Read Two for Protection Online

Authors: Marissa Dobson

Two for Protection

Two for Protection
Alaskan Tigers [7]
Marissa Dobson
Sunshine Press (2014)

Murder…

Courtney Mathews was in the wrong place at the wrong time when she witnessed two murders. After going to the authorities her life is turned upside down, and she’s forced to flee back to her hometown in Alaska to save herself.

Mistakes…

Tad Brown is third in line to take over his sleuth—bear clan—but his mistakes cling to every decision, making him question himself. Finding Courtney forces him to confront his past in order to embrace his future. Will he be able to put the past where it belongs, and keep Courtney safe, or will it cause him to lose the woman he’s destined to be with?

Changes…

With so many people depending on Milo, he must come into his own. Stepping into a role of authority has him doubting himself. Never before had he wanted to be a leader, content as one of the Elders guards. On a mission for the Alaskan Tigers, the three of them must work together to survive, with Milo taking the lead.

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Sunshine Press

Martinsburg, West Virginia

 

Two for Protection

Copyright ©2014, Marissa Dobson

Edited by Rosa Sophia

ISBN:
978-1-939978-41-7

This
is a wo
rk of fiction. Names, characters, places and
incidents are products of the author’s imagination and are used fictitiously
and are not to be constructed as real. Any resemblance to actual person—living
or dead—is entirely coincidental.

All
rights reserved.
No part of this publication may be
reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any
means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without
the prior written permission of Sunshine Press. Criminal copyrig
ht infringement, including infringement without monetary
gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to five years in
federal prison and a fine of $250,000.

www.marissadosbon.com

 

Two for Protectio
n

 

Alaskan Tig
ers: Book Seven

 

 

Marissa Dobson

Dedication

 

To my readers
who
wanted to see more of the Kodiak Bears, here

s your chance to explore
Thaddeus

story. Also know the other Brown brothers will get their
stories soon, follow my website
www.marissadobson.com
to stay up to date with the series so you don

t miss them.

Thank you for all your support.
Enjoy
this newest adventure to Alas
ka.

 

Murder…

Courtney Mathews was in the wrong place at the wrong time when she
witnessed two murders. After going to the authorities her life is turned upside
down, and she’s forced to flee back to her hometown in Alaska to save herself.

Mistakes…

Tad Brown is third in line to take over his sleuth—bear clan—but
his mistakes cling to every decision, making him question himself. Finding
Courtney forces him to confront his past in order to embrace his future. Will
he be able to put the past where it belongs, and keep Courtney safe, or will it
cause him to lose the woman he’s destined to be with?

Changes…

With so many people depending on Milo, he must come into his own.
Stepping into a role of authority has him doubting himself. Never before had he
wanted to be a leader, content as one of the Elders guards. On a mission for
the Alaskan Tigers, the three of them must work together to survive, with Milo
taking the lead.

Chapter One

 

The
snow was coming down faster than the windshield wipers could keep up with it. Courtney
Mathews tightened her grip on the steering wheel, afraid she wouldn’t make it
the last five miles to her mother’s ranch. Alaskan winter driving was nastier
then she remembered. Years of living in a small town in Texas had dulled her
reflexes, making it harder to keep the vehicle on the road. It had been more
than a dozen years since she had driven in snow, let alone blizzard conditions.

Turning
around or stopping until the weather passed wasn’t possible, since Nome was too
far removed from civilization to have any place for her to seek shelter. She
forged ahead, hoping the situation wouldn’t worsen.

She
was scared and alone, and her mother didn’t even know she was coming. The word
of her supposed death had probably reached her mother by now, leaving no one to
know she was out in the blizzard alone. After Jeffery Park blew up her house,
she ditched her cell phone in the burning remains, hoping everyone thought she
was dead. It might keep her safe until she could make a plan and get in touch
with the United States Marshal in charge of her protection. So far, witness
protection wasn’t turning out as she had expected.

After
agreeing to testify against Jeffery Park, she was told her life wouldn’t change
in the least bit. On the contrary, she had to take a sabbatical from her job
due to the danger that followed her everywhere. Her beautiful house was nothing
but ashes, and her friends had abandoned her after the last attack on her life.
Now she was running home, about to put her mother in danger because she didn’t
know what else to do.

Steering
the car around the bend, she wasn’t expecting to see a moose in the middle of
the road, just lying there. She tugged the steering wheel hard to the left in
an effort to avoid the large animal, and the car skidded on black ice, sending
it sliding across the road, spinning around and around until she thought she’d
be sick. She jolted forward when the car slammed into the ditch, and her head
hit the steering wheel as pain shot up her arm.

No one
will ever find me
.

It had
been miles since she’d seen another driver, and she would freeze to death
before anyone stumbled upon her. Darkness settled around her, stealing away her
thoughts and any hope she had of saving herself.

* * *

Even
for Alaska, the blizzard came up quicker than Thaddeus Brown expected. Only
three miles to go before he made it to the house. Thanks to his shifter
eyesight, he was able to see through the heavy, wet snow coming down and his
large four by four truck handled well. When he came around the curve and saw a
little red two-door car sticking out of the ditch, he balked.

“What
the hell were they thinking driving
that
in this weather?”

He parked
the truck and jumped out. Snow was already piling up on and around the car,
making the situation dire. No one could survive these temperatures for long,
even with the proper winter gear.

He
slid down the embankment, keeping his feet under him and his hand on the top of
the car, swiping off the snow as he went until he could see inside. Slouched
over the wheel was an unconscious woman. He pulled open the door, and the wind
rushed around them sending snow and ice into the vehicle.

“Ma’am?”

He
reached in, placing his fingers to her throat and checked for a pulse.
Electricity poured through him, telling him he’d found his mate. It seemed
fainter than he expected, but pushed the thought away and focused on the
exposed skin under his fingers. She was cold, but the faint pulse beating
against his fingers gave him hope. Warmth was what she needed, and there wasn’t
a chance a medical team would come up the mountain, since his vehicle was the
last they’d allowed through before they closed the roads. He had to get her to
safety.

He
heard a soft moan and almost thought it was the wind. Then her eyelids
fluttered.

“Please…”

He saw
fear in her eyes as she pulled away from his fingers, which were still pressed
to her throat.

Even
with the panic pouring off her, she was beautiful. Her heart shaped face, her
cheeks red from the cold, stole his breath.

“Ma’am,
can you hear me? I need to know if you’re hurt.”

“Please
don’t hurt me.” Her eyes drifted shut again. “I don’t want to die. Please, I
won’t testify. Just let me live.”

“I’m
here to help you, to get you somewhere warm.” His words were wasted as
unconsciousness swept over her again. The terror in her eyes warned him someone
had hurt her before, making the bear within him furious.

What—or
who—was she running from? He didn’t have time to figure it out. He needed to
get her somewhere warm. He assumed she hadn’t broken any bones, since she’d
been able to move away from him, so he scooped her into his arms, letting her
head fall against his shoulder before he moved up the embankment to his idling
truck. His footsteps from only minutes ago were nearly covered.

He
loved the way she felt against his body, as if she belonged there. He had to
stop his hands from wandering along her perfect curves. She was a true woman, one
he didn’t have to worry about breaking with his strength or weight.

He
managed to get the door open without dropping her, and the heat from within
rushed at him and melted the snow that had gathered on his shoulders. Placing
her gently on the seat, he grabbed his jacket from where he had thrown it after
the truck heated and wrapped it around her. The heavy jacket and the truck’s
heater would help warm her until he got her to the house.

After
doing all he could for her, he dashed back to secure her car and gather
whatever belongings he could find that she might need. He grabbed her keys from
the ignition, looked around and found nothing but a change of clothes with the
tags still on the garments, and a wallet on top. The rest of the car was
spotless, clearly a rental.

He
glanced at the plane ticket stub he’d found on top of the clothes; she’d flown
from California, which explained why she was out in this blizzard. A local
would have returned home before the roads got this bad. The new clothes told
him it wasn’t a planned trip. What brought her here in such a rush?

He
gathered everything together, locked the car, and turned back to the road. At
the top of the embankment he noticed a wolf on the hill, watching him. The wind
turned, bringing the scent of a shifter toward him.

“Tate,
is that you?” he called out.

Staying
perched on the hill, the silver wolf tipped his head back and howled in
acknowledgement.

“I’m
up at Lisa’s house, if you want some company or anything.” Thaddeus opened the
door to the truck and climbed in. Placing the woman’s belongings on the middle
armrest, he looked over at his unconscious passenger.

When
she woke, he had some questions for her. He put the truck in gear, and
continued up the road. It wasn’t long before the sprawling red brick rancher
came into view. It stood out against the white snow like a lighthouse beckoning
to a sailor on a dark night. It was a beacon of hope and safety from the storm.

The
woman beside him moaned and started to roll over until she realized she wasn’t
in bed.

“What
the hell?” Her eyelids shot open.

“It’s
all right, we’re almost there. Just relax, and once we’re there I’ll take a
look at your injuries.”

“Please,
whatever you want, just don’t kill me.” She moved against the door, trying to
find the handle without taking her gaze from him.

“I
don’t know what you’re running from, but I’m not here to hurt you. If I wanted
you dead, I’d have left you in the car on the side of the road to freeze to
death. What the hell are you doing out in a blizzard like this anyway?” He
turned onto the driveway leading up to the house, and she jolted when the truck
skidded on some ice.

