Lost, groggy, and utterly devastated, MacKenzie Harper woke in the back of a truck with a kind man giving her a ride to safety. Her memory fuzzy, her senses on high alert, and her world teetering precariously on chaos, she has no idea who to trust but her nose says she can trust him.
When her savior delivers her to Ranier, Preston, Jarret, and Anton Lejeune, Kenzie recognizes them as the sons of the most famous werewolf family in Louisiana. They have to hide her, because Kenzie did the forbidden—she shifted. Werewolves are forbidden from shifting due to the Accords, and she’s always been good at playing human. So why did she shift?
That’s a question she’d like answered, but there’s more to Kenzie than even she knows and being around the Lejeune brothers rouses old instincts and desperate desires that will pull her four mates to her and together, they’ll face every challenge coming for them—even the ones they can’t see.
Two things I enjoy in books by Rebecca Royce are werewolves and her Reverse Harem. In this first book of the new Swamp series she has combined these two and now has me totally hooked.
MacKensie has just been rescued from a facility where the hunters were doing some sort of experiments. Her rescuer Gus is one of the famous Louisiana Lejeune Werewolves, he is taking her to his son in the swamps to keep her hidden and safe.
Preston Lejeune is more than a little surprised when his brothers show up at his home in the swamp. Anton, Jarret and Ranier rarely visit there preferring to stay with their mother and fathers in New Orleans. Apparently Gus, who is one of their fathers, feels they will all be needed to keep MacKensie safe.
MacKensie is more than a little disoriented, part of which is due to shifting which she had never done before. Shifting has been forbidden since the signing of the Accord. Yet somehow even with all the new smells assaulting her, it feels right. Like she’s whole.
Right from the start Anton, who had been kidnapped as an infant, is taken with her. He can’t speak as a result of that ordeal, yet MacKensie finds she understands him just fine. Ranier, is the Alpha of this group and is the most protective of Kensie, needing to provide for her. Jarret is the touchy feely one, seeming to need the touch like most wolves. Preston is the only one who stayed in the swamp. The home he considers his was his grandparent’s and even though it’s in disrepair, it is functional.
I loved the way they get to know each other even as danger begins to surround them. First in the form of Loup-Garou, this is when MacKensie discovers she can heal them and that is part of being an Omega.
This is a favorite scene.
That sick wolf needed… Well, damn, what did he need?
I could see pictures of it, but it didn’t make sense. The moon. Touch. Fire. What did that mean?
Three bodies slammed into the Loup-Garou. Growling. They were huge, and they were mine. Their scents overwhelmed me, wanted to bring me to my knees with joy to have them there. Also, I longed to join in the fight. But that wasn’t my job. I whimpered, catching the biggest wolf’s attention. That was Jarret. His scent of cloves hit me. He tilted his head, backing away from their opponent. I approached slowly, my head lowered, my eyes down.
Rainer nipped at Preston, and they stopped, too. Anton was still in my way. He growled, and I rubbed against him as I approached the sick wolf. I tilted my head. He needed me, but the truth was I had no idea what I was supposed to do. He whimpered just as the other Loup rushed into the room. He growled, saliva spraying everywhere as he launched at the one on the ground. I reared back, Preston’s body joining Anton’s to block me from whatever was about to happen.
I met the new wolf’s gaze in the darkness. Pain radiated toward me. I wanted to fix it. I whined. I just didn’t know how. He grabbed onto his friend’s scruff and threw both of them, using the weight of his own body to break through the glass and throw both of them through.
Rainer rushed to the window. Maybe he was going to follow him through, but Jarret grabbed him by the scruff and yanked him back. They tumbled backward.
They righted themselves, and all attention turned to me. I lowered my eyes, listening to the sounds of them breathing. We were all okay, but the Loups were still out there, and they wanted me. I just didn’t know why.
Rainer padded over, bumping me in the side. I lifted and then dropped my gaze. He bumped into me with a low growl. Jarret strode over, nudging my face with his own. That was sweet. Rainer nudged me again. Okay, I understood. He wanted me to move, to leave here. I lowered my ears and trudged after him. We were going home. I liked home.
I’d run all the way here, but the walk back home, surrounded by four wolves who had literally chased me into danger, who were, unless my nose lied, my pack, seemed like it went faster. The rain continued to pound, but it didn’t bother me. No, right then the only thing that could get to me was uncertainty. What did the sick wolves want from me? Why did getting the madness turn them from werewolves to the two-legged Garous? And what was I supposed to do with them?
A scent struck me as we arrived at the house. The rising sun gave light through the rain, enough that I could see Gus moments after I smelled him. He sat on the steps just under the canopy watching us as we approached. He rose to his feet, and Rainer ran ahead to him. In a heartbeat, he’d shifted back to his human form.
“As soon as I get them settled, you and I are going to have a talk about what you knew and when you knew it.”
Gus nodded. “I knew all of it.”
He knew all of what? Preston shifted behind Rainer. He patted his brother on the shoulder. “This is shift two for her and one for the boys. Let’s make sure they’re okay. Sir, you should make yourself at home.”
Gus sighed. I tried to follow the conversation, but none of it made sense to me. This was home for Gus. He was family and that made him pack.
