Chapter 1: Behind the Lines of the Were War
(Book 1 of the Were Wars series)
June 2021, Wyoming mountains
Five years into the Were War and his pack was losing.
Derek Johnson leaned back into the chair of his office in the caverns and ran his fingers through his black hair. He read the message again... the attack on the airfield had failed, and all members of the assault team had been lost. He didn’t really need the paper, he had felt through his Alpha bond each of the twelve deaths as they occurred, their presence suddenly gone leaving only a hollow emptiness in his soul. One more bond remained, but it was in agony as the torture continued, begging for death that would not come. He sent his love and comfort down the bond, knowing that Alex would gladly die to protect the pack, but he was helpless to stop it. It was a feeling he getting used to, the tears and the anger slipped away a little quicker each time as his soul hardened further. Looking back, he couldn’t believe how the fortune of the Johnson Pack had changed. When the Were War started, his pack numbered over five hundred, prosperous and happy with thousands of acres of land backing onto to national parks and forests. He was 21, third son of respected Alphas in the western states and his whole life was before him.
His parents and his two older brothers were killed in the first bombing, and so the mantle of Alpha fell to him and his new mate Amanda. Derek never expected to have to take on such responsibility so soon, he always thought that his parents had a hundred years ahead of them during which he could learn at their side, and his older brother Dave was being groomed for the job. He felt the loss of his parents at the same time the rest of his pack shifted their alpha bond to him. They needed him, despite his own grief, so he buried it deep in his soul and moved on. He had Alpha blood but never wanted all the responsibility that came with his calling. He wanted to curl up with his grief, but the Pack came first. Always the Pack.
Amanda calmed him down and helped him through those dark days, urging him forward as they evacuated their former home for the mountain hide. She was his rock. She was his life.
The attacks had continued, and new births had stopped. Their wolves knew they were at war and the females stopped going into heat, it was too dangerous to be laden with child. Things didn’t get better, either. The military had discovered that werewolves in human form could be detected using UV light to see the retinas that didn’t change back to fully human form. What had been meant to give them a vision advantage became their downfall. Very quickly it was too dangerous to venture into town, as there was a “shoot on sight” order for weres. The people had been so panicked that you didn’t even see big dogs around if they weren’t leashed.
Now the Pack numbered barely a hundred, most of those children and widows. The years had been hard on his warriors. So many good people gone, and those that were left had nowhere near the skills or fighting ability of those already lost. He was now sending young teens into desperate battle for their own survival. The failed attack was a desperation move to stop the air patrols that kept them pinned down.
“I’m sorry, Alpha.” Before he could respond, the searing pain of another lost bond rent his soul as Alex was finally succumbed to the torture. The tears fell freely as he focused on the painting on the wall. It was of his family on the day of his mating, all smiles and promise of a life together in their eyes. It seemed like forever since then, and there was no promise anymore. Only survival mattered.
He looked around the rest of his ‘office’ in a small room off the main cave they had taken refuge in. It was a far cry from the wealth and stature of the manor that used to house the main Pack. The manor had been a massive structure of Lodgepole Pine and glass, with twenty bedrooms and a huge communal dining hall. It had been the center of Pack life, housing the Alphas and their family, the Betas and administrative functions. Without warning, dozens of fighters and bombers attacked at dawn. There wasn’t enough time for the families to make it outside. It had collapsed on itself shortly after the first 500 pound bombs had slammed into it as the sun rose on that August day. What the explosions didn’t take, the fires did. Only a handful of survivors, and not much had been recovered from the building. If it wasn’t for the fireproof safe in his father’s office, they would have lost everything. The safe under the rubble contained the Pack archives, birth records and computers detailing the Pack investments. Without the cash, the Pack wouldn’t have been able to take advantage of the enemy’s lack of organization to escape and fortify the caves they were now in. His parents had been wise to have a fallback plan, the cave structure was well hidden and extensive, and had been kept stocked with enough food and supplies to last them for a year.
As Next Alpha, it all became his responsibility. Seventy two of his Pack were killed that day, including most of the command structure. Another fourteen chose not to go on, their mates had been killed and with no pups to anchor them they lost themselves in their grief. The entire pack felt their sorrow and tried to offer comfort, but it was too much. Their only comfort would be to join their mates in death, knowing they would have a chance to be together in their next lives. They shifted to wolf form and howled their loss before leaping over cliffs to their deaths.
