The Ulfic's Mate Online - Leona J. Bushman

Chapter One

His black fur rippled in the wind, gleaming under the blue rays of the full moon. He lifted his nose in the air, sniffing for hunters. Getting caught in wolf form was not on his list of things to do before he died. In fact, being caged might kill him. Sinewy muscles flowed with strength as he swiftly tracked the renegade wolf.

He put his nose down to the ground. He had her scent and resisted the urge to howl. At first, she had been hard to follow, but her scent grew stronger the deeper into the evergreens they went. As soon as he realized it, he slowed down, instincts telling him it could be a trap. Regardless, he needed to track her down. She had killed or ordered the death of three pregnant women in his pack.

As a detective, Nolan Littlebull needed to do things by the book. As head of his pack, there were other obligations. Nights like tonight brought his dual personas together. He possessed some evidence against her group. However, the culprits had committed the crime in wolf form. The authorities were searching for a stray pack of wild wolves or someone with pet wolves.

They were wrong.

It wasn’t a stray pack or even wolves exactly but rather a faction which split from his werewolf pack more than a hundred years ago.

The real enemy was the rival pack leader. Crossing the agreed upon truce land without notice and then killing on Nolan’s territory required him to meet the aggressor or lose face. He growled in frustration. If she had done it openly, he would have personally met the challenge the first time.

Now, the human authorities, animal control activists, and half the damn world were aware of the killings. He stopped behind a large pine and crouched down in the undergrowth. They were on the Yakama Reservation’s restricted lands.

Smart move by Roxy Whitekiller to lead me out here. If something happened to him, it would be attributed to wild wolves and coyotes. Tribal authorities would find him naked and ravaged by canine teeth. He shook his head. How the majority of the humans continued to deny the existence of other races within their world constantly amazed him.

He saw no other choice; he must go on. Watch his step and his back. But he could not let Roxy get away with murdering those under his protection. He felt the bloodlust of his beast swell. That side had no problem with the plan of chase and attack. His human instincts were calling for caution. Could he be thinking too much, or was this an elaborate trap set up to capture those getting too close in the hunt for the killers?

Despite the misgivings, he continued deeper into enemy territory. After an hour, he came to a confusing junction on the path. Scents all congregated together—the forest, the old growth, the dead foliage slowly rotting providing the necessary nutrients for the new growth, and at least thirty of his kind, males and females. The hair behind his ears stood up, and awareness trickled down his spine.

Someone was watching him.

Doing a slow three-sixty, he sought the source. Although he could feel the presence, he could not pinpoint it. As he turned to his original task, a huge ball of brown and gray fur flew at him. He tensed, most of the weight on his hind legs, as he readied himself for a counterattack when a red-gold wolf sideswiped the airborne aggressor.

Watching for an opening, he circled the fighting wolves. The brown wolf seemed intent on getting to him, but the other one kept blocking its attack. Frustration gnawed at Nolan as he was not used to someone fighting his battles for him. Finally, he saw an opening. He leaped onto the brown wolf’s back and locked his jaw on its shoulder.

The aggressor yelped and lost its grip on the red-gold wolf. It shook Nolan off, and then ran into the woods. Everything in Nolan wanted to follow and finish the fight, but he did not. Instead, panting from exertion, he went to the wolf that had interceded for him and looked at it. A female. A beautiful she-wolf.

Cream markings showed on the face and underbelly. He had never seen markings like hers, and he wished he could ask her questions as well as thank her for her help. Communicating in wolf-speak was hard work. He cringed inwardly as he thought of the guttural way human speech sounded on the wolf tongue but decided he