Chapter 2

Viv peeked out of the window of the Global Express private jet as they taxied onto the Nachton Air Field, a private tarmac just outside of Nachton proper.

“The weather is rather humid today, Miss Sena. 92 degrees.”

Leaning back in her chair, she looked up at the affable male steward as he buttoned up his shirt. Six foot two, lean, lithe body, and arms cut like a Greek god, she gave him another appraising look from head to toe, and Viv nodded and looked back out the window.

“Thank you, Derrick.”

“Ma’am.” He left her customs and out of country entry papers on the table in front of her and disappeared into the galley. And yes, she looked back to watch him leave.

Biting her bottom lip, she glanced at the paperwork, pleased that it was already filled out, and signed where indicated. Included in the paperwork was her passport and noted the diplomatic seal on the cover. Grinning, she stood and considered her wardrobe. The skirt would have to go, the pantyhose had already gone, thanks to Derrick, so she pulled out her carry-on and pulled out a pair of worn jeans and buckled boots. Slipping out of her skirt, she dressed in fresh clothes and felt the jet slide comfortably into the pack’s hangar. She left on her boat neck silk blouse and felt the rush of hot air as the plane’s doors opened.

Another man stepped in and nodded to Viv, picking up her luggage. “Welcome to Nachton, Miss Sena.”

Tipping her hand, she gave a halfhearted salute and stepped out in front of him. Waiting for her was a representative from the US customs office who reviewed her paperwork and checked her passport. With a smile, he too, welcomed her to Nachton and handed back her papers.

Behind him was a 4 door, silver CLS550 Mercedes Coupe. The driver stepped passed her and loaded her three pieces of luggage into the trunk of the car. Stepping up to the driver’s side, Viv opened the door.

“Ma’am, if you like, feel free to take a seat in the back….”

“Mind if I drive?” She asked politely, gracing the driver with eye contact and a sweet smile.

The driver, with blond hair and sparkling green eyes, smiled. “Of course not ma’am. Shall I?” he pointed to the back.

“Naw, ride up front with me.”

“Of course, ma’am.”

Together they slipped into the car and he pointed out the exit to her.

“What’s the speed limit here?”

The driver looked at her with a nervous grin. “It’s 65 on the freeway into town, 45 otherwise.”

“See, I don’t get that. Why make a car that can do,” she peered at the dash board, “one hundred and sixty miles an hour if we can’t drive that fast?”
The driver nodded and smiled nervously.

Reaching over, she patted his arm and laughed. “Just kidding.”

The drive into downtown Nachton was beautiful. The city had been built with modern style and forward thinking in mind and it was evident in the architecture of the city skyline. The Grand Piazza was yet another testament at how superior the city thought it was to its neighboring cities. Well, put like that it sounded snotty, Viv thought, but the place was money from the dirt to the sky its buildings scraped against.

Sitting in her suite on the top floor of the Piazza, she logged into her laptop and requested a secure line from Canberra/Hammerthynn home offices. It was a fifteen hour time difference between Nachton and Australia, but her father was waiting for her call. He immediately showed up when connection was made.

“It’s 12:40 in the afternoon here. It’s what, 3:40 am there tomorrow?”

“Vivienne, you made it.”

“I did and thanks for this, but I don’t think it’s necessary.” She waved the diplomatic seal in front of him. “Is it even real?”

“As far as the US knows. Doesn’t hurt to plan ahead.”

She wasn’t sure what that meant, but Viv smiled nonetheless. “You spoil me, Vigo.” Vigo’s face took up the entire screen and his mangled left eye was crystal clear, but her heart still swelled looking at him.

“Is your suite ok?” he asked trying to look behind her.

Shrugging uncomfortably, “It’s ridiculous. Little country girl like me in a city full of all these peeplez,” she said in her best (which was awful) southern accent. “I thought I was staying at the Den?”

“They don’t know you’re there yet.”

“I’m still meeting with the Alpha, correct?”

“My grandson,” Vigo sighed, “yes – you’re there by my wish but he is our Alpha. Proper introductions will be made, promises made by you, and I have vouched for you already, but it will be by his will alone that you even step foot on pack property out there, dear.”

“I understand, father.” She held her right hand up. “Honest injun, I’ll be a good girl.” Her curiosity piqued, she leaned forward, “Before then, is there something you want me to do?”

“Just familiarize yourself with the city, its people. And please, do try to stay out of trouble.”

“I am aghast you would imply I would do otherwise, sir. Aghast!”

An unfamiliar smile for a Hammerthynn crossed his face. ‘try and get used to the time difference.” He paused and said quietly, “Forgive me?”

“No, never. I hate you.” She sighed dramatically and gave him a sweet smile. Viv held up her hand to the monitor and touched it with the flat of her hand. “Like father.”

Vigo returned the gesture, “Like daughter.”

Leaning back, her father signed off and left Viv sitting in her chair, looking at the blank screen. Huffing slightly, she looked around the suite and considered being neighborly and meeting her floor mates, so to speak; a couple that the bell hop said mostly stayed in during the day but went out at night. Snorting, she wondered if that was tell tale of not just who they were but what. Nachton was full of the fanged variety. She was not one to be impolite and decided she would greet them happily if she ran into them – provided they don’t try to eat her. Not saying they were, but…well you never know.

Lifting her left arm, she checked her kinetic watch and noted the correct time, setting it to almost one in the afternoon; at least eight more hours before she can go to sleep, but she doubt she’d be doing that either. Calling up a map of the city, she noted the Preserves on the outskirts of the city and made a date with herself for a midnight run.

