Howliday greetings, shapeshifter lovers.
Good news, RED LIONESS TAMED has been included in Smashwords' Premium Catalogue, and is also available at Amazon and All Romance Ebooks.
Here's a continuation from last week's flash scene, Wolf Rancher to the Rescue. This time the heroine, Korinne, gets her say.
"How do you feel about wolves?"
Korinne despised her instant *what the unholy hell?* attraction to the large-framed man who stood in her cabin's doorway. She hated how much the snow-covered scenery made him look like a cowboy hero... just ready to help out the little lady who found herself in a trouble spot.
As she kept the rifle steady she couldn't help but notice how his coffee-brown Stetson only enhanced his rugged, he-man features -- how his eyes, his gaze was riveting to say the least. Embers burned in their dark golden depths, and she sensed there was much more to her rancher neighbor than she could ever guess at.
Although, her internal warning system wasn't screeching at her. Then again, Paul had all-too-successfully pulled the wool over her eyes long enough to marry her. He'd gained her trust by acting like the perfect loving husband. Once he got hold of her banking info, he'd wiped out her substantial accounts, and disappeared -- likely to London where his sister supposedly lived.
Still... yielding to her compassionate nature -- against her better judgement -- Korinne spoke the words allowing Mr. Big Ole Rancher to shut the door, and ease his substantial yet obviously hard-muscled body toward her well-tended fire... that is, after giving him a warning. And she meant every last damn word of it too, down to her cold toes.
Dammit! He looked like a man who could take care of himself, though. So unlike her stupid effing betraying ex... but oh yeah, she did have plans for Paul's unsuspecting ass -- once her cousin spied out idiot-butt's location.
At least, she'd had enough sense not to tell him about her personal stash of gold and silver coins. Thanks to her late father's sage advice.
Plus, by living like a pauper and hiding out, she'd cut all her ties with the high-powered world she'd grown up in -- especially with those who would have tried to get their grimy slimy paws on the last of her wealth.
"Hungry?" she asked abruptly, once her uninvited guest had slowly lowered himself, hunkering close to the fire.
He swept his Stetson off revealing a thick springy mane of darkish auburn hair... well-trimmed, but attractively curling on his neck and beneath his ears. Stop it! Korinne ordered herself.
Korinne had been about to eat the bubbling onion and root stew she'd put together early in the morning. A woman had to keep her strength in these Montana wilds.
And hell, Drey Valence certainly looked like the type who could pack a meal away. If he did follow through on his words... well, Korinne accepted all the help she could get these days. She'd learned fast how to be humble and thankful for those who helped her.
"Smells good. Be glad for a meal, Miss -- ?"
"Korinne," she supplied, while trying not to be drawn into his compelling gaze. The man knew his way around the rich and powerful, if that piercing look was any indication.
"Miss Korinne," he deeply rumbled, as if he tasted her name and found it delicious.
"Just Korinne." By her own ear, wariness and acid tinged her tone. And why shouldn't it?
Keeping the rifle clutched in one hand, she moved toward the fireplace. "What's the name of your ranch?" Might as well get as much detail as possible, just in case she needed it... if he turned out to be a varmint, as they said in these parts.
'Course, he could lie his ass off... what did his horse-riding butt look like?... the forbidden thought flitted by. Dammit, her sex drive had been non-existent... that is, until now.
Okay, Drey didn't appear to be the type who lied easily, yet there was an undercurrent, definitely a deep undercurrent to him that had her intrigued yet feeling real careful about finding out.
"Shining Creek is the name," he answered. "Not real manly as I've been told." He loosed a quick low chuckle. "But when I was walkin' the land before buyin', it was springtime. The creeks shone in the sunlight, and were runnin' high from snow runoff."
"Easy access to water here. One reason I settled on this cabin." Korinne placed the rifle on its rack beside the fireplace. It was in ready reach, still close to the door, as well as the only window.
"Bison meat?" he asked, referring to the strong fragrance of the stew filling the cabin's small interior.
"Organic bison meat. Try to get the best I can afford. What type of ranch? I haven't seen any cattle up this way."
"Run some cattle, longhorns mostly. Small dairy herd too. Have a hankerin' for real cream in my coffee." He paused, his gaze searching her face as Korinne leaned an elbow on the hearth's small mantle. "Be glad to bring you milk, butter, and cream," he added.
Korinne didn't miss the enticement subtly lacing his voice. Good lord, he knew how to torture her. Real cream. Real ice cream. That's why she always stopped in at Kalindi's malt shop while in Talbot's Peak.
"Somehow I can't see you milking a cow." Korinne let herself relax just a bit.
"On a bet, yep. But the girls are skittish of me so one of my cowhands does the regular milkin'."
"Run a big operation, do you?"
"Nope. Just enough to live well, Korinne. Got no hankerin' for handouts, for being dependent on anyone else."
Several responses were on the tip of her tongue. Instead, Korinne remained silent. None of them seemed particularly smart in this situation. "It's snowing again," she reported.
"Heard on the shortwave there was a possible bad snowstorm movin' in." Turning on his haunches, Drey craned his neck gazing out her window for moments. "Got a confession, Korinne."
"Oh, really." Korinne felt her eyebrows shoot toward her low ceiling. Even though, her hand itched to grab the rifle, she didn't. Not yet.
Drey stayed hunkered down, but his gaze captured her. "Truth is, I was concerned for you. Why I came up this way on the snowmobile."
"Let me guess. It's not broken, right?"
He hesitated only an instant. "Nope."
Some part of her felt stunned by her sudden predicament. Some part of her figured, yeah just another man and his lies. And she'd just stupidly made herself prey.
Yet, Korinne couldn't deny the real concern in Drey's gaze -- so similar to her dad when he'd been really worried over her welfare.
"Whatever," she sang snarkily. "The way the snow's falling now, you'd never make it back safe."
"Not ridin' that small mechanical beast. Too many large drifts, given the lay of my land."
Korinne stifled her sigh and averted her gaze. "Stew comin' up." She spoke in the local twang, then turned toward her small wood cookstove.
She owned not a clue about how to handle this more-than-awkward, possibly dangerous situation. Other than stay close to her rifle. Or be ready to pull the knife sheathed inside her boot. Until then...
Korinne reached up grabbing hold of the only other bowl she owned besides the one she used daily. Behind her, she heard crackling sparks as Drey place another log on the fire.
At least, he hadn't said something lame like he wasn't going to harm her. Hell, the man was damn effing dangerous. Every line of him told her that. But was he dangerous to her?
If not, he was certainly dangerous as far as her resurrected libido was concerned. Even the timbre of this voice steamed her insides, right down to her warming-up toes.
"Never been much for cookin'. I'm gonna enjoy this." He spoke at her approach.
"Yeah... well, just don't get used to it." Korinne handed him the over-filled bowl, careful not to touch his fingers with hers. "I've never been much for cooking up big spreads," she added.
Drey merely gave her big ole sexy grin as he settled himself crosslegged before the fire. He sniffed appreciatively for long moments.
Korinne seated herself on the edge of her wooden rocking chair. Keeping one eye on her 'guest', she let her hunger take over. They ate in silence.
Nearly finished, Drey stopped and pinned her with his oddly brilliant gaze. "How do you feel about wolves?" ~~~~~~
Have a Magickal Holiday Season...
Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance