How could he not with his enhanced werewolf hearing? John heard the hurt in her tone, the confusion as she struggled to sort through her emotions. It was evident to anyone with half a brain. Dana struggled with what her body and wolf wanted and what she, the woman, needed. Raised in a dysfunctional household, how could she not fight what they proposed?
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Any resemblance to actual events or persons, either living or deceased, is completely coincidental. No part of this book may be reproduced or shared in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including but not limited to digital copying, file sharing, audio recording, email and printing without permission in writing from the author. Her heart pumped wildly, and her breath came in harsh pants as adrenaline coursed through her body.
The rush gave her muscles the extra oomph needed for a speed boost. It would take only a small misstep to enter a world of pain because the area was peppered with dangerous foxholes, not all of them natural. She ghosted through the woods on paths marked only in the map of her mind, a labyrinth for the uninitiated.
She practiced her escape route with single-minded intensity because, one day, her life might depend on it. Hours later, physically exhausted, she returned to her home, which bordered the protected forest that spanned thousands of acres in this lost and godforsaken part of the planet, and shifted back to her human form.
She strode, naked and proud, to her rear porch, secure in the knowledge that the only eyes watching her belonged to the simpleminded creatures of the forest. A rumble in the sky preceded the hovering storm and the cleansing rain that would wash the traces of her mad flight, keeping her secret routes safe. She knew with an instinct borne of survival that the time fast approached when she would be forced to leave this haven of peace.
Staying too long in one place was never a good idea, no matter the precautions she took. While currently Lycan free, the town and its location were too tempting to remain taint free forever. There were times, when she fought off an unwanted werewolf suitor or fled yet another temporary home, that she wondered if she might not have been better off staying and accepting what fate held in store for her.
Like my mother, her poor, sad mother. She shook her mane of hair in a bid to chase the melancholic memories and regrets that had no place in her current life—the life I chose. Dana dressed in the robe she kept by the back door and then locked the place up. She set the alarm and checked her laptop for perimeter breaches, even though her own scrutiny while in wolf form had detected nothing. Everything appeared quiet, which seemed at odds with her jumpy nerves.
Paranoia at bay for the moment—but never far from her mind—she showered and went to bed. She ran, legs pumping madly, matching her breath coming in short pants. The crackling noise of her passage echoed through the sun-dappled branches, but she dared not slow.
The one who chased her left no sound of his passage, but even though he moved as quietly as a wraith, the birds fell silent as they sensed the predator come amongst them. Her meandering flight brought her to a sun-filled clearing. Her chest heaving, she twirled, seeking him in the shadows. But as always, he snuck up on her.
Arms, growing solid with brawn, wrapped around her and lifted her from the ground. She squealed. Put me down. One kiss. She could see mirth dancing in their depths. It went well with the crooked smile on his face, the one she wanted to kiss senseless.
She pursed her lips and tilted her head, all the invitation he needed to touch his mouth to hers. Oh, how she loved the electric current that ran through her when he held and embraced her like this. It made her whole body thrum and ache in the most intimate of places. It was made even hotter by the fact that it was forbidden.
When his hands grew bold, tracing the contour of her buttocks, she pushed away from him. With a mischievous grin, she took off running again. And, with his laughter surrounding her, he gave chase. Her alarm clock rang shrilly, jolting her from the dream. At least it had been one of the nicer ones, from a time when she still innocently thought things could turn out differently for her.
I used to be so oblivious. A hot cup of coffee—extra strong and bitter enough to make her grimace—further dispelled the foolish remembrance of her youth. She gulped down a bowl of Cheerios before she dressed in well-worn jeans, a faded plaid shirt, and steel-toed boots. Practical attire for her job at the lumber mill, a dirty, muscle-straining job but one that helped her stay strong, not to mention it also paid the bills.
