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New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong has captivated readers with her spellbinding Women of the Otherworld series. Now, for the first time, in this collection of four tales she gives center stage to the men who love these sexy, supernatural women-the men who live on the other side of humanity... the wild side. As a curious six-year-old, Clayton didn't resist the bite-he asked for it. But surviving as a lone child-werewolf was more than he could manage-until Jeremy came along and taught him how to straddle the human-werewolf worlds, gave him a home... and introduced him to the Pack. So begins this tantalizing volume, featuring three of the most intriguing members of the American Pack-a hierarchical founding family where bloodlines mean everything and each day presents a new, thrilling, and often deadly challenge. For as Clayton grows from a wild child to a clever teen who tests his beloved mentor at every turn, he must learn not only to control his animal instincts but to navigate Pack politics-including showing his brutal archnemesis, Malcolm, who the real Alpha is.... From the nature of fear, weakness, and courage, to the triumph of belonging and the complications of love and loyalty, these mesmerizing tales reveal the trials of a werewolf coming-of-age, and lay bare the hearts and minds of the men strong enough for the women of the Otherworld-and adept enough to take on two worlds.
Kelley Armstrong is the author of nine books of the Otherworld. She lives in Ontario, Canada, with her family.
From the Hardcover edition.
"Antonio." Dominic walked to the table and plunked down a bottle of cheap champagne. "I've decided to name him Antonio."
Malcolm sipped his beer as a chorus of "good choice" rose up from the others. Wally and Raymond Santos glanced Malcolm's way, as if seeking permission to congratulate Dominic, but Malcolm just kept drinking and let them make up their own minds. After a moment, Wally joined in with a raised glass to the new father, while sixteen-year-old Raymond busied himself cleaning out a thumbnail. Dominic paused behind the head chair. Billy Koenig scrambled out of it, making a quick joke about keeping it warm for him. Dominic thudded into the chair and dropped his burly arms onto the table so hard Malcolm's beer sloshed. Typical Dominic—always throwing his weight around, as if he was already Pack Alpha, not just heir apparent.
"A drink for Antonio," Dominic thundered, his voice reverberating through the dingy bar. He turned to the owner, across the room, counting bottles. "Vinnie! Glasses!"
Waiting tables certainly wasn't Vincent's job, but he hopped to it. As Vincent approached, Malcolm held up his empty mug. Vincent paused, but only for a second, then took Malcolm's glass. Dominic allowed himself only a split-second scowl, but it was enough for Malcolm. It was easy to establish dominance when you were bigger than everyone else. Doing it without that advantage was the real accomplishment.
Once the glasses were filled and distributed, Dominic lifted his. "To fatherhood."
Everyone clinked glasses.
"Now, how about a wager?" Dominic boomed. "Take bets on who'll be the next new father. I'll pick Malcolm." A quick grin. "God knows, he's been trying hard enough."
Malcolm gritted his teeth as the others laughed and called out good-natured jabs. It was his own damned fault. Malcolm had meant to keep his hopes secret until he could show off the goods, but two years ago, sitting around this very table listening to Dominic brag about his sons, he'd announced a pending arrival of his own . . . only to discover a month later, when the child was born, that it wasn't his. Since then, everyone knew he'd been trying, and hadn't even sired a daughter.That was his father's fault—difficulty siring children was one family blight Malcolm couldn't overcome through sheer strength of will.
He had only to look at his father—sitting at the next table with the Alpha, Emilio—to see the second family blight, a cane resting beside his father's chair. He bristled, as he always did, at this physical proof of Edward's weakness. Not just weakness. Cowardice.
As a Danvers, Edward had been expected to fight for Alphahood, but when the opportunity arose, he'd somehow managed to cripple his leg. No one was quite sure how it had happened—the story changed with the teller—but whatever the cause, the injury permanently took him out of the line of succession. As a mediocre fighter, Edward had stood no chance of winning an Alpha match, so he'd intentionally taken himself out of the race. Everyone in the Pack knew it.
Malcolm had spent his life wiggling out from under the shadow of his father's cowardice. And he had. After Dominic, he was now the best fighter in the Pack, and among the mutts, his reputation for ruthlessness surpassed that of every other Pack werewolf. But when his father looked over, there was no pride in his face. Just a lifting of his chin, listening in on the younger men's conversation, making sure Malcolm wasn't saying anything to embarrass him.
As they drank the champagne, the cleaning girl stopped by to wipe off their table. She murmured something that was probably meant to be "excuse me," but her thick accent and whispered voice rendered the words unintelligible.
The girl didn't speak more than a dozen words of English. Ma
Excerpted from Men of the Otherworld by Kelley Armstrong All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.