For coyote shifter Blue Shapely, becoming the new alpha of Maria’s pack is his long-awaited chance to be his own man and eliminate chaos from the town. Unfortunately, the pack’s patron is thwarting him at every turn.
After being magically attached to the Coyote group for more than a century, demigoddess Willa Matheson has a soft spot for them—even the dangerous ones threatening to expose them to humans. She may have hired Blue to rein in the pack, but the two constantly disagree on strategy. She doesn’t want to upset anyone, whereas he’ll do whatever it takes to get his Coyotes in line. And to make things worse: all signs point to the anxious demigoddess being his mate.
But developing a tenderness for Willa will be an obstacle to Blue’s determination to be as ruthless as he needs to be. If the duo can’t find a way to retract their claws, and soon, it may be too late to protect the pack’s secret—and their own hearts.
by Holley Trent
Sensuality Level: Sensual
Holley Trent is a Carolina girl gone west. She writes 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 Coyote’s Chance:
TROIBLE @ QATERIMG HOOLE
“Oh no.” Breathing out a quiet groan of frustration, Willa Matheson gave her trembling right hand a squeeze with her left and then tried to tap out that text message again. There was a bar brawl brewing at The Watering Hole, and the group of reckless shapeshifters she was chaperoning were on one side of it. If there was a fight, there wouldn’t be anything Willa could do to help them. If she couldn’t get her brain to cooperate with her fingers, there was going to be fur, and possibly a few bullets, flying.
Distracted and on edge, she’d hit Send prematurely, and the message’s recipient—Blue Shapely—wasn’t the kind of man who had patience for people wasting his time. Not even her, and she’d hired him to manage the New Mexican Coyote pack she’d haplessly inherited more than a hundred years ago. She wasn’t a shifter. Her being a pack patron didn’t make good sense, but she was bound to them through her father’s magic. As far as demigoddesses went, she wasn’t all that impressive. The only magic she had was what kept her from aging at a normal rate, and she didn’t think looking like a chronically fatigued thirtysomething was that great of a trick.
TROULBE @ WATEING HOLE
After reading back her second attempt at an SOS, she shook with barely repressed, nervous laughter at yet another late typo detection.
“Rare form tonight,” she whispered, rubbing her burning eyes. There was always so much smoke coming off the grill at The Watering Hole. It permeated the entire bar, but no one else seemed bothered. They always behaved as though it wasn’t even there, clouding up the air and teasing of fire.
Willa hated fire.
Doing her best to ignore the stench, she hovered her fingers over the screen again, closing them into a fist and shaking them out as the Message Read indicator popped up on her screen.
Oh no. A cold flash of fear shot through her and jolted her more erect on her barstool.
She could imagine what the Coyote alpha would say if he’d been scanning his phone screen while standing in front of her. He’d look up slowly and level his best corporate stare on her. “That supposed to be English?” Blue would probably ask, and her comeback would likely be something like, “I would know. I’ve been speaking it longer,” and then, mortified, she’d flee.
As the child of a Greek god, she was somewhat more physically resilient and certainly more long-lived than her fully human peers. She’d discovered within five minutes of meeting Blue six months ago, though, that verbal sparring with him was dangerous for her blood pressure. Usually, stupid Coyotes were the most dangerous ones. Her problem with Blue was that his brain was too quick . . . and he was too unyielding once he’d made his quick assessments.
TROUBLE “ WATERING HOLE
Her eyes were burning too much for her to see the screen clearly. He’d figure out what she meant, and if not, she could always say she tried. Calling might have been easier for some people, but she never could get her words out quite right when she was nervous. A lingering effect, perhaps, of growing up during the Spanish Inquisition, where the smallest conversational slipups could get people investigated.
Not that it’d mattered for her in the end. It wasn’t what she’d said that had gotten her condemned. It was what she hadn’t even done.
Stop it. You survived.
Forcing the memory of pitiless staring crowds and lit torches out of her mind, she risked a glance up to the mirror behind the bar. A few of her known troublemakers were pushing back from their tables, puffing up their chests, making their presences known—not that they could be ignored. That was the biggest problem with the Coyotes. They didn’t try hard enough to get the largely ignorant-to-paranormal human locals to ignore them. They just didn’t care anymore.
“Don’t do this, Mac,” she murmured when he brought his beer bottle to his lips and smiled behind it at a cocky ranch hand seated two tables away. The bottle had been empty for ten minutes. She knew Mac McConnell, and that was a threat. The notorious Coyote troublemaker’s favorite weapon was glass.
Two more Coyotes stood, swaying drunkenly and signaling their intent to enter the fray.