We’re just a little under a week away from the release of DESTINY DISGRACED by Carrie Ann Ryan – are you ready to read the first chapteR? Read it below!
About DESTINY DISGRACED
The Talon Pack continues with a new twist to the Packs and a revelation no one was prepared for.
Mitchell Brentwood is aware that others think heâs the harsh taskmaster Beta trying to keep his Pack alive, but they only see what he wants them to know. Heâd once thought he had his path laid out before him, but when his future was violently ripped away, he vowed heâd never let anyone close againâespecially not a young wolf from a traitorous Pack.
Dawn Levin may be younger than the war that destroyed her people, but she knows she must still pay for their sins. Sheâs ready to find her way in this new world where wolves and humans blend as one, but first, she needs to fight her attraction to the dark wolf that stands in her way.
While the two struggle with their feelings and burning attraction for each other, they canât ignore the world that shakes beneath their feet. There is a new enemy on the horizon, one with revenge and the unknown on their minds. An adversary that might be closer than they realize.
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DESTINY DISGRACED releases September 12th, 2017 – preorder your copy now!
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Read the first chapter of DESTINY DISGRACED:
Death was but a whisper away, and yet Mitchell Brentwood couldnât breathe. With a slow blink, he moved to the side as a fist came at him, his opponent struggling to keep up with Mitchellâs moves. As the youth was only a teenager and still learning while Mitchell was the Beta of the Talon Pack, he didnât blame the pup for not being fast enough.
Heâd just train the kid until he sweated and cursed Mitchell out and then maybe the teen would be ready for whatever came next.
That was how Packs workedâ always ready for the next battle, the next fight.
An odd thought for a wolf without a war to face.
Heâd spent his life preparing for conflict or fighting an unseen master heâd never thought to find his way out from under, and now here he was, training young wolves to help them control their beasts, yetâ¦ alone.
His cousin Kameron punched his shoulder and frowned at him. Well, if one could call it a frown considering the man rarely if ever showed any emotionâ no anger, no disappointment, no sadness, and certainly not a smile. While some called Mitchell a hard-ass bastard, they called Kameron the cold-ass one.
âWhat?â Mitchell growled. The punch hadnât hurt since Kameron hadnât put any heat behind it, but he still wasnât expecting it. And considering he and his brother, Max, had been raised with the rest of the cousins as if they were brothers, it was the principle of the thing.
âYour mind is wandering, and youâre not paying attention.â Kameronâs gaze was on the juveniles in front of them and their training and not on him, so he flipped his cousin off. âSaw that. Iâm pretty sure the kids saw that, too. Good job, oh fearless leader.â
âSuck me,â Mitchell whispered so low that only Kameron could hear. Since the trainees in front of them were also wolves, they had exceptional hearing, so he had to be careful how loud he spoke when he didnât want others to listen in.
âNo, thanks, cousin. Why donât you find yourself a woman to do that? Maybe if you finally get laid, youâll wipe that perpetual scowl off your face.â
A familiar ache pulsated deep inside, and it took everything within him not to let the pain cascading through him show on his face. Heâd spent years perfecting that ability, yet each time it seemed to grow, increasing in need and dread.
Mitchell lashed out, kicking Kameron on the back of his knee. And though Mitchell was one of the best fighters in the Pack, he wasnât the best. That title belonged to their Enforcerâ Kameron. While Mitchell was the Beta of the Talons and in charge of the day-to-day needs of the Pack, Kameron, as the Enforcer, was in charge of their defense. It only made sense that his cousin would be a slightly better fighterâ it was genetic. So instead of his foot making contact, Kameron leapt out of the way so gracefully that he could have been a dancer in another life instead of a soldier.
Then, they fought.
Well, not really, as they werenât landing their punches or kicks, but theyâd spent decades learning each otherâs moves and weaknesses. Even though neither of them was the Alpha or the strongest wolf in the Pack, they still fought like what they wereâ some of the best.
