“You smell like my mate.” ~Aiden
Rose Merrin is attracted to the one man in Dark Forest suspected of murder. Self-preservation and the townsfolk’s eagle eyes keep her from knowing his touch, even when everything about him calls to her. But when another murder shocks Dark Forest, and a girl who could be her sister disappears, her life becomes dependent on the one man no one trusts.
Aiden Hyde holds a dark secret. Proving his innocence would reveal his werewolf heritage. When a new werewolf in town sets his sights on Rose, he has no choice but to step in and protect his mate—whether she knows it or not.
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“But, Grams,” Rose said, her voice strained. They stood on the front porch of Edith Merrin’s tiny cottage. “What about you?”
Edith let out a long, beleaguered sigh. “I am no longer young, and whoever tampered with your car might mean business. You are staying with Aiden. It’s safer for everyone. Tell her she is staying with you.”
Aiden cocked his head as he assessed Edith. The woman knew more than was good for her, but luckily she knew how to be discreet. While he agreed the safest place for Rose was his house, having her under his roof would be a torture he’d done nothing to deserve. Her tight, athletic body was a temptation he wasn’t sure he’d be able to resist. Her green eyes were always warm when she looked at him, almost welcoming. The honey gold of her long hair made his fingers itch to touch. It didn’t stop the fact someone had gone out of their way to inconvenience her. To frighten her. Maybe even put her in danger.
“It’s her choice,” he said after a moment, he’d be watching her wherever she stayed. And now he knew exactly who to watch for. Julian Hathaway. Since he hadn’t scented Kiera’s abductor, he had no way of knowing if the other wolf was responsible for the current chaos, but he was definitely a threat, and a threat Aiden intended to take seriously.
Edith scowled at him. “Fine. Rose, you can’t stay here. I don’t want you hogging up my space.”
Rose opened her pretty mouth before snapping it closed and gritting her teeth. “Old woman, if you do not stop this nonsense, I—”
“Exactly what are you going to do, little girl?” Edith planted her hands on robust hips.
“I am not—”
“You are being a pain in the ass,” Edith shot back before Rose could finish. “I already survived my son’s death, and I won’t survive the death of his daughter! Stay with Aiden.”
Rose looked to him for help.
He sighed. “Grams is right. My place is the safest you’re going to get in this town.”
Rose walked off the porch, muttering to herself.
Aiden growled at Edith and then took off after Rose. She didn’t understand. He didn’t want her to suffer the same fate Travis and Bridget had. The people he cared about kept dying around him. He was as much of a danger to her as she was in without him, no matter what he’d just said a moment ago. But he couldn’t take the chance she might be harmed, no matter his misgivings or horrible track record. “Rose, wait!”
She turned to glare at him. “There’s a killer and kidnapper on the loose, one who seems to like girls who look like me, and the best thing you and Grams can come up with is for me to stay with you!”
He went perfectly still. It was the first time he had a real confirmation she didn’t trust him. “Rose, I—” But he didn’t know what to say. His heart constricted in his chest. Of course she couldn’t trust him. There were too many unanswered questions about how he had survived the wolf attack five years ago, and his family hadn’t. “I’ll talk to Grams.”
“No! Wait!” Rose stared at him like a deer in headlights. “Are you…” She closed her eyes and muttered to herself. When her beautiful green eyes opened, there was worry in them. “Are you a werewolf?”