In this trio of sizzling Torrid Twisted Tales Honey Jans turns the traditional fairy tales on their ears. Take a little time to find out if Red Riding Hood can handle the big bad wolf, Cindy can captivate her prince charming, and what Goldie does with her Three Bears?
Her lips tingled as he gazed masterfully down at her in the moonlight and her nipples budded in the cool night air. She instinctively leaned toward him, creaming, as a sexual energy field snapped between them.
“Who do you belong to, bad girl?” he asked, a sardonic smile curving his handsome face.
“You,” she cried out as he slid a hand down the front of her naked body, slowly over her breasts, grazing her nipples until she sucked in a tremulous breath, and his hand slid lower to boldly cup her weeping sex. Everything inside her tightened as he held her in his big, work-roughened, warm hand. She was unable to deny him anything and in exchange he gave her everything. He expertly squeezed her mound, rubbing her clit as he did, and she came with a cry as he held her safe…
Honey Lockwood woke with a snort, sleepily discombobulated but knowing instantly she wasn’t alone. Chills went through her as she lifted her head off the overheated laptop keyboard and peered through the golden fringe of her curls that had saddled her with the nickname Goldilocks. The dark recesses of her grandsire’s lakeside lair were full of harmless shadows. So why was she shivering? And what had made that noise? It couldn’t be the one of the Sundowners—roving bands of Werebear males in search of mates. Besides she was immune from the virgin hunt, being a dud DNA wise. Never had she been so happy to be a throwback to the mundane part of her family.
The mating season only served to reinforce her decision to start her own business, leave the clan, and make her life in the human world. If she never saw a macho Werebear again it would suit her just fine. She’d realized how out of her depth she was when she’d caught her sometime beau Geoff on his knees pleasuring her Werebear fem cousin, Joelle. The humiliation was enough to make her break away. She’d known then and there that she had to get out. Of course, if she’d been a true blood, she might have found out what it was like to get properly laid.
Instead of being in on the mate hunt, she’d come to this remote cabin alone to regroup before heading off to Chicago and her new life next week. Here she could work on her business plan in private. She’d always had an affinity for numbers, something she and Geoff had once had in common before the mating fever had hit him and he’d lost all sense of reality. Heck, she hadn’t even told her family where she was going, not that they cared. She’d fobbed Grandsire off with an explanation that she was off on a singles cruise with her mortal friend, Darla, and he’d been visibly relieved that she was out of the picture. His reaction more than anything emphasized that she had to go back to real life and forget about her clan.
A loose floorboard squeaked in the kitchen again, bringing her wandering thoughts back to danger in a nanosecond. Chills ran up her spine as a sensation of a dark murky aura sent out tentacles toward her and with it came a gasp worthy top note of musky cologne. Damn, the thug had to have bathed in it. Eyes watering she knew that trouble was on the move, toward her. Her growing ability to read auras, a real non talent in the Wereworld, was getting stronger. But she rejected the notion that she was cracking up, as Joelle had claimed.
She was as sane as anyone else and she knew she had to move. Unfortunately her purse, containing her mace, cell phone, and car keys, was in the kitchen where he was. She didn’t know how she was certain her nemesis was a he. But considering her luck with men, it had to be some male mortal thug out to do her harm. Probably some mundane out to rob the place although there wasn’t much to steal. A blast of crisp night air against her back made her shiver and reminded her that she’d left the patio door open in a last ditch effort to air out the musty fishing shack. If she could quietly make it out the door, she’d stand a chance.
Holding her breath, she eased out of her chair and tugged open the patio door’s screen, wincing when it squeaked. Damn, if she lived through this night she was coming back with a big oil can and oiling the shit out of these hinges. Something crashed in the vicinity of the kitchen and her heart leapt to her throat. Time to get the hell out.
With a gasp she ran for the safety of the dark woods. It had to be well after midnight and not a creature was stirring, except her. Her crunching footsteps sounded thunderous as she made it to the tree line. She sagged against a tree breathless as the darkness cloaked her. At least whoever had broken into the shack wasn’t chasing her. Standing there shaking and feeling like an idiot she wondered if she’d dreamt it after all. No tentacles of evil chased her, not even a mouse sneezed. Maybe her vivid imagination had been working overtime after all. She had been feeling strange lately as her thirtieth birthday approached.
She turned to peer back at the cabin. All the lights were still blazing and just the sight of the light calmed her fears. Given her fear of the dark, she’d brought plenty of nightlights. Everything seemed peaceful. Her belongings, including her brand new laptop were inside. Could she just abandon them because of a bad dream?
A shot rang out smacking into the tree above her head, splintering the wood. She dropped like a rock, biting back a scream, her arm burning like fire. Oh my heavens, I didn’t imagine it! Then the cabin lights were doused all at once and she knew she was in trouble deep. Fear made her scramble to her feet and run deep into the pitch-dark woods as the overpowering stench of musk pursued her.
