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Running With the Pack : Cannon Pack, Book 3
When hunter becomes hostage, the only question is: Death by bite, or by bullet?
Cannon Pack, Book 3
At night, Lauren Kade trades her white coat and dental drill for a black uniform and a gun. But not to hunt the shifters she once swore to eliminate. Driven by lingering guilt for killing a female shifter a year ago, she covertly throws other hunters off the trail. She's good at it, too...until she's taken hostage by a sexy werewolf whose thirst for revenge is even bigger and badder than his attitude.
Daniel Cannon tried everything to outrun the pain of his mate's murder, but when hunters take down another pack member, it's more than he can stand. Now that he's got one of them at his mercy, though, something strange is happening. Her day job may set his teeth on edge, but her luscious curves make him salivate. In spite of her past sins, she insists she's reformed into some kind of werewolf guardian angel.
Worse, his heart wants to believe her, and his body aches to mark her as his. Yet going against his instincts could turn him from lover to prisoner. Just when his pack needs him most...
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February 15, 2011
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Excerpt from Running With the Pack by Beverly Rae
The expression on the approaching stranger's face had Lauren checking behind her. Surely he wasn't scowling at her. But with no one else near her, she had to accept that this incredible-looking man, dressed in black silk from his Italian shoes to his oh-so-form-fitting black shirt, was headed her way. His longish black hair curved under his ears, leading the eye to the kind of jaw line most men only wished they had, to a mouth any woman would spread her legs for a chance to nibble on.
But it was his eyes that claimed her, forcing her to forget the toned, muscled body and dive inside them, searching for everlasting love. Or at least one helluva night of passion. If she disregarded the glare in those eyes, he was the stuff of wet dreams. The type of man romance novels were written about. The kind of man supermodels dated. So why the hell was he staring at her? Playing it cool, she dipped her head and quickly checked her clothes. Nope. No button undone. No stains. No tissue paper stuck to her shoes.
When she raised her head again, he was standing directly in front of her. Those breath-stealing dark eyes, surrounded by a golden haze, locked onto her and held her as securely as chains would have. Yet she wouldn't have fought for freedom. No, with him as her captor she would happily live her life chained to his bed. She clenched her fists, keenly aware of how much she wanted to flatten her hands against his chest. The thin silk material couldn't hide the firmness of him, the muscles rippling with his slightest move. If she could have undressed him right there in the lobby of the restaurant she would have. Not to mention what she'd have done to him once he was in the buff. She glanced at his crotch, then jerked her gaze upward, shocked at her bold move.
To cover both her frank appraisal and instant shyness, she stuck out her hand and lifted her chin. "Hi. I'm Lauren Kade. You seem to know me, but--"
His stern voice, rich and hauntingly familiar, shook her, sending a cold chill along her spine. Had she understood him correctly? Did he just tell her to get out? Suddenly, the trance holding her vanished.
"I'm sorry. What did you say?" Of course she'd heard him wrong. After all, she hadn't paid close attention. At least not to what he might say.
"I told you to get out. Your kind isn't welcomed here."
His words knocked the air out of her. She inhaled and slowly exhaled, taking time to recover. "My kind? What kind do you mean? My kind...as in dentists?" Was he a dissatisfied patient? But she'd never had even one patient complaint.
"You know what I'm talking about. Get out."
Talk about handsome and rude all at the same time. What the hell was wrong with this guy? Who the hell did he think he was? Acutely aware of everyone listening, she tried to bring civility to their conversation. "I'm sorry, but I don't understand. Did I do something to offend you? Perhaps you're mistaking me for someone else."
"Trust me. I know exactly who I'm talking to."
Why did so many hunks have to be such conceited schmucks? She checked the other patrons, found the answer to her next question, but asked it anyway. "Am I not dressed appropriately? I mean, lunch is hardly a black tie affair. I would think slacks would be suitable. And I do have shoes on." She smiled, hoping he'd lighten up at her joke.
"Your attire has nothing to do with it. I want you to leave. Now." His dark eyes flashed at her, his thick eyebrows falling toward his nose and chiseled features.
Was she getting punked? Lauren glanced around again, this time looking for her friend, Bobbie, who loved to play practical jokes. "Is Bobbie behind this?" She laughed, confident that she was right, and dashed toward the swinging door to the kitchen.
