Authors: Virginia Cavanaugh
It wasn’t supposed to happen like this. Jasmine fights hard to defend her shapeshifter pack when a wave of savage wolves descends on them. As she notices one of her fellow pack mates going down, she plows into the dark-furred wolf on top. They roll together from the force of the blow, but when they stop, and his golden eyes meet hers, she never expects what happens next.
Shadeau immediately knows this fierce wolf is his mate and isn’t about to let her get away. Carrying her off, he plans to convince her to make a new start with him and forgive that he was a member of the rogue pack. Passion burns between them as hot as their tempers.
Shadeau knows Jasmine is worth the fight and he’s going to have to make sacrifices to prove he can be trusted. He just hopes that in the end she can find a way to love her enemy.
paranormal erotic romance
from Ellora’s Cave
Tighten up the line on my left
! Jasmine dove to the side to miss a pair of snapping teeth aimed for her throat. The pack was under attack, and it seemed as if wolves were descending from all sides.
Her alpha Luken had expected the danger, but not in this great a number. He’d taken in Julie as a human and turned her. But Julie’s ex-husband and his cousin were powerful people, and when they found out about the existence of werewolves, they’d become set on getting changed. Apparently they found some shmuck of an alpha to turn them.
Something whistled past Jasmine’s ear and she twisted around to see what the hell it was. A dart wiggled with the vibrations of impact in a tree trunk behind her.
The wolves she commanded released curses, their voices filling her head through their telepathic link. Their enemy had crossed the line. That was the problem when humans tread as wolves. They lost all respect for the way of life that had been carved out by their species long ago. Yes, packs fought, but they stayed true to nature. Brute force was their way. Hell, they didn’t even own that many guns. What was the point? They hunted as a wolf.
Jasmine leaped at an enemy wolf, teeth sinking into its hind leg. She pulled back hard, satisfied at the snap of bone and the accompanying yelp it released. The wolf was no longer able to hold its animal form. On a whirl of color, the whining animal became a shrieking female, lying nude in the snow, clutching her broken and dislocated leg.
Sounds of battle drifted through the trees and over the Missouri hills. Jasmine didn’t miss a beat, turning quickly to plow into the side of a wolf who had overtaken one of her pack mates. A loud growl rent the air as she pushed past the black furred wolf to regain her feet. The male turned on her, baring his teeth in a snarl. Her blue gaze locked with his golden one. A rush of heat coursed through her body. A needy sexual pulse hit her insides. Her eyes widened.
She noticed his shock too. No. This couldn’t be her mate. She couldn’t be paired with the enemy. She watched as his head tipped back and he let loose a howl. Then his deep voice filled her head.
She stumbled back, the shock making her animal form slip. He prowled closer. She scuttled through the snow, and came to her feet. Turning quickly, she fled in the other direction.
A sharp pain pierced her shoulder. Her steps faltered. The sedative medication from the dart absorbed fast. Lightheaded, she trudged on. A wave of dizziness had her hand shooting out to brace against a tree trunk. She reached up and plucked the offending dart from her flesh. Across the way, Julie sat near a sedated Ashok. Their gazes locked. Julie had lost her grip on her animal form.
Strong hands dug into Jasmine’s sides and she was lifted. Her belly collided with a solid shoulder and her breath whooshed from her lungs. Eyes heavy lidded, she tried to stay awake. Bare, well-muscled calves and thighs dusted with dark hair wavered in her view against the snow-covered ground. And higher up was a perfect beefy ass she wanted to sink her teeth into. For more reasons than one.
But her body no longer cooperated. Her eyes slid closed. She fought hard to open them. A small slit was all she accomplished. For a few more seconds she stared at the perfect bottom as it flexed with each step. Then darkness claimed her.
* * * * *
Shadeau fled quickly with his prize. He gripped her tight, careful to keep her from bouncing against his shoulder. He didn’t want any harm coming to his mate. After a hundred and seven long years of searching for her, he would let nothing stand in his way of claiming her.
He fled from the fighting, heading toward an area populated by humans. The snow fell in earnest, and he was lucky for the cover it provided. Streaking naked with an equally naked woman over his shoulder would definitely cause a stir. But he had to get far away from Ivan and the rest of Arik’s men.
They’d been tasked to come in and raid for females. Arik wanted to breed an army and it was the time of year that most female werewolves went into heat. Shadeau took in a deep breath, testing his mate’s scent. Her heat cycle wasn’t upon her yet, but he’d be damned if he delivered her for Arik to rut.
No one would touch his mate. Besides, it wasn’t as if he owed any real loyalty to Arik anyway. Shadeau was strong enough to break the invisible tether that tied him to Arik. When Arik attacked the pack Shadeau had been with, Shadeau had gone willingly under Arik’s rule. His deceased alpha Torin had been a real asshole, so what was moving from one’s rule to the next.
At first it had been pretty sweet during the changeover. Arik had money. The new bunk house he’d been shown to was nicer than anything he’d stayed in before. The den was hidden away, deep inside Hoosier National Forest near Patoka Lake.
Arik had talked a whole construction crew of guys into being changed at the same time as he was. They’d been busy ever since creating a formidable stronghold. Apparently the company had done many projects for Arik in the past, and were quick to follow Arik and his money.
The area Arik had cleared couldn’t be seen from any road. A few rangers had wandered in and seen what was up, but before they could report in, they were taken hostage. They now awaited the next full moon, when Arik would make them one of his own.
The place wouldn’t stay a secret for long, but that wasn’t a concern of Arik’s. He planned to make war with humans. In fact, none of them had hidden what they were when they attacked the packs in the Ozarks. Arik wanted to strike fear into humans—wanted them to know that the big bad wolf was lurking. The fallout would be massive. Panic would ensue.
