Fireborn Wolves Book One
By Genevieve Jack
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Werewolf Laina Flynn longs to break from the patriarchal expectations of Fireborn pack. A successful entrepreneur, she doesn’t have time to be bossed around by her alpha brother, Silas, let alone to act as a proper werewolf princess.
But when a wolf is found murdered on Fireborn shifting grounds, Laina will do anything to protect her pack, even if it means posing as a waitress at a club that flies in the face of her feminist ideals. Unfortunately, her inner wolf marks the club’s owner, Kyle “The King” Kingsley, as her vice—her metaphysical addiction. He becomes a hunger she can’t ignore…one that could threaten her life, her family, and her pack.
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As the night wore on, she forayed deeper into the crowd, taking an interest in the variety of males drawn to such a place. There was a bachelor party, a job interview, and a politician and his protégé. The bits and pieces of conversation that flitted past her ears kept the work from becoming boring.
She was on her fourth tray when she found herself at the farthest corner of the room, slightly cut off from the crowd, in an area thick with flowers and trees.
“Over here.” A burly man in a brown suit called to her from deep within the burrow of vegetation. The bear mask he wore was designed to look grumpy but the man’s tone made her believe it was a reasonable reflection of his human countenance.
“Canapé?” She lowered her tray from her shoulder so he could take a better look.
“How long have you been working here?” he asked, as he perused the selection.
“Not long.” A meaty hand cupped her ass, making her jump. She tried to step away from him but he gripped her butt cheek harder and grabbed her tray with his other hand.
“Five hundred. Come upstairs with me.”
“No. I’m not for sale.” She squirmed against his grip. Although she was capable of tearing his arm off, she tempered her reaction, afraid she might drop the tray or fall off her stilettos. The damn shoes were the problem. As strong as she was, they set her off-balance.
Playing tug-of-war with her tray, the bear didn’t take no for an answer. “You could be making ten times what you’re making now. I’m good, honey. You’ll enjoy me as much as the cash.” While she was concentrating on extracting her tray from his grip without the canapés ending up on the floor, his hand moved from her ass, over her hip, and, to her great surprise, directly between her legs.
The wolf inside boiled to the surface. Dropping the tray on the table, she grabbed the wrist of the hand between her thighs and squeezed. “Keep your hands to yourself.” She felt his bones compress within her grip. A little harder and he’d need a cast. A lot harder and she’d crush the carpal bones, an injury requiring surgery. She hoped she could restrain herself.
“Fuck. Let me go, bitch.”
She squeezed harder.
“Aah!” His free hand balled into a fist and connected with the side of her face, all his body weight behind it. A blast of pain radiated through her jaw and into her skull. The blow knocked her off her feet and she fell hard, her hip slapping the floor. She recovered quickly, intending to return the blow. But before she could wrestle the damn stilettos back under her, Nate and a man in a lion mask appeared above her.
“That’s enough, Bradley,” the lion said. “You’re out of here.”
Nate grabbed the man by the elbow and steered him toward an exit.
“I have a right to be here,” the bear shouted. “I paid my dues. Are you going to lose a premium member over a fucking waitress?”
“No, over you being a fucking asshole,” the lion said under his breath. Nate had the bear through the door before the man could call any more attention to the situation. The few people who had noticed the skirmish returned to their conversations.
“Are you all right?” the lion asked, holding out a hand to help Laina up.
She rubbed her jaw. “I think so. Thank you. Usually, I can handle guys like that, but he caught me off guard.”
“Even if you can, you shouldn’t have to. You’re serving, not being served.”
“Right. Not on the menu.”
“Do you mind if I…” Still holding her hand from when he helped her up, he reached out with his opposite knuckle to brush her cheek, warm and gentle, a touch that at any other time she might appreciate. But the punch had hurt more than she’d expected; she jerked away in pain.
“I’m sorry.” The lion winced. “He tore your makeup. I thought I could fix it.”
“I’ll find Wesley,” she said.
“He left for the night. Do you need to see a doctor?” The band began another number, and he stepped in closer as he spoke.
“No. I’m fine.” She met his eyes and her inner wolf stirred from her slumber. Through the eyeholes of the mask, she made out hazel eyes, the color of ripe wheat. She traced the heavy bones of the jaw that protruded from beneath the mask and the tightly controlled lips that seemed to war between wanting to smile at her and his obvious concern for her well-being.
“Do you work here?” she asked bringing her lips to his ear. She inhaled deeply. Human, a spicy cologne, and the slightest hint of deep forest. Her eyes widened. It couldn’t be.
He stroked his thumb along hers. “Something like that.” Focused on her lips, he licked his own. His gaze flicked to her breasts. The latex around her nipples had puckered from her body’s response to him. Embarrassed, she turned toward the table to gather her tray.
What was different about this man than any other? She’d served over a hundred men that night, of all different heights, weights, and colors, but none had warranted the slightest bit of interest from her or her wolf. He was slightly taller than she was and big, with hard muscles that seemed intractable beneath his shirt and suit jacket, but nothing about his size or physique was alarmingly different. Only her response was exceptional. Her inner wolf was bent over with her tail in the air, begging to be mounted. And although Laina still had control of her body and mind despite the coming moon, the wetness between her legs was instinctual, primal, and completely beyond her control.
“I should get back to work,” she said, her back to him. “Maybe I can find someone to touch up my face.”
“You’re absolutely stunning,” he said. “What’s your name?” He stepped toward her again, so that the front of his suit just barely grazed her back, his face inches from her shoulder. Her wolf begged her to turn, to plant her lips on his and hitch her leg over his hip. An image of herself arched over the cocktail table with his mouth between her legs filled her mind.
Biting her lip hard, she snapped herself out of it. “I have to go.”
I’ve never shared this publicly, and it’s a little weird and embarrassing, but I can’t fall asleep without a glass of water next to my bed. Ever. It can be a glass of tap water or a bottle of water, but not a Gatorade or a soda. It has to be water. And if there’s no water, my brain will play a little song on continuous loop. Get up and get water. You need water. There’s no water. Your throat is dry. You’ll need water. It’s not time to sleep yet. Get up. Get water.
This water habit started sometime during grade school and has nothing to do with thirst. Yes, sometimes I get thirsty in the middle of the night and take a sip, but 99.9% of the time I wake up to a full glass, now lukewarm, on my bedside table. My husband has tried to analyze my habit since our honeymoon. “It’s a trap for evil spirits,” he says, “a modern-day dream catcher filtering out the bad dreams through its clear fluid depths.” I’m not sure, really. I will say that the thought of not having access to water is as terrifying to me as spiders or clowns. And the first thing I think of when someone is upset is to offer him or her a glass of water.
Now that you know my quirky secret, what’s something unique about you? Can you relate to my water habit?