The day Shane Callahan lost his wife and was forced to run from the only home they’d ever known was the day he’d vowed he’d kill every last man responsible. He’s waited years in hiding, but is finally on the verge of taking his revenge. Until he is assigned to protect a Healer and is forced to halt in his quest.
As the Alpha’s daughter and the Healer in her Dare of mountain lion shifters, Tieryn McGraw has enjoyed a privileged life. As the fiancé of the next Alpha in line, she expects that to continue. But then she ends up on the run with a man determined not to like her…and who makes her question everything about her decisions and her future.
Shane needs her to heal more than his body. But can Tieryn heal his soul and prove to him that love is a higher purpose than revenge?
She bit her lip. “Um. Do you mind pulling your hair back?”
“I need to make sure.”
He stared at her for a long moment, hands hooked in his belt loops, eyes narrowed. She was prepared for him to say no, but he reached up to lift back his hair, exposing the scars where his ear should have been. The tense set of his shoulders told her he wouldn’t appreciate any overtures of sympathy. Instead, she gave a sharp nod.
“Right. Let’s go.” He moved back into the shadows without checking if she followed.
Tieryn hurried to catch up. She caught his sideways glance as she came alongside him.
“Why were you hiding on the side of the road?” she asked after a few moments.
“It’s safer. How you didn’t get caught walking in the middle of the road when there’s a full moon is—” His mouth shut with an audible snap.
“Don’t stop there, Mr. Callahan. Is what?”
“Sheer dumb luck,” he muttered.
“Your lack of basic survival skills makes it clear you’ve never been out of your dare before.”
She rolled her eyes. “Of course I have.” Her father wasn’t a monster, just protective.
“Okay.” The way he said that implied exactly what he thought.
“As the Kuharte, I’ve always been protected,” she defended.
“And the fact that you’re the Alpha’s daughter makes no difference.”
She pursed her lips and didn’t deign to answer.
“Like I said.”
“I guess your dare lets the Kuharte go wherever she wants, huh?”
Now it was his turn to keep quiet, though it was difficult to tell if he just didn’t talk much in general. She didn’t know him well enough to determine the difference. He didn’t seem to emote at all, other than the sarcasm.
“Like I said.” Tieryn echoed his comment then gave a mental headshake. What was wrong with her? Pushing a person’s buttons wasn’t her style. “So…how, precisely, could I improve my survival skills?”
He kept walking in silence for long enough that she wondered if he would answer the question or just let her flounder.
He sighed. “Cougars are supposed to be stealthy animals. How is it you’ve managed to snap every twig and rustle every branch you walk by?”
Tieryn looked past the grumpy delivery to the lesson she suspected was hidden in the words. “You’re saying I could walk softer. Any practical suggestions?”
He tossed a suspicious glance her way, but she was sincere in her wish to know. With a sigh, he stopped and turned toward her. “Close your eyes.”
She frowned but did as ordered. She tried not to think about how he’d be staring at her as they stood there in the moonlight.
“Listen to the sounds around you. The land is never quiet.”
The noises of the night, ones she’d subconsciously tuned out, filled her ears—the low bass of frogs, the soprano chirp of the crickets, the buzz of a mosquito close to her head. Had she been in her cat form, her ears would have been twitching back and forth.
“Time your steps with the natural rhythms of the night—a bird’s call, the swish of the breeze.”
Shane’s low tones blended with the sounds around her. Her stomach tightened, and she snapped her eyes open. Despite the heat, a shiver skated over her skin at the strange intensity in his eyes.
She cleared her throat. “Got it.”
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