Halle Shifters Book 4
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: March 3, 2015
When two hearts speak as one, no words are needed.
Chloe Williams has waited four long years for her mate to acknowledge her. Time and again he has turned her away for being too young, even when she was hospitalized, recovering from a beating that left lingering aftereffects. Now that he’s been turned into a Wolf, his mating instincts are kicking in big time. Chloe has to decide if it’s worth risking her heart yet again.
Ten years older than Chloe and dealing with issues she knows nothing about, veterinarian James Woods is about ready to howl in frustration. He’s been drawn to Chloe since she was a radiant nineteen-year-old college student, but the age difference held him back from making a move on her. Now his Wolf wants what’s his, and Jim is finally in a place where he can claim her.
Between meddling mothers, Hunter brothers, and a mystery that threatens to end Chloe's life, they might find an opportunity to tell each other just how they feel. Or find themselves separated by more than just misunderstood words.
Warning: This book contains explicit sex, graphic language, and two people who finally get their damn act together.
His arm tightened around her shoulders. “You okay?”
“At?” He didn’t sound concerned, but he did sound…absent? Like he was listening to two things at once.
She shrugged. “I didn’t understand why you wouldn’t accept me when I knew we were bent to be together.”
“But now you do.” He kissed the top of her head. “I was human. And honestly? Even now, I feel a little wrong because of how young you are.”
She poked him in the side. “Get over it.”
He laughed, but the tone of it was still off.
He shrugged casually, but the way his body stiffened next to hers told her that there was more going on than he wanted to let on. “Nothing.”
Uh-huh. Chloe sniffed discreetly, catching a whiff of…cat?
Jim tilted his head toward her and whispered in her ear, “I hear footsteps.”
She kissed his chin, adding, “I smell cat. The shifter kind, not the Tom and Jerry one.”
They exchanged a worried glance but didn’t hurry their pace. They didn’t want whoever was following them to know that they were aware of him.
And it was a him, from the masculine scent that was layered all over the scent of cat. Chloe sniffed again and rubbed her nose, trying to see if the scent was familiar. “So.”
“What do you have up your sleeve for date number two?” Whoever it was, it wasn’t a Puma. She knew that scent inside and out after so long in Halle.
“I was thinking perhaps a trip to the beach.”
She stumbled. “Overnight?”
Well. For a man who’d been reluctant to claim her he was certainly willing to move fast now. “I’d have to ask my mommy if I can have a sleepover.”
“Brat.” But he was smiling, his gaze bright with laughter.
She skipped for a few steps, humming tunelessly.
“You are never going to let me live this down, are you?”
“Nope.” And now that she had the full picture she was going to have fun with it. Maybe it would help them both get over their hang-ups.
He chuckled. “Little girl, would you like a taste of my lollipop?”
She began to giggle uncontrollably, actually snorting once or twice before she got herself back under control. “That was so bad.”
“How can you tell? You haven’t even tried it yet.” He winked when she stared up at him, shocked.
She licked her lips, blushing even harder when he groaned.
Jim pulled her tighter against him, focusing once more on where they were going. “Stop distracting me, little vixen.” He shivered. “For now, anyway.”
Chloe put her head against his chest. “It’s not a Puma,” she breathed.
“Anything familiar about it?”
She shook her head. “I fish there was.” She frowned as the scent began to fade. “College student?”
“Are there a lot of shifters at U of P?”
He sounded so surprised she had to laugh. “Yeah. Max, and Mr. Freidelinde before him, were both cool with shifters attending this branch. Not all Alphas are, so those that are okay with it let the Senate know. The Senate then sends a list out to all the Alphas for their college-bound high school students to choose from.”
“It can be, especially for the hosting Alpha, but the students are aware that while they are under their home Alpha’s jurisdiction while here, they’re also subject to Max’s authority if they cross the fine he’s set for acceptable behavior.” The scent faded further, making her think they’d been worried over nothing. “I’m willing to get that’s all it was, just someone out for a stroll.”
He shrugged. “We still haven’t found your attacker, so sorry, I’m still going to worry.”
“Thanks.” She patted his chest.
“You’re mine to protect now.” The soft growl in his voice told her the Wolf was once more peeking through his control. As new as he was, she was surprised it wasn’t happening more, but Jim was turning out to have awesome self-control. “That means I worry when I sense something is wrong.”
The unknown cat scent was almost completely gone. “Whoever he was, he’s gone now.”
Jim still seemed tense, so she petted his chest, hoping to calm him. “My attacker might not be one of us. I was told there were no witnesses to who did this to me, just someone who called 9-1-1 from a payphone. Gabe never found out who it was.” She didn’t remember much of that night, just pain, pain and more pain. “But Gabe told me that other half-breeds had been attacked in the same way and left for dead.”
The tension in Jim went to DEFCON 1. “Oh really?”
“Yes.” His tension was making her afraid. She glanced behind her, but there was nothing there to see. It was just another sweet summer night in her favorite town. “You don’t think…?”
“Have you sensed anything around you since you got out of the hospital?”
She shook her head. “Nope. There was the stuff with Tabby and her attacker, but nothing came of that. Not that I know of, anyway. Then Cyn was hurt, but that had more to do with Tabby than Cyn. And Hope has nothing to do with it at all.”
He took a deep breath. “We need to talk to Gabe then. I want to make sure your attackers are long gone.”
“We can do that. I know between his Hunter duties, his mate, his status as Second and being sheriff he’s been swamped. Want me to call and set something up?”
Jim stared at her, and his tone when he answered was neutral. “Sure.”
“Friends.” She pinched his cheeks. “Friends,” she drawled, hoping to get him to laugh.
He pulled away with a grunt. “I believe you, I just…”
“Can’t stand Gabe?”
He rolled his eyes. “I can take him or leave him. In a ditch. Full of fire ants.”
“You’re mean.” But she snuggled closer, secretly pleased her mate was jealous, even if it was over nothing. The fact that he hated that she’d spent time with Gabe meant there was more to his feelings than the pull of his Wolf. He’d reacted poorly to Gabe’s presence in her life long before he’d been bit. It had been getting Jim to see they were meant for each other that had been difficult.
“Don’t be too pleased with your little redheaded self. We’re still going to discuss the attack on you.” He humph’d, sounding so much like an old man she had to hold back yet another laugh. “Until we figure out who it was I consider you still in danger. If that means I have to make nice to Gabe I will.”
“I try not to think about it too much.” She sighed. This was so romantic. “Julian offered to try and help me recover memories of my attacker that might be buried, but the effort to do so would be dangerous for both of us.”
“Then no. Not unless it’s the only thing left we can try.” He stopped dead and took her face between his palms. “You’ve hurt enough, Chloe. No more.”
“No more,” she whispered back, enthralled by his golden Wolf.