Before coming to the Jarvela Farm, a sanctuary located in Finland, jaguar shifter Noah Moore did something that terrified him: he fell in love. But he was brave and took the chance ... and ended up fleeing the States to nurse a broken heart. Though he’s happy enough living among others of his kind, being surrounded primarily by happy couples reminds him of what he’s missing.
When Dallas, the biracial tiglon shifter responsible for Noah’s heartache, turns up at the farm, Noah gets the shock of his life. Though the feelings are still there, so is the pain. Dallas desperately wants to make it up to Noah and win him back, but he knows he has to do it on Noah’s terms -- and only with the farm family’s approval. Can Dallas convince Noah to stop living in the past and move into the future with him?
The whole farm was jittery. Shani hadn’t shifted yet, but she was communicating more with Lark, and somehow Noah had a feeling the females were hiding something. The cheetah was now able to stay in the yard with Lark, hanging out when Lark did chores, and even be present when Lark talked to the males of the farm.
The wolf pups liked Shani, not having seen a cheetah before, and it seemed like Shani liked to act as their babysitter. It was weird, having a shifter act like a well-trained pet of sort, but it was her choice, and everyone respected that.
Lark was back to cooking and she occasionally ate her dinner downstairs, but Shani wasn’t ready to be in the same room with all the others, so she had her meals upstairs in her room.
They had all agreed that the female guest was going to sleep in one of the upstairs guestrooms, and that the downstairs bedroom next to the master bedroom would be for the male cat. If the wolf got along with all the other wolves, they’d have room in the old house for him. After all, if wolves were friendly with each other, they were definitely most comfortable being around other wolves.
Noah cooked dinner for everyone, and Anton was sorting out setting the table and figuring out where everyone would sit, as there wasn’t a formal dining room in the house. Lark was with Shani and the wolves were in their own house, probably trying to get the pups to calm down. After all, it was almost bedtime for them.
“Make sure the food doesn’t burn, okay? I’ll pop out to feed the horses and be right back,” Noah said to Anton, who had moved to read a magazine in the living room.
The horses were calm, still outside but in the paddock closer to the stable now than in the summer. That way, if the weather got worse, they could be moved inside a lot faster. Noah took them their evening meals and patted them while just enjoying the fading summer evening. Autumn seemed to creep around the corner and strengthen every day. It was around seven thirty when the familiar rumble of the SUV made him gather the now empty feed buckets from the horses and take them to the stable just in case the weather turned for the worse.
The chatter he heard when he walked up the new house’s stairs promised good things. If everyone seemed happy, then things might just work out. The shifters’ instincts were sharp, and they usually knew if something was going to go wrong.
Noah stepped inside the house and went to the living room where the voices came from. He could see a tall, dark, and handsome man, at whom Maxim was glaring a little. Ahh, Rider the wolf. The voluptuous blonde female was pretty and seemed bubbly, but thank heavens not too bubbly.
Noah leaned against the doorframe and observed when suddenly he caught sight of the third guest.
“Oh, Noah, come meet our guests!” Mikael enthused, and Noah blinked twice as everyone turned to look at him. Everyone.
The wolf walked to him, offering his hand. “I’m Rider. Nice to meet you.” The man was easy on the eyes and very charming, but it wasn’t him who was rocking Noah’s world right then.
“This is Erica.” Rider gestured at the female, who gave Noah a little wave. “And this is --”
“Dallas.” Noah breathed the name like something from between a curse word and a prayer.
“Noah, long time no see,” the man with the chocolate-milk skin and pale blue eyes said from the other side of the room.
Everyone went quiet, stunned to silence.
“I need to ...” Noah’s instincts kicked him into gear, and he fled the house, running through it to the back instead of the front where he knew the guests would go to bring their luggage in soon. He needed space to think, a distance from everyone. Especially the only man who had ever managed to break his heart without even trying.