late October! This is Jackson and Lexie's story, Book 3 of my Werewolves of Montana series. Excerpt is below. Happy reading!
The Mating Seduction, copyright 2013 by Bonnie Vanak
Thick clouds blotted out the pale moonlight and the stars. It was a perfect night for stealing a horse.
Lexie Walters limped across the paddock to the red barn of the Mitchell Ranch. She opened the door and slipped inside the stable, ignoring the soft whickers and whinnies of the pack’s other horses. Scents of hay and dung stung her nostrils. Heart thudding hard, Lexie advanced to the stall tucked in the back. Diamond poked her head over the door and whickered a welcome.
Heart racing fast, Lexie shrugged out of her pack and set it down. She stroked Diamond’s velvet nose. “You ok? They taking good care of you?”
Diamond snorted softly.
“I know girl. I miss you, too.” A lump the size of a baseball rose in her throat as she nuzzled her cheek against the mare. “Miss you so much. It’s you and me against the world.”
Diamond didn’t care that she walked with a halting gimp or that she never got invited to the college frat parties on campus. Her horse didn’t snicker like that salesgirl when she tried on a riding outfit and couldn’t button it. Diamond liked to win barrel races, like Lexie. But now they really needed each other.
She fumbled with the catch on the stall door. A new, tangy scent teased her nostrils. She’d barely registered the sharp, crisp smell of polished leather and spices when something whooshed through the air. The lariat fell mid-shoulder and the owner yanked tight, binding her arms to her waist.
Roping her like a yearling calf.
Sweat streamed down her backside as she struggled in the tight snare. Then a tall form eased out from the shadows. He flipped a switch. Overhead lights revealed the rope’s holder.
Jackson Palmer, Diamond’s new owner. His full mouth curved in a knowing smile.
Her throat went dry.
the taciturn, sexy Lupine who’d taught her
a few riding tricks two years ago. Boot heels clicked across the floor
as he advanced. Lexie’s heart raced. Not as tall as other Lupines, he still
towered over her like a strong oak tree. A blue chambray work shirt was opened
at the throat, revealing a triangle of dark hair. Blue jeans molded to his
muscular thighs. Those same thighs were expert at guiding a horse as he rode.
A hank of dark brown hair hung over his forehead. As he pushed it away, his dark brown eyes glinted and he rubbed his free hand over the dark bristles shadowing his strong jawline.
“Strange time to visit, Lexie.”
gave a gentle tug, forcing her to walk toward him. “Figured you’d make your
move tonight, with the race coming up soon.”
Panic lodged in her throat as he kept a tight hold on the rope with one hand. With his other, he unzipped her pack. Her mouth went dry as he dumped out the contents.
“Rope, halter and a few carrots and felt for her hoofs to silence them,” he drawled.
Lexie’s mouth wobbled. “Diamond was sold while I was away at college, before I had a chance to talk to Nikita. I’ll find the money somehow to pay you back. I need my horse.”
Pity flared in his dark gaze as he straightened. “Can’t do that. She belongs to me and I have plans for her. And now I’ll have to tell both our alphas you were caught on Mitchell pack territory.”
Nikita already knew and approved of Lexie stealing back her own horse. The Bordello Border Rodeo and barrel racing competition in Texas was in two weeks. Winning was Lexie’s one shot at helping her alpha and finding real acceptance among her pack. She had to have Diamond to win the race.
“You have to let me borrow her then. Please. I’ll return Diamond after the race.” Desperation nudged her to add, “I’ll even give you a share of the winnings.”
“No can do, sweetheart. She’s mine, fair and square. Lupine law deals harshly with horse thieves, but I’ll work something out.”
His deep, quiet voice stroked over her. She squared her shoulders and looked him straight in the eyes. “I’m not good at following the laws of other wolf packs.”
“Lupine,” he corrected. “We’re Lupines and so are you. I can teach you all about laws of the pack, if you’d let me.”
“It could never work out between us.”
“You didn’t give it a chance. You didn’t give me a chance.” His mouth tightened. “Instead you ran away.”
“I wasn’t running from you. I was running to college, to my future.”
Two years ago, she’d stayed at the Mitchell ranch while
Jackson gave her riding lessons. She
developed a huge crush on the sexy Lupine with the wide smile. Then Jackson had kissed her in
the barn and scared the hell out of her. She’d never wanted a man as badly as
she’d wanted Jackson
and had almost tumbled with him in the hay.
It had taken all of her strength to shove him away, telling him she planned to ride on the circuit, attend college and remain a virgin.
Jackson was pure male and pure wolf. He liked
running with the moon and shifting whenever he could. His touch made her quiver
and his kiss had burned her with a need she could never fill.
Jackson meant getting naked. And she never
wanted him to know how abnormal she was. It was bad enough being called a freak
by some Skins, the term Lupines used for humans. But if Jackson saw her? No
“And now you’re back.” He gave the rope a gentle tug. “I’ll have to tell Aiden and bring you to Lupine justice before the pack. It will mean Aiden will demand a formal investigation of Nikita and why she allows her females to sneak into another pack’s turf.”
Panic surged through Lexie. Such a power play would give Aiden control and could mean Nikita’s secrets would be spilled. Her alpha had been firm. No one must know.
“Don’t, please,” she begged, hating the pleading note in her voice.
An almost tender expression came over him, then he looked dark and dangerous again. He stroked a hand over his chin. “I won’t, under one condition. I’ll even loan you Diamond so you can race, under that same condition.”
A spark of hope ignited, pushing aside the grim future. She tried to keep the eagerness from her voice.
“Name it.”“You stay here on the ranch with me. For the next seven nights…” his wicked smile grew wider, “naked in my bed.”