Author's Note: I'M FINALLY GETTING BACK INTO THE GROOVE
THIS IS THE SECOND BOOK IN THE "Order of the Stars Series". It could be read by itself, however, if you want to read more, the carry over content is rooted in the first book. Thank you.
For those who have read this story before, please don't hate me. For those new to the story, please be patient.
A little over a year ago, I wrote a story. Then I was inspired to start this story. However, as I got about half way through, I realized that I really wanted to build the two stories into one universe and continue on into a series. Since then, I've had a challenging time working out the best order to carry the continuing story line and when best to introduce certain elements and characters. My debates led to a lot of re-writing.
The delay has not all been in vein. And I have not forgotten any of the stories or the series. I think I have gotten out of my own way and have this coming together nicely now.
So, I'm going to start posting the series from the beginning again, with all of the updates and changes. I am hoping to post a chapter a day. However, I have some family emergencies I am juggling, so I may skip a day or two once in a while. I apologize now. Please keep following. This story was posted while writing it, the first time. And I got off track as I re-worked the story. It is now complete, I'm just editing as I go (even if it's not perfect). So, if I end up back in ICU with family and no reliable internet connection. It is what it is. I might fall behind. However, I WILL finish posting this story this time. I promise! Please don't give up on it if I do miss a day or two. Thank you for your patience and understanding in advance.
This is my only warning.
Though this story could be read independently and does not delve into the darker or explicit content as much as other books, the general series warnings apply.
I will not warn before chapters or break up scenes.
This series is not recommended for underage readers. The entire series is adult and rated M for a reason. I use adult situations and language. Though explicit scenes are all between a heterosexual couple and building toward healthy relationships, the stories do discuss or delve into topics of rape, betrayal, mental health, abandonment, rejection, strippers, prostitution, torture, abuse, violence, polyandrous relationships, homosexuality, bisexuality, and other adult themes.
Please, as always, I value any constructive criticism. PM's, reviews, anything. I'm not looking for fame, just hoping to work on building my craft. Thank you all!
"It's coming." The Wise Woman whispered. Her hands frozen in the air before her.
"What are you talking about old woman?" A deep voice questioned.
"Cursed by the moon. Cursed by the sun. The shackles will fall as the destined comes.
Son's of the wolf. Two there are. Bring down the heavens to trigger the start.
Wild and fierce, changes are made. Life and death merge, fight for a love to save.
Children born, mates united. Magic finds strength when no longer divided.
Do what you must. Do what you will. The dark throne will fall when prophecies are fulfilled.
A Circle once more. A Circle complete. A force awakens for balance to keep.
Learn these lessons. Learn them true. The cycles restart. What was old is now new.
What the wolves start, others will follow. Think not this the past, for it is tomorrow."
"Are you saying that we can find our freedom from a child?"
The woman's solid white eyes never moved toward the male voice. "The prophecy has been foretold. The mate must be found. The child must be born. Only then, will our kind find the change it needs."
"This has got to be some new level of Hell." Davis grumbled as he looked around in utter horror.
Standing at six foot even, he was intimidating. His hair was just long enough to run his fingers through, mixed full of shades of gray, brown and black. Pale gray eyes, ringed in charcoal, added the fierce look of a predator. An image he contributed to with his black pants tucked into black combat boots and a black form fitting t-shirt did nothing to hide the muscles underneath. His rugged strength accented by a scar that ran from the bridge of his nose to his jaw in a streak across his cheek, another small one puckered near the corner of his lower lip.
The fierce man definitely looked out of place as he wandered the aisles of Babies R' Us.
"Perhaps I should mention that to the ancestors after I kill you and take your position." Devyn snapped back at his twin brother. Unlike Davis, Devyn had learned to dress a little less standoffish. His dark hair was just long enough to pull into a small cue. He wore a pair of faded jeans and a black button down shirt with the sleeves rolled up. Over all, he looked like the owner of some bar, unlike his brother that looked like he was about the be kicked out of it for starting a fight.
Davis glared at Devyn. "Why are we here again?"
Devyn sighed. "Because I don't understand this shit. I can't set up a nursery without info. Once I know what all I need to get, I can order online or something."
"And why isn't your mate with you? You don't need me here." Gray eyes looked around in frustration. "Where's the rush? You have time."
Devyn was losing patience with his brother. Davis had been more pissy than usual in the few months since Devyn met his mate. Sure, it was uncommon for a beta to find a mate before an alpha wolf. But they were twin brothers, and they weren't in the traditional roles of a wolf-shifter pack. Besides, it wasn't like Devyn would actually fight his brother for the position. They were a package deal. It would all just be easier if Davis found himself a woman.