It served another purpose as well. The mill, being the only place of real employment in town, meant she could easily keep track of the transients who came to work and ascertain their species—Lycan or human. When it came to the former, she took no chances. Run or die. Not only did the constant fresh starts get wearying, she was ti red of constantly having to prove her worth. Only the best of the best could do it. Unlike the bull-chain operators, who simply pulled the logs into the mills, or the barkers, who ran the stripping machines, she needed skill.
She could take over any position in the place, including that of the deck workers who rolled the logs onto the platform or the block setters who placed the logs into position. But any idiot with a little muscle could do those jobs. As leader of the headsaw crew, she was the one they counted on. She made sure they got as much high-grade lumber as possible from each log. It required precision and an ability to feel the wood, something she had a knack for.
One free of pack politics and emotional turmoil. A lonely existence empty of family and a partner. But better to live on her terms than as a sex slave to numerous men, which was what awaited her should she run across a Lycan who got past her defenses. She enjoyed a fragile freedom that required constant guarding. Anything bigger than a cat and the alarm went off, sending a signal to her laptop, which was always on and which, in turn, would alert her via cell phone.
How can I be lonely when paranoia is my constant companion? She drove to work in her beat-up truck. She parked in the muddy parking lot and squelched her way into the building. She dumped her lunch in the humming fridge and mumbled some good-mornings to the crews already there sipping coffee from their travel mugs.
She snagged her time card and punched in. Grabbing a Styrofoam cup, she poured some of the sludge that passed as coffee. Stupid malfunctioning equipment. Big Mike chuckled as he slid over to make her some room.
Working with men, she needed to have a laxer attitude, and getting up on her high horse over companionable ribbing would shut her out quicker than tattle-telling to the boss. Cory, a deck worker, stuck his head inside the employee break room. The boss wants to see ya. In other words, the usual spiel he gave after every quarterly accounting. But it seemed complacency was to be her enemy today because she walked in and froze at the sudden, unmistakable scent of wolf. The kid in the office, the only name she had for the fresh-faced youth standing there, turned to face her, and his eyes widened.
He opened his mouth, probably to say something stupid, and she gave him a cold glare to shut him up. She only half listened to her boss as he asked her to show the kid around and find a spot for him to work.
His regular training lackey was out sick, and given the log crews were behind due to machinery malfunctions, the annoying task of training fell to her. Pack law says so.
Then male arrogance—also known as the dumbass syndrome—once again took over. Pack law says I can claim any unmarked female. Is that your final answer?
Because, just so you know, my law says any prick who tries to claim me against my will either loses his dick or dies. Where words tended to not work when a male was thinking with his cock, a dirty shot tended to wake them up real quick—that and she got sadistic pleasure out of seeing them gasp for air and turn all kinds of shades of purple.
She sauntered away, noting with her keen senses that he followed, if unhappily. He said not one more word to her as she went through the motions of showing him around.
Only one thing stopped them once they scented her—death. Something alerted her coworkers to her simmering anger, probably her tight jaw and flashing eyes, because the regular crews refrained from saying anything to her face about her little shadow.
If they only knew. By the time she managed to extricate herself, the young wolf was gone. She scanned the parking lot, more a mud pit with various pieces of rusted crap sitting on tires.
However, there were only two places in town to rent rooms, the majority of which were held by mill workers. Two hours later, after scouring the small town several times over, including the diner, bar, and pharmacy, she gave up. The pup seemed to have disappeared, taking the news of her existence with him. She drove home in simmering silence. Pulling into her drive, she hit the gas too hard and spit up gravel with her spinning tires. Not that she cared if she left a rut.
The next owner could take care of it.
Defying Pack Law (2011)
I have only read a couple of Eves books in the past but loved them. When I saw this series I couldnt resist. It hits on several of my favorite genres and at the same time gives me a chance to explore more of her books. Wow, I loved it, loved it, loved it! Dana and Nathan are in love. Just entering into adulthood they pledge themselves to each other. They are shape shifters, werewolves.
[Pack 01.0] Defying Pack Law by Eve Langlais