Painted Scars - Book cover

Painted Scars

Sapir Englard

Age Rating


Everyone disregards Daisy as weak because of her kind nature and position as the head healer of the West Coast Pack. But when she finds her mate is the last person she would’ve expected, she has to gather all her strength, or else her shot at mating will be lost.

Age Rating: 18+

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31 Chapters

Chapter One


My eyes flicked around nervously as I navigated through the vendors, my hand resting on the gun tucked into my jeans.

I was ready to pull it out, purely for self-defense.

Sure, I was a healer, and hurting people would tear me up inside, but I wouldn’t hesitate to put a bullet in a threat’s head.

Breathing hard, I hoped my fear wasn’t too obvious. The last thing I needed was a bunch of aggressive males sniffing me out and causing trouble.

No one knew I was here today, and no one knew that I’d been coming here once a week for the past few months.

Because if anyone ever got wind of what I was doing, I’d be in deep shit.

The head healer of West Coast Pack shouldn’t be visiting an underground information market.

The market was known as the Red Market, and it was a hub for vampires and vampyres, both Born and Made, who wanted to buy the blood-replacement pills called R21.

I’d known about this market even before Eve, the Alpha of the Millennium’s mate—and a vampire herself—had informed the inner circle about it.

And by inner circle, I meant the Millennium Wolves.

Luckily, Daphne, my little sister, had secretly shared this information with me. But Daphne had no idea what I did with that information.

You see, the Red Market was believed by all blood-suckers to sell only pills and various types of illegal blood, from werewolf blood to some kind of superhuman blood.

Everyone had their own preference, it seemed.

But the market also sold information at a steep price, and the brokers didn’t care who or what came to them for information—as long as they brought something valuable with them.

Either money or a certain antique worth millions.

Sometimes I settled on money, since I earned a lot as the head healer. I was in charge of all healers across the West Coast Pack territory.

But mostly I traded with something much more valuable than plain old dollars.

Daphne had mentioned that Eve thought the Red Market moved randomly from place to place, but I knew for a fact it didn’t.

After Daphne had shared the information with me, I did some digging—something Eve probably hadn’t bothered with.

I’d used my limited hacking skills to find a pirate forum on the internet, where I’d found a newsfeed about where the next market was going to be held.

Since I couldn’t leave my post in Lumen, Oregon, I’d hoped it would be somewhere nearby.

After two weeks of just following the newsfeed, I figured it out.

It wasn’t hard, really—the Market started its tour in Europe, moving through Paris, Amsterdam, London, Rome, and Istanbul.

Then it moved to Asia, then South America, then North America.

In North America, the Market was usually in places like Wyoming or Montana, which weren’t heavily populated.

But for the past few months, they’d started setting it up in Eugene, Oregon, instead.

And Eugene was only a couple of hours' drive from Lumen.

It had been there once a week since November, and I’d been going there every time it was in town, riding the bike I’d bought just for this little mission of mine.

Tonight, the Market was in an abandoned underground parking lot.

I hadn’t even known such a thing as an abandoned parking lot existed, but apparently you learn something new every day.

And now here I was, walking among the booths and stalls, trying to avoid eye contact with any of the bloodsuckers as I searched for Fred, the information broker I usually worked with.

When I’d researched the newsfeed before the first time I’d come here, his name had popped up as one of the best and fairest brokers out there.

The newsfeed hadn’t lied.

I found Fred sitting in his usual spot, sipping blood from a wine glass.

He was a vampire, one of the Made, and unlike most vampires, Fred didn’t belong to a House—a kind of community for vampires, led by the one who had Imprinted them.

By Imprinted, I mean of course, turned them into immortal leeches.

Instead, Fred was a rogue, a vampire left to fend for himself. He would be left alone, as long as he didn’t break the general vampiric rules.

Fred eyed me with eyes gone neon-blue from his latest blood high. I swallowed hard and walked forward, looking around to make sure no one was paying attention to me.

While their senses were as sharp as a wolf’s, most vampires weren’t skilled enough to distinguish a werewolf’s scent from all the other vampiric scents, especially in a crowded area.

Still, I’d rather be paranoid than be caught off guard.

“Daisy Luxford,” Fred murmured, blatantly checking me out as I reluctantly took a seat in front of him. “You’re as delectable as always, pretty lass.”

I tried not to cringe and failed. “Stop ogling my legs, Fred,” I said, shifting uncomfortably in my seat.

“They’re pretty good legs,” he mumbled, letting his eyes travel north until they landed on mine.

His neon-blue put my own blue eyes to shame.

“My offer still stands, beautiful,” he smirked.

His “offer” was to be my lover for the upcoming mating season, which would hit the world in about a month.

The season’s exact timing wasn’t exactly accurate, but both Eve and Raphael felt it when the season was near, and I tended to believe them.

Immortals were rarely wrong about things like that.

“My answer is still a resounding no,” I said, then decided to get down to business.

