Read Wolf at the Door Online

Authors: Sadie Hart

Tags: #romantic suspense, #paranormal romance, #werewolf, #wolf shifter, #shifter romance, #paranormal romantic suspense, #werewolf romance, #shifter town enforcement, #shifter town

Wolf at the Door

Wolf at the Door

Three years ago, Timber Kearney barely
escaped the serial killer known as the Wolfman. Now, she’s still
shaken by the nightmares of her past, but she’s turned her focus to
helping others. But when one of the women under her care is
murdered, the killer leaves a gift on Timber’s doorstep and she
knows the Wolfman has found her again.

 

Brandt Lawrence worked this case before and
failed to catch the killer. This time, however, Timber’s knowledge
could be enough to put an end to the slaughter, if only she can
trust Shifter Town Enforcement. But Timber has been burned in the
past and is wary to trust a Hound. She’s willing to give Brandt a
shot--and only Brandt--but the deeper she lets him into her life,
the more she makes him a target.

 

Now, as the wolf comes knocking at her door
it’s up to Timber to let the one man in who could save her. For
Brandt, he’ll have to prove that no matter how dangerous one killer
can be the two of them are stronger, and that this time she won’t
have to face her nightmares alone.

 

Smashwords Edition

Heartsong Publishing LLC

Copyright 2014 Sadie Hart

Cover art designed by Sadie Hart

 

License Notes: This ebook is licensed for
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you for respecting the hard work of this author.

 

Author’s Note: This is a work of fiction. The
names, places, characters, and incidents are products of the
writer’s imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to
be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead,
actual events, locales, or organizations is entirely
coincidental.

 

All Rights Reserved

 

To mom, dad, and Sammi: Thank you guys for
reminding me that sometimes you have to let go of the past to
embrace the future. This book I hope captures that lesson. Your
confidence and faith in me humbles me every day.

Wolf at the Door

By Sadie Hart

 

Table of Contents

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Chapter Twenty-Four

Acknowledgements

About the Author

Also Available from this Author

 

 

Chapter One

The nightmares
always left her shaken, ravaged. Timber Kearney dragged her knees
up to her chest, the blankets tangled around her ankles, and
reminded herself to breathe. She was in her house. She was safe. He
couldn’t find her here. But even as the familiar words spun round
and round in her brain, the panic continued to mount in her
chest.

She couldn’t see in the darkness. God, what
if he’d found her? What if—

She cut the thought off with a low curse and
scrambled out of bed. Blindly she staggered down the hall, shoved
open the bathroom door, and slapped on the light. Bright purple
hair and haunted eyes greeted her in the mirror. The image hit her
hard enough she bent over, grasping the sink as relief flooded in
with her deep, gasping breaths.

If there was anything that helped remind her
she was safe and in the present, not still locked in the horror
that was her past, it was the gaudy hair color. Charles never would
have tolerated it. Timber clutched the counter until the hammering
of her heart finally subsided. Oh, how she hated the
nightmares.

Hated the memories.

She let out a shuddering breath as she looked
up at herself again. The dark circles under her eyes, the frazzled
hair, the big, baggy T-shirt, and while it was loose enough, there
was no denying the curve of her right breast...and the absence of
her left. She swallowed.

Yeah, she was definitely right here, right
now. Far, far away from that bastard.

And she even had the scars to prove it.

Timber reached up and ran her hand over her
chest, feeling the flat skin, right up until she touched the raised
ridge of the scar...all that remained of her left breast. A whimper
clogged her throat and she gritted her teeth, refusing to feel the
pain. The self-pity.

She’d dragged her butt out of that hell, and
she was
proud
of it. She’d created a life where she could be
safe, one that allowed her to help others who’d lived in hell just
as she had. She was proud of that, too. A soft smile touched her
lips. Finally, the lingering terror that always came with her
nightmares subsided. They always left her exhausted, but she knew
all too well she wouldn’t be able to sleep anymore tonight.

Closing her eyes meant the dreams would just
come roaring back.

No. Tonight she’d have to haul out the coffee
and a good book. Maybe if she was lucky, some swashbuckling romance
hero would sweep her off her feet and she’d catch a bit more sleep
before dawn.

But Timber knew better than to hope for a
miracle.

 

***

 

Ring
. Brandt Lawrence burrowed his
face into his pillow and snarled. Who called at three in the
goddamn morning? But even as he grumbled, he swatted at the
nightstand until he found his phone. Then with grunt, he rolled to
a sit and answered. “Brandt.”

His name sounded sharp, angry, but hell, it’d
been a late night and he had to be at Shifter Town Enforcement
first thing in the morning. He needed
sleep
.

“Boss, we got another body.”

So much for sleep. His blood ran cold. He’d
been hoping—no,
praying
—that the last kill had been a fluke.
A one-time deal that just happened to look like the one case he’d
never been able to shake. Old nightmares and all that jazz. “Same
MO?”

“Yeah,” Tate said. The guy might be new to
Brandt’s pack, but Tate was a good Hound. Brandt trusted his
judgment, though for once he wished he didn’t.

