Authors: Sophie Chevalier
Rescued & Ravished:
An Alpha’s Conquest
By Sophie Chevalier
2016 © Enamored Ink
(Cover Designed by Duong Covers)
It was a dream. He
it was a dream.
But it was a beautiful dream.
He was in a meadow. It was a blooming meadow full of fireweed and yellow arnica, with a soft, sweet breeze shushing the pines at its edges. Birds sang and insects rasped in the warm air. Overhead, the bare, stony peaks of the Canadian Rockies scraped the sky.
And there she was. The girl he dreamed of almost every night.
The girl he burned for.
The girl he was meant for.
She was plush and blonde and soft, with a heart-shaped face and eyes as blue as hydrangea. The smallness of her waist contrasted beautifully with the fullness of her rounded hips and the tempting thickness of her thighs. She wore nothing, her skin as white and flawless as cream. She was a gorgeous creature, and she was his.
“Chance,” she said, reaching for him from where she lay in the flowers. He was powerless to resist her, and he went to her, settling into the fireweed with her and holding her in his powerful arms. She felt like warm butter against his hard, muscular body.
“I love you. You know that?” he whispered, his voice thick.
She kissed him—a sweet kiss with a flavor of ripe peaches. Her full lips were soft and yielding against his firm, chapped mouth. Intoxicating.
“I know you do,” she murmured, gazing at him with her hydrangea-blue eyes. “I love you, too. But I’m still far away from here.”
“Come to me,” he urged, squeezing her. She stroked his face. “Just come. Come now, baby, from wherever you are.”
She sighed, sliding a leg over his hip. “Soon.”
“I need you.” He meant it. “You’re my mate. I know you are.”
“There’s only one problem, Chance,” she breathed, nuzzling him. “
don’t know it.”
And just like that, the dream was over.
It had been the worst breakup of her life.
It came out of nowhere, like a right hook in the dark. One minute they were a couple, like they had been for years, and the next minute they were nothing—done.
The two of them had been days away from flying to the Coast and—she
—starting their new, sunny Californian life together. If he had been planning to dump her, he should have done it before she’d put everything together to follow him off to his new job: her work transfer, her new apartment in San Fran, the sale of her car, the cancellation of her lease.
Instead, he had the gall to spring this breakup on her. “We’re just not growing together, Harper,” he’d said. “I keep thinking about it, and I don’t see a future for us. I’m just not happy like I should be.”
She didn’t make him happy? That was news to her. He was the one who had begged her to come out West with him.
So what was his deal? Where was this coming from?
Maybe she hadn’t meant anything to him for a long time. Maybe he hadn’t been attracted
to her for a long time.
But then, why had he strung her along? Because he hadn’t found anything better, or because he didn’t want to be alone, or because he couldn’t give up their steady diet of sex? So he kept her around and let her think he loved her?
And he had definitely let her think he loved her. She still had the flowers he’d given her for her birthday—pink roses—sitting in a vase on the mantelpiece. The stupid things had even come with a note:
To Harper, the most beautiful girl on the planet.
Maybe his pre-job jitters had worn off, and now he didn’t feel like he needed her to be his human security blanket in a new city. Maybe he was jonesing to try out the skinny California women, God help them. She wanted to warn them all to stay away, if that was the case.
The scene got uglier and uglier until she was screaming that he was a selfish, self-obsessed baby and that he should get out and take his fucking Bukowski books with him. He refused to apologize for not communicating with her sooner, for uprooting her for no reason, for not thinking of her welfare—and he wouldn’t take his books back, either. When he slammed the door, she threw her shoes at it, blind with rage. Then she collapsed on the couch and cried and cried and cried. Her soaked end pillow would never be the same.
Now what? That was the question she was left with when it was twenty-five to midnight and she’d run out of tears. Should she stay in Chicago, or go ahead with her now-pointless move? She’d never been so badly fucked over by a man.
Past her crushed voile drapes, the city lights glittered in the dark, offering her no answers. She could call Northern Trust, tell them she wasn’t going anywhere after all and that she wanted to keep her job here, but they had just hired someone new for her position. They’d already transferred her to their San Francisco location, into the personal trust management division. She was supposed to start there in two weeks. The movers were coming in the morning to pack up everything she owned. She didn’t even have a car.
She was locked in.
It wasn’t fair. It wasn’t fucking
. Her ex was off to a brand new life and now hers was in shambles, all because of him.
Furious, she snatched the roses out of their vase and fed them down the dispose-all.
“Backpacking. Don’t stress, I’m just leaving town earlier than I planned to, that’s all. I’ll still end up in San Francisco before my start date at the trust. I have a flight booked to arrive there on the twelfth.”
“Where exactly are you backpacking, Harper?” Haley’s voice rose in pitch, as it always did when she was anxious.
“Nowhere crazy. I’m not going to the Congo or anything.”
“Listen, I just need to get away from things, clear my head. Try not to worry.”
“Banff National. Up near Alberta.”
“Canada?” Haley’s voice relaxed a little. “Okay, Canada. Let me Google Banff National and I’ll—”
“It’s just some backcountry hiking, okay? It’s just some calming, clarifying hiking. Relax.”
“This says it’s in the Canadian Rockies, Harper. You know there are grizzlies out there, right? And moose? And insane backwoods axe-murderers?”
“Calm down.” Haley had been Harper’s assistant at the trust for the past ten months. She was a sweet girl, efficient and gossipy and doe-eyed. Harper had no one else to notify that she was taking off, which didn’t sit right with her; she felt like she should tell
Just so if she disappeared, someone would know. Someone would care. “It’s just Canada. Don’t get excited.”
“I’m not getting excited!” Haley snapped, her voice cracking like a whip through the smartphone. “I know you’re upset because of… because of Logan, but I don’t want you to do anything reckless or unsafe. This sounds so last minute and so…so crazy.”
“I love hiking. You know that. I’ve talked about it.” Harper glanced at her watch. “There’s nothing crazy about getting my head right in the great outdoors. I think it’s healthy.”
“Healthier than a bender, I guess, but still. I’d prefer if you just, like, sat on a couch and ate Haagen-Dazs. Please—if you’re absolutely set on doing this—be careful. When are you leaving?”
“I already left.” Harper glanced out the huge, plexiglass windows of the terminal; planes were taxiing heavily across the tarmac, wing lights blinking. “I’m at O’Hare.”
“Oh my gosh, Harper. Right now?”
“Right now. I just packed up and left. I’m flying into Calgary International, and from there I’ll rent a car and drive to Banff. It’s only four hours.”
“I’m just letting you know what I’m doing.”
“Are you outfitted? I mean, do you have everything you need? Oh my gosh. This is so sudden and I—”
“Yes, of course I have everything.” Before she’d started working full-time, Harper had gone hiking at every opportunity: all the gear she needed had just been sitting in her closet, waiting for a trek. “Do you want a comprehensive list? I’m wearing wicking underwear, a couple t-shirts, and a Patagonia jacket. I’ve got my old Keen Durands on.” She kicked her heel against the glossy terminal floor. “I packed insect repellent, a first aid kit, bear spray, quick-dry towel, binoculars, merino socks, field guides, cups, nylon cord, a knife, water bottles, a water filter, a headlamp, matches, a tent, a sleeping bag… I could go on. You want me to go on?”
“What about food?”
“I’ll pick some up at a camping store in Calgary.”
“You’re crazy, Harper,” Haley sighed. “But it’s your choice. You’re going to go, and I can’t stop you. I just hope you find what you need out there.”
Harper glanced at the gate; nearly boarding time.
“I’m sure I will, Haley. I’m sure of it.”
Chance shouldered open his cabin door, a mug of bitter coffee in his calloused hand. The morning was fresh and cool; mountain chickadees and red-breasted nuthatches were singing to the sun, flittering here and there among the lodgepole pines. Leaning on his splintery railing, he stared distractedly out at the woods.
The low fire had already started in his belly. One more day and he’d be properly in Season. Unconsciously, he gripped his shirt, clenching the plaid fabric over his hard, tense stomach.
The girlish shout cut through the stillness of the new day. He leaned further out over the railing to look around the side of his cabin, the coffee almost spilling from his mug.
“Briar! What brings you ‘round here?”
Normally, she didn’t tempt him—she was nineteen and fawn-skinny, barely grown, and he was no cradle-robber—but today blood surged below his waist. Her bright brown eyes sparkled encouragingly, her wavy, tangled hair, cut just under her chin, begged for the grip and pull of a man’s hands. Her seed-small breasts were pert and braless under her worn-thin, third-hand t-shirt. He gripped the railing harder, swallowing.
This damn Season. Stay on the porch, Chance. Don’t let her come up. She’s just a kid.
“Ma sent me. She wanted to know if you have any licorice poultice to spare. Winter’s acting up, and you know how licorice is good for baby’s fevers.”
Yeah, I’ll just bet that’s why.
Briar’s mother, Aspen, had been trying to foist her daughter off on him for years now. She wanted her girl mated with a strong man, a powerful man, someone who could protect her… someone who could handle her.
The match hadn’t taken yet and it wasn’t going to, but she kept trying. Since Aspen had a new baby—Winter, a fussy, angel-faced girl—she wouldn’t go into Season this year. That would leave her a lot more clear-minded than the rest of them. He’d have to watch himself. It was apples to acorns she’d be sending Briar around every hour.
“Sure, I’ve got some. I’ll fetch it.
!” he added, seeing her creep toward the half-rotted porch stairs. He really had to replace those.
Inside, he set his mug on the edge of his hand-sawn table, then rifled through the medicine-and-ointment rack hung on the raw-timber wall. Once he found the little glass jar of licorice, he grabbed it and strode back out the door. Briar was waiting right below the railing, hands behind her back, smiling just a shade too sweet for his taste.
“Here, honey. Take this to your ma.”
He tossed it down, and she caught it.
“Thanks, Chance. Say, why can’t I come up?”
“You know why.” He didn’t have total control of his appetites, and neither did she. In another twenty-four hours, he would have virtually none. She knew that. “Get on home now. And steer clear of me for the rest of the Season, mind?”
She cocked her head. “Why’s that?”
“Don’t be cheeky, Briar.” She was a likeable girl, but born trouble. He didn’t want responsibility for her. “Go home now. Straight on.”
She huffed, but then she went, cheerfully and light-footedly enough. Whatever man found himself coupling with her over the course of the Season would have to be made of stern stuff.
. The word heated him up from the inside out. It was impossible to deny his instincts, and he wasn’t going to try. Tomorrow, when the full force of the mating urge hit, he’d give in.
Even though he couldn’t think of a single woman in the clan that he truly wanted to bed down.
Harper checked the map from the ranger’s station, pipits chittering above her in the willow grove. Higher up over the heads of the trees, the architectonic peaks of the Canadian Rockies stood grey-and-white against the sky.
“Luellen Lake,” she muttered, studying her outlined route. It was a week-long loop from Mystic Pass through Flint’s Park along to Badger’s Pass. It was exactly what she wanted. Nothing but pine forests, alpine meadows, and the glacial lakes of the wilderness.
Logan? Who cared about him? Who cared about their two wasted years together, or the fact that he’d been lying to her for months about his feelings? All that mattered was the hike, the solitude, and her own peace of mind. When she finished, she’d be ready to make the best of her new life in San Francisco.