Book 1 in the Coven of the Wolf Series
I hope you will enjoy the story of Drake and Rhea. The descriptions of out-of-body sex were gleaned from my reading about the topic on the Internet. The chapter quotes are totally made up and no such books exist, just in case you wanted to look for them. Chaos magick is practiced by some magicians. As mentioned in the book, it is not necessarily “black” magick, but because it has no parameters, the ethics of the practitioner must be of the highest in order not to do harm unnecessarily.
A coven leader who mates with his complement is mated for life.
Once the relationship has been consummated,
No power in or out of this world can challenge the leader’s power.
—Covendom Rules, page 5.
Law Offices of Galway, Headley and Monroe
Mandrake Morgan swept down the interior stairs of the law office; his feet barely touched the carpeted steps. Anger poured off him in waves, vibrated the metal railings, and caused the air around him to hiss and crackle with electricity. He was close to losing his much-vaunted control; he wouldn’t be able to explain how he survived the death and destruction that would surely follow.
He made a strong, conscious effort to dampen his preternatural powers.
As CEO of Morgan, Ltd., the corporate front for the Coven of the Wolf, the largest coven of witches in the mid-western United States, he did his best to keep humans from realizing that Morgan, Ltd. was anything other than what it seemed—an international corporate umbrella for a wide diversity of business and real estate holdings. While many of the company’s employees and independent contractors were human, the upper echelon of administration in the worldwide empire consisted of witches, with a few shapeshifters thrown in for diversity’s sake; all of the officers and trustees were family.
Drake’s meeting with Seb Headley, a human and Morgan, Ltd.’s chief legal counsel, had been held to examine serious problems the company had experienced over the past several months. Today’s meeting had primarily dealt with contract bidding information being leaked by an insider to competitor companies.
Within seconds of sitting down with Seb, Drake’s empathic powers revealed the human lied to him. The who, when, where and why totally escaped Drake. Drake might be an empath, but his mind-reading abilities had only extended to his mother. The one concrete piece of knowledge he could glean from his psi ability was that Seb Headley knew more than he was telling.
For the past six months, Drake had utilized the lawyer to put together contractual bids for Morgan’s far-flung construction projects, just as he had previously used Headley, Sr., the Headley on the firm’s letterhead, before he’d died. Something about the younger Headley had always bothered him, but he’d never attempted to pin down exactly what it was. Now, it seemed that the problems Morgan, Ltd. experienced could be tied directly to the lawyer’s taking over of its legal business.
As Drake wove his way through the maze of the law firm’s offices and hallways, he struggled to contain his escalating anger over the betrayal. He mentally examined then rejected several ways to handle the problem. Turning Headley into a bug then smashing him, while a satisfying solution, was not practical and violated the coven’s “do no harm” credo. Besides, Drake acknowledged, the problem extended much further than his lying bastard of a lawyer. It had been obvious to the leadership of the coven that there was a traitor or traitors in its midst.
At about the same time Headley, Jr. had taken over as counsel, the preternatural side of the coven also had experienced some trouble. Several of the younger witches had disappeared. Then, the coven security personnel noticed that someone had been tinkering with the protective wards placed on Morgan, Ltd. headquarters. Spells causing illness and dissension had been cast in various areas of the building, causing minor problems and work stoppages. Although easily reversed, the fact that someone had been able to breach the building’s safety features had caused alarm. And lately, and probably most troublesome of all, someone had been changing the environment outside of the building. While the rest of Michigan Avenue experienced a sunny day, it would be cloudy and storming over Morgan, Ltd. Such phenomena could not be explained away forever by lake effect.
Someone was trying to harm the Coven of the Wolf and its followers by exposing their unusual abilities. The elders feared chaos would then ensue and make the Salem witch trials look like child’s play.
Drake and the elders could only conclude that someone inside Morgan, Ltd. had either performed the dark magick or provided information to outsiders to allow the breaches. He was positive that Warrick Bettencourt, a thorn in the coven’s side since he was banished from the leadership council for preaching the use of chaos magick, was behind it all.
As the leader of the Coven of the Wolf and CEO of Morgan, Ltd., Drake could no longer put it off. He needed to take direct action. Problem was, he wasn’t quite sure what.
Mulling over his possible actions, he moved through the hallways as if in a trance. Just as he reached the reception area, he sensed a presence, which pushed all thoughts of traitors and Seb Headley out of his mind. It was that of a strong projector on the lower levels of the astral plane. While it was not unusual for Drake as a powerful male witch to encounter ethereal bodies on the alternate plane, usually these encounters happened when he was relaxed or asleep. Almost none of them were purposeful enough to attract the attention of his conscious mind, and when they were, the encounters usually presaged evil or danger.
This contact was neither evil nor dangerous. But, somehow, it had grabbed his sentient mind and left an indelible trace of its essence. It was unlike anything he’d ever experienced.
The energy was strong, feminine in nature, a showy blue-green aura underlain with a warm, gentle wafting of air. Like the breath of a summer breeze. It was not obviously purposeful or seeking. It just was.
Considering the fact that the energy was strong and pure, the source of the projection had to be near, within the law firm’s suite of offices. Drake had to find her, not because she was a strong projector, but because her conscious mind linked to his, something that only occurred between a mother and child during a witch’s pre-adolescent years.
According to legends, such a linking could only occur at one other possible time. Snippets of the stories related to him at his mother’s knee flashed across his mind.
For a hereditary male coven leader there is one, and only one complement…not all coven leaders are destined to meet their perfect mate…those that do will recognize her by the linking of their minds…a complete and total telepathic link, which in the control of a skilled witch can lead to total knowledge of the other…a coven leader who mates with his complement is mated for life…once the relationship has been consummated, no force in or out of this world can challenge the leader’s power.
A satisfying warmth akin to desire, and pure, primordial male ownership swept through his body. Mine! She is mine!
Whoever she was, her strong magick complemented his, and, if the legends were correct, she’d be his future wife.
As he stalked the hallways, he maintained and strengthened the link until he was in her mind, while shielding his thoughts from her. Funny how old skills he used as a child to hide things from his mother came back to him so easily.
Using his complement’s thoughts, feelings, and sensory impressions, he zeroed in on clues to her whereabouts in the suite of offices. Through her eyes, he observed a small blonde sitting across from her. The table was cheap. The room contained a refrigerator and a microwave. The space had to be an employee break room. Drake asked a passing worker where the employee lounge was located, then hurried toward it.
The door was closed. Damn. He wanted to see her. Hell, who was he kidding? Male territorial urges as old as time pulsed through him. He wanted to throw her on the floor then plunge his hard cock into her until he didn’t know where he ended and she began.
The legend hadn’t told the whole story. The connection was more than mental. It was a strong, primeval urge beating in his mind and body. His need to mate, to claim her, was overpowering. He managed to sequester the urges. He was damn sure that she wouldn’t appreciate a total stranger knowing her carnally before they were even introduced.
Better to hide and use the unique connection they had to eavesdrop on her. Scoping out the hallway, Drake spied a closed door with a bolt lock. Using a small amount of magic, he unlocked the door and glanced inside; it was a storage closet. Perfect. When she left he could crack the door and see what she looked like. Not that her looks mattered in the grand scheme of things; according to the legend, she was his chance at unlimited powers of magick.
“Really, Rhea. What are you worried about? After all, Seb Headley’s neck is on the chopping block where the Brewer contracts are concerned,” the small blonde said.
“Cyn, Seb leaked the terms of Morgan’s bid to ABC. Not only that, he changed the terms I had originally put together with Morgan’s construction management people, so that if even ABC messed up, they still had a better chance of being low bid,” Rhea said as she threw something on the table between the two women. “Look for yourself. I found the altered copy in Seb’s folder when I went to pick it up for re-filing. Dammit, Seb cost Mr. Morgan a multi-million dollar deal. Someone needs to tell Mr. Morgan. After all, he is our client.”
Rhea. His mind whispered her name. Mother of the gods. And she had the proof that Headley had lied and sabotaged Morgan, Ltd.’s business dealings.
Rhea’s head whipped around as if she sought something in the room.
She’d heard him! His shields had slipped. He’d better be careful. He’d sensed her discomfort at the telepathic exchange. Something about her uneasiness niggled at the edges of his mind. She seemed afraid. But was it Headley’s crimes or his intrusion into her mind that caused the fear?
“What’s wrong?” Cyn asked.
“Did you hear someone call my name?”
He frowned. She acted like she’d never had this experience before. Had her mother been human? That might explain it. Young witches did not link to their fathers.
“No. You’re just spooked with all this cloak-and-dagger shit. I’d stay out of it if I were you. Mandrake Morgan can handle himself and anything that threatens his company,” said Cyn. “Have you seen the man? He scares the bejesus out of me.”
“No, I’ve never met Mr. Morgan,” Rhea said. “Anyway, it doesn’t matter whether he can handle it or not. What Seb is doing, isn’t right. I have to do something, or I won’t be able to look in the mirror each morning. If Mr. Galway were in town, I’d immediately go to him. Since he’s not, I’ll have to wait.”
“Watch your back, girlfriend. If Seb finds out, well, he can be a real bastard when riled.”
“What can he do? Get me fired? I don’t think so.”
Rhea paced the room. Her rapid motions made Drake dizzy by proxy.
She continued. “For God’s sake, Seb just violated a whole mess of legal ethical rules. He’ll be lucky if he doesn’t get disbarred, let alone kicked out of the firm.”
