Authors: V. Vaughn
Winter Valley Wolves, Volume 1
Published by Violet Vaughn, 2015.
Copyright © 2015 by V. Vaughn
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
Cover by Croco Designs
Editing by Jodi Henley and Red Adept Publishing
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atie Winslow made a life-altering decision the night of senior prom. But once she realized what she had become, Katie wanted nothing to do with her new state. Running off to college seemed like a good idea until mating season hit. Now the fever to reproduce is so great she can’t think straight.
Brindle Lindholm has his true mate locked in forever. If only Katie would come to her senses and accept that they are meant to be together. Mating season has come, and he knows Katie has to be suffering in heat. Brindle is the only one who can satiate the need, and even though his heart will have to stand the rejection that is sure to follow he knows he must go to her. When their coupling satisfies more than sexual need it changes their future, forever.
watch hot coffee soak through my notebook in the pile of things I just dropped. “Mother of all that’s holy!” I quickly grab my essay that had fluttered down next to it. The one that’s due in five minutes. I shake the stapled pages, hoping the brown liquid will somehow fall off without staining, and warmth splashes my face and arms. “Piss on a pretzel!”
“Is that really what you want me to do?” His voice makes tiny hairs on the back of my neck stand up and take notice.
Before I realize what I’m doing, I deeply inhale the intoxicating scent of male musk. My sex-o-meter siren blares. Of course it does, because crouched next to me is the guy who’s the source of my current predicament. I glance up at his face that’s inches from mine. “Brindle.”
“Katie.” After we stand, he hands me the coffee cup he retrieved. “There’s a little left, and it looks like you need it.”
It’s mating season, and I’m so horny I’m a raging lunatic. Snatching the container from Brindle’s hand, I sneer at him before downing the contents, which scald my esophagus.
“Heat’s a bitch, isn’t it?” He flashes me a smile full of teeth.
I glare and take in his appearance. Gone is the lanky, clean-cut guy I dated in high school. Now Brindle’s got a Thor thing going on with his pumped-up physique and overgrown hair. My gaze scans downward. I bite my lip as he chuckles.
I snap my attention back to his face. “You got your braces off.”
Now he’s grinning so hard his eyes are slits. “That’s what you noticed?”
I turn away from him to continue walking to class. “You really don’t want to mess with me right now.”
Brindle steps to my side and crowds me against an old oak tree. He is well over a foot taller than I am, and the bark pokes into my back as I shrink away from his towering height. He places a hand above my head and one on my hip to press his erection against my belly. I gasp as my body responds.
His voice is a low rumble. “I want to do more than mess with you. And you want me, too. You can’t help it.”
I do. My chest heaves as I will my body to stay under control. My nipples are hard, and my core is quaking with need. I close my eyes and try to block my nose from his scent by breathing through my mouth. “Don’t.”
Brindle releases me and allows distance between our bodies, but he’s still hovering. He speaks softly. “Tell me, have you tried screwing other guys to satisfy your hunger? Doesn’t work, does it?”
No, it doesn’t. And I’ve done more than try. Hot shame flushes my cheeks as I recall the night last weekend with the lacrosse player whose name I didn’t even bother to learn. I duck under Brindle’s arm to get away. “I can’t do this right now. I’ve got to get to class and turn in my paper.”
“Fine.” He points toward the student union. “I’ll be there when you’re done.”
I have no doubt he will. Cold March wind blows around me as I power walk to the lecture hall. I’m purposely leaving my coat open, hoping the chill will alleviate my overheated state of arousal. We’re werewolves, and Brindle is my mate. I kick myself every day about that decision. Apparently, he was right that it was a lifelong commitment I wouldn’t be able to avoid. Even though I haven’t seen Brindle in more than six months, every cell of me is screaming to be with him right now.
The front door is about to shut behind another latecomer, and I slip through to enter the building. My footsteps echo in the stairwell as I jog up to the second floor. When I get to the hall, I meet Mr. Bellow’s glare as he approaches the classroom from the other end of the building. “Miss Winslow, nice of you to join us today.”
He’s referring to the fact that I cut class all last week while I was learning to deal with my first season in heat. I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t have liked me humping a chair. “Sorry, I’ve been sick.”
“Not a luxury you can afford, Katie.” He holds the door for me as I pass by. “I hope your paper’s done.”
Yeah, so I’m about one point away from failing political science, a class I should be acing considering I want to be a lawyer. I grimace as I hand him the coffee-stained assignment. “I had a little accident on my way.”
Mr. Bellows is a stern man I would love to hate, but the truth is my
is not his fault. I’m not happy at Lakeland University, and my grades reflect it. I’m surprised to see kindness in his eyes when he says, “You look a little flushed.” He places his hand on my forehead, and I flinch at the contact that makes my horndog howl. “I think you still have a fever.”
Lie, Katie. Lie to the moon to get out of this, because the fact you want to do the horizontal mambo with this dude is so wrong.
“I do, but I really don’t want to fail this class.”
“I’ll mark you here for today if you go straight to the health center.”
I hang my head in relief, but I pretend it’s resignation and speak in a small voice. “Thanks.”
I make my way to the bathroom to buy some time before I leave the building and have to face Brindle. Water rushes out of the nozzle as I wash coffee off my hands. I glance at my face in the mirror. While it’s redder than usual, I don’t look like a nymphomaniac, so there’s that.
How the heck am I going to get through another seven weeks of this?
I recall the deep discussions Brindle and I had that led to him turning me and making us mates. I was so in love, I wanted to be part of his world. But he made me wait until the end of mating season because he was afraid of how my body would react. I thought he was joking when he said I’d want sex with him more than air to breathe.
I pound the hand dryer button in frustration, and it blasts at me. Of course, I didn’t believe that being a werewolf would be that different, either. I was so stupid. The force of the dryer pushes my skin away from the bones of my hands, and the distortion reminds me of shifting.
I can’t put this off any longer. Brindle’s waiting, and I have questions. I shove my way out the bathroom door and pound out my frustration with my steps. By the time I get to the student union coffee shop, I’m sure of two things. I’m going to continue to keep my werewolf ways dormant, and I’m not going to sleep with my old high school boyfriend no matter how good he smells.
he snack bar in the student union is off to the right past the entrance. When I get there, a girl’s high-pitched laugh makes me look in her direction, but I already know what I’ll find, because the odor of my mate captured my attention the moment it wafted out to me when I entered the building. Brindle is at a table in the corner behind her. I ignore him while I get a large coffee and contemplate a cinnamon roll the size of a dinner plate.
The brunette behind the counter lifts up the dish and holds it toward me as she says, “Do it. They’re really good. Especially if it’s one of those kind of days.”
“It totally is. I’ll take it.”
The aroma of dark roast tempts me as I pour cream in my coffee and grab two forks. Now that I have a distraction from the yummy scent of Brindle, I think I can have a lucid conversation, and I weave my way through tables toward him. The guilt of abandoning him bubbles to the surface as I do. We were supposed to get married last fall, and I planned to go to college in Winter Valley. I know I broke his heart, and the memory softens my mood.
I set the pastry down between us with a thump, as if it’s a peace offering. “Hey. Did I mention it’s nice to see you?”
Brindle places his arms on the table and leans in close. “You didn’t have to. I can smell it.”
So much for a civil conversation. I sigh. “Let me make something perfectly clear. I’m not going to sleep with you, okay?”
He sits back and crosses his arms across his substantial chest in a way that makes his biceps look steroid large. “So you’re going to try to feed the hunger with sugar, caffeine, and frat boys?”
“No frat boys. They—”
“Don’t satisfy you.” The smirk on Brindle’s face is gone, and he uncrosses his arms to pick up a fork.
I shake my head because I don’t want to get into my current sex life with my ex-boyfriend, but I need answers. “Why is that?”
Brindle shrugs and stabs the cinnamon roll with his fork to tear off a piece. “I think only your mate can satiate you during mating season.”
“But you don’t know for sure, do you?” I break off a piece of pastry, too.
“Nope, because mates don’t usually leave each other.” Brindle chews as he stares at me.
Way to stab me with guilt. “I made a huge mistake having you turn me. How many times do I have to apologize?”
“Unfortunately, sorry doesn’t cut it. We can’t reverse this.”
And now he’s turning that knife to make sure it hurts. When I shifted for the first time, I lost it over what I had become. I tried to come to terms with being part of the Winter Valley wolf pack, but all I could think about was how I was a freak. I couldn’t tell my parents what I had done. I realized I didn’t want to marry Brindle, so I did what I thought was right. I left for college a couple hundred miles away. “Do you really want me to be with you when I don’t want to?”
“No.” He sets down his fork, and it clatters against the glass plate. His face looks concerned when he says, “I didn’t come here to get you back. I came to help you.”
I snort. “Help me?”
“You’re going through hell right now because you’re in heat. And I’m told that it’s only going to get worse until you mate.” When I don’t say anything, he adds, “With me.”
Fabulous. The only way to stop thinking about sex twenty-four, seven is to sleep with the guy that reminds me what a mess I’ve made of my life.
Brindle reaches over and puts his hand on top of mine. The moment he touches me, my simmering lust ramps up to a rapid boil. “You can pretend you hate me all you want, but it’s impossible to fall out of love with your mate.” He winks at me. “Besides, it won’t suck.”
No. It most definitely won’t. I recall how amazing sex was when I was first turned during mating season last year, and even afterward, Brindle and I used up condoms as if they were candy. I turn my hand so my palm touches his, and the electricity of our connection flows through me. “No. It never did.”
Brindle smiles. “Well, there was that one time.”
I smile back because we were each other’s first, and it was awkward. But we were so in love, nothing else mattered. “Not even then.” I pull my hand away and pick up my mug of coffee. “I don’t hate you.”
“I know. You just hate what you’ve become.”
Tears prick my eyes. I do hate what I’ve become. I can’t seem to make friends, and I’m so lonely. My grades are awful, and I go through the motions each day, knowing I’m always going to fight my werewolf urges, trying to fit into the human world I voluntarily left.
When a tear rolls down my cheek, Brindle’s chair scrapes across the floor as he moves closer to me. “Shhh.” He pulls me against his chest, and he turns us so his body blocks me from the view of other patrons. I latch on like a girl drowning. I let myself cry but stop when I’m about to start sobbing loudly.
Being held feels wonderful, and my senses are giddy with everything Brindle. Any plans I had for abstinence are gone. When I pull my head away to glance up at him, his lips beckon me. But I’m afraid if I kiss him, I won’t stop, so I continue on up to his eyes and say, “My roommate moved out. Help me?”