If Amanda hadn’t been in heat, and if they hadn’t gone out to that remote cabin in the next valley for their first attempt at having pups, they would have been killed in the dining hall just like everyone else. The only other survivor from his family was his younger sister Renee, who was sleeping over at a friend’s cabin away from the main compound.
There hadn’t been time to do anything but grab and go what they could. Before the fires were out, his scouts reported a column of troops and armor approaching from a few miles away. He ordered his pack to shift and run, up into the mountains and away from the smoking ruin of his home. He didn’t look back, they had to make the hiding place by morning. The guilt ate at him as he led the Pack away; guilt that he survived, guilt that his family hadn’t protected their Pack, and guilt that their dead remained where they had fallen. He knew that without the bodies being consumed by flame, their souls would not be released to return again. As soon as they were out of sight, he asked for volunteers to stay behind for pyre detail. The funeral detail would have to hide for three days, watching as the soldiers dug through the ruins in search of any more clues as to their whereabouts. Eventually they left and the dead were piled and cremated. The pack could smell the smoke from the pyre from three mountains away as they howled their grief to the moon.
Tears ran from his face, but tears didn’t help him with the war. The Were War was never something the werewolves could win once their existence was known. There were too few of them, and they were too isolated from each other and lacked the trust needed to band together into an effective fighting force. There had been too many border disputes and raids in their own history to trust the other packs. The Pack structures did not encourage cooperation. As individual Packs they were strong, but they were outnumbered and lacked the technological edge of a modern military. The government strategy was unimaginative but effective. Isolate the population, decapitate the leadership, then use search and destroy tactics to drive them into extinction.
August 2016, Casper, Wyoming
Death was coming to Casper North Middle School.
Joe Donnelly was impressive in wolf form as he loped out of the woods towards the open gym doors. Standing four feet tall at the shoulders and over 200 pounds, he dwarfed the gray wolves occasionally seen in the area. His black coat shimmered in the sunlight, and his eyes glowed yellow. Humanity had left them; the events of the past day had turned him feral, abandoning his Pack and his home with revenge on his mind. His mate had been attacked by Betas of the Casper Pack while on patrol near the border of their lands. She had sent him desperate messages as she was raped and killed. The people responsible had been allowed to live because their Alpha accepted that she was on their land. His grief and his outrage overcame him at this. Nothing would stop him from taking down the Alpha of the Casper pack, who was the principal of this school, along with any of his sons who got in his way.
The screams started just as he entered the gymnasium where the sixth graders were playing Dodge-ball. Joe caught a whiff of the Alpha’s scent and tore across the gym, scattering children and teachers along the way. Several were bitten or scratched, though they were not targets they were in the way and that was enough. The school lockdown alarm was sounded as Joe entered the hallway, but it was too late to save the eleven students killed and 23 wounded in the four minutes the attack was going on.
Joe was killed, but not by police. Principal Johnson and two of his sons, along with two teachers and two other students in the Pack, shifted into wolf form and tore Joe to shreds. The Alpha was seriously wounded, and his beta shifted back and carried him to their truck. They were all on their way to their Pack healer before the police even arrived.
The video was a national sensation. The school had an advanced security system that had caught not only the attack, but the seven werewolves already in the school as they shifted into wolf form and back. There were dozens of witnesses. In a few minutes, the secrecy that Weres had used to protect their existence was shattered. The dead Were was analyzed and autopsied, having remained in the wolf form at death; shifting forms is something only a living being can do.
If that wasn’t bad enough, within hours the injured went through forced turns. Were saliva and scratches carry the virus that creates new Were. If the virus is introduced willingly and associated with joy or ecstasy, the turn is calm and welcomed. If the person is in fear or stress, they fight the wolf nature as it comes forward and the new wolf fights and subdues their human nature, becoming a raging animal with no mercy or restraint. Since no one knew what werewolves were, they did not know that the injured required sedation and isolation. There were so many humans injured that rampaging Weres shut down every hospital within 200 miles, and one in Denver that received an airlifted patient. Cameras and news reports showed the agony of the first shift in gory detail, and the former children and adults who suddenly found themselves with a new and very angry animal nature. It made zombie movies look like a relaxing afternoon.
It took two days, a full police mobilization and the National Guard to contain the rampages. Lacking a pack or help, the newly formed Weres rampaged until they were put down, and anyone hurt by them would change. It was finally treated like a deadly epidemic, anyone who was bitten or scratched was immediately executed. Anything that even LOOKED life a wolf was immediately shot, and suspicion of being a Were was enough for mobs or police to attack entire families. Entire communities were decimated.
Alpha Johnson and his pack were the first casualties of the Were War. They would not be the last. The humans feared the wolves and wanted them exterminated. It did not matter that they had been friends and coworkers and family just a week before.
The war was now a desperate bid for survival for his pack. They used intelligence, sniper teams and small unit attacks to keep the military uncomfortable and maintain some freedom of movement. It wasn’t a classic insurgency- they didn’t have the support of the population- but you do what you can. THEY were considered the invading force, even though Weres had lived since before the founding of the state and they used to be respected members of the community.
Weres who entered the military tended to gravitate towards Special Forces, Scout Snipers, SEALs and Rangers. Their strength and stamina was well above human averages, and their enhanced senses gave them an huge advantage in battle. If you ever heard a story about a guy running point on a patrol who saw, heard or sensed something wrong that saved his unit, it probably was a Were. They served with distinction in every war since the United States was founded. In small units, a group of Were was a formidable force.
After the war started, the few veterans left in the Pack had trained everyone on small unit tactics, marksmanship and camouflage. It just didn’t help you win against overwhelming air power and artillery. The Army avoided direct contact with Were units, knowing that their losses would be high and direct contact risked forced turnings. They preferred the modern war from remote drone piloting sites, locating and blasting suspected Were into oblivion in between sips of their Starbucks.
Pack members who did not flee for their pack lands had been turned in by neighbors and ‘friends’ out of fear or greed for reward. They all learned to avoid human contact, avoid being out in groups of more than two, and to always think about how to fool the eyes in the sky. The military had declared the whole area a no-go for humans, so any heat signatures of human or wolves were assumed hostile and engaged without warning. Drones were a constant of life now, and the most effective counter was to hide behind thick forest canopies, caves and rocks.
He looked up when the smell of cherry and lilac wafted across the room. He had been so deep in thought he hadn’t heard her approach, another sign of just how tired he was. Amanda walked behind him and wrapped her arms around his neck as she nuzzled into the mating bite scar on his right shoulder. He instantly hardened as her devious tongue traced the scars her teeth had left behind, proclaiming he was mated to all other females. Her shoulder length black hair fell across the side of his face as she nibbled on his ear, then whispered to him, “I want you. But I want a five minute head start.”
His mood instantly changed, as he felt the love through his mate bond push aside the pain and sadness. She knew that what he needed was to chase and conquer, to lose himself into his wolf and his mate and forget the pain for an hour. He nodded as she walked back in front of his desk and reached for the tie around her neck that kept her simple dress in place. Staring straight into his eyes, she slowly pulled the bow out and let it the dress pool on the floor as she held his gaze. No one but her could hold eye contact without it being considered a challenge. His eyes broke contact first, not able to resist the candlelight dancing across her ample breasts as her hands. He licked his lips as she slowly drifted her hands down her flat stomach to a visibly aroused sex. Her scent filled the room, filled his head and stoked his libido. She had his attention.
She was five foot ten of perfection to him. She was built like an athlete, with the grace of a dancer. Her breasts still stood proud and her dark nipples poked out a half inch as she twisted them between her fingers. Her smooth stomach barely hid the muscles behind it, and her wide hips swelled out from them. She turned slowly, her hips gently swaying as she walked to the curtain that separated the room from the main hall. Pulling the curtain slightly, she looked back and said, “That is, if you are still strong enough to take me,” and smoothly changing to a large black wolf she ran out the door.
You don’t run from a wolf, and you certainly don’t challenge the Alpha without a response. Within seconds Derek was on his feet and his clothes went flying before he changed into his own wolf. As an Alpha heir, he had always been bigger than other pack members and he was huge compared to a normal wolf. White fur and muscle, two hundred and forty pounds of it, paced back and forth in his office looking at the wall clock. The change into wolf form was quick and smooth, but as Scotty used to say, “You can’t change the laws of physics.” Werewolves were able to manipulate their form, but could not create or destroy mass. His mate was 140 pound in her human form, and the same in here Were form. Muscle became muscle, fat remained fat, bones shifted but remained the same overall. If you were fat in human form, you would be a fat wolf. It just didn’t happen too often, wolf metabolisms were too high and they were too active in the mountains for that.
Of course, not everything stayed the same size. His erection was impressive in human form, but in wolf form it was downright scary as it swung beneath his belly. The wolf wanted the same thing his human half did, to plow into his mate while she howled her pleasure. Amanda hadn’t tried to run on him in months, since it was dangerous to be outside. She knew his wolf loved to track and show his fitness to lead the Pack and be her mate. She wanted five minutes to run ahead, she would get five minutes. Then he would chase her down and he would spend the rest of the night reminding her of his love for her, pinning her under him while he pounded that sweet cunt into submission.
He could sense her excitement through the mate bond. She actually thought she might get away from him this time.
Foolish woman. He had never lost a challenge.
Wolf Base B, in the mountains above Cheyenne
Renee lay awake in her hide, trying to ignore the sounds coming from the tent next door. Jerry and Ann were enjoying each other after another long day of patrol and surveillance. They tried to be quiet, but the grunts and moans of their mating were unavoidable. Like all new mates, their appetite for sex was off the charts and they had been at it for hours with no signs of stopping. They had found each other when Ann was reassigned to their squad as the medic just before they deployed. Sex among werewolves was common and open, so it wasn’t that she was bothered by it, but she couldn’t help wishing it was her.
As the younger sister and only remaining family member of the Alpha, she was more important than most eighteen year old Were. Renee and Derek shared a strong family bond but rarely saw each other in person. Renee was now Next Alpha, the pack went to her if anything happened to Derek and Amanda. After the war started, he had decided that it was too risky for the pack to have them together where one attack could take them both out. A pack without an Alpha was unstable and would not last long, war or not.
She was sent out with the warriors to learn to fight when she was thirteen and she was good at it. Now she ran a deep cover surveillance squad in the mountains above the air base. Her team was only ten members, but they were good at what they did. You had to be to survive deep inside enemy lines. Their current deployment had been out for five months, occasionally harassing and attacking soft spots while providing warning of aircraft sorties. She had been in command of the team for the last year.
The protectiveness didn’t stop with just where she was or who was around her. She was still a virgin, and those males in the pack were under an Alpha order to leave her intact. The tradition of virginal Alpha bitch mating seemed so useless to her, she didn’t even know if there was another Alpha out there for her to be mated to. They hadn’t had contact with another pack in over two years. In any case, the casual sex most growing Weres had was out of the question, and even the women were hesitant. The only thing that she did know was that her mate wasn’t among the males left in her pack. The smell of her mate had come into her dreams last year.
It wasn’t like she would be without suitors if times were different. She was tall and powerful, with 38C breasts over a narrow and athletic stomach. Her legs were toned and strong, her butt round and firm, the kind of body that exuded sex. Her face was angular with expressive green eyes, her raven black hair in natural curls framing her face before tumbling behind her shoulders. It didn’t matter much in the hide, though, with foil camoflage overhead and trees and brush hiding her from the drones above.
Jerry continued to grunt and pound away just a few feet to her left. She wasn’t ignorant of what they were doing, as sex was not hidden among Were families. She was jealous... Ann was urging her mate on as she worked herself into her third orgasm, her screams muffled by the shirt he stuffed into her mouth to keep the whole mountain from hearing. Renee let one hand drift down her stomach as the other went inside her camo T-shirt. Her left hand cupped her right breast, then pinched the pencil-sized nipple to attention. The sharp pain caused an ache a little lower, which her right hand followed down inside her jeans and over her bare mound. She ran her long finger slowly from bottom to top, circling her clit as she moved to pinch her other nipple. She didn’t stay quiet either, Weres had no embarrassment with taking their pleasure. Pausing for a moment to unzip and lower her jeans, she drove two fingers into her wet sex while circling her button with her thumb. Her arousal built as she lifted her hips up to meet her plunging fingers. She began to caress and squeeze her breasts as her moans became near constant, her body tightening as her thumb’s motion drove her to completion. Her teeth gritted together as her hips rose and her body shattered.
Ann’s moans became more frequent and higher in pitch as Jerry tried to pound her through the soft ground. They were both Omegas in the pack, in any other time they would have been nowhere near battle, but those divisions didn’t exist when the Pack was as decimated as it was. They received basic self defense training, learned small unit tactics and rifle skills, and were sent up to the understaffed front lines. They didn’t like fighting, but at least they were together, and they stole every moment they could find together. Ann wrapped her legs around him and bit into his shoulder to muffle the scream as she came apart.
Renee was almost there when
<AIRCRAFT INBOUND FROM THE EAST>
Doug was on sentry on the hillside above, and his enhanced hearing in wolf form picked up the C-130 despite its altitude. Tearing down the hill, met Renee and the others just inside the hide. If it had been a helicopter or jet, they could have manned the Technicals hidden in the area- pickup trucks they had modified with welded machine gun mounts, even the Stinger missile they had recovered from a truck that was ambushed last year. This one was well above machine gun range and even the Stingers would be challenged, so Renee knew the best move was to wait it out. As the aircraft passed over, Renee kept everyone quiet and under cover. Transport planes at altitude were not a threat to them, so she didn’t notify Derek of the flight. Once it was out of hearing range, she directed them to defensive positions in case anything else was on the way.
Woods west of pack den
Derek waited in his office for the five minutes to elapse before heading out of the cave. You can run but you can’t hide from me as he sent his mate a mental image of him pinning her to the grass as his cock speared her. I think you’re slowing down in your old age she responded back, laughing, as she sprinted down the hillside on the far side of the mountain. Her plan was simple- cover ground quickly using her speed then confuse him in the next valley. The trees and underbrush thickened as she worked her way down to the river below. She took her first opportunity to mess with his tracking skills by turning right at a rock formation and running for a few minutes, careful to rub against brush and rock along the way. She then reversed course and went back to the rock, leaping up and then jumping back down the other side. Her skills at evading tracking weren’t a war skill, but ones she had learned playing as a younger cub before the war, when the cubs would have games hiding and tracking. A few minutes later and she reached the shallow river at the bottom of the valley.
Her next trick was to cross the river and run up the other bank, again to reverse course back to the river. She knew that confusion was her only chance to win against his superior size and speed, so she was using every trick she could. Reaching the river again, she turned to run upstream where the water would hide her scent. As soon as she looked back up the hill, she was knocked over and rolled onto the bank by an amused and not at all confused mate.
Older, but wiser. Did you really think I would fall for that? Your arousal leads me to you like a beacon. Amanda stood and shook the water from her sable coat before turning to face him, the white sock on her front paw smacking the water in frustration. She turned and ran back up the bank, but Derek just followed behind her as she entered the meadow above. So you found me, but can you take me? His response was immediate. He leaped onto her back, grasping her neck in his strong jaws and forced her head down to the to the soft grass. I should remind you more often that you are MINE. She stilled under him, raising her haunches and shifting her tail aside as he raised above her. Her low growl turned into a howl as he plunged straight into her dripping sex. Her wolf basked in the domination of her mate and the feel of his shaft as it pistoned in and out of her. She knew he was proving again his worthiness as her mate and hopefully the father of her cubs. His forelegs pulled her back as his knot formed and he pushed it roughly forward into her. She yelped as he did, he WAS a large man to begin with and the knot stretched her canal to the limit. The pain quickly faded as the knot seated, then the sensation multiplied as it worked its magic inside her walls. She was panting, he was grunting and growling, and then Derek oh Luna I’m then she could only howl as she shuddered beneath his assault. With one last thrust, he bit her neck, sending her even higher as his sticky seed flooded her cavity. His howl of triumph could be heard for miles around. Slowly, he lowered them both to the grass, the knot holding them together and preventing his seed from escaping.
They rested together for an hour before he detached and licked the remains of their love from her slit. He never tired of her taste, it exploded on his tongue and his tender ministrations started to excite her again. Come, love, let us return to our bed and we’ll see what comes up. She responded with a mental image of her swallowing down his shaft as she lay between his legs in human form.
Suddenly, the entire night sky went white with a huge flash from above the mountain they had just passed over. Before the shock wave or the noise made it, they both dropped to the ground in anguish as dozens of Alpha bonds disappeared at once. He didn’t even have time to howl before being knocked to the ground by the initial shock wave, and just had enough time to cover Amanda before the winds reversed and they were covered by debris and branches.