Wolves Next Door

By: Catherine Vale

Chapter One

Another crazy day of endless shopping, thought Julie as she dumped her bags onto the floor, struggled to open the front door and then fought to reload the heavy bags into her arms.

That’s the exact moment she heard a deep voice rumble from out of nowhere. A voice she knew that she would never forget.

“Looks like you could use some help with those.”

Crushed gravel...warm, delicious velvet, and pure steel mixed with just a hint of smooth, deep bass...That voice. Julie caught her breath as the words washed over her senses, her pulse instantly quickening. She was reluctant to look behind her; she already knew who it was. Only one man had a voice that could send such wickedly delicious vibrations through her curvy frame, reducing her to a blushing schoolgirl within minutes, leaving her feeling lightheaded and breathless.

“Come on, let me help you with that. Those bags look awfully heavy for a girl.”

This time, his voice held slight humor and she rolled her eyes before finally spinning around to face him.

“Hi, Caine,” she greeted him with a bright smile.

With a man like Caine, there was only one thing to expect: Unapologetic and brazenly hot fire that could melt the toughest woman’s heart with just one look. And that’s exactly what happened every time she ran into him.

Julie had moved into the quiet, upscale neighborhood nearly three months ago and so far, Caine was one of the only neighbors who had reached out to her. Julie didn’t mind that so much, since the last thing she wanted was to add chaos to her life with nosy neighbors wanting to invade her space. After all, she moved to the area for one reason only: peace and quiet, and most importantly, a brand new start, a second chance. And that involved keeping a low profile, her head down, minding her own business.

She looked up, way up at Caine and instantly felt the undeniable heat in the deep blue of his eyes.

It was hard to turn a cold shoulder to such a beautiful, charismatic man, even if the plus size beauty felt completely awkward and out of place with him. Perhaps she wasn’t used to the attention of such a powerful specimen, especially one as seductively handsome as Caine, or maybe it was because of her own insecurities, ignited by an ex boyfriend who made her question everything about herself. But as she stood before the irresistible man and his desire to simply help her with her shopping bags, all self-conscious thought was lost in the wind, replaced with a deep satisfying need to be close to him, to remain in his presence.

His dirty blond hair and six-foot-six frame in that black t-shirt and low slung jeans looked casual enough at first glance, harmless even, but you could still imagine him just walking out of a Calvin Klein photo shoot and with just a quick flash of that bright-white smile a woman could lose all control.

“Thanks, Caine. I appreciate the help, but I think I’ll manage.” she finally replied. Damn the breathy way she sounded! Every single time he approached her she felt like she should run the other way for fear of further embarrassing herself. But Caine seemed harmless enough – as harmless as a walking sex god could be, that is. Julie had to quell the impulse to run her fingers through his hair. She hoped she looked okay after a full day of shopping and errands. What could she say? Shopping was her pick-me-up, especially after a rough day – or week. And she’d had more than a few of those lately.

“Are you sure about that?” Caine prodded, a small smile tilting his sinfully curved lips. Julie tore her eyes away from that beautiful mouth to look down at the bags, which still dotted the floor at her feet, barely maintaining their contents. She figured two trips would be all it would take and she’d have all of her stuff inside. But then she looked up at Caine once again, and didn’t feel like saying ‘no’ today. Not to those gorgeous blue eyes. Not to that sinfully flirty smile with those melt-your-heart dimples. What harm would it be anyway, accepting a bit of help from a friendly neighbor?

“On second thought, I really would appreciate your help. Thanks,” she replied with a genuine smile. She could swear Caine’s eyes darkened momentarily as he held her gaze, but then he nodded with a return smile.

“No problem,” he replied, his molten-lava voice oozing sexuality, and with one quick movement, he easily gathered up several of the over-flowing bags into his large hands.

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