Wolf's Mate

By: Chantal Fernando

Acknowledgments


Thank you, as always, to Abby Zidle and Gallery books!

To my agent, Kimberly Brower, I’m so lucky to have you! Thank you for everything you do, as always. I know I can always count on you, and I’m so grateful.

A big thank you to all my beta readers—the women who are always there for me on a daily basis.

Arijana Karcic—thank you for all you do for me. You’re seriously the best and deserve the world.

Thank you to my parents for helping out whenever I need them, I appreciate everything you do for me, and to my three sons for being patient when they know their mama has to work. I love you all so much.

FMR Book Grind, thank you for everything; I appreciate all the hard work you all do for me! Rose Tawil words can’t express how much I love you!





They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.

—Edgar Allan Poe





ONE


Vinnie


“HELLO?” I say into my phone distractedly as I throw back another shot.

I have no idea who could be calling me, since I’m at the clubhouse and everyone is here, but I always answer my phone—it’s a habit. If one of my brothers needs me, I’ll be there, day or night, drunk or sober. Even if I’m drunk, and it’s late at night, I’m not going to complain.

When I hear Talon’s voice on the other end, however, my good mood and easy demeanor disappear. There’s only one reason the president of the Wild Men MC would call me, and it’s a moment I’ve been dreading.

“We need to talk,” he says. I stand up and move away from the others so I can have this conversation alone.

I walk out front and stand by my bike, admiring her as I ask, “What do you need?”

He’s calling in the marker I owe him, I know it, and I just hope he doesn’t want me to do something fucked-up. Recently, there was a little trouble involving another brother’s old lady, Bailey. We had our hands full, and Talon stepped in to help by keeping the troublemaker involved, Amethyst, in his clubhouse while we did cleanup. Bailey’s ex, Wade, who is her daughter Cara’s biological father, tried to use them to get money from the Wind Dragons MC. Luckily Irish was there. He ended up stabbed, and Wade was killed. Just another day in the life.

Of course, nothing is free, so I gave Talon my word that I’d owe him a favor, one he could collect at a time of his choosing. My honor requires me to do whatever he needs, even though I can’t stand the guy and I’d rather be doing anything else right now.

Like, fuckin’ anything.

However, I hate owing anyone, so I’m eager to get this over and done with.

“Pack a bag,” Talon says on the other end. “You’ll be gone for a week.” He doesn’t sound smug, or even like he’s enjoying calling in my debt. In fact, he sounds rather solemn. Why, I have no idea, but I guess I’m going to find out.

“Do I need to bring anything?” I ask, wondering what weapons I might need. What the fuck did he want me to do for a week? Go with him on a run, maybe?

“Nope. I’ll meet you at Rift tomorrow around lunchtime and explain everything.”

“Okay,” I reply, curious now.

We both hang up and my mind wanders with possibilities. I’m glad he chose Rift because there’s no way I’m going to his clubhouse and he’s not welcome here. We may both be bikers, but we’re still from two different worlds, and those worlds don’t mix. When I joined the WDMC, the Wild Men MC were our enemies, and even though it’s not like that anymore, they aren’t exactly our allies either. We own Rift, so he’s actually giving me the power.

Very interesting.

“Everything all right?” Sin, my president, asks as he walks outside and spots me staring down at the phone in my hand.

I slide it in my pocket and say, “Yeah. Talon’s calling in his marker. I’ll be gone for a week.”

Sin stills at that bit of information, then closes the space between us. “What does he want?”

“I’ll find out tomorrow—meeting him at Rift.”

He puts his hand on my shoulder. “If you owe him a marker, we all do. Call me anytime—you need anything, I’m there. We’re all there.”

“I know,” I say, nodding.

And I do—the words don’t even need to be spoken out loud. I’ve been in this club for many years and seen lots of things along the way. I was just a prospect when Sin became president, and I earned my way to being a full-fledged member not shortly after. This club is my family, my backbone. Everything that I am. I don’t intend on ever getting out, and I look forward to working my way up the ranks.

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