Authors: Karilyn Bentley
Tags: #Romance, #Paranormal, #Shape Shifter, #spicy, #Anthology
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales, is entirely coincidental.
After the Moon Rises
COPYRIGHT © 2013 by Karilyn Bentley
Werewolves in London
COPYRIGHT © 2012 by Karilyn Bentley
COPYRIGHT © 2011 by Karilyn Bentley
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission of the author or The Wild Rose Press except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.
Contact Information: [email protected]
Cover Art by
The Wild Rose Press
PO Box 708
Adams Basin, NY 14410-0706
Visit us at www.thewildrosepress.com
First Black Rose Edition, 2013
Digital ISBN 978-1-62830-211-0
Published in the United States of America
Praise for Karilyn Bentley’s
sweeps you away to a rich fantasy world filled with magic, mystery, and unforgettable characters.”
“I didn't want the story to end. It's a magical blend of romance and fantasy!”
“Sexy and spellbinding!
"Ms. Bentley’s characters are strong and will defend to the death those they love."
~Aloe, Long and Short Reviews
To my wonderful, supportive hubby, I love you.
And to the Spanksters,
I couldn't have done it without you!
“Your dog doesn’t respect you.” Vonda reached down to scratch behind Sam’s ear. “I can help you with that problem, but I can’t help train him to herd. Do we have a deal?”
Tom took off his hat, scratched his head and slammed it back on as if to hold in steam. Judging from the color of his face, he should have let his hair wave free in the breeze. It might cool things off. One long finger pointed at Sam. One nicely shaped, work hardened finger. The list of things that finger could do to her body rushed through Vonda’s brain on fast forward. It didn’t help that the man whose finger provoked such lascivious thoughts was the best-looking thing in this little Podunk town.
Why was she thinking such thoughts?
Concentrate, Vonda, concentrate!
Last time she thought this way about a man she was in heat. Oh shit.
. No wonder Sam stuck to her like proverbial glue.
Wait. Tom’s mouth was moving. “...me?”
“Huh? I’m sorry, what did you say?”
Good job Vonda, way to look stupid on your first visit with a client.
“I said, how can that dog not respect me?”
“Well, dogs see things differently than humans. If you don’t act like the alpha, then they assume they are the alpha. That’s what creates problems. That’s where I can help.”
“Yes, yes. I know. But I have other herding dogs. None of them give me problems. What’s up with that?” His frustrated green stare bored into her.
Men frustrated so easily. Humans in general. Ever see a canine with hypertension?
Sam licked her hand. She took in a shallow breath when his tongue rasped against her skin and it was then she smelled it. The scent of a man. Not just any man. A man she wanted to mate with. A man about six four, with sandy blond, almost brown hair and green eyes. A man who stood less than three feet from her.
If she didn’t get out of here soon she’d lose any chance of ever being a dog trainer.
She looked at her wrist.
Two hairs past a freckle
. “Well, all dogs are different and therefore react differently. Look, I really have to run. Do you want me to come back and help you with Sam or not?”
Say yes, say yes, say yes
. He opened his mouth, closed it, looked at Sam, then her, then Sam. He sighed. Oh yeah, she had the job.
“Okay. When do you want to start?”
She looked at the evening sky, the oranges and pinks blushing across the horizon. Tonight was one day from the full moon and she felt the pull of its magic creep under her skin, touching the beast inside her, coaxing it out of hiding. She would be hard-pressed not to change for the next three days. Well, Tom had waited this long for help, what would be three more days?
“Thursday. Will that work for you?”
He stuck out his hand. “Sounds good. What time did you want to come out?”
She gripped his hand, holding tight despite the tingles shooting straight into her core from where their palms met. Desire ripped through her hormone sensitive veins and she fought the urge to pull him against her.
. He pulled away, shaking his hand.
“Did you feel that?”
“I’m sorry. Sometimes I build up electricity. Would nine in the morning be okay?”
“Great. Gotta run. It’s been real nice meeting you.” One last pat to Sam’s head and she zipped back to her car.
Thank God she had irregular heat cycles. The last time the heat ran through her veins seemed mild compared to the desire Tom evoked in her, and yet she hadn’t resisted the urge to mate. Look how that ended, with her husband screaming to the divorce judge that she was a furry dog.
What had she been thinking? Her ex couldn’t even tell the difference between a dog and a wolf.
But he had taught her an important lesson and that was to stay away from men. Electronic devices worked quite well, thank you very much. And until she met Tom McGowan her philosophy had worked. A bit lonely at times—
okay, who was she fooling, all the time
—but a little sacrifice never hurt anyone. Her core tingled as she remembered the electrical spark from his touch, the desire she fought while in his presence. Tom had the potential to shatter her philosophy and her heart. Fear colored her thoughts and made tonight’s impending change seem easy in comparison.
Tom took a deep breath and held it, trying to get his bodily functions under control. Anger and arousal, what a combination. At least he’d learned one thing from the shapely brunette, and it wasn’t a lack of respect from his newest dog. His hand reached for his crotch, feeling the hard ridge of his arousal. Nice to know the thing still worked.
