Monday, May 16, 2011

Wolf Pack Hierarchy - Shifter Week

The Beta book 3 of The Vanguards releases today! To celebrate I'm giving away a copy. Just leave a comment with your e-mail address and I'll pick a winner on Tuesday.
I’ve had shifters on the brain for a few years. Wolf packs have always interested me since they live in such social groups. When I started on my shifter journey it only made sense that what I knew of pack behavior crept into my shifter society.

Within each wolf pack is an elaborate hierarchy. It may consist of a single breeding pair, the alpha male and female, a lower group consisting of non-breeding adults, each with its own ranking, a group of outcasts, and a group of immature wolves on their way up.  All of this works for my shifters except the single breeding pair. This is where I allowed their humanity to dominate and allow all pairs to breed.

The alpha wolves are usually the ones to make decisions for the pack when the group should go out to hunt or move from one place to another. Shifters need their alphas to guide them as a pack and advise them as individuals.

The other pack members all have positions in the hierarchy inferior to those of the alpha male and female. Some of them are able to "boss around," or dominate, their pack mates because they have established themselves as superior in some way. This superiority might be physical-larger size or greater strength - but it can be based on personality. Dominant wolves in the pack usually have more aggressive and forceful personalities than their pack mates of the same age.

This last part is what makes shifters lives like wolves so interesting and fun. What if the alpha sees potential in one of his omegas, the making of a beta shifter, the second in command of the pack? Not because he’s stronger or faster but because he’s smart. In our modern age of technology muscles and speed are not the only assets a pack needs.  


Three days of hell, in charge, and running out of antacids.

As the pack’s Beta, Robert needs to watch over the Vasi werewolf pack for a few days. He hates the responsibility, but his job is to dissolve any problems while his alpha honeymoons. Nevertheless, trouble comes to town and her name is Esther. She's beguiling, beautiful and picks his pocket. Although Robert doesn’t trust her, he still wants to possess her.

Esther arrived in Chicago with the intention of slaying a vampire named Daedalus. While trailing her quarry, she encounters Robert who unhinges her world. He doesn’t know her trade, and she doesn’t know his connection to the vampire. Disturbed by her attraction to this unusual werewolf, she can’t decide which prey to hunt. The one who’s stolen her heart or the one who’ll fill her bank account.

Hot graphic werewolf sex, growing body parts, and one pissed off Nosferatu.


He couldn’t believe his ears when she asked him for the time. Tall, she had long legs with a nice curve to her hips and breasts, intelligent blue eyes and a personality playful enough to draw him out his shell. She’d taken control of the conversation, no hesitation in asking him to accompany her home or in kissing him. He loved smart, confident women but one had never liked him back.

Grinning like a fool, he jogged to his car, burning off the extra energy her kiss produced.
He’d wanted to do so much more with her, like push her against the wall so she could wrap her legs around his hips and allow him to grind against her core. Maybe tomorrow night, he’d get what he fantasized.

Approaching the car, he pulled out the keys. The gas gage was on empty on his way here. He needed to fill the tank, but he couldn’t recall how much cash he’d brought with him. After working for banks and credit card companies for the last few years, he never liked using either, not trusting the system. His right back pocket, where he usually placed his wallet, was empty. Checking the left pocket, his heart sank into his gut as it turned out empty as well. He patted the front ones and only found his cell. Maybe he’d dropped it while wrestling with Talon?

Deep down inside, he knew the truth. Esther.

He was such a fool. Beautiful women didn’t ask geeks like him for a kiss. Grinding his teeth, he pictured her laughing at him as she flipped through his wallet, counting what little cash he carried.

The hole in his gut grew wider. Crap, he didn’t have anything to buy gas and no way to get home but his own two feet. The last thing he wanted to do was call Daedalus or anyone from the pack for a lift. He’d never hear the end of it.

Respect was something you earned, and how would he ever obtain any if he fell for obvious scams?

Clenching his fists, Robert turned around and marched back to where he’d left Esther. His beast stretched inside him, frustrated that he wouldn’t release it. Control over one’s inner monster sounded easy, but the struggle became an hourly routine. Shifters dealt with this all the time, day or night, in sickness or in health. The first rule of the Vasi pack was human dominance over animal instinct, because once the beast started calling the shots the shifter began to forget right versus wrong and listened to the laws of the jungle instead.

Robert crouched by the spot where Esther had stood as she’d kissed him. Sometimes animal instincts came in handy. Her scent left a trail. He wanted his wallet back, and his pride.

Annie Nicholas


Jennifer Mathis said...

great excerpt :)

Nay Nay said...

Love the excerpt. Will definitely buy the book if I don't win it first :}.

Pommawolf Emeraldwolfeyes said...

I just love the cover. And thank you for posting the wonderful wolf pictures! These are my most favorite animals in the world. When I discover shifters erotic romance I found heaven...two of my best favorite things in the world.
Love the excerpts, and got this on my gotta have asap list.
thank you for the contest!



Cathy M said...

Well happy release week, Annie. I've always been fascinated by wolves myself, and adore paranormal storylines with shifters.

Thoroughly enjoyed all the excerpts I tracked down this morning. I love this series and can't wait to read the rest of Robert's story.

caity_mack at yahoo dot com

ReneeRearden said...

Congratulations on your release! Gorgeous cover by the way!

I LOVE shifters. Their hot blooded, filled-with-passion personalities lead to all kinds of trouble and yummy action!

Nice excerpt. Robert may not want the responsibility of running the pack, but he seems like an honorable man, intent on doing the best job he can. And who says geeks aren't attractive? Smart is sexy as hell! =D


Lori said...

WOW! This sound like a good book. Can't wait to read it. Great pictures of the wolves

desitheblonde said...

wow i bet it took a while to decided who would do what and then
it a great book and cover

elaing8 said...

Congrats on the new release.
I enjoyed the excerpt.

Cara Marsi said...

I love wolves and I enjoyed reading your information on wolf packs. The pictures are great too. Your book sounds terrific. I'd love to win a copy.

Brenda Hyde said...

I love your cover! Shifters are my favorite in the paranormal world:) Thanks for the great excerpt too!

wayfaringwriter at

annalisa said...

Congratulations on your new release! Loved the excerpt. The Beta sounds so good and I love the cover! Also enjoyed the information on wolves. :)


Annie Nicholas said...

Jennifer! You're the winner. Congrats.

Thanks everyone for celebrating with me. The funs not over yet. If you still want a chance to win I'm running a week long contest at my blog and I'm all over the web this week with my pockets full of prizes. I'll post my daily locations on my blog.

Koa said...

Wolves do not have elaborate hierarchies like you described. L. David Mech (and other company as he cites in his work) state that wolves typically consist of a breeding pair and their offspring; because wolves were studied in captive environments, the hierarchy was often rigid because the wolves were unrelated and thus forced themselves into the ranks of alpha, beta, omega, and so on. Wild wolves contradict this - they are instead a family and rarely are unrelated wolves accepted into packs, as it may be seen as genetic competition.

Just thought you'd like to know. Good luck with your release! (: