Our first SNEAK PEEK into the new anthology from Romance Rebels Publishing: Shifters Hallows Eve, is courtesy of Melissa Snark’s Hunter’s Mark…
“I won’t. You have fun with your boyfriend.”
“I don’t have a boyfriend.” Not at the moment anyway.
“Then you’ve got the hottest stalker I’ve ever laid eyes on.” Misty grinned and aimed her finger toward the lobby, currently hidden behind the partition. She mouthed, “He’s waiting for you.”
Brow raised, Victoria turned and moved in the direction indicated. As soon as she passed the partition, she got a clear view of the ER lobby. A dozen or so patients waited to be seen, including a couple superheroes and a man wearing a banana costume. Her gaze flew straight past them.
A dangerous man occupied an entire row of three vinyl seats. He sat in the center chair and manspread—his arms draped across seatbacks to either side, legs splayed wide. He had dark brown hair cut short and a clean-shaven jaw, and warm eyes the color of fresh-baked brownies. His smile was as inviting as a sandy white beach.
Victoria huffed. She wasn’t fooled. Not for one beat of her racing heart. The man was a predator—a hunter from a family with a reputation for short-lived enemies. Wolf shifters and hunters… natural enemies except for an unlikely alliance forged by two exceptional men, one of whom was Victoria’s father, Adair Storm. The other—Jake Barrett, the Hunter King. For almost three decades, the Storm Pack had coexisted peacefully with the hunters. They shared the Phoenix Metropolitan Area. They often coordinated their activities and pooled resources for the sake of defending their overlapping territories. The rest of the time, they left each other alone.
Daniel Barrett pushed to his feet, planting his short, black work boots evenly on the chipped white subway tile. He had the tattoo of a black dagger on his upper arm—among the hunters the symbol functioned as a mark of belonging and brotherhood. Aviator sunglasses were hooked on the throat of his shirt. He wore glove-tight Levis that jealously hugged his long legs, and a revolver strapped to his thigh, right beside the shiny Maricopa County Sheriff shield on his belt which was dwarfed—Crystal hadn’t exaggerated its size—by a big brass Winchester Repeating Arms belt buckle.
The hunter’s intense gaze settled on her and he flashed a bad boy smile that curled her toes inside her sensible rubber-soled sneakers. The temperature in the lobby spiked at least twenty degrees—a sure sign the A/C had gone out. Oh man, if she could bottle his charm and brew a potion, she’d never have to work again.
Victoria crushed her answering smile, sinking her teeth into her lower lip. She refused to encourage him. Their one and only date had gone well, but it’d been over a week ago. In that time, she hadn’t heard from him again. The silence confirmed her misgivings, and she assumed he’d arrived at the same conclusion she had—wolves and hunters didn’t mix.
Squaring her shoulders, Victoria marched straight up to him. Trouble was, her diminutive stature undermined the effect; balanced on her tippy-toes, she barely reached five feet. The top of her head only came to the middle of the hunter’s torso and he looked down on her, as a matter of course. Throughout her life, she’d endured enough teasing about her height that she’d developed a teensy-tiny attitude problem.
“I need your help,” Daniel announced without preamble. He had a deep, resonant baritone, pleasing to the ear. “It’s urgent.”
“Urgent, how?” She cocked her head and tilted toward him out of sharpened concern. The movement brought her braid over her shoulder. She tensed, mentally preparing to receive a request for off-the-record medical assistance. Monster hunting was a dangerous occupation; unusual injuries a commonplace hazard.
“Macan Guffin? Is that old coot hurt again?” Old Mac Guffin might be a scoundrel, but damn it, she liked the cagey Scotsman. The hunter landed in her ER at least once a month, always due to “drinking-related” accidents.
Compelled by concern, she turned away, saying, “Let me grab a first aid kit.”
Daniel caught her arm and stopped her. “He’s missing.”
“Oh?” She faced him again, no less concerned but for different reasons now. The context told her something supernatural must somehow be involved, or he would’ve just gone through official channels. As a county sheriff, Daniel had statewide law enforcement resources at his disposal. After a moment of consideration, she pulled him into an alcove where they could speak privately.
Intent, Daniel explained in a low voice. “Macan has been over in Granite Creek for a couple days now. The last time I spoke with him was yesterday. He was supposed to check in at noon, but I didn’t hear from him.”