I called the shift to myself, bringing my human body back. A fog struck me hard, my thoughts thickening like I couldn’t make my brain function. I knew this feeling. It had happened before, but I was aware of a few things all at once. Rainer and Preston were naked and now so was I. Anton and Jarret hadn’t shifted back and I was so… tired.
Preston grabbed onto my arm, holding me gently, while Rainer ran up the stairs. When he came back, he was clothed below the waist. He had a t-shirt in his hand, and he quickly dressed me in it. Rainer was bigger than me by quite a bit, and it fell to my knees.
I nodded to him. “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome.” He touched my cheek. “Are you thirsty?”
I wasn’t, but our attention was quickly changed as Jarret shifted back. He fell forward and would have landed on his face if Preston hadn’t grabbed him. “Gotcha, little brother.”
Jarret blinked rapidly. “Pres, what is going on?”
“Yep.” Preston didn’t respond to the question asked. Instead, he caught him as he fainted into his arms. “Got you. I’m going to put him to bed. Watch this one when he shifts, would you?”
Gus winced. “First one always comes with the fainting. You’re holding on pretty well, little Omega.”
Why did he call me that? The world tilted left, and Rainer held tighter. “Come on. We’ll follow Preston. Don’t shift back yet, Anton. Or if you do, do it next to Gus.”
“I’m sorry about this, Rainer.”
My Alpha blinked. “For what? Oh, it must be for running out of the room where I could protect you and leading two dangerous crazed Loup wolves out on your own to be some kind of… bait? It must be that.”
I sighed. “I’m not clear on what I did, but if I did that, then I’m sure there was a good reason to do so. I want to protect you.”
He shook his head, laying me down on the mattress next to Jarret. He stared at me for a second. “You’re mine. You know that, right?”
I didn’t get to answer him before Jarret closed his eyes. I was his. And I was Rainer’s. And Preston’s. And Anton’s. They were all mine. And I was theirs. I didn’t know how we were all going to give this up. The idea was so awful I couldn’t even fathom it. Why had Gus called me an Omega? They were all gone.
Preston exited the room and returned a second later with an unconscious Anton. He laid him on the other side of me. “Go to sleep, Mac. You’ll be better this time. Not as lost when you wake up. Clearer memory.”
I knew he was right. I could already feel the fog lifting. “You’re all going to suffer now. I didn’t want you to. Or suffer more. You had to shift. You’ll have to detox again.”
Rainer stepped next to Preston. “We were already suffering and… MacKenzie, we may not have to give it up now. I don’t know how this is going to go. I can tell you that I’m not going to go back to pretending, or contemplating how I can date human women, when there is a you in the world. I can’t speak for Preston but that’s how I feel.”
Preston shook his head. “Just been waiting on you, brother. All these years. Yes, you’re ours. Worst-case scenario, we hide in this swamp for the rest of our lives. But maybe it won’t come to that. You might be here to save us all. We’ll see.”
Anton shifted, drawing me close to him in sleep just as Jarret rolled over and pressed closer to my side. Rainer and Preston looked at each other and the younger grinned. “Where was our beautiful mate when we had to learn how to shift? No one to hold. Just hours of loneliness.”
Rainer shook his head. “I’m going to go check on Gus. Then we’ll hash some of this out.”
I swallowed. “I don’t think I can save anyone. I’m not strong, and I’m so confused.”
Preston bent down and squeezed my foot. “Worry about that later.”
I wanted to but there were a million thoughts rushing through my too thick brain. “Where is my family?”
“We’re going to find that out.” Rainer nodded.
“Are the Loup coming back?”
Preston shook his head. “Not unless they want to lose their heads.”
I stared at Rainer. “It’s hard for me to imagine it, you going mad like that. I look at you and you’re strong, healthy. You don’t smell like you were ever lost to that.”
Rainer winced. “It’s hard for me to imagine that, too. But people saw. Close those brown eyes.”
He was my Alpha. I wanted to listen to him, only, first… I reached forward and grabbed onto Rainer’s hand, which was hot, almost burning. “It’s going to be okay. All of it.”
I passed out.
Rebecca Royce. Hidden: The Swamp (Kindle Locations 879-942).
There are many introductions in this book as we learn the history of the wolves and the origins of the Accord. The Lejeune’s as a family are formidable.
Then there’s the council and more issues as the suspense builds. All building to the lead up of the next book.
I loved this book, lots to absorb, love, suspense and plenty of heat in more ways than one.
I can’t wait for the next book in this series!
5 Contented Purrs for Rebecca!
As a teenager, I would hide in my room to read my favorite romance novels when I was supposed to be doing my homework. I hope, these days, that my parents think it was worth it.
I am the mother of three adorable boys and I am fortunate to be married to my best friend. I live in Austin Texas where I am determined to eat all the barbecue in town.
I am in love with science fiction, fantasy, and the paranormal and try to use all of these elements in my writing. I’ve been told I’m a little bloodthirsty so I hope that when you read my work you’ll enjoy the action packed ride that always ends in romance. I love to write series because I love to see characters develop over time and it always makes me happy to see my favorite characters make guest appearances in other books.
In my world anything is possible, anything can happen, and you should suspect that it will.
I’d love to hear from you!