Authors: Roxie Noir
Running With Wolves (Shifter Country Wolves #1)
Copyright © 2016 Roxie Noir
All rights reserved.
Shifter Country Wolves #1
This book is intended for audiences 18 and over only.
The cover model is just a model, not someone who endorses or even knows about this book.
Who’d have thought that Elliott Whiting would get me so hot and bothered someday?
He used to tuck his t-shirts into his jeans that he wore practically around his armpits.
To her right, she heard the sound of a fork against a plate, and looked over to see Shane already chowing down on cheesecake.
“I’m not waiting for you two,” he said. “This thing has been calling my name from the fridge all day.”
Greta felt her lips tugged into a smile.
“All right, fine,” she said, and closed her eyes, then opened her mouth.
Moments later, she felt the cool, creamy dessert slide between her lips, she closed her mouth around the fork before Elliott drew it back out.
“Was that so bad?” Elliott teased.
“Nnnggghh,” Greta said. For a moment, she couldn’t think about anything but the cheesecake in her mouth. It was perfectly creamy, with a texture that slid along her tongue, lighting up the taste buds all the way to the back of her mouth. The crust was crumbly in exactly the right way, and added a hint of spice and sweetness to the tart, tangy deliciousness of the cheesecake itself.
“This is amazing,” Greta said when she finally swallowed the mouthful. She didn’t open her eyes again, but savored the flavors, the feeling of the warmth from the fire on her skin, the light beyond her eyelids.
“Want another bite?” Elliott asked.
“Are you going to feed me the whole thing?”
“I can,” he offered.
There was the slight clink of a fork on a plate, and this time the sound sent shivers of anticipation up Greta’s spine, and she leaned forward.
As Elliott pushed the fork into her mouth, landing the delicious dessert on her tongue, she felt Shane put one hand, casually, on her lower back. It almost burned, he was so warm, and the sensation sent a bolt of heat straight through her.
She took another bite, and another, letting Elliott feed her the whole slice of Shane’s cheesecake, bit by bit, savoring it slowly. Shane’s hand made its way up her back, spreading his warmth through her, until she thought she couldn’t stand it anymore.
“That’s all the cake,” Elliott said at last.
“What else have you got?” Greta asked, her voice dusky and low with anticipation. She didn’t open her eyes yet. She was almost afraid that if she did, the magic of the moment would be ruined. Right now, she felt like any second anything could happen: a caress on her skin, a kiss on her neck, or
. If she opened her eyes, that might all go away.
“I can think of something,” said Elliott, his own voice lowering.
She could hear him move off of the hearth, and Greta thought that her heart might explode.
I can’t believe the high school class nerd is seducing me like this
, she thought.
This is crazy.
The door to the bar opened, and a gaggle of too-perky blond girls walked in, wearing tank tops, tight jeans, and heels that were a little too high for them to walk in, so they tottered like newborn giraffes.
Behind the bar, Greta rolled her eyes.
she thought, filling a pint glass with Coors Lite.
Is college back in session already?
The girls stood near the doorway, looking around the dark bar and blinking like they’d never seen the inside of a dive before.
Summer sure does fly by
, Greta thought grumpily. Summer meant less tips, true, but also less of these girls, the humans who pouted and showed too much skin and thought that all the men there would just fall at their feet. She put the Coors down in front of the man who’d ordered it and he thanked her, nodding.
Greta moved down the bar, keeping an eye on the girls as she filled beer glasses and poured shots of whiskey and tequila. They seemed unsure of what they were doing, and they hung back a little, wearing their too-tight, too-skimpy outfits, their three heads huddled together as they plotted and planned together.
Greta sighed inwardly.
, she thought.
They’re either here on a dare, or because they want some wolf tail
She sized up their outfits again as she wiped her hands on a bar towel.
They’re here for the wolves
, she decided.
college girls were the ones that ended up at the Tooth & Claw Saloon. Most of their lives, their parents had warned them about shifters — that shifters were total perverts or sex maniacs, just because they mated in triads instead of pairs. For shifters, two men and a woman was normal. Greta herself had two dads and a mom. All the wolves did.
The head blond must have caught her staring, because she finally came forward, leaning against the bar in a coquettish way, like she thought she was being cute, batting her eyelashes at Greta without looking her in the face.
“Hi?” she said, her voice swinging upward at the end. Unconsciously, she toyed with a strand of blond hair as she talked. “Could I get three Long Island Iced Teas?”
to just kick the girls out of the bar. Nothing pissed her off quite like the pretty, skinny, blond humans who strutted in there, swished their hips and tossed their hair, and then left with a wolf on either arm.
The same people who came into her bar looking for a good night were the same ones who treated wolf shifters like second-class citizens the rest of the time. These girls would probably be happy to let a mated pair double-team them all night, but later, when the sex was over? They’d keep crossing the street to avoid shifters on the sidewalk.
It made Greta’s blood boil.
“Can I see your ID please?” she said to the girl, as sweetly as she could. The bar couldn’t afford to just throw people out, but she could sure make them work a little harder for a drink.
The girl blinked, then started going through her tiny, cute bag.
“I’m going to need to see all three IDs, actually,” Greta said.
The girl frowned, a pout forming on her overly made up face.
Greta tried not to smile.
