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Attracting Aries by Michelle Dare (Avynwood Pack Origins Book 1)

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Attracting Aries by Michelle Dare (Avynwood Pack Origins Book 1) Read Online And Download

Overview: A lone alpha wolf with nowhere to call home.

When his brother leaves their pack, Aries’s life forever changes. He has no desire to lead them, especially not the way his father does. So, he packs a bag and walks out the door without looking back. Years later, he’s still wandering. Or maybe he’s finally on the right path.

A shifter without a pack.

Little does Cassie know that she’ll find her mate in the gorgeous, unattached lone wolf while she’s running an errand. She feels his call on a primal level. Now that they’ve met, there’s no turning back.

Two souls intertwined.

A local alpha threatens Aries and Cassie, causing them to leave. They form their own pack. However, the enemy is never far away.

Fate may have brought them together, but it’s also vigorously testing their bond. They must fight for their survival.

The battle has just begun.


Attracting Aries by Michelle Dare (Avynwood Pack Origins Book 1) Read Online And Download Epub Digital Ebooks Buy Store Website Provide You.
Attracting Aries by Michelle Dare (Avynwood Pack Origins Book 1)





Attracting Aries by Michelle Dare (Avynwood Pack Origins Book 1) Read Online Chapter One


ARIES

The memory of the day my brother walked out of my life runs like a movie in my head. I’m thinking of him more today for some reason. It’s been years since I’ve seen him. Months since I’ve thought of him.


Yet, something inside me is reaching out for him, hoping he’s okay wherever he is.


Maybe it’s because I’m sitting on a mountain ridge in North Carolina, while the setting sun beats its last rays of the day down on me, and it’s nothing but peaceful. I miss my brother. But the anger I felt at him for leaving stayed brewing in me for a while.


After Scorpius left, I was with my father and his pack for two years until I couldn’t take it anymore. I tried. I really did. I wanted to learn how to lead, but his pack… the way he did things with no interest in change… I couldn’t stay. I couldn’t be the leader he needed. Because no matter what I suggested, he didn’t want to listen.


I’ve traveled a lot over the past eight years. In my journey, I’ve tried to find myself. Who I really am. What I want out of life. I’m only eighty years old, very young for a shifter. Scorpius is older than me by thirty years. Our parents waited until they were older to have us, so we’d be young and ready to run the pack for a long time. Too bad none of that worked out in their favor.


Last I heard, Father’s beta’s son took over about five years ago. He’s an alpha though not as strong as Scorpius or me. I’m not sure if my father is dead or alive. Hell, I’m not sure if Scorpius is either. But the difference is, I really hope my brother is still out here somewhere, living a great life. My father became a mean old son of a bitch. I wouldn’t shed a single tear if he’s gone.


My mother, I do miss her. I hope she’s doing well. She never saw anything my father did as a problem. The love she has for him is unconditional and I can’t fault her for that. Shifters mate for life. In the end, I had to get out of there though.


I’ve learned to let the anger at my brother go. It won’t get me anywhere. He did what was best for him. Didn’t I do the same thing after he was gone? I didn’t stay for long. I didn’t help. I fled with a packed bag, a very padded bank account that I made sure no one had access to but me, and the knowledge that I no longer had anyone to answer to.


Enough reflecting for tonight. Time to get moving. I have no destination in sight and need to find somewhere to sleep. I keep hoping I’ll know my new home when I get there. I’m not sure if it will happen. Years have passed and nothing.


There have been some shifter packs I’ve run into throughout my travels. Wolves, bears, even a cat pride. Last I knew, there was only one wolf pack in North Carolina, and I intend to stay away from them. I haven’t heard good things and don’t want any trouble. Being a lone wolf, I have no one to watch my back so I need to be careful. I didn’t come this far only to be killed because of my stupidity.


The night wears on and I keep walking. I could have driven when I left the pack. Drove all over the country, but there’s something better about doing it on foot. Brings me back to nature, makes me appreciate what this world has to offer.


I stay as a human every day until I sleep, then let my wolf take over since his hearing and eyesight are superior. Plus, he hunts much better than me. That’s not to say I haven’t stopped at restaurants when near a town to get a bite to eat. Being a wolf is easier. Instincts rule. Life is simple.


North Carolina is a beautiful state. And where I’m walking now is a thick forest with tall trees, blocking out the moonlight. The only sounds I hear are small animals scurrying out of my path. They recognize the predator in me, even if I want nothing to do with them. When my wolf hunts, he’s after much bigger game.


There’s a slight breeze, which brings with it the scent of woodsmoke. Not strong like a big fire is nearby but something faint an ordinary human might not pick up on. I start walking in that direction, wondering if there’s a campground nearby.


The closer I get; I hear a sound that has my wolf taking notice and the hair on the back of my neck standing on end. The low rumble of a bear tearing into its prey. I start to edge farther out, not wanting to interrupt its meal when a whimper catches my ears.


