Between Two Wolves (BBW Paranormal Shapeshifter Menage Werewolf Romance)

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Catherine Vale

Between Two Wolves
A BBW Werewolf Ménage Paranormal Shifter Romance

Copyright © 2015, Catherine Vale

Published by Wild Hearts Press

 

Website:
http://www.CatherineVale.com

 

All rights reserved. Without limiting the
rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be
reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in
any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or
otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and
the above publisher of this book.

 

This is a work of fiction. All names,
characters, locations, brands, incidents, and places are either the product of
the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.  The author
acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products
referenced in this work of fiction. The publication/use of these trademarks is
not associated with or sponsored by the trademark owners.

 

This book is licensed for your personal
enjoyment only. This book may not be resold or given away to other people. If
you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an
additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not
purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to
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respecting the hard work of this author.

 

Chapter One

 

Sweat dripped in my eyes, but I knew if I
used the half-second that it would take to brush it away, Jack would be on my ass.
So I kept up my rhythm, feet moving between punches, hips and legs limber, my
fists slamming the big bag as hard as I possibly could. From behind the bag, I
heard Jack grunt, but I didn't lose focus. He was almost as big as the bag, and
I knew the grunt was one of disapproval, not from the force of my punch. I
didn't think
anything
I threw could possibly rattle him, but I still
tried. He'd been an amateur boxer since before I was born, a light heavyweight
with a face that bore the scars of years in the ring.

And he was a total hard ass.

“Less power, Red. Breathe...and stop
staring at the damn bag. You’re not focusing.”

I absolutely hated being called Red; only
Jack could get away with calling me that. My name is Risha Reynolds. Being a
redhead meant that for most of my life, people went for the easy jab of Risha
Red. Yeah, I also got hit with the typical ginger you-don’t-have-a-soul
comments, but that shit didn’t bother me. Being called Red however, made my
fists clench, and my blood boil. I’m not sure why the knee-jerk reaction to
hearing that, but it just bothers the hell out of me.

Like I said, Jack was the only one who
could get away with calling me that.

I punched again, landing a hit that sent
the bag quivering like it was having a seizure. It felt good.
Really good.
Some of the anxiety that had been swirling around in my chest faded, that itchy
feeling at the base of my spine that had been plaguing me since... Since that
fucker Harrison left me.

I stayed light on my feet, in an easy
bounce, and then imagined it was Harrison, the asshole, in front of me, instead
of the bag.
Harrison, the jerk that had left me for a college room mate.
Bounce again, hit again. Harrison was on his knees now. Left, right
combination, and Harrison was begging for a second chance.

The bag was suddenly coming at me. I took
a startled step backward, dropping my hands. Jack reached around the bag,
slapping his hand against the side of my head. It stung, but I was more
embarrassed than hurt. Jack scowled at me from behind the bag.

“Whatever you're thinking about, it isn’t
this.”

I stared at Jack. “What did you do that
for?”

“Because you're wasting my time, and
yours. If you want to pay me while you daydream, find someone else. I want to
train, not stand here watching you fuck around.”

“Okay. Okay.” I threw my hands up.
“Sorry. It's just...”

“I don't care what it is. Here...” He
reached for my hand, big fingers working quickly over the laces. “I'm paid to
be your personal trainer, not your personal therapist.” The glove hit the
floor. I held up my other hand, and he went to work on that one.

“I'm sorry. You're right. I'm a little
out of it today.”
A little was an understatement
. “It won't happen
again.”

“Damn straight.” He dropped the second
glove, reached out and tapped a stubby forefinger against my forehead.
“Whatever is up here, Red, leave it out there. You got about a quarter of an
hour. Use it if you want, or hit the locker room. But I'm still charging you
for it.”

I watched him walk away. He was right; he
was
always
right. I'd known Jack for a little over six months, and even
though he was a hard-ass, and more often than not treated me like one of the
guys, he'd given me the best advice about Harrison, by not saying a damn thing.
And usually, like today, that advice had been a slap alongside the head, and a
refusal to let me wallow in self-pity. Or at least not wallow on
his
time, even if it was my dime.

The day was a wash, as far as training
went. I scooped up the gloves, and my water bottle, and headed to the locker
room. From across the ring that dominated the center of the room, I caught
Jack's eye, and the slow shake of his head. I could read him from here:
wasting
time again.

So I detoured, dropped the gloves and
bottle, and climbed onto the treadmill. I'd walk out the last of my session
here, maybe redeem myself a little. I punched in a short program, and started
walking.

But this was worse than the bag. There
was nothing to distract me from myself. I tried watching the guys in the ring,
and focusing on their motions. The cute guy with the black hair was sparring
with someone new, and for a minute I watched them circle and dance, jab and
weave. But even that wasn't enough to hold my attention. It drifted again. Back
to Harrison.

You need to get your head on straight, Risha.

Jack was right. To let what happened with
Harrison still bother me after all these months was crazy. But he'd been the
guy I thought was the love of my life, my soul mate, the man I was going to
marry. And I thought he felt the same way about me. That is until he told me he
thought we should see other people. And then topped that off by casually
mentioning he was dating my old college roommate. I called it quits.

The timer buzzed on the treadmill, and I
stepped off. The cute guy was gone from the ring, and Jack had already started training
with his next client. Everyone was busy, getting on with their lives. I
gathered up my gear and headed to the locker room. Jack was right: I needed to
move on already.

 

* * *

 

“I think getting away is a good idea, but
why the middle of nowhere? Can't you get Harrison out of your system at a spa,
or a resort? Some place with indoor plumbing?”

My best friend Maggie was curled on my
couch, sipping a Cosmo. She'd just binge-watched an entire season of Sex and
the City, and she was channeling her inner Carrie Bradshaw. But it suited her
personality. She's a girly-girl through and through, and a complete opposite of
me. Maybe that’s why we’ve been friends for so long.

“I like to hike and camp, you know that.”
I plopped down in the chair opposite her. “It's only for a couple days. Nothing’s
going to happen to me, other than bug bites and maybe a case of poison ivy. I
took a sip of my beer.

“I'm just tired of everything that
reminds me of Harrison. I’m tired of…” I waved my hand in the vague direction
of pretty much everything in sight. We’d shared this apartment, and while I'd
gotten rid of most of his personal belongings, the things we'd bought together,
like the couch I no longer sat on, were silent reminders of him, of us. Of what
was no more.

“I need a vacation. And it’s been ages
since I’ve gone camping. I miss being out in the woods. And hey, it’s a
two-person tent, if you want to come along.”

Maggie was already shaking her head. “Oh,
hell no. Not me. I’m a city girl, and you know it. I’m lost if there’s anything
other than concrete beneath my feet. If I go longer than a few days without
retail therapy, I go into shock. You know this.”

“And that’s exactly why you need a two
bedroom apartment. Just so you have enough room for your shoes.”

“And that’s why I’m a very happy girl.”
She laughed. “Retail therapy. Works every time.”

“Well, I’m glad you found your bliss.
Mine is outside. Alone with nothing but nature, and myself.”

Maggie’s laugh faded. “Yeah. About that.”
Her expression suddenly changed, and I knew where this conversation was headed.

“So, why can’t you think here? Why not
just hole up with a gallon of Ben & Jerry’s, and a bunch of movies?”

“Because there’s email and phones, and
clients with deadlines…and interruptions.”
And reminders around every
corner, and in every drawer, and in every closet.
Basically I lived in a
haunted apartment with my ex as the resident ghost.

“But why the need to live amongst the
wild? Can’t you just unplug everything, and disconnect from the world for a bit?
Even I can do that.”

“Not the same, Maggie. Do you want
another Cosmo?” It’s hard to derail Maggie when she gets like this. But she
wasn’t taking the bait. I went and got another beer, bracing myself for what
was coming next. She waited until I was back in my chair before she started up
again.

“Rish, I’ve said this before. You spend
too much time alone. You work from home, you order groceries online, have
take-out delivered. Who do you actually see, besides me?”

“Jack, at the gym…” I wanted to say the
other guys at the gym, but I had to admit, even to myself, I really didn’t even
know their names. “Clients.” It sounded lame, even to my ears.

