Lone wolf: commonly known as a wolf without a pack.
However, for Ezrah Goldsby, the term had come to mean something altogether different. In human terms, he was the guy who liked to stay detached, ride his motorcycle from one town to another, and be left the hell alone. This was exactly what he was doing now as he revved his machine’s engine and sped down Route 160 after coming off the twisting, turning curves of the mountain pass of Black Mountain, Kentucky. Even expert riders would be hesitant to drive the winding road at night, but Ezrah relished the peace of the night air whipping around him as he navigated his way through the darkness.
A rolling stone, wanderer, stray, rambling man—those were a few of the terms people had used to refer to him over the years because he refused to stay in one place for more than a few nights after he had left his great-grandmother’s home in Oklahoma. With the exception of the frequent trips back to visit the ancient biddy who lived in a little ramshackle house on the outskirts of his deceased father’s pack lands, no place had ever been called home. Even Oklahoma didn’t feel like home.
The old woman who had birthed his father’s father, Pearl Goldsby, had helped raise him alongside his single mother and was the only reason he went back to that state at all.
On the outside, she looked like your average fifty-year-old woman. The truth was that she was pushing one hundred and thirty-eight, so he felt the need to check up on her from time to time. Not that she needed his damn help with anything, which was exactly what she had told him two weeks ago when he had left her place in Oklahoma to zig-zag east across the states.
The woman was a powerful witch that Ezrah was pretty sure had made a deal with the Devil himself to live as long as she had. Mouthy and stubborn, Pearl felt the need to give her advice even when she knew it wasn’t wanted. She would also lay waste to the entire world to protect her one and only living relative: him. So as long as his great-grandmother was breathing, he would make sure the old woman was all right.
As a wolf shifter, he was a man who held both beast and humanity contained in one vessel, just like every other shifter. However, he had no urge to go on pack runs, hunts, or mating parties. In fact, Ezrah didn’t feel many emotions at all. He didn’t laugh at jokes, cry at sad times, or even get anxious about difficult situations. He didn’t crave the affection or attention from other wolves that all the other members of his father’s pack did. In truth, there was only one person who had ever brought out any emotion from him at all, and that was his human mother.
Those fleeting sentiments had disappeared after his mother had passed away when he was seven. Pearl had stepped up to raise him as her own, but the damage was done, so to speak. The trauma of losing his mother, coupled with the fact that he lived on the outskirts of a wolf pack that barely tolerated him, had taken its toll until he had shut all of his vulnerable sentiments down.
Now Ezrah’s emotions were boiled down to a few basic instincts: hunger, lust, and loyalty. For instance, he might not love Pearl per se, but she was his family. He would protect her from any danger, even if it cost him his own life.
As he looked up at the full moon hanging in the sky, another primitive urge welled up inside of him: lust.
Months had passed since Ezrah had been inside a woman. Over the past three years, his sex drive had decreased, no longer necessitating the need to have carnal relations as often as possible, morphing into something else. Now, when the need hit him, Ezrah didn’t just want to get his dick wet; he wanted to find someone he could practically fuck through the mattress: rough, raw, fangs, claws, and as hard as he could.
Last time he had visited Pearl, she had sensed the unusual agitation that had settled inside of him and told him it was his wolf’s way of telling him he needed a mate. That had made him snort in distaste.
A beautiful woman. Yeah, every man wanted one of those, someone to get lost in when you wanted to ignore the world around you. The thing was, he wasn’t territorial like the other wolves. A woman he had been intimate with minutes before could screw another guy right in front of him, and Ezrah couldn’t care less. There wasn’t an ounce of jealousy in his body. So why in the world would his wolf decide they needed someone, a mate, now?
That was exactly why he didn’t understand Pearl’s declaration that his wolf wanted a mate.
It was his wolf, goddammit! Didn’t the ol’ biddy realize he knew what the animal inside of him needed?
Right now, his wolf was itchy and restless. The beast wanted a woman to sink into. Ezrah the man wanted that as well. Subsequently, as the wind whipped past him, he vigilantly watched the road ahead of him with his enhanced shifter vision, waiting for somewhere he could park his machine, get a beer, and grab a woman. If he was lucky, that place wouldn’t have any alpha wannabe assholes to screw that up for him.
The pack he had been born into and raised on the outskirts of didn’t understand why he couldn’t act like a normal wolf. Instead of trying, they just blamed the mixed sources of blood running through his veins.
His great-grandmother Pearl was a witch who fell for one of the pack’s wayward wolves, an infamous western outlaw back in the late 1800s named Cherokee Bill. The pack had barely tolerated Pearl and Bill’s son out of pack loyalty.
