After a decade under a corrupt alpha’s thumb, Dylan Gennaro is still reeling from the changes in his life: a new home, a new alpha, a pack at war. Even normal things like an ending relationship. Still, when he’s asked to work with an outcast witch, he agrees without hesitation. Maybe by protecting her, he’ll rediscover his own inner strength. If, indeed, it exists.
Sasha Wallace lost her mentor in a vicious attack that left her scarred in spirit as well as body. While she’s grateful for the refuge offered by the Red Rock alpha, it’s tough living with the pack’s suspicion. Even though—or maybe because—she’s willing to use her powers to help them fight their war. Except for Dylan. When she’s finally free to find a new home, he’ll be the only one she regrets leaving behind.
Their attraction is a balm to their wounded hearts, until their journey for knowledge brings them face to face with a terrifying vampire. Neither has the strength for this fight—but if they can let go of their pasts and trust each other, they might just be able to do it. Together.
Warning: Contains dangerous magical binding spells, a flannel-wearing vampire lumberjack, paranormal road-trip hijinks and a quietly brilliant werewolf willing to defy his society and his past to protect the witch he loves.
“A lot of what I do involves having to–to feel the magic. How it works from the inside out. So I pull it into me first.” His face blanched, but she kept talking. “I know I can take the blood bond from Justine. What I don’t know is if I can break it.”
“No. Hell no.” His knuckles had gone white, and she thought she might find the shape of his hand imprinted on the doorknob when he let go. “Sam and Gavin won’t let you do it either, Sasha. They’re not going to let you kill yourself, so if you can’t find a way to do it safely, don’t even bring it up.”
Irrational anger seized her. “I wasn’t asking for your permission, and I can’t just let her die.”
“And I can’t just let you die!” The words came out low and hoarse, and Dylan clenched his eyes shut a moment later. He dragged in an uneven breath and exhaled on a curse. “The Gaelic spell. The one Gavin helped us translate. You can use that, on me.”
“No.” She took a step back. “No, it’s the same damn thing. It may as well be a bond, Dylan. It’s too–” Intimate. “It’s too much for you. For both of us.”
He took the words the wrong way, and she saw the pain in his eyes. “I may not be Joe or Keith, but I’m not an invalid. There’s enough power in me to help keep you safe.”
“Stop it. It’s not about that.” If she cast the spell, they’d be inside each other, with no place or way to hide anything. Sasha hadn’t been able to conceal her physical reactions from him during the time they’d spent together, but she wasn’t ready for him to see beyond that. Still, there was no other way. He was right; Gavin would never let her risk herself so completely.
“All right,” she whispered. “I need the book.”
He watched her for a few heartbeats, as if he didn’t quite trust her not to bolt if he left her alone. Something flashed in his eyes, but it was gone before he let go of the doorknob. “Put on the coat.” This time it sounded like a request instead of an order. “I’ll grab the book.”
“I’ll wait.” She donned the jacket and clenched her fists so hard her nails bit into her palms. What effect the vampire’s blood bond would have on either of them was a terrifying unknown, and the thought of dragging Dylan into a situation she couldn’t quantify, much less control, scared the hell out of her.
But it was clear he wouldn’t let her do it alone. He reappeared less than a minute later with the book in hand and a serious look on his face. When he reached for the slightly dented doorknob, he glanced at her. “I’m sorry I yelled at you, Sasha. I know you just want to help. And that’s why I worry.”
Sasha moved without thinking. She wrapped a hand around the back of his neck and hauled his mouth to hers. He had to understand the desperate need inside her before she opened herself to him, so she parted her lips and sought his tongue.
The priceless volume hit the floor with a thud. Dylan caught her around the waist and spun her until her back hit the door. He kissed her with the same intensity that had transfixed her over the past week, with complete focus and a level of expertise that made her heart pound. A groan worked its way up from deep in his chest, low and a little needy, and the skilled play of his tongue against hers melted into something less refined.
He wanted her, and not with a placid human desire either. The man might be the one pressing her into the door, his warm chest a solid weight under her hand, but the wolf’s power stirred as he groaned again, tickling her skin as that dark, primal magic focused all of its attention on her.
Her desperation broke, giving way to heavy, liquid desire, and she pulled her mouth from his with a shaky moan. Her lips tingled, her body throbbed and every cell of her being protested the broken contact. “I’m sorry.”
Dylan rested his forehead against the door for several endless heartbeats, his breath coming only in harsh pants. Then he shuddered and bent to scoop up the book. “You might be sorry.” He opened the door and hustled her out onto the landing. “If you think I was an overprotective ass before, you may want to kill me by sunset.”
It played into her greatest fear a little too well–that his attraction to her was one of sheer instinct, borne of a need to shelter and protect. That he looked at her and saw not a woman, but a broken needy shell. “I’m not fragile, Dylan.”
“I know.” He pulled the door shut and nodded to the stairs. “We’ll talk about it later, when everyone’s safe.”
She wanted to argue, but there wasn’t time, so she clambered down the steep staircase and hurried out into the street.