End of September howls and yowls, shapeshifter lovers.
Here’s another continuation of my recent flash scenes, *One Shade of Silver Wolf* and *Thundercloud yanked on his mental leash.*. Thundercloud and Kailla are at Talbot Peak’s BBQ cookoff and faire, standing at one of the arts and crafts booths.
Kailla willed her feet to move, to become unglued from the sidewalk. She needed to walk away, walk anywhere…leave! … there was just something about the man standing behind her. That ‘something’ tingle-shivered through her as if she suddenly found herself naked on a iceberg. What the hell?!
‘Move!’ she commanded her feet, even as the man began to answer the carver.
“Perfect, Carl. Those silvery shades are most popular with our customers. Count on my brother, Storm, to be in touch soon.”
With the man’s towering low voice doing the silky dance through her, Kailla twisted around to get a glimpse of him. Yeah, she’d failed. But, who had a brother named Storm? And he was called Thunder…
Her gaze kept rising. Eye-to-eye with his fab-abs at first—covered only by the stretchy clingy, dark gray material of his muscle shirt—Kailla stopped at the over-large breadth of his chest. Did the man lift mountains as a hobby?
“New in town?” the man pleasantly inquired. Although, the undertone of his voice was electric, just like a coming thunderstorm. And her body reacted.
“Yes.” Somehow the word croaked out of her constricted throat. Her gaze found his face, having halted again at his neck… a strong corded column, yet not bulky. He wasn’t the prize fighter type as her Dad would say.
Kailla absolutely stared at his bold features. Viking…the stuff of a woman’s fantasies. Oh, damn…
“Thundercloud,” he introduced himself. He started to raise his hand, as if he would shake hers. But there wasn’t enough room between them.
Good thing. If she touched him… well, his hand might feel way too good … and she really, really didn’t want to get involved. Besides, who knew what manly mojo he possessed? And, who could miss his interest in her—shining like a neon sign in his lake-blue eyes.
“Kailla.” Yeah, involuntarily her name had escaped. What now? She could say something like ‘I need to go’ … ‘nice meeting you’ … then just turn away…
“Which carving is your favorite, Kailla?” he conversationally asked… yet that *lightning in the air* feeling still zapped her. And why did her name have to feel so good when he said it?
And why couldn’t he be a dolt with pathetically few brain cells. No, oh no, a super intelligence lurked behind those Viking eyes. Double damn. Her only saving grace, the hormone thing hadn’t kicked in… well, not fully. She could still walk away.
Instead… “They’re all beautiful. Amazing, really. I take it you like wolves.”
Something flickered in the depths of his eyes. A secret? Kailla usually knew when someone lied, or was being deceptive. She’d been that way since a small child.
She’d also learned the hard way, as a kid, that some secrets should be kept hidden. To protect the innocent. Yeah, some secrets could be misinterpreted, then used like machine-gun ammo to take someone good down. Throughout her life, she’d watched it happen, time and time again. And been victimized herself a few times. Enemies were around every corner, especially in the current super-surveillance climate.
“You could say I like wolves,” he smoothly responded. “There are several packs around here. I’ve seen them in the wilds.”
Eeriness washed over Kailla. “I saw a wolf just before arriving in town. A huge silver one. It was strange,” she tacked on, even as goosebumps slithered down her arms.
“How so?” Again that flicker, and a speculative darkening of his eyes.
“I didn’t think wolves chased vehicles. I know he wasn’t a dog. Unless, he was less than half wolf.” Kailla paused, assessing the man’s expression. “Are the wolves in this area aggressive toward people?”
“In the last several years there have been a few incidents of wolves being aggressive. However, so far, it’s been against bad guys. Those who have hurt others.” Thundercloud’s stance eased. His penetrating gaze remained the same. “No one was killed or hurt seriously. Although…”
“Although?” Kailla quirked a brow, sensing there was a complexity to the situation he wasn’t revealing.
An audible whoosh of breath passed between his admittedly gorgeous lips. “Some years ago before I and my brothers arrived, there was a change in the power structure of the town.” After a hesitation, he continued. “As I understand, a woman named Kitty was threatened after she wrote a letter to editor of the G & B Gazette. She complained about the change in the paper. The word ‘roadkill’ was used, and some charged, believed a werewolf pack had taken over Talbot’s Peak.”
“Wow… that is, is unusual.” Taken aback by his words, Kailla wondered that she didn’t take actual steps backward.
“That story brings in the tourists,” Carl, the wood carver, piped up. “Nowadays folks believe the wolves are like spirit-animal protectors. Right, Thunder?”
“Right. Like you say. Kailla, if you’d like to meet Kitty, she runs the library in town. She’s also Dante’s girl. He owns the business complex where my brothers and I have a nightclub.”
Nightclub. Images ran rampant through her head. A Viking hunk who apparently owns a nightclub. Did his brothers resemble him?
“That’s why all the wolf art?” Kailla figured she’d go down that trail, for now. That is, instead of explaining she’d already met Kitty, by phone, by Skype, and was about to teach computer research skills at the library. “People think of the wolves as protectors?”
Thunder gave a short nod. “Would you like a spirit wolf in wood form? I’d like to buy one for you.”
A gift. Double oh no! The man was real serious about getting to know her. Decision time.
‘Walk away,’ Kailla told herself. Repeatedly told herself. Say anything, make any excuse. Just leave.
Was she nodding in acceptance? Good God! What was she doing? Every particle of her wanted to cocoon for awhile. Lick her wounds. Adjust to life in Talbot’s Peak.
But no… other parts of her sparked to life. Unable to prevent her next words, Kailla heard herself speak. “Thank you. I’d like a spirit wolf, given I’ll be living in Talbot’s Peak. I’m sure I need the good luck, the protection.”
Did Thunder’s features just transform? What appeared to be a satisfied smile flashed across his face. His eyes glowed bluer, the gleam almost supernatural.
“Let’s find out which one is your favorite.” He pivoted and swept his arm over the display.
Still attempting to talk herself out of accepting a gift from him, Kailla tore her gaze from his face. She turned around, and with deliberate care studied the lovely carvings. Was there one that closely resembled the enormous silver wolf she’d seen charging her minivan?
“How about this one?” Carl reached beneath his table producing a carving that was substantially larger than the ones on the table. The running wolf had been carved out of a silvery wood.
“Oooh, I like it. Wait. Isn’t this too expensive?” Okay, her thrifty nature had surfaced. But, she didn’t want this Thunder guy thinking he could buy her, either.
Still, as Carl handed the beautiful powerful wolf to her, Kailla took hold. She wanted a closer look at the magnificent wood sculpture. She wanted to feel it. Yep, she was tactile by nature also. Studying the carving’s detail, she stroked over the wolf with one fingertip.
“Hardly too expensive.” Thunder spoke in a magnanimous growl.
“I’ll put it on your bill.” Carl’s enthusiasm at the sell couldn’t be missed. Okay, who was she to deny him a living? Not like artists had it easy. Usually.
“Why don’t I wrap that up for you?” Carl retrieved one of his attractive bags, and reached for the tissue paper.
Kailla handed over the wolf carving. The deed was done. She’d have to deal with the consequences. With that in mind, she faced Mr. Viking Thundercloud.
‘Thank you,’ formed on her lips. But before she could speak, he asked, “Are you hungry?”
Embarrassingly, her stomach growled. “Obviously hungry like a wolf.” Kailla grinned a little at him. “Missed some meals on my drive to Talbot’s Peak.”
“Why don’t we do a tour and decide which BBQ stand to try first.” Thundercloud offered his arm.
TO BE CONTINUED…
Wishing you love and passion on the wild side ~
Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance