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Newly arrived on Grand Cayman Island with a carry-on bag slung over his shoulder and wearing black jeans, a black T-shirt, and black boots-his usual attire when in his commando warrior mode-Duncan MacNeill was ready to locate and deal as harshly as he needed to with Salisbury Silverman, the American gray wolf most knew as Sal.
The financial wizard had stolen Duncan's clan's money along with the investments of countless others. If the rumor was true, Silverman had holed up at his home on the island. At least that was the latest word Duncan had received after months of trying to track the financier down. As far as Duncan was concerned, and as werewolves would have it, the law wasn't needed in a case like this.
None of their kind could go to prison-not when they could shift to wolf during the appearance of the moon, unless the werewolf was a royal-so a werewolf had to take care of the matter in a werewolf's way. With barely any human roots, the royals could shift at will but they would still feel the compelling urge to shift at some point over the year, even if the moon didn't dictate the need.
Warrants in several countries were out for the man's arrest. Unbeknownst to Silverman, he had made the fatal mistake of going after a werewolf pack's investments this time. That mistake could get him killed faster than anything else. The notoriety of the case-if the authorities charged him for all the fraud he'd committed, he most likely would be found guilty and sentenced to prison-put all werewolves at risk. It was best that Duncan recover his clan's funds, make the rest of the stolen money available to the others whom Silverman had fleeced, and ensure that the crook quietly disappeared for good.
Duncan had every intention of returning to his native Scotland, to his ancestral home at Argent Castle, and to his gray wolf pack and clan with all possible haste. He was thinking that a trip to the island paradise was a waste of time, except for catching the bastard, when he breathed in the scent of a female wolf.
A woman would not divert him from this mission or any other, no matter how interested he might be in an unmated female wolf of the right age. Yet, instinctively, he surveyed the newly arrived passengers, looking for the woman. She hadn't taken his connecting flight from Miami or he would have smelled her, located her, and let her know she was in the company of another wolf if she was traveling alone and needed his protection from human types-or other wolves, no matter her age or mate status.
His own conscience wouldn't allow otherwise. Now that he'd reached his destination, he told himself he had no need to track a female wolf for any reason. He hadn't smelled any male in the vicinity that indicated one had come to meet her at the airport or was accompanying her. Which was why, he suspected, it was as though the devil was goading him to search for her instead of getting in the line for customs and immigration checks, signing for his rental car, and locating his hotel. Then, he'd find Silverman, who was supposed to have come in on an earlier flight in his own plane-paid for by all those he'd bilked, of course.
Duncan surveyed the crowded airport, didn't see any female who looked like she could be a wolf, and let out his breath.
His older quadruplet brother by four and a half minutes, Guthrie, the financial genius who had gotten them into this investment mess in the first place, had been sure Duncan wouldn't use subtle enough tactics in going after the crook. True, subtlety wasn't a part of Duncan's makeup. Not with three older quadruplet brothers. It didn't matter that they had been born only minutes apart. They'd known from birth who would be in charge when their da died.
Being the youngest of the bunch, Duncan didn't have much hope of ever ruling the pack or clan. So he made up for his birth order by never wavering in the face of danger and being the best warrior the clan could have. In this day and age, which was centuries later than when they'd been born, he still had to prove he had what it took to protect the clan.
Once they reached puberty, lupus garous aged approximately one year for every thirty, healing quickly when injured, though some injuries could cause death. They weren't immortal. Drowning, bleeding out, or massive injuries could prevent their healing genetics from taking them out of risk and be enough to cause their deaths. More died in those ways than from being the victim of a silver bullet. Truth of the matter was that anyone, werewolf or human, could die from ingesting silver or being struck by a silver slug. Most werewolves preferred other, more honorable methods of killing their enemies, like through hand-to-hand-or teeth-to-teeth-combat or in a battle of the fittest, just like in nature.
Duncan wished he could have brought his claymore with him. However, with tight airport security everywhere, he didn't believe airport authorities would think kindly of him if he attempted to carry a broadsword on board the plane. Since he was traveling light, he had no bags other than a carry-on. His cousin Heather had teased him about not taking swim trunks. But when did a wolf wear a swimsuit?
Besides, he wasn't here to swim in the aqua waters surrounding the sun-kissed Caribbean islands. Heather had warned him that the islands didn't allow nude swimming, though. He'd snorted at that. He did not plan to swim. Unless Silverman leapt into the water and attempted to swim away from him. They'd most likely be clothed in their wolf coats anyway.
