Rise of the Alpha
A Collection of the First Three Books
USA Today Bestselling Author
After a dominance challenge ended with his parents deaths, Mason left Willow Bend and his pack behind, choosing instead to live life on his own terms…as a Lone Wolf. A wanderer, he keeps his life simple and carefree until an unexpected encounter brings him face to face with his tragic past and the woman he always adored. Determined to get her out of his blood, he teases her into an easy one-night stand…but one taste will never be enough.
Adopted as a young girl, Alexis Huston lived on the fringe of pack life. She’s never been strong enough, fast enough, or pretty enough—except to Mason, but then he left her. Allowed her freedom as an adult and sworn to keep the pack’s secrets, she’s struggled to fit into the ‘human’ world. A chance meeting turns her hard-won life upside down.
She is left with two options—she can tell the only wolf she’s ever loved that she’s carrying their child…or she can protect him, keep the baby a secret, and run.
Triplets, the Buckley brothers were inseparable until everything went wrong one violent, bloody night. A.J. Buckley, the eldest of the trio, faced a human trial for a brutal murder. Found guilty, he was sentenced to twenty-five to life. Without argument or regret, he accepted the sentence. After six years in prison, A.J.’s conviction is overturned on a technicality and he returns to Willow Bend to face a new Alpha and fresh charges.
Vivian Knox was the only witness to the murder. She refused to testify in the human courtroom and spent a year in prison on contempt charges. Once released, she worked tirelessly to free A.J., finally locating a loophole in the case against him. Satisfied with his freedom, the last thing she expected was to be kidnapped to the back of beyond where another judge demands she testify to what she saw that night. This time, contempt is the least of her problems.
Only four people know exactly what happened that night and none are talking. When pack law threatens Vivian, A.J. must stake his claim, but his wolf might be too damaged to help him…
Gillian Whitford, darling of Willow Bend, brings out the protective instincts in all the dominants, but none more so than Owen Chase, the pack’s Hunter. A loner by nature and calling, Owen spends less time with his pack mates and more time on the borders of their land. Not even the change in the Alpha and the swearing of a new oath kept him around long.
Winds of change still drift through Willow Bend as they adjust to their new Alpha. When the Hudson River pack requests a fill-in healer to replace their own, Gillian, journeymen apprentice to their Pack healer, is the obvious choice to help. Owen forbids her to accept, but the sweet natured wolf rebukes his selfishness and volunteers anyway.
Risking a challenge, Owen faces off against his Alpha to appeal her decision and finds himself charged with her safety. Now, the loner will be escorting one of his pack’s most precious into foreign lands. He’s all that stands between her and a dozen potential threats…and if he doesn’t stake his claim, he may lose more than his heart.
When Mason Claybourne scented Alexis Huston and knew she was in trouble, he had to help her, protect her.
It had been a long time 10 years since he was forced to go lone wolf. He knew he couldn’t stay with her but he could make sure she was safe and back with the wolves that should be protecting her. The thing was there weren’t any. She was here alone.
Here is one of my favorite passages,after Mason interrupts an attack on Alexis and brings her back to her apartment.
She seemed to remember breathing and went back to eating her ice cream while he cleaned and dressed her wound. When he was finished, he glanced up to meet her dark eyes.“Thank you,” she said without a hint of reproach or her earlier antipathy.
“You’re welcome.” He kept her leg captive and continued to watch her eat the ice cream. Then because he couldn’t help himself, he said, “You grew up.”
“It’s been ten years,” she looked at the ice cream, and he found himself envying the sweet treat. It was an altogether unpleasant feeling.
“Why aren’t you in Willow Bend?” Why wasn’t she on pack lands? This far south—she was in one of the few unclaimed cities, though practically on the doorstep of the Crescent Delta pack.
She shrugged, and took another bite of the ice cream. “You don’t have to stay. I’m home. As you can see, I’m safe. You can go back to walking alone or whatever the hell it is you do.”
Trailing a finger down the back of her calf, he studied the way she purposefully ignored him. God, he’d missed her. Her sass, her temper, and the way she knew exactly how to give in just enough to make a dominant back off, but still maintain control of the situation. And damn if she hadn’t gotten better at it. “Alexis?”
Sitting forward, she pulled her legs away from him and handed him the second spoon. “I let you save me. I ran interference with the cops. I allowed you to walk me home and be all alpha male in charge while you checked out where I live and made sure my injury had been tended. I’ll even share my ice cream—but interrogate me? No. You want to do that—the door is there.”
He stared first at the spoon then at her. Her pulse gave away her gambit, but the steadiness of her hand and the clarity in her eyes was just too damn beguiling. The best decision for both of them would be for him to leave.
He was a Lone Wolf.
She was pack.
Her being human was inconsequential—he’d never cared about her race, only that when she smiled his world was brighter.
And he’d been living in the dark for a long time.
Accepting the spoon, he eyed the pint in her hand. She held it out to him and smiled.
There really was no other choice for him.
There is a history between Alexis and Mason, one that requires a lot of fixing. Complicated by Margo one of the enforcers who keeps their eye on lone wolves like Mason, to be sure they follow the rules. If the rules are broken the lone wolf will be punished. And it appears Mason is going to be all about breaking rules now that he has Alexis.
This couple is explosive when they come together. The question is would they be able to. I loved this book and could not put it down.
5 Contented Purrs for Heather!
AJ is finally free, 7 years is a long time for a wolf to be incarcerated without being able to shift. Now Mason is demanding answers, not only from AJ but he has Vivian brought to Willow Bend as well. That didn’t go over well with AJ and he wasn’t shy about letting Mason know it.
Vivian worked hard to find the data needed to free AJ, now with him free she is set to move far away and heal far away. Fate however had a different plan. Margo and Owen had been sent to fetch her to Willow Bend. AJ has yet another trial, one that might not work out very well for him. She woke with bruises on her face and a split lip, and no idea where she was. Not good when you have had fugues before.
A trip to Emma and much becomes clear, at least to the reader. A prescription to rest, eat and play alone together. All with Mason’s approval.
One of my favorite scenes is Day two of their enforced alone time. AJ’s family decides to meet Vivian early in the morning, and his Mom is in the kitchen preparing a meal.
As if spurred by the encouragement, he guided a very embarrassed Vivian back to their bedroom. “I’m sorry,” he told her as soon as the door was closed. “I didn’t realize they were coming.”“I met your mom in a sheet.” Vivian sat down on the bed. His mother, the wolf. Wolves knew everything from scents and she and A.J. had been having sex everywhere in the house. Mortification crawled through her and she buried her face in her hands.
“Hey.” The bed dipped as he sat next to her and then she was in his lap. “What’s wrong?”
“I was naked, in a sheet—in front of your mother!”
A.J. shrugged. “She didn’t mind and ignore Linc and Ty. They’re just jealous.” A pleased look lit up his face. “Because you’re mine.”
“But I was in a sheet.” How did one live down that humiliation?
“I was buck ass naked, darling. Trust me, she didn’t care. Most wolves won’t. We get used to nudity pretty young, and we ignore it.”
Well, how great for them. “But we had sex out there.”
His grin grew.
“Yeah, well, so will your mom.”
His grin faltered a little, and he blinked. “Mom came because she wants to meet you.” For a moment, she thought he would add something more, then thought better of it. “As for the sex, she knows what that is, Vivian. It won’t bother her.”
Caged Wolf (Wolves of Willow Bend Book 2) (pp. 140-141). . Kindle Edition.
I truly wonder at times how Mason knows so much before everyone else does. This is a story of commitment and love that nothing and no one can stop.
5 Contented Purrs for Heather!
One of my absolute favorites in this series. Wolf Claim focuses on Owen and Gillian but also introduces the Hudson River pack and it’s Alpha Brett.
Gillian is a Healer Apprentice but believe me when I say she is no longer an apprentice. Gillian is unique in that she can heal both humans and wolves, a secret well guarded by everyone. She is more than a little attracted to Owen, one of Mason’s top hunters, but he doesn’t seem to get it.
Owen is just a bit protective of Gillian. When Mason proposes to send her to help Brett the Hudson River Alpha with the mystery of wolves dying, he definitely lost his cool. He doesn’t want Gillian going away into an unknown problem. Little did he know Mason intended to send him with her all along. *Sigh* Men!!
The mystery behind the deaths is elusive and while they try to figure it out Brett’s attraction to Gillian grows.
This is one of my favorite scenes.
“I think it’s only fair that we’re clear on one subject before she rejoins us.” Brett said, reminding Owen he still stood there.
“And that would be?”
“I have every intention of claiming that beautiful wolf if you don’t.”
With a jerk, Owen faced him. “Excuse me?”
“No,” Brett said, his expression unreadable. “I don’t think I will. She’s a fine wolf, perhaps the finest I’ve ever met, and I’ve known her less than a day. Consider yourself warned.”
Gillian trotted up in that moment and rubbed against Owen’s leg. He dropped his hand to stroke her head automatically. His gaze still locked with Brett’s, Owen didn’t disguise his rising wolf.
Alpha and confident, the other wolf didn’t flinch away. He’d made his desire plain and clear both wolf-to-wolf and man-to-man. He could want Gillian all he liked.
No way in hell would Owen let him have her.
Long, Heather. Wolf Claim (Wolves of Willow Bend Book 3) (pp. 113-114). Kindle Edition.
Needless to say there is a lot of tension. As they figure out the what, the question becomes who. Not exactly a comfortable position for anyone to be in. Brett can only trust Gillian and Owen and that is felt throughout his pack.
I loved this nail-biting, hold your breath tale. It gives a whole new dimension to the Wolves of Willow Bend Series.
5 Contented Purrs for Heather!
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USA Today bestselling author, Heather Long, likes long walks in the park, science fiction, superheroes, Marines, and men who aren’t douche bags. Her books are filled with heroes and heroines tangled in romance as hot as Texas in the summertime.
From paranormal historical westerns to contemporary military romance, Heather might switch genres, but one thing is true in all of her stories–her characters drive the books.
When she’s not wrangling her menagerie of animals, she devotes her time to family and friends she considers family. She believes if you like your heroes so real you could lick the grit off their chest, and your heroines so likable, you’re sure you’ve been friends with women just like them, you’ll enjoy her worlds as much as she does.