Sunday, October 28, 2018

Texas Ranch Wolf Pack Word Search Puzzle

Enjoy the Texas Ranch Wolf Pack Word Search Puzzle 

 A little-shared fact about me is that I love to work and to create word search puzzles.

I've been building puzzles for more than twenty years, and have created for professional publications as well as individual puzzle books published by Pogue Publishing Company.

For a recent event I was involved in, I created a puzzle using the names of some of the characters in my Texas Ranch Wolf Pack Series.

This morning, I decided to share this puzzle with you. You can click on the puzzle image, or click TRWP Word Search Puzzle to download a PDF copy of the puzzle. If you have a PDF reader installed, it will open in your browser. From there you can download and print the puzzle.

If you do not have a PDF reader installed, you can download the Adobe Reader DC app at no cost, then follow the steps above.

After you work through the puzzle, you can check to see if you got it right by downloading the solution file. Feel free to share this post with anyone you know who enjoys working word search puzzles!

NOTE: One of the names is in the puzzle twice! Find it and comment below to let us know you found it. But please don't give it away! If you had fun with this, let me know. I will be happy to create more puzzles for you to enjoy!


P.S. Many thanks to Tamara Kasyan for pointing out that one of the names was in the puzzle twice! I didn't create it that way on purpose. Sharp eye, Tamara!

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Nate Rollins Beginning and Cover Reveal for Wolf's Guard

Wolf's Son: The Story of Nate's Birth

You've read a few books in the series, but now you wonder more about Nate Rollins, the Royal Alpha Were King.

Well, you don't have to wonder. A short story, Wolf's Son, details his birth and his early life. It's free for subscribers to my Lynn's Muse Newsletter. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Here is the first scene in Wolf's Son:

Grant wrapped his newborn son in a small blanket and put him in his mother’s arms. The wonder on her face matched that in Grant’s heart. I have a son! Visions of running through the pack howling his news vanished when Linette gasped. In her arms, their tiny baby shimmered, then changed to a squirming, whining pup. Blinking at the panic in Linette’s eyes, Grant shook his head. “It can’t be,” he whispered to his mate. “It can’t!”

Beneath his son, Linette’s chest labored with her panicked breathing. “Grant, if Jackson finds out . . ..”

“Shhh.” His heart raced and sudden beads of sweat dripped into his eyes. “Shhh.” Closing his eyes, Grant pressed his hand to his pup’s tiny head. Change and do not shift again! A soft puppy whine ended as the pup shifted back to baby.

Grant leaned close to his mate and pressed his hand to her forehead. Jackson will not harm him. We must leave. Now. Tonight. Before the others know he has birthed.

Wordless, she nodded. Her pain shivered through him. It’s too soon to move her, he told Fareth.

If we don’t, she and the pup will die.

Grant’s jaw ticked. Over my dead body.

Fareth, his wolf, agreed.

More News and Cover Reveal

UPDATE: Wolf's Guard published!

I am currently working on the next novel in the Texas Ranch Wolf Pack Series, titled Wolf's Guard. I haven't quite finished getting the story details in order, but I have 2,600 words written. 

For now, I'm not sure what I've written will be the first two chapters, but that happens sometimes. I write then shuffle chapters around later.

This story will tell more about Lee and Paige, Violet and Phillip, and introduce Magnus to Bess Crane, Daryll Crane's bear sister. Bess creates hand-crafted jewelry, and Magnus, as a dragon, hordes precious metal and stones. We'll also see the difficulties a young changeling wolf, Violet's younger sister, has when she is introduced into the pack.

Off to work on Wolf's Guard!


Sunday, October 21, 2018

Chat with Lynn Nodima

October 22, 2018 Chat

 Chat with NightOwlRomance Authors!

Join us in a chat on! Each paranormal romance author will have about 15 minutes to chat with readers and answer questions.

In my time zone (Central), the chat will begin at 7pm. Join us at! The chat interface will appear when it is time to chat.

Some authors will provide snips of current works in progress or published books! Some will also give away free books to lucky individuals chosen by NightOwlRomance!

Join us to learn more about Wolf's Destiny, my box set of the first six books in the Texas Ranch Wolf Pack series.

I look forward to seeing you there!


Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Wolf's Quest is Now a Puzzle

Wolf's Quest is Now a Puzzle!

If you enjoy solving jigsaw puzzles, Wolf's Quest is now available in the Texas Ranch Wolf Pack Puzzle Collection. Click Jigsaw Planet or click the image at left to solve this puzzle.

Today only, October 10, 2018, Wolf's Quest is FREE. Get your copy before it goes back to regular price at midnight!

Have fun!


Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Happy Leif Erikson's Day! Wolf's Quest has Published!

 Wolf's Quest

Happy Leif Erikson's Day!

Wolf's Quest has published in both paperback and ebook format!

Wolf's Quest is book 10 in the Texas Ranch Wolf Pack Series.
This book includes three storylines. 

First, Snarl, or Thorkell Ericsson, is the son of Leif Erikson! In previous books, readers learned Snarl's mate was kidnapped by an evil alpha in an effort to control Snarl. He's been searching for her for the past fifteen years. In Wolf's Enemy, he discovers that the Colorado Tala Ridge Pack keeps a woman in a cage. He believes she is his mate.

Second, Josh Tatlow is an orphaned wolf shifter on his way home to face the alpha his parents ran away from when he comes across Snarl. Since both are headed the same place, they decide to go together.

Third, Terrell Pace arrives home to step into the alpha position now that his father, Dylan Pace is dead. His 'sisters' search for the dragon's cave and get into trouble, while Terrell faces unrest in the pack.

This book introduces my first dragon shifter character: Magnus, who shifts an emerald dragon named Erkki. Look for Erkki in future adventures.


Beware the fury of a wolf shifter!

When an evil alpha kidnaps his mate, wolf shifter Thorkell 'Snarl' Leiffson spends more than a decade searching for her.

Now, he thinks he knows where she is, and nothing will keep him from her. Nothing. Not even a dragon shifter bent on frying him to a crisp.

May the Progenitors help anyone who tries to stop him!

Preview of the first three chapters:

Chapter 1

Fearful of overbalancing and falling down the stairs, Chandra Tatlow leaned her shoulder against the wall while carrying a box of damaged clothing to the basement. “Take the mending to the old lady, he says,” she muttered. “Give her something useful to do, he says. But make sure she doesn’t get out of the cage, he says. Like I could stop her.”
Chandra extended her bottom lip and blew her brunette bangs out of her eyes. She reached the last step and sighed, shifting the box and struggling to get a better hold. Brice Anders, one of Dylan Pace’s lieutenants and the single guard, sat in a chair, his feet propped on a scuffed card table. Frowning at him, Chandra jerked her chin toward the cage. “I need to get this stuff inside. Open up.”
Both his booted feet hit the floor at the same time. His eyes swept over her, and a sick grin stretched his thin lips. Wiping his nose on the sleeve of his chambray shirt, he stood and fingered the sleeve of her sweater. Barely breathing, Chandra glared at him. “Westin said to bring this stuff to Freyja and Dana for mending. Open the cage.”
He leaned toward her. “After . . ..”
“Chandra, you done, yet?” Joshua, Chandra’s mate, stood at the top of the stairs, glaring at the guard. “Westin wants lunch started.”
The guard snorted, side-stepped enough that he wasn’t touching Chandra, then shrugged and pulled the key to the cage door off a nail on the wall. “Hurry up, then.”
Chandra edged around Brice, doing her best not to touch him, and slipped inside the cage. Setting the box on the concrete floor beside the threadbare mattress the two occupants slept on, she bent and opened it. She pulled a small sewing kit from inside the box and handed it to Freyja Grimsdottir. The old woman refused to take it and would have let the box fall to the floor. Dana Pace, Alpha Dylan Pace’s human daughter, reached past her and took the kit.
“What are we supposed to do?” Resigned to the task, Dana ignored the guard.
At the same time, the old woman’s shaky voice asked, “Where’s Snarl?”
Those were the only words the old one had spoken to Chandra in the fifteen years she’d been assigned to bring food and water to the prisoner. For the first nine years, every time the cage door opened, it took two men to forcibly restrain the old woman. After the alpha threw his eight-year-old human daughter, Dana, into the cage, too, six years ago, the old woman settled down. She even spoke with Dana, but only in a language no one else could understand. When Chandra asked, Dana told her the woman taught her to speak Dǫnsk tunga. Chandra had no idea what that was, or even if it was a real language or one the old woman made up.
Chandra ignored the glaring gaze of the woman and spoke to the teenager in a soft voice. “Westin wants these clothes mended by the end of the week.” She leaned slightly toward the girl and twitched her eyes toward the box. “I brought everything you need to do the work. Sewing supplies are in the kit.” Cutting her eyes to the girl, she looked at the box again.
Understanding flashed into Dana’s eyes. For a moment, Chandra was afraid the teen might grin and give her away. Dana cleared all emotion from her face and nodded. “We’ll get started after lunch.”
With a nod, Chandra walked out of the cage. The cage door slammed behind her. In her haste to avoid the guard, Chandra was already halfway up the stairs before he finished hanging the keys on the wall.
“Hey, Woman,” he called.
Chandra stopped and glanced over her shoulder. “What?”
“When you bring their lunch, bring me some.” He smirked at her. “I’m hungry, too.”
Joshua caught her arm and pulled her up the rest of the stairs. In the door, she turned and waited for him to join her. His back to her, Joshua growled low in his chest. “You can get your own lunch when your shift is over.”


While Brice’s attention was on Chandra and Joshua, Dana pulled enough clothes out of the box to see the flashlight batteries and books Chandra brought her. Covering her mouth with her left hand to hold back a squeal of excitement, Dana tilted the box for Freyja to see inside. Amusement flickered across Freyja’s face, then disappeared into her habitual scowl. A few of their guards allowed Dana to read aloud, but Brice was not one of them. After he retired for the night, Dana would read to Freyja. Freyja had no trouble with reading or speaking English, but she refused to do so until she was free. Except for the two-word sentence, she asked every time anyone came into the cage.
While reading romances was unconventional as far as education goes, Freyja insisted that Dana read to her every night. And occasionally during the day. The books provided information on faraway places Dana would never get to go. And the shifter romances, in many instances, came perilously close to the truth of shifter relationships. Dana, however, preferred reading stories about humans in love. She had too many shifters in her life, now. The only shifters she trusted were her younger brother Terrell, Freyja, and Chandra.
Unfortunately, the flashlight batteries died three nights ago. This was the first time in a week that Chandra had been able to sneak in batteries along with more books. When the guards left for the day, all but one of the books would be carefully concealed beneath the old mattress with the others. Dana was careful to never let the guards see more than one book, afraid they would all be confiscated. The books she finished would be returned to Chandra by placing them at the bottom of the clothes box when she returned for it. Occasionally, when there was nothing else to do, one of the guards would listen while she read the book to Freyja. But not the guard on duty now.
When the flashlight didn’t have batteries, the two often spent most of the night discussing the places Freyja had traveled with her mate, Snarl. She told tales of history from a first-hand perspective. Before talking or reading, though, Freyja insisted on exercise. As soon as the guards left for the day, she led Dana through a series of warm-ups, stretches, and fighting techniques. Dana never understood why they had to have a guard during the day but were left alone at night.
A smile twitched Dana’s lips before she smoothed it away. But then, her father had no idea how powerful and dangerous Freyja really was. The first years, she’d been drugged to control her. After Dana was thrown in the cage, too, Freyja quit fighting. When she quit fighting, the drugs stopped. Too expensive, Dana figured. Freyja appointed herself to be Dana’s personal guard. When any male came in the cage, Freyja stayed between them and Dana. The guards thought it was funny, but Dana knew if they tried to get to her, Freyja would destroy them. A Viking shieldmaiden would do no less for one she chose to protect.

