Marcus Johnson, Territory Alpha of the Wyoming Territory and brother to Clarissa, is lonely. Clarissa now lives with her lifemate and, while there are times she had made his life difficult, she was always there. Now he was alone out West with a lot of she-wolves with single daughters. So he’s come to Maine to celebrate Yule with her and suck it up that she has a lifemate, Marcel has a lifemate, hell even Lou found a lifemate.
Miriam Anderson has always lived in the Maine territory. Now that they have a new Territory Alpha, things are returning to the traditions of her youth and she’s been asked to help decorate for the first Yule celebration in years. So what if she will be attending with a wolf she’s just not that in to.
The 5th book in the Conall Clan series. It’s Marcus’ time to learn what so many others in his extended family now know . . .
Pulling into the driveway of the complex, Marcus smiled at the greenery woven above the entrance. Before he left Wyoming, he had held a small gathering for his closest neighbors and sent word to the pack he would be out of town for the occasion this year.
He felt a little guilty that he was disappointing some people, however without Clarissa he just wasn’t up to it. Maybe he could make it up to them at Imbolc. Picking one of the eligible young women within his territory to help him host at Yule could have swiftly become a nightmare. Too many assumptions would come from that.
Being beyond tired of having she-wolves shove their daughters at him had helped Marcus decide to come to Maine. Here he could be a guest and catch up on his only sister’s life and love.
He pulled his suitcase from the trunk as a youngling came racing from around the side of the main house. The cub nearly staggered as he came to halt in front of Marcus. He greeted the Alpha with a hasty salute, cupping his hand to his throat, while attempting a deep bow.
“Alpha Johnson, welcome to Maine.”
Marcus grinned and gave the boy a slight bow along with his automatic return of the salute. “Thank you. What’s your name?”
“I’m Jeremy Talbert. I’m supposed to take you to your room. Your sister, Miz Clarissa will be back in just a little while.”
“Thank you, Jeremy. The decorations are wonderful.”
The boy beamed at him. “I’ve been the one on the ladder. The ladies have had all kinds of ideas this year. I’ve never seen a Yule like this one.” His eyes shone with his excitement.
Marcus’ smile grew. He hadn’t been to Maine in some time. Hunts in this area had cut way back under the previous Alpha. He’d be bringing a group here this year for sure.
“Miz Adah is napping. Miz Clarissa and Miz Jacquelyn went into town to pick out something for her decorations.”
“Miz Adah, is she the one that came from Hungary with Jacquelyn?”
“Yes sir. She’s human but she’s known about shifters for a long time. Miz Adah is really old and something called Jewish. That’s why they wanted to get some more stuff for her area.”
“That will make the holidays even more fun.” Marcus relinquished his suitcase to the boy, knowing otherwise would be a blow to his ego. Jeremy could manage it.
As they stepped inside, Marcus stopped for a moment, taking a deep breath. There was an enticing scent lingering in the air, enhancing the aroma of the greenery. Was someone else here?
He turned to Jeremy. “Am I the only guest staying here this week?”
Jeremy nodded. “Yes, Alpha Johnson. I understand there are people coming to dinner tonight, but you’re the only one for overnight. Miz Adah lives here full time. The big Yule party isn’t for a couple of days of course.”
“Who works here?”
“Well, Mom is the housekeeper and there’s a cook. Dad works on the grounds and sometimes others come in to clean and stuff when there’s a party, like now.”
“How old is the cook?”
“Gee, I don’t know. Seventy?”
Marcus chuckled. The cub probably thought he was at least a hundred. He’d certainly thought like that at this boy’s age. He’d check out the cook himself later. He wanted to meet whoever had added their delightful scent to the place.
The room Jeremy led him to was quite nice. A dark blue on one wall and a lighter blue on the other three, it had deep carpet for warm paws in the morning and a private bath with a large shower.
“I’ll let my Mom know you’re here. Come on down wherever you get settled.”
“I will and thank you.” He slipped a five-dollar bill into the boy’s hand.
“Oh, I can’t take that. Thank you for offering. Getting to work at the Alpha complex and meet famous shifters like you—that’s reward enough.”
Marcus put his hand on the boy’s shoulder. “I can see you emerging very high one day soon.”
The boy lit up like a light bulb. “I hope so.” And he was gone, leaving Marcus chuckling in his wake.
Other books in the Conall Clan Series – click on the cover for more information