Sexphiles: The Howling
The little ski town in the North Carolina mountains already has one ski lodge, and Skelley and Muellin go undercover to discover if the owner feels threatened enough about the new lodge being built to commit murder. What they find when they arrive, however, is even more suspects. The new lodge is being constructed on sacred Indian burial ground and they have to wonder if that could be the motive, or if there is no motive at all beyond an intrusion on something’s territory. Is it someone who wants to prevent the completion of the project badly enough to kill to stop it? Or must they look beyond the physical world into the paranormal world to find their answers?
Kimberly Zant writes erotic/ romantic suspense under the pen name, J. P. Robbs
Word Count: 19,890
Genre: Erotic Romantic Suspense
Rating: Erotica. Contains explicit sex and graphic language.
Available formats: : PDF, RTF, Epub, HTML, Mobipocket (.prc)
© Cover Art by Jenny Dixon, September 2003
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.
It was hazy inside the tavern. Apparently, this was one of the last strongholds of the smoker, Diana Skelley thought wryly, narrowing her eyes against the fumes as she scanned the room for the man she sought. It was possible it was also the last stronghold of a werewolf.
The room, like most bars, was dim and filled to bursting since it was a Saturday night. The men outnumbered the women in the room by almost two to one. It looked like cowgirl heaven.
Western wear seemed to be the theme of the night, but then her preliminary investigations had indicated that. In actual fact, it was less cowboy and more farm boy. There were more than one or two well worn Stetsons in the room, but it did not look like a convention of Texans. Most of the men wore jeans. A few had topped them with work shirts in a western style. The rest wore everything from plain white T-shirts, to polos, to dress shirts, to plaid ‘lumber jacks’.
Near the back of the bar, she spotted a lonesome cowboy wearing a spotless white Stetson. He was dressed like a country and western singer—or a city boy laboring under the misapprehension that his elaborate rendition of western wear made him fit in. Her gaze swept past him and returned, her vision slowly penetrating the shadows and the thin layer of smoke that lay like a fog bank above the rough hewn plank floor.
She was right. It was her partner, Sly Muellin. Resisting the urge to roll her eyes at his idea of blending in, she continued to scan the room. Finally, she moved to the bar and hoisted herself onto a vacant wooden barstool.
There were two bartenders, filling glasses of tapped beer in a methodical stream, walking up and down the bar collecting empty glasses and stacking them in pans behind the bar that were already overflowing.
A tall man stood propped against the business side of the bar at the far end from where she’d sat, talking to a man on the opposite side that was shrouded in shadows. As if he’d felt her gaze on him, his head turned fractionally and he made a slow sweep of the patrons bellied up to the bar. Diana made a pretense of searching her purse for her wallet before his gaze reached her, but she was well aware of the fact that his gaze paused on her for several moments before continuing down the length of the bar.
He finished, or cut short, his dialogue, straightened, and moved in her direction with a leisurely, loose limbed gait that made her think of silver screen cowboys and sent an adrenaline rush of potent attraction through her system. She abandoned her pretense and studied him with open interest.
He was tall—probably well over six foot—with a build somewhere between a linebacker and a baseball player—neither bulky with muscle nor lean, in short—big. He was swarthy, his hair probably about the shade of a raven’s wing and long, as long her own, at a guess, though it was braided into two plaits that hung across each broad shoulder and could’ve been longer than it looked. His face was—fascinating, all harsh angles and planes and looked like it could’ve been used as a model for the flip side of the buffalo nickel. She would’ve gauged his age to be around thirty five, which, in fact, it was according to DMV.
When he stopped in front of her, she discovered her eyes were level with the wedge of chest revealed by the open neck of his western style shirt. She looked up at him, coolly questioning, ignoring the fact that her heart was thundering in her chest like a jackhammer, resisting the asinine urge to hold up her hand and say, ‘How? Chief.’
“What’s your pleasure?”
His voice, deep, mellow, raised tingling goose bumps all over her. She ignored that, too, lifting her brows. “You’re a bar tender?”
He shrugged, tilted his head. His eyes were virtually black, dilated naturally because of the dimness in the room, but the irises were nearly as dark, making his eyes unreadable. It also made his eyes unnerving. Diana felt a chill chase the goose bumps into abeyance.
“I’ll have a screwdriver.”
He moved away. She watched him mix her drink. In a moment, he returned with it. She opened her wallet. “How much?”
A slow smile curled his lips.
Diana felt her stomach clench. She wasn’t sure whether it was nerves or attraction that time but decided it was probably a combination of the two.
“It’s on the house.”
She lifted her brows. “You won’t get into trouble with the owner?”
“First drink’s free for the ladies.”
“Well, that puts me in my place, doesn’t it?” Diana said wryly.
His smile widened to a grin. Leaning over, he propped his elbows onto the bar, studying her with an open thoroughness that was more than a little disconcerting. “I haven’t seen you in here before.”