This is another great book included in the Romancing the Wolf Anthology from Cara Carnes!
Part of the Romancing the Wolf Anthology coming June 30th!
Felicity was a child when The Rending began and she was pulled from the pack she loved by a father who reviled her existence. Surviving as an Outsider was tough but the harshest battle begins when she stumbles across a plot to overthrow her old pack’s trading post, Redemption.
Marek will do anything to protect his pack and their land, including executing any Outsiders who dare enter pack lands. Once a betrayer, always a betrayer. There’s no soft in war—until a curvaceous wolf with more sass than sense limps into Redemption with an impossible tale of betrayal.
Together the two discover trust paves the road to Redemption’s Forgiveness.
Sharp stabs punctured each breath Felicity forced in shallow bursts. The man smelled of oak and musk. He held her gently in a protective embrace she appreciated more than she should. Who was he? Had she found Redemption?
“Relax, I’ve got you.”
She battled the hazy fog. Why had she violated the land treaty and gone to Redemption? Oh yeah. The threat. Her soul ached, her heart too wary for the memories she’d locked away. Maybe someday she’d recall the atrocities she committed. For now, nothing good came from recalling what she did.
“The boy.” She collapsed against the softness at her head and forced her eyelids open despite the harsh sun tumbling from the sky. Mid-afternoon. A stabbing sensation resonated behind her eyes. Her entire side throbbed beneath a constant burn. “Save him. Please.”
The wolf—the man who’d forced her shift held her tighter against him. Full lips harshened into a grim expression which accentuated the square set of his jaw. Her gaze trekked upward and locked on the golden amber swirling in darkened chocolate. Thick, dark hair fell around the handsomest face she’d seen.
Massive shoulders, thick arms and an expansive chest tumbled into her field of vision when she collapsed against powerful thighs. Definitely a warrior. Thank goodness he hadn’t challenged her. Though she’d kicked the asses of many hulky men, she didn’t think such a battle would bode well for her today.
He kept her pinned in his embrace. A shadow spanned the sky above her. Crisp traces of sandalwood, citrus and evergreen assailed her nostrils. Newcomers.
Protect the child.
The strong wolf didn’t shift to a defensive stance. Struggling beneath his firm hold, she tugged and twisted as she blindly searched for a weapon. If she’d collapsed near her terrain—Outsider country—any stranger was a perceived threat until proven otherwise.
No. Her mind flashed memories. Walk. Burned paws. Hurt jaw. Dry terrain. She’d fled the Outlands days ago. Right?
“Calm. A white dragon healer is here to help. If you get too agitated Doc will kick my ass for scaring you.” The man’s lips turned into a slight smirk.
“I see why you insisted on tending the wounded.” The uncensored anger forced her wolf forward in an agitated growl. The approaching man halted and grinned. “She’s developed your bedside manner, Marek.”
Marek. The name suited the strong wolf who’d maintained a guarded vigil. Were the men Redemption warriors? She studied the newcomer with a pained rumble escaping her parched throat. Straight blond hair fell in disarray on his head. Pale, blue eyes maintained her gaze. Curiosity and concern consumed his scent. Sandalwood and evergreen. Where did the citrus come from?
Orange and vanilla assaulted her from behind. Snapping she turned, her hand wrapping around the dagger strapped to Marek’s thigh.
“It’s okay.” Marek squeezed her arm. “She won’t hurt you. Settle back and let Doc look at you.”
“Don’t ever approach an injured wolf, or any shifter, from behind—especially an unknown one,” Doc warned.
“Marek had her handled. Stop being such a grump. Drag an ancient whitey out of bed and he’s grouch central.” The blonde female flopped onto the ground a couple inches from the blade’s tip. Her amber eyes widened when they landed on the weapon settled against her jugular by the injured woman. “Oh my.”
Pain coursed along her side, knifing each breath into a constant burning struggle. Vision blurring, Felicity focused her strength on the weapon, the heated pulse beneath her index finger as she pressed one knuckle against the female’s throat to judge distance.
“H-how did she get your knife, Marek?”
“Don’t move, Lynette. Her vision is unstable. See how she’s blinking rapidly?”
“I hadn’t noticed much beyond the knife at my throat.”
“Lynette isn’t a threat,” Marek whispered. Hot breath fanned along her forehead. “She’s apprenticing when she’s not lost. Hell, Doc sends her after supplies and she’s gone for hours. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve tracked her down because she took a wrong turn.” Strong fingers wrapped around hers. “Keep the knife. Stay still so Doc can work, but let’s direct the blade elsewhere.”
Felicity winced. Pain shot through her wrist, into her fingers. She maintained the death-grip on the hilt even though he squeezed and tugged. He guided her wrist until the weapon’s sharpened edge pressed against his throat. Her knuckles grazed the short stubble along his jaw. Swallowing, she settled her head in his lap and allowed the tandem grip. The searing scorch along her side continued, but her attention remained entrenched within the calming gold swirls in Marek’s eyes.
“Help the boy. I’m okay.”
His expression saddened and the grip on her strengthened.
No. She twisted and tugged, but Marek held her steady. Digging her nails into his arms she pushed and growled. No. Impossible. She’d been so careful. The boy lived. He was a squirrely one—the only reason he’d been missed by the death squad who’d killed his family was because he hid after being wounded.
“Let me go!”
The white dragon appeared in her field of vision. Cool tingles burst along her skin when he touched her face. Icy blue eyes demanded her attention. “What’s your name?”
“Let. Me. Go.” The stranger settled a second hand on her arm, above Marek’s. Somehow the dragon’s touch unsettled her wolf. She snapped, but the wolf holding her growled until she stilled.
She closed her eyes, surrendering to the exhaustion, the pain.