"Come on, come on. Start," Thora muttered when she turned the key in her car's ignition. Nothing happened.
She let her head fall forward until her forehead came to rest on the steering wheel. She should have expected something like this to happen, but she had held onto her hopes that it wouldn't. She'd been driving for a little over six hours and things had seemed to go so well. Of course, it had only been a matter of time before her luck ran out. Not that she had much in the luck department anyway.
Getting out of her year-old blue Chevy Cobalt coupe that was now dead as a doornail, Thora shut the driver's door and looked around. The sun was slowly starting to sink below the horizon. Her car sat on the side of the road on a street just off Main Street in a small town called Strange Hollow. Thora hadn't intentionally come to Strange Hollow, she just happened across it. When things started to get really bad, which they invariably did, she would pack up her car and just drive until she found a new place to live. A place where nobody knew her. At the moment, Strange Hollow, North Carolina, looked to be as good a place as any.
With a sigh, Thora opened the car door and popped the hood. She made her way to the front of the car and lifted it to look at the engine, not that she knew anything about fixing cars. She poked at the spark plugs having no real idea what had caused her car to suddenly stop. Thora leaned in further under the hood and peered at one of the belts.
"Do you need some help?"
The sound of the deep, masculine voice that came from behind her caused Thora to jump. She cursed while she reared back and cracked her head on the raised hood. Slowly backing up, she said, "Damn it, that hurt. Didn't anyone ever tell you not to sneak up on a person like that?"
Rubbing her head, Thora turned to see who stood at her back. Her hand stilled when she looked up at the lightest green eyes she had ever seen on a person. They reminded her of two pieces of jade. Her eyes skimmed over the face that came with them. And what a face it was. The man had a face that would put a male model to shame. Unable to tear her gaze away, Thora took in his straight nose, chiseled cheekbones and square jaw. His lips were firm and made her wonder what they would feel like pressed to hers. His straight hair brushed the tops of his shoulders, and seemed to be a mix of blonde and brown. Her fingers itched to run through it to see if it felt soft as it looked. She licked her lips, taking in the rest of him. He was built. She had to give him that. The tight black jeans and gray T-shirt he wore showed off the large muscles on his arms, chest and legs to perfection. He towered over her, and she was not short by any means at five foot seven. Thora guessed him to be about six foot six.
He stepped closer, breaking the spell she seemed to have fallen under. "Sorry, I didn't mean to sneak up on you. Are you okay?"
Thora let her hand drop to her side and nodded. She cleared her throat before she spoke. "I'm fine. I just bumped my head. I've had worse." She'd lost count of the number of times she'd had to go to a hospital's ER to be patched up because of one of her "accidents."
He glanced over at her car. "Having car trouble?"
"Yeah." Thora forced herself to turn and look at her car. "It just stopped and I can't get it started again."
He brushed past her and stuck his head under the hood. When he bent slightly forward to get a closer look at the engine, Thora bit back a silent moan as she watched the material of his jeans pull tighter across his hard, muscled ass. She bet she could bounce a quarter off it. There didn't seem to be an inch of fat anywhere on him.
Lost in a fantasy of him stretched out across the hood of her car while she licked every inch of him, Thora jerked back to reality when she heard a loud popping sound. She moved around to stand next to the hunky man of her fantasies in time to see a fountain of oil suddenly shoot out of her engine and hit him smack in the face. Knowing she had to be the one who had caused it, Thora automatically started to apologize. "I'm so sorry." She took a step back as he pulled his head out from under the hood and, using the palm of his hand, he tried to wipe off the car oil that dripped down his face.
He shook his head. "Don't apologize. That wasn't your fault." He swiped at his face again. "Though I have to say I've never had a car do that to me before."
Thora gave him a sheepish grin. "Let's just say, around me, lots of weird and unusual things happen."
"Well, it looks as if you won't be going anywhere tonight. The local garage will be closed by now. You'll have to wait to call them in the morning. Do you have a place to stay?"
"No. I only planned on passing through." Thora stared up at him. Her gaze collided with his. She had to swallow when she saw the look of longing in his light green eyes. While she watched, his eyes seemed to glow for a split second before he looked down to her lips. She felt an ache start to build in her pussy and wetness pool between her legs. His nostrils flared when he drew in a deep breath of air. With just one look he brought her to full arousal.
He took a step closer as his eyes flicked down to her pebbled nipples. Her peach-colored short sleeved blouse did nothing to hide their condition before he looked back up at her face. "I would offer to have you over for the night since I just live over there," he pointed to the modest bungalow directly in front of them, "but I don't think that would be a good idea. I'm Daker Sands by the way."
Daker's voice had become deeper and huskier as he spoke. Hearing it caused the flames of her desire to burn even hotter. "I'm Thora Pomeroy," she replied in a breathy voice. She cleared her throat before she continued, not wanting Daker to know how turned on she had become. "If you point me to a place where I can stay the night, I can arrange something for myself."
With his clean hand, Daker reached out and took hold of a lock of her black, waist-length hair and brought it to his nose for a sniff. Thora felt as if she would melt into the asphalt right then and there.
Daker let her hair fall back in place. "I can do better than that. There's a Bed and Breakfast not too far from here. I'm sure Lilin has an opening. Why don't I push your car into my driveway and I'll call her about getting you a room."
Not sure she trusted her voice, Thora nodded instead.
"Good. You can steer while I push."
After Daker closed the hood of her car, Thora got into the driver's side. She put it in neutral and motioned to Daker she was ready. She wasn't really all that sure Daker would be able to push the car by himself. Thora soon found herself surprised when he moved around to the back and with one hard shove had the car rolling smoothly toward his driveway. She had guessed he would be strong given how muscular he was, but she hadn't expected Daker to be that strong.
Letting her car roll to a stop, Thora glanced at Daker in her rearview mirror. She bit her bottom lip. Arousal flared between them when his gaze met hers. She found it hard to believe Daker seemed interested in her, but there was no denying the look of longing he shot her way. Thora sighed. If only things didn't always have to turn into a disaster around her, she would be more than happy to see where things went with her and Daker. But that would never be her reality. Sometimes Thora really hated her life.
Daker led Thora to his living room and told her to take a seat while he phoned Lilin about a room. Even though there was a phone in the living room, he decided to make the phone call from the kitchen. Right now, he needed some space between him and Thora so he could get his head screwed back on straight. Being around her had sent him completely off kilter.
Quickly washing the car oil from his face and hand in the kitchen sink, he tried to take deep calming breaths. They, of course, didn't work. All they did was draw more of Thora's scent into his lungs. His cock grew even harder inside his jeans. The mortal who sat in his living room had no idea what she meant to him. She was his mate. Something about her scent told him she was the one for him. All male werewolves found their mates that way. The mating urge now rode him so hard all he could think about was getting Thora under him. He took another deep breath. Her scent flooded his senses. He closed his eyes when he detected a glimmer of something buried deep within her scent, something that he couldn't quite put his finger on. It almost had the telltale scent of magic. Being a creature of magic himself, Daker swore it could only be that, but Thora smelled completely mortal.
Her scent also roused his wolf. Daker grimaced. Unlike other werewolves, especially male werewolves, his wolf could only be described as different. And unlike others of his kind, his wolf only wanted to play. In human form Daker was all alpha male, in wolf form his wolf turned into a great big puppy dog. And while in wolf form, Daker didn't retain most of the control--his wolf did. It felt as if he were standing on the sidelines watching everything the wolf did, but unable get him to heel. Just another thing that made his wolf stand out from others of his kind--and why he no longer lived or associated with his pack.
Even now his wolf pushed at him for control. Instead of wanting to claim Thora for his mate as he should, he only wanted to play with her. Daker pushed him away. Eventually he would have to let his wolf out, but for now he wanted to be the one who got to be around Thora.
Thinking it best to get Thora away from him until he could decide what he wanted to do about her being his mate, Daker picked up the phone and dialed the number to Lilin Love's Bed and Breakfast called Love's Nest. He didn't have long to wait before Lilin picked up on the other end.
"Hey, Lilin, it's Daker. I was wondering if you had a room available for tonight."
"Well hello, Daker, honey. And just why do you need a room at my B and B? Booking a room for the night will not get you any closer to spending the night in my bed."
Daker chuckled. Lilin and he had exchanged sexual innuendos ever since he had first come to live in Strange Hollow. Lilin was a succubus demon who had been disowned by her family because she refused to seduce every man she met just to steal his energy. And unlike the rest of her family who were known to be ugly as sin in their true forms, she had been born beautiful. Lilin only wanted to seduce her soul mate, when she eventually found him. A soul mate that she had somehow determined would be a werewolf. She'd been a bit disappointed when Daker had informed her at their first meeting that she wasn't his mate. But that hadn't stopped them from becoming close friends.
"Ah, Lilin, you know I dream of spending a night in your arms."
She laughed. "Sure you do, honey. But alas, you just aren't the man for me."
"I guess I'll just have to learn to live without experiencing that pleasure."
Lilin laughed again. She then asked, "Really, Daker, why do you need a room?"