Fred could go on and on about having sex with me, but I’d dealt with his kind of offers ever since I turned sixteen, and I’d had enough.

I was twenty-three now, for God’s sake.

“Fred,” I said, giving him a serious look. “Have you found what I asked of you?”

Fred sighed and leaned back in his chair. “About that Webb Montgomery guy? Not much.”

He cocked his head, giving me a different look, one I recognized as his “broker look.”

“I’ve tried all my sources, but even though they all said he was dead, there wasn’t much to dig up on him.”

I frowned. “All I need to know is if he was a werewolf or not. That shouldn’t be so hard to figure out.”

“Something strange is going on with that Webb guy,” Fred admitted, shrugging. “Someone made sure no one could get to the real juicy stuff about him. I have a hunch, but it’s just a gut feeling.”

I’d been digging for everything I could find on Webb Montgomery.

Before I even had the name, I’d asked Fred to look for any man—werewolf, human, whatever—who’d trespassed into the West Coast Pack territory without permission.

It took him three months to whittle the list down to twenty men, all of whom fit the description I gave—the times, the dates, and so on.

Then I asked Fred to dig up everything he could on all twenty men.

Three months later, he had everything—but only on nineteen of them.

The one left was Webb, and the only thing he’d dug up on him was that he was dead and buried somewhere in the Mexico Pack territory.

Now it had been six months, almost seven, since I’d started researching the man who’d shown up in the West Coast Pack territory twenty-three years ago.

And I was getting desperate. So I told Fred, “Your gut feeling is better than this dead end. Spill it.”

Fred studied me for a moment before nodding. “I think our dead friend wasn’t a werewolf,” he said, pausing to sip his blood before continuing.

“I also don’t think he was human. And, if you really want my honest opinion…”

His eyes flashed, “I think he might be one of them—the secret group we vampires aren’t supposed to know about.”

I pursed my lips. “You mean the Hunters?”

He grinned. “Bingo.”

I was shocked. I hadn’t considered the Divine Hunters.

They were a shadowy group that saw werewolves as unnatural and waged a guerrilla war against them, killing as many as they could.

Could they be involved in this? My gut told me it wasn’t true.

The Hunters weren’t involved in what happened twenty-three years ago. Not as a group, at least.

But maybe one of the Hunters…

“Can you look into it?” I asked him, almost begging. “I know the Hunters keep a low profile, but if Webb was one of them and they buried him, there must be something there.”

I bit my lip, thinking. “Try to find out if Webb was religious, maybe even Jewish. Jewish people have their own rules about burials and memorials. So do other religions.”

Fred frowned. “I’ll try, but like I said, I can’t promise anything. That’s all I found.”

He grinned. “Payment, please.”

I frowned again. This was the part of getting information in the Red Market that I didn’t get and really didn’t like.

They usually didn’t want just money. In Fred’s case, money was just paper he didn’t need.

What he wanted was blood. Powerful blood. Specifically magical blood.

And I lived in the Pack House, with oddities like Eve, Raphael, and their daughter Snow.

Even Reyna Morgan, a would-be-queen of a Born vampiric bloodline who had started giving off a strange power.

Magical blood was easy to come by.

Of course, if Eve or Raphael found out what I was doing, they’d kill me.

But I was getting really desperate, enough that the anger of two immortal, powerful beings wasn’t my biggest worry anymore.

I slid my backpack off and unzipped it. From inside, I pulled out a nylon bag filled with crimson blood.

“It’s from the same source,” I said flatly. He snatched the bag from me and opened it, sniffing the blood.

He shivered in pure ecstasy. “Mana,” he murmured, sounding drunk. “I’ve been waiting all week for you to bring me this.”

This blood belonged to Snow Knox, an immortal sixteen-year-old who was the only living being in the world fueled by mana.

Mana, according to Claire—the only necromancer werewolf in the world, and the mate of Zachary Greyson, the Beta of the Millennium—was a type of magic usually found only in magical objects.

It wasn’t a good kind of magic, and whenever Claire talked about it she seemed to cringe.

Mana rubbed her the wrong way. But for vampires, mana-soaked blood was like nectar.

Snow didn’t know that when she visited the healers every week for a checkup, I only needed a pint of her blood, not a full bag, to check that she was okay.

The rest of it I saved for Fred, who always drained the bag when I gave it to him, so that not a drop was left.

That was my condition; the last thing I wanted was for Snow’s secret to get out because Fred was careless enough to leave even a trace of her blood behind.

Now, Fred drank the blood until the bag was empty, then tossed it aside.

“Thanks for the meal,” he said, winking at me.

I swallowed hard, trying not to think about what Eve would do to me if she found out what I’d been doing for the past few months, and stood up.

“Keep looking into what I asked you,” I said, trying to sound firm.

But my nerves came back and my eyes started darting around, making sure no one was spying on us.

“Hey, Luxford?” Fred suddenly stood and stepped forward so he was close to me. “Why are you trying so hard to figure out a dead man’s past?”

