Reach for the Sky (Wolffe Peak Book 1)

BOOK: Reach for the Sky (Wolffe Peak Book 1)
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She is his one desire…

Werewolf Skylar Callahan turned her back on everything she held dear in search of a career. Now a public advocate for her own kind, her political ambitions have shot her straight to the top. But amidst the glitz and glamour lurks a dark presence, one who is obsessed with claiming Skylar as his own. To survive, she must rely on Wyatt Turner—a sexy, albeit lethal, alpha who insists everything be done his way.

He is the only one who can love her…

Wyatt is always looking to stir up trouble, and Skylar is trouble with a capital T. Not only has his wolf chosen her as his intended mate, but she also comes with her very own stalker. Consumed by his need to protect her, Wyatt doesn’t care that she’s determined to keep him at arm’s length. It’s his job to keep her safe, which means getting close to the stubborn she-wolf…just the way he wants it.

REACH FOR THE SKY

Wolffe Peak Book One

 

 

Gwen Knight

Dear Reader

I have to say this book was my biggest challenge yet. I am forever attracted to the “Knight in Shining Armor” sort. So when I was invited to participate in the Bad Boy Alpha project, I was intrigued! I’d never written the bad boy as the main character, but I had so much fun with Wyatt. I hope you love him as I have come to.

As for Sky—I knew from the beginning that she would be a kick-ass heroine. My favorite thing about these two is their banter and how they come to respect one another even though they clash.

As with most projects I do, I started this with the intent of one book, but then the other characters started stealing the limelight, and now Wolffe Peak is a place I hope to return to again and again. Thank you for being a part of this book.

Gwen

Acknowledgements

Thanks go to my editor,
Jennifer Moorman
for her time and knowledge, and my buddies and beta-readers T. Breau, R.E. Butler, J. Dodge, E. Grover, D. Herbert, and K. Lambson.

Cover by
CrocoDesigns
.

For my husband…

 

Prologue

Skylar Callahan’s house was quiet.

His heavy steps were the only sound within the small, deserted house. From the waning scent, he’d wager she’d been gone a couple of weeks. He caressed faded pictures trapped within their frames and made his way up the winding staircase, his nose leading him toward her bedroom. With every step, he burned the layout into his memory, such as the low groan he heard when he placed his weight on the third stair, and the feel of the rough banister, unstable beneath his hand. This was the only place he could connect with her—the only place he felt a semblance of sanity return to him. Here, he could remember who he was.

At the top of the stairs, he paused in her bedroom doorway and cast a longing glance over her possessions. Her bedspread lay rumpled, her pillow askew from when she’d last slept here. Other signs of her presence were a small, folded pile of clothing placed carefully atop an oaken desk, and a cluttered stack of reports brimming with charming scribbles that brought an ache to his chest.

With a stuttered breath, he crossed the room and plucked a thin scrap of material from the foot of her bed. Soft and silky, the shift pooled over his fingers. He lifted her satin lingerie to his face and inhaled, his lashes shuttering when he caught a whiff of her delicate scent. A shiver rippled down his spine, and his beast growled from deep within his body. His wolf
knew
that Skylar was his mate, the only one ever meant for him. Except, he’d never mustered the courage to claim her, a mistake he would never again make.

For a moment, he imagined her here with him. He opened his eyes and stared at her bed, picturing her spread bare before him, her thighs parted as she welcomed him. Warmth shot through his stomach as he envisioned crossing the room and taking her. Her cheeks would flush as he brought her to the brink of pleasure again and again. Her sweet lips would whisper filthy words as she told him exactly what she wanted him to do. Her legs would grip his waist, urging him faster…

With Sky, there would be nothing but pure rapture. He’d wanted her for so long but had never seen his dream fulfilled. The image of her alight in his head was radiant and strong. His hand drifted down the length of his body and rubbed the satin over the hard ridge in his jeans. Biting back a moan, pleasure punched through him as he slid down his zipper and wrapped the slip around his throbbing erection.

No. Not like this
. He sucked in a shuddering breath and corrected himself before turning from the room. No, he had something
much
better in mind. Why rely on his palm when he had the real thing in the next room? Lost to his fantasies, he’d nearly forgotten about his companion.

As he moved down the hallway, soft whimpers rose from the other side of a door. He slapped it open, and a flood of light illuminated the woman he’d dragged here. Wheat-colored locks matted her brow, her hair a match to Sky’s. When he’d first laid eyes on this beauty, he’d been convinced it
was
Sky. It wasn’t until she’d turned that he’d realized this bitch was nothing more than any other slut, offering it up for free to any man who would have her. It hadn’t stopped him though. Her hair was the right color, and though her eyes were the wrong shade of blue, he needed only to pluck them out—an urge he felt rise when she turned up a tearful gaze.

