I remember reading parts of this book when Selena was writing it. I couldn’t wait to read more and am very glad I did.
Available from Cobblestone Press: http://www.cobblestone-press.com/catalog/author/selenablake.htm
Author Website: http://www.selena-blake.com/
The Deverauxs and Vassars have been fighting for hundreds of years, but somehow Andre and Juliette fell in love. More than that, they’re mates. Destined to be together for eternity until betrayal tore them apart.
When business sends Andre Deveraux to Savannah he comes face to face with Juliette for the first time in sixty five years. Their crash course renews old memories and desires. With Juliette stranded and the hurricane of the century roaring to shore, Andre has no choice by to offer her a lift.
He’s in for the ride of his life.
“It looks like this is going to be a doozy of a storm, folks. Hurricane Love is skirting Florida’s east coast right now, roaring north at fifteen miles per hour. The storm will likely make landfall between Jacksonville, Florida and Charleston, South Carolina. Cities along the coast are now under a full voluntary evacuation. Paul, how are things looking in the Weather Center?”
André Deveraux glanced up from the book in his lap and studied the gray haired man on the television screen. Behind him a large map of the Southeast showed the first of bands of rain moving across Savannah. The wide mass of swirling clouds looked imposing, even to André.
He’d gotten to the airport hours in advance of his flight with hopes of catching an earlier one, but the airport was clogged with travelers and the plane/passenger ratio was not good. The Bobs, Deveraux Shipping’s lawyers, had been smart to catch a flight late last night. André had wanted another night to himself, to think over his future. Not that the extra time had helped.
“Hurricane Love is picking up speed, Don. And the barometer continues to drop. South Florida is already experiencing heavy rain from this storm. Fort Lauderdale has picked up two and a half inches in the last six hours. If you’re in the path of this storm, I strongly urge you to get out of the way.” The man made a sweeping motion with his hand, away from the coast.
Easier said than done, buddy.
A sharp ring and the accompanying vibration alerted him to a call. He dug his cell phone out of his pants pocket and glanced at the number. Angelica. A sharp ache squeezed his heart and headed south.
He pressed the answer button and held it to his ear. “Hi, Angel.”
“Hiya, handsome. We were wondering if you were able to catch an earlier flight.”
He glanced at his luggage, still sitting in the same spot at his feet where he’d dropped it three hours ago.
“No. There weren’t any earlier flights.”
A long pause clued him in to Angelica’s worry. Ever since that week in the cabin when he and Jules had brought her in out of the storm he’d had a connection with her. Past what was normal for a brother and sister-in-law. But she’d made her choice. It was Jules who’d stolen her heart. And André had stepped out of the picture.
“I’ll be fine, Angel. Don’t worry about me.”
“I can’t help but worry about you. You won’t let anyone take care of you.”
“That’s because I don’t need taking care of,” he clipped. That wasn’t entirely true, and he knew it. He saw what Angelica had with Jules and Sebastian with Amanda and it made him crave that closeness for himself.
He was no longer used to the yearning that plagued him. He didn’t like it. Didn’t like wanting anything as much as he wanted a woman of his own. Someone to hold close, someone who would dote on him, be excited to see him, someone to share his life, his wealth with. But that woman was not Angel. “I didn’t mean to be short with you.”
“I know,” she said quietly. She probably did. Angelica Humphrey was an amazing woman, easy-going, expressive, giving. Perfect in so many ways. And she fit seamlessly into Pack life.
“Any progress on the house?” he asked, hoping that questions about something other than him would ease some of the growing tension. When their home had burnt to the ground last month, Sebastian, his older brother and the Alpha of their pack, had declared that they would rebuild. Construction had already begun.
“Sebastian’s looking for a supplier of old flooring. There was a reporter snooping around the other day but Gin and Burke ran him off. They’ve almost got the roof on.”
She continued talking, telling him about the plans that Amanda and Sebastian, the pack’s Alphas, were making. Only half listening, he heard something about overstuffed furniture, rocking chairs and a nursery.
He watched the TV screen and the storm that was heading to shore. Just then a voice came over the loudspeaker announcing that all flights had been canceled due to weather.
“Angel…” he interrupted. She fell silent. “They just canceled my flight. I have to go. Talk to you soon.”
“Okay. Love ya. Be careful.”
He ended the call and stared at the phone for several seconds. That ache was still there nestled in his heart. He’d dwelled on their relationship far longer than he should have. The pact with Jules didn’t extend to mates. And even if it did, he just didn’t love Angel with an all-consuming passion. He’d only felt that with one woman. The one woman he could never have.
Gathering his luggage, he headed back to the rental car counter where he’d dropped off the keys to the SUV a few hours ago. Somehow, he had to get out of here. His business was rapped up. The sale was going to go through. Sebastian would be pleased. Negotiating the throng of people, he wondered what they would do once they were no longer the owners of Deveraux Shipping.
For the last decade they’d thrown themselves into their business and for a time it had made their bachelorhood tolerable. But lately there had been a gnawing at André’s gut reminding him that there was more to life than making money.
Maybe he’d travel. He’d never been to Canada or Antarctica. Maybe a world cruise was in order. He’d definitely have to consider that once he got back to Louisiana.
As he stepped up to the car rental counter, he caught a whiff of perfume mixed with warm, alluring woman. But it was distinctively werewolf too. The delicious scent teased his memory, tormenting him.
Man, he had it worse than he thought. White hot lust coursed through his veins and his cock twitched to life. Just being in the same part of the country and he was thinking he could smell her—
“What do you mean you have no other cars? As in none?” A feminine voice floated down the expanse to him. There was a trace of accent, French, and a barely controlled panic.
His head swiveled left toward the sound, and he caught sight of the woman in all her furious glory. A mane of long mahogany waves cascaded over her shoulders. The silky strands made his fingers itch to sweep them from her face. His gaze swooped lower, taking in the sophisticated charcoal gray dress that hugged her tall curvy frame like denim fresh from the dryer. Her legs, pale and bare of pantyhose, went on for miles. She wore ultra-sexy, black leather heels. And her toes, dear God, the perfectly painted red polish did crazy things to his mind.
At the same moment, his body tensed and his heart dropped. He knew the woman without having to look at her face. She’d have wide blue eyes, a perfect nose—minus the old break—and ruby red lips. She was pretty without being overly beautiful. Her special blend of quiet assurance and subtle seduction could have a man eating out of the palm of her hand with a single lick of her lips.
André knew that, knew her, all too well. Juliette Vassar was the one woman in all of Savannah, non…the world, that he’d hoped to avoid on this trip. He’d sworn to himself that he would not search her out and yet here she was. Were the stars in alignment? Were the Fates playing tricks on him?
She flicked her hair over her shoulder, showing off the creamy column of her neck. He swallowed a groan and slowly traced the profile he knew so well.
“Fuck me,” he muttered.
“Was that an invitation?” André jerked his gaze to the short blonde behind the counter. She gave him a willing smile.
He raised an eyebrow and then sat his briefcase at his feet. “I’m going to need the SUV again.” He tried not to notice the disappointment in her eyes.
How the hell was he going to get out of here without Juliette seeing him? Like him, she had a killer sense of smell, and he was willing to bet his life that she still felt the bond between them just like he did.
It would pull them together like magnets if he let it. All those years ago, they hadn’t just been in love. He hadn’t just worshiped the ground she walked on, adored and desired her. Non. He’d mated with her. For life.
Overhead a voice blared through a speaker. “The weather service has issued a voluntary hurricane evacuation—”
“Great,” André muttered as the crowd around him surged into chaos.
“If you’ll sign here, Mr. Deveraux.” He took the pen she offered and scrawled his signature on the line.
“What about you? Do you have any cars left?” Juliette’s voice was closer this time. André grabbed the keys to his rental and turned to gather his things. His gut tightened into little knots. Just turn around and walk away.
But he couldn’t. Sighing, he turned back to see her blue eyes glimmering with hope and a hint of desperation.
“No, ma’am. I’m afraid not,” the attendant said in a thick southern accent. André didn’t like the way the man behind the counter ogled Juliette. Didn’t like it one little bit. But he pushed the feeling aside and picked up his briefcase.
One by one the counters closed.
“I can take you wherever you need to go, cheri.” The words were out of his mouth before he could stop them. Inwardly, he grimaced.
Juliette turned toward the dreamy masculine voice. Deep, gravelly, she’d know it anywhere. That same voice had starred in all of her fantasies from the time she’d understood the attraction between men and women. Seductive words whispered in her ears as a young woman had caused her to lose her heart to its owner centuries before.
But that was a long time ago. She pulled her shoulders back and sucked in her stomach. Then she turned slowly, telling herself she would not cave in to him again. She would not forget what he’d done to her brother.
She would not forgive him.
So she said the only thing guaranteed to put emotional space between them. “Aren’t you on the wrong side of the river, swamp rat?”
He didn’t so much as flinch at her words. What the hell was he doing here? And why did she feel the overwhelming urge to step into his arms and hug him?
Ah hell. This wasn’t what she’d expected when she came back from France. For starters, she’d expected to be able to rent a car. She shot the dweeb behind the counter a barely contained look of disdain. Not that it was his fault but she needed to get out of here, get to her family’s estate, and it seemed like all the cars in the city had been rented.
Taking a deep steadying breath, she stepped toward the last rental counter. The one André Deveraux stood in front of…looking hotter than holy sin. The expensive looking suit hugged his body to perfection, showed off those broad shoulders and trim waist. The crisp black fabric only added appeal to his tanned skin and silky black hair. Heaven help her, he looked good enough to eat. The epitome of tall, dark, and dangerously handsome. He made her tail twitch. Always had. She was terrified he always would.
“And you, mademoiselle,” she said to the blonde clerk who eyed André like a piece of chocolate. “Do you have any cars available?” Juliette cocked her head and prayed that the other woman’s answer would be yes.
“I’m sorry, ma’am. Mr. Deveraux reserved our last one.” Juliette didn’t miss the way the little southern tramp’s blue eyes lit up when she said Mr. Deveraux. Not that Juliette could blame her really. She’d fallen into the trap of his dynamite sensuality. That knowledge just pissed her off more.
Her temperature rose another degree and she resisted the urge to fan herself. Had she only been away a year? Surely it hadn’t long enough for her body to lose all acclimation to the climate. How did this place stay so hot and humid without melting right off the face of the planet?
She cut a glance at the big man a few short feet away. So close she’d be able to touch him if she stretched her arm out. The corner of that handsome mouth pulled up a quarter of a centimeter. Her breathing grew shallow. Dieu, he was handsome. Male perfection.
Chill, Julie. Just chill. Don’t let him know how much he affects you.
She adjusted the strap of her purse over her shoulder. “So, why are you here?” Truth be told, he was the last person she’d expected to come face to face with. This was only meant to be a short trip. Just long enough to sell the estate, tie up loose ends, and say goodbye to her past.
Which sounded like she had a plan for the future. If only that were true.
“Business meeting,” those kiss-me lips said.
“Ah.” He was taller than she remembered. She was tall for a woman and her heels gave her another three inches. But he…he towered over her. Broad, hard, muscular in all the right places. The top button of his crisp white shirt hung open revealing a sexy V of tanned skin. She’d kissed that very spot dozens of times.
“About dat ride—” he began but she cut him off with a shake of her head. She couldn’t accept a ride from him, no matter how much her heart begged her to do exactly that. André Deveraux was and would always be off limits. Her family may no longer be alive to keep up the feud, but they’d roll in their graves if they knew she’d gotten back together with the man who’d murdered her brother.
And getting into a car with him would surely be the first step to getting back together because where André was concerned, she had less than zero willpower.
No. Better to not even tempt herself.
Who was she kidding? She was already tempted.
“No thanks. I wouldn’t want to keep you from your meeting.” And she couldn’t take the chance that she’d either coldcock him or kiss him. The best thing to do was walk away.
So she did. Turned on her sexy little Donna Karan stilettos and started down the concourse.
“Uh, the exit is the other way,” André said, his voice lifting over the flurry of passengers.
Juliette stopped. Of all the times to look like a complete imbecile. She bit back a choice word and turned toward him again. But he was already striding down the corridor. She didn’t miss how all the women turned to watch him go by.
Damn the man. And what he did to her insides.