The final book in the new Arctic Brotherhood series--heart-pounding werewolf romances by Jane Godman that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
They are the Arctic Brotherhood.
They are deadly fighters, fierce protectors and loyal mates.
Their sworn enemy is dead, but the Arctic Brotherhood can’t relax. Fenrir, the Norse god of destruction is still determined to destroy the world. Vigo Durand agrees to lead the team against the most feared werewolf the world has ever known, but dark secrets from his past are threatening to catch up with him.
Amber Merova has been on the run for the last five years ago. When she meets Vigo, her werewolf mating impulse almost overwhelms her human instinct for survival. Almost. Feisty, determined, and hostile, Amber initially turns down Vigo’s offer to stay with the Brotherhood. When it looks like the men who murdered her pack have caught up with her, she has no choice but to take his offer of protection.
Both seem damaged beyond repair, but, as they work together to bring down Fenrir, they discover hidden ties that bind them together. Before they can look to the future, they must unravel the mysteries of the past.
Read an Excerpt
Vigo Durand frowned as the pictures appeared on his laptop screen. He remembered that night. Of course he did. It had been wild, in so many ways. He and Lilah had dated for about four months. Dated? Could he use that word? Probably not. What they did hadn't involved anything as conventional as dating.
We had sex. As often as we could. Reckless, creative, hot-as-hell sex.
Lilah had definitely enjoyed pushing boundaries and Vigo had been a willing partner in her craziest imaginings. Her favorite fantasy had been forced seduction. He remembered the role-play situations, pretending to be the stranger who took her hard and fast against her will. That was what they had been doing that night. But these pictures ...
Vigo's head was reeling as he gazed at the images. His first thought was Where the hell was the camera? These pictures were almost professional quality, yet he hadn't known they were being taken.
Clearly, I had other things on my mind.
Even worse than the fact that there were intimate pictures he had known nothing about, was the way those pictures made him look. Every shot, every camera angle, had been selected to make Lilah's fantasies look like reality. Vigo didn't recognize himself as the snarling, sweating ravager in these photographs. In contrast, Lilah appeared frightened, limp, and acquiescent. If he hadn't been so shocked at what he was seeing on the screen before him, he'd have laughed. Acquiescent? Lilah? She was the most voracious sexual partner he'd ever had, wearing him out with her demands.
The photographs had been sent from an email address he didn't recognize. There was no message, just these five attachments.
Had Lilah decided she wanted to reprise their relationship? This was just the sort of game she enjoyed. Vigo tried to remember the last time he'd seen her. With a jolt of surprise, he realized it must be almost six years. Since then, he'd done his best to put the hard-drinking, hard-partying days behind him. On the whole, he'd succeeded. The cravings still hit now and then, but he was able to fight them. Reintroducing Lilah into his life? That sounded like a surefire way to slide back into addiction.
But what if these images hadn't been sent by Lilah? He hadn't agreed to the pictures, and he was angry that Lilah had somehow taken them without his consent. The idea that someone else could have gotten hold of them made him uncomfortable. What was the point of sending them to him? Blackmail? Mischief? With a muttered curse, he closed his emails. Whether he liked it or not, he would have to get in touch with Lilah and find out what the hell was going on.
The timing couldn't have been worse. This was the last time he was going to have access to his email for a week. Once they reached Svalbard, he wouldn't even have a phone signal. He needed to give his whole attention to the forthcoming meeting. Major changes were happening and the future of the Brotherhood of the Midnight Sun was at stake.
A knock on his hotel room door roused him from his thoughts and Vigo glanced at the clock in surprise. It was later than he'd thought. The members of the brotherhood had traveled separately to Helsinki, but they were all staying in this city center hotel. The plan was to meet up and go for a meal once everyone was here. Socializing in the company of his fellow Arctic werewolves would be a distraction from this unwelcome, and highly disturbing, blast from the past.
"It feels strange that we can open doors these days without being afraid of what will be on the other side." Samson stepped into the hotel room, dominating it with his huge bulk.
Even though he hadn't referred to their enemy by name, Vigo knew what his friend meant. "We had been fighting Chastel for over four years before you killed him six months ago. We spent a long time not knowing what surprises he had in store for us."
Samson nodded. "Being safe will take some getting used to."
"We're not safe." Which was the why the forthcoming meeting was so important. After Chastel died, they had talked about transforming the nature of the brotherhood, the elite fighting force of the seven strongest and bravest Arctic werewolves. Things had changed in recent years. Vigo was the only team member who was still single. The thought made him smile. His friends had all found their mates and settled into domestic bliss. It was not something that was ever going to happen for him. The brotherhood had been created centuries ago. Maybe it was time to assess whether it was still able to meet modern-day needs. The destructive werewolf god Fenrir was imprisoned, but he was still able to exert his evil telepathic influence in the human world so Vigo believed that disbanding or scaling back the team would be dangerous.
