Masquerade (The Angel Pack #13)By: Maggie Walsh
When Xavier Angel meets his mate, he is ecstatic, but the closer he gets to Liam, the more ill he becomes. When this mysterious illness threatens Xavier’s life, causing him to almost die, Liam discovers what is wrong with Xavier. His heart breaks knowing he will never be able to have his mate—because to do so would cost Xavier his life.
To try to stop this unknown force keeping them apart, Xavier and Liam must travel back to Xavier’s birth pack in search of a wicked omega who may be the only one able to help them. But their only chance at happiness and love turns out to be the very thing that caused it.
Xavier will do whatever he has to in order to claim his man, but will it be enough? Will they be able to stop this great evil and save Xavier?
Or will their love be the one thing that kills them?
“Why him, fate? Why? With all the people in this world and other worlds that you could have chosen, why a demon Nephilim as my mate? Have I done something wrong? Have I been that horrible of a person to warrant this punishment? I know mates are supposed to be sacred, and we should love and cherish them, but how am I supposed to do that with him? Is all of this pain and suffering because he is who he is? And what is this…this…whatever it is that happens to me whenever he is near?” Xavier thought as he trotted through the woods. That familiar ache began to grow in his chest. Xavier wanted to rub the area to help the ache subside, but he couldn’t do that in wolf form. Even if he could, the pain never went away from him rubbing the area, but it helped focus his mind a little. The sound of the river close by caught Xavier’s attention and he made his way toward the area. He had been out here on patrol for over eight hours now and was getting thirsty. Maybe a cool drink would help ease his suffering?
Breaking through the trees, Xavier stepped out onto the river bank and dipped his head. Opening his jaws, he began lapping at the cold, refreshing water. A sound to his right made his ears perk, but he didn’t look to see what it was. Suddenly the smell of rotting flesh wafted toward him. Xavier scrunched his nose as much as he could in wolf form and lifted his head, looking in the direction of the horrible stench.
He hadn’t scented the rancid smell before, or even when he’d first stepped out to get a drink, so the winds must have changed. Xavier lifted his head and flared his nostrils as he sniffed again. No, the winds had not changed, so then why hadn’t he smelled this before now?
Slowly Xavier turned toward the smell and carefully walked in its direction. As quiet as possible he stepped through the tree line and followed the scent. After about fifty yards, he came to a small clearing and poked his head around a tree. Now that it was late November and the snow was beginning to fall, there weren’t many bushes for him to hide behind, but something was telling him to be careful and stay hidden.
He peeked around the tree, and his gaze fell on a large, bloody mass lying in the center of the clearing. From his position, he should have been able to make out what this was, but it was too torn apart and soaked with blood for him to discern.
Xavier tried to sniff the area to catch other scents to see if anyone else was around, but the stench coming from the sight before him was overpowering any other. Cautiously he stepped out from behind the tree and padded toward the mass, but used his other senses to try to locate any danger.
As he approached the bloody form he could make out a paw and some fur, but nothing else. The beast before him was too torn up to be sure of what it was. As Xavier studied it further, he realized it was the paw of a bear, but the large mound was too big to be just one. It looked like many bodies piled together.
Suddenly another scent drifted to him on the wind, and Xavier turned his head in its direction. Again, it was the stench of rot and decay. What the hell? Xavier changed direction and followed the new scent. After walking almost five miles he came across another bloody mass, and this one looked exactly like the other one. As he stepped closer, he could again make out a paw or two and some hair, but this time the paw was that of a wolf.
Xavier started getting a really bad feeling about this. The hairs running down his spine lifted, and he began looking around for the danger he could feel close by. He was prepared to fight off any attack, but he had no idea what had caused this and how many he would have to go up against. As much as he hated retreating, he knew he had no other choice. He needed to get back on pack lands and to Micah to report this.
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