Brooke gives up everything to take her family on the road and help her husband fulfill his bucket list. Little does she know, her happiness is part of his list, which is unfortunate, because a certain alpha is about to change their lives forever. Slate is a werewolf who’s been cursed to have a human mate, but when he sees Brooke, he can’t see her as anything but a blessing. Too bad she’s married…right?
Age Rating: 18+
Home-Wrecking Alpha by BD Vyne 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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“Okay, so we are definitely lost.”
The trees that we now passed as we drove were like the trees we passed an hour ago.
Everything looked the same, and nothing gave any indication that we would find anything different ahead of us.
Now and again, we would catch the movement of large animals roaming just beyond the tree line, supporting the fact that we were experiencing nature at its finest and giving me a slight chill down my spine.
It was all around us, encompassing us, nearly choking us with its splendor.
“Nah, we can’t be lost. We have GPS!”
With a cheeky grin, he shot me a glance before turning his attention back to the road once more.
Raising my eyebrows, I turned in my seat as much as my seatbelt would allow me and tapped a finger on the car’s digital screen.
“Yeah, about that. What does it mean when the map shows nothing but green?”
His amused chuckle filled the car. It was so good to hear him laugh.
“No doubt it means that we should have updated your GPS before we took this trip.”
We both laughed as I put my hand on his arm and nudged him slightly.
“Maybe it should have been a clue when the pavement turned to dust?”
“You think?” I smirked.
Other than our voices, only soft snores occasionally interrupted the silence in the car.
Our boys were sleeping peacefully in the back seat, each with their heads propped on the other’s in a glorious mass of blonde and brown locks spilling over into their angelic faces.
It was definitely time to get them haircuts, but it was not a priority on this road trip.
One day, once we were home again, I would make the necessary appointments to get their hair cut, but for now, I just wanted to enjoy being here with them all.
They were my world, and I didn’t want to think about what I would do when my husband could no longer fight his illness.
“It’s beautiful here.”
His face had a plastered smile over it, but there was something he was hiding beneath the smile.
“Mark, are you okay?”
How had I not seen the signs before now? His face looked slightly pinched and fatigued, and more pale than normal.
When he flinched at the question, it was as good as any verbal confirmation.
“Yeah,” he replied as he flicked his eyes over to me. When he saw my expression, he grimaced.
I raised a brow as I crossed my arms across my chest. The frown I wore could rival any formidable grouch.
It was a look he was familiar with by now, and one that told him that I was not buying what he was telling me.
He was always trying to protect me. His life’s mission seemed to be to make me and the children happy, and I knew he would go without so that we could have.
That was my husband, the man that I have been devoted to for the last ten years of my life.
Attempting to change the subject, he asked, “You think those guys might be able to give us directions?”
Mark had already started to slow the car down and I snapped my head around.
People? Out here? In the middle of nowhere?
Men clad in dark blue uniforms were standing on the road ahead of us.
Each man was armed, though looking at them, weapons were not required to intimidate most trespassers.
It simply added to the feeling of intimidation.
My husband stood taller than me by a couple of inches, but these men stood taller than him.
Not to mention that they were in far better shape than either of us that sat staring at them through the windshield.
It was not thatI live at the gym bulky physique, but more like the way they lived made their slender, muscular physique a necessity. A necessity?
That set an alarm off in my head that I struggled to put aside.
Rolling down the window, we rolled to a stop before the more-than-ample-sized wooden building that would provide shelter for the guards on duty, and waited for them to approach.
A man with blonde hair and smiling hazel eyes gave a curt nod in our direction as he approached the car. “Good evening.”
Two other guards stood back a few feet, and they looked to the horizon as if waiting for something to blink into existence.
“Hi, I think we might be a little lost.”
My husband grinned and shrugged, but the movement made him wince. After reaching into his pocket, he pulled out what looked like his license and registration.
Maybe he figured that these people were a type of law enforcement, or maybe he wanted them to realize we were no threat.
The man frowned at Mark after looking over the items that he had been given, paying close attention to one of them for longer than it seemed he would need to.
