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Verdict Jameson writes a simple but effective plot that doesn’t distract from the romance in this fun, flirty story. Paranormal romance fans will appreciate the interesting story line, solid world-building, and likable characters but should be mindful that this novel includes numerous graphic bedroom encounters featuring domination, light bondage, and lots of dirty talk.—Jennifer Harris, Mercyhurst Univ. Lib., Erie, PA
“This book was great! Lots of drama, action, danger, sexy time, and a man who wants to make a woman very happy. The story between the 2, is both heartwarming and toe curling. Becca I am hoping to see a couple more in this series. Loved it”–Julie Ramsey
|Rescue in the Smokies released March 12, 2013, with Samhain Publishing.
Only one will win the right to call her “mate.”
Sergius Durham and his brothers are legendary trackers, and only the local sheriff knows why. They’re wolf shifters, attempting to live quietly on their horse farm. A difficult task when they’re summoned every time a hiker goes missing.
Serg knows there’s something different about his latest case the moment he touches her clothing. She’s his mate, and nothing will stop him from finding and claiming her—except maybe the nuisance of a vampire who lured her off the trail.
Juliana Polanski isn’t sure how she got so lost, but there’s no mistaking her instant attraction to her rescuer. There’s also no denying the passion that explodes between them when rain drives them into a cave for shelter—or at his home, in his bed, even after the crazy, improbable truth of his heritage comes out.
Serg knows the danger isn’t over. At any moment Julianna could be kidnapped right out of his arms—by the only creature the Durham brothers have never been able to track.
Warning: This book contains hunky shape-shifters living in the mountains, hot steamy sex in caves, mind-blowing oral, mild bondage, and wild abandonment in front of mirrors.
A strong whiff of his mate made Sergius lift his head.
She was close. She was also alive. If he could have sighed audibly in wolf form, he would have.
Serg ran. Fear of what he would find made his blood boil.
He pushed through a grove of trees and suddenly she was there, right in front of him, sleeping on a bed of leaves, curled up in a tight ball under a shiny Mylar cover.
He stood for several seconds, staring at her. His chest heaved from the mad dash to find her. He took a deep breath in and held it.
She was slight compared to him. Long, gorgeous, red curls feathered out in every direction, some covering her face.
The urge to lurch forward and nuzzle her made his front paws twitch.
He needed to shift and get her to safety, but he also wanted to burn this moment into his memory, the second he first saw his mate. His jaw clamped down on the pack he carried, his dry mouth reminding him of its presence.
Finally, he backed away from her several yards, hiding himself amongst the bushes he’d come through to let the change take him back to human form.
In two minutes, it was over and he was dressed. And this was why he always carried the cumbersome pouch.
She was so still.
He crouched beside her. Her breaths were shallow, her face totally relaxed in deep sleep. He laid a hand on her shoulder. “Juliana?”
His fingers shook where they’d made contact with her warmth, shockwaves traveling up his arm even through the jacket and whatever she wore underneath. The urge to haul her into his embrace made him tense. He needed to know she was all right. Every bit of her.
She startled awake and bolted upright. “Ohmygod,” she gasped. A strangled sound left her throat.
Her gaze met his from only a few inches away, green eyes like deep pools of water reflecting her shock, her fear and her relief all at once.
“Are you okay?”
She smiled up at him, cute dimples forming on both cheeks. “I am now.” She inhaled, releasing it slowly.
Her heart rate slowed under his palm after the initial surprise. He could feel her pulse in her neck, the swish of blood as it coursed through her.
“Are you injured?”
“Only my pride.” Her pale face tipped back again, her cheeks now flushed. “How did you find me? Where am I?”
“You’re a long way from where you left the path, that’s for sure. Scores of people are combing the woods searching for you.” In a completely different direction. But she didn’t need to know that right now. “How did you get so far from where you started?”
“A man recommended I take a shortcut. When it got late I backtracked. I must have taken a wrong turn, because before I knew it, it was dark. I walked for a little longer and finally saw a light in the distance.” She dipped her head down, her face no longer visible to his perusal. “How embarrassing. I hike hundreds of miles every year. I’ve never gotten lost before. I-I’m not sure how this happened.”
“It doesn’t matter. You’re okay now. Everything is going to be fine. Did you walk all night? You must be exhausted. Hungry.” He was rambling. He never rambled. She had him tongue-tied. No, he’d never acted like this even as a youngster. Wolves didn’t fall all over themselves quite like humans did. Not until they met their mates, apparently.
She giggled. The sweetest sound he’d ever heard. “I think I’m okay. Relieved you found me. Wasn’t sure what I was going to do if I had to keep walking all night again.”
Why had she chosen to travel by night and sleep by day? Sure, it was a better idea as far as warmth was concerned, but not many people would think of such a thing under stress.
Sergius stood and extended his hand to her. She rose alongside him, steadying her slight frame. But her grip sent his mind whirling. Every hair on his body felt electrified. His heart raced. And damn if his c**k didn’t jump to attention.
Lord, she was half a foot shorter than his six feet. And might weigh one fifteen, one twenty, soaking wet.
He could feel the firm muscles on her arms where his hand had landed as they stood. She was strong, apparently both physically as well as emotionally. She hadn’t started crying as he would have expected and didn’t appear to have spent the night crying either. Her eyes weren’t puffy, but weary. Stress lines marked her face.
“Why did you walk all night?”
“Well, the light for one. I thought it was a campfire, but it always remained elusive. I was sure if I followed that damn light, there had to be people around wherever it led when I got there. The strange thing was it was like a mirage. It seemed to keep moving farther away the closer I got to it. Exasperating, really.” She chuckled. “Now it seems absurd. Maybe I imagined the damn thing.”
Her brow furrowed and she bent to examine herself and brush off the twigs and leaves sticking to her body.
Serg reached to pull a leaf from her hair and tucked the unruly strand back behind her ear. When his thumb brushed her cheek, a shock jolted him. She jerked her gaze up to his and sucked in a breath.
She was so beautiful, even with tangled hair and a streak of dirt across her chin. Her round face was pale against his darker hand, a light sprinkling of freckles above her button nose. Sergius let his thumb travel across her cheek again, cupping the side of her head with his palm. His gaze traveled around her face, landing finally on her heart-shaped pink lips, which quivered as she licked the dryness away and tucked the bottom one inside, biting it between her teeth.
Her breath rate increased, in and out through her nose, while she dented that bottom lip with the tight grip of her front teeth.
Did he turn her on? He hadn’t been around mated couples for so long he’d forgotten what it was like when wolves met their mates.
His own heart was racing, threatening to pound out of his chest. He tried not to breathe too often or too deeply, because every inhale dragged more of her sweet essence into him, driving him crazy with the need to take her.