Bootcamp of Misfits Wolves (Vanguard Elite Book 1)

By: Annie Nicholas

Chapter One

Humans died in their military boot camps. How many of her kind would perish in a wolf shifter camp run by a vampire? Clare curled her legs under her butt and settled deeper into the couch with a magazine, blocking out the background chatter from the others in the room. The bloodsucker housed all of them in an old, abandoned manor on the edge of nowhere, deep in the Adirondack Mountains.

He probably chose this place because no one would hear them scream.

The vampire strode through the crowded room and kicked a battered metal trunk.

Everyone went silent.

The lid popped open. A male shifter sat up with his iPad. “It’s ten twenty-one PM, sir.”

“Say it right, wolf.” His harsh accent hurt her ears.

The shifter counted on his fingers. “Twenty-one twenty-one, sir.”

“Wrong again.” He closed the lid on the wolf’s head. “See you in another hour.” He exited out of the front door.

The chatter slowly built again.

Clare stared at the trunk. Poor guy had been in there for three hours. Maybe he was giving the wrong military time on purpose so he could play on his tablet before the battery ran out. Without any way to charge the thing, it would eventually die. She smirked. Kind of smart, actually.

Headlights approaching the manor caught her attention. Another recruit arriving. She’d made it her priority to greet each one and remember their names. A good leader knew her wolves. So far, she had greeted thirty-nine shifters in the last three days. Seven shifters had already been here when she arrived, including Penny.

Pallas, the vampire, stepped out of the shadows and crossed in front of the moving vehicle.

Her stomach cramped. Even from this distance she could sense power ebbing from him like a web. It clung to her even through the walls. Would he turn this candidate away? She’d seen him do it. There wasn’t any rhyme or reason to his decision making.

She turned her back on the scene outside and watched her roommate. Head held low, eyes downcast, Penny jumped whenever someone entered the room. Without a hunter to watch her back, the female wouldn’t survive the next few weeks. Who would send such a weak wolf to a place like this? Omega wolves tended to pack needs. They didn’t fight. A wolf needed a killer instinct to protect the pack. Penny hadn’t shown a speck of killer anything since meeting Clare.

They were a mixed-gendered group. The third floor housed the males and the second floor the females. Each floor had eight bedrooms—double occupancy rooms for the girls and quadruple for the boys. Males weren’t allowed in the female area and vise-versa.

The manor was full of shifters from different packs. If this newcomer stayed, that would make forty-eight in total. They came from all over the country to see what this vampire had to offer. Packs didn’t trust each other and wouldn’t allow their best fighters to leave their territories so they sent their misfits, omegas, geeks, and nerds. Basically anyone they could spare. Mixing packs always caused chaos until a new hierarchy was established. Clare had broken up three unnecessary challenges and she’d only arrived three days ago. One of them was over a power pack for a handheld game console. She glanced at the Nintendo DS pinned to the wall by the vampire’s dagger. They were lucky he had stabbed their toy and not their hands.

No electricity was sending some of these non-hunter wolves over the edge. The lack of video games and internet alone would break most of them. She had pulled one male off the other over the last bowl of Fruit Loops. The vampire ran extensions from the power box in the basement to keep the fridge and freezer running. Without a stove, they needed fire and Pallas refused to give them matches or lighters. Wolves needed meat and one could only eat so many sandwiches. The lack of a hot food might be the catalyst that would send Clare home with her tail between her legs. Wouldn’t her return make her alpha father happy? He’d been against her attending from day one. Barefoot and pregnant had been her only future until this godsend of a training nightmare allowed her to escape. She forced his hand in sending her. Being the smallest shifter made her the most expendable and the least needed in protecting pack lands.

The vampire didn’t charge much to train fighters, however according to the contract signed by the alphas, he kept the top five trainees. She doubted most of the alphas read this clause. So be it. She’d be the best dang fighter of the group by the end, all five foot zero of her, if it meant freedom from her pack.

A thin male knelt next to Penny.

Clare eyed him as she pretended to read. She’d seen him around the manor but they hadn’t spoken since he kept to himself, until now. He held some sticks in his hands as he whispered to Penny. She nodded and followed him out of the room.

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