The Reluctant Gift by
Salina has earned her one-year vacation on Earth, damn it! She’s been an exemplary sentinel for her pack and saved all the universes. Too bad she hasn’t been very effective at kicking Aherin to the curb. She had one little lapse in judgment—sleeping with the annoyingly persistent vampire—and now he just won’t leave.
As if that wasn’t enough, her holiday plans are spoiled, her world is turned upside down, and she’s going to miss out on a yummy family dinner, all because she’s kidnapped on Christmas Eve.
“What the hell is going on here?” Aherin hadn’t expected to find anyone other than Salina waiting for him when he kicked his door open. Hers had been the only scent to reach his nostrils as he approached the tomb that had become his home.
But of course, Santa and his elves only smelled faintly of candy.
“Care to explain?” He arched an eyebrow at Saint Nicholas, and was about to go on a tirade about property law, when he took in Salina sitting on the ground. Forgetting his questions, he rushed to her. “Salina? What happened to you?”
He was kneeling down next to her when she turned and punched him in the nose. The momentum of her whole body fortifying her left hook landed him on his ass.
“Like you don’t know them.” She hopped to her feet and assumed the fighting stance that always made his desire for her soar. Legs spread at shoulder width, knees slightly bent, her weight perfectly balanced. She held up her fists, emerald eyes sparkling dangerously.
Finding his footing just as gracefully as she had, he raised his hands, palms facing her, to show he posed no threat. “I know them. Well, him.” He pointed at Santa, who apparently saw that as his cue to cut in.
“Are you one”—he pushed his glasses a bit further up the bridge of his nose—“Aherin the Resurrected?”
So he had a nickname now? Cool. Still… “Oh, cut the fancy formalities, Nicholas. You know full well who I am. You wouldn’t have met the Missus if it weren’t for me doing the introd…”
He trailed off at Salina’s stunned look.
“I’m a romantic,” he said to her. “They were both jolly and both single. It was an obvious match.”
Her eyes remained wide as saucers, but she waved at him impatiently. “Just tell me what is going on here. Who is he?”
Santa answered before Aherin could. “I am the Santa Claus, Ms. Crest. Feel free to call me Santa.” He glared at Aherin. “Both of you.”
Salina looked at Aherin and appeared to believe him when he nodded his confirmation. “And what do you want?” she asked Nicky—sorry, Santa. “Is it another curse thing? Did a reindeer go missing or something? ’Cause I’m supposed to be on vacation on this plane, and I’m not even the Balancers’ favorite. Maybe you wanna check in with my sister? She’s the one who usually takes on the hero stuff.”
Even as she spoke, Aherin could see her assessing her surroundings. He’d seen her fight her way out of a couple extremely sticky situations and knew she was about to wipe the floor with red velvet.
“Nothing like that, child.” Santa’s tone was casual now. “I’m here on my usual business, delivering Christmas presents. You”—he turned to Aherin—“were a very good boy-mpire this year!”
“Boy-mpire?” Salina snorted. “That’s not even a word.”
“I would not throw stones, dear. We have all heard your vocabulary, and I do not mean back when you were a cub.” The playful glint in his eyes belied the stern voice. “As I was saying, because of your being a very good boy-mpire, and helping avert the destruction of all universes, the Balancers have decided you deserve a present. I am here to deliver you that present: Salina Crest, if you will have her.”
Dreaming of a Wolf by Sofia Grey
Alun was Olivia’s first, and he was supposed to be her forever. After a tragic accident steals him away, Olivia wonders how she can ever be whole again.
When he starts talking to her in her dreams, she has to ask herself: Is she going mad with grief, or is there still a chance for their forever?
I lay on my side in bed, facing Alun, knees bent, our hands linked between us. He was cooking up some mischief, I was sure. The devilish glint in his eyes was usually a precursor to some wild idea. Driving twenty miles in the darkness of very early morning to watch the sun rising from a particular hilltop. Throwing clothes and toiletries into a backpack for an impromptu weekend hike. Kite flying on a windy beach.
I’d never been so impulsive before I met him, or as bold.
He squeezed my fingers. Here we go. “You are going to marry me, aren’t you, Olivia Tanner?”
He asked me every time we got together, and I couldn’t help giggling. “You know I am, but not yet. We graduate first, figure out where we’re going to live, and then we get married.” I rubbed my knees against his and watched a smile spread across his face. “What’s the rush?”
“You’re my Mate, Cariad.” The Welsh endearment sounded beautiful the way it rolled from his tongue. “I’m impatient to share my life with you.”
I blinked, and he was gone. My heart skittered, and I took a rapid breath. Had I been asleep?
Cautious, I stretched out one hand to where he’d been lying. The sheets were cold. He’d looked real. Felt as alive as he always had. You’re my Mate. I’d never heard him call me that before.
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Red Dawn by Ann Gimpel
Llyr is a whale shifter with a big problem. The seas are dying, poisoned by heavy metal contamination and barrels of trash. In a bold and desperate move, he and his mate, Galatea, the Sea Witch, hatch up magic to allow him to spend as long as he needs to on Earth.
Masquerading as a marine biologist, Llyr signs on with a firm whose mission is to save the oceans. When his boss turns out to have malevolent underpinnings, Llyr returns to the sea for answers. With death lurking behind every corner, he and Galatea find themselves boxed into an impossible situation.
Llyr stood on a rocky, deserted shore on an unnamed island south of New Zealand. Cold, damp wind sent shivers along his arms. Galatea moved from where she squatted a few feet away and closed her arms around him. “Do you need a break?”
He shook his head emphatically. “No. I can make this work. I know I can.” He watched with disgust as one of his arms shimmered into half a flipper.
Galatea blew out a frustrated sounding breath. “Let’s start over from the beginning.”
“Let’s not. We’re here on land. I don’t want to retreat to our whale forms again. We’ve done that, and it didn’t make this any easier.”
“All right.” She let go of him and stepped back, eying him appraisingly, as if she were taking his measure.
Llyr straightened. It was important she not find him lacking—on any front. He crinkled his brow in thought. “I have an idea.”
She crooked a finger his way. “Out with it.”
“You have two types of magic. The sort all whale shifters have, which you discovered, and your Sea Witch power. You’re trying to use your witch powers, and my magic is fighting you all the way.”
He glanced askance at her. “You’re the first Sea Witch to pick a mate. Men had sex with them and then ran the other way. No one ever wanted to get much closer than that.”
Galatea rolled her eyes. “Yeah, we scared the crap out of everyone because of Circe.” Breath whistled from between her teeth. “Idiots! If we’d wished to sow harm, we wouldn’t require proximity.”
He strode to her and placed his hands on her shoulders. “You make it sound like we overreacted.” Llyr took a measured breath. “Circe and her nymphs turned Odysseus and his men into animals. Remember? They had to roust Hermes to save them.”
“Your point?” She screwed her mouth into a moue.
“Circe was the first Sea Witch, which makes you a direct descendent.” He tightened his grip on her shoulders. “I’ve always been proud and honored you broke tradition and mated with me.”
A corner of her mouth twitched. “Maybe I was relieved I wouldn’t have to spend hundreds of years by myself. Not that you weren’t the best looking whale I’d ever seen,” she grinned archly, “but you were also the only one who wasn’t scared of my power.”
He kissed the tip of her nose. “So can we try my idea?”
“Sure. Give me a moment.” She turned away from him, and the air around her glittered in diamond tones, some clear, some yellow, some a watery rose. When she turned, she nodded sharply.
Llyr reached deep to where his own magic dwelt and threaded a tendril outward to weave with hers. Muted triumph flashed through him when his power braided neatly with hers. He gave the spell time to mature, feeling the difference as it filled him.
Time dripped past; the sky shaded to deep purple as night approached. Clouds heavy with moisture peppered the horizon, and a light snow pelted down, but Llyr wasn’t cold anymore.
“Gala?” he ventured as the last of the dying day washed over them.
She opened her eyes. “Yes.”
“This will work.”
“I thought the same, but there’s a price.”
Llyr’s stomach tightened. “Tell me.”
“When I use the witch power, I can do more, much more. My own magic is closer, more personal. What we’ve created is draining me. I can maintain it, but not hold my human form at the same time.”
“What do you want us to do?” Llyr asked.
The edges of her body became insubstantial as she struggled to maintain her shifted shape. “Since our first efforts didn’t work, we’ll do it this way. I’ll see if I can’t figure out a way to keep both my magic and our combined spell afloat at the same time, but for now I must return to the sea while I can still get myself there…”
Courting Mortality by Loralie Hall
Eli’s spent eternity thwarting the same family curse that granted his brother, Loki, ever-lasting fame. Eli kind of got screwed in that one. His plan to stay single and detached has worked for several millennia. And then he meets Marley. She's making him abandon all his resolutions, except the one that never lets him forget the curse. Falling for her means her death, and he won’t let that happen.
As you are, for all of time
To taste neither love nor death
When you find the one worth more than life
She’ll draw her last mortal breath
“At least tell me Mister Last-night didn’t do what the previous guy did.” His teasing laugh fell short, and he snapped his mouth shut when her head shot up.
Please don’t let him be talking about… “Which last guy?”
He glanced in her direction before turning back to his cable. “The one who wanted pictures.”
She never should’ve given him so much detail after that date. She’d done it because she liked the idea of him making a similar request, and had been trying to judge his reaction, but that didn’t mean it was a good idea. “It wasn’t like that.”
He put down what he was doing and gave her his full attention. “Is something wrong?”
“No.” She turned back to the cable, crimping as furiously as possible while still being accurate. She wouldn’t look at him from her spot on the counter, pretending it wasn’t a big deal.
Eli extracted himself from the spindle and snakes of wires, and crossed the room. He took the crimpers from her hand and set all of her work aside too. “Except you just crimped an RJ45 onto that cable instead of an RJ12. What’s up?”
Oops. She never made mistakes like putting a network connector on a phone cable. Her pulse raced through her veins at his light touch, making it hard to think. She needed to look away, but his gaze held her captive. If she’d been drawing a blank before, it was nothing compared to now. He’d put the thought in her head. The reminder one of her dates had asked for pictures when he’d dropped her off. Told her if she wasn’t going home with him, she at least owed him a topless shot to keep him warm that night. And now part of her was hung up on the thrill of doing that for Eli.
The temptation of turning him on, without ever touching him. “You’re telling me you can’t guess?”
The corner of his mouth pulled into a lazy smile. “I’m telling you I don’t want to guess.”
She couldn’t ignore the mental images of what it would feel like if he leaned in and kissed her. “I just… It’s not as though I had a problem with the request from Mister Send-me-pictures. Just with the requester.”
There, that hadn’t been so bad. They could gloss over it, laugh about it, and go back to work. Except she’d rather they took a break and got down to other things instead.
“Really?” His thumb stroked the inside of her wrist. Did he know he was doing that? She sure as hell did. The feather-light sensation spilled through her, desire growing between her legs. He stepped closer. “Who would it take, then? Just out of curiosity.”
They needed to get this project done. To step away from this line before it was too late. Who was she kidding? It had been too late months ago. At least for her. “Well, I’d have to like the guy first. Actually being attracted to him helps.” Would Eli have any idea she was talking about him? What the hell was wrong with her? And why couldn’t she stop?
His voice dropped an octave. “And I would assume you can’t dive straight into things. You’d want seduction. Teasing. The right words to set the mood…”
Even as she told herself to back away now, images raced through her thoughts, of stripping in front of the camera, one piece of clothing at a time, knowing Eli was her audience. A hands-off, private show where she’d caress herself, pinch her nipples, slide her fingers between her legs, and get off on the idea that she could turn him on that way.
The vivid image wouldn’t leave. Her sex whimpered for attention, and her breasts ached to press into his palms.
For Heaven’s Cakes by Diane Saxon
Twelve years of living in Ireland smoothed Beau’s rough edges, and hard work as a construction worker made him a wealthy man. The call of his pack is stronger than he can resist, though, and he isn’t averse to returning to show his small hometown in America what he’s made of himself.
What he doesn’t anticipate is meeting the local pharmacist’s daughter — in his wolf form. By day, he renovates the pharmacy and tries to cajole the lush assistant into having dinner with him. By night he watches Catherine bake her fantastic creations and blossom through her art.
Sleeping on her bed each night in his wolf form isn’t exactly ideal, but how does he tell her the wolf she’s come to love is the man she lusts over?
The cracked, peeling paint looked different from the way it had twelve years earlier when Beau had been a regular visitor to the pharmacy. His younger brother obviously still was from the way he strode inside, allowing the door to bump against the stopper and bounce back. It creaked and groaned at the stress and almost hit Beau in the face. He shot his arm out to stop the door with the heel of his hand, feeling the crackle and splinter of the paint against his skin while he observed the quick grin on his brother’s face as Zeke glanced over his shoulder at him. Bloody kid, never would grow up. Zeke would have just laughed if he’d managed to break his nose for him. Always one to challenge the supremacy of the pack, he’d probably ruled the town in the absence of his two older brothers.
Zeke had taken pride in showing him around. A lot had changed, fast-food restaurants had sprung up -- they’d filled their bellies in one, enjoying the rich taste of the promised breakfast.
With a shake of his head, Beau wiped the shards of old paint from his hand and stepped inside.
Doc Tyler must still own the place from the way the shelves were stacked -- exactly the same as they always had been. Beau tracked his gaze around the pharmacy, noted the perfect placement of each item, not a speck of dust in sight, unlike the outer shell of the building. On a closer look, the shelves had deteriorated, some of the screws had pulled loose and not been fixed back into the wall.
He’d bet his life the old boy still kept the condoms behind the counter so he could monitor the teenagers and scare the shit out of them for daring to think about having sex. Doc Tyler should have been proud of them, at least they were the responsible ones, those who bought condoms instead of risking unprotected sex.
He glanced at the counter and expected to see skinny Doc Tyler, eyebrows pulled low as he glared over the top of his half-moon glasses. Beau had thought he was old twelve years ago, he was probably ancient now. The guy had scared the ever-loving crap out of him when he was kid, but looking back, there was no one who’d shown him more charity than the Doc. A tough word and a soft heart.
Instead of the old boy, a curvaceous brunette stared at him with eyes the color of cinnamon. Her startled gaze caught and held his with stunning luminosity and a hint of familiarity in them. His automatic reaction to the sight of a beautiful woman was to smile, but she ducked her head and applied herself to serving the middle-aged lady who struggled to keep a pair of lively young boys in hand.
Zeke made straight for the counter, leaned his elbow on it, and cupped his chin in his hand while he stared at the delicious, buxom morsel on the opposite side. With a flick of her hair, she lifted her nose and ignored him completely while she addressed her customer.
“Thank you, Mrs. Porter, I hope it helps.”
She gave a stiff smile while she kept her attention on the older lady who scrabbled with her package and hastened her two boys from the shop as though she believed Zeke’s wild boy attitude was contagious. Beau glanced at Zeke, who stared with puppy dog eyes at the assistant. Perhaps it was.
“Hey, kitty cat.”
Beau tried not to roll his eyes, but his brother was so predictable, his deep Irish voice smoothed the way for the next woman to take her place between his sheets.
“Zeke.” All cool business, the woman raised an eyebrow and Beau sidled in closer, unable to resist the soft curve of her mouth, the wide invitation of her eyes.
“What can I help you with today?” The slow roll of her husky voice gave his breath a sharp hitch.
Beau imagined she’d practiced the line so many times in an attempt to avoid all the connotations and interpretations his bad brother could spin on it. Still, Zeke leaned in, gave her his undivided attention and a wolfish grin, “I need a party pack. What would you recommend?”
She drew in a long breath through her delicate nostrils and Beau watched with increasing interest as her ample bosom expanded. She blew out through beautifully sculptured lips and his mouth watered.
“Zeke, I think you know we don’t carry adequate stock for your requirements,” Beau almost spluttered out his appreciation of her cheerful rejoinder, but she held up one long, elegant finger “…but I can offer you these.”
As she turned to the shelf behind her and bent over to reach the condoms, Beau stretched onto his toes to get a good look at her over the counter. The rounded globes of her ass were nicely enhanced by the tight stretch of her black skirt. His pulse kicked up and he gave an uneasy swallow. He lowered himself back down as she straightened and turned. The quick flick of her gaze caught his again before she gave her attention to his brother.
“Here you go, Zeke. I placed a special order just for you.”
A soft choking sound came from Zeke as he picked the blue box up from the counter. Face blank, the pretty assistant stood stock still. The only giveaway was a rapid blink of her eyes as she waited patiently.
“You are an evil woman.” Zeke managed to splutter out as he studied the box, then waggled the condoms at her. “I have never bought extra small condoms in my life.”
Unmoved, the corner of her mouth kicked up in a small smile that dimpled her soft rounded cheek. Beau crossed his arms over his chest and leaned his shoulder against the display rack to better appreciate the show. It had been a long time since he’d witnessed someone get the better of his younger brother. He may have been away for a while, but he imagined from the darkened stain on Zeke’s cheekbones it still didn’t happen often.
From their exchange, it was plain the pair knew each other very well and took great enjoyment out of taunting each other. Her smile widened to light up her pretty face. Beau dropped his gaze to her cleavage as she leaned closer to his brother to give a conspiratorial whisper, “Perhaps you should check you’re not putting yourself and your many partners at risk by using the wrong size.”
Zeke slapped the package down on the counter and pointed to the shelf behind her. “Just give me the damned normal condoms.”
She opened her eyes wide, tilted her head and gave an innocent blink, sending Beau’s pulse rate into overdrive. He pushed away from the rack and stepped in closer to get a better view, but the woman’s attention centered on his brother as she fisted her hand and rested it on one curvy hip. The husky gurgle of her laughter warmed his belly.
“But Zeke, last time you came in here you demanded king size. Now you think normal will do?” She leaned forward, sympathy oozed as she raised her free hand to press it against her opulent breasts and mock whispered, “Are you okay? Do you think you need to speak to the Doc?”
Beau gave a wide grin, delighted to see his brother getting a run for his money from the delicious babe.
“Did someone call?”
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Uncaged by Christy Gissendaner
Mixed-breed vampire shifter Gabe Moncrief has made a name for himself in the Cage, an arena where only the strong survive. He’s training for the fight of his life—and vengeance—when Rain Pettis appears. As an Elemental —a supernatural being descended from Zeus himself—she holds the key to his future in the Cage.
As much as she loves her brothers, Rain needs to break away from their overwhelming influence to become her own person. Gabe is the only shifter capable of standing up to them. But when Rain learns a secret that tests her loyalty to her family, she has a decision to make. Does she risk it all for love? And can she bear watching Gabe endanger his life within the Cage?
An ill-timed crack of lightning singed Gabe’s eyebrows. He ignored the sizzle of energy and landed a final punch. His opponent’s eyes rolled back into his head as he sank to the ground. The elemental effects of the arena disappeared. Gabe once again stood in the center of a dirt ring. No rain drummed on his head. No dust clouds or lightning threatened.
Gabe didn’t wait for the announcement of the knockout to echo across the arena’s sound system. He strode to the center of the ring and lifted both arms into the air. A chorus of screams reverberated in the arena, bounced off the rafters, and grew to a deafening roar.
He lifted his gaze to the owners’ box. The tallest of the three figures lingering within the glass structure lifted his hand in salute. Gabe tilted his chin and moved his gaze, zeroing in on the lone female within the box.
Rain Pettis was a force to be reckoned with, both literally and figuratively. Unlike her eldest brother, she didn’t acknowledge him as the victor of the fight in any way. She was strictly professional, always dressed in form-fitting black business suits, with her blonde hair swept into a tight bun. The tiny black glasses she wore weren’t prescription. Elementals had perfect vision, courtesy of their godly sire. The glasses perched on the end of Rain’s perfect nose were merely a costume piece for the role she played as the unattainable ice princess.
She didn’t fool him one bit. He’d seen the looks she gave him when she thought he wasn’t paying attention. She was interested—no doubt about it. But he’d always steered clear. To mess with the youngest Pettis would be akin to having a death wish. Rumor had it her brothers were overly protective, even going so far as to threaten any man that dared touch their sister. The risk didn’t stop Gabe from sweeping his gaze across her oval face, luscious lips, and lower, down to the tiny hint of cleavage displayed by her lace-trimmed blouse.
Nice. He was enough of a vamp to consider flying up to the box for a closer look. Only the dangerous warning vibes her brothers sent his way kept his feet grounded in the dirt.
A sudden shower of cold rain washed over him. He swiped his hand over his damp face and grinned. Apparently she’d caught him staring. A cold shower was definitely what he needed. Nothing got to him quite like a woman determined to play hard to get.
Pursuing Grace by Anita Cox
Though Grace McGovern just graduated from college, she’s restless, has no idea what to do with her life and to top it off, she finds herself single and unsatisfied with relationships in general.
Roman intends to claim Grace and make her his mate and part of his pack. He’s searched for her for five years and now she’s within his longing grasp, apart from one minor problem. She has no idea she’s a wolf.
As Grace tries to identify and cope with her inner wolf, she also needs to figure out the unprecedented and undeniable pull Roman has on her. Could he finally offer her the fulfilling relationship for which she’s been yearning?
When Grace woke again, Roman’s fingers were tangled in her curls. She was back in her human body, naked under piles of hospital blankets. A few strands of hair broke as she tried to untwist his fingers.
“You’re awake.” Roman sat up, blinking. His dark hair in a knotted mess around his face.
“I feel pretty weak,” Grace said with a croak.
The doctor came into view. “Grace, hello. You’ve been through quite a lot in the last twenty-four hours.”
“How’s my wolf?” Tears stung her eyes as the words came out. She had no idea about the wolf before this, but felt wholly responsible for the animal’s decline.
“There’s no need to cry. Your wolf is regaining her strength. I’m going to suggest you go back to the main house, get plenty of food and rest. Try not to shift again until you’re back here, so we can tend to your wolf right away.” The doctor handed her a pair of sweats. “Your clothes were destroyed, so you’ll have to wear this for now.
“Does she need bed rest?” Roman asked.
The doctor shook her head. “Bed rest would be overkill, but nothing more intense than a stroll through the woods.”
Roman patted Grace’s leg and stood. “I’ll give you privacy to change.” He stepped outside of her room and closed the door.
"He’ll be a good mate.”
Grace shook her head as she heard the words inside her head. “I can’t think that far ahead. Let’s get you healthy first.”
“He’s strong and he loves us already. He’ll be a good provider and a great pack master.”
Grace chuckled. “You move a little fast for me.”
“Talking to your wolf is good,” the doctor said with a smile. “But you don’t have to do it out loud. You can talk in your head. Just think the words.”
Grace looked at the doctor, red faced. “I need to say it out loud for now. This is all new to me. I already feel like I’m going crazy.”
Doctor Maryann laughed. “Yes, but remember when you need those private moments, you don’t have to speak. For what it’s worth, he will be your mate.” She didn’t wait around for Grace to argue. She called over her shoulder, “You can go whenever you’re ready.”
“You get some rest now,” she said to her wolf, “we can talk later.”
Outside, Roman leaned against the wall in the hallway. “I’ll walk you back.”
Grace offered a weak smile. “It appears like my wolf isn’t the only one who needs rest. You look exhausted.”
Roman shrugged while gazing at the ground in front of him. “I’m fine.”
They walked back to the main house in silence. Grace’s legs were weak and shook slightly. It felt like she’d run a marathon.
The sun was setting in the distance, the air cooled. Grace took deep breaths of the country air appreciating its cleanliness, purity and the quiet surrounding her.
When they walked through the back door to the house, the kitchen was buzzing with three women cooking. Grace ducked her head, knowing she looked like a mess.
“Oh you poor dear,” an older woman rushed over to Grace’s side. “Let’s get you into the shower. Come on, there’s a back stairwell, so no one sees you until you’re ready.”
“Uh, thanks.” Grace looked over her shoulder at Roman.
“I’m Wendy, Colin’s sister.” The woman spoke as she pushed Grace up the back staircase. “These were the servants’ stairs back in the day…” She pointed to the left, “turn here.” There was a hidden doorway that led to the main hall in the second floor. “Here we are.” She opened Grace’s bedroom door and pushed her through.
Grace turned to face her and slow the older woman down. “Ma’am.”
Grace looked at her, her blonde hair wound in a tight bun, worry lines forming on the sides of piercing blue eyes that were full of warmth as she smiled at Grace. “Thank you for sneaking me up here. But my legs are so wobbly and you’re really rushing me…”
Wendy smacked her hand to her forehead. “I’m sorry, it’s just that everyone is coming to dinner tonight. I know we women are so hard on ourselves, and you’ve been through so much and feeling out of sorts and a mess would only…”
“Wendy!” Grace couldn’t help but giggle. “Slow down. You’re right. I need a shower and my own clothes. But don’t worry so much. I’m not as fragile as your brother seems to think.” Grace smiled and walked over to her suitcase, which was empty.
“Your clothes have all been ironed and hung in the closet,” Wendy said a little slower. “We wanted to help. I hope it doesn’t feel like an invasion of privacy. It was only Tiffany and me in here.”
Though it made her uncomfortable, she knew their heart was in the right place. “That was sweet. Thank you.” Her clothes were arranged by type and color. It was the most OCD arrangement she’d ever seen. She snagged a pair of jeans and T-shirt. “Uh, where are my underthings?”
Wendy chuckled. “In the dresser out here. I’m sorry.”
Grace crossed the room to the dresser. “You really have to stop apologizing. I’m going to need a bit of privacy. I’ll be down as soon as I can.”
Wendy nodded and fled the room before she could apologize again.
Grace leaned against the dresser and took a deep breath. She was exhausted and very hungry. One step at a time. One foot in front of the other.
She gathered her things and went to shower. It took all of her energy to stay upright and not sit on the floor of the shower stall. As soon as she was reasonably clean, she toweled off and dressed.
Staring at herself in the mirror, she could see her wolf in her conscience. It looked better. Still weak, but its head was perked up and looked like it was smiling back at her. “How are you feeling, girl?”
Weak but much better, thank you. Please go down to dinner. We need to eat.
Grace smiled. “Yes, well, I can’t meet everyone looking like this.” She quickly applied a light layer of tinted moisturizer, a bit of blush and a thin layer of mascara. “What do you think?” she asked her wolf.
She made her way down to the dining room, following the sound of voices, plates and silverware scraping against dishes. When she walked into the vast dining room, her heart leaped in her throat. There were so many new faces.
Roman was at her side before she could even look for him. “I have a seat for you over here.”