Authors: Elianne Adams
Tags: #paranormal romance
Copyright © 2016 by Élianne Adams
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other non-commercial uses permitted by copyright law.
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.
Cover Art by
Fantasia Frog Designs
ISBN (digital): 978-0-9948858-5-2
Joy hit the bag—hard. Pain vibrated from her hand to her elbow, but she ground her teeth and punched again, adjusting her stance, and her swing.
“Again,” Warren shouted from somewhere on her right.
She didn’t dare look at him. Bastard would get it right on the lips if he kept yelling at her. And she didn’t mean a kiss, either. She pictured his face on the heavy bag.
“Are you trying to polish the damn thing or hit it?” he shouted.
The growl she’d barely held onto ripped from her throat as she put more power behind her punch.
Lip curled up, she snarled and did as she was told. Warren might be the hottest shifter in Timmins, and the strongest, but it didn’t mean she couldn’t blacken his eye. Only the fact that she wanted him with a ferocity that rivaled her wolf’s stopped her from turning and letting him have it. That and he was her new Alpha. Instead, she tightened her stance.
“Good. That’s enough for today,” he said.
Her arms shook, and after the intense training she’d done, her muscles would hurt like hell tomorrow, but she couldn’t stop. Not yet.
He stepped behind her, and with an arm around her waist, pulled her from the heavy bag. “Stop, Joy. Now.” He lowered his voice, and damn if her girly parts didn’t get all tingly at the command in his tone.
As hot as she was from the intense workout, his body heat enveloped her. She needed him to step away before she did something stupid like tackling him to the ground and demand he take her. But instead, he brought his hands to her neck and shoulders and worked the kinks and knots he found. Well, he might think he would, but it would take a hell of a lot more than a massage to help her relax. Being new in town, she had no way of finding the relief she needed. She hadn’t proven herself to the pack yet, and no one was talking. About anything. Hell, she considered it a good day if any of them bothered to look in her direction at all.
Seven long months after being accepted into the pack she wasn’t any closer to being a part of it than she had been back in March. Why a few weeks ago Warren had suddenly decided it was his life’s mission to make her sorry existence more unbearable was beyond her. The workouts were fine, but being so close to him was driving her crazy. Maybe he was trying to push her away. Maybe he thought if he kept pushing the lonely girl long enough she’d tuck tail and leave.
Well, he wouldn’t succeed. She wasn’t some meek and mild female who would run and hide. She had been days away from mating the strongest wolf in the Akino pack up the coast when her nightmare began. She and Michael hadn’t been true mates, and there was no real passion between them, but they had made a great pair, and would have led the Akino pack well. But every last one of them had been slaughtered by the enemy while she was getting supplies in the neighboring village. She would have been Alpha female by now. Cowardly bastards had come in with guns. Her pack hadn’t stood a chance. The only reason she wasn’t dead was because Abigail hadn’t been feeling well, and Joy had volunteered to run the errands for her.
Joy had considered staying on the Akino lands. The James Bay coast was wild and free, and the perfect place for a wolf shifter, but why stay? She’d be a lone she-wolf in a territory overrun by the enemy. To be hunted every day or worse yet, captured and tortured by their males? No thanks.
Staying hadn’t been a viable option, so here she was, in Timmins, trying to find her way in a new pack that didn’t want to give her the fucking time of day.
“You’re still tense,” Warren said from behind her. His strong hands were still working on her shoulders. “If physical exertion doesn’t relieve the tension, then why are you here?”
Her chest heaved as she tried to calm her breathing. Having his hands on her wasn’t helping the situation. Not at all. Every time he was near, her wolf howled for release, making her crazy with want. “This isn’t the kind of exertion I need,” she blurted out before she could think to stop it. Heat rose up her neck and into her cheeks. She took a couple of breaths and blew them out. Maybe he hadn’t caught the sexual undertone to her statement.
“I see.” His hands dropped from her shoulders as though touching her had burned his palms.
Not the kind of reaction she would have liked from a man who turned her libido into a raging inferno by being in the same room as her. She had to get out of there before she did something stupid like tell him she wanted him to fuck her twenty ways to Sunday. Holding her head high, she turned to face him. “I appreciate you taking the time to train with me, Alpha, thank you. If you’ll excuse me, I’ll be on my way. I’m certain you have more important things to deal with than my tense muscles. I can take care of them on my own.” She looked him in the eye, waiting for him to dismiss her, but when he kept staring, she dropped her gaze.
“Stay where you are,” he said, his voice a little rough, before he walked away.
Her heart thundered against her ribs. Sure, she had put her foot in her mouth and embarrassed herself, but it wasn’t so bad he would have taken offense. Was it?
It wasn’t long before she heard his footsteps coming back. With her gaze firmly planted on the floor, she waited.
His scent surrounded her again, somehow more potent than before. “Here,” he said. “Look at me, Joy,” he repeated, his voice a little lower, more commanding.
When she did, he had his hand outstretched and held a small piece of paper out to her. “Meet me here at eight tonight. Don’t be late.” Once she had the paper between her fingers, he turned and walked away.
What the hell was he thinking? Warren crossed the parking lot to his truck. He never played at Black Velvet anymore. Not since he’d become Alpha. It wasn’t forbidden, but the last thing he wanted was for a play-partner to get the wrong idea and start thinking of him as mate material. The role of Alpha brought a lot of responsibility with it, including finding the right female to complement him, someone to share the burden of leading the pack. So far, no one had even come close. Until Joy.
When she’d made her little confession, his heart had all but leaped out of his chest. Surely he wasn’t wrong. She hadn’t come right out and said she needed sexual release, but it was what she’d implied.
Those fucking tank tops she wore hid absolutely nothing. Just thinking about the pink one she had on today had his cock throbbing and his mouth watering. Then to cover her luscious ass with those soft gray sweats, it was almost criminal. It was like giving him a banquet to feast upon on top, and hiding the prize at the bottom.
He adjusted his jeans, making room for his cock. Getting the damned things on over his engorged dick had been hell when he’d changed out of his sweats, and the situation wasn’t getting better any time soon.
He’d been in a perpetual state of arousal since their first workout session. Each male in the gym had stopped what they’d been doing and stared as she bounced and did as he instructed. And he’d been ready to kill. Not that she had seemed to notice the other men, but he sure as hell had. He’d all but snarled and growled at each one of them. After that, he’d ordered the gym emptied before their scheduled workouts, which was torture in itself. With no one else in the room, he could easily imagine ripping the skin-tight shirt from her body and taking her right there on the mat. And he would have if she’d given him any sign that she wanted him to. But she hadn’t.
After seven fucking months of waiting for her to make up her mind and come to him, he was at the end of his rope. His wolf was surlier now than ever. It wanted her, and it didn’t care that she hadn’t shown any interest. He’d pushed her hard today. He knew she had been physically exhausted, but he kept at her, hoping to get a reaction. And he had. He sure as hell hadn’t expected the one he got, but he wasn’t going to shy away from it either.
She was strong. Alpha blood ran in her veins. There was no doubt about it. But maybe he’d read her wrong. After all this time, maybe disinterest wasn’t why she hadn’t approached him. He sure as hell hoped he was right. Otherwise, tonight might send her running for the hills, but he didn’t think so.
He couldn’t quite keep from grinning. He’d caught the subtle difference in her scent when she’d been unguarded and had said what was on her mind, and his wolf had practically panted in anticipation. Then when she’d lowered her gaze in submission to him, it had become stronger. It had taken every ounce of strength in him to walk away. Only the fact that he had to be at a city planning meeting in the next twenty minutes had stopped him from testing his theory.
He turned the key in the ignition and looked around. Already, two other vehicles were in the parking lot. He lifted his hand up to Max, who stood outside his truck, leaning against the door, waiting to be allowed into his own building. After another minute, the gym door opened. As soon as Max caught the motion in the corner of his eye, his gaze dropped to the pavement.
One glance at the car with the shifters sitting inside showed they too had averted their gazes.
He released the breath he’d been holding, and looked at the door. Joy stood there as it closed behind her, taking in her environment. She’d pulled her long black hair up into a messy bun, and had covered herself with a matching gray hoodie.
She glanced over at Max, then at the car, and then frowned before giving her head a little shake and heading down the sidewalk.
Joy looked at her pack mates. What the hell was wrong with them? They would rather sit outside and bake in the heat of their cars than come in while she was there? It was a big gym, and although she wasn’t petite, she wasn’t so huge that they couldn’t all workout at the same time. She walked the few blocks to her apartment complex, fondling the paper Warren had given her inside her pocket.
On the front, 2238 Riverside Drive was written. On the back, Black Velvet, and nothing else. The address didn’t ring a bell, but then again, most places in Timmins didn’t. Maybe it was a club or a bar. She’d have to Google it to figure out what she had gotten herself into, or at least what she should wear.
The ride up the elevator was a quiet one. As usual, when she got on, everyone else got off, at least, the wolves did. The humans had no problems riding the thing with her, but shifters filled most of the apartments in the building, and so like most other things, she did it alone. When she got to the fourth floor, the bell dinged. She waited for the inevitable “I’ll wait for the next one” she got each time the doors opened, and they found her inside. Of course, this wasn’t a sixty story high rise, and there was only one elevator. Surely they knew how rude they were being by declining to step foot on the damned thing.