Tuesday howls and yowls, shapeshifter lovers.
Some good news on the authorly front. After a long uphill struggle, I finally finished revising, formatting, then uploading RED LIONESS TAMED, my sci fi shapeshifter erotic romance. The novella is now available at SMASHWORDS, AMAZON, and ALL ROMANCE EBOOKS.
Plus, if you're in the mood for a fun, holiday short story -- an erotic romance with a shapeshifter hero -- check out SANTA BABY, SEVERAL STARS AWAY.
So, this flash scene came about when I saw a cowboy before my mind's eye, standing in the snow looking at a cabin with smoke rising from the chimney.
Wolf Rancher to the Rescue
Drey Valence shoved his balled fists into the pockets of his sheepskin jacket. Indecisiveness burned through him like an old-fashioned branding iron. Hell on high, he was rarely plagued by this state of mind.
But here he stood in two feet of snow staring at the small but cozy cabin some quarter of a mile away. Yeah-growls, staring at the thin stream of smoke from the chimney through his own frosty breaths.
All summer he'd kept a sharp eye on the woman, concerned for her well being. From a distance he'd watched her make the abandoned cabin liveable enough.
He'd discovered her presence while riding the fence line of his sprawling ranch. Just in case bad hombres moved in, Drey made a habit of knowing who used the old hunter's cabin sitting on the edge of his land.
Now, dammit, he wanted to make certain she really could take care of herself. Sure, he'd seen her splitting logs for the fireplace. And his wolf's ears had heard her practicing with a rifle, the sound bringing back memories he'd as soon forget -- having been chased by bounty hunters several times during his foolish youth.
Yeah-howls, before he'd wised up, and made the human world work for him. Hollywood had been prime pickings. Back in the good ole days, he'd been a stuntman, mostly in the western movies. He'd even pretended to be a trained wolf, a time or two, or three. Or...
Drey grinned as those good-time memories slipped before his mind's eye.
He stalked a few steps closer, his nose telling him the woman's health remained good enough for a mere human. Drey also knew from his trips into Talbot's Peak the woman, Korinne, had stocked up on food and supplies.
Still... what the hell, how did a mere slip of a female prevail in the deep-snow cold of a Montana winter? Drey rumbled low in his throat then quickened his stride, crunching over the partly frozen snow.
Given Korinne's curvy good looks, his buddies in town always appreciated the view. No matter their approach, though, they'd gotten nothing but a cold if polite shoulder.
Drey had also learned from the owner of the Ice Creamery, Kalindi -- after following the soft-spoken woman's scent to the fifties type malt shop -- that Korinne was recovering from a nasty divorce. Hell-howls, her scat-bastard of a husband had stolen her inheritance.
While tending to his ranch, Drey often caught himself imagining his big beefy hands around the scat-bag's neck... and squeezing. Lip-curled snarls, that instead of ripping him apart as wolf. No need to lay that burden on wolves, shifter or animal.
Sensing her gaze on him, Drey pretended to breathe heavily as he tromped up the gradual slope toward her door. A story formed in his mind as to his sudden appearance. And more hell on wheels, he didn't believe she realized that she'd landed in shapeshifter and supernatural territory.
But Goddess Moon as his witness, he'd always had a soft spot for a woman who needed rescuing. Just like his sire.
'Course, the loneliness gnawing at him recently couldn't be another reason he'd come to check on her. Naw... Drey mentally wolf-grinned at himself.
The cock of her rifle almost had him halting in his footsteps. But he sensed she didn't want to shoot him unless he really was a threat. Attempting to posture himself as non-threatening, Drey hopped onto the small porch.
Before his gloved fist connected with the door in a knock, she shouted, "Who are you and what do you want?"
"Drey Valence is the name. I own the ranch next door–"
"Next door?" she interrupted.
"Bordering your property," he tried. "My snowmobile broke down...was checking the fence," he added for plausibility, and because it was partly true. His real goal had been to make certain she was okay.
"You packin'?" she threw at him like a frontier woman.
"Only packin' granola bars and a dead cell phone."
"Those damn things don't work out here," she snarked, her tone still soft, lovely to his ear.
"Yeah. Like it out here. It's peaceful."
"True," she answered a moment later. "Guess I can't leave you standing out there in the cold." The door cracked open.
Slowly she swung it wider as she backed up, the rifle at her side and ready to raise, aim at him. Unable to do anything else, Drey lost himself inside her beautiful forest green eyes, now trained on him as if he could be about to attack her.
He stepped inside. Nothing could have stopped him... not a horde of bounty hunters on his trail. Nothin' in the whole of sacred creation.
"So, you're my neighbor. Is that why I've seen you on horseback 'round here?" she asked.
From the corner of his eye, Drey caught sight of the high-powered binoculars she'd placed by the largest window. "Yep. Make regular rounds of the ranch. Don't want my stock straying where they shouldn't be. Don't want rustlers gettin' any free meat either."
"Understood. If you're the owner... don't you have ranch hands for that?" She arched a dark auburn brow, darker than the blood-bay color of her hair... now braided and falling over one breast -- the shape not completely hidden by the over-sized, plaid flannel shirt she wore.
Dammit, this close to her he was fast turning into a rutting stud. Drey lifted his gaze quick, and pointedly glanced toward the crackling fire.
"Got a few hands. But I like working the ranch. Reason I got it. That, and a man can stretch his legs when needed." He raised his brows but kept his expression neutral. "Mind if I close the door?"
She gave a short nod. "Park yourself by the fire. How soon is someone going to realize you're missing? My truck isn't going anywhere in this weather."
Drey smiled to himself. The longer to convince you I'm not the big bad wolf, he thought. Unless... the gorgeous Korinne wanted a big bad wolf in her bed.
'Fraid it'll be awhile," he answered in a soft twang. "But I'm damn good at tending to a fire. And whatever gets used, I'll make it up to you. Bring you more food and supplies."
She eyed him like a wolf bitch ready to rip his hide a good one, but she also lowered the rifle. "Touch me and you die. Get it, Drey Valence?"
"Got it," he solemnly intoned, so as not to scare her. At his age he'd learned the art of patience, of taming a woman slowly.
Have a Magickal Holiday Season...
Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance