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Discovery of a Queen by Elizabeth Brown


Overview: My sisters have been in a magical slumber for centuries, my mother, the last great battle queen is dead, leaving me to face the world alone. I’m the last of my kind. A queen, not entirely shifter and not entirely witch but a perfect blend of both. I’ve been living in hiding for over four hundred years, avoiding ties with the supernatural community, specifically the Council and the Alpha of all alphas, like the plague. That is, until I find myself challenging for alpha of the New England pack in front of both the shifter and witch communities. Now, I’m the leader of both. Fuck, I’m the leader of both. I’ve put myself square in the Council’s sight, my time in hiding forcibly over.
But the Council is the least of my problems. Malick, the oldest Archdemon to walk the earth, is still alive despite my mother's best efforts. His legion growing in number by the day. I may want to keep myself and my new community away from his legion, but I know that the only way we’ll ever be safe is to kill him.
Countless queens have tried. All of them failing even with their alpha dragon mates and supernatural communities.
I’m going to have to work with the Alpha, Caleb, and the Council if I want to end Malick and wipe out his legion for good. Unfortunately, Caleb also happens to be my mate, as in soulmate, together forever, never to be parted, partners in crime. I know that he won’t let me go after we’ve finished wiping Malick from the face of the earth. But I refuse to be subject to the Council’s control.
I also need to find a way to wake my sisters because what’s coming for us is far worse than Malick and there are no guarantees there will be any survivors.


Discovery of a Queen by Elizabeth Brown Book Chapter One


Bam! Bam! Bam!

The sound of pounding fists on my door rouses me from sleep. I blink my gritty eyes open slowly, the fog crowding my mind preventing me from coherently comprehending what woke me up. I stare blankly at my alarm clock as it flashes bright red digits at me. What are the numbers? My clock is trying to tell me what time it is, but my brain can’t decipher what it’s saying. More pounding. It’s two in the morning. I blink one last time in an effort to clear my head. I hate being woken up, but this isn’t the first time it’s happened, and I doubt it will be the last. Crawling out of bed as the knocking continues, increasing in volume and now sounding frantic, I scrub my hands over my face as I clear the last remnants of sleep from my mind. My dragon grumbles sleepily in my head, wanting whoever is banging on our door to go to hell.

“What the hell do you want?” I shout loud enough for even a human to hear.

“Attorney McInnes?” a female calls out.

“It’s two in the bloody morning. What could you possibly want an attorney for?” I make my way down the hall of my one-story home to the front door. At least the pounding has stopped.

“We need to talk to you, it’s urgent.”

“Who the hell is ‘we?’” I yank open the door to see two women standing in front of me. One is a witch with blonde hair, the other a shifter with brown hair. Color me interested. Any stubbornly clinging brain fog vanishes at the sight of the two before me. Normally, witches and shifters stay away from each other—unlike a couple of centuries ago when they all lived in communities together. Hell, even vampires lived with us at one point.

“Kelly Shaw.” The blonde points to herself. “And this is Olivia Fontain.” The brunette waves. “We’re from the local coven and pack. We need to talk to you about something. It’s pretty urgent,” she repeats. There’s a note of fear and desperation in her voice, so I gesture for them to come in.

I lead them down the hallway, past my bedroom, and into my kitchen, where I flick on the light and start making coffee. Turning to lean against the counter as they seat themselves at my kitchen table, I silently chuckle as they stare at me. They’re lucky they came to see me in the middle of the night in winter. I’m currently in boy shorts and an oversized men’s shirt with my hair tied in a messy braid. During the warmer months, I sleep naked.

“Talk.” They look at each other before Olivia nods.

“I realize you’ve kept yourself fairly distant from the shifter and witch communities despite being…well…whatever you are. We can respect that. But shifter females are going missing.” I arch my eyebrow at Olivia. “They’re dominant too. I’m one of the last few left.”

“Morgan, the local alpha, is blaming the witches for it,” Kelly chimes in. Oh, I know who Morgan is alright. Douche canoe at its finest. I’d love to see that asshat taken down.

