USA Today Bestselling Author
Caleb Bardou has a quick answer for anything that comes at him: his fists. Barreling through life, damn the consequences, has always worked for him. With dangerous rogue wolves threatening his Pack, he must be a ruthless hunter. But when a delicate little she-wolf gets in his steamroller way, he has to find a different strategy to win the unexpected battle for her body and her heart.
Each time civilized Rielle Amoux thinks about caveman Caleb, she gets all tingly inside. Yet she refuses to be flustered by a hot-headed, chest-thumping, he-man of a wolf. Except Caleb is sexier than sin, and he arouses her on a primal level—the part of her she’s always denied from fear she won’t be able to control it. But if she doesn’t free her wild side soon, she risks losing her wolf forever….
Between vicious rogues and sweetly seductive Rielle, Caleb has his hands full. Just when he thinks he has everything under control, his trigger temper erupts again. This time, the fallout could be disastrous for his Pack—as well as for any chance he has with the sexy little wolf who might be his destiny.
Caleb has a real hard time controlling his anger and he usually deals with it with his fists. Now a lot of the time that works just fine, but there are times when it just gets him in more trouble. With rogues still a worry and of course the fact that he can’t confront the ones his father the Alpha has decided will be able to start their own pack just irks him.
He’s barreling down the street in Durango, thinking about said rogues when he slammed into a woman. It’s not just any woman though, it’s a pack member.
Rielle mostly lives in the city and runs an upscale clothing store. She prefers to spend more time as a human than wolf and since she’s the pack historian she can research anywhere.
Caleb gets a bit confused while arguing with her as his wolf searches for her wolf. Apparently, his wolf senses something he doesn’t. That and even as they argue they both sort of notice an attraction. Caleb really is concerned about her lack of attention since they don’t know where the rogues are. He also realizes when he needs to back off, but not before he sticks his foot in it…again.
This is a favorite scene.
Rielle’s heart rabbited in her chest. Caleb thought she had a date? Reflexively, she looked down at her outfit. Fairly typical for a day in the store, it was a dress from a new designer who’d sent it just for Rielle as an enticement to carry her line. It was a cute dress, but she wore clothes like this every day.
Oh. But she didn’t see Caleb every day. Right. Because he was never in town, and he certainly never came into her store. Obviously, he didn’t have a girlfriend for whom he needed to buy gifts.
For some reason, the thought of Caleb having a girlfriend made her flush a bit. Well, if he did have a girlfriend, she would pity the poor woman who had to put up with his ways. Not like she was one to talk. Dating wasn’t something Rielle did. Like, ever. But she wanted to. Really, really wanted to. Sometimes she forgot how much she wanted that. Right now, being reminded of her dateless status really stung.
“I don’t have a date.” Which was such a brilliant way to tell him she had no life. She kept her voice slightly cool. “This is how I dress for work. If customers see me wearing the clothes we carry in the store, it helps sell them. Simple advertising.”
Caleb’s wolf still lurked in his eyes. She’d seen it flash there earlier—probably when she’d insulted him with that horrible comment about his diction. She still could hardly believe she’d said that. Rielle was never mean or rude. Her parents had always emphasized good manners, and in general she didn’t have the stomach for cruelty.
It was probably just Caleb’s natural barbarian nature that brought it out in her. Case in point, she was thinking about him in unflattering terms. He was a little barbaric, though, with those huge muscles and that little scar on his chin. He must have gotten raked hard in the face by a claw, then not shifted soon or often enough right afterward to let it heal over. In fact, he probably did it on purpose, so he’d have that bad boy look forever to remind others how tough he was.
Even so, she had to admit seeing the fire of his wolf light his eyes was a little—interestingly intense.
Kind. Her wolf’s word drifted through her mind, shocking her a bit. She’d been ignoring her wolf for so long now she’d nearly forgotten what it felt like to have that side of her rise up. Odder still, her wolf thought Caleb was kind?
Rielle shook her head. Caleb stood there, simply looking at her.
“Why are you staring at me?” she asked. Her throat felt a little tight, which meant she was flustered. Language was something Rielle had down pat, what with her love of reading and her position as the Pack’s historian. Despite that, whenever she felt put on the spot, her throat seized up a bit, as if words lodged in there, trapped.
Caleb grinned. It lifted his face from warrior-tough to genuinely open and almost inviting. The barest hint of crinkles surrounded his blue eyes, and he looked suddenly relaxed.
“You were staring at me, shaking your head.” That bass voice rumbled into her ears. “I was trying to figure you out, but I thought I’d better keep my mouth shut this time. Safer option.”
Rielle let out an apologetic breath. “I’m not usually rude—” she began. He cut her off again with the slightest movement of his head and a “mm-mm” sound. He’d forgiven her and moved on already.
That smile really changed his whole demeanor, made him seem much more approachable, somehow. She smiled back at him, softening a bit.
“Can I walk you somewhere?” he said. “Since you don’t have a date, are you just heading home?”
What? She blinked. It wasn’t like her life was so pathetic and boring. Well, fine. Caleb Bardou might be one good-looking wolf, and he had been trying to smooth over her tactless gaffe earlier, but clearly he was still a big dumb ox.
“I may not have a date,” she said, voice rigid, “and yes, I’m going home, but for your information that’s exactly where I want to be. There’s nothing wrong with that!”
She shoved past his imposing, ox-like bulk—and why did he have to smell so good, all sort of woodsy-sweaty and manly, and why did that even smell good to her?—and clicked down the sidewalk. Heels were fun to wear, but they lacked a bit in the angry-stamping-away department.
“Ree! What the hell!”
Caleb caught up to her in about a quarter of a stride and planted himself in front of her. The blue eyes were darker, edgier, and had no traces left of the laughter. Ah, yes. Caleb the fighter, in full pugnacious mode.
“Excuse me. I’m trying to go to my very dull home, but there’s a rather large guy blocking my way. Could you please move?”
She glared up at him. It was a good thing she hardly ever saw him. Since every encounter seemed to go like this, Caleb was likely to tip her right over the edge into an apparently more crass, graceless self.
Thundercloud face back, arms waving around, he leaned down to her as he spoke. “I did not say your house was boring! Or dull! I just offered to walk you home because of the very reasons I said about two minutes earlier. It’s not as safe out here anymore. You shouldn’t be walking around alone, anyway. Alpha should put a stop to it.”
Rielle’s wolf pushed at her mind a bit, startling her even more. A faint whine tinged with an even fainter growl whispered through the edges of her mind before dissipating.
“Alpha has no problems with me living in town.” Why did Caleb have to be so darn big? “I’m not the only wolf who does, and I got his permission to do so, anyway. Until and unless he says I can’t walk around alone any longer, I’m going to keep doing it. I’m not totally helpless, Caleb.”
It was almost fascinating, the way she could practically see the steam coming out of his ears. He really needed to get a handle on his anger.
“Well, for shit’s sake, Rielle.” She flinched the tiniest bit at his phrasing, which he caught. His eyes narrowed at her a bit. “If you’re so big and bad, fine. You just flounce on home in those heels and that cute, fluffy little dress you have on all by yourself.”
“My dress isn’t fluffy! These are chiffon panels, they float—”
Caleb actually groaned and dropped his face into his palms for a moment, effectively halting her outraged words.
“You know what, Ree?” he said to his hands. “I was trying to be a gentleman. Which I admit my sister says I suck at. But I tried.”
Caleb lifted his head and looked at her again. His expression hovered between slightly disgusted and long-suffering. Rielle caught her lip between her teeth, which immediately drew his eyes to her mouth for a split second. She almost missed it.
“You just go ahead and float on home in your chiffon panels, then.”
What a big—doofus. Rielle felt her mouth open a bit, but her throat tightened up. Darn it.
“I’ve got other things to take care of. Good night, Rielle. Have a nice evening.”
With that, Caleb turned on one foot in a graceful move she instinctively recognized as a predator’s, and strode across the street. He turned down the next one and disappeared.
She stood on the sidewalk for a moment longer, feeling confused and oddly alone.
“Well,” she finally said, more to her own jumble of thoughts than anyone else. Okay, then. She and her dress would just float on home. The streets were perfectly safe, and she could take care of herself.
Harper, J.K.. Hunting Wolf: Wolf Shifter Romance Series (Black Mesa Wolves Book 3). Kindle Locations (250-302). Sable Moon Books. Kindle Edition.
Rielle’s freedom in town does get curtailed however, and there is another stunning revelation. She and Caleb are mates. How that’s going to work out is both fun and intriguing.
Rogues, fights, scares, new and very interesting people and just the right amount of sizzle.
I am already reading the next book of this series.
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.