Cover Art by Tomi Warnick
Alpha werewolf Gabriel Andrews is content with his life, even if it’s a bit lonely. He wants what every wolf wants — his mate. When a stunning woman darts into his garage, panting for breath and looking more than a little frightened, his wolf sits up and takes notice. She smells enticing and a hunger grows inside of Gabriel, and he knows he must have her. But loving Kiera will not be an easy task with a ravenous vampire hot on her trail. It seems his little shifter mate is something a little more, and it will take him and an entire pack to keep her safe.
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Copyright ©2009 Jessica Coulter Smith
Kiera ran on silent feet through the darkened alley. It probably would have been easier to escape if she had shifted into her animal form, but then she would have been stuck without clothes later. That would have been a little hard to explain to the average human.
Running for all she was worth, she could sense the vampire’s presence not far behind her. Going into that bar was the dumbest thing she had ever done! Why had she allowed the girls to talk her into it? Shaking her head, she continued to the end of the alley. Hopefully, she would live to see another day.
When she reached the corner, she looked around. There wasn’t much nearby except an old Victorian home and an auto repair shop. Noticing the lights were on in the auto shop, she hurried across the street. Reaching for the door, she glanced over her shoulder and gasped. The vampire was standing on the corner under the street lamp. To a passerby he would seem harmless, but Kiera knew better, knew him for the predator he was. She was trembling as she watched the vampire; she knew he could smell her fear but was helpless to do anything about it.
Pushing the door open, Kiera rushed inside. As soon as she closed the door, she turned the lock. The logical part of her brain was calling her an idiot for thinking a lock would keep out a vampire, but her self-preservation skills were kicking in. That small piece of metal made her feel a little bit safer, even if her safety was nothing more than an illusion.
Across the room, Gabriel heard the door close and lock. As he slid out from under the Mustang he had been working on, he noticed the disheveled woman warily watching the street through the glass door. He got up and walked slowly toward her. Taking in her creamy complexion, petite stature and long ebony hair, his body immediately responded to her. She was definitely something to look at, curved in all the right places.
“May I help you?” he asked.
Kiera gasped and spun toward the deep voice. Momentarily startled, she regained her composure, trying to keep her expression as neutral as possible. “Is it alright if I stay here for a minute?”
Gabriel casually looked her over, appreciating the way her black dress clung to her curves. “Everything okay?”
Kiera glanced back outside. The vampire was still on the corner, watching her every move. She knew that he was waiting for her to leave. It wasn’t fair to involve this stranger in her problems, but she didn’t have much of a choice if she wanted to live. And she definitely wanted to live!
Looking back at Gabriel, she said, “That man across the street has been following me. I’m a little nervous about going back outside.”
Gabriel looked through the glass door. Sure enough, a tall blond man was standing on the corner, watching them. An inner voice was screaming at him that the man was a vampire and to be wary. Gabriel shook his head, clearing the ridiculous thought from his mind. Vampires? He was starting to lose it. Granted, being an alpha werewolf made him believe in the impossible, but he had yet to see proof that vampires existed.
Gently taking her arm, he pulled her away from the door. “You’re safe here. You can stay as long as you need to.”
Kiera gave him a shaky smile. “I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that.”
“Since I’m offering sanctuary, mind telling me how that guy ended up following you?” If he was getting pulled into a domestic dispute, now was the time to find out. The last thing he needed was an angry husband coming after him.
Kiera sighed, realizing she could only tell him half of the truth. If she said that a vampire was following her, she had no doubt she would be dragged off to the loony bin. Granted, that would be the perfect ending to her not so perfect day, but she would prefer to not land herself in a padded cell.
“The short version is that he tried to pick me up in a bar. I told him that I wasn’t interested, but he wouldn’t take no for an answer. When I left, he followed me. He kind of gave me the creeps so I ran.”
Something seemed a little off with her story. If she had been running, why wasn’t she winded? Not that he wouldn’t have enjoyed watching her run in that skin tight dress and heels; it definitely would have been a sight to behold, especially with her being so top heavy. He almost grinned at the image his mind was creating.
Giving himself a mental shake, he asked, “How did you end up here at my garage? There isn’t a bar for at least three or four miles.”
Kiera hoped the shock didn’t show on her face. Had she really run that far? “I guess I got lost. I was just trying to get away from him and didn’t really pay attention to where I was going.”
She knew her excuse sounded feeble, but she couldn’t very well tell him she was a werefox, giving her more agility and stamina than your average human. There were some things that humans just weren’t prepared to hear. The fact that “make believe” creatures really existed ranked high on that list.
Gabriel looked skeptical. There had to be more to her story than that, but obviously she wasn’t going to share the full tale. “What’s your name?”
Kiera smiled. “It’s nice to meet you. I just wish it was under better circumstances.”
“Do you need to use the phone to call someone? It doesn’t look like that guy is leaving anytime soon,” Gabriel said, glancing out the door.
“Oh.” Kiera followed his gaze. Sure enough, the vampire was still watching from across the street. “Um, I don’t really have anyone to call.”
Gabriel arched an eyebrow, but didn’t say anything. Just what kind of trouble was she in? She didn’t look more than twenty-one or so. A deep primal instinct arose, making him want to comfort her and protect her. The wolf in him responded to her soft feminine scent while the man responded to her lush curves. She didn’t even reach his shoulder, which told him that she was under five-foot two since he was a little over six-feet tall. She wasn’t bone thin like a lot of woman he’d met, but she wasn’t fat either. Her elfin shaped face held full rosy lips and beautiful green eyes that were almost almond shaped. They reminded him of cat eyes.
Kiera noticed the appraisal. “I don’t want to keep you from your work. Please don’t feel like you have to keep me company.”
Gabriel grunted, noting the obvious dismissal. Evidently mechanics weren’t good enough for her. He should have known that a woman as pretty and as well dressed as this one was would have an attitude. Paper pushers were probably more her style; wealthy paper pushers.
“Guess I can finish up this job while you wait to see if your admirer goes away.”