"It wouldn't be a surprise if I ask my mate to help me." Then he looked around and mumbled under his breath. "This is seriously overwhelming."
"I heard that!" Davis scowled at him. Not one clue in his brother's head that told him what he was doing. Still, he insisted that his captain go with him. Like he was any more help. They could be there for hours not knowing what was happening.
Davis loved Mina as his sister-in-law. He wasn't opposed to doing just about anything else in the world for her… fight for her, kill for her, protect her, even get her pizza and ice cream at four in the morning, if that's what she wanted. But this was beyond his scope of understanding. How could there be so many things made just for kids and all of the gross things they do?
There were thousands of types of diapers, wipes, nose things, covers, washable this and reusable that. Just thinking about the messes that required such products made Davis's skin crawl. It would be a miracle if he could even be in a room with his nieces or nephews before they are fully housebroken. Definitely planning on passing the pups back to their parents for any clean up duties. He fought the shiver that wanted to race down his spine.
The two preternatural soldiers wandered around the store rather aimlessly. Neither had any experience with children at all, let alone modern children. What little exposure they had with their siblings and cousins had been a couple hundred years ago. Things were different then. None of the commercialism and disposable culture. And at that point in history, their kind had been in the heaviest of fighting in a long standing war… for the twins, their attention was on forging their inner rage into a lethal force for survival. Not babies.
Devyn had tried to flag down one store employee who scurried away in fear of them. Another tried to swallow the unease in their chest to sell them on something that Devyn wasn't sure he needed. As his frustration grew, at the whole situation and lack of assistance, it only made things worse. The women in the store avoided them and even quickly pulled their children away.
"See, I could have gone the rest of eternity without seeing breast pumps." Davis pointed at the shelf next to him. "Breasts, more than happy to look at those. Just not the pumps."
"Wow. This is not a strip club. If you want that kind of talk, you can go back to the one you crawled out of. This is a family store." A young woman scolded the twins.
"My apologies for my brother." Devyn hit Davis in the arm. "Say you're sorry"
"What for? I was honest. And she is the one making assumptions." He growled a warning for the authoritative tone his lieutenant had taken. Even in joking, the beast inside would not take a challenge to his authority.
The woman rolled her eyes. "What is it you're looking for? Maybe I can help get you out of here faster."
"Do you work here?" Devyn asked.
"Na. I just shop for baby stuff a lot." She replied.
He contemplated it for just a moment. "Then maybe you could give some honest input instead of sales pitches. I am looking to stock an entire nursery to surprise my wife. I can't buy everything today because we're traveling through Phoenix, I'll order it when we get home. But I honestly don't even know where to start."
She was shocked. Those two were seriously there for a nursery?
"Oh buddy, that's a whole day of shopping if you want a whole nursery." She paused as the man looked around with panic in his eyes. Then she sighed. "Good thing that I take pity on lost souls. My name is Prophecy. Yes, it's really my name, so get over it." She reached out and shook Devyn's hand, then Davis's.
Davis scowled at her. "You're not too scared to help us?" Most of the time, he didn't mind the way humans avoided their intimidating aura. They had no clue what the twins really were, yet humans gave them room. Still, he was surprised to get any help in that place, more so that it was from a tiny girl.
"Scared of your chauvinism? Hardly. Scared of you Mr. tall, dark, and intimidating?" Maple syrup eyes looked him over from head to toe. "Ehh, I help deliver babies. Women in labor could skin you alive. I've learned to build up a thick skin to protect myself from venomous words. I think I can manage your ego for a bit."
Prophecy walked the men over toward the furniture section to start with. As she walked, Davis ogled her round backside. He had to admit, she was attractive. She appeared to be in her mid to late twenties and stood around five foot, two inches with caramel skin. Her hair was black and fell in a wild mess of fat curls just past her shoulders. Stripes of blue blended into her curls almost naturally. It was a unique and beguiling look.
He remembered her eyes were a rich maple color that held flecks of gold that stood out even more when framed by blue colors in her hair. Her tight jeans and black t-shirt hugged her curves exquisitely. And her breasts! He was always a sucker for a nice rack. She wasn't a slender woman, but rather, curvy and well proportioned. Perfect for filling his hand with her soft flesh.
Davis wondered what those curves would feel like against his body. He could smell her apple scented shampoo in the air as she walked ahead of him. He wanted to bury his face in her neck to scent her better. His body was on fire.
He had always appreciated feminine curves, though few women would test the waters with the big, bad, wolf. That was certainly one hell of a cock block. He never had a stomach for rape, so he never wanted to feel like he was forcing himself on a woman. Even if she verbally said yes, it's just not all that stimulating when he knew the woman would rather be screaming in fear than screaming in pleasure. And most of the women who didn't truly fear him were too loose to be very appetizing.
But Prophecy was different. He could still feel her unease, but she pushed passed it. She engaged with them. That certainly caught Davis's attention. Her verbal defiance was what warmed him. He had always loved to push a woman's buttons. Even better, if she could push his. No matter what he said to the contrary, he truly loved wicked banter with an attractive woman, as long as it was respectful. His instinctive dominance wouldn't tolerate true insult. Yet, she maneuvered that line like a professional.
Prophecy was uncomfortable with the two men that she just met. But there was something about them that made her stop and help them, despite her head yelling at her to leave and never look back.
The one brother who was there for his wife was scary. There was no other word for it. He looked more cleaned up and pulled together, and the man obviously had some social skills to find a woman to marry him and have his baby. But Prophecy could feel that he was like a tiger, still in training… ready to go back to feral killer in the blink of an eye. A man like that was unpredictable.
The other brother, he seemed every bit as dangerous. And he was definitely not housebroken. Yet, Prophecy felt different about him. She could not understand why. He was tall enough he made her feel small. He was gorgeous and edgy. Like the kind of man that you would want to have a hot and furious sexcapade with. His striking gray eyes and muscles seriously added to his whole bad boy vibe. Her uncontrolled thoughts wondered what it would be like to run her hands over every curve. Better, yet, her tongue.
Where in the hell had that come from?
By the time they stopped by the cribs, she turned around and saw just where Davis had been staring. "Hey there, monkey brains, I'm up here." She crossed her arms over her chest and glared at him.
Devyn hit him again.
"I'll rip your arm off if you do that again." The underlying growl dripped with warning. Brother or not, he was crossing the line. If Devyn had tried that anywhere else, he would have found himself flat on his ass already. The beast inside was desperate to teach him the lesson. Davis was the captain, he was the pseudo-alpha. He was in charge.
"Then stop being a dick." The brother reminded him that they were in fact, in public.
Prophecy rolled her eyes. "And whose bright idea was it to make either of you a father?"
At that, they both turned on her. Devyn really had to get his anger under control fast. The trip was for Mina. Quickly, he tapped into the psychic connection he shared with his brother to encourage Davis to back down as well. The girl was being defensive. Rude, but defending herself in what she felt was a very uncomfortable situation. They had been through similar occurrences many times before. And it certainly wasn't her fault that their nerves had been on edge before they even thought of going into that store. Devyn had hoped that shopping would help keep their mind on somewhat more uplifting changes happening in their lives, rather than the questions and tension that had started to fray at the limited control they had on their inner rage.
Davis took a deep breath as he tried to control himself once more.
Prophecy at least had the good sense to take a step back. But she wouldn't budge on the attitude. "Do you really think that violence and swearing are appropriate around young children?"
Devyn scowled, but didn't answer.
"Yeah, exactly. Its best to start practicing now, before they're born."
Shaking her head at the two men, she returned to the topic at hand. Prophecy asked lots of questions and gave lots of specific suggestions while the soon-to-be-father took lots of pictures of items he would want to get.
In the end, Devyn was pretty happy with the decisions that he made. The only part that really gave him a headache was keeping Davis and Prophecy from killing each other. Prophecy had a strong feminist streak to her that seemed to just rile up Davis's need to push her buttons, and vice versa. His authoritative wolf nature wouldn't allow anyone run roughshod over him.
Prophecy was appalled. "What do you mean that childcare is women's work?" As the conversation continued as another man walked toward them. Tall and well built, African American man. His chocolate brown eyes were trained on Prophecy.
"Just what I said. Women birth them. Women care for them while the men go off to fight and such. That is how it's been for all of history, with few exceptions." Davis watched the man slow down to listen to the conversation with a small shake of his head and smirk as he caught the words. He just leaned against a counter to let Prophecy handle herself and wait. A gesture that showed a level of comfort with the girl. He knew her well.
"Oh, so I suppose that if you managed to actually find a woman willing to have any kind of relationship with a chauvinist like you, and she actually got pregnant, you would what? Leave her to fend for herself?" Prophecy's voice was increasing in pitch with her indignity.
"I didn't say that. But I wouldn't stay with any woman, for any reason, unless she was my wife."
"What? Where you raised by wolves? No, sorry, wolves have more family responsibility than that. I would not want to insult the wolves." Prophecy snarled.
Davis chuckled at her anger. Damn, she could be fiery. And that only whipped him up even more. If only she knew the truth. He was a wolf. And he could sleep around all he wanted, but could only get his mate pregnant. No one else. Yes, wolves had a sense of family responsibility. However, the mix of magic and biology made sure that it only happened within their circles. However, his humor died when she finally pulled up the last word on the subject.
"Then, I guess the world is grateful that you will always be alone with that kind of arrogance." Then Prophecy stormed away to hug the new guy that walked in.
That hit Davis harder than he expected. He had always been fine being alone. That was what he was supposed to be. Those were the rules that he had to live by. He was the captain of an elite pack. Enforcers for their kind, soldiers. Always on the move. Sent places at the Council's command. Crack a few heads and shape up the local packs, lay down the law, or fight against their enemies. The Rogues were never allowed to have emotional relationships, certainly not mate or have families. It was an unspoken rule.
But then the Wise Woman had a foretelling. A prophecy of an upcoming change. One that could free their kind from being enslaved by the will of others. No longer bound by curse of the moon. And that change would come in the form of a child. Supposed to be born of the brother wolves, interpreted to be Davis and Devyn.
Immediately, females were gathered and offered to Davis. Typically, the alpha male would mate for the future of a pack. However, the match made was with his brother.
It shocked everyone.
The Council of Elders argued and discussed, the Rogue pack didn't function as a family, they were a military unit. There was no true alpha. Eventually, they agreed that since Davis and Devyn were identical twins of near equal strength, the ancestors had to have seen them both worthy of procreation.
There it was. His brother, found his mate.
He found a happiness that neither brother ever imagined possible given their past.
And it made Davis curious. He wondered if he could have that kind of a life as well? Have someone to share himself with? He really was jealous of his brother.
At the beginning, Davis had even joked about trying to steal Mina from Devyn. The twins had a long history of stealing each others conquests. But Davis never would have acted on it, not with Mina. He knew that what they had was special. For the first time ever, he saw true happiness in his brother's eyes. A peace that calmed his natural anger. Mina was strong and nurturing. Davis would never do anything to hurt either of them.
Devyn needed someone to help him control that inner rage. A burning anger that was not easily tempered. And a wild heart that was not easily swayed toward kindness.
Yet, that was exactly what Devyn found with Mina. A female who recognized his nature and offered him love despite the violence behind the man. And seeing that ate at Davis. There really was a woman in the world who could love a bloodthirsty monster like Devyn. Could there be one for Davis as well?
That was what he had been told a few months prior. A dream he had been stupid to hope for, only to leave with disappointment.
His chest tightened at the thought of Prophecy. For the first time, he met a woman who fed into that small bit of hope and made him wonder if there could be something more than just banter or a one night stand. She was intoxicating. The way his body reacted to her, it was almost unnatural. He craved a taste of her. That woman really got to him and as irritated as he was, he loved every minute of it.
But damn it, he went too far.
She hated him. And she left with another man.
His instincts paced in jealousy, demanding that Davis go outside and claim the girl as his.
He sighed. There was no point. He could smell that she wasn't a wolf, not even a shifter. She couldn't be his mate. And they wouldn't be in town long anyway. They were only passing through on their way to their next assignment.
It was probably for the best. He didn't want to scare her with actually letting her get to know who he really was. Hell, she never would have agreed to help them at all if she knew that they were wolves so violent that they policed their own kind and fought against immortal witches.
"I seriously wish that I was an only child now." Devyn scowled.
"Too late. And it was your fault for making me come here in the first place." Davis retorted as they left the store. "Next time you feel guilty about going to a strip-club, don't include me on your quest for redemption."
"For the last time, I'm not doing the nursery because of L.A. We went in because of the promise we made to Ember, we let him know what we found and left. End of story. But now that I have a mate, said stopping point isn't to be mentioned around Mina. She can be sweet as candy, but her temper is not to be messed with. Understood?"
"You going to tell me what that was all about?" Ryan asked as Prophecy climbed into his truck.
The small pouting growl that escaped her got him laughing. "Well, half-pint, we still have two hours in the truck together before we get to your house. And dinner with your aunt all night. I'm sure you'll talk eventually. But umm…" He looked at her. "Where's the gift for Rachel?"
Prophecy dropped her head. "I got sidetracked."
"So I noticed. Do you think you can grab something fast this time? I did leave you in there for a few hours already."
Opening the door she glared at him. "I know where to go." Then she returned to the store.
That's what she got for helping those irritating men. Forgot to get the gift for Ryan's sister. What was she thinking?
Oh. Yeah. She wasn't. She was practically a puddle of goo under that guy's stare. His pale gray eyes were ringed in charcoal. It gave him more of the look of an animal. Yet, it made her weak in the knees. She was only able to keep her composure because they talked about things she knew like the back of her hand. Still, she forgot the damn gift. She grumbled as she headed back into the store quickly.
Davis watched her as he sat on his bike. The rest of the pack was leaving the sports grill where they rested their legs while the twins did their shopping. There was something just so captivating about the girl. If they were staying in town, he would think about trying to hook up. However, duty called. They were expected up north that evening. They didn't have time for any delays. Not that it stopped him from watching while he waited for the others. Memories playing in the back of his mind.
The two brothers had a typical life as wolf-shifters until their entire pack was killed. Being too young to fight, they were captured, tortured and experimented on for years by their enemy.
It wasn't until a shifter rebellion overran the enemy stronghold that the twins were found again. Broken. Angry. Near feral.
The twins were sent to the Rogue pack. A specialized group for those without a pack of their own. A pack known for barely controlled aggression. A pack used to help keep others in line.
The brothers learned how to harness their anger and rage, to control it. To fight through the ranks for every scrap of food they ate.
It had taken them years. However, they were at the top of the food chain and everyone knew it.
Was it a life he could ever picture a female in? No. Could he see himself anywhere else? No. Yet, it didn't stop him of wondering about the human girl with blue streaks in her hair.
"Well, that was not the distraction I had in mind." Devyn's voice rang through his brother's mind. "Go, get her number. Maybe we'll have time after this assignment for you to hook up."
A silent glare that could kill a lesser man on sight, was all the response give.
"You need to blow off steam. I'm tense and worried. But I have someone to help me relax. You need an outlet Davis."
Calloused fingers slid through short hair. "We have too much going on to allow that kind of distraction right now. And I doubt she'd be happy see me again."
"Technically, I'm the one having too much going on." It was a truth that Devyn used in an attempt to take the pressure off of his brother. Though he knew the reality was that Davis was too protective of him to ever let him deal with it alone.
Mina was an amazing woman who had silently stolen her mates heart. Though it hadn't been easy. The two had met briefly a few times before. However, as with all female wolves, she had kept her eyes lowered around the Rogue pack. The Rogues had nothing to offer a family oriented she-wolf. They were undesirable matches. Female wolves would never look them in the eye and chance the disrespect of their authority, or worse, a mating bond being formed.
Then came the call for females to be presented to Davis. It was an accident that she looked at Devyn right after his brother. And in that moment, their fates were tied.
Nearly complete strangers, faced with the pressure of the Elder's Council and foretold children to fulfill vague prophecies, their mating was full of awkward tension. Through it all, Mina offered a calm acceptance that soothed her damaged mate. She didn't flinch from her fate, from the man in her bed, nor from the dangers that their union brought to light. She saw something in him that she was willing to fight to hold on to. A strong woman who earned both brothers respect, and one brother's love.
Most shocking of all was the magic at play when they did consummate their mating. Devyn had nervously shared it with his brother afterwards and the three agreed to keep it all quiet until they could get answers. Time seemed to stop around the pair. But the sudden appearance of marks across Devyn's skin took things to a whole new level. Ancient scripts, outlines of weapons and armor, and of all things, wings. Like real, feathery looking angel wings, across his back. Talk about some twisted joke. A wolf with wings?
The marks lasted an hour or so and then disappeared as quietly as they arrived.
Certainly, fulfilling a prophecy was a magical moment in a way. Though shifters couldn't wield that kind of magic. And it hinted at far more dangerous maneuvers at play.
It wasn't a time to allow himself to become too distracted by a woman. Davis shook his head loose to remind himself of the priorities. They needed to find out what in the hell had happened when Devyn mated his precious Mina. They needed to know what dangers it was to bring. Already, they assumed the witches would learn of the prophecy and target them. But was there more?
The tattoo like marks had touched on a memory, hovering just out of reach. Hours had been spent in the library of the Council Complex, searching for a clue. And just before they received the orders to head for Arizona, Davis was sure he found it.
That was an direction he wasn't happy about in the slightest.
"After this mission, we should have a sit down with Ember. If it wasn't for the importance of this mission, I would have done more than text him about the strip club." Davis finally responded to his brother before he revved up his bike and led the pack back toward the highway.