Excerpt from The Mating Hunt by Bonnie Vanak in DARK AND DANGEROUS
Someone was having sex in
the bathroom of Spuds Saloon.
Sanders wriggled her Spanx-clad bottom on the hard wood seat. The musky scent
drifted down the hallway, tickling her nostrils. Low groans and high squeals
throbbed against her eardrums.
enough to be a 19-year-old unmated Lupine werewolf ripe for breeding, but to
hunger for sex was pure hell.
hell when you were terrified of the very thing your body craved.
hell when you emitted a cloud of pheromones so powerful, you attracted
everything from male werewolves to Ogres.
your big butt,” Darius had told her. “From the back, you look like a female
Ogre. Hubba hubba.”
pack beta ended up sporting a black eye for that remark.
at a table against the brick wall, Arianna flexed her sore knuckles. Yeah, she
had a fat ass. But she also had the best nose in the pack, other than Kyle, her
guardian and partner in hunting. And if she and Kyle were to get a bead on
three missing Lupine young, they needed information. Spuds was the place where
cowboys traded gossip in Hancock, Montana.
heels hooked over the barstool rungs; men lined up at the bar like cattle at a
watering trough. Her nostrils flared at the stench of spilt beer and heavy
cologne. A wailing country western song pounded against her temples. Damn, she
hated bars, but vowed to find out what she could. The three little ones had
vanished two weeks ago while hiking with their parents near Mitchell Mountain.
The frantic parents contacted Amber Alert, pretending the young were Skins, the
Lupine term for humans.
sensitive hearing picked up a few stray conversations. “Missing kids.”
“Searched forest.” Arianna studied the crowd, looking for signs of nervousness
as Kyle had taught her. Rugged bikers sitting at a corner table scowled at the
crowd, but she scented nothing unusual.
at the bar. There.
men in sheepskin jackets studied their beer mugs as sweat oozed from their
pores. Their hearts began to pound harder as talk centered on the missing young.
headed for the jukebox to eavesdrop, a woman screamed from the back room. “Oh
God, oh God!”
cowboys snickered. “Damn, thought this was a bar, not a church,” one shouted
embarrassed flush suffused Arianna’s body. She needed to get info and get the
boot heels clicked on the scuffed wood floor as she crossed the room. As she
reached the jukebox, her targets pulled money from their wallets and tossed a
handful of dollar bills on the bar. She strained to see their faces, but they
turned and headed for the exit. Arianna followed.
drunk staggered into her and grabbed her arm. “C’mere, honey, you smell good.
That little lady back there ain’t gonna be the only one getting lucky tonight.”
drooling, the Skin looked more woozy than threatening.
coated her throat. She’d thought Skins couldn’t scent her approaching heat.
not. Arianna pulled away and shook her head.
mouth flattened. “With that fat ass, you’re lucky I’m interested. Should be
insult stung. “With that ugly face, you’d be lucky to find a willing sheep.”
drunk’s gaze darkened and narrowed. He grabbed her breast. “At least you have
it,” she cried out, immediately snared in a dark memory.
memories surged: greedy hands groping her nubile breasts. Not again. Never
emerged from her fingertips as she danced out of reach. Suddenly the familiar
scent of sharp, crushed pine and crisp, fallen snow flooded her senses. Then a
quiet, deep voice spoke. “Leave the little lady alone. Or else.”
filled her. Kyle.
guy sneered as Kyle slid out of the hallway shadows, zipping up his jeans.
Arianna stiffened. Her guardian had caused the woman’s ecstatic screams.
shouldered and leanly muscled, he stood well over six feet. In a plaid shirt,
tight jeans and scuffed boots, he looked like just another tall, muscular
cowboy, except for the distinctive Z slashing his left cheek. Despite the scar,
females found Kyle irresistible. His beast emerged during the full moon, a
savage sexuality resulting from his mixed blood.
brown hair peeked beneath the brim of his black Stetson, hiding his mesmerizing
green eyes. They could grow sharp with impatience one minute, hot with passion
glacial, as they did now, as he tipped back his hat.
else what?” The words barely fled the drunk’s mouth before Kyle’s fist smashed
into it. The man staggered backward, vermilion trickling from his split lip.
“That all you got?” the drunk sneered, and swung at Kyle.
She groaned as the duo began to fight. Other patrons crowded around, cheering
them on. Time to leave, before all the surging testosterone went turbo.
headed for the door as Kyle made dog food of the drunk, her attacker, but found
it barricaded by five bulky cowboys with rapid pulses and lust-darkened gazes.
darling,” one drawled. “You smell soooo good. Why don’t you come here and show
us a good time?”
breathing ragged, Arianna fought panic. Breath fled out of her bellowing lungs.
As they stalked toward her, a low growl ripped from her throat. Oh please, not
now, I can control this. Stay in Skin. I can defend myself.
wasn’t the other time. Not chained and helpless, a scared 12-year-old facing
the bad man who wanted to hurt her.
heavily as they circled, she reached for the switchblade in her back pocket.
One rubbed the increasing bulge in his crotch and stalked forward. And then
someone seized her from behind, forcing her to drop the knife, pinning her arms.
fled, replaced by a surge of terror, triggering Lupine instinct.
low snarl, she flung off her attacker, sending him crashing into a nearby
table. Fur rippled along her arms. Her bones popped and snapped. Go for the
wolf loped toward the man’s groin as screams broke out...