~ Jackson ~
When life at home became too risky, I accepted my aunt's invitation to move to her ranch on the other side of the country. It would have been perfect if my aunt hadn't died a month after I arrived and left me her ranch. Now, I had to figure out how to run a ranch... and why a sexy stranger on a motorcycle has moved himself into my house.
~ Ze'ev ~
I was born a dire wolf. Our sole purpose in life was to protect our pack. We didn't get mates. We didn't have lives of our own. We had nothing except our duty. Well, screw that. I left my pack years ago, refusing to conform to the rules set down by the shifter council. Imagine my surprise when I find myself intrigued by a human I met in passing. Unwilling to pass up an opportunity to get to know him better, I move myself into his house. What better way to discover why he smells so damn good?
When danger knocks on the front door and Jackson is attacked, who better to help me protect him than other dire wolves. It might be my only chance to keep him alive, even if it means I have to form my own pack.
~ Ze'ev ~
I clutched the five dollar bill tight in my hand as I watched the man who'd given it to me get in his truck and drive away. It was easy to hear the rumble of his vehicle as it drove around the side of the building and stopped at the back.
I'd seen him getting out of his truck when I walked out of the diner across the street and had been intrigued. The moment I got to this side of the road, I smelled the most amazing scent, like the smell of the deep forest and summer rain.
It had drawn me inside the feed and seed store.
If that bastard behind the counter hadn't yelled at me, I would have followed that scent until I found where it was coming from. I'd taken to waiting outside, intent on sneaking in when the old man wasn't looking.
But, now I knew where it came from. I could smell the man's alluring scent all over the five dollar bill he'd given me. It had been ages since I smelled that particular scent, not since I'd left home so many years before.
I wanted to know why this man smelled of my homeland, of the deep forest and summer rain, with a hint of...horse hair? Maybe he was a ranch hand or something.
I got up and walked back across the street to my motorcycle. As I walked past the spot where the truck had been parked, I wrinkled my nose at the stench of burnt oil and smoke. That truck was on its last legs.
It did, however, create the perfect trail to follow.
After putting my cowboy hat in my saddlebag, I swung my leg over the motorcycle seat and sat down. Others might have considered the deep rumble as too loud, but I loved the purr it made when I started it up.
I looked both ways before pulling out onto the street. I drove around to the side of the feed and seed store until I could see the front end of the truck then pulled over to the side of the road and waited.
About ten minutes later, I heard the truck start up and cough and saw a plume of black smoke floating through the air. A moment later, the truck pulled out and started down the street heading away from me.
Knowing I could follow the smoke, I waited a few minutes before starting down the street after it. The truck stayed on the road out of two for about twenty miles before turning off. By the time I got to where it had turned off, I could see it going up a long driveway framed by fading wooden fences on either side, a cloud of dust following in its wake.
I sat at the end of the driveway and watched as the truck pulled up in front of a two story red barn and stopped. The man I'd seen in town got out and went around to the back of the truck and opened the tailgate.
He grabbed a large brown bag and carried it into the barn. He did this two more times before closing the tailgate and walking toward a white wooden house sitting across the driveway from the barn.
I saw a couple lights flicker to life and then nothing. I had no idea if this was where he lived, but I suspected it was from his familiarity with the place.
I drove a little ways down the road and then back the way I came until I found a break in the trees big enough to drive my motorcycle down. It was about half a mile from the entrance to the ranch, but I could run that easily enough.
I made sure my motorcycle couldn't be seen from the road and climbed off. I quickly stripped off all of my clothes and put them in one of the saddlebags. I might have to make a quick exit and I didn't want to leave my clothes behind.
My shift was quick and easy as it always was. It had been that way since my first shift. Bones snapped and realigned themselves. Muscles stretched. Fur sprouted up over every inch of my body until I was nothing but a shadow of black with golden eyes.
I lifted my nose into the air and sniffed. I was in a forest on the edge of fields and pastures. Trees, moss, undergrowth, and dirt were the overwhelming scents. There were a few prey animals in the area. Three deer in the pasture off to my left. A rabbit in the underbrush off to my right. There was also the strong scent of a horse coming from the ranch and the fading scent of manure.
There were no other predators.
That was a good thing. I didn't need to be fighting any alpha wolves who thought I was there to take over their pack. I didn't want a pack, and none of those testosterone ridden alpha males seemed to understand that.
I just wanted to be left alone.
Which totally didn't explain why I was running through the woods to get closer to the house where that delicious smelling man had disappeared. I should be running in the other direction.
I just couldn't.
I had to figure out why this man, this human, smelled the way he did.
Why he smelled like home.
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