Black Hills Wolves, Book 7
Decadent Publishing, @91 pages
A mixed-blood Native American wolf-shifter, abandoned by a teenage mother and ignored by an absentee father, Rio Waya has never fit in or felt worthy of love. But when he comes home to the Black Hills, he realizes he wants a mate of his own. Recovering from a cheating ex who started a new family behind her back, Sela López seeks escape to pull her life back together. As a documentary filmmaker and wildlife photographer, she rents a cabin in the Black Hills with plans to film the beleaguered wolf population. But she’s so busy looking through a camera lens she doesn’t see trouble coming. Sparks fly as mutual fears and vulnerabilities surface when Sela and Rio meet. She can’t figure out why the mysterious Mr. Waya is so anxious about having a documentary made of the Black Hills Wolves. But when his secret is exposed, all hell breaks loose. Can Rio win Sela’s trust and soothe her fears about allowing a hunky wolf-shifter into her heart?
(This excerpt takes place the morning after Sela and Rio first met. Sela has rented Rio’s cabin for the summer hoping to film a documentary about wolves. Once Rio understood what she was up to, he tried to discourage her. There was a lot of tension and attraction too. Both walk away from their first encounter shaken and confused.)
…Outside, the crunch of tires on dirt drew closer. She glanced up in time to see the Los Lobos Park Ranger truck roll around a bend in the road.
Rio was behind the wheel. Just as she was ready to dart inside the cabin and pretend she’d not seen him, he honked.
The truck pulled beside the cabin to park. He got out with a plastic box and steel thermos in his hands. His damp black hair reflected sunbeams, giving him a fresh-from-the-shower vibe. “Good morning! I’m surprised to see you awake.”
She nodded, at a complete loss of anything to say.
He walked toward the porch with an easy gait. Goddamn the man, he looked even better in daylight. His eyes sparkled, root beer brown. “I don’t mean to bother you, but I have to drive past anyway.” He handed her the box and thermos. “I was going to set these on the porch and call later.”
The containers were warm in her hands. “What is this?”
“Coffee and fry bread. I made it this morning. There’s some honey in the kitchen cabinet that will make it taste even better.”
It sounded heavenly. “Thank you.”
“Enjoy your day.” Rio returned to the truck, providing a prime view of his muscular ass flexing in tight jeans. The sight was starting to sink in when he made an abrupt turn to face her. “I almost forgot. Are you planning to film wolves today?”
She shrugged. “I don’t expect to do any filming. I’ll have to find the wolves first. Set up a blind. I was going to take a hike this morning to get acquainted with the area.”
“You won’t have to go far.”
“What do you mean?”
He pointed toward a trail that ran along a dense thicket and disappeared into a ravine. “Follow the path about a half mile to the river. The grade is steep. You’ll have to do a little rock hopping. Find a comfortable place to set up a blind, wait, and he’s sure to come by.”
“A lone male wolf with black fur. This part of Gray Paw Mountain is his territory. Bring your camera because, at this time of year, a sighting is almost a sure thing.”
“A black coat? That’s interesting. This lone wolf that shows up on schedule like a city bus wouldn’t be someone’s pet by any chance?”
Rio laughed, exposing a breathtaking flash of white teeth. “It’s a wild wolf. I swear.”
“Does this wolf have a name? What do you call him?”
The smile lingered softening his gaze. “Feel free to give him a name.” He opened the truck door. “I have to go.”
“Wait!” She stepped off the porch. “Why are you helping me? Last night you made your disapproval of my filming the wolves perfectly clear. Now, you’re pointing me straight toward them. What changed?”
He stared at his boots. “I thought about what you said, and the realization hit.” He spoke with deliberation. “Someone is going to come here someday to film the wolves. Exposure is inevitable. Might as well be you. You seem to care. I hope you’ll treat the situation with sensitivity.”
“Rio,” he was quick to correct with a gentle tone.
“This means a lot. I appreciate your help.”
Beaming, he raised a palm in salute. Without a word, he got into his truck. In a dusty rumble of diesel, he drove away.
Katalina Leon is an artist and author who can’t commit to a single genre. Her favorite playgrounds are historical, Sci-fi, contemporary, and most of all paranormal realms. Katalina brings a sense of adventure and a touch of the mystical to erotic romance. She believes there’s a daring heroine inside every woman who wants to take a wild ride with a strong worthy hero.
Black Hills Wolves, “Portrait of a Lone Wolf” book 7, Katalina Leon
Decadent Publishing. http://www.decadentpublishing.com/