Something inside me tells me I need to get closer, not farther away. I take careful, quick steps, thankful for the soundless way shifters move even in our human form. The nearer I get; the whimper turns to a cry that’s obviously a human and I start running. Humans and bears are not a good combination.


I dart through the woods, my bag on my back jostling against me every time my feet connect with the ground. A small cabin comes into sight. I toss my bag to the ground and move to the back of the cabin where the sounds get louder. Claws slicing into flesh, a sickening sound. A gasp of strangled breath. Cries that become quieter and gurgled before stopping altogether.


Then I see the bear. He’s hovering over the human, not feasting but destroying. There is no bear clan here that I’m aware of. I’m a second from shifting when I make a critical mistake. I’m not watching where I’m going and step on a stick. All the soundless steps in the world won’t stop a stick from breaking when it’s met with force.


Snap!


The bear’s head turns my way. Bright, ruby red eyes meet mine, telling me it’s a shifter. This isn’t a regular bear either. This is a fucking grizzly and he’s attacking a human.


I let the shift take over, allowing my wolf to rise to the surface. I’m strong as a human but against a bear shifter, my wolf has a much better shot. Bears aren’t to be taken on lightly. They’re very strong and know how to fight. Wolves are more agile though.


My wolf growls as he approaches, but the bear goes right back to shredding the human while keeping his eyes on me. The bear dips its head to take the human’s arm into its powerful jaws and with a few shakes, severs it from the body. Blood coats the ground around them. The bear has it dripping from its jaw. My wolf lunges, not wanting to wait another moment. It’s probably too late for the human, but the bear needs to be taken care of. A human never stands a chance against a paranormal.


A brief thought enters my mind. Is the person on the ground a paranormal? No, they can’t be. They would have shifted or done something else, depending on what they were. A vampire is much too strong to let a shifter kill them like this. Fae would use magic. The bear wouldn’t get within feet of them. The person on the ground has to be a human.


My wolf’s teeth sink into the bear’s hind leg, causing it to turn and swipe its meaty paw down along my wolf’s side, its claws slicing through flesh. He lets go of the bear but goes back at him at another angle, ignoring the pain of the open wound.


The bear tries to shake my wolf off once he gets a good grip. But the bear is focused on disemboweling the human. Blood coats its fur where my wolf is latched on as the metallic taste registers with me. Everything my wolf feels, tastes, senses, I do too. My wolf has a good grip on the bear’s spine. It’s enough for him to momentarily focus on us instead. The human is dead at this point. I didn’t get here in time to save him.


Finally shaking us free, the bear spins and comes after us. My wolf decides to run, hoping the bear gives chase to get him far away from the human and the cabin. He comes for us, must be satisfied that the human is dead.


Shifters can fight through a lot of pain and broken bones. Our tolerance is high as the bear proves still after us with his damaged section of spine.


When my wolf thinks we’re far enough away, he turns and faces the bear head-on. The bear and my wolf go round for round. We’re bleeding and so is he, squaring off, panting. My wolf shredded the bear’s shoulder and hind leg, plus the damage already done to its back.


A quick flash of brown takes over the red eyes, and then the bear turns and runs off the best he can in the opposite direction of the cabin. He knew he wasn’t going to win. It was either leave now or fight to the death. My wolf doesn’t move. Simply breathes through the pain until he’s sure the bear is gone. Neither of us will shift if we’re still in danger.


The shift comes and I cry out in pain. It’s not the shift that hurts but the mending of the injuries. With every shift, I can heal my wounds unless they’re mortal, which they aren’t. It takes a lot to kill a shifter and my wolf never let the bear near his most vulnerable areas.


When I’m satisfied my injuries are healed, I stay in my human form and walk through the forest to where I left my bag. Luckily, shifter magic keeps our clothes in place when we shift from an animal to a human. That doesn’t mean when I fell as a human to the forest floor in pain that I didn’t get blood from my wolf on me.


After finding my bag, I locate a large enough puddle from recent rain to clean off my hands. There’s nothing to be done about my clothes. I change into a different pair of jeans and long-sleeved shirt then stuff my bloody clothes into my bag to be disposed of later. Leaving them out here where anyone walking through the forest could find them isn’t a smart move. Humans would think there’s a murderer on the loose and go looking for a body. Paranormals don’t deal with things the same. Fighting, blood, death, it’s a part of our world.


I walk back to the cabin to verify what I already know—the human is dead. And he is. The only way to recognize him as a male is by the scruff on his crimson covered jaw.


A sound from inside the cabin has me stepping back into the depths of the forest, away from the openness of the clearing. Another sound, a quiet snore and if I’m not mistaken, the sound of a fan whirring. There’s someone inside.


Can I keep going on my way and leave whoever is in there to fend for themselves tonight? No, I can’t. The bear could come back. Something else could show up. I drop my bag and shift back into my wolf before taking up a spot near the clearing to wait for the person inside to wake.


 

* * *


Four days have passed since I listened to the female’s heartbreaking cries when she found her dead loved one behind their home. Four days where I tried to move on but kept getting pulled back in the direction of the cabin, wanting to watch over her. Ensuring nothing else approached.


I haven’t left the area since finding the bear. I’ve stayed in the shadows, making sure the female was safe. I witnessed the burial of her husband. His name was Charles. I listened to the priest say a few words at Charles’s burial behind the cabin, closer to the tree line. There was no other family there. Only the female, whose name is Lealla from what I gathered from her conversation with the priest. He said a prayer over her husband’s buried remains, which Lealla herself put into the ground while tears ran down her cheeks and her shaky hands patted the last of the loose dirt over him.


It tore my heart out to not go to her and help but I haven’t seen hikers come through here. I would have scared her if I just appeared and offered my help.


When I think about the pain I felt when my brother left and when I also decided to leave my pack, it was nothing compared to the agony this female has been going through while dealing with the loss of her husband.


I stay in my wolf form as I watch over her for another evening. I can’t explain the feeling I have about her. Like she’s family—pack—even though there’s no way she is. And she certainly doesn’t call to me like a potential mate would. I’m protective over her. Maybe it’s because I witnessed her husband’s death. I’m not sure.


When morning comes, my wolf is startled awake by something. He stands quickly and looks around. He sniffs the air and scents nothing but bacon. Delicious, smoky, mouthwatering bacon. No one is immune to that scent. Even if it’s burnt.


Muffled curses reach us, and curiosity gets the better of my wolf. He walks around the cabin until he reaches the front of it. The door is slightly open, smoke coming from inside. He gets closer, hearing Lealla cough. She needs help and he wants to make sure she’s okay just as much as I do.


Shifters protect females and children above all others, and while no, we’re never supposed to reveal ourselves to humans, my wolf can’t seem to force himself away from checking on the female inside, nor let me take over so at least she’ll see a human instead of a massive wolf, which is far bigger than wolves who aren’t shifters.


When his paws hit the front step, Lealla wrenches open the door to rush from the cabin, coughing, as my wolf backs up quickly. He doesn’t have time to get away before she sees him. A startled gasp leaves her lips as her hand flies up to cover her mouth. She starts to tremble but doesn’t try to run away. My wolf doesn’t move, unsure of what to do.


She looks to be in her mid-twenties, if I had to guess. Lealla coughs a few more times before finding her voice. “Go away. I don’t have anything for you. The food is burned. That’s what happens when you’re so lost in your thoughts that you don’t pay attention to what’s going on in front of you.” She shakes her head. “Go, wolf. There’s nothing for you here.” The defeat in her tone has my wolf falling to the back and letting me come forward.


I could stop the shift. Force my wolf to remain in his form, but he’s as aware as I am that we can’t stay hidden any longer. We’re not leaving this female.


Where once stood a wolf, now stands a man.


Lealla blinks a few times. Her mouth drops open then closes. She starts to walk backward toward the cabin. “How… What…”


“I don’t mean to startle you,” I say.


“Startle me? More like scare the hell out of me. I meant it when I said there’s nothing here. It’s a small cabin. Not much money inside.”


“My name is Aries.” I try not to roll my eyes. What do you say to a human you just shifted in front of? I have no damn clue. “I don’t want your money.”


“I must have inhaled too many fumes in the house,” she mutters then whips her gaze back toward the cabin. “Shit!” Lealla rushes inside. I watch as she starts opening the windows that face me to let the smoke outside.


I’m not sure what to do, so I simply stand in her yard—in the middle of the forest—and wonder what the hell I’ve gotten myself into.


Lealla emerges a few minutes later, tentatively sticking her head out to see if I’m still here. There’s no longer smoke but the scent of burned food hangs heavily in the air coming from inside. She stops in the doorway. “You’re real.”


I can’t help the small smile that forms on my lips, hoping it does a little to ease her worry. “Last time I checked.”


“But you were a wolf and now you’re not.”


“Yeah.”


“I wasn’t seeing things.”


“No, unfortunately, you weren’t.”


“Do you want to come in for some coffee?”


I cock my head. “You want to invite me inside, even though I’m a wolf who shifted into a human.”


“Are you here to kill me?”


I shake my head.


“I didn’t think so. If you were, I’d be dead already.” She drops her gaze. I imagine she’s thinking of her husband. “Yes, I’d like you to come inside and have coffee with me. Preferably with a hefty dose of liquor in mine because what the fuck is going on right now?”


We step inside and I take a seat at the small table in the quaint kitchen that smells like horribly burnt bacon. I try to make myself look smaller and not intimidating, though I’m a big male. Shifters are taller and more muscular than average humans.


The warmth of the home calls to me, makes me feel settled in ways I haven’t in a long time. Lealla is no threat to me. Plus, I owe her an explanation not only about why I’m a male who’s also a wolf, but I also need to tell her I was here that night Charles was killed and how I’ve been watching over her since.



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