Asking for his help will expose more than her heart…
Meli Dwyer’s ordered life followed a clear-cut path, just the way she preferred until the death of her beloved brother. Rocked by her loss and grappling with the emotional fallout, a series of unexplained events marked by an escalating violence send her world into chaos. Alone and floundering in her harsh new reality, she reaches out for help from the sexy and mysterious warrior who managed to sneak under her guard, Wolf.
But some risks are worth taking…
When Wolf receives an unexpected call from the illusively alluring Meli, the PSY-IV Team’s skilled and lethal telepath doesn’t waste time racing to her side. Months earlier she ignited his protective instincts and her call gives him the perfect opportunity to set siege to her wary heart. Before he can breach the scars of her past, he’s engaged in a dangerous game beside the one woman he can’t read, facing an enemy whose motives and obsessions blur his lines between justice and revenge.
As the stakes rise, Meli must decide if the answers to her personal nightmare are worth uncovering if it costs her the man who captured her battered heart.
Oh for Pete’s sake, Meli, just hit send. It didn’t matter how much I yelled at myself, I couldn’t get my finger to hit the stupid button. The violent slam of a door made me jump and drop my phone, which then disappeared in the dark recesses of shag carpeting oozing out from under the questionable queen-size bed. Outside the thin walls a shrill screech turned a string of Spanish obscenities into an abusive litany. A basso rumble answered and suddenly an argumentative duet erupted outside the door of my no-tell motel room.READ MORE
Hot frustration pressed against my eyes, and I rubbed the heel of my hand hard to keep the lurking tears in check. The angry concert outside picked up pace and volume, and my stomach clenched. My fingers curled into useless fists as I glared at the limp, sun-faded curtains. The crescendo hit with the sickening sound of flesh impacting flesh, which was accented by a feminine scream of fury. It was a song I understood all too well, but tonight I had enough. No more stupid excuses, I needed help.
Dropping to my knees, I tried to ignore the biohazards cultivating in the worn carpet, as I felt around for my phone. When my fingers hit familiar aluminum, the breath I held escaped on something sounding suspiciously close to a sob. Phone in hand, I scooted back until my spine hit the wall. Huddled behind the bed as far from the door as possible, I touched the screen, scrolled through the abysmally small list, and despite my shaking fingers, hit send on the number I never expected to use.
Staring at the bedraggled bedspread, I listened to the line ring while the harsh rumble of a motorcycle roared to life drowning out the feminine curses gathering volume outside. Once. Twice. Three times. Panic dug desperate claws into my chest until little white starbursts decorated my vision. Please. The silent plea was all I could manage, my hold on calm and rational beginning to slip.
I opened my mouth to do just that, and all that emerged was a choked sob. I tried again. “Wolf?”
A momentary quiet filled the line while the muted soundtrack of jumbled conversations and laughter played in the background, then, “Meli? What’s wrong?”
As if the rough rasp of his voice shattered the lock on my throat, the words tumbled over one another, spilling in a frantic rush. “I’m sorry to bother you, but do you know where Risia is? I’ve been trying to reach her since this morning.”
“She’s out of town on assignment with Tag.”
Of course she was, because that was how my luck was running lately. “Oh, okay. Sorry to bother y—”
“Vete a la verga culero!”
I winced as my temporary next-door neighbor found a new level of forte before slamming her door so hard the thin-paned window in my room rattled, even as her companion’s motorcycle left the parking lot in a squeal of rubber.
In my ear, Wolf growled, “Meli, where the hell are you?”
Obviously he hadn’t missed the telenovela drama on my end. Dropping my forehead to my knees, I pressed the phone closer to my ear, torn between the urge to laugh hysterically or sob. “In a motel.”
Because someone shot up the vacation villas where I worked and lived, but giving him that answer might not be in my best interests. Time for a little down playing. “There was some ahh, trouble at Vientos Salvaje yesterday and the police asked me to stay at a hotel until tomorrow.”
“Trouble?” he bit out as a door slammed shut somewhere on his end. “What kind of trouble requires police involvement?”
Right, as if he wouldn’t want specifics after that rather lame answer. “It’s nothing,” I lied through my teeth.
“If it’s nothing,” he growled, “why are you looking for Risia?”
I thumped my head back against the wall, twice. This was why I hadn’t wanted to call. “She’s my best friend, I needed someone to talk to.” More like someone to run to for help, but guess I was on my own. No surprise there. “Look, Wolf, I—”
“Meli, what the hell is going on?”
The edge of command in his question served as an obvious warning of his waning patience. Unfortunately, my patience had disappeared under the churning mass of frustration and fear dogging my heels for the last twenty-four hours. “Someone thought it would be amusing to shoot up the villas,” I snapped.
“You were shot at?”
Deafening silence rang through the line, then, “Where the hell are you?”
“Dead Miner’s Motel off the 215.”
“Are you safe?”
Part of me wanted to snipe, define safe, instead I managed to choke out, “For now.” The sudden explosion of canned laughter as the TV next door blared to life made me jump.
“Keep the damn door locked and don’t fucking move, Meli. I’m on my way.”
“Okay.” Because it wasn’t as if he left me any choice on my answer. Besides, I couldn’t argue with the relief turning my legs watery. Right now I’d take what help I could get because whatever was happening around me, I could deal with it, as soon as I got a chance to find my feet.
“I’ll text you when I’m close.”
At the thought of losing this fragile connection panic seeped in and my fingers tightened on the phone. I lifted my head, blind to the cheap motel room. “Wait, Wolf, don’t hang up. I’m sor—”
“Don’t you dare apologize.”
I tangled my free hand in my hair, and pulled at the strands. The minor bite of pain kept the choking cloud of terror at bay, loosening the tight bands on my chest. Dragging Wolf into my mess was never the plan, but then plans had a way of imploding lately.
“I told you to call me, woman. I didn’t think you’d make me wait four fucking months.” There was a burst of distinctive noise in my ear as the line was muffled. “Don’t hang up.” Without waiting for my response, he said something to someone on his end, then the sound of a car door slamming was followed by his very irritated, “You are damn stubborn.”
Despite the crummy situation, the frustration in his voice made my lips twitch. “You do know curse words aren’t valid forms of communication, right?”
“They work just fine for me,” he grumbled.
Privately, I agreed. There was a shift on the line, then he was back, his voice sounding a bit hollower than before. “Want to start from the beginning?”
When my teeth found a particularly sensitive spot on my raw lower lip, I winced. “If I thought I had the time, I would, but my phone’s battery is dying and I don’t have a charger.” I was lucky to remember my wallet and driver’s license, much less my phone when the police herded me away. The charger would’ve been a massive bonus. Because when you’re trying to figure out how your world could change on a dime, a phone charger is not what you’re thinking of.
“How long do you have?”
Pulling my phone away from my ear, I checked the status bar and put it back. “I’m at twenty-six percent.”
Leaning my head back against the wall, I closed my eyes, grateful my frantic pulse was finally slowing. Not surprising, because just hearing Wolf’s voice acted as a stabilizer. Which was strange, since when he was actually in front of me, I couldn’t decide if I wanted to run to or from him.
“The GPS has your location at roughly five hours. I want you to text me every quarter hour, and call me on the hour, understood?”
“Okay.” It came out shaky, but clear.
“Meli,” he paused, muttered something I couldn’t make out, then the line filled with the steady thrum of an engine.
I waited, unable to read his mind, but cherishing the tentative connection we currently shared, no matter how flimsy it was. When the silence began to stretch, I blinked my eyes open and stared into reality. “Yeah?”
“Are you really okay?” The softness in his voice was so at odds with the flesh and blood man.
His hidden questions—are you physically hurt? Do you need a hospital? Who do I have to kill?—echoed underneath and his worry warmed long-frozen spots in my chest. “Yeah, just scared and probably paranoid.”
“It’s not paranoia if they’re really out to get you.”
His unexpected humor surprised a laugh and I covered my mouth, before it could change into something crazed. Breathing through my nose, I slowly dropped my hand and whispered, “How very true.”
Swallowing hard, I reached for my fading confidence, needing to fake it so the man rushing to my rescue didn’t end up in a ditch. “Yes, sir.”
When the line went dead, I dropped my head to my knees and clutched my phone to my chest. Staring into the gathering afternoon shadows, I took my first full breath in hours.
Wolf was coming.COLLAPSE
Nana Prah, Constantine & Prah Reviews wrote:
"These books are freaking awesome and I really can't wait to get my hands on the next one!! 5 stars (would give it so many more if I could!!!)"
The Book Quarry wrote:
"Ms. Gray is horrible to her characters (For her sake I hope they never come to life), which makes the book that more intriguing because you really have no idea what’s coming next."
"Marked by Obsession is sensual, suspensful and emotional. The plot was strong and kept me glued to the pages...The suspense was heart racing and twisty...a must read!"