“That’s not what I meant. He put one of the other female associates, Miranda Richardson, in the hospital.”
“I heard she’d left because of a family problem.”
“I guess you could call it that. Good ole Seb got her pregnant. She made the mistake of thinking he would be responsible and do the right thing. The asshole hit her so hard she miscarried.”
“Oh my God,” said Rhea. “Well, that’s even more reason to take the bastard out. But I promise I’ll let Galway do the actual confronting. How’s that?”
Drake growled low in his throat. His strong protective instincts didn’t want Rhea anywhere near Seb Headley. But he realized until she met and learned to trust him, he couldn’t do much about controlling whom she saw and what she did and didn’t do.
“I suggest you be long gone, maybe an extended vacation, when that happens. Whether you confront him or Galway does, you would be numero uno on his to-be-beat-up list.”
Drake liked the way the blonde thought. He hoped Rhea would listen to her friend’s good advice. But some sense he’d already gleaned from his link to her told him she would do what she felt was right. No matter the consequences.
The two women got up to leave. Drake cracked the storage room door.
The tiny blonde came out first. Next to the small, rounded Cyn, Rhea looked like an Amazon in a business suit—tall, statuesque, flame-haired, and green-eyed. She was a goddess. His goddess.
As the women walked past his hiding place toward the front of the office suite, Rhea hesitated, her head tilted as if she were seeking something.
He stifled a gasp. His desire must have leaked to her somehow. She sensed someone was watching her, but was afraid to stop and look around. Afraid of what she would see or rather, wouldn’t.
When Cyn drew Rhea’s attention, Drake eased the door shut. Wanting to test her receptivity to his thoughts, he dropped his shields and projected an image of himself watching her, but from the doorway of the break room. She gasped then spun about and stared at the open doorway of the lounge.
Through the storage room door, he heard Cyn ask, “Rhea? What’s wrong? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
“Nothing. I just felt as if someone was watching us walk down the hall.”
“Probably one of the office boys. Most of them are perverts. Ignore them. If they see they can scare you, they’ll keep doing it.”
“I’m sure you’re right.”
The two women continued on their way.
But Rhea hadn’t bought her friend’s explanation.
Who are you? Where are you? Why are you in my mind? You aren’t the voice I hear at my home…Am I going nuts?
The staccato delivery stung his brain like hailstones. She was angry—and scared.
I have no choice in the matter?
Her reply was a silent scream of frustration that traveled down his spine like an electrical shock.
Rhea was a bona fide witch—no non-witch blood in her veins. He’d stake his reputation as a powerful mage on that fact. Yet, her inexperience with telepathic communications permeated her questions and thoughts, leading him to the obvious conclusion.
She didn’t know what she was!
But he knew. She was his complement, the other half which would make him whole. His destined mate. By birthright and the Goddess, they were linked together as strongly as a male and female witch could ever be. Even the bond between a mother witch and child wasn’t this strong. And the bond would only grow stronger once they conjoined, mated.
The legend said there was only one true mate, the complement, for each coven leader. Many hereditary leaders never found their complement. Historically, those leaders did not hold their power over their covens. There was always someone more powerful, more ambitious, waiting in the wings. Someone like Warrick Bettencourt.
Drake didn’t plan on losing his position. Rhea was the key.
Before Drake rushed out of the law firm, he asked the receptionist about Rhea. All he got was her last name—Brown—and that she was a lawyer, one of the new associates assigned to Seb Headley. That explained how she’d found out Seb was double-crossing Drake’s company.
Frustrated and needing to know more, he planned to put his private investigators on the job of checking her background. He didn’t care where or who, or even what coven. He just liked to have all the facts about his bride-to-be. Then, he would make her his.
As he left the elevator and headed for the main lobby, he observed Rhea leaving the building. After a quick trip through her thoughts, he discovered she was going home for the day and intended to walk. He’d trail her, see where she lived.
During the trip to her house, he had one more experiment to try, and until he made an amulet from something of hers or mated, he would need proximity to link. With the crowds on Michigan Avenue providing cover, he could get close without her seeing him. If all went as he expected, she would know him on the astral plane, before she knew him carnally.
* * * *
Rhea had sensed him, whoever he was, touch her mind in the hallway. How she knew it was a male presence she wasn’t quite sure. But she recognized that this voice was different than the others she’d been hearing. Nothing about these feelings she’d experienced was certain or even logical.
The strange, unexplainable occurrences had originated with her move to Chicago and into her grandmother’s town home in Lincoln Park. The phenomena had escalated after she’d started to work for Galway, Headley and Monroe, more particularly, when she’d started to work with the employees at Morgan, Ltd. on that company’s real estate projects.
Voices. Images. Feelings. Physical sensations. None of them hers.
Then, she’d found the secret room in her house. The dusty old books with her grandmother Elspeth’s handwriting in the margins. The crystals and amulets lying around. The room had radiated feelings of anticipation at her arrival, then relief as she’d entered.
Afraid of how it made her feel—or what she might discover about herself—she’d closed the room back up and refused to re-enter. And, on the whole she’d managed to avoid the temptation to investigate the strange urges and the voices seeking her from the hidden chamber.
But then, this happened. A man’s touch in her mind. A man’s voice saying her name. Another sense of anticipation, this one underlain with sexual feelings—and ownership.
On top of the situation with Seb Headley’s perfidy and her decision to tell her boss about it as soon as possible, she was afraid she might need to seek counseling for her nerves. She was afraid she was going nuts.
Pushing her disturbing reverie aside, she scanned the crowded sidewalks and could find no one singling her out for particular attention. But she felt as if someone was watching her. She trembled. Whether it was from the brisk wind off the lake or from fear, she didn’t know, but went ahead and pulled her shearling coat closer around her body. At least, she could do something about the physical feelings.
Rhea walked briskly along the avenue. The lengthy walk home in the brisk autumn air should clear her head.
Then, images of two naked bodies flashed before her eyes. One female. One male.
The female’s face was distorted by a haze of shimmering blue-green and golden-white light—the man’s covered by a similar haze, colored dark violet shot through with red.
The woman’s hair lying on the man’s chest was red—like hers. The mole on the woman’s breast was identical to the one she had.
Icy fingers of recognition wrapped around her, halting her forward motion. The woman was her!
People bumped into and walked around her, but she couldn’t move from the spot. She couldn’t speak. Didn’t see what was around her. The din and bustle of Michigan Avenue receded to mere background noise.
Her mind, all her being, fixated on the erotic images racing through her head.
Then came the physical, sexual, sensations.
Blood rushed to her genitals, leaving her dizzy. Her clitoris throbbed with building tension; her vagina pulsed, waiting to be filled. Her breath came in rapid gasps. Her heart pounded in her head. The anticipation was unbearable.
She could do nothing to make the sensations go away or, better yet, seek the fulfillment she craved.
Helpless, she stood frozen as the male in her vision spread her alter ego’s thighs.
Yes! Please? Make the ache go away.
As you will, Rhea. My own.
The man thrust into the ethereal Rhea. Immediately an orgasm swept over her and it was unlike any she’d ever had. It was so powerful she cried out, uncaring that the people around her moved away to avoid her as she doubled over and hugged herself. She shuddered and moaned as wave after wave of orgiastic pleasure swept through her physical body.
Then as fast as it had happened, it was over.
“Lady? You okay?” A man’s voice broke through her post-orgasmic lassitude. “Should I call an ambulance?”
The speaker touched her arm. She flinched and drew away from him. Even through the thick coat, her arm was still overly sensitized from the sexual build-up and release.
“No. No. I’m fine. I need to get home.” She straightened up. Concentrating on calming her breathing, she turned to the young man and attempted to smile. “Would you hail me a cab? Please?”
The youth, a concerned look on his face, seemed relieved he could do something. Or, maybe he was just relieved that the crazy woman had regained control.
“Sure. Just stand right here.” The Good Samaritan stepped off the sidewalk to catch the attention of a taxi.
As he did this, Rhea struggled to recapture some semblance of her usual placidity. When he returned to help her into the cab, she smiled for real this time.
“Thank you.” She pressed fifty dollars into his hand.
“No, I don’t need that.”
But he lied. Somehow, she’d sensed his desperate hunger when he’d touched her. He’d lost his job.
Damn these feelings. How on earth had she known that? What was wrong with her?
She shuddered and shook off the questions. The middle of a busy Michigan Avenue sidewalk was no place to psychoanalyze herself. But she could do something to help the concerned person standing before her.
“Take the money. The job you applied for—the one at the department store. They’ll hire you day after tomorrow. You don’t want to faint on them because you’re hungry, do you?”
“How?” Feelings of shock, fear, and hope crossed the man’s gaunt face.
“I don’t know.” Because I’m going crazy and hear voices in my head. “But I’m right, aren’t I?”
The man nodded. “God bless you. Uh, are you sure you’ll be okay?”
She shrugged, pushing away her discomfort, her trepidation, about her inexplicable knowledge. “I hope so.” The man’s brow creased in concern, and she hurried to reassure him. “I’ll be fine. Thanks for caring.”
The young man smiled, then turned and left.
She climbed into the cab and gave the driver her address.
After she settled back against the seat, she examined her recent and illusory sexual experience. The woman in the vision was her. The man in the dreamlike encounter was the voice from the hallway. He’d made love to her and claimed her like a marauding pirate. You’re mine, he’d said. And her feelings had been anything but imaginary; those had been real.
Could he be real? Would she ever meet him anywhere other than in her head? Was she going frigging nuts?