Now Available – Night StolenThis one has been a stubborn release. Outline holes, rebellious characters, editor woes, cancelled pre-orders… Everything that could go wrong did. Here we are though, finally getting Ruby’s story!
Nearly twenty years ago, Ruby was stolen from her pack by an alpha who saw her as the key to his power.
Now she’s free, but freedom comes with its own problems. Her old pack comes calling, and they aren’t the sort of visitors that come bearing gifts. They bring danger, threats, and for whatever reason, Ash.
To quell the tension between her old alpha and her new one, Ruby volunteers to go with Ash on a mission to find information about lupine being hunted. Working together leads to more discoveries between themselves than anything else, however, when Ruby’s honed defenses prove flimsy against Ash’s charm and persistence. The last thing she needs is to play with a younger lover, especially when lupine are going missing.
With too many questions and mysteries floating around her, will Ruby find the balance between her lupine loyalties and her own free will? Her heart has been broken before, and now she’s protecting her very spirit.
Ash entered the cabin. The door creaked, and his slow footsteps came to her. She closed her eyes and held her breath momentarily, not wanting the scent of him. They barely knew each other, but his scent and the way his presence filled a room, his aura, was emblazoned in her memory.
She hated it. Didn’t hate him, perhaps, but hated that after all this time her wolf would shake out the years of Ian’s oppressive weight and awaken for someone like Ash. Someone too young and wrong in all of the ways that mattered. It made him a distraction, and she had no room or time for distractions.
“Why you?” she asked, skipping a greeting.
“It was always going to be me. It’s my responsibility,” he replied. The cushions dipped at her feet as he sat, making himself at home. He tucked in closer against her legs until her feet were pressed to his thigh and sighed.
She had to remind herself not to read into the action. Her first response was to move away, and she suppressed it. For too long she’d been apart from casual companionship. She’d deprived herself of others.
Lupine needed pack, and physical comfort was one of those needs. She’d denied her natural urge to be near others, let alone touch or be touched. There were nights she’d stood behind Ian at pack gatherings and watched the lupine walk close to one another. Hug. Rest their hands on arms or shoulders; brief, seemingly insignificant, reassuring gestures. They comforted both giver and receiver.
Ruby had weaned herself from that. Ash hadn’t. He was a stranger in unfamiliar territory, and he clearly viewed her as someone he could find comfort with, for whatever reason. Maybe the physical nearness was tied to his desire to be intimate, but not necessarily. They were about to go into town and be surrounded by humans, away from the comforts that the pack gave. She wasn’t sure how long their mission would last. A few hours? A day? What if it was longer?
She straightened her legs, resting them across his lap. He automatically adjusted and lay his arms over her knees. The sudden jolt of awareness brought a sting to her eyes. It was the longing, and the notion that maybe she didn’t have to long for anything anymore. She could return to who she was. Ridiculous.
This just felt so good. To be touched. To be close. He felt like pack, even if he wasn’t. No, she corrected herself, he felt better than pack somehow. His touch wasn’t just satisfying the needs of one lupine comforting another, but more akin to a blend of like souls and deep cravings.
Everything she wanted and had lost came sliding to the forefront of her thoughts, and she shut the door in her mind with a resounding, emphatic clang. No. There would be none of that.