Enjoy this excerpt from Heather’s brand new book, Untamed Wolf! ~DD
Wolves of Willow Bend
Book #6 in the Wolves of Willow Bend Series
Releasing April 24, 2015 — TODAY!
Dylan Royce, Willow Bend Hunter, is a natural flirt and courted his fair share of she-wolves, but he’s never found the woman who makes his pulse race. With the new pack’s borders verging on Willow Bend territory, he’s tasked with keeping an eye on them. His job grows more challenging daily, especially since one seductive female keeps crossing the line.
Chrystal Landros knows she’s supposed to keep to her side of the Three Rivers-Willow Bend line. But she loves to explore, and Willow Bend is home to some spectacular sites. As a former Lone Wolf, she hasn’t always been certain of her welcome, but her new home in Three Rivers opens a wonderful world of unfamiliar opportunities. Too bad the wolf who makes her blood heat is tasked with keeping her away from the places she wants to visit.
While Dylan and Chrystal clash repeatedly over her border incursions, the game between them threatens to turn deadly. Tensions between Willow Bend and Three Rivers continue to rise. Could their forbidden dalliance be the spark to ignite a war?
Series Reading Order:
Wolf at Law (Prequel)
Book 1: Wolf Bite
Book 2: Caged Wolf
Book 3: Wolf Claim
Wolf Next Door, featured in Under a Wolf Moon
Book 4: Rogue Wolf
Book 5: Bayou Wolf
National bestselling author, Heather Long, likes long walks in the park, science fiction, superheroes, Marines, and men who aren’t douche bags. Her books are filled with heroes and heroines tangled in romance as hot as Texas summertime. From paranormal historical westerns to contemporary military romance, Heather might switch genres, but one thing is true in all of her stories—her characters drive the books. When she’s not wrangling her menagerie of animals, she devotes her time to family and friends she considers family. She believes if you like your heroes so real you could lick the grit off their chest, and your heroines so likable, you’re sure you’ve been friends with women just like them, you’ll enjoy her worlds as much as she does.
Racing the wind, Dylan Royce danced over a thin shell of snow without sinking into the powder. A recent blizzard dumped three feet of fresh accumulation in twelve hours, all of it atop the ice-hardened pack beneath. Cold, crisp air flooded his lungs with his every footfall. Invigorated by the chill, he kept his mouth open to sample the breeze. The natural wonder from the weather made running his circuit a pleasure rather than a chore as he spun through the remote pack campgrounds.
Human families escaped to these campgrounds during the warmer summer months. The remote location, coupled with the bordering state park, also made it ideal for young wolves to learn to hunt, stalk and play away from day-to-day life. Winter often proved the second favorite season for families with older youths to escape and romp in the snow. With Three Rivers’ border so close, however, Mason slapped a moratorium on any vacation plans to the area for the pack.
The usually populated area remained virtually abandoned during Dylan’s tenure as Hunter guarding the border, a downside to Mason’s order. Such a critical position would typically have fallen on Owen Chase, but their Senior Hunter left for Hudson River eight weeks prior with his mate to train the pack’s young healer and to provide assistance to the Alpha.
So, while Dylan landed the miserable position, at least he got to enjoy the snow. And, in a few hours, he would get to enjoy Tawny, the sleek, svelte law student interning with Ryan Huston. Dylan pursued her for months before she finally consented to a drink.
Where he spent his weekend off hinged on the date. His wolf thrilled at the challenge. They would definitely enjoy taking a bite out of her taut ass. Still, better to burn off some of his frustrations…plus, he had all the gorgeous unbroken snow to himself. After climbing to the highest vantage, he growled his approval. Pristine powder lay in smooth waves down the hill.
Testing the ice crust, he found only soft powder. It clung to his fur and bunched between his claws. The swirling breeze carried the promise of more snow. Panting, he arched his head back and loosed a single call. Infusing power into the call to demand a response, he cut it off abruptly and listened.
Any wolves within his range would respond. Flicking his ears, he heard only the wind brushing the trees, the faint groan of branches heavily laden with winter’s kiss and the whuffs of his breathing. No scents teased his nostrils, no sounds alerted him to intruders, and all the magnificent snow lay waiting for him to play.
Tail wagging, he danced away from the edge and trotted several paces. Judging the distance to be perfect, he dashed forward, rushing on adrenaline-fueled muscles until he reached the edge and flung himself onto the slope, legs sprawling out. His trajectory and angle gave him additional speed. He flew to the base of the hill and crashed into a snowdrift.
Bounding out, he shook to free his coat of the snow and sneezed. Damn, that’s fun. He turned to make another climb and repeat the wild ride when a tangle of lemon and orchid teased his nose.
Whirling, he raised his head to catch the direction of the scent, because beneath the citrus was the musk of wolf—a wolf he’d already tossed three times in as many weeks.
