Read Dual Embrace: 3 (Shadowpeak Wolves) Online

Authors: Lorna Jean Roberts

Tags: #Erotica

Dual Embrace: 3 (Shadowpeak Wolves) (4 page)

BOOK: Dual Embrace: 3 (Shadowpeak Wolves)
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And yet last night she’d almost fucked someone else. It was as if she’d been unable to stop herself.

Cain was more than enough for any woman. Sleeping with him hadn’t eased her infatuation with him—if anything it had increased her obsession. And yet, this annoying, too-attractive stranger appears out of nowhere and she jumps him? Had she turned into some sort of slut?

Well, okay, one near encounter didn’t make her a slut. But Dusty had figured Cain was the one. The only one. She’d had no intention of hooking up with anyone at all. Ever. She’d planned to live her life out as a spinster. Dedicate herself to her career. Only she hadn’t figured on the loneliness growing along with her attraction to him.

She hadn’t counted on regretting her decision to push him away.

Lord, she was a mess. She’d lost her identity, lost the mate she’d never allowed herself to have, and now she felt as though she were losing her mind.

Yep, one big mess.

With a loud groan, she forced herself to focus on the problem at hand. Who was she going to call?

Her next choice was Laney—except Laney wasn’t allowed to leave the estate at the moment. Not with some freak sending her hate mail. Dusty frowned as she thought of her friend. Laney was the Shadowpeak Alpha’s mate, and Cooper took her safety seriously. Whoever was sending her threatening letters was either stupid or suicidal. Because when Cooper found them they were dead.

That left one person in the pack that Dusty could and would call.

Cassie.

She pulled out her cell, searching her contacts for Cassie’s number.

“Cassie speaking.” The other woman’s voice was oh so polite.

“Hey, Cassie, Dusty here. I need you to pick me up.”

“Umm, okay. Why?”

“I’m stranded at the Wild Oak Motel. My Jeep’s at Samson’s bar.”

Cassie sighed. “I guess I can do that. I’m coming into town to drop some stuff off at the bookstore anyway. I’ll pick you up on the way.”

“Don’t bring anyone else,” Dusty warned.

“Well, I wasn’t planning on it.” The other woman’s voice held some bite and Dusty grinned as she hung up.

She took a quick shower, sighing in pleasure as the hot water worked wonders on her tired muscles. Dressed, she took one last look around the motel room for any hint of Algernon, or whatever his name was. Shaking her head, she left to wait for Cassie outside.

“Shit, why’d I have to be on the second floor?” she complained.

By the time she reached the ground her arms and legs were shaking with strain and slow throbs of pain drummed through her thigh.

No werewolf super strength and speed now. Being human sucked.

With that depressing thought, she limped across the grassy area in front of the motel to the road.

Surprisingly, it was Laney’s car that drew to a halt before her. Cassie jumped out.

“Get back in the damn car. I can do it myself.”

“Jeez, you’re a grump,” Cassie replied. But she had the good sense to back off. Dusty opened the passenger door and gingerly sat down, holding back a sigh of relief. She wiped the sweat beading on her forehead, trying desperately to ignore the burn in her thigh.

Cassie started the car without a word, reminding Dusty why she liked the brunette. She knew when to keep quiet.

“Thanks for picking me up.”

Cassie turned toward her bookstore, which stood a few blocks over from the motel. Cassie and Laney had planned to open a bookstore over a month ago. But that building had been destroyed by a bomb—the same explosion that had injured Dusty. That hadn’t stopped Cassie and Laney though. They’d found a new building and were due to open the doors shortly.

“No worries. Like I said, I was coming in. Your Jeep’s at Samson’s? That’s where you were last night?”

“Yep. Just drop me off there after you go to the store.”

Cassie sent her a sharp look but didn’t ask any more questions.

“How come you’re in Laney’s car?” Dusty asked.

“Jay’s using his and I still haven’t got my own. Laney said to take hers. It’s not like she’s using it.”

“Nah, poor thing.” With Laney confined to the estate, Cassie was left to do all of the running around.

