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Texas Ranch Wolf Pack Series Book 9
BY LYNN NODIMA
When Violet escapes her abusive fiancé, he sends men to bring her back. The last thing she expects is to be rescued by two strange women with uncanny abilities.
With his last attempt thwarted, her fiancé kidnaps Violet’s sister and father to force her to come to him.
But he doesn’t know about her new friends.
As Violet struggles to find a way to get her family safely home, she is stunned to learn her new friends are more than they seem.
Can she accept that vampires, werewolves, werepanthers, and werebears are real?
And when they offer to help her retrieve her family, will she trust them to help her again?
Or will her world crash around her as she loses all she’s ever had?
Author’s Note: While Wolf’s Rage is numbered on Amazon at book 9 in the Texas Ranch Wolf Pack Series, the events in the book occur between books 7 and 8. I wanted to number the book as 7.5, but the system Amazon uses would not permit it.
The books can be read as stand-alones, but would be better enjoyed if read in the following chronological order:
Flora Garrett, werepanther clowder queen, turned first one way in front of the three-way mirror, then the other while studying the wedding gown she wore. Her panther, Leesha, hissed at the image. Flora agreed with Leesha. She wrinkled her nose and glanced at Dottie Paddock, the other bride in the double wedding ceremony coming up in less than two weeks. Not once in all her life had Flora thought she would ever wear a wedding gown. Were had mating ceremonies, not weddings.
Nate Rollins, the alpha that claimed and protected her clowder as part of his pack when the clowder was threatened, was raised human. When he married his mate, Janelle, the idea of weddings became more normal. She took another look at the gown and shook her head. “I don’t like it. It’s too . . . frilly.” She waved her hand down her body at the mountains of ruffles and ribbons.
Standing beside Flora, wearing the same gown selected by their mates-to-be, Dottie laughed and nodded. “I agree. I think we both need something a little less, um, just a little less.”
Grinning, Flora rolled her eyes. “That’ll teach us to let the sales clerk talk the men into choosing us a dress.”
“Absolutely. Or let them come with us. What say we send them shopping for groceries, or something, and look for something we like better?”
“Sounds good to me.” Flora thought for a moment, then laughed. “Nate said the ranch needs some salt blocks for the cattle he’s planning to buy at auction next month. Why don’t we send the guys after them, so we can have time to shop?”
“But the closest feed shop is . . ..” Dottie’s eyes widened, and she laughed. “That’s perfect. With traffic, they’d be gone for at least two hours.”
Arm in arm, the two women went to send the men away. Flora hummed along with the subdued, canned Christmas instrumentals wafting through the store. When they walked through the drapes into the private viewing area, Will Freyen and Ben Garrett both stood up from the upholstered bench along the wall. “See, Will, I told you those dresses would be perfect for the girls.”
At the smirk on Ben’s face, the two women exchanged glances. Flora stepped forward, gave her dad a hug, then gave Will a kiss. “You guys have great taste, but I think we’re going to just look around for a while.”
Ben raised an eyebrow at his daughter. “Great taste, huh? If it’s so great, why do you want to find something else?”
“Because,” said Dottie, slipping her hand into the crook of his elbow, “it’s unlucky for the groom, or grooms, in this case, to see the gown before the wedding.”
“And,” added Flora, “Nate said he needs about a dozen salt blocks for the herd he plans to buy, so if you guys will go get them, we’ll be ready when you get back.”
Will shook his head. “Whew! I sure was hoping you wouldn’t like the dress. We thought if we picked something really, um,” he glanced at the saleswoman and winced. “Sorry.” When she harrumphed and walked away, he winked at Flora. “The dresses are really awful, aren’t they?”
Flora giggled and nodded. She cut her eyes at Dottie, then looked up at her mate-to-be and soon-to-be husband. “We don’t have to have a wedding, you know. We can just have a mating ceremony.”
“Speak for yourself, young lady.” Her widowed dad pulled Dottie to him and kissed her forehead. “I spent years living as a hum . . ..”
Dottie gave him a fierce look and cleared her throat, jerking her head toward the clerk. “And you want a big wedding, so all your former police department friends can attend.” She gave him a smile and pulled her bottom lip behind her teeth. “Does that mean you’re going to shave your head and go gray, again, like you did for Nate’s wedding?”
When Flora and Will snickered, Ben shook his head. “Nope. I’ll tell them I’m wearing a toupee and dyed my hair, so I would look young enough to be your man.” Ben retired from his position as captain of the San Antonio Police Department, Detective Division, at the beginning of the summer. His former colleagues had no clue he was a werepanther and old enough to be the grandfather of most of them. Or even their great-grandfather. Over the years he worked there, he started shaving a bald spot in the top of his head and bleaching his hair with peroxide to pretend he was getting older. As a werepanther, he would look about thirty-five until just a few decades before he died. At one-hundred-seventy-five years of age, he still had a century or so before old age would creep up on him. After quitting the force, he stopped shaving his head and let his hair return to its natural deep brown.
Dottie laughed. “I can’t wait.” She spun in front of Ben. “You don’t really like all the frills, ruffles, lace, and ribbons, do you?”
Ben peeked over his shoulder to check the location of the clerk before he made a face like he had lemon slices in his mouth and gave her a slight headshake. “I think I’ll like whatever you choose better.”
“You guys go buy some salt licks or something.” Flora grinned. “And you could find some poinsettias to decorate all the houses, too. We’ll be ready in a couple of hours.” Flora turned her head to the side, her nose in the air like spoiled royalty. She gave them a dismissive wave with two fingers, then grinned when the two men started laughing.
Careful not to crease or rip the expensive gown she wore, Will gave Flora a quick hug. “See you later, my queen.” He stepped away from her and bent into the most perfect formal bow Flora had ever seen, his arm moving in a gallant superfluous roll, his hand ending up on his chest. When he straightened up, he turned to his soon-to-be father-in-law and swept his arm across in front of himself toward the door. “After you, my prince.”
Ben gave him a regal nod, then walked out the door, snickering while Will followed him. The women managed to keep their mirth hidden behind pretend haughty expressions until the door closed behind them. Dottie snickered, then they both started laughing. Arm in arm, they returned to the dressing room to get out of the awful gowns, so they could start looking for something more . . . less.
After changing into the soft terry robes provided for them by the boutique, they wandered through the displayed gowns for nearly an hour. Finally, Dottie sighed. “I’m not sure I really want to wear white, Flora. Or off-white. Or ecru. Since this is my second mating, I think I just want a pretty gown.”
Flora thought about it for a moment, then nodded. “I think I’d rather have something different, too. Let’s go look at the bridesmaid’s dresses.”
They walked past the Christmas tree decorated in tiny satin hearts and lace to the other side of the store. Flora stopped in front of a pale turquoise gown with a sweetheart neckline. The crocheted lace cap sleeves in a matching color draped slightly below the shoulder. Floor length satin, the skirt was modified A-line with a gentle sweep. The bodice was covered with crocheted lace matching the sleeves, with tiny pearls set into the center of the floral designs.
When Flora’s breath caught, Dottie stepped up beside her. Head cocked to the side, Dottie looked at the dress for a moment, then looked at Flora as if picturing her in the gown. “It’s perfect, Flora. And it’s your favorite color, too. Try it on!”
“I will.” Flora motioned to the clerk. “Do you have this in a size 10?”
“Ma’am, you’re the bride. Wouldn’t you prefer a white gown?”
“No.” Giving her head a firm shake, Flora raised her hand toward the turquoise gown. “I like this one.”
The clerk sighed and nodded. “Yes, Ma’am. I’ll check to see if we have the right size.”
When she slipped into the back warehouse, Flora rolled her eyes. “I’m the bride. If I want to wear something besides white, that’s just what I’ll do.”
Dottie grinned. “She’s probably upset about the difference in the commission she’ll make on this dress compared to the one we tried on earlier.”
“I’m sure you’re right.” Flora shrugged. “But I’m not shopping for her. I’m shopping for me. And I want this dress. If I can’t have this one, I’ll go somewhere else.” Flora could hear the woman walking up behind her. “Or shop online.” When she turned to face the clerk, she knew the clerk heard her, just as she intended. It wasn’t the first time someone told her they didn’t have what she wanted just to try to get her to buy something more expensive.
“Yes, Ma’am,” the clerk said with a sigh. “We do have the dress in a 10. I’ll take it to your dressing room.” She almost hid her annoyance, but not quite. Turning to face Dottie, she smiled. “Would you like to look at another bridal gown?”
“No, thank you. I think I’ll just keep looking in here.”
“As you wish. If you find something, I’ll be happy to check and see if we have it.”
Giving her an absent nod, Dottie walked until she found a high-necked dress with a mandarin collar. Made of a light coral brocade, the gown had a fitted waist with a dark coral ribbon belt and a trumpet skirt. In the same brocade, bell sleeves came to a point at the wrist. It almost looked like a medieval gown. No pearls. No lace. No ribbon, except for the belt. Simple and elegant. A slow smile spread over her lips. Flora laughed when Dottie turned to look at her. “I love it.”
Flora waved the clerk over. “She’ll take that one in a 12.”
With a sigh, the woman nodded. “I’ll bring it to the dressing room.”
As she walked away, Flora and Dottie giggled. “I guess we have our colors, now. Turquoise and coral.”
Dottie nodded. “Let’s get shoes and see if we can get veils to match.”
“If they don’t have the veils we want, we’ll just get white and dye them the color we want.”
“That works.” Dottie followed Flora back to the dressing rooms where the gowns they chose hung on hooks on the wall.
Helping each other with the tiny fabric-covered buttons up the back of each gown, they turned to face the three-sided mirrors. For several moments, the two women just stared, then met each other’s eyes in the mirror. A happy smile draped across Flora’s lips, and Dottie grinned. “Perfect.”
Flora nodded. “Let’s get shoes and veils dyed to match. And I want matching, fingerless, elbow-length crocheted gloves.”
The clerk frowned. “We don’t carry fingerless, elbow-length crocheted gloves, Ma’am.”
With a shrug, Flora looked back at the mirror. “That’s okay.” She grinned at Dottie. “Think if I find some crochet cotton the right color Mia would have time to make me some?”
“If she was excused her other tasks, I’ll bet she would.”
Flora squealed, clapped her hands, and pulled her shoulders up almost to her ears, before dropping them again. “Let’s get our shoes and veils selected and go to the craft store.”
Lynn learned to love telling stories from her tall-tale telling grandfather, her story-spinning father, and her mother’s round-robin storytelling games. Spinning yarns is in her blood, and she happily continues the family tradition.
The main difference is that Lynn writes her stories down to share with people she will never meet. Lynn writes paranormal romances/adventures, fantasy, and science fiction.
Links to Lynn’s website, blog, books, etc.
Contact Information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Website URL: www.lynnnodima.com
Thanks, Lynn, for sharing your book with us!
Don’t miss the chance to read this book!