It's the return of the Colorado High Country series! Come back to Scarlet Springs with members of the Rocky Mountain Search & Rescue Team.
Featuring characters from Pamela Clare's acclaimed I-Team series.
He's the one man she can't have...
Winona Belcourt left the Pine Ridge Reservation to become a wildlife vet in the small Colorado mountain town of Scarlet Springs. She now leads a busy life caring for sick and injured animals and watching over her aging grandfather. Apart from a complete lack of romance, her life is close to perfect. She doesn't have time for dating, even if there were available men in tiny Scarlet who interested her. Then Jason Chiago comes to town, one of many volunteers here to help rebuild her family's summer camp. Tall, dark, and hot as hell, he's the friend of some friends and a member of the legendary Shadow Wolves, an all-Native unit of expert trackers who patrol the US-Mexico border. Sadly, he's also taken—or so her friends say. Winona would never get involved with another woman's man. Still, she can't turn off the longing she feels for him—or stop herself from imagining the heat of his kisses.
She's everything he wants...
As a Tohono O'odham man, Jason knows that life's journey is filled with unexpected twists and turns. Still, he never expected to be where he is now—his ex-fiancée in prison and his job with the Shadow Wolves on the line. On administrative leave for taking out a killer on the wrong side of the border, he has come to Scarlet Springs to help rebuild a kids' camp that burned to the ground—and to clear his head before his disciplinary hearing next month. Yet, from the moment Winona stumbles into him, he can think only about her. With her big heart, sharp mind, and sweet face, she is everything he's ever desired in a woman. But he made a deathbed promise to his grandmother that he would never abandon his responsibility to the O'odham people and move away from the reservation like so many others have done. It's his duty to pass on traditional lifeways so they won't disappear and to be a role model for O'odham youth. Winona deserves better than a fling with a man who can't stick around. Thats why he's going to keep his hands to himself, no matter how much she makes him burn.
A love that won't be denied...
When a wealthy rancher asks Winona to help find a wolf that is killing his livestock, Jason and Winona join forces to solve the mystery. There haven't been wild wolves in Colorado for eighty years. But working closely side by side has consequences. As they move in on the wolf and uncover a more shocking truth, their attraction ignites into passion. Jason realizes he has a choice to make. He can either keep a vow he made long ago and break both of their hearts by walking away—or he can turn his back on his duty and his people to seize a chance at true happiness in the arms of the woman he loves.
Tropes: Forced proximity, soul mates, law enforcement, man in uniform
Read an excerpt below...
Winona inhaled the cold, mountain air. "It's so peaceful up here."
"They call this a cabin?" Chuckling, Jason pushed open the door and stepped back so that Winona could enter.
She flicked on the lights and found their bags sitting in a short hallway just inside the door. "This is nice."
They gave themselves a quick tour. A leather sofa sat across from a flat-screen TV, a wood stove in one corner, a fire roaring inside. The blinds were drawn back so that she could see the sliding glass door and the hot tub that glowed blue on the deck beyond, steam rising off the water. There were two bedrooms, one off the living room, which had a queen-sized bed and its own bathroom with a big tub, and one off the kitchen that had a bunkbed and a leather recliner. There was a second smaller bathroom near the back door.
"These Wests don't do anything halfway, do they?" Jason picked up his duffel. "You can have the big bedroom. I'll take the bunk."
Before they could debate the issue, he disappeared into the back.
Winona carried her bags to her room. "I don't know about you, but I'm heading straight for that hot tub. I hope you brought your swim trunks."
She set her bags down on the bed, closed the bedroom door, and changed into her bikini. She'd forgotten to bring a towel, but there were plenty of those in the bathroom. She tucked one under her arm and stepped out of the bedroom.
She stopped mid-stride and stared.
Jason stood there in a pair of black swim trunks, a towel in hand, his torso beautifully bare from his muscular shoulders with their scars and tattoos to the rounded slabs of his pecks and his well-defined abs and obliques. The man was a walking anatomy lesson. Could he possibly be any sexier?
His gaze slid over her, pausing on her breasts and belly, sending a trill of excitement through her. It had been such a long time since she'd been with a man, so long since a man had made her feel desired or even desirable.
You'll be sorry if you sleep with him.
Yes, she probably would. But she might regret it even more if she didn't.
Yes. Yes, she was.
Jason had only himself to blame.
He could have turned down the Wests' offer of a night at the ranch and gone back to McBride's. He'd be shooting the shit over a couple of beers right now, instead of wondering how he was going to keep his hands off Winona.
God, she was perfect. Everything about her made him want her from the gentle curves of her breasts to the flare of her hips to her slender legs to the way her gaze moved over him. But he'd been down this road before, and it led nowhere.
None of those women were Winona.
They sure as hell weren't.
Winona started toward the door. "The hot water is going to feel so good after hiking in the cold wind all day."
"Yeah," he managed to say, following her, his eyes drawn to the irresistibly sweet mounds of her ass, which shifted enticingly as she walked.
She opened the sliding glass door and stepped outside into the snow without the slightest hesitation.
Jason had never walked barefoot in snow before. "That's cold."
"Don't tell me a little snow is too much for a Desert Person," she teased. "In the winter when we do the inipi—our name for the sweat lodge ceremony—we often have to walk barefoot through snow. When I walk from the lodge to the women's tipi to change afterward, my hair and clothes freeze almost instantly."
He couldn't imagine that. "Don't you worry about hypothermia?"
"We're so warm from the lodge that the cold feels good." She held the handrail and stepped down into the hot water, her sigh of pleasure as she sank up to her chin sending a rush of blood to Jason's groin. "Oh, this is wonderful."
Jason did his best to hide his growing erection as he made his way down into the water, the heat sending tingles of pleasure up his spine. "Is now the time to tell you I've never been in a hot tub before?"
She gaped at him. "Never?"
"I'm from southernmost Arizona, remember? Sitting in hot water when it's a hundred and ten outside doesn't hold much appeal."
She laughed. "I bet not."
Snow fell steadily from the sky, melting on the surface of the water and landing in their hair and on his bare shoulders. In the distance, coyotes yipped and howled. Overhead, storm clouds hid the stars. It felt magical somehow.
Or maybe that was Winona.
She moved toward him through the water and ran a finger over the scar on his shoulder, concern on her pretty face. "Is this where you were shot?"
His pulse tripped. He looked down at the line of heat her fingertips traced over his skin. "Yeah. A trafficker took a shot at me from behind some rocks. It wasn't bad—just a deep graze."
"I bet it was painful."
"At the time, I was just really angry."
"Did he get away?"
Jason shook his head. "The Wolf pack surrounded him and brought him in."
She ran her fingertips over his tattoo. "Does this mean something?"
He watched her as her fingers explored the labyrinth, his blood hotter than the water now. "It's the Man in the Maze. The little guy here is I'itoi, who helped Creator make our people. He's a bit of a trouble-maker. We call him Elder Brother. The maze represents the journey of life, death, and afterlife—the choices we face, the unexpected turns, the dead-ends. The center represents your dream, the purpose of your life, the end of your journey."
Lips he wanted to kiss curved in a smile. "I like that."
Then she touched the scar above his left nipple. "Were you shot here, too?"
Jason sucked in a breath, his control dangerously close to shattering. Was she doing this on purpose? If she was, it was working.
"That was a knife." Jason fought to remember what had happened, his thoughts scattered, his senses and his mind focused entirely on her. "I was cuffing a guy. He went for my throat. We fought. His blade got beneath my body armor."
"God, Jason." Her fingers caressed the ridge of puckered flesh, her body mere inches from his now. "I'm so sorry."
Jason knew he shouldn't do this for both their sakes. He'd be leading them both down a path that went nowhere. He couldn't abandon his people to be with her. She would never leave Chaska and his family. If they turned this corner, they would both pay for it later.
But, God, he wanted her.
He cupped her face between his palms, touched his forehead to hers. "I want you, Win. I want to kiss you. I want to go back inside, strip off that bikini, and fuck you. But there's no way we can be together, and I don't want to hurt you. Tell me to keep my hands to myself, and I'll back off."
She moved closer, ran her palms over his chest, looked straight into his eyes. "Kiss me."