The Supernaturals have always been with us—shifters, elves, trolls, vampires, and all manner of fairy tale creatures walk this earth. While not all humans want to share our world, sometimes destiny can make a wolf can meet just the right girl down a lonesome path or Fae can meet the wolf of his dreams on his way to save the world. Some things are fate and some things are just… Supernatural.
On Halloween, when Liam Grayson rescues his secretary Scarlet Lucas from an overly handsy date, Scarlet decides that Liam must be the Wolf to her Little Red Riding Hood. As a shifter wolf, Liam knows that a relationship with a human will never be allowed, but he can’t resist bringing Scarlet home for just one night… and every night after. But when Liam is the victim of a vicious attack that leaves him trapped in wolf form, Scarlet must face down not only warlocks, but Liam’s own pack in order to save him. This Little Red Riding Hood is truly lost in the woods, but the Wolf is depending on her to survive, and Scarlet must call on resources and magic she didn’t know she had in order to get her happily ever after.
Chapter 1: Liam
Liam Grayson pulled his head out of the annual report, ears lifting at the sound of someone crying. He got up from his desk and looked around for his suit jacket and then dismissed the need for it. He was used to trying to maintain the illusion of civility, but after-work hours on Friday—on Halloween no less—didn’t really call for a full suit.
He opened his office door and looked across the area that was subdivided by cubicles. The only person present on the floor was ten feet away from him at her desk. Scarlet Lucas, his secretary and midnight fantasy for the last month, was wearing a red and white checked gingham dress with a plethora of fluffy petticoats. Over the top, she had draped an itty-bitty red cloak and hood that didn’t go down any further than the hem of her skirts, which ended barely below the ass he’d been drooling over since she’d been assigned to him. She had paired the entire costume with knee-high socks and red Converse. She was also sniffling into a tissue as she rifled through her desk drawer.
She whirled around, her golden braids flying out.
“Are you all right?”
He took a step forward and caught the bright scent of fresh blood.
“Yes. I just…” She stood, nervously twisted her tissue in her hands.
“You’re bleeding,” he said, spotting the raw scrape on her knee.
“I fell,” she said, blushing.
“You fell…” He frowned. Scarlet had always struck him as particularly graceful. “In your sneakers?”
She blushed an even brighter shade of pink. “I was running away and I tripped.”
“Running away from what?”
“Sam Albright,” she muttered. “After I punched him.”
“Who is Sam Albright and why did he need punching?” Liam took a firm grip on his temper—Sam Albright was none of his business, but if he had hurt Scarlet, Liam thought he might make it his business.
“My date,” she said. “He… put his hands where they were not invited to be.”
“Ah,” said Liam, swallowing down his fury, and smiling at Scarlet instead. He walked over to her desk and spotted the Band-Aids buried in the debris of the drawer. “Sit, please,” he said, plucking one out of the box.
She dropped into her chair with a froth of petticoats. He knelt down, stripped the Band-Aid from its wrapper, and pressed it against her knee. His fingertips caressed her skin around the bandage, but he managed to stop them there.
“Does Sam need consent explained to him further?” He asked, staring up into her sea-blue eyes and forcing his hands to rest on the arms of the chair. Although, that wasn’t much better than having them on her knee. Now his hands were within millimeters of her bare arms and wanted very badly to run an exploratory fingertip along the soft inner skin of her elbow.
“I don’t know,” said Scarlet, sniffing. “He grabbed me and shoved his hand in my underwear and I cracked him in the jaw and ran. I know it was a date, but that wasn’t… I didn’t want…”
She looked miserable and Liam cocked his head to one side trying to figure out his next step, but he was having trouble thinking with the fluttering scent of her in his nostrils. He loved the way she smelled. Everyone else in the office reeked of perfumes and scents. Scarlet was one of the few who smelled like herself. And also a little bit like the woods on a spring day. It was intoxicating.
“I’m sorry,” she said. “I don’t mean to dump this on you. I came here because I knew I had Band-Aids and I live out in Bed-Stuy. I was just looking forward to having a stupid fun Halloween for once. My Mom never let us dress up as kids and I wanted…”
She smiled awkwardly.
“You wanted to be like everyone else,” he said. “I understand. We never really did Halloween either. My parents… didn’t like it,” he finished lamely. How was he supposed to explain that Halloween felt like one mask too many?
“Everyone else makes it look easy,” she said. “Sexy costumes and candy. I thought I could figure that out.”
“You nailed the costume,” he offered, realizing he was still kneeling between her knees and now that he had tilted his head, he could see her panties were ruffled as well.
“Thanks,” she said brightening. “I couldn’t do the high-heels. That seemed unsafe. Which, considering I tripped in Converse, was probably a smart move. Although, I don’t think it was entirely my fault. I tripped over some electrical cables the haunted house place had taped to the floor. I don’t think that was OSHA approved.”
“Certainly not ADA compliant,” he said, with a grin—only Scarlet would worry about whether the Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration had approved a haunted house. She blushed a little like she knew she was being silly. “Want to go get a drink?” he asked.
She blinked at him, her eyes still glossy with unshed tears. “Yes?”
“All right then Ms. Hood, give me a moment to collect my jacket and I’ll be ready to lure you down the wrong path.”
She chuckled. “Oh, good. I’ve always wanted to be lured.”
Liam tried not to question his intentions as he pulled on his jacket. Some things were just instinct. He could worry about consequences later and God, did he need some sort of distraction. Between the full moon and the fact that he hadn’t made it home for a hunt this month, he was starting to go a little bonkers.
She was waiting for him when he came out of the office, a tiny basket in her hands and a sweetly nervous expression on her face.
“You don’t mind going out with me looking like this, do you?”
Liam contemplated that. Truly what he wanted was to stay in with her looking like that. But, no, going out with Scarlet looking like a wolf’s wet dream wasn’t going to be a problem.
“It’s fine,” he said with a shrug. “I don’t think anyone will notice honestly. It’s Halloween.”
“That’s true,” she agreed. “And if anyone asks, we’ll tell them you’re the wolf.”
“Yes,” he agreed. “I am definitely the wolf.”
“You know what I always wondered about Little Red Riding Hood?” she asked, as he led the way to the elevator.
“How anyone could mistake the wolf for the grandmother?” It was the part of the story that always made his family nervous. It was too blatantly close to the truth.
“No, I wonder where the wolf was going before he met Little Red. No one ever seems to wonder if she lured him off his path.”
“Well, he’s the bad guy,” argued Liam, although he had to admit he liked her interpretation.
“Well, of course,” said Scarlet. “The bad guy isn’t going to tell you that she’s the bad guy.”
“What do you mean?” he asked with a frown.
“The wolf died. It’s Little Red who lived to tell the story and craft the marketing message. For all we know, Little Red lured the wolf to the cottage to kill her grandmother and then had the huntsman kill the wolf.”
“Little Red,” said Liam, feeling more attracted to Scarlet with every word out of her mouth—her pretty red-tinted mouth with the invitingly soft lips. “Should I be worried for my safety?”
“My grandmother lives out of state. And I like wolves,” she said giving him a saucy wink.
Liam grinned, showing all his teeth. “Then, perhaps I can interest you in this very dark little lane just off the beaten path.” He gestured to the elevator as the doors slid open.
She chuckled again and Liam felt smug. She didn’t laugh much during working hours.
“Actually,” he said as they entered the elevator, “I was going to grab a drink at Maxim’s in the upstairs bar. If you’re up for that.” He waited for her to be impressed. The private club above the dance hall at Maxim’s was one of the cities hardest to get invitations. Of course, that was mostly because they had rather stringent restrictions on membership. Money was only half the requirement for getting through the door – members also had to be a Supernatural being of some kind. They’d relaxed their policy in the last decade though. Humans were now allowed with an escort.
“I’ve only lived here a few months,” said Scarlet. “I don’t know where, or what, anything is, so wherever you want to go.” She looked embarrassed and standing in the closed space of the elevator Liam found her scent heady and drool-inducing. He wanted to lean in and lick her. She was so perfectly innocent that he thought he probably ought to feel guilty about all the things he was going to do to her.
But he didn’t.
“Great,” he said, forcing himself to keep his hands in his pockets and his tongue in his mouth for the moment. “I think you’ll like Maxim’s.”
Tonight was going to be just what he needed.