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You can never go home again…
Viviane Veracruz is on her way home from university with a degree in one hand…and a baby in her belly. Desperate to escape the judgement of her family, she accepts a sexy stranger’s offer to pose as the father for a few days. The plan is for him to run off leaving her family none the wiser. But the longer Pierce Alcede stays, the more she can’t let him go.
Home is where the heart is…
Pierce Alcede has finally come to terms with the fact that he is a lone wolf, prone to roam the wilderness alone and never settle down with a family of his own. When he meets a pregnant woman in need, he thinks nothing of stepping in to take the brunt of her family’s ire. But somewhere between working on the Veracruz Ranch by day and climbing into Viviane’s bed at night, Pierce forgets to run away.
Can a woman searching for a place to belong find a home with a man who lives to roam?
“Is this seat taken?”
The husky feminine voice called Pierce’s attention away from the window and up long legs, down dangerously curved hips, around high, pert breasts to end at a heart-shaped face engulfed in a halo of dark curls. The dark curls and lush curves marked her as a wolf.
Pierce cleared his throat and shifted in his seat. He motioned with his hands for the she-wolf to take the place across from him. She struggled to lift her luggage into the overhead compartment. Pierce stood to offer assistance.
“I’ve got it,” she insisted and hefted the bulk over her head with a grunt.
Pierce stepped back. He was used to strong, independent women. He’d been surrounded by them his whole life. He took no offense that this woman didn’t want his assistance. That didn’t mean he wasn’t a gentleman. He waited to be sure she’d secured the case. Then he waited some more until she was seated.
When she’d finished with her case and stepped into the booth, she stopped in front of her seat and blinked at him. Confusion and then irritation played across the angles of her beautiful face. Her brows rose to her hairline. She tilted her head towards his seat. When he failed to sit down, she motioned with her hand.
Pierce flustered down into his seat, averting his gaze. Had he made a mistake? Perhaps she wasn’t a wolf? Perhaps she was a witch?
It wouldn’t be the first time he’d mistaken a witch for a wolf. His last encounter with a witch -on a train no less- had led to a wedding. It had nearly been his wedding. Until his older brother, Jackson, had stepped in and claimed Lucia as the mate to his soul. The wolf and witch lived happily in a quaint little cottage in the woods.
With Pierce now in his seat, the woman sat. She crossed those mile long legs. Then she cleared her throat.
Pierce blinked. Then he realized; he’d been staring. That’s when he knew she wasn’t a witch. Had she been one he’d have been under a spell by now.
He looked up to offer a sheepish apology. When his eyes met hers, his breath caught in his throat. Beneath the halo of dark, thick hair she had eyes of the lightest blue. Pierce had seen the ocean of the Arctic. That body of water was a dark, murky swamp compared to the crystals set deep in this woman’s face.
He was a lone wolf, prone to roam. He was also a man with needs. Both man and wolf salivated at this woman before him. He was certain his interest was plain. He heard himself panting. His mouth watered. He brushed his thumb at the corner of his lip to capture the drop of evidence.
In response, the she-wolf closed her eyes and sighed. Her foot tapped an irritated song on the floorboards. She turned her head and focused her attention outside at the scenery.
“This is beautiful countryside,” he tried.
They were now far from Sequoia and nearer to the Mexican border.
“Yes,” she said. She turned her head from the window and produced a book from the bag in her lap. She held the book up in front of her face, blocking him from her beauty.
The terse response indicated that she wasn’t interested in him. It should’ve turned Pierce off. It didn’t. The last thing he wanted was an entanglement. Her disinterest in him would serve him well. If he could flip that disinterest, and by extension her, on its back for the morning.
Pierce rarely went for she-wolves. The hot-blooded females could form attachments with males who were not their mates. It was in their natures.
He saw no bite marks on her collarbone. He scented no other wolf on her skin. Though he noted a male scent; probably human. Wolves played with humans, but they didn’t mate for life. Which meant she likely wasn’t looking for any entanglements herself. If he could just capture her attention, he might spark her interest.
“I hope you don’t mind my saying,” he began, a wolfish smile on his face. “But you have the most beautiful-”
“You know, I’m perfectly fine if we dispense with all the niceties and sit here in companionable silence.” She said it with the most polite, most beatific smile.
That smile made Pierce’s blood pump and his cock harden. He’d give her anything to keep her smiling at him like that. “If that’s what you wish.”
“It is.” She aimed the smile pointedly at him.
From his peripheral view, he caught a look at the stupid grin on his face in the glass window. “Then that’s what you’ll have.”
“Thank you.” She pulled the book up, hiding her smile and those eyes, breaking the spell.
With her smile gone, Pierce’s grin turned into a frown. He read the cover of the thick book in her hands; Sheep Health, Husbandry, and Disease. He doubted it was for pleasure reading. Perhaps it was a textbook? Maybe she was a student? Sequoia University was near the train station.
“Are you a student?”
She lowered the book and arrowed those light-colored eyes at him. “I thought we agreed to dispense with the niceties?” She smiled, but the facial expression was tight and full of annoyed patience.
His wolf wanted to poke it with his paw. “I can’t help it. I’m always nice. My mother raised a gentleman.”
Her false facade dropped at the word gentleman. “The only time males are gentlemen,” she practically spat the word, “is when they want to get up a female’s skirt.”
Pierce’s eyes darted to those long legs and the hem of her skirt. By the time he made it back to her face, he knew he was caught. He put on his most winning smile. This smile had gotten him an A in Ms. Peckham’s Chemistry class even after he failed both the midterm and final exams. Fairies fell to their knees at this smile. Hell, even a witch had fallen under the spell of this smile. Pierce launched it at the wolf across from him.
Before he could put forth words, she opened her mouth to speak. Then she swallowed. She rubbed her hand over her flat abdomen. Finally, she lurched forward, vomiting in his lap.
So much for his A game.
Ines writes books for strong women who suck at love. If you rocked out to the twisted triangle of Jem, Jericha, and Rio as a girl; if you were slayed by vampires with souls alongside Buffy; if you need your scandalous fix from Olivia Pope each week, then you’ll love her books!
Aside from being a writer, professional reader, and teacher, Ines is a very bad Buddhist. She sits in sangha each week, and while others are meditating and getting their zen on, she’s contemplating how to use the teachings to strengthen her plots and character motivations.
Ines lives outside Washington, DC with her two little sidekicks who are growing up way too fast.
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