AMBER ELLA MONROE
writing as AMBRIELLE KIRK
Caedmon Wolves Volume One (3-book bundle) - Includes Books 1-3
Caedmon Wolves Volume Two (3-book bundle) - Includes Books 4-6
RESDAN COVEN (Coming Soon
OLF IN EXILE
SPEN VALLEY PACK
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Wolf in Exile Part 2
There is more to Thane Silex than meets the eye, and Kalena’s curiosity draws her deeper into his world. As a centuries old wolf shifter, Thane has encountered many obstacles. What he doesn’t expect to find while being held in exile is the woman his heart craves.
After Kalena teams up with Thane to plan her escape from the facility where she is being held, they both learn that she’s been poisoned. Fate brought them together, but time is not on their side. At the most critical hour, Thane will have to make a life-altering choice.
UNCHAINED is the second installment in the serialized paranormal romantic suspense story,
Wolf in Exile
WOLF IN EXILE SERIAL READING ORDER:
Part 1: CAPTURED
Part 2: UNCHAINED
Part 3: ASCEND
Part 4: RECLAIMED
Part 4.5: BOUND
Someone was calling her. She recognized the voice. The sound of it settled deeply within her soul, drawing her out of slumber.
“Kalena? It’s Thane.”
His fingers grazed her shoulder, and she forced her eyes open despite the drumming pain near her temples. The first thing she recognized was unruly chestnut hair framing a hard contoured face.
Thane helped her sit upright. “You blacked out.”
She glanced around to find that she was in the same hut, in the same clothes, and surrounded by the same drab lighting. Was she having deja-vu? Hadn’t she woken up in this same spot and predicament with no recollection of how she’d come to be here before?
“Blacked out how?” Kalena held her hand up to her forehead.
He narrowed his gaze. “Can you remember anything before you lost consciousness?”
She nodded. “We were talking about Silex and your parents.” She brought her hand to her lips. “And…we kissed. You left, but I can’t remember anything after that.”
“And before our talk…can you remember anything before then?”
“I just remember one pissed off wolf tearing through a bunch of other wolves, and then it shifted back to a naked man who turned out to be you. Then that lady told me that you'd just bought me."
He regarded her quizzically and then said, "I guess first impressions always stick."
“I don’t think I’ll ever forget that moment.”
His shoulders dropped and a sigh of relief passed from his lips. “Then it’s only short-term memory loss.”
She shook her head. “Memory loss?”
short-term memory loss. There’s a reversal to the drug you were given. This cure will slowly rid your system of the agent causing your memory loss and blackouts.”
Kalena shook her head. “One of the men who brought me here injected me with something when I tried to run off. And the night I was kidnapped, I was forced to breathe in some kind of chemical.” She gasped. “They used that D996 drug on me, didn’t they?”
He turned to catch her gaze. “How do you know about D996?”
“The day I was snooping in the labs, the day I was kidnapped, I came across the information. Someone must have left the logs open. I clicked on a few links and this database I’ve never seen before showed up. I read enough to know that mostly all the test subjects receiving the drug have died.”
“Most everyone dies if they’re not given the cure,” Thane said. “If my timeline is correct, then you lost the equivalent of a day while you were traveling here on the cargo truck. That means you’ve had D996 in your system for less than a week,” he said.
She slumped against him as another surge of nausea rushed over her.
“The feeling will pass, but you will need more than one dose of the cure, and you will need it again soon.” Thane handed her a canteen of water.
She took gulp after gulp of it, yet she still seemed unsatisfied. Her body craved the water to flush out whatever was causing her fatigue. As the beverage brought her temperature down, vivid memory flashes of the men chasing her down after she’d tried to escape with the truck came back to her.
She inhaled deeply, and then her breath rushed out unevenly. "How long was I out?”
“Nearly twenty hours.”
“Almost a day? Really?”
He nodded. “I sensed you were drugged when Nolan handed you over. I couldn’t be certain, and I fear you would’ve been out longer than you were without me intervening.”
“Why would Silex create a drug with only this type of remedy?”
“Silex is the largest and most powerful over-the-counter and prescription drug manufacturer. Because of your employment with the company, you should be aware that Silex has numerous product lines, but the company is mostly known for its painkillers—all of which are FDA approved and highly effective. What the public is not made aware of is that additional funding was provided to Silex by the government to research and produce a number of different drugs for various reasons. This happened almost two years ago.”
