(Black Hills Wolves)
by Tina Donahue
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There’s no place like home…especially for a wolf who shouldn’t have run away.
Wylder Aaron always knew Starr Joseph was his mate, but the time wasn’t right for them. To escape his hopeless feelings for her, he fled Los Lobos and joined the military, not even saying goodbye.
Starr wanted nothing more in life than Wylder. When he left, she fled too. Her sultry beauty made her an instant success as the new look for a major cosmetics firm. However, fame is fleeting. At twenty-six, she’s old news and forgotten. Worse, loneliness led her into the arms of another were-shifter with a jealous streak. During his last rage, he slashed the side of her face, promising to kill her the next time she tried to flee.
She did anyway, returning to the safety and anonymity of Los Lobos…straight into Wylder’s arms.
He gripped the jamb, steadying himself.
She stood at the edge of the lot, facing the bar. The ends of her glossy black hair and the hem of her olive-green T-shirt fluttered in the mild breeze. Otherwise, there was no movement. She might have been posing for a major ad campaign in one of those high fashion magazines, as she had in the past. Who knew what went through her mind being back in town instead.
He wanted to call out, put her at ease. Fearful she might bolt, he dug his thumbnail into the wood and drank her in.
She’d filled out, no longer the slender teen he recalled, her shape womanly now. Battered jeans hugged her sleek thighs. Her tee stretched provocatively across her ample breasts, the nipples pebbled against the soft cotton despite the warm summer day. A faint rose tint added a hint of color to her pale skin.
From her inner heat or embarrassment?
The wind picked up, whipping her hair back. She snatched the locks to keep them over her left ear and edge of her face.
He didn’t have to wonder why. Her mom had told him some of what happened to Starr in Los Angeles. Not enough though.
She regarded both sides of the street. Deserted. Thick forest surrounded the small town, pines creeping up mountainsides, craggy rocks peeking through primordial vegetation. In the distance, young male voices rang out with laughter. Teens likely racing each other to the swimming hole.
Wylder breathed a sigh of relief the kids weren’t headed closer with their snickers, cruel comments, and mocking gazes. Dumbasses. Bullying wasn’t what Starr needed.
She tilted her face.
Their gazes met.
His heart turned over, warmth flooding him. She had the face of an angel, her high cheekbones, full mouth, and almond-shaped eyes almost too beautiful to be real. She parted her lips in what might have been surprise, wonder, or yearning. He liked to think longing was on her mind, the same as his.
Her irises shifted from light brown to dark gold, the way they had in the past when she’d teased, wanting to get a rise out of him.
He’d ignored her then, had to. Not any longer. Their time, here and now, had to be right for him to claim her as his mate. What he’d known from the moment he’d become a man.
He smiled. Hell, he grinned, coming perilously close to drooling.
Gold faded to brown in her eyes, her yearning expression turning to hurt then caution. She stepped back.
Shit, she was going to run. He planted his hands on the jamb of the window and leaned out as far as he could without falling. “Starr.”
She pivoted away then faced him again, looking at the bar rather than up toward him. With her narrow shoulders squared, she marched inside.
Tim McGraw’s Live Like You Were Dying stopped abruptly, along with the patrons’ laughter and conversation, everything going dead quiet as though someone had flipped a switch. Or recalled how she’d run away.
Tina is an Amazon and international bestselling novelist in erotic, paranormal, contemporary and historical romance for Kensington, Samhain Publishing, Ellora’s Cave, Siren Publishing, Booktrope, Luminosity, Decadent, and indie. Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, Romantic Times and numerous online sites have praised her work. Three of her erotic novels (Freeing the Beast, Come and Get Your Love, and Wicked Takeover) were Readers’ Choice Award winners. Another three (Adored, Lush Velvet Nights, and Deep, Dark, Delicious) were named finalists in the EPIC competition. Sensual Stranger, her erotic contemporary romance, was chosen Book of the Year at the French review site Blue Moon reviews. The Golden Nib Award at Miz Love Loves Books was created specifically for her erotic romance Lush Velvet Nights. Two of her titles (The Yearning and Deep, Dark, Delicious) received an Award of Merit in the RWA Holt Medallion competition. Take Me Away and Adored both won second place in the NEC RWA contest (different years). Tina is featured in the Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market. Before penning romances, she worked at a major Hollywood production company in Story Direction.
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