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Briar can’t hide the wreckage on her face, but it doesn’t matter.  She’s only at the Fortress to deliver her Alpha’s message.  That’s it.  All she’s got to do is complete her task and get the hell out.  But when Briar comes face to face with Matese “The Beast” Lawson, things change.  She remembers him.  He used to be part of her Yellowstone pack, but he left after a falling out with the Alpha.  In her eyes, he’s a traitor.  You didn’t walk away from pack, you just didn’t.  The fact that he now dares to try and take her prisoner, declaring her as the enemy is outright galling.  

 

Matese Lawson left the Yellowstone to get away from his pack’s callous Alpha and his brutal dictates.  Hoping a change would heal his bloodthirsty wolf, Beast, Matese walked away from all he knew.  In doing so, he thought he’d left Briar Nolay in his past, but when she shows up in his new pack’s territory, it feels like old ghosts are haunting him.  He doesn’t trust her.  He should just kill her and be done with it, but Beast isn’t having it.   

 

***

 

Briar could feel eyes on her and knew it was him. He was watching her. He was always watching her.

 

Angling her head, she silently cursed the battered side of her face. Her cheek was so puffed up that her eye was swollen completely shut. Even after a day and a half it still felt like her heart was beating in the wounded side of her face rather than in her chest. The damage prevented her from being able to spot Matese, but she didn’t need to. She felt him there, just beyond the shadows. It was unnerving, mostly because it was the first time in months that her wolf roused from her depression and really took notice of something. And wasn’t that just typical. Briar had done everything she could think of to cheer up her wolf and get her excited about life again, but after weeks of nothing, she’d given up hope. Honestly, she couldn’t blame her animal. Their life had gone from bad to worse in a rapid succession of horrifying events, and there were days when even Briar had difficulty mustering the will to drag herself out of bed to pretend she still cared. That little surplus of will she’d been hanging onto had slowly dwindled day by day, and now . . . Now, she and her wolf had a plan. They weren’t going to have to live like they had been much longer because they weren’t going to be alive at all.

 

Lifting a hand, Briar rubbed absently at where the hairs on the back of her neck stood on end. Matese! He had no right to be dredging up her old wants and torturing her wolf with his presence.

 

They’d been playing this game ever since she’d come to War God’s pack territory and their castle-like compound called the Fortress. Matese didn’t trust her. He thought she was there to bury a landmine and then scurry away before it detonated. He was wrong.

 

“Well, what are we going to do about her?”

 

She could hear the War Gods Beta, Tallius, talking to Reign. They were discussing her, and while she felt a slight hint of shame at eavesdropping, her need to know her fate overrode it.

 

Tallius’s response was immediate. “Send her back!”

 

Relief and disappointment flooded Briar in equal measure. Part of her had hoped these War Gods that she’d heard so much about would be the ones to pull her out of the fire, but she hadn’t come expecting it.

 

Sighing in the hall, Briar couldn’t help the wave of helplessness that crashed over her. She’d be going back to Cray and his hideous Yellowstone pack. It was what she’d expected. The WG owed her nothing, but deep down she’d hoped there would have been a way out for her. “Eavesdropping, enemy mine?”

 

The deep baritone of Matese’s voice slid over her and had goosebumps rising all along her skin.

Matese: Spoils of War3

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