“Getting
away. What are we doing here? How did you know?”

“Know
what? This is a friend’s place. She asked me to look in on it while she’s away.
I had a break in what I was dealing with, and planned to take a few days off
here. Another friend, Milo, should be getting here at some point. Now that you
know why I’m here, it’s your turn.”

“Where’s
the woman who lives here? Lisa. What have you done to her?”

He parked
the truck next to the garage and turned to face her, frustration eating at him
from her constant accusations. After rescuing her, he thought she’d be
grateful.

“What
is it about me that makes you think I’m some asshole that could hurt women?”

She
avoided his question, and repeated hers again. “Where’s Lisa?” She glanced
around the grounds, her eyes wild with apprehension.

“Not
that it’s any of your business, but she’s in Florida with a friend of hers.” He
opened the door and glanced back at her. “Shall I carry you, or can you walk?”

“I’m
not going inside with you. I demand you take me…”

He cut
her off with a wave of his hand. “Take you where? Have you not seen the
blizzard? This isn’t going to let up for a while. Now you’re going inside even
if I have to carry you. I will not have you freeze to death in my truck after I
just hauled your ass out of a ditch. Now grab your things and get out, we’re
going inside.” The words were harsh and true; no one would make it far in this
weather. He stepped out of the truck and grabbed the two duffle bags from the
backseat.

The
snow crunched under his weight, his black boots leaving deep grooves in the
fresh snow. He shut the door and strolled to the house, knowing she’d follow
him. She was scared out of her mind, the bear inside him enjoying it, but she’d
follow him in, and then he could find out what she was hiding.

Reaching
down, he swept a snowdrift away from the door. He didn’t turn when the truck
door open behind him. Satisfied the snow wouldn’t fall into the house, he rose
and slipped the key into the lock and opened the door.

“How
do you have a key?”

“I
told you the owner is a friend of mine, and she asked me to look in on the
house while she was away. Another friend of mine, Tate, lives just over the
hill, and he’s caring for the animals.” The door opened to the mudroom where he
stripped off his snow-covered boots before continuing into the house. When he
flipped a light switch, nothing happened. “Shit. Electricity is down, I’ll get
the generator started, but the heater isn’t hooked into it. Lisa normally uses
the fireplaces when she’s here, so she never bothered. Just hang your coat on
the hook, I’ll get a fire started and this place will be warm in no time.”

“The
electricity is always out in a storm like this. I can’t believe she went to
Florida and didn’t bother to tell me.” She kicked off her shoes and followed
after him.

“You
know Lisa Mathews then?” He tossed his bags on the table and quickly moved to
the fireplace. Tate had helped look after the house while Thaddeus was helping
the Alaskan Tigers in Texas, knowing when he’d returned the house would be
ready. The cabinets and refrigerator were stocked, and wood was stacked neatly
by the fireplace. It was cozy, and just what he needed after the fight in Texas.

The
woman’s words surprised him, but he didn’t show it.

“She’s
my mother.” She dropped her stuff on the table next to his and sat there. “I
don’t know you though. How long have you known her?”

He lit
the kindling and began placing wood in the large river stone fireplace. “Years.
Tate and his mother are friends of my family. I met Lisa through them on one of
my visits. When I grabbed your belongings from the car, I found the plane
ticket in the name of Tina West. I know she doesn’t have a daughter by that
name. Don’t lie to me, who are you really?”

“It’s
a long story.”

A
knock pounded on the door and he watched her entire body tense. He turned to
toss another log into the fireplace.

“It’s just
Hazel, Tate’s mom. She must have seen my truck coming up the mountain, she’s
probably just stopping by to make sure I don’t need anything.” When he turned
around, the woman was gone. He took a quick look down the hall, wondering where
she went. She wasn’t a shifter, but she could disappear quickly if she chose
to. There was no use calling for her when he didn’t even know her real name. He
suspected she wasn’t the Tina she pretended to be, if she was Lisa’s daughter,
she had to be Courtney but he wasn’t sure that was true either.

He
opened the front door. Hazel stood there, and Tate was in wolf form by the
four-wheeler. She was a practicing witch who’d adopted Tate when he was young
and orphaned. Her unique connection to shifters allowed her to help the Kodiak
bears whenever they needed it, and she was also a wonderful neighbor to Lisa.

“Hazel,
please come in.”

“I
can’t stay. I just wanted to see if you needed anything. Tate mentioned you
found an injured woman on the side of the road. Is she in need of healing?” Her
face paled and she staggered for a moment. Tate bounded toward them with one
quick jump, barking. “It’s fine, I’m fine. It’s just…”

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