NEEDING TO BREATHE
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Orphaned and scared, these cubs need an Alpha…and so do their caregivers.
Cast out of their wolf pack, Jock and Gus are skinny and wild but surviving okay out in the Colorado mountains. Winter is on its way, and Gus isn’t sure what they can do to stay warm and fed. To add to their problems, they’ve adopted a litter of abandoned wolf cubs, and suddenly there’s not enough food to go around.
Archer, a forest ranger and Alpha wolf, finds Jock and Gus in time to save them from Jack Frost, and from themselves. The moment he meets the two young males, he wants them, and he sets out to convince them to stay. Jock understands that Archer is what they need, but Gus intends to fight Archer every step of the way. He has to—it’s in his genes.
Can Archer keep this new family safe, from the elements and each other?
Archer Tyson smelled the shallow grave before he saw it.
The narrow trench had been dug carefully, and rocks and brush covered what was left of the she-wolf, but the fact remained that she was dead, and there was evidence of a trap-death on the carcass.
Damn it all. This didn’t look like poachers, who would have wanted the coat. Maybe the head. No cabins or livestock this far up the mountain, so he had to assume this was malicious. A wolf hater. That always meant a lot of work for him as one of the two rangers who covered this plot of land.
Not to mention that when a wolf died on his watch, Archer took it pretty personally.
It made him a little toothy and more than a bit pissed off. The urge to sniff around and see if he could follow a scent trail to the killer was strong, but Archer was on the clock right now. The best he could do for this poor girl was mark the grave with a locator so he could find it again later and make a report.
He sighed, whispering a soft prayer in his native tongue for her, which okay, sounded more like moaning and groaning than words, but whatever.
Another scent hit him when he moved away from the makeshift grave, and Archer tilted his head. No. Pups?
Where were they? He sniffed again. They’d been here and been… taken.
A low growl rose in his chest, and Archer wanted to howl with rage. Was that what this was about? Wolves weren’t fucking pets, and no one should be killing momma wolves to take their cubs.
He started tracking, every sense tuned to searching out this motherfucker.
No, his wolf told him. These. Two. Two scents. Two males. Damn it. He started along their trail, which might as well have been cut with a weed whacker.
His radio squawked, distracting him. “Archer. Can you read, over?”
“I hear you, Ben.” He was busy, damn it.
“We got a small brush fire over at Lizard Head. All hands on deck. What’s your twenty?”
“That’s a haul, man. I’m near Whitehouse, and I have a poacher situation.”
“Okay. I’ll call you in if we need you. Hang tight, over.”
“Ten four. Over.” Shoo. He had puppies to find. Wolf cubs. Christ, what a mess. He didn’t need this shit.
He followed the scent, slowing as the smells became damn near overwhelming. The two males started to make his nose twitch. They didn’t have the sour, greedy smell of poachers, or the hyped-up adrenaline scent of hunters.
No, if anything this scent was sweet, sexual, tinged with a dull hunger, a hint of worry.
He peered around a bend in the trail, finding two men, shaggy and skinny and utterly underdressed for the late autumn chill, sleeping in the afternoon sun around a pile of three cubs.
Oh. The totally unexpected sight made him smile. Look at that; the pups already trusted these two. There was no way they’d killed the mom. One of the men, the older by the looks of it, started sniffing, nose working hard.
Wait, were they… Could they be like him? Archer thought that was impossible, but no human would be able to scent him from this location.
Dark eyebrows lowered, and the man woke up, nudging the blond. “Jock, babe, someone’s here. Get the babies into the tent.”
Without a question, the blond got the pups moving, growling and nudging on all fours. The cubs obeyed, falling over their big feet.
Once they were safely tucked away in the tent, Archer stepped into the clearing. “I won’t hurt anyone. I’m with the Forest Service.”
“We’re fine. Thanks. We got a permit.” The blond was pushed behind, just a little, the darker wolf trying to make himself big. All teeth and puffy chest.
About the Author:
B.A. Tortuga Texan to the bone and an unrepentant Daddy’s Girl, BA Tortuga spends her days with her basset hounds, getting tattooed, texting her sisters, and eating Mexican food. When she’s not doing that, she’s writing. She spends her days off watching rodeo, knitting, and surfing Pinterest in the name of research. BA’s personal saviors include her wife, Julia Talbot, her best friend, Sean Michael, and coffee. Lots of coffee. Really good coffee.
Having written everything from fist-fighting rednecks to hard-core cowboys to werewolves, BA does her damnedest to tell the stories of her heart, which was raised in Northeast Texas, but has heard the call of the high desert and lives in the Sandias. With books ranging from hard-hitting GLBT romance, to fiery menages, to the most traditional of love stories, BA refuses to be pigeon-holed by anyone but the voices in her head.
For more information on other books by B.A., visit her official website: www.BATortuga.com
Readers choice of two eBook titles from ARe Books.