Authors: Kristen Strassel
Tags: #alpha male, #werewolves, #shapeshifters, #bbw, #fated mates, #action adventure, #pack loyalty, #family saga
“Thank you.” I kissed him on the lips softly. Shadow raised an eyebrow, but his lids were so heavy. Sleep was seconds away from claiming both of us. “You saved me tonight.”
hope you enjoyed reading Forever Home! The story continues through the eyes of each wolf as they find their mate. Rescue Me is Shadow and Trina’s story, and it’s
Keep reading for a sneak peek.
Protect Me, Kiera and Baron’s story, is coming in October and is
available for preorder now.
Let’s keep in touch!
This was going to be awkward.
My truck was full of men who’d been wolves when my assistants, Kiera and Lyssie, left Forever Home Animal Shelter last night. We’d rescued them two weeks ago from a dog fighting ring and had no idea at the time that they were wolves. With the full moon, the wolves shifted into men like they’d jumped out of a birthday cake.
The girls waited for me in the parking lot in the soft fuzz of daybreak. Kiera looked up from the travel mug she never put down in the morning. She should’ve just opted for an IV coffee drip. Her eyes almost fell out of her head when she saw our animal wagon rambling down the dirt driveway. I’d left my beat down pickup truck in the parking lot last night. Given the all the trouble we’d been having at the shelter lately, they were definitely freaking out that I wasn’t there with it.
“Trina, are you okay?” Lyssie asked, both girls making a beeline to the truck when I parked. “We were just about to call the police. I mean, you’re truck is here, and you weren’t, and the door was locked. Kiera thought maybe you took the
rk truck to get gas or something, but if you were late, we knew something was wrong.”
Good thing I was never late.
Major Lowe snorted in the back of the truck, but the girls hadn’t seen him yet. Playing nice wasn’t his thing, and that’s what I’d asked him to do this morning. I didn’t know him in human form yet, but I’d watched him a lot as a wolf. He was going to think I owed him, even after all I’d done for him.
He’d have to get over it. I’d never been interested in pissing contests.
“Yeah. Everything’s fine.” I slid out of the truck, pushing the seat forward so the rest of my passengers could get out. Major and his brother Xavier followed, much to the girls’ open-mouthed shock. They plastered themselves against the dented body of my truck as Shadow, Baron, and Dallas Channing loaded out of the passenger’s side.
“Wh-What’s going on?” Kiera managed. I didn’t just take care of animals, I helped people get to where they were supposed to be, too. Kiera and Lyssie were with me as part of their rehab from CAST, the Center of Anxiety and Stress Therapy. My therapists had asked me to try working as a volunteer in an animal shelter when I didn’t respond to their treatment, knowing that animals could do something that people couldn’t. It worked, and I opened Forever Home in Granger Falls, Idaho, a town that was sorely lacking many things, including a safe place for animals to find their people. CAST hoped the animals could help Kiera and Lyssie the way they helped me.
Until last night, I had a much easier time connecting with animals than people. Shadow Channing unlocked a part of me I’d been terrified to face.
“These are the dogs we rescued from the fight,” I said. “Kiera and Lyssie, meet Shadow, Baron, Dallas, Major, and Xavier.” I didn’t bother with the family names. Let them draw their own lines in the sand. Like I said, no pissing contests on my watch.
Shadow stepped forward. Even thinned out from captivity, he was six feet of gorgeous, rippling muscle with long black and silver-streaked hair. He flashed that killer smile that made me forget every single one of my hang-ups last night.
What had I done? Last night, we’d had mind-blowing sex. This morning, we’d barely talked. Now it was time for the freakout. I definitely didn’t regret it (or did I?), but what if he did? He’d been stuck in his wolf form for months, starved, beaten, and close to death. Of course he wanted a woman. And I’d just handed myself over like a White Elephant gift. Now he could have his life back, and he might not want me in it. I hated overthinking things.
Shadow extended a hand, but Kiera ignored it, scrubbing her hand over her face, and turned to Lyssie. Kiera was not a morning person. “Did we drink last night? Or smoke?”
