Wild Game (Wilding Pack Wolves 1) - New Adult Paranormal Romance

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Wild Game (Wilding Pack Wolves 1)

Copyright © 2015 by Alisa Woods

December 2015 Edition

All rights reserved.

Sworn Secrets Publishing

 

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author. For information visit:

Alisa Woods

 

Cover by
Steven Novak

 

Wild Game
(Wilding Pack Wolves 1)—New Adult Paranormal Romance

Her pack is being hunted. He’s a bodyguard with a secret. The Wolf Hunter is targeting them both. GAME ON. 

Owen Harding hasn’t shifted since he was in Agent Smith’s experimental cages—the only thing this ex-Army Texas boy is afraid of is what kind of beast he’s become. But with a hate group issuing more threats against the Wilding pack than you can shake a stick at, Owen’s doing what he can as a personal bodyguard. If only the Wilding girl he’s tasked with keeping alive wasn’t so damn sexy… and completely off limits. 

Nova Wilding’s father was assassinated, leaving her a gaming company to run, a new game to release, and a pack full of wolves who want her for a mate… including a beta who’s determined to have Nova
and
her company. Choosing someone outside the pack will tear it apart, but Nova can’t stop watching the hot shifter who’s keeping watch over her. 

When Nova barely escapes an attempt on her life, she finds herself in Owen’s arms… but her sexy new bodyguard is absolutely the wrong man at the wrong time. While Nova fights to keep her father’s business afloat, and Owen fights to keep her alive, the
Wolf Hunter
is playing a dangerous new game that might destroy them both. 

 

Owen Harding was surrounded by wounded warriors.

He wasn’t one of them‌—‌at least, not that anyone could tell from the outside. They were lying in their VA Hospital beds, the war having snatched away their arms and legs and flash-burned faces like it was collecting parts for a grisly soldier bingo. Owen had done three tours with the Army in Afghanistan, but the sight of his fellow warriors in various states of damage still made him want to kick the war’s ass. He didn’t know these soldiers, but he knew the type‌—‌back when he was Private First Class Owen Harding, he had been just like them, wanting to give everything he had to protect the country he loved.

Then his country betrayed him.

No, that wasn’t fair. He knew the country was filled with good people… but it had its share of bad. And it wasn’t the entire country, anyhow, or even the whole military. It was one, single jackass Colonel with his grand ideas and lack of morals. He was the one who planted the IED that blew up Owen’s life and sent him into a hellhole of a medical prison. That Colonel also authorized the experiments that Agent Smith performed on Owen and countless other shifters. It didn’t mollify Owen much that Smith and the Colonel were both either dead or up on charges. There was nothing more to be done about it, but that didn’t mean Owen wouldn’t be paying for it like a bad night in Vegas… in other words, for the rest of his life. Some soldiers carried their injuries on the outside; for others, the war stole a part of their minds. For him, the military took something even worse‌—‌the thing that made a man what he was.

Owen simply didn’t know anymore.

He had started out the war as a man and a wolf‌—‌a shifter putting his skills in the service of his country‌—‌and then Agent Smith’s experiments turned him into some kind of monster. The kicker was, he didn’t even know what kind. Nor did he feel like rushing in and finding out. He didn’t want to say he was afraid to know… but that was exactly how it was.

“How’s it going in there?” The voice came through the earbud stuck in his ear. That was Murphy, part of Riverwise Private Security, Owen’s new employer. Owen was semi-permanently assigned to bodyguard Nova Wilding, current CEO and lead game developer of Wylderide Gaming, but Murphy and Simpson were just on loan for today’s excursion. “Anytime you’re ready to swap places, Owen, just let me know. I want a shot at that new beta version of
Domination
.”

“Domination?” Owen replied through the mic clipped to his shirt collar. “Is that a computer game or something ya’ll do with Simpson on the weekends?”
Domination: AfterPulse
was Wylderide’s latest futuristic combat game. It was still in beta, but the wounded warriors were playing an exclusive demo on borrowed laptops, courtesy of Nova. This was a charity event, some kind of joint league play set up just for the soldiers at the VA. Owen didn’t play, but he knew a lot of gamers, both in the service and back home in Texas.

“You’re such an asshole,” Murphy’s voice squeaked in his ear. “You
know
I’m dying to get my hands on that thing. Not to mention the lead developer herself.”

Owen scowled, even though Murphy couldn’t see him from where he was stationed outside the hospital. “I didn’t realize Riverwise’s professional standards now include groping clients.” He put some warning into his voice. They were here to protect Nova from the hate group that had murdered her father and were targeting the entire Wilding pack… not to disrespect and ogle her, even on chatter. “Do I need to rotate you out and bring in a new volunteer?”

“No, sir.” Murphy’s voice was chastened. “Just noting the obvious, sir.”

“And that would be?”

“That Nova Wilding is brightening the day of many soldiers today, sir.”

“Copy that.” Owen swept the room with his gaze until he found Nova again. She’d been his personal responsibility for nearly a month, ever since her father was murdered, and she pretty much never left his sight. Fortunately, the vast majority of Nova’s waking hours were spent at Wylderide, where her father had been CEO before her‌—‌and the office was relatively secure on the twenty-fourth floor of a high-rise in downtown Seattle. This charity event was a lot more vulnerable.

But Murphy was right‌—‌Nova Wilding was easy on the eyes.

He watched her flit from one warrior to the next, her long, jet-black hair bound up to keep it off the keyboards. She had a brilliant blue streak running the length of it, and a strand had worked loose. It kept falling across her face, and she kept tucking it behind her ear‌—‌looked like a losing battle to him. Her bio put her at twenty-two, not much younger than Owen’s twenty-six, but the gulf was more than just years. His time on the planet couldn’t be any more different than hers. Plus she was about as big as a minute‌—‌petite body, delicate little fingers, yet with the wiry strength of a gymnast when she was running wires through the ceiling of the office or toting equipment into the event. For the tournament, she was decked out in combat gear‌—‌not the standard black body armor you might see in the service, but some kind of custom job, almost a costume tailored to her tiny form and crafted to resemble the gear from the game.

There was no question she was smokin’ hot. The eyes of every veteran followed her as she went from bed to bed, checking their equipment and showing off the new gameplay features. Owen recognized the longing in their eyes‌—‌he had that same, gut-twisting ache that came from too much combat and too few women in his life.

In fact, Nova was about the only one‌—‌and he’d seen a lot of her in action over the last month. She was all about the company’s flagship game most of the time, but given it was basically military ops, she had a lot of respect for service personnel and the sacrifices they made. This event was her idea, in spite of being in mourning for her father… or perhaps because of it. She’d pulled all the pieces together‌—‌high-quality gaming gear donated by the company, permission to operate at the VA, even created a special server for them‌—‌and she’d been here since early this morning, setting up the network and testing it out.

Right now she was going back and forth between two vets who were whooping and hollering like idiots, flailing around with their good arms and nearly dumping their laptops. One of them was missing an arm, the other had one in a sling. Owen couldn’t tell if their mile-wide grins were from an excess of painkillers or the fact that Nova was bending over their laptops, syncing their games or whatever she was doing.

The two grunts exchanged smirk-filled looks, then burst out in laughter.

Nova glanced between them with an uncertain look.

Owen was manning his position by the door, but even from a dozen yards away, he could see the crinkled expression on her pretty face and the tight set of her lips. She backed away from them and scanned the room, looking for something. When her gaze fell on him, she hesitated, then dropped her gaze.

Something was up.

He knew all her body signals at this point, even if their conversations had never gone much past
Good Morning
and
God, I need coffee
.

He started toward her. “Checking in with NovaCaine,” he said into his mic. “Going mic silent for a moment.”

She was still staring at a spot on the floor when he arrived. “Everything all right, ma’am?”

She looked up and seemed a little surprised to see him there. She probably didn’t notice him anywhere near as much as he noticed her. But then that was his job. Hers was to keep her father’s gaming business afloat.

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