Witchbond

Kitsune Chronicles

by Lissa Kasey

Witchbond - Lissa Kasey - Kitsune Chronicles
Part of the Kitsune Chronicles series:
Editions:Kindle - First Edition: $ 4.99
ISBN: B0847GX1JS
Pages: 284
Paperback - First Edition: $ 12.99
ISBN: 979-8608383458
Size: 5.25 x 8.00 in
Pages: 282
Audiobook - First Edition: $ 24.95
ISBN: B08FRRXC13

If your super power meant you could turn into a kitsune, a powerful fox spirit, you wouldn’t fear for the life of your mate, right?

 

Sebastian survived an entire year on the run from the supernatural. Then he met Liam, his fated mate and alpha werewolf, and thought maybe he’d found a home. Until the fae come calling. They want control of Seb’s power, even if that means eliminating Liam to get it.

When a trick leaves Seb in trouble with the werewolves, the military, and the fae, he fears his only option is to run. Except Seb is done running. He will stop at nothing to keep Liam by his side, even if it means letting his beast loose on them all.

This book is on:
  • 1 To Be Read list
Published:
Publisher: Independently Published
Editors:
Genres:
Tags:
Pairings: M-M
Heat Level: 4
Romantic Content: 2
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Bisexual, Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: Ageless/Immortal
Protagonist 2 Age: 18-25
Tropes: Alpha Character, Fated Mates / Soul Mates
Setting: Fae Realm; Washington State, USA
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Continuous / Same Characters
Excerpt:

PROLOGUE

The dark stretch of forest filled with huffs, growls, and snarls. Werewolves were everywhere, scattered through the nearby woods, changing from their human shape into the beast controlled by the need to hunt, while the full moon overhead lit their way.

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The lunar cycle didn’t require a change like in novels, it simply made for easier hunting, meeting, and planning of play dates. The younger wolves often felt compelled to shift, more a pull of the magnetic moon field than true magic. But my mate ensured the young pack members transformed often enough that the choice would never be taken from them by stress or uncontrolled emotion. Because werewolves were human after all. Not natural wolves, or true animals of any kind. They were beasts birthed from death and blood magic, each one having to die before being reborn. A mess of humanity tainted with old curses, or so my alchemy research had led me to believe.

It was also why a werewolf’s shift hurt. The snapping of bones, stretching of flesh, and growth of fur had to be excruciating. Blood curses weren’t meant to be painless. It was the whole point of a curse. They were most vulnerable during a change, much like a vampire when the sun lit the sky, so they kept themselves quiet, taking the pain with practiced silence.

As witchblood, my gift had been in my veins from the beginning of my life. Born instead of reborn, I could shift into a fox, instantaneous and pain-less, rather than long minutes of morphing body structure. I was also more like a real fox, much smaller than my human form, unlike the wolves whose transformation meant a full body mass far beyond the norms of wolf nature. The werewolves’ curse was similar to a disease rather than the true magic of my change.

The pack shifted, stretched, and paced the forest, close enough I could smell them, fur and musk on the wind.

Logically I knew they wouldn’t attack me. However, logic had no power over anxiety and a lifetime of abuse. I was omega, the species not important, though I’d always thought otherwise. Omegas worked like an essential oil to soothe the pack in a few ways, installing unity, peace, and even some life to the older wolves. A bit of magic, some occasion‐ ally told me. Only being an omega didn’t feel like magic to me. Many wolves saw omegas as weak, lesser, and a disruption of the violence that could make a pack deadly. The last was true for the most part. A sane wolf wouldn’t attack an omega, it was against their nature.

I had met my share of insane wolves in my life.

My mate Liam paced a few feet away, not yet in his wolf form, though the tension sang through every muscle of his body. He waited for the pack to all gather first to assure that their changes had finished and they were safe. His beast longed for release. The strength of the group pouring into him with each transition.

Liam’s shift didn’t take as long as most of his wolves. He could be man one minute and wolf a minute or two later. Faster now that we were mated, but already quick due to his status as alpha of the pack and his age. While he appeared to be mid-twenty-something, I knew he was a lot older, possibly even a few hundred years older. Though he had yet to give me specific details about his first shift or life before the wolf became his other half.