That was a first for Fred. He’d never asked about my reasons for wanting to find out who Webb Montgomery really was.

I looked into his glowing eyes and simply said, “I think he did something unforgivable, something that even death couldn’t pay for.”

Fred wasn’t expecting my blunt response, and gave a short nod before stepping back and leaving me alone.

I slung my backpack over my shoulder and made a quick exit from the Red Market.

As I pedaled my bike from Eugene to Lumen, nestled in the heart of the Deschutes National Forest, my thoughts drifted back to Webb.

My curiosity about him—more specifically, the man he was rumored to be—had taken root a few years back when I was just sixteen.

Gabriel Fernandez had challenged the previous alpha—a man known for his cruelty—and emerged victorious, becoming the alpha of the West Coast Pack.

Once Gabe assumed the alpha role, he chose Zavier Greyson as his beta.

And since Daphne and I both demonstrated strong healing abilities, he decided one of us would serve as his head healer.

Then the Alpha of the Millennium arrived. Gabe claimed they were brothers, but despite some similarities, it was clear they weren’t.

However, Gabe was a descendant of one of Raphael’s brothers, so they were somewhat related.

Rafe already had Zachary—Zavier’s younger, more powerful brother—as his Beta, and Shade as his Gamma.

He was in need of a healer for his team.

So Gabe told him about Daphne and me, and we were both asked to take a healing test to determine who was stronger.

Daphne was only fourteen at the time, and although she claimed not to care who was stronger, and happily joined the One True Alpha on his adventures, I could tell she really wanted it.

As the older one, the responsible one, I knew what had to be done.

Healing abilities usually peaked in a werewolf around the age of ten, but mine had fully developed when I was just five.

I knew I was stronger than Daphne, knew I was one of the most powerful werewolf healers to ever exist, but I didn’t want to join the Millennium Wolves if it meant causing her jealousy.

Daphne meant a lot to me, and I couldn’t risk losing her over something like this.

So I intentionally failed the test. Daphne became the Healer of the Millennium, and I was appointed head healer of the West Coast Pack. That was enough for me.

After Daphne was accepted into the Millennium Wolves and started traveling with them, I returned to our parents’ house for a visit.

When I got there, my mother was crying, and my father was lashing out at everything in sight.

I was shocked to see them like this; it was so unlike them. Lyra and Cyrus Luxford were typically calm, easygoing, and deeply in love.

My mother, who came from a long line of healers, was especially laid-back.

But that day they were a wreck. They’d been drinking, and they were falling apart.

When they saw me standing there, they directed their anger at me.

They blamed me for Daphne leaving home at such a young age, accused me of failing to protect her.

No matter how much I tried to explain that she was safest with Raphael Fernandez, that she had wanted this, they wouldn’t listen.

Then my mother let slip that I wasn’t who I thought I was. I was crying by then, and her words were barely a whisper, but I heard them loud and clear.

I still do.

“You should be thankful we even agreed to have you, Daisy. You’re not who you think you are. You’re a monster, just like the man who gave you to us,” she yelled.

“We thought you'd be different, but we were wrong. Look what you’ve done—you sent your little sister off with a bunch of deadly killers!”

She pointed a finger at me. “You’re a menace! Get out of this house, and out of our lives!”

The next morning, when they were sober, my parents called to apologize.

But even though I accepted their apology, my mother’s words kept echoing in my head.

They’d never treated me any differently than Daphne. We were raised the same. We were loved the same.

But something changed the day I let Daphne win. So I started digging.

Later, when Daphne came to visit and we all had dinner at my parents’ house, I excused myself to use the bathroom. But instead, I went to my parents’ library.

Being scholars and professors at Lumen College, they had their own library.

They kept all their important documents there, and I searched for my birth certificate. I needed to be sure before I jumped to conclusions or dug any deeper.

That night, I discovered that while my mother was indeed my mother, my father’s name was unknown.

Over the next few years, I tried to find out who my real father was.

I tried to understand how my mother could have gotten pregnant with another man’s child when she already had a mate.

It took me a while to come to the obvious conclusion.

My mother had been raped.

And despite the horrific act committed against her, she chose to keep the child. She chose to keep me.

And her mate stood by her, even though he must have been beside himself with rage and grief after learning his mate had been violated in such a brutal way.

The next thing I realized about the rapist, my biological father, was that he couldn’t have been a werewolf.

Werewolves can sense if another wolf has a mate from miles away.

And even if the mated one was attractive, they would never give them a second glance. Werewolves respect mates, even the worst among us.

The likelihood of the rapist being a werewolf was slim, and my gut told me he wasn’t one.

A human was the next logical guess.

But humans lived among werewolves, and they too knew how to recognize if someone was mated.

So I wasn’t convinced that the rapist was human, either.

Webb Montgomery, I believed, was something else.

Which meant I was something else, too.

I just wished I knew what that something was.

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