Abandoned (Wolf Gatherings, Book 5)

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Release Date:

May 1, 2014

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Abandoned releases on May 1, 2014, with Taliesin Publishing.

Blurb:Allison Watkins has been missing for a year. One of many victims captured by the mysterious Romulus, she is finally rescued by the North American Reserves in a massive sting. Tired and in need of counseling, she comes to the Spencer Ranch in Texas to reunite with her parents and work through her trauma with the other rescued women.Daniel Spencer has been training with NAR for over a year. He knows an undefined threat is closing in on the way of life shifters have enjoyed for centuries. And he is prepared to fight on the side of good to ensure his family and friends can continue to live in peace. What he isn’t prepared for is the sexy broken blonde with deep blue eyes who arrives at his family’s ranch and stops him dead in his tracks.Allison is his mate. Denying the connection is futile. But she has been through a lot. She needs time. Time that is not on their side.

The clock is ticking. Daniel needs to get to Seattle and join the rest of the forces gathering to prepare for a battle against evil. He doesn’t have much time to spend with the mate he’s only known for days. Her safety and the safety of every shifter on the planet is at stake. He’ll do whatever it takes to ensure she stays alive.

What does the Romulus want? And why are they preying on young female shifters? Finding them and stopping this madness before the entire world knows about the existence of shifters is a top priority.

Excerpt:

Daniel turned and started to walk away, but after two steps, he froze. He lifted his chin to the air and closed his eyes as he inhaled long and slow. His body went rigid, and he fisted his hands at his sides as he inhaled again.

Someone behind him gasped. And a tiny voice he hadn’t heard before spoke. “Shit.”

Daniel spun around.

Ashley was still there, but her eyes were huge and wide, and her mouth hung open. “Oh,” she muttered. She glanced back and forth between Daniel and the woman who’d approached from behind Ashley.

His gaze slid to the newcomer. She stood on the tiny porch as rigid as he’d felt, her arms at her sides, her brow furrowed, the sweetest red line running down her pale cheek from sleeping on that side. Gorgeous blonde curls hung down her back, some falling over her shoulders. She was underweight, frail, scared, shaking. Beautiful. And his.

“Shit,” she repeated under her breath.

He smiled at her. Ashley stepped to the side several paces and ceased to exist.

“Unexpected, yes. But surely you can come up with something more enthusiastic than ‘shit’,” he teased.

Her mouth opened and her eyes widened. “I didn’t realize I’d said that out loud.”

He nodded. “You did.” He stepped closer, but she backed up a pace into the doorway, so he stopped. “You must be Allison.”

“I am.” She took a deep breath. And held it. Her eyes fluttered closed on her exhale. “Shit.”

“You have a rich wealth of vocabulary.” He grinned at her.

Her eyes popped open again. “I— I’m sorry. I—”

“No worries. I’m kidding you. It’s shocking. I agree.”

Ashley cleared her throat to his side. “I’m going to go back to the main house. I think…” She turned and left without finishing her statement. Daniel didn’t glance her way.

“This can’t be happening,” Allison said. She fisted her hands together in front of her and squeezed one with the other. She eased forward until she plopped down on the front steps of the cabin.

Daniel worried she would fall before she sat, but he gritted his teeth and let her lower herself to the step on her own. She wasn’t remotely ready for him to approach.

She set her elbows on her knees and her head in her hands.

“It’s not exactly what I had in mind for today, either. I’m sorry to shock you.” He shook his head to clear his mind. This is a woman who’s been held hostage for a year in the remote woods of Minnesota. You’re freaking her out.

He couldn’t bring himself to walk away, though. And besides, no way would he just leave her sitting there alone.

Her entire body shook.

He ached to hold her and tell her everything would be okay. But for her, the world was not okay right now, and the last thing she needed was a man getting in her space and pressuring her.

Deep breaths, Daniel. Think.

Unchartered territory had him floundering for words that wouldn’t come. He opened and closed his mouth several times before he spoke again. “Don’t panic.” He backed up a step. He could tell she was close to hyperventilating. “It’s going to be okay.” Somehow. Right?

He wasn’t sure he believed his own words. Suddenly nothing was okay. Not even for him. He wasn’t in a place in life to take on a mate. He was committed to the North American Reserves for the foreseeable future. Having a mate didn’t fit into that plan. Too much was happening in the world today. He felt a calling to help the cause, not to mate.

Except there was no denying what lay in front of his eyes. Her scent would haunt him. He had no choice. This was what Fate had dropped on his doorstep, and he had to face his new reality all wrapped up in the least tidy of packaging ever.

She lifted her face, her eyes red and huge. “Nothing about me is ‘okay’. I haven’t even wrapped my mind around the fact that I’ve been rescued. I haven’t seen my parents yet.”

“We’ll deal with it. Everything. One minute at a time.” He crouched in front of her to bring his face to her level. He remained several yards away, though he ached to inch closer.

She shook her head. “There can’t be a ‘we’. I’m not ready. I’m not even sure who I am right now.” She looked away.

His chest squeezed tight as though she’d gripped it with her fist and yanked his heart out. Common sense told him she was in pain and unable to deal with this explosion of information right now. And she had every right to be. But still he swallowed the hurt. Man up, dude. This mate of yours needs space and time. Don’t take it personally.

Voices behind him made him stand and back up several steps. He turned to find his mother approaching, Kenzie behind her holding the baby. He kept backing up. Allison would get the comfort she needed from his family. He had no choice but to step away and let them take over. For now. His legs literally ached with each step, but he forced them to move. He met his mother’s gaze as she approached and pleaded with her to help his mate.

She nodded, a wan smile that didn’t reach her eyes expressing her sorrow at his predicament.

Words weren’t needed. Ashley would have told them what had occurred. And even if she hadn’t, any wolf would smell the mating call on approach.

As his mother passed and took a seat next to Allison, Kenzie touched his arm with her free hand. He lifted his gaze to meet his brother’s mate. She had the same look on her face as his mother.

He swallowed. “I’ll be at my place.” And he turned and walked away, desperately trying not to think about the fact that he’d left his heart behind on that porch.