He grew serious. "A woman passing through had a bit of car trouble. She broke down in front of my house. She needs a place to stay until the garage can take a look at her car. I can't let her stay here, at least not right now."
Lilin sighed dramatically. "This woman, she's your mate, isn't she?"
"Yes, but she's mortal. I need to put some distance between us. I need to give her time to get to know me a bit better before I do something stupid like jump her and claim her for my own without her knowing what I am."
"Ah. Her being mortal does make things a little more complicated. Sure, bring her over. You know I always have a room available. It's not as if I get many visitors at the B and B. Strange Hollow being what it is."
"Great. Thanks, Lilin. I'll bring Thora over in a few minutes."
Daker hung up the phone and headed back to the living room. Thora's scent hit him harder the closer he came. He really needed to get her to the B and B before he did something he would regret later. His cock jerked in his jeans when his gaze came to rest on her. Thora sat on his couch looking out the big picture window at the darkening sky outside. He skimmed over her waist-length, straight black hair. Daker wanted nothing more than to wrap all that hair around his hand while he kissed her senseless. Or better yet, have it draped over his body when she took his cock into her mouth.
Giving himself a mental kick in the butt, Daker tried to pull his mind out of the gutter. He needed to keep it together. He glanced over the rest of Thora. She was more cute than pretty with her pert nose, kissable lips and brown eyes. He quickly pulled his gaze off her lips before his thoughts got out of hand once again. He could tell Thora was curvy in all the right places from the short sleeved blouse and blue jeans she wore. Slim, but not on the side of being too skinny.
He moved to stand in front of Thora. She smiled at him. "I got a room for you at the B and B. Lilin will be expecting you. I'll walk you down to her place now if you want. The B and B is just down the street and around the corner from here."
"Okay, sure. I need to grab a suitcase out of my car first."
Daker nodded. "Sure. I can carry it for you."
He took a step closer and offered Thora his hand to help her up at the same time she went to stand. Somehow she ended up losing her balance and falling into him. The sound of his teeth snapping together when she cracked the top of her head under his chin could easily be heard. Even though he damn near bit his tongue off, Daker managed to wrap his arms around Thora and pull her against him to steady them both.
Thora rubbed her head. "Sorry. It's my fault again. How's your chin?" She put her hand on his cheek and got him to tip his head back slightly so she could have a proper look at his chin. Before he realized what she intended, Thora stretched up on her toes and kissed his chin.
They both froze, but having her lips on his skin proved to be too much for Daker to take and do nothing about. With a soft growl, he pulled her closer and brought his lips down to hers. As he moved his mouth across hers, Thora stiffened for a split second before she relaxed against him and returned his kiss. He swept his tongue across the seam of her lips before he pushed it between them.
He twined his tongue with hers, exploring and tasting her mouth. The taste of her on his tongue, with the scent of her arousal swirling around them, caused his cock to grow even harder. He ached to reach down and undo his jeans to free his erection from its tight confines, but he hadn't lost all reason just yet. If he did that there would be no stopping what he had started here. And he knew he would have to end this soon.
Thora's hands came up and fisted in the front of his T-shirt as she increased the pressure of their lips. Another low, animalistic, wolf's growl rose out of him before he could hold it back. Dropping his hands to grab her bottom, Daker hauled her up against his hard cock. He rocked his hips against her while Thora sucked on his tongue.
When she reached up and threaded her fingers through the sides of his hair and started to kiss him for all she was worth, Daker felt his control start to slip. Thora's enthusiastic response just made him ache for her even more. With a groan of regret, he broke their kiss and untangled her fingers from his hair. For good measure, he took a step back so their bodies no longer touched. Thora looked up at him with heavy lidded eyes filled with desire. The scent of her arousal filled the air. He had to fist his hands at his sides to stop himself from pulling her back into his arms.
"I think I should take you to Lilin's now." Daker tried to sound unaffected by what they had just shared, but his voice sounded too husky even to his ears.
Thora blinked as she seemed to come back to herself. She licked her lips that were swollen from his kisses, which made Daker howl inside with unfulfilled lust. "Okay. If that's what you want."
No, damn it, it wasn't what he wanted, but it was either that or take her right there on his living room floor. He didn't want their first time together to be nothing but a quick fuck on the floor. Thora deserved better than that. He would probably come to regret this later knowing the mating urge would keep him in an aroused state almost continually until he claimed her, but Daker knew it was the right thing to do.
Not trusting himself to touch her again, Daker motioned for Thora to follow him out of the house. He hoped having her sleep at the B and B would help, but he had the feeling he would spend the majority of the night awake. With the hard-on he now sported, he figured it would make sleep almost next to impossible.