Authors: Melanie James
Text copyright ©2016 by the Author.
This work was made possible by a special license through the Kindle Worlds publishing program and has not necessarily been reviewed by LATIN GODDESS PRESS INC.. All characters, scenes, events, plots and related elements appearing in the original Sassy Ever After remain the exclusive copyrighted and/or trademarked property of LATIN GODDESS PRESS INC., or their affiliates or licensors.
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A Hot Piece of Sass
By Melanie James
here’s something very special about Tanner Larsen. He isn’t your ordinary wolf-shifter. He’s more. Believing he’s been cursed by the gods, he’s all but given up on finding his one true mate. When he catches the sweet strawberry scent of his Fated Female, worlds collide and ancient legends are revealed. Tanner discovers that his curse may be the only way to save his mate when a rogue wolf tries to destroy the lovers’ destiny.
Table of Contents
Black Paw Pack
Fur Ever Yours
Literal Leigh Romance Diaries
Tales from the Paranormal Plantation
Gertie’s Paranormal Plantation
Back to the Fuchsia
Karma Inc. Files
Magic and Mayhem Kindle World
When You Witch Upon A Star
Ava & Will
Kara & Dave
Laura & Alan
Jamie & Brad
Ashley & Jeff
Valerie & Greg
Éveiller Drive Boxed Set
A Valentine’s Surprise
A Deadly Obsession
Snowflakes, Exes & Ohs
Milly – First and foremost, thank you! You are an amazing woman and friend. It was a pleasure getting to know you at AAD.
Teri – You got this!
Tricia – Thank you. So very much.
Claudy & Bob – I love you guys.
To all of my readers -- Thank you for your continued support and love. This book is for you.
hite. His entire world was white, void of shapes or of any resemblance to the earthly plane. All that remained was the pain inflicted by the freezing wind and its arsenal of stinging snow and ice. It was relentless. But Tanner continued to forge ahead, never giving a thought to stopping, though every step had become a struggle. This path was his fate and it could not be denied.
The absence of spatial awareness was not frightening, it was useful. He walked ahead, untethered to the natural world. It was just as the mysterious old volva, Dagrun, had told him. Dagrun had sought him out years earlier. She was the one who had read the runes carved into the tree of life and learned of his fate.
He remembered how Dagrun had cornered him. Tanner, a heroic warrior, had thought the little old woman to be completely mad. He’d only begun to listen once she’d proved she could read minds. After two long years, she told him, “You have not been born with the majik of the wolf-warriors, but you are destined to become one of the most powerful of their kind. You must make a pilgrimage to find death, and return to life reborn as something new.”
His only garment, a wolf’s pelt, wasn’t so much a comfort as it was a reminder of his destiny. He sensed something was wrong. He had never heard one of the wolf-warriors, or any of the wanderers, describe such a desolate place. Tanner knew he’d gone too far.
Two black shapes fluttered through the colorless space ahead. The wind stopped, and the air cleared enough to reveal a gray sky above a snow-covered wasteland. The circling shapes became clear: a pair of crows.
On any other trek, the calming of the blizzard and the sight of birds would have brought a sense of relief, salvation from the wrath of gods. On this journey, it was an omen.
He knew he had stepped into the world of the gods. His heart pounded. Two crows in a place so empty of life could only mean one thing: Odin was near.
“Odin! My Lord! I am Tanner. A great warrior from the place on Earth where the wolves guard the runes.” Tanner heaved his sword high into the air. “I’ve come to take my rightful place with your wolf-warriors.”
A shadow swooped over the snow and a powerful voice boomed from all directions. “Have you read the sagas?”
“Yes! Bless me with your majik, so I too can have the wolf power. It is my fate,” he answered, anxiously scanning his surroundings.
“Why would you listen to the ramblings of an old witch? The sagas provided you the answers you seek. Why are you here? If you were destined to be one of my wolf-warriors you would already have the majik. Go back to your people.”
Tanner raised his sword even higher. “I have come to die and be reborn. It is my fate!”
There was only silence. Odin was gone.
Disappointment crashed down, the weight of his failure dropped Tanner to his knees.
A gentle hand shook his shoulder. “Tanner. Tanner! Wake up. You’re having that dream again.”
Tanner rolled over and out of the cloudy place between sleep and reality. “Yeah, I know, Mom. It’s getting pretty old. Same story with no ending, not even a to-be-continued.”
“Maybe someday you’ll get to watch part two. And from the way you were shouting at Odin, let’s hope it’s a happy ending.”
annah Jones bit the inside of her cheek until she tasted blood, holding back her thoughts on the whole mating process—not to mention the Scenting Ceremony—as her Aunt Barbara droned on yet again about the shortcomings of being a single female.
It’s not like she didn’t want to find a mate. She did. In time. On
schedule, not because someone wanted to force a mate on her. She’d been to all of the Scenting Ceremonies her aunt hosted. Guess what? Her mate wasn’t there. He never had been. And he never would be.
She was tired of putting herself out there, each and every damn time. Watching all her friends find their mates, hook up, and have pups—while she stood on the sidelines hoping to catch the scent of someone who called to her. The idea of doing it all over again made her stomach churn.
Being the pack spinster sounded so much better than sucking in her gut, squeezing her ass into some Spanx, and feeling like a damn fool. Again. Sure, there were some curvy girls in the pack, but they were drop-dead gorgeous. On her best days, Hannah felt like she’d been run over by a bus, twice, and was pretty sure she looked just as bad.
Fashion was not her thing. Even when she tried to look semi-hot… well, those were the days she walked around with lipstick on her teeth, toilet paper stuck to the back of her shoe, or something equally embarrassing. Her classmates in high school had teased her relentlessly, calling her Hot-Mess Hannah.
Maybe I can just nod and agree, then skip out of town for a few days.
Hannah kicked the idea around in her head. If she could get away with it, she totally would. But with her mom and aunt gossiping like old hens, she knew she didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of making an escape.
It wasn’t like she could call any of her perfect, already-mated sisters for help with the matter. The bitches would bust her in a hot second and she knew it. Besides, there was no fooling her aunt. As the matriarch of the Wolfe family, her aunt had seen and heard it all. No one pulled a fast one on Aunt Barbara. And for those stupid enough to try, there was hell to pay.
“Hannah, don’t you think it’s time for you to settle down and find your mate?”
“I’d love to, but I don’t think it’s happening any time soon, Aunt Barb. I’ve been to all of the meet-ups, but I’ve never once caught the scent of someone who even remotely interests me or my wolf.” Hannah plopped down on the overstuffed armchair, watching as her mom and aunt fumbled through some awkward form of non-verbal communication.
“They’re up to something,”
her wolf warned.
Though the dialog was internal, Hannah let her full snark fly. Her wolf was used to it. Hannah could see her wolf’s eyes roll at the sassy comment.
Even without the alert from her wolf, warning bells chimed in her head. When those two women had an agenda, someone’s life was about to be turned the fuck upside-down. The way they eyed her up left no question that her life was about to go from borderline boring to all-out bat-shit crazy.
“So, you’re not opposed to finding a mate, then?” her mom asked, a sly smile on her face.
Oh sweet Jesus. Did she have to spell it out for them?
“Mom, you know I’m not opposed to finding a lifelong mate. I just don’t think it’s in my destiny. I think I’m destined to be the pack spinster, stuck in a never-ending cycle of horrible short-term relationships with total losers.”
“You know what your problem is?” Barbara waved a finger at her.
“No, but I bet you’re about to tell me.”
“You watch that sass, missy. The problem is you keep going out looking for a fixer-upper. You’re approaching these men and relationships as projects. You can’t fix assholes, baby girl. Move on and find a real man—one who doesn’t come with an airplane full of baggage.”
“Do men like that actually exist? They sound like mythical creatures, even in our magical world. I’d probably have more luck finding a unicorn-shifter or dragon-shifter.”
