Dingo Wild

The Dingo Pack, Book 1

Lexxie Couper

Chapter 1

So this is an Australian pub.

Katy-Lin Yunker stopped just inside the heavy glass door, looking around the dim interior of the bar.

Five men of various ages, sizes, and levels of consciousness regarded her with five various states of interest from where they sat—scattered—in the bar.

Katy bestowed them all a tentative smile.

One ginger-haired man flashed her a toothless grin, happily sliding his index finger in and out of the circle he’d made with the fingers of his other hand.

The unmistakable stench of alcohol and sweat threaded into Katy’s gasp and, before she could stop herself, she wrinkled her nose.

A low grunt of contempt from the very beefy man looking at her with wary curiosity from the bar told her she’d stuffed up.

So much for getting help here. Still, she had to try. Maybe she could put some of the All-American charm her Nan insisted she had in spades to use. Although, that charm had failed her thus far in her endeavor to find her missing uncle.

Maybe Australians were naturally resistant to American charm?

Lifting up her chin, she fixed her stare on the wiry man working behind the bar, shook her head with determination, shut out the nerves gnawing at her stomach, and—in a woefully lame attempt to seduce those still looking at her—crossed the dim room.

The beefy man who’d grunted at her nose curl made the same contemptuous sound again as she came to a stop beside him. His eyes narrowed as he shifted in his seat, not so much inching away from her, but rather giving himself a better view to take her all in.

“Hot piece of arse, ’eh, Ipo?”

Katy dragged her stare from Mr. Beefy, turning to the man who’d spoken on the other side of her.

He smirked up at her from his bar stool, flashing teeth whiter and far more pointed than Katy had ever seen. This close, she couldn’t miss the dandruff flakes in his greasy black hair, or the rank odor wafting from his thin frame.

“Give it a rest, Merv,” the man behind the bar—Ipo?—said.

Katy shuffled her feet—why the hell had she decided to wear heels to the Australian Outback?—cleared her throat and decided to ignore everyone else in the Longyard Pub except the barkeeper.

Pressing her palms to the edge of the bar, she poured her entire soul into the look she gave the man. “I’m looking for my uncle,” she said. “Can you—”

“Hot piece of arse is a Yank!” someone behind her rumbled.

Someone else behind her laughed. “Another one.”

Bells and whistles burst into life in Katy’s head. She spun around, scanning the murky interior. “Another one?” she echoed, jerking her stare from one man to another to another. “There was another American here recently? Can you tell me—”

“’Nother Yank broad,” the same voice rumbled from the shadows. “She lived ’ere for a while years ago b’fore takin’ off. Don’t know where she went.”

Katy tried not to slump.

A woman. Damn it. Her uncle was a lot of things, but he was most definitely male.

Letting out a sigh, she turned back to the bar and the wiry man behind it watching her with bored disinterest.

Once again, she pressed her palms to the edge of the counter and sought out his gaze. “Please,” she said, leaning towards him. “My uncle is missing and this town was the last place anyone heard from him.”

The barkeeper’s eyebrows shot up. Katy didn’t miss the quick eye-flick he shot someone behind her. “The Creek?” he asked, eyebrows settling back to their previous indifferent frown. “Your uncle was here in Kangaroo Creek?”

Katy nodded. A prickling heat crept up her spine. From his clear disbelief, or from the unsettling sensation her ass was being thoroughly checked out, she couldn’t tell. Like her heels, the short skirt she’d pulled on that morning before heading for Kangaroo Creek was also fast becoming a source of regret.

Life as a personal assistant to a television breakfast news anchor in San Diego had not prepared her for a desperate search mission on the other side of the world…although from the few minutes she’d spent in the isolated Outback town of Kangaroo Creek, other side of the galaxy seemed more accurate.

“His name is Martin McCoy.” She studied Ipo’s surreally ageless face. “He’s a professor of…of zoology and animal behavior and is studying ancient canine breeds. He’d heard there was a dingo colony near here that…that…”

She faltered. How the hell did she say that he believed these dingoes could shift between human and dingo form? She didn’t. She loved her uncle to bits, he was crazy and a little unusual—and a card-carrying cryptozoologist who firmly believed in the existence of what he called shape-shifters—but she couldn’t tell anyone why he was really here. She’d be wrapped in a straightjacket and deported for even suggesting it.

God help her uncle if he was over here announcing to all and sundry his theory.

“That?”

Katy squealed at the new voice directly behind her. She spun around, staring up at the tall man with steel gray hair, incredible shoulders, and a hawkish nose standing but a foot away from her.

Her heart slammed up into her throat. Her pulse tripped over itself. Whoa, was this guy hot or what?

Mr. Silver Fox arched a heavy dark-brown eyebrow. His light blue eyes seemed to somehow catch what little light there was in the bar, turning his irises to sapphire chips. “That?” he repeated.

Katy swallowed. Why did she feel like she was suddenly under a microscope?

And in danger?

“That he thought might be worth studying,” she finished.

Damn, could everyone in the bar hear how crazy her pulse was? It had turned into a freaking cannon in her throat.

Mr. Silver Fox’s jaw bunched. His eyes narrowed a fraction. If it wasn’t for the fact Katy was the PA to one of San Diego’s biggest divas and skilled at interpreting the makings of a seismic tantrum, she would have missed it.

He knows something.

The thought whispered through her mind a heartbeat before Mr. Silver Fox laughed. “The only dingoes around here are a scraggly mob living on the other side of Tin Hut Gully, isn’t that right, Merv?”

Was that a slight Russian accent? German? Definitely a European tinge of some kind.

Merv brayed laughter. “Yeah, Grayson. That lot aren’t worth study’n for shit.”

Katy swallowed again. She watched Grayson—first name? Last?—chuckle and slap a firm hand on the shoulder of Mr. Beefy, who was once again staring at her with open contempt.

Jesus, this was a weird place.

She didn’t want to be here anymore. Not at all. But she had to be. She needed to find Uncle Martin. He’d been missing for almost a month now and she wasn’t leaving this freaking town until she had answers. Answers the hot-or-what guy standing in front of her had; at least, she hoped he did.

“Do you know where my uncle is, Mr. Grayson?” she asked. Maybe if she flirted with him she’d get some answers.

Yeah, like you know how to flirt.

“Call me Wedge,” he said, a smile tugging at the corners of his lips. “And you are?”

Wedge? What kind of name was that? It didn’t sound Russian. Or European. Or come to think of it, like a real name at—

A blast of heat and afternoon sunlight speared into the bar as the door swung open, blinding Katy with its unexpected assault.

“A round of beers for everyone on me,” a laughing male voice called seconds before the door swung shut, throwing the bar back into murky shadows again.

Wedge Grayson muttered something in a language she didn’t understand.

Katy staggered back a step, her butt bumping against Merv’s knobby knee as she turned her attention from Wedge to the new arrival.

He strutted into the bar, grinning widely, his lean and yet at the same time muscular frame somehow loose and completely relaxed. Sandy blond hair hung around his head in a shaggy mess, complemented by an equally sandy stubble all over his jaw and chin. He moved with an arrogance that was both wickedly arousing and playful. He owned the space around him, dominated it even, despite Wedge standing taller than him. Hell, Mr. Beefy could sit on him and he’d almost disappear. But his sinewy body—on display thanks to the open shirt and low-slung faded jeans—said very clearly that if Mr. Beefy did sit on him, the bigger man would end up suffering all the pain.

A soft breath escaped Katy. The pit of her stomach fluttered. So did the girly bits between her thighs she hadn’t thought about since her uncle disappeared.

The newcomer continued to make his way to the bar. He hadn’t once looked at her but she couldn’t tear her stare from him. She didn’t need to look around to see the rest of the Longyard Pub customers were nowhere near as impressed with him as she was. Impressed? Insta-lust, more like it. Sheesh. The silence couldn’t be any more oppressive and aggressive.

The tattoo on his chest drew her eye. Symbols of some sort. Dots and lines in various tones of umber and rust-red, black, and white. It looked ancient. Spiritual. Was it tribal? Why did she want to trace the marks with her finger? Her tongue.

Tongue? Holy crap, what the hell was going on with—

“Seriously, Ipo.” The new arrival stopped at the bar on the other side of Merv, leaned on his elbows, and smiled at the barkeeper—who watched him with that same indifference Katy had witnessed earlier. “My shout. Everyone in here right now gets a beer from me.”

“Onya, Singo,” one of the men sitting in the far corner of the bar called out, a hint of approval in his voice. “Ipo, I’ll have a Tooheys Dry.”

Singo—surely that couldn’t be his name?—slapped out a jovial rhythm on the bar’s surface and grinned wider at the barkeeper. “That’s a Tooheys Dry for Rat, Ipo.” He turned, rested his elbows back on the counter, and beamed at the room. “Anyone else?”

No one uttered a sound.

Mr. Beefy shifted on his seat and opened his mouth, but shut it again when Wedge closed his fingers over his shoulder.

Katy caught her bottom lip with her teeth, her pulse crazy.

Crazy. This was crazy. Whatever was going on, it was crazy. She needed to get out of here. And yet…

Eyes the color of amber turned her way. They flicked over her, an unreadable emotion flaring in them for a second before settling on Wedge.

“Long time no see, Grayson.” Singo’s grin stretched into a smirk. “What the hell are you doing in a place like Ipo’s?” He threw a grin at the barkeeper. “No offense, mate.”

Ipo grunted with his patented indifference.

Wedge’s jaw clenched. Katy didn’t miss his fingers digging into Mr. Beefy’s meaty shoulder.

Clearly there’s no love lost here.

Katy couldn’t help but smile. Whoever Singo was, he clearly gave zero fucks about the animosity directed his way by almost all the patrons in the bar.

Wedge stepped closer to her and put his hand on her shoulder.

She shrugged him off with a stunned glare. WTF?

“I’ve got every right to be here, Singleton,” the taller man snarled.

Exaggerated consternation flooded Singo’s—Singleton’s?—face. He smacked his palm to his forehead, eyes comically wide. “That’s right. You’re the Creek’s self-appointed mayor, aren’t you? Silly me. Christ knows how this town ever managed to function before your duplicitous arse turned—”

Wedge sprung at Singo.

Singo stopped him mid-lunge with a blurring fist to the jaw.

Everyone in the bar moved at once. Chairs clattered to the ground. Feet shuffled on dusty floorboards. Merv scrambled off his stool, scurrying backward like a fleeing rodent. Wedge tumbled sideways into Mr. Beefy, Singo’s punch sending both men into an awkward, body-bumping dance.

Animal-like snarls and growls rumbled in the air, but from where, Katy had no clue. She gasped.

Ipo cleared the counter in a single agile leap, landing between the off-balance Wedge and the calmly smiling Singo.

Whoa.

“That’s enough, Dean,” the barkeeper ordered, holding out a hand toward Wedge as he fixed a level—and still damn near emotionless—gaze on Singo.

Dean. Singo. Singleton. What the hell is his name?

Katy swallowed, retreating a step. Jesus, what was going on?

The newcomer flashed Ipo a smile. “Not here to cause trouble, Ipo. Just wanted a drink to celebrate.”

Ipo studied him, hand still held out to Wedge like a traffic cop. “What are you celebrating, Dean?”

Dean. Okay, so his name was Dean. Dean Singleton. Gotcha.

Dean chuckled. “Cam and Lucy are pregnant.”

A smile stretched Katy’s lips. Yay! A baby. She had no idea who Cam and Lucy were, but Dean Singleton’s joy was infectious.

“So you’re celebrating a baby?” Wedge laughed. Katy had never heard such an aggressive sound. “You planning on eating it?”

She gasped. Eat it? What the—

Dean slammed into Wedge, driving the other man backward to the ground. Growls and snarls filled the air. Dean’s fist smashed into Wedge’s jaw. Once. Twice.

Terror turned Katy’s limbs to blocks of ice. What the fuck? Jesus, what the actual—

With barely a grunt, Ipo snagged a fistful of Dean’s hair and hauled him off Wedge. “Enough, Singo. Enough.”

Dean staggered sideways, his stare locked on Wedge shoving himself to his feet. Blood trickled from the corner of the bigger man’s mouth and nose. He sucked in a choppy breath, his shoulders hunched. “I’m going to kill you, Singleton.”

Katy’s stomach dropped.

Dean grinned. “Give it your best shot, wolf.”

Wolf?

Ipo—clearly unfazed by the ruckus—planted his palms on their chests and shoved them farther apart. “Keep your dicks in your pants, you two. And remember the rules. Break ’em and you’re both in a world of pain.”

Curiosity laced through the fear in Katy’s chest. She inched back a step, swinging her focus from Dean to Wedge, to the silent men now standing around them, to the barkeeper, and back to Dean. Whatever was going on, Dean was outnumbered, and yet there wasn’t anything about him that said he cared, or was going to back down.

She had no idea who he was, but the thought of him being hurt by someone like Wedge…or Merv, or Mr. Beefy?

Nope. She couldn’t let that happen. Whoever Dean Singleton was, he’d come into the bar to celebrate something amazing: new life. She wasn’t going to let that celebration be tarnished.

I’d like a beer,” she blurted out.

All eyes snapped to her. Fixed on her. Drilled into her.

Wedge’s gaze crawled over her in the most obvious visual undressing she’d ever experienced. Ipo narrowed his eyes. Merv and Mr. Beefy sniggered, flicking Wedge and Dean nervous glances.

Dean…Dean studied her, an unreadable light dancing in his amber-gold eyes.

Drawing in a steadying breath, Katy straightened her shoulders and lifted her chin. “Well?” She met Dean’s enigmatic inspection. Oh boy, her mouth suddenly felt drier than the red dirt outside. “You did say everyone, right?”

A slow smile tugged at Dean’s lips. “I did.”

Katy beamed. Whatever it was about this guy, she liked it. A lot. In all sorts of delicious ways.

You’re not here for a delicious time, Katherine Linette Yunker. You’re here to find your uncle. Now stop wasting time and do that. Now.

She gave Wedge a quick look. She didn’t like him. Not at all. But he knew something about her uncle. And he clearly did not like Dean Singleton. If she pissed off Wedge, would she lose any chance of finding out what he knew?

Stomach a knotted ball of tension, she turned back to Dean and shook her head. “I’m sorry. I just remembered I…” I what? “I don’t like beer.”

Jesus, woman. Really?

Dean Singleton regarded her with silent contemplation, his expression revealing nothing. “Still my shout, Ipo,” he said, holding her stare. “Everyone gets a beer on me, except Grayson.” His gaze slid to Wedge, who now—God help her—was right beside her again. “That flea-bitten mutt can pay for his own fucking drinks.”

“Big words for a mongrel, Singleton,” Wedge shot back.

Katy cleared her throat. Both men fell silent. Aggression radiated from them. They stared at each other, and—even though Wedge Grayson was at least a head taller than Dean, Grayson blinked first.

With a sneer on his lips, he directed his gaze to Merv and then Mr. Beefy. “This place suddenly stinks. Let’s go.”

Stomach sinking, Katy watched Wedge—and half the men in the bar—leave.

Biting back a sigh, she gave Dean a curious look. “Do you know anything about a man called Martin McCoy? He’s my uncle and he’s missing and—”

“You really should get out of the Creek, miss,” Dean cut her off, his expression as indecipherable as a closed freaking book. “Now. Climb back into whatever car you drove here in, and leave.”

And without another word, he strode from the bar.

* * * *

Dean walked across the dust-covered road, the summer sun blasting down on him like a furnace. He didn’t turn to look back at the Longyard Pub, despite the itch between his shoulder blades.

Who the hell was that?

In his head, the American woman smiled at him and then pressed herself to his body, sliding her palms up his chest to bury her fingers in his hair as she tugged his lips down to hers and kissed him with a sexual hunger wilder than any he’d experienced before.

Fuck a duck, what the hell?

Dean narrowed his eyes, ignoring the urge to return to the pub and the woman in it. He could practically taste her sexual arousal on the air every time she looked at him. And her unease whenever she looked at Grayson.

He slowed his pace and, before he knew what he was doing, looked over his shoulder at the Longyard’s closed doors.

“What the fuck are you doing, Singo?” he muttered with a shake of his head. He continued walking to his truck, parked down the road out in front of the Creek’s one and only general store.

The American wasn’t his business, even if she was every sexual fantasy he’d ever had wrapped up in one delectable blonde bundle.

For starters, she was human. He didn’t do human, no matter how sexy.

Secondly, she was connected to Martin McCoy—a likeable old bugger with far more knowledge than a human was meant to have. That connection made her strictly off-limits.

He ground his teeth at the thought of the American man. He hadn’t missed the way Grayson stiffened at McCoy’s name. The reaction fed his suspicion the Russian wolf had something to do with McCoy’s sudden departure from the Creek.

But if McCoy’s niece was now here…a month after he’d supposedly left…looking for him…

Her image filled his head again, her long lithe limbs wrapping around his body, her plump lips moaning his name, her eyes promising a world of pleasure as she gazed up at him…

Christ, when had he ever reacted like this to a human? His prick was getting hard. Walking across the Creek’s main street with a fucking boner. Awesome.

The sooner he got into his truck and out of here, the better. He should have known better than to enter the Longyard. Ipo was a decent bloke with no real affiliation to anyone, but at this time of day, Grayson and his pack—fawning gutless wonders who never stood up to Grayson’s brand of intimidation—were always going to be in there. And if there was one person here at Kangaroo Creek that Wedge Grayson hated more than any other, it was Dean.

Dingoes and wolves did not get along.

It didn’t help that Dean went out of his way to antagonize the Russian prick.

But hey, when presented with such an enjoyable target as Grayson, Dean had no hope of curtailing his sarcasm.

At times, he’d actually found himself wishing Grayson was a bear shifter, not an Arctic wolf shifter, just so he could truthfully say “I really shouldn’t poke the bear, but…”

Once again, an image of the American woman filled his head, uninvited and unsettling. He ground his teeth, the itch between his shoulder blades exploding into life again.

What was it about her that tugged at him so much?

And, more to the point, what was she doing in a place like the Creek alone? Out whoop-whoop, miles from anywhere, in a pub that no person in their right mind would willingly enter.

No. Change that. No human in their right mind. When it came to the Creek, none of its regular population were human. So entering the Longyard wasn’t much of a big deal.

Dean yanked open the driver’s door of his truck with a scowl. He needed to stop thinking about her. What he should be doing was working out what happened to her uncle. And what Wedge Grayson knew about it. That would get her out of the Creek, and get her out of his—

“Fuck it.” He slammed the door shut, pivoted on his heel, and strode back to the pub.

Ipo looked up from wiping the counter, expression—as always—impossible to read. Even after all these years of knowing the man, Dean had no real idea what Ipo was.

“She’s gone,” the barkeeper said, returning his attention to the counter.

Bloody hell. Dean scanned the room. “Where?”

Ipo raised an eyebrow. “Not my place to tell you that.”

Dean snarled. Great. Fucking great. “Did she say where she was going?”

Ipo shook his head again, slapping the dishcloth he was using over his shoulder as he looked at Dean. “Why?”

Because the farther I walk away from her, the closer I want to be to her.

“She’s human, Ipo. Here. In the Creek. Isn’t that why enough?”

The barkeeper shrugged. “We’ve had humans here before.”

“And how well has that gone for most of them?”

“Fair enough.”

Dean scanned the pub’s dim interior again, drawing a deep breath through his nose. Maybe he could track her?

A faint hint of jasmine and musk and roses threaded through the stale-grog-and-sweat stink on the air. Beyond faint. Choked. Tenuous.

Dragging in another breath, he closed his eyes and focused on the taste and smell. Christ, Merv needed a fucking shower. How could anyone breathe in this town with the farmer’s stench polluting the very oxygen?

A lick of cold contempt unfurled through him as Wedge Grayson’s undeniable scent flowed into his lungs. As soon as he got home he was scrubbing his tongue. Just the thought of the Russian’s smell permeating his body made him sick.

