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Georgette St. Clair

NYTimes Bestselling Author of Paranormal Romance

BBW romance, paranormal romance, and just all kinds of romance

Chapter One of “The Vulfan’s Dark Desires”

The Vulfan’s Dark Desires

Copyright 2017 by Georgette St. Clair

This book is intended for readers 18 and older only, due to adult content. It is a work of fiction. All characters and locations in this book are products of the imagination of the author. No shifters were harmed during the creation of this book.

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Chapter One

Not now.
Treffon, the Reginar of the Thorolf pack, felt the stirring of the beast under his skin. It was angry. Impatient. It wanted to tear out of his body and bathe in a sea of blood.
Not today.
Treffon briefly closed his eyes and concentrated, forcing his Vulfan back down. The humans called it a wolf – a massive, snarling creature with fangs that tore and claws that shredded.
What he really needed was a brutal, hours-long, close-quarters sparring session, him against half a dozen of his pack members, no holds barred, to bleed off some of the dark energy that was raging through his veins.
Or a mate. If only he could find his true mate, he’d be pulled back from the madness, but that was never going to happen. So he’d have to settle for breaking some bones. It was a good thing that the Vulfan race healed within hours – otherwise he wouldn’t have anyone left to train with him.
“A tenth-credit for your thoughts,” said his young cousin Zura.
He looked around with a scowl. The sun was shining in the pale purple sky, and the day was peaceful. Under the watchful eye of the Federation Peacemakers, several hundred displaced aliens were slowly filing through the enormous double doors at the Resettlement Center just north of the capital city of Donnelle. There were the huge but gentle Krevangii, a full head taller than Treffon, with their curving horns; there were short, squat, blue-scaled Faa, the lizardoid Zamborians; there were half a dozen other species at least. There were no fights, there were no ambushes, no-one needed rescue.
“My thoughts? I am thinking what I would not give for a good cyborg attack right now,” Treffon growled. “I mean, it does not even have to be cyborgs. Any hostile race would do. Anything to break up the monotony of this blasted peace and quiet.”
Zura, Captain of the Guard for the Thorolf Pack’s 10th Division, flicked an amused glance at him. She was tall and solidly muscled, her skin bronzed by the sun, her thick black hair wrapped up in braids that swirled in a bun on the back of her head. She was on duty today, so she wore her black-and-blue military tunic, leggings, and leather boots, with a photon blaster at her waist and a laser rifle slung over her shoulder in case any of the aliens decided to act up. Her ears were pointed and tufted with dark, silky fur that matched the color of her hair.
“I am sorry, honored Reginar, is it too peaceful for you?” she said in a mock-sympathetic voice. “Can’t you go one solar circle without making someone bleed?” She took a long sip from the flask that she carried with her these days, drinking some odd-smelling liquid that was supposed to increase her strength, as if she needed the help.
Treffon looked at her in confusion. His cousin baffled him sometimes. “Why would I want to do that?”
She shrugged. “There are other pleasures in life besides fighting and war.” At his questioning glance, she snorted and said, “Really, cousin?” She held up her hand and began ticking off examples on her fingers one by one. “Feasting, traveling for enjoyment rather than annihilation, reading, watching holovids, petting fleedlefurrs…”
Treffon regarded her through narrowed eyes. “Petting fleedlefurrs?”
“Yes, they make a most delightful sound when you stroke their fur.”
Treffon stifled a gagging noise. “Remind me to test your ancestry. You do not look very much like any of us, and I believe you may have been switched as a cub.”
She ignored him. She was the only one in the entire Thorolf pack who could do so and survive to speak of it. She continued ticking examples off on her fingers, folding them one by one. “Listening to music, swimming in the crystalline lakes, and, of course…”
She flicked a glance at a couple who were strolling by the line. Kroi, was one of the newer Pack Guards. He was holding hands with Allison, who had recently come to Ilyria seeking a mate. And she’d found one, on her first night there, at a party thrown by the Starcrossed Dating Agency in central Donnelle.
Kroi was on duty, working with the Peacemakers to keep a lookout for cyborg infiltrators, but he was letting himself be thoroughly distracted by his lovely new pair-bond.
They were walking hand in hand, grinning at each other. They reeked of sex and happiness. They were in the Var-hool, the mating frenzy that happened when two true mates first found each other. Their Var-hool seemed to be lasting a long time; they’d met several months ago.
And they were clearly happy. So, so happy.
