Today, I'm bringing you an exclusive excerpt from Alpha Wolves, the sequel to Maggie Elizabeth Harrington.
The first love of Maggie Harrington’s young life, Tommie Stetter, has returned to Central Mine to attend his father’s funeral. She finds herself as powerfully attracted to him as ever, but another man, a handsome and abiding one, Jeremy Paull has also found his way into her heart. Maggie finds herself conflicted as she loves both of these men. This is the catalyst that brings the two Alpha Wolves into competition and forces Maggie to make a difficult decision, one that contradicts her own idealism and the teachings of the church and community.
Alpha Wolves is a historical romance, a love triangle, set in Central Mine, Michigan, which is now a ghost town. In 1893 it was a thriving, bustling community with mining and the Methodist Church at the center of its social fabric. There were more fortunes made during the northern Michigan copper boom than in the California gold rush. At thirteen young Maggie Harrington ran off into the wilderness with Tommie Stetter and a pack of young wolves to protect the wolf pups from a bounty hunter. They were ultimately caught and young Tommie sent back east to school. Ten years have passed. Maggie still lives in Central Mine, still harbors a powerful love for Tommie, but is moving on with a new man, a handsome and very good man, Jeremy Paull. Now she has a pair of Alpha Wolves in her life.
EXCERPT: MAGGIE, WHO DO YOU LOVE?
I tightly held his hand, knowing that Tommie loved me, that whatever I had done was done out of love. But I am not totally naïve. I know that our declaration of our love for one another, our act of expressing this love that has endured for ten years, would create a new set of problems for both of us. I am not sorry, though. I am still glowing inside, basking in the warm feelings of having finally experienced the man that I have always loved, and that I now know still loves me. That is very important to me, knowing that Tommie Stetter still loves me. And I will face the consequences of this knowledge later. I will not let it take this moment I have waited my whole life for.
When we reach the road, Tommie stops and stands in front of me. He takes my hands and he kisses me sweetly on the lips. I drop his hands and I put my arms around his neck and kiss him even harder. It is a long, abiding kiss, like our love, and we are both somewhat lost in the magic of this moment. We hold each other for a long while, neither of us wanting to end the embrace. Tommie puts his head alongside of mine and I can feel him just inhale the natural fragrance of my hair, like he is trying to draw my scent inside him to remember me by, so that I may be with him until we see each other again. And I am sure there will be another time, I am as sure of that as I am of anything.
“I love you Maggie,” Tommie whispers in my ear. “I have never stopped loving you. Not for a day, not for a moment, not forever.”
I continue to hold Tommie, and I can feel his love, his words, filling my body, the same as they did years ago. I feel almost redeemed for all the years of waiting and wondering, I am feeling fulfilled.
“I love you, too,” I say. “And I have never stopped loving you. I will never stop loving you, Tommie.” I squeeze ever harder, holding him like I am never going to let go of him again.
Tommie relaxes his hold on me. He runs his hand through my hair and then teasingly touches my cheek with his finger. He looks into my eyes and we are inside one another, as always. I look into those brown eyes of his that glisten, that have always known me, and I can feel him inside me, right where I want him to be. At this moment I can think of nothing else, not my impending marriage to Jeremy, my father, Mrs. Daume, nobody. I am powerless to think of anything except how much I love Tommie Stetter, and how fulfilled I feel on this day that I have learned he still loves me.
“Maggie, I have to go. I need to get to the mine. But I want to see you again. Not tomorrow, I can’t, but Wednesday. Meet me at the blind for lunch. We need to talk. There is much we need to talk to about, say to one another. Things that have been left unsaid for too long now,” Tommie says to me. Then he steps back and withdraws from me. He takes a look, straight at me, and waits for me to answer.
I simply nod my head, in agreement; what else could I do? I am powerless to refuse Tommie Stetter anything. I give him a little smile, and try to hide the excitement I am feeling, this feeling of being powerless. I do not want him to know how at his mercy I am.
“I will meet you Wednesday,” I answer, and then watch as he disappears east off of the road and takes the path around the dam down to the mine. I walk very slowly, savoring the feeling of him that is still lingering inside me, is still warm and wet on my lips as I follow the road back down to Central Mine.
At dinner that night, for a change, I am very silent, and my father actually talks.
“You look rather subdued, Maggie Elizabeth. Are you alright?”
I do not think my father has asked me that more than a few times in my entire life. And I am alright, I am ecstatic, but I am also reflecting on the events of the afternoon. I am also perhaps a little anxious about facing Jeremy, as I am sure he will stop by this evening, with Wolf, as he always does. Do I tell Jeremy, do I end our engagement that has only just begun, and that I had pretty much negotiated? There are so many thoughts running through my head, and not the least of which is that in another day I will once again be with Tommie.
About the Author
DJ Swykert is a fiction writer living in the Cincinnati area. His work has appeared in The Tampa Review, Detroit News, Coe Review, Monarch Review, the Newer York, Lunch Ticket, Gravel, Zodiac Review, Barbaric Yawp and Bull. His books include Children of the Enemy, Alpha Wolves, The Pool Boy’s Beatitude and The Death of Anyone. You can find him at: www.magicmasterminds.com/djswykert He is a wolf expert.