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For centuries William has been executioner for the Coven, a sinister organization that keeps supernatural creatures in line. Everything changes the day he rescues Emily from a pack of werewolves. Not only is she a human, but she’s trying to save the life of the woman he’s supposed to kill. If he didn’t feel so strangely attached to her, William would get rid of them both. Instead, he requests the Coven’s mercy, which sparks an earth-shattering revelation.

Age Rating: 18+

 

Shadow Pact by Tally Adams is now available to read on the Galatea app! Read the first two chapters below, or download Galatea for the full experience.

 


 

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1

Summary

For centuries William has been executioner for the Coven, a sinister organization that keeps supernatural creatures in line. Everything changes the day he rescues Emily from a pack of werewolves. Not only is she a human, but she’s trying to save the life of the woman he’s supposed to kill. If he didn’t feel so strangely attached to her, William would get rid of them both. Instead, he requests the Coven’s mercy, which sparks an earth-shattering revelation.

Age Rating: 18+

Original Author: Tally Adams

Note: This story is the author’s original version and does not have sound.

Emily

Emily sat in her car outside the warehouse and clasped her hands together to steady them.

She was terrified, but determined.

It was a chilly autumn day, and the small trees that lined the road had lost most of their leaves as they prepared for winter, giving them a somewhat skeletal aura.

Above, gray skies stretched out, blotting the sun in a heavy weight of dreariness. It mirrored her mood nicely.

At another time—what seemed like a lifetime ago—she’d loved the fall. Colors, crunchy leaves, and the hint of warm apple cider in the air had always filled her with a sense of happiness.

Of contentment.

Now, in this place so far from home, it was just a cold reminder of hard months ahead.

Any minute the warehouse employees would be leaving the building, and she was going to confront him.

She’d never seen him in person, but the passenger seat was littered with pictures and documentation from a private investigator she’d hired six months ago when her sister suddenly disappeared.

The investigator had been expensive, but finding Amber was worth any price.

She hadn’t ended up with as many details as she’d hoped for, though, since he’d just up and disappeared one day as well.

While not as well-informed as she’d hoped to be when the investigator vanished, she was able to use the information he’d already supplied to pick up the trail right where he left off.

His last batch of pictures had contained several shots of her missing sister, proof positive she was still alive, along with a single 5×7 of the man who had her.

And a two-page letter that Emily had first thought to be a tasteless joke.

It read like the rambling of a madman, with one word recurring in an excited print.

Werewolf.

On the day he was supposed to call and give her an update, she’d been waiting by the phone, ready to blister his ears and demand her money back.

How dare he blame her sister’s disappearance on his delusional fantasies?!

But the call never came.

It was only a few days later that she’d been politely excused from two different police stations.

As soon as the officers pulled Amber’s information and saw her sordid history, they shrugged off her disappearance.

They said she’d likely run off with the man in the photo, and there was simply nothing to indicate otherwise.

Then, in a roundabout way, informed Emily she was better off to let it go and move on with her own life. Unfortunately, the local police knew Amber.

Well.

They also knew this wasn’t her first disappearance. But Emily couldn’t just walk away and move on.

While her relationship with her sister was…strained, to say the least, Amber was the only family Emily had left since their mother passed a few years ago.

It was only a few days after the ill-fated attempt to contact authorities that she got her first glimpse of the monster the investigator had warned her about before he vanished.

It was a night she’d never forget. She bore the deep grooves on her arm from the beast’s claws for weeks after the attack.

The human man with the creature had claimed it was a warning to let it go and leave it alone.

Idiots.

It was the attack that spurred her to start doing her own research. Months later, the research had led her here, to this quiet small-town street in Maine.

Now she was waiting for the pack leader to leave work so she could follow him home, and hopefully find Amber.

She’d stared at the picture of him so many times in the past months, his face haunted her dreams. She’d know him anywhere.

When the whistle that announced quitting time finally blew, her heart seemed to grow cold with nervous excitement.

She slumped down in her seat to avoid notice as the workers began to file through the door and scatter into the parking lot.

She paid no attention to them, because the moment he walked through the door, she locked onto him like a radar. Nothing could break her focus.

She was surprised her hot stare didn’t burn a hole in the side of his head as he walked along the sidewalk that hugged the building and headed to his car.

She had a moment of panic when he stopped suddenly and looked around, then tipped his head up and seemed to take in a deep breath. Smelling, no doubt.

He was a hunter, and something had clearly triggered his instincts. That she knew it was her, while he didn’t, gave her a small thrill of satisfaction.

His behavior only lasted a moment. Not long enough to be noticed by anyone around him. He seemed to dismiss it, and headed for his truck.

Emily waited as the old truck pulled past her before she started her car.

She wouldn’t have much trouble following it, since it was white with a big orange stripe down the side, and something in the engine knocked loudly.

Using the rush of workers as cover, she pulled into the flow of traffic almost a block behind him.

She was comfortably hidden by the vehicles through town, but every few blocks, more people turned down side streets, slowly dwindling her cover until there was no one left to act as a buffer.

His blinker indicated a left turn onto a country road, and Emily quickly decided to go straight through the four-way stop instead of following him directly.

She was so close.

She crossed through the intersection and turned her car back around as soon as he was out of sight.

With a deep breath to calm her jangling nerves, she turned onto the country road he’d taken and began to follow the cloud of dust left in the wake of the ancient truck.

It was even easier than she expected, since the old gravel road gave her nearly half a mile worth of dust cloud, which was plenty of distance to go unnoticed and acted as a perfect cover.

It wasn’t a long drive, maybe fifteen minutes at most, but it seemed like forever to her.

She passed by the property he’d pulled into without even slowing down. It only took a glance for her to mentally map out the lay of the land.

Two buildings stood apart by maybe two hundred feet. One was an old farm-style house: run down with peeling paint and at least one broken window covered with plywood.

The other structure looked like a large yellow workshop-style metal building. It appeared much newer than the house itself, and was in better repair.

What worried her was the number of vehicles in the driveway. Counting the truck she followed, there were five in total. That suggested there might be a lot more people there than she was prepared for.

Her original plan was to wait until tomorrow, when he’d be back at work and Amber might be alone. But with so many vehicles present, she had to rethink quickly.

Either something was happening—which certainly didn’t bode well for Amber—or there were always people there.

In case it was the former, she decided to go ahead and get Amber out today, now, before it was too late.

If she made it this far, and got this close, only to have Amber die at the hands of her captor on the eve of her rescue, she’d never be able to live with herself.

If her sister was in that house, she was either going to get her out tonight or die trying.

Just under a mile from the house, she pulled her rented car onto a service road and parked.

She saved the address on her phone and turned it to silent before she slid it into her back pocket, then closed her eyes for a moment to gather her courage.

Nothing was going to stop her from finding Amber. Since the police had already proven they had no intention of helping, she was on her own.

Her new plan was simple. Find Amber and get them both out undetected.

She had no delusions of grandeur. It wasn’t like she was She-Ra the Warrior Woman.

She tipped the scale at a whopping one hundred and forty pounds—much of it muscle, she told herself firmly—and she had no chance of taking on a werewolf, though she had come prepared, just in case.

She opened her eyes, pulled her gun out of the glove box, and slid it into the waistband of her pants.

In her front pocket was a gaudy silver cross necklace covered in rhinestones of all colors, and her other pocket held an extra clip of silver bullets.

She’d acquired a small bullet-loading machine to design her own ammunition and had made a surplus in preparation.

When she had everything she thought she might need, she took a final deep, resolved breath and left the relative safety of her car.

It was only a few steps to cross the road and get into the line of trees on the other side. It wouldn’t do for her to come walking up the road and give them plenty of time to prepare for her arrival.

With luck, she could sneak up to the house and look in the windows unnoticed until she found Amber, then smuggle her out with no one the wiser.

Maybe extra people are a good thing, she decided while she made her way toward the house. Maybe it would keep Amber’s captor distracted while she mounted a rescue.

If the car ride following the leader had seemed long, the walk toward the house seemed like eternity.

Every broken twig, every movement from the corner of her eye, put her more on edge until she was such a tight bundle of nerves she feared if a butterfly brushed her arm, she might scream in terror.

Somewhere, she’d heard that real courage meant being afraid and doing something anyway. With that in mind, she decided she was the bravest woman on the planet.

Now, if she could just get her knees to stop knocking, she might be able to sell herself a little more on her courage.

With trembling fingers, she touched the gun in her waistband. The metal was cold and comforting.

A class on firearms and countless hours at the range meant she knew how to use it.

She wasn’t helpless.

She pressed her back against the rough bark of a tree and took a few deep breaths to slow the rapid rhythm of her heart.

Once she felt her nerves a little more steeled, she searched the house across from her.

No movement indicated alarm. A window was facing her, and she decided it was as good a place to start as any.

Head down in determination, she pushed off from the tree and headed toward that window at a dead run. When she arrived at her destination, she didn’t even pause to breathe.

Who needed to breathe with so much fear in their veins?

She stood on tiptoes and peered into the room. It was a dark space with very little furniture except for a bed with a bare mattress in poor repair in one corner and a plastic dresser beside it.

No sign of Amber.

A quick look around showed no sign of anyone coming her way.

She slid down the house to the next window and found a similar empty space.

Then the next one. She waited beside the glass for a moment, straining to hear any sound from the room.

There was something. It was a sound she couldn’t quite place. Not a voice, exactly, but a soft whimper came again and again.

Amber.

Emily slowly leaned over just far enough to see into the room. It was furnished much like the other ones had been, with cheap furniture.

On the bed, she could make out a shape that could only be her missing sister.

A jolt of excitement flew through her.

She tapped on the window, trying to get Amber’s attention. But the figure never moved. Thinking she may have been drugged, Emily tried the window.

It was old, and the frame had years of paint layers holding it down, but with her nearly frantic fingers, she was able to pry it loose after a few attempts.

It didn’t open quietly, however.

Giving a screech that sounded louder than a gunshot to Emily’s ears, the window reluctantly slid on the track.

She didn’t consider the danger as she wriggled through the small opening. Not until her feet hit the uneven wooden floor and a hand clamped around her mouth from behind.

 

Read the full uncensored books on the Galatea iOS app!

2

William

William sat at the butcher-block table in the small kitchen of the house he shared with Paoli. He stared at the paper before him—scripted in Paoli’s neat handwriting—with open surprise.

On the page was a single name and species along with location.

“Are you sure this is right?” William frowned at the paper.

“It’s right,” Paoli confirmed without even glancing at him on his way past.

“When was the last time we had a female werewolf?” William raised a skeptical brow and his gaze followed Paoli around the table.

“It’s rare they’re marked,” Paoli agreed. “But it happens.”

He took the chair across from William and propped his bare feet on the edge of the table for no reason other than it bugged William.

Paoli was one of the oldest vampires William had ever met, and by far the least conspicuous. He stood only about an inch shorter than William was himself, which put him just shy of six feet.

Where William’s hair was raven and cropped short, Paoli’s was a dark blond and long enough to rest on his shoulders.

He had none of the dark characteristics a person would usually associate with a vampire—especially a vampire as old as he was.

Instead of being intimidating and tortured, he was always the first to laugh and the last to take anything—including himself—seriously.

He had a light-hearted and fun-loving nature that kept him very popular with the opposite sex, which—according to Paoli—accounted for his light-hearted nature.

“We haven’t had one in the last…what, hundred years?” William reached out and flicked the end of Paoli’s toe hard enough to send an electric jolt of pain halfway up his leg.

Paoli howled and snatched his foot back. Humor glittered in his eyes as he cradled the injury. “Now that just wasn’t nice,” he proclaimed.

“Keep your nasty feet off the table.” William gave him a pointed stare. “If we’re going after a female wolf, you need to focus. She probably has a whole pack surrounding her. You’ll have to help this time. It’s going to be dangerous.”

Paoli gave him an impish grin and folded his legs neatly under him before he offered an indifferent shrug.

“I don’t mind hunting werewolves,” he said offhandedly. “It’s the vampires that give me the creeps.”

William shook his head at the irony of that statement. “How can vampires give you the creeps? You are a vampire.”

“Not that kind of vampire.” Paoli shuddered dramatically.

“Sorry, I forgot. You’re a nice vampire,” William said with a derisive snort.

Paoli ignored the slightly mocking tone.

“That’s right,” he confirmed. “I’m like a mosquito. I take just what I need to survive, and don’t kill anyone.”

William gave him a look.

“It’s more than you can say,” Paoli pointed out.

“I’m not a vampire,” William reminded him.

“You’re not completely vampire, but close enough to be forgiven for that,” Paoli said. “Everyone has their own struggle in this world.”

“What’s your struggle?” William wanted to know.

Paoli scoffed. “You think it’s easy being your conscience? Or this good-looking?” he asked with a waggle of his eyebrows.

“Or that humble,” William added under his breath. He tapped the paper in front of him to redirect Paoli to the matter at hand. “We’ll have to use stealth,” he mused.

“They’ll never know I’m there.” Paoli moved his arms in his best ninja imitation.

“Do you know anything about the pack?” William asked thoughtfully.

A female wolf being condemned was all but unheard of. Normally, the pack defended them, so they had no need to spill blood, except the monthly animal hunt.

Which all but eliminated the chances of them losing their humanity and being condemned. Hell, they were the humanity in a pack.

“What’s on the paper is all I know,” said Paoli as he stood back up and headed for the fridge across the room.

William leaned back and sat silent for several moments, thinking.

“Are you sure we should do this tonight? It’s a full moon and this place is almost a two-hour drive from here.” William didn’t mention he had plans for a full moon run himself.

“Where are wolves during a full moon?” Paoli asked over his shoulder, his head in the fridge. He grabbed a bag of red liquid and tore open the top.

He poured it into a mug before throwing a questioning look at William.

“Two for me,” William answered absently while he considered the question. “Wolves hunt during the full moon.”

It was common knowledge that werewolves were at least partially controlled by the moon. Even he could feel its pull.

Paoli finished pouring more liquid into a second mug and set them both in the microwave to warm. “Exactly.”

He waited until the microwave dinged, then grabbed both mugs. He handed one to William before reclaiming the seat across from him.

“Which means this might be a good chance to get her alone,” William concluded slowly, trying to make sense of Paoli’s logic.

“Maybe not alone, but at least not as well guarded as usual,” Paoli told his mug, taking a satisfied sip.

William took a drink and savored the flavor as the liquid warmed him. Not be as good as fresh, but at least it came without the guilt. And without the nagging from his conscience across the table.

For the next thirty minutes, they discussed strategy, and alternate strategies in case they found themselves with more opponents than expected.

Several plans were made, depending on whether their target hunted with the pack or waited somewhere else. Eventually, William was satisfied they had a plan for each possible scenario.

They loaded the car down with the usual cache of weapons, making especially sure they had plenty of silver-tipped ammunition.

William knew the agony of silver from personal experience. No immortal could fight with the pain searing through their veins, which was why he used it when he was forced to play the executioner.

Nothing took the fight out of immortals like a silver-based injury.

Finally, he turned his phone off—grateful for an excuse to power down the bright screen—and headed for their target.

He hated cellphones. It was far too easy to track them. And he always worried about having his on him when hunting.

It would be just his luck for the device to start beeping and give away his position at the wrong moment. While dying wouldn’t bother him, he didn’t want it to be because of something like that.

He wanted a real death—a warrior’s end. Dying in battle was an honorable and proud thing. Dying from sheer stupidity was just embarrassing.

William killed the lights and pulled off the road and into a clearing.

It was a decent-sized area; clear of trees, but full of holes and uneven ground, which made it less than ideal for driving—a fact he only realized once they were halfway in.

Any high grass area could easily conceal a hidden stump or deep rut, though they were fortunate enough not to find one.

Their hiding spot was just over a mile from the farmhouse that acted as home to the pack.

There was no way to know which direction the wolves had gone to hunt, but there was no sign of them there, so it was the safest place to start.

They got out of the car cautiously, and closed the doors slowly to keep them from making any sound.

The house they were headed to was surrounded by corn fields on three sides—all thankfully late to be harvested—which gave them the luxury of cover they hadn’t expected.

Paoli breathed an audible sigh of relief as they silently started to make their way through the field at the back of the property, moving carefully through the corn to avoid giving away their presence.

Recent rains had made the ground soggy, which meant their every step made a slight sucking noise.

Light from the shining moon spilled across the land, casting eerie shadows and making the corn look like silent sentries.

“I don’t care what anyone says,” Paoli whispered, ducking to avoid a stray leaf that seemed to be reaching for him. “Corn is a seriously creepy vegetable.”

William stopped, motioned aggressively for him to be silent, and gave him a look that threatened violence.

Paoli raised his hands in mock surrender and mouthed, “sorry.”

William continued to glare at him another minute.

Paoli needed to understand the severity of the situation they were in. Wolves had excellent hearing, and the last thing they needed was for his big mouth to give them away.

There was no telling how many wolves might be around, and it was important they had the element of surprise if they were going to get the execution done and get out with minimal incident.

William might be an excellent fighter, but even he wasn’t capable of taking on an entire pack of wolves.

William was still glaring at Paoli when a smell caught his attention. It was very faint at first, like a whisper.

A promise.

It was there for only a second, then gone.

His head snapped around and something inside him became very alert.

“What’s wrong?” Paoli whispered, closing the distance between them to stand at his side.

“Did you smell that?” William closed his eyes and inhaled, chasing the elusive scent. It was gone, and he couldn’t pick it back up.

Paoli gave him a look, then sniffed and shook his head.