Fuck. What traces there were of the American had completely faded. Overpowered by Grayson and his unwashed pack.

Opening his eyes, he crossed to the bar. “Do you remember her uncle? He stayed here, didn’t he? In that room you’ve got upstairs. Did he tell you what he was here for? What he wanted?”

Ipo folded his arms over his chest, expression bored. “Have I ever been interested in what humans want, Singleton?”

Despite the tension eating at him, Dean flashed the barkeeper a smirk. “Well, there was that one guy who—”

An invisible palm mashed itself to Dean’s mouth. Ipo studied him with glinting eyes. “You know better than that.”

The unseen gag disappeared. Dean wiped at his lips. He watched Ipo drag the dishcloth from his shoulder and turn towards the other end of the bar.

Okay, so Ipo wasn’t going to be any help. If he wanted to find her he might have to shift.

And you do want to find her. You want to bury your face in her hair. Breathe her in. Feel her body moving beneath yours. Feel her warm moans on your neck as you—

“If I see her again,” Ipo tossed over his shoulder, “I’ll be sure to ask where she’s staying.”

Dean let out a shaky sigh. It was better than nothing. “Thanks, mate.”

Ipo nodded and then got back to work.

With another sigh, this one far more agitated than the first, Dean left the pub. He needed to find Cam. His beta had followed the old American’s scent miles out of town. If there was a reason for the American woman to be here now, Cam might know.

And if he didn’t, Dean would have to do what he’d been putting off for a long time: face the fact the animal he truly was could no longer be controlled. Which was very worrying, given how powerful the desire to find the American woman was right now. Not to help her find her uncle, not to encourage her to leave the Creek ASAP, but to explore every inch of her body and fuck her senseless. Pure, base, animalistic rutting.

Animal. Out of control fucking.

What the fuck was going on? And when the hell had being a dingo shifter in the Australian Outback become so bloody difficult?

Chapter 2

The television in her room didn’t work.

Why that surprised Katy was beyond her. Nothing else during this trip had gone the way she’d hoped, so why should she expect the small, seriously outdated television to work? It wasn’t like it was the only way she had of finding out what was going on in the world, given her cell had no service despite the fact the man at the Sydney airport had promised her she’d get service Australia-wide with it.

Oh wait, that’s exactly what it was.

Tossing the remote onto the saggy mattress of the room’s only bed, she glared at the room. The barkeeper had told her she could stay as long as she wanted, ten bucks a night.

Ten bucks. It was better than sleeping in the rent-a-wreck she’d driven here in, that was for certain.

It also gave her a base of operations. Somewhere to regroup as she searched for Uncle Martin.

She’d rushed up here the second Ipo had given her the key, trying to keep her mind on the search.

It had been tricky. All her traitorous head had wanted to do was focus on Dean Singleton.

That was problematic. He was a distraction she hadn’t anticipated. Ever since she’d laid eyes on him in the bar she’d been…horny. That was the only word for it. Horny.

Come to Oz looking for AWOL uncle; fall into insta-lust with complete stranger. Yeah, so not conducive to finding Uncle Martin.

Pacing the small space, she plucked at her thumbnail and let out a sigh.

Fifteen minutes after letting herself into the small, musty room, she’d left it. Despite the fact she really, really didn’t want to have anything to do with Wedge Grayson again, he knew something about her uncle and she needed to find him. Talk to him. Get answers.

She’d quickly showered, changed into more Outback-appropriate clothes—shorts, Chucks, and her San Diego Padres tank—tucked her passport under the saggy mattress, and left.

The barkeeper wouldn’t tell her where she could locate Grayson, however.

Instead, he’d suggested she ask around town.

So she had. For over an hour.

With bupkus results. No one she talked to knew anything. More than one person actually went out of their way to avoid her. People had crossed the street when they saw her approach.

Street. Huh. Dust covered road, more like it. Main Street, Kangaroo Creek, was an odd collection of old and new buildings and businesses that looked like they had just as much place being there as she did, which was none.

She’d been in most of those businesses, asking about her uncle. Showing his photo to whomever happened to be in there. Most of the time the moment she walked in, the people in there seemed to make themselves scarce. In one place—a bookshop called Divine Intervention—the woman behind the counter sized her up and said without compunction, “You don’t belong here.” By the time Katy crossed the short distance to the counter, the woman had walked through a curtained doorway and never came back. Not while Katy stood in the shop, at least.

And then there was the library. Whoa, was that a creepy place. At the opposite end of Main Street from the Christian bookstore, the librarian damn near screamed Go away the second she crossed the threshold.

Seriously, what the hell had Uncle Martin been doing here? If there really were men who could shift into dingoes, why the hell would they be in a place like this?

She’d done her own research on dingoes before leaving San Diego and discovered a lot of them liked living in tropical places. There was even a large colony of them on an island up the coast. The images she saw of those dingoes—and the island where they lived—made Kangaroo Creek look like hell on earth. If she were a dingo—magical supernatural dingo-slash-person or just plain ordinary dingo—she sure as hell would prefer to be on an island than here.

But here is where Uncle Martin had been. And here was where he’d vanished. So here was where she had to be. Until she found him.

Another sigh tore at her chest and she dropped onto the mattress. Okay, time to get real. She’d go back downstairs to the bar and demand Ipo tell her where to find Grayson. Pay the barkeeper to tell her, if that’s what it took.

Then she’d fluff up her hair, gloss up her lips, and seduce Grayson into giving her some answers. She could do that. Surely she could. It worked in movies, and she had the whole California beach-babe look going for her.

To find her uncle, she’d even let Grayson try to cop a feel.

A shudder wracked through her at the thought. Grayson may be a silver fox, but more than a few minutes in his company had given her the distinct impression his looks didn’t match his personality. Good-looking on the outside, ugly on the inside.

Oh boy, when she did track down Uncle Martin she was going to make him pay. After she hugged him, of course. Being felt up by Wedge Grayson? Even though the guy was a hot silver fox, he was…

She shuddered again. “So not my type.”

Dean Singleton, though? He’s your type. You’d let him feel you up in a heartbeat.

“Jesus, Yunker.” She dropped her head into her hands, staring at the grimy carpet between her feet. “Get a grip.”

Time to stop being weird over a guy she didn’t know—even if his eyes were the most incredible amber she’d ever seen, even if his body pushed all her buttons, even if his tattoo made the junction of her thighs flutter in ways it never had before—and get back to the task at—

A crumpled piece of paper amongst the dust bunnies poking out from beneath the bed caught her eye. Not because it was crumpled, but because it had writing on it.

Handwriting.

Familiar handwriting.

Her heart smashed into her throat.

She snatched the paper from the floor, flattening it on her thigh.

Yep. Uncle M’s handwriting.

