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Damage
Author: Elle Thorne

Damage

 

 

Asa Wulfsen, brother to Range, Jason, and Davin, is a wolf shifter. A dire wolf shifter. Former special ops under a Joint Special Operations Command. JSOC, as they called it back when he and his brothers were involved. Back when he was normal.

 

Emme Winter is a Valkyrie on a mission. She’s got to find her missing sister. Eira left Houston for parts unknown. Now, it’s crucial that Emme find her before the Valkyrie Tribunal Fist does. Eira knew very well Valkyrie did not leave the life behind. Being a Valkyrie was not a job. It was who they were.

 

Her mission is simple—find her sister and let her know there’s a death warrant on her. Until Emme meets a dire wolf shifter with a bigger problem than her sister.

 

Now, not only is Emme putting her life on the line to save her sister from the Fist, she’s trying to save a wolf shifter from himself.

 

 

Chapter One

 

 

In the wilderness, not far from Red Devil, Alaska

 

 

Asa was alone, leaning against an Alaska paper birch, its bark scraping his clean-shaven cheek. He’d stripped his clothes off and awaited there in the forested area for the impending torment.

Naked and muscular, a soldier’s soldier, hair still short from those military days, body firm in the way shifters were, he pressed the back of his head against the tree, begging for the nightmare he knew was coming to remain at bay for a while longer.

His body was crisscrossed with scars. Scars not even his brothers had seen, for these had been created long after they’d left their hazardous military service. These wounds had not been inflicted by a foe the military had set them upon to vanquish.

These injuries were courtesy of the one who should never have betrayed him. The one who would have—once upon a time—given his life for Asa.

A man of muscle and sinew, Asa grimaced at the anguish he knew was quickly approaching. This man who drew the attention and respect of others, yet suffered alone in a hell he was responsible for creating. A purgatory he had no idea how to escape.

Asa squeezed the leather washer handle of his Ka-Bar combat knife in a white-knuckled hold. He hated that he was going to do this. He’d have done anything to stop himself from proceeding, but it was so very out of his control.

With a grunt, he threw his head back, released a primal roar, and plunged the seven-inch, razor-sharp, carbon steel, clip point blade into his abdomen.

At the very last second, he adjusted his angle, keeping the killing edge from slicing his liver, gall bladder, kidney, intestines, and the oh-so-plentiful blood vessels which led to the organs vital to life. He groaned in agony and drew the weapon from his torso.

The grip was blood-stained, and if not for the washer handle, would have slipped and slid in his hand. Alas, this weapon was well designed for the job. It did not fail. It did not slip.

Regardless of how much he wanted it to not succeed.

He pulled his arm back, cocked, ready to rinse and repeat—minus the rinsing, of course. He closed his eyes against the pain he was in and the further torment he was going to inflict on himself, and drove the weapon in once more.

Then he did it again.

And again.

And once more. Twice more. Thrice more.

Over and over and over, the blade slid in and out, doing what it was intended to do, and doing it well.

He stabbed his torso repeatedly, stopping when he knew he’d done the dastardly deed at least a dozen times. His crimson essence poured forth from his body, leaking life at a speed faster than a human could recover.

But Asa was no human. No, not human at all.

He doubled over in misery, begging for release from life itself, or at the very least, begging for his wolf to relinquish control and allow him to live.

Every so often, his wolf—twisted and destroyed, turned into something other than the wolf Asa had been born with—would rise up and seize control, taking all power from Asa and turning his energy toward killing the very human who’d housed him all his life. Against the man who’d been like a brother to him.

Asa bled and bled, leaning against the tree. In his mind, his wolf, with its now-red eyes, no longer the grayish-yellow ones he’d been born with, would snarl and rip every measure of command Asa had over his own body. This time, it had compelled him to use his Ka-Bar against himself.

Last week, the wolf had flung him from an embankment, sent him toppling down a thirty-foot drop of stone and foliage, leaving Asa with lacerations and broken ribs. He’d lain there for three days while his body healed itself.

The week before, the wolf had thrown him into the path of a passing train. Thankfully, luck or fate or who-knows-what had intervened, and he’d merely been clipped by the huge engine. So instead of the locomotive decapitating him, he’d taken four days to recover, lying there in the snow, while bears, coyotes, and wolverines sniffed, trying to determine if he would be a meal or a threat.

How had this infidelity come to be? The betrayal of his wolf?

Asa Wulfsen, brother to Range, Jason, and Davin, was a wolf shifter. No mere wolf, Asa was a dire wolf shifter. A military type, to boot. Former special ops under a Joint Special Operations Command. JSOC, as it was called when he was still in, way back when. Way back when being during the time he and his brothers were involved. Back then, when he was normal.

He scowled then scoffed. He no longer knew what normal was.

Of course, big brother Range didn’t know about Asa’s condition. Maybe brothers Jason and Davin suspected, but they never spoke to Asa about it. Even if they had tried, he’d never have told them what was going on with him. How could he even begin to explain a situation like this to another shifter?

Asa would have called Mae, who was the closest thing he had to a mother, but again, how to discuss this?

It all started with that damned study. He’d been so gung-ho to join. So eager to help his country and further relations between shifters and humans, particularly when it came to working together in the military.

“Come be a part,” they’d said. “Come help your country. Help your kind. Help humanity and shifterhood.”

Stupid fucker, he cursed himself, for having ever thought they weren’t going to do the shit they did. Stupid, stupid fucker. He blamed himself more than his brothers. He felt he’d pushed them to agree. And all of that against Mae’s recommendations. She’d warned them not to go through with it. Warned all four brothers not to partake in the study.

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