Howliday greetings, shapeshifter lovers.
Here's the third installment starring Drey, the wolf rancher, and Korinne, who has escaped to the Montana wilds after her ex-husband stole her most of her wealth.
"Reindeer?" Drey growled out, louder, rougher...
Drey perked up his inner wolf ears as he watched Korinne pause, her spoon held in midair. He wanted to hear her answer with all of his psi senses, given it was key to his passionate wooing of her.
"What do you mean exactly?" Korinne's eyes narrowed. "Do I want a pack of starving wolves on my doorstep? No." She lowered her spoon slowly, her gaze speculative. "Do I want them killed off? No. All of God's creatures deserve their place in nature... running free in nature," she added a moment later.
"Running free," Drey echoed, thoroughly enjoying how Korinne's features softened, how the light in her eyes gentled, reminding him of moonlight on fresh snow.
"You're a rancher," she threw at him, her gaze pointed now "How do you feel about wolves? You know, eating your stock."
Drey let a small grin form. The woman had a good measure of spunk. "Mother Nature knows best," he drawled. "Had it happen a few times. Only when the animal couldn't have survived on the range, though. Plenty of small game around here. Aim to keep it that way."
"How?" she bluntly asked. "There are so many pesticides, toxins in the air, water, and soil now..." Her voice trailed away, her tone dispirited.
Drey mentally frowned, not liking to see Korinne that unhappy. "Group of us in the Peak monitor ... keep the land as pristine as possible. We're forming packs, er ... like a posse to keep the bad elements out. Also, we got a team that cleans up the land. Lots of plants are naturally detoxifying."
Korinne gave a short nod of approval. "Soon as I'm able, I'd like to join your group. Right now," she paused, not finishing her thought. "More stew? I could use another bowl myself."
Drey ran free inside at the idea of her joining in, then tamped down the eager lengthening of his cock, since it had a whole other idea about 'joining'.
"Yep." He handed her the bowl. "Sure is tasty. Shoulda complimented you earlier." He kept his smile friendly, as if they were having a neighborly conversation.
Korinne began to rise. "Thanks. I made some cornbread earlier. There's a pitcher of purified water, if you're thirsty."
Anything to watch her move about the cabin's interior, given it was a gorgeous sight. Despite her womanly curves being fully covered, Korinne possessed a lovely flow to her movements, plus a natural athleticism that pleased his man-wolf eye.
Drey wondered if she'd practiced martial arts at one time. Maybe that's why she wasn't toting the rifle with her.
"Cornbread sounds real good. Water, too. What if I build a pipeline, direct to the cabin?" he offered, already envisioning the project.
"Lot of shelf rock. You sure about that?" she asked, ladling more stew in the bowls.
"Ways to work it. Got a friend who's a right fine engineer," Drey answered, appreciating the view as she reached for the pan of cornbread and a couple of small plates. "Back to the subject of wolves." Hell, he had to know. "I was thinkin' about how some have an affinity for certain animals. Or believe in a totem animal spirit."
"Why, do you have an affinity for wolves?" She gave him a quick glance, then poured water in two jelly jars.
"You could say that." Drey waited to answer, until she swayed toward him, unaware of her femininity -- far as he could tell. Her tantalizing scent told him she believed she'd disguised her attractiveness.
"Quite the enigmatic quip." She handed him the stew, cornbread, and a glass of water, then spun around to retrieve her own. "Are you a wolf in sheep's clothing?" she asked, eyeing the sheepskin jacket he'd placed beside him.
Well, howling hell, this wasn't getting him where he wanted to go. Drey took a gulp of his water. Yep, purified, alright. "Pets," he burst out. "Did you have dogs?"
Korinne gave him a bit of a smile that lit up her forest-green eyes. Not for long, he noticed. "Yes, Mr. Nosey, I did have dogs as pets growing up. I also had a reindeer."
"Reindeer?" Drey growled out, louder, rougher than he would have wanted. Noticing his eyebrows spiked upward, he lowered them fast.
As she moved toward the rocker, Drey watched the memory transform her face. "At about age nine I fell in love with idea of having my own reindeer ... some Christmas movie I'd seen. I read every book I could get hold of about reindeers. To cut the story short, I begged my dad nonstop. Well, being a bit of a pushover, he finally gave in. We had the land after all."
Korinne eased down to the rocker balancing her bowl and plate. "Best pet I have ever had. As it turned out." She smiled full and wide, the affect on Drey as if a lightning bolt lit him up inside. Wooweee!
"Dad and his guy friends built a Swiss-chalet type of barn. We searched out a breeder and found a good one in Canada. Jingle as I called her, was the sweetest thing with me, and my friends ... and she seemed happy to pull the Santa sled Dad bought."
Arching a brow, Korinne directed her gaze at him. "Maybe she was glad not to be where wolves could hunt her ... of course, I'd feed her all sorts of treats."
Drey wolfed down the cornbread trying to think of what he should say next. Who would have thought? A reindeer for a pet.
"Later," Korinne softly added, after bites of her stew and the cornbread, "we decided to get Jingle another reindeer friend. Then dad invested in a small herd, and even began growing the lichen they like eating. We'd train them all year, so we could entertain the children at local schools, and at the orphanage. For Christmas."
Korinne took a long sip of her water. "Those were the good times, especially when it snowed. The reindeers loved performing in the snow."
"Darn good idea." Drey's mind spun with possibilities, "about entertaining the kids at Christmas time with real reindeer. Lots of land around here."
For long moments Korinne simply gazed at him, her spoon suspended. "You'd really consider that? A reindeer herd?"
Have a Magickal Holiday Season...
Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance