Alexander Payne always gets what he wants…and he wants her.
Investment Banker Alexander Payne knows that the recent spate of murders in the City of London means only one thing—they are coming for him. Wolves do not belong in cities. That’s what he was always brought up to believe. But he is no ordinary wolf and has harnessed his lupine tendencies to become one of the wealthiest men in the country, if not Europe. Led by sharp killer instinct, he always wins. Always.
Now he has to fight against those who want to take advantage of his power and privilege—his own family. He has no intention of becoming like his father, a brute of a man and a poor excuse for a wolf. He will do whatever it takes to make sure that doesn’t happen. The bodies are piling up and fingers are starting to point towards him.
When Detective Sergeant Cora Daniels turns up at his office to question him, he is instantly drawn to her. Though she could be his downfall, he has no option but to follow his instincts. Because he always gets what he wants…and he wants her.
Reader advisory: This book contains mention of violent crimes.
General Release Date: 11th October 2022
He writhed on the forest floor, his blood lava scorching his insides as bones stretched and cracked and sinews twisted. His first shift was never going to be easy, but he knew having no guidance in this—the day he would finally become his true self—would always make it harder.
“Alex!” his mother cried, the pain in her voice making him angry and in need of her comfort simultaneously. “My God, Alex!”
His belly was a pit of fire, one that was ready to eat anything in its path. Desperately he hoped she wouldn’t come any closer—there was no way he could trust himself right now. He had to get out of here, he couldn’t be around her like this. Already the pull of his animal was overtaking him, clawing at his skin to get out, possessing his heart and his mind as it sought to emerge for the first time. After sixteen years of being caged, the beast was hell-bent on being set free, and he stood little chance of stopping it.
“Go!” he shouted, shocked by the growl in his voice.
“I can’t… I can’t just leave you!” Tears streamed down her face.
“You have to. Please just go. I’ll find my way home to you.” He doubled over as his guts convulsed.
“No, there’s no way I can do that, I thought I could, but I can’t. You’re my son!”
“I’m a wolf! Now go!”
She placed a hand on his shoulder, snapping it back when he turned and bared his newly formed fangs at her. He was still sentient enough to see the look of horror and fear etched on her face, the sight almost being enough to kill him, if this first shift didn’t.
She inched backwards, and he watched impatiently as she eventually turned on her heel and ran. “Faster!” he yelled. “And don’t come back to look for me.” Fear crashed through him—a giant wave that threatened to swallow him up. He always knew this day was coming even if his mother had tried to convince him that it might never happen. Over the years she had chosen to ignore the obvious signs—his strength, acuteness and highly developed senses.
“You’re just a strong and sensitive boy,” she would say, stroking his cheek or wrapping an arm around him.
In truth, Alexander knew it wouldn’t bother her if he were a wolf, just like his father. There was a time when she had loved and accepted that man. But he had changed, and that was why she had taken Alexander, taken him from his place of birth in Russia and hidden away in the large towns and cities, where people were hard to find, and scents were hard to pick up.
He had gone from being Aleksander Mikhailovich Petrov to Alexander Payne, but there were some things that she could not change. Countries, names and addresses were one thing, but blood, bones and destiny another.
His head stretched up to the sky as his skin cracked, the pain so intense it sickened him. He was rearranging in the most agonizing and time-consuming way.
It was not supposed to be like this. He had spent too much time apart from a pack, away from those that were like him. They’d lived as if he were human, nothing else, when all along he’d needed to be schooled in the ways of the wolf. Now he was here, alone in a forest that his mother had driven him to. Away from people but too close to her. He hoped with everything he had that she was close to reaching the car.
They had packed a bag with all he would need to find his way home, if and when he shifted back, and placed it in the gaping mouth of an uprooted tree. Even if he could not remember the location, he would be able to sniff it out. If he returned intact.
There was nothing he could be sure of apart from one thing. He was a wolf. One without a pack or even a family, except for his mother.
A lone wolf.
* * * *
Behind the wall of smoky glass Alexander was nothing but a shadow, just the way he preferred it. He looked out at the sprawling mass that was London as the sun crept over its buildings. The hum from the lights was the only sound in his ears, though he knew that down below sirens would be screaming across the city. Yellow tape would be wrapped around the area where the bodies lay, and he couldn’t help but envision what the officers on the scene would make of the bloody mess they would find. Two of them—their throats ripped out and their intestines decorating the pavement. The second killings in under a week, the first an innocent man on his way home from a not so innocent night out, and now this.
He cricked out the tension in his neck, the muscles stretching as he rocked his head from side to side. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. He’d come too far and achieved too much to be sucked back down into the depths of his feral nature. Too much was at stake now—his business, his reputation. Everything that he’d worked for over the years.
There was nothing he could do about it here in this moment. It had been a long night. Soon his employees would be here, and another day of work would begin. Unbuttoning his shirt, he strode over to his office bathroom and turned on the shower before closing the door.
Steam surrounded him, clinging to his skin, and he welcomed the heat on his body that was holding so much tension as he stripped himself of his clothes before depositing them in the basket next to the sink. His reflection stared back at him in the huge, round fog-proof mirror. He raked a hand through his short dark hair before leaning against the vanity and looking back at the face that he had so come to loathe. In it he saw his father’s eyes—amber and piercing—as well as his prominent jawline that he now tried to conceal with a short covering of hair. Alexander hadn’t even set eyes upon him since he was young, but those characteristics were scorched into his memory. Razor sharp features that hinted at the creature within.
The only physical attributes he’d inherited from his mother were his dark hair and olive skin. If only everything were like that. If only there was more of her that lived inside him than of his father, but he’d come to realise things rarely worked out the way he wanted them to.
He snapped his eyes shut, not wanting to remind himself of who he had become—his father’s son—before turning away from the mirror and stepping into the shower. He let the water take him, soothe his tired muscles and beat at his tender skin, before dousing himself with bodywash and scrubbing, but he knew he could never really wash himself clean—no matter how hard he tried.
Morgan Welsh is a UK writer of paranormal and fantasy romance. She loves everything dark and gothic and will never tire of reading or writing about vampires, witches and the fantastical. Add some steam and she’s in her element. She lives with her husband and two children and somewhere dark and distant in her head. She’d love for you to join her there.
Find out more at Morgan's website and follow her on Instagram.