The Lone Wolf:Nehalem Pack 34By: A.J. Jarrett
Nehalem Pack 34
The ghost of Brandt Taylor’s past haunts him every day. After losing his entire family, Brandt feels as if he can’t breathe. It’s too hard to deal with the memories, and he’d be happy to run free as a wolf for the rest of his life…if it wasn’t for Julian Culver.
Julian never asked to be some wolf shifter’s mate. In fact, he was living a happy life until Brandt literally knocked him off his feet. Even though three years have passed, the attraction Julian feels toward Brandt has never weakened, and Julian’s starting to wonder if he can live without his heart.
If there is one thing about life Brandt knows all too well, it's how short it can truly be. He’s sick of running and he’s ready to claim his mate, but he’ll have to hurry. Someone else has their sights set on Julian, and it’s up to Brandt to save what could be the greatest love of his life.
“Okay. I’m done.” Alex set down the tattoo gun and patted Julian on the forearm. “Ready to take a look?”
“Yeah.” Julian stretched his arms over his head and tilted his head from side to side, bones popping. Alex handed him a mirror and Julian stood and walked over to the full-length mirror on the wall. “Holy shit, Alex.” Julian moved the mirror from side to side to get a better look. “It’s amazing.”
“I know.” Alex shrugged. “I did do it, after all.”
“Nice to know you’re so modest.” Julian couldn’t stop looking at the tattoo on his back. It was nearly identical to the wolf that had attacked him over two years ago. What captured the true essence of the wolf were those blue eyes. They looked human on the wolf’s face, and only Julian truly knew why.
It seemed like a lifetime ago. He’d been at the wedding rehearsal for his brother, Daniel, and his fiancée, Kelsey. The day had been going well. Then the wolf showed up. Julian had been so terrified, especially when it lunged at him. But in that one brief moment, when their eyes connected, Julian saw the truth behind those frantic eyes. His fear had turned to sympathy, then to longing.
In the beginning, Julian didn’t have a name for these feelings that took root inside him, but then his oldest brother, Bennett, and his mate, Shay, had a talk with him. Now Julian knew the truth behind the wild wolf that had bitten him. The wolf shifter’s name was Brandt and he was Julian’s mate—or so everyone thought. Julian hadn’t been sure he truly understood what that meant, but now he did. The pain in his chest he felt each and every day made him a believer. Some things in life weren’t meant to be understood—they just were.
Julian had been unaware of shifters living in the world. Had he not seen it with his own two eyes, he’d think it still wasn’t possible. He watched in fascinated horror as humans turned into wolves. The sickening sound of bones breaking and skin stretching nearly made him puke. It was amazing and frightening and so unfreaking believable.
His sister-in-law, Kelsey, was part of a wolf pack. She had the ability to change into a wolf whenever she wanted. It was a trait that was passed down to Julian’s new baby niece.
Wolf shifters were just like humans. They woke up each day only wanting the same things as the average person: to live a normal and safe life. For that alone, Julian wasn’t afraid of them. The Nehalem pack had made them members and treated them like family. So what if they got furry a few times a month? It didn’t make them bad people.
“Hey, when you’re good, you’re good.” Alex laughed. Julian glanced over at his boss and friend as he started to take apart his tattoo gun and clean his workstation.
Julian looked back into the mirror and stared at the artwork covering his entire back. The detail that Alex put into it was unbelievable. The strands of the white fur and the detailed outlining of its eyes and mouth—it looked as if the wolf were about to jump off his back. The wolf was gorgeous, and now, even though Brandt had run off and left him behind, Julian would have a forever memorial of the man on his back.
Julian stared out at nothing as the memories of Brandt’s introduction into his life came over him.
Julian was sitting on the bench behind the piano playing the wedding hymn as Kelsey walked down the aisle. It was a sunny day and a little on the warm side but it was magical. Julian was so happy for his brother, Daniel. Daniel had found the love of his life and was making the ultimate commitment. Julian hoped that one day he’d find that someone special that completed his life.
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