Chapter 2

After spending the day going through her family’s belongings and packing to move to the Tala Ridge Ranch, Nettie Dietrich was tired. The last thing she wanted to do was spend an hour reading stories to her six-year-old twins. Still, after all they’d been through, it was hard to say no.
Lettie Dietrich pulled her covers up to her chin. “Please, Momma, please!”
Nettie Dietrich shook her head. “You both need some sleep. We’re leaving for Colorado tomorrow morning.” She gave the twins a firm frown, but when Mattie turned her beseeching gaze on her and started begging, too, Nettie laughed. “Okay. One story. What do you want to hear?”
The twins shouted their story choices, then started squabbling over which story their mom should tell. A snicker at the door caught Nettie’s attention. Terrell grinned at her when she looked up. “Want me to tell them a story?”
Nettie smiled at the boy. She still didn’t completely understand Nate’s reason for asking her and Dusty to be his guardians, but the boy was starting to grow on her. “What story?”
Terrell walked into the room and sat on the foot of Lettie’s bed. Raising his eyebrows and using a spooky voice, he asked, “Did you ever hear the story of the dragon protector?”
Squealing, the two girls sat up. Mattie clapped her hands. “Tell us that one, Terrell. Please!”
“Yes, that one!” As usual, Lettie followed her sister’s lead.
Terrell looked at Nettie. “Is it okay?”
“I haven’t heard that one. Is it violent?”
“Not really. There was a death in the story, but no gory details. This story is about what happened after that.”
“Okay. Go ahead.” As Terrell began his story, Nettie felt a touchless caress and smiled at Dusty where he leaned against the door facing. Amazed at the difference in her true mate and the one forced on her so long ago, she relaxed in the comfort of his mental embrace.
“Long and long ago,” began Terrell, leaning toward the two girls and looking from one to the other, “there was a were king named Eric the Red.”
Nettie glanced at Dusty in surprise, and Dusty shrugged. I don’t think I’ve heard this story, she heard him speak in her mind, but Eric the Red was Snarl’s grandfather. Nettie blinked and listened.
“King Eric had a protector given to him by the Progenitors. A protector so fierce none could survive his fiery breath should they try to harm the king. But one spring day, the king’s mate died. For many days, King Eric grieved, growing weaker and weaker, for they were true mates. The king asked Magnus, the protector, to leave him to grieve alone. While the protector remained behind, the king went to the shore to grieve for his mate. Thorkell Eriksson, second grandson, but first grandson to be were, attacked and killed the king, taking his ring and staff. Thorkell and his mate escaped justice, sailing away to parts unknown and were never found.”
A slight rustle of clothing indicated Dusty no longer leaned against the doorway. Nettie thought he looked like he wanted to interrupt the story. Dusty took one step, but when Terrell continued the story, he stopped to listen.
“Magnus searched for Thorkell to bring him to the elders for justice, but he was never found. In disgrace, Magnus left the Ostmen. For many years, he wandered across Europe, gathering treasure, but when the Saxon’s began hunting him, he left the old world and came to the new. When the sons of the First Mother came to this country, Magnus was here. He helped them build homes, protected them from all who tried to force them away. But when he deemed the were safe, he disappeared into his cave and has never since been seen.”
Terrell gazed from one girl to the other. “And there he sleeps, yet, deep beneath the rolling hills at the foot of the mountains, waiting for the new king that he might once again be the protector he was born to be. His treasure is said to be worth more than that of all the kings of Europe, but no one has ever found it.” Terrell leaned closer to the twins, his voice hushed. “They say one who finds his treasure and wakes him will be granted wealth untold. But none have ever returned from the search.”
Mattie scrunched up her rosebud mouth and her nose. “Is it true, Terrell? Is there really a dragon hidden in Colorado?”
“Of course. I’ve even been in his cave.” Terrell grinned at them. “Maybe someday I can show it to you.”
“Not without adult supervision.”
Terrell sent a guilty glance at Nettie. “Yes, Ma’am.” He hesitated, then added, “The entrance is easy to find, but it’s not safe to go inside.” He frowned at the two girls. “Don’t ever go there alone. The protector might eat you.”
Both girls laughed and squealed. Nettie stood and shooed Terrell toward the door. “That’s enough. Time for bed. We have a long trip ahead of us, tomorrow.”
Giving both her daughters a quick kiss, Nettie turned on the nightlight lamp on the table between their beds, then turned off the light and pulled the door closed. She heard a rumble of voices from the kitchen and followed them to find Terrell sitting at the bar. The overhead lights were off, but the Christmas lights outlining the window cast a blinking glow through the room. Dusty set a glass of milk in front of the kid and sat beside him.
“So, about the story you told the girls . . ..”
“It was true, Sir, I wouldn’t tell them a false tale.”
Nettie joined them, sitting next to Dusty. “Where did you hear that story, Terrell?”
“Before she died, my grandmother told me stories about how the protector searched for the traitor to the king but couldn’t find him. The protector helped our pack survive the first years.” Terrell took a sip of milk and set his glass on the bar. “The old woman in the cage told Dana many stories about the protector, too, and how he was guardian to the king a long time ago, but . . . the old woman said the story my grandmother told wasn’t exactly true. That the protector didn’t know the whole story. So, I don’t know what’s true, I guess.”
Dusty pinched the bridge of his nose, then gazed at Terrell. “If the protector did exist, then the old lady was right. Erik the Red forced his grandson to kill him. Erik was slowly dying of the mating disease after his true mate died. Not wanting his oldest grandson to be the Alpha King, he forced Thorkell to kill him to ensure his medallion, ring, and staff didn’t fall into the hands of one who would destroy his people.”
Blinking, Terrell moved his gaze from Dusty to Nettie, then back to Dusty. “That’s what the old woman told Dana. When Dana told Father, he accused the old one of lying and trying to undermine our faith in the protector. All were forbidden to spend time with her. Then my step-mother tried to run with Dana. Father put Dana in the cage with the old lady.” He swallowed and bowed his head, hiding his face. “I never saw my step-mother again. I think . . . I think he killed her.”

