As a group, the four witches turned to catch sight of him standing there. That’s when the zing rebounded between him and Ruby Thorne and he had to tighten his hand on the doorjamb to keep his knees from buckling.
One corner of her mouth rose and his watered because he knew what she tasted like. And until right then, he’d forgotten just how much he’d missed his lips on hers.
And now she was home and they were both six years older and wiser. He sure hoped he was because a woman like the one he currently stared at deserved that.
“Well, hey there, Damon Dooley,” Ruby said, the smile taking over her entire face as she approached him.
She’d been pretty six years ago, but she was luminous now, her magic around her shoulders like a mantle. He wanted to roll around in her, coat himself in her.
Damon reined it in, assuring the wolf they’d get to that point but it was important to wait for the right time.
Rather than a handshake, Damon opened his arms, waiting a beat to be sure she had the chance to stop her trajectory. Thank the lord above, she came right into his hug, her body fitting just perfect against his.
Her magic washed over him. Roses and jasmine. Warm and lush and so fucking good he forced himself to step back before he buried his face in all those gorgeous dark curls and took a whiff.
His wolf stretched just beneath the skin, claws carefully unsheathed as if to say, yes. And the man agreed.
“Hey yourself, Ruby darlin’. You look great. I mean, the place looks great. Too,” he said, blushing and wondering why he was so nervous. He was good at charming women! And he had a history with this one.
But she was just…so much. Ruby had always been confident but this woman before him had grown from confidence to magnificence in a deep red sweater and black pants that looked like leather but weren’t. The sky-high heels on the boots completed the look and sent his pulse racing. Sexy. Gorgeous.
Katie Faith looked at him over Ruby’s shoulder, a smirk on her face. Clearly he was telegraphing just how much she was affecting him all over his features. Damn it, he’d never hear the end of this.
He rubbed the back of his neck, ducking his head a moment but when he looked up once more, Ruby’s smile brought his own in answer.
“It’s really coming together, thanks,” she said. “At this rate, we can start seeing patients here next week. I really appreciate you making time to show me places today.”
You lived in a secret town in the middle of nowhere and you took as many jobs as you needed to pay the bills. Damon and his twin, Major, were the more or less official real estate agents for all of Diablo Lake so it fell to him to show vacancies for rent and for purchase on the several times a year the issue came up.
He sure as shit made sure to be available the soonest possible to help out an old friend. Ex-girlfriend. Both. Whatever.
Sometimes he was way smarter than he remembered.
“You ready to go or do you need a few more minutes?”
“Just let me grab my bag and jacket.” She hurried off as he watched, Rubystruck.
Damon stifled back a growl of annoyance toward his sister-in-law at the remark.
“I heard that growl,” Katie Faith said, laughter in her voice. “And before you say a word, remember how you tortured Jace when he and I were first dancing around one another.”
He had to withhold an eye roll because she was right. He and Major messed with their older brother on a regular basis but especially when he’d been wooing Katie Faith.
“No matter what I say I’ll get in trouble, so I just won’t say a damned thing at all,” he told her.
They just laughed at him. So pretty and talented and they laughed. Hmpf.
When Ruby came back, he forgot about his annoyance altogether. “Let me help you with that.” He held out a hand for her jacket, which she allowed him to help her into. The backs of his fingers brushed against the skin of her neck, sending a shiver through them both.
“See y’all later,” Ruby called out. “Tell Greg I’ll bring him back those baking sheets later tonight or he can get them from Mom,” she said to Nichole.
“Good luck. I hope you find the perfect place that’s super close to me,” Aimee said.
“I’m living with my parents right now. The perfect place is relative compared to that,” Ruby muttered as he opened the passenger door of his truck for her.
As he walked back around to the driver’s side, Damon thought about the time of day and the light and mentally rearranged the order of properties he was going to show her. He had one in mind, but he wanted to take her when the light was just perfect.
Ruby tried to fall back on the calming breathing she’d learned over the years. Damon Dooley set her all aquiver. Her entire system zinged as her magic reacted to his shifter magic, wanting to caress it, give it love and attention.
It wasn’t like he was a stranger! Back six years ago when she’d been finishing up all the prerequisites she’d needed to go to nursing school they’d dated. Four times. Ruby had liked him a great deal and it’d felt mutual, but he’d broken things off. Said they both had growing up to do and she was leaving. It hadn’t been fraught in any way. She’d moved away and when she’d come back for visits at the holidays, she’d waved a hello and they’d chatted here and there.
She’d grown up out there and gotten her education and in the end it had been absolutely the right thing to do. Even if it had been sad for a while after it first happened.
He’d gotten even more handsome as he’d aged, growing into a man’s body. He’d reached six feet with broad shoulders. His hair was a little longer than it’d been the last time she’d taken notice of him, but she had no complaints about that. He looked good and smelled even better. There was something very sensual and sexy about a man who smelled good.
Of course, it was the way his forearms looked with his hands on the wheel that set more than her heart aflutter. Sun-kissed skin, taut over muscle. The right amount of hair too. She kept her happy sigh in her head because she had a task to take up his time with right then and that was real estate related instead of carnal.
Regardless, his presence had awakened something inside her in a different way than she’d ever experienced before. It was really fun. And a little scary.
From DIABLO LAKE: AWAKENED by Lauren Dane, Carina Press, (c) 2021. Shared with permission from the publisher.
Diablo Lake #3
New York Times bestselling author Lauren Dane welcomes you back to Diablo Lake, Tennessee: a town founded by witches, governed by werewolves and brimming full of secrets
It’s autumn in Diablo Lake and the town is buzzing with preparations for Halloween, Samhain, Collins Hill Days, and the wedding of the newly elected mayor and her wolf shifter fiancé.
Ruby Thorne can’t think of a better time of year to come back for good and open the health clinic she’s been planning for the last six years. Her connection to the town and its veins of magic have snapped back into place, flooding her with a power eager to jump to her call.
She has a sense of rightness. This witch is exactly where she’s supposed to be. So it’s not much of a surprise that he comes back into her path just like he was meant to…
Damon Dooley has spent the last few years learning how to run the pack at his older brother’s right hand. There’s been upheaval. Outrage. Violence. Old rules have created a silence so crushing it’s collapsed the fabric of not just the wolf shifters, but the town as a whole.
And yet, Ruby has returned. Man and wolf agree she needs to be in their life regularly, and before long, things move from serious to something magically deeper.
Bound to one another heart and soul, both committed to what’s best for Diablo Lake, Ruby backs Damon as he pushes for much-needed change. But when something falls into Ruby’s lap and she learns the whole, terrible truth, secrets need to be spilled. How—and by whom—becomes the only question.
Romance Fantasy | Women's Fiction [Carina Press, On Sale: October 26, 2021, Mass Market Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9781335215956 / eISBN: 9781488054051]
The story goes like this - While on pregnancy bed rest, Lauren Dane had plenty of downtime so her husband took her comments about "giving that writing thing a serious go" to heart and brought home a secondhand laptop. She wrote her first book on it before it gave up the ghost. Even better, she sold that book and never looked back.
Today Lauren is a New York Times bestselling author of over fifty novels and novellas across several genres.
1 comment posted.