Detective Reece Gallagher has spent the last decade working as a cop in Chicago so he can search for her—thered-haired woman who haunts his dreams. He’s just about ready to give up and go home to Salvation, North Carolina, when he finally finds her. But she’s the assault victim on a case he’s working on, and there’s a full-blooded werewolf who wants her dead. He needs to keep her safe and convince her she’s his mate.
Hannah Burdette has a secret she’s never told anyone. But there is someone who knows who—or rather, what—she is. There’s a stalker after her who plans to rid the world of her “impure” blood. When the cop she meets turns out to be a werewolf and claims she doesn’t have to be alone anymore, she’s wary. But where better to hide from a bloodthirsty hunter than in the middle of North Carolina with the security of a pack surrounding her?
Each book in the Salvation Pack series is a standalone story that can be enjoyed in any order.
Book #1 Wolf at the Door
Book #2 Wolf in her Bed
Book #3 Wolf on the Run
Book #4 Wolf from the Past
Book #5 Wolf on the Hunt
Book #6 Wolf on a Mission
Book #7 Wolf in his Heart
Book #8 Wolf in her Soul
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
"We've caught a new one."
Reece Gallagher looked up from his computer, happy to get a break from the seemingly endless paperwork that went along with being a detective with the Chicago Police Department. Since he worked in violent crimes investigations, it wasn't surprising they'd caught yet another case. They always had a heavy workload. "What have we got?"
Detective Sean O'Malley tucked his phone in his pocket. "Arson and possible murder in McKinley Park."
Reece stood and grabbed his jacket from the back of his chair, pulling it on as he followed his partner. "Any witnesses?" Even as he asked, he knew what the answer would be.
Sean snorted and shook his head. "Of course not."
"When did it happen?" When they reached their unmarked vehicle, Reece automatically went to the driver's side.
"Last night. They figured arson right away. The building was empty."
There were a lot of abandoned and derelict buildings in the city, and they were often burned to the ground. Sometimes it was by accident. Squatters took over the spaces and were sometimes careless with candles or cigarettes. Sometimes it was by design, someone looking for a cheap thrill, someone who didn't care what kind of damage they might do to surrounding homes or the people who might be in them.
"Where are we going?"
Sean gave him the address. Reece was familiar with every street in his district and didn't need GPS to help him find it.
"What do we know?"
"Not much. The fire department figured it was another arson case. When the debris started cooling and investigators got their first look around, they found what looks like human remains."
Reece stopped the car at a red light and waited for it to change. They weren't exactly in a rush. Getting there a few minutes sooner wouldn't change the outcome for the poor dead soul they were going to help. "They're not sure."
Sean shook his head. "Fire destroyed most of the body. They're not touching what's left until forensics arrives."
The light changed, and Reece drove on. It was easy enough to find with the flashing lights from the squad cars and the group of people from the neighborhood all gathered on the far side of the police tape.
Reece parked the car and surveyed the group. All too often, the perpetrator of the crime couldn't resist returning to be a part of the crowd.
Half the building was standing, but it was a burned-out shell. Someone had to have called in the fire before it got too out of hand. A dilapidated fence, with flecks of white paint still clinging in hope to the wood, separated the yard from the sidewalk. Although to call it a yard was being kind. It was about three feet of thick weeds and dirt.
The senior investigator broke away and met Reece and Sean halfway to the crime scene. "Forensics and the medical examiner are inside. The body's in what's left of the concrete basement."
"How was the fire started?" Sean asked.
The inspector wiped his brow and shook his head. "Unknown accelerant. Something made the body burn fast and hot. The house is old and wooden. It didn't take long for the entire thing to be engulfed."
Reece listened with half an ear as he scanned the crowd. He took note of a group of young men on the far edge of the police line talking quietly among themselves.
"Ready?" Sean was beside him, and the inspector was on his way to his truck.
"Yeah, I'm ready." He hated this part of his work. With his heightened senses, the stench from a crime scene was overwhelming at times. Of course, those same senses could help him find the perpetrator. It was a tradeoff. One he'd decided was worth it years ago.
The ground was muddy, a combination of water from the fire hoses and the dirt from what had passed as a small yard. A set of concrete stairs led down. Debris was piled all around. Reece breathed through his mouth, but there was no escaping the stench of charred wood, the sweat from the forensics team and the firefighters still on scene, and the lingering smell of burned flesh. None of the others would be able to detect the last one, but Reece could.
Sometimes being a werewolf sucked. Technically, he was known as a half-breed, even though he was three-quarters werewolf. His acute vision picked over the debris before focusing on the area where the forensics team was gathered.
Reece moved off to the side, circling slowly, careful to watch where he put his feet. Sure enough, where they'd found the body seemed to be the most heavily burned, as though the fire had radiated out from that point.
He sniffed the air again but couldn't make out any accelerant. Strange. He usually had no trouble detecting chemicals of any kind.
"Be careful." A member from the medical examiner's team cautioned the forensics technician currently working the site.