“Two years?” She frowned. “I didn’t research that far back before accepting the job offer.”
“Then you couldn’t have known about the business and ownership changes that happened around that time either. Most test subjects have signed contracts stating that they are offering up their bodies in the name of scientific research. That stipulation has always been in place, but before Gavril took charge, no one was ever given the drugs by force.”
“What does all of this have to do with the drug they injected me with?” she asked.
“D996 is not really a drug. It’s a weapon. This weapon is being refined through research, and its main purpose is to strip humans of their consciousness and ultimately, their memory. An enemy can do a lot of things when his foe is vulnerable and without recollection of past important events.”
“I see…” she mumbled.
Thane continued, “In answer to your earlier question…why would Silex create a drug with only one remedy? Silex began research and development of this drug at the government’s request for their use in secret missions. That was until they learned that all of the Silex family members were shifters. We were one of the last families to out ourselves. By that time, our scientists had already created the drug with only one cure—shifter DNA. This was, of course, to ensure that once the drug was released to the government, they’d still rely on the shifter population to produce it and reverse the effects as needed. Silex is not the only shifter-owned corporation in America with continuity of the shifter race as one of their prime agendas. There are other conglomerates worldwide just like it. When Gavril took the reins, having all that power went to his head. His indifference to humans in high positions didn’t help. Under my late father’s hand, we never took advantage of the weak. D996 lost the FDA’s approval shortly after Gavril claimed control of the company. He continued to produce it and sell it on the black market and still does even now.”
“You said your family was the last to reveal yourselves as shifters, but how come no one knows about Gavril?”
“Your government has a way of keeping these things under wraps if they must. Silex provides over eighty percent of all painkillers, and a number of different vaccines for humans. Halting the production lines of our legit drugs would be detrimental all around. On the other hand, bringing attention to the scandal and the issue caused by one bad seed would taint the Silex name. We don't want to be known as human killers. Rather than seeking out the help of federal authorities and government agencies who were already casting a critical eye on us, we intended to clean up our own mess with minimal damage to our legacy.”
“Oh.” Kalena exhaled, almost unbelieving all the information Thane was giving her. “I had no idea…”
“How long have you been with the company?” Thane asked.
“Not very long. Three months.”
“And your direct report…the VP of Accounting…how long has this person been employed by Silex?”
Kalena swallowed. “She told me about six months. They fired the last guy. He’d only been there a week.”
“Lucrative pay and impressive benefits to lure you in. High turnover and a substantial severance pay to keep the secrets in-house and skeptics out. That is the way Gavril operates.”
“The drugs are being injected into unsuspecting people just like me. This needs to stop. How can it be stopped?” Kalena balled her hands into fists.
“I have several connections that rotate their employment contracts with Silex on an ongoing basis. You might call them spies. They are loyal to me and belong to my Pack. One of my scientists is assigned to each lab at all times. The formulas are being tweaked to heavily reduce and eliminate the deadly side effects. There’s a small chance that you were administered a diluted version.”
“But why can’t you just escape here now and stop your brother?” she demanded.
“Gavril owns Area S2. All of it. When he killed the Alpha of the North Sky Pack in a challenge, he inherited these barricades. For the longest time, Area S2 was like the human equivalent of a prison to us shifters, and it still is, but Gavril has been misusing it for his purposes. Anyone who disrupts his operations or threatens him has been thrown in here on false convictions, along with the other tried criminals. If I step foot outside of these walls, I am positive he will be the first one notified. But it’s not my life that I am concerned about. When I agreed to disappear and remain in exile until my death, he spared the life of my younger cousin, who happens to be the true heir to Silex Pharmaceuticals.”
“Why didn’t he just kill you?”
“We’re not like humans. We’ve only adapted to your modern conveniences to stay alive and to flourish. For a wolf, living in captivity is one hundred times more dreadful than passing into eternity. He didn’t want to allow me that privilege.”
“What’s the coding for this cure?” she asked. “Maybe I’ve seen it before while working with Rhonda on the reports.”
“There is none. D996 was produced to do more harm than good. The cure would have never been given a code.”
“Then how do you have access to this reversal drug?”
