Blue-Collar Werewolves IV: Creature Comforts
Love or loyalty? That is the question that pack warden, Chase Redding, must answer.
As death and tragedy stalks the heart of the Anderson County Pack, Chase must choose his priorities. The safety of his pack or the love of his life? Waking up mate-bonded to a fugitive wolven female on the run from the Hunter when he’s supposed to be protecting pack territory just complicates the heck out of his job.
India Demos is tired of running. Accidentally mate-bonding a warden is just the break she needs to hide out from one of the Hunters. Proving her worth to the pack is expected, falling for her reluctant mate isn’t.
Avenge the death of one of their own. Get the girl. And kill the Hunter for a wolven’s favorite prize—Cookies! No one ever said a warden’s job was easy. But if he can hold on to her, a woman like India just might be worth her weight in dessert.
Length: Epic Novel
Word Count: 106,308
Genre: Paranormal/Werewolf Romance
Available formats: PDF, RTF, Epub, HTML, Mobipocket (.prc)
© Cover Art by Eliza Black, July 2012
New Concepts Publishing
Lake Park, GA 31636
This is a work of fiction. All characters, events, and places are of the author's imagination and not to be confused with fact. Any resemblance to living persons or events is merely coincidence.
Chase urged the sexy redhead in his arms closer, reveling in the press of her full breasts against his body. A couple of agile two-steps took them around another, less coordinated couple. Half drunk, the dancers’ enthusiasm far outweighed any real progress around the small dancing area. So different than his eager dance partner who followed his lead in her mouth-watering be-donkey-donk jeans and fresh perfume. Her willing arousal pushed the mingled scent of alcohol and stale cigarettes to the back of his mind. Country music wasn’t his thing, but her body against his, moving to the music and the small hands that just cupped his butt were enough to convert him for the night. Burying his nose in Texas-high teased curls, Chase grinned. He was gonna get lucky tonight.
The song ended and the red head clung tighter. Her hands tangled in the end of the long dark blond ponytail that hung down the back of his black leather vest. Easing back, he untangled from her grasp and allowed himself to caress the sweet milkiness of one bared arm. Country chic in her sleeveless peek-a-boo top with its teeny red checkerboard and formfitting jeans, she was hot and ripe for the picking.
“What would you say to some fresh air, Shortcake?” Chase rumbled the question against the sensitive outside of the redhead’s ear. The rasp of his whiskers sent a shiver down her spine. Small goose bumps raised under his hands. The musk of her desire mixed with the strawberry scent of her shampoo steeped in his super sensitive nose. Man-o-man, sex with a hint of his favorite dessert. He shifted, bringing all the important contact points together, letting her feel his interest. No pressure, just a little ‘see what ya do to me, baby’.
She flipped her hair back over one shoulder and flashed a prize-winning smile back at him. Her pose pressed the nubs of her breasts against him. Chase had to admit, he liked his females sassy. “I’ve been called everything from Red to Carrot Top, cowboy. Never Shortcake.”
“Darlin’ do I look like a cowboy to you?”
“Nah. You’re more motorcycle than cowboy.” Running one manicured hand down the front of his tee shirt to the snap holding in his straining leather pants, she boldly cupped him. Every nerve ending from his navel to his knees sat up and sang halleluiahs. Hell, his boys were weeping in anticipation of worshipping at her shrine. The silver studs and buckles on his laced up black boots winked in the mirror ball light from black leather framed her designer stitched boots. Strawberry red to match her bold and bright personality. “Your place or mine?”
“Yours, Shortcake.” He never brought any of the human females he passed the time with to Packhome, sweet and luscious as they were. Fragile humans had no place right smack in the middle of a den of shapeshifting wolves. Besides, he shared a room with his bud, Tank who was more than a tad OCD. A woman would only nose around in their stuff, driving his roommate insane with the obsessive-compulsive need to wipe down and put every tiny thing she touched back into place. He liked to joke that they had evolved from pissing in corners to mark their territory, barely. Still true, when her scent would linger, trapping the roommates with the ghost of a stranger until the familiar and comforting pack scents soaked back in. No piece of nookie could be worth that price, strawberry scented shampoo or not.
Chase tapped her on her cute little nose. “I’ve got to say bye to my friends.”
“I need to go to the ladies room anyway. I’ll meet you outside,” she winked, flipping the fluffy red mountain of waves over her shoulder. “Then I’m going to rock your world, motorcycle man.” The outline of her heart shaped butt made it hard to turn away as she walked to the back of the bar where the restrooms were located. He was gonna get lucky, but still he wouldn’t slack off on his duties without some heads-up to his packmates. With his thumbs hooked in his belt loops and a cheerful leer, he strolled back to his packmates table and the disaster of a birthday party held there.
“You are such a dog.” Censure rolled off his little human packsister, Bailey Weis. Her smudged glasses and untamed curls looked as though she and her obnoxiously dressed mate Mark had snuck off for a few minutes alone. Not that he blamed them. The two were still in the gooey-lovey honeymoon stage and happened to be parents to an active four-footed pup with separation anxiety issues. “That kind of girl is only out for one thing.” Bailey shook a motherly finger in Chase’s direction. The entertainment value as the adorably short plump female practiced her burgeoning motherly skills on him tempted him stay for another round. Tempting, but not enough to forfeit Shortcake’s promise to rock his world.
“And thank God for that one thing.” Rick Weis took a swig of the Corona and sent his brown eyes casting around the bar. “It’s too bad pickings are so slim or I’d be having a little somethin’ somethin’ too.
Bailey leaned over the table, slapping at her brother-in-law. “Rick Weis, I cannot believe you said that.” Rick had the skin tone and dark features of the local human Latinos. Except that Rick had never been human. Wolven classified themselves by species, not race. You were either a wolf or not a wolf.
“What can I say? Woof, woof.” Unrepentant, Rick grinned. He followed up with a mock wolf howl. Mark joined him, beating out a tempo on the warped cafeteria-style table. With one or two exceptions that Chase had yet to find, bars in Palestine were unpretentious dives. Dives with interesting cover bands and cheap beer. So, the dive part could be forgiven.
Bailey readjusted her western hat and leaned into her mate just a bit tipsy. Mark rescued the beer mug full of mystery daiquiri before she swept it from the not so stable table. “You’re all dogs,” Bailey poked a finger in her mate’s arm as she cast him a goofy grin. “But you’re my dog.” Green glow-in-the-dark lizards tracked over his shirt in the tacky fashion sense that was uniquely Mark. Lately, Chase suspected Bailey was aiding and abetting her mate’s clothing choices. Mark’s tackiness had reached a new level since he and Bailey had tied the knot.
Chase strolled around his packsister to tweak her hat down over her eyes. “Bailey, darlin’. You are cute as all get out when you’re half-plastered. There is no way in hell I’m staying in this noxious sardine can.”
Across the bar, the redhead waved and slipped out the door.
“But it’s Tamara’s birthday party!” The sharp scent of Bailey’s anxiety rode over the tobacco and alcohol scented air. “You can’t leave until after the band sings her song. We’re supposed to dance the night away! Party till the cows come home.” She did a little dance in her seat before falling heavily against her mate in a fit of giggles.
The birthday girl, raised beer mug full of strawberry daiquiri. She grinned wide with a white wolfish smile. Tamara would stay sober, despite the nearly empty pitcher on the table. At times having a supernaturally high metabolism bummed a party. “I’m okay.” Tamara’s blond hair fell around a face that would make many a high fashion model green with envy. That is until those delicate models met the real predator behind Tamara’s lovely exterior. More than one human made the mistake of taking advantage of Tamara’s naturally shy reserve. “You just go and have your fun warden. We’ll see you at the hunt tomorrow night.”
Feeling protective, Chase brushed a hand over his packsister’s pale highlighted hair. She’d be fine tonight at least, surrounded by family. They all felt her loneliness through the packbond, her need for a mate. And they worried for it. Tamara had come to them years ago, looking for a fresh start after her wolven fiancé jilted her for a mate more financially lucrative for his pack. Her taste in male company hadn’t gotten any better over time. Chase and the other pack males had run off several unsuitable suitors over the years. Human and supernatural males that didn’t appreciate Tamara’s sweet nature. “Yeah.” He told himself to get moving before her blue eyes suckered him into staying and playing big brother. He’d already danced Tamara around the floor three times and warned off a couple of assholes. It was time for someone else to pony up. “Well, don’t let these guys get out of giving you a birthday dance.”
His oldest bud, Tank, stirred to life, no doubt coming out of a study of human mating customs, or whatever. “There is no need for concern. The objective is, as Bailey put it, to dance the night away.” Tank’s dry cool tone contrasted with his biker appearance. Meticulous braids pulled back into one long ponytail down the back of his black t-shirt, jeans style leather pant, and a pair of monster size fourteen jump boots. Tank could have been reciting tax law. “Bradley, Rick, and myself will keep Tamara occupied until closing. Bailey and Mark supply her with ridiculously named alcoholic beverages.”
Bradley Starr startled a bit at Tank’s assessment but put his beer down and held out a surly hand to the birthday girl. “I’ll go first,” he bit out with a snarl. The gold gleam of a thick necklace shown at the open collar of his two toned western shirt. Even from across the room, Chase could practically taste the fairy magic that imbued Bradley’s necklace. Or choke chain. It all depended how you looked at it.
“Why, Bradley. Be careful. Your enthusiasm could sweep a girl right off her feet.” Tamara pulled a face at the offer while shooing Chase out with her hand. “Thanks, but no thanks. I’ve had better offers to have my teeth scraped.”
Chase didn’t stay to hear the rest of the squabble. He sauntered to the door, his eyes possessively following the red head as she made her way to him through the lonely yahoos at the bar. With the barest words, she flicked the undesirables away and sashayed on, completely unaware of the territorial beast he kept leashed inside. Shortcake may be his for tonight only, but his kind didn’t share well. An idiot dressed as George Strait followed her.
“Hey.” Shortcake paused, her full, freshly lipstick-covered lips pouted as she slid past him. “You coming?”
Chase made eye contact with the idiot as he tagged his little treat and slid an arm around her waist. Smart prey recognized a dangerous predator. The guy faltered, signaling a waitress before heading back to the bar. Giving her his full attention, he finally ushered her out the door, her arousal a heady perfume in his nose. “Not yet, babe. But we’ve got the whole night ahead of us and I plan to make it last.”