Run To Ground
(#darkfantasy, #MM, #shapeshifter, #werewolves, #eroticromance, #secondchance)
In the savage and ancient breed of mythic wuv, two men fight for their clan, their lives, and to reclaim the passion one threw away…
Tallin Undine was once human, but is now a wuv-beast, a creature of the Zhalazti clan, ruled by the moon, and made through moon-madness and savagery. With his human family slaughtered, Tallin continually struggles to hold on to some bit of his humanity. After being scarred by a former lover, Tallin has clawed his way to some measure of standing. But now, his clan chief has been killed, and the security of his adoptive nation is at risk. His mission is to bring back the man who must battle to claim his position as rightful chief. Yet there’s one problem—Emmanuel Grimshaw is the very man Tallin does not want to see again, who savagely mated him so long ago, then left him to pick up the pieces of his life.
When he was too young to fully control his inner-beast, Emmanuel Grimshaw claimed—and maimed—a man he loved. After fleeing his clan, he’d gone in search of his humanity, and a way to tame the wuv within. But when Tallin unexpectedly arrives, any peace Emmanuel thought he’d found with a human companion vanishes. And it isn’t long before Emmanuel’s inner-beast rises and he reclaims Tallin, binding him once again.
Now, Emmanuel will do his duty, but not without Tallin at his side. A battle for survival and love is about to begin. Who will triumph?
Tallin turned away from the place they’d chosen to consummate the werevaria claiming. He forced his animal down. A large paw-like hand settled upon his shoulder, the claws digging into his human flesh. He turned to gaze up at Emmanuel’s man-beast visage.
“You want something that is not our nature,” he said in a deep throaty voice. His red-hued eyes glittered. “I need your help. I need your…commitment.”
Tallin felt the possession of the claws on his shoulder, drawing his blood. The warm crimson liquid that spilled down his shoulder.
“It shouldn’t be this difficult,” Tallin said, “but something is different between us–something has changed. You and I…” He couldn’t help but be truthful, though he would prefer to remain silent and follow orders as he was bred to do. Emmanuel’s grip tightened, but so quickly he transformed back to human form and his claws no longer dug into Tallin’s shoulder. His human grip seemed just as firm.
“Tell me,” Emmanuel said in his human tone.
“It all comes so easily to you,” Tallin said. “Watching you change is breathtaking, almost rapturous, waiting for your beast to emerge. But it’s not so much a beast–wolfish alone–it’s that blend of otherwordly creature that mesmerizes me. When I transform there is no sophistication, no purity to the shift. We are so different.”
“You’re of my line’s blood. You were made by a Grimshaw.”
“I know all that. The blood we share forced my allegiance to your family. That’s why…when you left I–”
“Do you think what I do here is because I fault you on your allegiance to Hirmes?”
Tallin shook his head. It was so much more complicated than that. “It’s not that. You and I–it was more. And now…” How did he come up with the right words? “You say you want to change and make us more civilized so that we can abide among humans. With Hirmes it was different. With you I want monogamy. It’s important in a way it never was before. I know it’s not possible, especially concerning the direness of the situation. And they’re in a position to force your hand in this.”
Emmanuel seemed to consider. “You realize without their loyalty there’s little chance I can succeed in my challenge. I need them at my back. Just as I need you at my side.”
“I know that.” Tallin was being a fool. He had no proper claim. He wasn’t even blood-born. He was rikochetji. These petty human jealousies had to stop or he could cost Emmanuel his life and the clan’s leadership position. “I’m a fool. It’s of no consequence.”
He was a mongrel and mongrels had no standing. They took the scraps that were offered and licked the hand that offered the choicest pieces of reward, even if it was followed by a kick to the ribs. Such had been the way with the Zhalazti and the riko. Such would be the way with Emmanuel.
He tipped his head to the side baring his bloodied throat. “Your will, Alpha. I’m yours to command.”
Emmanuel seemed to study him for long moments, his eyes went to the puncture marks on Tallin’s neck. “We are not a civilized race at heart, are we?” he said as he trailed his fingers through the blood, then brought them to his lips and painted them red. He leaned forward and kissed Tallin. The primal taste of Tallin’s blood melded them together. He pulled back. “You are not a mongrel in my eyes. You are my equal. Because I seek to be chief makes you no less.” He gripped Tallin’s head. “I have always loved you. I need their loyalty, their allegiance. The history of our kind leaves me no choice. But, Tallin, know this–you are mine in a way none of the rest can ever be. You are my mate. I left because of the depth of my emotions and my inability to deal with such strong passions. The beast would not rest when you were near. I couldn’t control it.”
He stroked the scarred side of Tallin’s face. “My lack of control almost killed you. I’m back to save our clan from a brute. I can’t allow my personal human feelings to sway what I must do to secure my pack. You brought me here; you knew what it would take to secure their commitment. We all make sacrifices for the well being of the clan. Tell me you didn’t accept our fate when you came for me.”
“Do what you must, Alpha. I’ll support you.” Emmanuel was right. This had to play out, and in order for Emmanuel to show a strong front he needed the intimate ties that bonding with these werevaria would give him. One by one he would claim his pack, and at one level Tallin had to respect that commitment.
He felt his beast rear. There was only one way to properly support his alpha. Slowly the shift consumed him. He howled. Emmanuel shifted much more quickly. And then they turned to face the others. The low rumble resembled the roll of thunder across the sky, growing louder and louder.
Emmanuel surged forward, fangs bared as he confronted Valmont, the first who would submit and swear allegiance.
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