Authors: Dawn Sullivan
Tags: #Paranormal Romance, #Romance, #Shifters, #Shifter Romance
ll rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by means mechanical, electronic, photocopying, recording or otherwise without prior permission from the author. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and events are fictitious in every regard. Any similarities to actual events or persons, living or dead are purely coincidental. Any trademarks, service marks, product names or featured names are assumed to be the property of their respective owners and are used only for reference. There is no implied endorsement of any of these terms are used. Except for review purposes, the reproduction of this book in whole or in part, mechanically or electronically, constitutes a copyright violation. Published in the United States of America in December 2014; Copyright 2014 by Dawn Sullivan. The right of the Authors Name to be identified as the Author of the Work has been asserted by them in accordance with The Copyright, Designs and Patent Act of 1988.
Published by Dawn Sullivan
Cover Design: Kari Ayasha-Cover to Cover Designs
Photographer: Mandy Hollis Photography
Model: Randi Sue
Copyright 2014 © Author Dawn Sullivan
erry Christmas to all of my readers. It has been a wonderful journey so far. Thanks for coming along for the ride!
Other books by Dawn Sullivan
Book 1 Nico’s Heart
Book 2 Phoenix’s Fate
he wolf ran swiftly through the layers of fresh, soft, beautiful white snow that covered the vast landscape owned by the White River wolves. Her stunning russet colored coat with patches of white and black throughout was covered with snow. Small icicles clung to the fur on her stomach. The wolf, Josie Bennett, was the doctor for the White River wolves; and as their doctor, she had an obligation to the pack. It had been weeks since she had allowed herself the pleasure of changing into her wolf form and simply running free. It was not often that she was able to take advantage of the simple joys in life, but tonight she could not resist.
Josie loved everything about winter. She loved the cold, crisp air and the feel of the light, fluffy snow slipping through her paws as she ran. She loved going home, curling up in front of the fire with a cup of hot chocolate and snuggling in with a new romance novel. Josie was a romantic at heart and enjoyed reading about the heroes and heroines getting their happily ever after. She had always dreamed her time would come, but as the years went by without Josie finding love and happiness, she gradually stopped hoping. Now her life was centered on her work and there was little time for anything else.
Christmas was Josie’s favorite holiday. She could not believe it was only a couple of weeks away. Josie always made sure the hospital she was in charge of had a large Christmas tree in the outer waiting area with lights, bulbs and a huge angel adorning the top. The entire hospital was decorated with garland, lights and bows. In the hospital gardens there was a Nativity scene featuring the three wise men, Joseph, the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus. Every tree in front of and surrounding the hospital was adorned with brightly colored Christmas lights.
Josie had other pack members do the majority of the decorating, but there was one thing she made time for herself. The month before Christmas, Josie went shopping. She made sure every child in the White River wolf pack had a special gift. It took a full weekend of nonstop shopping to get everything she needed, but it was worth it.
On Christmas Eve, the parents brought their children to the hospital. Chase Montgomery, the pack Alpha, dressed up as Santa Claus and handed out the gifts to the children. It had been a tradition for several years and something Josie looked forward to each year.
Lost in thought, Josie almost did not hear the faint whimpering noise. Stopping, she perked her ears forward listening intently, and inhaled deeply. There, she heard it again. It was a child; a child in pain. The smell of the child’s fear was rancid in the air. Josie was a couple of miles from home and the immediate safety of the pack. There was no reason for a child to be this far out without supervision. Especially not this late at night.
Wondering briefly if it could be a trap of some kind, Josie cautiously followed the faint noise of the child’s crying. The sound drew her even further away from town. She knew she should go back and find help, but the thought of a helpless child in need pushed her forward.
Inhaling deeply, Josie caught the scent of the small bear cub named Hunter. Hunter had come to live with the pack several months ago. His adopted father, Phoenix, was a member of RARE. RARE, Rescue and Retrieval Extraction, was an elite team of mercenaries that were called in to find and rescue kidnapping victims. There was no way Phoenix would allow his cub to wonder off this far from home.
“Shut up you sniveling little brat,” a male voice ordered. “I am going to get a lot of money for you.” Money? Josie had no idea who the man was and she did not care. No one was going to sell that little boy. Slowly and silently, Josie stalked the man who was kidnapping Hunter. She was a doctor and had sworn an oath to save lives; however, there was a child in danger. She was not above inflicting some damage to save a child.
Hearing a grunt and loud curse, Josie slipped around a tree and snuck up behind the man who was holding the small child by his throat. Hunter was gasping for breath as the man held him suspended off the ground. “Kick me again and I will kill you,” the man snarled. Pulling back a fist, he started to swing it at Hunter’s head. Josie was on him before the punch connected. Anger had filled her at the sight of Hunter being held helplessly by his throat, three feet off the ground, and Josie unleashed her fury full force on the man.
Dropping Hunter, the kidnapper let out a vicious snarl as he tried to fight off Josie. He pummeled her with his fists and struck out with a foot, but Josie felt nothing beyond the anger controlling her. Hell bent on destroying the man, Josie sank her teeth into his body again and again, her back claws tearing into his jean clad legs. She had him down on the ground within minutes, her jaws wrapped tightly around his throat.
The sound of sobbing slowly brought Josie out of her deep rage. Carefully, she removed her teeth and backed away from what was left of the man. He was still alive, but barely. There were cuts and lacerations all over his body where Josie had torn through his thick layers of clothing and found skin. Blood pooled on the ground around him. A part of her, the part that said she was a doctor first and foremost, wanted save him. To sew up his wounds and give the man back his life. But another sob from Hunter sealed his fate. Children would always come first. She needed to get Hunter home to his family.
Tentatively, Josie approached Hunter. Laying down beside him, she nuzzled him with her nose. Whining softly, she licked his cheek and yipped quietly. Opening his eyes, the boy watched her warily though his tears. “Doc Josie,” he whispered reaching out and slipping his freezing cold fingers into her fur. The child was obviously in shock and emotionally shutting down.
Josie wanted to change into her human form, snatch the little boy up, and cuddle him close. Unfortunately, she could not because she did not have any clothes nearby. She had removed her clothing and changed into her wolf form at her house, leaving through the special door she had installed on her back porch.
Hunter was shaking from fear and the cold. She had to get him home quickly. Gently nudging him with her nose again, she coaxed him to stand up so they could get moving. Struggling to his feet, Hunter cried out and more tears escaped as he collapsed back onto the ground. That was when Josie noticed the blood flowing from his leg. It looked as if it had been sliced open. There was no way he could walk with that injury.
Turning swiftly, Josie ran back to where the man lay taking his last breaths. Shifting into her human form, Josie quickly removed the coat from his body. The last thing she wanted to do was have this evil man’s stench on her, but she had no choice. Shrugging into the heavy coat, she zipped it up and tugged the bottom of it down as far as it would go. It just barely covered her thighs, but it would have to do.
Rushing over to Hunter, she quickly gathered him in her arms and started to run back toward town. Instead of going to Hunter’s home, Josie decided to take him directly to the hospital where she could sew up his leg. Running as fast as she could, her bare feet slipping and sliding through the snow, Josie gripped the boy tighter in her arms. She blocked out the pain and discomfort in her feet from the icy snow and pushed forward. Her need to keep the child safe overrode her own fear.
Reaching town, Josie moved quickly to the hospital. Entering the front doors, she thought briefly of the sight she must make. All she had on was a dead man’s coat. It was several inches above her knees and she was obviously naked underneath it. The coat was covered in rips and tears and was saturated with blood. She was sure her body was covered in blood also, after the fight she had been in. Her feet were bright red and raw from running more than two miles in the cold snow. And she was carrying an unconscious little boy who had blood dripping from one leg. Thankfully, Hunter had lost consciousness on the last mile of their journey.
As the nurse at the front desk stared in shock, Josie ordered, “I need a room and some scrubs. Get the Alpha and Phoenix Madison here now.” Hurrying past the front desk, Josie moved to the first empty room. Placing Hunter down on the bed, she removed his shoes and pants, issuing orders to the two nurses who had immediately followed her into the room. The cut was deep enough that it would definitely need stitches.
Grabbing the scrubs a nurse held out to her, Josie ordered them to clean the wound while she changed. Ignoring the people in the room, Josie quickly pulled on the pants, then stripped off the coat and threw it in the trashcan.
After slipping on the top, she moved to the sink on the far side of the room. Josie wet a paper towel and scrubbed her face quickly to remove the blood. When she was done, she washed her hands and arms in scalding hot water, before drying them and putting on surgical gloves.
Moving back over to Hunter, Josie smiled gently when she realized his eyes were open and he was watching her. The fear was still there, but the pure terror had faded into something more manageable. “Hey, little man,” she murmured as she checked the wound to make sure it was cleaned properly. “I am going to give you a shot to numb the area around your wound. Then I am going to put in some stitches. You will get to show them off to all of your friends.” Flashing Hunter a grin, Josie continued to talk, hopefully distracting him as she numbed the area. Sparing him another quick glance, she saw Hunter’s eyes fixed on what she was doing. Deciding he was going to be all right, she started stitching the six inch gash closed.
“What happened, Hunter?” she asked quietly as she worked. The wound was obviously a knife wound, the clean swipe meant to stun and distract, making it so the child could not shift.
A tear rolled down Hunter’s cheek, but he did not answer, fear keeping him silent. Josie had seen it before and did not push. He would talk when he was ready.
Josie heard a commotion in the doorway just as she was finishing up. Looking up, she saw Chase, Phoenix and Serenity. “We are almost done here,” she told them as she tied off the last stitch. Removing the latex gloves, she tossed them in the trash. Reaching out, Josie ran her fingers through the young boy’s hair. Smiling, she said, “Hunter did great. I think we might have a doctor in the making here.”