look an alpha straight in the eyes.
“Evelyn.” Jackson’s voice had softened into a coaxing tone, and she found herself looking up to meet his gaze even though she knew it was a bad idea.
Once her eyes met his, Jackson smiled at her. “You’re safe, little wolf. As Maddox is not your fated mate… Is he your chosen mate?”
She licked her lips nervously. “N… no, I was never given a choice.” Her eyes fell to the ground again in shame. Her wolf wanted to leap around like an excited pup that she’d found her fated mate, but Evelyn pushed her back down. They were not worthy of this alpha. Fresh tears spilled down her cheeks. She was dirty and damaged. She didn’t deserve a true mate after what she’d allowed Maddox to do to her.
“Evelyn!” Maddox barked, demanding her attention, and to her shame she immediately fell to the ground in a huddled ball, certain he would beat her for her audacity in denying him.
She heard Jackson speak softly to someone but didn’t dare to look up. Gentle arms surrounded her, helping her to her feet, and she realized it was her mother and her best friend Molly.
“Come on, sweetheart. You don’t need to see any more of this,” Molly said, wrapping an arm around her shoulders while her mother placed herself between them and the fighting men. Evelyn gratefully allowed her body to sag against Molly. Her mother came to stand on her other side, and together they led Evelyn away cocooned between them.
Relief filled her as she heard Jackson’s next words. “The she-wolf was never your mate, and because you forced his mother into an improper mating, you waive your rights to the pup.”
Maddox snarled a response, and then she heard a fist hitting flesh and pressed her face tighter against Molly.
“The alpha will handle this. You’re not to worry, sweet girl.”
Evelyn gave herself over to her mother and Molly’s keeping. She couldn’t worry about what was happening between the two males. She had to survive whatever came next for Gideon.
Jackson fought hard to control his wolf. He’d known Evelyn was his fated mate the minute he’d locked eyes on her, her sweet scent filling his senses.
Seeing the woman he knew was his fated mate cowering in fear from him because of what Maddox had done to her fired a rage inside him that was difficult to tamp down.
He reminded himself that what Evelyn and her boy needed was to see an alpha behave with control and forethought. They didn’t need to witness further mindless violence.
When the other wolf had leaped after Evelyn while the women of the pack were leading her away, Jackson had slammed his fist into the side of Maddox’s head, knocking him to his back. Rage had filled him as he leaned over the man and punched him twice before he regained control. “You will not speak to Evelyn or Gideon again or attempt to contact them in any way. It would be best if you didn’t even think their names.”
Maddox sat up, glaring at Jackson as he wiped a bit of blood away from the edge of his mouth. “You will regret this day.”
“I may regret not killing you, but I will never regret freeing the Wolf Creek pack from your twisted rule.” When Maddox opened his mouth Jackson raised his hand to silence him. “If you want to avoid spending your entire journey to California hobbled and chained, you should shut up.”
“I will reclaim everything that belongs to me and make them all watch while you bleed out!” Maddox spat blood on the ground as he got to his feet.
Jackson was on him in an instant, pinning Maddox to the ground while he cuffed his hands behind his back. One of the wolves from the pack handed Jackson ankle chains that they attached to his wrist cuffs once his legs were secured.
When Maddox continued to snarl and curse them, a ball gag was shoved in his mouth and secured behind his head.
Jackson grabbed a handful of hair to jerk Maddox’s head back so he could meet the other wolf’s eyes. “You will be freed as soon as the bus stops in Temecula, California. I suggest you use the journey to consider your options. Come back here, and you will be killed on sight.”
Jackson and his friend Calvin loaded Maddox on the bus and secured him on the last seat. Calvin would be traveling with Maddox all the way to Temecula before he returned to his own pack in Oklahoma. The bus driver was a wolf from Calvin’s pack.
Jackson and Calvin had played together as children when their packs met, and their friendship had lasted into adulthood. Calvin held out his arm, and Jackson locked hands and arms with the other wolf as they said their goodbyes. “We’d love to see you again in Oklahoma.”
Jackson smiled. “I will miss you, my friend, but this is where I belong. My mate is here.”
Calvin looked towards the house where the wolf creek females had taken Evelyn. “You have a lot of damage to heal here.”
Jackson knew his friend was talking about more than his mate. He closed his eyes and shook his head. “I will remind them what an alpha should be.”
Calvin sighed. “Good luck, my friend.” He climbed back in the bus and waved goodbye before the doors closed and pulled away from the curb.
Before Jackson could check on Evelyn, he had to stop by the Wolf Creek police station, which was traditionally manned by the pack. Even though Maddox hadn’t had any interest in policing his territory lawfully, he had managed to get a police chief instated who was loyal to his interests. Unfortunately, all of Maddox Trace’s interests had been illegal.
When Jackson had served on the local police force in Hot Springs, most of the other men hadn’t been pack, but his pack had always believed in having equal representation, so Jackson and a few of his friends had been officers.
Jackson had worked himself up to detective before his father had sent him to Texas. The experience would stand him in good stead in Wolf Creek.
He had known he would need to leave his pack eventually. He and his brother were both natural alphas, and his brother needed to be free to take over their home pack when the time came, without Jackson’s presence.
Jackson had a lot of work to do to gain the confidence of his new pack and his mate. It would take time.
At least with his law enforcement background, it would be no problem to take over as the police chief of Wolf Creek. He just had to relieve the current chief of his duties.
Thankfully, by the time he arrived at the police station, the police chief had disappeared, though he did leave a letter of resignation on his desk. It had probably been a good move because Jackson had a feeling he would have had to arrest the man once he’d had a good look at the state of affairs in Wolf Creek.
Evelyn made short work of packing up her and Gideon’s things. She ignored anything that had belonged to Maddox. She didn’t want anything that smelled of him or reminded her of him.
Tears still clogged her throat when she remembered her father and the brutal way Maddox had killed him.
Maddox had taken her virginity still covered in the blood of her father in a perversion of the mating ceremony. She closed her eyes against the memory.
He had been an evil wolf… She hoped her pack would be able to overcome his brutal rule.
Scolding herself for feeling such self-pity, Evelyn took a deep breath as she wiped the tears from her face. She and her pack would recover, and at least Gideon had a chance at a normal childhood now.
Evelyn would take their things to the house her mother shared with Molly and her daughter Maura, then pick Gideon up from school. She wanted some privacy to explain to him that his father was gone.
She came back into the living room with the packed bags, and Molly turned to face her with a frown. “What are you doing, Luna?”
“I am not your Luna. I was never mated to Maddox. There is a new alpha, and I do not belong in this house,” Evelyn told the other woman emphatically. For a moment she stared at Molly, then looked at her mother who was coming in from the kitchen with some hot tea. “I’d hoped I could stay with you.”
“Please sit down, Evelyn, and drink this tea. It has a lot of sugar in it and will help you with the shock of everything that has happened today.”
Evelyn started to protest, but her mother firmly pressed the teacup into her hand.
She sat down and took a small sip while studying her mother and then Molly. Her mother should hate her for allowing Maddox to tarnish her father’s memory so thoroughly, and Molly had even more reason to hold her in contempt. Molly had been one of her closest friends before Maddox took over their pack. She was a little older, but that had never mattered. A little after Gideon had been born, the other woman had finally had the child she and her mate had wanted for years.
Evelyn had never had the chance to tell Molly how happy she was that she was finally a mother as she’d dreamed of being since they were children.
Evelyn had gone to Molly’s shortly after Maura’s birth to congratulate her, but Maddox had caught her before she could even knock on the door. Maddox had been so angry she’d left the house without permission, he’d hit her and knocked her to the ground.
Molly’s mate had tried to intervene to protect Evelyn, and Maddox had killed him on the spot. Guilt tore at her heart; she was surprised the other woman was being so kind to her. She’d even allowed Evelyn’s mother to move into her home when Maddox had kicked her out of their house.
How could Molly stand to even look at her? She didn’t deserve her kindness. Suddenly, Evelyn wasn’t so sure she would be welcome in Molly’s home.
They hadn’t really talked in several years because Maddox had kept her so isolated from everyone else. She’d been so firmly under his thumb, she hadn’t realized the toll his rule had taken on the rest of the pack until it was too late
A good Luna would have seen it and done her best to help, further evidence that she wasn’t even worthy to be Jackson’s mate, much less his Luna.
A good Luna would have never let her mother be forced out of her home or caused the death of a friend’s mate.
“But, Luna—” Molly began only to have Evelyn shake her head fiercely and hold up a hand to silence her.
“Please never call me that again.” Evelyn set down her tea and hurried out the door with her bags before the other woman could say anything else. Both Molly and Evelyn’s mother followed close on her heels.
The minute she stepped out of the house, she ran straight into Jackson.
“Where are you going, little wolf?”
Evelyn stared at his feet. “I want to go to Molly’s house.”
“You don’t have to move out,” Jackson said quietly.
Her head lifted, and she turned to glare at the house. “This was never my home.”
“I’m sorry he hurt you, Evie.”
Tears filled her eyes at his words, but she forced them back, blinking furiously. “My name is Evelyn.” She knew she shouldn’t be speaking so disrespectfully, but she couldn’t seem to stop herself.
“It’s a beautiful name, but you will always be my Evie.” A large hand cupped her cheek and tilted her face up so she had to meet his eyes.
Liquid heat pooled between her thighs when her eyes met his deep brown gaze. The raw heat Evelyn felt both shocked and terrified her; she didn’t want this. She shook her head as hard as she was able to with his hand cupping her cheek. “No. I belong to no one.”
Her wolf gave a yip of protest at her words, but Evelyn firmly ignored it.
Jackson’s eyes narrowed on hers. “I know you’ve been treated badly, little wolf, and I promise to do my best to be patient. But we both know you’re my mate.”
Panic built in her chest at his words. She didn’t want to be his mate… not his or anyone else’s.
“No!” She pulled away quickly and ran away, dropping her bags at his feet. She had to get away from this man… this wolf… She couldn’t allow herself to be under a man’s heel again. She wouldn’t survive it a second time.
As she ran, her wolf tried to tell her it would be different with Jackson because he was her fated mate… But all she could think about was how it felt every time Maddox had forced her to accept his touch.
The first time he’d taken her, all her girlish fantasies about her future mate and the mating ceremony had been destroyed. She had never known a moment of pleasure in Maddox’s bed; instead, she’d known only pain and degradation.
He’d enjoyed hurting her. He’d relished her tears. It didn’t matter that her clit leapt and her pussy wept with joy every time Jackson looked at her. She knew what being with a man was like.
It was all a lie. Her pussy was a liar. She wouldn’t be tricked into believing in fairytales a second time. She ignored the persistent throb in her clit and the whines of her wolf trying to tell her she was making a mistake.