One look and shape-shifter Lucaine Herrick knew. Mate. The urge to claim the woman for himself was instant. Yet he could not. He'd come to a tiny Texas town in search of a myth--a Halfling healer who had no idea that Pack blood ran in her veins, or that she was the only being in generations with the power to heal shape-shifters with her touch. And if what he suspected about Samantha Warren was true, his people needed her too much for Luc to claim her as his own.
But someone else watched Samantha from the shadows. And soon, claiming Samantha might not be Luc's forbidden desire, but his only choice for protecting her life.
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February 28, 2007
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Excerpt from Touch of the Wolf by Karen Whiddon
He'd come to Texas to find a healer, not a mate.
Appalled and shocked, Lucaine Herrick stared at the beautiful woman who might or might not be able to save his best friend's dying little girl.
Samantha Warren. Potential healer.
He wanted to howl. To change, right then and there. To shed his human skin and feel the damp earth beneath his paws, the coiled power in his limbs; to give himself over to nothing but muscle and sinew. To run, his strength pushing him faster, harder.
Instead, he met her gaze and smiled. Smiled as though his heart wasn't pounding. As though he didn't recognize her.
If she was what his Pack suggested, a healer, then she was rarest of rare, the stuff of legends. A human woman, half shifter; a Halfling who couldn't change, who was unable to become wolf. One look at her told him she had no idea of that. She didn't know the power she had, the potential for great good residing within her.
Worse, in that first second when their gazes met, he'd known what else she was.
She was his mate.
No.Yet how could even a man who'd sworn never to marry deny the one woman created only for him?
Easily, he told himself. He had to be mistaken. Kyle's death and the subsequent illness of three-year-old Lucy had combined to rob him of reason and common sense. After all, his doctorate in psy-chology had taught him there were deep-seated reasons for most delusions. True love ranked up there with the worst of them as far as he was concerned.
Thus armed, he moved closer to the unsuspect-ing woman. Even here, in this crowded cafe the lure of her pulled at him. How could this be? She was a redhead, while he preferred brunettes. Tall and slender and willowy, while he favored petite and curvy. The exotic tilt of her caramel-colored eyes might be lovely, though in the past he'd always liked blue eyes.
Samantha Warren was the antithesis of every-thing he found desirable in a woman, yet he could not deny her beauty. He took a deep breath, striving for steadiness, for calm. Her beauty was normal. After all, most Halflings were blessed with extraordinary good looks.
Yet never had a Halfling appealed to him as much as this one did. Hell, no woman had ever made him shake with the need to touch her. All because she was his mate, destined to be with him always.
Superstitious nonsense. Giving himself a stern talking-to, he took the stool next to her at the crowded cafecounter. He inhaled again and managed to give her a nonchalant nod before pre-tending to turn his attention to the breakfast menu. This close, he could taste her scent, sweet like honey, exotically tinged with citrus. Sexy. Again he battled the desire to touch her, to learn if her creamy skin felt as soft as it looked.
Hell hounds. He'd come to this small Texas town on a mission. He couldn't afford to let a pretty face distract him.
Scowling, he forced himself to remember the grief-stricken expression his best friend, Carson, had worn when he'd given Luc the news about Lucy, Luc's godchild and the daughter Carson had named after him.
Painful. "Hey, surely the menu isn't that bad, is it?" Even her voice affected him, sending chills down the length of his spine. Looking up, he met her gaze, bracing himself against the onslaught of sen-sation, the fierce rush of need and want and longing.
She smiled, the effect of which had him clench-ing his fists to keep from reaching for her. "You were giving the menu such a black look, I thought I'd offer you my breakfast recommendation. I eat here all the time, so I promise I'm well qualified to suggest something good."
Struck dumb for the first time in his life, Luc swallowed, trying to gather his thoughts. "What do you recommend?" he asked, his voice sounded more like a growl than he'd intended.
Her lovely eyes widened, but she bravely leaned close, pointing to an item on the menu labeled "King's Breakfast." Luc barely suppressed a shudder when her long hair brushed over his arm.