Reece moved closer as the technician jerked back and raised his gloved hands. "I didn't touch the bone. I didn't."
As they all watched, the bone turned to dust and disintegrated before their very eyes.
"We'll be lucky to find any DNA to make an ID." The man who'd issued the warning turned to his colleague. "We're going to need sample bags, not a body bag. There's not enough of this guy left to examine except under a microscope."
Fuck. Reece swore inwardly.
"What do you make of this?" Sean asked. Like him, his partner had been watching the proceedings, taking in everything.
"Damned if I know." Problem was, he did know. There was only one way he could think of for a body to burn so hotly and completely without an accelerant, a way that the body would turn to dust so that nothing remained to be examined.
Whoever died here was most likely a werewolf, or at least a partial one.
He prayed he was wrong, that the forensics team would find another explanation, but he didn't think they would. This was a clusterfuck of massive proportions. He sniffed the air, but there were too many smells. There was no way he could pick up the scent of the killer.
"You okay, buddy?" Sean asked.
Reece nodded. "Yeah." The word came out as almost a growl, and Sean's eyes widened. He had to get himself back under control before he did something stupid. He sighed and rubbed the back of his neck. "Damn waste is all."
Sean clapped him on the back. "I hear you." He looked around. "Not much else we can do here." He left Reece and went to speak to the forensic team.
Reece needed some fresh air and a moment to think. Werewolves generally didn't live in cities, preferring the countryside. But many half-breeds made their homes in larger centers for just that reason. Most full-bloods looked down on half-breeds, driving them from their packs, if they didn't kill them outright.
Could this be a pack slaying? Had they followed a half-breed into the city and killed him? Or had a wolf simply stumbled across a half-breed and murdered him? Reece kept thinking of the victim as a man, but it could just as easily be a woman.
The Salvation Pack, his pack, was different. They had humans, half-breeds, and full-blooded members. They were more than just a pack. They were a family. Whoever had perpetrated this crime would have no trouble killing Reece or his twin brother. Their bloodlines weren't pure, tainted through their mother because she'd been a half-breed.
The thought made him want to track down the killer and show them just how dangerous a half-breed could be. Reece was an anomaly, something so rare it was a thing of myth and legend. It was rare for half-breeds to have children. To be one of a twin was like winning the lottery, so against the odds it was thought impossible. But Reece was more than that. He was a half-breed who could actually shift into a wolf.
Of course, maybe this was simply a case of a human preying on another human. It happened all too often. A human killer would be easier to handle than a wolf stalking prey in the city.
Reece was tired of all the senseless violence he dealt with. He could understand a man defending himself or protecting a loved one. But most of what he saw was nothing like that. It was violence for the sake of it. The kind that left the victims with no hope and destroyed what little faith they had in their fellow man.
He left Sean to talk with the officers on the scene and slowly circled the house. He stopped every few feet and cautiously sniffed the air, using his superior vision to scour the ground, but the scene was too degraded by fire and water damage, not to mention all the firefighters and cops who'd been tramping around.
He made his way back out to the front and walked along the fence line.
"You ready to go?" his partner asked as he walked over.
Reece scanned the crowd one final time, not surprised the group of young men was gone. "Yeah, I'm ready."
He drove them back to the station in silence. As much as Reece wanted to head home and shower off the stench of the crime scene, duty called. He had some paperwork to finish off even though he was technically off shift.
Reece waved good-bye as Sean left an hour later. The coffee on his desk was bitter and cold. His stomach growled, a reminder that he hadn't eaten since lunchtime and it was now past ten.
He shut down his computer and headed out. He waved to the desk sergeant as he passed and made his way across the parking lot to his truck. He looked up at the sky but there were no stars to be seen, only the artificial light from the city.
His phone rang just as he climbed into the driver's seat. He knew who it was before he answered. "Hey, Sage."
"What's wrong?" His twin knew something was bothering him. They'd always been able to sense one another's feelings, often knew what the other was thinking.
"Just a tough day." He hated lying to his brother, but he wasn't ready to talk about what he'd seen today. Not until he was sure.
"You should come home." That was Sage, always worrying about him.
"I'm fine." It was an automatic reply.
"No, you're not." His brother's certainty struck Reece to his core.
"No, I'm not," he agreed. He leaned back and rested his head against the seat. "But I can't come home. Not yet." The day he'd turned eighteen, he'd had the dream that had changed the course of his life. In it, there'd been a faceless red-haired woman, and she'd been in danger. At first, he'd discounted it, but he'd had it again and again. The theme was always the same — her life was in peril. He'd known without a doubt he had to come to Chicago.
He knew that sounded both stupid and slightly crazy, so he'd kept the dreams to himself.
He'd always planned to settle down in North Carolina and work in construction or furniture making with his Uncle Elias. Funny how one dream had changed everything.
"Do you want me to come?"
In spite of everything, Reece smiled. Sage would be here in a heartbeat if Reece needed him. He'd feared his ability to shift, while Sage couldn't, might come between them, but it never had. Their bond was unbreakable. And thank God for it. He didn't know how he would have made it through the past decade without it.
"No, you need to stay home with Rina." It still shocked him that Sage had found and mated with a full-blooded werewolf. That his brother was deliriously happy gave Reece hope for his own future. "How is my darling sister-in-law?"
"Perfect." That one word was filled with a combination of love and lust that made Reece's chest ache.
"Glad to hear it." He dug his keys out of his pocket and started his truck. "Listen, I have to go. I haven't eaten since lunchtime and I'm starving." Plus, his brother was way too perceptive for Reece's liking.
"You'll tell me when you're ready." It wasn't a question. Yeah, Sage knew him way too well.
"I will." He wanted to tell his brother everything, but until he knew something for certain, it didn't make sense to unnecessarily worry Sage.
"Be safe, Reece."
"I will. Love to the family." Reece ended the call, tucked his phone away, and took a deep breath. Inside him, his wolf was fretting. "Yeah, I hear you," he murmured. His wolf wanted to go home as much as he did.
Someone was following her. Hannah Burdette glanced over her shoulder as she hurried down the street. There was no one there, but she could feel someone's eyes on her.
She trusted her instincts. They'd saved her life more than once.
The streets were mostly empty this hour of the morning, but the city never truly slept. There were always people out and about at every hour of the day or night. She glanced at her watch and picked up her pace. It was almost half past five. She gave a sigh of relief when the local coffee shop where she worked as a barista came into view.
There were people there, which meant safety.
The hair on the back of her neck stopped tingling. Maybe it was nothing more than someone looking out their apartment window and watching her as she passed by their building. Still, she was glad to be at work.
Hannah knocked on the front door and waited for David to come let her in. Her boss, David Kaufman, owned the building and had converted the second floor into an apartment for himself. Since he lived and worked there, he was always around.
Sure enough, he poked his head out from his office. She waved, and he headed toward the door. She shifted her weight from one foot to the other and couldn't resist looking over her shoulder again. A stray cat prowled out of an alley across the street and a delivery truck rolled by, belching exhaust as it went.
David unlocked the door and opened it wide. "Morning."
Technically, it was morning, but most folks were still in bed. It wasn't even full light yet. She liked the early morning when the city was quieter. She hated the crowds and the noise, but it was better for her here than in a rural setting.
"Good morning, David." She strode past her boss and hurried to stash her knapsack and hoodie under the counter. It was her personal idiosyncrasy. There were lockers in the office for every employee to put their things, but Hannah kept her knapsack where she could see it, where she could grab it and run if she had to.
Some might call her paranoid. She preferred to think of herself as cautious and prepared.
"You okay?" David leaned against the counter, a concerned expression on his face.
"Yeah, I'm fine." She washed and dried her hands and began prepping for the morning rush. They opened at six sharp and would have customers banging on their door if they were more than ten seconds late. People wanted their coffee first thing in the morning, especially those who had to hit work early.
"You sure? You seem upset?" David was in his mid-thirties and treated her like a little sister. It was at turns both nice and annoying.
"I'm fine. Just thought someone might have been following me."
"What?" He pushed away from the counter and headed to the door. He yanked it open and looked up and down the street. "There's no one there." He shut and locked the door again.
"I know." She turned on the grinder and the aroma of fresh coffee filled the air. "I said I thought there might be someone following me. I didn't see anyone, either."
David dragged his fingers through his thick blond hair. "I don't like you walking to work by yourself so early in the morning."
How else was she supposed to get here? "I'm fine. It's not far." Which was one of the reasons she'd taken the job at Coffee Expressions. She didn't have a car and took the crowded public transit only when absolutely necessary. Walking saved her money, and she liked prowling the streets. She usually had her camera in her hands or strapped around her neck.
Photography was her first love, and she was good at it. It was also a skill she could take anywhere. She'd worked in photo studios across the country and had also sold some of her pictures to magazines. She hadn't been able to find that kind of work in Chicago, but since she was a trained barista, a fancy way of saying she was able to make a variety of delicious coffee and tea drinks, she could find a job just about anywhere.
She lived cheap and saved her money. Her goal was to build up enough of a reputation so she could live on her freelance work and buy a small home.
Not exactly a big dream, but it was hers.
David scowled at her. "I don't like it."
She set up the coffeepot but didn't turn it on yet and went back to work grinding more beans. Her keen sense of smell allowed her to pick up the subtle tones in the different coffee roasts. Good thing she loved the smell and taste of coffee or she'd never have been able to work here.
"I'm fine, David. I'm cautious. It was probably just some early riser watching me through their window." And if she told herself that enough times, she might actually believe it.
"You'll tell me if it happens again?"
"I will." She didn't promise, because she didn't give her word if she couldn't keep it. If the feeling persisted, Hannah would pack up her things and leave Chicago behind.
Excerpted from "Wolf in her Soul"
Copyright © 2017 N.J. Walters.
Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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