Lyra Marcus tries to avoid her werewolf family’s political entanglements. Instead, she heals the wounds of the never-ending border skirmishes between lycans and wereleopards. It’s a bitter irony that she’s about to die in that war.
When she awakens after an attack, the horror of her situation dawns. She’s a wounded werewolf in the middle of wereleopard territory. And standing over her is a son of its most powerful family, Zander Leonidas. Her fate may be a swift and bloody end, but she intends to go down fighting.
Zander has no plan to fight the little she-wolf who’s landed at his Refuge Resort, a place where shifter species are free to be what they are—except wolves, of course. Yet Lyra fits him in a way she shouldn’t, and the urge to mark her as his mate is irresistible. A match like theirs, though, would rock the foundations of their world.
He intends to find out who left Lyra for dead on Leonidas land. And keep her safe from whoever wants to finish the job—not to mention the werewolf alpha who wants his niece back at any cost…
It was the heat that woke her.
Something rough rasped against her cheek, and sweat slid in slow beads down her face. It stung her eyes when she opened them to see the blazing sun overhead. Sand. It was sand scraping the skin on her face. From the smell of it, she was in the desert, no longer in the humid air of New Orleans. She was so hot, she felt as if her blood was boiling. Exhaustion sapped at her strength, willing her to return to oblivious slumber, but questions nagged at her, buzzing around like insistent gnats.
Where was she, and how had she gotten here? Why was she outside?
When she tried to lift her head to get a better look at her surroundings, every muscle in her body screamed in protest. Oh, God. She remembered now. She’d been attacked after she’d finished a late shift at the clinic in New Orleans—a clinic just for people like her. Shape-shifters. Wereanimals.READ MORE
The last thing she remembered seeing was a gloved fist slamming into her jaw—and it packed the kind of strength behind it that a human couldn’t manage. It had to be another shifter. The physician in her began cataloguing injuries even as the wolf wanted to rip someone’s throat out for doing this to her. Multiple lacerations and contusions, possible fibular fracture and a serious case of dehydration. If she didn’t get to water soon, she was so screwed.
The anger whipping through her made it easier to ignore the shrieking agony that threatened to make her collapse back to the sand. It didn’t matter if it hurt—she was going to die if she stayed here. She wiped sweat and dried blood from her face, pushing her long black hair back over her shoulder.
Lifting her nose to the wind, she inhaled and tried to catch the scent of
civilization…or water, whichever was closer. West. The faintest aroma of people came to her, so she turned in that direction. Her gait was a broken stagger, but she was moving. She stumbled again and again, crashing hard to the ground and scraping skin from her palms and elbows.
A hopeless sob was wrenched from her chest, but she forced herself to get up, to keep going. She didn’t want to die. She didn’t want to give the son of a bitch who’d done this to her the satisfaction. The wide expanse of rocky desert terrain stretched before her endlessly, broken only by stark mountains rising to the north. Sweat burned the cuts on her face. Gritting her teeth, she pushed on. If she gave in to the pain, she’d never get to see them punished. A grim smile pulled at her cracked lips. Revenge was a great motivator.
When her ankle twisted and gave out from under her, she tumbled down a short ravine, landing on her back. Squinting against the glare of the sun, she saw a large bird pass in front of it. Probably a buzzard coming to pick her bones when she died. Groaning, she braced her hands on the ground and tried to force herself up again, but her arms collapsed, and her head slammed down to the ground. Her ears rang with the force of the impact.
It was almost funny that she, Doctor Lyra Marcus, fastidious to a fault and niece of the most powerful werewolf Alpha in America, was filthy, bloodstained, lying in the dirt and couldn’t do a damn thing about it. A giggle that bordered on hysteria bubbled from her throat. Well, at least she remembered her own name. That was something. She clamped a hand over her mouth to stifle the laughter.
Get a grip, Lyra.
Digging down deeper inside herself than she ever had before, she used the side of the ravine to pull herself upright, to stand, to lean against as she shuffled along again. The farther she walked, the more her thoughts grew fuzzy around the edges, and that wasn’t good. No, not good at all. Eventually the ravine ended, and she staggered out into an arid wasteland. It wouldn’t be much longer before she couldn’t get up if she fell, couldn’t go any further. And then the scavengers would have their turn at her. The thought didn’t scare her as much as she knew it should, and time slid away as she put one foot in front of the other.
She lifted her head as she smelled something worse than death on the wind, and the horror of her predicament finally hit home.
The sworn enemy of her kind. She was in the desert, which meant that if she was still in the United States, she was deep into the western territory the cats claimed for their own. A place where no sane wolf would ever go.
She couldn’t see it among the scraggly brush and broken rock, but she knew it was there. The way her wolf senses screeched danger was no lie. She picked up her pace, tried to run, tried to escape. To where, she didn’t know, but she wasn’t being taken in enemy territory without a fight.
And there it was, all tawny fur and dark spots—huge, sleek, and undeniably male. His gaze locked on her as he pursued her at a ground-eating pace, hunting her. She snarled, more the wolf now than woman. Her fangs erupted from her gums, but she didn’t have the energy left to shift into full wolf form. Too weak to defend herself.
Weak, and probably dead before the vultures ever got a piece of her. It was her last thought before she tripped over a sunken boulder, and the ground came rushing up to meet her.
The world went dark, and she knew her life was over.COLLAPSE