USA Today Bestselling Author
As a new Guardian for the Black Mesa Wolf Pack, Jace Canagan has one shot left at creating a good life for himself. Years ago, his childhood was abruptly shattered by unspeakable violence. He let bitterness and anger chase away all those who tried to save him from himself. Ten long, soul-seeking years later, he’s now finally created both purpose and balance in his life. Although the old pain still won’t let him get close to anybody, he’s an essential part of a pack again. Nothing will keep him from blowing his last chance at a fresh start.
Nothing, that is, except meeting the mate he never expected to have…or want.
Single mother Caitlin Rendall is strong and self-assured. She had to be, when the father of her twin pups abandoned his young family. Wary of men and ferociously vigilant about her children’s safety, she doesn’t need any man’s help. Why should she, when she’s done just fine all on her own? But her entire world is shaken when she meets Jace–because the unbearably sexy, just as fiercely independent man is her mate.
He’s her one shot at having her own protector wolf…if only she can allow her heart to lead the way.
Jace Canagan knows he only has this one last chance to be part of the Black Mesa Wolves once again. He has been invited back by the Alpha but he still has to prove himself worthy.
The last thing he expects is to be attacked by two young pups, and their mother is even a bigger surprise. He recognizes she is his mate but this is not the time.
Caitlin Rendall is raising the pups alone, their father left and now she really doesn’t want to get involved with any male. Jace is a surprise and she really isn’t sure how to react other than to discipline the pups.
This is a favorite scene.
Narrowing his eyes at each pup in turn, which caused their own eyes to widen slightly as they hunkered down a little closer to the ground again, Jace placed his hands on his hips and adopted an even sterner look. “You know, your teeth do work. They’re very sharp. I’m pretty sure I’m going to have scars on my leg.”
After another moment of horrified silence, during which not even another strangled giggle from the Guardians behind him could be heard, Briana abruptly narrowed her little eyes back at Jace. “All you have to do is shift. Sir,” she hastily added at a sharp nudge from her brother. “As soon as you shift, you’ll heal, and you won’t have a scar. Sir.”
Jace almost laughed at her audacity. He wondered if she got that fire from her mother. “Is that so?” he said, pinning the young pup with his glare still in place. Yes, he was having a bit of fun with this.
“Yes, sir,” Liam bravely said, nodding his head so vigorously his entire body shook. “It’s something all wolf shifters can do. It’s just part of being a shifter.”
The earnest little voice seemed so thrilled to be teaching something to an older wolf that Jace’s heart did that bizarre little extra thump again. “That’s why if you ever see one with a scar, you know they didn’t shift back because they wanted to look bada—”
“Liam Padraig Rendall.” Mama wolf’s voice snapped out across the grounds in a well-practiced ring. “You are spending entirely too much time with the older pups at home. I won’t have you picking up bad language.”
She suddenly flicked her eyes at Jace, and only the slight tremble of her full, beautiful lips gave away the fact that she was holding in a grin. Oh, yeah. She’d heard the bad word he’d launched when one of her little hellion children sunk needly teeth into Jace’s leg. He suspected her pups already had heard a lot of bad words in their lives. Then again, he’d pretty much had a full swearing lexicon by the time he was six. Life in a close-knit pack full of playfully brawling wolves did that. Not, of course, that pups ever should be swearing around the adults. They should be keeping their knowledge of bad words to themselves if they had any sense of self-preservation.
“And what was the reason for your outrageous behavior?” Although less fire snapped out of her eyes, the tone of the mystery woman’s voice brought another distinct recollection to Jace of being tongue-lashed just the same way when he was about the same age. Oh, man. While this she-wolf had her work cut out for her with these two pups, it seemed she was more than up to the challenge.
Two fuzzy little wolf bodies stayed completely still on the ground, touching one another along their sides for comfort, both dead silent as they now gazed with sudden fascination at the bare ground under their noses. They seemed to be not even breathing.
“I’m waiting.” Pure ice.
Oh, yeah. There was definitely no mistaking who was in charge here. They might be hellions, but she was ferocious mama wolf. Jace had no doubt that while she would protect her pups with her own life if necessary, she was also the kind of mom who would pretty much strip the hide off of them if the situation warranted it.
The girl wolf looked up at Jace, her face so ridiculously darling that he had to bite the inside of his cheek to keep from smiling, training or no. Then again, one of the little stinkers had assaulted him with pretty sharp teeth. Jace would damn well sit here and frown at them all day until they did indeed apologize and tell him what they’d done it for. He sharpened his gaze at the little wolf. Swallowing, she bravely began to speak.
“Hey! We both agreed!” Liam’s howl of outrage was high-pitched.
Briana lifted her lip in a little snarl at her brother. “Let me finish, dumb-dumb.”
“Your brother is not a dumb-dumb,” her mother said in a stern tone. Jace looked at her again, catching her lips in a sudden twitch. Yeah, they were cute little stinkers, all right.
Cute again. Huh. His wolf watched the pups and the woman through Jace’s eyes, seeming utterly absorbed by all three.
Briana heaved a dramatic little sigh. This time, Jace definitely caught a muffled snort from behind him, then a slight yelp. Hmm. Someone must’ve gotten his foot stomped on again.
“Liam said someone was trying to attack Aunt Lily and Uncle Kieran,” Briana said, giving her brother a look that conveyed in no uncertain terms that she still thought he was a dumb-dumb, no matter what their mother might say. “So we ran out to protect them. You always say family has to stick up for one another, mama. Isn’t that what you always say?”
Two suddenly cherubic little faces looked up at their mother. Imploring, lovable, and of course not in the least bit manipulative.
Hmph, his wolf snorted quietly at that. Despite his reckoning that the little cherubs were indeed patently manipulative, there was another note in there that almost made Jace stagger again.
Possessiveness. His wolf felt possessive of these pups. And of their mother.
Mine, came the whisper again. It was beginning to sound somewhat impatient with him.
Jace managed to keep himself composed.
The pups kept their adoring little faces turned up to their mother, eyes bright and hopeful. Even though Jace was about the most manly guy’s guy he’d ever met in his life, that bizarre something squeezed in his heart yet again as he looked at them.
Their mother took a deep breath, making Jace’s glance snap back toward her. What? Hell, no. He wasn’t looking at her chest when she took that deep breath that made her breasts swell temptingly beneath her shirt. Of course not. He wasn’t a caveman.
Wolf, his wolf harrumphed at him. Not caveman. Caveman, he muttered again, clearly disgusted with his human.
Whatever, Jace thought from behind what suddenly seemed like a foggy curtain that smothered his intelligent thought. I was looking at her eyes.
Her eyes really were as stunning as the rest of her. Crystalline green, they still brimmed with temper and a razor-sharp intelligence, along with a slight wariness. As if she held herself back slightly. A light smattering of freckles across her fair nose and cheeks simply accentuated her cheekbones and full, beautiful lips. A fall of dark, silky hair slid over one eye. Coupled with an arched eyebrow as she still gazed with severe serenity down at her children, she was the picture of a wolf mama in charge.
The sexiest wolf mama Jace had ever seen. The most intriguing wolf mama he had ever seen. The most indefinably—something wolf mama he had ever seen.
Mine, his wolf murmured firmly.
Jace let the shock of that growing truth whip through him again without betraying any of it in either his expression or his scent. His world, however, was beginning to tilt. Hard.
Harper, J.K.. Protector Wolf: Wolf Shifter Romance Series (Black Mesa Wolves Book 6). Kindle Locations (195-246). Sable Moon Books. Kindle Edition.
There is quite a bit of fun between Jace and the pups as this book goes on. However, both he and Caitlyn avoid each other. They both have their reasons, but really when it comes to mating is there really a choice?
A light-hearted fun read with just the right amount 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.