With: Terry Spear
First in a BRAND NEW SERIES from USA Today bestselling author Terry Spear, queen of shapeshifter romance.
Real estate mogul werewolf Rafe Denali didn’t get where he is in life by being a pushover. When sexy she-wolf Jade Ashton nearly drowns in the surf outside his beach house, he knows better than to bring her into his home and his heart. But there’s something about her that brings out his strongest instincts…
Rafe has good reason to be suspicious. Jade Ashton and her baby son are pawns in an evil wolf’s fatal plan. How can Jade betray the gorgeous man who rescued her? But if she doesn’t, her baby will die, and her own life hangs in the balance…
To get to the truth, Rafe is going to have to gain Jade’s trust. If he can do that, he just might be her last—and best—hope…
USA Today bestselling author Terry Spear has written over fifty paranormal and medieval Highland historical romances. In 2008 Heart of the Wolf was named a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year. A retired officer of the U.S. Army Reserves, Terry also creates award-winning teddy bears that have found homes all over the world and is raising two Havanese puppies. She lives in Crawford, Texas.
Jade Ashton had made a lot of mistakes in her life, but returning to her brother’s pack topped the list. She should have known the pack members wouldn’t accept her son, the product of a love affair with a human, despite pretending they were fine with it. She glanced at her three-year-old son, napping on the daybed in her office in her brother’s home where she alternated between sketching new designs for intimate apparel and for a new baby and toddler wear line she had developed when her son was born.
Toby had just fallen asleep, looking angelic with his blond curls resting on his cheek, his dark brown eyes closed as he licked his lips. No way would she ever give him up, despite how everyone in her pack viewed him as a grievous error in judgment.
She felt a little dizzy, probably because she’d been so busy that she hadn’t had anything to drink in hours. She got up from her chair and headed out the door, practically running into her twin brother moving silently down the hall like a wolf. She fell back and gasped softly when he grabbed her arm to steady her.
“We need to talk.” Kenneth started to guide her to the den, his blond hair much darker than hers, his amber eyes focused on her in a way that said he had serious business to discuss.
Did he know she intended to leave the pack, again? Or did he want to tell her he didn’t think her being here was working out? “I need to get some water. And we can’t talk long because Toby will be waking in a half hour or so.”
“This will just take a minute.”
It had better, because she wasn’t going to be drawn into any long-winded discussions with her brother. She hadn’t told him she was leaving first thing in the morning. She wasn’t sure how he’d take it. She had to admit she was afraid he’d try to talk her out of it. But she was determined.
Every time he and the others had looked at her son in judgment, she’d been annoyed. Not only that, but she’d caught Kenneth and the others having secret conversations and then abruptly stopping whenever they saw her approaching. The pack members pretended to tolerate her son, but she saw through the facade. They didn’t like her having a human son who couldn’t shift. They believed he could be a danger to the pack.
Which was one of the reasons she had left just after her son was born. She had also wanted to save his human father from her brother’s wrath. But raising Toby on her own had been tough. When her brother had promised that the pack members wanted her to live with them and have the backup they could provide, she had agreed. She and her son had left southern Texas far behind, so she figured she’d never run into Toby’s father again. And Kenneth had sounded sincere in wanting to ensure her protection—just like a pack leader should. She wanted to be part of a family again. She didn’t have a lone wolf personality.
She didn’t believe Toby would be welcome in any other pack either.
Clearly, the members had changed their minds about having her and her son there. Unless they had never wanted her back and it was all her brother’s idea. He was the pack leader, so ultimately, it was his decision—one he was apparently coming to regret. He was just being stubborn, didn’t want to admit he’d made a mistake, and didn’t want to have to tell her to leave.
Then again, maybe he realized she was planning to leave. Being twins, they sometimes sensed things like that before they really shared with each other. She hadn’t packed anything yet. She planned to tell him in the morning, before he left for work at his auto body shop. She thought it would be easier on all of them that way. She’d call him when she got settled and let him know where she was staying. It was for the best—for her son, for her, and for Kenneth and the pack.
Having detoured from the direction of the den to go to the kitchen so she could get something to drink, Kenneth leaned against the granite counter, his focus on her, his expression still ultra-serious. “I have a job for you.”
She raised her brows, then grabbed a glass from the kitchen cabinet. Between raising Toby and running her own businesses, she didn’t have time for a whole lot else. But if this was something quick that she could do this afternoon, she would, to thank Kenneth for taking her in—and then she was through with the pack.
“It’s simple. And hell, you might get real lucky.”
She snorted, pouring water into the glass and adding crushed ice. “Lucky?” She drank several sips of the water.
The front door shut, and she figured Kenneth’s girlfriend, Lizzie, was running out for something. She was a wolf too, which meant they were sleeping together, but he hadn’t decided to mate her yet so they hadn’t gone all the way. If they did, he’d be stuck with her as his mate for life. Jade didn’t know why the she-wolf put up with her brother. If Jade was in a situation like Lizzie’s, she’d tell the wolf that either they mated or she’d look elsewhere. But Jade supposed Lizzie wanted to be a pack leader’s mate and was sticking around in case Kenneth decided she was it. Total beta wolf.
“You’re living off me so you can put more money into your apparel business that isn’t making enough to really sustain you and your son. So, I need you to do this job and—”
“Like hell my business isn’t making enough money.” She was extremely tight with her money. No fancy food for either of them. No special entertainment. No expensive clothes. Since lupus garous lived so long, she had worked other jobs to help pad her bank account before Toby was born. She wasn’t wealthy, but she got by just fine. As long as she was frugal. “That’s okay. Being here with the pack isn’t working out for Toby and me anyway.”
Kenneth’s eyes widened. “You’re not leaving.”
“Listen, Kenneth, you know no one wants my son here. And they barely tolerate me. You make Lizzie babysit Toby sometimes when I really need someone to watch him so I can work, but it’s not fair to her. The rest of the pack worries about him. I appreciate all you’ve done for me. I really do.”
She shrugged. “But…I know this is the right thing for me to do. And for you and the pack too. I’m leaving tomorrow, and we can get together from time to time…later.” She really didn’t believe that would happen, but she’d make the gesture anyway.
“Like I said, I have a job for you.”
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