As Dia sat at her table looking at the laminated dinner menu, her mind swirled with doubts and worries. So much so, that she wasn’t reading the menu at all, just lost in her thoughts. All of that changed when the chair across from her scraped across the floor as it was dragged backward and someone sat down.
Suddenly, every nerve ending and instinct in Dia’s body flared to life. Although she hadn’t looked up yet, she somehow knew two things. One, it was a man. The spicy scent of him wafted across the table and filled her senses until her head spun. And two, for some odd reason, her entire being knew that her life was about to change forever.
How weird was that?
Not only weird, but scary. Dia’s life had already changed so much in the last few days with her move to town and taking over the business. There was no way she was ready for it to change any more.
She tried to ignore the unknown man, hoping he might go away if she paid him no attention. Just minutes later, though, she found out that wasn’t going to work, as he leaned forward and braced his arms on the table.
“You going to ignore me all night, princess?”
The unknown man’s voice was so deliciously deep that it tingled certain parts of her body. She loved a deep bass like that. His voice wasn’t what made her head snap up, though. No, it was her irritation.
“I’m not a fucking princess,” she snapped back.
She hated when people made assumptions about her just because of the way she looked. Just because she liked to have her make-up and hair done at all times didn’t mean that she was a high-maintenance woman. Dia could swing a hammer just as good as any guy in here, and if the stranger didn’t watch it, she would swing that hammer at his head.
It didn’t take much to set off Dia’s fiery temper.
Of course, the urge to hit him abruptly died away when she got her first good look at the man she had studiously tried to avoid only seconds before. The word beautiful didn’t seem to do the man justice. No, he was absolutely and utterly beard-bodacious beautiful.
He had dark, shaggy hair she immediately wanted to run her fingers through, and gorgeous steel-grey eyes. His facial features were strong, like his jaw, and undoubtedly handsome. Rugged was how one might describe them. Not Dia, though. No, the word predatory was the word that came to mind as she looked at his intent eyes and the smirk on his lips. The man was staring at her like he was a starving wolf and she was the plump, little lamb he had set his sights on.
Would it be terribly wrong if she gave in to temptation and asked him to eat her? Because looking at the stranger made her hotter than any other man had before. He was just that damn devastating. The realization made Dia feel confused because she had never had this sort of reaction to a man before.
The stranger’s smirk spread into a huge grin as he watched her after she snapped the heated words at him.
She waited for his rebuttal; some condescension that she hadn’t needed to be so snippety. Instead, he leaned forward and whispered, “All right, sweetheart, I get it; you’re not a princess. I just couldn’t help myself because, here you sit, in this little restaurant, surrounded by farmers and working men, prettier than anything I’ve ever seen in my whole life. You haven’t noticed that every single man’s eyes are glued to you, and you haven’t seen their pitiful attempts to get your attention. So, I had to come over here and make sure you had no choice but to notice me.”
“Why is that?” she asked him curiously.
“Because you’re mine.”
Excerpt 2 –
“And what if I told you I was something straight out of a fairy tale, would you believe me?”
Thinking he was teasing, Dia teased back, “Is this where you tell me you really are Prince Charming?”
When Stone didn’t laugh at her joke, Dia took notice of the tension in the air around them and stiffened herself.
“Or, are you the frog under those clothes?”
He grabbed her tightly, almost as if he was afraid she would ask him to let her go. “I’m not Prince Charming, sweetheart.”
“Then what are you talking about?” Dia asked him, confused.
“I’m the big bad wolf, Dia.”
She started to laugh, thinking he was joking again, but his serious face stopped her.
Quickly getting confused and frustrated with his mood swings, she snapped, “Fine, if you’re such a big bad wolf, then how about you prove it to me, then? Do something … wolfy.”
One of his eyebrows cocked up. “Wolfy?”
Dia nodded, determined to straighten out this confusing mess. She had no idea what the hell Stone was trying to get at here, but she wasn’t one for bullshit. It was best just to cut right through the crap.
Crossing her arms over her chest, she reiterated her command, “Wolfy, mister.”
Shrugging his shoulders, Stone started to move, but not in any way she had expected him to. No, the crazy man started stripping his clothes off.
“What the hell are you doing, Stone?” Dia glanced around, worried someone might see him getting naked.
With a laugh in his voice, Stone answered her as he pushed his boots off his feet, “I’m getting wolfy, woman. Give me a minute, would ya?”
Tired of the man acting like a total lunatic, Dia put a hand over her eyes to block the sight of him and shouted, “You will put your clothes back on right this minute, Stone Blaylock, or I will never speak to you again!”
Stone didn’t answer her with words … There were grunts. Then a long groan. Followed by … a growl?
Past the point of confusion, and a whole lot worried, Dia peeked between two of her fingers to where Stone should have been standing. But he wasn’t there. That was when Dia removed her hand altogether and looked to find a massive wolf in his place.
Dia’s fear and adrenaline kicked in right away. She had good reason to be scared, too. The damn wolf was almost twice the size of any wolf she had seen at a zoo, and licking his chops like she was dinner.
Excerpt 3 –
“Wait!” Dia shouted, scared at not knowing what was going on. “Before you go, please tell me what happened!”
Dr. Bennett looked back down at Dia with a stoic expression. “Miss Connor, you were involved in an accident. There was a gas explosion, and you just barely missed the worst part of it. You are lucky to have survived the blast.”
Out of the corner of her eye, Dia could see the nurse injecting something into her IV line.
Totally dumbfounded at what she had just been told, she squinted at the bright light around her while asking the doctor, “How long have I been here?”
Dr. Bennett bent back over so she could block the light from her eyes again, “You’ve been in a medically-induced coma for two months, Miss Connor. Now I know you must have lots of questions for me, but I need you to lie back and try to get some more rest, okay? I’ll be back to check on you in a couple of hours.”
She watched as Dr. Bennett walked away then stood just outside of the room’s doorway, writing on what was presumably Dia’s chart. The nurse walked out with her and stopped right next to her, quietly bringing the door to a close. Thing was, she didn’t close it all the way. There was a small crack, and as fogginess started to impair her thoughts, she could still hear the nurse talking to the doctor.
“It’s so tragic what happened to her and her family. And it looks like she doesn’t remember a thing. When are you going to tell her that her parents were killed in the explosion?”
Dia’s heart clenched so hard in her chest that, for a moment, she wondered if she was having a heart attack. Even though she couldn’t place a face to the thought of having a mother and father, it still broke her heart to know that they were now gone. Dia might never remember them again.
Her heart monitor went crazy as her chest started to tighten even more, and the nurse rushed back in to check on Dia. “Miss Connor, are you okay?”
Tears ran silently down her face as she watched the nurse check the machines that had her heart monitor and blood pressure on it. The nurse turned back to her and said, “You’re safe here, Miss Connor. I need you to try to calm down. It’s not good for the baby for you to be this upset.”
The edges of her vision became black, and the haziness she had felt earlier was now stronger than ever. Dia’s heart was still pounding away in her chest, but it wasn’t enough to keep her awake. Nor was the shock from the nurse’s words.
In all honesty, through the frantic thoughts racing through her mind, Dia realized she was probably more lightheaded because she was about to pass out than from the meds they had given her. All because of one little word.
And as the black in her vision spread, her chest gasping for air, Dia had one last thought before she passed out. What baby?