Nola Lester finally had enough of life in the city's fast lane. She needed to get away, get back to her roots, but tending a wounded hunter whose controlling and charismatic personality triggered strange desires threatened Nola's plans. Perhaps changing her agenda may not be such a bad idea.
Rand Mitchell anticipated relaxing in the secluded mountains he felt drawn to year after year. There would be no rescuing animals or hunting humans, just peace and quiet while searching for clues to explain the mystery of who he is. Instead, Rand found himself ensnared by a sharp-tongued spitfire more than willing to provide a diversion.
Neither of them knew what a deadly creature she held in the palm of her hand.
Unforgivable (Immortal Redeemers 1)
J. Hali Steele
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2013 J. Hali Steele
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"Turn it loose." Nola Lester couldn't take it anymore. She had been snatched from sleep and out of bed by the bleats and cries of deer one time too many, and just last week she'd saved a coyote. An insane rescue, but leaving the injured animal to gnaw its leg off in the snare trap was unthinkable. The drive almost thirty miles into the nearest small town was excruciating, and clunking the doddering old vet on his bald head crossed her mind when he asked what she wanted him to do. Her reminder to him he took an oath to help all creatures spurred him into action. She released the poor dog back into the wild yesterday.
Here she stood, in the dead of night -- doing it again.
Blinded by headlights, she could only make out a dark outline of the bastard who knelt above the braying deer and murmured gibberish. What the hell? Nola breathed heavy from running damn near a half mile and couldn't make out what he said. Didn't really care. She only knew his damn traps and snares snagged and maimed animals, and that was unfair. Did he plan on butchering it right there? After moving back to where she'd spent a good bit of her childhood, she determined in her tiny neck of the woods, it would end. Nola had not counted on men with a penchant for killing all God's four-legged creatures surrounding her. Not tonight, not on her watch. "Turn it loose now!"
The decision to renovate and spend time north of Shenandoah in the cabin left by her grandmother came after selling her gift and greeting card company to a large corporation two months ago, a deal leaving Nola more than well off. In fact, she could afford to live anywhere, do things she'd only dreamed about. Escaping Philadelphia, with its constantly blaring sirens and the goddamn random shots ringing out, had been a blessing. The city was no place for anyone seeking peace and quiet or security. Her mind teemed with these issues when she realized the man spoke.
"Easy, lady. This isn't what you think." The jerk wanted to explain. "Why don't you put the gun down?"
Chilled to the bone, she shivered from head to toe. How stupid? Damn near naked and alone in the woods with a man she didn't know from squat with a freaking little twenty-two in her hand. Her girlfriends called it her pop gun, said it wouldn't faze anything other than a small rat. Maybe she should pay more attention to the guy in front of her.
* * *
Rand Mitchell remained on his knees soothing the animal as he worked to release the trap. Damn, she wore a pair of pink bunny slippers. If he laughed at the sight she presented, the woman would probably shoot him for sure. He bit hard on his tongue as he looked up at the crazy lady standing a short distance away. She had evidently climbed straight out of bed and headed here without a thought to the fact her thin nightgown was see-through. It danced in the breeze around a voluptuous body outlined by the high beams of his truck. His dick came to attention and brought to mind how long it had been since he'd sought comfort from a female.
"If you put down the gun, I can explain. I heard the cries myself and came to check it out."
"You cretins don't give the animal a chance. You trap the poor thing and then what? I'm sick and tired of this. I came here for peace and quiet and I'm surrounded by more death than I was in the city." The whole time she babbled her arms flailed and the gun waved all over the place. "I understand hunters, but this? What you do is senseless and cruel. You bastards are all alike."
Son-of-a-bitch. The woman began to get under his skin. Had she been a man, her ass would be on the ground.
In a quiet voice, Rand said, "Lady, you don't know me, so don't lump me in with a bunch of mean, sadistic killers. I don't like it." In control of the situation, at least with the animal, Rand continued. "Where the hell did you come from anyway?" The teeth of the trap had missed damaging the small deer's leg seriously, and once loose it sprang free and disappeared into the trees. Had it not been for the animal's bleats and concentrating on removing the loathsome contraption, the woman holding the gun wouldn't have taken him by surprise. Getting to his feet, he focused on her. "You'll get yourself killed or raped running around out here in the dark waving around a peashooter." The tiny weapon concerned him a little. "Put the gun down and we can talk."
"You're on my property," she blurted out. "Where'd you come from?"
Rand inched forward as he spoke and hoped the movement went unnoticed. "I'm camped over by the lake." He tilted his head to the right in an attempt to draw attention in that direction. She looked like a deer caught in headlights with eyes stretched so wide he could see the whites gleaming in the light from his truck, and her body trembled either from her angry tirade or the cool breeze whipping through the trees. "Like I said before, I heard the animal, came to see if I could help." Close enough to reach out and disarm her, he made his move.
But Rand's life had never been that easy...