Marked by Odin
Broods of Fenrir Book 2
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Bared Teeth Publishing
Number of pages: 205
Word Count: 58,000
Cover Artist: Amanda Kelsey http://razzdazzdesign.com
After killing his sadistic brother, Brand inherits the responsibility for his brother’s brood. Now, he must convince the brood that their barbaric way of life belongs in the past and demand change in order to secure their future.
Crushed by the death of his mate, Gunni believes it’s only a matter of time before he succumbs to the loneliness that plagues his life. He follows Brand out of loyalty, but he secretly craves the peace that death will bring—until he is confronted with the most infuriating human he’s ever met.
Leo is a throwback who has never quite fit in with human society. Drawn into the savage world of the werewolves, not entirely against his will, he discovers that the Broods of Fenrir don’t fear much… except him.
These three conflicting personalities unite in pursuit of an unscrupulous trapper who has taken a member of Brand’s brood captive. They must track him down before he uncovers what they are and their secret is revealed.
Contains Strong Language, Violence, and Sexual Situations.
Gunni sniffed several times, his muzzle lifted high. The cold air tickled the labyrinthine passages of his nose. Scents of fear and pain assaulted him, even from a few hundred feet away. Brand had sent him ahead to scout the Vancouver brood, and what he had to report was not encouraging. Madness was the best way to describe the events taking place in the valley below him.
He’d been raised in a relatively modern brood that shared a city with humans and blended in with them whenever possible. The chaos in front of him reminded him of the barbaric history of their kind that he’d heard about, but never imagined still existed. One female was dragged across the dirty snow between two dwellings. Her white-blond hair reminded him of Alice. The ache of her loss was still agonizing. Gods, how he missed her.
Gunni had trouble quelling the urge to run in and rescue another female set upon by male who laughed every time she screamed. Half a dozen males fought in the central clearing in front of an old-style longhouse for a haunch of meat that was quickly forgotten amid the violence of the exchange.
Going down there wouldn’t solve anything, and he would end up in an altercation where he would be vastly outnumbered. He was supposed to observe and report back to Brand, not try to resolve the issues himself. He knew that, and yet, turning his back was one of the hardest things he’d ever done.
The first few steps were the worst, but once he got up to speed, the joy of running through the winter night spurred him onward. He covered ground swiftly, his four paws chewing up the miles almost without effort.
The land was beautiful and more untouched than any place he’d ever known. Located in the mountains a few hours north and west of Vancouver and tucked away at the edge of a provincial park, the brood compound was a strangely anachronistic oasis of wildness in the modern world they inhabited. Though he’d been raised in what he’d thought a rural area, the wolf within him often pined for the expansive forests and hillsides.
He didn’t slow when he crossed the east-bound lanes of the divided highway. The light coating of new snow made the blacktop slick. He traversed the median in two jumps and emerged onto the west-bound lanes. Too late, he heard the squeal of tires. He turned and saw headlights closing with alarming speed.
He didn’t feel the pain of the impact. One moment, he was aware, and the next instant, he wasn’t.
* * *
Brand strode back and forth across the threadbare rug in the small living room of the rented cabin, swearing every time he turned around to go the other way. Gunni was late, very late. To make matters worse, Brand couldn’t tell through the brood bond if something was wrong. The brood he’d inherited from his half-brother, Ansvarr, was a seething mass of pain and anger. From twenty miles away, he couldn’t tell one member from another, so he had no idea if Gunni was in trouble or not.
His mate, Dagny, watched him from a well-worn armchair, her gray eyes following his path back and forth across the room. “Should we go look for him?” Her calm expression belied the turmoil that tumbled through their mating bond.
“If I get much closer, they’ll feel me. I’d rather they had as little chance to prepare as possible.”
“I could go.”
He stopped pacing and faced her. “There’s no way in Helheim I’m letting you anywhere near there without me.”
“I took care of myself for a long time before you came into my life.” Irritation hardened her voice.
Brand crouched in front of her and put a hand on her knee. “I couldn’t prevent what happened to you before, but I won’t let you go into that den of brutality by yourself now. I can feel their sickness from here.”
Dagny held his gaze. “I don’t want you to take your anger over what Ansvarr did to me out on them.” He moved to stand, but she grabbed his hands and held them tightly. “You can teach them so much more with tolerance than you can with violence.”
“My sire believed aggression was the only way to control the broods. Savagery has been bred into us for too many generations for more subtle leadership to move them now. Geir ruled for longer than anyone else since our escape from the barbarians.”
“You aren’t him.” She touched his face. “Ruling that way would destroy you.”
He looked down at where she cradled his hands in her lap. “That’s why I avoided this for so long. I’m not strong enough for what has to be done.”
“Your inability to be cruel isn’t a weakness, Brand.” She lifted his chin. “You’re strong enough to do it another way.”
“What if he was right, and brutality really is the only way?”
Dagny shrugged. “If violence is what it takes to lead them, they’re better off tearing themselves apart than having you subjugate them.”
Brand pulled her into his arms. “Okay. We try it my way, whatever that is.”
About the Author:
Coral Moore has always been the kind of girl who makes up stories. Fortunately, she never quite grew out of that. She writes because she loves to invent characters and the desire to find out what happens to her creations drives the tales she tells.
Prompted by a general interest in how life works, her undergraduate schooling was in biology. She follows science news and enjoys conversations about genetics and microbiology as much as those about vampires and werewolves. Coral writes speculative fiction and is pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Writing at Albertus Magnus College.
Currently she lives in Connecticut with the love of her life, who offers both encouragement and kicks in the tail when necessary. Also in residence are two mammals of the families Canidae and Felidae.