Link huffed a humorless laugh and stood in one smooth motion. “Lady, you can’t help me.” A jarring sadness washed over him as he turned away from her and made his way toward the hardware store a few shops down. “No one can.”
With a soft growl, Link turned around.
“I’m Nicole Brand.”
Her eyes looked unafraid as she stared at him directly. She would be more scared if he took off his sunglasses and showed his own eye color. About now, it probably matched the snow around them. The woman—Nicole—kicked up something unsettling in him. The vision of him bucking into her in the backseat of his Bronco while she screamed his name flashed across his mind. He shook his head again and swallowed hard, trying to dislodge the imaginings of his wolf. This was it. Another sign of the madness. McCalls started looking for breeders when they were slipping into insanity. Both his brothers had done the same before they lost it.
“What’s your name?” The woman was looking at him with her dark eyebrows arched impatiently.
“Link.” Not all wolf yet. Still a man. Yeah. “Link.”
“Okay, Link Link.”
“No…I’m Lincoln McCall. People call me Link.”
Link gritted his teeth. Nicole felt dangerous to talk to. Dangerous to be around.
I want her.
“Stop,” he gritted out low to his inner wolf.
“Stop what?” she asked, cocking her head and giving him the cutest frown he’d ever seen on a female.
Swallowing another snarl, Link turned and made his way toward the hardware store, desperate to put some distance between him and Nicole.
“I’m new in town! Link?” she called. “Aaah!”
The pitch of Nicole’s scream battered his oversensitive eardrums. Link spun just in time to see her bust her ass on the ice again. Clenching his hands in anger, he jogged over to help her up. “Lady, stop falling! You’re making me all…”
She looked up at him with those wide, pretty brown eyes of hers as he lifted her by the arm. “Making you what?”
Link clenched his teeth against his answer. She was making him protective. “You can’t be weak out here. If you’re not a tourist, get your shit together. Get some better boots, better gear. You’re shivering. You don’t fuck with Mother Nature out here. This is her home, you understand?”
“Yes,” she whispered, clutching onto the arms of his jacket, “I know. That’s why I’m in town, and that’s why I was trying to ask you if you know a place I can get better clothes. I just moved here—”#p#分页标题#e#
“Don’t tell me your story, woman.” Link couldn’t afford to get attached to anyone for any reason. He jerked his chin toward the winter outfitter store at the end of the street. “Down there.”
Link scanned the massive birthmark on the exposed part of her face once more, nodded, and then watched her slip and slide her way down the sidewalk.
Good hips. She’ll give us a pup easy.
Ignoring his inner monster, Link ripped his gaze away from the curve of Nicole’s perfect ass in those sexy tights and strode into the hardware store. Inside, he closed his eyes at the relief he felt as Wolf quieted.
“You met the newest member of Galena,” Jack Lawson—also known as Hardware Jack—said from behind the counter where he was reading an outdoor magazine and chewing on a toothpick. His long, coarse gray hair was pulled back today. “Watch out now. Mayor may be hiring you to add a number to our population sign,” he said with a wink.
Link chuckled and stomped the snow from his boots on the mat by the door. “I think we’re safe. She won’t last two weeks out here.”
“Agreed, but she ain’t here to settle. She’s fixing up old Buck Lund’s place to sell. God rest his soul.”
Link froze. Buck Lund, one of his brother, Cole’s, victims. He wasn’t walking this earth because of the McCall curse. Link knew the exact cabin Jack was talking about because the land ran adjacent to his own property and he’d been out there fixing the roof on the old abandoned house in a pathetic attempt to make amends for his brother’s mistakes. Buck Lund, the trapper, had died at the teeth of a wolf. A werewolf.
Link dragged his gaze to the window. “Why is she fixing up the Lund place?”
“Because that city slicker, believe it or not, is Buck’s only daughter.”
Link sat on the bench beside the door and ran his hands roughly through his hair. Well, fuck. That was just perfect.
“Did you see that hideous mark on her face? Same as Buck’s. Must be genetic to be marked up that way.”