The past year has been hard for werewolf Tanner Groff. After his pack was killed by shifter hunters, he’s staying on the move, looking to warn other shifters there’s a band of militaristic hunters looking to kill every shifter they can find. When he catches the scent of a bear shifter named Van, Tanner changes his course and follows in hopes of having a quiet discussion with Van. But before that can happen, the hunters strike sending them on a desperate rescue mission they aren’t sure will succeed. Being in close quarters with passions running high, Tanner and Van find a mutual attraction and hope they can survive long enough to explore it and the new path their lives are taking.
The sleek Yamaha between Tanner Groff’s thighs purred as he pulled off the highway and angled toward the truck stop on the east side of Denver, Colorado. Tanner angled the crotch rocket across the parking lot, skillfully weaving his way around semi-trucks pulling out of the truck wash, and mini vans pulling up to the fuel pumps. He’d been on the road almost a year, crisscrossing the country, occasionally going into Canada or Mexico, but always staying on the move. During that time he’d learned to be one with his motorcycle. His werewolf reflexes only helped him slightly in controlling the powerful machine.
As he pulled up to the front of the truck stop, Tanner looked to the west. The majestic Rocky Mountains spread out with clouds beginning to fill the fall evening sky. He’d planned on heading to Vegas. The lead he’d gotten in Saint Louis had been a good one, and he wanted to follow up on it quickly. He’d lost so much and was ready for a change in fortune. If his nose was right, there was a major storm coming and he needed to keep moving if he was going to get through the mountains before he was stuck for a few days by the weather, and by then, his lead might be gone.
Tanner tucked his helmet under his arm and strolled into the truck stop. His first stop was the bathroom, a big spacious place full of a variety of men. If there hadn’t been a storm breathing down his neck, Tanner would’ve been tempted to see if there was anyone worth picking up in there. Since he’d been on the road, he hadn’t had many opportunities for sex and the few he’d found were in truck stops and rest stops along his way. He’d always kept those brief and to the point. He was wary of people he didn’t know. He’d learned the hard way that people were out to get him and his kind and he was constantly on guard. As he came out of the bathroom, he headed for the snack aisle. He didn’t want to take time for a burger at the greasy spoon spot near the bathrooms, no matter how enticing the aroma of the things coming off the grill was. Simple home style food had always held an appeal for Tanner, and he rarely passed up the opportunity for a burger, but he told his stomach to wait until Grand Junction, where if he was lucky, the storm would just be hitting and he could find a spot to eat and wait it out.
He grabbed a couple of candy bars and headed for the soda cooler when a scent that had nothing to do with food caught his attention. Coming around an end-cap full of over-priced electronics, Tanner took a deep breath to confirm his suspicions. He froze as the thick musky odor filled him. It had been months since he’d run into anything close. That was why he was rushing to get to Las Vegas, to find anyone similar to himself, and he was taken completely by surprise. There was a bear shifter in the truck stop.
Tanner scanned over the shoppers. There were too many of them. He couldn’t tell exactly who it was. So many of the men, and a few of the women had the blocky build that most bear shifters had. It didn’t help. He rushed through people a little more forcefully than he normally did. Several people glared at him when he bumped them. One woman gave him a short pointed exclamation, but he ignored her. She wasn’t the one he’d smelled. She didn’t matter.
He hurried past the registers and the scent caught his attention again. He paused.
“Hey, buddy, no cutting,” a man behind him complained.
“Sorry.” Tanner stepped back behind the man and studied the people in the line. He didn’t think it could be the two men working behind the counter, they were both slender and delicate. The couple of bear shifters he’d encountered before had been big and powerful, bordering on stocky. The scent was strong and steady. It had to be someone in front of him in line. But there were nearly a dozen people there. The rush of people—truckers and commuters—in the place made him groan. He hated getting trapped in areas during big traffic times. The press of people made him nervous, but as Tanner wiped his hands on his road-grimed jeans, he realized if he hadn’t stopped in for a quick pee and food grab, he wouldn’t have caught wind of the bear, even if he hadn’t figured out which of the men in front of him it was, he’d at least narrowed it down to one of the men. The scent didn’t have the right twang to it for a female.
Two men stepped away from the cashiers at the same time. The scent didn’t change as the line moved forward. That helped Tanner a little. The bear was still in front of him. The way the soft breeze of the air conditioning hit him, it was blowing the scent right at him, but it was also keeping his scent from the bear.
Another man headed for the door. Tanner knew it wasn’t him. As the possible suspects narrowed down, he ruled out two, like the men behind the counter, they weren’t the right build. He was able to disregard the three young teens. The scent was as wrong for teens as it was for a woman. Four people ahead of Tanner stood a tall man, maybe an inch or so over Tanner’s own six foot three. He had nice broad shoulders that strained the blue flannel shirt he wore and a swatch of blond hair sticking out from under his brown ball cap.