Roland James waited a long time to return to the Black Hills. After Seth, his best friend, left—was driven away—and Seth’s family vanished in the night, he had no reason to stay. Only one purpose remained for him—to build his strength and his skills until he could kill the men responsible for their loss. When word reaches him about Magnum’s demise and Drew’s ascension, he rushes home. Though Drew welcomes him and the town seems to be thriving with a Winter Solstice Run in the offing, Roland can’t celebrate. Not all of his enemies are dead. One—the worst—still lives.
Professor Claudia Donovan has spent a great deal of time and effort to locate one of her colleagues. Then she receives an odd message telling her to meet someone about the woman she’s been trying to find in the middle of nowhere in South Dakota. Taking the first flight and renting a car, she waits at the designated spot. A chance meeting and an even riskier hookup for her TA leaves her with more questions than answers. When she ends up in Los Lobos no one wants to answer her questions.
The last thing Roland expects when he lures the human to the Black Hills is to delight in her scent, her temper, and her cutting tongue. He needs the pawn to distract Ryker because the Enforcer has a weakness. Take away his mate, and Roland can kill him once and for all. Maybe his plan makes Roland the bad guy, but he can live with that. The only problem he has is his need for revenge may cost him Claudia….
Her hands trembled as she pulled a cigarette out and turned away from the wind to get it lit. She was alone standing outside the little coffee shop, huddled as close to the wall as she could. Why the hell did I just decide to fly to the middle of nowhere? Have I lost my damn mind?
Or was she desperate for her last real connection? Shoshanna was great, a fantastic student, a brilliant protégé, and a girl with a bright future, but she wasn’t Saja. Saja had been more than her—
A truck door slammed across the street, and she glanced at the man striding across the winter-slicked road toward the coffee shop. Tall with dark hair, which he wore long and tied into a loose tail at the nape of his neck, he reminded her of a mountain man—except he wore a dress shirt, open suede jacket, and jeans. The mountain-man look from Giorgio. It will be all the rage this season.
His beard, though—damn. She had a thing for bearded men, and he wore his so well. Snow flurries populated the air, and flakes clung to his beard and hair, adding to his rugged appearance. How the hell did he walk so calm and collected through the frigid cold? It didn’t even seem to touch him.
He glanced toward her, and she sucked in a drag off the cigarette even as she jerked her attention away. Staring was rude. Still, she couldn’t help sliding a sideways peek when his booted foot hit the pavement in front of the coffee shop. Her hand trembled when he opened the door and disappeared into the shop. Exhaling the cold with the smoke, she glanced inside. Shoshanna continued to read papers, and a fresh cup of coffee sat waiting for Claudia, along with the untouched second burger.
Mr. GQ Mountain Man took a seat at the counter and raked his fingers through his hair, loosening the tie at his nape. Some of his hair escaped, but the tousled look suited him. The man was the whole package, and he looked damn good from the rear. Nearly as good as he had from the front. The icy air didn’t do a damn thing for the heat unfurling in her blood or the lust coiling in her belly.
After finishing her smoke, she extinguished it and seriously considered a second one. Maybe if she froze to death outside, she wouldn’t go inside and make an idiot out of herself. No sooner did the thought take root than she dismissed it. She’d come for Saja, not to get laid. South Dakota might grow them pretty, but she belonged back in New York.
No getting laid.
A shudder rolled down her spine, whether from the cold or hot stuff with the beard, she had no idea. Squaring her shoulders, she pulled the door open and charged inside. Priorities.
Yeah, the mental lecture didn’t do a damn thing for her libido. Dear Santa, can I have a hot guy for Christmas? Laughter welled upward, and she chuckled. Shoshanna gave her an owlish blink. Of course, when the idea of writing Santa sounded more sane than hitting on a gorgeous stranger, maybe she had cracked.