TOGETHER FOR THE FIRST TIME AS A COMPLETE SET!
Welcome to Feral Passions, a luxurious private resort nestled in a woodland preserve and staffed by dangerously sexy men, making it a haven for women who want to get away from it all. But Feral Passions is a front for a deeper, sexier secret--it's a hunting ground for these men. Men focused on meeting each woman's every need. Men who are also the beautiful wolves running wild—each of them searching for a mate.
Chereza Dubios is more comfortable solving math equations than she is with her voluptuous body and meeting men. But when her younger sister and best friend trick her into vacationing at Feral Passions, Cherry finds herself attracted and torn between two men who find her curvy body and intelligent mind irresistible. Two men who share a secret--they want to share her.
But that takes trust--can Cherry open herself to love with two sensual and powerful werewolves?
Four women—friends closer than sisters—head off to an exclusive mountain resort for a week-long bachelorette getaway, where most of the women just want to know if there are any good men left in the world.
There are, and they’re the men of Feral Passions...this will be one bachelorette party the women will never forget!
Pack alpha Traker Jakes and his lieutenant Evan Dark are the last single men standing as the season draws to a close at the Feral Passions resort—until the appearance of two strong, sexy women alters the threat of a long, cold, lonely winter. But Darnell and Chelo are stalked by danger—danger that threatens everyone in the pack at Feral Passions.
|Publisher:||St. Martin's Press|
|File size:||4 MB|
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"Aw, c'mon, Cherry. It'll be so much fun. Please?"
"Cissy, I ..." Cherry turned away. She hated to disappoint Christa, but there was just no way. No way at all.
Her sister's BFF, Stephanie, chimed in. "If you don't come with us, that fully paid reservation is just going to go to waste. We bought the package for three because Gina said she wanted to go, and then she bailed on us."
Cherry ran her fingertip through the salt on the rim of her margarita glass and stuck her salty finger in her mouth. Damn. Did she or didn't she? She stared at Stephanie. "There has to be someone else who can fill a third spot. Especially since it's paid for."
Christa chimed in. "Gina bailed an hour ago. We leave Sunday morning, so we don't have time to hunt for anyone. I know you have time off coming. Talk to your boss tomorrow and let her know you'll be gone all next week. Please?" "C'mon, Cherry."
Cherry glanced from her sister to Steph and pulled back feelings that were more about envy than irritation. She'd never had a close friend other than Christa, aka Cissy, not the way Steph and Christa had each other. They'd been inseparable since they'd been, quite literally, in diapers. Two adorable little girls in day care together when they were toddlers, two stunning and perfectly slim, trim twenty-five-year-olds.
On top of that, each of them was smart and successful, and they were almost too nice to be true.
When she was with them, Cherry felt like a toad. A very fat toad. The idea of spending a week at a luxury resort with her gorgeous dark-haired baby sister and Christa's equally beautiful blond best friend — each girl perfectly sleek and toned while Cherry had to lie on her back on the bed to get her fat pants zipped — was beyond depressing.
Except she really loved her little sister, and Steph had never been anything but nice, and Cherry did have vacation time she had to use or lose ...
"Think about it, Cherry." Christa touched Cherry's chin with her fingertips and gently forced her to make eye contact. Damn. She was definitely bringing out the big guns.
"I already ..."
"No. You haven't even listened to us. It's not your typical Club Med kind of place. This is a rural setting up in the north part of the state, almost to Oregon. Men run the place and do all the cooking and everything, but there're only women as guests. And not even a lot of women. Only six guests — all women, I remind you — at the club at one time. We will be three of them."
"That's half. The only men are the guys who work there," Steph said, "but the resort is set up to allow women to get in touch with nature without the hassle of guys and all that testosterone-driven need to hike farther, climb higher. You know, a relaxing and fun vacation?"
Christa interrupted with, "They don't plan every single minute of your day. You're encouraged to bring books, knitting, paints, whatever it is that makes you happy. In fact, I'm hoping you'll throw in some of those really sexy romances you like to read."
"Me, too," Steph said. "I never have time to read for fun and Christa says your books are ... stimulating." She poked Christa in the ribs. "We might actually learn something about men."
"You're not kidding." Christa poked Steph back. Then she once again focused that laser-eyed stare on Cherry. "What's really unique about it is that it's at a wolf preserve."
Wolves? Their enthusiasm must be contagious, since Cherry was actually thinking of doing this. But wolves?
"You can interact with the wolves in their natural setting." Laughing, Christa let go of Cherry and hugged herself. "Can you imagine? Being close enough to touch a wild wolf? Going swimming where there are only other women — no guys ogling your butt?"
"Or your boobs," Steph added drily. She was much more generously endowed than Christa. "I'm off men for now, anyway. A week at a resort just for women sounds like the ideal vacation."
Cherry spun her head to stare at Steph. "What about Mike? I thought you guys were ..."
"That is a name not to be mentioned in my presence."
Cherry glanced at Christa, who merely shrugged and said, "He was boinking the receptionist."
Steph practically growled. "Not just boinking, but doing such a great job at it that she was absolutely starry-eyed." She took a big swallow of her margarita. "I was most definitely not starry-eyed, but that's not what we're discussing, Cherry. You're going with us. No argument."
"Wolves?" Cherry glanced at the painting over her faux-fireplace mantle. A pack of wolves racing across a meadow in the moonlight, teeth gleaming, eyes alight with the joy of the hunt. She'd always loved wolves, but she'd never seen a real-live wolf before. Only pictures. "They're actually tame enough to interact with people?"
"That's what it says." Steph laughed. "I would think it's poor business practice to allow them to eat the guests."
"Because it's a preserve," Christa added, "the Web site says, a lot of them were rescued as pups, hand raised, and then returned to the wild, but that's why they're here — they aren't entirely wild, but they're not really tame, either. It's thousands of acres where they can roam like wild wolves and they still have to hunt to eat. And no, they don't hunt the guests."
Christa was still smiling as she tapped away on her cell phone for a few seconds. Then she raised her head and grinned triumphantly at Cherry. Or was that a smug grin? Cherry grimaced. She'd lost this argument — losing was a given when Christa had her mind made up.
"There," she said. "I just sent you the link to the resort. It's called Feral Passions, and it's up in the Trinity Alps. No arguments. You're coming with us. The wolf preserve is only open to guests of the resort, and if the pictures on the Web site are anywhere close to the real thing, the place looks rustic, but the lodge is all new and everything is set up for comfort and convenience. No!" Christa held up her hand when Cherry opened her mouth to argue, at this point, merely for the sake of not giving in too easily. "No argument. You're going. We're picking you up Sunday morning at seven. It's over five hours of driving, and we'll need to stop for lunch and potty breaks along the way. Pack comfortable clothes, good hiking boots, and a warm coat. There's a list of things on the Web site. It says the nights can be chilly. They provide all camping gear if we do any overnight trips. We'll come home the following Saturday. And bring your swimsuit. The pool's heated."
Cherry shook her head. "No. No swimsuit." She didn't even own one. Not since she was little, too young to realize how awful she looked when she wasn't covered up. She was fully aware of Steph and Christa exchanging glances. They just didn't get it, but neither of them carried fifty extra pounds around, either.
"Ladies, I've gotta go." Steph grabbed her bag, leaned close and hugged Cherry, and then patted Christa on the head.
"Me, too." Christa hugged Cherry. "Hon, we're gonna have such a great time. I want you to relax and enjoy yourself. No Wi-Fi or cell phone reception, so it really is a vacation. No one from your office can even text you. You'll love it."
Cherry sighed. She hoped she'd love it, but she didn't expect to. Still, Christa never asked for favors. A week at an exclusive resort with real-live wolves shouldn't be too bad.
"Okay, gentlemen. What's your take on our first month of business? Is Feral Passions going to work, or did I just sink a shitload of money into a stupid idea?" Traker Jakes stared into his mug of draft beer as if it offered up the secrets of the universe.
"It's a great design." Brad Martin wiped down the polished redwood bar with a damp rag and then threw it into a bin under the sink, but he turned and winked at his buddy.
Cain snorted. "Of course you think it's a great design — you designed it." Laughing, he swiveled on his barstool and faced Trak. The guy might be a century and a half old, but like the rest of them, he didn't look a day over thirty.
None of them did. One of the upsides of werewolf genetics, though their long lives could be a downside, too. A lonely downside. "We've had four groups of women come through and they've all had a great time," Cain said. "We've ended the month with a better financial picture than any of us expected, and you're not the only one with a shitload of money tied up in this, Trak. We've all invested. Give it time. I think it's going to pay off."
"Financially, sure." Trak shook his head, frustration evident. "Except making a profit isn't the point of this project. The point is not just to give a bunch of women a good time. The point is to find mates for the guys, you two and me included. So far, not a single pairing has come of this."
"We've only been open a month, Trak. Cain's right. Give it time." Brad glanced at Cain.
"Have you enjoyed meeting the women?" Cain forced eye contact with Trak, which was not an easy thing for a subordinate to do with his alpha, but the bastard could be so hardheaded sometimes, not to mention a diehard pessimist. "Don't tell me you didn't have a good time with that absolutely sensational redhead last week."
Brad poured himself a glass of iced tea, carefully squeezing lemon over the top. "C'mon, Cain. She was hot, but a little too aware of her own hotness. And she most certainly didn't like having wolves around."
"What? She was afraid of the wolves?" Cain must have missed that part of the visit. He'd given her a massage and thought she was okay — a little too skinny for his taste, but ... Brad shook his head. "Afraid of the hair. It's spring. Wolves shed. She thought it was disgusting."
Trak's sigh was a bit too dramatic. "She ran Brad and me out of the pool area. Threatened to complain to management. Said it was unsanitary having wolves shedding near the hot tub, not to mention the fact that we were all males and probably peed on everything. What a bitch."
"Too bad you couldn't just shift right then, tell her you were management and, hey, what's the problem, sweetheart?" Cain took a swallow of his beer. "Well, we haven't had any trouble filling up the slots. We've got a new group coming in tomorrow. Three smart, young professional women from San Francisco. They're driving, should be here by three or four. Another group of three out of LA. They're coming in by private plane and plan to land in Weaverville. They have a rental car waiting, so they might show up earlier. They all work in the movie industry, but not as actors. Their reservation info said they're into the production end of things. We'll need to be careful around them. They might be more in tune with the weird and wonderful, and we can't risk them finding out what we are."
"Which is why Feral Passions is the perfect venue for a lonely werewolf to find a mate." Brad glanced at Trak but focused on Cain. "In a beautifully designed setting, of course. We get to see the women in our habitat, see if anyone is drawn to any of us in both our human and wolf forms. And if they are, if they really seem to go for anyone ..." "And don't mind a little shedding in the hot tub." At least Trak was sort of smiling. A good sign.
"Then we bite, and voilà! Instant mate." Brad's cocky grin was actually ... wolfish.
"Or a really pissed-off female werewolf." Cain didn't like that part at all. Yeah, it was important to keep their existence secret, but it wasn't like the old days when a guy could go out and kidnap a nice, uneducated woman out of a small, rural village, bring her back to the pack, let her choose which guy she liked best, and then the guy could bite her. Women didn't expect as much back in the old days. Now they had equal rights and cell phones, and Facebook, where they could blab about everything.
And post pictures. The last thing the pack needed was a video on social media of one of them shifting from human to wolf. Cain shuddered at the mere thought. "I like the accepted 'werewolf lore,' that we each have a true mate waiting for us. It would make this all a lot easier, but we're on our own. My biggest fear is that women are so different now. They're independent and well educated, and they expect to have an equal say in their lives. They're more fun than they used to be, but they're not chattel, guys. We have to remember that."
"Well, we're going to have to figure out something, and do it soon," Trak said. "None of us is getting any younger, and it's been too long since any of the pack has had young. Brad, you're the youngest and you were born ... when was that? Nineteen-thirty?"
"Nineteen-thirty-one." Brad shook his head. "I'm only eighty-five. Still a pup, Trak. Not nearly as old as you." He tilted his head, stared at Trak's head. "Hmm ... is that a bit of gray I see?"
Brad might be laughing, but Cain felt the desperation behind the humor. Even though they all looked and felt like they were in their thirties and they each had many hundred more years left in them, the pack was dying. Some of them had been around since long before the Declaration of Independence — they'd come over on the first sailing ships to colonize North America not long after the Pilgrims; a few even fought in the Revolutionary War. Most of those old ones were showing their age now, not participating as much in pack life.
Some stayed in wolf form all the time, spending their days basking in the sun, waiting for the time when that afternoon nap never ended. Trak had been born during the Civil War, which made him over a hundred and fifty years old, and he wasn't even considered middle-aged, but if they didn't do something about it now while they still had time to find mates and have young, time to teach their pups about their amazing heritage, the Trinity Alps pack was going to go the way of the passenger pigeon. Cain had never seen one of those — he'd been whelped around 1910 — but Trak remembered them. He'd seen them by the millions when he was a kid, flocks so big they filled the sky.
Then they were gone.
Exactly what was going to happen to the Trinity Alps pack, if this experiment with Feral Passions failed.
It was almost five when Cherry parked the car in front of a sprawling log building nestled in a large clearing with forest all around. Towering pines and dark green fir trees shadowed part of the area, and the tangy scent of cedar filled the air. The lodge was surrounded by a beautiful deck, and it was all absolutely breathtaking — even better than the pictures online.
"Okay, ladies. Rise and shine." She turned and poked Stephanie, who slept soundly in the backseat.
Grunting, Steph slowly pivoted and sat upright. Sort of.
Christa stretched her arms overhead and arched her back. She'd ridden shotgun the last seventy miles or so. The sound of popping vertebrae made Cherry wince. She hated to think what her own back was going to sound like. "I'm surprised neither of you ladies thought to mention that the last eleven miles were nothing but a dirt road." It was well marked, so she hadn't been afraid of getting lost, but the forest was so thick and impenetrable looking, it was scary when you didn't know your way.
Then, at a wide spot in the road not a quarter mile from here, there'd been a professional-looking sign pointing toward Feral Passions Resort. Of course, on the opposite side of the road was a cute little bar that really fit the surroundings, though she wondered who the customers were, since they were on the preserve and there hadn't been any houses along the way. There'd been a couple of beat-up trucks parked in front and a hand-painted sign that said "Growl" nailed over the door.
Seemed apropos. She'd looked for wolves. She might have caught a glimpse of one shortly after they'd come through the electric gate marking the entrance to the fenced wolf preserve. That was back where the paved road ended. A long way back.
She still felt as if Christa and Steph had pushed her into this trip, and Cherry wasn't quite able to give up the feeling of resentment, the sense the elusive Gina didn't exist and she'd been manipulated. At the same time, it was hard to stay grumpy in a setting this peaceful. Craggy mountains cut into a brilliant blue sky and a thick forest grew below with trees in all shades of green.
There was even wild dogwood blooming among the tall evergreens. She'd seen a few deer and wondered if she'd really spotted that wolf a couple of miles back, but the best part was the smell. Air so fresh it made her want to breathe deeply and just hold that clean air deep inside her lungs.
Excerpted from "Feral Passions: The Complete Series"
Copyright © 2017 Kate Douglas.
Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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