When a nosy reporter reunites with a werewolf in tycoon’s clothing, sparks fly and passions ignite. The burning question is, who’s taming who?
The Wolf’s Heart
© 2007 Jenna Leigh
Investigative Reporter Elaine Westerbrook is determined to find the answers to the questions that haunt her. Plagued all her life by dreams of creatures that can’t possibly exist, she’ll do anything to get the information she needs, up to and including reigniting a fire with the deliciously mysterious Marcus Bei—a fire she thought extinguished long ago.
Marcus Bei fought tooth and claw to be an Alpha in the corporate world but it’s nothing compared to being Alpha of his pack. It’s lonely at the top as the Lupin of the Arizona werewolf pack, but that’s the price he’ll pay to keep his pack safe from his father and others like him. So when childhood sweetheart Elaine walks back into his life, his first instinct is to shove her right back out again. But Marcus can’t find the strength to push away the very thing his other half has been waiting for so long—his mate.
Together, Marcus and Elaine search for the truth and find out if they have a future in spite of a past threatening to tear them apart. Will Elaine run when she discovers what Marcus really is, or will she accept The Wolf’s Heart?
Enjoy the following excerpt for The Wolf’s Heart:
As they pulled up, he took in the exterior of her house. It was made of adobe, like a lot of the homes in the area, not too big, not too small. Cozy and comfortable looking. The small cactus garden out front showed she was ecologically conscious, not that he’d ever doubted it. A gravel walk, neatly raked and free of weeds, led up to the small front porch that contained a swing at one end and more deciduous plants clustered around the door and the posts. All in all, it was warmly welcoming. The feeling lasted until they reached the front porch where something caused his hackles to rise, literally.
He shoved the growl down, unwilling to show her his other side before he was sure he could trust her with the truth. “What is that?” He knew he snarled, but couldn’t help himself. He was very aware that his driver, Mick, leaned against the hood of the limo while he waited. Marcus knew this would go straight back to his people, embellished with all the bells and whistles.
Lainie, alarmed by his thunderous expression whirled to see what he pointed at, and laughed when she spied the object of his disdain. “Oh Marcus, it’s just Fluffy!”
Fluffy was a huge orange cat, and apparently he knew what Marcus was, because he gave the man a smug smile when Lainie picked him up and cuddled him. “Hi there, baby. How have you been?” she cooed while the cat purred and rubbed his head on her jaw.
Marcus showed the cat his teeth. This only served to make the cat purr louder and mew at Lainie.
“Aw, he missed me. Isn’t he sweet? Do you want to pet him?”
“No!” He stepped back. “That is, I’m allergic to them. Does he have to come inside with us?”
“Who said you get to come in?” She smirked.
“I did. I never took you for a…” he barely repressed a shudder, “…cat person.”
“Think about it, they’re independent, they don’t whine constantly, you can leave them alone all day and not come home to messes on the rug.
They’re the perfect pet for someone on the go.” Lainie put the cat in the swing and brushed stray hairs off her suit. “Dogs are too needy, like babies.” She frowned and looked toward the driver who’d snorted with suppressed laughter.
“Dogs are loyal,” Marcus informed her, rather, yes, he’d admit it, doggedly.
“So are cats, to a certain extent.”
“Ha! They aren’t loyal, they’re users.” Marcus curled his lip at the cat.
Lainie stepped into the crossfire, interrupting the staring contest. “Before you whip out the pistols at dawn, let me clue you in, he isn’t mine.”
“Oh?” Marcus tried not to look too happy about that. He must have failed because she laughed, a sweet, melodic sound that both soothed and aroused him.
“He’s the neighbor’s cat. She lets me borrow him at the end of the day for a little cuddling time. He’s always happy to oblige me too. Aren’t you, Fluffy?” She leaned down and gave the cat a kiss.
Marcus gagged. If she only knew what those animals got up to when they groomed themselves, she wouldn’t be so quick to—. He broke off guiltily when he recalled that he could actually do that too, in his other form. Not that he did, of course, never.
“Come on in.” She went to put the key in the lock and stopped when it opened under her hand.
Marcus shoved her behind him so fast she didn’t even have time to blink. The porch creaked and he knew Mick was there. He didn’t get those muscles from driving the limo; he was one of Marcus’s bodyguards. Not that Marcus needed them, but he had to keep up appearances. A show of strength kept the wolves at bay, in his case, literally.
“Yeah, boss?” Mick’s tone was respectful, but not subservient. In the public eye, they had to be careful. Nobody needed to know his employees would walk through fire for him. Boss had been decided on, instead of my liege, my king or my lord. That would attract too much notice, not a good thing for the fur wearers. PETA would never understand.
“Go around back.” The driver immediately loped around the house, his speed just shy of too fast. Marcus could smell Lainie’s anger and indignation without even looking at her. “You stand right here until I tell you it’s safe,” he ordered before pushing the door open with his foot.
“I will not.”
“Do it.” His tone made her straighten and open her mouth. He turned his head and glared, cowing her into sullen submission.
She folded her arms and stepped over to the swing. “Fine, I’m sure Fluffy will protect me.”
“Yeah, if someone runs out, throw the little fucker in his face.” With that, he entered the house and instantly smelled the invader. A soft scraping noise alerted him to someone else’s presence and he ran in the direction it had come from, hoping for a fight. It would relieve the pressure. Anger wasn’t a good emotion for his kind; it caused all sorts of physiological changes.
When he let his negative emotions, like anger and jealousy, gain control, he became more wolf-like in both looks and nature. If he got his hands on the person responsible for breaking into Lainie’s home, biting him would be only the beginning.
He careened around the corner, entering the tiny kitchen at full speed. He and the chauffeur collided and crashed to the floor in a heap. “Goddamnit.” Marcus winced when the full weight of the larger man pinned him to the floor.
“Sorry, boss.” Mick was still young and made mistakes. Luckily, Marcus forgave easily. If his father had still been in power, that wouldn’t have been the case at all. The old man liked to punish, and being a smart man, he had various torments he liked to employ. The memory of howls and screams still echoed in Marcus’s head at night.
He refused to be that sort of Lupin. He didn’t think it made him better to have the pack beaten into submission. He preferred to lead by example. It had worked for the past five years. He had no reason to believe it wouldn’t continue to do so. “It’s fine, Mick. He’s long gone anyway.” If he’d been paying attention before, he would have realized that; some big bad wolf he turned out to be.
“Do I need to leave you two alone?” Lainie stood in the doorway with the cat in her arms. “I think he’s gone. If he wasn’t before, you scared him away with all that noise you made.”
Mick stood and pulled Marcus up so fast his feet left the floor. Like he said, young, but the boy ate his damn veggies. He was strong as an ox. He looked like a choirboy, with his light blond hair and blue eyes, but looks were deceiving because this “boy” could and would tear you apart if ordered to.
“Yeah.” Marcus brushed off his suit, ignoring her comment. “I know.”
“I’m calling the police.” Her voice quavered ever so slightly, belying the calm expression on her face.
“I wouldn’t.” He put his hand out, but the hissing cat stopped him in mid-reach.
“Why?” Her question made him rack his brains for a logical reason.
“Because, I think I know who did it.” He was actually one hundred percent sure who it was, or at least who ordered it.
Instead of answering her directly, he glared at the cat. “Put him out, will you? He gives me the willies staring at me like that.”
“God, you’re such a goober.” But she put the cat outside, then folded her arms, obviously waiting for his answer.
“How long have you been investigating Caulder?” He silenced Mick with a look. The other man closed his mouth with an audible snap and waited.
“About a month or so, I guess.” She tapped her nails on her chin. “Are you saying he did this?”
“I know he did it, or he had it done. This is probably only the beginning.”
“But, nothing was touched. It doesn’t look like anyone was even here. What if I just left the door unlocked?” She was second-guessing herself; he knew it as well as she did.
“Lainie, please stop kidding yourself.” He put his hand up. “Why don’t we take a look around and make sure everything is like it should be?”
“Fine.” She took a deep breath.
“Watch the doors.” The other man got into position. “Lead the way, darlin’. I want the grand tour.” His easy smile hid the churning emotions inside him. Possessiveness and rage were at the forefront but all of these were coated in a haze of fear for her safety. He didn’t like it, and neither did the wolf residing inside him. To feel it for a woman he’d thought of as his own for so long made it even worse.
She walked ahead of him into her bedroom and her soft cry of distress had him racing to find out what was wrong. He stopped in the doorway and stared at the destruction. The mattress and bedding were off the frame, both ripped almost to shreds. But what made the rage grow bright red was the fact that all her underthings had been pulled out of the drawers and strewn about the room, some in pieces.
One pair of particularly sexy black thongs hung from the blade of the ceiling fan. He sighed with regret. He’d have liked to see her in those. It wasn’t to be because they were ripped and dangling by one strap. The fan, turned on when Lainie threw the switch, began to whir. The underwear flew from their perch and landed on Marcus’s shoulder.
“Well, shit,” she began, embarrassment pinkening her cheeks. “Give me those. Did you smell… That’s so gross. They are clean, you know.”