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COMING SOON
WOLF FATED

 

Willowbrook Wolves Book 1

In a world where wolf shifters turn feral without their fated mates, one cursed pack is running out of time...

Alpha Sheriff Mitch Stokes has spent years wrestling his inner beast into submission, but when human female Sarah stumbles past magic wards and into Willowbrook, his wolf instantly recognizes her as his fated mate.

Too bad Sarah knows nothing of the supernatural world - and she's sworn off love entirely after catching her boyfriend cheating. Mitch must find a way to claim his mate without scaring her off, even as his animal instincts grow more unstable by the day.

Sarah finds herself drawn to the mysterious and dominant Mitch, despite her painful past and her fear of trusting her own heart but with feral wolves on the prowl and a dangerous curse looming, giving in to her desires could cost her everything.

Mitch must keep his wolf in check long enough to win Sarah's trust, even as the curse threatens to turn his wolf feral. Only by proving that their love is worth fighting for can he hope to claim his fated mate.

Fated mates, instant attraction, and a dangerous paranormal world collide in this steamy, action-packed tale of wolf shifter romance.

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

Sarah

As I drive up the winding mountain road, my knuckles turn white from gripping the steering wheel so tightly. The narrow, winding road makes my heart race with every turn. I keep my eyes focused on the illuminated asphalt ahead, praying that no one hurtles around an oncoming corner. The last thing I need right now is a head-on collision in the middle of nowhere in the dead of night.


I’d be missing for days. If not forever.


The ravine to my right drops into a dark abyss. If I slid down there, no one but wild wolves would ever find me. Perhaps. The forest would reclaim my bones for sure. Not exactly the bright future I thought I would have with a fulfilling career, loving husband and cherubic children laughing and playing in our backyard.


All I ever wanted was a family, and all I got was loneliness.


I thought Mark was different. I thought that was what he wanted too. He never said any different when I’d talk to him about our bright future together. He always agreed. We’d even picked out children’s names together, goddammit!


The darkness created by the tall pines engulfs me, broken only by the pale moonlight filtering through the dense canopy overhead. It's beautiful, in a haunting sort of way. I would appreciate it more if I weren't so utterly lost and emotionally drained. How could I have been so stupid? Driving for hours without a destination, and fueled by nothing but anger and heartbreak.


I wasn’t exactly thinking when I came home to find Mark balls-deep in Tanya.


The mere thought of his name sends a fresh wave of pain through my chest. Three years of my life, wasted on a man who couldn't even be faithful. I’d supported him through everything, working overtime to pay the rent and bills while he went back to school to earn his degree. And how did he repay me? By sleeping with his fellow student in our bed.


When I saw his pale ass bobbing up and down, framed by Tanya’s splayed legs, that was when I saw him for who he really was—someone who had used me for his own ends. He’d lied about everything. Agreed with me about what I wanted in life to keep me working hours on end so he could do exactly what he wanted.


His words echo in my head. “This is for us. We do the hard work now for an easier future. I can work a professional career and you can be at home with our children. We’ll have no money worries, baby. We’ll be set.”


All he wanted was an all-expenses-paid ride while I worked hard and he got his degree easy. I wish I could go back in time and kick my own butt for believing him.


Tears blur my vision, and I angrily swipe at them with my hand. I refuse to cry over him anymore. He doesn't deserve my tears or my love. I just wish I’d realized that before I threw a suitcase full of clothes into my car and fled the city like a madwoman, leaving everything else behind.


I reach for my phone, desperate for some sense of direction or connection to the outside world. No signal. Just my luck. Twenty four hours of angry driving later, I'm in the middle of nowhere, with no idea where I'm going or what I'm doing. I let out a frustrated scream, slamming my hand against the steering wheel. The sound echoes in the confined space of the car, a reminder of how alone I truly am.


As I round another bend, a sign catches my eye. "Welcome to Willowbrook," it reads, the white letters against a cheery, bright red background glowing eerily in the moonlight. I've never heard of this place before, but at least it's a sign of civilization. Maybe I can find a gas station or a motel to stay for the night, gather my thoughts, and figure out my next move.


At least I hope I can. 


The night looks dark and if there’s a town nearby, I can’t see any lights.


Just as I pass the sign, an unusual sensation floods me. The buzz of electricity makes the hairs on my arms stand on end. I shiver, goosebumps erupting across my skin, but the sensation quickly passes.


I continue driving, the road winding deeper into the forest. The shadows grow darker, reaching out to swallow me whole. I try to shake off the unease, telling myself it's just my imagination running wild because I’m literally lost in the woods.


The road narrows even more and I find myself holding my breath as I maneuver around a particularly sharp bend. The tires skid slightly on the loose gravel, and my heart leaps into my throat. I grip the steering wheel with palms slick with sweat.


I need to find a place to stop soon. I'm in no condition to keep driving, not with my emotions running so high and my mind so clouded. I squint into the darkness, searching for any sign of life or shelter.


