Meet My Wolf!
Beneath The Blue Moon releases in just THREE short days!!
Except I feel more like this... Pretty much how I feel before every release!
Ethan (the H) and Casey (the h) have a very special place in my heart. I wrote it almost 3 years ago with no intention of publishing it (or anything else for that matter). But... here we are. I love them so much, I'm giving you a peak - chapter 1 - at them before release day on June 14th.
Copyright Alana Sapphire 2016
“Please, you have to help me!”
I rush forward, surprising the woman behind the desk. Her head snaps up and she stares at me like I’m bat-shit crazy. Hell, I probably look insane, charging into the quiet sheriff’s office, crying and shouting. She closes her magazine with a sigh, and her expression turns wary.
“Calm down, ma’am. Take a deep breath and tell me what’s wrong,” she drawls.
“It’s my father. He’s missing!”
Her brow quirks up in disbelief. Figures. In this small town of Canid, Montana, the severity of their calls probably peaks at cats stuck in trees.
“Missing? For how long?”
“A couple of hours, but—”
“You have to wait twenty-four hours—”
“I know, but you don’t understand—”
“Ma’am.” She cuts me off again. “I suggest you go home and—”
“Will you let me finish?” I yell in frustration.
The woman is unbelievable! I can’t get a word in edgewise and the longer she stalls, the longer he’s out there. Alone.
“Ma’am, I’m goin’ to ask you one more time to calm down,” she says in that tone every cop seems to use.
“Fine. I wanna talk to the sheriff.”
“The sheriff’s a busy man.”
“I’m not leaving until I talk to him,” I reply, my stubborn streak in full effect.
Crossing my arms over my chest, I drop down into one of the chairs facing her desk and stare her down until she finally leaves her seat and walks over to the sheriff’s office.
Damn paperwork. This is the only part of my job I hate. My annoyance is further compounded by a sudden, steady buzz in my brain. I hear Mary talking to someone, but I push their conversation aside as the buzz extends itself to encompass my entire body. A slow hum radiates from my core and a shiver runs down my spine. What the hell is going on with me? I’ve never felt anything like this before.
Movement beyond my door catches my attention, and I look up to see Mary heading to my office. Can’t she handle the damn woman by herself? This is not the time to bother me.
“There’s a woman out here raisin’ hell ’bout talkin’ to you.”
“About her missing father?”
Her eyes widen in surprise. Yes, I heard. All my senses—not just my hearing—are heightened.
“You heard? Well, I tried to explain to her how it works, but she’s bent on seein’ you.”
“Fine.” I sigh. “Send her in.”
I turn back to my computer screen, thinking about the time I’m going to have to waste with this hysterical woman. The man probably just went out for a drink or something to escape her. I don’t have time for this, and with the way I’m feeling, I don’t have the inclination either. The slow hum gradually increases, becoming a hammering in my ears.
I smell her before I see her. It’s a sweet, subtle fragrance that overpowers my entire being and sets my senses on alert. I take a deep breath, my nostrils flaring as I get a waft of her sublime scent. It’s not perfume or anything external. It’s her. Who is this woman? I turn to face her, and it’s as if someone punched me in the gut, knocking the wind out of me. Her scent wraps itself around me, rendering my body motionless, my mind blank. She inflames my senses leaving me reeling in a torrent of emotion and… need. My heart skips multiple beats and proceeds to dance erratically, banging against my ribcage.
Fiery red hair frames her heart-shaped face, and long lashes curl over emerald-green eyes. Full breasts heave as she breathes heavily. Her small waist flares out to generous hips, leading to long, shapely legs covered by jeans that fit a little too snugly. She bites down on her full bottom lip nervously. A lump rises in my throat, and for the first time in my adult life, I’m speechless. I stare at her, desperately fighting every instinct to pull her into my arms.
Her voice. It’s like a song I’ve never heard but know the lyrics to—one that’s already my favorite. Answer her, you idjit! Say something! I clear my throat, standing when I remember my manners.
“Yes, ma’am. Sheriff Ethan McKenzie. Come in, have a seat.”
“Sheriff, I know I may sound hysterical, but you don’t understand.” Her breath catches and tears pool in her eyes. The need to comfort her burns through me. “My dad… He’s schizophrenic. Sometimes he doesn’t know who he is, let alone where he is. He could be out there lost and scared. I need to find him.”
Damn. “We’ll find him, Miss…?”
“Bryan. Casey Bryan.” She takes a seat in the chair opposite my desk, helplessly wringing her hands. “His name is Luke and I’ve already circled the town twice looking for him.”
“Are there any friends he may have visited, places he likes to go?” I ask.
“We’re new here; he doesn’t know anyone.”
“Okay. Don’t worry,” I assure her. “Everything’ll be fine.”
Everything’ll be fine. For some reason, his words give me comfort. At least he didn’t throw me out. Looking around his office, I can tell he’s no backwoods-town sheriff. Ethan Matthew McKenzie. Certificates and awards decorate his walls, even a degree in criminal justice. It hangs right next to his awards for marksmanship. I have to remember never to get into a gun fight with him. He’s educated and obviously good at his job. He looks young, though; too young to be a sheriff. I watch as he picks up his radio and speaks into it.
“Boys, do me a favor and look out for an elderly man, possibly wandering around. Name’s Luke Bryan. I got a very worried young lady looking for her daddy. Over.”
A voice answers, “Roger that, Sheriff.”
“Sure thing,” another voice chimes in.
“He was wearing a green sweater,” I offer.
He nods and then turns back to the radio. “Me again. He was last seen wearing a green sweater. Over.”
“What now?” I ask.
“Why don’t I drive around a little, see if I can find him?”
“Let’s go.” He gives me a disapproving look, and I return one of my own. “I’m the only one who can calm him down. You’ll just scare him more.”
Sighing, he shakes his head in resignation.
“Okay, Miss Bryan. Let’s go.”
I glance over at her as she stares ardently out the window, searching for her father. Shit, that’s what I should be doing, too, not ogling a distressed woman. I can’t help it, though. Every fiber of her being is calling out to me. In the close confines of the patrol car, her scent is almost overpowering. I had to put the windows down to ease the effects, but it hasn’t really helped. I want to touch her. I need to touch her. My fingers are itching—no, burning—to connect with her skin.
“Come in, Ethan.”
I jump at the sound of the radio, like a kid who got caught with his hand in the cookie jar.
“Go ahead, Charlie,” I tell my deputy.
“I think I’ve got eyes on your guy on a park bench by the gardens.”
Casey snaps around toward me, biting nervously on her thumbnail.
“Roger that. Keep your eyes on him but do not approach. I’m on my way.”
“Sure thing, boss.”
She lets out a sigh of relief and sinks into the seat.
“See? I told you everything would be okay.”
“Thank you, Sheriff.”
I pull up next to Charlie’s patrol car, and she hops out, racing toward the man sitting on the bench. I follow closely… just in case. She stops a few feet away, then continues calmly.
“Daddy?” When he doesn’t answer, she kneels before him. “Daddy, come on. Let’s go home.”
Her voice is soft and soothing, and it sends a chill down my spine.
“Home? Where am I?” her father asks, looking around as if just realizing where he is.
“In the park. We came out for a walk, remember?”
He smiles down at her lovingly. “Of course. What would I do without you, my darling Katy?”
Katy? I move forward to give her a hand.
“Daddy, this is the sheriff. He’s going to help us get home, okay?”
He smiles at me. “Hello, young man. Fine night for a stroll, isn’t it?”
“Yes, sir. It is.”
Together, we help him to the car and into the backseat. He’s out like a light by the time we slide into the front.
Thank God he’s okay. I glance back at him, fast asleep in the back of the sheriff’s car. The sheriff. I shift my gaze to him, and for the first time tonight, I really look at him. He’s tall—long legs, broad shoulders, muscular arms. With every turn of the steering wheel, his shirt sleeve pulls tight against his muscles. His skin is smooth and perfectly tanned, his hair dark and wavy, and that square jawline could probably chisel granite. Not bad for a small-town sheriff. He’s quiet, though—strong, silent type? Or maybe he’s just uncomfortable. He looks uncomfortable. Probably had better things to do tonight than drive me around town looking for Daddy. Oh, well.
“I thought your name was Casey?” he asks.
“Your dad called you Katy.”
“Katy’s my mom,” I answer quietly, looking down at my hands in my lap as I fight to control my emotions. “She died eight months ago.”
“Oh, I’m sorry.”
No, it’s not. I’m dying inside. I want to run away and hide from the world, but I can’t. I have responsibilities. Daddy is my priority, and I can’t let anything get in the way of caring for him. Nothing.
Back at his office, the sheriff helps me get Daddy into my Prius. Turning to him, I extend my hand. “Thank you, Sheriff McKenzie. I really appreciate your help.”
He takes my hand, and my skin burns with a charge of electricity. My insides quiver and my mind goes blank. I stare into his eyes—gorgeous chocolate eyes that I would swear flashed yellow for just a second. They looked almost canine. His long lashes, straight nose, and full lips complete quite a handsome, over-six-feet package. Smiling at me, he reveals white, even teeth. He seems to have traded the discomfort for a quiet air of sophistication and confidence. He stands erect, shoulders squared, looking every bit like the man in charge. I like this side of the sheriff.
“Ethan,” his voice snaps me back to the moment. “And don’t mention it.”
His deputies walk up behind him, and I stare at all three in awe.
“Miss Bryan, these are my deputies, Charlie Rowan and Brick Castle.”
You’ve got to be kidding me.
He smiles as he takes my hand. “Yeah… My folks have quite a sense of humor.”
“Nice to meet you both, and thank you for your help,” I say as I shake Charlie’s hand.
They tip their hats, and I look from left to right at all three men. Brick and Charlie are about the same height, maybe two inches shorter than the sheriff. They’re smaller, too, but still defined. Funny,
though—they all have the same eyes, tanned skin, and dark hair. They could easily pass for brothers. Three scorching-hot brothers. Quite a threesome. Threesome, hmm… Ugh, stop it! Now I know it’s been too long when thoughts like that enter my head. I glance back at the sheriff. There’s just something about him, some force emanating from him. Something formidable… dominant.
“I must say, if all the men around here look like you three, it’s gonna be fun living in Canid.”
For that, I get three bashful smiles and three pairs of averted eyes. How sweet. The men here are a far cry from the ones back home. My phone vibrates, pulling me out of my haze, and I fish it from my pocket. It’s my best friend, Sandra.
“Excuse me,” I tell the men.
“No, go ahead,” the sheriff replies.
I smile at him and push the call button. “Hey, Sandy.”
“I’m going crazy here, Case… Please, tell me you found him.”
“Yes, I found him. He’s fine.”
“Oh, thank God! Where was he?”
“Sitting on a park bench. I had the help of three very handsome officers, though.”
“Three? Girl, save me one. Since you saw ’em first, I’ll give you dibs.”
I glance over at them, and my eyes settle on the sheriff. Dibs.
“Deal. I’ll call you later when I get home.”
“Okay. Love you.”
“Love you, too.”
I hang up and give the men a grateful smile. They all look a little flushed. I guess it was because of my handsome comment.
“Thank you again for your help, gentlemen.”
“No problem, Miss Bryan,” all three reply.
They even talk in sync. Wow. “Casey, please. Good night.”
“Good night, Casey.”
Again, in sync.
The sheriff walks me to my car and opens my door. Quite a gentleman. I glance down at his left hand. No ring. We’re in business.
“Would you like me to escort you home?” he asks.
“I’m fine, but thanks for the offer.”
He nods in acceptance. “Drive safely.”
“I will. Y’all should stop by The Round-up sometime. Drinks are on me.”
Waving good-bye, I hop in my car and drive away.
We all watch as Miss Casey Bryan drives away.
“It’s her,” I tell Brick and Charlie.
“What about her?”
“It’s her, Charlie.”
“That’s exactly what I mean.”
Both men move to stand in front of me.
“Are you sure?” Brick asks.
“I’m sure. He’s sure. He almost leapt out when she shook my hand.”
“But she’s… human.”
“No shit, Sherlock.”
“What you gon’ do?” Charlie asks.
Both men look at me expectantly. I turn to my beta without a clue how to answer his question.
“I don’t know, Charlie. I don’t know.”