Chapter 3

Two days later, Snarl wobbled a little beneath the glamour of age he wore as he hefted a threadbare travel bag over his shoulder and leaned on his knobby wood cane. Appearing to be in his eighties or nineties, he squinted as if he had trouble seeing, and studied the layout of the airport lobby. Commercial sized holiday decorations hung from the ceiling and tinsel garlands wrapped each column. After growing up with tales of Asgard and Odin among the Vikings, Christmas wasn’t a holiday he felt strongly about, one way or the other.
It felt strange to pretend to be an old man again after discarding the appearance of age for the last few months. Still, if he showed up in Colorado appearing to be a much younger man, the Tala Ridge Pack would never believe the old woman they held in the cage was his mate. Working as bodyguard to the were king’s family took up his time, but his thoughts were on Freyja, his missing mate. Always. Now that he had information that Freyja might be in Colorado, the king released him from service to go after her.
His gaze landed on the televised departure screens. Releasing a heavy sigh, he frowned. The last time he flew anywhere on a commercial flight was . . . 1960? Maybe? He couldn’t remember when it was, but he remembered the flight. The stewardess, that’s what they called them back then, was sweet, but the toddler who refused to stop kicking the back of his seat tempted Snarl to wolf out and eat him. A slight shudder shook his bent frame. Werewolves had no business flying on a jet. Even so, here he was.
After reviewing the departures, he found his flight and moved toward his gate. With a slight shake of his head, he walked to the line, then shambled forward with others as it moved toward the TSA line. Things were sure different. The last time he flew, security didn’t check all passengers and their carry-ons. He set his bag, cane, and shoes on the conveyor belt and watched it travel through the screening device. Holding to the side of the conveyor, he walked to the arch, letting go to step through it. An alarm buzzed, and the agent stopped him. Snarl leaned lightly on the side of the conveyor as if he needed the support to stand.
Two TSA agents asked him to step aside. After handing him his cane and shoes, one of the agents ran a wand over him. A buzz sounded when it passed over his belt. “Please remove your belt and pass it to me.”
Snarl dropped his shoes on the floor, unbuckled the belt, and slid the length of leather out of his jeans belt loops. He gave it to the agent with hands that appeared bent and gnarled. While the second agent passed the wand around him again, Snarl leaned on the cane, stroking his scraggly grey beard with one hand, and watched the first check the belt buckle. His wolf snarled in his mind, wanting to bite the man touching his things.
“Where are you going, Sir?”
“Colorado. To pick up my wife.” Snarl gave the agent a smile. “Ever been to Colorado, Son?”
“No, Sir.” He handed the belt back to Snarl. “You can go.”
Snarl nodded, balanced on his cane while he stepped into his shoes, and then fumbled his belt back on. Guess Nate knew what he was talking about when he told me to wear loafers instead of sneakers. Sighing, he caught the strap of his carry-on when the agent handed it to him and then walked toward his gate. The cane that delivered a solid tap against the tiled floor every step he took was the only evidence of his annoyance.
His flight to Denver was non-stop, but then he would have to transfer to a different airline to get to Pueblo, Colorado. From there he’d have to drive almost two hours to get to the Tala Ridge Ranch where he believed Freyja was being held. When the king questioned Terrell, son of the former alpha to the Tala Ridge Pack, they learned the Colorado pack kept a caged woman for the past fifteen years. It had to be Freyja. It had to.
