Authors: Paige Tyler
WHISKEY CREEK PRESS
WHISKEY CREEK PRESS
Whiskey Creek Press
PO Box 51052
Casper, WY 82605-1052
Warning: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 (five) years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.
Names, characters and incidents depicted in this book are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental and beyond the intent of the author or the publisher.
No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Cover Artist: Rika Singh
Editor: Kate Scott
Printed in the United States of America
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT
“An Outstanding Read!
by Paige Tyler is one of those books that you just can't put down once you begin reading it, it is just that good. The story is very entertaining: the pace is fluid and the characters are extremely engaging. It is by turns fun, amusing, steamy and nail “biting”—no pun intended. There are quite a few twists and turns in the story, elements of the paranormal intermingle with the erotic and they are all rounded out with a very nice surprise ending to that mysterious werewolf plaguing the town throughout the entire book. Ms. Tyler knows how to paint a scene and prolong the anticipation, and the chemistry between Eliza and Hunter make turning each page a special treat. This is an exceptionally good story, one guaranteed to provide hours of enjoyment for its readers, and one that I can definitely recommend!
Simply Romance Reviews
is one hot read. Ms. Tyler knows how to mesmerize an audience, she certainly kept mine. I’d love to have this in print so I could keep it always. My favorite paranormal subject housed perfectly. Scene changes were as smooth as silk. The characters richly defined. I find nothing to complain about!”
is a fun, lighthearted and humorous werewolf romance. The pace is quick, something is always happening and the humor just bubbles underneath everything. Eliza, our heroine, is bright, funny and yet wonderfully prosaic. Hunter, our hero, is handsome, educated and sincere. There are also some wonderfully quirky secondary characters as well as some very serious ones. Ms. Tyler does a great job of bringing her characters and setting to life. The romance between our hero and heroine develops quickly and the sex scenes are seriously hot. Attraction leads to heat, then to love and the emotions are very vivid in this tale. There are some surprises towards the end and I loved how things came together for the ending.
was a very enjoyable read and I hope to see more from Ms. Tyler!”
Dark Angel Reviews
“I found this work by Ms. Tyler to be well thought out and developed. It contained plenty of humor to go with the mystery, and some smoking hot sex scenes. I even wanted a cigarette after a couple scenes, and I don't smoke. How will Eliza the skeptic and Hunter the werewolf have any kind of future together? Well you'll just have to read this wonderfully witty work to find out. You won't be disappointed you did!”
Night Owl Romance Reviews
With special thanks to my extremely patient and understanding husband, without whose help and support, I couldn’t have pursued my dream job of becoming a writer. You’re my sounding board, my idea man, my critique partner, and the absolute best research assistant any girl could ask for!
If anyone ever found out she’d taken this job, her career as a serious journalist would be ruined. Eliza Bradley sighed as she took her place at the huge rectangular table of
magazine. But honestly, who was she kidding? She had no real career to ruin. In reality, she’d never been more than a lowly fact checker. The most she’d ever gotten to write was the headline for someone else’s article.
She probably shouldn’t have complained about her job at the
San Francisco Chronicle
; it had paid the bills, after all. But after graduating summa cum laude from USC with a degree in journalism four years ago, she had just naturally expected to move up the ladder fairly quickly. That hadn’t happened, though, and finally tired of checking for typos in other reporters’ work, she had decided to give her boss an ultimatum. Determined to break into the ranks of serious journalism, she had marched into his office and firmly told him that if he didn’t find a job for her as a reporter, she was going to quit. She had been sure he would give in to her demands, but much to her chagrin, he had called her bluff. Ten minutes later, she’d cleaned out her desk.
Finding a job as a reporter with another newspaper had been more difficult than Eliza had thought it would be, however. While all of them had been more than impressed with her college background, they had been less so with her lack of real-world experience. It had been on the tip of her tongue more than once to ask how the heck she was supposed to get real-world experience when no one would give her a job, but she’d restrained herself. Barely. That was usually the point during the interview when the person conducting it mentioned the newspaper had a position open for a fact checker, if she would be interested.
No one would hire her: not the big papers, not the little ones, not even any of the locally published magazines. Thoroughly frustrated at that point, she had been about to give up and take one of the fact checker jobs she’d been offered when she heard about a reporter position available at
. The name alone sounded so ridiculous that her first instinct had been to say forget it, but then she’d remembered how desperate she was for a reporting job, and decided to at least look into it. At that point, she hadn’t cared what she wrote about, as long as she got the job.
She had expected the interview to go the same as the others had, but to her surprise, Roger Brannick, the editor-in-chief of the magazine, hadn’t been put off by her lack of experience in the field at all. In fact, he’d told her that she was just the kind of fresh, young talent the magazine looked for in a reporter. She had been so stunned when he’d offered her the job that she’d taken it without hesitation.
In retrospect, however, Eliza was beginning to think she should have given the whole thing a bit more thought. Working for a magazine like
could destroy her credibility and make it difficult to ever get a job with a reputable newspaper. In the world of reporting, it was just as bad as working for a scandal sheet.
As Roger Brannick began handing out story assignments to the other reporters attending the staff meeting, Eliza found it hard to keep a straight face. He had them investigating rumors of vampires prowling New York City’s Central Park, sightings of ghosts in a Miami hotel, tales of zombies terrorizing Los Angeles, even a sea monster living in the Great Lakes. The list, which seemed to go on and on, only got more and more bizarre. What was even more absurd was that Roger was treating them as if they were seriously newsworthy.
Then again, he wasn’t the only one.
She looked at the other reporters at the table. My God, they were actually taking notes!
“Eliza,” Roger said, finally coming to her. “The other day, we got an email from one of our readers up in Fairbanks who says he has evidence of a werewolf in the area. It seems that a couple of hikers turned up dead recently, and though the authorities are calling it a wild animal attack, I want you to go up there and check it out anyway. Undercover, though. I don’t want people getting wind that you’re up there looking for a werewolf. We don’t want to attract the competition. Say you’re up there doing research for a book you’re writing on wolves, or something like that.”
Werewolf? He has to be kidding.
She’d definitely go in undercover. She certainly didn’t want anyone knowing why she was really up there, that was for sure. If anyone found out, they’d think she was insane.
Before she could say anything however, Roger continued. “I’ve already—” he began, but was interrupted by muttering coming from the opposite end of the table. Lifting his gaze from the notepad in his hand, the gray-haired editor turned his attention in that direction. “Is there a problem, Carson?”
“Damn right there is,” said the bespectacled, blond-haired reporter at the far end of the table. “I’ve been working at this magazine for five years, and what do I get? I get a haunted house in Iowa while the new girl gets next month’s cover story!”
Eliza might have laughed if the other reporter didn’t look so pissed off about the whole thing. She sat up straighter in her chair and cleared her throat. “I don’t mind if he wants to switch assignments, Roger.”
She really didn’t mind. It was all the same to her whether she was investigating werewolves or ghosts. The idea that either one existed was ludicrous anyway. Her new boss, however, was shaking his head.
“That’s not necessary, Eliza,” Roger said, looking at her over the rim of his half-moon glasses. “I want you on the werewolf story.”
At the other end of the conference table, Carson Emory picked up his spiral notebook, pushed back his chair, and got to his feet. “Screw this!”
Eliza watched in disbelief as the blond reporter strode to the door and out of the conference room.
She had been working there for less than a week and she was already making enemies.
“Don’t pay any attention to Carson. He’s never happy,” Roger told her, ignoring the other man’s temper tantrum. “I want you in Fairbanks ASAP. Go see Brenda in the travel department. She’ll already have your flight, hotel, and rental car all set up.”
Eliza blinked. She was impressed. For a magazine that published stories on the bizarre and ridiculous, it was certainly run efficiently. She opened her mouth to thank him, but Roger had already begun going down his list again, something about a fifty-foot boa constrictor in the sewers of Chicago. Thank God he hadn’t given her that story. She hated snakes.
As she was making her way back to her desk after the meeting, Eliza noticed Carson approaching from the opposite direction. Though she really wasn’t sure why she felt the need to apologize to the man, she found herself stopping him to do just that.
“Save it!” he snapped. “Go to Alaska and chase after some stupid werewolf. I’m done with this rag anyway!”
Thinking that the other reporter might actually knock her down if she didn’t get out of his way, Eliza took a hasty step back as he pushed past her.
“Good riddance,” said a male voice behind her.
She turned to see a tall, lanky man with shaggy, dark blond hair and wire-rimmed glasses. He was wearing faded jeans and a worn T-shirt that said
Property of the San Francisco 49ers
on the front.
“Carson’s a crybaby. Don’t worry about him,” the man continued. “I’m Andy Decker, by the way, the staff photographer going up to Alaska with you.”
Eliza blinked in surprise. The magazine was sending a photographer with her? Wow, it was almost enough to make her feel as if she were a real reporter. Well, at least it would have, if her first assignment didn’t involve writing a story about something as ridiculous as a werewolf!
* * * *
Their plane landed at the Fairbanks International Airport a little after three-thirty the following afternoon. Even with the hour-and-a-half layover in Seattle, Eliza had to admit they’d made surprisingly good time. Then again, she supposed that had something to do with the time change. Fairbanks was an hour behind San Francisco, after all.
