When Red runs into the hot new forest ranger she thinks it will be just a quick fling but passions ignite and soon Red is scrambling to hide all her secrets.
Fraternizing with humans is taboo but when feisty werewolf, Red, runs into the hunky new forest ranger, Evan Brewster, she jumps on the opportunity to let loose her desires. Evan is stoked when he meets the petite red haired hottie, and combined with his new discovery of wolves in Colorado, thinks his career and life are made. Then Red pushes him away, her hostile brother threatens his life, and things begin to spiral out of control.
Caught between her sexy lover and her pack can Red trust Evan with her secrets? Or must she sacrifice her human lover—and her heart?
A Sexy Shifter Fairytale Romance
Red entered the deep woods, sniffing in appreciation of the cool damp piney scent. The familiar narrow path was little more than a deer trail through the brush. It would get her to Grandma’s in good time. Grandma was a bit of a lone wolf who refused to have a phone. She lived up on the mountain in an area of the forest you couldn’t get to by road. Her independence drove Red’s mother crazy but Red admired the sheer rebelliousness. Good old Grandma. She insisted the old ways were best and she would live off the land until she died.
No wonder Mom had sent her to check on Grandma. Red’s lips curved in a smile. Kill two rebel birds with one stone. Her mother was ever-efficient.
She moved deeper into the woods musing about ways to get the old she-wolf on her side of the argument. Each stride loosened joints tight from a week trapped in the kitchen with her mother. The warm morning sun coming though the trees dappled the earth in an ever-changing pattern and increased her pleasure in her body’s movements. Her pace slowed and she became lulled into feeling there wasn’t any danger.
She wished she dared to change into wolf form and really move. Feel the trail under her paws, smell the true scents of the woods, taste the air. But her mother’s warning about the hunters in the park was fresh. Hunters wouldn’t hesitate to shoot a wolf.
All they would have to do was say it had attacked them, their dogs, or their squeaky duck lures and the new park ranger would side with them. No, ever since the new ranger had taken over, all the pack had become more cautious.
Her body moved her up the trail on auto-pilot while her brain continued to re-hash her problem. She was stuck in limbo, like a lamb before the slaughter. Alive, but going nowhere. She was desperate to get out of town. Her mating instincts told her she should search out a mate. But they conflicted with her personal instincts that told her to go find a career and separate from her controlling family.
But instead of taking charge of her own destiny like a human woman, here she was, checking on Grandma like a good girl. She even had a Tupperware box of goodies stuffed in her pack in case Grandma wasn’t eating anything but rabbit.
Zoned out on the familiar path, her sensitive nose picked up a smell. An appetizing smell, of cloves and wood smoke and something…something male.
She froze, all her senses on alert.
Her ears and nose almost twitched forward.
There, in the shadows on the side of the trail, was a man. A man in a ranger uniform standing next to a large frame backpack. How could she not have noticed him before? How long had he been watching her?
She forced her body to look relaxed and stifled the urge flooding her system and threatening to overwhelm herthe urge to change into her wolf and deal with the danger.
She smiled, and hoped it wasn’t too toothy. Her instincts said she was a wolf, but all he would perceive was a young woman—not a threat.
This had to be the new ranger Seth had talked about non-stop for the last week. How this new guy had taken Uncle Bob’s spot when Uncle Bob died last month in a car accident. How no one was ready from the pack to step into Bob’s position and handle the pack’s personal area of the forest. How the ranger had better watch his step—or there would be trouble.
Seth had bitched and moaned, but what he hadn’t said was how totally hot this guy was. Or how delicious he smelled. She put him at just under six foot, but that was tall compared to her petite five-foot two. Long and lean, he had the look of someone who spent a lot of time outdoors, hiking or maybe skiing. He stepped forward and swept back his shaggy brown hair, revealing warm brown eyes that held the look. The look men gave women—open, appreciative, and a touch guarded.
She returned it with a bold appraising one of her own. He was just what she needed to distract her from her family issues. He was hot, male—and a stranger.
“Hi, I’m Evan Brewster.” He held out his hand, waiting for her to take it. She hesitated. A slow smile crept across his lips.
She swallowed. Wolves didn’t shake hands and she didn’t usually meet anyone she hadn’t known since birth. She stepped forward, held out her hand like she thought a normal girl would. And ignored her stomach’s quivering.
“You must be Uncle Bob’s replacement. Nice to meet you.” Here was her chance to practice with a regular human. To prove to her parents and the pack elders she could function in the wide world. That her days of indiscriminate changes were over, and that she was a competent adult. He took her hand. His calloused grip was warm and strong.
Electricity shot up her arm and into her chest. Her heart rate sped up just like the seconds before a kill. Sudden warm wet heat pooled between her legs. She yanked her hand back, stopping short of rubbing her tingling palm on her thigh.
Oh man! She didn’t even know this guy. He wasn’t pack, wasn’t even a shifter, despite his touch that had her shaking. Shaking like a spindly branched cottonwood in the fall breeze. She took another deep sniff, reassured herself that he was all human. And knew he was not only human, but he was all male.
She wasn’t in heat. Why would she respond to him like this? Like she wanted to strip him down and do him right here on the path. Maybe it was the uniform. This guy filled out the standard park ranger uniform nicely. Much nicer than Uncle Bob. This was what her family had been afraid would happen if she went to college and was around too many human males. That she would pick a human, instead of one of the not-so-distantly related wolves they kept parading in front of her. Mate with one of them, instead of her own kind.
Inter-species relationships between humans and wolf-shifters were common in the old days when populations were spread out and the choice of mates was slim. Now they were rare. Extremely rare. No one mated permanently with humans. It was wrong, just wrong. Maybe her family was right. If she was this desperate she should just pick one of the available local wolves and settle down.
But she’d never felt like this about any of the pack males. Not even the human guy she’d been with as a teenager had caused this immediate tingling urge for sex. She swallowed, feeling suddenly shy and cautious, and smiled.
She rolled his name through her mind, resisted the desire to taste the flavor of it on her tongue. Maybe if she wasn’t touching him she could do this—carry on a normal conversation. She struggled for something to say, something that would cover this incredible desire to fuck a complete stranger.
“Welcome to Radon,” she managed to get out. “How do you like it so far?” Inane. Moronic. But it was out now. She hoped he couldn’t see the shaking that had started at his touch, or smell the moisture between her legs. Luckily, he was only human.
Calm down, Red! You can do this. You have to do this.
“It’s been interesting. It’s a pretty tight-knit little town.” His gaze had warmed, becoming friendly. And interested.
She knew what that appraising look meant. She’d received it from all the available males her parents had invited to their house in an effort to entice her to settle down. But none of the bachelor wolves had made her feel like this. Like her whole body was tuned in to his. Like she should get on all fours, push her ass in the air, spread her legs, and beg.
Her palms were damp. She caught him checking her out and was glad her hoodie was zipped up over her chest. Her nipples tightened so fast, so hard, they almost hurt.
“Town’s been a little tough on you, huh?” she asked. Poor guy, he couldn’t have known what coming to this area would be like. They hadn’t had a ranger who wasn’t pack in her lifetime. The county was up in arms.
“You could say that.” He shot her a conspiratorial smile that warmed his eyes to molten chocolate. She had a sudden vivid picture of a sheepskin rug and him lying naked in front of a fire, her lips and tongue tracing the contoured lines of muscles illuminated by the flames.
She dragged her mind back, forcing it to focus on the present. Focus on the words coming out from between his sexy lips.
“You’re the friendliest person I’ve run into in this town. Where have you been hiding?”
Wrong question ranger. The question was who had been hiding him from her? Now her mother keeping her home from work to make jam made sense. Her mother would never think she was an adult. Although maybe her mom was right—given her lusty thoughts maybe she should be sequestered.