Dammit, Chrystal. All at once, his plans for the evening began to disintegrate. If the Three Rivers bitch hightailed it over the line again, he’d have to track her, catch her, punish her, and drop kick her ass back to Luciana “I Have No Idea What the Hell I’m Doing” Barrows.
Tawny wouldn’t wait for him, either. Five minutes late, she’d warned, and he would be out of luck.
Snarling to himself, he trotted west slowly and caught the trace of Chrystal’s scent again. The swirling wind kept yanking it away from him like a tease, but he was a Hunter.
He would find her.
An hour of stalking and two false trails later, he’d finally narrowed her scent to a tract of land below the campgrounds near the old falls. The snow continued, fat heavy flakes crusting on his coat. His phone—like his clothes—were in his truck, parked more than a few miles away. He tried to bury his sour mood, knowing his date with Tawny slipped further and further out of reach.
Pausing in the shadow of a tree, he scanned the rocky slope where the water spilled from any icy crevice and flowed down into a sluggish moving pool. Ice shimmered around the shores, slicking the hard surfaces. Despite the wind, Chrystal’s scent grew stronger with each blast of wind skimming the pseudo valley.
With so much white on every surface, he expected to find her swiftly, but it took him some time to pick her out. She climbed the icy rock face along the edge of the waterfall.
His irritation switched to concern. What the hell is she doing?
Dressed in jeans, a sweatshirt, and a too-thin jacket, she climbed with determination, fighting for every hand and foothold as the slippery ice gave way beneath her grip. Straightening, he followed her progress and eyed the landscape in search of his best route to the top. A skittering of skin and shoe against the slick rock jerked his attention back to the curvy little pain in his ass. She’d dropped a foot from her upward progress and clung to the rock through will alone.
The little minx needed a damn keeper. Inch-by-inch, she continued her creeping ascent of the sheer shale. Between the composition of the stone and the ice, she risked serious injury to her bare hands. Even from his position, he could see the dampness soaking her jeans.
What the hell could be worth courting frostbite? With a leap, he bounded into the dip and sank into the wetter snow around the waterfall’s pool. Fording through the dense drifts, he found the path he’d been seeking and began to climb along the outer rim. Worn by the passage of many feet over the years, faint stone steps existed deep beneath the snow. In midsummer, the waterfall served as the perfect diving point. The pool below was a good twelve to fifteen feet deep, which meant high divers didn’t usually crack their skulls. Of course, the water wasn’t half-frozen or frigid in the middle of summer either.
Chrystal continued easing her way to the precipice. Ahead of her finally, Dylan scrambled onto the ledge and leaned over to judge the distance between them. He’d need to shift to grab her. She was beyond his neck range, even if he were able to snag her damp jacket. If she ascended another foot or two…only she didn’t. She stopped.
Dylan stared, disbelief sinking into his bones. Instead of climbing—or even holding on with her flimsy grips—she slid her free hand into her jacket and pulled out a cell phone. She stretched the phone away from her, angling toward the plunging water…why?
Forgetting the idiocy of her actions, he rushed his shift. Fur slid away, muscle twisted and bones snapped. Part of Hunter apprenticeship required shifting under high-stress situations. His mentor’s lesson had been brutal on the point. They needed to be able to change on the fly and, since they were at their most vulnerable mid-shift, hurrying the process was the only alternative.
Bliss and agony intertwined until he suddenly knelt in the icy snow with his palms flat against the chilly surface. The cold assaulted his overheated and sensitized skin like so many needling daggers plunging into his flesh. Fuck me. Blowing out a frosty breath, he did his best to ignore the wind shivering his balls and threatening to geld him.
The trembling in his muscles had more to do with the temperature than his shifting. Pushing to the edge, he found the idiot wolf with her phone angled at the spraying water, her thumb hovering over a button.
What. The. Hell?
He opened his mouth to snarl at her, but she hadn’t glanced toward him once and her scent hadn’t changed. Focused on whatever the hell her goal was, she failed to notice his position or the precariousness of her own. If he snapped at her…he clamped his teeth together, molars grinding, and waited.
Hating himself—and her more—he flattened to the snow. Working to ignore the way his dick threatened to fall off, he stretched out an arm. He could reach her. The snow blew sideways and a faint flicker of sunlight broke through the cloud cover. The light hit the water as his fingers brushed the back of her jacket.
“Yes!” she whooped. Her thumb slapped against the shutter control, snapping several shots in a row. The thin tendril of sunlight lit the water, dancing off the frost and ice around it, to shatter into prisms. Dylan might have even enjoyed the sight, save for Chrystal’s enthusiasm as she leaned further away. One moment, she dangled precariously. The next, she slid.
Even a wolf would take a beating on the rocks below.
Fisting her jacket, he ignored the scream in his bicep from lifting her falling deadweight and hauled her upward. Yes. I have her. Her howl of surprise gave him a measure of satisfaction. So did jerking her over the edge then tossing her sweet ass into the snow. She came up spluttering as Dylan rose above her and scowled.
“What the fuck are you doing Chrystal?”