A prickling heat rushed through her. Hot tears stung at her eyes. Relief and fear churned in her stomach, tightened her chest.

She stared at her uncle’s scrawl, her throat thick.

Five words. Just five. And two letters.

Shearer’s shed. Tin Hut Gully. DS.

Tin Hut Gully. That was the place Wedge had said a colony of dingoes lived near.

A choppy breath burst from Katy. Her temples throbbed. Oh God, was this what she needed? Was that where her uncle was? At this Tin Hut Gully?

And DS? Were they initials? And if so, were they the initials of Dean Singleton? How many people in this town had the initials DS?

“Doesn’t matter,” she muttered, jolting to her feet. First things first. She was going to check out this Tin Hut Gully.

The Longyard was beginning to fill when she made it down the stairs. Mainly men, she noted, all quite rowdy. Some looked her way as she hurried to the bar. Some sized her up, some sneered.

This truly was the weirdest town she’d ever been in.

“Excuse me?” she called to Ipo’s back as he fixed a drink on the back counter. “Ipo? Will you give me directions?”

Ipo cast her a wordless inspection over his shoulder and went back to the drink.

Katy scowled. Of course. Why would she expect anything different from this place?

“Where do you want to go, love?”

She started at the strange voice beside her.

The man who had accepted Dean Singleton’s beer offer earlier smiled at her. Rat? That’s what Singleton had called him. Rat.

A frown pulled at her forehead. She studied him, unsure what to say.

Rat chuckled, the sound good-natured and friendly. “I won’t bite. Or expect any favors from you. Promise. I’m not like Grayson and his lot.”

At his dismissal of Wedge Grayson, Katy couldn’t help but let out a relieved chuckle of her own. The fact he’d been the only one in the bar to respond to Dean’s offer to buy everyone a beer added to the sense of ease spreading through her.

Here goes nothing.

“I need to get to Tin Hut Gully,” she said, studying Rat’s face for any hint of reaction. “To a Shearer’s shed. Do you know what I’m talking about? Where it is? Is it close?”

Rat chuckled again. “Yep. Know exactly where it is. Follow the highway west. Turn right at the dead croc letterbox about twenty-odd miles from here. Follow that road for another ten or so. The shed’s there. Easy peasy. You can’t miss it.”

Katy beamed at him. “Thank you. Oh God, thank you so much. I could kiss you.”

He scoffed and waved a hand. “No worries, missy. It’s all good.”

Katy smiled wider. Maybe this town wasn’t as bad as she thought.

“That’s twenty miles west,” she said, fixing the directions into her brain. “Right turn at the…”

Rat grinned. “Dead croc letter box. You’ll know it when you see it.”

She caught her bottom lip with her teeth, hope wriggling deep in her belly. Oh man, was she about to find her uncle? After all these weeks, was she about to find the eccentric scholar and all-round loopy man who had raised her since she was fourteen?

I’m going to strangle you when I get my hands on you, Uncle M. And then hug you silly.

“Right turn at the dead croc letter box,” she went on—Dead croc? Seriously?—”and then another ten miles to the shed. Is that right?”

Rat nodded. “That’s right.”

“Thank you,” she said again, straightening away from the counter. “Seriously. Thank you.”

Rat shrugged. “No worries, missy. Singo seemed to like you, and any mate of Singo’s is a mate of mine.”

Katy swallowed. An image of Singleton flooded her head at the mention of his name, and once again, her body reacted as if she’d just put new batteries into her vibrator.

“Thank you,” she repeated a third time, smiling at Rat. “Can I ask, do you know anything about an American man called Martin McCoy?”

Rat chewed over her question for a second and then shook his head. “Nah. But then, I’ve been on walkabout for the last couple months. Only just got back into the Creek last night.”

A finger of disappointment traced up Katy’s spine but she shoved it aside. She had a place, a location. Somewhere to aim for. Somewhere her uncle himself had been interested enough in to write down. She’d go there first and if he wasn’t there, if there was no sign of him, she’d risk her libido and track down Dean Singleton. His initials on the paper had to mean something.

Dusk was beginning to fall when she exited the bar, the sky a bruised purple with an angry red burn on the flat western horizon. The strange people of the town—and by strange, she meant either hyper-friendly, or hyper-fuck-off-and-don’t-talk-to-me-antisocial—were making their way around the street.

She couldn’t wait to get out of the place. Get back home. Back to the States and San Diego.

Her rent-a-wreck—a Toyota Land Cruiser with faulty air-conditioning and a radio that seemed only to play some messed-up kind of Australian country music—sat waiting for her a few yards away. She ran to it, her heart racing.

Holy crap. Uncle Martin. Finally. She was going to find Uncle Martin. She felt it in her bones.

She’d yanked the driver’s door open and had her foot planted inside, when the reality of what she was doing hit her.

Driving out to a place she didn’t know, in a town she found creepy as all hell, to look for her uncle based on a crumpled up note she’d found under a bed? Was that smart?

Her heart thumped faster. She gripped at the door, mind racing. She should go find the cops. Surely there had to be some in the town? Heading out there alone was…was…

Dangerous?

She frowned, looking around herself. How could it be dangerous? No one knew where she was going, she hadn’t told Rat she was going there now, just asked him where it was. And no one was following her, or paying her any attention. And what if her uncle was there? At this shed thing? Injured? What if she waited until morning and when she got out there, she found him…found him dead? She’d never be able to live with herself.

Shaking her head, she pulled herself up into the rental, slammed the door, and turned over the engine.

She couldn’t wait. She couldn’t. She had to find Uncle Martin.

It took her hardly any time at all to destroy the twenty miles. Twice she had to swerve back onto the left side of the road, the excitement of finally finding her uncle overpowering the knowledge Australians didn’t drive on the right. Thank freaking God there was no one else on the darkening stretch of road with her.

The dead-croc letter box reared up out of the dusk shadows just over twenty miles into the drive: a massive crocodile perched in an upright position on its tail and back legs, a rusted metal letter box fixed into the gaping maw of its open mouth.

Katy stared at it for a few seconds after making the turn. Was it really a dead crocodile? Or a statue of one? Surely it had to be a fake one? Surely the people in this weird town weren’t so weird one of their number would use a dead crocodile as a letter box?

“Looks real,” she muttered, slamming her foot to the accelerator.

Ten miles. Ten more miles across godforsaken nothing—red dirt, dying or dead gum tress, and endless darkness—and she would hopefully be with Uncle Martin.

Ten miles.

A mile off the highway, the road turned to a dirt track. A mile after that, even the track seemed to surrender to the desolate dirt and dry tufts of wire-like grass. And then she was driving straight into blackness, trying like hell to keep the wheel straight as the Toyota’s tires fought with rocks and dips and thick thatches of grass.

“Easy peasy my ass.” She gritted her teeth to stop them clinking together in her head as she pressed her foot harder to the floor. She should slow down, but she couldn’t. The sooner she got to the shed, the sooner she found out if her uncle was there.

The Toyota lurched forward faster.

Katy squinted into the night beyond the windscreen. Where the hell was this shearer’s shed? Surely she hadn’t missed—

Something large and gray blurred out of the darkness, directly into her path. “Shit!” She hit the brakes, yanking the steering wheel to the left with instinctive panic.

A sickening wet thud rocked the Toyota, jolting Katy forward in her seat. The engine gurgled once and then died. Silence swallowed her.

“Shit.”

She scrambled out of the SUV, pulse crazy. What had she hit? Shit, what had she hit?

“Shit.”

The powerful lights of the Toyota cut through the black night, illuminating nothing but more red dirt, dead trees, and tough grass. She hurried to the front, searching the ground.

Nothing. Not even drops of blood.

Frowning, she looked at the grill. Whatever she’d hit, it had done some serious damage. The grill and front bumper were a crumpled mess. The sound of water dripping from what she feared was the radiator turned her stomach to a knot.

“Excellent.” She let out a shaky breath, crouching down to peer closer at the busted grill. “There goes my insurance.”

Why wasn’t there any fur? Whatever she’d hit had been big. Big and obviously hard, not just because of the damage the collision with it had caused, but because it clearly hadn’t been injured.

“What kind of animal runs away after being hit at fifty miles an hour?”

The busted grill gave her no answer.

She straightened, searching the darkness around her as she pulled at her thumbnail. The last vestiges of dusk disappeared behind the distant western horizon, leaving her with nothing but a star-blanketed night sky and baking heat. “Okay. Now what?”

“Now,” a male voice drawled beside her, “we have our fun.”

Katy didn’t scream. She was a California girl, after all. She knew how to take care of herself when unexpected creeps came along.

Head roaring with adrenaline, she spun toward the voice and smashed her fist into its owner’s barely visible jaw.

The small, greasy guy from the bar stumbled back a step, laughing. The sound danced on the dark night, taunting her. She caught glimpses of him—Merv. His name is Merv—in the glow of the Toyota’s headlights. Glimpses of him watching her. Glimpses of other movement.

Oh God, there were more of them. More men…

“She’s a fighter, eh?”

Katy’s stomach curdled at the unseen man’s sniggered question. Her eyes burned. Jesus, how could she have been so stupid? Coming out here alone at night?

She balled her fists, keeping her limbs as loose as she could. Six months of karate lessons. That’s all she had to protect herself with. Six months of karate lessons and a shit load of terror-fed adrenaline. Fuck, she hoped she’d got her money’s worth.

“That pretty mouth of yours is made for kissin’, little kitten,” Merv said, stepping into the beam of her headlights.

She locked her stare on him. “Please don’t do what you’re thinking about doing.”

He laughed. “Oh, I’m gonna do it. Over and over.”

Katy lashed out at him, swinging her foot for the side of his knee.

Take out his kneecap. Cripple him.

He stepped out of the way with casual ease, his laughter rising up into the night.

More movement beside her. More laughter. Who else? How many?

This isn’t…this isn’t happening. It can’t be.

“Made to be kissed,” Merv repeated, walking closer to her. “To be fucked.”

She kicked at his knee again. Man, why had she quit going to class? Why hadn’t she watched more Bruce Lee movies?

Why hadn’t she—

Someone grabbed her from behind. Fat arms locked around her. Hot breath blasted at her ear a split second before a wet tongue licked up the side of her face.

Mr. Beefy.

No. No no no. She thrashed in the man’s hold. He laughed. Merv laughed.

“Let me go!” she snarled, throwing herself backward into Mr. Beefy’s weight. She rammed her feet onto Merv’s chest and pushed, snapping her body as straight and stiff as she could.

Both Merv and Mr. Beefy let out stunned shouts, their balance doing exactly what she hoped—failing.

The fat, sweaty arms around her slipped. Enough for her to fling herself out of their hold.

Merv lunged at her but she ducked, driving her elbow into his throat before launching herself into a frantic sprint.

Laughter filled the air. And then it wasn’t just laughter but another sound. A howling sound, like a pack of wolves had suddenly materialized in the Australian Outback and were joining in on her torment.

But that was impossible. Wolves didn’t exist in Australia. Her uncle had told her that a few weeks before he left for the country.

The apex predators in Australia were dingoes. And it sure as hell wasn’t dingoes howling behind her.

Howling and growling and running.

Get away. Get away now.

She ran. Into the black night, heart wild, fear eating at her just as much as rage, rational thought gone, the sounds of laughing men and howling wolves all around her.

She ran, a distant part of her mind screaming at her to get back to the Toyota, to get in it, to drive away…and let out a shout when she slammed into something hard. Strong hands snagged her upper arms, stopping her backward tumble.

“It’s okay,” a familiar voice with a faint Russian accent said. “I’ve got you.”

She thrashed in Wedge’s grip, fighting to free herself. “Let me go.”

Wedge laughed. “Why would I do that, Katy-Lin?”

Fear sheared through Katy. Ice filled her veins. How did he know her name?

His fingers turned cruel on her arms and, before she knew what he was doing, he yanked her to his body. “You’re just as nosy as your uncle, kitty cat.”

Her stomach rolled at her uncle’s nickname for her. Oh God, oh God, what was going on?

“You know what happens to curious kitties, don’t you, Katy-Lin?” Wedge said, releasing one of her arms to hook his hand over her butt. He ground his groin to hers. The unmistakable pole between their bodies told her exactly what he planned to do.

No. No no no.

“Fuck you,” she snarled, smashing her knee upward.

It connected with his inner thigh, hard enough to make him shout out, pain in the cry.

Without hesitation, she twisted her arm free of his grip and slammed the heel of her palm at his face. She hoped her target was true. In the darkness she could hardly see a thing.

Her palm connected. Her brain told her she’d hit his mouth, the distinct feel of his teeth against her hand detonating a little rush of cold joy through her.

He staggered back, enough to let her strike out at him with a wild sidekick.

He tumbled back farther.

And then the animalistic howls were right behind her, beside her. Howls and laughter and whooping shouts of sick delight.

Katy threw the darkness a harried look. Her eyes—adjusted to the lack of light—told her the very bad news.

She was surrounded.

Wedge chuckled. “I like this kind of foreplay, kitty cat.”

Gut churning, Katy balled her fists again, stare locked on the man as he slowly walked towards her. “Sick freak.”

He sniggered. “Oh, my sweet little kitten. You have no idea. And now I’m going to show you just how freaky I can—”

A sandy-colored blur leapt at him.

A dog. Big dog.

A dingo.

