This is an excerpt from Tri Mates – Cascadia Wolves Book Two! To answer the question before it comes up – no, I don’t know if or when the book will ever be in print. I’ve asked dozens of times over the years and EC tells me I’ll know when I get an email telling me it’s available in print. The other books are in print and available!
CASCADIA WOLVES: TRI MATES by LAUREN DANE
Copyright 2006, Lauren Dane
All Rights Reserved, Ellora’s Cave
Tracy let Milton run a few minutes more and took him back inside, made sure it was warm enough, gave him a treat and opened up the drapes so he could look outside. He liked to watch the birds and squirrels. Taking one last look in the mirror, she headed out to the conference room where they’d be meeting.
It was a nice day, crisp but unseasonably warm, and she only needed a light jacket over her T-shirt as she walked along the path. Her heart caught in her throat as she watched a man with caramel hair and a bit of salt-and-pepper at the temples walk into the building in front of her. He had on pants with a pleat so sharp it probably cut paper, expensive shoes and a wine-colored sweater. The perfect mix of formal and casual to go with the perfect haircut. Very attractive in a professorial way. Still, she had the urge to jump on him and muss him up.
The man was in charge. His very demeanor indicated he was self-assured and oh-so-very dominant. Mmm, dominant.
She laughed to herself and went in behind the man, who was quite obviously the Mediator. There was a coat rack just outside the room and she took off hers and hung it up. The room was warm enough for humans and definitely warm enough for wolves. She couldn’t resist a quick look in the window to catch her reflection. Her lipstick was still on nicely and she gave her hair a quick fingercomb and went into the room.
Nick looked up from the paperwork on the table in front of him and caught sight of the woman that had just entered the room. Shoulder-length, tousled golden-blonde curls framed her face. The sweet heart shape and pixie nose were set off by the ring in her eyebrow. Freckles dusted her cheeks and drew his eyes up past her high cheekbones to the green eyes. They were wide and glittering with hidden mischief. Her lips, stained red with shiny gloss, curved up on one corner like she had a secret.
She reached up and tucked her hair back and more piercings, running the length of her ear, showed. When she turned and waved to Lex he could see the outline of both nipples, each pierced by a ring, through the tight black T-shirt she had on. Her features seemed petite but she was long and lithe and sexy. Her legs were very nice legs, showcased by the worn and faded jeans she was wearing, but her ass was spectacular.
He should be horrified. He should be mentally sneering and looking for the woman in the Jones New York suit and the two-hundred-dollar haircut. Instead, he stood openmouthed and panting over a woman who he wouldn’t pick up hitchhiking.
Tracy nonchalantly looked for the Mediator while pretending to be all business. Waving to Lex and Nina, she did a quick sweep of the room and stopped when she saw Nick Lawrence close up.
Everything got still and quiet as her eyes were drawn to the sable black hair that she just knew was cut to perfection every six weeks. It looked soft and silky and she clenched her hands at the thought of running her fingers through it. His eyes caught hers and pulled her into their deep blue depths. His features were beautiful, almost pretty, and yet the width of his shoulders and the power hinted at in his legs overcame it. It was clear he was a man. A big, bad man who could be scary if he needed to be. He wouldn’t be the Enforcer if he wasn’t physically the strongest and most fearsome wolf in the Pack.
She shivered. And then felt confused. Why on earth did that matter? She’d never been one to go after the jock type and most especially the clean-cut, corporate-suit type.
“Tracy? You ready to get started?” Lex asked, jolting her out of her thoughts.
“Uh, yes. Yes. Sorry.” She walked over to their table and sat next to him. Behind them both, Nina watched with a puzzled look on her face.
Professor Studly stepped forward and everyone stood again. “I’m Gabe Murphy, the Mediator for the National Pack. This doesn’t appear to be an overly complicated situation so I’m hoping we can cut the shit and get this thing banged out by the end of business today.”
He held out his hand to Lex, who shook it.
“I’m Alexander Warden, Lex to most people. I’m Enforcer and Second in the Cascadia Clan.” He inclined his head slightly, showing the deference due the Mediator but not an inch more.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Lex. I’ve heard a lot about you.”
Gabe stepped to Nick then, who was still staring at Tracy, but forced himself to focus on the Mediator. “Nicholas Lawrence, Enforcer and Second in Pacific Clan.” He too gave the inclination of his head.
Acting by strict protocol, Gabe moved back to Lex, where Nina stood forward. “Nina Reyesâ€“Warden. Second.”
Gabe couldn’t help but grin. The woman clearly thought the whole thing was bullshit. It showed in her body language and the way she met his eyes. He liked that. “I’ve also heard about you, Nina. It’s nice to finally meet you, your reputation proceeds you.”
She snorted. Lex looked horrified and Tracy and Megan kept their gazes down so as not to laugh.
“I’ll take that as a compliment then, shall I, Gabe?”
He laughed then. “Absolutely.”
He then dealt with the other members of each group. Despite his normally calm demeanor, his heart sped up when he shook the hand of Tracy Warden. Normally he’d have been none too thrilled to meet someone with a facial piercing, at the very least turned off, but on her it was wicked sexy. Made him wonder if anything else was pierced, and if she had tattoos.
“Okay, do you all know each other?” Gabe asked, looking around at them, forcing his mind off stripping those clothes off Tracy Warden and searching out the answers to his questions.
“I’ve not met anyone from Pacific.” Tracy was surprised that her voice didn’t crack under the pressure of all that testosterone in the room.
Gabe took her hand, led her over to the others and introduced her to Nick. When Nick touched her hand her body tightened and erupted into gooseflesh. Oh shit.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Tracy.” Nick said this in his usual debonair way but he was fighting down panic. Fighting back the urge to push her back to the table behind her and grab the flesh of her neck between his teeth.
She knew she must have mumbled something and met the others. She realized this as she sat in the chair next to Lex and began to take notes. The time began to tick by and she didn’t quite know where it had gone.
The feel of her hand in Nick’s had warmed her. Turned her insides molten. She was achy and her wolf was agitated. Several times Lex had to repeat himself when he asked her a question as she found it increasingly more difficult to pay attention.
Nina watched her sister-in-law with careful eyes. All the fidgeting and distractedness was unlike her. “Excuse me, can we take a break?” Nina asked, standing up.