BLIND ACCEPTANCE by Missy Martine
The Wind River Pack
David and Eric Rivers are brothers, adopted into the Wind River Pack. They’re called home to Wyoming when their alpha wants to do a head count of all his pack members. Children are disappearing from other packs, and he’s concerned about his family.
The brothers find Laynee in the woods, drugged and left to die. Both their beasts claim the fragile young woman as their mate.
Can a bear and a wolf share a mate?
Time’s running out. They have to convince Laynee she’s theirs before her father succeeds in his plans.
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Groaning, Laynee slowly opened her eyes and shivered. “Father?” She felt groggy, her head almost spinning. Her tongue felt thick, and a bad taste coated her mouth. She could smell an earthy, pine scent mixed with the odor of damp, rotting wood. The air was crisp and bitingly cold. She reached out her hand and trailed her fingers over the rough bark of a tree. A cold wind ruffled through her hair.
“Ugh,” she groaned when she felt the moisture seeping into her jeans. She could feel the prickle of briars against her palms as she pushed to a sitting position, the spongy ground making her draw back in horror. Why can’t I think clearly? Everything seems so fuzzy. “Where the hell am I, Father?” she screamed.
She froze and tried to calm her breathing, listening carefully for the sound of voices. The only sound was the branches creaking and the groaning of the trees in the wind. She wrapped her arms around her waist and tried to stop from shaking. “What am I gonna do now?”
Trying to control her fear, she struggled to her feet and reached out with her hand to steady herself against a tree. Dizziness nearly overwhelmed her as she dropped to her knees. She turned her face to the wind and strained to hear a familiar sound. After a minute, she tried to stand and froze. The rhythmic sound of footsteps beating against the path caused her breath to catch. “Who’s there?” she whispered.
“I can hear something panting.” Using her legs, she pushed back toward the tree when something plowed through the brush. When she heard an excited yip, she turned to the direction it came from and smiled. “Doggy, here boy.” Barely able to keep her eyes open, she held out her hand. Moments later, something cold and wet pressed against her palm.
She took a shaky breath and laughed. “You’re a big fellow, aren’t you?” Laynee continued to pet him, laughing when he licked her cheek and neck, partially leaning on his firm back. The heat from his body drew her. She scooted closer and hugged him tight.
“You’re so warm, boy. Do you think I could warm myself for just a minute?” It was almost like he understood, cuddling closer, giving her the warmth from his body. “Fellow, we need to get out of here. You’ve got to have a master somewhere.” Her hands rubbed over his neck. “You don’t have a damn collar. Are you a stray?” She sighed when he licked her cheek. “Do you think you could lead us out of here, big guy? I can’t make it on my own. You’ll have to let me lean on you. I’m not feeling too well.”
* * * *
Eric sniffed Laynee’s neck, whined, and then growled softly. She’s my mate! There was something off about her scent, but there was no doubt, this woman was his mate. He spotted a drink can on the ground and leaned down to sniff it, growling when he caught the unnatural scent. She was drugged, just like the man said. When she stiffened, he stopped growling and licked her cheek, whining when he felt her relax against him.
Turning, he stared at her face and froze. Her blank gaze was directed his way, but it was obvious she didn’t see him. My beautiful mate is blind! What kind of a man would leave his blind daughter to fend for herself?
Another unusual scent caught Eric’s attention. He raised his nose and breathed in deeply. With a low growl, he pulled away from Laynee and moved to the other side of the tree.
“Wait,” Laynee cried, and tried to grab for him, nearly falling flat on her face.
He hurried back so she could touch him, but not before he saw the raw meat lying on the ground. It’s a miracle some animal didn’t find her before I did. I’ve got to get her moving toward the highway so David can find us. They were too far from the road for David to pick up her scent unless he shifted. I’d hate to see how she’d react to hearing a bear lumbering through the woods.
Eric nudged her thigh and watched in horror as she tumbled over onto her side. Damn, I didn’t mean to knock you down.
Laynee groaned and pulled herself up. “I’m sorry, boy. I can’t seem to wake up. I’m so dizzy.”
Eric growled softly. I know why you’re dizzy. All those drugs are still in your system. It’s gonna be hard getting you back to the car if I don’t shift.
Determined, he nudged her thigh again and gripped her shirt between his teeth and pulled. She got the message and pulled herself up.
“Okay, boy. I’m coming. Keep your shirt on.” She got shakily to her feet, leaned heavily against Eric, and threaded her fingers in his ruff, holding on tight. Eric leaned down, closed his jaw around the soda can, and then prodded her forward, moving her around rocks and limbs as carefully as he could. Slowly they made their way toward the highway.
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