Cougar Falls, Montana is not on any map, seen only by the Ac-taw—shapeshifters. It’s a small town full of characters, where everyone knows everyone and a Shifter without a clan has no place in town.
The council rules, the sheriff and town lawyer are sly silver foxes keeping the peace, and the cats guard the mystical totem keeping everyone safe from Hunters. The gray wolf order is under new leadership and trying to get their previous thuggish behavior under wraps, but it’s slow going.
The raptors continue their infighting while the Whitefeathers try to calm everyone down without tearing them to shreds. Golden eagles have little patience with nonsense and usually like to let their talons do the talking.
The silver foxes still think too much of themselves, and for all their intelligence, they can’t seem to understand that not everyone thinks they walk on water.
The bears might as well be their own town, since they rarely come in contact with anyone unless visiting jail—behind bars. The town council has a new initiative to integrate clan politics, but bears are big, moody, and stubborn. Big being the key word.
The cats… It’s supposed to be the catamount pride, but they have bears, foxes, and a wolf more trouble than he’s worth—according to the sheriff, who’s also part of the pride. That wolf, Monty GrayClaw, has a mysterious history and a sense of humor that gets him in trouble. Often.
But now that he’s ready to make his move and claim the shy she-wolf he’s been waiting for, trouble needs to stay far behind him. Problem is, there’s a Hunter in the area who’s after him, and Monty’s attention is split between his past and Sophie, his future. That’s if he gets to her before the current alpha of the gray wolf order does. Because the alpha is looking for a mate, and Monty has no intention of giving up Sophie without a fight. With the help of his pridemates and some feline-canine trickery, he’ll have Sophie right where he needs her. Because anything else is unacceptable.
Here’s an excerpt from Right Wolf, Right Time. One lucky commenter will win an e-copy of the book. Good luck!
Monty spent the next two days cursing his idiocy. Sophie had been so sweet sitting on that couch. He’d smelled her need. For the first time, he’d been close to claiming her, and she’d been receptive. No trace of fear. Maybe a little nervousness, but she’d been hot for him.
But had he made his move? No. Worried she might freak if he pounced the way he wanted to, he’d watched a fucking sitcom, made small talk—small talk—and left with a dessert he should have been eating off her navel.
He groaned to himself and rerouted the Gandersons around a fallen tree. “This way, folks. I’m going to show you to your campsite. I’ll be back to collect you in a week.”
The Gandersons, an extended family out for a fun gathering, nodded and thanked him. They would spend a week roughing it at one of Chastell Tours’ nicer camping spots.
He left the family and walked a mile or so before ditching his clothes by a familiar storage area, where he bagged his things and hid them under a rock that made a perfect hideaway. He keyed his radio. “Dean? You there?”
“No, it’s me.” Grady. “Go ahead, wolfie. Or should I say Scooby?”
Monty gritted his teeth while the moron snickered. “Dumbass. I’m letting you know I’m done with the Gandersons. I’m roaming for a few days. I’ll be back Wednesday. I’m not taking my radio, so you’ve got the group at the Vista site.”
“Roger that. Have a nice run. I’ll keep an eye out for those wolves circling Sophie.”
“Yeah, you do that.”
Grady continued to poke at him, not realizing how hard it was for Monty to give Sophie the distance she needed. But now that the order was taking a keen interest in her, Monty thought he might have to speed things up a bit. Dinner at her place had been great. Maybe he’d try a night out on the town, to show others she belonged to him. It was a big step, but he didn’t think a simple date would freak her out too much.
And hell, he’d make sure to move the rest of their get-togethers to public places. He’d been a heartbeat from throwing her down and fucking her in her doorway. That kiss to her forehead had been crazy sexy. A simple, harmless kiss, and he’d raced home and jerked off twice before he could relax enough to sleep.
Sophie’s well-being came first with him. Or it had, until this clusterfuck. A week ago, Hunters had kidnapped Dean and his mate and nearly killed them. On the order’s territory. The gray wolves hadn’t had any luck finding the Hunters yet. But Monty knew one of the Hunters—the one he sought—wouldn’t have gone far.
Trying to find that sadistic asshole sucked up his free time when he should have been putting the full-court press on Sophie. He couldn’t tell the others why he really hunted the man, or that he still believed Ted Norris was in the vicinity. The psychopath and Monty shared a history, one he didn’t want anyone to know about. The shame of his time in captivity burned like acid in his gut, and he wanted nothing more than to bury the feeling…right alongside Norris’s dead body.
With a snarl, Monty shifted into his wolf and darted into the forest, his nose to the ground as he moved. The feel of fur and claws and fangs reassured him. He relished the thick earth under his paws, the soft moss that tickled his whiskers and the pungent aroma of deer musk covering a nearby patch of bushes. No human scent remained other than what clung to Monty from Lou Ganderson’s handshake.
He continued to jog, settling into the rhythm nature had intended—the predator merged with the forest, seeking out prey.
Ted Norris was a big man, still muscular despite more than five decades of life no doubt spent brutalizing Ac-taw. He had a quickness and strength that surpassed a normal human’s, but his mass would ensure he left footprints in the soil. He’d never had much of a scent, just an odd staleness tinged with the rot of evil. Monty would know him anywhere. If only he could get a bead on the prick.
The thought of Norris anywhere near Sophie put his hackles up, and he shared his wolf’s angry growl as he wandered through the wilderness.
Three days later, just as he finished covering the northeastern quadrant of his latest foray, a familiar—and unwelcome—scent struck. He quickly lifted his head and relaxed, wanting to appear normal. Well, as normal as Monty ever looked.
“Well, well. If it isn’t our favorite outcast.” A large, white wolf grinned at him. Axel Jagerson communicated in the way of the Ac-taw, using a telepathic connection that existed between Shifters with close ties, or in close proximity.
He typically ignored the pack, but Axel wasn’t a wolf to ignore. The big bastard had to be the largest wolf Monty had ever seen. And the alpha at his side, though a smaller giant, commanded attention just by breathing. Rafe Sheridan had an aura and energy that screamed leader.
Too bad Monty had never been content to follow.
“Monty. Out again, eh?” Rafe’s golden eyes narrowed. “Find anything interesting?”
The wolves had been extra sharp with their patrols, trying to rout the Hunters they hadn’t already disposed of last week. The men who liked to hunt Ac-taw were a savvy enemy, but nothing a pack of wolves couldn’t put down. Usually. But they didn’t know what Ted Norris could do. Not like Monty did.
“Um, yeah. That’s what you asked me to do.” More like told him to do, but Monty only followed Burke’s orders, because he respected and loved his best friend and pride leader. Rafe annoyed the shit out of him with all that posturing and alpha crap.
Axel growled. “What do you think you’ll find that we haven’t? It’s been over a week. We’ve seen no sign of them. I’ve smelled nothing out of the ordinary.”
“Surprised you can smell anything with your nose buried so far up Rafe’s ass.”
Axel lunged and Monty dodged out of the way with a playful bark.
“Dickhead.” Axel showed his teeth.
“Calm down.” Rafe grinned. He never seemed anything but amused by Monty’s resistance. “After all, we have Monty to thank. His persistence out here is keeping the town safe. And it’s good when our people feel safe. Makes them happy. Makes me happy.”
Rafe and Axel shared a look. When Axel chuckled, Monty’s hackles raised. One of the few blond wolves in the order, Rafe’s beta pissed him off only slightly less than Rafe did. Just Monty’s luck the pair had decided to hunt in this particular area today. But at least that meant Sophie wasn’t being bothered by the obnoxious males.
“Glad you’re giddy with joy. I’m busy.” He started to go around the pair and stopped. “What the hell are you up to?” he asked Rafe.
“Nothing. Just going hunting with my beta. Keeping in shape and staying strong.”
Axel laughed again and sat on his haunches. He looked like three fucking wolves all shoved into one great white pelt. “Yeah. Gotta keep fit for his date tomorrow night.”
Rafe nodded. “A pretty little she-wolf I’ve been keeping my eye on.”
Monty’s swallowed hard, hoping against hope he assumed incorrectly. “Sophie’s going out with you?”
“Yep. It’s time I took a mate. Not too many she-wolves around. Not ones that aren’t feral, anyway.” They all grimaced at the thought of the many Ac-taw living as animals in Glacier National Forest. Rafe’s battle to lead the gray wolves had ended with him as alpha, but he had a long way to go before stabilizing the order. The few civilized wolves in town were a far cry from the wild ones roaming the mountains.
“I thought a bunch of females were migrating up from the South. Evening out our numbers.” No way had Sophie agreed to a date with Rafe. She barely tolerated Monty without flinching.
Rafe shrugged. “I won’t chance female lives until it’s safe for them to be here. They aren’t coming until the order’s cohesive.”
“Cohesive means together. A unit.” Axel spoke slowly.
“Please. You’re educating me?” What was it with people always trying to explain large words to him? He didn’t think it was funny when his pridemates did it, and Axel, even less. He turned back to Rafe. “Sophie’s mine. You can’t have her.” There. He’d said it. A verbal claim of intent.
Rafe sniffed. “I don’t smell a mating or her scent anywhere on you. And she doesn’t seem to know she’s yours.”
“We just had dinner Friday night.”
“If it went that well, why did she agree to a date with me?”
Monty couldn’t answer that and frankly didn’t care. “The point is, she’s mine.”
“When she says it, I’ll believe it. Until then, happy hunting. Come on, Axel. Let’s leave Monty to his delusions.”
With all politeness, Axel explained, “Delusions are false beliefs held with absolute conviction, and normally pathological in nature. Meaning you have a mental illness. Or, so you can understand, you’re fucking crazy.”
Monty roared and attacked the bigger male, uncaring that he’d no doubt lose to the giant wolf. While Axel played with him, Rafe sat by wearing a large smile and watched.
Right Wolf, Right Time, a Cougar Falls story.
Thanks for having me, and happy reading!