Series: Mystic Isle # 2
Some things were just meant to be.
The ultra handsome beta of Novogrod pack, Maxim Ciolek is taking a much needed vacation on Mystic Isle when a beautiful but shy vampiress catches his eye. She deserves more than a one night stand and because that’s all he can offer her, he vows to leave her alone.
Ceara Blackwell is eager to leave her sheltered life behind and start knocking items off her bucket list. Item one: a first kiss. But as mysterious Maxim works his way into her heart, she wonders if she’s found a forever-kind-of-love.
But love isn’t easily claimed, even in paradise.
There's a seductive werewolf on the loose. He knows his way around a woman's body and will easily steal her heart. Hold onto your panties, girls.
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Accolades & Reviews
“I think I loved this even more than Coco & Grayson, and that’s sayin`something!!” ~ Karen Roma
“A sweet tender romance between a baby vamp and a responsibility challenged werewolf. They are perfect for each other. I loved the banter between them and seeing their relationship blossom. But can they get past the hurdles in their way? The misunderstandings? Fate has a way of making things right in the end, allowing a baby vamp to find a werewolf of her own.” ~ Zita Rivera
“A Werewolf to Call Her Own is an awesome read. There’s nothing better than a hot sexy werewolf to save the day. Selena makes you feel like you are right there on the island.” ~ Jodie Stump
“How may I help you, Mr…”
“Ciolek. Maxim Ciolek. Is Latham in?” he asked, forgoing pleasantries. He needed to find a certain black-haired beauty. His body quaked just thinking of her and her rosy lips. He couldn’t afford to waste another minute. Wherever she was, he had to track her down.
“I’m afraid not. But I’m sure I can help you if you tell me what you need.”
Her eyebrows lifted.
“We met here three months ago. A beautiful vampiress. Black hair down to here,” he supplied hopefully, pointing halfway down his biceps. He turned on his most charming smile. The woman’s expression didn’t change.
“We can’t give out—” she started.
Maxim held up his hand. “Look, I wouldn’t be asking if it wasn’t truly, honestly, life or death important.”
She frowned, sighed, and paused just long enough to make him sweat before skirting her desk.
“S—I—E—R—R—A,” he offered, hoping he’d be able to see her room number. “She’s friends with Valencia Fabelle.” What kind of an ass knew her friend’s last name but not the woman he’d — no, he wasn’t going there. That’d only give him a hard-on. And in his current condition, that would just drive him closer to madness.
She typed the name and frowned a little deeper.
“You mean, C—E—A—R—A, sir?”
Maxim sounded out the letters in his head. Damn. “Right.” That explained everything. His search for her had been under the alternate spelling. Maxim stamped down on his frustration. The fact that Latham’s employee knew the real identity of his woman only increased his annoyance.
Whoa there… she wasn’t his woman. She was his nemesis.
Maxim Ciolek drained the bottle of beer in three long swigs.
“Take it easy,” his brother muttered from the next seat over.
Wise-ass.His brother, who went by Hunter these days, had returned from America a know-it-all. Fifteen years separated them, which wasn’t much in the scheme of things, but some days those one hundred and eighty months seemed like a chasm.
“Hah,” Maxim replied, but didn’t let the comment ruin the warm, gorgeous night. “If that isn’t the pot calling the kettle rusted.”
“Black. The pot calling the kettle black,” Hunter corrected.
“Shut up and drink your beer.”
“I thought you were supposed to be relaxing. Enjoying a vacation.”
“I’m trying to.” The truth was, Maxim was both loving and hating his complete lack of responsibility. Being second-in-command of Novgorod’s growing pack wasn’t an easy job. And most days it was rather thankless. But he enjoyed the tight community, watching it grow.
A waiter brought them another round of drinks, and Maxim nodded his thanks. Beyond the wide stone terrace, a bonfire blazed in the middle of the white sand beach. The massive golden flame was mesmerizing.
He took a swig of his beer and then surveyed the outdoor space. Sand, surf, and palm trees. The holiday music was a little annoying but when it got to be too much, he could just head down to the waves.
Hunter was right. He’d needed a break. A vacation. Time alone. Of course, the moment Maxim agreed to get away and scheduled a trip to Mystic Isle, his younger brother had invited himself along. Maxim didn’t mind, so long as Hunter didn’t expect to room with him.
A group of women exited the hotel and wove their way through the wrought iron tables. They were gorgeous. But then, most immortals were.
From the corner of his eye, he saw Hunter lean forward in his seat. He wasn’t the only man watching them, Maxim noted. It was as if an electrical wire had fallen onto the terrace, charging the air.
“I call dibs on the brunette.”
Maxim frowned over at his brother. Dibs?
Before he could point out that four of the five women in the group had brown hair, a group of men left the bonfire and jogged toward the terrace. A tall, broad guy wrapped his arms around the woman with the beautiful brown skin and twirled her around.
There was much laughter and chatter as the groups merged.
“I guess she’s taken,” Maxim said with a smile.
“I didn’t mean her.”
Maxim didn’t look, but he would have bet ten Euros that Hunter was rolling his eyes.
The tall, lithe brunette with the short-cropped hair giggled as a blond, a vamp from the look of him, threw her over his shoulder and carried her off. One by one, they headed across the beach to the volleyball net.
“Better hurry before someone snaps her up.”
The curvy one with the latte-colored skin turned, showing him her profile. Maxim sucked in a breath. It’d been a long time since he’d had such a visceral reaction to a woman.
“Bikini or shorts?” he asked on exhale, almost afraid to hear his brother’s answer.
The woman in the red bikini laughed at something the blonde pixie said. Then they turned and tried pulling their friend with the gorgeous profile and short shorts toward the game. She resisted, shaking her head.
Why was she hesitant?
Hunter shot him a look.
The blonde gave up and trotted off. Short Shorts held up a finger, the universal sign for give me a minute. She sucked in a deep breath, which pressed her breasts against the T-shirt. He didn’t understand what was so scary about sand and a volleyball. But something had her summoning her courage. She tucked her hair behind her ear again and stared down at the glass in her hand as if it held all the answers.
By the look of her, he bet that the ruby liquid in the glass was not a Merlot. Which made her a vampiress. That explained her innate gracefulness, but not her insecurity.
The brunette in the bikini was giving her friend a quiet pep talk when the guys started wolf-whistling at the pair.
Maxim would never understand why the English called it that. Wolves did not whistle. But the sound had Hunter tripping over himself to run out and join the fray.
Like Hunter, he’d come to the island to relax, work off his stress. Sex was near the top of his list; he was male, after all. But as yet, he hadn’t seen a woman who sparked his interest. Shewolves were too much trouble. Usually aggressive and demanding, they took too much and gave too little. Plus, more often than not, they were on the hunt for a man like him. A man with position and plenty of money.
The shy vamp, though, she had potential. Curvy, pretty, with long, glossy hair that made his fingers tingle with anticipation. Luckily, she seemed in no hurry to join the others.
“Guys against girls,” Avery called as she ran out onto the sand. The guys groaned.
Were they afraid the girls would beat them? Or were they disappointed that they wouldn’t be able to get their hands on the women during the game?
Alone on the stone terrace with a flute of blood in her hand, Ceara Blackwell watched Coco and Grayson kiss beneath the net. Good luck getting those two on separate teams. Half the time Ceara saw them, they were fused at the lip. Or the hips.
The rest of the men huddled next to the net, arms slung over each other’s shoulders. Ceara recognized the internationally accepted stance for sports related planning. The women formed their own version of the huddle, a loose circle, hands braced on their knees.
She took another sip of her drink and felt marginally calmer. As the only child of two over-protective vampires, she was used to being alone. Her solitary life had given her plenty of time to study, to watch and observe people. Admittedly, she’d had very little practice at interacting with others. She understood the basics of course. Had studied every etiquette book she could get her hands on. But some situations, public situations, brought a riotous band of butterflies to her stomach.
“Come on, Ceara,” Valencia called, waving her over. The brunette stood in the front row, hands on her trim hips. Ceara tucked the annoying strand of hair behind her ear and worried her lower lip.
Coco also took a position on the front row. Ceara wasn’t surprised that the woman wanted to be as close to her mate as possible.
“Get your derriere out here,” Avery added, spinning the volleyball on her index finger. She was the athlete in their coven and took up the serving spot. Izzy, in what Ceara assumed was an attempt to hide, hovered in the middle row.
“It’s solstice,” Coco yelled.
A time of new beginnings. Ceara knew that, appreciated the sentiment. She had the desire to start fresh, leave the past aside. She’d even boldly made a bucket list. But did she have to start on such a public stage? With a game she’d never played? A game that wasn’t even on her list?
A first kiss. That was on the list. And with any luck and a lot of bravery on her part, she might get to check that item off her list by the week’s end.
That thought spurred her on. She couldn’t meet a man and claim her kiss if she didn’t mingle. She could do this, one step at a time. There wasn’t anything to be scared of out there. Her friends wouldn’t let anything happen to her. And besides, she was a vampire, practically invincible. It was high time she started living like it.
