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Moira Rogers
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Protecting Their Mate: Part Three

The Last Pack

As the full moon raises tensions–and appetites–Ashley indulges her wildest fantasies…and discovers what it truly means to belong to the pack. But Blake’s control is tested as outsiders descend on the pack’s territory, and Ashley discovers that following her heart may be the only way to find her mate.

Ashley’s heart longs for one man, but her wolf demands that she test herself against the alpha. Can she settle for a life of never knowing, or will she risk everything for Blake?

Protecting Their Mate was originally published as an eight part serial under the penname Mia Thorne. It has been repackaged, but the story remains the same.

Read an Excerpt


Chapter One

Blake couldn’t stop moving.

On any other day, he would have already stripped to his skin and given in to the wolf. The moon sang in his blood, and there was no reason he couldn’t dance with it before the pack gathered to run together.

No reason except one, and she was currently tucked away with Connor in the library, poring over lore books and learning all the things Blake had planned to teach her. And it didn’t matter that the other pack couldn’t find them. It didn’t matter that Connor could be plenty dangerous in his own right, and that Mac, Jud, and Lucas were all nearby.

Blake couldn’t leave her. Not even to run.

So he chopped wood instead. Not exactly a useful way to fill his time, since they already had more than they could use in a month, but it took concentration. And it made his brooding less obvious.

He heard the footsteps crossing the yard, but the last thing he expected was for Mac to jerk the ax out of his hands mid-swing.

He was just frustrated enough to take it as a challenge. Whirling, he bared his teeth in a snarl. “What.”

Mac dropped the ax to the ground with a thump. “We need to talk.”

He didn’t want to talk. He wanted to fight, hit something or someone, and Mac was a target who could take it. But he was pack, too, and the concern in his eyes trumped Blake’s frustration. It would be easy to shut him down, brush him off. Blake was strong enough to do it.

Which was why he couldn’t. “Let’s go for a walk.”

They fell into a pattern—a loop around the barn, then back toward the lodge—before Mac finally spoke. “I don’t like it. And it’s not just because they’re assholes. They’re playing at something, this other pack.”

Connor had already told them everything, but Connor’s sharp mind still fixated on human nuance. He could tease apart the twisting turns of a person’s unspoken motivations, but if the other wolves had a female…

It didn’t matter how corrupted by proximity to the outside world they might be. It wasn’t human instinct that would be driving them. “Tell me what you saw.”

“A bunch of posturing dickheads,” Mac grumbled. “They kept the girl out of sight—and they’ve got to have one, because the alpha smelled like he’d been rolling in her fucking clothes for a week. Way too much, you know? Not in heat, but definitely female wolf.”

Blake flexed his fingers. “You met in neutral territory. You think they brought her?”

“Yeah, I do.”

Fucking hell. Blake couldn’t think of a single damn reason he’d bring Ashley to a meeting like that, exposing her to wolves who could be a danger, dragging her to the heart of a potential fight. Maybe if he didn’t have a safe place for her to be. But that was the whole fucking point, the reason they’d fought for years to build this place. You didn’t claim what you couldn’t protect.

But that was the most harmless explanation. He eyed Mac again, taking in his tension, the hard set of his jaw. “What else did you see?”

“One of ’em was sporting a brand-new eye patch, and he didn’t look like a pirate or a James Bond villain.” Mac rolled his neck and stretched his shoulders. “If someone was coming after me, I’d sure as hell go for the eyes. Doesn’t mean it was the girl, but…”

But it didn’t mean it wasn’t. As Blake knew all too well, mating was a tricky enough prospect when the female was willing. Taking one by force simply didn’t work. Trying was a good way to lose a hand. Or your dick.

Or an eye.

Two sets of instincts clashed. There were so few mature female wolves. Every one was precious—and in danger. Oh, most of the feral bastards out there would bide their time for a while. No use ruining their chances for a real mate, after all. But when those chances dwindled to nothing…

She couldn’t fight them off forever.

They needed to get that sorry excuse for a pack into their territory. Verify the girl’s safety. Eliminate any threats to it. It would have been a simple decision a month ago. None of them would have hesitated.

The girl was precious, but Ashley was theirs.

His.

And she wouldn’t appreciate his hesitation. He didn’t have to ask her to know that. She’d be furious this was even a question, enraged that they hadn’t mounted a rescue mission already. So maybe his instincts weren’t in conflict after all. If he sacrificed someone else to protect Ashley, he’d lose her.

“I’ll talk to Lucas,” he promised, squeezing Mac’s shoulder. “We can get them out here in a few days. And if they’re trouble…”

“We make them go away,” Mac finished quietly.

It was how Blake knew these wolves were stupid. Maybe they thought they were clever, wrangling an invitation to a real pack’s territory. But if they were looking for secrets, they’d only discover one: how easy it would be to make them disappear for good.