He’d all but given up on his ability to function as a man since Anita’s passing four years ago. And not only did his dick suddenly come on line, but what was up with that electric tingle Vonda gave him when she grasped his hand? Last time he’d felt anything remotely like that was from his mother, and Mom sure hadn’t provoked what was going on in his pants.
Maybe he should ask Vonda out. Provided he remembered what to do with a woman on a date. Okay, some parts he remembered quite clearly, which is why he hadn’t dated since Anita. How would he explain to the poor woman his lack of arousal?
Really, honey, it’s not you, it’s me.
Yeah, right. Thinking about how that conversation would go scared him away from the dating scene. Now that things seemed to be working again, he might just give it a try.
Thinking about Vonda drove away the anger he felt over her assessment of Sam and the dog’s lack of respect for him. Everyone knew dogs thought of Tom as their natural leader. Sam was just crazy. Who cared what her assessment of the situation was, Tom would take the eye candy any way he could get it.
Dark brown hair, shot with silver highlights, hung to her shoulders and framed an elfin face with amber eyes. She barely reached his shoulder and yet her body moved with the grace of an athlete. He’d love to strip off her clothes and see the play of muscles under her skin as her legs gripped his waist while he...
Tom shook his head, clearing away most of the fantasy. Later tonight he’d marvel he actually managed a fantasy, but for now his ranch deserved his attention, not the woman.
“Come, Sam.” Tom patted his leg.
Tongue lolling from the side of his mouth, Sam’s ears perked up as he stared intently at Tom’s leg. The tongue slipped behind teeth as he stood and shook himself, trotting over to where Vonda’s car had been parked.
No respect. Man, that burned.
Tom sighed. As impossible as it seemed, Vonda had a point. “Come on, Layla. Let’s go make a round.”
Layla rose from where she lay, her arthritic legs shaking as she stood. Her tail wagged like a pendulum as she limped to Tom, who slowed his pace so she walked beside him. At least she respected him.
Sam sat in the driveway staring forlornly after the trail of dust from Vonda’s car. Tom felt the instant the dog’s attention turned to him as Tom and Layla walked toward Tom’s truck. Not one to be left behind, Sam yelped as he ran after them, pole vaulting over Layla so he could lead what he considered his pack to the truck.
His pack, Tom’s left ass cheek. Sam had a dominance issue, and Tom had too soft of a heart where canines were concerned. Dogs loved him, recognizing a friendly leader when they saw one. Until Sam came into his life, Tom had great success training dogs.
Sam was a breed unto himself and Tom had no idea what to do with him.
If Tom told him to sit, he walked off, come happened only occasionally and down was more elusive than a willing steer at branding time. No wonder Tom’s friend Steve had a friend of a friend more than willing to get rid of Sam.
Tom should get rid of him too, but every time he thought it, the damn dog would lick his hand, staring out of those eyes mismatched blue and brown, and Tom couldn’t do it. Sam stayed.
Funny thing was, the dog seemed to like Vonda and Sam didn’t give his attentions easily. As far as Tom could see, Sam only liked him and his daughter Elizabeth. Until the sexy dog trainer stepped out of her red SUV, revealing jean-clad legs.
Tom shook his head at the image that thought formed and picked up Layla to put her in the bed of his truck. Sam jumped in without being asked. Tom slammed the tailgate shut and started for the door.
He didn’t have much time left before the remaining rays of sunlight slid behind the horizon. Gunning the engine, he started across his property, heading to the last hole the vandals had torn in his fence. They were getting braver; this spot was close to the house, almost within visual distance.
So far the only evidence of the vandals’ activities was cut fences. His herd hadn’t been touched. The damage wasn’t even that extensive, nothing was stolen, so why were they bothering?
The whole thing gave him a bad feeling. As if someone hunted him. Once he arrived at the damaged fence, he hopped out, leaving the dogs in the bed. Correction, Layla stayed in the back of the truck like a good girl. Sam saw the need to jump out and chase a rabbit.
It was useless to call him back. Tom grabbed his tools and used the remaining sunlight to repair the hole in the barbed wire. He heard Sam barking in the distance, Layla whimpering in reply. The wire felt warm under his palm, through the leather glove. Perhaps his skills honed as a lad and unused since that time still worked. Tom closed his eyes, focusing on the heat, imagining who held the wire before him.
It took a minute before the picture came to him, flashing in fast forward like a racecar, the colors a blur. Concentrating, he brought the whirling pictures into focus, slowing them down until he could make sense of them.
Scents came first, the acid smell of fear, terror, and the sharp tang of blood. The wire dropped from his hand as he stumbled backward, his chest constricting, a tight belt suffocating him. He looked to the house, not seeing the structure, but seeing the light from it glowing on the horizon. A cold finger of darkness swept down his back as he saw in his mind’s eye Elizabeth running through the house, playing as ten-year-old girls were wont to do. Alone.