"Hey! You can't go in there."
"I bet she's hiding in the kitchen, right? Bobbie, the jig's up. You can't trick me."
She stalled, the doors swinging shut behind her, and gawked at the cooks. Two chefs and four waiters stared back at her. But no Bobbie.
"Oh, I get it. She's hiding." Dashing around the kitchen, she checked under tables, in cupboards and had her hand on the freezer door when someone grabbed her. She whirled to face the exasperating man. A very worried manager stood behind him.
His hand clenched around her arm did several things. First, it surprised her. Next, it hurt like hell. And lastly, it embarrassed her. "What do you think you're doing? Let go of me."
This man had gone from rude to ranking jerkwad status and the joke wasn't funny any longer. Why would Bobbie want this man involved in her prank?
"This isn't a joke and I don't know who the hell Bobbie is."
"Then I don't get it. If this isn't a joke, what's going on?"
His face was mask of contained anger. "You're acting like a chicken with its head cut off and I've had quite enough of this idiocy. You are not welcome." Taking her along with him, he marched her out of the kitchen, through the curious patrons and toward the front door.
Angry and humiliated, she yanked her arm from him, spread her feet wide and matched his combative stance. "Who the hell are you to decide who can eat here? I've dined here lots of times and I've never seen you before." She crossed her arms, challenging him to lay his hand on her again. "I think you're out of line, mister. Only the management can ask me to leave. Only Mr. Richmand can throw me out."
"I happen to dine here often as well and I've never seen you." He waved his hand around as though shooing a fly. "Which isn't important. I'm telling you in no uncertain terms that you don't belong here."
"Why the hell not? What sets me apart?"
The corners of his mouth tipped upward. Lifting one hand, he called out, never taking his eyes off her. "Roland, come here."
The meek man she'd come to like and know as the manager and owner of the restaurant rushed to stand beside the rude man. "Yes, sir?"
"I don't want this woman dining in this establishment. Ever." This time his voice was loud enough for the patrons in the remote accesses of the restaurant to hear.
Warmth rushed up her neck and into her face. If he talked any louder, the people across the street would hear him. Instead of voicing her retort, however, she kept her calm appearance, preferring to enlist Mr. Richmand's help instead of dealing with the insolent man on her own.
"I don't understand what's going on, Mr. Richmand. This gentleman seems to have a problem with me and I don't know why." She gave the manager a big "we're friends" smile and shared it with the other diners, sending them a clear message that she was the victim. "You know me. I've dined here lots of times. I've even brought my office personnel and celebrated promotions and the like."
Mr. Richmand, clearly unnerved by the man's obvious hostility, attempted to plead her case. "Yes, it's true. She's a regular. Perhaps there's something I could do to help?"
"Most definitely, Roland."
She dared to relax a little. Finally, the man saw that he was in the wrong. "Oh, good. I'm glad to see you've changed--"
"You can escort the lady out of my establishment."
"What? Wait. This is your establishment?" She looked to the manager, then back to the now not-so-handsome, ugly-because-he's-an-asshole man. "Are you kidding me? You're really throwing me out?" She tried to laugh, but the sound came out forced and tinny.
"If you're asking if I'm kidding, rest assured, I am not." Mr. Rude scowled at her. "Roland, do as I instructed."
"Yes, sir." Roland, a plea in his eyes, pointed at the entrance and reached to take her arm.
Lauren jerked her arm away, her heart pounding. "I do not believe this." She scoured the other patrons, hoping to find someone, anyone, to stand up for her. "This is so unfair. And possibly illegal." She had to try one last attempt. "And what will you do if I refuse?" She lifted her chin, squeaked out a soft giggle and stood her ground. "Because I do refuse."
Mr. Rude's eyes narrowed and his menacing smile grew. "You've got that all wrong, lady." He inched closer and sniffed.
Had he just sniffed her? Did he think she stank? She resisted the urge to lift her arm and check her armpit. No, she remembered putting on deodorant that morning. Besides, with the aroma of the food wafting through the restaurant, how could he tell? Owner or not, this guy was seriously messed up.
"As the owner, I have the right to refuse service to anyone I don't like." He paused, then smirked. "And, Miss Whatever-Your-Name-Is--" his smile morphed into a sneer, "--I don't like you."