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Authors: Kimber White

Primal Heat

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Primal Heat

Wild Lake Wolves Series

Book Three

 

By

Kimber White

 

Copyright © 2016 by Kimber White

All Rights
Reserved

No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by
any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying, recording, or by
any information storage and retrieval system, without the written permission of
the author or publisher, except where permitted by law or for the use of brief
quotations in a book review.

This is
a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events,
and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a
fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual
events is purely coincidental.

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Author’s Note

The Wild Lake Wolves books have all been written so you can enjoy them
as standalones. While they can be read in any order, the events within them do
occur chronologically. For a full list of published books in the series and
their recommended reading order, visit the series page at
http://www.kimberwhite.com/wild-lake-wolves
.

 

 

Chapter One

You can’t grow up in near Wild Lake, Michigan without hearing rumors
about werewolves. Everyone knows they’re here, but no one really likes to talk
about it. Occasionally, an outsider might bring it up, his eyes filled with awe
and wonder as he asks you if the stories are true. Do they change by the full
moon? Are they killers? Do you actually know any? Up until now my answers, if
I’d been crazy enough to even engage in the conversation, would have been “I
doubt it,” “Probably, but so are regular people,” and “No.” By the end of today
though, my last answer was going to change. Not only would I get to know one,
but he’d sort of be my boss.

Dale Thorp, senior aid to Congressman Landon Foster, didn’t look like
what I’d picture a werewolf would. He was short, for one. Only two inches
taller than my five feet five inches. And rotund. But, when he got heated,
which I quickly learned was often, the pupils at the center of his light brown
eyes narrowed to slits and the irises flashed golden. That was the tip-off to
his lupine secret for me. I tried not to stare or show alarm the first time it
happened, about five seconds after I went through the metal detectors at the
employee entrance of Congressman Foster’s district office in Wild Lake.

“Will I travel to D.C. ever?” I asked, trying not to break my neck over
the three-inch heels I stupidly chose to wear on the first day of my
internship. They slipped on the marble floor and I put a flat hand on the wall
to steady myself before Mr. Thorp turned around and noticed.

Dale looked me up and down, setting his jaw to the side. “Not likely. I
hope you don’t have the wrong impression about what this job is, Miss Winslow.
You’re going to spend most of your time on Lexis staring at your computer
screen. It won’t be glamorous. You do know how to write at least a legal
memorandum, I hope. Fucking first years.” He muttered the last bit under his
breath as he shook his head before he locked eyes with me again.

My blood heated and I took a steadying breath. Scorn filled Thorp’s
eyes and I saw that first flash of gold. Of course I’d heard the rumors he was
were, and now I believed it. I put a smile on my face and did my best to keep
up with him as he strode down the hall. My legs were actually longer than his,
so it should have been easy. But, Dale Thorp moved with preternatural speed,
and that was my second clue to what he was if I even needed it.

“Legal research I can handle,” I said, hauling the thick leather strap
of my messenger bag back over my shoulder. He stopped at the end of the hallway
and held the door for me. “Just point me to my workstation and turn me loose.”

His nostrils flared as I brushed past him. It was only a fraction of a
second, but his eyes closed as he inhaled my scent. My heart tripped in
trepidation and a slow trickle of sweat formed between my shoulder blades. Some
evolutionary fight or flight response threatened to unravel me on my very first
day. I took another steadying breath and straightened my spine.

Were or not, I couldn’t let this guy intimidate me. I fought too hard
to get this internship. It usually went to the first ranked student in the
class at the end of the first year. But, this semester at Great Lakes
University Law, the top student had a nervous breakdown of sorts right after
Christmas. Numbers two through four had already accepted positions elsewhere.
That left me, number five. And it wasn’t even summertime yet. It was early
March and ice still covered most of Lake Michigan. But, Congressman Foster was
in the middle of an election year and pulled the trigger early. Although the
planets had aligned neatly for me, I wasn’t foolish enough to think they
couldn’t misalign just as quickly.

“Do you smoke, Miss Winslow?” Dale still stood in the doorway, his hand
on the knob. His nose wrinkled in disgust as he inhaled again.

“I do not.” That trickle of perspiration traveled straight between my
shoulder blades and down to the small of my back. His eyes roved over me,
judging.

“Well, you smell like it.”

Fuck. I kept my back straight as he brushed past me. We were in a large
outer office filled with white-walled cubicles. Most of them were empty, but I
got a few furtive glances from staff members as we walked by. Landon Foster’s
office was at the end of an inner hallway with large, gold embossed letters
covering rich mahogany. Thorp’s office was right next to it, though his had
walls of glass. Presumably, so he could keep a watchful eye on the rest of us
plebeians relegated to Planet Cubicle.

Thorp waved his hand toward the cubicle closest to his office. I think
he expected me to apologize for whatever odor he thought he smelled on me. Damn
his werewolf nose. I spent almost fifty dollars having this suit dry cleaned.
Twice as much as my donation to the thrift store where I found it. Chanel, for
God’s sakes! At least the label, anyway. Navy blue with white trim and a belted
jacket. I pulled my platinum blonde hair into a neat ponytail just like the
runway models on E’s coverage of Fashion Week. But, as Dale Thorp stood close
to me, one sniff and he seemed able to peel away every layer of the armor I’d
so carefully put in place.

Fifth in my class, but still East Wild Lake trailer trash. That’s what
his narrowed eyes seemed to convey. Well, so what? I let out a hard breath and
set my messenger bag down with a little more clunk than I intended.

“I’d love to get started. Do you have a project for me already?”

Dale crossed his arms, resting them on his paunchy midriff. His thick
forearms were covered with a dusting of dark hair, and I swear I saw a few
extra ones grow right in front of me.

“Congressman Foster is actually in the office today,” he said. “Why
don’t I introduce you?”

Dale turned and motioned for me to follow. My heels dug into the plush,
maroon carpeting and I was grateful for that. Slick marble might have been my
literal downfall. Dale gave a quick knuckle rap on the door and then opened it.
Foster sat with his high-backed green leather chair tilted back, his cell phone
stuck to his ear. He raised his thick, bushy gray eyebrows at Dale and motioned
for us to enter. Dale took a seat at one of the two matching green leather
guest chairs, but something told me not to join him on the other. Instead, I
stood with my hands folded behind my back and fixed my face with a pleasant
smile as we waited for the congressman to finish his phone call.

When he did, he gave me a broad smile. He looked exactly like every
campaign billboard I’d seen of him plastered all over town. Thick salt and
pepper hair parted on the side, tanned skin that seemed permanently shellacked.
He was handsome, distinguished, with a dimpled smile that seemed always to
reach his dark eyes. The name Foster had been shortened or Anglicized from
something when his Greek ancestors came through Ellis Island a few generations
back. A fact he used when it suited him and downplayed when it didn’t.

“Welcome,” Foster said, his voice a gravelly baritone. He gave me the
full politician’s treatment, rising to his feet and reaching across the desk to
shake my hand with knuckle-crushing strength. “You’re Abigail?”

Of course
Foster would know that. Dale Thorp seemed hell-bent on
putting me in my place since I stepped foot in the building. Landon Foster
seemed hell-bent on securing my vote.

“Abby,” I said and kind of regretted it. Maybe Abigail was more mature.
But, it always felt First Lady-ish to me. “Abby Winslow.”

“Well, good to have you, Abby. I hope Dale’s got you properly settled
in out there. Don’t let his sour disposition throw you off on the first day. He
was born with a silver stick up his butt.”

I put my hand over my mouth to stifle the laugh that threatened to
erupt. Foster let go of the other one with a twinkling wink and he gestured to
the chair beside Thorp. “Be a gentleman for once in your life, Dale.”

Dale’s face lost a little color as he cleared his throat and rose to
his feet to pull the chair out for me. I instantly regretted my choice to stand
in the first place. Though Landon Foster was ultimately my boss, I knew Dale
Thorp likely had the power to make my life a living hell here. I had to do a
better job of not antagonizing him double quick. He stared murder at me as I
took my seat and crossed my legs.

“I hope you like staying busy, Abby,” Foster said. “And I also hope
you’re good with hitting the ground running. Dale will be here to show you
around today, but things move pretty quickly around here and not always in the
same direction.”

“That’s what I’m hoping,” I said. “That is, I’m ready to jump right
in.”

“Good. Good.” Foster rooted around on his desk but didn’t seem able to
find whatever papers he sought. “Help me out, Abby. What’s your experience?”

Blood shot
straight to my toes, leaving a hollow space in my chest.
Well, I already had the internship and I knew Foster’s office was in a bind. My
life was my life, and I wasn’t ashamed of it.

“I’ve worked in restaurants primarily since I was old enough to get a
work permit, sir.”

“Waitress? Bartender? That sort of thing?”

Foster’s eyes were questioning, but not judgmental like Dale’s had
been.

“Yes, sir.”

Foster slapped a hand on the table. Dale jumped. I didn’t. He pointed a
tanned finger at me and his face split into that politician’s grin again.

“Perfect! You know, I get young suits coming in here with their chests
puffed out and resumes thick as my thigh. They worked for this professor or
that law firm. Whatever. You want to know what I find? Retail clerks.
Waitresses. People who know how to think on their feet when some asshole’s
standing in front them blaming them for every damn thing that ever happened to
them. Those are the people who don’t flinch and get shit done, Dale. Life is
messy. Non-linear. You get beer spilled on your shoes, feta cheese down your
apron, and loudmouths trying to push you around. But you do your job. You
already know that, don’t you Abby?”

“Yes. Yes I do, Congressman Foster.”

Foster threw his head back and laughed, revealing a row of pearl white
veneers. He thrust his hand across the table, prompting me to shake it again. I
did. This time, he clasped his other hand over mine and smiled.

“Good hire, Dale,” he said. “I gotta feeling about her. Now put her to
work on something that matters.”

I rose to my feet, my hand still in Foster’s, and straightened my
skirt. Dale grumbled something beside me then gestured back toward the door.
Foster let me go and was already fumbling for something else on his desk. Dale
closed the door behind us.

“That went well,” he said, somewhat begrudgingly. “You never know if
you’re gonna get Good Landon or Bad Landon. Consider yourself lucky for now.”

I was already learning that taking a neutral stance with Dale was
likely the wisest course. We went back to my desk and he got me set up with Lexis
passwords and a stack of files on a few new bills coming to vote in a few
weeks. I wanted to introduce myself to the rest of the staff, but Dale didn’t
so much as look their way through any of it. Mercifully though, he soon left me
alone with my files and government-issued laptop. I got started, immersing
myself in the files first.

Much later, the growling of my stomach indicated the passage of time.
I’d been at the files for hours. I might have carried on like that. I had an
apple and a protein shake in my messenger bag and planned to work straight
through until someone told me to stop or they cut the lights. Dale finally
walked out of his office and stood in the open doorway of the congressman’s
just as I got through the last file. I rose from my desk intending to ask
either of them what they’d like from me next.

I got just as far as Dale’s shoulder when the elevator doors at the end
of the hall opened behind me and every hair along my spine stood on end.

My back stiffened and a whoosh of air skittered across my neck. The
ground thudded with heavy footsteps. Their owner moved with the force of an
avalanche as he strode down the hall toward us. My eyes traveled over muscled
forearms where he’d rolled up his crisp white dress shirt. His red tie swung
across his broad chest as he charged toward Foster’s office. As he passed me, I
got an eyeful of his gray designer suit pants tailored perfectly over his taut
rear end. My eyes caught Dale’s as his mouth gaped open. It took him a second,
but Dale recovered long enough to speak.

“You can’t just barge in here.”

The man turned, his eyes blazing hot. My blood simmered and heat shot
straight through me. He was big, built, with piercing blue eyes that flashed bright.
Another werewolf, to be sure. But, this guy was different. Commanding. Scary as
hell. And gorgeous.

“Like hell,” he said, his voice sending a vibration straight along my
spine. He held up a rusted metal object in one hand and headed toward Foster’s
desk. Foster leaned back in his chair and fixed a lopsided smile on his face.

“Here we go,” Dale whispered near my ear. “Pay attention. This might be
your next project.”

 “Mr. Lanier? What a pleasant surprise,” Foster said, sarcasm dripping
from each syllable.

Lanier lobbed the metal object in the middle of Foster’s desk,
scattering papers and leaving a chink in the wood. It was a great, heavy thing,
with lethal-looking serrated edges in a semi-circle.

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