Read Dual Embrace: 3 (Shadowpeak Wolves) Online

Authors: Lorna Jean Roberts

Tags: #Erotica

Dual Embrace: 3 (Shadowpeak Wolves) (10 page)

BOOK: Dual Embrace: 3 (Shadowpeak Wolves)
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They pulled up outside the meeting house and Cain turned to her, his face serious and so very gorgeous.

“You’re worried about that?” he asked incredulously. “Dusty, I know better than to ignore or deny what my wolf tells me. And he knows that you’re mine—true link or not. You. Are. Mine. I’m willing to go as slow as you need, so long as you don’t pull away from me. Meet me halfway, Dusty.”

She ran her hand down his cheek, using her fingers to caress his scar lightly. “I don’t let people close to me.”

“Not true, honey,” he argued with her. “You let Laney close, and Cassie, although I don’t know why she puts up with you.”

Her lips twitched. “She loves me, secretly, deep down. I really don’t want to lose who I am.”

What little she had left, anyway.

“I don’t want that either, Dusty. I want to make you stronger. I want to show you that you can be yourself and still be with me.”

She couldn’t turn him away again, not with all the regrets she had from doing it the first time. They’d fight. They were both so stubborn it was a given. But the make-up sex would be incredible. Cassie was right. It was time to stop sitting around and moping. It was time she took back some control over her life. She’d nearly died twice in the last month. Life was too short to live without him.

Goddamn, she hated when other people were right and she was wrong.

Cain was hers.

Cain sighed and she glanced up to see Rye walking out of the house, gesturing for them to come inside.

“We have to go in,” he said. He grabbed her hand. “Stay with me. Give us a go.”

“All right. But if you try to order me around or smother me I’ll kick your ass.”

“Ahh, Dusty, I’d expect nothing else.”

Dusty limped into the pack’s meeting house. Originally, Cooper and Laney had lived here. But when they’d built a larger home, this cabin had been turned into a headquarters for the pack enforcers.

They were the last to arrive, not surprising given how slowly Cain had driven. Dusty nodded as she passed Rye. She took a seat on the end of the sofa next to Marcus, Laney’s middle brother.

“Hey, Marcus,” she greeted him.

He grunted in reply, but she didn’t take it personally. She’d always thought his temperament was more suited to a bear than a wolf. He was nearly always grouchy, had little patience and occasionally liked to roar. He was also built like a pro wrestler. His earrings glinted as he nodded to Cain, who walked across the room to lean against the wall behind them.

Laney settled herself between Marcus and Dusty. Dark circles bruised the skin under her eyes. Jesse sat on the sofa across from them, his green eyes somber as he stared around the room. He looked exhausted. She was worried about him but didn’t know how to approach him. Years ago they’d been so close she wouldn’t even have hesitated. But since he’d mated that bitch Samantha he’d withdrawn from their friendship.

Dusty sighed. There wasn’t much she could do about it. Samantha might be a cow, and Dusty felt suspicious of the look on her face last night as she’d stared at Laney, but she was still Jesse’s mate. Dusty knew Jesse wouldn’t welcome any criticism of her, so she’d bite her tongue. For now.

Tina, the only other female enforcer, sat beside him, while Liam, the youngest, sat at the other end. Josiah winked at her from the corner of the room.

She bit back her smile.

“I don’t need to explain why I called you all here.” Cooper paced up and down the room, his fury clearly palpable.

“Cooper…” Laney’s voice dropped off as Cooper turned to her, anger etched so clearly into his face that Dusty lowered her eyes in submission.

“Don’t even think about talking me out of my rage. Someone tried to kill you. I don’t want you leaving our house without a guard. And Dusty, stop looking so guilty. This wasn’t anyone’s fault except for that bastard with the gun.”

“If I hadn’t called Cassie—”

“She was going into town anyway,” Cooper interrupted her impatiently.

Laney swallowed heavily before she spoke again. “They were after me. I should never have given her my car.”