Snarl handed his ticket to the woman behind the counter. She did whatever it was she did on the computer, then handed it back to him and smiled. The Christmas bell earrings she wore jingled softly as she moved her head. “We’ll be boarding in a few minutes, Sir.”
Giving her an absent nod, Snarl slowly walked to a row of chairs and sat down. Glancing at the other passengers waiting for boarding, he let out a breath of relief. At least he wouldn’t have to put up with a snotty-nosed toddler brat, this trip. Maybe it was long enough before Christmas that most of the holiday family travel would happen after he got off the metal monstrosity. Three teens sat at the far end of the facing row of seats, but all three were engrossed in their phones and didn’t bother to look up. Men and women dressed in business attire made up the rest of the passengers around him.
Thinking about his mate, he stared out the window at a departing jet. He didn’t notice a boy come closer to him until he smelled him. Sitting up more quickly than he probably should since he wore an age glamour, his gaze searched the passengers until a kid sat beside him.
“You going to Colorado, too, Mister?”
Snarl blinked and looked at the boy. He was about thirteen, maybe fourteen, dressed in well-worn jeans, a Star Wars t-shirt, and a Denver Bronco’s ballcap. Snarl sniffed again. Wolf! Snarl’s wolf gave a low growl. Snarl ignored the youngster and searched for the kid’s traveling companions. When he didn’t find more wolves in the area, he gave the boy what the younger wolves called his ‘stink eye’ and frowned. “You talking to me, Kid?”
The boy tilted his head and grinned. “Yes, Sir. I’m going to Colorado to live with my grandparents. I’ve never met them. My name is Josh. Dad was in the Army and we lived in Germany, or Texas, or Greece since I was born.”
A smile tugged at Snarl’s lips and he reinforced the frown, still uneasy. After all he had seen in his long life, he didn’t need the warning Nate gave him before he left the ranch. Wolves were seldom friendly to others outside their own pack. Keeping the boy in his peripheral vision, he scanned the area again. “You alone, Boy?”
“Yes, Sir.”
With a non-committal huff, Snarl turned back to the window. At least the kid was old enough not to be kicking anyone’s seat. Without letting the boy know he watched him, he kept an eye on him, wondering where his parents were. Surely a wolf his age wasn’t allowed to roam alone. Unless he missed his guess, the boy wasn’t old enough to shift to a wolf, yet. Not seeming to mind Snarl’s pointed disregard, the boy let his gaze wander around the other passengers. Both his heels softly thumped the floor as his knees bounced, the movement quickly becoming annoying.
Snarl cleared his throat. “Why aren’t your mother or father traveling with you?”
The grin on the kid’s face faded. “My mother died when I was born. My aunt took care of me while my father was deployed with a unit of Marine Raiders, but she . . .. My father . . .,” he swallowed and looked down. “My father died three weeks ago. His Humvee hit an IED, and everyone died.”
Startled, Snarl studied the boy closer. The boy looked younger than his six-foot height indicated. “Who are you traveling with?”
“No one.” He raised his face and looked into Snarl’s eyes. “You looked like a grampa, and you smell a little like my dad, so I thought maybe I could sit with you.”
Snarl blinked and sniffed the boy. Josh hid it well, but he was scared to death. The only reason Snarl hadn’t already smelled the boy’s terror was his preoccupation with finally finding his beloved wife Freyja after fifteen years. “Where you headed?”
