Quil Ateara III, known throughout the Res as Old Quil, watched the man sitting across from him. Sam Uley had his elbows on his knees, head in hands. The Alpha looked haggard.
“Is it that bad, Samuel?”
“It’s worse.” He glanced up at the Elder. “You said it would work.”
“It does. If you’re not a wolf.”
Sam sat up straight. “What do you mean?”
Quil sighed. “A very obscure fact that only the Shaman knows.” He pulled out an ancient book. “It is thought that the Cold Woman wiped out the pack during the time of the Third Wife.”
“Their young sons phased when they saw their mother sacrifice herself to save Taha Aki,” Sam said.
Quil nodded. “What people don’t realize is that the other wolves had children who were too young to phase. The two wolves left standing that tragic day, were raised by the rest of the tribe. They guided their young nephews and friends in the ways of the wolf. When they were in their twenties, the older brother imprinted. Years passed with no children. The other wolves took mates. Still no children. The Shaman convened with the Spirits.” He held up the book. “These are his words. Every Shaman of a wolf pack adds to it.” He handed it to Sam. “I marked the page for you to read.”
The Alpha opened the tome to see the passage written in Quileute. His eyes widened as he read. He looked up at Old Quil. “Surely I didn’t read this right?”
“It’s correct. The three packs did the same thing.”
“‘A woman of pure mind, heart, body, and spirit shall sacrifice for the prosperity of the tribe.’ We kill a virgin?”
“What? No!” He snatched the book from Sam’s hands and continued to read. “‘A wolf will take her to mate. The first son shall be the Alpha.’ The pack must . . . be with the woman. She is the vessel of the next Alpha. Jacob Black, the first one, his grandmother was the vessel for Taha Aki’s sons. His wife was the next vessel. Your great-grandmother was the vessel for the third pack, making you Alpha. Whoever mates with your pack’s vessel, their son will be the fifth pack’s Alpha.”
“You’re asking imprinted wolves to cheat.” He stood and began pacing. “We’ll be fucking another woman. The one thing that we were guaranteed not to happen. How do we know that we can even get it up?”
A knock sounded with a voice immediately following it. “Hello? Quilly? You here?”
Quil beamed. “In the kitchen, Bella.”
Sam leaned against the counter, a frown marring his face. He took deep breaths to tamp down his ire. A sweet, musky scent caught his wolf’s attention. It sat up and cocked its head to the side, peering out through its human’s eyes. It knew the girl. The pale one. It stalked around until only a breath of space separated their bodies. It inhaled again. She would soon be ready; nearly ripe and very fertile. She would give strong pups to one of his wolves. Another sniff. Untainted. She spent time with the wolves and their mates, taking on the overall aroma of the pack, but no man had ever touched her.
“If you get any lower, Sam Uley, I’m gonna take a newspaper to your nose.”
He opened his eyes to find himself on his knees behind her, his legs caging hers as his hands gripped her thighs, pulling her back to him. His nose was at the top of the crack of her ass. He inhaled again then growled. That scent! Followed by the smell of her arousal.
He blinked, and she was gone. How in the hell had she moved that fast, especially unscathed? Did she actually hurdle the table?
“Quilly, I’ll see you later,” Bella yelled as she rushed to the door. “Call me if you need instructions.”
Sam stood, following her movements with his eyes. His wolf wanted to chase her down.
“Still think you can’t get it up?” Quil’s voice broke his concentration.
“What?” His gaze followed to where the Elder pointed. His dick tented his shorts. Starting to hyperventilate, he resumed his seat, hand on his forehead. “This is so fucked up.”
Quil laced his fingers together. “Yes, it is. Imprinting is not the end all/be all you guys think it is. It points you to the person needed for the man and the wolf. You and your wolf needed the calm serenity of Emily rather than the fiery passion of Leah. Junior needed to grow the fuck up, so he got a toddler. In Jacob I’s pack, it’s recorded that a young wolf of fifteen years imprinted on a married woman, who was old enough to be his mother. After completing the vessel ceremony, he mated with one of his imprint’s daughters. That was my grandfather.” He paused for a moment. Just as he was about to continue, Sam spoke.
“What happened today, Quil? I haven’t had a reaction like that since Emily’s first heat.”
“It’s time for the vessel. You’ve been taking the herbs for a year. Obviously, you’ve been around Bella when she’s in heat before now.”
He contemplated the information. “Is it a secret?”
“Talk to Emily and Leah.”
“All wolves must be present. Since Leah is our first female wolf, that means her mate must also be included so she will be represented. Emily is the Alpha’s mate. With their permission, the ceremony can take place.”
“And the rest of the pack?”
Quil shook his head. “They won’t know until the day the ceremony starts.”
“What do you want, Sam?”
He perused his former lover. Her arms were crossed over her chest as she placed her weight on one leg. Her toe would be tapping impatiently if she was a fidgety person. “What would you say if I told you that I know of a way that you could have kids, but there’s a catch?”
Leah snorted. “Isn’t there always?” She pushed her hair behind her ear. “What’s the catch?”
“Logan will have to have sex with another woman.”
“And we would keep the baby?” she asked, her brows scrunched up.
“Nooo. You will be pregnant within the year. As long as the other woman is pregnant first.”
“With Logan’s baby.”
“For fuck’s sake, Sam,” she huffed. “Spit it out.”
“There’s a ceremony that needs to take place with all wolves taking part. Since you’re female, your mate has to be there.”
“So, Logan will fuck this woman, along with the rest of the pack?” She paused for a moment. “You’re basically gonna gangbang a woman so I can have a baby?”
“Pull a train, and it’s for all imprints to have a baby if they want. For the pack to survive.” Leah began to pace as silence blanketed them. “You can go talk to Old Quil if you need to.”
“He’ll do it. What does Emily and the other imprints say?”
“Only Emily will know as she’s the Alpha’s mate. No one else will know until it’s time.”
She made a disgruntled noise in her throat. “You have any idea who it will be?”
“She was made known to me today. After telling Emily, I need to speak with her.”
“Think she’ll do it?”
He snorted. “Of course, she will.”
“Wait a minute,” she said as she faced the Alpha. “Imprinted wolves are impotent to all others.”
Sam blew out a hard breath. “Not to her. She’s in heat, or will be soon. Sam Jr. was standing tall and proud when she left.”
“Not the visual I needed, fuck you very much. Is that all?”
He nodded. “Don’t tell Logan. Or anyone else.”
Leah squared her shoulders. “Alpha order me. I have patrol the next few days.”
“You will not think of this conversation while phased.”
Sam stroked down his wife’s back as Emily whirled a finger around his chest and stomach.
“What’s on your mind, sweetie?” she asked. She could practically hear the gears in his head grinding away.
“There’s a ceremony that needs to happen if we want children.” She raised her head to look at him. “It involves another woman.”
“Em, it’s not artificial insemination. I have to fuck her.”
“Do it. We’ve been trying to have kids for years. The herbs aren’t working. Whatever you must do, do it.”
He nodded. “I’ll be gone with the pack all weekend. I’m gonna tell them that it’s a guys’ weekend out.”
Her eyes widened. “The entire pack?”
“The vessel for the next Alpha line has been chosen. The pack needs to fuck her for three days. After that, any wolf and imprint trying to get pregnant, will.”
“But the whole pack? Nine wolves?”
“And a human. Logan, as a female wolf’s mate, has to be involved as well.”
Emily grabbed his arm and searched his eyes. “This isn’t … I mean, she’ll cooperate? This isn’t against her will?” When Sam shook his head “no,” she let out a relieved breath. “That will be one bow-legged woman come Sunday night.”
He grinned at her statement.
The pack tumbled into the clearing, rough housing as always. The only human in the group agilely dodged a lunge before flipping out of the way. They slowly came to a halt in front of their Alpha, who had just stepped from a teepee. Old Quil, dressed in ceremonial garb from head to toe, was right behind him, a gourd in his hand.
“What’s up, boss man?” Paul quipped out. “What’s with the tan diaper?”
“It’s a breechcloth,” the Elder responded. “There’s one for each of you.” He pointed to a pile. “Put them on.”
A lot of grumbled complaints followed the orders. When all present had changed their clothing, they sat in a semi-circle. The Shaman handed off the gourd with a terse “Drink. From here on out, you will not speak. Whatever the Alpha commands, you will obey.”
Sam was the first to drink before passing it on. As the others partook, he began to talk. “Six years ago, the Spirits deemed us worthy of being Spirit Warriors, protectors to our tribe and the surrounding area. We lived up to our duty, stopped a Cold One from taking our pale sister. We have lived in peace since then. We must perform a ritual to continue our lines.” He nodded to Old Quil. “A woman pure in mind, body, spirit, and heart, has been chosen by the Spirits to be the vessel of the next Alpha line. She has seen beyond the feral beast to the man inside; not only us, but the peaceful Cold Ones that lived nearby. She is active in our community, though she is not a member of our tribe. She has helped all of us attain our education, to better ourselves, to make our tribe proud of us.”
Bella stepped out of the teepee, her hand in Old Quil’s. She was dressed in a short wrap skirt made of buckskin and a strip that covered her breasts. When she stopped before Sam, she tilted her head to the side, exposing her neck in submission.
“Are you willing to sacrifice yourself to your pack?”
“I am,” she said in a strong voice.