“Clients. Rish, you’ve never even met most
of your clients. For all you know, Hannah in Canada might be a middle-aged man
in Florida. You don’t know these people, other than as an email address or
Skype name.”

“That’s unfair. It’s not like that, and
you know it. This isn’t online dating, this is my business. I’m a ghostwriter.
It’s not like I have to know my clients personally. They send me an outline, I
complete the work, and they pay me. I don’t exactly have to be their friend.”
But I did have to admit; I had doubts sometimes about who really was on the
other end of the email address. As a ghostwriter, all of my business took place
via the Internet, so I would never really know. But quite honestly, I didn’t
care. I kept my head down, and did the work.

“My point, Rish, is you’re alone. A lot.
And I don’t know that it’s a good idea for you go off and be even more alone than
you already are.”

“This is different.”

“How so? Alone is alone, either here or
in the middle of nowhere. You’re still alone.”

“I asked if you wanted to come with me,
remember?”
I figured that would shut her up.
“Besides, I’m my own best
company. I have an active imagination. And hey, there are a whole lot of people
living in my head. They’ll keep me company.” I gave her my best smile, but she
wasn’t buying it.

“That’s another thing; you write strange
stories, about werewolves, vampires, things that go bump in the night. You
asked if you could duct tape me to a chair just last week to see if I could
escape!” She shook her head, and I laughed. I’d asked her to do that as
research, and she’d flat out refused to be my guinea pig. I couldn’t say I
blamed her.

“It’s just that I worry about you.”

“Yeah, I know. I worry about me too,
sometimes. But this really is different. There’s something special that happens
in the deep woods…something, elemental. I always feel as though I belong out
there somehow. Like I’m going home.” I shrugged. “Sounds weird to you, but it’s
my bliss, being out there. I miss it.”

Maggie rolled her eyes, but I could tell
that I was getting through to her.  “Well, you were always the hippie
chick.” She grinned at me over the edge of her glass. “I suppose running naked
through the woods would do you some good. At least you'll get rid of that
indoor pallor, get some sun. You never do see the sun, do you? With the vampire
hours you keep...”

It was my turn to roll my eyes. “I'm not
a vampire; I work from home. And I don't tan, you know that. Red hair...” I ran
my hand through my hair, fanning the strands over my shoulders. “Freckles, all
of it...I'm doomed to be pale, regardless of my work schedule.”

All this flaming red hair—which
only flamed brighter as I got older, not dimming as my mother had said it would
as she tried in vain to console me, while I'd cried over its brash color—red
hair is really difficult to manage, which meant that I wasn’t exactly a popular
kid. It had taken
years
to finally come to terms that I would always
stand out in the crowd, and through it all, somehow I learned to love the hair
and freckles that made me different.

Maggie sighed, a sound of resignation. I
hoped we’d come to the point, just like we did every time we had a variation,
of this conversation, where she just gave up. I didn’t like the confrontation,
and this was as confrontational as we ever got.

“So when are you going off to play forest
fairy?”

“This weekend, I think. If I can get
caught up on work, I can take off Thursday and Friday, and be back Sunday
night. I'm only going up to the hot springs at Big River.”

“Oh, see? You'll be skinny dipping, too!
I’ve heard all about the sort of things that go on up at those secluded hot
springs.” Maggie giggled, finishing her Cosmo. “Too bad you don't have someone
to take along...” She winced. “I'm sorry. I mean, some random guy you just met,
you know, for a wild weekend fling in your two-person tent. Maybe you'll meet
your hippie soul mate up there. Heaven knows you'd have more in common with the
guys who hang out up there, than the juice pigs at the gym.”

“No wild weekend flings. I want to
meditate, do some yoga, sit in the springs, and just think.”

Maggie leaned forward, setting her glass
on the coffee table, her smile fading. “You just can’t do things like everyone
else, can you?” Apparently, she hadn’t quite given up yet. “It's the same thing
with the boxing. Why not a membership at a regular gym? Instead you go to the
extreme, hanging out with a bunch of guys who like to beat the shit out of one
another. And still, no dates.”

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