Eliza had spent most of the flight digging up what she could about the hikers who had been killed. The articles she’d found on the Internet hadn’t said much really, just that two hikers had been found dead, one a week ago, the other last month. One of the articles mentioned that some livestock had also been killed, but said that local authorities didn’t consider that unusual, especially since grizzly bears had been known to attack farm animals from time to time. She’d noticed that there was no mention of a wolf, were or otherwise, in any of the articles.
Finding no further information about the killings, she’d decided to read through the email from Nate Corrigan again, the guy who had contacted the magazine about the supposed werewolf. It was cryptic at best. He claimed he had proof that a werewolf had killed the two hikers, but that he didn’t want to say too much in an email. Apparently, Nate didn’t trust the Internet all that much.
No surprise there. He was probably a conspiracy freak as well as a paranormal nut.
By the time she and Andy got their luggage and picked up the rental car, it was well after four-thirty. After spending hours on a plane, all Eliza wanted to do was go to the hotel and fall into bed, but when her stomach growled in protest at that idea, she suggested to the photographer that they get something to eat before they check in.
As they drove around looking for a restaurant, Eliza took in her new surroundings. She’d never seen so much green in her life. There were tall trees everywhere, both evergreen and birch, which made the whole place seem less citified somehow. With all the green, she had just naturally assumed that the weather would be warmer. But there was still a light frosting of snow on the ground and it was quite chilly for May, at least to her way of thinking. Well, she was in Alaska. And if the trees and the cold weather didn’t convince her, then the moose standing in the middle of the road certainly would have. He just stood there looking at them with his big brown eyes as if wondering why they were getting in his way.
While Fairbanks wasn’t huge in comparison to most cities, there were still the usual fast-food restaurants to be found. Rather than go to one of those, however, she and Andy instead decided to go to the quaint diner down the street from their hotel. While she admittedly wasn’t much of a diner person, there was something about the rustic-looking log cabin that seemed inviting.
The diner had that same rustic feel on the inside, with exposed logs and hardwood floors, and Eliza found herself smiling as she took in the snowshoes, wood skis, and wildlife paintings that hung on the walls. She might be up here on a wild goose chase, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t enjoy the local sights. Though she could do without all the moose heads and mounted fish.
“Two?” asked the teenage girl behind the hostess desk, drawing her attention away from the decor. At Eliza’s nod, she grabbed two menus from the stack in front of her and gave them a smile. “Right this way.”
As she read over the menu a few moments later, Eliza’s stomach growled again, and she was relieved when the waitress finally came to take their order. She decided on a cheeseburger and fries. Andy ordered the same thing, though he opted for onion rings instead of fries.
Taking a sip of the iced tea the waitress brought to their table a few minutes later, Eliza looked at the photographer. “So, how long have you been working at the magazine?”
“Almost two years now.”
That took her by surprise. “You must really like it then.”
He laughed. “It’s not bad. I get to travel to a lot of different places, and the pay is decent.”
She nodded. “You don’t really believe in all this paranormal stuff, though, do you?”
It had been something she’d wanted to ask the photographer all day, but with her spending most of the flight on her laptop, and Andy spending most of it listening to his iPod, she hadn’t gotten the chance.
Across the table from her, Andy shrugged. “I don’t know. I’ve seen some things on this job that make me wonder.”
Her eyebrows rose. “But werewolves? That’s a little far-fetched, don’t you think?”
“Maybe,” he agreed.
Eliza would have said more, but the waitress came by just then with their burgers. The older woman gave them a smile as she set the plates down.
“Anything else I can get for you folks?” she asked.
Eliza glanced down at the table before looking up at the waitress again. “Ketchup?”
The woman nodded. “There’s a bottle on the table right behind you, sugar. Enjoy your dinner.”
Eliza had expected the woman to bring her a new bottle of ketchup, or at least grab the one off the other table for them, like waitresses in most restaurants would usually do. Maybe it was a diner thing. Or an Alaska thing. Either way, it seemed she would be going to get her own bottle of ketchup.
Taking her napkin off her lap and placing it on the table, Eliza pushed back her chair and got to her feet. When the waitress had told her that there was a bottle of ketchup on the table behind theirs, she had naturally assumed it was unoccupied, so she was surprised to see a man sitting there. And not just the average, run-of-the-mill guy she’d expect to find in a diner either, but a mouth-watering specimen of a man. Her breath caught as she found herself stopping right there in the middle of the diner to stare at him She had read in
once that there was something different about Alaskan men, that living in the great white north made them more masculine and sexy. Staring at the man seated at the table, she could well believe it.