As if being half witch with no powers and half wolf with a reluctant pack behind him wasn’t enough, Pearl’s son had also had to deal with the prejudice over his skin color. Back then, it was still taboo for a white woman to tie herself to an African-American man or a Native American man. Cherokee Bill had been both. As a result, his son ended up being much like his father, a wayward wolf who caused a lot of trouble.
His difficulties were only passed on to his own son, Ezrah’s grandfather. Pearl had hoped her son would be different from his father Cherokee Bill, but unfortunately he turned out much the same. History seemed to repeat itself as Pearl’s son ultimately got himself killed, but not before he knocked up a human woman. That union also produced a son, to Pearl’s dismay, who took after his ancestor Cherokee Bill by being a lone wolf who was constantly up to no good.
When Ezrah’s father came home to Oklahoma long enough to mate a low-born wolf from Cherokee Bill’s pack, get his mate pregnant, and then abandon her, Pearl had had enough. Determined that her great-grandson would not grow up to be like both his father and grandfather before him, Pearl had cast whatever spell it was that kept her alive to this day.
She had been through a lot, his great-grandmother Pearl. He honestly didn’t know how he would have made it in this life without her. Especially after his mother was killed during a dominance pack fight between bitches on pack land. Pearl had stepped in to raise him, determined the hostile wolves of Cherokee Bill’s pack wouldn’t get what she liked to call “their grubby paws” on her great-grandson. The woman had backbone and attitude. Ezrah didn’t mind the feistiness; he just wished she would turn it on somebody else. There were days he swore the old biddy was going to nag him to death – even if she did it out of love.
After rounding a curve, he spotted neon lights in the distance through the oak and walnut trees. The closer he came to it, the clearer those lights became. Keen eyes made out the pattern that spelled out a name: The Bear’s Den. Slowing his speed, Ezrah prayed the joint had cold beer and a woman strong enough to handle him for the night. It was past time to let off some steam.
Chrissy Leroy sat at The Bear’s Den’s bar in a seriously foul, totally rotten mood.
As a longtime resident of Black Mountain, the locals knew to give her a wide berth when she was so damn cranky. “Why was she so ornery?” one might ask. Because it seemed like all the prime males in the area were being mated off one by one, leaving nobody behind for her.
Not that she wanted a mate.
Oh, hell no!
No, Chrissy wanted a mate about as much as she wanted to be de-clawed like a domestic house cat. What she did want, though, was sex, and lots of it. Women had needs, too, dammit. Especially a shifter female such as herself. Her cat had a high sex drive. The problem was, there was no one around she wanted to scratch that particular itch with.
The owner of this tavern and the leader of this territory, Johann, was a tall, delicious drink of water. The problem was, he avoided her like the plague every time she came around, and she had no idea why. And that seriously sucked since he was one of the last males left who wasn’t mated that she wouldn’t mind getting frisky with. You would think the man would be open to the idea of willing pussy—pun intended.
His second in command, Grant, had taken one look at her upon arrival and muttered something about cranky women. Chrissy didn’t care how tough the rather large wolf was. If Grant said the wrong thing to her tonight, she might cut him with her claws. His hybrid liger shifter mate could suck it and patch him up when she was done.
And Dalton, the bar’s security bear, was watching her every move as if she were trouble waiting to happen. Well … She sort of was trouble waiting to happen, but he didn’t have to look at her that way! Besides, she was ticked at him for being the latest to get mated to a pretty little human.
Not that she was prejudice against shifters mating humans or any hybrid babies they might have. How could she be? Chrissy was a hybrid herself. Sure, she was all feline, but she was a mixed breed feline. Her mother was a lynx, and her father was a cougar. They had been happily mated for thirty years now with three cubs, including herself. However, since Chrissy and her two sisters were not “purebred,” neither her mother’s Canadian lynx pride nor her father’s Washington state cougar pride would accept them. That was how the Leroy clan had ended up living in what was considered neutral territory here in Black Mountain, Kentucky, where no pride, pack, or clan claimed the area as theirs. Here on Black Mountain all shifters of different breeds, some pure, some mixed, lived in harmony. And Chrissy loved everything about living here except for one thing: the pickings were slim!
It wasn’t like she could go to a man meat market and pick out a slab of good-looking with a six-pack set of abs to screw silly every Friday night. Plus, she had to be careful about what male she decided to get naked with. It seemed like half of them were ready to say “mine,” put a mate bite on you, and then puff up like an inflated peacock, having secured a mate.
Chrissy had been wooed, screwed, and practically stalked by males who wanted a mate. Not everyone was lucky enough to find their fated mate, so sometimes shifters gave up and settled with other non-mated shifters. Thankfully, all it took was a few well-placed cat scratches near their most prized man possessions to scare them all off.
Being so quick to cut a dude had a downside to it, though. It was getting harder and harder to get laid. And that was why she was sitting here at the bar, irritable and in desperate need of a good time.
Copyright © 2016 Jessie Lane.
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