Book 4 in the High Plains Shifters series.
From the moment Cactus Mackey rescues Sara Farmer from outlaw wolves, he knows she belongs to him--and he's more than ready to mess up some sheets with the sassy female. But she has secrets and wants to run. Infuriating woman! He might have to tie her to his bed but he's not about to give up until she belongs to him, body and soul.
As danger chases her, Sara knows it's a huge mistake to fall head over heels for the sexy lycan cowboy from Wolf Creek Ranch. A single touch from this shockingly seductive man melts her like butter under the hot Texas sun, and has her yearning for impossible things. The man is big trouble to her heart and running may no longer be an option.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
November 13, 2009
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from Edge of Nowhere by Regina Carlysle
"Don't let me go."
Cactus went still at the whispered demand. The woman's lips moved against his throat and just that simple touch had sensation rocketing through his body to settle in his cock. She'd been traumatized enough and he hated like hell that holding her this way made him hard enough to hammer nails but it couldn't be helped. He'd been semi-erect since the moment he'd first clapped eyes on her. The instant attraction caught him off guard but then, was a man ever really prepared for the first moment he met the she-wolf who was destined to be his mate?
He settled his cheek against her tousled blonde curls and instinctively tightened his arm around her. Her name was Sara and he and others from the Wolf Creek Pack of Cloverfield, Texas had just saved her and her sister, along with Rayne Poteet, from a gang of rogue lycans. The sorry fucks made it their business to steal unmated she-wolves from the safety of their homes.
Except this woman, Sara, didn't have a home.
Hell if she didn't. Her home was with him.
"I won't, darlin'. Not in this lifetime."
Cactus sat in the backseat of the big duely double cab truck with his charge safely curled on his lap. He lifted his head from Sara's hair and spoke over the roar of the engine. "How much longer until we're home, Gabe?"
Cloverfield's sheriff, who was driving them home, caught his eye in the rearview mirror. The big lycan was steering with one hand and holding Sara's sister, Kate, close to his side. Cactus watched the big, gruff wolf's hand stroke comfortingly over Kate's body as she huddled against him. "About half an hour or so," he murmured. "Almost there."
Following behind them on the narrow stretch of twisted highway was a van full of the criminal lycans and their leader, Selena. Tonight full pack justice would be handed out to the lot of them. There would be little chance of escape for this bunch and the bloodthirsty half of his nature, his beast, would relish the chance to end their reign of terror.
Cactus returned his attention to the woman in his arms. Earlier, he'd lifted her up and carried her from the maze of old RVs and mobile homes where the captives had been held and settled her in the backseat of the truck. No one had questioned him but then, no one would dare. He wasn't the kind of man who put up with interference from others. Cactus Mackey was a two-hundred-year-old lycan and old enough to handle his own affairs just fine. He settled back to look at the woman who he knew was his mate.
"How are you feeling?"
Her answering sigh almost broke his heart. She gave him a single look from eyes the color of Texas bluebonnets then closed them. Lowering her cheek to his chest, she settled her hand there too. Her fingers moved restlessly against his pecs and Cactus caught his breath. "I don't know."
"Don't worry about it. We'll get you home soon. I'll tuck you in nice and tight and make sure you rest up."
"Sounds nice," she whispered. "Tell me your name."
"Cactus. Cactus Mackey."
Again, that little sigh. "Funny name."
He smiled. "What'd you expect? I'm a Texan."
Sara shifted in his lap and his cock tightened. Gods! She had to feel the damn thing prodding her sweet, nicely plump ass. His balls went hard. Fighting off the powerful urge to fuck her right here in front of the gods and everybody was suddenly the hardest challenge he'd ever faced. Literally. But Cactus wasn't a man who took advantage of wounded creatures and Sara was wounded, for sure. Downright shocky. Whatever had possessed him to drag her into his lap that way? Damn it! She'd been hurt, traumatized and emotionally battered. He'd felt the trembling of her body and needed to comfort her so he didn't think twice about pulling her into his lap. She'd needed to know he represented safety and that she and her sister would be cared for in this town he called home.