He waited by my side, listening, pacing, and stretching his muscles. “You can change, Seb,” he told me. “Almost everyone is done.”

This was to be my first outing with the pack. Not because they hadn’t had nights like this since I joined; Liam arranged them at least once a week. This was my first because none of it was meant for me. As an omega and witchblood, I didn’t have the drive to hunt, chase prey, or even howl at the moon and join in a chorus of my fellow shifters. I hunted for food when hungry, and spent most of the rest of my time as a fox either hiding or snoozing. I recalled many a night growing up in the Volkov’s pack hiding in my room, and later my camper surrounded by wards, listening to the howl of wolves and the terrifying sounds of death filling the night.

“I’ll wait until after you,” I told Liam, not ashamed to hide under his belly if necessary. Or run home if it all became too much.

“They won’t hurt you.”

Sure. Maybe. I believed Liam wouldn’t hurt me. The rest of the pack... It wasn’t so much that I didn’t believe in them, it was more the memory of many years living in fear.

Liam stepped close enough to lean down and kiss me gently on the lips. A wolf approached, careful, and slow. Dylan, by the look of his fur, still scruffy and thin from his healing. He was a big wolf, and Liam’s third in command. He seemed to be waiting. Liam nodded at him before stepping away from me to strip off his clothes and begin his transformation. A guard then, I thought. Not to guard my mate during his change, but me.

I frowned at Dylan whose gaze didn’t leave me, and couldn’t help but snark, “Don’t be looking at my mate’s butt. I’ll tell Sean,” I warned Dylan. Sean was his mate, though they weren’t fated bond mates like Liam and I.

Dylan raised his snout, peeling his lips back to bare his fangs in the slightest of mocking. Technically he couldn’t totally understand me in this form. The senses of a werewolf in wolf form weren’t as structured as the normal human brain. But he also wasn’t a young wolf, so it was likely he recognized some things like mate and Sean. He looked at Liam, whose transition was almost complete, before tapping the ground at my feet.

“I’ll change when he’s finished,” I said.

Dylan didn’t seem to be buying it. We’d tried this a week ago with a smaller group, a handful of wolves I thought I was comfortable with, and I’d run home instead. Not all my fault. Toby had been with us, and his shift had gone badly, slow and so painful that I’d tried to approach to calm him and ease the change. He’d snapped at me. A reaction of self-preservation for a werewolf in the middle of a change. And while I understood it now, at the time, it had been too much for me.

Tonight, Carl had taken Toby deep into the woods, away from the group and me. I felt bad that I couldn’t help him. It was my job as alpha mate and omega to ease the troubles of the wolves. But Toby’s issues were more a battle between him and his wolf than anything my pres‐ ence could soothe. I’d helped him regain enough of his humanity to still be among the living. Coming to an agreement with the wolf was some‐ thing only he could do.

Dylan huffed at me, not daring to get close enough to irritate Liam, who was much more territorial in wolf form. I glanced at Liam and found him shaking out his newly furred form, stretching his legs and his back in loud popping noises that sounded uncomfortable. Since he sighed happily, I assumed it felt good.

Liam looked my way.

“Okay, okay,” I said and stripped off my shirt, then kicked off my shoes. I didn’t do the whole naked before the group thing that most shifters didn’t seem to have a problem with. Part of that was because of the territorial aggression Liam had for me as his mate, and part was due to me being scrawny with bright red hair and dark skin. My kitsune coloring always seeped through to my human side. Admitting to being self-conscious about it, did not make it go away. Mostly Liam under‐ stood. Unless he was waiting for me to get a move on like he was that minute.

Liam growled as I dropped my pants. Dylan yipped, and I heard him walk away, though I couldn’t get past the burn of embarrassment heating my cheeks to look at him. Had he been staring? I might tease Dylan for looking at Liam, but he would never dare. Sean would gut him. Sean might gut Liam too for good measure. Dylan’s lover was human but he was no pushover.

I hurried to strip out of the rest of my clothes and changed before the cool breeze could chill my flesh. Unlike the wolf, as my fox vision crystalized around me, I saw as a human. I was still me. Complete with all the anxiety and baggage.

Liam approached slowly, taking care with my skittish nature. I wouldn’t run from him, even though his wolf towered over my fox form. He leaned down and nuzzled my snout, rubbing his scent on me, and letting me lean on him. He did not plan to hunt either. Not unless I was comfortable enough to let him go ahead of me, or there was an issue in the pack that only he could resolve.

None of the wolves should have been particularly hungry. We had made a huge feast to fill them all before the change to ease the need to hunt. Play was okay, I had convinced myself. The wolves would play, run, and even fight, but all in good spirits, not actual danger.

Bonding with the pack was important to Liam as an alpha. As his mate, the least I could do was try. A human would never have been out here in the dark. But there were also no stories of alphas finding their fated mates in a regular person. While I considered myself more human than most werewolves were, the truth was likely a muddy middle ground since I could be a giant kitsune, a fox demon, instead of the fox. We were still working on perfecting that. Calling it, controlling it, and retraining my rational thinking when it took over. So tonight was to be me as the fox, getting used to the pack at play. No big deal, right?

Liam nudged me and we headed toward the pack. I could feel them all hovering in the dark. The dominant wolves in front as Liam approached, each of the submissive wolves, the handful we had, all being protected by a dominant. They were much like I was in that they did not have the desire to dominate. They did like to run though, and hunted for food much like I did. Their wolf nature did not crave the fear of the chase, though they did long for the blood and kill it required, unlike me. A submissive werewolf was just as deadly as an alpha werewolf. The submissive ones were simply less likely to become caught up in the hunt.

I made out Kevin’s pale gray fur nearby as Liam directed me his way. Kevin was a submissive, but an old one. He could also be ruthless, cunning, and as deadly as any dominant, it simply wasn’t his default setting. Kevin approached, giving me a little bow of his head. He was old enough to retain more of his humanity, I thought as Liam prodded me to Kevin’s side. Apparently he was to be my guard tonight. A companion who wouldn’t necessarily be drawn to the hunt, or a fight between dominants which was more likely, and one I could trust not to turn on me. My mate was the smart one of our duo.

Liam took the lead, the dominants fanning out around him and me, forming a circle of sorts. The rest of the pack were already running and howling in the distance, unfettered by worry about protecting the submissives or me.

We made our way from a walk to a trot to a run. Almost like jogging in a group, only the circle got wider and wider. Liam and Kevin stayed close, but everyone else began to fan out, chasing squirrels, rabbits, or each other as we encountered the rest of the group.

I let Liam and Kevin get farther ahead, easing to a trot and finally a walk. Liam peeked my way several times, but I paused to lick my paw, giving him the sign that he was free to chase into the night and stretch his wolf spirit. He hesitated, but finally let the sounds of play draw him away. Kevin vanished into the brush too.

The sounds of the night echoed with its typical birds, and wind. This far into the woods, near the mountains, and almost to the Cana‐ dian border, there wasn’t much for traffic noise, or people in general. The coming cold of winter brought a chill to the air that would keep most casual hikers and campers away. Not that any of them would be out this late at night.

A recent fight over the Washington State wolf population had waged trouble for the pack. I knew Liam was part of a huge push to get the hunting of wolves banned again, despite being made legal recently. There really weren’t a lot of real wolves left in Washington. But the werewolves made up a sizable few packs. Would a hunter know the difference if they encountered them out in the wild? I wasn’t sure anyone would survive pointing a gun at a werewolf. And I had yet to hear about any werewolf deaths by hunter. It also took more than a bullet to kill most werewolves, so shooting them only pissed them off.

