Primal Heat(Wild Lake Wolves Book 3)(6)

By: Kimber White

I couldn’t shake the image of the lethal edge of that rusted trap as he carried it as though it weighed nothing. An object meant not to just to capture, but to injure, to torture. The thought of those brutal spikes driving into skin and bone made my mouth go dry. Poachers, he’d said. On Wild Lake lands. And he thought Congressman Foster had something to do with it?

“Baby girl?”

Iris’s smooth voice brought me out of my head. The bus had stopped right in front of the Law School complex. Its two-story brick exterior didn’t match the rest of the architecture at GLU. It was the only building covered in ivy, though right now, most of that was brittle and brown. I looked behind me, but I was the only passenger left on Iris’s bus.

“You’ve got stars in your eyes, Abby. You thinking about some man?”

Heat flamed my cheeks as I shot her a smile. I tried to cover but Iris knew me too well.

“Sort of,” I said.

Iris turned in her seat and slammed the bus into park.

“You got time,” she said. “Spill it.”

I rolled my eyes and felt the blush spread to my neck, no doubt making my skin a bright shade of pink. Iris rested her chin in her palm and twisted in her seat. Yeah. No way I was getting off this bus without clueing her in.

“You ever heard of Sebastian Lanier?”

Iris’s eyes went wide and she clucked, shaking her head. “You’ve lived here your whole life, Abby. You mean to tell me you haven’t?”

“The name’s familiar.”

“Well, it should be. He’s Wild Lake Outfitters, honey.”

Wild Lake Outfitters. Holy shit. They were the reason this town existed, pretty much. One of the largest retailers of hunting, fishing, and sporting goods in North America. The world, maybe. Wild Lake’s water tower was painted blue and silver with the company name and logo, a stylized wolf’s head with pine trees behind it.

Sebastian Lanier. That was Sebastian Lanier. In my mind I had pictured him as some gruff, gray-haired, long-bearded old man. As if he’d fit right into the cast of Duck Dynasty. I didn’t expect the gorgeous hunk of man I met today.

“That’s who’s got your eyes all glassy?” Iris cocked her head and grinned.

“What? No. I sort of ran into him. That’s all.”

“Well, I sure as hell wouldn’t mind running into him. Under him. Mmm. What’s he like?”

“Uh. Purposeful.”

Traffic behind us started to honk. Iris waved a dismissive hand. Her bus. Her rules. Everybody else could sit tight or go around.

“Well, you be careful with a guy like that.”

“Iris. What? I’m not with a guy like that. I just said I sort of met him. That’s all. Besides, what do you mean?”

Iris’s eyes grew dark and the smile left her face. She picked at a spot on her nail and wouldn’t meet my eyes for an instant. I slid out of my seat and squatted next to her.

“It’s okay. I know he’s one of, uh . . . you know . . . them.”

Iris gave me a hard look. Her flint-gray eyes filled with the wisdom she’d earned in her thirty years of driving this bus. She put a hand on my shoulder and leaned in. “Oh, yeah? What else do you know about them?”

Deep lines framed Iris’s mouth and crinkled the corners of her eyes. In her seventy-some years, she’d seen every kind of person there is. She could size you up with just a glance, and her instincts were never wrong. My heart thundered behind my ribcage as she fixed her razor sharp gaze on me.

“I just met him, Iris. That’s all. Shook his hand.”

“Just be careful, baby.” She reached up and smoothed a lock of hair out of my face where it sprung loose from my ponytail. “Those wolves bite. Best to keep your distance.”

“Well, thanks for looking out. It’s nice to have someone who does.”

She leaned forward and put a kiss on the top of my head, catching me off guard. I stiffened and nearly overbalanced on the balls of my feet. Stinging tears formed in my eyes. Again, I tried to cover. Put my armor back in place. Iris knew better. She hooked a finger under my chin and lifted my head until she had my eyes.

“You’re special, Abby. Don’t you ever let anyone make you feel like you’re not. You got a piece of shit mamma and had an Invisible Man for a daddy. It does me no pleasure to say it. You keep your head on straight like you have been and you get the hell out of here the first chance you get.”

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