Authors: Elisabeth Staab
Tags: #werewolf, #paranormal suspense, #paranormal romance, #paranormal, #suspense, #FBI, #lgbt, #alpha male, #male/male, #gay
Wicked Days with a Lone Wolf
Lone Wolf, Volume 2
Published by Elisabeth Staab, 2015.
Dedicated to David Gandy and his leather jackets. And his chest. And his dog. And David Gandy holding a dog against his chest while wearing a leather jacket. And his... Can someone please get me some water?
Sherri Walker quit her job and changed her zip code for a man who is often known to howl at the moon. When she trips over a dead body and her criminal ex pops up, she’s forced to take a detour from her spontaneous future and confront her past mistakes. Suddenly nothing is clear and Sherri questions an already unlikely relationship. Is Ash her future, or is the danger of loving a werewolf too much to handle?
Even though he’s left his pack, Asher Hughes still values family. His sister-in-law needs protection, but the new love in his life may be in danger as well. Sherri’s ex is whispering poison in her ear, and Ash is feeling pulled between old loyalties and the chance at a new beginning with the human he wants. It’s enough to make anyone, man or beast, go crazy.
month ago, if someone had told Sherri Walker she’d start her Saturday mornings snuggling up to a werewolf, she’d have referred them for psychiatric evaluation and a full drug screening. Even after she’d been clued in to their existence through her former position with the FBI, they sure as hell weren’t painted collectively as a species one would think of as “boyfriend material.”
Yet right then, a solid, sleep-warmed body moved behind her. Soft, furry stubble brushed her shoulder, and a thick arm decorated with vibrant
pack markings hugged her middle. These things all told a different story. As did the generous lips mapping her shoulder and the thick erection pressing into her right butt cheek.
“Good morning,” Ash rumbled against her shoulder.
She closed her eyes, luxuriating in the golden warmth of the rising dawn as it washed over them both. “Mmm. Someone’s in a... pleasant mood.” The soft and rough of his kiss against her skin made her toes curl and her spine tingle.
a beautiful morning.” His fingers trailed over the curve of her hip. “I came back from the bathroom and there you were, all sun-kissed and naked as naked could get. Like a fucking work of art.” He bit gently at her upper arm. “Silky...” Another bite on her hip. “Soft skin. You bet your ass I’m in a pleasant mood. I took the weekend off from the restaurant, and you and I are going to make love, eat a leisurely breakfast, and then finally hunt you down a decent apartment here in Nogales.”
Sherri smiled her agreement as he hovered over her for a kiss. She’d been in Arizona for far too long to still be spending half her nights at the Nogales Inn & Suites. She guessed having a hotel room still felt easier than all the paperwork and commitment of signing a lease, especially when she hadn’t found a new job yet.
The way Ash’s strong fingers stroked over her stomach with just the right amount of pressure, and the way his thick, furred thighs squeezed her hips had her mind fuzzy. This sort of head-spinning wake-up was why she kept putting her decisions on hold. Making one, changing it, and then making another until she landed back at square one.
Where to live, where to work... It all seemed overwhelming until he touched her this way.
With her eyes closed, she drank in the rough suede on his thumbs as they brushed lower on her body, and lower still, teasing like they might touch her clit or better yet push inside her, but never quite getting there. So close, though.
“Mmm.” Sherri pressed into his solid weight, ready to agree to anything. Anything he wanted. Whatever he asked of her. Like nobody she’d met, Ash had that effect on her when his bare skin touched hers. When he looked into her eyes.
A buzzing noise from the bedside table barged into the heat of their moment. “Is that your phone?” Reflex had her searching for the sound.
“Don’t care. Busy.” He snarled and continued his trail of licks and kisses, intent on moving to Sherri’s wrist and
sucking her fingers. How he did that, how he treated her fingers like tiny, sacred objects to be worshipped with his tongue, she’d never truly understand.
Still, a girl had to love the attention.
The buzzing stopped and started again. “Someone’s persistent,” she said. “Let me check.” God, she hated that she could never ignore a ringing phone. Scooting away from his clasping hands, she grabbed the offending device. “It’s your brother. Could be a family thing, you think? Or a case.”
Ash’s brother was a detective with the local police force. While the two of them stayed on the right side of the law, many
didn’t. In fact, most didn’t. Most of Ash’s old pack included.
“It could also be lame brother stuff. His latest hookup got weird or he’s mad because his team lost last night. Whatever. Not my problem.” Ash’s lips swiped below her navel, making Sherri pull in a breath. He kissed lower, his dark amber stare holding hers as he dipped down, hot breath teasing the needy place where her legs met her body.
“I’m sure you’re right,” she whispered. Hell, if he said to ignore the call, who was she to argue? These past weeks with Ash had taught her a thousand wicked things his mouth could do between her legs, on her lips, and all points in between. She’d seen him change into a predator with lethal claws, and she’d seen that mouth turn deadly. She’d seen
turn deadly. It was tough to deny the rush of knowing all that coiled power could be tamed when he came to bed with her.
“You know, I remember the night we met.” He tightened his grasp on her thighs as he spoke. “You. Me. Two tumblers of scotch and one
of a wild tumble in your hotel room.” He chuckled to himself, the sound vibrating against already tingling skin. “We wouldn’t have let something as silly as a ringing phone spoil our fun, would we?” With that, he dropped a teasing kiss at the top of Sherri’s leg.