“Usually the only people that wind up here mean to be here.” He gave Mark a strange look before letting it slide to me.
Mark shook his head, then gave me a quick smile.
“Being adventurous is not really one of my strong suits. Not sure why I chose today to do so.”
One of the other men leaned forward, his eyes scanning the car and all of its passengers.
When he stood, he returned his stare to the horizon and sucked in a deep breath of the warm evening air that had started to settle in around us.
It seemed a bit odd, but maybe the fatigue that had been settling in had made it seem more so.
Returning my focus to the man at our window, I asked, “How far off the track have we come?”
Mark’s smile was sheepish, but his face had become even paler than before.
The three men smiled broadly and looked at one another as if they shared some secret before the man answered.
“That would depend on where you were heading.”
“Uh, well, we were just touring, you know. Being adventurous,” Mark reminded the man.
He tried to chuckle, but it came out sounding more like he was choking.
“Not really headed to any one place, just out to sightsee.” He grabbed my hand and squeezed it ever so gently.
The man at the window held Mark’s gaze, a frown deepening on his features.
My husband was struggling, and my concern for him was growing exponentially.
Those telltale signs of him needing rest were all too clear now: the gaunt look in his face, the pale color of his skin, the pinched mouth and eyes, and I could almost make out the small pants of air as his breathing became more ragged by the second.
From here, a large building was evident just over the tree line. A few miles away, tops.
A place where they would hopefully allow us through so that we could all rest for a few minutes before we were sent on our way once more.
A place that Mark could take a few moments to eat something, and take the medication that he dreaded so much.
Someplace a little more relaxing and a little less intimidating than this building on the side of the road.
Leaning forward once again, I plastered a smile on my face.
“I apologize, I imagine this is a huge inconvenience for you all, but I really need to use the ladies’ room.”
Shifting in my seat, I drew my thighs tighter together to accentuate the statement.
“Would it be possible to relieve myself before we head back the way we came? I have not seen anything that resembles civilization for hours until now.”
This gave them cause to snicker.
“That would be accurate. You all are about eight hours from any town that could accommodate you for the night.”
That made my face pucker. “Oh, I see.”
My mind was already trying to sort out another avenue.
Already, the sun was drifting to the horizon, and it would only be visible for a couple of hours.
At the moment, Mark just needed a break.
He needed somewhere to sit, somewhere to breathe, somewhere to calm himself, and I needed to figure out a way to give him that.
Part of me wanted to grumble at him for insisting that we head in this dead-end direction.
If only we had known.
Though right now, I had other concerns, like preventing his symptoms from becoming even more unbearable.
A long pause followed before the man spoke again.
“You’ve been granted clearance.”
Those words struck me as funny. How is it we were granted clearance? None of them had any type of radio device.
And from whom were we granted clearance?
“If you will just follow the road until you get to the house you can see from here, there will be people there that can assist you further.”
That was a house?
The man frowned at Mark once more before adding, “It looks like you all could use a bit of a break.”
It was almost as if he knew that Mark was not well.
Placing my hand on Mark’s shoulder, I smiled at the men.
“Thank you so much. I cannot tell you how much we appreciate this.”
Mark grimaced as I spoke, but tried to turn it into something that might pass for a smile.
The men waved us through, and, as promised, others in the same dress guided us to the massive building in front of us.
It was a beautiful log cabin, large enough to constitute a mansion if a log cabin could be referred to as such.
Some windows graced a portion of the building that emitted a soft, golden glow of the lights from within as dusk became more prevalent.
I turned to look in the back seat and was greeted with two pairs of young eyes, still hazed from sleep as they looked on curiously.
No doubt they could use a break as much as we could.
What worried me more was that look of curiosity in my younger’s eyes; it never led to any good, though his heart was always in the right place.
Pulling up to the spot the men indicated, we all started unfastening our seatbelts.
Before the car was even in park, I flung my door open in anticipation of stretching my legs out and finding the items that Mark needed.
The boys were not too far behind as they barrelled out and started giving each other chase around the vehicle.
I vaguely remember tossing a warning over my shoulder, before digging through the trunk once more.
“Watch where you’re going!”
When they nearly ran into one of the guards, they stopped short. The man leaned down and gave them a frown, and my elder grabbed the younger’s hand.
“Oh. Excuse us, sir.”
The man ruffled his hair and gave them both a grin.
“Good manners, son.”
Aaron was on cloud nine as he grinned up at the man.
A look of understanding passed between them that was a bit odd to me. Then again, Aaron loved when others praised him.
Wish I could say the same thing about Hayden.
Shuffling the items in the trunk around, I scanned for Mark’s emergency bag.
Inside were snacks for him to put something on his stomach, and the medication he needed to eat with food.
The dosage was strong, and he needed food to line his stomach to prevent it from eating through the protective lining.
Finding what I was looking for, I snatched the bag and slammed the trunk closed.
Mark was already out of the car and refused to lean against me when I went to stand next to him.
Taking the bag from me, he gave me a small push forward. “Go on ahead. I will catch up.”
He smiled briefly before taking a step towards a small bench that overlooked a large, well-kept garden at the side of the building.
It was filled with blossoms of every color imaginable, and the air was filled with their exotic fragrances.
It would do him good to simply enjoy the view and relax for a few minutes before he was forced to take his medication.
The medicine made him groggy and made his stomach cramp. Not to mention that he claimed it put him in a barely functional state.
He knew what needed to be done.
My biggest worry was this: would he do it if I was not standing over him? But he had gotten better about it these last few months.
Since we have been on the road, he has managed his own medication and doses.
All I could be sure of these days was that the pills were disappearing, but that had to mean something.
Quality of life versus quantity. It was the same old argument, wasn’t it?
Loved ones wanted as much as they could get, but individuals wanted to make the most of what they had.
Who could blame me for wanting my husband by my side as long as I could as we watched our children grow up?
Realizing that my potty ploy was becoming a reality, I moved towards the building after making sure that Mark had made himself comfortable.
The glass doors ahead showed more than a few people wandering around in the building ahead. A house, according to the guard.
Several people stood around in small groups in idle conversation as though they were waiting for something, while a small group descended a flight of stairs.
The number of people lingering gave me pause before I dared to open the door.
Maybe there was another facility here that would not be so busy at this time.
Numerous other buildings sprung up just a short walk from here and made their way across the landscape, making it appear as if this were a small city that had sprung up and survived in the middle of nowhere.
Shops, stores, and other buildings littered the area that all surrounded this one, and yet it looked like this little city rolled the sidewalks up in the early evening. Just my luck!
If you looked past the local businesses, you could see small neighborhoods that fell away from here as they crept up slowly over the hillside.
Nearing the top of one of the hills where one would expect the views to be spectacular, you could see much larger homes that spoke of wealth and prominence.
And if you stared long enough, you could make out a massive building at the crest of the mountain that I imagined could rival this one.
For a moment I tried to remember the small town we had driven away from this morning, and imagine what it must look like from up there.
Inhaling deeply, I ended my procrastination and pushed the heavy wooden door open.
As it swung open, the people that littered the area grew quiet.
Men and women alike turned towards me as they gazed upon the one who intruded into their sanctum.
The hairs on the back of my neck started to prickle, and my fight or flight instincts were imploring me towards the latter.
Squaring my shoulders, I scrunched my face as I gave them all a look that saidI really, really hate to ask this, but…
But I really didn’t.
Now I knew that I would not make it far if I did not use the facilities. It must be that whole concept that, if you think hard enough about something, it will come true.
“I hate to interrupt, but the gentlemen outside said there was a restroom here that I might be able to use?”
My gaze slid across those present, each in their own thoughts.
I looked for a face that was friendly enough that I might be able to hold their gaze and convey the necessity of my request.
Women seemed to be sizing me up, each deciding what kind of threat I was to them.
Looking at their elegant forms and beautiful features, I assumed they would have to dismiss the notion that I was any threat whatsoever.
Yet their expressions did not waver.
The men were a different story.
