Authors: Jane Jamison
Mountain Men of Montana 2
Callie Kirkland learned how to take care of herself without anyone’s help. But when she takes a dive into a trap, she has to rely on the aid of three sexy strangers.
Werewolf brothers Blue, Raine, and Pete Deacon love their home and have no intention of leaving it, even to find their intended mate. But when they find a beautiful woman caught in a trap, they come to her rescue. Problem is, now that she’s found her way into The Hidden, they can’t let her leave even when she’s ready to risk her life to prove them wrong about the evil creatures called The Cursed.
Will Callie gain a home only to lose it? Can the Deacon brothers help Callie without getting banished? Or will they have to sacrifice the only place they’d ever loved to keep her in their lives?
Note: There is no sexual relationship or touching for titillation between or among siblings.
Ménage a Trois/Quatre, Vampires/Werewolves
Mountain Men of Montana 2
Siren Publishing, Inc.
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IMPRINT: Ménage Everlasting
First E-book Publication: March 2013
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Mountain Men of Montana 2
Copyright © 2013
The day had started out on a chilly note, but had swiftly warmed up. Considering she was in the mountains of Montana, Callie considered herself lucky that the weather was cooperating. Although it was springtime, things could change at a moment’s notice. Late snowstorms could pop up, thrusting the woods from the warmth of spring back into winter. But she wasn’t worried. Callie Kirkland prided herself on being prepared. Growing up in the foster care system of a large city had taught her independence and how to handle herself in all kinds of situations. She’d taken those urban skills and had adapted them to the outdoors.
She loved the forest best. But she adored every bit of Mother Nature’s offerings from the beaches to the flat plains of the Midwest and on into the mountains located on both sides of the country. Maybe her love was a result of having lived in four different foster homes in Atlanta, each one chaotic and turbulent with shouting and fighting a constant factor. Or maybe it was simply in her genes. Since she knew nothing about either of her parents, it was anyone’s guess.
She stepped over a log then stopped. The sound of running water told her a stream was close by, tempting her to dip her toes into the cool liquid. She shifted the backpack into a more comfortable position, then started toward the babbling noise.
The song “Running with the Moon”
came to her lips as it often did whenever she was hiking. It wasn’t something most twenty-five-year-olds might sing, but she’d liked it from the first time she’d heard it while cruising along the roadway in the beat-up older Jeep she’d purchased on her seventeenth birthday. She preferred driving at night and had felt a strange sense of longing to be a part of something more as she’d listened to the song and glanced up at the full moon hanging in the blue-black sky. It was as though the moon called to her, trying to tell her of a life that was different than the one she’d known.
“Let’s go running with the moon. Running. Running away.”
A breeze lifted her hair away from her shoulders as she continued to sing. Her voice grew stronger as the memory of how she’d sung it while hurrying around the kitchen of the popular Atlanta restaurant where she’d worked, underage and paid under the counter, came back to her. The work had been hard, but she’d managed to save her tips as a waitress until, at last, she’d accumulated enough cash to quit her job, ditch the small furnished apartment she’d rented since aging out of the system, and fulfill her dream of hitchhiking around the country. That was over a year ago, and along with taking a menial job every once in a while to supplement the income she made from her photography, she’d managed to keep herself fed and clothed.
Except for the gnawing in her gut telling her that she needed something more, life couldn’t get much better.
A noise to her left brought her up short. She listened, using the heightened sense of hearing that she’d been blessed with from birth. Her friends had teased her about it, calling her “Radar” as a term of endearment.
The crackling of the leaves came again, and slowly, making as little noise as possible, she slid her backpack to the ground. She knelt and unzipped it then reached inside to find the camera that was always on top of everything else. A long, sharp knife rested directly below the camera, but she’d never had to use it for self-defense and hoped she never would.
The sound came again as she started to creep in that direction. Taking care to keep the branches from scratching her, she eased her way through the underbrush. She was closer and more noise, sounds that signaled the proximity of an animal, added to the mix. She could hear its breathing, the low grunts as it moved, and the bright splashing of water. Whatever was ahead was using the stream she wanted to enjoy.
She pushed through the next bush, then paused as a dark form took shape. She held her breath, enraptured by the sight of the animal. A large, ten-point buck stood in the water, letting the liquid flow over the lower half of its legs. He was huge, larger than any she’d ever seen. His body was muscled and toned, the dark of his fur spreading across his back and leading to the bushy, white-tipped tail that swished back and forth. His enormous antlers rose to the sky, the gray of them startling against the green backdrop of the forest. Snowy white surrounded his black nose then jumped over the dark brown along his shoulders to run the course of his belly. His chest had a streak of black running from his neck to his belly. He was, simply put, a magnificent animal to behold.
She clicked away, snapping photographs as fast as she could. Each frame was even better than the last. She smiled at him, silently thanking him for showing up to become the star of her work.
Big, black eyes fixed on her as he turned his head toward her. Yet she wasn’t afraid. How could anyone be afraid of something so beautiful?
He snorted, dropping his head and pointing his antlers at her. The way he acted was unusually aggressive for a deer, but she was too involved in taking the photograph to be worried. Even then, she doubted he’d do anything more than bluster and stomp, splashing the water about in his attempt to frighten her away. It wasn’t until he burst out of the water like a mass of energy exploding from confinement that she lowered her camera and gaped at him. Water sprayed everywhere, dotting his chest with shiny diamonds of water and making sparkling lights in the air.
She took off running, holding her camera in one hand as she used the other to break through the forest. He snorted, blowing air through his nose as he pounded toward her. When she glanced back, the sight of him gaining ground on her spurred her into running harder and she no longer felt the sting of the branches tearing at her skin.
Passing the spot where she’d left her backpack, she snatched up the backpack then started running again and didn’t look back. He was so close she could almost feel the warmth of his breath on the back of her neck.
She couldn’t think. She could only run.
Breaking into a clearing, she let out a small whimper, yet felt a flush of relief. He should’ve already caught up with her, but she didn’t dare question her good luck. If only the luck would stay with her a little while longer, she might make it to the other side of the grassy area. Then, just maybe, she could hightail her butt up a tree far enough to stay clear of his deadly antlers.
Something hit her, washing over her as though she were trying to run through water. The instinct to survive took charge and she kept moving even though her vision blurred and she found it difficult to breathe. A dry heat cocooned her, at once supporting her yet making her unsteady on her feet. It was if she’d entered an invisible wind tunnel and was struggling to push through to the other end.
Her mind, clouded with alarm, couldn’t make sense of the sensations rippling over her body. Instead, she struggled on, determined to make it to the end. Providing the strange area of wind had an end.