USA Today Bestselling Author
As a Guardian climbing the ranks in the Black Mesa Wolf Pack, Sara Kenyon’s life is ideal. A sexy firecracker, she’s never regretted her carefree love-’em-and-leave-’em attitude. But when her one-time fling, smokin’ hot Rafe Bardou, wants the only thing she can’t give him—commitment—she starts to question if freedom is everything she desires.
Rafe’s patience is legendary. Yet for all his strength and control, Rafe craves something he can’t have: free-spirited Sara as his mate. Her red-hot kisses have eluded him for over a year, but he can’t stop thinking about how they once tangled the sheets together. Now he’s out of time. Her commitment to him is essential—not only for his own happiness, but for the future of the Pack.
Losing control isn’t an option. But it may be the only way to convince this sweet vixen he’s her alpha wolf.
Hot springs and a dark alley are both defiled in this story. Read at your own risk.
Sara believes she’s only seen as a fun-loving party girl. She wants, no needs to be seen as a serious Guardian of the pack.
With the Rogues possibly getting their own pack, Rafe, the Alpha’s oldest son is about to get an opportunity he didn’t see coming. Before that can happen, he needs to convince Sara to finally accept him. He knows she’s ready, but she seems to think she has something to prove to the pack.
After the Alpha announce the decision about the rogues, Sara decides she needs a run and maybe a soak in the hot springs. The last person she expected to see is Rafe and she certainly didn’t expect him to join her on her run.
This is a favorite scene.
A shaky laugh slipped past her lips. If only the rest of the pack could see her now. This was so unlike the playful, heel-nipping, flirtatious, seemingly confident Sara she seemed to be to all of them. This Sara was getting unnerved by a guy. It was almost as if she didn’t know what to do with one. Now, that was a silly thought.
Her wolf gave the equivalent of a quiet laugh.
At least she didn’t jump. Instead, she turned around as if half surprised.
“Rafe! Hi! What are you doing here?”
His slow smile told her he knew she was pretending to be surprised. He knew perfectly well she’d scented him just before he spoke. Completely unprepared for his presence here, she hadn’t heard him come up behind her—even in human form, shifters could move startlingly fast and silent. But her nose could catch things before her brain had time to figure out what they were.
“I thought it was a nice night for a soak. Had to work on a report all day. My muscles are screaming at me.”
“Me, too.” Her voice came out kind of breathy. She pitched it lower and went on. “I actually wanted to go for a run. But I thought a little dip first would be nice.”
She looked around the parking lot. Theirs were the last cars. Rafe’s big silver truck was a dark shadow several spaces away.
“What do you say?”
She looked back at him. Even without a moon and no artificial lights in the lot, she could see Rafe’s face and his eyes. The intensity that usually underlined his manner, the strong work ethic, the loyalty to pack, was there. Yet his particular expression hinted at something deeper.
Whatever it was, it sent a shiver down her spine. When she answered, though, she tried to keep her tone playful.
“What do I say to what, wolf?”
He didn’t crack even a grin. The moonlight silvered the chiseling of his features, shadowed his cheeks and forehead, made his blond hair shine where it snared the light. He looked like a stern pack leader, with an edge of contained wildness underneath. Sara shivered again. Caught in his gaze, she felt her wolf rise close to the surface. Pacing the corners corners of Sara’s mind, her wolf whined softly. She, for one, was very clear on Rafe’s half-hidden promise.
Silly human thinking, her wolf whispered.
Sara knew her wolf looked out of her eyes. She spoke quickly to stave off the invitation most likely beckoning there.
“Okay. Let’s go. I came here for a dip, and I’m going in.”
Without blinking, her nose telling her no humans were nearby, Sara shed her clothes and let them drop to an untidy pile at her feet. Rafe’s lake-blue eyes grew darker as he watched her.
“Race ya,” she said. She whirled, dropped to the ground, and shifted in the space between one heartbeat and the next.
“Sara,” she heard him say behind her. But the light breeze felt so good in her dark silvery-gray pelt, tickling its way through the individual furs, that she ignored his voice and flew over the ground, paws hitting then instantly leaping away again. She headed for the back of the main building, toward the hottest spring located at the rear of the property.
Sara’s breath came easily as she loped along. With each inhale she took in the scents of the pine trees, the junipers farther west in the desert, the hot waters bubbling from the earth just in front of her. She flicked back an ear and heard Rafe’s steps padding swiftly behind her, his wolf running light and sure over the ground. He ran close enough to encourage her to go faster.
The thrill of the chase, Sara’s human whispered. Sara grinned and did a half-spin to the side so Rafe could see her tongue hanging out. She didn’t slow down. He smiled back at her before leaping ahead, his larger frame overcoming her speed. Sara’s night vision still allowed her to see him as he wove in and out of the pines.
“Hey!” she called out. “Not fair.”
At his provocative tone, Sara put on the speed as well. As usual, she couldn’t keep up with him merely by speed, fast as she was. Her bag of tricks included thinking fast and plotting a new course as needed, even in a split second. Quicker than thought, her paws veered to the right. She cut straight across a patch of ground just sprouting new grass. The delicate scent rose up as she crushed some blades in two bounding steps before landing back on pine needle carpeting.
Running felt good. The earlier restlessness urged a spurt of energy that took her racing away from the hot springs, over the back fence, and into the darkening woods behind.
“Sara!” Rafe said, his voice a mix between a bark of surprise and—pleasure? Ears flicked back, she could hear him pause for the briefest moment. Then a light whoosh disrupted the air behind her, followed by a thump as he hit the ground after vaulting over the fence.
Faster, Sara’s human urged. She wasted no time stretching out, lengthening her body to the maximum speeds it could reach. Her muscles flexed and worked, eliciting a happy mental groan at how good it felt.
Sara raced through the dusk-covered forest. She leapt over downed logs, dodged a low-hanging branch or three, whipped around trunks bristling with new piney growth, and absorbed a beautiful maelstrom of scents from millimeters to miles away. When she rounded a small yet thick stand of Douglas firs, she almost collided with a sudden ponderosa. Her shoulder and fur scraped by and released an intoxicating scent of vanilla and butterscotch from the tree.
Smells like baking cookies, her human thought. Sara wrinkled her nose a bit and shrugged mentally. Sometimes, her human mentioned things that had little place in the mountain forests or the desert cliffs and buttes. Sara found it best to simply continue racing and leaping and hunting and running, letting her human giggle quietly somewhere in the back of her mind.
Rafe’s scent whipped into her nostrils: sharp and wild, he also smelled like crushed fern and a whiff of aspen bark where he must have rubbed too close to one. She imagined sensible Rafe having an unexpectedly close encounter with a tree and twisting madly to avoid crashing into it. Her tongue lolled out for a moment even as she ran, a grin splitting her jaw. Her canines must have gleamed for a moment, because a short huffing noise somewhere to her left let her know Rafe was nearby and quite aware of her presence.
Sara always found running an activity that cleared her mind, whether as woman or wolf. Everything else fell away. Worries, thoughts, fears all melted off when she ran, when she exercised her muscles hard. Her mind soothed to a simple mechanism of action and movement.
Even Rafe briefly left her mind. Air sucked into her lungs, rich spring earth and a mingling of smells both wild and human from the trees and mountains and scattered homes zipped by as scents detected in mere seconds. The promise of renewed life about to burst from the ground invigorated Sara’s legs even more. She flowed over the earth in that state of singularity between thought and doing, losing herself for joyous moments as merely a creature peacefully and completely at one with her surroundings and her own simple being.
This Sara had nothing to prove. This Sara simply lived to run and exist and enjoy this moment.
Although the hot springs would feel very nice after such a great run, her human thought somewhere deep inside. Her voice sounded a little wistful yet teasing. I wonder how long this run has been?
Sara snorted softly. Time had no meaning to wolves. Only to humans.
Someone has to get up in the mornings and show up for duty. Running isn’t everything. Her human shrugged, then started picturing the hot springs.
Soothing billows of steam rising, deliciously hot water to sink into, Rafe naked and willing in the spring with her….
Sara took a misstep at the fierce longing in her human’s mind. Finally, she was showing some sense.
A cocked ear and sharp inhale let her know Rafe easily kept up about ten yards away, now to her right and just behind her tail. Slipping through the trees with her, enjoying the run as much as she did. She wondered if he, too, forgot about everything else when he ran.
Never, her human whispered. He’s going to be an alpha. Alphas never forget anything.
Sara looped around the next tree and began loping back to the hot springs. The lights of people’s houses glinted through branches here and there. Sara ignored them and let the smell of the hot water guide her back. All she needed was her nose and her sure feet.
And maybe a certain wolf.
Harper, J.K.. Alpha Wolf (Black Mesa Wolves Book 2). Kindle Location(447-514). Sable Moon Books. Kindle Edition.
To me it seems that Sara is her own worst enemy when it comes to Rafe. She knows they’re mates but she won’t back down on her stance that she has to prove herself worthy of the respect of the pack.
Rafe seems to be up to the challenge, but he is giving her time to realize she already has that.
A fun read with lots of ups and downs and plenty of sizzle.
5 Contented Purrs for J.K.!
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USA TODAY bestselling author J.K. Harper lives in the gorgeous southwest, which is a great place to let her imagination run wild.
She is the author of Black Mesa Wolves, Dragon Mates, Wicked Wolf Shifters, and Silvertip Shifters.