Half an hour later she crested a rise and saw a big lakeside cabin, its light ablaze in the valley below. Lights! Tears of relief sprang to her eyes. Never had a sight seemed more welcoming. She raced toward the house, tripped, tearing the strap on one of her sandals, and hobbled up onto the porch. Breathless, she looked for a doorbell. Not seeing one, she banged on the solid wood door then reached for the doorknob. The minute she touched it her palm tingled and she distinctly heard the lock open before it swung open on well-oiled hinges.
Startled, she stood there rubbing her heated palm for a moment as she looked inside the seemingly empty house. Then a rainbow of pleasant auras seemed to bid her into the house. Stunned by her good fortune, she rushed into the house and slammed the door behind her, sagging back against it trembling. As she stood there glancing around the well-appointed but seemingly vacant lodge, a strange feeling of lethargy came over her. The strange auras rubbed against her skin making her tingle. Damn, maybe this was a delayed reaction to shock. She absolutely refused to feel auras on top of seeing them. She couldn’t deny the feeling of coming home, but this place was posh compared to her grandsire’s rustic compound that she’d grown up on.
As she’d noted from outside, all the lights were on. A fire blazed in the fireplace and something savory simmered in the vicinity of the kitchen. Her stomach grumbled in response, as she hadn’t eaten since morning. Nobody seemed to be home. As a matter of fact the place had a vacant feel, as if it were waiting for its occupants. She rolled her eyes at her vivid imagination and ventured into the empty room looking for a phone.
“Hello,” she called out, hearing her tense voice echo through the empty lodge.
Suck it up, Goldilocks, nobody’s home so you’ll just have to save yourself. She took a step forward and damned near broke her neck when she tripped over her broken sandal again. With a growl she kicked off the damned things. Then she walked into the living room looking in vain for a phone. Almost out on her feet, she plopped wearily into a huge leather wing chair by the fireplace, smirking when her feet didn’t touch the floor. The story of The Three Bears came to mind. This had to be papa bear’s chair. The only other furniture in the room were two more leather recliners just as deep, confirming her guess that this was a man cave. Maybe the boys had gone out on a beer run. Some help they’d be.
Fighting her urge to just cuddle up in the chair and go to sleep, she surged to her feet. She had to find a phone…save herself…and get some crazy housebreaker busted. She followed her nose and the delicious smells toward the kitchen. Seemed like a logical place for a phone and she was hungry.
She stopped at the doorway. No phone, but a crock pot on the counter simmered away with what smelled like chili drawing her toward it. Her stomach grumbled again forcefully reminding her that she’d missed dinner. Her mouth watering, she gazed at the three bowls set out next to the crock pot. Shades of The Three Bears again, making her grin. Well, the other Goldilocks had helped herself to some porridge, maybe it was a sign that she should too.
Before she could censor herself she ladled herself a portion of the chili and sat down at the kitchen nook before she fell down. She needed to eat and she’d pay for the chili when she got her purse back. She took a bite of the spicy concoction, blowing on it when it was too hot, stirring it till it cooled down, and then greedily eating it all when it was just right.
Sitting back, replete, she looked down at her messy clothes and winced. Yikes! She was covered in dirt and leaves from her flight through the woods and tumble down the hill. And there were a few telltale drops of chili on her white blouse. The boys would probably think she was crazy looking this way. Hell, she’d be lucky not to get shot at again. She needed to clean up fast.
She stood up on wobbly legs and started down the hall in search of either a bathroom or a phone whichever came first. Her footsteps faltered when she glanced into the messy den. Up till now everything in this place had been neat as a pin. She smiled when she saw the papers strewn on the oak desktop and tumbling onto the floor. This looked like her office after she’d been on one of her creative streaks.
Then the sound of swirling water caught her attention. Could it possibly be a hot tub? Just the thought made her yearn for warmth. She padded down the hall toward the sound and stepped out into what she could only call a spa. There was a deep Jacuzzi tub and even a sauna. Now this was roughing it in the woods. She gazed longingly at the tub. It was almost calling her name. Should she? A bottle of jasmine bath oil sat on the edge of the tub. Maybe one of the boys had a lover. She didn’t know why that thought bothered her more than the prospect of stealing someone’s bath. Pushing back those thoughts she poured in the bath oil, stripped, and got in. Sinking down in the water she eased back and closed her eyes with a groan as all her sore muscles tightened a moment before going loose. Drifting away, she sank down in the water, pressure melting away. A few minutes later she woke up in a hurry, coming up sputtering. Damn, she was dead on her feet.
With a wince, she pulled herself out of the tub, her cuts stinging anew. She toweled off and glanced at her trashed clothes, her nose wrinkling. For nothing on earth would she put them back on until she sponged them clean, but she was too tired. Instead she reached for the white terry cloth robe hanging on the back of the door. It was miles too big for her but it was warm and enveloping and she snuggled into it like a security blanket. It smelled of sandalwood and man, obviously a big man, one who could protect her. If only!
Half-asleep, she staggered out of the steamy bathroom into the frigid hallway and shivered, her teeth chattering. Well, hell, she was really out on her feet, maybe in shock. She had to get warm, fast. She headed toward the bedrooms like a guided missile. She’d have a little lie down to regain her equilibrium.