Each one held a different expression: some wary, some approving, and one nearly knocked the breath from my lungs.
From the moment I met Mark, there was never a time that any other man had stolen my breath…until now.
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My breath hitched for a second longer than I was comfortable.
What was wrong with me? This man was more Grizzly Adams than Grizzly Adams.
His dark, well-kept beard was nearing his chest, while his long, black hair skimmed past his shoulders.
As ruggedly handsome as he was, it was those amazing pair of grey eyes that could make any woman swoon.
They were the color of dark rain clouds before a thunderstorm.
His mouth was shaped in what I guessed was meant to be a smile, but combined with his eyes, they smoldered as they captured my gaze.
One of the men standing next to the one with amazing eyes seemed to finally snap out of whatever trance they all seemed to be under.
“Of course there is. It’s this way.”
With a large smile planted on his lips, he motioned out in front of him with his hand to indicate the direction I was to take.
Without hesitation, I gladly welcomed the distraction from the large, dominating man that seemed to fill the entire room with his presence.
His gaze held a little more heat and knowing than I was comfortable with, and it only made it worse that I allowed myself to bask in that moment longer than I should have.
A deep, resonating voice filled the room behind us, and it seemed to prompt others to continue their conversations.
Oddly, my heart seemed to skip a beat as warmth spread over my entire body.
It baffled me, and I momentarily wondered if I was having premature hot flashes.
After being shown the facilities and making use of them, I splashed water on my face and pressed a cool rag against my neck.
The boys would need to make use of the running water available before we continued, but I wanted to linger for just a moment in the more than spacious restroom.
It was peaceful at this moment, aside for the muffled laughter and loud conversations that fell beyond the room.
Fatigue was on my heels, and I fought hard to keep it at bay. My body and mind lacked the sleep it needed to function normally.
Unfortunately, it had been that way since Mark had been diagnosed.
Sleep was a luxury.
Feeling like I had my head screwed on a little straighter, I left the shelter of the restroom and started to make my way to the front door.
The steady stream of voices in conversation made me feel more confident about my exit, realizing that I was really not that interesting after all.
It was not that I was not a confident person by nature, I was just not functioning as my normal self.
The more fatigued I am, the more ludicrous my words and behavior are.
“Excuse me, miss.”
Who else would come out in the middle of nowhere on a whim just for the fun of it? And look where that got us!
At some strange hidden city in the mountains, having to make use of some stranger’s home to use a restroom because the nearest one is eight hours away.
Who else does this stuff happen to?
At that moment, it struck me that I was lacking in manners.
Certainly, you thank the person who allowed you to trespass in their home to use their restroom, right? What is the etiquette on that?
Especially when it looks like they are having a party of sorts.
Do I just waltz right up there and say, hey, thanks for the use of the toilet?
And, if I were to do that, whom would I thank out of the lot of them? They all seemed to belong there.
Well, maybe not Grizzly Adams as much as the others, but there was certainly a presence about him.
The thought of him caused a small tremor to creep across my skin.
I need sleep.
When a hand touched my shoulder through my shirt, it startled me.
I was so completely wrapped up in my own thoughts, I had not realized anyone was near me.
The small tremor turned into a bolt of electricity that now skittered across my arm to my fingertips.
I spun around to face the person who halted my progress, and created those beautiful tingles that drifted over my flesh.
My mouth was still gaped open from the energy that was still roiling forth from where his fingers warmed my skin through my blouse.
For a moment, all I could do was stare before something in my brain reconnected to my bodily functions.
“Oh, where are my manners?”
My head reacted quicker than my body. His grey eyes bore into me, and I willed my feet to move away from him to break the contact.
“Please thank…uh, well…whoever allowed us to use the facilities. I cannot thank you enough for allowing us to catch our breath and use your restroom.”
I gave a small lopsided smile. “I can imagine how unorthodox it is to receive guests out this far.”
His eyes held the same smile his lips did. It was broad, and full of white teeth as he nodded his head towards me.
“Quite unorthodox, but definitely not unwelcome.”
“Well, that is awfully nice of you to say.”
My face felt flush, as though a blush had started to creep over my cheeks. The intensity in his gaze could have certainly been a cause for it.
One mistake led to another, and I stuck my hand out. “My name is Brooke Marlin.”
Before clasping my hand within his, he looked at the offering a bit curiously.
His hand moved forward so fast that I missed the movement until I felt my whole body shiver from the contact.
The flush that had crept over my cheeks now flooded my body, as though I was branded by his very touch.
Panic seeped in, my brain overwhelmed between fatigue and shock.
Unclasping my hand from his, I was alarmed that the contact had not broken.
Both his hands were now wrapped around mine, enclosing it completely in his.
“Nice to meet you, Brooke.”
He let his mouth roll over my name like a food critic over a five star fine dining experience.
How something like that could send shock waves over me was beyond me.
A small whimper escaped before I clamped my other hand over my mouth, horrified at the small sound and praying that no one else heard.
What was happening to me? Oh yeah, sleep deprivation.
Those absurd things and strange behaviors that are par for the course when lacking sleep.
Children’s voices broke through the contact as the front door opened and my boys ran towards me.
Freeing my hand from within his confine, I knelt down to catch them in a hug as they ran at me at full throttle.
My eldest was not a small child, and the weight of them both nearly knocked me the rest of the way to the floor.
A warm hand at my back kept me from losing my upright position, and sent another rush of warmth through me. I really need sleep.
I laughed at their antics, trying hard to ignore the warmth at my back.
“And these,” I said as I stood and ruffled their hair, “these are my greatest gifts of joy, and frustration.”
They both giggled as I pinched their noses.
Just as they started to dodge each other around my legs, I grabbed each one by the hand to prevent them from chasing one another.
The man in front of me watched us with an amused glint in his eyes, and a curiosity that I could not fathom.
“This is Aaron and Hayden. Aaron and Hayden, this is…”
That is when it dawned on me that he had not given me his name.
This large, mountain man stooped down to their level, his large, massive frame refusing to diminish in its size.
“It’s nice to meet you two. I’m Slate.”
“Nice to meet—wait, what?” Hayden drew his brows together as he tried to determine if what he heard was accurate. “You mean like the bad guy that Robin fights?”
Slate looked up at me, a question on his face.
“Oh,” I chuckled. “He is talking about Robin, from Batman and Robin,” I said, cluing him in to the musings of my younger son.
I clutched Hayden’s little hand in mine, encouraging him to look at me as I leaned over.
“No, honey. His name is Slate, not Slade. Robin is not after Mr Slate.”
At least, I didn’t think so. I smiled at him.
“Oh, I get it. But—hmm…”
He let a finger bounce against his chin for a minute as if in deep contemplation about the world’s problems while sizing up the man in front of him.
Finally, his eyes sparkled as they widened.
“But maybe Slate works with Robin to catch bad guys. Maybe he is a superhero.”
Shaking my head, I could now see how years of superheroes had corrupted my son’s mind.
“Yeah,” I drew the word out, not sure where else to go with it. “Let’s go with that.”
Slate, a superhero?
I released his hand and turned my gaze back to Slate, attempting to view him as a five-year-old’s idea of a superhero.
The power that the man emitted without even trying, the sense of safety that one might feel when near him, the strength and determination that oozed off him, and the sexual prowess that flowed from his very being all seemed to fit, right?
Wait! Sexual prowess? Was that a superhero characteristic?
The front door opened slowly, and I could just make out the shuffle of tennis clad feet.
His movements these days were always a little more thought out…a little more wary.
The smile he wore as I turned to him seemed more improved than moments before, and I was thankful.
Thankful that his face no longer wore the pain that he had been starting to feel before we made it here.
A relieved smile crossed my face.
“Mark!” I might have gone to him had it not been for the rambunctious boys at my side.
“Come meet Mr, um, Slate.”
Turning to Slate, there was a look of surprise that crossed his features before I noticed that his eyes went a darker shade of grey.
The expression on his face turned even darker than his eyes conveyed.
“Are you okay?”
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