And then, as if in answer to my silent plea, I see a faint light in the distance. It's warm and inviting, a beacon of hope in the sea of shadows. I press down on the accelerator, eager to reach it.


I let out a deep sigh of relief as I finally reach a town the sign promised. The winding mountain road had been a nerve-wracking journey, but the warm glow of the streetlamps beckons me forward, promising safety and respite from the shadows that have engulfed me for hours.


As I coast along the main street, I marvel at the quaint beauty of this little town. The shop fronts are well-maintained, their facades adorned with intricate woodwork and colorful flower boxes spilling over with vibrant blooms. The golden glow of the lamplights casts a warm, inviting hue over the scene, and for a moment, I forget the heartache that led me here.


Although it’s dark outside, people turn to look at me as I drive by, their curious gazes following my unfamiliar car. I feel a little self-conscious, but then a young girl waves at me from the sidewalk, her face alight with a brilliant smile. The simple gesture puts me at ease, reminding me that this must be a place where kindness still exists. My heart rate returns to normal.


As I continue down the street, a neon sign catches my eye—"Sally's Diner." The prospect of a hot meal and a place to rest my head is suddenly all I can think about. I pull into the parking lot, the tires crunching over the gravel, and take a moment to take in my surroundings as I step out of my car.
The air is crisp and clean, tinged with the scent of pine and earthy moss. It's a stark contrast to the city air I'm used to, and I find myself taking deep, greedy breaths, savoring the refreshing coolness.


Through the diner's large windows, I can see people laughing and enjoying their meals. It looks safe, clean, and welcoming—exactly what I need right now. With a deep breath, I gather my courage and make my way inside. The moment I step through the door, a surge of delicious aromas envelops me. It's like a warm embrace, and some of the tension in my shoulders begins to melt away.


I'm transported back in time as I step further into the diner. The worn, cherry-red vinyl of the bench seats gleams invitingly, the material creased and cracked from decades of use. The laminate tabletops, a warm honey color, are scuffed and scratched, bearing the marks of countless meals and conversations shared over years.


In the corner, a jukebox stand lights up and blinks in time with the gentle melody that fills the air. The tune is familiar, a classic rock ballad that conjures images of poodle skirts and milkshakes shared between sweethearts.


I’m a little out of place. My soft, curvy figure is at odds with the athletic builds of the women scattered throughout the diner. Their toned arms and lean frames speak of a life of hard work and physical activity, a far cry from the sedentary lifestyle I've grown accustomed to.


The men, too, are broad and rugged, their muscular frames filling out the confines of the booths. They exude a sense of strength and resilience that I find impossible to ignore, a stark contrast to the city-dwellers I’m used to seeing.


I think back to Mark and the countless times he urged me to join him at the gym, his tone laced with thinly-veiled criticism about my body. No matter how hard I tried, shedding the extra weight was always an impossible task, my curves stubbornly clinging to me like an old friend.


Here, in this diner, surrounded by these strong, capable people, I feel painfully out of place. My soft edges and rounded hips are a glaring reminder of my own inadequacies, and I shrink in on myself.


The conversation lulls as curious stares weigh upon me. A familiar self-consciousness creeps in, and I find myself second-guessing my decision to come inside.


But then, a warm, maternal voice cuts through the silence. "Y'all mind your own business now," a woman in her fifties chides. Her shoulder length brown hair is streaked with gray but her kind face is creased with laugh lines. She beckons me over to the counter with a welcoming smile and ushers me onto a stool at the long counter.


Before I can even open my mouth, she's already pouring me a steaming cup of coffee. "You look like you've had a long day, honey," she says, her voice rich with concern.


“Thank you.” I nod, suddenly aware of how exhausted I truly am. The coffee's aroma is intoxicating, and I wrap my hands around the mug, savoring the warmth that seeps into my chilled fingers.


"I'll get you a burger and some fries," the woman says, as if reading my mind. "You've gotta be starving after that long drive up the mountain."
I blink in surprise, my mouth opening to protest, but she simply winks at me, a knowing smile playing on her lips. "Trust me, sweetheart. Anyone who finds their way to Willowbrook arrives hungry."


As if on cue, my stomach rumbles, and I realize that I can't even remember the last time I ate. “I guess I could eat something.”


A smile works its way over her kind features. She’s as athletic as the rest of the women here, but something about her relaxes me. “I’m more than sure you’ll find something in the menu to your tastes here. Now I’m Sally. Before you ask, yes, I’m the Sally in Sally’s Diner. You sit down and relax and I’ll see what I can do about getting you some accommodation.”


The woman bustles off, calling out the order to the cook in the back, and I take a moment to look around the diner. Despite the initial curiosity of the patrons, they've all returned to their own conversations and meals, a sense of normalcy settling back over the space. For the first time in what feels like an eternity, I allow myself to relax, letting the warmth of the diner seep into my bones. 


And as I wait for my food, I wonder how she knew I needed somewhere to stay.

 

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