Release date: September 14, 2015
After a month as a “guest” of the Foye gang, quiet nurse Miles Bennett is itching to be able to leave their isolated ranch. But were-cougar second-in-command Hank Foye wants to take her as his mate. If she doesn’t agree to accept him, he’ll be cursed to spend the rest of his life on four paws. With no family waiting for her back home, Miles decides to stick around—Hank is cute, and staying in town means she’ll get to stay with her friends.
Hank expected to be paired with Miles’s brash friend Hannah, not meek and mundane Miles. But his goddess says this is his one and only chance for a mate, even if Miles is a liability in a world where shifters fight to lead and roam. Now he not only has to attend to Cougar affairs but play bodyguard, too.
Surprisingly, the sweet young woman brings his long-repressed passions roaring to life. She deserves to be loved unconditionally, but he sees her as the embodiment of everything he can’t have. Can he get his house in order to lead a group of restless Cougars and earn his mate’s trust?
Sensuality Level: Sensual
Holley Trent is a Carolina girl gone west. She writes contemporary and paranormal romances that have both humor and heat. Find Holley Trent at www.holleytrent.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter @holleytrent.
An excerpt from The Cougar’s Trade:
Miles had been in equal parts dreading this and craving it. She wanted it over with just to bring the suspense down to a manageable level, but now the ball would be in her court. By saying no, she’d be ruining some guy’s life and taking a woman’s son away from her.
It wasn’t fair. It wasn’t fair for any of them, and Miles could only hope she’d have enough wisdom to draw on when the time came to decide.
The choice was simple—stay or go—but the consequences weren’t.
“Oh my God,” she whispered as Hank and Sean Foye stepped into the living room. She pulled in a cleansing breath and immediately swallowed, regretting her overindulgence at breakfast.
The room suddenly seemed very cramped, and she felt boxed in.
No more delaying. No more “what-ifs.” She was about to find out firsthand what it meant to be claimed by a Cougar, and whether she could reject him when the time came, in spite of how kind his mother had been to her.
She swallowed again, this time trying to push back the bile that soured her mouth.
“You’re looking a little green.” Glenda slung her arm around Miles’s shoulder and rubbed her arm. “It’s all right. I’m not going to let anything bad happen to you.”
“It’d be easier on my conscience if you did.”
Glenda didn’t respond except to give her another squeeze. She probably didn’t know what to say any more than Miles did.
“Go on and pick, and start your two-week countdown to doom, boys,” Hannah said. “You’d better start getting your affairs in order.”
Both men made noncommittal grunts, but only one pulled Miles’s attention. As always, her gaze immediately tracked to Mason’s Second—Hank. He was the epitome of the strong, silent type. Perhaps even a bit cold in his stoic efficiency, but he got things done, and his respect for his alpha was clear and obviously unimpeachable. He was steadfast, and ruthlessly take-charge. In two weeks, he hadn’t looked her way for more than a second or two. Sean, on the other hand, had actually attempted across-the-room conversations. He hadn’t wanted to get too close, so he didn’t trigger his clock without knowing it, but he’d tried to be friendly to both her and Hannah. Hank didn’t seem interested in either of them before, but now he looked at Hannah, and Miles knew. He’d made his choice.
She was surprised to realize that the tightness in her chest was the aftermath of her heart sinking. Obviously, she’d made her choice, too, without having known it.
Not that there was anything wrong with Sean. He was strong and funny and a doting uncle. He would be perfect for some woman. Apparently he was her man for the next two weeks. In her head, the projectile missed its mark. The magnet didn’t stick because the surface didn’t have the right charge. There was no aha. No click.
Shouldn’t there have been something? Maybe she didn’t have any magic or a meddling goddess ancestress like Ellery did to steer her steps, but certainly intuition should have spoken to her. But all she got from it was, “I’m sorry, I don’t know.”
“All set? We’re going to go with who we decided on earlier, right?” Sean asked Hank.
Hank rolled his eyes and muttered, “I don’t see any reason not to. Logic makes more sense than your idea of flipping a coin.”
“A coin?” Miles looked to Glenda, aghast.
She whispered, “I’m going to have to trust they know what they’re doing. I’m not a Cougar.”
Sean skirted around the coffee table and gave Miles’s shoulder, which Glenda’s arm had vacated, a squeeze.
“Hey, short stuff. Look. I’m touchin’ ya.”
“You sure are.” And she felt nothing for him besides pity. She put on a smile for him, but it was as phony as she knew his was. She’d seen his happy grins, and the one he wore at the moment didn’t match by a long shot.