Taking a deep breath, she pulled her shoulders back. Step one.
Deciding to keep her flip flops on for now, she stepped off the terrace into the sand. Step two.
Ceara stayed rooted to her spot as the men turned their attention her way. One of them whistled again. Wolf-whistling, she thought it was called. She couldn’t believe he was whistling at her. She wasn’t gorgeous or bold like her coven-mates.
Nerves took over again as he locked eyes with her.
The full moon, brilliant bonfire, and terrace lights combined with her vampire sight and she picked out the important details easily enough. Though he kept his horns filed short, there was no mistaking the dark, deep red of his irises. A tremor shot through her and her knees threatened to buckle.
He stalked toward her, a determined glint in his eyes.
“I —um—I think I’ll just sit this one out,” she called, her voice high – almost squeaky.
Walking backward, she tripped over the edge of the patio, and then bumped into a chair. Blood sloshed out of her glass and over her fingers. The demon’s grin kicked up a notch. She deposited the glass on a nearby table so she wouldn’t drop it. With her hands and knees trembling like gelatin during an earthquake, she didn’t trust her reflexes.
Turning in the unfamiliar flip flops, she darted away from the beast who looked like he wanted to eat her up, one limb at a time, and collided with a solid, warm wall. No, not a wall. A person, she quickly realized as large hands shot out to steady her as she bounced backward.
Nose smarting from the impact, she glanced up, eyes watering.
A heartbreakingly handsome man regarded her, the corner of his delicious mouth turned up in amusement. Her body’s reaction was immediate and overwhelming. First, her breathing shallowed, then her stomach fluttered before a flush of blissful heat swept across her shoulders and up her neck. Other parts, parts that had never been excited before, clenched and tingled.
His gaze caught and held hers like a lifeline. He had gorgeous dark brown eyes that reflected every sliver of light the outdoor space had to offer. She’d never seen eyes glitter like that. It was probably because he had a surplus of optical fluid. That would account for the added sheen. But nevertheless, she found their color dreamy and the sparkle mesmerizing.
Then his gaze zoomed up over the top of her head.
He must have felt her shaking, smelled her fear, because he pulled her forward a fraction. “Hi, sweetheart. Sorry I’m late,” he said loud enough for everyone to hear.
A wolfish grin lit his face, stealing her breath, and she realized that that’s exactly what he was. A wolf in human clothing. An insanely handsome one at that. Her heart stuttered and then jumpstarted. He was lying for her. Playing the part of her beau. And what a beau he was. Talk about beginning on the right foot.
His gaze shifted down to where her fingers had closed over his forearm. Then he glanced over her head again and he took her hand between his. What was he—
He lifted her bloodstained fingers to his lips and stared into her eyes. Oh my… His tongue darted out, gathering the droplets as if they were the finest wine. Ambrosia. Her head tipped back on its own accord. As he sucked one, then another into the wet heat of his mouth to clean them, she sucked in a slow, deep breath.
“Sorry, dude. I didn’t know she was with you,” a deep voice said from somewhere behind her.
Ceara would have said she wasn’t with him, but she couldn’t form the words when he was nibbling on her fingertips like they were made of candy. A hot, delicious feeling took over her insides. Then again, something in his eyes told her that she could be with him if she wanted to be.
Nervousness was the furthest thing from her mind. And for the first time in her life, she wanted a man. Not just any man. This man. This ruggedly handsome werewolf with the wicked smile.
Only when he whispered, “Let’s get out of here,” and ushered her inside, did she realize that her friends had fallen silent. She dared a glance back and saw the four of them in the sand, sharing a worried glance.
But why would they be worried? Wasn’t this why they’d all come here? To “hookup” as it were? Not that she was going to—
“I’m Maxim,” the man at her side murmured when they were safely inside the dimly lit Tiki bar.
“Can I escort you somewhere? You seemed to be in a hurry.”
“I—yes…” She gave a self-depreciating laugh. “I was getting as far away from that demon as I could.”
“You know the island is only a mile wide,” he said with a smile. “He would have caught you eventually.”
“But you rescued me,” she murmured, her voice full of awe. She wasn’t sure why. A case of instant hero–worship, perhaps?
“I did,” he said matter-of-factly. There was a second-long pause before those shut-up-and-kiss-me lips curved up in a satisfied smile.
Good gods. He had no right to be that handsome. No one did. Tanned to perfection, tall, broad, perfectly sculpted muscles hidden beneath a midnight blue polo shirt… down to the leather thongs on his feet, he was right off the cover of a magazine.
“I should thank you.”
“You should.” His grin widened.