“She’s going insane,” Cassie commented, parking outside the shop. A young couple walked past, hand in hand. Coming the other way, a woman was pushing a stroller and tugging a recalcitrant toddler along. “I’ll just drop this box off,” Cassie said as Dusty opened her door. “I’ll be two seconds.”

Dusty frowned but nodded. True to her word, Cassie quickly returned.

“Jay shouldn’t let you come into town on your own,” Dusty grumbled as Cassie pulled away from the curb. “Someone else could have brought that stuff in.”

If anyone was going to be overprotective, Dusty figured it would be Jay. After all, Cassie was human, physically weaker than the rest of the pack. Dusty knew Jay would be devastated if anything happened to his mate. They might not have the true mate bond that Laney and Cooper did, but they lived and breathed for each other.

“Until we find the perpetrator who set that bomb, we all need to be on alert. You shouldn’t leave the estate by yourself,” Dusty told her.

“You’re the one who didn’t want me to bring anyone.”

“Yeah, but you—”

“Dusty, enough. I don’t need protection. I’m not important enough. No one is interested in hurting me.”

Cassie directed the car toward Samson’s, which was a couple of miles out of Landon.

Dusty shook her head. “What a load of bull. You’re pack now.”

Cassie sighed. “Am I? Sometimes I wonder.”

Dusty took a good look at Cassie, noting the tiredness, the lines of strain on her face.

“Cassie, what’s going on?”

“Nothing,” Cassie answered too quickly.

“Don’t give me any crap. That might work with someone who doesn’t know you, but it won’t wash with me. Of course you’re pack. Remember,” she said in a dramatic voice, “all the enforcers got together and we voted on whether or not you would be the first human in seventy years to join the pack. Do you recall that?”

Cassie glared at her. “There’s no need for sarcasm. Of course I remember it. It was less than a fortnight ago. And voting me in and me being accepted are two very different things. I only just won that vote. Some of the enforcers really didn’t want me to join, remember? They voted no.”

“What they voted or didn’t vote is irrelevant. You’re pack now.”

“You know, you’re not exactly in a position to offer me advice. What were you doing at Wild Oaks? Why were you drinking at Samson’s?”

Dusty sighed. “Great. I called you because I figured I wouldn’t get a hundred questions like I would from everyone else.”

“They’re worried about you, Dusty. You’re acting so out of character. You’re moping. They think you’re depressed.”

Outraged, she growled. “I’m not depressed.”

“No, but you are an idiot. Just because you’ve been temporarily benched doesn’t mean you’re not part of the team.”

“Sports references? From you?” Dusty looked at her in disbelief.

“Look, what I’m trying to say is, so what if you can’t be an enforcer at the moment? Your leg will heal. I know being an enforcer was your whole world, but there is more to life. There’s Cain. He could be part of your life, if you’d let him in.”

“I can’t.”

“Why not? You two ignite when you’re together. You’re obviously attracted to him. He could be your mate, Dusty. Maybe even your true mate. Your soul mate.”

She heard the envy in Cassie’s voice. “Cassie—”

“Don’t you know how much I would kill for that link?” Cassie interrupted her. “How much I want that for me and Jay? I’m not a werewolf. Jay and I can never be true mates. Sometimes I wonder why his wolf chose to be with me at all. I mean, I know most werewolves never find their true mates, that they end up mating without that tie. But don’t they worry that someday their mate will meet their true mate and leave them?”

Obviously that worried Cassie.

“It’s rare to find your true mate,” Dusty replied. “It’s unlikely that Cain is mine. The human half of us falls in love the same way you humans do, and our wolves are happy with that. Like humans, it’s possible for werewolves to leave their mates—if they’re not their true mate. But that hardly ever happens. And from what I can see Jay adores you, Cassie. You’re his everything. Don’t ever think you’re not.”

“It’s not the same though, is it? I’m not the other half of his soul. We’re not as closely connected as we would be if we were true mates. Sure, it sounds kind of scary— being able to hear each other’s thoughts, feel the other’s emotions. But also beautiful. Don’t you want to know if you could have that with Cain?”

“He’s better off staying well away from me.”

“But why? He cares about you.”

“I could have had him once, but I pushed him away. Now I’m doing what’s best for both of us by keeping my distance.”

“Dusty, you’re being stupid. Get off your butt and stop moping.”

“Cain deserves someone better than me. He deserves someone whole.”

“You are whole,” Cassie insisted impatiently. “Your leg is still there.”

“I’m not talking about my leg. I’m talking about my wolf. My wolf is gone,” Dusty snapped.

Cassie abruptly pulled the car to the side of the road. Slamming on the brakes, she turned to stare at Dusty in shock.

“What are you talking about? You’re still a werewolf.”

“Am I? You know this for a fact, do you?” Dusty already regretted her outburst. But she’d been unable to keep it inside any longer. She had to tell someone. And she knew Cassie could keep a secret. Her packmates would feel obliged to tell Cooper. Cassie wouldn’t.

“Is that possible? Does anyone know?”

“Must be possible, because I’m living it.”

“But surely the others would have noticed if your wolf was gone.”

“She’s still there,” Dusty acknowledged. “I just can’t change. I can’t merge with her. She’s sluggish. Weak. Sleeping, I guess.”

“Does Cain know?”

“Why would Cain know?” Dusty asked.

“Well, because you two—”

“Are nothing.”

“You’re wrong, Dusty. You and Cain are meant for each other, any fool can see it. I can tell how much he cares about you. His feelings aren’t fickle. Unless you’re not attracted to him anymore?”

“That’s not the problem.” Oh no, she still wanted him.

“You’re hurting him by shutting him out. You should tell him.”

“About my wolf? Are you insane?” Dusty gaped at her.

“Why not? He can help. You need someone to help you figure out what is going on.”

“No one can help. Look, you’ve got to promise not to tell anyone, especially not Cain. Maybe my leg will get better, maybe my wolf will come back. But no one can know. I don’t know how this happened or if it can be reversed. I have no fucking idea what is going on. What I do know is that I don’t want anyone’s pity. I don’t want Cain thinking he has to take care of me. I don’t want any of that crap. Understand?”

Cassie nodded, but she was frowning.

“I don’t want him thinking that I want him because I can’t take care of myself.”

Cassie snorted. “Right, because you’re so helpless. Even injured and without your wolf you can still kick ass. I don’t know Cain that well, but what I do know of him is that he’s smart and loyal and he practically eats you up with his eyes. He was willing to give me a chance when others didn’t. I think you should tell him. I think he’ll surprise you. Trust him.”

Dusty’s attention shifted to a dark car coming to a stop behind them. Her instincts stirred as the driver’s door opened and a man exited.

“Drive,” she urged Cassie.

“What?”

Cassie turned to stare out the back window as the man rounded the front of his car. There was something in his hand.

“He has a gun. Drive now!”

Cassie quickly put the car in gear, pressing on the accelerator as the man raised the gun and shot at them, taking out the back window with a loud crack. Cassie screamed but kept the car on the road. The man turned, racing back to jump into his car.

“Keep driving, Cass, fast.”

All too soon, he was behind them. Unfortunately, his car had much more power than theirs did.

“Damn it, Cooper, couldn’t you have bought Laney something with a bit of guts?” Dusty grumbled, searching for her cell.

He’d bought his mate a vehicle with safety in mind, not speed. The car behind them was going to catch up at any minute.

Suddenly it slammed into their trunk, jolting them forward. Cassie let out a gasp. Her foot skittered off the gas pedal.

“Don’t slow down,” Dusty yelled, grabbing her cell. She hit Cain’s number.

“Cain. Oh shit!” she swore as the car hit them again. “Stay on the road,” she screamed to Cassie. A wide ditch lay on either side of them. They were in trouble if they got pushed off the road.

“We need help,” she told Cain. “Gray sedan is trying to run us off the road near Mackenzie’s Rock. Get here.” She ended the call before he could reply. Frantically, she tried to think of a way out of this.

BOOK: Dual Embrace: 3 (Shadowpeak Wolves)
2.04Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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