Lyssie shook her head but didn’t take her eyes off the guys. “Did the cream in the coffee go bad?”
“What the fuck, Trina?” Kiera got to the point. “What the hell happened? If you can’t talk in front of them, use some sort of code.”
“Yeah, that will work now that you told them.” I rolled my eyes, laughing. If the employees of Forever Home were good at anything, it was being awkward. “Why don’t I let one of the guys explain?”
“I will,” Shadow offered. Major glowered in the background. “We’re shapeshifters. Ryker, the guy who captured us in the dog fighting ring, is also a shapeshifter. We’re strongest at the full moon, which is why we were able to shift last night. On the new moon, we’re weak. The fight you rescued us from was the night of the new moon.”
Thank God Lyssie was leaning against my truck. All the color drained from her face, and I was pretty sure I was going to have to bust out my rusty CPR moves to revive her.
“So what does that mean for us?” Kiera’s words came slowly. “Why are you still here?”
“They’re going to help us,” I jumped in before Shadow continued. I spoke the same language as these girls. Suspicion. Cynicism. Heartache. “We could use the manpower to repair the front of the building, and Shadow said he’d help us raise money for the rest of the animals.”
“Of course he did,” Major muttered. I ignored him, but the girls jerked at the sound of his voice. If looks could kill, I would’ve given him a swift virtual kick to the junk. He couldn’t have chosen his words more carelessly.
“Thank you.” Baron stepped toward Kiera. I wondered if she noticed his blush. Oh yes, she did, and matched it with one of her own. Even I had butterflies. Kiera was a lot like me: quiet around people she didn’t know, thick in all the right places (and some of the wrong ones, depending on who you asked, but fuck those people), and no time for bullshit. “If it wasn’t for all of you, we’d still be starving, filthy, and sick. You saved our lives. We want to pay you back.”
“We need to get back to the forest.” Major stepped forward, popping the dreamy little bubble that had formed around Kiera and Baron. They both jumped like he’d hit them with a lightning bolt. “Our packs are suffering. That’s where we should be focusing. Not sucking up to humans.”
Major didn’t wait for anyone to answer before he walked away from us.
Shadow grabbed my arm, pulling me in close to his body. The butterflies were back. “He’s such an idiot. He has no idea what he’s talking about.” He sighed before calling to Major, “It’s a long walk.”
“We could ask to borrow a car,” Dallas suggested, wiggling his eyebrows at me.
Shadow looked back at me. “Could we use the truck?”
“Sure.” The girls both gasped. They had every right to be alarmed. I never acted like this. Trust wasn’t my thing. I was terrified, but something about this man melted all my defenses.
“Want a ride, buddy?” Shadow yelled.
“No,” Major called over his shoulder but kept walking. “I’m not going to owe a human anything.”
PROTECT ME is coming in October!
Baron Channing is tired of fighting.
As second in command, he’s built to take orders. The Channing packs have protected Sawtooth forest for generations, and now he’s been assigned to guard the women who saved his family from the dog fighting ring. The Channings must fight for respect, but Baron doesn’t believe violence is the answer. He needs to take a stand for what he believes in if he wants to keep the incredible woman he’s been assigned to keep safe.
Kiera is a soldier.
She grew up in a man’s world, and she’s got the scars to prove it. Sent to Forever Home for rehabilitation for PTSD, Kiera didn’t believe she could learn anything from a bunch of homeless animals. But when a rescued werewolf sees her in a way no one else ever has, she realizes how wrong she was.
Together Kiera and Baron learn that the bravest thing is being true to yourself.
—Major’s story will be released in November
—Shea’s story will be released in December
—Dallas and Lyssie’s story will be released in January (tentative title)
—Xavier’s story will be released in February
Lion and the Doe
Doe and the Hunter
Cougar and the Lion
Doe and the Pride
The Night Songs Collection:
Because the Night
We Own the Night
The Fire Dancer
The Spotlight Series:
The Trouble With Bree
Too Many Reasons
No Strings Attached
for more information!