“I don’t smell anything,” he said.

William stood for another moment without moving a muscle. He used all his senses, but he couldn’t identify a danger anywhere.

There were no scents in the immediate area except the two of them and the corn.

Besides, it hadn’t smelled dangerous.

It had smelled…good.

Comforting, somehow.

Confusion edged his every step when they resumed their advance. There was something so familiar about the smell, and yet not.

Almost like a memory playing on the edge of his mind that he just couldn’t bring into focus.

It drove everything else out of his immediate concentration.

He was aware of Paoli watching him with concerned eyes, but he had no explanation to offer, so he ignored it and continued forward.

They had a job to do.

No matter what else was happening, he needed to remember the job. Somewhere nearby was a female wolf with a sentence of death.

He had to get his focus back on that before his fractured concentration led both him and Paoli into trouble.

Just a few more steps brought the scent again, stronger this time. He breathed in the subtle aroma, trying to figure out why it was so alluring to him.

“Are you seriously telling me you don’t smell that?” he hissed at Paoli.

Paoli frowned, his face growing even more concerned. With his eyes still on William, he breathed in the night air very slowly.

After a few seconds, he shook his head and gave William a look of mixed confusion and annoyance.

“I don’t smell it,” Paoli said, a little defensively. “I’m a vampire. My sense of smell isn’t as good as yours. What does it smell like?”

Peace. Joy.

“I don’t know how to describe it.” William took another lungful of air. “But it’s different than anything I’ve ever scented.”

Better. More.

“I don’t like this,” Paoli said, his eyebrows drawn together in worry. “Maybe we should come back tomorrow and try again. This is dangerous enough without something unknown complicating it further.”

“Tomorrow won’t be a full moon,” William pointed out. “This may be the best chance we’ll have for a month. Do you really want to wait that long?”

He gave Paoli his full attention and raised one sardonic brow.

“Don’t look at me like that,” Paoli said with as much attitude as he could manage at a whisper. “Better to wait a month than walk into a trap. I don’t want to turn to dust at sunrise and blow away after they kill us.

“Well,” he added offhandedly, “I’d blow away in the sun. There’s no telling what’ll happen to you.”

William would have conceded his point, but there was something about the scent that called to him in a visceral way. It brought out a need to…protect. Guard. Provide. There was no hint of malice.

“This doesn’t give me the impression of danger,” he said.

He hoped his voice didn’t sound as befuddled as he felt.

What was happening?

He began to move again. Paoli was still watching him closely, but he couldn’t bring himself to care.

He just needed to find the source of the unusual smell. It seemed to leech into his mind and push out everything else.

His mission was all but forgotten. He let his nose guide him on toward the house, Paoli following closely behind.

After what seemed like forever, they broke through the last row of corn and were near enough to the farmhouse for an unobstructed view.

Without warning, the scent seemed to saturate him like honey. As if a spell had been cast, it dragged the instincts of his beast forward.

All capacity for the tight reign of control he fought to hold onto was gone. Paoli was talking, but none of his words penetrated the blind fog in William’s mind.

There was nothing in the entire world but that smell and the unknown promise behind it.

“William?” Paoli’s voice was hesitant and questioning. “What is it?”

His gaze darted in all directions, as if expecting to see wolves descending from somewhere. There was nothing.

William barely responded at all, and when Paoli gripped his arm, the eyes that snapped toward him were liquid gold and hungry. William was no longer in control.

“Oh no!” Paoli exclaimed. “This is not the time to go all wolfy. You have to fight it before you get us both killed!” His voice was a tight hiss.

Without a word, William jerked away and flew toward the house, leaving Paoli no choice but to follow. He gave a loud, strangled groan and stayed right on William’s heels.

William knew only a fool would rush in this way, but he was helpless to stop himself. His body trembled with the effort he put into fighting the compulsion, but he could barely manage to slow down.

Old wood creaked as he stepped onto the back porch, but all he heard was the female scream from inside.

He tore through the back door of the dilapidated house like a crazed animal.

Not for a second did he stop to consider what he was doing. He was beyond rational thought, the beast within having taken complete control for the first time in years.

He located the origin of the scent immediately.

It was coming from a small woman who stood in the doorway of a hidden room, blocking the entry. In front of her was a large man with shaggy blond hair, clad only in dark jeans.

He held her arms in a painful grip and had pulled her forward so far, she was on her tiptoes. William’s nose instantly marked him for what he was.

Werewolf.

 

Read the full uncensored books on the Galatea iOS app!

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