I flinched when I heard the snarls and then a scream of a dying rabbit. I killed rabbits too. It was part of being a predator. Though I’d always been fast to snap its neck after a sneak attack. Never letting it utter a sound more a point of humanity than pride. If I could be fast enough, it would never know it was coming, never experience pain or fear. I’d had enough of both in my short lifetime. I continued to move, slinking through the underbrush now, away from the sounds of the pack, but still close enough to be considered part of it. Or at least that’s what I hoped.

Howls rang in a chorus through the night. Memories of my child‐ hood rolled through me in waves of things I wish hadn’t been ingrained.

They’d found larger prey. A deer probably. Several wolves raced by me, not even noticing me crouched beside a tree, as they followed the cries of their pack and the potential of a real hunt.

Logically I knew that hunting bound the pack closer as a group. The unity of bringing down a larger kill and sharing the spoils, even if it was only a mouthful, united them together. They would eat because wasting the meal wasn’t the way of the wild, but the hunt, that was more human than wolf. I think that part scared me the most. Not the fact that they hunted, but that they enjoyed it so much. Even my mate.

Instinct, I reminded myself. A mash of the wolf and human turning the hunt from something necessary for food, to an event of domination, power, and structure. I tried to breathe through the rising anxiety.

The sounds of the chase filling the night, wild cries of frightened animals and excited wolves, made my heart race with terror. I crouched low to the ground, frozen, remembering a thousand horrible things that had long since passed, and berated myself for the weakness. None of them would hurt me. Even hot on a chase. I was omega, and Liam’s pack sane, mostly stable, and cognizant enough of their surroundings not to attack me. Though a fox was normal prey for hungry wolves.

I remembered the time as a pup when Felix had attacked Apa. Both of them becoming dark monstrous things my brain still wouldn’t define. Oberon had saved me that day, racing to interrupt the fight and lead me to safety. He hadn’t changed into that demonic sort of wolf. I didn’t know if he could. But the glimpse of the other two had been enough to instill terror in my gut. The question had been burning inside me for weeks as I had been too afraid to push for an answer. Did all werewolves become monsters in the end? Demonic? Almost vampiric in appearance and filled with insatiable hunger? Was that the fate that would someday claim Liam? I shuddered at the thought.

It was the darkness and loneliness that brought the memories back, I reminded myself. Getting to my feet again took a lot of willpower when the snapping of twigs and breaking of brush echoed from all around. There was a chase afoot.

None of them realized that I’d been left behind. And that was okay because I didn’t really need them to witness my cowardice. It gave me a minute to breathe, sort through the fear, and parse out what was rational and not. I could do this for Liam’s sake. Had to, I kept reminding myself. How long had I run from everything? Telling myself I needed nothing and no one, until I ran right into Liam. His kiss changed my life, and I’d do a lot to see him smile.

I got up, shook out my fur and listened, trying to parse a direction. The scent of my mate wafting his wonderful sweet bread smells came from the northwest, so I headed that way. As soon as he realized I wasn’t behind him, and I was afraid, he would double back, leaving the pack to find me. I didn’t flee. The night was cool with the approaching fall and winter, breeze light, forest filled with life, everything from bugs and birds, to the not-so-delicate steps of new werewolves.

For a few minutes I was okay in the darkness. Even knowing that the wolves were out there, hunting, didn’t make me run. Liam would be back any second, and I was fast enough to outrun most wolves. We were on Liam’s land, so all I had to do was race to my camper and bolt myself inside. I let that little fact bolster me into a slight jog.

The sounds of breaking brush grew closer. Snarling and growling filling the air and making me stop. I didn’t want to be in the way of their chase. And this sounded like a real fight rather than a hunt. No one should be real fighting tonight.

I sent a tug down the invisible tie that stretched between Liam and me. Much clearer when I was a fox to his wolf, the bond still felt more like me imagining pulling taffy instead of something tangible. Though Liam always came. I could feel him coming now, turned in my direction in a concerned lope.

I waited in the small clearing, trying to make out the wolves’ snarls and identify who they belonged to, but I didn’t know most of them that well. Someone yelped and half screamed, a dog’s howl of pain. I flinched and leapt toward the noise, thinking first that if someone was hurt, I could at least help seal a wound with a well-practiced ward or two.

A wolf bounded free of the bush in front of me, its powerful legs taking it over the top of me, hot blood dripping down as it passed, to land hard just a few feet away. I winced, recognizing his smell before the color of his fur. Toby.

He had a long gash on one of his back legs. He limped and dragged himself away, using me as cover. Though I wasn’t sure he even knew I was there.

Another wolf launched through the foliage as though chasing Toby, teeth bared and claws extended, reaching for me, who stood in his way. I didn’t think in that moment, instead I let the need to protect over‐ whelm me.

Toby was mine. No one got to hurt him. He might scare me some‐ times, but he was still mine to protect.

The kitsune erupted from my skin, rising to tower over the pair and sending the second wolf cowering. Ice and fire mixed in a blue green swirl around me, the rage of the beast filling my gut in a way I never experienced in my other forms.

I dove toward the second wolf with a grace more like a cat than anything a fox or wolf might have had, but suddenly Liam was there, taking the swipe of my paw, blood instantly oozing from his side.

Fuck! I cried, my yip sounding like a painfilled, ghostly howl. Liam didn’t flinch. The other wolves backed away. I saw the reflection of my own monster in his eyes as the wolves scattered around us, running away from me as I’d so often run from them. Even Toby was led away by another wolf, all slinking into the darkness like they worried I’d chase them. The kitsune wanted to chase them. It could find joy in the hunt, fear, and kill. I refused to let it have that much control.

Liam wasn’t afraid. Not even while he bled and stood in the midst of the swirling green and blue fire, untouched by my magic. It didn’t affect him at all while it would have frozen the other wolves. He bled from my claws, not my magic, and that alone was enough to shove the kitsune back.

I dropped to my knees, instantly human and reached for my mate. I’d hurt him. How did that make me better than anyone else? Or even different from all the pain I’d had doled out to me in the past?

“I’m sorry!” I reached for him. If he’d snubbed me, I’d have deserved it, but he stepped into my embrace, let me wrap clumsy arms around him and carefully trace healing wards into his fur. He didn’t really need them as the bleeding slowed and the wounds began to quickly heal. Werewolves were pretty indestructible. But once again I’d proven myself incapable of being what Liam needed for the pack.

He huffed, an odd sound coming from the wolf, and then he changed. I hated watching it, though forced myself to memorize his pain, even if it only lasted a minute. He yanked me into his arms and kissed me hard before letting me go to stare into my face through the darkness.

“Don’t ever be ashamed of protecting a member of the pack,” he said.

“Against another member of the pack?”

“Marlow knows how easy it is to rile Toby. I was on my way to break them up.”

“I could have killed him,” I pointed out. The kitsune had wanted to. Marlow. Another of Liam’s wolves. Young but not new or as broken as poor Toby. Marlow was a bit of a troublemaker.

“You didn’t,” Liam said.

“Because you got in the way.”

“One swipe wouldn’t have killed him. Might have killed you with the guilt, but not him.”

I sighed; Liam knew me so well. I traced my fingers down his healing flank, the lines of the swipe nothing but pink scars that were quickly fading. In an hour they’d be gone. One of the perks of being an alpha meant healing ability that not even the other wolves could dream of. “Maybe me bonding with the pack isn’t a good idea?”

“We will keep practicing,” Liam said instead, apparently unwilling to give up on me. Dylan appeared in human form, fully dressed, and carrying our clothes. Liam must have called him through the pack bond, and I hadn’t been able to tell. It made me angry with myself as only once had I been able to connect to the pack like that. It had been while rescuing Dylan, and totally accidental.

“It really sucks if my powers only work in life or death situations,” I told my mate as I yanked on my clothes. “I want to be useful to you.”

“You are,” he assured me.

“For more than sweets and tea.”

“Don’t forget the endless booty calls,” Dylan added.

I growled at him. Liam laughed. “I do enjoy the booty calls.”

“That’s it. You’re sleeping on the couch, or something...” I said with no heat, because there was no chance I’d get any sleep without Liam by my side.

“I love you,” Liam responded, making me sputter as I hadn’t had the courage to say it back yet. “You’re mine. You are necessary, whether your brain tells you that you are or not. End of discussion.” Fully dressed, he grabbed my hand and tugged me toward home.

“That’s it? ‘Cause you said so, it’s over? I can’t wallow?” I demanded.

“Nope,” Liam agreed. “The only wallowing you get to do is in me. We will keep working with the pack. We have time. This is not a race.”

“What if the pack needs me and I’m too afraid to help?”

“Have you ever not been there?” Liam asked. “You protected Toby without more than half a second of thought. I think if the pack needs you, you’ll be there.”

“Or running away like a chicken,” I grumbled.

Liam squeezed my hand, then lifted it to kiss the back of my knuck‐ les. “Trust your instincts. They brought you to me, didn’t they?”

“I’m still not sure that was a good thing for you.”

“I’m sure enough for the both of us. You are mine.”

“Yours,” I agreed, and for the moment that was enough.

COLLAPSE
Reviews:luvs2read on Amazon wrote:

I just finished reading Kitsune Chronicles #1 and #2 in one long rainy-day sitting, so probably shouldn’t rate with a book hangover, but would say 4.5 for #2. I loved these very well-written shifter world books with mates, family and pack ties linked to magic, coexisting with the humans and a seemingly endless assortment of diverse shifters and paranormals. Faced with scary, life-threatening challenges from the paranormals and humans, the MCs struggle to retain and strengthen their bond, their love, and a safe existence for their pack/family. Alpha wolf Liam is beyond wonderful-the most patient and loving alpha- and deserves the best in return from his mate, Sebastian, and the pack he protects. Sebastian, fox/Kitsune shifter and self-proclaimed odd-man-out misfit with witchblood magic, is an omega who can help unify the pack, and helps provides safety with his magic and incredible Kitsune power. An orphan, Seb has long history of neglect in his previous pack and past abusive relationships, which has reduced him to a huge bundle of anxiety, low self esteem, and a hair trigger flight response. Despite these issues, Liam’s steadfast supply of patience and love has allowed the relationship to solidify.

The story progressed well from book 1 to 2, adressing new challenges, and leaving some old unresolved (Ice Prince! Nick!), hopefully to be addressed in the next chronicle. The side characters, good, bad, or downright scary, are all distinct characters with roles to play. The steamy times are great and develop the relationship. Their love, including Sebastian’s snark and neediness with Liam’s teasing and strength, can make you chuckle or melt into a lavender lemonade puddle of goo.

Fun to read and I look forward to more chronicles. My only niggle, which lowered my rating a bit, was personal— I wish Sebastian was a little less angsty about his shortcomings and place in the pack by book 2, especially now he has been able to really use his expanding powers for the good of Liam and the pack. At the end, however, I had a hopeful feeling he is coming into his own and will flourish.

Amazon Customer on Amazon wrote:

If you have not read a Lissa Kasey book before be prepared for a roller coaster of emotions.
Sebastian is not your ordinary fox shifter, he is witchblood, kitsune. His past experience has taught him fear, anxiety and not to trust. He takes us on a roller coaster of emotions as he navigates his past fears, anxiety and trust issues all the while trying to get back to his mate and navigating the perrals of the Fae underworld. Be prepared for your emotions to be all over the place. Lissa Kasey knows how to pull you in and make you feel all the MC is feeling. Enjoy with a strong cup of tea!

Kindle Customer on Amazon wrote:

This is book 2 in a very exciting and different type of story. Sebastian is not your typical fox shifter but also part fae. Seb and his true mate,Liam, are a great couple. Poor Seb keeps getting into trouble but it makes for exciting reading! Can't wait for the next book.


About the Author

Lissa Kasey is more than just romance. Her specialty is in-depth characters, detailed world building, and twisting plots to keep you clinging to your book reader. All stories have a side of romance, emotionally messed up protagonists and feature LGBTQA+ spectrum characters facing real world problems no matter how fictional the story.


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