The younger wolves around them stopped what they were doing to watch the older wolves fight, and Mitchell didnât fault them for that. There was a reason he and his family were the highest in the hierarchy of the Pack, and they were damn good at what they did to protect their people. After a few minutes, they were both sweaty, their shirts sticking to their skin. Kameronâs mouth twitched as if he were smiling. For his non-emotive cousin, that was big.
âMaybe you should think about your dick and get off mine,â Mitchell said with a sneer.
âWhy does everything youâre saying today sound so dirty?â Kameron asked, wiping his face with the bottom of his shirt. A few sighs sounded from some of the women in their training group, and Mitchell held back a snort. There was always someone lusting after Kam, as if they wanted to be the one to melt his icy exterior.
Not too many panted after Mitchell, and he was just fine with that. Heâd done his best to make his asshole persona permanent for a reason.
âYouâre just a pervert,â Mitchell finally answered as he rolled his shoulders. âYou canât help it, though, youâre from that line of the Brentwoods.â
Kameron flipped him off and almost smiled again. Two times in one day, that had to be a record. âLike your line is any better.â He shook his head and turned to the others, watching them. âOkay, thatâs a wrap for the day. Letâs cool down. Then you guys get to hear what your next assignment is.â
Mitchell nodded. âYou guys did good. All of you are learning to not only use your bodies as tools, but youâre controlling your beasts more and more.â The same could not be said for some of the older wolves in the Pack. That was why tomorrowâs training sessions would be with some of the dominants, who were already on shifts around the den. Even though the Pack wasnât at war, that didnât mean they could slack off in their training.
It had been a year since the final battle with the rogue human factions that didnât know if they wanted to control the wolves or wipe them from existence. The Talons and their allies, the Redwoods, had lost many and endured countless other horrors that left horrific memories that would never fade. But in the end, a great sacrifice had saved them all. Mitchell still wasnât sure how he felt about the fact that he hadnât been strong enough to protect his people. It was the sacrifice of the othersâ the pain of others, including his brother, Maxâ that had won the war. Mitchell had only been there to fight.
But there wasnât a battle to be fought with claw and fang now. The humans came out on the good side in the end, and now they were in a time of peace. A calm where the wolves were no longer stuck within their wards inside the den, afraid to go out in public for fear that theyâd be attacked by those anxious of what they didnât know or understand. Now, his people could go out and do what theyâd done for hundreds of years before the Unveiling, before the wolves were forced out into the open, revealing their secrets.
Almost all of his Packmates had jobs outside the den. Hell, most of them had lived on the outside before everything crumbled down around them. When theyâd been at war, things were a little tight within the wards, but theyâd made it work because there hadnât been another option. So, while many of the wolves had shifts within the den depending on their strengths, they also had jobs and lives outside the Packâs domain.
It was how it should have been all along, and his people were just now getting used to the fact that this was how it would be again. Only this time, many of them werenât hiding in plain sight. There wasnât a national register for the shifters, as Washington had nixed that idea after the asshole senator, McMaster, was killed, but there were still some non-government sanctioned websites out there that had lists of names and information on shifters. His cousin and Alpha, Gideon, growled daily about the mere existence of it, but there was nothing they could do about it. In this age of technology, even humans had all of that information since it was out in the public for anyone to see. The wolves could only control so much.
So, yes, Mitchellâs people could go out and have jobs like they had in the past, but now they had to deal with the added pressure of being a wolf in humanâs clothing. At least, thatâs what others called them. Mitchell knew he was more than that. He was bothâ a wolf and a human, not just one or the other. That was how all shifters were, and they struggled with that balance every day. Hence the training sessions for juveniles and young adults like they just had. Adding hormones to the mix usually just made keeping control of oneâs wolf that much harder.
And yet, with all the talk of peace, Mitchell had a feeling there was something else coming. Heâd spent most of his life either at war or fighting battles within his own Pack, yet he felt his sense of knowing wasnât because he missed the tension and anxiety. He just knew there was no way that things could suddenly be perfect and harmonious after everything that happened.
Something was going to change their peace, and Mitchell would be ready for it.
No matter what it took.
âYou headed over to Gideonâs?â Kameron asked, rubbing the back of his neck. âI have to go help one of the soldiers with a problem on the outer perimeter, but Gideon said he wanted to see us at some point.â
Mitchell nodded. âI planned to stop by.â Plus, it would give him a chance to see his new niece. Though Gideon and the others werenât technically his brothers, making the newest additions to the Brentwoods second cousins or something like that, everyone had taken to calling Max and Mitchell uncles anyway.
Max didnât have a mate, and after the attack that had scarred his brother in more ways than one, Mitchell wasnât sure that Max wanted a mate. And as for Mitchellâ¦ wellâ¦ he knew for a fact that he wouldnât find his mate. Ever.
There were just some things set in stone, and Mitchell being alone for the rest of his unnaturally long life was one of them. âLet him and Brie know Iâll stop by before dinner,â Kameron said before lifting his chin and heading to wherever he needed to be.
Mitchell sighed and made his way over to Gideonâs since he didnât have any other plans for a few hours. He figured he might as well see what his Alpha needed instead of sitting alone in his house, wondering what the hell to do. And, damn, he needed to stop sounding so depressing. It had been easier when he had battles and strategy to plan, or when the den was bursting at the seams with people. Since it was his job to ensure that every Pack member had a roof over their heads and was situated enough for their wolves to remain calm, he had plenty to do when everyone was forced within the den under their failing wards.
Now, the wards were rebuilt thanks to his cousin Brandon and his two mates, and people had started moving back into their homes outside the den. That meant there was less for Mitchell to do. And he hated it.
As he made his way to the front of Gideonâs house, he heard the giggle of a sweet one-year-old and pushed all those thoughts to the side. Gideon and Brieâs daughter, Fallon, toddled over to him, though she almost tripped a few times. He bent down to pick her up, brushing his lips over the top of her head when he pulled her close. She patted his mouth with her tiny hands and babbled incoherently. He was pretty sure a few of the things she said were actually words, but he couldnât make sense of them.
Only Gideon and Brie could understand their daughter, the same as how his cousin Ryder and his wife Leah could understand their son, Bryson Roland. In the past year, thereâd been three new Brentwoods born into the worldâ well, two Brentwoods and a Jamenson since his cousin Brynn mated a Redwood wolf named Finn. Theyâd had their daughter Mackenzie a couple of months ago, around the same time that Bryson was born. Still, the fact that there was three more was a whole hell of a lot, considering there hadnât been an addition to their family in over a century. They were wolves after all, and lived ages longer than humans. They could spend lifetimes alone before eventually finding their mates, and some even waited longer to have children, preferring to spend time as a mated couple before adding to their family. The fact that the Brentwoods kept finding their mates in such quick succession would have worried Mitchell, but it wasnât as if he would find his mate. Not with everything heâd been through in the past.
âI see,â Mitchell said solemnly, nodding his head as Fallon continued her conversation. He thought he heard something about a puppy, but that could have been any number of people in their wolf form, so he honestly didnât know.
âYouâre good with her,â Brie, his Alphaâs mate, said with a small smile. He hated the way she always seemed to see too much of him. She was a submissive wolf mated to the Alpha of their Pack. And while it might not make sense to outsiders, it made all the sense in the world to those inside the wards. She protected the Pack in her own way, her worth and contribution to the Packâs needs something none of them even knew they were missing until she showed up and took care of them.
If he werenât such a jerk, he might have been nicer to her, but he needed to keep her at a distance. He needed to keep everyone at armâs length.
âSheâs easy,â he said with a shrug before handing Fallon over to her mother. âGideon said he wanted to talk to me,â he added instead of saying hello.
