Authors: Cooper McKenzie
Welcome to Sanctuary 4
Army veteran and midwife Autumn Ryan’s spirit is shattered. She just wants to find a cave to hide in. Instead, her father sends her to Sanctuary, where everyone is expectantly waiting for Spring to give birth to the next generation of Sullivan shape-shifting Irish Wolfhounds. As soon as she meets them, Autumn is drawn to Evan and Frank. For the first time in her life, she feels a contentment and peace she’s searched the world over for.
Frank and Evan envied their brothers but discounted the possibility that the last Ryan sibling would be their mate. Then Autumn walks into their furniture-making shop, and all they can think about is claiming their mate. But Autumn has painful secrets haunting her.
Can they heal their woman and find the kind of happiness their brothers have found? Will she stay long enough to help Spring have her babies? Or will she cut and run?
Note! Even though each title in the Welcome to Sanctuary series is stand-alone, we recommend reading this book in sequential order.
Ménage a Trois/Quatre, Paranormal, Shape-shifter
Welcome to Sanctuary 4
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A SIREN PUBLISHING BOOK
IMPRINT: Ménage Amour
Copyright © 2011 by Cooper McKenzie
E-book ISBN: 1-61034-672-6
First E-book Publication: June 2011
Cover design by Jinger Heaston
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To Jillian, Stacy, Stephanie, and all my loyal readers who encourage me to keep writing. Thanks for your continued support!
Welcome to Sanctuary 4
Copyright © 2011
Autumn Ryan wondered if she could really go through with what she was about to do. All she wanted to do was find a cave to crawl in until she felt up to dealing with life and people again. Instead, her father had talked her into going to Sanctuary to visit her sisters and brother, all of whom had gotten married three months earlier.
While she’d kept in touch with her siblings, only her father knew why she’d left the Army six months before her enlistment was up. He was the only one she’d allowed to visit while she’d undergone therapy to find her way back to life. He had promised to keep her secret until she was ready to share with the rest of the family.
“You cannot hide forever. They are your family,” her father pointed out just the week before during his last visit. “They love you and want to see you. And Sanctuary seems like a very special place. You might find the healing you’re looking for there.”
So, instead of hunting for a cave with electricity and running water, Autumn packed her belongings into her twenty-year-old SUV and followed the detailed map and directions to Sanctuary, North Carolina that her father had left. She’d only had to stop twice during the seven-and-a-half-hour drive from the nation’s capital to the mountains of western North Carolina. Once was for gas and food. The second time had been to throw up the greasy hamburger she’d eaten.
Just as she was about to give up and try to turn around on the narrow logging road and head to Raleigh where her parents lived, the terrain flattened out and the forest ended. She slammed on the brakes when the road abruptly ended at a pile of logs painted bright orange and yellow.
She froze as the logs morphed into a sand-colored concrete and steel barricade. A barricade she’d driven ambulances around, between, and beside too many times to count. When she began to hear echoes of screaming men in pain, she took a deep breath and blinked several times. She sighed when she once again stared at a pile of brightly colored logs.
“Welcome to Sanctuary,” she read aloud the sign just above the blockade. “Okay, so Dad’s directions were right on the money. What the hell am I going to do in the middle of the woods? I’m a medic, not a woodsman.”
Looking around, she turned left into a parking lot. A small silver car that she thought might belong to her second oldest sister, Summer, sat alone in a gravel parking lot big enough to hold a dozen vehicles. At the far end of the parking lot sat a huge metal building that looked big enough to house an eighteen-wheeler or two.
Once she pulled in and parked next to the car, Autumn sat for a moment, enjoying the stillness and silence. No sirens, no explosions, no city sounds, and no one calling out in pain or low, intense voices trying to reassure an injured or dying soldier that all would be well. All she could hear was the soft whoosh of a gentle breeze through the treetops. Taking a deep breath, she felt a small portion of the tension that had knotted her shoulders for the past year ease.
Looking in the rearview mirror, she took a moment to check out this place where her father had sent her. In the Army, she’d learned that taking a few seconds to stop, look around, and take stock of the surroundings before moving in could save your life and the lives of those depending on you.
The clearing was bigger than she’d first thought and encompassed several acres. Through the shadows from the mountains to the west, she saw a number of buildings set in a half circle. As her gaze took in the scene, she wondered if she hadn’t driven down Alice’s rabbit hole into Wonderland. Or maybe this was the set for some funky fantasy movie.
Turning in her seat, she looked out the back window to make sure her mirror wasn’t playing tricks on her. But the view remained the same. Whatever Sanctuary was, her father had sent her here. This was where her brother and two sisters now lived with two men each. That thought sent a small stab of jealousy through Autumn as she took in the scenery.
Closest to the parking lot and the metal garage building sat an ornate Victorian house. It was painted peach with hunter green and navy blue trim. A wraparound porch and three-story circular tower were decorated with intricately cut gingerbread work.
She wondered what it would be like to sit in one of the rocking chairs and just spend an afternoon watching the grass grow or the clouds float by.