“And you’re telling me they have nothing to do with the females’ disappearances?”

Kelly and Olivia both nod. I take a moment to study them—not physically, but their auras. Olivia is strong enough to be a beta for the right alpha, hell, she’s strong enough to be alpha. Kelly is also insanely powerful. I’m surprised she isn’t the coven’s high priestess. My eyes narrow slightly as I read her aura. Some of her powers are blocked, which is highly unusual. She must have a dangerous gift. But they aren’t lying, their auras would have muted colors if they lied.

“I have one question.” They tense. “Why me?”

“You’re the only local supernatural attorney around. We figured if something illegal was happening it would be best to have you look into it before calling the Council.” Kelly explains with a shrug. “Besides, you’re outside of both communities, so no one will notice you looking into things.”

She has a valid point; I don’t really have ties to either community. Keeping to myself all these years does have its advantages. “Okay. I believe you.” They look shocked.

“That’s it? You don’t want to see any evidence?” Olivia glances at Kelly, dumbstruck.

“I can tell if you’re lying. Neither of you are.” I shrug. “So why drag this out?” My coffee maker beeps. I turn to grab three mugs from the cabinet, filling each. “I don’t have cream or sugar in the house, so you’ll have to take it black.” I place the mugs in front of them, watching as they silently stare into the steaming caffeinated liquid.

“Thank you.” Kelly’s voice is soft and filled with emotion.

“Now what sort of help do you need from me exactly?”

Kelly remains silent, so it’s Olivia who answers. “We need you to find proof. I’ve been working with the local coven, even before Morgan started pointing fingers at them, so I know there was no way they were actually involved. The majority of our pack believes me, but Morgan is stronger than he should be, so we can’t do anything about it.”

That piques my interest. “What do you mean by that? How is he stronger than he should be?”

“He hasn’t been alpha all that long,” Olivia continues, and I nod, recalling the change of power that occurred about ten years ago, “and before that, he didn’t really seem like he was going anywhere fast. Yes, he was a dominant wolf, but I wouldn’t have pegged him as alpha material. The pack was actually pretty surprised when he won his challenge and then won subsequent challenges against him. He’s only gotten stronger over the last ten years too. It’s weird.”

That is weird. Typically, shifters come into their full strength when they reach puberty. It gives both their human and animal bodies time to grow and develop. I’ve never heard of a shifter becoming more powerful as an adult. Despite this, I don’t understand why they need me to investigate for them.

“And why can’t the witches just look into this?”

“If we attempt to do anything, move in any way, and Morgan catches wind…” Kelly pauses, looking up from her coffee mug with fear shining in her eyes. “Morgan might declare an all-out war against us. We need someone on the outside, someone who doesn’t have ties to the pack or the coven, to look into things quietly while we try to keep the peace for as long as possible.” Now Kelly appears frustrated.

My dragon rustles restlessly inside me, something sparking to life in our core. For some strange reason, we both want to protect the two women sitting in front of us. I’ve acted as a private investigator before, but nothing has ever stirred this kind of primitive gut reaction in me. My dragon has never felt this amped up over a job or this connected to two virtual strangers either.


* * *

Three months ago.

I find myself staring down the barrel of a gun, fighting the urge to roll my eyes. While a pistol will certainly hurt, that thing isn’t going to kill me. Stupid human, you have no business playing with the big boys. It took a few weeks, but the guys I keep on retainer for information found my new best friend here, a pleasant local drug dealer named Ian.

Although local authorities have had a hard time tracking Ian down, it was fairly easy for me to do so. Why would the Alpha of the New England Pack be dabbling in human drugs? What does this have to do with the missing female shifters? There’s no way a human could even keep a dominant female contained, let alone do anything to hurt her. This just doesn’t make sense.

I need this guy to talk, and he won’t with that gun in my face. I toss a little glamor at him, and he’s putty in my hands. Like vampires, who can hold humans spellbound with their gaze, I can glamor a human with my magic and gain similar results.

“What do you know about the missing women in the area?”

“If you’re looking into those dead hookers, those were Ricky’s girls, not mine,” he tells me, his Boston accent thick.

That’s not the information I’m looking for. I shake my head. “Not the dead hookers.” I let my magic nudge his mind a bit. “The shifter women.”

Something dark slithers through his thoughts. It’s oily, slick, and sticky. Sinister. Cold. He’s been tainted by demons. Fuck.

* * *

My cellphone records the fight between a bear and a fox shifter. They both appear smudged when I look at them, but when I check my phone, they look normal. That’s odd as fuck. The drug lord’s dark, tainted mind led me here to an underground, and very illegal, shifter fighting ring. I had to dig around in that trash nugget’s head for a while before finding the fights buried in his mind. The memories had been blocked off with a spell, so he wouldn’t have been able to access them on his own. Which meant he was a pawn—a demonic pawn.

While I knew these fights existed, this particular fight isn’t what I expected. It had taken me a month to pinpoint the exact location of this fighting ring from Ian’s head. The memory he had was of a bout in Boston, but since fighting rings move around to avoid detection, it had been relocated by the time I was able to get to the site on the shorefront. This fight is taking place in Connecticut, near one of the popular casinos.

I inhale deeply, trying to take in as many scents as possible. Douche canoe, I’ve found you. Morgan is here. I search the crowd, but I can’t see him. His scent is strong enough to suggest he was here recently, but I must have missed him. I drag my gaze back to the fight once again, feeling little red flags rise in my mind. I think I know why they appear smudged. At least, I’m supposed to know. I shake my head and curse, knowing the information is just beyond my reach.

I feel like we should know this. Why don’t we know this? I mentally nudge my dragon.

I’m not sure. It feels so obvious. I glance between the fight and my phone again. Still nothing on my phone. Damn it. I close my eyes and allow my magic to ease out into the room, but I’m instantly blasted with cold, dark energy. It’s not magic, it’s demonic power. My eyes snap open, quickly scanning the space again, but I don’t spot any demons. I can sense their energies, but they aren’t physically here.

I see a female from the pack. I don’t know her, and I’ve only seen her around Boston, but she’s a member of the New England Pack. She’s stumbling and leaning against a tall man. Making my way over to the pair, I notice the man has a death grip on her. I bump into them, putting my hands on the female’s shoulders.

“Hey! I’ve been looking for you everywhere, girl!” I plaster a smile on my face. “Where did you run off to?”

“Back off!” The male’s voice is gruff, and his body language screams hostility. Judging by his scent, he’s a tiger.

“I came here with my friend. She doesn’t look so good. I think we should head home now,” I state in a firm, no-nonsense tone.

“I said back off.” His body ripples as he struggles to suppress the shift. “She’s been paid for. Now get lost.”

Paid for? Now I’m the one struggling to suppress the shift. Oh, no. Absolutely not. Not on my watch. With a lightning-fast punch to the throat, I have the tiger on the floor gasping for air. For good measure, and to make me feel better as a female, I slam my foot down on his crotch. Given how drugged up the woman now leaning against me is, there’s no way this is a consensual thing. I carefully drag the female away from the downed shifter. Thankfully, no one seems to be paying any attention to us with the fight that’s still raging between the bear and the fox.

What the fuck is going on?

* * *

One week ago.

“What the hell are you doing here, bitch?” Morgan growls as I walk into his office. We’ve had a few run-ins in the past since I’m the only local attorney who deals exclusively with the supernatural communities. He’s not my biggest fan. Morgan is the shiftiest motherfucker I’ve ever met, so the feeling is absolutely mutual. There have been several complaints against him from neighboring packs based on his aggressive behavior, and I’ve been the mediator at all of those meetings. I’ve ultimately ruled in favor of the other packs, thereby taking away any shot Morgan had at absorbing those packs into his own.

“Morgan, I’m just here to talk.” I hold my hands up, palms out, as a gesture that I come in peace.

“You always come just to ‘talk.’ What the fuck is it this time?”

“I’ve heard about the missing females—”

“That’s none of your business. You aren’t pack.”

“Not technically, no. But, Morgan—”

“I said this is none of your damn business, latent trash.” Spit comes flying from his mouth at the force of his scream. Gross. I blink, my mind reeling with the confirmation that he knows what’s actually going on. He wouldn’t put up this kind of a fuss otherwise. His scent at the fight wasn’t a coincidence.

I calm myself and try to read his aura. There’s something off about him. He’s not quite smudged like the fighters at the ring the other night, but he still doesn’t feel right. I’m not sure what it is, and I can’t get a good enough look at his aura right now to tell either. He’s right in my face, and I refuse to close my eyes for a second. My protective instincts are screaming at me.

“Look, I’m just trying to make sure no one else gets hurt.”

He comes flying at me, and I let him, I won’t blow my cover. He wraps his hands around my neck.

“See here, you latent bitch, I don’t need you asking questions.” Oh, good, he’s used both his favorite words for me in one sentence, how thoughtful.

“There’s talk of going to war with the witches.” I keep my statement calm even though he squeezes his hands tighter.

“That’s right. I’m going to fucking wipe those witch bastards out.” His eyes are wild and there’s a hint of insanity creeping into his tone.

Shock sends icy tendrils through my veins. He just admitted he’s going to cause an all-out war with the witches. Is he fucking crazy? Or brain damaged. Both? Both.

My dragon roars in protest. The witches have done nothing wrong and he wants to go to war with them? We can’t let this happen! My dragon struggles to get free, wanting to rip Morgan limb from limb.

“Over my dead fucking body, you piece of flaming garbage,” I hiss.

“Over your dead body, latent trash? Is that a challenge?” That smug look on his face is going to be the first thing I rip from his corpse.

“It’s a promise, you twat.” So much for being careful.

* * *

“I’m sorry…You did what?” Olivia’s voice hits an interesting octave as she paces in my living room.

“I challenged Morgan.”

“For alpha?”

“She didn’t exactly challenge him to a chess game, Liv.” Kelly is leaning against the wall with her arms crossed. “So it’s reasonable to assume that Ayla challenged for alpha.” There’s a teasing lilt to her tone.

“But…” Olivia gestures to my entire body. “You’re latent.”

I simply arch an eyebrow in response.

“You are latent, aren’t you?” Olivia steps closer to me, her nostrils flaring as she takes in my scent. “What the hell are you?”

“I’m about to be your damn alpha. Calm your tits.”

“My tits are calm. The rest of me is freaking out. I can’t even tell if you’re dominant or not. Christ.” Olivia runs her hand through her hair and starts pacing again.

“Look, I appreciate the concern. But I swear I’ve totally got this.” I shrug and reach for my glass of wine. It’s been sitting on my coffee table all by itself, poor thing. It needs me to be its friend.

“How are you this calm, Ayla?” Kelly comes over and grabs her glass off the table, taking a small sip. “You just challenged for alpha and you’re sitting here drinking wine. Shouldn’t you be, I don’t know, training?” She glances over at Olivia for a second before looking back at me. “I thought you were a witch. Your aura suggests you have magic.”

“Ladies, honestly, I’ve got this. All that matters is I’ve got this.” Although, with the two of them bringing up what I might be, I’m second-guessing my decision to challenge for alpha. Do I just hand over power to someone when I win? And there’s no question in my mind I will win. “Drink your wine. We’ve got a fun day tomorrow.” Though now I’m cursing my rashness.

“Fun,” Olivia mutters, shaking her head. “Are you listening to this insanity? Fun, she calls it.” Olivia stalks over and grabs her wine, downing it in a single gulp. Impressive.

“Morgan needs to be dealt with. I’m going to bloody deal with him.” What happens after that is a question I don’t want to think about right now.

* * *

What the actual fuck? Why do I always put myself in these situations? Am I really this stupid? Maybe I just really hate myself.

I’m staring down an insanely pissed off lion shifter. There’s saliva everywhere, his eyes are bloodshot, and he’s growling in that way cats do when they’re not happy, all deep and guttural. I’m going to have to kill him, I know that. I knew it the moment I challenged him for alpha, but why the hell did I have to go and catch feelings for people? What the hell is wrong with me?

I toss a quick glance to my right and see the faces of the witches and shifters of the New England area. They’re gathered around the center of the town the shifters use as their pack land. A small girl with gorgeous, brown, curly pigtails tugs on her mother’s hand, smiling up at her. Right. That’s what’s wrong with me. I can’t let any more shifters go missing, and I can’t let the witches take the blame either, not when I know they aren’t behind the disappearances.

Another growl from the lion shifter in front of me pulls my attention away from the girl and back to him. He looks strange again, and I still can’t figure out why. It’s almost like his entire body is vibrating with energy. Now that I have a minute to focus, he looks like the shifters from the fighting ring. His aura appears smudged, like someone who put pressure on ink that’s not quite dry yet. Both of these make him appear, to me anyway, fuzzy, as though I need glasses to see him properly. I’ve never experienced this before I started this investigation, which concerns me just as much as the missing shifters. Thinking about the missing shifters fills me with rage. How could this, this thing, call himself alpha? How could he let any of his pack go missing? What sort of leader did that? While I had been able to save one shifter, a wolf named Sasha, the rest remain lost. And try as I might, I haven’t been able to track them down.

I let the rage build, sending streams of hot lava through my veins. I know I can’t let the shifters or witches see what I am, but there is no way I’m going to lose this fight. I can’t shift, and I’ll need to be creative to use my magic. I smirk as the heat of my rage warms my muscles. I could just rip him to shreds with my bare hands. That will be fun.

The lion charges me, his giant front paw swinging at my head. I wait until the last possible moment before stepping out of the way, aiming a roundhouse kick at his face. My foot connects with his eye socket with a satisfying crunch. Even in my human form, I’m much stronger than most shifters in their animal forms. This douche canoe has no idea what’s coming for him. I may not be the protector I once was, but I’ve seen enough of this man’s shit to know I need to protect these people. I quickly follow through with a superman punch to the same spot while he’s dazed from my kick, and the resulting sound of bone grinding together is music to my ears.

I want to make this asshat pay. I want him to feel the fear those females must be feeling if they’re even still alive. I want him to hurt because there’s no way anyone can convince me they aren’t hurting. I want him, in his last moments, to realize he’s so weak and pathetic I can take him in my human form. I don’t see him as a threat, me, a petite female. I have no fear of this creature, and I’m going to make damn sure no one fears him again.

I allow my magic to flood my body. I don’t want to publicly use it and raise too many questions, so I’ll let it give me an internal boost so I can ramp up the pain. I’m not typically a bloodthirsty person, but there’s just something about Morgan that makes me want to bathe in his blood, my dragon egging me on.

He staggers to his feet, blood streaming down his face and congealing in his mane. He lets out a roar, which I’m sure was supposed to sound impressive but comes out shattered and pained. He starts to circle around me, looking for a weak spot. He won’t find one unless I allow it. I close my eyes so I can follow his aura. He’s smudged like this too. I wonder if he’s working with demons. There’s a similar feel to their auras and energy now that I think about it. Every muscle goes rigid, and the heat of my rage soars higher.


My eyes snap open and I whirl on him, my magic trying to burst from my body to burn this fucker alive. He’s selling females. Regardless of who is paying for them, he’s allowing members of his pack to be sold as though they’re just lumps of meat. And if demons are involved, there’s a potential that some of those females are in their hands. Either way, it’s a fate so much worse than death. I was going to toy with him, but now I can hardly hold myself back. And honestly, there’s no reason why I should restrain myself.

So I don’t. I let the rage consume me as I practically fly at Morgan. I wrap my arms around his neck and squeeze. His neck snaps like a toothpick.

Fuck you, asshole.

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