It sank its teeth into the side of Grayson’s neck, the force of its leap sending him sideways.

Growls and snarls and the sound of animals fighting filled the air. Katy gasped, her brain incapable of comprehending what she was seeing.

Dingoes. Three of them. And wolves. Three. Bigger than the dingoes. All fighting.

All—

One of the wolves ran for her.

She screamed, bursting into a backward sprint.

Her heel snagged on something, a rock, an animal, something. She screamed again, falling.

Falling.

Her head hit the ground, white-hot pain erupting behind her eyes. Pain. So much pain.

She cried out, the world spinning.

And then it all went black.

But not before one of the dingoes changed before her.

Shifted. Its shape changing into…

* * * *

They’ve gone, Dean.

Dean looked up from his inspection of the unconscious American woman’s face to his approaching beta.

Still in dingo form, Cameron Watts padded up to him, his four paws silent on the ground. Behind Cam followed his wife, Lucy, also still in dingo form, her ears flat with agitation.

We lost their trail in Patterson’s Creek.

Dean bit back a growl.

Cam’s ears dropped. His tail tucked between his back legs.

Shaking his head, Dean held up a hand. “Sorry, Cam. I’m not pissed at you.” He turned his attention back to Martin McCoy’s niece. “I’m pissed at Grayson.”

The scent of the American woman threaded into his every breath. It unraveled him, stirring in him a tight heat he had trouble ignoring.

Given the confrontation he’d just had—three dingoes against three wolves—he should have been charged with adrenaline and aggression. Primal, animalistic aggression. He didn’t shift often anymore. It was too dangerous. His baradii, the ancient magic that allowed him to exist as both dingo and man, was too seductive, too alluring. When in dingo form, he often forgot he was also a man.

Hard to be a man when the lure and appetites and nature of a beast ruled him. Called to him.

But when he finally caught a faint whiff of the American’s delicious scent just outside the Creek, and then detected Grayson’s stench—along with his sniveling wolf pack—tracking her, he didn’t hesitate.

Cam and Lucy caught up with him as he was about to charge the wolves alone. As all good betas, Cam followed his lead…and at the same time saved his skin.

A Russian wolf didn’t stand a chance against an angry dingo in the Outback, regardless of the size difference, but even Dean had to admit, three wolves on one dingo was a risky fight.

A fight he’d been willing and eager to take on, and not just because the urge to claim McCoy’s niece as his own was fucking more potent than he could fathom.

Grayson and his pathetic pack were vile. They’d intended to do something even more vile. Dean would have thrown himself into a bloody brawl with them regardless of the woman they were terrorizing.

At the sight of McCoy’s niece, however, tormented by them, threatened by them, he lost the last of the control he had over his less human thought processes and attacked.

Now…with Grayson and his lot gone, and Cam and Lucy waiting for his instructions…

Christ, all he could think about was how much he wanted the gorgeous, feisty—albeit currently unconscious—blonde.

His desire for her overwhelmed the cold hunger to destroy the fucker Wedge Grayson.

He studied her face, taking in the long lashes made even thicker and darker by mascara, the full lips still a deep rose-red from her lipstick, the exquisite freckles smattering over her nose and cheeks.

That hot tension in his body stirred again, centralized in his groin.

Okay, he needed to get away from her. Now. Before his cock got hard.

There wasn’t anything wrong with shifters being sexually aroused by humans, but Dean was buck-naked with his beta—and his beta’s wife—beside him. The last thing Cam and Lucy would want to see was him with a raging boner.

And raging it would be. There was something about the woman on the ground…

But what? And why does it feel so right? So powerful?

Tearing his stare from her face once again, he looked at Cam. “Get the truck.”

You taking her to the Creek’s doc?

He ground his teeth at Lucy’s projected question.

He should take McCoy’s niece to the town’s only doctor. The woman may be a banshee but she truly was a doctor. When it came to the medical care of humans, Dr. Neill was legit.

Dean dragged in a slow breath. He would take the American to the doc. Or rather, get Cam and Lucy to do it. That was safer. But right now…

A few more minutes. While Cam and Luce get the truck. Just a few more minutes in her company before you never see her again. A few more minutes…

“Just get the truck,” he repeated.

They turned and ran for wherever they’d left Cam’s truck, paws silent, just two sandy-colored blurs in the night.

Teeth still clenched, Dean returned his gaze to McCoy’s niece. “What is it about you?” he whispered, touching his fingertips to her cheek. “If only…”

She opened her eyes. “Dean Singleton?”

Her voice, scratchy and husky, flayed his control.

He nodded, his body thrumming with elemental need.

She frowned, eyes fluttering closed. “You are the sexiest fucking man I’ve ever seen, Dean Singleton.”

He froze.

She looked up at him again, her eyelids heavy, barely opened. “I swear I saw you turn from a dingo to a man when I fell over, which means I must be dreaming or in a coma or something, so that means I can tell you how fucking sexy I think you are and not get embarrassed.”

Dean swallowed, his stare locked on her eyes. Fuck a duck, what did she just say? She saw him shift? Fuck. Fuck, that changed everything. Everything.

A soft, weak chuckle fell past her lips and she lifted her hand, brushing her fingers along his jaw. “And because I’m dreaming,” she went on, her voice getting softer and more husky with each word, “I can also tell you I want to kiss you more than anything.”

“That’s not—” he began.

She buried her hand in the hair at his nape, pulled his face down to hers, and captured his lips in a hungry kiss.

The second her tongue touched his, he was screwed. Screwed and lost and undone.

A growl tore from deep within his chest, his dingo reacting with a carnal urgency to her taste and touch. Wanting her. Craving her. Needing her.

He fisted a handful of her hair and met her kiss with a savagery he couldn’t restrain. He knew her words, her kiss, were the result of her fall, of most likely hitting her head. He knew she was delirious. He knew those things, but the moment she crushed his lips with hers, he was screwed.

The beast inside him craved release. Base lust and instinctual urges claimed him.

This woman, this human female whose name he didn’t even know, was his. And he would claim what was his. Now. Claim her. Take her. Under the ancient sky and its ancient stars. Mate with her the way his kind had done for millennia, even longer.

He lashed his tongue against hers, giving himself over to the sheer force of his hunger for her. She moaned into his mouth, dragging her hand from his hair to his shoulder to pull him down closer to her.

He went willingly, nudging her thighs apart with his knee before pressing their hips together.

She moaned again, clawing at his shoulders with her nails as she ground their groins together. The denim of her shorts rubbed against his naked cock, a wicked friction that ignited fresh hunger for her.

Inside her. He needed to be inside her. He needed to be surrounded by her heat, gripped by it, as he marked her with his mouth, his teeth. As he rendered her his sexual—

Dean jerked backward. Off her. Away from her.