“La Veta. I have a bus ticket there from Pueblo. I’m supposed to call my grandmother when I get to La Veta.” Josh sighed and stared out the same window Snarl had been looking through, then muttered, “If I can find a payphone, somewhere.”
The unease the boy radiated swept Snarl. Finally, sure the boy wasn’t a threat, the tightness in Snarl’s shoulders eased. Before he realized it, his wolf forced him to offer, “You can use my phone to call her. I’m headed to La Veta, too.”
The boy’s expression perked up. “You are?” Then he bit his lip and frowned. “Do you live there?”
“No, my wife is at a place called the Tala Ridge Ranch. I’m going to pick her up.”
Eyes growing wider, the boy swallowed, then gave him a sickly smile. “Oh. Well, thanks, Mister.” He stood up and stepped away from Snarl, never taking his gaze from the old man.
Snarl frowned when he noticed the airline employees watching. Infusing his voice with alpha command, he said, “Sit down and quit fidgeting. I won’t hurt you.”
Without a word, the boy sat. Not that he had much choice. Josh swallowed and glanced at Snarl from the corner of his eye. “You’re one of them, aren’t you?” he whispered.
With a sigh, Snarl leaned forward, careful not to touch the boy. He didn’t need anyone deciding he was a threat. “Josh, have you been to Tala Ridge Ranch?”
Josh shook his head. “My dad had a fight with the, um, owner, and left before he married my mother.”
“And your mother?”
The boy tried to avoid the answer, but Snarl sent a little more command toward him. “I already told you I won’t hurt you. Did your mother come from there, too? Was she one of them?”
Snarl raised an eyebrow. “She ran away with your dad against the al . . ., um owner’s permission?”
Breathing hard, Josh nodded.
“Do you have permission to return?”
“No, and I don’t want to go, but no one cares what I want.”
Snarl wrapped his hands around the knob on the end of his cane and leaned his chin on his hands. “Do they know you’re coming?”
Josh swallowed hard and whispered, “I don’t know.” He studied Snarl for a moment, then asked in a soft voice. “You promise you won’t hurt me?”
Snarl gave him a single nod. “I promise.”
Letting out a long breath, Josh pulled a letter from his pocket. “My aunt gave me this letter to give my grandmother after she picked me up.”
“Have you read it?”
“Yeah. She wasn’t really my aunt. My dad paid her to take care of me while he was deployed. After he died, she knew she wouldn’t be paid, anymore, so she sent me here.”
Snarl pursed his lips and thought. “She give you any money?”
“Only enough to eat till I get there.” Josh sighed. “I don’t think I even have enough for a cab. If my grandmother won’t come get me, I don’t know what I’ll do.”
“And you know enough to know she might not be able to, even if she wants to.”
“Yeah. Dad told me how Dylan Pace treats his . . . employees.”
“Well, that won’t be a concern. Pace is dead.”
Shock splashed across Josh’s face. “He is? How do you know?”
“He committed treason and died for it. His son, Terrell, will be in charge when he gets back to Colorado.”
Josh settled further back into his chair, slowly relaxing as he looked at Snarl. “Is he as mean as his dad was?”
“No. In fact, he’s not quite as old as you are. My guess is he’s about twelve, or so.” Snarl ran his tongue along the inside of his cheek. “And you would be, what, fourteen?”
“No, Sir. I’m thirteen. My birthday was November 12.” He squirmed.
“He’s younger than me, and they’re gonna let him be in charge?”
For the first time since the conversation started, Snarl grinned. “They won’t have much choice.”

Thank you for reading the preview. I hope you enjoy the book!