Read Claimed by the Wolf (BWWM Erotic Paranormal Romance) Online

Authors: Candi Jackson

Tags: #bwwm, #bbw, #interracial romance, #paranormal romance, #lexi johnson, #werewolves, #billionaires, #erotic romance, #fantasy

Claimed by the Wolf (BWWM Erotic Paranormal Romance)

BOOK: Claimed by the Wolf (BWWM Erotic Paranormal Romance)
12.36Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Claimed by the Wolf (BWWM Erotic Paranormal Romance)

Candi Jackson

Published by Red Hots Books, 2015.

Claimed by the Wolf

(The White Wolf Billionaire #1)

By Candi Jackson

Copyright 2015 Candi Jackson

All Rights Reserved

Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright Page

Claimed by the Wolf (The White Wolf Billionaire, #1)

Claimed by the Wolf | (The White Wolf Billionaire #1) | By Candi Jackson

About the Author

The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author or Red Hots Books.

Claimed by the Wolf
(The White Wolf Billionaire #1)
By Candi Jackson

––––––––

“J
ust one more,” John coaxed, holding up the paper bag overflowing with fast food. The smirk on his stupid, acne-riddled face made me want to vomit. “Come on, it’s not that hard.”

Just how had I gotten into this mess, anyway? Only two weeks ago, I’d been about to finish my nursing degree. I was going to make sure no little kid ever suffered the way I had. I’d been about to start planning my wedding with my fiancé, the man I thought I’d be spending the rest of my life with.

I’d been thinking about how life couldn’t get any better.

“One more Big Mac,” John said, his smirk bigger than the stupid McDonald’s arches looming just outside the drive-through window.

I sighed and reached back over the grill to grab the patty. I had loved a good hamburger until I started working here, and now the very smell of ground beef turned my stomach to acid. This what was I got for trusting things to be good. I wouldn’t make that mistake again in a hurry, that was for sure.

“Better hurry,” John said. “They’re getting impatient out there.”

I turned my death-ray glare on him, but he’d already gone to collect the customer’s money. Stupid kid, all of what, sixteen, and lording his seniority over me? I glanced past him out the drive-through window. Big mistake—the line of cars full of hungry people wound around the building, each one probably craving all the hamburgers I could possibly grill up and all the fries I could throw in the deep-fat fryer baskets. It reminded me of a giant snake, ready to devour animals much bigger than it should reasonably be able to eat.

And here I was, stuck pretending I hadn’t already gotten burned twice this shift by splattering grease.

All because my ex had thrown me out after I’d caught him in bed with the neighbor, ungrateful bastard.

The worst part wasn’t even that I worked under a teenage boy. You’d think it would be, but no. Actually, the worst part was the fact that I knew most of the customers who came in and demanded food from me didn’t even see me. They saw a big black woman in a hideous uniform with a cap I’d never put on my hair if I had a choice and thought I was a cliché. One more black woman who didn’t know anything about the world outside the ghetto. One more black woman who didn’t aspire to be anything more than someone’s baby mama, as if that was all any of us ever wanted.

My throat burned with tears. Before Avon had broken my heart and then tossed me out, I’d actually had secret dreams of going to medical school. I wanted to be a pediatrician and help all girls learn they were worth something. I wanted to teach them how to take care of their bodies—to value them the way no one had taught me. I wanted to do my part to erase the ugliness girls faced every day just for being girls.

Well, there was one thing I could do, at least. I raised my head high. Even though I hated this job so much, I would keep it long enough to take my final exams and pass them. What I didn’t know was how I would get by without Avon’s help, but surely I could manage a couple months like this.

The problem was more that nurse jobs were few and far between these days for grads fresh out of school. Just a few years ago, hospitals couldn’t keep positions filled; turnover was a huge thing from burnout, from exhaustion, from leaving to raise your own kids. But now, with the recession destroying any illusion of job stability, everyone had grown cautious. They weren’t nearly so quick to leave a good job, even if they didn’t really want to be there.

Which left near-grads like me in a quandary. When I thought I’d be with Avon forever, I hadn’t worried. He made a good living as a postal clerk, and he promised it wasn’t a problem if it took me awhile to find a spot. He wanted me to be happy, he’d said.

The image of his hands wandering all over the blonde neighbor’s body flashed before my eyes. Clearly I hadn’t been the only one in the neighborhood he’d wanted to make happy.

“Zenobia!” yelled John, making me jump. “Are you going to take this or not?” He shook his head. “No one wants to work these days,” he muttered.

I stared at him. “How old are you, twelve?” How
dare
this little jackass barely out of diapers talk to me like that? What did he know of life? He couldn’t get any girls to pay attention to his greasy face? Oh, boo-hoo.

“Sixteen, thank you very much,” he said, and jabbed a finger toward the fryer. “I still need that last order: large fry and Big Mac, hold the pickles. Seriously, Zenobia, don’t make me go to the manager about you.”

As if in response, the car outside honked. My shoulders stiffened, but I counted to five, then forced myself to grab a bag of frozen French fries and dropped them into the fryer basket.

“No salt on these,” John called. I nodded distractedly and ran to help the customer who approached my register.

After I’d taken that order, I finished the burger for John, holding the pickles, and quickly wrapped it. The timer on the fries dinged, and I rushed to raise the basket out of the oil to drain. Then I scooped out enough for a large order and sprinkled salt on them before putting both the burger and the fries into a bag along with napkins and two ketchup packets.

John peeked into the bag. “Zenobia! I. Said. No. Salt. What are you,
deaf
?”

That was it. I saw red, like someone had squeezed a case full of ketchup packets onto my eyes.

It was stupid to be goaded by someone like this idiot. I knew it. I knew I should just keep my head down and scoop out more fries. I knew that, too.

But I couldn’t take it anymore. I tore the stupid cap off my head and stomped over to the manager’s office. Gabriel glanced up from his desk. “Zenobia—?” he began.

“I’m done,” I said, my voice quiet. “You tell that little pisser out there that he might want to learn some respect.”

Gabriel held up his hands. “Zenobia, you can’t let him get to you. There are always going to be jerkoffs in the world. What, you’re going to let every one of them get under your skin?”

I dropped my hat on the desk in front of him. “I’m done,” I repeated. “I’ll be back to drop off my uniform and collect my last check.”

Gabriel studied me for a minute, then let out a long sigh. “All right,” he said. “Your decision.”

I pulled on my coat and hat and stalked out of there before I could let myself consider what I’d just done. But once outside, with the raw winter wind ripping at my cheeks, I wanted to kick myself. Hot tears ran down my cheeks, almost instantly chilling, and I swiped at them with clumsy, glove-covered fingers.

This was all I had. What was I supposed to do now?

I got in my car, holding my breath while waiting to see if it would start in the cold, and said a prayer of thanks when it did. Then, trying not to freak out, I drove home to my tiny room in Mrs. Basil’s basement.

* * *

I
had five hundred dollars left to my name. Well, four hundred ninety-six dollars and seventy-two cents, to be exact. The television played in the background of my bedroom while I huddled in bed, hands curled around a microwaved cup of instant ramen. Instead of eating, I bit my lip and considered my options.

I couldn’t count on Avon, obviously, which really sucked. I had let myself believe he wasn’t a player and really wanted to be with me. God, how stupid had I been? I couldn’t stop replaying the moment when he’d dropped to one knee and proposed to me in the Olive Garden, and how everyone had broken into applause when I’d foolishly said yes and let him slip the ring onto my finger. I’d grinned like a total fool, sure I’d met my soul mate.

But then he’d gotten too tired to get with me in bed, or so he said. I should have known. . . . A man like that never got too tired for women. He just got tired of fidelity.

My face burned in shame. Good thing my dark brown skin was dark enough to hide the flush of blood, not that anyone was looking.

Four hundred ninety-six dollars and seventy-two cents to keep me going. I had rent due next week—and Mrs. Basil was not exactly the lenient, forgiving type—and needed groceries and gas to keep my crappy car going if I wanted to make it to my final classes and exams.

What would I do after that?

I had no appetite, especially for these horribly salty noodles, but I needed to keep my energy up. I choked down the salt broth and soggy white flour noodles and took my cup back to the communal kitchen.

Mrs. Basil stood at the stove, pouring steaming water from a kettle into a chipped mug. She turned and gave me a suspicious glance. “Rent’s due on Monday.”

Like I didn’t know.

“You’ll get it Monday morning,” I promised, stuffing cheer I absolutely didn’t feel into my voice.

“I should hope so.” She dropped a tea bag into the water and left.

It took the little willpower I had left to swallowing all the retorts that wanted to fly out of my throat. Fuck it; I needed to get out of here before I said something I’d regret. Walking out on my job was one thing, but I wasn’t yet reckless enough to throw away the roof over my head.

I ran back to my room in the basement long enough to grab my purse, car keys, and coat. Mrs. Basil paid for the cable—she liked to boast about how generous she was with utilities, the old bag—so I left the TV on. Might as well get my money’s worth, even if I wasn’t going to be home to watch it.

While my car warmed up, I rubbed my hands together and debated where to go. There wasn’t much open at this time on a Sunday evening, and it was way too cold to be outside. Plus I couldn’t really spend much.

But one drink at the bar. I could afford that, and I could just keep sipping at it. I smiled. Maybe there would be a guy or two I could charm into buying me more. A little flirting would pass the time nicely, take my mind off things.

Yeah, I thought, backing out of my parking spot on the street, that sounded like just the thing.

* * *

S
itting in the dim, overcrowded bar, I began to regret my decision. It seemed like a lot of people had also thought to come out and get warm with some alcohol. That would have been great, except most of them looked like the kind of folks I didn’t want anything to do with: shifty old men in coats with collars turned up to their ears. A couple women here and there, chatting and checking out the options. They looked as disappointed as I felt. Well, they were welcome to the old guys. No, thanks!

I sighed and tipped back my whiskey sour. I’d been nursing it, but the ice had long since melted in the too-warm bar, and honestly, I was getting bored. Might as well go home and be bored in my bed.

I’d hoped to find a different bed to land in tonight, someone to take my mind off things, but it was shaping up to be one hell of a bad day. Why had I thought this would go any differently?

I slapped my empty glass on the bar and dropped a couple quarters after it. The bartender glanced at them, then at me, and raised an eyebrow. Shame rippled through me. I wasn’t a cheapskate. I really wasn’t. I wanted to leave more, I did, but this was more than I should even be spending right now, what with rent and bills due next week.

Shaking my head and wondering why I’d ever thought this was a good idea, I reached for my coat.

“Get the lady another of whatever she just had.” The voice was deep, masculine, baritone, and sent shivers up my thighs. Delicious shivers.

What?

I swiveled around on my stool, coat forgotten. My eyes landed on a man who had picked up my empty glass and was studying the dark plum lipstick print on it. Then he turned to me, and an electric shock shot through my entire body.

Beautiful
wasn’t even the right word for this man. He looked like a Michelangelo statue come to life and dressed in a gunmetal-gray Versace suit. An Adonis! His thick yellow hair was pulled back into a small ponytail, revealing a jaw so strong, it might have been chiseled out of stone, and oh, God, those cheekbones! Perfectly tanned skin stretched over them, lush and clean-shaven, making me long to run my fingers over his face. He could have stepped right out of an ad for a beach resort, especially with those huge blue-green eyes.
Like windows onto the ocean
, I thought, licking my lips. Growing up in New Jersey, I loved the ocean. I quivered as those amazing eyes wandered casually over me, taking in every inch of my curvaceous coffee-with-cream body, my generous hips, even the hint of my nicely rounded booty spread over the barstool.

BOOK: Claimed by the Wolf (BWWM Erotic Paranormal Romance)
12.36Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Matthew's Chance by Odessa Lynne
Mr and Mrs by Alexa Riley
Awakening by Sydney Holmes
Lord Scoundrel Dies by Kate Harper
A Shining Light by Judith Miller
Kentucky Christmas by Sarah Title
Her Valentine Family by Renee Andrews