“I normally work in town—at the general store. I must have just missed you.” Yeah right. Did that sound as lame to him as it had to her? She lifted her chin. Her mother’s plan had backfired. Despite being sent off to the boonies she’d met the new guy in town. And boy was he hot.
“Is that Burdock’s? It’s the only general store I’ve seen.” One long hand reached up, pushing his thatch of hair back off his face in an unconscious slow sensual movement. The hair fell forward back into place as soon as he released it, thick and dark and oh so touchable.
“Yeah. I guess you’ve been in there.”
“Yeah. Is the black haired dude with the bad-ass attitude related?” His eyes crinkled up at the corners when he smiled. Another urge to spread her thighs slid through her. In an effort to control it, she clenched them tight.
What had he asked?
“Seth,” she said, relieved she knew what to say. “He’s one of my brothers. He’s none too happy you’re here.”
“Why is that?”
“Let’s just say we’re a typical small town. Outsiders aren’t really welcome.”
“You know, you’re the first woman I’ve met under thirty all week. I was beginning to wonder where they all were.”
Dangerous territory. She’d better be careful what she said. Obviously the alphas had the few available females under lock and key.
“We have a surplus of men in this town. You probably just missed the women.” He made her so nervous, she just knew she would slip and let something out. Something that would alert him that all was not as it seemed in small town Radon, Colorado. “It’s been nice but I have to get going.”
She smiled and started to move down the path, but he stepped in front of her, blocking her.
The back of her neck prickled.
She supposed he was eager to talk to the only friendly face in town but she wished he would back off. She was having enough trouble controlling herself as it was. Her heightened senses told her to take action. Now.
He’d moved too close. His spicy male scent filled her nostrils, caressing her skin. She wanted to bury her face in the crook of his neck and inhale, suck him in like oxygen before going underwater.
“Where are you off to?”
“My grandmother lives up the mountain. I’m just going to check on her, stay a while.”
His face lost its easy smile and grew concerned. “You’re hiking up the mountain by yourself? A woman like you shouldn’t be out here alone.” She bristled at his statement. Just like her brother! What was it with men and their bossy attitudes?
“A woman like me? Slow down buster! I’ve been hiking this mountain since I could walk. You’re out here alone, why not me?”
“But I’m a trained outdoorsman. What if the weather changes? You hardly look prepared in those shorts. What do you have in that pack?” He moved closer to her. She backed up, suppressing the desire to bare her teeth. With relief she channeled her newfound sexuality into anger instead. This she understood. Human or not, he was beginning to get her back up, just like any other male.
“I’ll be at Grandma’s before dark. And it’s an incredible day. No storm in sight. See ya.” She edged around him back onto the path, determined to put both him and temptation behind her.
“Wait, I’ll go with you. There are signs of hunters in the area. You shouldn’t be hiking alone.” He shouldered his oversize pack with ease. Then scrambled, trying to buckle the waist straps and keep up with her at the same time. She stepped up the pace.
She could feel him close behind, knew he was eye level with her ass. Knew he watched her backside swish with each step. Her tingling nerves began to send messages again. With him nipping at her ankles, she felt like prey.
“No, thanks. You won’t be able to keep up.” She moved faster, pumping her legs in a rapid rhythm on the familiar trail. His legs might be longer than hers, but she had wolf stamina and a light pack. No way he could keep up with her for long.
“Hey, I’ve been through hell in the military. If I could keep up in basic, then I can keep up with you, little girl.”
She laughed. Flashing a catch-ya-later look over her shoulder she put on a hair more speed. He’d find out soon enough that she might be little but she had more oomph in this little package than most. And he could just watch her swish her tail until she was out of sight.
About the Author:
Jessica Aspen always wanted to be spirited away to a world inhabited by elves, were-wolves and sexy men who walk on the dark side of the knife. Luckily, she’s able to explore her fantasy side and delve into new worlds by writing spicy paranormal romance. She loves indulging in dark chocolate, reading eclectic novels, and dreaming of ocean vacations, but instead spends most of her time, writing, walking the dog, and hiking in the Colorado Rockies.
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