Samson inclined his head, acknowledging the truth of what Vigo had said. His gaze probed Vigo's face. Each member of the brotherhood had additional powers, over and above their werewolf strength and fighting skill. Samson was the best tracker. His senses were finely tuned, even for an Arctic, with an additional intuition that enabled him to sense mood and emotion. His strongman appearance was at odds with his unusual perception. Vigo had known Samson for five years and he was still caught off balance by his friend's hidden insights.
"Everything okay?" Just the way Samson asked the question implied he knew something was wrong.
Vigo hesitated, his glance flickering to his laptop. For an instant, he was tempted to confide in Samson. To tell him about the photographs and offload his fears that someone other than Lilah may have sent them, someone with a sinister purpose. But, if he told Samson about the pictures, he would have to tell him about that time in his life. About the twin addictions to alcohol and sex that had almost destroyed him. The toxic finger of shame and guilt, the one that had pointed his way for so long, prodded him in the back, reminding him to keep quiet.
"Fine." He smiled brightly, aware that the expression wasn't fooling Samson. "Just hungry. Let's find some place to eat."
This was not the place to live if you considered yourself a normal person. Balancing the polar night with the midnight sun wasn't for the fainthearted. The year mirrored a day. Spring brought the ice and snow of a morning glow. Then came the eternal daylight of summer, before the town settled into the twilight of autumn. Finally, winter brought eternal night.
Longyearbyen was the world's northernmost capital, and the only town on the Svalbard archipelago. Amber Merova had grown used to the lifestyle. She knew what people said. They complained that the winters were tough, draining energy levels until they were nonexistent. Summer could be just as hard. The constant daylight meant the human body couldn't adjust and found it hard to get into a natural rhythm of waking and sleeping.
Since Amber wasn't human, those restrictions didn't bother her. Her inner wolf craved the powerful, uncompromising scenery and the Arctic temperatures. And she chose not to live in the town itself, so she didn't have to listen to the ongoing obsession with the weather, the darkness, and the polar bears. She was an engineer, working for a Norwegian satellite company. Their Svalbard station was located on the mountain above Longyearbyen airport, and Amber occupied one of the cabins the company provided for its employees. Her biggest problem was avoiding her colleagues. After three years, they had given up trying to get her to join them in the communal room, or take a snow-scooter ride into town to a bar. She knew what they said about her. They thought she stayed aloof because she believed she was better than them. The idea made her smile. Let them think what they liked. As long as they kept their distance, that was all that mattered.
The employees at Norway Tech worked here in Svalbard for six months at a time before returning to mainland Norway for a two-month break. Amber was a qualified pilot and one of her jobs was to fly the outgoing team back to Oslo and bring the new group to Longyearbyen. Having just landed, she was looking forward to getting back to the solitude of the mountain when the sound of another plane approaching made her pause.
"There are no more scheduled arrivals today, are there?" Amber turned to Tomas, the airport baggage handler, who was offloading the last of the luggage.
Amber didn't like change. Routine meant she knew where she stood. Familiarity allowed her to control her environment. It meant there was less chance of them coming after her. An unscheduled plane when winter was approaching? They were getting close the long, dark months when it wouldn't be possible for planes to land here at all. It felt strange for someone to be arriving now.
"Tourists? At this time of year? The midnight sun will soon be gone."
Tomas shrugged. "It could be a scientific expedition."
He was right of course. This part of the world was endlessly fascinating for scientists and environmentalists. Her head was telling her she was reading too much into this. At the same time, her gut was giving her an insistent message that something was wrong. As her colleagues, moving clumsily under their thick layers of protective clothing, grabbed their bags and made their way toward the bank of waiting snow scooters, Amber loitered in the shadow of the plane wanting to check out the new arrivals.
The cold didn't bother her. This land of ice and snow was her natural environment. She made the pretense that she needed warm clothing. In reality, her bulky jacket with its fur-lined hood, the scarf pulled over the lower part of her face, and the wraparound shades covering her eyes were a nuisance. She'd have been happier running through the snow barefoot and in her underwear.
She watched as the incoming plane landed and taxied to a standstill on the opposite side of the airfield. The visibility was still good enough for her to see what was going on from her vantage point and her keen werewolf senses were on high alert.
Before long, a group of people descended the airplane steps. Even though they were dressed for the weather, Amber was fairly sure there were five men and two women. There was something about them that sent her perception into overdrive. They were Arctic werewolves. Her whole body quivered with longing, the pack instinct she had ruthlessly suppressed for so long rising to the surface. The desire to close the distance between them, to offer her allegiance to them with nose bumps and a show of submission was almost overwhelming. She quelled it with difficulty, reminding herself that the ones who were after her were also Arctic werewolves. The ones who had wiped out her pack were her own kind.
This group laughed and joked among themselves, but that didn't mean they were harmless. Even so, as she watched them, Amber felt a new emotion rising within her. She could feel the camaraderie from these people. They knew each other well, and cared about each other. She envied them. For the first time, she hated her self-imposed loneliness. She had never questioned its necessity. But she was a werewolf, a pack animal, and her craving for company surfaced now with unexpected ferocity.
Annoyed, she blinked away the tears that burned her eyelids. As she did, another feeling caught her. Sharp and sweet, it was like a hit of molten lust direct into her bloodstream, so powerful it almost brought her to her knees. It was the craziest sensation. Firstly, because she didn't do this. She had schooled herself not to have these feelings. Dating and relationships were for other people. Amber's focus was on staying alive. And secondly, because who the hell was this directed at?
There is no one here to be getting horny about!
The feeling persisted, growing stronger, becoming a wild thrumming throughout her body, but centering very specifically in the throbbing pulse between her legs. Everything around her came acutely into focus, every sense heightened to the point of discomfort.
What the hell is happening to me?
For an instant, it appeared she was not the only one suffering. One of the men in the group who had just alighted from the plane was standing slightly apart from the others. He had pushed his shades up onto the top of his head and was looking around him in confusion.
Him. He is the reason I feel this way.
She experienced a surge of longing so wild it almost knocked her off her feet. Across the yards that separated them, she knew he could feel it, too. The bright, crisp air sizzled with the heat they generated. An invisible cord between them was being tightened, pulling them closer together. The urge to cross the distance between them and wrap her body around his was becoming a frenzy.
The spell was broken and slowly, reluctantly, he turned toward the person who had spoken his name. The whole group moved away toward a waiting line of sleds.
Amber shuddered as her body returned to normal, as though coming down too rapidly from a high.
Vigo. She walked toward her snow scooter with her head bent and her heart pounding. My mate's name is Vigo.
In the past, when he had come to Svalbard, Vigo always enjoyed driving, or mushing, his sled, pulled by a team of huskies from the airport to the compound the brotherhood used as a base. The only sounds would be pounding paws, dogs panting, and the scraping of sled runners over compacted snow. Other than that, the world was silent. This was Arctic silence, in an Arctic wilderness. They had left civilization behind them and the peace of the white wasteland ahead called them as only the land of the midnight sun could call to an Arctic werewolf. They were on the top of their own world.
The powdery spray thrown up by his sled reminded him of the raw power of this place. The werewolf deep within him always surged at the reminder, longing to break free of his human restraints. This was his natural environment and its wild beauty called to him.
This time, his mind was preoccupied. He barely noticed the shimmering scenery flashing past. What the hell had happened back at the airport?
One minute he had been stepping off the plane, talking to Jenny about the relief of stretching their legs after a long flight, the next ... He shook his head. It had been like a thunder bolt, hitting him as he stepped onto the tarmac. Knee-buckling, cock-hardening, brain-numbing. He had no idea where it had come from, or what had caused it. As he had raised his head, seeking the source of the enchantment that held him helpless in its grip, he had seen someone watching him.
Not someone. Her. Even across that distance, and despite the bulky clothing, shades, hood, and a scarf pulled up over her mouth, he had known it was a woman.
He had no idea who she was. All he knew was she was the source of the most powerful emotion he had ever experienced. And it hadn't faded once he was removed from her vicinity. The burn wasn't as fierce, but it was still there. He hadn't even seen her face, but she had set his blood on fire.
Werewolves were creatures of tradition. Their lives were ruled by myth and magic. Vigo knew what the legends said.
There is one mate for each of us, and we will know our mate instantly.
He had heard other werewolves talk about that moment of recognition. Of seeing their mate for the first time and knowing there was no going back. They said it was like a drug, like an injection of pure, undiluted passion direct into the bloodstream, delivering a perfect high. An instant addiction.
Yeah, right. But it can't happen with someone you haven't even looked in the eye.
Even though that was what Vigo tried to tell himself, his body had other ideas. It was taking every ounce of his strength to keep going when every nerve ending was crying out to turn back. Every instinct, every fiber of his being was alight with the need to grab her, claim her, and never let her go.
Oh, hell. My life is screwed on so many levels.
They had arrived at the compound now, and Vigo went through the familiar routine of unloading his sled. The brotherhood had used this place before. Nestling in the embrace of a shallow, blue-tinged mountain range, the accommodation was more luxurious than it first appeared. Arranged in a circle, each of the ten cabins had its own double bedroom with an en suite bathroom. In the center of the circle, there was a larger building housing a kitchen, dining room, and communal meeting room.
A familiar figure emerged from the kitchen, holding a coffeepot in one hand and a bottle of beer in the other.
Excerpted from "Wolf Leader"
Copyright © 2017 Jane Godman.
Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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