“Guilt is a selfish emotion,” Marcus snapped, startling them both. “Give it up. We need to think about protecting Laney. I agree. No leaving the house without at least one enforcer.”

“I don’t want anyone leaving the estate alone,” Cooper interjected. “I know I’ve been encouraging us to move around in the human world, but I can’t risk the pack’s safety. Whoever is doing this obviously doesn’t care who they hurt.”

“But—” Laney started.

“Don’t,” Cooper snapped, turning to glare at his mate. “I don’t want to hear how I’m being overprotective or smothering you. You will do as you’re told.”

Dusty held back a flinch at his harsh tone. Laney squared her shoulders and spoke calmly. “All I was going to say was that we can’t go on this way forever. We need a plan to draw them out.”

“With you as bait, I suppose,” Rye spoke coldly from across the room, his blue eyes glacial as he stared at his younger sister.

“Perhaps.”

“No,” snapped Rye and Cooper.

“We need to do something though,” Josiah said. He was of slighter build than most of the other male enforcers. Those who didn’t know him often dismissed him as a threat. They quickly learned their mistake.

“We could fake it.”

Everyone turned to stare at Cain.

“What do you mean?” Rye asked.

“We could set up a trap,” Cain said calmly. “Make it look like Laney was going to be somewhere, when instead she’d be here and protected, and we’d be there to catch these bastards.”

The room went silent.

Finally, Cooper spoke. “I want plans, ideas. Hopefully, we can find these guys without having to implement such a plan, but we need to be prepared. In the meantime we’re on high alert. No one leaves the estate alone. Rye will give you your assignments.”

Cooper strode over to Laney and held out his hand. Laney sighed, but when Cooper pulled her into his arms he was gentle, and Dusty heard him whisper how much he loved her. It took all of Dusty’s control not to turn around and stare at Cain.

It was the kind of relationship she’d never thought she’d have, yet now she wanted it with a vengeance.

She might not deserve him, but she was too selfish to let him go. She was going to live for now, she was going with her gut.

And her gut told her that she was meant to be with this bossy, sexy werewolf.

And if the image of a golden-haired, wickedly annoying man entered her head now and then she’d ignore him. Cain was hers.

She didn’t need anyone else.

Chapter Five

 

Dusty groaned as she looked out the front window of Cain’s place and saw a red sports car pull up outside. A petite brunette with long, straight hair climbed gracefully from the car.

“Great, that’s the last thing I need.”

Briefly she debated hiding, pretending she wasn’t home. But it smacked too much of cowardice. And she wasn’t scared.

Just annoyed.

With a sigh of impatience, Dusty opened the front door before Samantha could knock.

“What do you want?” she asked grumpily. No one said she had to be polite.

Anger flared briefly in Samantha’s glacial blue eyes. But she quickly smothered it, a fake smile crossing her face. She was impeccably dressed as usual. Not a hair out of place. Designer jeans paired with a loose leopard-print top and four-inch heels. She carried a covered cane basket in her hand.

“Hello, Dusty. How are you?” she asked, her voice sickly sweet.

Dusty knew she didn’t care. Samantha didn’t care about anyone but herself and why Jesse couldn’t see it, Dusty had no idea. It wasn’t as if she hid it well.

“Fine,” Dusty said shortly. “What are you doing here? Cain’s not here.”

And why is Samantha visiting Cain?
Dusty wondered with a flare of jealousy. She tamped it down.

“Oh I didn’t come to see Cain, silly, I came to see you. May I come in?”

Dusty smiled as she envisioned slamming the door in Samantha’s face. But she supposed she better find out what the stupid woman wanted.

“Sure,” she said, stepping back so the other woman could walk inside.

“I baked you some muffins,” Samantha said, holding up the basket in her hand. “I wasn’t sure what kind you liked so I made a few different kinds.”

She followed behind Samantha, watching as the other woman peered around nosily. Dusty’s stomach untangled as she realized Samantha wasn’t acting as though she’d been here before.

“It’s a lovely house, isn’t it? Although I’m sure you’ll want to make your mark, claim it.”

“It’s fine the way it is.” Dusty didn’t invite her to sit. As far as she was concerned this wasn’t a social call.

“How’d you know I was here?”

“Jesse said you’d gone home with Cain after the meeting two days ago, so when I went to your place and you weren’t there, well, I put my detective skills to work and here I am.”

Some detective work
, Dusty thought sourly. Obviously the gossip mill was working overtime.

“I thought I would offer you my help.”

Dusty looked at her in confusion. “With what?”

“Well, with learning how to take care of Cain, of course. I know you’re not used to doing housework or cooking. I mean, it’s not like you can do anything else, can you?”

Don’t get angry, don’t give her the satisfaction.

Dusty gritted her teeth and forced a smile onto her face. “Why, actually, I have very little time for housework. Cain keeps me far too busy for that, if you know what I mean.”

Samantha’s eyes flared then she smiled tightly. “Well, if you’re sure you don’t need me.”

“I don’t. Oh, and take the muffins with you. Neither of us like those flavors.”

“But I never told you what flavors they are,” Samantha protested.

“You don’t have to. I’ll walk you to the door.”

As the small car pulled away fast, Dusty let her anger free.

“Bitch,” she growled.

* * * * *

 

Cain smiled as he drove up the dirt track to his house. He was happy. Not an emotion he was used to.

And it was because of Dusty. She’d been in his home, in his bed, for the last two nights.

Right where she should be.

Stripping off his clothes, he shifted into his wolf. Transformation complete, the forest came alive before him, his senses sharpened.

He ran the perimeter around his house, checking for disturbances. He’d worked a long shift and wanted nothing more than to race inside, find Dusty and make love to her all night.

But this was an old habit. He considered this little patch his—his territory, his mate. And he would protect it.

He turned back to where he’d left his clothes and changed back to human form.

Except for the meeting, she hadn’t left the house and he could feel her restlessness. Having little to do was wearing on her.

He needed to talk to Cooper about reassigning her temporarily. Physically, she might be limited, but there was nothing wrong with her brain. And they needed all the help they could get. They still had no leads on who was hunting Laney.

Once dressed, he made his way through the forest and into his house.

Opening the door, his senses reeled with the stench of burned food and smoke. Racing toward the kitchen, he came to a skidding halt when he spotted Dusty, her face scrunched, flapping around a dishcloth as a skillet lay sizzling in the sink.

She’d pulled her hair back into a ponytail, but wisps had fought their way free, falling about her face. Her clothes were splattered with food and grease and the kitchen was covered in more bowls, plates and pans than he thought he’d owned.

Cain bit back a smile.

He held in the urge to laugh.

And he stopped himself from grabbing her, picking her up and sprinting off with her into the bedroom.

Instead he cleared his throat.

She glanced up, letting out a screech, her hand rising to her chest. “Damn it, Cain, don’t sneak up on me.”

He narrowed his gaze. “I’m surprised I could.”

He could have sworn a glimpse of guilt crossed her face. But that didn’t make any sense.

“I can’t do this!” She raised her hands in the air, her voice filled with angry frustration.

“Can’t do what?”

“This-this domestic stuff. I can’t do it. I can’t cook, I can’t bake, I can’t iron. Do you know that yesterday I set the potatoes on fire in the microwave?”

Yeah, he’d found the charred remains in the garden.

“And I burned a hole in your shirt.”

He couldn’t figure out why she’d ironed one when he rarely wore them but didn’t question her. “You don’t need to do any of that. I can cook for us both and I can do my own laundry.”

“Well, it’s not like I have anything else to do! I’m stuck here all day, going insane. This is not who I am. I was an enforcer, I helped protect the pack. I don’t bake cream cakes and polish silverware.”

BOOK: Dual Embrace: 3 (Shadowpeak Wolves)
12.83Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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