All is not right at the Wild Night Ball, the biggest gathering of werewolf packs in North America. As always, there is plenty of lust and politics, power and sex, but this year is different. This year Lucas Chase, the corrupt alpha of the Denver pack, is looking to change everything forever.
Dead in his sights is Ashley MacDonald, the fun-loving, middle-ranking werewolf from the Miami pack, who wants nothing more than to hook up with the sexy cowboy Colton Winter for a night of dancing…and hopefully much, much more. But when Colton races up to the mansion and demands she come with him, her night goes sideways fast. Ashley and other Miami wolves are in danger of being taken hostage in Denver’s power-grab. She’ll have to think fast and move faster if she’s to have any hope of stopping the attack.
Now it’s up to Colton, a lone wolf from Colorado with secrets of his own, to protect her from the pack that once exiled him. But what’s worth more? Getting even with Denver? Preventing their coup? Or keeping Ashley safe when she’s determined to protect her friends?
The distant roar of a big engine snagged her attention. She craned her neck, trying to see down the seemingly endless driveway that vanished into the trees. Sounded like somebody driving hard and fast.A large 4X4 truck shot into view. It raced down the long driveway, roaring toward the front of the Brightwood Manse. Toward her. The old truck was a faded reddish brown in the darkness, covered with primer spots, dents, and scratches. One headlight was out. There was a roll bar, and a winch on the front near the bumper. The big engine grumbled and growled like an angry wolf.Colton Winter’s truck.How could she forget it? She’d seen it often enough when she’d been in Colorado. She stood there, all deer-in-the-headlights, as she watched it tear along the driveway with her heart pounding and her stomach doing Ferris wheel turns.The truck screamed to a stop in front of the wide marble steps leaving stripes of black rubber and plumes of smoke behind. The echo of screeching tires bounced back to her, so strangely unnatural in a night filled with the howling of wolves.The driver’s door clunked as it swung open. Colton jumped out and ran around the front of the truck. The single yellow headlight briefly illuminated him, as if he stood too close to a stage light. He wore the boots she loved, brown and scuffed and worn, and also those faded blue jeans. No cowboy hat tonight, just his close-cropped hair. He hurried to the bottom step, then hesitated, watching her. He slowly ascended the stairs, his gaze locked on hers.“Ashley,” Colton said, voice grim. “You’re in danger. Come with me. Now.”
Colton gritted his teeth when he saw Ashley flinch at his words. Maybe that had been the wrong thing to say straight off. He could almost see her hackles raise at either his words or at his tone. Didn’t matter. Damage was done. His jaw muscles clenched tighter. Nice job, slick. He’d raced all this way to save her, and first thing he did was push her away.“What do you mean?” Ashley demanded. “What danger?” She tossed her head, throwing her thick golden hair around her head as if she were some wild horse defying the bit. His hand lifted, almost of its own will, wanting to touch her hair, shining in the warm lamplight from the mansion. He forced his hand down again and cursed himself for a fool. Then he saw realization flicker in her eyes. “You…you don’t mean that creepy guy who was stalking me and Cari?”“Describe him.”“Creepy. Um. All attack dog stare. Tuxedo. Muscles. Swept back black hair. Ringing any bells?”Xavier. Had to be. He knew the Denver pack, though the new alpha, that bastard Lucas Chase, had changed things almost beyond recognition. Lucas had brought in new scum eager to follow his commands and violate pack law without a second thought. Xavier had been one of the first of the original pack to go to Lucas. Xavier had been the first to betray Colton.But all he told Ashley was a curt, “I know him.”“Oh my God. Is Cari in danger?”“Maybe. There’s a threat to all the single women from the small packs.” He felt his lip curl into a snarl. It was hard to imagine something so dishonorable and low without feeling the urge to rip off limbs in a red haze of rage. That the Denver pack had come to this under Lucas Chase made him want to bust heads.But he wanted Ashley safe first.She put her hands on her hips and glared at him. “Then I have to help her. She’s out there in the Wild Run. I can’t just leave her.”“If she’s in the Wild Run, there’s no easy way to track her.” He jerked his chin at the fancy mansion with all its ornate flourishes and flashing gilding. “Out there, it’s a stampede.”“A stampede of rabbits in heat, you mean. Or maybe lemmings in heat. Do lemmings go in heat?” She appeared to consider this, then shook her head. “Never mind. I can’t let Cari find her dream beau and then get murdered by a psycho!” She crossed her arms over her chest and glanced over her shoulder toward the dark trees.He shifted from foot to foot, rolling on his boot heels slightly, trying not to show his ever-increasing impatience. He’d imagined this as a rescue mission to pull Ashley out of harm’s way. Maybe impress her a bit. Maybe overcome some of the halting uncertainty he felt around her that cut his words down to the bare minimum. But now it was turning into a full-fledged rescue campaign, damn it all.Then again, he wouldn’t let the scheming bastards running the Denver pack take any of these innocent Miami wolves hostage. Sometimes a man had to stand up for what was right. Sometimes a man had to plant a boot in somebody’s ass. Hell, maybe he’d forego the cowboy boots and break out the steel toes for Lucas Chase, that sneaking, traitorous bastard. But priority one, he had to get Ashley to safety.