Title: Challenge the Darkness
Author: Dirk Greyson
Series: Yellowstone Wolves
Genre: M/M Paranormal Shifters
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: Aug 31 2015
Edition/Formats Available In: eBook & Print
When alpha shifter Mikael Volokov is called to witness a challenge, he learns the evil and power-hungry Anton Gregor will stop at nothing to attain victory. Knowing he will need alliances to keep his pack together, Mikael requests a congress with the Evergreen pack and meets Denton Arguson, Evergreen alpha, to ask for his help. Fate has a strange twist for both of them though, and Mikael and Denton soon realize they’re destined mates.
Denton resists the pull between them—he has his own pack and his own responsibilities. But Mikael isn't willing to give up. The Mother has promised Mikael his mate, told him he must fight for him, and that only together can they defeat the coming darkness. When Anton casts his sights on Denton's pack, attacks and sabotage follow, pulling Denton and Mikael together to defeat a common enemy. But Anton’s threats sow seeds of destruction enough to break any bond, and the mates’ determination to challenge the darkness may be their only saving grace.
His home was a larger version of the guest quarters. Exposed beams, paneled walls, heavy, masculine furniture—it was the home of a man. His mother had done her best to soften the place when she and his father had lived here, but she knew the battle was lost once Mikael took over. He liked things simple and didn’t do fussy. However, that didn’t mean he hadn’t let his mother help him decorate. The walls were filled with pictures of his family and pack. This great room was the center of the pack and where everyone spent a lot of their time.
Mikael threw his dirty clothes in the hamper and went right to his bathroom, where he brushed his teeth and took a shower before crawling into bed, envying the boys who had someone to curl up with at night. He’d slept in a pile with his brothers and sister until they’d found mates and had families of their own. Now, as alpha, he slept alone, just like as leader he alone made decisions and accepted the consequences that affected his entire family. He hadn’t really understood what his father had done and how effortlessly he seemed to do it until Mikael had taken over for him after his death. He had known he was expected to lead, and he thought he’d been prepared for it. But after five years, there were still times when he wondered if he was strong enough to protect his family. After tonight he wondered that even more. Could anything protect them from Anton should he turn his sights in the direction of Mikael’s family?
The meadow was unlike any he’d ever seen or smelled before. Wait… yes it was. Somewhere from deep inside, a long-faded memory, one nearly dead, sprang to life. The sky was bluer, the wind fresher, the trees more pungent, the breeze perfect. He stood with nothing between his skin and the kiss of the breeze. This was her domain, and he remembered the first and only other time he had been here.
“Your fears are well-founded.” She stepped from behind a tree, the sun forming a type of halo. Her eyes were as dark as a night sky with stars transforming the blackness from menace to beauty, for that’s what she was—beauty personified, with lips the color of the strawberries that covered the small glen near the compound in early summer, and hair the color of summer wheat.
She didn’t need to explain. Her meaning was clear as an image of Anton in wolf form filled his mind.
“The last time you were here I showed you your mate. Remember him, and remember that you will need each other far more than you will initially realize.”
Mikael lowered his gaze. “I understand,” he repeated.
“No, you don’t, but you will eventually. Remember that I have chosen him for you.”
“I will,” Mikael said because he had no choice. She was his goddess, the one who had seen the pack through the decades of darkness and eventually found a way for them to rejoin the light. He owed her everything.
She chuckled and her eyes danced, galaxies whirling in their depths. “It may not be as easy as you think.” She was clearly taking some enjoyment in this. “You will need to face him.” Anton as a man flashed in his mind. “But how you face him will be up to you.”
“Why are you telling me this? Isn’t Anton one of your children too?” Goddesses were a mystery, but it seemed they should play fair.
“No. He is definitely not one of my children. He is not of the light.” She turned as birds glided down to her head, landing gently in her hair. “I must go, and you must return.”
“Why tell me this?” The light faded and the meadow with its trees and green disappeared into the darkness.
“So you will know.”
Mikael opened his eyes and breathed in the familiar scents of home. He was back in his own bed. Damn, goddesses were flashy.
“Don’t complain—I could have taken you to the North Pole.”
Gentle laughter filled his head and then faded away. He lay still and hoped she was gone as he shivered slightly at the thought. He got up and walked to the window, pushing the curtains aside before staring out into the darkness. Whatever that dream had been, the message was clear. He’d already known he had a mate out there somewhere, and he assumed that the experience he’d just had meant he was going to meet him soon. After a few minutes, he turned, pulled the curtains, and went back to bed. He needed his sleep for what he was going to have to do tomorrow.
Deepening Plot what steps do you take?
There’s an old adage that when in doubt, kill someone off. I don’t usually do that, but definitely shake things up. Often when I get to the middle of a story there are decision points. The doorbell rings and your character is expecting someone. Is who’s on the other side of the door the person the character expected or is it the last person your character wants to see? Sometimes I ask myself what is the meanest or worst thing I could do to my character at this particular moment? Once I have my answer, I do that… sometimes, especially if I want the story to have a little more suspense.
Action is another way to deepen the plot of a story, especially when it takes the story in an unexpected direction of leaves the characters hanging by their fingertips. I love action in my stories. It’s part of what really keeps me turning the pages. Also it gives me a chance to change the dynamic and mix things up to either push my characters together or add tension that they need to work through. A story with a straight forward plot isn’t nearly as interesting as one with more twists and turns, ups, and downs than a roller coaster at Cedar Point.
Dirk is very much an outside kind of man. He loves travel and seeing new things. Dirk worked in corporate America for way too long and now spends his days writing, gardening, and taking care of the home he shares with his partner of more than two decades. He has a Master’s Degree and all the other accessories that go with a corporate job. But he is most proud of the stories he tells and the life he's built. Dirk lives in Pennsylvania in a century old home and is blessed with an amazing circle of friends.