He crouched before her and slipped a finger under her gag, drawing it down over her chin. His beast awoke at the sight of her, its ears pinned back.
Not her
. He soothed his wolf. He was well aware that this bitch wasn’t Sky. But after so much searching, he needed a release.

“Please…” Her mouth was wet with tears, her plea a plaintive wail. A flash of annoyance whipped through him. Human. Dark blue eyes. Wrong scent. This wasn’t right. Nothing was right. But he would make it right.

“Shh.” He cupped her cheek and flashed a predatory grin that made her gasp.

Shoulders tight, she pushed away from him until her back met the wall.

“Put this on.” He pulled her to her feet and placed the thin slip in her palm. “I want you to look beautiful for me, Sky.”

Wide sapphire eyes darted to his. He wanted to stab them out. “I’m not Sky. Please, don’t do this.”

He knew she wasn’t Sky, but he needed to appease his beast, tame the rage within that burned for her. “Put it on.”

Her bottom lip trembled, but finally, she submitted. Heart skipping in his chest, he stepped back. She closed her eyes and gave a weak moan before she plucked at her wrinkled shirt and lifted it slowly over her head. When her blonde hair spilled over the edge of the material, he sucked in a sharp breath.
Sky…finally
.

She glanced away from him, her arms covering her chest.
No, that won’t do
. He wanted to see her nipples harden, wanted to taste them through the delicate material. Stepping forward, he laced their fingers together and dragged her to Sky’s bedroom. Docile and terrified, she trailed after him, too frightened to disobey.

“There,” he grunted, pointing at the bed. “Remove your bottoms and get on the bed.”

She whimpered, visibly crumpling at the sight of the mattress.

He pushed her forward, a deep growl rumbling low in his chest when she cast a final glance over her shoulder. The bed shifted beneath her weight, and the moment she swung her pale legs up, he groaned and staggered toward her.

This was it. The moment he’d craved for so long. Quivering fingers slid under the lip of her thong, and his cock jumped. He felt like a horny teenager about to experience his first time. As she shimmied them down her legs, he stumbled to the edge of the bed and sank to his knees.

His sweet Sky. His fingers gripped her inner thighs and prised them apart, exactly as he’d always imagined.

“Please, I’m not Sky,” she sobbed. “Let me go. I won’t tell anyone.”

His wolf snapped at the thought of releasing her. This was Sky’s bed—their dream was so close to being realized. And though deep within he knew this woman would never be her, his mind assured him she would suffice. It was a realization that filled him with bliss as he shucked his own clothing.

The moment he touched her, a fog settled over his thoughts. Silky skin, firm breasts, tight ass… Moments of bliss stole his mind, but then came anger and frustration when she wouldn’t willingly give herself to him.

This wasn’t right. She wasn’t Sky. He lost himself, his rage taking hold. Claws sprouted from his hands, and he raked the sharp daggers down her front, shredding her into thin ribbons. She jerked in shock, and he watched with dead eyes as crimson sluiced over her ivory skin.

She grew quiet, the fight in her vanishing as blood stained her supple breasts.

This wasn’t what he wanted. And it was all
her
fault.

The fog lifted and he stared down at the woman. Her wrong eyes stared back, darker, accusing, and dead. Not her.
Not her
. But it could be. He only needed to find her.

Then she would love him.

 

Chapter 1

Wyatt Turner crouched by the edge of a rock enclosure, the lip of his leather boots digging into his shins. If he cocked his head just right, he could see a small female discarded at the bottom of the gorge, torn to shreds. Pale blonde hair caught the light of the burning sun and a haloed glow encircled her ruined body.

With a sigh, he pushed his sunglasses up into his hair and stared down the distance. The rank stench of death slapped him in the face, as did the crisp scent of autumn and a dried creek bed. From his limited view, he’d wager the enclosure had kept her body protected from the elements, but the scavengers would find her if the local police didn’t reach her soon.

“Heartbreaking, ain’t it?”

Wyatt tensed before he replaced his sunglasses and lifted his narrowed gaze. Of course, James Griffon had made an appearance. The man was infamous for chasing any story he deemed sensational, all with the hope of making a name for himself.

Jaw tight, Wyatt attempted to smooth the anger from his face. “Don’t you have anything better to do than visit dead women?”

James lifted his camera and hid behind the viewfinder. Seconds later, a flash refracted off Wyatt’s tinted lenses. “Perfect. What a great shot of the local alpha investigating the latest killing. She was done in by a werewolf, eh? That’s why you’re here? Don’t growl at me, the public has a right to know what monsters they live among.”

With a curled lip, Wyatt pushed to his feet and glared at the pathetic excuse of a man. “Why don’t you take your little camera and skedaddle? You’re in over your head, Mr. Griffon.”

“Little camera?” James huffed a bitter laugh. “This
little
camera is worth more than most people’s salaries.”

“Then it would be a shame to see it smashed against the rock.” Wyatt gave a half-shrug. “Accidents have been known to happen, you know.”

The camera lowered a fraction, and Wyatt met the reporter’s stare. “Is that a threat, Alpha?”

Wyatt tugged his sunglasses down the bridge of his nose and offered a toothy grin. Pushy humans—always searching for something, always causing trouble. “You should know better than that, James. I don’t threaten. But it is awfully rocky around here. I’d hate for you to trip and break your toy. Or worse…your neck. So, why don’t you head on out before those officers over there turn away and I grow tired of your antics? I’m sure they’ll release the information to the public as soon as they can.”

Abrasive laughter exploded from James’ lips. “I’m here for the
truth
, Alpha. Not to pander whatever story the sheriff’s office comes up with.”

“Are you suggesting they’d lie?”

“All I’m saying is I want the truth.”

“If you don’t get that camera out of my face in the next second, you’re going to be walking funny for the next year.”

James snorted, though fear shadowed his face. “The public has a right to know. Haven’t you noticed the similarities? This is the third murder in less than six months. All blonde and blue-eyed, all the same height and build.”

The third? That was news to him. “I appreciate the lesson, Mr. Griffon. But this has nothing to do with my pack. There are a great deal of monsters in the world without pointing a finger at werewolves.”

“Maybe not, but serial killers don’t normally possess superhuman strength or senses. I think the public is going to appreciate being warned about this sicko.”

Wyatt’s neck coiled. The human didn’t realize how close to death he was. As the alpha of the Colorado River Basin Pack, his most important duty was to protect his people. He’d given the snivelling reporter a chance once before, only for him to breach the pack’s trust and run a story about their personal lives. Wyatt would not be so forgiving again. “You print that and next time we meet, it won’t be in front of the local police.”

James threw up his hands. “What do you want from me, Wyatt?”

He ignored the blatant insult. “To let us do our jobs.”

“Right.” James stepped closer, unaware of Wyatt’s stiffening shoulders. “It’s my job to expose the truth. Yours is to wrangle in those hellions you call your pack and ensure they leave us poor humans be. Theirs,” he jabbed a finger toward the police, “is to ensure the safety of the public. I’m the only one doing my job.”

Wyatt ran a rough hand down his warm face. He loathed humans, and James Griffon was at the top of his list. “Let them do their job—”

Another burst of laughter. The sound was beginning to grate against his nerves. “You need to give me something, Alpha. Or I’m running the story with the headline
Werewolf Serial Killer
.”

Wyatt simmered with rage. The gall of this dickhead, to boldly blackmail him, as though he was nothing more than a pup who could be intimidated. He pushed into James’ space and glared down on the pitiful human. “Leave. Or I’ll show you what a real werewolf looks like.”

James paled and shrank backward. “I’m only saying—”

“Oh, I heard you loud and clear. You’ve crossed a line, Griffon.”

“Alpha—”

James fell silent the moment Wyatt’s fingers curled around the camera. He gave the slightest flex, and the plastic body caved in his palm.

The reporter’s mouth gaped as he stared at the mess that was once his camera. “You son-of-a—”

Wyatt’s lip curled. He drew his sunglasses down and unleashed his glare upon the man. “Care to finish that?”

His mouth snapped shut with a click.

“This woman deserves the full attention of the police,” Wyatt growled. “Not some gossip-hungry peddler circling her like a starving vulture. Make a name for yourself somewhere else, Mr. Griffon.”

Wyatt held his gaze, his amusement rising at the sight of James’ discomfort. Finally, he stomped away, all the while muttering under his breath about bullies and dickhead werewolves who’d get their comeuppance.

“Well?”

Once Wyatt had his wolf reigned in, he turned to face Sheriff Shane Carlton, whose gaze tracked James as he stormed away. Clearly, Wyatt wasn’t the only one concerned about the reporter’s presence here. The last thing they needed was an article hitting the Web about a werewolf serial killer unleashed upon the public.

“I need to get closer to the body. At this point, the only scent I’m picking up is death.”

Shane grimaced. “You can smell that?”

Wyatt hummed an affirmation.

“I’m afraid I can’t accommodate that.” Disapproval turned down Shane’s mouth. “As much as I would love to, the medical examiner gets first poke at the body.”

The body. How quickly the young woman had turned into something else. “Mr. Griffon mentioned this is the third woman. That true?”

Shane grunted. “Friggin’ reporters and their big mouths. We’re trying to keep that quiet.”

“You’re trying to keep quiet that there’s a new serial killer on the loose? Does that seem wise?”

The sheriff dragged a hand down his face. His discomfort was as plain as the day was bright. “Listen, before we run around town screaming wolf—” He winced. “No offense.”

“Some taken.”

“—we need more information.”

A sharp scent hit Wyatt’s nose. Pushing his sunglasses into his hair, he turned and scratched the ridge of his nose. “You know, there’s something you should know about werewolves, Sheriff.”

“And what’s that?”

“We can smell when someone isn’t being truthful.”

Shane sucked in a breath. “Are you accusing me of lying?”

“You betcha.” He tapped his nose. “It’s never steered me wrong.”

Before his eyes, the sheriff wilted. He dug a handkerchief from his back pocket and mopped the sweat from his brow.

“When I offered my services to the local law enforcement, it was with the understanding that they would be honest with me. How can you expect me to trust you if—”

“All right,” Shane hissed. “
Yes
, this is the third body. There, are you happy?”

“Not particularly. Why wasn’t I called in for the other two?”

The sheriff speared Wyatt with a glare. “I appreciate your offer to assist with any werewolf-related cases, I really do.”

“But?”

Shake shrugged. “You’re not a cop.”

There was more to the story, and though Wyatt was prepared to demand the information, the sheriff wasn’t one to be bullied, nor would he try. The relations between the werewolves and humans had been strained since they’d announced their presence to the world more than a decade ago. As a means of tackling the divide, Wyatt had offered himself to the local police, should the need ever arise. They’d never had a reason to take him up on his offer, until now.

“Well, standing up here isn’t doing us any good. I need to get down there. Your perp may have left something I can use to ID him.”

Shane chuckled. “
Perp
. Already learning the lingo, I see. Next you’ll be applying to be a deputy.”

Wyatt grunted. Fat chance of that ever happening. He might have offered his services to the local police, but that hardly meant he liked them.

“Our medical examiner is pulling in. If she clears you to go down with her, I’ll allow it.”

Wyatt nodded, then rocked back on his heels and let his gaze roam the rich landscape as his thoughts meandered. Without another word, the sheriff loped off to greet a well-dressed woman, whom he could only assume was the medical examiner. He eyed her lush curves beneath her pleated suit, his mouth tugging at the corner.

“Wyatt Turner, this is Dr. Elizabeth Morrison. Elizabeth, this is Wyatt, our resident alpha.”

Dark brown eyes assessed him, her mouth a grim line. “Shane informs you that you would like to come down with me.”

“If you want to know who did this or not, then I need to go down.”

Shane and Elizabeth shared a glance. “Sheriff?”

He shrugged. “If it’s the same unsub as the last one, the DNA tests will prove it.”

“I’m sorry,
unsub
?” Wyatt questioned.

“Unidentified subject,” Dr. Morrison confirmed without glancing at him.

“But if Wyatt can pick up a scent and track it—”

Wyatt’s mouth twisted. “I’m not a fucking bloodhound.” Nor would he hand one of his own over to the local police. Werewolves had their own laws to abide by.

Elizabeth swung back around, her nose scrunching as her gaze raked his length. “All right. I’ll take you down with me. But know this, I don’t care if you’re an alpha. You do as I say, got it?”

Wyatt unleashed the brunt of his stare on the overbearing woman before him. He loosened his hold on his wolf and allowed the beast to peek out of his eyes, long enough for the color to blanch from the medical examiner’s face. “Whatever you say, princess.”

Rage colored her neck. “I don’t think you understand—”

“Nor do I care,” he informed her. “Alpha means I don’t play the role of lackey. I’ll take
you
down with
me
, and you’ll do as I say.”

Fury flashed through her eyes. “Excuse me?”

“Uh, guys?” Shane muttered as he stepped between them.

Without warning, Wyatt strode toward the edge of the gorge and dropped over the side without a rope.

“Mr. Turner!”

The medical examiner’s face was the first to pop over the edge. Chuckling to himself, Wyatt shrugged. “Any moment now, Doc.”

From above came the sound of urgent curses as she slid into her required safety gear. Wyatt took the opportunity to investigate the body before anyone else rappelled down. At first glance, he knew the woman hadn’t been killed here. A brutal attack such as hers tended to leave evidence, of which there was little. The bitter stench of death attacked his nose, but missing from it was the coppery tang of blood. Their victim had been moved after death.

From above, he’d seen the garish marks that marred her torso. Down here, there was no doubt in his mind what creature could have made such a gash. Werewolf claws were thicker and longer than a bear’s. These gouges were bone deep, and most certainly not from a bear. Fortunately for his pack, the scent wasn’t one he knew.

Wyatt studied the poor woman, his attention coming to rest on her face.

Sweet Lord.

He’d seen some disturbing things in his life, but the two gaping holes staring back at him rendered him silent. The fucker had cut out her eyes. Wyatt cursed and whipped a hand through his hair as he thought about the repercussions.

It seemed James had been correct, after all, and as the only alpha in the state, the responsibility would fall on Wyatt to find this psycho.

Yeehaw
.

 

BOOK: Reach for the Sky (Wolffe Peak Book 1)
4.42Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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