Duncan again breathed in the air-conditioned molecules at the airport, smelling the odor of humanity: men, women, colognes, perfumes, coconut suntan oils on departing island guests, pine floor cleaners, and her-the wolf.
He stalked over to the baggage claim area, surveyed the new passengers grabbing their suitcases off the conveyor belt, and spotted her. She was of average height, and yet something about her stood out. Maybe the way she was dressed to have fun-in silver sandals, as if proving silver couldn't harm their kind, and satiny pale-blue capris that showed off shapely tanned calves and ankles. A well-toned ass made him take a second look as she leaned over the conveyor belt to grab a black-and-white floral bag.
He swore she didn't wear panties, as he could see no telltale sign of panty lines under the fabric stretched tight over her derriere as she bent over.
She set her bag on the floor next to her and watched the suitcases on the carousel wind their way around as men and women grabbed bags off the conveyor belt on either side of her. His gaze traveled up her body to her narrow waist and the sassy silver chain threaded through the belt loops. He almost smiled at her tenaciousness in wearing so much faux silver.
He could envision tugging on that chain.
He looked higher to a pale-blue, cotton scoop-necked shirt. The Rampant Lion, known also as the Scottish lion, was emblazoned in glittery silver across the front of it and caressed nice-sized breasts. His gaze shot up to her face. Was she a Scottish lass? Had Celtic roots? Or just liked the shirt?
He liked the shirt. Or at least the way the lion dipped and dove over her well-endowed bust.
Quickly, he chastised himself for thinking along those lines. He was here to do a job, and a slip of a she-wolf wasn't going to thwart him from getting started on his mission. He didn't have the reputation of being a steadfast warrior who took no prisoners and vanquished the enemy for nothing. Women never sidetracked him.
Hell, who was he kidding? This time, he couldn't give any really good reason why, but the woman definitely was distracting him, fascinating him in a wolfish way.
Jade eyes suddenly caught his studious gaze, and the woman's naturally soft, rosy lips parted. She must have really been concentrating on getting her bags to have missed that a predator like him was so avidly watching her. Most of their kind were wary but curious about all things. So caught up in finding her bags, she hadn't been paying attention to anything else.
Maybe she was so interested in a vacation in paradise that she'd never considered she'd have any trouble. Probably had never suspected another wolf would catch her here. Most likely, she was a royal who didn't have to be too concerned about shifting and was just here to have some fun. At least, she didn't look like she was on a business trip. Until he noticed the laptop sitting on the floor next to her right foot.
Her tanned cheeks flushed beautifully as her gaze fixed on his. He couldn't remember a time when he'd made a woman blush from his attentions. He should have looked away, indicating he had just glimpsed her and acknowledging that his interest was only that he appreciated seeing one of his kind on foreign soil. But damned if his alpha male tendencies didn't roar to the forefront, and instead he challenged her to break eye contact first, to prove she wasn't as intrigued with him as he was with her.
When she didn't immediately look away, he gave her an appreciative smile, damn his cockiness. He'd meant to show no interest in her at all, yet Guthrie was right. When it came to being subtle, Duncan didn't have the gene.
She still didn't look away-not demurely as a beta would or with annoyance like an alpha might. But he didn't think her expression showed challenge as much as utter disbelief. Without consciously allowing it, his smile widened.
He was known to be rather severe so that his clansmen and wolf pack wouldn't think he was weaker than his brothers. And yet here he was, grinning like a fool at a beautiful wolf. He was glad none of them saw him like this. He would never have lived it down.
She glanced at the bag over his shoulder. She had to know he hadn't been on the same flight or she would have smelled him. She had to wonder then if he was going to be a problem, the way he watched her. He already had his bag, and should have left the area by now but instead was full-out ogling her.
With the utmost difficulty, he bowed his head a little to her in greeting, turned, and stalked off, entering the line of travelers waiting to have their customs and immigration forms processed. He swore she was boring holes into his back as she watched him walk away. If he cast a look over his shoulder, he knew he'd see her scrutinizing him. Making sure he was leaving her well enough alone.
He hadn't planned on checking to see if she was observing him further once he had settled in line, either. At least that was the plan. But the line was backed up, and he couldn't help himself. He glanced back at the baggage claim area. Sure enough, she was studying him; only this time, she quickly turned away. Caught in the act. Maybe not wanting to show she was worried about him or intrigued. No, not intrigued. Just troubled as to what his intentions were toward her.
He had no intentions toward her. So why couldn't he take his eyes off her?
"Sir?" the man behind him said, waving to the line as it had moved up. The man's sharp tone instantly pulled Duncan's attention away from the classy wolf.
He needed to get laid.