Her aunt’s eyes widened, apparently not realizing the sarcastic comment was a joke. “Don’t even joke about unicorn-shifters. Those horns aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. And they hurt like a son-of-a-bitch, too! As for dragon-shifters, well, I doubt your wolf wants all the fur burnt off of her ass when her lover gets the hiccups or sneezes.”
Hannah’s jaw hit the floor, then snapped shut. “Hold the damn phone. Care to explain how you would know that?”
Her mom sat down beside her on the arm of the chair, saving Barbara from the years of teasing that would have ensued had she answered the question. “Of course men like that exist. You just need to find the one who is meant for you.”
“I’m tired of looking, Mom. What’s that old saying about finding love when you least expect it? Well, I’d never expected it and still haven’t found it. So I’m just going to go on with my life and live it the way
want to. If a mate happens along, hey, great. If not, I’m sure I’ll survive. Either way, I’ll be fine.”
Hannah tuned out the harping old hags and concentrated on remembering every single detail of the dream she’d had the night before.
In the dream, she’d found herself at the Scenting Ceremony in her wolf form. She trotted over to the center of the clearing, only to be met by the largest wolf she had ever seen. She sniffed his muzzle. His enchanting scent intoxicated her. There was no question the wolf standing before her was her Fated Mate. They circled each other once, then again, before trotting off together into the forest.
Anticipation flooded her senses. She couldn’t believe that after all these years, she’d finally found her mate.
The wolf shifted to human form and held out a hand for her to join him. She shifted, gladly accepting his offer. Sparks fluttered between them the very instant their fingertips met.
He pulled her into his arms. His hands were everywhere at once, tearing her clothes from her body while he kissed her passionately. Skilled fingers teased her clit, making her legs shake.
She threw her head back in ecstasy. Moan after encouraging moan escaping from her mouth, she pleaded for more.
Her mate kissed a path over her ear, his teeth gently grazing her earlobe before moving down to her neck. He slipped two fingers deep inside her, twisting them in and out of her soaked pussy. As her climax hovered just out of reach, she felt his fangs pierce her neck. The combination of being marked as his mate and the hotter-than-hell finger-fuck sent her tumbling over the edge.
When she finally caught her breath, her mate scooped her up in his strong arms and carried her to a thick patch of grass. Setting her down gently, he stood and tugged his T-shirt over his head, tossing it to the ground.
She wanted to lick every inch of his rock-hard chest. Then he stepped out of his jeans, and she nearly shouted a thank-you to the gods above. She’d been with her fair share of guys who’d had less than impressive equipment. By the looks of it, her mate had what it took to get the job done and then some. Hannah imagined her angels singing Hallelujah as she wiped away the drool pooling at the corners of her mouth. She wanted to take a moment to thank the Fates for sending such a fine hunk of a shifter her way.
One second her mate was standing a few feet away from her, and the next he was between her legs, lapping up her juices. Her head rocked from side to side as the pleasure overwhelmed her. Grabbing on to his hair, she screamed for more. He licked her from ass to clit and back again, until she was blinded by a mind-shattering orgasm.
And then her alarm went off, sucking her out of the most amazing dream she’d ever experienced. She’d hit the snooze button repeatedly, but unfortunately she just couldn’t seem to find her way back to her fantasy lover.
Pulling herself free of the memory with a deep sigh of disappointment, Hannah rose from the chair and gave her mom and aunt a hug. She needed to get the hell out of there. If one more person rode her ass about finding a mate, she would go fucking ballistic.
She hoped her mom and aunt would back off on the whole mate thing. She was beyond tired of hearing about it. Truth be told, ninety percent of the time the snark in her answers was her way of keeping the sadness out of her voice and the tears from her eyes.
Of course she wanted a mate. Her wolf wanted a mate, but they were both so damn tired of having the excitement of a new relationship turn to anger and resentment with each boyfriend who betrayed her.
She knew most of the pack whispered behind her back that she couldn’t keep a man. The thing Hannah didn’t understand was, why would anyone in their right mind want her to keep a man who wouldn’t be faithful? If they deserved a faithful mate, so did she.