Thane sat on the edge of the cot and ran a hand back through his hair. “The reversal is in my blood.”
“Tell me about the cure in your blood.”
“A cure exists in the DNA of shifters. There are temporary remedies, and there are more permanent ones. Injecting shifter DNA directly into the bloodstream can halt the deadly and harmful side effects of D996. This cure, when taken in regular intervals, cleanses the body of the D996 agent. It also adds to that human’s life expectancy.”
“What the…?” Kalena was baffled by this information. “How can it do that?”
“Simple. My species lives almost ten times as long as homo sapiens. Each dose of shifter DNA can add anywhere from one year to ten years onto the life of a human. The shifter’s genetics, position, and age control the potency.”
“Most Packs can track their lineage back to when we first came into existence in the B.C. era. We started out as one Pack and just as we do today, we branched off into others.”
She crossed her legs on the cot, puzzled that she’d never encountered this information before. Had never even thought to research it. Had she known that Silex was a shifter-owned firm, she probably would have. “And position?”
“There is a cast system or hierarchy within the shifter populace. Most abilities are gained by ascending or climbing the Pack ranks. There are Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta positions. From there, we have Epsilons and Omegas and everything else in-between.”
“Age,” she urged. “Does potency improve or decline with age?”
“It improves greatly with age.”
“You’re pretty young, so that must mean your blood isn’t very potent, right?”
He met her gaze. “I’m two hundred ninety-five years old. I wouldn’t call that young.”
Kalena’s mouth fell open as she processed his declaration. “Shouldn’t you be dead?”
Thane laughed breathlessly. “I have no answer to that. Our creator didn’t give us the ability to estimate our moment of death.”
“Where are all your gray hairs? You have the skin of a youth. I don't see any age spots.”
“A shifter doesn't reach his prime until around the age of seventeen. We're most vulnerable during our earlier years. After we've matured into adulthood, we begin to age very slowly. Two hundred ninety-five years is the equivalent of about thirty-five human years,” he said.
“Right, you do look to be in your thirties, and you aren’t old and wrinkled.”
Thane grinned. “I’ll take that as a compliment.”
She narrowed her eyes. “Where did you inject me?”
He took her hand in his and turned her palm upward. His fingers traced up the vein pulsing against the skin on the underside of her arm. A warm thrill ran up her spine, and she craved more of his touch.
He pressed his thumb against the site of the injection. “Here.”
“And with what?”
She followed his gaze as it trailed to the end table by the cot. There was a needle sitting next to a burning candle. “It’s a good thing I passed out. I hate needles with a passion.”
“There are other ways to get the cure. Blood injections are usually the quickest. The cure can also be found in semen, and it attacks the D996 poison in ways similar to the blood.” He regarded her with a serious expression. “You don’t hate sex with a passion too, do you?”
Her gaze dropped to his mouth and she reminisced about the way he’d kissed her and had held her up against the wall earlier. She could count on one hand the number of boyfriends she'd had sex with, and it had never been with much passion. She decided to avoid his direct question. No need to reveal that she was inexperienced in the ways of making love.
“So, to get the cure that will remove the harmful poison inside of me, I have to inject myself with shifter DNA or engage in sex with a shifter?”
“Theoretically.” Thane nodded curtly. “The next dose should be given soon. You were unconscious when I gave you the first one, and the cure travels faster when the heart rate is higher than normal. Based on the number of times you were exposed to D996, I estimate you will need the cure about a dozen more times.” His gaze darkened as he assessed her. “You choose the method, but I won’t let you die.”
Kalena blushed and looked away. No matter how seductive and tempting he was, she could not have sex with a stranger just to cure her ailment. But would she dare have sex with a three-hundred-year-old wolf of a man to whom she was attracted?
“The only thing I want right now is a bath. Isn’t there a bathtub somewhere around here?” she asked, knowing full well there were no bathrooms in the middle of the damned forest.
“There’s a fresh water lake less than a quarter mile from here, but I’ll need to carry you there like I carried you here. I don’t want anyone picking up your scent.”
For a moment, Kalena thought she glimpsed his eyes change in color. The brown hue was suddenly mixed with auburn and brass. She looked at his chest, remembering the symbol that had appeared when she’d touched him. There was no sign of such a symbol now. There was more to this man than he was letting on, and with what little time she had with him, she would aim to learn more about him.