She gritted her teeth. “God. Yes. You’re so right. Jett can wait. Now please—”
A decidedly unsexy
chimed from Sherri’s phone.
Ash’s hand slapped on the bed. “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.”
Sherri’s hand covered Ash’s. She’d gotten a new number shortly after leaving DC. The incoming text message could only be from a few people. “It might be Jett trying to reach you since you didn’t answer your phone.”
Ash jumped up and grabbed both devices. “It’s a message from Lisa. That’s your old FBI partner, right? Your renters moved out. Something about a break-in at your condo in DC.”
Sherri’s stomach sank. Shit, she was so screwed.
She’d been dragging her feet on searching for a new job since she gave notice at the bureau. No way could she afford living in Nogales if she had a mortgage on her old place to deal with. She groaned and looked at Ash. “She emailed me about it, but I thought the property manager was taking care of things. I didn’t know the renters had vacated. I’m gonna have to go handle this myself.”
Ash set his jaw. “I should come with you.”
“No. You have your restaurant here, and your family.” She rubbed a hand on his leg. “I’ll be fine.”
“I don’t like you going by yourself.”
“I’m a big girl. I was taking care of myself long before I met you. Anyway, there are no wolf packs in the DC area, so far as we know. What’s the worst that could happen?”
The struggle played out on his face, in the narrowing of his eyes and the tick of his jaw. “Promise me you’ll be careful.”
She smoothed a hand over one of his fists, clenched in the sheets like he couldn’t quite let go of the matter. “I’ll be careful. Promise.”
He kissed her again and offered a half-smile as he rolled off of his king-sized bed. “You’d better call Lisa. Find out what you can about the damage. I’ll call Jett back.” He walked away, dimpled ass flexing with every step. “Join me in the shower after?”
“Soon as I’m off the phone.”
He smiled over his shoulder, pausing to rifle through his pants drawer. Sherri went to make her call so she could join Ash in the shower like she’d said she would. Even as she did, nerves danced in her stomach.
The idea of flying back to DC didn’t have her over the moon. As much as she appreciated Lisa keeping an eye on her condo, seeing her friend and partner was a mixed bag as well. There were so many memories Sherri would rather not revisit.
“What’s this?” Sherri turned to find Ash glaring, an envelope from Brevard Prison clutched in his hand.
“I haven’t opened it,” she said.
“You didn’t mention your ex has been contacting you.” His fingers bent and so did the envelope, buckling under the weight of Ash’s clear but irrational jealousy.
She took a breath. “Because I haven’t opened it,” she repeated in a
there, now, down boy
voice. “I can only assume it’s some sort of nasty-gram about the fact that I helped send him to prison. Whatever Ryan had to say to me, he said it loud and clear when he stole those files from my office and passed them on to his crime-boss lover.”
“You sound like you’re still pissed. Maybe whatever’s in here could give you some closure.”
“As if.” Sherri had closed the door on Ryan and his insanity. She grabbed the envelope, ripped it in half, and tossed it in the bedside trash can. “What were you doing in my purse, anyway? I thought you were taking a shower?”
“I dropped my jeans. It was right there in your bag when I went to pick them up.” His growl was gruff, but softer now. “I wasn’t prying, I was—”
“Worried. I got it. Look, I quit the bureau so I could get away from all the secrets and half-truths. I want us to be honest with each other, but I wasn’t going to read the letter.” She really did want honesty. It didn’t mean she hadn’t kept a few things to herself. How was she supposed to tell Ash that she still wasn’t sure where she belonged or what she wanted to do with herself for the long term?
She’d come to Nogales for a job she no longer had. Was the passion she and Ash had enough for the long-term?
“I want the same things.” His sexy, signature wolf-like grin reemerged. “So are you ready to get wet?”
Sherri tossed her phone on the bed. Her call could wait. “I’m ready.”
no. This cannot be happening.” Sherri stared at the supernaturally mauled body by her feet and cursed herself for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. “I do not need this right now.” Or ever. Really, never would have been a good time to find a dead guy while running errands.
Backing away from the blood and gore as she pulled out her phone, she tried not to take too much interest in the body itself as she dialed the authorities. Solving crimes wasn’t her job anymore. Still, this man’s death had clearly not been accidental, and a gal would be hard pressed not to find that interesting.
Or she might, if she hadn’t been taking an extended vacation to enjoy her hot new relationship with her hot new boyfriend. Her hot new boyfriend, who was trying to call her while she dialed the authorities. Of course he was.
Sherri hung up to answer Ash’s call. “Hey. I’m gonna have to call you back. I sort of ran into a situation.”
“What kind of situation? Did you get the bagels? Baby, I’ve got eggs on. You know I take brunch seriously.”
God help her. She took a closer look at the body crumpled between the trash container and the back door of Pan Delicioso bakery. What was left of the man’s skin looked bronzed and the hair on his head was dark, but she couldn’t tell much about the features with all the damage. Someone or some
had done quite a number of his face and throat.
After a run-in with Ash’s pack when she first came to town, Sherri was pretty sure she’d picked up on the signs of a
mauling. Sure enough, what looked like animal tracks led away from the area behind the trash bin. She’d bet her dwindling savings account this was a shifter killing.
She’d been texting on her way into the bakery. Had she honestly been distracted enough to miss the body then, or had this unfortunate man met his end during her intense selection of cinnamon rolls and blueberry bagels?
The questions made her turn back to study the body, wondering about other things, like motive...
Not your case. Not your problem.