Unexpected Demands

Hidden Wolves book 2

by Kaje Harper

He'd rather fight enemy wolves and rogue humans than face his own heart.

When Aaron took down a violent, power-crazed wolf and inherited half a pack, he knew being Alpha wasn't going to be easy. A week later, he's finding out what an understatement that was. Other werewolves are calling for the extermination of his pack's gay wolf, or for Aaron's own death, and the risk of exposure to humans is growing.

Aaron can't afford to let his long-suppressed sexuality escape his rigid control. When one of his younger wolves is in trouble, it's simply Aaron's job as Alpha to help and protect him. But keeping a cool distance from a young man who appeals to all his senses could be Aaron's toughest challenge.

(This is a rerelease of the 2012 original with light editing. Content warning for substance abuse, some violence.)

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Excerpt:

I rubbed my face briskly, sat up in my chair, and laid my hands flat on the desk. This was no time to be indulging myself. When you’re the Alpha of a werewolf pack, even a pack as small and non-traditional as mine, you have to be Alpha. No doubts, no worries, at least where the lower-ranked wolves can see you. I’d been faking that all week, ever since pack leadership had fallen into my hands.

Since I ripped pack dominance from Karl’s bleeding, dying body.

A rap on the door startled me, then the door flung open before I could respond. Vincent rushed in. His normal air of detached amusement was replaced with a frown. “Aaron, there’s trouble at Simon’s.”

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Damn.” I leaped up immediately. “Local wolves?”

“Yeah.”

Do you know who or how many?”

“Nope.”

Who’s on guard duty?”

“Andy.”

Son-of-a-bitch.” That was only a figure of speech. There are no female werewolves. If there were, maybe we’d have a more relaxed attitude about sex and reproduction, and this whole mess wouldn’t be happening.

I didn’t mean the phrase as an insult to Andy either. He was just the wrong person to be on deck for any kind of trouble. Young, submissive, and easygoing, Andy had the softest personality of any of my wolves. And if anyone hurts him and I catch up to them, they’re going to be eating through a straw for a month, werewolf healing or not.

Do you want me with you?” Vincent asked eagerly. The old wolf had been a surprise addition to my pack. I hadn’t expected any of the seniors to come my way. He’d appointed himself my secretary and was so useful I had no desire to depose him, even though secretly I thought he decided to be mine mainly out of boredom. Joining my pack gave him a ringside seat at the circus. Some people weren’t made for retirement.

Unfortunately, Vincent also wasn’t above stirring up a little extra excitement, just to see what happened. That was the last thing I needed. “No. Stay here. Call Joshua and tell him I’m about to come down on some wolf of his. Again.”

Vincent made a face. He’d have preferred the chance of a fight over having to call the no doubt pissed-off Alpha of a now-separate pack. Especially since Joshua was too dour for Vincent to have much fun riling him up. But as my secretary, he’d make the call, and— I gave him a hard glare until he dropped his eyes and bent his head— he would control his impulse to be snide. I left him subdued, pulling out his phone.

Simon rented a small house with a white-fenced yard. Bushes and lawn set the building back far enough from the neighbors for privacy, which was turning out to be a good thing. This wasn’t our first go-round with trouble.

When I pulled in the driveway, four men stood at the front steps. On the bottom stair, a stocky, brown-haired man with a reddened face glared upward. He looked in his late thirties, but I knew he was sixty-six. I also knew he was short-tempered, right-handed, of barely average intelligence, and as violently homophobic as they come. Dan. Shit.

The man on the walkway behind him might’ve been his clone, but for the lighter hair and eyes: Geoffrey. He’d been eighth ranked in our old pack, and was now Joshua’s Third, and not a stupid man. But he was cold and calculating, and had no love for any wolf of mine.

At the top of the steps stood my two men. Andy was dressed for the weather, his gloved hands clenched into fists, the hood of his jacket pushed back to give him a full range of vision. His breath streamed out in puffs of white, and I could practically taste his fear, but he held his ground. Behind him, Simon loomed still as stone. Not tall, but powerful, built like a fighter with muscles rippling under his copper skin, Simon was not a wolf to take on lightly, even with his feet and arms bare to the winter chill. A fact Dan apparently realized, since he was still at the bottom of those stairs.

They all swung their heads to look at me as I got out of the Hummer. Andy’s posture relaxed immediately, and his anxiety across our pack bond vanished. I appreciated his faith in me, even though his confidence might be a bit premature.

Simon held his ground, unmoving, his impassive face hiding the force of the anger and fear still burning across his bond. But then he had his lover, Paul, in that house behind him. No one would get through Simon’s protection to reach Paul. And he trusted no one, not even me, to take that responsibility from him.

My business was with the interlopers. “Geoffrey,” I said coolly. “Dan.”

This is none of your business, Tremaine,” Dan snapped. I noted that Geoff was holding back and letting the lower-ranked wolf speak up. Interesting.

Of course it is. My wolves, my problem. Tell me what’s going on.”

COLLAPSE

About the Author

I get asked about my name a lot. It's not something exotic, though. “Kaje” is pronounced just like “cage” – it’s an old nickname.

I live in Minnesota, where the two seasons are Snow-removal and Road-repair, where the mosquito is the state bird, and where winter can be breathtakingly beautiful. Minnesota’s a kindly, quiet (if sometimes chilly) place and it’s home now.

I’ve been writing for far longer than I care to admit (*whispers – forty years*), mostly for my own entertainment. My spec fic usually includes a gay romance element in a paranormal, SciFi or high fantasy setting. I also have two collections of LGBTQ Young Adult stories released under the pen name Kira Harp, which range across genres and identities.

I now have a good-sized backlist in ebooks and print, both free and professionally published. A complete list with links can be found on my Books page.
I also have  an author page on Goodreads where I do a lot of book reviews. You can find me to chat there– I hang out on Goodreads a lot because I moderate the  Goodreads YA LGBT Books group there. I also post free short YA stories on that group, more than 50 of them so far. Or find me on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/KajeHarper


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