Lana looked too, gnawing her lip. It figured the kid would be late. While the two older
women stood in the shade of a bus stop, catching up on twelve years of news, she paced. Out
into the piercing sun, then back into the muted shade. Out and back, out and back again, each
footfall a step into the past, then a determined about-face into the future. She tried to numb her
senses, but they kept darting around, tasting the arid flavor of this place, listening to its
emptiness. Everything felt so familiar, yet so strange, like visiting a childhood home after
someone else had moved in.
That was the strange part. Arizona had never been her home and it never would be. She’d
only visited once before. She went stiff at the memory, as if the old emotions might creep up and
carry her away. Emotions like hope and love and unexpected passion, blazing bright. She’d been
so young and impressionable back then — only twenty, and that was the problem. Too young to
know better than to fall in love with a vague scent in the hills. For a while, she’d even imagined
the scent came with a man.
But it had been a siren song at best, and it had ruined her. There was no man, no promise,
only a ceaseless whisper that stirred her during the day and haunted her at night. And now she
was back again, right in the thick of it: the heat, the dust, the lying air.
“Oh, there he is,” Jean called.
A faded Jeep Wagoneer pulled up to the curb and creaked to a stop. From what Jean had
said, Lana had been expecting the driver to be a newly licensed teen — a kid delighted for any
excuse to get out on four wheels. The type with narrow shoulders, a pocked complexion, and
She was not expecting this.
Lana gaped as the “boy” emerged from the car with a smooth, easy step. Evidently the
state of Arizona was now issuing driver’s licenses to rugged, six-foot-two slabs of muscle and
raw power. Authority bristled off him in waves, as if he were facing an entire platoon and not
just a couple of guests. Dark. Sensual. More than a little dangerous. This was their ride?
“Hello, sweetie.” Old Jean gave him a cheery peck on the cheek. The gesture made
Lana’s inner wolf hiss so fiercely that she wobbled and took a step back. Since when did a man
affect her like that?
Since right now, apparently.
But why? She didn’t want or need a man in her life, especially one who was
And yet every molecule in her body was screaming Mine!