Shadeau started having his doubts then about Arik’s leadership. The man was a dumbass newborn. There were reasons that their kind had been a secret all these years. Arik had big balls, and a big pocket to back them, but would it be enough?
A low moan came from his mate. Arik didn’t matter anymore. The wolf with the soft lush curves over his shoulder was his focus now.
What a beauty she was. Long blonde hair had swayed across her back when she’d fled. Tall and lithe, her pale skin had glistened with beads of moisture as snowflakes landed on her and melted.
And her ass. His hand slid up the back of her thigh to cup one rounded globe. Her ass was the thing of dreams. His cock hardened at the thought of taking her from behind—his hips thrusting against her bottom with a satisfying slap.
He pushed away the carnal thoughts. Right now he needed to find supplies and shelter. The tranq she’d been hit with would keep her asleep for around four hours. Their plan had been to dose their captives again, but Shadeau had come in ready for combat. He hadn’t been one of those men who had been tasked with a dart gun. His only choice was to find somewhere close to hide her until he could figure out what to do next.
Near the edge of town, Shadeau spied a house with a For Sale sign in the front yard. The place looked to encompass around five acres and had a barn in the back. From what he could tell, the place looked empty.
He started for the barn. The house would have offered more comfort, but he couldn’t be sure there wasn’t a security system, or chance a realtor popping in to show the house. At least in this weather, if someone came, the outbuildings wouldn’t be toured as thoroughly, if at all.
The side door opened on well-oiled hinges. He stepped inside, careful to steer his mate through the opening without causing her harm, and pulled the door closed behind them.
Outside, the wind howled as the storm picked up. Inside, the barn had been cleaned. A few broken leather straps and some old tack hung on a post in the center. Shadeau made for the stall in the corner. The dirt floor had been cleared of most its straw. He’d hoped to find something to make his mate more comfortable than the hard ground, but this would have to do.
He squatted down and laid her on her side. He couldn’t stop from pushing her hair back away from her face. She looked so peaceful in sleep. He traced a finger across one high cheekbone and then down her jaw. Her skin was so soft against his calloused digit. She was perfect. Plump breasts with dusted rose-colored tips. A handful begging for his lips.
His hand skimmed over her hip. The cold skin beneath his palm had his thoughts turning back to supplies. He didn’t have much time. Going back into the storm didn’t sound appealing, but he didn’t have a choice. He wouldn’t let his mate suffer.
Rising to his feet he left the stall, securing the door behind him. He didn’t want the wind to whip in when he opened the outer door again. With quick steps he fled the barn and headed toward town. On the way in to the raid he could have sworn he saw a dollar store on the outskirts.
Luck smiled upon him as he saw the building up ahead. The shopkeepers were locking up. Forecasters had issued a severe weather warning. He could only guess that people were closing up early to avoid being stranded. The snowfall was quickly approaching whiteout conditions. In fact, Arik had counted on the storm covering their tracks. Looked as if he’d get his wish. It would also help hide his mate until he could figure out what to do.
Unlike the barn, this store would definitely have an alarm system. With the road conditions and the 9-1-1 calls on people turning into wolves, he would have a max of five minutes to be in and out. He made his way to the back door and kicked the shit out of it. The hinges gave and the metal swung open with a bang.
Wasting no time, he darted inside, scooping up supplies of all types and stuffing them in a handheld basket used for shopping. Clothes, blankets, food and various other things were piled inside. When the first was filled he grabbed a second. He could move quickly with the two.
Three and a half minutes later he headed out the door. Sirens blared as he took to the trees. Thanks to his DNA, he also had great speed in his human form, which came in handy while making this getaway. He weaved a path through the dense foliage, making it harder to track where he’d been. The cops would follow the trail into the woods, and while they spent time tracking he would already be back to the barn, his trail covered by the time they looked in that direction.
The cold, wet snow felt like pins and needles to his legs and feet, but soon it surpassed the painful point and they went numb. He pushed on, anxious to be with his mate once more.
When he reached the barn he found her sleeping where he’d left her. He sat down his baskets and riffled through them. As much as he liked looking at her nude body he wanted her warm. He found sweats and socks, pulling them onto her body. After he fully dressed her, he pulled on the clothes he’d grabbed for himself.
Next he spread a blanket on the ground and laid her on it. The next one he placed over her from shoulders to toes. Once done, he sat down and watched her. He longed to hold her. Leaning forward, he took in her scent again. Such sweetness. He closed his eyes, savoring it. His for eternity.
Opening his eyes, he looked back down on her delicate features. He wondered what her name was. But he also wondered if she would be as pleased with him. He wasn’t sure how to be with her. Gentle had never been in his repertoire. The dominant wolves in Torin’s pack had taken what they wanted, and most of their females had been submissive, eager to do what was wanted to please. But this woman would be different.
He knew his dominance exceeded hers, but she by far wasn’t some wilting flower. She’d been leading those wolves on that hill. Hadn’t even paused before charging him when he’d taken a male of her pack down. His wolf clawed at him on the inside. It liked what it saw. Winning her would be a challenge, but so worth the battle.
She moaned and rolled on to her back, her arm coming to rest over her eyes. Her limbs beneath the blanket squirmed. She was waking.
“Shhh. Easy. You might be a little dizzy.”
Her arm swung out and her eyelids peeled back. Blue met gold and she released a shocked yelp as she scrambled backward. Her hands went to her head and Shadeau started forward concerned.
“Stay the hell away from me!”
Shadeau ignored the stabbing pain in his chest her words brought. “I won’t hurt you.”
She drew up onto the balls of her feet as if ready to pounce. “Really? You only knocked my ass out and carried me to…” She looked around then back at him. “Where the hell are we?”