“Remove your clothing and kneel before your Alpha.” The skirt and top fell away to side. She stood in all her naked glory before descending to her knees. Her eyes peeked up at him from beneath her lashes, then dropped to the tented breechcloth. “Remove my covering,” he ordered, his voice lowering. With nimble fingers, she unknotted the breechcloth and let it fall to the ground. “Assume the position.”
Bella fell onto her hands, her head bowing. She could hear Quilly chanting, calling on the Spirits for their blessing. Sam’s heat radiated behind her, on her ass and legs. One broad hand scorched her hip as he steadied her. She closed her eyes as the blunt tip of his erection parted her. When he jerked her backwards, a cry left her lips. He grunted when he exited her body.
Sam watched as a single drop of blood ran down her inner thigh. That was the hard part; waiting for that one drop of her purity to reach the ground. His wolf gnashed his teeth in impatience. A fertile female was right there! It was time to mate.
When the blood reached the earth, a breeze blew through the clearing. The Shaman nodded. “The Spirits approve.”
With a growl, the Alpha penetrated the female before him. He set a furious pace. For hours, he had pleasured the female, with no release of his own. Now it was his turn. A howl was ripped from his throat as his seed shot forth. He held her tightly to him, trying to make sure not a single drop was wasted. Finally, he separated their bodies.
The Shaman spoke, “The only rank recognized is the Alpha. Cameron is next.” Sam was replaced by Jared.
He watched as his brothers each took their turns with the vessel. After the Alpha’s quick release, each deemed it necessary to give her pleasure. Her body constantly shuddered, either with aftershocks or continuous orgasms.
With the wolf Fuller, the ritual was concluded for the day. After the Alpha escorted the vessel back into the teepee, he joined his pack for a blessing from the Shaman.
“Eat,” the older Quileute instructed, gesturing to the fire and several coolers. “Alpha, when you finish, bring the vessel the blue jug. We await you.”
As the pack gathered and ate, silence descended upon them. It wasn’t until the Alpha entered the dwelling, that conversation began.
Paul ran his hands up and down his face. “This is fucked up. I’m not the only one to think that, right?” Murmured agreements went around the fire.
“Hey Quil,” Collin called out. “Have you seen anything in the journals about this?”
Quil shook his head. “No. But I’m not the next Shaman. Just as the Alpha is chosen, so is the Shaman.”
“Then who’s the next one?” Brady asked.
“I am,” Embry admitted. He bit the inside of his cheek, thinking on how to proceed. “I’ve always had vivid dreams. Remember?” Quil and Jake nodded. Many a times they’d been woken up by Embry telling of his dreams. “I knew I was going to be a wolf. That’s what had me so defensive before phasing. And afterward—”
“Dude was so jittery,” Jared interjected. “Like he had downed several pots of coffee.”
Embry smiled, a little embarrassed. “Yeah. Cause every time I closed my eyes, these visions would just bombard me. The red-head, Bella, Harry. They were all jumbled up. I finally went to Old Quil. He made me do a vision walk. I was named his successor.”
“But was there anything in any of the journals about this?” Jake prompted.
He shook his head. “I read something about a vessel, but nothing in detail.” The conversation paused when a blissful cry rang out, followed by chanting.
“This is so fucked up,” Paul muttered, covering his face with his hands.
“What did the passage say?” Seth queried, getting them back on track.
“It was from Ephraim’s journal. It just stated that the vessel had fulfilled her duty. Levi’s wife was due soon, and that Ephraim just found out his wife was expecting.”
“Holy shit!” Logan exclaimed, smacking his own forehead. “Levi’s wife was the vessel!” Disbelief was voiced. “Don’t you remember Sam’s words? ‘The vessel to carry the next Alpha’. Sam’s Alpha now, Ephraim was Alpha then. Levi’s wife had the first baby. She was the vessel.”
“Whose line will carry the next Alpha?” Jake asked. “Won’t be Sam, Jared, or Paul. I’m out, so is Quil. We’re all imprinted.”
“I’m gay,” Embry announced. “Well, more on the bi side. I prefer guys. I love Bells, but I’m not marrying her.”
“So, it comes down to the pups,” Jared said. All eyes turned to the three youngest members.
“We’re only eighteen,” Brady reminded them, motioning to himself and Collin. “Seth is nineteen. Bella’s twenty-three. Don’t you think someone will say something about that?”
“I’m not ready to have a wife and kid,” Collin uttered quietly. “Seth?”
He shrugged. “It’s Bella. We’ve all had crush on her throughout the years.”
“But a wife and kid, man. Think about it.”
His wolf grumbled at their talk. Age didn’t matter. He glanced over at the teepee. Inside was his future. Come Sunday night, it would be in his hands.
Old Quil took a sip of water before starting his prayers for the night. He gazed at the young woman prostrate before him. Deerskin covered her chest and groin. The area between her hips were exposed; he placed ancient charms there to help promote her fertility.
