Authors: Teresa Gabelman
Tags: #Contemporary, #Romance, #Fiction, #Werewolf, #Wolves, #Adult, #Erotic, #Fate, #Children, #Packless, #Pack, #Alpha, #Forbidden, #Decision, #The Reaping, #Ancient Hunt, #Lost Father, #Suspense
‘LEE COUNTY WOLVES’
Copyright 2015 Teresa Gabelman
All rights reserved. The right of Teresa Gabelman to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. This is a work of fiction and any resemblance between the characters and persons living or dead is purely coincidental.
Gabelman, Teresa (2015-25-3). FORBIDDEN HUNGER (LEE COUNTY WOLVES).
Hot Tree Editing
Cover Art: Ron Gabelman
“My feet hurt, Janna,” Sam whined as they made their way down the steamy pavement.
Biting her lip to stop from snapping at the six-year-old, who was very small for his age, Janna stopped and turned around. “It’s not far, Sam.” She smiled down at him. He was a cutie with his dark curly hair and deep brown eyes. “Just a few more miles.”
“Why can’t we just run?” He frowned up at her. “We’re fast and could be there like…now.”
“You know why we can’t run.” Janna sighed, turning back around, silently cursing her car that decided to break down right at the Welcome to Beattyville, Kentucky sign. Just her damn luck. “Now, suck it up, my tough little friend.”
“What happens if they don’t let us in?” Leda, Sam’s sister, asked, her voice filled with worry. “I’m with Sam. I don’t think I can walk much further.”
“You mean they might no…no…not want us?” Sam’s stutter was worse when he was scared or nervous.
Janna stopped again but didn’t turn around. She closed her eyes tightly, asking for strength. Who she was asking, she didn’t know. Just like she didn’t know how she became responsible for a six and seventeen year old, but she was responsible and that was that.
“You know what.” Janna knelt down, peering over her shoulder at Sam. “I think I have one more piggy back ride in me.”
The smile that spread across Sam’s face made her grin. He turned toward his sister, and stuck out his tongue before running and jumping on Janna’s back, wrapping his small arms around her neck.
“Punk.” Leda kicked a rock at him as he ran past.
“You’re a punk,” he tossed back at her with a laugh.
“We’re going to be fine, Leda,” Janna replied, trying to reassure the younger girl, but the hiss in her voice as she stood with Sam on her back made Leda frown.
“Why don’t you let me run ahead?” Leda walked quickly beside her. “No one will see me. I’ll make sure of it.”
“No, we can’t chance that.” Janna shook her head, shifting Sam on her back with a grunt. “I’m fine. I think that’s the road we take up ahead. We’re almost there.”
“But you’re hurt.” Leda kept pace with Janna staring at her.
“Did that man hurt you bad, Ja…Ja…Janna?” Sam used his arms against her throat to look around to her face, choking her.
“Don’t choke me to death, Sam.” Janna used her hand to loosen his hold. “I’m fine. Now let’s get going before it goes dark on us.”
The road sign she saw was the road they were looking for. Instantly, she became more alert. As they passed houses, people came out to stand on their porch, watching as they walked by. Janna used her peripheral vision without making full eye contact. It seemed as if they were heading into a town that time forgot.
“Why are th…th…they staring at us, Janna?” Sam asked, his hold tightening again.
“Because you’re so handsome,” she teased, trying to keep her voice calm. She hated bringing these kids into something that may be dangerous, but she had no choice. Not taking this chance could be even more dangerous.
“Strangers aren’t welcome here,” a man shouted from his porch. “You best turn around.”
Janna, not missing a step, just kept going. Seeing three figures heading their way blocking the path on the road, she slowed, letting Sam slide down her back. “Leda, take your brother and get behind me.”
Leda took Sam by the hand. “Who are they?”
“The welcoming committee,” Janna replied, but her eyes never left the sight coming toward them. Two huge wolves with their heads low to the ground, their bright golden eyes shining in the dusk, slowly made their way toward them and that wasn’t even the most impressive sight she was seeing though. A man walked between the wolves. He was tall with broad shoulders barely contained in a white t-shirt. His faded jeans hugged his hips loosely, but tightened in spots she shouldn’t be looking at. Her eyes lowered to his feet to see he was barefoot. A low growl made her look up quickly, not sure if it was the man or wolves who made the noise. He also had deep golden eyes, matching the wolves’, but not as bright, and his hair was raven in color with messy waves that ran slightly past his shoulders. She felt her beast rise up inside her, taking full notice of the man, but she pushed it back. She feared the beast inside her. Her time was running out and this was her only hope.
“Who are they?” Leda asked from behind her. “Is that who we’re looking for?”
Janna noticed that everything had become quiet, not even the summer locusts were humming their comforting, yet annoying tune. The air was humid and close, making it hard to breathe. Sweat trickled from her forehead, down the side of her face only to disappear inside her shirt. She wanted more than anything to wipe the sweat away, but didn’t dare. Her focus was on the man and wolves in her path. Once they were close enough, she knew they weren’t out for an evening stroll, nor were they going to part to let them through. She had to look at it as another obstacle in her path, another problem in her life of complications.
“You lost?” The man’s deep voice didn’t stop her steps.
Shifting her eyes to look past him, she shook her head before bringing her eyes back to his. “No.”
The wolf on his left growled, lowering his head even more while raising its lip in a sneer, revealing sharp gleaming teeth. Once they were close enough, the man and wolves stopped in what looked like an old western showdown stance. The man ran his golden eyes over Janna, sniffing as he appraised her.
“We don’t take to strangers.” His eyes met hers again. He looked at ease, but Janna knew without a doubt, this man was ready to strike at any hint of danger to what he stood in front of to protect.
Again, the wolf on the left growled, taking a step forward. Sam pulled away from Leda, tripping his way in front of Janna. “Don’t hurt he…he…her.” Sam’s stuttering became pronounced as he shielded Janna with his small body. “Sh…sh…she’s already hur…hur…hurt.”
“Sam!” Leda and Janna reached for him. Leda picked him up before stepping behind Janna.
Janna frowned, looked up at the man who easily towered over her. She had no chance against this man or the wolves, none at all. She knew it and the problem was, they knew it. “I’m looking for Jonah McCall,” Janna finally said, glad her voice held strong. Actually, little Sam’s display of courage gave her own courage a boost.
“He’s busy,” the man replied, crossing his arms while still staring down at her.
If this man thought she was going to give up on that lame excuse, he was sadly mistaken. Giving up was not in Janna Lawson’s vocabulary. As handsome as they man was, he was pissing her off. She had business to take care of and
was in her way. “Then I’ll wait until he’s not busy.” She crossed her arms, cocking her hip and eyebrow at him. “Either way, I’m going to see Jonah McCall.”
The man’s lip cocked up for a brief second before his eyes narrowed. “And who is looking for Jonah?”
“Janna…” She stopped herself from saying her last name, but she knew she had to reveal it. If she had any hope at all, she had to do this. “Lawson. My mother was Virginia Lawson.” She knew that name would mean nothing to this man, but that didn’t matter. Jonah McCall would know the name well.
The man looked down at the wolf on his left. They stared at each other before the wolf growled once more at her, and then took off in the direction Janna needed to go. “Where’s your car?” the man asked as soon as the wolf was gone. “I know you’re not from around here and no one walks into Beattyville.”
“It bro…broke down about a hundred miles away,” Sam exaggerated, sounding more at ease as he fought his way out of his sister’s hold to point behind them, as if showing where their car was.
“It’s not a hundred miles, Sam.” Leda rolled her eyes. “More like five maybe.”
“Tell that to my feet,” Sam grumbled, kicking a pebble.
“You didn’t even walk all the way.” Leda sighed, sitting down in the middle of the road. “Janna carried you on your back.”
“Only for a minute.” Sam looked up at the man and then over to the wolf who was staring at him. “I could have walked further if I had newer shoes.”
Leda snorted, shaking her head, then she too looked up at the man. “So what’s the big deal about seeing this Jonah dude?”
“Leda.” Janna frowned. “Show some respect.”
“Well, they aren’t showing any respect.” Leda nodded toward the man and wolf. “Making us wait when we’re tired and hungry. And if that wolf don’t stop glaring at me and showing its teeth, I’m going to shift and show him what respect really is.”
The wolf stepped forward, but the man held out his hand, stopping him instantly. “Jonah McCall is an elder. He sees who he wants to see.”
“What’s your name?” Sam asked as he stepped closer to the wolf, who took a step back, eyeing Sam.
“Garrett,” the man answered, looking away from Janna to the young boy.
“Is that your wolf?” Sam took another step forward, tilting his head.
“The wolves here don’t belong to anyone,” Garrett answered, his deep voice low.
“Sam,” Janna warned as Sam moved closer.
“He won’t hurt me, Janna,” Sam replied as he reached out his hand. The wolf looked over Sam’s head to Janna and then Leda before lowering his head, taking a step closer to Sam. When Sam didn’t move his hand, the wolf lowered his head even more, moving underneath Sam’s hand. “See I told you.” Sam smiled, rubbing the wolf’s massive head.
Janna shook her head. “Well, you can’t always walk up to strange wolves and pat their heads,” Janna warned him sternly.
“Listen to your sister.” Garrett frowned down at Sam.
“She’s not my sister.” Sam laughed when the wolf used his nose to push him in the stomach.
Janna acted like she didn’t hear Sam as she looked past this man, Garrett, hoping to see someone coming down the road. She didn’t want to answer the questions that were sure to come. She only needed to talk to one person, and it wasn’t this man. Finally, it looked like luck was on her side because before he could question her further, the wolf who left came back and stood in the middle of the road giving a howl before turning and heading back the way it came.
Garrett Foster saw the look on the woman’s face at the interruption. This one had secrets, secrets she wasn’t going to give up easily, or at least not to him. She may think Jonah McCall was her answer, but she was wrong.
Sending a message to the wolf beside him, the wolf took off, disappearing over the small hill in front of them. The two kids walked in front of him, and the woman, walked by his side without saying a word. She looked nervous. He could even smell the nervous energy wafting off her, but it wasn’t overpowering. He knew without a doubt she was shifter, even with her beautiful, yet odd green eyes. Her wolf called to his and probably every male in these parts, which made him frown. That could be trouble. Hell, who was he kidding? She was big trouble in a little package.
“Where’s your pack?” Garrett asked. He had a feeling he wasn’t going to like the answer. The question seemed to throw her off balance, causing her to trip. Garrett reached out to steady her. His large, dark hand against the pale smooth skin of her arm caused an electric tingle neither could deny. He felt it and knew by the look of shock on her face, she did too. Garrett stopped her. “Where is your pack, Janna?” he repeated, his voice deepening.
Pulling her arm away from his grip, Janna glanced up to where Leda and Sam continued on their journey. Rubbing the spot on her arm that he had touched, she looked back up at him. “I don’t have a pack.” Her reply was spoken as a challenge, her tone totally changed into defense mode. “I’ve never belonged to a pack.”
Garrett cursed, rubbing his hand down his face. “And that’s why you’re seeking out Jonah McCall?”
Janna nodded still holding her arm as she turned to continue up the road. “He knew my mother,” was all she said, holding her secrets close.
Garrett watched the woman walk away, her shoulders snapped back with a proud confident poise as she made her way to a destiny she may regret seeking.