Park Preserve

Brig ran the perimeter of the preserve with as much speed as he could muster, weaving in between the tree line and darting in and out until he finally sprinted full speed deep into the forest. The stress at the Den had risen to such a level that he used the preserve now to burn off the extra energy and rage he was feeling toward and from Hammer. It pained him to think of his cousin. What Hammer had done to the integrity of the pack, their families, and to Brig – it filled him with such disgust and rage that it took everything not to verbally decimate anyone who crossed his path. Brig’s whole personality had changed, he knew this, and it infuriated him. This was Hammer’s fault. How could he do that to him?

Digging his paws into the ground, he burned the energy his new wave of anger fueled, and he tore into the forest full speed, ignoring everything but the feeling of the wind in his face. The earth sloped – rising, falling, and he ripped through puddles, splashing water and muddying his underside. The smell of the trees and foliage around him filled his senses and he slowed just enough to lift his head into the air to inhale when suddenly another scent accosted him, forcing him to stop dead in his tracks.

Viv possessed a demon-like speed when she wanted. Whistling her small body through the park, she cut a path straight across the length of the preserve, enjoying the new smells and prey presenting itself to her senses. She ran the length of it over and over again, never once losing an ounce of stamina. Playfully, she ran up hills and hurled herself off the top, sliding on the earth and kicking up dirty everywhere. Nachton’s preserve was gloriously dense and untouched by man, hence why they called it a preserve, she thought happily.

She had yet to come across a fresh scent of other wolves in the vicinity – only older scents, at least a couple days old. A crescent moon hung high in the sky, so maybe the area was less traveled so early in the lunar phase, she thought as she stopped to look up at her mistress in the sky. Inhaling deeply, she could taste the smells in the air, each leaving a colorful trace of itself in the air only she could see when something new revealed itself. Viv paused, tasting it when suddenly her hackles rose.

Turning behind her, another wolf entered the clearing below her hill. It was rusted red and huge, twice her size. She recognized the coloring immediately; it was a Kadzait wolf. It carried itself with slow, deliberate movements; its body high off the ground, the red’s hackles were on end as well. Snarling, he communicated that she was crossing its territory, but Viv hadn’t smelled any indicators in the area.

The red was just pissed.

Viv mimicked the red’s movement, slow and deliberate, refusing to submit to its dominance.

You wanna dance, big boy, let’s dance.

Viv narrowed her eyes at the other wolf and began to growl. The other wolf was male, not that it let her get a good look at it. She could tell; the musky tones of his natural scent filtered into her nose and its body language told her that he was on the offensive and angry. It stared directly at her, his tail horizontal with his spine, but it slowly approached her, trying to intimidate her.

Brig followed the scent, finding a crisscross of it leading from one end of the park to the other till he found the scent in a clearing. It was a female, dark in color and two toned, sitting atop a hill, looking at the moon. She registered him immediately, his scent no doubt lending to her alarm. He approached her slowly, watching her movements and growling softly, waiting for her to fall into the submission position and expose her belly to him.

Curiously enough, she didn’t. Instead she came down the hill with the same angry dominance he was trying to convey.

She was warning him, he realized.

They got to within twenty feet of each other and began to circle, both never letting their backs face the other. The two of them danced, neither giving in.

It annoyed the fuck out of him.

He let a savage bark rip through him, causing his hackles to stand on end that it hurt him. Brig maintained eye contact with her, but saw the colors of her fur.

She was Vyusher R’asa.

The truce between the two packs was tenuous at best, and he wasn’t about to break treaty, but as the older, bigger wolf, she should be submissive to him, but she wasn’t having that. He lunged at her, closing the distance to ten feet, but she stood her ground, barking back angrily.

Back off, she said.

My territory, he replied.

And with clarity that could not have been clearer if she had said it out loud, her body language said, Fuck you. She lifted her paw, scratching at the dirt and lowered her head to a head butt position and egged him on.

The rage filled Brig again – Hammer, the pack, the betrayal, it all pushed to the forefront as the filthy Vyusher bitch refused to submit. Brig dug into the dirt and attacked her, giving her a warning bite that she met with her own. He had meant to frighten her, but apparently this one didn’t do helpless girl well at all and they connected in the middle, jaws and claws ready to rock.

Instinctively she wanted to rip this wolf’s throat out and urinate in the open cavity, but she didn’t think her father would call that ‘staying out of trouble’. The big red was angry Viv wasn’t submitting, and fuck that – she hadn’t planned on it, but what she needed to do was get out of there without pissing the entire pack off before she even got to meet the Alpha. Still, she had fought bigger wolves and let them know she was not a female with whom to fuck.

The red lunged at her not giving her much of a choice and she returned the advance a split second after he did and they met in the middle, jaws clamping down on fur, claws digging into the earth, kicking it everywhere. It was a flurry of scratching, mostly harmless, but warning of imminent danger just the same. A few moments passed and they separated again, no blood drawn, but fur definitely ruffled.

Viv could give the big red the slip, she knew this, but it was already too late. Whoever this was, they”d probably recognize her when she got to the property tomorrow. Mentally she cursed herself, but she couldn’t back down. That’s not how her father taught her to fight.

They circled each other again, saliva dripping from their jaws and fur completely on end. Probably looked like a dirty cotton ball, she thought to herself. The red maintained eye contact when suddenly something hit her.

Viv shook her head and stopped in her tracks. A scent assaulted her senses and she roughly shook her head, trying to clear the daze. Taking a step back, she looked back up at the red that had stopped as well. His hackles were settling down and just watching her. They stood there quietly for a full minute before he took a step toward her.

Brig smelled it about the same time she did, he figured, if her sudden retreat was any indication. It filtered in through his nose and tempered his rage. The female shook her head and backed up – her body language confused, but more important, her fight diffused. He took a step forward and sniffed the air again, tasting her scent. He felt his ear twitch and flap forward, confused.

Her scent had initially enraged him, he felt that, but now it was doing something else – calming him down, but…not. Stepping forward, he took three tentative steps as she froze, watching him. Brig lowered his head slightly and gingerly touched her nose with his. Gently, she pushed her nose back and rubbed her cheek against his, igniting another wave of confusion and…something else. He tried to snarl, but the female stepped closer and did the unthinkable.

She licked his cheek.

Her scent was left on him and he closed his eyes, signifying that he was completely disengaged from their fight and he found himself rubbing his cheek against hers till they were entwined, inhaling each others scent as well as leaving it. Lifting his paw, he draped it across her back and sat back, pulling her to him as they started to play fight. She lowered her back, slipping from his embrace and circled him, rubbing her body against his until she came up under his jaw and flicked her tail happily. He draped his paw across her back again and she remained still, her fur touching his, when finally he opened his jaws and grabbed the scruff of her neck.

Viv had no clue what was going on, but she could not help herself. She rubbed her body along the big red, leaving her scent and could not stop inhaling his; it was intoxicating. It confused her as well as pushed her closer to him. The red seemed just as confused as she was, sitting back and letting her deposit her scent.

One minute they were about to tear each others throats out, the next they were…courting? Confused she came up alongside his chest and stayed close to him when he finally grabbed the scruff of skin at the back of her neck, clamping down and signifying…

Whoa whoa whoa, she thought suddenly scared.

The red thought he was going to…?

Startled she pulled back but his weight half pushed her to the ground as he reasserted his bite and climbed on behind her. He growled slightly, and she found herself submitting to him, lowering her body to allow him to mount her.

Not one minute earlier they were fighting for dominance, now they were consummating an act that only mates had permission to do. His scent was so mesmerizing, so delicious; Viv thought, that even though her mind wanted to run, her body was eagerly submitting, waiting for him to take her. And when he did, it was magnificent.

He was twice her size, easily, and the weight of him wrapped her in a warm blanket that made her head dizzy with want. Arching her back slightly, she accepted him in her and she felt his hips against her, pushing himself into her as his jaws bit at her shoulder blades and neck. His warmth breath was sweet and clean, blowing by her ears and by her cheek. Viv could not get enough of him as he took her, there in the clearing, in Nachton’s park.

Being in her felt like home. His animal instincts took over and he orchestrated a dance he was all too familiar with as a human, but had not done as a wolf in many years. He had forgotten the freedom of taking a female companion and loving as animals did. The rage that had pent itself up inside him was released as he pushed into the female. Her scent filled his nostrils and the taste of her fur was soft as the skin beneath it. There was something about this female, despite being Vyusher R’asa, which made her irresistible to him. A flash of guilt panged in his gut, but the soft growling from beneath him squashed that feeling, filling him instead with incredible want for this female.

He felt the rush in him as his end quickly overtook him and he shuddered with ecstasy, biting her with his climax and she whimpered beneath him, pushing her body against his. Brig relaxed his body and they both lowered to the ground, panting and shaking. Moving off to the side, he nuzzled her as she turned and again rubbed her jaw along his.

She looked at him with her curious eyes – brown with a ring of gold in the center. Brig was startled as he realized what they had just done, but he stayed close to her, feeling her warmth. They let themselves bask in the aura of their coupling when he slowly stood and faced her.

He had to say something to her. Brig concentrated and started to shake, signaling his change back when suddenly she stood and began to growl angrily.

Viv lay next to the mammoth red, reveling in the moment and enjoying the aftermath of their coupling. They were acting like mates now, despite their differences and the fact that they had no fucking clue who the other was. She’d recognize his scent when she met him, that part she did almost dread, but when he stood and began to change back, a panic that she had not felt since she was a child overtook her, forcing her up and growling angrily.

NO, she was saying.

He stopped his change and looked at her with curiosity, his head tipping to the side and his ears flopping forward. Viv was suddenly very scared. Without thinking, she backed up and then turned into the forest, running as fast as Luna would let her, flying to the opposite end of the park leaving her new mate in the clearing, no doubt confused.

She had no idea if he ran after her, she was going that fast, but Viv breached the edge of the park and headed back to the city, blending in with the shadows. Nachton was definitely a night town, but she managed to navigate through the back alleys and then downtown to the center of the city without detection. Her clothes were where she had left them, and she forced her change quickly. Shivering, Viv took a moment to shake off the tension, but found she just couldn’t. Cursing, she slipped into her jeans and t-shirt, entering the rear entrance of the Grand Piazza barefoot.

The ride up to her floor was spent trying to stop shivering. Shaking her hands, she could not get rid of the jitters as she exited onto her penthouse floor. Slipping out of the elevator the second it was big enough, she just barely stopped before running into the couple in the neighboring suite.

“I’m sorry, excuse me,” she said without looking at them like she had promised herself. Side stepping, Viv walked quickly down the hallway to her suite door.

“No, excuse us.”

Ellis turned and watched the shorter, brown skin woman skirt by them quickly. The sway of her hips and the urgency in her step kept her eyes on her long enough that Simon had to reach out and hold the elevator doors open.

“Not where we sleep, please.”

Ellis looked back at him. “Oh come on, I wasn’t going to eat her.”

Simon rolled his eyes and stepped back into the elevator. Looking up at the numbers, he mumbled, “Better things to eat, E.”

Smiling, Ellis walked into the elevator. “You kiss your mother with that mouth?” She stepped into his arms as the elevator doors closed.

She left him in her wake as he sat there, completely confused as to what just happened and with who. Flicking his ears, he listened as she burned a path across the forest, the sound of her feet fading quickly, but not her scent. Turning, he slowly trotted out of the clearing, giving it one final look before sprinting in the opposite direction toward his SUV. When he reached it, he let the change come over him quickly and he stood, breathing deeply and leaning against the hood in human form.

Her scent was still on him, intoxicating and painfully unique. It was nothing he had ever smelled before. It was as palatable as the most exquisite chocolate and he needed to taste it again. Resting both hands on the hood, he bent over and stretched out his back, feeling it pop, but he hung his head down, inhaling deeply.

Vyusher R’asa.

Punching the hood of the SUV, he dented it and then rested his head in it. How stupid was he being, doing that with someone outside the pack? It was one thing to become involved with a human, but with a VR? Brig wiped his mouth on his arm and pulled back, looking at the dent.


Reaching for her blunt, Viv considered her options. Iov would recognize why she was there. The animosity that this was undoubtedly causing between the CO and the Beta would be volatile at best. Rolling the blunt between her fingers again, a smile stretched across her face.

Any means possible, father said. Fix it, father said.

Leaning over into the aisle, she caught the eye of the handsome male steward who immediately came out of the gallery with a swagger that would make a woman of less stature blush.

Viv would fix it…when she got to Nachton. But right then, cruising at fifty one thousand feet above the God’s green Earth she asked the steward a question.

“How are you at back rubs?”

The steward smiled.



Chapter 3

Always give a word or sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, or even a stranger, if in a lonely place.
– Tecumseh

Viv had chosen to walk up to the front gates of the Kadzait private property instead of being dropped off by her taxi. The weather was disgustingly warm, and although used to the type of heat, it still annoyed her as she blew a piece of errant hair out of her face. Her ponytail was thankfully high enough to be off her back and neck, but not so high that she felt like Barbara Eden looking for a genie”s bottle. Fashion dictated extremely high heels, but her reasons were vain. Kadzait”s were ungodly tall and being five foot five, she did not need to add to her interloper status by being tiny in a sea of six foot plus men.

Her long, black skirt was cut up the sides, splitting it into three panels, the interior of it was a silk red – the art of sexy professionalism took practice. Plus the wind blowing through the material was pleasant in the heat. A white button up shirt void of pockets or design was threatening to stick to her now sweating back, so she slowly rolled up her sleeves to above her elbows and popped another button. She prayed the AC was on at the Den or she would be a hot mess by the time she actually did see the Alpha. With that thought, she approached the wrought iron gates of the property and pressed the only button she could see on the left column, no doubt alerting the property of her presence, not that they weren’t already tracking her since she stepped out of the taxi. That was a guess, of course, but if they weren’t…well, that would just be stupid.

A four by four LCD monitor lit up and she smiled into the invisible camera lens.

“Hi there,” she said with a smile. A rather pleasant looking man’s face filled the monitor and he asked for her name.

“Vivienne Sena, here to see Aidan Xephier. I’m expected?”

The man said someone would be down shortly to escort her up. Shortly was literally four seconds as a two door sedan pulled up and the gates opened. The door opened and another tall man, this time a red head, stepped out of the vehicle.

“Mind if we walk up?”

The red head closed the door and approached her. Squinting up at the tall man, she smiled again. He held a hand out pointing down the drive and nodded.

“Excellent.” Tucking her flat purse under her arm, Viv reached out slowly and took the man’s arm. She began to leisurely walk up the drive.

It was fucking hot but why not take advantage of the scenery? Plus the trees were awful pretty.



“Oh you lucky wanker.”

Red smiled as his earpiece moaned unhappily in his ear. He walked the unexpected visitor, Vivienne Sena, up the drive to the main building up at the Den. At six foot two, he slowed his walk considerably as Miss Sena looked at the trees that lined the drive. The sun was achingly hot, but the tiny breeze that happened by every few minutes cooled it down enough to be tolerable. Plus having the shorter woman on his arm made it worth it.

“This is pretty nice,” she said in a wondrous voice.

“Yes, ma’am.”

“A wanker, Red.”

Red and Lewis did rock-paper-scissors, best of out of three, to meet Miss Sena down at the gates. Lewis was not at all happy with the outcome.

“So what’s your name?”

Red looked down at Miss Sena who was now looking intently at him, her eyes appraising but not in the way he hoped. He knew almost nothing about her, except that she had been sent by the Elder Hammerthynn himself. She might as well be God’s right hand angel for all the authority she carried with her. Within the pack she was simply a visitor until the Alpha said otherwise, but within the family the Pipers considered her part of Command, even if she carried no public title. Families had a way of enforcing their authority and Vigo Hammerthynn may follow his son as the Pack’s Beta, but the Beta was still Vigo’s son.

“My name is Red, ma’am.” Her eyes stayed on him. Red smiled and added, “Reese Deardon.”

Nodding she squinted her eyes and looked up in thought for a moment. “Your parents are local Scotts, right? Thurso?”

Red was impressed. “Yes ma’am.”

“That is impressive,” the voice in his ear commented. Red cleared his throat as they continued up the drive, coming around the circle to the front doors. Disengaging her arm from his, Red opened the doors and held a hand out to the lobby.

“The Beta will be along shortly, ma’am.”

“Thank you, kindly.”

Red took a step back and left the lobby.

“Nice meeting you, Reese,” she called out to him as he left.

Lewis chirped again in his ear. “Oooh she called you Reese.”

“Oh my god, will you shut up,” he mumbled under his breath as he exited.


Hammer straightened his rolled up khaki material sleeve as he walked the long hallway toward the front entrance. His iphone had chirped, much to his displeasure, and informed him that a ‘Vivienne Sena’ was there to see him and the Alpha. Between then and this moment, Hammerthynn had thought exactly twelve unpleasant things about Vivienne coming instead of his father, Vigo. Vigo had, in fact, communicated that he would be here, but as Hammer approached the entrance, he saw his father’s replacement being greeted by his son, the Alpha.

In the fifty some odd years since he had first met Vivienne Sena, he had only met her one other time after that, though his own father seemed to keep her closer to him than anyone else he had ever known. Hammer knew her but didn’t; nor did he have any desire to know in what capacity that Vivienne Sena knew his father. She would be about sixty five or so now, he figured as he approached them.

Hammer slowed his anxious gait just as Vivienne turned.

For a moment, she was ten again, looking at him and the other Pipers who had destroyed her family, hiding behind Vigo’s right leg that was practically the size of her. Bloodied, small, and painfully unaware at how close to death she really was, that was until Vigo sliced the air horizontally in front of him, ending the mission, and then nodded back to the east from where they had come. Hammer only hesitated for a half second, his eye on the small child. She had been freshly bitten, but not by Vigo. The smell on her reeked of the family they had just killed making her Vyusher R’asa. Why would his father want to keep it? A pet, maybe? Information? He turned with the rest of the Pipers and left the abandoned farmhouse to burn to the ground, her dead family in it, all the while cursing his father (albeit silently) for letting it stay alive after the atrocity its family had dealt to theirs.

Then she was a barely grown woman with a back brace, crippled from her first taste of silver and combat with Vigo. Hammer was there when it happened, but only watched from afar. A Hammerthynn werewolf’s first experience with silver was always an extremely painful one; an ugly scar that would be a cold reminder that they were not infallible if they were stupid enough to not recognize the power of silver. Vigo was never gentle with his teachings, but Vivienne’s injury had been extreme, Hammer had to admit that her reluctance to complain or even cry had impressed him. Her physical therapy lasted longer than most recoveries and it would be the only accolade he would give her. Not that he ever expressed it to her.

Then, three decades later, here she was – smile in place – with the full authority of his father and the families behind her. Vigo had sent her instead of coming himself and Hammer had to wonder why. Vigo kept his dealings with her quiet, even to Hammer; the only thing he really knew about her was that she “fixed things”. As far as Hammer was concerned, his relationship with Lily did not need fixing.

Hammer did not have the words to express his absolute distaste of Vivienne Sena.

“Vivienne,” he said with the barest of nods. “Sir. Your office?”

Hammer immediately turned to the Alpha and promptly ignored her friendly greeting.




That was all she managed to say to Iov before he barely acknowledged her presence and then ignored her, per the norm. He would probably spend the entire visit only speaking to her if necessary and being as socially inept as she remembered. This was the Hammer she watched over the years; to say she grew up with him would be a lie.

Hammer completely cut her off from his world from the very second Vigo let her live. It was hard at first, someone who she thought would be her adoptive brother having zero contact or acknowledgment with her. As Viv’s presence became noticed by the other Hammerthynns, she realized that Hammer was being kind.

She would rather be ignored than openly hated.

The Hammerthynns, those that knew about her, were accepting only that Vigo wished her alive, but he voiced no displeasure about her lack of acceptance into the family, much less the pack. In that regard, he left her swinging in the wind. What made up for it was his unconditional love for her, and in private, he was her father, from balls to bone.

Vigo controlled the Pipers with the Elder Jameson, Duncan, and kept them at the Alpha’s disposal, but it was the aftermath that Vigo used Vivienne. Where brute force destroyed, Vivienne fixed. Money exchanged, publicity avoided, and things that should remain in the dark, did. It was what she did and she enjoyed it, despite never receiving the respect from the families.

Still, despite Hammer’s rudeness, she smiled. It was still nice to see someone outside the immediate family in Canberra. Hammer had been heralded by the family for his ascension to Kadzait Pack Beta, but that only meant he did what was expected of him. Viv understood the unemotional thinking of the family pack, but chose not to share it which further isolated her. She would never be anything but a Vyusher R’asa runt not worth the energy for retribution.

Thank god for small favors.

Smiling at the Alpha, she gave him a polite nod. “Pleasure is mine, Alpha Xephier. Will Commander Jameson be joining us?”

It was an unnecessary question since it was the Commander’s actions that made her presence possible. Still, she had to make some sort of small talk considering the bomb she would drop.



The Alpha inquired about possibly resting before their meeting. Viv immediately dismissed the idea.

“Oh no, I’m fine. Already got a good, long run in last night at the Park Reserve. And,” Viv shrugged, blushing from the thought of the previous evening. “No, I’m good.”

Turning her body toward the direction the Alpha pointed to, she smiled as they began to walk toward the building. Hammer circled around to walk opposite of the Alpha, putting her in the middle, and not once did he look at her. Instead he looked around, his eye forever scanning.

Glancing up at the Alpha, she took in his features, appreciating them for what they were. The Alpha was a ridiculously handsome man, but as she looked closer, she saw it. The jaw line, the height and breadth of his stature…his mother had definitely softened the rough Hammerthynn edge with soft, brown hair, and lean muscles, and slender legs. Viv looked back into his eyes and noted the gray one and she had to wonder how his vision was, but didn’t dare bring it up.

Looking over at Hammer, she grinned as he permitted her a glance and his hard scar narrowed at her. Hammerthynns had poor sight up until their gifting and inevitable removal of their left eye. Generations of genetics at work made their left eye useless, strengthening the right for its solo performance. Curious the Alpha had mismatched eyes, she wondered. Maybe genetics were shifting again, readying the Hammerthynns for more surprises.

Lowering her eyes at the ground, she smiled as they walked the pathway to the Alpha’s offices.



While standing in the Piper Situation room, Brig quietly watched the female guest, one Vivienne Sena, approach the property gates and introduce herself. She was rather short, long brown hair, and charmed Red by batting her eyelashes and swinging her hips. With an annoyed glare, he turned to leave.

Lewis stood and half snorted into his headset, teasing Red about his luck. Brig reached out, grabbed Lewis by the collar and pulled his face close to his.

“Shut up and do your job.”

Brig released his grip on his Piper and pushed him back against his desk. He felt a pang of guilt as Lewis” shocked face smoothed over and sat quickly back into his chair, knowing two weeks prior, Brig would have been talking into the headset along with him. Now…now his casual leadership was almost uncontrollably ruthless and he treated the men with disdain rather than respect. He sneered at the thought, but pulled on his BDU camouflage jacket over his black under-armor shirt and buttoned it one handed as he exited.

He’d feel bad about it later.

His earpiece chirped more information, redirecting him to the Alpha’s offices across the Tikerak. Walking quickly through the Den, he was maybe three minutes behind them as he made his way out the front doors toward the building.



Hammer frowned at the two skeletons posed comically in the Alpha’s office. It reminded him that his son was so far removed from the trappings of being a Hammerthynn and it relieved him beyond words. Looking at Xeph now, he was immediately reminded of his mother’s softness and honestly could not see the gruffness of his contribution. Hammer wasn’t handsome, not in the classical sense, but he saw in Xeph the man he could have been. So he forgave the inappropriateness of the ridiculous skeletons and tried to focus on the important things. For example…

Vivienne opened her mouth to answer when Hammer cut her off curtly.

“Why are you here, Vivienne?” Emphasis on the ‘you’. “We expected, and were told, that the Elder Hammerthynn would be here.” Hammer closed the door behind them and moved closer to Vivienne. He stood over her easily by a foot and glared down at her.

“What do the families expect you, a Vyusher R’asa, to do in place of family elders?”



Hammer came down on her quicker than she had expected. His pent up anger whipped out at her, and not only did he insult her abilities to mediate, he insulted her heritage in all of eight seconds. Not a record, but it stung nonetheless. She flinched as he sneered ‘Vyusher R’asa’, something she had not considered herself in decades. It wasn’t for her to say that Hammer’s reaction was unusual for him, she would have had to have interacted with him on more than two occasions to know that, but it was still clear that her presence was not welcomed. Period.

“Come on, Hammer,” she started easily with a smile, “it’s pretty obvious why I’m here.” Viv glanced in the Alpha’s direction and then back at him. “I come in peace, but you know I’m only here because our father wished it.”

Ok, she did that on purpose. Viv would admit that if it wasn’t so obvious. Hammer’s face paled and then grimaced with such an intense hate that Viv was fairly certain that she felt the vibration of his hands clenching into fists. Holding her hands up, she looked down and backed up.

“Excuse me. I’m here because the Elder Hammerthynn, your father, directed me to come in his place to evaluate the situation reported to Elder Jameson by the Commander of the Pipers.”

Turning toward the Alpha, she stepped passed Hammer who was fuming hotter than a volcano, and paid her respects. With a respectful nod, Vivienne kept her eyes on the ground and repeated the message from Vigo.

“Alpha Xephier, your grandfather wishes to express his sincere apologies for not attending this meeting, but does humbly sends his regards to his new grandson and welcomes you to the family. He also apologizes for his son’s, your father’s, inappropriate behavior…”

“WHAT?” Hammer yelled behind her so loud her teeth vibrated.

“And looks forward to seeing you soon here on the Pack’s U.S. territory in the very near future.”

Viv took a half step back and half turned to Hammer. “See, Vigo’s coming,” she nodded and shrugged, “eventually.”



Hammer was speechless.

Our father. Our…father?

Then she had the nerve to convey Vigo’s apologizes for his inappropriate behavior?


Hammer straightened to his full height, pulling his shoulders so far back that the buttons of his khaki shirt threatened to pop off. Reeling in his absolute and forever burning hate for Vivienne Sena and her disrespectful attempt at humor, he almost missed her comment about Brig reporting to his father.

“Commander Jameson contacted Elder Jameson himself?”

The anger was lost in his voice and was replaced by a barely noticeable hurt tone. Of course Brig reported it, but his cousin hadn’t mentioned it, or anything else to him since he told him that Xeph was his son. Other than professional courtesy, Brig had abandoned their friendship and Hammer had abandoned his attempts to salvage it. Lily said to give him time, but he doubt even that could right what Brig considered Hammer’s wrong.

Hammer sighed through his nose slowly as he narrowed his eye at Vivienne. “You came to convey a message? Is that it?”

“Well, not…exactly,” Vivienne said.



Brig double timed it up the stairs when something made him stop at the landing of the Alpha’s office floor. A warm sensation flooded his senses and he pulled his hand back from the rail of the stairs to stare at his hand. Rubbing his fingers together, he searched the scent trying to identify it. He could smell the Alpha and Hammer’s scent easily, their scents musky and masculine, but something mixed with the female’s scent. It stopped him completely as he tried to read the colors of the scent.


Hammer’s voice jolted him out of his meditation, losing his train of thought. Wiping his hands on his BDU trousers, he quickly walked to the office door and knocked sharply twice, opening it. The smells from the room hit him like a freight train, reminding him exactly of where he smelled the faint residue of the scent on his fingers.

As the door swung open, the Alpha, Hammer, and the new female Vivienne Sena looked over at him and it took everything not to fall down to his knees as the full force of Vivienne Sean’s scent hit him.

Her wolf scent was nothing compared to the slightly sweaty from the sun scent she was emitting. Brig’s hand dropped from the door knob and his eyes focused in on hers – brown with thin golden iris”. Her chocolate brown fur transitioned perfectly to long, thick hair that was tied in a low ponytail. The mental image of her wolf form had been imprinted in his memory, but her human physique would forever be burned into his soul and he was fairly certain she recognized him by the startled look that passed her face and the dilation of her pupils.

Oh shit, Brig thought.


Commander Brian Jameson walked into the office and pretty much ruined Vivienne’s day.

As the door opened quickly, the rush of air from the hallway hit her, along with the Commander’s scent. Mentally her mind went into hyper-drive, shocking her ill-timed humor out of her system and replacing it with that dizzy want for that big red wolf she had mated with the night before. There he was, the Kadzait wolf she had initially tangled with and then really tangled with, standing not six feet away from her.