Only one more day was needed for the rite. Day one was for the animal within, and as such, the coupling had to reflect that. Hence, doggy style. The elder chuckled at the moniker. Day two was for the man. It seemed as if each pack member had to make up for the quickness of the day before. It took nearly ten hours to complete the day’s ceremony. Tomorrow was for life. It was through women that life abounds and grows. She would take each wolf, whereas before, they took her.
The Shaman smiled to himself and brandished the ceremonial feather, his songs of blessing and prayer filling the air as did the smoke from the sacred herbs and plants.
He waited patiently for the Shaman and the Alpha to finish. He was supposed to go home, but he wanted his mate with him. He had bided his time and it was where she belonged. He wasn’t going to wait any longer.
The Alpha exited and was startled to see the wolf. “What are you doing here? Go home.”
“I’m waiting.” He jerked his head toward the dwelling. “I’ll go home when she can go with me.”
His eyes flashed amber. “She’s mine, Sam. My mate.”
“All right.” Sam sighed. “You know there’ll be a backlash.”
“Don’t care,” he said with a shrug.
Old Quil stepped from the dwelling to see the two wolves conversing. He nodded. So that was the will of the Spirits. It was a good match; she tempered his childishness while he brought her out of her shell and showed her the fun side of life.
Bella blinked her eyes open to find herself staring at a dark green wall. She frowned. Her walls were a soft lavender, not green. She allowed only her eyes to dart around. The bedroom was purely masculine.
“I know you’re awake,” a gruff voice said at her shoulder.
She recognized the voice. Had even fantasized about it. “What am I doing here?”
“I brought you home where you belong.” His hand traveled down her stomach to her mons, fingers combing through the sparse curls, until they reached her treasure. “Are you sore? You fucked ten guys over the past three days, nine which are well endowed.”
She gasped when his fingers slipped over her clit. “Logan’s blessed in that department as well.” She hummed as the digits went lower. “Not sore.”
“Good.” His erection slid deep inside her. He kept the tempo deliberate and constant. The fingers of one hand rubbed her clit, while the other plucked her nipples.
“Faster. Please,” she begged. He lifted her leg with his and increased the pace. A growl slipped from his lips as her inner muscles gripped his with her orgasm. “More,” she sobbed. “I need more.”
He pulled out and ordered, “On your knees and grab the headboard.”
She quickly got into position. She cried out when he slammed back into her, and then set a punishing rhythm. He slowed when her second orgasm crashed over her. Resuming the previous needful pace, he leaned over, covering her back. A hand gripped the bedhead beside hers, as the other moved her hair to the side, baring her neck. With a guttural roar, he climaxed and bit down. She screamed, his culmination tripping hers.
Harsh breaths resonated throughout the room. Not willing to be apart from her body, he laid them both down. He laved his mark, gently, slowly, healing it. A small whimper escaped her.
“Does it hurt?” he asked her. That was the last thing he ever wanted to do.
“It stings.” Bella bit her lip, thinking of what to say next. “I’m a little confused.”
“You. Us. You have an imprint.”
“I do. Do you actually think I was a virgin before Friday? Bells, I’ve been fucking girls since I became a wolf. Even after the imprint.”
She turned in his arms. “I don’t want to anger the Spirits in any way. They gave you an imprint for a reason.”
He smoothed her hair back. “I’ve been in love with you since I was sixteen years old. The first day I saw you.” He placed a finger over her lips when she was about to say something. “I’ve dreamt of you every night for five years. The first time I saw you after I phased and learned about imprinting, my heart was broken when it didn’t happen. When I learned about Sparklenuts not hearing your thoughts, I thought ‘That’s it! That’s why I didn’t imprint on her.’ The Spirits had bigger plans for you. Then my imprint came along, and I railed against Them. Why would They give me this particular imprint when all I wanted was you?”
“Jake wanted me, too,” Bella reminded him.
At hearing that name, he growled. “All he saw was a beautiful face, then something to put back together. It was like, all he could focus on was a few of the things you let show. He didn’t understand that pushing you towards a relationship only drove you farther away. I saw everything, every little piece you kept hidden. I became your friend first and foremost. Yeah, I flirted a little. Okay, a lot,” he amended. “But my ultimate goal was you, right where you are now.”
“And the imprint?” she insisted.
“It’s still there. All she needs is a big brother. And if she ever wants something more, well, she can’t have it. This negates it.” His fingers brushed over her mark.
The front door slammed shut. “Hey, Quil!” Jared called out. “Have you seen . . . oh, hello.” He stopped short of the bedroom door. “I’ll let your granddad know to expect you two later. See ya.”
Quil waited for the front door to close. “Jared’s a great friend,” he said acerbically.
“The whole reservation’s going to know by sundown, won’t they?”
“That Quil Ateara finally caught Bella Swan? You betcha.”