"I'm Sara Farmer."
Cactus tightened his hold and breathed in her scent. It wrapped around him like a benediction. Mine. Mine. Mine. The words whispered through his mind and he wondered if she felt it too.
"You banged up a bit?"
"I was but I heal pretty quickly for being unmated."
Among their kind unmated females were slower to heal injuries than a full-fledged lycan. Until she consummated things with her mate and finally released her wolf, it would be that way. He didn't respond but glanced out the window of the truck and watched the miles of desert flash by as they motored their way deep into west Texas. Some might not find the country pretty but to him, the flat prairie with its buttes and plateaus was heaven. His kind had fought the Comanche and Apache Indians generations ago claiming the land as theirs. They'd built their homes, ranches and businesses with sweat and hard work and had won Texas independence from Mexico. Cactus had been one of many of Cloverfield's lycans to fight side by side with others to build Texas into a force in this burgeoning country.
"She asleep?" The rumbling question came from Gabe and Cactus glanced down at his charge.
"So is Kate. Poor little thing." The comment seemed strange coming from the burly lycan who wore an air of suppressed violence around him like an aura. "Figure we should take them to the ranch."
Cactus swallowed the denial that rushed to his lips. He wanted Sara with him but knew Gabe was right about that. Quinn, their lupa and wife of their alpha, Joe McKinnon would take care of them for the time being until it was decided what was to be done with the kidnapped sisters. They needed the care that only a woman could offer. Gods knew, he didn't know shit about that stuff. Both Sara and Kate had said they hadn't been assaulted but maybe they didn't want to speak the truth to a bunch of rough-looking men.
His belly knotted.
If any of those rogues had laid a finger on Sara there would be hell to pay. No doubt about it.
"So what do you think, Cactus?" Gabe prodded, catching his gaze once again in the rearview mirror.
Cactus nodded. "Yep, I reckon that would be best."
Later he spotted the familiar landscape that included lines of fence that days before he'd been repairing along with Dusty, another Wolf Creek cowboy. The spread was huge, dominating most of the area around Cloverfield. The only ranch that came close belonged to Rayne's dad, Angus Poteet, and these days he farmed windmills more than he raised cattle.
Huge limestone pillars rose up in the distance signaling their approach to the ranch. They sat on opposite sides of the entry road, like sentinels. Gabe took a left through the gates and satisfaction sank tender claws into his heart as he thought of his modest brick house where a nice hot shower and fresh coffee were waiting. He glanced down at the still sleeping Sara and wondered what she'd think of the home he'd built. Hell, who was he kidding? His decorating skills were sadly lacking. In fact, the last woman who'd been in his place admitted with a sniff that he decorated like a man.
Sara shifted on his lap and Cactus studied her features in repose. Her face was a neat, pretty little oval, her lips were full and her nose was small with an obstinate little tilt at the very end. If this had been a better time, he might've kissed her there or traced the line of barely visible freckles that marched across the bridge. He already knew she was soft and curvy since most of those lush curves were pressed intimately against his own body.
He wanted inside this woman so much he could practically taste it.
The truck pulled to a stop in front of the ranch house, a huge two-story limestone structure that had been built years before the battle of Texas Independence, and saw Quinn McKinnon and their housekeeper, Maria, standing on the porch. The pack's lupa was a beautiful woman, tall, blonde and curvy enough to make a wolf's mouth water. She was also intelligent and funny. Joe adored her and so did the pack. As she marched across the front yard toward them, he noted the look of worry on her face.
Just then, Sara blinked up at him.
"We're home," he said.
Little lines formed between her brows as she frowned. "Home?"
"My home. Yours too, I reckon."
Her hands went to her face for a quick rub before she pushed her tangled hair back. She glanced out the window and Cactus felt the fine tremor that swept her body. Tenderly, he pulled the blanket closer around her and smiled. "It'll be okay. Quinn has been waiting for you."
More alert, she looked frantically toward the front seat "Katie? Katie, are you okay?"
Silence fell. Finally Gabe spoke up. He'd stepped from the cab of the truck and was reaching in for Sara's sister. "She'll be okay. Don't you worry. She's just in shock." He lifted her blanket-covered body and tucked her against him. "Figure she'll talk when she's ready."
Cactus got out of the truck prepared to lift Sara into his arms but she drew back and looked at him. "I can walk."
"Honey, you're barefoot. I don't want you to hurt yourself."
"No, you're not." He wasn't about to stand there arguing so he lifted her up, despite her protests. Quinn and Maria began to fuss as they followed him and Gabe up the steps and into the house. The instant they were inside, Sara wiggled to get free. Reluctantly, Cactus set her on her dirty, bare feet grabbing her shoulder to steady her as she staggered a bit. When she'd regained her footing she raced across the room and went to her knees before her sister, whom Gabe had settled on a big leather sofa.
Sara reached for her hands and stared into her face. Cactus noted that despite a slight variation in the shades of blonde in their hair, the sisters were almost identical. For the first time in awhile, he felt a flash of alarm at the vacant expression on Katie's face. Gabe stood nearby, a muscle working in his strong jaw.
"Kati-did, talk to me," Sara encouraged. "You've been so strong. Don't leave me now. Come on."
Still Katie didn't speak. She looked out on the world with a vacant stare and Cactus watched in horror as tears fell from Sara's eyes to roll slowly down her cheeks. "It has all been too much, hasn't it?" she whispered. "You've been so strong. I've been so proud of you. We handled the problem with Dad, didn't we? We got away. You and me. We did it together. This other thing was nothing after that." Sara choked and drew her sister into her arms. Turning her face into Katie's hair, she whispered a savage command. "Stop it! Don't go away! I mean it, Katalin!"
Questions coalesced in Cactus' mind. What the fuck was going on? The urge to protect Sara and her sister held him in its grip and, for the first time in over a century, he felt utterly helpless. He hated it.
He stepped forward wanting to do something, wanting to discover what the hell she meant by her little speech but Quinn caught his gaze and shook her head. His lupa went to the pair and she gave Gabe a look.
"Cactus!" Gabe's voice broke the spell.
Understanding, he gently drew Sara to her feet and pulled her against him as Gabe lifted Kate and followed Quinn and Maria up the stairs.
When they were alone, Sara stepped away and turned to face him. Waves of grief rolled from her to him. A tsunami of pain flashed through his system along with an unmistakable electrical charge that sizzled along his flesh.
"Gods!" She choked on the word as her hands went over her mouth. Tears pooled in her beautiful eyes and he couldn't stand it another fucking minute. He went to her and cupped her face to press kisses on her forehead, her cheeks. Her salty tears dampened his lips and needing to comfort more than he needed his next breath, he settled his mouth on hers. She tasted of tragedy and passion and loss and Cactus drank each emotion, each fear as if he could draw them into himself and save her from feeling them. The blanket had fallen from her shoulders when she'd gone to comfort her sister and now she wore only an oversized tee shirt. Both women had been stolen from their beds so there was nothing unusual in that.
Cactus sent his tongue deep into her mouth, stroking the walls of her cheeks as he tasted her slowly. Drinking her gasping breath, he drew back to nip her bottom lip with his teeth. "You're safe," he whispered, shocked at the gruff sound of his own voice. "I won't let anything happen to either of you. Trust me."
"I do. I shouldn't but I do. What is happening between us, Cactus?"
Bending, he pressed his mouth to the slender column of her throat as his hands took a journey over her back. Finally he answered her, his lips moving on her tender flesh. "You're mine."
"I am. At least, I think so. Gods! I shouldn't be feeling this way after all that's happened."