Cover Art: 19th Century America | Johanna Lindsey
Sharisse Hammond had no intention of giving herself to some rancher who had sent for a mail-order bride! she had gone West only to escape the New York ...
I couldn't resist posting this cover art when I ran across it during a search... ~smiles~
Windy-night howls and yowls, shapeshifter lovers.
Cold winds today on the tame prairie, even with the more moderate and wonderful temps. But the cold is moving in again.
Okay, Valentine's Day is coming up fast and furious, alright. All the nightclubs and restaurants inside the Pleasure Club complex are putting the final touches on what they're offering in the way of celebration, and putting out the word. Not to mention, the Pleasure Club will be filled to the brim with those living out their Valentine's day erotic fantasies.
Once again, here's a continuation of Sheriff Roy and his bobcat beauty, Xanya's love story. Roy is wondering at himself for asking Xanya to the Saturday Night Barn Dance... however, there's another kind of trouble heading his way.
Like he had a damn choice...
Once he stepped outside the diner, Roy clamped his Stetson on his head in a manner that rarely happened. Only when he was agitated. Well, he was damn well lustfully agitated, alright.
Winter's frigid wind slapped him in the face. But he barely noticed the cold, only taking note of the icy stinging snowflakes.
Yeah, head butting what? What was he doing asking Xanya to Saturday's barn dance?
Like he had a damn choice. It was either court the young beauty, or fall prey to their carnal chemistry for each other.
Or scale the highest nearby mountain as his ram self, and stay there. Until his testosterone-fueled ardor cooled down.
Roy harumphed under his breath as he stomped through the building snow toward his truck—a souped-up, bullet proof Ram pickup. Oh hell yeah, he'd tinkered with the engine until it was a roaring beast. He could chase down and charge the bad guys. When needed.
Well hell, if was going a'courtin', he'd better figure out his strategy, and get his good clothes out. Take inventory and buy whatever else he needed. Not like he wanted an eight-second bull ride with Xanya, or any woman for that matter. Roy preferred the full bloomin' that only happened with a long-term affair.
His sexual pleasure hit the mountaintop when he truly got know a woman, both in bed and out. That was most satisfyin' as he'd discovered over the years.
Roy climbed in his truck, and was about to turn the ignition key when Marry Lou hailed him. She most definitely looked like a wild-eyed mare as she waved her arms, then trotted toward him—marking darn good time in the snow.
Roy motioned with his head for her get inside, then quickly leaned over opening the passenger door. "What's up, Mary Lou?" he asked, then rumbled the truck to life.
In seconds, heat blasted them, and Roy positioned himself, facing her. "Everything okay at your store?" he asked when she didn't immediately answer.
Given her shoulders were hunched, her hands stuffed in the pockets of her parka, Roy waited. She'd speak her piece. He knew that, given his years of dealing with folks
"The store is fine. Doin' a good business...thanks for your order last week." Mary Lou drew in a large breath, and huffed it out. "I overhead somethin', Sheriff."
She twisted toward him. Anxiousness strained her features, and she breathed hard like a frightened horse. Given Mary Lou was an equine shifter that hardly surprised him.
"What is it?" Concern knitted Roy's brow. "You know you can trust me, Mary Lou."
"I know...I know." She gave him a weak grin, and he saw the resolve in her eyes. "I was out behind the store. About six last evening. Carrying out some trash. Just as I was turnin' the corner, I caught a glimpse of a long black car parked behind that giant bin of mine. The snow isn't that deep there.
"You know, Sheriff, nobody owns a car like that 'round here." Mary Lou rushed her words."It was one of those government CIA looking cars with the blacked out windows."
"Did they threaten you?" Roy demanded, ready to lock and load.
"Nope. I plastered myself against the wall. Didn't even peek around. But I heard the door open, and a couple of 'em got out. Think they were taking a smoke break 'cause I smelled those cigarettes soon enough. Anyway..."
"Anyway," Roy prompted. His gut churned, on full alert.
"They started talkin' about you, Sheriff. Said your name. Said they had the snitches in place at the jailhouse, and at your office—and were waitin' to find out your routine.
Then..." Mary Lou's entire body jerked. Her eyes widened to saucers as she gazed at him square on.
"One of 'em said he couldn't wait...wait until you were a grease skid he could run over."
"You sure about that, Mary Lou?" Roy asked in his patient-with-the-witness voice.
"Yes, Roy, I'm sure." Mary Lou looked away. "I won't ever forget that callous laughter...after he said it."
In the following silence, Roy rubbed his chin, thinkin'. "Anything else you can remember?"
"No license tags on the car." Mary Lou swivelled her gaze to him again. "When I heard the car driving away, I got my gumption up, and peeked around the corner." She stared down at her knotted hands. "We don't have license plates around here. In town. But these bastards were just passin' through."
"Yeah, right. Do you know if anyone else saw that car? Or had an encounter with the men inside?"
"I don't think so. I've asked at the coffee shop. 'Course, I left a message for Dante. He got back to me, so he has all the details."
"Ah," Roy gave a nod, "that's why Dante messaged me earlier. I'm talkin' with him in a couple of hours."
"I figured Dante would track you down. But since I saw you...now you have it from the horse shifter's mouth." Mary Lou cracked a smile.
"Thanks. Glad you talked to me about this, Mary Lou. How about I take you wherever you're goin'?"
"Just on my way back. Had to take one of the store's trucks in for repair. Lorenz didn't have anyone available to drive me back."
Roy eased out of the parking slot. "I hear Lorenz is one heckuva mechanic."
"No complaints. Only praise, so far. Stephanos...he has the motorcycle repair shop in town...well, he recommended Lorenz to Dante. Seems the two were biker buds in the past. We certainly do need good mechanics here."
"Yep, we do. Town is growin' fast. Good to see that happen." Roy turned off on the country road that led to the Moonrise Livestock and Pet Center, Mary Lou's business, which was about a half mile from the center of town.
The large remodeled barn had been quickly outfitted by Dante's building team, given Mary Lou wanted out of Talbot Peak fast as possible.
"It is good to see us growin'." Mary Lou spoke with enthusiasm. "You are gonna watch your butt. Right, Sheriff?"
"Sure thing, ma'am." Roy pulled up to the front door of the Livestock Center. "You're okay, right? And you're certain those men didn't know you were listenin'."
"They gave no sign they knew. Acted cool as frozen cucumbers. But I did have my pistol out and ready."
"Later, Sheriff. Take care." Mary Lou shoved open the door, and jumped out.
Once she'd entered her store, Roy headed toward his two nephew's ranch, where he'd been stayin' for the past couple of days. As he slowly traveled over the snowy highway, he replayed Mary Lou's words tryin' to make sense out of what she'd heard, and seen.
Damn right, he had enemies, being a Sheriff, and all. But dang, this was likely a cointelpro operation of some kind, or worse, a takedown. Thing was, what for? Truth was he had several irons in the fire that could cause the feds, the alphabet agencies, to have their tighty-whities in big ole wad.
Within the past several weeks, he'd refused fed agents access to his county seven times. Most of the requests had been for petty drug offenses, which had already been handled to Roy's satisfaction.
What had him seriously pondering, though. Over the years, he'd had to be ridge-walking careful to keep his shifter side secret. If his cover had been blown...well, he might be retirin' and moving permanently to Moonrise Lake.
Not a bad thing. At this point, though, there were good men and women in his department, one of whom would likely be elected as the next county sheriff.
All the way to the ranch, his rearview mirror got a good workout, but nothin' outta the ordinary followed him, flew above, or threatened to waylay him. Being a ram shifter, Roy knew when an enemy hunted him.
His animal sixth-sense had always been reliable as the sun comin' up in the morning.
Roy frowned, thinkin' about Xanya. Dammit, now what? How could he put her in the middle of such a potentially dangerous situation?
'Course, he hadn't talked with Dante yet. Likely, the alpha wolf already had serious intel on who, and why, someone wanted to turn him into a grease skid...that is, instead of capturing his ass, and letting the mad scientists experiment on him, then dissect him.
On second thought about the dang alluring Xanya—who refused to leave his thoughts—well yeah, Dante knew about feline-shifter women. The blond bombshell cat woman, Kitty, was his mate.
Speaking of the real intel he needed. How to court a cat woman.
If anyone knew, Dante did. Roy grinned.
Wishing you love and passion on the wild side ~
Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance