SHE BRINGS OUT THE WOLF IN HIM
Lacey Barton can’t deny her crazy attraction to Alex Trevino, but that doesn’t mean she has time for the gorgeous SWAT officer. She’s hell-bent on discovering who’s behind the brutal dogfights sending countless mauled animals to her veterinarian office. The trail leads Lacey to a ring of vicious drug dealers and suddenly she’s in way over her head—right smack in the middle of a SWAT stakeout.
With Lacey in danger, Alex’s wolf side is unleashed. But when she witnesses Alex shift, she’s even more terrified… Now it’s up to Alex to crack the case—and earn back Lacey’s trust and, ultimately, her heart.
The sixth book, Wolf Hunt, releases June 6, 2017; so if How Special Wolf Alpha Team Does Black Friday gets your interest, make sure you check out the first book, Hungry Like the Wolf.
How Special Wolf Alpha Team Does Black Friday
“Okay, it’s official. I’m getting you a T-Shirt that says Hands off…I’m taken!” Lacey Barton complained softly as a herd of women gathered around Alex Trevino, supposedly oohing and ahhing over the cute puppies her big Dallas SWAT boyfriend held in his equally big hands.
She said “supposedly” since quite a few of the women attending the first ever West Village Black Friday Doggy Adoption Event weren’t actually looking at the puppies but were instead more captivated by him. They seemed especially taken with the way his skin-tight dark-blue Dallas PD SWAT T-Shirt showed off all his muscles. Some of the women looked like they wanted to stuff him in their shopping bags and take him home.
From where he was standing on the other side of the grassy area, Alex chuckled softly and turned to give her a dazzling look of pure adoration. The moment their eyes met, her heart skipped a beat. All he had to do was give her a single heated glance to remind her she never had to worry about stuff like that.
Alex was a werewolf, and Lacey was The One for him. She was still learning about exactly what that really meant, but she knew enough to understand there was a bond between them no one could ever break. He loved her, and she loved him so much it practically made her heart burst with happiness.
She almost laughed out loud at that admission. She’d never been the kind to believe in true love, much less love at first sight. Heck, she could remember a time not too long ago when she didn’t even believe in the concept of love at all. In her experience, guys were okay in small doses, but in the long run, they always disappointed you.
But Alex had changed all that. The fact he’d stayed by her side when her sister, Kelsey, had been kidnapped was a big deal. The way he’d risked his own life on more than one occasion to keep her and Kelsey safe was obviously important, too. But more than any of that, the one thing that had really opened Lacey’s eyes to how completely different Alex was had been his willingness to put himself out there and risk his secret as well as his heart simply for the opportunity to love her. Seeing that kind of leap of faith had made loving him a no-brainer. It made not loving him impossible.
Alex handed the two puppies off to his SWAT teammates, Remy Boudreaux and Max Lowry, then headed over to her side of the doggy adoption event. Between all the people wandering through with their dogs and the overwhelming number of Santa Claus bell ringers asking for donations, it took a while. Hadn’t anyone pointed out how the appearance of twenty Santas all at once was going to confuse the heck out of the kids?
“So, how’s it going over here?” Alex asked, leaning in to give her a quick kiss then flashing her a dimpled grin that melted her heart. “Lots of people signing up to adopt?”
Lacey held up the big clipboard full of application forms. “We’ve found forever homes for over twenty of our guys already.” She grinned, unable to hide her excitement. She absolutely loved dogs—it was one of the big reasons she’d become a vet—and if there was one thing even more gratifying than nursing a sick or injured stray back to health, it was finding a family to love and take care of them forever. “We’ve never done this well at any of our adoption events. It’s amazing!”
“I guess it was a good idea coming out here to the mall on Black Friday, huh?” Alex surveyed the adorable doggies—young, old, and everything in between—that still needed homes. “I never would have thought it would bring out so many dog lovers.”
Lacey shook her head. Setting up at a busy mall on Black Friday certainly helped encourage people to stop by their event, but that wasn’t the reason for their phenomenal success this morning. That was due largely to Alex and his packmates.
Maybe it was because all of them were so damn attractive. Or perhaps it was the natural animal magnetism that came with being a werewolf. Either way, people—especially women—simply gravitated to the SWAT officers. Heck, even the dogs loved being around them. And when you put happy people together with happy pooches, what did you get? Lots and lots of adoption requests.
“I’m pretty sure it’s not the Black Friday sales that are putting people in the mood to adopt,” she murmured. “Something tells me you, Remy, and Max might have something to do with it.”
Alex flashed her a sexy smile. “Really? If that’s the case, does it mean I’m in line for some kind of reward later?”
Lacey laughed, leaning in close and putting her mouth near his, breathing in his delicious scent and licking her lips in anticipation. “I definitely think we can work out a reward for all your hard work. Did you have anything special in mind?”
Alex’s eyes flashed gold, and Lacey felt a tingle of electricity course through her body. If they weren’t in a mall parking lot crowded with people…
“Anything that involves you being naked once we get home will do just fine,” he whispered, kissing her.
Lacey couldn’t hold in the little moan that slipped out at the taste of his tongue. That little tingle she’d felt before settled into a deeper vibration that centered itself just below her stomach and spread outward. It was like that every time they kissed. One touch of his lips on hers was all it took to get her aroused, and when that happened, it usually meant their clothes were soon going to be coming off.
As the kiss deepened and Alex’s strong hands slid down her back to pull her closer to his body, she wondered if maybe they could slip off to her SUV long enough for a quickie.
“Get a room, you two,” a soft feminine voice interrupted from behind Lacey. “Or better yet, take a cold shower.”
Alex slowly pulled away, a flash of yellow lingering in his eyes before they returned to their chocolate brown color. He looked over Lacey’s shoulder, a smile pulling up the corners of his lips.
“Hey,” he said to her sister. “What are you doing here?”
Lacey turned to give her sister a curious look. Tall with blond hair, she had a sprinkle of freckles across her nose. “Yeah. I thought you were studying for your fall finals?”
Kelsey shrugged. “I’m supposed to be, but I needed to take a break.” Her mouth twitched. “I figured I’d come down here and hang out with my sister for a while, only to discover she’s too busy making out with her guy even to notice I’m here.”
“Oh, I noticed.” Lacey grinned. “I was enjoying myself too much to stop.”
When her sister opened her mouth to reply, Lacey braced herself for a heavy dose of snark because Kelsey was a sophomore in college and therefore always snarky. But Alex interrupted with a hands-up gesture of surrender.
“Okay, hold on a second,” he said. “Before you two get into another display of dysfunctional sibling affection, I’m going to do the intelligent thing and bail.”
Kelsey laughed. “What, a big, strong, muscular cop like you afraid you might hear something that might make you blush?”
He nodded. “Exactly. Besides, I’m sure Remy and Max could use some help over there with the dogs.”
Kelsey sighed as Alex made his escape. “Do you have any idea how lucky you are to find a guy like that? He’s practically perfect in every way.”
“I’m well aware of how lucky I am,” Lacey said with a smile.
She watched in amazement as Alex picked up a tiny Chihuahua and offered him up to a huge biker dressed in denim and leather and covered in tattoos. It wouldn’t have been the dog Lacey would have selected for a guy like that, but apparently Alex knew what he was doing. The big biker practically melted into a puddle of goo as he took the little dog and rocked her in his arms.
“So, when are the two of you getting married?” Kelsey casually asked.
Lacey doubted her sister saw the way Alex arched a brow in their direction. Of course her sister had no way of knowing he’d heard everything she said. But Lacey knew and didn’t bother hiding her grin from either of them. Marriage wasn’t something she and Alex had talked about yet, but she knew that was only because he didn’t want to rush her. It had taken a little work on his part even to commit to the notion of their moving in together. He probably thought she’d want to take an equally long period of time before getting to the next stage. He wasn’t necessarily wrong, but she also recognized that she’d already warmed to the idea they were going to spend the rest of their lives together.
“When we’re ready,” she said, glancing over at Alex as she did. “There’s no need to rush, and Alex is the type of man who likes to do things the right way—courting, a ring, an engagement. That kind of stuff.”
Kelsey snorted. “Well, considering the kiss I just saw him laying on you, I think you have the courting part well in hand. And as far as a ring, there’s a jewelry store right over there.”
Lacey looked across the grassy area they were using for the adoption event to see there was indeed a jewelry store nestled among the other high-end stores along the front of the main building. Funny, she hadn’t even noticed the place. That was probably because there were so many Santa Clauses walking around they made seeing the storefront nearly impossible. Or maybe it was because she’d never thought about jewelry that much. Until now.
She caught Alex looking at her with a knowing expression, but she only smiled and turned back to Kelsey.
“Thanks for the directory assistance,” she told her sister. “But I’m sure Alex can find a jewelry store when he’s ready.”
Kelsey snorted. “Who’s talking about Alex finding a jewelry shop? This is the twenty-first century. Why don’t you go buy him a ring?”
Lacey shook her head. Kelsey wasn’t that much younger than she was, but her sister definitely had some different ideas when it came to men and relationships. If they got into it here, it’d go on the rest of the day.
“Enough about me and Alex,” Lacey said. “What’s going on with you? I’ve never seen you need to take a break from studying before. Things not working out in the dorms like you thought?”
Kelsey had moved into the dorms at Regional Texas College after the crazy events back in August when her sister had been kidnapped and almost killed. Lacey had realized she’d been holding onto Kelsey too tightly, afraid to let her go out into the world and start her own life. Letting her have the traditional college experience of living in a dorm had seemed like a good first step.
“The dorms are okay, but I’m thinking of moving out.”
Lacey tried to hide her excitement, but it was tough. She’d been okay with Kelsey moving out of the apartment she now shared with Alex, but to tell the truth, she’d been worried about her sister. She and Alex wouldn’t be able to run around with his fangs hanging out anymore, but they’d put up with it. Having her sister back under her roof would be worth it.
“I think that would be great,” Lacey said. “You can stay with Alex and me until you finish school, then we’ll go from there.”
Kelsey stared at her like a pig with a Rolex. “Are you crazy? There’s no way I’m moving in with you and Alex. I saw the way he was kissing you and I have no desire to walk in on the two of you going at it like two minks. You guys probably run around the apartment naked all the time, and I really don’t want to see that!”
Lacey tried not to blush. That was exactly what she and Alex had been doing since he’d moved in and Kelsey moved out. Instead, she tried to focus on what her sister had just said.
“So, if you’re not talking about moving back in with us, where are you going?” Lacey asked. “Because you sure don’t have the money to live somewhere on your own.”
Kelsey grinned. “I’m thinking of moving in with Moe and the rest of the guys over at Becker and Jayna’s. I know it’s tight already, and can get a bit crazy now and then, but they never complain about having me around.”
Lacey’s eyes almost fell out of her head. She knew that Kelsey and Moe Jenkins, the youngest beta werewolf from Jayna’s pack, hung out now and then. That was fine with Lacey because Moe was an awesome guy. And as a beta werewolf, it wasn’t like she had to worry about the two of them ever straying too far. Beta werewolves couldn’t stand to spend more than a night or two away from the rest of their pack.
That brought up a huge problem. Kelsey didn’t know about the existence of werewolves. How could living there possibly work out?
“I don’t think that’s a very good idea, Kelsey,” she finally said.
Kelsey folded her arms, her face getting that look that suggested she’d known this was coming. “And why is that? Because I’m too young to make a decision like this? Or is it that you don’t approve of my choice in men since Moe just got his GED and is only going to college part-time?
“That’s not it at all, and you know it,” Lacey protested.
She sighed. Why did everything have to be so hard with her sister? Lacey thought they’d gotten to a better place after everything they’d gone through. She guessed not.
“No, I don’t know it,” Kelsey snapped. “So, why don’t you tell me why you think it’s such a bad idea?”
Lacey didn’t have a clue where to start and had a sinking feeling anything she said was going to light Kelsey off like a bottle rocket. While this really wasn’t the time or place for it, Lacey couldn’t let it go.
But before she could say anything, Alex slipped between her and her sister.
“Kelsey, why don’t you go over and help Remy and Max out?” he suggested. “I think the dogs are getting the best of the guys.”
* * * * *
Alex watched as Lacey’s sister ran over to help Remy and Max collect up the half dozen dogs who’d just figured out how to open the door of their temporary display pen and were even now running around the area like a bunch of over-caffeinated greyhounds. The gathered crowd of animal lovers and bell ringing Santas thought it was the cutest thing ever and were cheering the dogs on.
“I thought you promised you were going to stop trying to run your sister’s life?” he reminded Lacey as he pulled her into his arms for a hug.
Part of the reason he loved Lacey was because she was always so worried about others, be it her sister, a stray dog, or every lost cause she ever stumbled across.
Lacey hugged him back, resting her cheek against his chest. “I did, but this is different. How would moving into a place even more crowded than her college dorm work? She’s still only halfway through school, and Moe just started. They don’t have time to focus on a relationship, not a real one. They’d be distracted, and both of them would likely end up messing up their education.”
Alex understood her concern. This was her sister they were talking about. She’d practically raised Kelsey on her own. It was nearly impossible for Lacey to stand around and keep her mouth closed when she thought Kelsey was making a mistake.
“Then there’s the whole werewolf thing,” she added. “Kelsey obviously doesn’t know about you guys, so is Moe going to tell her? What if she slips up and lets the pack’s secret out?”
Alex pulled back to look at her. “Yes, the beta house is crowded. But that’s because that’s how beta werewolves like it. They feel more comfortable in a tight pack environment. It makes them feel more relaxed and secure. But they know how to support each other. So if Kelsey and Moe need quiet in order to study, the pack will make sure they get it. And being with the person you’re meant to be with isn’t a distraction. In fact, it’s quite the opposite, as I’m sure you’ll admit.”
Lacey took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “Do you think there’s something between Moe and Kelsey? Could she be The One for him?”
“No one knows but them,” Alex said. “Even then, it will take time for them to figure it out. Maybe they’re meant to be together like we are, or maybe they’re going to end up just being friends. Only time will tell.”
Lacey glanced at her sister, who was still helping get the dogs back in their temporary pens. The pooches were clearly having fun running around Max and Remy, just like any puppies being goofy around a couple of alphas.
“Aren’t you worried about Kelsey figuring out your secret?” she asked, turning back to him.
He shook his head again. “No. Becker and Jayna know how to keep things under control over there. Remember that Mia was dating Joseph seriously for over three months before he decided it was time to tell her. Moe will be the same way. When Kelsey is ready to learn the truth, he’ll tell her.”
Lacey sighed. “I know, but I worry about her. I don’t want her to get hurt. What if it doesn’t work out between them?”
“Then she’ll never learn about werewolves, and she and Moe will end up being no more than they are now—good friends. There’s nothing wrong with that.”
Lacey considered that for a moment. “Well, I hope it works out between them. I don’t want to be the one who has to deal with the fallout if it doesn’t. Plus, she might have to actually move back in with us.”
“That would be complicated,” he agreed as a few random strangers and the occasional portly Santa helped return the last of the dogs to their pens. “So, you feel like stopping by a certain jewelry store after we’re done here?”
She smiled. “Heard that part of the conversation, did you?”
Alex chuckled. “Sorry, but when I hear someone mention rings, marriage, and me in the same conversation, it’s kind of hard to miss it. Even when I’m trying to give you and your sister some privacy.”
Lacey laughed, but he couldn’t miss the sly glance she gave him. “Kelsey was just teasing me. You know that, right?”
Alex nodded, but knew there was more to it than that. He’s heard Lacey’s heart rate pick up when she’d been talking to her sister. He’d have had to be stupid not to realize marriage was something she’d probably been thinking about lately.
“Sure.” He leaned closer, savoring the incredible scent that rolled off her body 24/7. “But that doesn’t mean we couldn’t go to the jewelry store and take a look. It doesn’t have to mean we’re jumping into anything. We’re just…browsing.”
She regarded him thoughtfully. “This isn’t some trick to find out what kind of wedding ring I’d like, is it?”
In truth, he’d been thinking exactly that, figuring her heart rate would give her away when she saw the perfect ring. But he wasn’t about to admit it out loud. “No, nothing like that at all. I just thought it would be something fun to do.”
Lacey nodded. “Uh-huh.”
He was about to mount a stauncher defense, when Remy walked over and interrupted him.
“Sorry to butt in on this deeply riveting conversation, but Max and I were just wondering if you two were planning to help us get these dogs adopted, or if you’re going to stand here and make cow eyes at each other all day?”
Alex shook his head. Remy was the Pack’s resident player. He loved women so much so he couldn’t imagine why any werewolf would want to settle down with just one. Of all the wolves in the Pack, Remy was the guy Alex assumed would never find The One for him. It simply defied logic that the guy would ever slow down long enough to even notice the right woman if he was lucky enough to stumble over her.
“Come on,” he said, taking Lacey’s hand. “Remy’s right. It’s getting late, and if we want to find all these guys a home, we need to get a move on.”
They followed Remy across the lawn to where Max was standing near the main desk of the adoption event. It was getting late in the afternoon, and the crowd that had filled the area all day was starting to thin out. Alex wondered how many more dogs they were going to find homes for before they had to leave. They’d done well today, but he’d prefer all the dogs find families.
Max and Kelsey were too busy staring at the jewelry store to notice him, Lacey, and Remy. Alex thought for a second that one of them was about to make a comment about wedding rings, but then he realized they were looking at the dozen or so Santas wandering around in front of the store.
“You know, I used to think clowns were creepy, but I’ve decided they have nothing on Santas,” Remy remarked. “There’s something positively freakish about a herd of Santa Clauses hanging around like that. It makes me think a George Romero movie is about to break out.”
“I think it’s festive,” Lacey said. “I bet they’re all here to take part in a flash mob or something. See the way they keep looking at their cell phones? I’d bet money that’s what’s going on.”
Alex didn’t know the first thing about flash mobs, but he agreed with Max that there was something strange about this many Santas hanging around one place. Didn’t these guys have a union—or a pack of elves—to keep this straight?
Before he could figure out exactly why the scene was bothering him so much, the majority of the red-suited men turned and headed down the sidewalk toward one of the mall restaurants. Lacey was right. There must be some kind of promotional thing going on down there.
After a few moments, Alex forgot the Santas as he got back in the swing of finding homes for the shelter dogs. Maybe they should do this every week? They could seriously put a dent in the area’s backlog of rescue pets if they did.
Alex was in the process of filling out the paperwork for an older gentleman and a chill-to-the-bone lab he was adopting, when a strange sound caught his attention. When he looked up, he realized it had caught Remy’s and Max’s attention as well.
“Was that the sound of glass breaking?” Remy asked quietly.
“I think it was,” Alex said, ignoring the older man and his lab while he turned his head this way and that, trying to pinpoint exactly where the sound had come from.
“I didn’t hear anything,” the older man said, looking around in confusion.
Alex stepped away from the man, moving slowly toward the row of shops that included the jewelry store. He’d only gone about ten feet when a crowd of twenty men dressed in Santa suits came running down the sidewalk in front of the store, jostling people out of their way and laughing and shouting like they were on drugs. As they reached the jewelry shop, the door opened and two more Santas rushed out, trying to blend in with the others dressed exactly like them. It probably would have been easier if it weren’t for the black cloth bags in their hands—and the guns.
“They just hit the jewelry shop!” Alex said as he took off running, Remy and Max right behind him.
When the crowd of people around the adoption event saw the armed Santas and the three huge SWAT officers running toward them, everyone scattered, even the dogs. Every pooch left in the place, from puppies to old timers, escaped from their pens, trying their best to keep up with Alex, Remy, and Max.
“Be careful,” Alex heard Lacey whisper behind him, and he threw up a hand to acknowledge the warning.
Amazingly, despite the commotion, he and the other guys were able to keep their eyes on the fleeing burglars. That was probably thanks to the black bags the men were carrying. Why the hell hadn’t they brought red bags like the decoy Santas? Had they no sense of tradition?
Out of the corner of his eye, Alex saw a white van trying to work its way through the crowd of people flooding the road in front of the shops. It probably wouldn’t have struck Alex as odd if the driver wasn’t attempting to go against the flow in an effort to reach the armed thieves. It helped that he was also wearing one of those damn Santa suits.
Alex pointed at the van, but Max was already heading that way.
“I’m on it!” his packmate shouted, darting through the crowd to cut off the van.
That left Alex and Remy—and a whole lot of dogs—to deal with the two burglars.
The Santa thieves must have realized they weren’t going to make it to their van, not with Max standing in front of it with his hand on his weapon. They quickly spun around and headed back the way they’d come.
Alex and Remy followed, waiting until they rounded the parking garage and were well out of sight of any onlookers before picking up speed and closing the distance between them and the runaway Santas in seconds.
One of the burglars dropped his bag of jewelry and his gun, maybe thinking it would lighten his load enough for him to get away. The other guy was bolder—or dumber. He twisted his body, lifted his weapon, and tried to line up a shot at Alex while running full speed ahead.
Alex darted to the side, letting his body shift just far enough to give him a burst of speed, then surged forward to slam into the Santa like a truck. The gun, jewelry bag, and burglar all went flying, smacking headlong into his fleeing companion and sending both men to the ground.
Alex and Remy kicked the weapons aside while the men rolled around, groaning in pain. By then, their backup, in the form of a pack of very adoptable dogs, had showed up and jumped all over the Santas like it was the most fun game ever.
“I guess we should cuff these guys and get them out of here before the dogs lick them to death,” Alex said.
Remy reached behind his back and pulled out his cuffs, handing them to Alex. “You do it. No way in hell I’m slapping cuffs on Santa Claus. I’ll never get another Christmas present as long as I live.”
Alex stared at him. “You’re kidding, right? Santa isn’t real, and if he was, there sure as hell wouldn’t be two of him, and he wouldn’t be stealing jewelry.”
Remy was still refusing to cuff the Santas when Lacey, Kelsey, mall security, and about fifty prospective fur parents showed up. Fortunately, the mall cops took over the responsibility of cuffing the men, making Remy’s superstitions a nonissue.
Lacey gave Alex a hug as mall security led the burglars away. “Santa Claus stealing stuff on Black Friday. Are you serious?”
“I hate to be the one to tell you this, Lacey, but Santa is a bad dude,” Alex said.
She shook her head in disappointment.
“But on the bright side,” he added, “maybe I can work out a discount at that jewelry store now. I’m willing to bet they’ll be mighty grateful I saved them from having to deal with their insurance company.”
Lacey got a thoughtful look on her face at that.
Alex chuckled and kissed her. “Come on. Let’s get these pooches back in their pens.”
She looked around at the dogs. “Good idea, but how are we going to do that? If we chase them, they’re going to be all over the mall.”
Alex grinned. Taking her hand, he led her back toward the grassy area where they were holding the adoption event, letting out a loud, sharp whistle at the same time. As one, every dog there turned and trotted over to form up behind them.
“Show off,” Lacey whispered.
Meet Paige Tyler!
Paige Tyler is a USA Today Bestselling Author of sexy, romantic fiction. She and her very own military hero (also known as her husband) live on the beautiful Florida coast with their adorable fur baby (also known as their dog). Paige graduated with a degree in education, but decided to pursue her passion and write books about hunky alpha males and the kickbutt heroines who fall in love with them.
Want to purchase Paige’s novels?
- Hungry Like the Wolf
- Wolf Trouble
- In the Company of Wolves
- To Love a Wolf
- A Wolf Unleashed
- Wolf Hunt (Jun 6, 2017)
Spank Me, Maybe
Hot SEALs: Her Special Alpha
Her Perfect Mate (X-Ops #1)
Animal Attraction (Alaskan Werewolf #1)
Vampire 101 (Modern Day Vampires #1)
Animal Instinct (Men of Alaska #1)
Rekindled (Dallas Fire & Rescue #1)
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