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- Bounty Hunter Hero Abducts Heroine
- Pregnant Heroine
- Fated Mates
- Reluctant Alpha Pack Dynamics
- Duty vs. Desire
- Redeemed by Love
On the run and pregnant, wolf shifter Melody braves the Alaskan wilds to escape a malicious alpha. Just when freedom seems within reach, her past catches up in the form of Ash, a rugged bounty hunter with debts to pay and a pack to save. But when Ash looks into Melody's defiant eyes, his instincts scream one thing: she's his.
Torn between duty and his burning desire to protect Melody and her unborn child, Ash faces an impossible choice. Handing Melody over would spell her doom and betray his heart, yet keeping her means ruin for his pack.
As danger encroaches and old enemies resurface, Ash and Melody's fiery connection becomes their greatest weapon. In a world of betrayal and secrets, trust is hard-won, but it might be the only thing that could save them.
Join this thrilling chase through the Alaskan wilderness, where love battles duty, and redemption is just a heartbeat away.
Intro Into Chapter One
Intro Into Chapter One
Ash pulled his ski hat down over his forehead to block the bitter wind coming in off the inlet. Downtown Anchorage in February could feel like the North Pole, despite the sun hitting the dirty snow lining the street. Even his inner wolf was curled up in a ball, content to avoid being called on to do anything in this frigid weather. Pink sidewalk salt crunched under Ash’s boots as he skirted a cart selling reindeer sausage. The Fur Rendezvous festival was gearing up, and despite the temperature, the sidewalks teemed with people.
He’d gotten word that the heiress he was tracking had been selling of her jewelry at a pawn shop nearby, and the bounty on her was big—twenty-five thousand plus expenses. The reward would be enough to make a sizable dent in what he owed the pack. But only if he caught up to her before the other bounty hunters.
He waited for traffic to pass so he could cross the street, listening to the music from the carnival a few blocks down. Ahead, the wrought iron bars over the pawn shop windows glittered with frost, reminiscent of the cheap bling Ash knew was inside. The equally frosty glass obscured a mishmash of objects displayed for sale inside. A familiar, wiry figure stepped out of the shop, looked both directions, then locked eyes with Ash. Damn it. Talvin, a fox shifter from Bootlegger’s Cove. Usually, he made his living serving papers for one of the local attorneys, but had also been known to pull in a bounty or two.
Ash darted across the street in front of a Suburban, ignoring the angry horn blast. He had to find out what Talvin had discovered before the man disappeared into the crowd. Skidding to a stop on the sidewalk, Ash planted one hand against the side of the building to stop Talvin from rounding the corner.
Talvin cringed, zipping his worn coat up to his throat. “Hey, Ash. What’s up?”
The guy knew why he was here, and Ash was in no mood for small talk. “What’d you find out?”
“Hey, I’m just shopping.” The smaller man took a step back. “I don’t want no trouble.”
Ash ran his tongue along his front teeth and forced himself to calm down, conscious of a woman in a bulky parka covered with Fur Rendezvous pins passing behind him on the sidewalk. The last thing he needed was for someone to call the police. He was on APD’s shit list, and they’d haul him in and ask questions later. Then he’d lose this bounty for sure.
Making his voice as calm as possible, he asked, “What’d you buy?”
Talvin pulled a phone out of his pocket. “New phone, man. Can I go?”
Chest tight, Ash lowered his arm, calling on his wolf’s senses to take in the other shifter’s scent as Talvin darted away. If he needed to, he could track the fox down after talking to the clerk inside the store. He waited until Talvin disappeared around the corner before pushing open the pawn shop door.
A door chime played an off-key rendition of Jingle Bells as he stepped into the scent of dust and old machine grease. He allowed his eyes a moment to adjust to the dim interior, noting the old theater curtain masking the back portion of the store as he tucked his gloves into his pocket. In the main area, odds and ends stacked the walls from ceiling to floor, everything from used bicycles and camping gear to toys and even a beat-up mannequin in a lavishly beaded wedding gown. Immediately to his left, a balding clerk with glasses sat on a stool between two glass-topped counters packed with guns and jewelry.
The man laid a tattered Louis L’Amour paperback face down on the counter behind him and pushed his glasses up his nose. “Buying or selling?”
Ash pulled a picture from his pocket. The woman he was tracking was from a red wolf pack down south, a pretty girl with a rounded face, plump lips, and long brown hair. Exactly Ash’s type, though he couldn’t concern himself with that. She wasn’t smiling at the camera, but there was a glint in her eye that told him there was more to her than just her pretty looks. He held the photo out. “I’m looking for this woman. She been around here lately?”
The guy looked up at the stained acoustic ceiling tiles with a sigh. “God damn it. You’re the second guy asking about her today. Is the stuff she’s been selling me hot?”
“I wouldn’t know,” Ash said, pocketing the photo. Should’ve known Talvin was lying. He’d take care of that later. Right now, he needed to see what the clerk could tell him. “Her family hired me to find her. Any of the stuff she sold you still here?” If he could pick up a fresh scent, his wolf might be able to track her.
The clerk slid open the back of the glass counter and pulled out a diamond tennis bracelet. Even in the crappy florescent light, the diamonds glittered luxuriously. The piece had to be worth at least eight grand. “She brought this in last week. Not sure how I’m going to sell it, but I got it for a steal.”
Ash reached for it, but the clerk pulled back, eying the tattoos on Ash’s hand. “Look, no touch.”
Staring the man down, Ash asked, “How am I supposed to judge if it’s real?” It was, of course. The woman was an heiress, after all. But Ash wasn’t interested in whether or not it was real. He just needed a good sniff.
The guy hesitated a moment, as if considering, then slowly extended his arm. “All right. Just know I have a gun if you do anything funky.”
“I don’t doubt that you do.” Ash nodded respectfully and took the bracelet, pretending to examine the gems as he inhaled. The clerk’s scent was topmost, a lingering odor of ham sandwich and beer. But there was another fragrance underneath, something that reminded him of rich velvet and chocolate.
Ash’s wolf perked up. Mate.
Stand down, buddy. It had been a long time since Ash had been with a woman, but mates were rare, and the scent was too faint to jump to a rash conclusion like that. Once we bag this bounty, we’ll go out and celebrate.
Handing the bracelet back to the clerk, Ash asked, “Anyone else look at this recently?”
The man’s face lit up. “You interested? I’ll give you an excellent deal.”
“No. I asked if anyone else had looked at this.” Luxuries were the last thing on Ash’s mind. He needed to finish this job and pay off his debt. “What about that guy who was in here before me?”
The clerk scowled and shoved the bracelet back into the case beside the other bits of jewelry displayed on a black velvet tray. “Like I told him, I’m not in the information business. If you’re not interested in buying, please leave.”
Sighing, Ash dug in his pocket for his wallet. He pulled out his last twenty and placed it on the counter. “All I wanna know is if you know where that girl lives and if that fellow who was in here before me looked at any of her stuff.”
The clerk crossed his arms and eyed the twenty before giving Ash a meaningful look.
“That’s all I have,” Ash said truthfully. Other than the punch card for a local deli, his wallet was empty. Then he added, “She’s in danger,” he added. People always wanted to protect a pretty girl.
Pushing his glasses up his nose, the man shrugged, then snaked his hand out and swept the twenty off the counter and into his pocket. “She told me she likes the Chinese place down the street. I think she also mentioned something about her condo being in walking distance.”
Ash headed out the door, his wolf pushing to get out and follow the woman’s scent. There were only a couple of condo developments nearby; picking up her scent should be a cakewalk.
He was going to bag himself an heiress.