When greedy land developers set their sights on Dark Sentinel land, Torin turns to attorney Stephanie Bates for help, but she’ll need his protection to stay alive long enough to save his land.
Real estate lawyer, Stephanie Bates, has risen to the top of her field through meticulous sacrifice and goal setting. She has no time for distractions – and that includes pets, messy relationships, and loose ends.
Torin DuMont is a forensic scientist who chose the profession to avoid dealing with people as much as possible. Raised by a stepfather who hated him, he’s been forced to live a life of solitude, fueled by anger and distrust. When wolves and shifters start turning up dead, Torin must battle an enemy bent on destroying those he was born to protect. His greatest challenge, however, is Attorney Bates and the surprising effect she has on his heart.
Dark Sentinels Book Two: Torin
Torin didn’t have to leave his spot against the wall to overhear Cindy and the unavailable Ms. Bates, despite the fact that they were intentionally speaking softly.
“…I tried to reschedule, but he won’t…and he won’t leave either! Steph, you haven’t seen him. He’s huge, and he walked in looking pissed—not a good combination. I started to call for James to escort him out of the office, but I like James, so...”
Both women shared a laugh. “No, no need for all that. You offered him another appointment. If he chooses to wait, let him wait. I’ll deal with him if he doesn’t get tired and leave.” She laughed again. “I keep saying I need a peephole in this door. You’ve piqued my curiosity now. Wish I could work him in. I’m eager to meet one of these Wild Landers I keep hearing about but never seem to run into any.”
“For the most part, they pretty much keep to themselves, but believe me, you’ll know when you see one.” Cindy sighed. “Guess I’ll go back out here and try to work while he’s glaring at me. I doubt he’s going anywhere, Steph. He seems like the stubborn type.”
“Don’t worry, Cindy. If he’s still there when it’s time for you to leave, I’ll speak to him myself and try to reschedule. In the meantime, just ignore him. Maybe he’ll take the hint and leave.”
* * *
Torin stepped outside several times to stretch his long legs, finding fewer clients waiting for Ms. Bates on each return. He’d overheard everything the lawyer and her receptionist said, but it wasn’t what she had said that bothered him; it was the timbre of her voice itself—soft, smooth, and lilting—that elicited an immediate response. Puzzled by his own involuntary reaction, he wanted to hear more of it, like a cobra drawn helplessly and nonsensically to an oboe.
He sensed the sun had gone down before he stepped over to the small window and looked out. Even in the complete darkness, his eyes did not fail him, and he saw the grounds as clearly as if daylight greeted him. Finally, one man remained in the waiting room with him, but it was well after six p.m.
He picked up the pleasant scent of mint, lemongrass, and lilies and turned just in time to see shapely legs, a voluptuous body full of promise. The warm, mocha-colored face wasn’t bad either. Clearly, it was the owner of the musical voice. His wolf bristled beneath his skin, forcing an internal battle just to remain civilized. Confusion increased his frustration. He’d never reacted to a female this way before, and certainly not a human.
She glanced at the other client and headed straight for Torin, arm extended to shake his hand as she called over her shoulder, “Go on home, Cindy. It’s already late. No need for both of us to stay.”
Cindy was out of the office in a flash, glancing back apprehensively as she closed the door.
“Mr. DuMont? I’m Ms. Bates, Stephanie Bates.”
Torin nodded and grasped her hand but did not return her smile. He was far too busy trying to resist the crippling effect her melodious voice seemed to have on him. His nerve endings sizzled as he attempted to manage the sensory overload. This isn’t supposed to happen, he secretly seethed. What in the hell is wrong with me? His sexual encounters had been quick, unemotional, and necessary for physical satisfaction only, and he’d never been overtaken so--completely. Her scent intensified, tinged with desire, as molten chocolate-colored eyes gazed at him confidently, only confusing him further. Desire?
Certain her reaction to him couldn’t possibly be an invitation, he removed his hand from her grasp and folded his arms across his chest. Social skills were definitely not his forte, but he couldn’t remember his senses ever being so off-base before.
Stephanie cleared her throat before she continued, placing her hand on her hip as if she wasn’t sure what to do with it. “I want to personally apologize for the appointment mix-up, but—”
“There’s been no mix-up. What I need will only take a few moments of your time.”
“Unfortunately, I was unexpectedly called in on another case this morning, so—”
“Not my problem.” He glowered down at her, then turned to stare at the only other client in the office, daring him to stick around.
The other man, presumably a would-be client, averted his gaze, slid from his chair, and scurried through the exit.
Once they were alone, Torin returned his gaze to Stephanie and lifted a brow. “Looks like you’ve got a cancelation. I’m sure you can squeeze me in now.”
Stephanie’s smile disappeared, and her full lips formed a firm line of disapproval.
Good. Now she knows how I feel, being so…hard-pressed to control her own domain.
Stephanie turned and walked away from him without another word until she reached the phone. “Get out! Get out of my office, Mr. DuMont.” The words were spoken as she hit a buzzer, then she spoke quickly but calmly into a speaker. “James, I know it’s time for you to leave, but I need you to escort someone from my office before you go please.”
Not wanting to involve anyone else, Torin sighed and left before James entered. He realized his behavior was ridiculous and gritted his teeth out of regret. The thought of reporting to his stepfather that he’d failed to procure Ms. Bates’s counsel made him want to howl—and not in a good way.
He stepped off the elevator and walked slowly to his truck, still hesitant about leaving. The parking garage was nearly empty. He slid into the driver seat and tilted his head back against the headrest to think. Ms. Bates was relatively new in town, but her reputation preceded her: She was the best in her field. If anyone could help save Wild Lands, she could.
What a fuck-up! he thought, torturing himself further. As usual, he’d managed to win friends and influence others. He was so much better with crime scenes and dead people.
* * *
Stephanie pressed her hand over her heart in an attempt to slow it down. Torin DuMont had to be the rudest man she’d ever come in contact with, and she’d met her share of assholes. Thing was, Torin didn’t even seem to realize—or at least care—how rude he was. Obviously, he was used to having his orders obeyed. He hadn’t even given her a chance to finish a sentence and kept interrupting her with that deep, raspy voice of his that somehow reminded her of the rough leather her father used to sharpen his knives—strong, heavy, and used to dominate.
Before her move to this small but ritzy town, she’d decided she would never allow another domineering man in her life, not even as a client. Sometimes that required drastic measures.
Something primal inside her responded to him instinctively though. His sandpaper voice, every word on the verge of a growl, sent tingles through her, and when he’d grasped her hand, she’d had to back away to keep from being sucked in; the latter was not an option. She’d fought too hard to crawl out from under her father’s thumb, and she wasn’t about to end up running from everything she’d built…again. And what kind of teeth were those? He had pearly whites, but they were all pointed, as if he’d had them filed down and sharpened.
“Want me to see you out, Ms. Bates?” James asked, interrupting her thoughts. He stood in the doorway, glancing around the office, a quizzical look on his weathered face.
“Uh, no. Thanks, James, but that won’t be necessary.” She smiled, attempting to put him at ease. She couldn’t believe she’d allowed that controlling hooligan to upset her so easily. She also couldn’t believe Cindy had neglected to tell her Mr. DuMont was like hot sex on a big stick.
The moment she spotted him, she’d wanted to melt and climb up his big, hard body or climb him and then melt. Either way, climbing and melting would have been involved, and quite a bit of panting. He had dark hair, just a bit too long to be respectable, was nearly basketball star tall, and was equipped with shoulders made for clinging, if she’d been into that sort of thing. But it was his eyes that really did it for her—stormy, gray with impossible, sultry black lashes. Visions of pouring rain, earth-rattling thunder, and her limbs wrapped around his powerful body flashed into consciousness.
How could someone who looked that good make me want to slap him so quickly? Nobody interrupts me! If Richard Bates hadn’t taught her anything else, it was to command respect. Putting a potential client out of her office might have been a tad over the top, but at that moment, it was an act of self-preservation.
There's also a Prequel, and "Dark Sentinels Book Three: Parrish" is coming soon.