Shifter Woods: Claw
Broke and on the run, she didn’t expect to find safety with a big, grumpy wolf shifter. But can he protect her from the humans who want her dead?
A halfling wolf shifter, Angela never felt like she belonged in the human or shifter realms. But when she gets sold out to the Chicago Outfit and has to run for her life, something guides her to Esposito County and the wolf pack leader who agrees to take care of her. But she’s not going to fall in love with him, and she’s definitely not his mate.
He assumed he was going to be alone for the rest of his life. And then a beautiful brunette showed up with trouble on her tail…
As leader of the local wolf pack, Matt’s life is one of lonely duty until he rescues a lovely halfling with a hauntingly familiar scent. She’s everything he ever wanted in a mate, and she’s running from deadly trouble. But Matt knows how to handle trouble and will destroy anyone who tries to take his angel away from him.
- Paranormal Romance
- Word Count: 42,000
- Heat Level: 4
- Published By: Belaurient Press
Books in the Shifter Woods series:
- Shifter Woods: Howl
- Shifter Woods: Snarl
- Shifter Woods: Growl
- Shifter Woods: Claw
- Shifter Woods: Roar
Rated Four Stars. “An amazing bad boy must read that will have you rooting for Mr. Right to take a hike!”
—D.B. Pacek, BookBub
Rated Four Stars. “A great coffee break book.”
Rated Four Stars. “…plays another blinder of a plot twist for Matt and Angela that I did not see coming!“
Where to Buy
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Angela was back in the tumbled hillside near Sandia Crest, but this time she wasn’t running from anything. She wanted to be here, in a place that called to her heart. The air was deliciously warm and full of scents, an olfactory bouquet that fascinated her. She took in a deep breath, letting it out slowly as her wolf broke the scents down for her. All kinds of plants, different soils, a trace of baking from a distant home, an even more distant creek, and the animal scents; raccoon, ringtail, deer, skunk, squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits, all the yummy little animals that were so much fun to chase.
And then there were the predators; bear, cougar, bobcat, fox, coyote. Her hackles rose at the threat.
No. They’re our neighbors. We share this territory.
With an effort she calmed herself. More deep breaths of the inviting summery air, so soft against her skin. And then a set of hands that were even warmer than the air came to rest on her shoulders.
You’re home, little wolf. You can run here.
She shook her head. Mom had told her never to shift, that it was dangerous, someone would catch her and she’d wind up in some government lab—or worse, dead.
That’s out in the human world. This is shifter territory. You can let your wolf out here.
It howled in her soul at the reassurance, a belling sound that was full of eagerness. She wanted to shift, to feel the fur on her skin and the wildness in her heart, run until no one could ever find her.
Run with me.
The words were laced with a sweetness that she couldn’t resist. Her wolf surged forward and the world changed, becoming flatter and sharper at the same time. She glanced behind her and saw a handsome white wolf. His tongue lolled out of his mouth in canine amusement.
Like what you see, little wolf?
She let her ears cant forward in appreciation, then dug her claws into the sandy dirt and darted off in a silent challenge.
The white wolf ran behind her, protecting her from anything that might come up behind them. She stretched her legs, increasing her speed until she was flying over the broken ground. He kept up with her easily, not tiring at all.
Slowly the ground began to slope upwards, climbing towards the peak of the mountain. She slowed down, judging the best places to jump from boulder to boulder, sprinting through the occasional clearings. Even the skitter of small mammals and lizards in the underbrush weren’t enough to make her stop. She hadn’t known that running could be so joyful, making her blood surge while at the same time her soul felt calm and joyous.
She reached a small natural amphitheater and paused there, panting softly. Jagged rocks interspersed with stands of spruce and fir formed the walls of the space, and the center was carpeted with soft grasses in shades of sage and gold. She trotted to the grassy spread and dropped to her haunches, relishing the feel of the grass under her paws. There was a power here, something old and protective that welcomed her.
The white wolf joined her, his musk enticing on the warm wind. He raised his muzzle, studying the natural walls around them. You’re a good runner.
Thank you. It felt natural to hear his words in her mind and to respond in the same way. So are you.
Alphas have to be fast. His profile was a handsome one, with a strong muzzle and sharp white teeth.
And then it shimmered for a moment, before disappearing. In its place was Matt’s profile, equally as handsome as he knelt next to her and studied the crest. She felt free to study his strong shoulders and chest, the slight round of his stomach with just a hint of softness blunting the outlines of the muscles, and the sprinkling of curly brown hair that formed a thick pelt across his pecs before dropping down his belly and into his groin. Don’t the kids call that dad bod? Whatever it was, it looked damned good on him. His skin was just tan enough to suggest that he spent a fair amount of time outside without clothes. And what she could see of his cock suggested that he was thick enough to show her a very good time.
Suddenly she changed as well, rolling onto her hip to sit more comfortably on the grasses. The fact that they were both naked seemed perfectly natural. The temperature was comfortable and the sun felt good on her shoulders. In fact, what she really wanted to do was lie on her back and let the fresh air wash away the memory of Bryce.
Matt chuckled. “So do it. You can do anything you like here, angel.”
She did, letting the grasses rub pleasantly against her shoulder blades. “Oh, this is so nice. I missed this place so much.”
“You’re back now, and that’s all that matters.” He gazed down at her, dark blue eyes flickering a bit. “God, you’re beautiful.”
She let out a little snort. “Maybe twenty years ago. Now I’m old. I have to dye my hair to hide the grey and I’m getting wrinkles.”
He said a word that made her giggle. “You’re beautiful, angel. And you’ll still be beautiful when you’re a hundred.”
“Do shifters live that long?”
“Longer for most of us.” He stretched out next to her, propping his head on his hand. “I’m the youngest in the family at forty-seven and my pop is still going strong at a hundred and twenty-nine.”
She tried to wrap her head around the idea of living over a century. “Do we age? I mean, do our knees give out and we lose our teeth?”
He shook his head the best he could with it resting on his hand. “Nope. We get a little grey, yeah, and we develop a couple of lines here and there, but that’s about it. You’re about as old as you’re ever going to look.”
She liked that. She didn’t really mind the grey in her hair or the fine lines fanning out from her eyes. It was just the constant barrage from assorted media that made her feel like she should crawl into a hole and pull the dirt in after her. “I’m half human. Does that mean I won’t live as long?”
“I’m not sure—I don’t know a lot of halflings. But you’ll definitely live longer than the average human, and you’ll look a hell of a lot better, too.” He reached out with his free hand and traced a path from her temple around her ear. “So you don’t have to dye your hair if you don’t want to. I bet you’d look spectacular with a couple of silver streaks here and there.”
She gazed at the sparkling strands of grey at his own temples. Maybe I’d have one of those hairband streaks, or a big white blaze. “I’ll think about it.”
His fingers trailed down to her cheek, tickling a bit as it stroked, then traced the outline of her mouth. The simple movement felt so fucking good, turning on nerves that she’d thought were dead. “I wanted to kiss you so badly when I found you.”
She wished he had, waking her like Sleeping Beauty with a kiss. “You can kiss me now, if you like.”
He smiled before leaning down, brushing his mouth over hers with astounding delicacy. Even so her nerves sang again at the touch, eager for more. She let out a soft sound, not quite a whimper.
He pulled back far enough so that she could look him in the eyes. “Don’t worry, little wolf. You’ll get everything you want.”