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The Wiccan's Hunt

Book 2 in The Wiccan's Saga

In the second installment of The Wiccan Saga, Juniper who is on a visit to her coven quickly discovers a danger lurking at their borders. Her coven, who chooses to simply ignore it, believes it will go away in time. Juniper must face her coven and convince them to allow her to help them defeat this danger before it is too late. Will she succeed or will her coven succumb to the evil in the wilds?

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Chapter 1

~ Juniper ~


    My face peeked out from the icy cerulean blue waters and looked across the mirrored surface, reveling in the serenely quiet atmosphere. My legs slowly kept me afloat as I treaded water in the middle of the lake that was surrounded only by the towering snow covered mountains wrapped in a thick blanket of conifer trees. I turned my body, allowing it to float upon the stilled surface so that I could stare up at the clear blue sky. My arms skidded across the surface as I felt the pull of energy entering my body. 

    “Juniper,” a deep, familiar voice called across the water.

    I dropped my body back below the shelter of the water and turned to look at Forest, my mate, calling me from the rock crested shoreline. I smiled at him and began to swim in his direction. The splashing of the water from each penetration of my arms and legs disturbed the peaceful quiet that I had been savoring, but with his appearance, I knew that my time hidden away at this sanctuary had come to an end. As I neared the shore, I cast a silent thankful message to the water for its retreat. My bare feet helped to steady me as I found my footing, lightly stepping over the icy stones into the plush white towel Forest held out for me. 

    “How many times do I have to ask you to bring someone with you if you come up to the lake?” he asked with slight annoyance. 

    I lifted onto my toes and kissed him lightly on his stubbled cheek. 

    “That would defeat the purpose of coming out here,” I said smiling back at him.

    “What would happen if a rogue found you alone so far away?”

    “First off, I would hear someone coming long before they could get to me,” I said as I began to walk back into the surrounding forest in search of the bag he must have brought with him. 

    I found it nearby placed on a decaying, moss covered fallen log.

    “Secondly,” I continued, “I stick to the middle of the lake. I can swim to the opposite shore if anyone were to come.”

    He knew that this was a losing battle but he never relented. He grumbled as he followed me over to the bag. I finished drying off and folded the towel up, sliding it back in to the small black duffle before turning back to Forest, my smug smile never faulting. He walked up to me and placed his rough calloused hands on my bare hips. 

    “I will never stop worrying about you.”

    “I know, I will never stop worrying about you, but I watch you run off on patrol or to perform your Alpha duties and I trust you, as you should me. I would link you if I was ever concerned.”

    He let out a deep sigh, “I know. I trust you, it’s the rest of the world that I do not.”

    I kissed him again, feeling him tighten his grip on my skin as he gave in. As our lips parted, he leaned his forehead against mine.

    “If we did not have things to do, I would take you right here. Watching you emerge with water dripping down your bare skin is driving me wild,” he said in a husky voice. 

    I bit my lip as I felt a warmth course down my body. 

    “We shall make up for it later then.”

    He grumbled his agreement. 

    “What do we have to do?”

    “Oakley found him. We have a phone call with him in an hour.”    

    My body immediately tensed. 

    “We don’t need to do this now if you want to wait,” he added, sensing my change of demeanor. 

    I took a deep breath and straitened my shoulders. 

    “No, I’m ready. I have spent my whole life wondering about him. It’s time.”

    Forest gave me a deep reassuring hug before stepping back and slipping his sweats off of him, sliding them into the bag with the towel. Without another word, we both shifted into our wolves. My petite red wolf a stark contrast to his towering black wolf. He leaned over and lifted the bag with his mouth and we took off southward, back to our pack. 

    Thoughts of the man that we were about to talk to filled my mind on the journey back. I had never thought that I would find out who he was, as was common for those of my upbringing. The women of my coven traveled into cities in search of prospective suitors to impregnate them, never seeing them again. As far as I knew, I would be the first witch since my family came to America over a century ago to meet her father. Six months ago, I found out that my father was in fact an Alpha, a message relaid to me from the goddess Selene herself. Forest and Oakley had been helping me track down who it could be since my arrival in the pack and today was the day that I would finally find out who he was.

    As we arrived back at the towering brick building that is our home, I shifted and grabbed my loose white cotton sundress that I had left on the nearby lounge chair. Forest did the same, and slipped on the same sweats he had worn up at the lake. We walked in through the main entrance and found our way to Forest’s office. Oakley joined us only moments later. 

    “How was the swim?” he asked with his normal cocky smile. 

    “It was good, thanks,” I laughed back at him. 

    “You’re going to give our poor old Alpha here a heart attack one of these days with your disappearing acts.”

    “I don’t disappear,” I challenged lightheartedly. 

    “Oh please, you went to work in the greenhouse this morning and when he went to pick you up for lunch, you were nowhere to be found. Do you know how complicated you make my day when my Alpha links me in a panic and I have to search high and low for you?” Oakley chided. 

    “Well I would tell him if he ever let me go on my own.”

    “Hmm, I wonder why that is,” he replied implying heavily of the same reasoning Forest had told me each time I made my way out to the lake. 

    “Enough you two,” Forest interjected as he sat watching us from his desk, resting his chin on his fist. 

    Oakley, who was the Beta of our pack, and I had become close over my time here at the West Moon Pack. He was like the brother I never had, always teasing and razzing me. It was as if he had challenged himself daily to see if he could get a rise out of me, yet my years with Meadow had trained me well for someone with his personality. I mockingly squished my face at him before turning back to Forest. 

    “Get on with it Oakley,” Forest shifted towards him.

    “Alright, you two know how long I’ve been going through the old records. Which by the way, I really think we need to digitize. I found the records of all of the meetings held around May of 2000. There were two that happened during that month. The first was with the Burntwood Pack. Their meeting was on the first of the month, but they would have traveled from the north, not putting them in the states at all, let alone Mount Vernon.”

    “What about the other meeting?” I asked him. 

    “The Silver Ridge Pack. Their territory is in south-western Colorado. That would put their route right through Mount Vernon.”

    “When was their meeting?” Forest asked him.

    “May 14th, lining up pretty good as far as dates are concerned.”

    “What was their meeting about?”

    “Alpha Caspian was a new Alpha and made the rounds to a few of the larger packs to establish relationships and solidify their treaties.”

    “Do we have a treaty with them?”

    “Not an active one. As you know, back in the late nineties and early two thousands, there was the rogue epidemic. Many of the packs had treaties to provide support if needed. After the amount of attacks lessened, many of those expired. Our pack has only kept up with the treaties with our neighboring packs, those in British Columbia and Washington,” Oakley added the last part for my account. 

    I was still learning the politics of the pack. I had known that we had treaties with other packs as the Alpha from the Moon Fall Pack had visited around a month and a half ago to resign their contract with us, something done once a year. The North American packs were fairly dispersed. I had come to know of three in Washington state and quite a few more in British Columbia. Most of the packs in general lived in Canada due to the abundance of land and space between human cities. Before we could get into more details about the Silver Ridge Pack, Forest’s office phone rang.


Chapter 2

~ Juniper ~


    We each stared at the phone for a moment, watching as it rung.

     “I’m going to set up a meeting for now. I feel like this type of news should be shared in person,” Forest informed us before picking up the sleek black receiver.

    “West Moon,” he answered smoothly.

    The heightened hearing that came from our wolves gave both Oakley and myself the ability to hear the voice on the other side of the line clearly. A gift that I had become incredibly thankful for over the last few months since my wolf finally emerged.

    “Alpha Forest, this is Alpha Caspian. I received a message that you wanted to speak to me,” a deep voice that held the weight of wisdom came through. 

    “Yes, thank you for retuning my call. I would like to set up a meeting between us.”

    “What is this concerning?”

    “It is of a sensitive nature and would like to discuss it in person.”

    “Hmm, I understand. When would you like to have this meeting?”

    “At your earliest convince.”

    “You are welcome to visit our pack next week.”

    “I know that it is customary for the requesting Alpha to visit the other Alpha’s pack, but due to the nature of this topic, I believe it may be better for you to come to us.”

    “This is oddly suspicious Alpha Forest. Perhaps if you could give me an idea of what this is concerning, it would help.”

    “You have a Luna, correct?”

    “I do,” Alpha Caspian’s voice had a hint of warning in it. 

    “I believe it is something that you may not want your Luna to hear right away.”

    “I have no secrets from my Luna.”

    “I am sure, but this falls on a more personal matter.”

    The line was silent for a moment before Alpha Caspian responded, “I will come to you next Monday, but due to the questionable circumstances, I will be bringing my Beta and a group of warriors.”

    “Understood,” Forest replied, “We will make the appropriate accommodations for your party.”

    They ended their conversation and Forest placed the phone back on its base, looking up at me. I was pinching my lip between my fingers as the uncertainty from the situation settled into my gut. 

    “Are you ready for this?” he asked me. 

    “I’ll have to be,” I replied nervously. 

    “Oakley,” Forest turned his gaze to him, “Make the preparations. He didn’t specify how many he will be bringing but I can only assume by his demeanor that it will be more than we have room for in the pack house.”

    We had three guest apartments and three more guest rooms at the pack house to accommodate any visitors that we may receive. I had only been in them a few times before. They were designed to fit seven couples, plenty if you asked me. At the coven, we never received visitors, so there were no spare beds at all. When Forest and I have visited in the past, we have stayed in my old bedroom, squeezing into the same small bed I had had since childhood.

    “I’ll help you, Oakley,” I offered. 

    I could tell that it would be a good deal of work in a short amount of time. This was for me, so I felt that I should take the lead on it. It would also help keep me busy so I didn’t lose my mind from worry before the meeting with my possible father. 

    “It’s settled then, we have three days to prepare,” Forest stated as he leaned back in his chair. 

    Oakley and I left Forest’s office and he led me directly into his own. He walked around his sleek wooden desk, plopping into a red leather chair. 

    “Let’s get things ready for dear old dad, shall we?” He said.

    “Let’s,” I added sitting across from him. 

    We went through the details of what needed to be done in each room and food preparations. There was a certain formality that was expected when other Alphas visited. Formal meals, a tour of the town, accommodating whomever he would bring with him. The complexity of it sent my mind whirling. I jotted down a list of tasks for myself to accomplish before standing, determined to get it all done. As if he had been listening for our conversation to finish, Forest leaned on the door frame to Oakley’s office. 

    “Shall we have dinner?” he asked.

    “Yes,” I confirmed with a hard nod of my head. 

    I was famished. I had skipped lunch and instead headed straight to the lake after my time in the greenhouse. Forest smirked at me and reached out his hand, offering it to my own. I laced my fingers through his as we made our way through the back hallway to the kitchen. Joan, our head chef, was stirring a pot of what smelled like delicious tomato and basil bisque. 

    “Alpha, Luna,” she bowed her head to us. “Are you ready for your dinner?”

    “We are,” I said, already salivating.

    She smiled at me and gestured to the dining room. 

    “Don’t forget about us,” Oakley chimed in from the back hallway we had just come in from. 

    August was a step behind him as they came into the kitchen. We all made our way over to the large dining room and took our seats. Forest sat at the head of the table while I sat to his left. Joan quickly made her way out and walked around the table filling our waters. She made it seem so formal every time we sat down for a meal, another reason I typically avoided the dining room and would instead steal a plate to eat at the counter in the kitchen. As she returned with a beer for each of us, I could see the look of accomplishment on her face for getting us to sit and be served as she felt was fitting for the Alpha and Luna. I could only smile at her as she retuned back to the kitchen. 

    “What do we know of the Silver Ridge Pack?” Forest asked August, his Gamma. 

    “They are located in South-Western Colorado. They have around five thousand acres of private land that is surrounded by national forest. They run a cattle business called the Silver Ridge Ranch. From our last record with them, they had around four hundred pack members. That was back in 2004, so I would assume that it may have grown slightly since then. They were know to be a powerful, yet peaceful pack. They had their share of problems with the rogues back in the day which is why they sought us out for a treaty. We kept the treaty up for five years before letting it fall to the wayside as there was no longer a need to keep up with it.”

    Forest nodded and looked over at Oakley as Joan brought out a tray of soups that she served to us, “What have you worked out so far for accommodations?”

    “We will be putting Alpha Caspian, his Beta, and highest rank warrior in the pack house. We will prepare the other rooms if he chooses to use them for his additional warriors. The remaining warriors, however many there may be, will be housed in one of the tents. We will set up twenty beds in there. Hopefully they don’t bring an army, otherwise I will run out of room for them.”

    “I think twenty beds is plenty. If they bring more, we will make do,” Forest responded. 

    After reviewing a few more details of the upcoming visit we finally sat back and enjoyed the rest of dinner. Joan had made us a delectable meal of roasted herb chicken with a rice pilaf and steamed asparagus. Ever since I had gained my wolf, my appetite had grown substantially. I now ate almost twice as much as I had when I first arrived. My snacking had increased as well, though I still preferred the taste of vegetables compared to the processed food some of the others indulged in. 

    After dinner I headed up to our apartment to call my Gran. We talked on the phone fairly regularly. They had kept my place in the coven which let me still feel like I was a part of it. We tried to make a trip down once every other month to see them. I picked up the cell phone Forest had given me. Gran and the others at the coven were the only other people I talked to so I had never gained the habit of carrying it with me. Instead I kept it plugged in on a small desk we had in the apartment. I clicked on my Gran’s contact and listened as it began ringing. 

    “Hello,” Violet’s familiar commanding voice answered. 

    Violet was Gran’s sister and one of the elders of our coven. Being the oldest, she was the leader of the group. Age declared your role within the settlement I had grown up in. 

    “Hi Aunt Violet, it’s Juniper. Is my Gran around?”

    “She is. I’ll get her for you.”

    “Thanks,” I said as I heard her call away from the phone.

    A moment later, my Gran picked up.

    “Juniper, I’m glad to hear from you. How are things?”

    I sighed before answering, “Oh, a bit complicated at the moment.”

    “What’s going on?” she asked in her calming voice.

    “We are pretty sure we figured out who my father is, and…he’s coming to visit on Monday.”    

    The phone went silent for a moment.

    “Are you sure you want to meet him?”

    “No, I’m not sure,” I confessed. “Packs are all about family and connections. I discovered that I have this whole other side to me. Even though Forest has helped me understand what it means to be a shifter, I want to know more.”

    I wanted to know who he was. Watching the families around the pack had made me question if I had a bigger family of my own somewhere. Brothers, sisters… I had the opportunity to find out, And if I were to ever meet them? then perhaps I could be myself, my true self around them. My mother died trying to give me a sister, what if I had one out there? There are to many questions that I have for me not to go through with this. 

    “I think you answered your own question. If you feel like you need to know more, then the best thing to do is to find out. I can’t say that I understand your reasoning, but I respect it.”

    “Thank you, Gran.”

    “You're welcome, my sweet girl.”

    I heard a rustling through the phone when another familiar voice screeched through, “Juniper! When are you coming down to visit us again? I miss you.”

    “Hey, Meadow. I don’t know when. We have some stuff going on up here, but I promise I’ll let you know as soon as I get it sorted.”

    “Well when you do, make sure to bring that sweet thing with you.”

    “You mean Forest?” I laughed.

    “Um, yes! He’s fun to look at. Besides, maybe we can rope him into doing some of these heavy chores that my ma keeps putting on me.”

    “Oh, I see your real reason.”

    “Well, you know, someone had to run off with her wolf man and live a life of luxury while the rest of us are still being driven into the ground washing dish after dish!”

    “Your mom still has you on dishwasher duty?”

    “Yes, and I don’t have you to help me, remember?”

    I laughed again, “I do, but I have faith in you.”

    “Sure, sure. Anyway, tell me about all the amazing adventures you’ve been going on?”

    “I don’t really go on adventures here. I’ve told you that. Life in the pack is very similar to life at the settlement. We have our jobs and our town, we have some gatherings, though nothing like back at home,” I teased. “Although still plenty of naked bodies running around, just not in the fun way like we do.”

    “Well you can’t beat dancing naked under the full moon. Do you guys think you will come down for another one at some point?”

    “Full moons are hard to do.”

    “You were able to make it down for that one a couple months ago.”

    “You mean when I needed the coven to help me shift?”


    “Special circumstance. The pack does their own full moon celebrations anyway.”

    “Do you get to dance naked,” she chided. 

    “Not much. I try and get out to do it on my own, but you're right. Maybe I should come down soon and join you.”

    “That’s what I’m talking about!”

    I could hear Forest come in. He had stopped at his office after dinner to finish some things up. I looked up at him and smiled.

    “I need to get going, but tell Gran I love her and I will call again in a few days.”

    “Will do! Ciao ciao for now.”

    “Bye, Meadow.”

    I laughed quietly as I returned the phone to the desk and joined Forest on the sofa, curling myself under his arm.

    “How are you doing?” he asked me. 

    “I’m fine, just a bit nervous. I mean, my mom did kind of trick him into impregnating her. Do you think he will be angry?”

    “He might, but I don’t think it would be directed at you. You’re his daughter.”

    I pursed my lips, still not convinced. 

    Forest continued, “If he does, then you will know what type of man he is. There was more than one reason I wanted this meeting to be held here rather than at their pack.”

    I looked up at him, surprised.

    “If he were on his own territory, he would control the situation. If he was angry, it would be hard to defend you against his whole pack. Here, every one of our pack members would defend you.”

    “I hope it doesn’t come to that,” I replied with a new found fear settling into my stomach. 

    I had not accounted for the wrath that an Alpha could bestow when angered. I had never personally seen it but had been taught of some historical instances. There was one story that I recalled where an Alpha was insulted by a visiting pack and ended up slaughtering all of them. It caused a war between the two packs and their allies, lasting nearly five years. 

    “I did not tell you that so that you would be scared,” Forrest pulled me from my thoughts, “I wanted to let you know that I have thought of every situation. I would be surprised if it went there.”

    “Okay,” I said still not completely convinced.

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