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Sharon’s Wolves

By:Becca Jameson

a bottle of water, which she handed to him. “You must be thirsty. It’s hot out there today.”

He took the cool bottle from her hand and nodded. “Have you heard any news? Where was the epicenter? How strong was it?”

She shook her head. “Not yet. We’ve been over our heads trying to right everything around here so far. And now Sharon…” She bit her lower lip in concern as if just remembering her daughter was injured.

Hell, he felt the same level of angst he read on her face, and his left leg started to bounce. What was wrong with him? He’d never even addressed her directly until he’d stopped to rescue her from the side of the road. And that could hardly be considered a conversation.

Someone else emerged from the locker room and motioned for them to come inside. Or maybe they meant the hand gesture for Carlie only.

Jackson remained seated. But Carlie stood and grabbed his hand briefly. “Come on. Let’s see how she’s doing.”

He followed Sharon’s mother through the door to the locker room. Rebecca was leaning over Sharon’s bare leg, her boot having been removed and her pants shoved up to her thigh.

“I don’t like this,” Griffen growled to one side, his voice barely audible.

He didn’t like what?

Sharon’s face was white. She shot a glare at her brother where he stood to one side. “Shut it.” And then she turned her face toward Jackson. At least she was awake this time. Sort of. She didn’t look like she’d be able to stay that way for long.

She reached her small hand toward him.

He took it, and his heart stopped. An electric current seemed to run between them.

She smiled wanly. “Thanks for rescuing me.”

“No problem.”

“Rebecca’s going to knock me out and stitch me up. You don’t have to stay.”

“Okay.” He couldn’t seem to look away from her face. Even covered in dirt and the streaks of tears she must have shed from the pain, she was gorgeous. Her hair was a tangled mess, her ponytail having slipped so the majority of it escaped to halo her face. She looked homeless, actually. And never more beautiful.

He smiled, unable to think of anything else to do.

“I’ll call you in a few days when I’m more human and thank you properly.” She released him. Her face was tight as if she were telling lies. Which made no sense.

He nodded but didn’t move. Like a magnet, he was drawn to her, unable to look away.

“Come on,” Griffen said as he wrapped a hand around Jackson’s bicep. “I’ll walk you out.”

Dismissed.

Jackson swallowed over the lump in his throat, unable to explain why he didn’t want to leave this woman here with her family. What he wanted to do was wipe her face with a cool cloth and kiss her forehead. He wanted to hold her hand while Rebecca stitched her up.

Why weren’t they taking her to a hospital? He jerked his gaze to the competent woman leaning over her shin and found her seemingly waiting for him to leave. There was nothing around to indicate she was about to stitch someone up. No needle. No iodine to clean the area. Just Rebecca, patiently smiling while Griffen tugged his arm.

Finally, Jackson nodded and allowed himself one more glance at Sharon’s face.

Her expression was tight. Her teeth were gritted as if she intended to scream out in pain as soon as he left the room. Why put on such a brave face?

Confused, but with no excuses left for why he remained in this room with this family he didn’t know, he turned and headed out the door with Griffen. He followed the man all the way to his truck.

“Thanks again,” Griffen said as he yanked the driver’s door open. “Appreciate the help. Knowing Sharon, I’m sure she’ll bake you cookies or something in a few days.” He shifted his weight from one foot to the other, obviously anxious for Jackson to leave.

Jackson nodded and climbed into his SUV. He let Griffen shut the door as he started the engine.

As he drove away, he watched Griffen jog back into the lodge through his rearview mirror.

He knew two things: the Masters were very strange people, and that was by far not the last time he would see Sharon.

∙•∙

Sharon exhaled slowly as she heard the truck pull away.

Rebecca released her leg and helped her tug her shirt over her head. “You’re crazy, you know.”

“What was I supposed to do?” she muttered. “Die? Shift in front of him?”

“You should have shifted a long time ago. If you had passed out, you wouldn’t have been able to shift. It doesn’t work if you’re unconscious,” Rebecca chastised.

Sharon almost laughed at this woman who had been one of her best friends long before Rebecca found out Sharon and her family were all wolf shifters. Long before Rebecca met and mated with Griffen and their third mate Miles Bartel. Long before Rebecca had become such an expert in the needs of injured wolves that she’d argued incessantly with Sharon to let Griffen send Jackson away without Sharon seeing him.

She needed to shift. She knew that. But she’d needed to face her mate again first. She couldn’t stand the idea of him leaving without knowing she was going to be okay.

So, she’d put on a fake smile and met him head on. It had cost her. She was almost too exhausted to shift. But it was worth it. The look on his face spoke volumes. He might not have understood what he was feeling, but he was indeed lured to her.

It killed her to tell him to leave. But it had to be done. She was no good to him dead.

Her pants were a total loss anyway, and Sharon was out of strength. So, she brushed Rebecca’s assistance away, closed her eyes, and let the change wash over her.

It took longer than usual, but in about fifteen seconds she was fully shifted, her remaining clothes in tatters under her. Her leg throbbed, and she growled at the pain, but after several deep breaths, she rested her snout on her front paws and closed her eyes…

»»•««

Isaiah Arthur leaned against a thick tree trunk just inside the tree line and glanced at his brother. “What do you think?”

“I think this is a pres

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