Winter (Rise of the Pride, Book 2)

By: Theresa Hissong

Chapter One





A storm raged outside as Nova stomped down the hallway and took a sharp left, heading for Liberty’s office at the back of the bar. Her temper was getting the best of her and she’d had enough. She didn’t even bother knocking as she pushed the door open wide, startling her sister who was sitting behind the desk, going over bills. Liberty gasped, but didn’t say anything, her face looking pale.

“I’ve had it!” Nova yelled, throwing her hands in the air.

“What’s wrong?” Liberty demanded, her new ice blue eyes flickering amber. Liberty was now part of the pride…a shifter. She’d been changed into a panther when a group of werewolves had held her and one of the young girls from the pride in a cabin, torturing them until Talon had shown up to save the day. Liberty had been beaten almost to the point of death. Talon, her mate, had made the decision to turn her to save her life.

“Pride whores,” Nova snarled. “These women are in here every damn day, trying their best to get someone from the pride to mate them. I just had to kick three of them out of here for trying to get their claws into the Guardians.” She wouldn’t admit it, but the blonde bitch that was all but humping Winter’s leg was lucky she didn’t get punched in the throat.

“I don’t know what the hell I have to do to get them to stop coming in here and chasing the Guardians,” Liberty cursed, resting her head in her hand. Nova frowned at her sister’s sudden exhaustion. She’d been working a lot lately, opening the bar and staying as late as possible.

“Are you okay?” Nova asked, taking a step toward the desk. When she moved closer, she noticed that not only was Liberty’s face pale, it looked a little green. “Liberty?”

“Oh, God. I’m going to be sick!” Liberty squeaked, jumping from her seat. She darted around the desk and barely made it to the office bathroom before retching up whatever she’d had for lunch.

“What the hell?” Nova gasped, rushing to her side. She immediately knelt beside her sister, pulling her long, brown hair back from her face. “I didn’t think shifters got sick.”

“They don’t,” Liberty groaned, turning her head to throw up into the toilet again.

“Then what’s wrong?” Nova was worried, unsure of what she needed to do.

“I think I’m pregnant,” Liberty cried. “No. I know I’m pregnant!”

“Oh. My. God!” Nova squealed, scrambling from her spot on the floor. She grabbed a couple of paper towels, running them under the cold tap before ringing them out. She returned to her sister’s side and held them to the back of her neck. “I’m going to be an aunt!”

“Yeah,” Liberty moaned, leaning back against the wall. “I don’t even know how to explain it. The other females had told me I would know when I was pregnant. Something about it being part of my nature. When I woke up this morning, I knew. I’m so confused. I don’t even know how far along I am. I just started feeling weird this morning, and then I was so tired. This was the first time I threw up.”

“What did Talon say?” Nova asked as she stroked a strand of hair back from her sister’s forehead. “I bet he’s beside himself with joy.”

“He doesn’t know,” Liberty admitted, closing her eyes.

“Uh, don’t you think it would be a good idea to tell him?” Nova asked, raising a curious brow.

“The females said he would know just from my scent, but he was already gone when I woke up this morning. He had meetings at City Hall again.” Liberty slowly climbed to her feet, holding the wall for a moment to steady herself. “I don’t want to bother him.”

“Go lay on the couch,” Nova ordered, helping her out of the bathroom. “You need to tell him, because if he finds out you were working and sick, he’s not going to be happy.”

“Okay,” Liberty sighed, dropping down onto the old couch that sat against the wall in the bar’s office. Nova frowned. It wasn’t like her sister to not put up a fight when being told what to do. “I’ll call him later.”

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