Brie ran her hand down Fallonâs back as the little girl started to doze off. It must have been near her naptime, or the little girl wouldnât have started to fall asleep so easily. She was usually a burst of energy and babbles.
âHe had to go meet with Kade, but he told me he texted you.â She rocked back and forth as Fallon fell fully asleep in her motherâs arms. The little girl would one day be Alphaâ a first for the Talons, and maybe even all the Packs as Mitchell hadnât heard of a female Alpha before. It wasnât that they werenât strong or capable because, hell, female dominants were tougher than most men he knew. No, it was because becoming the Alpha, Heir, Beta, Enforcer, Omega, or Healer wasnât something someone could fight for or try to attain. Those titles were bestowedâ he held back a mental cringe at that wordâ upon them by the moon goddess. The goddess had made the first wolf, the first shifter, and also determined the hierarchies needed for a Pack. Mitchell hadnât learned until recently that those first goddess-touched were Talons. In fact, the first wolves who made the Pack were actually reincarnated as the tripletsâ Kameron, Walker, and Brandon.
Mitchell still wasnât sure he quite believed that and, hell, didnât know if he wanted to, but it wasnât his business, so he chose not to think about it.
He shook himself out of those thoughts and held back a curse as he pulled out his phone and saw that he had indeed missed a text from Gideon. âI didnât feel it vibrate and didnât have the ringer on since we were training. Sorry to bother you at naptime.â
Brie just smiled and shook her head. âYouâre never a bother. Do you want to come in for something to drink? Iâm headed to the maternal council meeting in a bit, but I have an hour or so.â
Mitchell was shaking his head before sheâd finished her sentence. He preferred being alone to having Brie so close where she saw too much of him. And it always hurt him when he remembered exactly who she reminded him of.
He quickly pushed those thoughts from his brain and did his best not to rub at the three jagged scars on his chest. Heâd been too in his head today and needed to do something different, or heâd end up drowning himself in a bottle of tequila later and be of no use to anyone.
âI need to pick up a few things from town. I should get on that. Do you need anything?â The den was pretty self-sufficient and had enough land to remain that way for years, but theyâd been trying to do more outside the den walls since the end of the war. Mitchell was only doing his part, he reminded himself. He wasnât running away. Not again.
âCan you pick up a bag of coffee beans from that shop down on First?â she asked with a bright smile. âI know I can get beans in bulk online or even at another store, but now that Iâm allowed caffeine again, I seemed to have found myself a new craving. If itâs out of your way, though, I can pick some up later.â
Mitchell nodded even as he went through his memory to see if heâd ever actually been inside that shop. He knew that Brynn loved that place and still went there with her mate, but he didnât venture into coffee shops much. Too many people, and way too many scents for his wolf nose.
âJust tell me what kind you want and how much, and Iâll pick them up.â He made a note in his phone when she told him the name then gave her a nod and walked away.
His wolf had begun prowling inside him, and he wasnât sure if it was about Brie or what she represented. Either way, he needed to get far enough away that he could calm his wolf and forget about the pain that he lived with every day.
Because the one thing they didnât talk about when it came to mating was that if a bond broke, a wolf could still feel it. Mitchell felt the echo of what had been, the life heâd been promised, with every breath.
But heâd lost all that, and had learned to live like he was now. His mate was dead.
And wolves like him didnât get second chances.
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About Carrie Ann Ryan
Carrie Ann Ryan is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary and paranormal romance. Her works include the Montgomery Ink, Redwood Pack, Talon Pack, and Gallagher Brothers series, which have sold over 2.0 million books worldwide. She started writing while in graduate school for her advanced degree in chemistry and hasnât stopped since. Carrie Ann has written over fifty novels and novellas with more in the works. When sheâs not writing about bearded tattooed men or alpha wolves that need to find their mates, sheâs reading as much as she can and exploring the world of baking and gourmet cooking.