He rubbed a hand over his face, fighting
exhaustion. Part of him still hoped it was a copycat, but it was
looking less and less likely. The niggling feeling of dread in his
gut wouldn’t let him believe in coincidence. Not now. Not with a
second body.

“The last one was only a week ago.” He tucked
his cell against his chin and grabbed a pair of jeans, shimmying
into them without dropping the phone. The last time he’d tried to
stop this murderer, they’d happened only once a month.

Every full moon.

Though that particular pattern was all too
common with shifter killings. Anyone who’d ever read a myth or
watched a horror flick seemed to have that lodged in their brain,
especially the psychos. No matter that real life wolf-shifters
didn’t need a moon to let the beast loose.

“Can’t forget the big change, though, the one
we suspected with the first victim. That’s certain this time,” Tate
said, his voice soft. “This guy is definitely a wolf-shifter.”

Brandt stopped in the middle of his bedroom,
brows furrowed. Then it couldn’t be the same man. The original
Wolfman had been human. He’d gotten his name because he tortured,
raped, and murdered twelve wolf-shifter females. All slain during a
full moon. The media had gone apeshit with their headlines.

Hope sprouted anew in his chest. “Then it
might not be the same guy. I’m on my way.”

He hung up, shoved the phone in his pocket.
It wasn’t impossible for a human to be turned, but it was unlikely.
Unlike most myths, legends—whatever—real life was different. It
wasn’t as simple as a quick bite.

Then again, it could explain the three-year
quiet period. If the killer actually had been turned, maybe he’d
needed the time to get control. Brandt shook his head. And all of
these questions could probably be resolved by getting his butt to
the scene.

Because if the scent was clear enough for
Tate to know for sure this guy was a wolf-shifter, it’d be clear
enough for Brandt to match this man’s scent to the one that still
lingered in the back of his mind.

It was a stench he’d never forget.

How the hell this killer—if it actually was
the same guy—had wound up here, firing up a killing spree in the
state where Brandt now ran his own Shifter Town Enforcement pack,
he couldn’t even guess. But if it was the same bastard, he’d made
one fatal error. Brandt knew this case, had worked it before. He’d
seen what the Wolfman did to his victims.

And he’d be damned if he would let this guy
get away again.

 

Chapter Two

Dawn had begun to
bleed across the sky by the time the crime scene was catalogued and
the body transferred to the crime lab. Rebecca Morgan. Twenty-four.
Brown hair, the same type of face, freckles, everything. There were
no doubts now. Both recent victims matched the twelve women killed
three years ago, but more damning than that?

Brandt could smell the bastard all over the
scene.

And Tate had been right. He was definitely a
wolf-shifter now. Brandt’s stomach churned. The bite marks on the
women three years ago had all been human, though they hadn’t
matched a single dental record. The bite marks on the two current
victims? Wolf.

“He’s evolving from his last set of victims,”
Tate said as he leaned against the black SUV next to Brandt. “But
overall, same deal.”

Brandt nodded. “He’s simply altered his kill
style to take advantage of his wolf abilities. The theory back then
was he hated wolf-shifters. We were thinking hate crimes.”

“Still could be.” Tate shrugged. “Just that
somehow he got turned. Maybe a victim got the best of him?”

Yeah. Could be. But something told Brandt
that wasn’t the case. He didn’t know what, but something about that
theory just felt wrong. Off. He gritted his teeth.

“Guy’s a fool, though,” Tate said, pausing
until Brandt looked his way.

“Why’s that?”

“He shouldn’t have come to Colorado. Hell, he
certainly shouldn’t have come here. You worked his case last time,
you’d have thought he’d be smart enough to stay away from people
who could put him away. Would have thought it was why he left
Chicago.”

Would have thought. Brandt grunted but didn’t
say a word. Whatever had led this bastard here, he didn’t care. The
good news was, he could stop this guy once and for all.

“First step, we need to get the word out to
the local packs. This guy hunts wolves and they need to know
it.”

“Way ahead of you, boss. I already drew up
the list. Eight packs in the state, three in our general area. I
notified STE headquarters closest to the other five and asked them
to get the word out. Sent Mac and his partner off to do the one
farthest out. That leaves us two. You take one, I take one?”

Brandt bit back a laugh. Yeah. It wouldn’t be
long before Tate transferred again, and Brandt had no doubt his
next move would be to alpha his own STE pack. Tate knew his job,
and he did it well. “Works for me. What two do we have left?”

“Bear Creek and Delphi.”

Delphi was good-sized and stable. Strong.
Nathan Bannock took care of his pack, and he wasn’t the kind of
alpha one messed with lightly. Bear Creek, on the other hand...

Brandt stiffened. Bear Creek was a small,
wary band of misfits. All females, including the alpha. They were
more likely to be prime targets, and easy pickings. Hell, now that
he thought about it, unlike the first victim, this one hadn’t been
registered with any specific pack.

Hell. He knew Timber Kearney hid rogues.
Chances were last night’s victim was one of hers.

“I’ll take Bear Creek,” Brandt said. Though
it was likely he’d be calling in the Hounds if his hunch was
correct. He’d bet his next paycheck that Ms. Kearney had known
their victim.

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