Alls fair in love and wo.., p.1
All's Fair in Love and Wolf, p.1Part #25 of Heart of the Wolf series by Terry Spear
Also by Terry Spear
Heart of the Wolf
Heart of the Wolf
To Tempt the Wolf
Legend of the White Wolf
Seduced by the Wolf
Silver Town Wolf
Destiny of the Wolf
Dreaming of the Wolf
Silence of the Wolf
A Silver Wolf Christmas
Alpha Wolf Need Not Apply
Between a Wolf and a Hard Place
Heart of the Highland Wolf
A Howl for a Highlander
A Highland Werewolf Wedding
Hero of a Highland Wolf
A Highland Wolf Christmas
A SEAL in Wolf’s Clothing
A SEAL Wolf Christmas
SEAL Wolf Hunting
SEAL Wolf In Too Deep
SEAL Wolf Undercover
Heart of the Jaguar
A Very Jaguar Christmas
Billionaire in Wolf’s Clothing
A Billionaire Wolf for Christmas
Dreaming of a White Wolf Christmas
Flight of the White Wolf
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Copyright © 2018 by Terry Spear
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Cover art by Kris Keller
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An Excerpt of Billionaire Wolf for Christmas
About the Author
Beth Caudill, thanks for being a fan and friend for so many years!
May your writing always bring you joy!
“We’ll capture the fugitive, Mom. I’ll find him.” Jenna St. James was eager to locate Sarandon Silver, promptly arrest him, and turn him over to the police before her mom had to forfeit the bond she’d put up to ensure he’d appear in court. He’d been charged with numerous counts of identity theft, mail fraud, and possessing stolen property in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and the judge had let him out of jail on bond. Afterward, the suspect cut off his ankle GPS monitor and ran. It was time for him to return to jail and stay there until his trial date. Jenna just hoped she—or the police—could catch him before her mother had to pay the bond in full.
She considered Sarandon’s driver’s license photo again and thought it was a shame he was a crook—or at least a suspected crook. He was a handsome guy, his hair dark brown and wavy, his dark-brown eyes smiling, his manly lips curved up just a hint, and his jaw sturdy and square. She imagined that his good looks and smooth moves could manipulate just about anyone. Good thing he wasn’t a wolf like her and her family, because she was going to enjoy bringing him down.
“I don’t want you to take any risks with this guy,” her mom said. Victoria St. James had taken over as bail bondswoman from her dad when he’d died, and she’d run the business successfully for decades.
Jenna’s triplet sisters, Crystal and Suzanne, and their father, Logan, were all in other parts of the state on fugitive recovery jobs so Jenna had to do this on her own.
“I’ll be careful, Mom. No problem.” She continued to pack a couple of bags. “Piece of cake. He’s never committed any crimes before this… Well, at least that we know of. His current charges aren’t for violent crimes, just sneaky and despicable ones. I’ll wear a bulletproof vest, just in case. I’ll take my 9 mm semiautomatic pistol, rifle, Taser, boot knife, and pepper spray. I’ll be ready.” She figured Sarandon couldn’t be all that dangerous, or her father would have insisted on handling the case.
Her family had one of the most successful fugitive recovery agencies in the state of Colorado—which made sense, since they each had a nose for tracking suspects. One with a gray wolf’s keen sense of smell.
“Yeah, that’s what your dad said when he attempted to bring that one man in. Logan was armed to the teeth, just in case. The bail jumper wasn’t the problem.”
“His brother was. I remember.” Jenna had been ten at the time. Her dad had come home with the bullet stuck to his bulletproof vest. “I’ll be fine. How many years have I been doing this now?” Jenna knew she didn’t have to remind her mother, but they seemed to be having this discussion a lot lately.
“Nearly fifty. Your dad had been doing it for seventy years when he got shot. Thankfully, the bulletproof vest saved his life, but even then, the bullet broke a rib and bruised him badly. At least the bullet didn’t tear through the vest and hit any vital arteries.”
Bleeding out could be a problem for any of them. But being a wolf helped her father to heal faster than a human so he was able to return to work fairly quickly.
“That’s why I’m wearing a vest. Just in case. I’ll be fine, Mom. Really. If I get into trouble, I’ll call on the local law-enforcement agency.” Jenna already knew there was a sheriff’s office in Silver Town. She gave her mom a hug. “You’ve posted a reward for information concerning his whereabouts, right?”
“Yes. First thing, always. We certainly would rather pay someone a reward for turning these guys in than have to pay the full bond.”
“Okay, good.” The fastest turnaround they’d ever had on one of their bail jumpers was an hour, when a mother called them about her son, picked up the reward money, and got him out of her house so she wouldn’t be in trouble for harboring and abetting him. Best case ever.
Jenna wished that was the situation with this guy, but he’d already been gone for four hours. No one had turned him in, and he hadn’t turned himself in. “I need to finish packing, Mom. I’ll let you know when I’m on my way.” Jenna already had a good lead, but she wondered if the guy had picked the name Silver as an alias based on the name of the place where she thought he was living. Silver Town. At least, that was the address on his driver’s license.
No matter what, she didn’t want her family to get stuck paying the $150,000 bond. A brother named Eric Silver had given them the title for undeveloped land as collateral for the bond. Once Sarandon Silver fled, further investigation revealed that the deed had been falsified, and there was no such property in Eric Silver’s name. Sarandon was going down as soon as Jenna could catch up to him.
* * *
Eric Silver slapped Sarandon on the back as they met for lunch at the Silver Town Tavern before Sarandon took off for a vacation at the family cabin in the mountains. “Hey, Brother. I tell you, if you want to spice up your life a bit, you need to find a she-wolf to hook up with. Pepper has definitely made a world of difference in my life.”
Sarandon was thinking more along the lines of finding a new and exciting adventure to take tour groups on. He was already booked for butterfly photo groups, bird photo ops, mountain climbing, wildflower hikes, white-water rafting, and hikes into the backcountry. He was always trying to think up the next fun adventure. Which was one of the reasons he was headed to their mountain cabin retreat between tours. He often had returning customers who’d enjoyed his excursions but were looking for any new activities he might be offering.
“If you find a hot, sexy she-wolf who loves the outdoors and wants to visit me at the cabin, send her along.”
Of course, Sarandon was kidding. Not that there weren’t a few she-wolves like that, but any who lived nearby were seeing other wolves or too busy with their own lives. And he’d never met one he’d really connected with.
Eric laughed. He was the eldest of the quadruplet brothers, Sarandon the next oldest, and the two of them had always been the best of friends. They were close to their younger brothers too, but Brett and CJ, the youngest, always hung together. Their cousin Darien and his mate, Lelandi, were the pack leaders. Darien and his brother Jake had been pals with the older boys, while Tom, the youngest of that set of triplets, had been Brett’s and CJ’s friend.
All in all, they were the Silver Town wolves, their ancestors having established the town in the beginning, and they continued to run the town as a pack.
Sam, the owner and bartender of the tavern, brought them roast beef sandwiches. “What I wouldn’t give to go up into the mountains for a couple of weeks with Silva for a vacation. Now that she runs her tea shop in the afternoons, and we run this place in the evenings together, we just don’t have the time to get away.”
“You know, you’d have a ton of volunteers willing to take over for you at both places. And they’d do a good job. Just ask Darien,” Sarandon said. That was one nice thing about having a pack-run town: they always had plenty of pack members who were willing to help out if they needed it.
“I guess I will. Do you need anything else?”
“No. Thanks, Sam. The sandwiches look as good as always,” Eric said.
Sam nodded and headed off to another table, carrying a tray of drinks.
The door opened, and they saw the trio of men from the ghost-hunter show walk in with their cameraman. “Don’t tell me they think the tavern is haunted,” Sarandon said, still unable to keep from feeling animosity toward the brothers for wanting to take the hotel away from the three MacTire sisters who had purchased it.
“Sam will throw them out on their ears if they pull that in here. Who knows what story they’re chasing this time.”
The three ghost-hunter brothers waved at Sarandon and Eric, who inclined their heads in greeting.
“All right,” Stanton Wernicke, the eldest and the darkest-haired of the three brothers, said to his blond-haired cameraman. “Listen, it’s all right to take an emergency trip somewhere, but hell, let us know.” They took seats near where Eric and Sarandon were sitting at the pack leader’s table. The Silver cousins or Darien’s brothers often used it when Darien and Lelandi weren’t there.
“Sorry, man. I left a message on your voicemail,” the man said.
Stanton narrowed his blue eyes at him. “That’s not good enough, Burt. You need to clear it with us first, if there’s a next time. We had a production schedule to meet, and we had to find another cameraman to fill in. You’re the best at your job and you’re a wolf, which is what we need, so just ask us next time, okay? If it’s an emergency, we’ll work around it. We’ve got a gig at that new lodge up on the slopes tonight, so no slacking off.”
Sarandon wondered how Stanton and his brothers had found ghosts at the new lodge. No one had ever spied ghosts on the ski slopes or at the ski hut. And the lodge was brand new.
The men ordered hamburgers from Sam.
Eric cleared his throat to get Sarandon’s attention. “You told Darien where you’re going for the next couple of weeks, right?” Eric and his mate led their own pack located four hours from Silver Town. But serving as a park ranger in the state park nearby, Eric stopped in regularly to check on how things were going back home, as if he couldn’t give up his old pack. Or felt the need to monitor what his brothers were doing.
“I told Darien. When would I not tell him?” Sarandon asked. He knew it was important to keep the pack abreast of where he would be.
Not that Darien or Lelandi micromanaged the pack. They just didn’t want to send out search parties if they didn’t have to. They had set up the protocol that anyone leaving the area for longer than a day would let Darien or Lelandi know. Even though Eric wasn’t Sarandon’s pack leader, he was still his older brother, and him looking out for Sarandon seemed to be something that would never change between them. That was okay too.
Sarandon sighed, thinking of the invitation Eric had given him. “Okay, sure, I’ll come to the Spring Fling that your pack is having. No setting me up with a date. I’ll come as I am.” All the brothers and their cousins were mated now, and that meant everyone was trying to find Sarandon a mate, as if he couldn’t be as happy as they were without having one of his own.
Eric smiled. “Good. Pepper will be thrilled. I’ve got to run to see Brett to make sure he puts the notice in the paper properly.”
That meant outsiders—those who weren’t members of either the Silver Town pack or Eric’s Grayling pack—wouldn’t have a clue where or when the Spring Fling was. Everyone else would know by the cryptic message in the paper. Sure, they could just email or text everyone, but they had fun sharing interesting tidbits without letting the humans in on the secret.
“Have fun,” Eric said.
“I will. See you soon.”
Sarandon returned home to finish his last-minute packing. His phone rang as he loaded the last bag into the Suburban. When he saw the call was from Lelandi, he figured she had pack-leader business to discuss with him. “Yeah, Lelandi, what do you need?”
“Jake’s out on a wildflower shoot for a new art exhibit. He didn’t realize you were going to the Elk Horn cabin this soon. The Bear Creek, Wolf River, Eagle’s Nest, and Beaver Bay cabins are all booked. I just wanted to mention he might drop in on you for a day or two so you won’t be too surprised,” Lelandi said. “I couldn’t get ahold of him to tell him about your plans. My mistake.”
“No problem. I’d love the company. We can take a wolf run. Maybe he can help me brainstorm some ideas. We’ll have fun. No worries.”
“Okay, I just wanted to let you know in case he suddenly arrives.”
Looking forward to seeing Jake there, Sarandon climbed into the Suburban and took off. This might be even more fun than he had planned.
Sarandon headed into the wilderness, and after a couple of hours, he finally reached the Elk Horn cabin. He parked, got out, and stretched. Taking a deep breath of the pines and Douglas firs, he embraced the peace and quiet, the sound of a river flowing nearby, birds twittering in the trees, and the breeze fluttering the leaves.
Once he’d hauled all his supplies inside, he started a fire in the fireplace and planned to go for a run, something he couldn’t do while acting as a tour guide. Not unless he was taking a wolf group out.
Within minutes, he’d stripped off his clothes and shifted, then pushed through the wolf door. He dashed through the woods, exploring and scent-marking, letting any animal in the area know a wolf was on the prowl and this was his claimed territory.
The sound of a car’s tires crunching on the private gravel road, heading toward the cabin, caught his attention. He stopped and listened from the shelter of the trees and brush. There was nothing out here but wilderness. And the cabins and the land were private property. He could tell by the engine’s purr that the car wasn’t Jake’s or anyone else’s he knew in the pack. The car parked, and the engine shut off in the distance.
If the driver were a hunter, Sarandon didn’t want to be caught in his wolf coat and end up getting shot. Cursing mentally to himself, he waffled about what to do. Hidden in the undergrowth in the woods, he could check out the person leaving the car, or he could run back to the cabin, shift, dress, arm himself with his rifle, and then see who it was and what he or she was up to.
Sarandon opted for returning to the cabin first and ditching his wolf coat. That way, he could tell the trespasser to leave.
When he reached the cabin, he dove through the wolf door, shifted, and rushed to dress. He removed his rifle from the locked gun cabinet and left the cabin, locking it behind him. Listening for any sign of where the person was, Sarandon headed down the road to where he’d heard the car park.
A quarter of a mile from the cabin, he stopped dead in his tracks. A woman was standing off the road, partially hidden in the woods, holding a rifle aimed at him. The way she was holding it, she looked like she knew how to use it. And he’d thought running as a wolf could cause him trouble!
All's Fair in Love and Wolf by Terry Spear / Romance & Love have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes