Ashley Cooper took to the skies to find the man of her dreams. But when her career crash-landed at a travel agency, she decided to safely keep her nose to the men in novels. Lupercus Dianus thought he was resigned to the role of ‘lone wolf’ until the morning he saw a vibrant feminine form basking in a wash of winter sunshine.
Love is never simple but when complicated by two screwball dogs, Roman gods, a clan of werewolves, and an unknown menace threatening to destroy everything furry – how’s a woman supposed to know if she’s finally found love or losing her mind? By reading her horoscope of course!
The clock over the sink indicated it was nearly seven; she had time for a fast cup before rushing off to catch the bus. Quickly, she filled a travel mug as she slurped down a scalding cup of coffee with her daily vitamin. Yuck, the hot liquid partly melted the tablet before she could swallow.
Still making a funky face about the taste, she locked her apartment door and turned; coming almost nose to nose with the hottest guy she’d ever imagined—straight out of her erotic dreams and there when she asked for him. Dusky skin, smooth aquiline nose and intense smoky, green eyes smiled at her from beneath dark brown brows. His hair was a shade off from black and curled pleasantly around his ears and above the collar of his silk shirt.
Ashley was busy appreciating his firmly, chiseled lips when something raced around her legs and attacked her leather heel with needle-sharp teeth and snarling high pitched growls.
She hopped, swiveled her hips and nearly tripped over its leash, kicking out at the rat-like thing eating her shoe. It was the ugliest little fur-bearing creature she had ever seen and it was mauling her imported leather heel!
“Please, excuse Mars.” At her blank look he added, “The dog.”
He had a pleasant voice, a warm baritone with deeper bass rumblings. His voice set off a wave of heat in Ashley’s stomach. Her mind skittered back to the sleepy seconds before the alarm sounded and the laughter sliding over her skin. As he bent down to wrestle with the baby ball of razorblades, she fought the urge to reach out and touch his hair to see if it felt as soft as it looked. He looked up smiling and her brains scrambled. The flash of white teeth only served to show off his beautiful skin tone.
Dimples! That just wasn’t fair. Ashley’s mind sputtered to a halt again as she yearned to stroke and caress his face. Her eyes wandered then widened, taking in the rest of him; from wide shoulders to tapered waist – this was one hot muscled body kneeling at her feet. Almost as if he could read her mind, his smile grew warmer making his eyes dance with amusement.
“What an unusual crea— I mean dog,” Ashley stumbled over her tongue. Her comment seemed to surprise him for a moment. Frantically, her mind searched for something else to say. Calling it “unusual” was better than what she almost said about the beast. It looked like a furry cockroach.
He stood slowly, laughing lightly. “Yes, Mars is very unique. I hope he did not damage your shoe?” The deep timbre crashed over her senses like a breaking tide.
Ashley looked down and nearly cursed aloud. There were small tears in the expensive leather. Choking back her dismay, she smiled and changed the subject.
“You must be my new neighbor. I’m Ashley Cooper, a pleasure to meet you.” Without thinking, she extended her hand and was nearly bitten for her efforts when the scraggly black mop exploded into a round of ferocious barks that echoed sharply in the small hallway. The sound made her grind her teeth. The thing was an assault on the senses. Not only was it unaccountably ugly, it ruined her shoe, and was giving her a headache.
“Sorry, again I must apologize for my little one.” He smiled and she forgot she was mad as heat pooled in her lower belly.
There was something about his voice that petted her insides like an ermine glove. Ashley wanted an excuse to move closer, to make some kind of contact. Her hands itched to touch him. There was a scent in the air, wild and animalistic, making her pulse race and her nostrils flare.
Seduced by his scent, her eyes drifted to closing as she continued to examine his muscular frame. Her gaze was busy admiring the strength of his forearm as it cradled the seething rat-dog when she caught a glimpse of his watch. The bus!
“Damn! I am sorry but if I don’t hurry I’ll miss my bus. Welcome to Squirrel Hill,” she smiled crookedly and made a dash for the stairs. There wasn’t enough time to wait on the cranky elevator if she hoped to make the bus in time.
It wasn’t until much later when she sat perched on the edge of her seat at work, that she realized he never once mentioned his name.
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