Black Friday is here and we’re discussing the season with Terry Spear’s Tracey Whittington and Hal Haverton from Covert Cougar Christmas in the Alphas Unwrapped anthology. The latest Heart of The Cougar novel, Taming the Wild Cougar, is now available!
Special Agent for the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife Services, Tracey Whittington, takes down wildlife traffickers and more, but what she doesn’t expect is to be in a shootout, multiple times, when the business turns deadly. Nor does she suspect she’ll be working with Hal Haverton, who serves as a part-time deputy for Yuma Town, Colorado, and runs his own horse ranch. As long as he doesn’t stop her investigative work—she has been placed on administrative leave due to the last shootout—she’ll be just fine.
Hal Haverton has every intention of keeping the wild cat safe, even if it means helping her to solve the case when every time he turns around, she’s involved in another shootout. When her boss asks their good friend, the sheriff, to have one of his deputies serve as a bodyguard for the cougar shifter, Hal’s all for it. So is the other deputy, but Hal’s got this covered. Even if getting somewhere with the lady means having his gun ready at all times. There are definite perks to getting to know the Special Agent better—if they live long enough to do something about it.
Black Friday, Cougar Style
He had to know she could deal with ugly people just fine. She wrapped her arms around his neck and smiled. “You just want to tagalong so you can learn what I’m getting for you for Christmas. Your mom told me how much you tried to discover what your Christmas presents were before Christmas Day. She said they had to come up with new hiding places every year.”
Hal laughed. “They weren’t always successful.”
“I know. That’s why they had to find new hiding places. You didn’t do a good job concealing your scent and always left a trail behind. So they knew you’d found your presents when you did. But you’re not coming with me, mate of mine.”
“What do you expect me to do here while you’re fighting for your life over a few dollars savings?”
“Visit with my dad and yours. Between Dad’s undercover stuff that he’s not supposed to be involved in any longer, and your training to take down wildlife exploiters with me, you should have all kinds of things to talk about.”
Hal sighed and kissed Tracey soundly. “I’d rather do more of this.”
She smiled up at him. “We will. But later. We have to go. You hold down the fort and we’ll be home soon. Hopefully.” She kissed him again, but quickly pulled away, knowing that ploy. He would distract her to the point that she’d want to just stay here and skip all the holiday shopping madness. But not this year. This was her first year to shop for Hal for Christmas since meeting him shortly after New Year’s and the shootout she’d been involved in. She’d been lucky he was a part-time deputy sheriff and a cougar.
Her twin sister shook her head at her. “Why can’t I find a hot guy like that?”
Jessie never seemed to pick up the right guys. That’s why.
Their mom was smiling at Tracey. “Are you sure Hal won’t miss you too much?”
“Oh, he’ll miss me. But then he’ll appreciate me all the more when I return home after purchasing his Christmas gift.”
“All right, let’s go, ladies,” their mother said, and Hal’s mom sat with her in the middle seat, while Jessie drove her mom’s car to the mall.
Jessie had a devil of a time finding a parking space, and nearly collided with a car that dove for one that she saw at the same time. Her vehicle was bigger, but the driver figured he could outmaneuver her and get the spot first. He was wrong.
Jessie missed him with only an inch to spare and Tracey smiled at her sister. “Hey, Tracey, you don’t get to be the only one who takes risks and wins the day.”
Tracey laughed. She figured that they might win some, lose some in the fight to get presents they wanted at the reduced prices.
Tracey swore there were ten-thousand people at the mall today. But she’d wanted to pick up something extra special for Hal for being so sweet about taking the training to help her in missions to take down wildlife exploiters and the like. Of course, if they had to deal with cougar shifters, they could use their tearing teeth. But for the human population, she wanted to get him a new gun.
Besides, she’d promised her sister, their mom, and Hal’s mom, Milly, that she’d brave the crowds on Black Friday. She had every intention of picking up a special camera lens for Jessie for her photography work. The electronics store had the best prices for the holiday season and without the price reduction, Tracey couldn’t afford it. And for her mom, who had a thriving cake business, she wanted to get her some culinary equipment. Hal’s mom ran the newspaper in Yuma Town, and she hadn’t decided what she would get for her. But something really nice as she treated Tracey like the daughter she’d never had.
Then they saw the mad crush of people fighting over items, hands grabbing a sweater, neither customer willing to give it up, and trying to tug it out of the other’s grasp. Two men were fighting over a camera. Just all kinds of mayhem.
Tracey rushed to the camera department, determined to get the lens for her sister, no matter how difficult the task might be.
It was noon as Hal and his dad and father-in-law, Jack, played poker in the dining room, when they heard someone trying to get in through a window. Knowing it couldn’t be anyone but a housebreaker, Hal motioned for both his dad and Tracey’s to stay put. He had this in hand. Not only was he a deputy sheriff, not in this county, but still, he had the training and qualifications to take down a housebreaker, and he’d had any number of combat missions that had prepared him for any eventuality.
He should have known the other men wouldn’t stay put. Tracey’s dad had a gun hidden underneath the couch, and his dad had grabbed a frying pan. Hal raised a brow at his dad. He shrugged. He was a newspaper reporter. He needed to stay out of this.
Hal again motioned for the dads to stay back, then with 9 mm in hand, he crept toward the laundry room where the housebreaker had entered. But as soon as Hal peered around the door jamb and looked into the room, he saw Ricky, his ranch hand climbing down off the dryer. He whipped around and raised his hands in the air. “Don’t shoot! It’s just me.”
“Ricky, what the hell are you doing here?”
“Boss lady said she was shopping for Christmas presents. I wanted to go with her but she said I couldn’t on account of she could handle things just fine without me. So I thought she meant you were going with her too, you know? So I came here to protect the house and heard housebreakers.”
“You.” Hal holstered his gun.
“No you. Or, I thought it was you because you were supposed to be with her.”
“You heard we were having a big family brisket dinner today.”
“You are?” Kolby asked, poking his head through the laundry room window.
Hal cursed, not believing that Ricky’s brother was here too. “Who’s minding the ranch? Ted isn’t here too, is he?” Ted was his foreman and he’d better not have left the ranch unattended.
“Nah,” Kolby said, climbing through the window. “He’s got a girlfriend and so he wanted the peace and quiet.”
Hal got on his cell and called Ted right away. “Did you know the boys are here in Loveland, breaking and entering Tracey’s family’s home?”
“Aww, hell, boss. No. I told them to go celebrate a bit. Gave them some money to do some Christmas shopping because both were keen on it. But no way did I think they would go to Loveland. Or break into anyone’s home. Send them home. I’ll deal with it. Extra ranch chores does the trick.”
“We can join Tracey and go shopping too,” Ricky said, “protect her from all the crazies out there.” He shrugged.
“Come on, Dad, Roger? Want to do some shopping?” Hal asked. No way did he want to go shopping at this nightmarish time of year, when he didn’t like shopping at any time of year, but he felt uneasy with letting Tracey and the others fight the crowds.
“Yeah, let’s do it,” Roger said.
And with that, Hal donned his sheriff’s badge. Maybe that would help. He used his police light too. And that did help.
When they saw the crowds at the mall, all the guys took one deep unified breath and let it out.
“All right, we go in pairs and—“ Hal smiled to see his mate and the other ladies all smiles, packages galore, exiting a store.
“What are you doing here?” Tracey said, frowning, but then she directed her annoyance to the boys.
“Protecting you,” Ricky said, beaming.
She groaned and handed her packages to Hal to carry. Now it was his turn to frown. “You wouldn’t be giving me the package that was mine. You didn’t find anything for me?”
She laughed. “I have something extra special for you, but you can unwrap it before Christmas.”
He sighed. But then he smiled. He just bet she got him a new gun, but she couldn’t pick it up for a few days. “I think if you ladies are going to be all right, we’re going to shop for you now.”
She tugged at his badge and kissed him on the mouth. “Go, get ‘em, tiger.”
When the guys got home a few hours later, they looked ragged, beat, and only the boys had any packages. Ricky motioned to Hal. “He said he was shopping on the Internet next time. But we got some real deals. Can we stay for the meal?”
And that was Black Friday for a bunch of cougar shifters. The ladies all got what they wanted, the guys came home to shop on the Internet and then it was time to decorate Tracey’s family’s home for Christmas in Loveland, and after that, Hal’s parents’ home in Yuma Town, feasting on a big brisket meal after that along with one of Melanie’s famous cakes at Hal and Tracey’s ranch.
“So what did you get me for Christmas?” Hal asked, snuggling with Tracey in the hacienda back at the ranch late that wintry night in Colorado.
All she did was smile, climbed on top of him, and began to kiss him. “Christmas will be here soon enough.”
“Now that you are part of my life, Christmas is every day.”
She smiled down at him.
“You’re getting a couple of Christmas presents in the New Year. They won’t be available until the end of July.”
He frowned. “A…new book release? Movie?” He couldn’t imagine what he would be interested in that would come out that late.
“Hmmm, you’ll probably guess before long.” She ran his hands up underneath her pajama top and over her belly and smiled.
“We’re…you and I…we’re…”
“A girl and boy.”
“Hot damn, that’s the best late Christmas present I could ask for. We’ll have to get them ponies. Wait, what about your job? My job. What are—“
She kissed him to silence him. “We’ll figure it all out later. For now, finish this Black Friday off properly.”
And he growled in a perfectly male cougar way, and she decided this was the way she wanted to end every Black Friday, no matter what else they did the rest of the day.
Meet Terry Spear!
Love, love, love romance, the paranormal, hunky Highlanders with their delicious brogue and hot kilts, so Terry Spear writes about those hunky Highlanders both in medieval times and as wolves in contemporary times. Jaguar shifters too! And young adult urban fantasy. And romantic suspense.
She grew up reading mystery, adventure, mythologies from around the world, ghost stories, the paranormal, fell in love with Dracula and Wolfman, and felt they needed loving too. Everyone should have someone to love. Which means her stories always have a HEA. USA Today Bestseller residing in Central Texas from Sacramento, California who creates award-winning teddy bears too!
The Vampire…In My Dreams (Vampire Chronicles #1)
Alpha Wolf Need Not Apply (Silver Town Wolf #1) (May 3, 2016)
SEAL Wolf In Too Deep Feb 2, 2016
Savage Hunger (Heart of the Jaguar #1)
The Dark Fae (World of Fae #1)
The Trouble with Demons (Demon Guardian #1)
Kiss of the Vampire (Blood Moon #1)
Scepter of Salvation (Magic of Inherian #1)
Winning the Highlander’s Heart (Highlander Medieval #1)
Heart of the Wolf (Heart of the Wolf #1)
Terry Spears Wolf Bundle (omnibus)
Highland Werewolf Boxed Set
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