When Stacia sets out on a camping trip with her hiking group, she thought spending two weeks with people she didn’t know or like very well would be the worst of her problems. How could she have known that two bears would charge their camp and attack her companions?
The Eostre sabbat grows near as best friends, Ronan and Noah, are spending the holiday in a line cabin on the outskirts of Paradise. Someone has to do it and everyone gets a turn to guard the gateways through the veil at one time or another. It’s a relaxing, albeit boring duty…until, desperate to blow off some steam, they shift into their jaguars and a beautiful brunette finds them playing in the river.
Is Stacia really their mate? If so, can Ronan and Noah convince her of that fact before they all go mad with the mating heat?
Stacia followed the group through the woods. She thought that this would be fun. Instead, it had turned into one of her worst nightmares. Three of the guys had brought their inexperienced girlfriends. One had kept making passes at her and the other two guys were so full of themselves, she wouldn’t have been surprised if someone didn’t wish they’d lost them on the river three days ago.
Smoothing back her hair, Stacia sighed. She wanted nothing more than to go home, take a bath and sit down with a cup of tea and a good book.
If she’d known that this trip would be so tiring, she would never have agreed to go. She was an experienced hiker. Had she been more familiar with this area, she might have made better time without the group.
She never hiked or camped alone. Anything could happen, but if she’d have known she would be stuck with this group of inexperienced wannabes, she might have struck out on her own before subjecting herself to this.
“I’m tired, Brian,” Buffy, the blonde blue-eyed girlfriend of the tax attorney, whined. She jumped in place, throwing a little tantrum. “I wanna go home.” She grabbed Brian’s arm and held it against her overly-large breasts. “Can’t we go home?” She batted her eyes and smiled. “I’ll give you that present you like so much.” She bounced with a laugh. “And then after, we can go out to the Derby and have dinner. Doesn’t lobster sound divine?”
Closing her eyes, Stacia shook her head. Silence sounded divine to her.
“It’s only for three more days, baby.” Brian patted Buffy’s arm. “Be a good girl and I’ll buy you that tennis bracelet you wanted.”
Stacia rolled her eyes. She had no idea how such shallow, vapid females attracted the attention of intelligent and professional men. Scratch that. Yes, she did know. The men were thinking with the wrong head. That’s how.
She would never understand how a middle-aged man could possibly believe that the simpering young brat on his arm really loved him for himself and not the money he had in the bank. Closing her eyes, she took a deep breath. Who was she to judge? Just because she’d never lowered her standards to stay with a man for any reason but love, didn’t mean that others had to abide by her moral standards.
“Okay, everyone,” the instructor, Bob, called out. “It’s time to make camp. Pull out your gear and let’s get camp set up.”
Stacia shrugged off her pack and dropped it on the ground. Kneeling, she untied the straps that held her tiny tent to the bottom and unrolled it. Focused, she managed to ignore almost everyone until after she’d pitched her tent and placed her sleeping bag and flashlight inside.
“I’ll go gather kindling for the fire.” Stacia stood and headed north from the camp.
“Don’t go too far,” Bob called behind her. “The last thing we need is to have to search for a lost woman.”
A few of the men snorted and said something she didn’t quite catch. Stacia bit her lip, tempted to remind them that she, Bob, and the retired cop in the group were the only ones who hadn’t complained about something so far.
Had she complained, it would have been about Buffy’s incessant whining for the last six days.
She wandered a ways from the camp, hoping to get a few minutes of peace and quiet.
The forest smelled wonderful. The scent of pine trees intermingled with the rotting vegetation, fresh air and the fresh water of the winding river.
Though she didn’t know why, Stacia had always loved the smell of the forest. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that her dad had always taken her on camping trips when she was younger. He’d liked to rough it, too. Maybe that was why Buffy’s yammering irritated her so much. No one liked to hear someone complain that the thing they loved most in the world wasn’t worth the effort.