Home > Chosen Wolf (The Marked Wolf #2)

Chosen Wolf (The Marked Wolf #2)
Author: Jen L. Grey

 

Chapter One

 

 

Emma

 

 

Dealing with dead bodies at five a.m. wasn’t my ideal start to a good day. The sky was still dark, and none of us had gotten any sleep since the wolf attack and the earthquake I’d caused.

I could’ve stayed back to help the witches pack all the houses and load the cars, but this was where I needed to be. After all, this was all my fault. If I hadn’t come here, the coven would still be thriving—not rushing to leave before a secret society arrived to kill us all. Ten witches and twenty wolves were dead because of me. I couldn’t let any more people die.

The thick metallic scent of blood hung in the air, and flies buzzed around the bodies. I regretted my decision to help bury the dead, but damn, how could I be a good leader if I didn’t take on the hard jobs?

The irony was that the wolves expected me to ruin them, and the witches expected me to save them.

Me.

I was supposed to be the witches’ hero, their redeemer, but I was clueless, which was far more dangerous.

I’d only survived this long because of my mate, whose pack was part of the secret society, and my four new witch friends: Samuel, Amethyst, Coral, and Finn. Without them, I’d be rotting in the ground.

Holding my breath, I grabbed the dead man’s arms and dragged him across the grass toward the woods. My arms screamed because the guy had at least two hundred pounds on me. The Jones pack had sent their strongest and most skilled shifters to kill me. I wondered if my ex-boyfriend and the pack’s alpha heir, Jacob Rogers, even knew who his roommate really was. Prescott Jones was part of a secret society seeking the wolf marked by the witches who so happened to be me.

Aidan walked over and touched my arm. “You don’t have to do this.” His golden eyes locked with mine, and the gentle buzzing of our fated mate bond thrummed through my skin at his touch. “Go back to the house and pack up. We’ll head back when we’re done.” His muscular chest brushed against my arm as he tried pulling the dead shifter from my grasp.

“No, I need to do this. They came here for me.” I wanted to scream and yell. This was my burden and no one else’s, but that wouldn’t accomplish anything. I couldn’t do this on my own.

Hell, I hadn’t even processed that I was half witch. I’d grown up a wolf shifter my entire life, and even though I was adopted, it had never crossed my mind that I could be something more. The Rogers pack took me in after they’d found me as an infant at the border, lying next to a dead wolf.

“Emma, you don’t have to,” Aidan said slowly, as though he were choosing his words carefully.

Annoyance flared through me. He’d already said that. I used our mate bond connection to mind link with him. I’m expected to lead. He had to understand, and I didn’t want to embarrass him in front of everyone. I can’t do that by running away when things get hard.

“She already told you she does. It’s her choice.” Finn, my newly found cousin, shoved Aidan hard in the chest. His hate-filled amber eyes landed on my mate.

“You’re damn lucky you’re her family,” Aidan growled as he removed Finn’s hands from his chest. “Otherwise, you’d be on your back right now.”

“See, that’s my problem with all you animals. You think you’re so bad. If you try that alpha-will shit on her, you’ll be treated like that shifter I killed in the basement last night. It was nice to see his cockiness leave as he took his last breath.”

He obviously had issues with wolves since they’d killed his parents. My only saving grace with him was that I was his cousin and half witch, even though that was recent news. However, he was still cold toward Aidan and my best friend, Beth. He couldn’t look past them being wolves … at least not yet.

Beth joined us, catching the end of the conversation. “That’s messed up,” Beth mumbled beside me. “He’s almost glowing at the memory.”

“I am not.” Finn shook his head, causing his auburn hair to fall against his forehead. “Witches aren’t meant to cause harm unless absolutely necessary. I didn’t enjoy it, but it was justice.”

Samuel reached our group, dragging one of the dead shifters. “We all need to calm down.” He dropped the guy he’d been carrying back on the ground, and the body landed with a loud thud. Crimson blood spotted his chestnut hair that was pulled back into a man bun, making his sage eyes brighter … and spooky. “We’re all on edge after the fight.” He blew out a breath and winced as if to rid himself of the memories. “And we’re running on no sleep. We can’t turn on one another.”

“Just to be clear, I would never try to control her.” Anger laced Aidan’s words, but he stopped and sucked in some air.

“Besides, it wouldn’t work if he tried.” I kept my voice light to tamp down some of the tension. My attention focused on Finn. “Remember, he’s your family now, too.” I pointed to the almost healed bite mark on my neck.

“Don’t remind me,” Finn huffed.

“He also knows I’d help kick his ass if he tried controlling my girl.” Beth’s blue hair bobbed with each step she took. She moved to throw her arm over my shoulders, but I stepped out of the way. Blood stained her hands from the man she’d hauled into the woods.

Hurt appeared on her face.

Great, now I was making people feel bad. I didn’t want more blood on me than necessary. “Sorry, but I don’t want to completely ruin my clothes.” Another run to the local Walmart was imminent.

Her gaze flicked to the man at my feet, and she tilted her head. “Yeah, I don’t blame you there.”

Aidan grabbed the arm of the guy I’d been trying to move.

“Hey, I said I’ve got it.” After all that, he still decided to pull this shit. Even though I’d been struggling with the shifter, I didn’t like how Aidan was handling the situation.

“There’s one over there.” He pointed to a guy who was slightly smaller and a little less bloody since only his throat had been ripped out.

I wanted to stand my ground but knew I’d look stupid if I did. I’d probably have trouble carrying this one too. I made my way to the other body and hollered at Beth, “Want to help?”

“Not really, but I will.” She took hold of his legs while I grabbed his arms.

We slowly lifted him and made our way to the woods.

Tears threatened, but I refused to let them spill. Those wolves had come here to kill. If we hadn’t fought back, they would’ve killed more of us. The attack had happened right before I’d unleashed my witch power. If that was a sign of what was to come, I wasn’t sure fate had made the right choice in picking me.

The witches were trying to be strong, but I could see the toll the conflict was taking, especially on the ones who’d chosen to help bury the attackers. I felt a kinship with them. Though I was part animal and enjoyed being the hunter, I didn’t enjoy the kill.

I held my breath again to keep the scent of werewolf blood out of my nose as much as possible. The scent would be scarred into my mind for a very long time.

“Hey, it’ll be okay,” Beth whispered so only I could hear. “They don’t blame you.”

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