Viv figured she had about three seconds before something incredibly awkward and awfully bad happened. The Commander took another step toward her with a confused expression and then stark realization. What had happened between them could never be told, not with why she was actually in Nachton. In the three seconds she considered her options: running sounded REALLY good but hard to explain; jumping on him and kissing him senseless was also not a good one; so Viv stepped forward as the Commander raised his hand to point at her and immediately shook it, introducing herself.

“Commander Jameson? Pleasure. I’m Vivienne Sena, representing Elder Hammerthynn.”

Viv smiled brightly at him and pumped his hand, squeezing it slightly.

Please god, she thought, please please keep it together.

The Commander faltered a second, and then returned her handshake. Politely he nodded and apologized for being late.

“Not a problem. Was just conveying the families’ respects to the Alpha.” Viv cleared her throat and then turned to look back at the Alpha.

“Now that the Commander is here, it’s probably best I get to the point.” She turned and crossed the room, as far away from the Commander as possible without looking like she was running for cover. The Alpha’s corner office had a stereo system with little buttons and lights which suddenly became very interesting to her. On a corner table was a glass and pitcher of water. Pointing to it, she poured herself a glass and then turned back to the men.

Hammer’s strained expression was now confused, the Alpha had a small smile on his face, and the Commander stood behind them looking like he wanted to puke. Oh yeah, this shit was going to get so much worse.

“Both families have been notified of the Alpha’s parentage, that being a Hammerthynn and the old Alpha, god rest his soul, Liam Xephier’s widow. However, they are resigned not to do anything short of a reprimand to Beta Hammerthynn here since the damage done had occurred over sixty years ago.”

“Wait, what?” The Commander interrupted, his forehead wrinkled with anger. “That’s it?”

Holding her hand out, Viv lifted the water glass and drained it. “Actually no, that’s what I was getting to before you came in. So really, great timing!” Viv set the empty glass down and gave him a sheepish thumbs up.

“The families recognize Alpha Adian Xephier as a Hammerthynn heir, however something that has been troubling them has managed to push its way forward, what with the animosity that the information might have caused.”

Viv looked at Hammer, then at the Commander. They looked at each other, both with slightly disgusted sneers and then looked back angrily at Vivienne.

“The families are concerned with how the Pipers are being used in Nachton. First – Christmas of 2006.” Viv looked at both men who looked confused. “The Nachton Mall incident?”

Hammer closed his eye and nodded. The Commander only pursed his lips and furrowed his eyebrows.

“You lost three to serious injuries and one died. There were other injuries, but ultimately you were down to seven Pipers. They were replaced several weeks after the incident. Then one and half years later, June of 2008, you lost four more Pipers.”

“You can’t blame us for Michaels. He was cleared for duty by the families,” the Commander offered.

“True, you had one piper kill three others in an unsanctioned chase through downtown Nachton, resulting in a multiple car accident and civilian injuries, not to mention forcing Duban’s car through the waterfront, onto the boardwalk, and ultimately into the sea.” Viv paused, “That’s one helluva blood memory, I gotta say. Still, you lost four Pipers and then the Alpha here,” she hooked a finger to the Alpha,” routed your men and had you stand down.”

Her choice of words made the Commander bristle. A routed army…bad stuffs.

“You’ve been running with seven, well not running – existing really,” Hammer huffed angrily at her, “but you chose to bring in the vampire’s human pet, CEO of Duibne Industries, Marthinus T. Steyn. No combat skills, and in fact, broke rank when he went after Michael’s and his rogue team, only to find that he was too late and the subject of your constant battles – the vampire Ellis Duban, star of your blood memory feud – had gotten away with her mate, Simon Huntington.”

Both men were quiet. Vivienne waited for one of them to add to her story.

“Nothing to add, gentlemen? K, let me continue.” Viv leaned back against the small table with the water and rested her hip on it as she finished.

“Previous to the Commander’s report regarding the Alpha’s true heritage, pack Command was attacked by more vampires, therefore forcing the Alpha to reactivate the Pipers and ask for replacements to bring you back up to fighting status. I’m assuming Steyn isn’t going to be for combat?”

“No,” Hammer replied.

“Too valuable,” The Commander finished.

“Right, right. All that vampire knowledge should come in handy. You were down now to eight Pipers. You recently received a Piper from Spain, and were expecting the last three within days, but under the circumstances, the families have put that request on hold till they have the findings from my evaluation of your Pipers and its leadership.”

Viv raised her eyebrows and then crossed her arms.



Vivienne acknowledged the perplexed, yet annoyed tone in the Alpha’s question. It was a very good one and Viv thought it might require a bit of back story on her part.

“Alpha Xephier, I’m only here because the Commander requested it.”

The Commander interrupted with a none too polite question. “How, exactly, did I request an inquiry into my team by an outsider?”

Vivienne kept her eyes on the Alpha and let the insult roll over her. “The families are concerned that there might be,” she now looked at the Commander with disinterested eyes, “a failure to communicate between the Piper leadership, resulting in unfavorable incidents.”

“You’re here to evaluate…us?” Hammer lifted a finger and pointed at himself and Jameson.

“What kind of bullshit is that?” The Commander yelled.

“Commander Jameson, the Pipers are considered ‘preventers’. You prevent things from happening, but recent events have implied that your blood feud, again something the families completely understand with the close proximity of the offender, is causing more damage than preventing them.”

Vivienne pushed off the table and looked down at her fingernail. “You brought the thunder, Commander Jameson, is it my fault you were too stupid to get out from the rain?”

The Commander closed the distance and snarled down at Vivienne, all six foot hundred feet of him, and despite being an imposing figure, Viv didn’t flinch.

“Who are you?”

“I’m a fixer, Commander Jameson. I fix situations. Situations like Johannesburg, South Africa, like covering up the attack on our pack headquarters and cleaning up after Pipers, like Nachton Mall. Who do you think keeps everything out of the news? You Pipers blow shit up everywhere you go. It takes favors, connections, and a lot of money to keep our existence out of mainstream news. I could own CNN now for the amount of money the families have poured into it.

“This is what I do, Commander Jameson. I come in behind situations, access the damage, and I fix your shit.” Viv looked back at the Alpha and answered his question.

“The point, sir, is that the families need to know that the Nachton Pipers can survive out here being so close to the epicenter of their blood memory. Can leadership stay the course, despite any petty infighting,” she rolled an eye over at Hammer and then back at the Commander, “and do its job? Sir. I am ultimately here to help. I have no authority to disband the Pipers, if that’s what the Commander and the Beta are concerned about.”

“But your recommendation…” Hammer started.

“Will go directly to the Elders, yes.”

Whether they actually act on it, good or bad, remains to be seen, Viv thought to herself. In essence she was here to observe and report back, but it wasn’t as if her reports didn’t mysteriously disappear before it was too late. Michaels was a perfect example of that.

“I respectfully ask permission to conduct psychological evaluations on the Pipers.” Viv held up her hand as the Commander began to squawk. “My qualifications will be on your desk before the end of the day, Commander. This isn’t my first rodeo.”

The Pipers were spread out across the globe, their numbers known only to the Elders, but the core was here with the Beta and pack Alpha. From time to time Viv has been enlisted to evaluate the other pack Pipers which is how she knew who Eric “Red” Reardon’s family was – it was what she did.



Hammer sighed as he watched Brig fight with Vivienne. Pointing fingers and insults were traded back and forth, but Viv held her own with his cousin. Vigo taught her well, except for the poor attempt at humor. Hammer never understood that part.

Vivienne remaining on pack property, and evaluating the Pipers, was ultimately up to the Alpha. Vivienne was here by request of both family Elders – Duncan Jameson and Vigo Hammerthynn, his father. He bristled recalling Vivienne calling Vigo their father, but it at least put to rest the suspicions he might have had about their relationship.

Hammer considered his options, not that he really had any. This was Brig’s fault, he decided, bringing the attention of the families to focus in on them. He should have known better and respected their position below the radar. They had no options.

Catching his son’s eye, Hammer nodded. “I have no problem with Vivienne Sena’s presence here at the property or evaluating the Pipers.” He paused and added begrudgingly, “Myself included.”

Brig glared at Hammer and he returned it with a shrug. “I, for one, don’t like getting caught in the rain.”


Brig clenched his jaw angrily as the Alpha allowed Vivienne Sena to stay on the property, and worse yet, Hammer agreeing to the psych evals to be done on himself and the Pipers. It was done and there was nothing he could do about it. Swallowing his pride, he resisted the urge to curse loudly, in several languages, and let out a strained grunt.

Despite who she was (the female Vyusher R’asa from the night before) this Sena woman had managed to get under his skin, and not only question his authority, but threatened his very existence within the pack. Guarding the Alpha and running the Pipers was all he had ever known, all he was ever bred for, but now it was being called into question because he ratted out his cousin for fucking a married woman and getting her pregnant.

Brig suppressed the grimace that was itching to stretch across his face as he mentally cringed at what he just thought. This was Hammer he was talking about, at the very least he could afford him some respect and accept what was done, was done…but he could not let it go. Not now, not…for a while. Still, he stood by what he did – the families had to know to protect themselves. Little did he know that in the process, he’d be thrown under the bus.

They were scrambling to focus the pack’s attention on something other than Hammer’s betrayal. He saw this now and that was what Vivienne Sena represented. She said it herself – she fixed things and a cover story had to be a good one.

Begrudgingly Brig took a step back and acquiesced. He glanced down at her again as the Alpha offered to find her a suite.

“I’ll be happy to show Miss Sena a place to stay.” Her head turned back to him and her eyes narrowed, no doubt suspicious of his polite tone. Brig would apologize for his outburst…someday. Walking to the door, he opened it wide and held his hand out to Vivienne to exit.



Vivienne gave the Alpha a brilliant smile and lifted her hand to heart. “Thank you kindly, sir. And of course I’ll have my report on your desk when I’m finished.”

Viv did her best to ignore the angry grunting coming from the Commander. Let him be pissed off, he brought this whole shit storm on himself. She was honestly surprised by his actions, and really, what did he expect?

“I’ll be happy to show Miss Sena a place to stay.”

She looked at the Commander with a surprised glare. Viv certainly didn’t expect him to offer anything short of a swift kick off the property, but maybe he was just accepting the inevitable. Hammer certainly had, but then this whole thing was coming from Vigo himself. Viv hated to admit it, but Hammer really had no choice.

The Commander opened the door and held his hand out for her. Looking back at the Alpha, she nodded.

“If I could, sir, I’d like to catch up with you later…few questions about the city and the pack’s interaction with the others?”

“Others” being the VR”s and the vampires – she was sure Nachton had a lot to offer, good and bad, plus she hoped to have the Alpha’s ear regarding her stay. Viv smirked slightly and turned toward the Commander, slowly exiting the room.



Hammer gave Vivienne a bland look and avoided looking at his cousin as they left the office. As the door closed, he busied his hands by tucking in the back of his shirt into his slacks and then slumped his shoulders.

“That was unexpected,” he said in a confused tone. “I fully expected Vigo to be here, fire and brimstone fuming pissed. I’m not sure if we should be worried he sent her.”

Hammer glared, recalling again the image of her gloating face as she called Vigo their father and claimed to be the cleanup crew for his Pipers. He knew their actions weren’t as covert as they’d like, and someone made a lot of if disappear without a question, Hammer was just surprised Vigo used Vivienne to do it.

“I honestly had no idea what my father did with Vivienne, nor did I want to know, but she’s here, best to just appease the old man and let her do her evaluations.”