USA Today Bestselling Author
Being a Guardian for the Black Mesa Wolf Pack meant everything to Lily Bardou. Until the night she made a fatal mistake. Since then, she’s kept her wild side tightly leashed, denying her responsibilities to both her pack and her own sensual needs.
Until Kieran Rendall stalks into her life.
Kieran’s wanted Lily for two long years, and he’s finally done waiting. Convinced she’s part of his destiny, he’s back in town with a plan: to help Lily let go of the past—and to unlock her caged passions.
Doing a re-read and actually reviewing this time. I have so many books that I’ve never reviewed and I was in the mood for some shifters so the Black Mesa Wolves are the beginning of fixing that.
Lily is the only daughter of the Alpha and a strong Guardian Wolf. She made a huge mistake that she paid for in a way that sort of broke her. Now she’s ready to move on, she hopes.
Kieran is from the Silver Mountain pack and he had witnessed Lily’s punishment and the aftermath. He’s hoping she will recognize him for what he is, her mate.
This is a favorite scene.
Kieran Rendall watched with hidden bemusement as the Black Mesa guardian came toward him with the deliberate, sinuous motion of a hunter. An enticingly kissable package of nerves, predatory hunger, and a touch of wariness, heading straight for him.
Long dark red hair tumbled down her back. A fierce red wolf, this one. He’d known that since the first time he’d ever seen her. He could also sense her deep hunger for sex.
He could smell it, sizzling off her in waves that tempted and tormented him. Her wolf was hungry, and so was the woman.
Finally. He’d been waiting for Lily for a long time. Ever since the night she’d put to death the human she’d turned with her own unthinking lust, Kieran had been watching her. An emissary from the Silver Mountain Pack to the north, he’d been sent down by his father to observe the Black Mesa Pack’s adherence to ancient law. Tradition demanded all regional Packs sent official observers when an errant wolf broke a law, to be certain justice was still served accordingly. It was an excellent method of checks and balances. Besides which, without laws, shifters eventually went totally wild.
He could still recall that cold night. Lily’s eyes had gleamed with unshed tears, her back ramrod straight, as the punishment was read in front of the entire Pack and all attending regional members. The turned wolf, like Lily just barely into his twenties, had been in the center of the circle, naked and shivering in human form. He’d refused to become wolf even though told he could fight for his life. He refused to harm Lily.
Kieran remembered the suddenness with which Lily changed, her lithe red wolf gliding along the edges of the circle before she leapt onto her silent, unmoving prey. The naked human looked right at her the entire time, unflinching. With one terrible snap, it was over. She broke his neck with ease. The death blow was clean, immediate, and as humane a kill as a wolf could do. Kieran was impressed at the sight, and thoughtful. It had been planned. She likely had told her doomed one-time lover he had two choices: become wolf and fight her to the death, or accept as easy a passing as she could deliver. Kieran understood that. He would never have fought her either, if he’d had a chance to love a woman like Lily.
He couldn’t have borne the thought of killing such a beautiful wolf.
Lily had stood for a moment over the unmoving body of her lover, utterly still herself. Then she turned and leapt in a graceful arc right through the circle of spectators, her brothers howling after her, her father silent yet watching with an outstretched arm as if to stop her. Lily bounded into the winter-cold high desert, the flash of her red fur disappearing into the moonlight-silvered branches of the junipers and the shadows of the canyon walls.
No one saw her again until the following spring.
Kieran gave himself a mental shake. The woman was here, now, and she was ready. Oh, was she ready.
The sway in her walk as she approached told him a fire banked between her legs. He knew exactly how to answer it. His wolf simmered beneath the surface, as eager as he to stir the qualities in this she-wolf that would catapult her back to her rightful place. She was a born leader.
He fingered the glass in his hand as Lily drew near. With a tremble of her lip, she stopped before him. He let his nostrils flare, taking in her scent. No fear. Sheer anticipation made her skin shiver, her mouth quake as if she could already taste him.
Practiced at the art of concealing his emotions, Kieran gave an internal snort at his arrogant fancy. Lily wanted him, of that he was sure. Her arousal was being broadcast loud and clear to any wolf within a few miles. But he highly doubted she was already playing every move in her head. He knew she hadn’t touched a man in two years. With this one, he would have to go very, very slowly. He already knew she was more than worth it.
Lily parted her lips as if to speak, then wet them with her tongue instead. Kieran’s hand tightened on the glass and almost broke it. Holy… He internally shook himself back to a semblance of respectability. Well, hell. She was going to test his control indeed.
“You’ve been looking at me.” Her voice came out pitched low but clearly audible to his heightened hearing in the loud bar. She paused as if to gauge his reaction—or censor herself—then plunged on. “And you like what you see.”
She tilted up her chin and gave him a bold stare with her green eyes. This close, he could see the purity of their color. He imagined them smoky with desire, and finally let a grin tug up his lip again. Let her see a bit of his very male appreciation.
“I do. Have a seat. Please,” he added with soft insistence when she still regarded him with just a touch of that wariness she wore like a cape.
Never once looking away, she slid onto the barstool beside him. Obvious from her naturally confident bearing, as a one-time Pack Guardian she simply oozed alpha female. Despite her tight self-control and refusal to be a formal part of Pack hierarchy since that night, she couldn’t conceal her true nature. And Lily was meant to be a leader. She was meant to mate with an alpha male for life and help guide the Pack, keep it strong. Whether she knew it or not, her innate talents were recognized by other wolves. Even ones not in her Pack. Especially ones not in her Pack. The wolves outside the Black Mesa Pack stood the most to gain by winning Lily as a mate. Her status as the only daughter of Alpha of the most powerful pack in the region just about guaranteed another strong offshoot pack one day. And those outside wolves had been sniffing around recently, which was why Kieran decided it was time to make his move. He would never let this woman—this wolf—belong to another. She was far too precious in many ways. His only goal now was to convince her of that truth.
“Can I get the lady a drink?”
Lily still looked directly at him. It was a light challenge, one she was unaware she made, and it was hot as hell. Kieran’s balls tightened in response, and he curbed his wolf as it practically sat up and salivated. Not yet. Slowly.
“Only if it tastes as good as you look,” she said. Her saucy words were matched by her tone and stance. One hip cocked, head tilted, those eyes arrowing right through him.
Kieran almost swallowed his own tongue. He instantly felt his wolf leap into his eyes, smelled his own pheromones charging off of him as if they were warriors vaulting into battle. Maybe slow wasn’t what she wanted?
Lily suddenly laughed, an infectious and even more hormone-inducing sound. The smile that cracked wide across her features was genuine, and all for him.
“I can’t believe I just said that.” She glanced away and shook her head, sending red waves of hair undulating across her cheeks. “I don’t know what’s gotten into me tonight.” She raised her eyes to Kieran’s again, her expression slightly self-deprecating. “My friend had to practically push me over here, and then I just said to hell with it. That sexy cowboy’s been looking at me, he’s Pack, and I deserve to say hello to him.”
With each honest word, Lily’s voice deepened with instinctual need. Kieran’s entire body stiffened from the effort to keep from grabbing her, leading her out of the bar and across the lobby to the attached hotel, into his room. He could still go slowly.
“But I’m being rude. My name is Lily. I’m from the Black Mesa Pack.” She reached a hand out to him.
Kieran steeled himself for the electric snap he knew would happen when he let her touch him. Even so, when their palms met in an oddly formal yet insanely intimate handshake, the shock of it ran up his arm and exploded into every nerve ending. Lily felt it too, judging from her sharp inhale and widening of those amazingly clear eyes.
“Kieran. Silver Mountain Pack Guardian. It’s very nice to meet you, Lily.” He was ridiculously proud of his steady voice despite the hungry wolf clamoring to growl through it.
Harper, J.K.. Guardian Wolf (Paranormal Shapeshifter Romance) (Black Mesa Wolves #1). Kindle Locations (85-144) Sable Moon Books. Kindle Edition.
Of course nothing goes quite as planned, as Rogue wolves interrupt them before they can take anything further. It’s her brothers, all three of them showing up that saves the entire evening form being ruined.
Even though this is a short book there is much that happens. Plenty of sizzle, some action, laughter and tears too.
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.