Sometimes, it’s the tiny victories,
The girl went back to her friends, and a few moments later, all three of them presented their IDs. Greta made a show of holding their driver’s licenses up — one from Cascadia, two from California — and comparing the pictures to the girls, but she’d never have been able to tell if the pictures were three other blond sorority types. They all looked exactly the same to her.
Just as the girls were starting to look alarmed, Greta slid the IDs back across the bar and nodded, once. Then she got out three pint glasses and started pouring the liquor: vodka, gin, tequila, rum, and triple sec, followed with a splash of coke.
“Twelve each,” she told the girls.
The lead one raised her eyebrows.
“Twelve?” she said.
“There’s lots of liquor in there,” Greta said.
Also, I don’t like you
, she thought.
Reluctantly, the girls paid, and Greta got their change. None of them tipped, but that was fine with Greta. They’d gotten the Sorority Surcharge, and $2 went into Greta’s pocket.
“Saw that,” drawled a familiar voice.
Greta turned her head and looked at Zeke, who sat at the bar, nursing a coke and whiskey.
“Keep it on the down low, will you?” Greta said, half-smiling.
Zeke winked, and Greta tried not to make a face.
“You got it,” he said.
Thankfully, more customers came in before Zeke could say anything else to her. It was ten at night, the college students were back in town, and things were finally starting to perk up.
As she poured more drinks, collected money, and chatted with all her regulars, Greta kept an eye on Zeke. He didn’t do much, just sat quietly at his end of the bar, sipping his drink and pretending not to watch her. It was the same thing he’d been doing once every few nights for a month now, and she was suspicious.
After all, he was single and she was single. Greta suspected that he’d figured this out and decided that, since she didn’t have any other takers, she was ripe for the plucking, and apparently he thought that sitting, drinking, and staring at her was the best seduction method around.
Greta wasn’t impressed. She and Zeke had grown up together in Rustvale, and just because she was thirty and unmated didn’t mean she was going to pair up with the next available guy who came along.
dammit. Zeke was nice enough, but Greta wanted someone who’d make her heart pound and her head swim. She wasn’t about to settle.
Now the sorority girls were pretending to play pool, holding cues in their hands and bending over the table, acting confused about the rules. In the corner of the bar, two shifters exchanged glances, picked up their beers, and then went over to the pool table.
“Y’all know how to play?” one of them asked.
Greta turned her back and rolled her eyes, thankful that it was getting busy.
Soon, Greta could barely turn around without someone shouting for her. The regulars all knew her name, and the people who weren’t regulars learned it fast. People leaned across the bar, dollars already in hand, and she moved from patron to patron, pouring beer and whiskey and even the occasional mixed drink.
Mixed drinks weren’t exactly a specialty of the Tooth & Claw Saloon. Greta’s specials were more along the lines of “a pint full of beer” or “a shot of whiskey.” If someone wanted a drink in a glass with a stem, they could go into Canyon City and drink at the fancy cocktail bars there.
Right in the middle of everything, there were two men, leaning sideways against the bar, talking to each other and ignoring the hubbub all around them. Neither had a drink yet, but when Greta planted herself in front of them, wanting the two to order a drink and make room for other patrons, they didn’t seem to see her.
She pushed cardboard coasters across the bar toward them, “accidentally” nudging their elbows.
“Hi there,” she said, too brightly. “What can I get you two?”
They turned to face her, and she swallowed hard.
Greta got a lot of good-looking customers — it was a shifter bar, after all, and the sort of place where college girls came for a good time — but there was something
good-looking about these two. She couldn’t put her finger on it, not immediately, but for a second her heart stopped before it started again, and she felt like some emotion hooked her under the ribcage and
Definitely new in town
, she managed to think.
The taller wolf, who had dark hair and a short beard, looked at her for a long minute, his eyes narrowing slightly. The other one, who had floppy light brown hair and a wicked scar curving around his left eye, looked at her, looked away, then looked at her again.
“Could I get a beer?” he asked.
Normally, Greta would have rolled her eyes and pointed to all the taps, asking what
he wanted, since it wasn’t like she just had one spigot in the back labeled
But right now, she licked her lips, smiled at him, and asked, “What kind?”
“You got Pabst?”
She shook her head, her curly dark hair bouncing. Down at the end of the bar, someone leaned in and tried to get her attention, but she ignored them.
“Bud, Coors, Miller, and a fancy IPA that I got from a brewery on the coast,” she said.
“I’ll take the IPA,” said the guy with the beard. “Please.”
They locked eyes for a moment, and Greta felt like there was a warm, fuzzy glow around her head.
“Coors is good,” said Scar. “Thanks.”
Greta just nodded and turned to the taps. Facing away from them, her head cleared just a little, and she grabbed two pint glasses, put them under the taps, and started filling them.
What just happened?
Did someone drug the air? Am I high? Is this what being on drugs feels like?
She glanced quickly around the bar, but everyone else seemed to be acting normal.
I guess it’s just me
, she thought.
As she shut the taps off again, over the din of the bar, she heard a loud, horrible slurping sound, the noise of a straw sucking up the dregs of a drink. Greta turned her head toward the noise, almost sure of what she was going to find.
It was Zeke, his lips around the short straw that was in his drink, slurping up the very last of his whiskey and coke.
at her, and Greta made a face despite herself. Then she put the beers in front of the newcomers and smiled her biggest, best smile.
“Anything else?” she asked.