“Reginar? Who are you planning to kill?” Zura’s voice sliced through the haze of his anger and frustration.
Treffon glanced down at his hands; thick, cruel claws had curved from his fingers, and dark fur covered his arms. With an impatient snarl, he forced his beast back down. Again. He rarely let him out these days; the beast was too hard to control.
“Nobody,” he growled. He wouldn’t kill a couple just because they’d found their true mates and he hadn’t.
Probably.
As if reading his thoughts, Zura added, “Just because you haven’t found your true mate doesn’t mean that you must be forever alone. You could pair-bond with a female whom you found attractive. There are many who would be willing. They approach me and tell me this all the time. All. The. Time.” She rolled her eyes. “And there is the party coming up – Starcrossed is holding them every week now. There will be many single human females there. You could meet someone.”
Starcrossed Dating Agency had a secret undercover operation on Earth, recruiting eligible human women to visit Ilyria to mate with males from the Wor-Lan and Thorolf packs. They brought single women of child-bearing age to Ilyria, and introduced them to single Vulfan males.
They’d been forced to do this out of necessity. Both packs had been devastated by a Cyborg-made virus thirty yearsbefore, and ninety percent of their women had been killed off. The subsequent war between the two packs had lowered their population even more – but now there was a truce. And since human women were capable of bearing Vulfan cubs, the Starcrossed Dating Agency’s program had been a huge success, and the packs were coming back from the brink of extinction.
Still, Thorolf would not bother to go to any of their meet-and-greets. There was no point. She wouldn’t be there.
“It is not your concern.” It came out in a harsh growl. He wanted to end this conversation now.
Zura flicked a glance at him, lines of worry creasing her forehead. “It is my concern if the darkness claims you,” she said in a low voice.
Nobody else would dare say that to him. It was true, though. He could sense it. He didn’t have much time left. If he didn’t find his true mate, he’d go mad.
For some, mating with a female who was not their true mate was an option. It never had been for him.
The problem was, he knew that he’d had a true mate – had, past tense. He’d sensed her existence for the first time perhaps a decade ago – calling out to him, as if from far away. Come find me. I’m ready for you. I need you.
After so many decades alone, hope had flared inside him.
He’d searched everywhere for her. He’d scoured his home planet of Ilyria. And when that had failed, he’d gone to Earth countless times, working with Starcrossed as part owner. He’d always hoped his true mate would walk through those doors, looking for a match. She never had.
He’d consulted those of his pack who had some psychic talent, including his uncle Madok, Zura’s father, who had a legendary talent for finding and matching true mates. No luck.
But finally, after years of searching for her, he no longer felt her…just a dull ache of absence. There could only be one explanation for it – she was dead. Clearly she had died before he’d ever had a chance to meet her. To love her.
And there would be no other for him. It would be a betrayal of her memory.
During the daylight hours, he threw himself into ever more brutal battle training and forced himself to think only of the pack…most of the time. In the dark hours of the night, however, he wondered what she would have looked like. What she would have smelled like. How she would have felt nestled softly against him.
But in a cruel trick played by the universe, he was cursed to die un-mated. Was he being punished for the brutality of his father Kaa, and his father’s father? For hundreds of years, the Thorolf pack had been known for their savagery. They invaded, they slaughtered, they conquered weaker packs and killed their males and forced their females to mate with them, until only the Wor-Lans stood against them.
After Treffon’s father died in battle with the Wor-Lans, Treffon had taken over as Reginar. Although he was known as a harsh and demanding leader, he was a gentle, trilling fleedlefurr compared to those who had ruled before him.
It was not done out of compassion – he would have beaten anyone who’d dared suggest that to him. It was done out of necessity. Treffon was able to adapt to changing circumstances, unlike his predecessors.
There were many threats facing their species – space pirates, raiders, slavers, cyborgs – and they needed to form alliances in order to survive. And their numbers had been depleted to the point where Treffon could not afford to casually murder pack members for the mildest of offenses, or as proof of his absolute power, as his father had.
Treffon glanced at Zura. “If I am no longer worthy, there will be a successor.”
To be worthy, a Reginar had to be in peak physical and mental condition. Treffon spent most days from sunrise to sunset in brutal physical training that would have killed a lesser Vulfan; nobody was in better physical shape than he was. His mind, though…he was having a harder and harder time controlling the dark rages that swept through him without warning.
If his beast drove him mad, or if he left Ilyria to die in battle, then the most likely successor would be his uncle Madok. Treffon wasn’t sure if that would be best for the pack.
Madok wasn’t weak; he was a strong, fierce fighter, and he carried the Reginar gene. All bearers of the gene were stronger than the rest of the pack, both physically and mentally. Like Treffon, and Treffon’s late father and grandfather and great-grandfather, Madok could knock a man to his knees with just his thoughts.
However, Treffon didn’t agree with Madok’s strategies and leadership style.
The Thorolf pack was tens of thousands strong. It was divided up into clans made up of extended families, and Madok led a pack of several hundred, so Treffon had plenty of opportunity to see what Madok would be like as a leader.
A Vulfan was a warrior – straight and direct. Madok was loyal, of course – he had risked his life in battle for the Thorolf pack more times than Treffon could count – but he was also more of a schemer.
Zura didn’t like her father either, and Treffon greatly valued her opinion. She’d scrapped and spatted with her father since she was a cub, and had moved out of his pack territory as soon as she was old enough.
“It’s not just my concern about the leader of the pack. If the darkness claims you…”Zura trailed off. She looked as if she wanted to say something else, perhaps something sentimental. Perhaps she’d even say that she’d miss him.
Treffon let out a low warning growl. He brooked no sentimentality in his pack. Feelings were weakness.
Before she could say anything further, Voljaki, Wor-Lan Security Chief, walked by with half a dozen Wor-Lan guards. The Wor-Lan and Thorolf packs were working with the Peacemakers to get all of the aliens registered and scanned as quickly as possible.
Voljaki was almost as tall as Treffon, and he was clad in the Wor-Lan military uniform of black and red. He had a stiff bearing, and he was constantly vigilant, his gaze sweeping the area for signs of any threat. His gaze briefly lighted on Treffon and Zura, and he bowed his head slightly in acknowledgement of Treffon’s higher status.
Treffon saw Zura stiffen and look away. She took a long, healthy swig from her flask again, staring off into the distance.
The entire Madok clan despised the Wor-Lans with a burning passion. Zura disagreed with her father on many points, but she had apparently been influenced by his hatred of the Wor-Lans.
Not entirely surprising; the Wor-Lans had killed her mother. Of course, that had happened after the Thorolf pack, led by Treffon’s father, had kidnapped dozens of Wor-Lan women and cubs, starting a blood feud that had lasted decades and killed thousands.
Voljaki glanced at Kroi and Allison, who were holding hands and gazing into each other’s eyes. His lip wrinkled back in scorn, and Treffon knew why. Kroi was neglecting his duties; a cyborg could have strolled right past them, lasers blasting, and he wouldn’t even have noticed the smell of burning flesh.
Treffon bent down, picked up a small rock from the ground, and hurled it full strength at Kroi, who was gazing deeply into Allison’s eyes and ignoring the crowd that he had been assigned to watch. The rock bounced off the back of Kroi’s head.
Kroi fell back with a snarl, looking around. His claws curved from his fingertips, and fangs shot out.
Treffon stalked over to him with Zura trailing close behind. “Who threw that stone?” he demanded.
Kroi went pale and stared at the ground. “Reginar. I…I do not know,” he said.
“Were you alert? Were you eternally on guard? Were you protecting your pack? Your pair-bond?”
Kroi winced in dismay. He inclining his head to the left and exposing his throat in submission. “No, sir,” he muttered. “I have failed our pack. What is my punishment?”
Treffon saw Zura tense up. When it came to matters of the heart, she tended to be far too forgiving, but she knew better than to interfere in matters of pack discipline.
Treffon’s father, who had died thirty years ago at the hands of the Wor-Lans, would have eviscerated Kroi and made Allison watch. Fortunately for Kroi, Treffon was not quite so brutal as his father. However, that did not mean that he was soft.
“Twenty-four hours separation from your true mate. You will go back to level one training and work your way back up.”
Level one was cub level. It was an insult. And the twenty-four hours of separation would be physically and emotionally agonizing for Kroi, since he was still in the throes of the Var-hool.
Then again, if Kroi’s lapse of duty had cost pack members their lives, he would have suffered even worse agonies.
“Leave now.” Treffon grated out the words. He scowled at Allison. “Return to your quarters and wait there.”
She bit her lip and nodded, her face pale.
A look of misery crossed Kroi’s face, but he didn’t argue.
Kroi and his woman hung their heads as they slunk away, glancing back longingly at each other. Zura shot Treffon a look of disapproval but said nothing.
Just then, Madok and his son Reznik came striding up. Zura inclined her head stiffly. “Father,” she said coolly. She didn’t even bother to acknowledge her brother.
Reznik glowered at the retreating couple. “Seeing a human with a Thorolf is almost as bad as seeing a Wor-Lan mated to a Thorolf. We are no longer keeping our line pure.”
“Idiot,” Zura scoffed at him. “Since the humans geno-morph into Vulfans when they become pregnant, what difference does it make? Hundreds of cubs have been born due to the human females mating with our men. Our pack is strong again. Before, we were dying, and losing many good men to madness because they never found mates.”
“It’s still not the same,” Reznik said sulkily. “Thorolfs should not mate outside the pack. They should be willing to die rather than pick an inferior mate.” Easy for him to say; he had found his true mate.
“Should the entire pack have died rather than mate with outsiders?” Zura said scornfully.
“We would never have died. We are the strongest. We are superior.” It came out as a high-pitched whine, and Reznik had a look of sulky rage on his face. Treffon saw Zura roll her eyes and look away, and he knew what she was thinking. He agreed with her. Reznik was like a whiny, undisciplined pup who threw tantrums when things didn’t go his way.
“What’s done is done,” Madok said to his son with a frown of reproach. “The decision was made by the Reginar. We will abide by the decision.” He glanced at his daughter. “And you. You should show more respect to your brother.”
“I show respect to all who deserve it.” Zura flicked another look of annoyance at the Wor-Lan guards. Voljaki, as if sensing her contempt, glanced over at her, then looked away.
Treffon, who could sense emotions in those around him, stifled a growl. The undercurrent of anger and contempt was calling out to his beast.
His claws were curving out of his fingertips again.
“You should spar,” Zura said to Treffon.
He knew why she was saying that. It would bleed off some of the dark fury that was building up inside him. It would delay the inevitable.
“I will spar with him,” Reznik said. He inclined his head in a show of respect. “If you will consider me as your sparring partner.”
“Accepted,” Treffon said to his cousin. “We will fight in human form.” He pointed to a nearby grove. “There.”
They walked away from the building, through underbrush, and into a clearing of twisty black Maarva trees.
They quickly stripped off their tunics to spar bare-chested. Reznik was little more than a pup, but he was of the Reginar bloodline, and Treffon would not underestimate him. A true Thorolf warrior knew pride was a weakness, and he watched the younger man carefully as they circled.
A flicker in Reznik’s eye was enough to betray his intentions as surely as if he’d yelled them out loud. As he sprang, Treffon turned in to the attack, bracing his cousin with his forearm and using his hip to throw the younger man, flipping him onto his spine with bone-jarring force. Zura and Madok, watching from the edge of the grove, groaned in sympathy.
Grinning, Treffon shifted easily from one foot to the other, waiting for Reznik to find his wind and his feet. Had this been a real battle, the pup would have been dead. As it was, this session would be merely painful and instructive.
A sudden, strange sensation swept over Treffon – a yearning so intense it nearly knocked him off his feet.
While he was distracted, Reznik scrambled to his feet, pulled a knife from his boot and stabbed Treffon in the gut.
“Treffon! No!” Zura cried out in alarm, rushing forward.
“Coward!” Madok shouted to his son, face dark with fury as Treffon staggered back a step.
“I am not.” Reznik’s eyes blazing with malicious triumph. “His own father used to stage such surprise attacks on him. He said that any Vulfan who was not prepared for battle at all times did not deserve to live.”
“That is true,” Treffon said, controlling his breathing.
He concentrated hard. His muscles began to knit back together, and his blood vessels sealed up. The knife fell out and clattered on the ground. He bent down, picked it up, and tossed it back to Reznik.
What would have killed a human, what would have taken an ordinary Vulfan days to heal, took Treffon minutes, not just because of his Reginar genes, but because of the brutal training he had subjected himself to for decades.
Reznik looked at Treffon in alarm, no doubt anticipating a savage beating for his insolence – and what was quite possibly a thinly veiled attempt on Treffon’s life.
And Treffon would have delivered it – but a sudden intense feeling of panic exploded inside him. Actual fear. And then it vanished as quickly as it had appeared. He’d never experienced such a thing before. Where were these strange feelings coming from?
It must be the darkness, come to claim him.
It wouldn’t be long now. He only hoped he could meet his true mate once he’d passed into the great beyond.
“Leave me,” he gritted out.
“Reginar…” Zura took a step towards him, looking worried.
“Leave me!” he shouted. “All of you!”