Fuck. What was he doing? He’d almost lost it there. Almost surrendered control to his base lust and animalistic instincts and needs.

How could he let that happen? Who the fuck was this woman?

With a frustrated growl, he stared down into her face.

“I…what’s going on? This isn’t…I’m not…” She frowned, the faint moonlight barely illuminating her expression. His vision, even in human form, was preternaturally keen. He could see the uncertainty and confusion in her eyes. Like his sight, his other senses were hyper-keen. He could hear her heart thumping in her chest, could smell her arousal…

Another low growl rumbled deep in his chest and he ground his teeth.

The scent of her desire for him, the moisture of her kiss on his lips, drove him close to the brink. Why had he sent Cam and Lucy to get the truck? He should have gone himself. Staying here with her…Christ, he was asking for fucking trouble.

And yet he couldn’t go. Even now, when he should, he couldn’t.

“I don’t think I’m dreaming,” she whispered around her thumbnail. Confusion flickered over her face.

“How do you feel?” he asked, keeping his voice as calm as possible. “Did the wolves…I mean, Grayson and his dicks hurt you?”

Her heart quickened, its rapid beat sending a hot wave of lust into his groin. “N-no.” She shook her head, her stare fixed on him. “Why are you naked?”

Dean blinked. Because barely twenty minutes ago I was a dingo. Not really the answer he could give her.

She pushed herself more upright, her frown deepening even as her stare drilled into his face. “Where are your clothes? How did you know it was Wedge Grayson? How did you know where I was? Did you scare away the dingoes? There were…were dingoes.” She moved on the ground, her frown puzzled, and rubbed at the back of her head. “Oh man, my head hurts.”

So many questions. He didn’t answer any of them. Instead, he glared at her. “What kind of stupid woman travels out whoop-whoop in the middle of the night alone?”

Her eyebrows shot up. “I’m looking for my uncle.”

“And you think McCoy is out here?” he snapped back. “At an abandoned shearing—”

He clamped his mouth shut, but it was too late.

“You know who my uncle is?” She scrambled onto her knees, searching his face with a scrutiny he felt all the way to his core. “Where is he?”

“Not out here,” he snarled. “And you shouldn’t be out here, either. Bloody hell, woman, what were you thinking? If I didn’t pick up your scent back in the Creek, if I didn’t track Grayson out here…” He ground his teeth. Damn it, he hadn’t meant to say that.

It had been too long since he’d talked to a human. He’d forgotten how. Everyone living in the Creek, the entire town’s population…none of them were normal, none of them were strictly human.

“Pick up my scent?” McCoy’s niece narrowed her eyes. Her frown deepened. And then her mouth fell open. “Oh my God.”

The words fell from her in a tight whisper.

Dean sucked in a slow breath, unable to move.

“Oh my God,” she repeated, shaking her head. “It’s true. Uncle M isn’t crazy. It’s true. You…you…dingo…”

Right. Time to shut this down.

Dean balled his fists, holding her stare. “You hit your head when you fell. You didn’t see what you think you saw.”

Terror filled her eyes. Erupted in them. Panicked terror. She scrambled backward, shaking her head. “I saw it. I saw you. Change. Oh my God, it wasn’t a dream. I saw you change. I saw you. Everything that Uncle Martin said, everything he told me.”

A low growl tore at Dean’s chest before he could stop it. Fuck, this wasn’t going the way he’d wanted.

“It’s not—” he began, reaching out a hand. He needed to calm her down. Nip this in the bud right now.

She screamed. High. Scared. And flung herself away from him, sprinting—awkwardly at first, and then with frantic speed—into the night.

“Fuck.” He ran after her. In human form. He’d catch her faster in dingo form, but would freak her out even more if he did.

“Get away from me, you freak,” she screamed over her shoulder.

Freak? What the hell happened to him being fucking sexy?

Tapping into his dingo’s contained power, he ran her down. Took her down. Slammed into her just as she was about to reach the abandoned shearing shed in which her uncle had first witnessed Dean shift from man to dingo.

They hit the ground, teeth clicking.

She screamed, fury replacing her earlier fear. “Get the fuck off me, freak.” She thrashed and bucked as he snared her wrists and rammed them to the ground on either side of her head.

His groin mashed to the junction of her thighs, his cock—hard, for fuck’s sake—ground to her heat.

“Stop it,” he snarled, pinning her with his weight. “Stop it, I’m not going to hurt you.”

She continued to fight and buck. Christ, she was strong. And so exquisitely warm and lush beneath his—

“If you’ve hurt my uncle I will kill you!”

The rage and promise in her shout sheared through him. He tightened his grip on her wrists, holding her arms motionless. “I didn’t hurt your uncle,” he shouted, struggling to restrain his inner animal as much as he fought to restrain her. “But he sure as shit dealt with the truth better than you are.”

She froze. Her eyes widened, her lips parted, and she stared up at him. “Oh God, it really is true. I don’t…I don’t…”

Powerful lights swept over them, bleaching her face. Fury burned in her eyes.

Dean growled, the rumbling of Cam’s truck vibrating through his body.

He held the American’s wrists, glaring at her. “We’re not what you think we are,” he ground out. “Your uncle knew that.”

Silence filled the air as Cam killed the engine.

Dean stared down into her eyes. So blue. With chips of emerald green.

She sucked in a sharp breath, the action making her breasts brush against his bare chest.

His body reacted.

“Where is he?” she whispered. Dean’s heart twisted at the torment in her voice. The worry.

He swallowed, relaxing his grip on her a little. “I don’t know,” he answered truthfully.

“Singo?”

At Cam’s concerned shout, Dean released McCoy’s niece’s wrists. “I wish I did.”

He climbed off her and snatched the jeans Cam threw at him out of the air.

He didn’t need to turn to know she’d sprinted away from him the second he’d straightened to his feet.

Cam raised an eyebrow. “Want me to go get her?”

Dean shook his head. “No. I’ll do it.” He pulled on his jeans, yanked up the fly, and then turned to study the blackness beyond the beam of Cam’s truck’s lights.

“Where’s she running to?”

He shrugged. “Away from the monsters.”

“Monsters?” Lucy joined them. “Grayson and his pack?”

“Us.” He scowled. “Me.”

“She knows?”

Dean snorted at Cam’s shock. “Give us a sec. We’ll be back.”

He took off. And as much as he wanted to believe he was chasing McCoy’s niece to keep her safe, he knew that wasn’t the case.

He was chasing her because he wanted her. In every fucking way.

And he was going to claim her.

Human or not, he was going to claim her.

Make her his.

He followed her, increasing his speed as her scent filled his nose. He could hear her heart, thumping fast in her chest. Feel her feet thudding against the ground.

And then they weren’t. For a split second, all he could hear was her heart, and then he heard her moan. Then he heard her fall.

Hard.

~

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