Series: Stormy Weather # 4
He’s in for the ride of his life.
The Deverauxs and Vassars have been fighting for hundreds of years, but somehow Andre and Juliette fell in love. More than that, they’re mates. Destined to be together for eternity until betrayal tore them apart.
When business sends Andre Deveraux to Savannah he comes face to face with Juliette for the first time in sixty five years. Their crash course renews old memories and desires. With Juliette stranded and the hurricane of the century roaring to shore, Andre has no choice but to offer her a lift.
He’s in for the ride of his life.
(This book was previously released by Cobblestone Press.)
Warning: Filled with desire that has built for two centuries, one raging hurricane, two passionate, headstrong werewolves and a ride you’ll never forget.
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Accolades & Reviews
…an amazing story in what is an exceptional series. ~ Hollie, Coffee Time Romance & More
Having read all in the series thus far, this one is the best yet. The level of emotion has grown over the series and she nails it with Juliette and Andre. ~ Kristy Bock, Paranormal Romance
”It looks like this is going to be a doozy of a storm, folks. Hurricane Love is skirting Florida’s east coast right now, roaring north at fifteen miles per hour. The storm will likely make landfall between Jacksonville, Florida and Charleston, South Carolina. Cities along the coast are now under a full voluntary evacuation. Paul, how are things looking in the Weather Center?”
André Deveraux glanced up from the book in his lap and studied the gray haired man on the television screen. Behind him a large map of the Southeast showed the first of bands of rain moving across Savannah. The wide mass of swirling clouds looked imposing, even to André.
He’d gotten to the airport hours in advance of his flight with hopes of catching an earlier one, but the airport was clogged with travelers and the plane/passenger ratio was not good. The Bobs, Deveraux Shipping’s lawyers, had been smart to catch a flight late last night. André had wanted another night to himself, to think over his future. Not that the extra time had helped.
“Hurricane Love is picking up speed, Don. And the barometer continues to drop. South Florida is already experiencing heavy rain from this storm. Fort Lauderdale has picked up two and a half inches in the last six hours. If you’re in the path of this storm, I strongly urge you to get out of the way.” The man made a sweeping motion with his hand, away from the coast
.Easier said than done, buddy.
A sharp ring and the accompanying vibration alerted him to a call. He dug his cell phone out of his pants pocket and glanced at the number. Angelica. A sharp ache squeezed his heart and headed south.
He pressed the answer button and held it to his ear. “Hi, Angel.”
“Hiya, handsome. We were wondering if you were able to catch an earlier flight.”He glanced at his luggage, still sitting in the same spot at his feet where he’d dropped it three hours ago.
“No. There weren’t any earlier flights.”
A long pause clued him in to Angelica’s worry. Ever since that week in the cabin when he and Jules had brought her in out of the storm he’d had a connection with her. Past what was normal for a brother and sister-in-law. But she’d made her choice. It was Jules who’d stolen her heart. And André had stepped out of the picture.
“I’ll be fine, Angel. Don’t worry about me.””I can’t help but worry about you. You won’t let anyone take care of you.”
“That’s because I don’t need taking care of,” he clipped. That wasn’t entirely true, and he knew it. He saw what Angelica had with Jules and Sebastian with Amanda and it made him crave that closeness for himself. He was no longer used to the yearning that plagued him. He didn’t like it. Didn’t like wanting anything as much as he wanted a woman of his own. Someone to hold close, someone who would dote on him, be excited to see him, someone to share his life, his wealth with. But that woman was not Angel. “I didn’t mean to be short with you.”
“I know,” she said quietly. She probably did. Angelica Humphrey was an amazing woman, easy-going, expressive, giving. Perfect in so many ways. And she fit seamlessly into Pack life.
“Any progress on the house?” he asked, hoping that questions about something other than him would ease some of the growing tension. When their home had burnt to the ground last month, Sebastian, his older brother and the Alpha of their pack, had declared that they would rebuild. Construction had already begun.
“Sebastian’s looking for a supplier of old flooring. There was a reporter snooping around the other day but Gin and Burke ran him off. They’ve almost got the roof on.”
She continued talking, telling him about the plans that Amanda and Sebastian, the pack’s Alphas, were making. Only half listening, he heard something about overstuffed furniture, rocking chairs and a nursery.
He watched the TV screen and the storm that was heading to shore. Just then a voice came over the loudspeaker announcing that all flights had been canceled due to weather.
“Angel…” he interrupted. She fell silent. “They just canceled my flight. I have to go. Talk to you soon.”
“Okay. Love ya. Be careful.”
He ended the call and stared at the phone for several seconds. That ache was still there nestled in his heart. He’d dwelled on their relationship far longer than he should have. The pact with Jules didn’t extend to mates. And even if it did, he just didn’t love Angel with an all-consuming passion. He’d only felt that with one woman. The one woman he could never have.
Gathering his luggage, he headed back to the rental car counter where he’d dropped off the keys to the SUV a few hours ago. Somehow, he had to get out of here. His business was rapped up. The sale was going to go through. Sebastian would be pleased. Negotiating the throng of people, he wondered what they would do once they were no longer the owners of Deveraux Shipping.
For the last decade they’d thrown themselves into their business and for a time it had made their bachelorhood tolerable. But lately there had been a gnawing at André’s gut reminding him that there was more to life than making money.
Maybe he’d travel. He’d never been to Canada or Antarctica. Maybe a world cruise was in order. He’d definitely have to consider that once he got back to Louisiana.
As he stepped up to the car rental counter, he caught a whiff of perfume mixed with warm, alluring woman. But it was distinctively werewolf too. The delicious scent teased his memory, tormenting him.
Man, he had it worse than he thought. White hot lust coursed through his veins and his cock twitched to life. Just being in the same part of the country and he was thinking he could smell her—
“What do you mean you have no other cars? As in none?” A feminine voice floated down the expanse to him. There was a trace of accent, French, and a barely controlled panic.
His head swiveled left toward the sound, and he caught sight of the woman in all her furious glory. A mane of long mahogany waves cascaded over her shoulders. The silky strands made his fingers itch to sweep them from her face. His gaze swooped lower, taking in the sophisticated charcoal gray dress that hugged her tall curvy frame like denim fresh from the dryer. Her legs, pale and bare of pantyhose, went on for miles. She wore ultra-sexy, black leather heels. And her toes, dear God, the perfectly painted red polish did crazy things to his mind.
At the same moment, his body tensed and his heart dropped. He knew the woman without having to look at her face. She’d have wide blue eyes, a perfect nose—minus the old break—and ruby red lips. She was pretty without being overly beautiful. Her special blend of quiet assurance and subtle seduction could have a man eating out of the palm of her hand with a single lick of her lips.
André knew that, knew her, all too well. Juliette Vassar was the one woman in all of Savannah, non…the world, that he’d hoped to avoid on this trip. He’d sworn to himself that he would not search her out and yet here she was. Were the stars in alignment? Were the Fates playing tricks on him?
She flicked her hair over her shoulder, showing off the creamy column of her neck. He swallowed a groan and slowly traced the profile he knew so well.
“Fuck me,” he muttered.
“Was that an invitation?” André jerked his gaze to the short blonde behind the counter. She gave him a willing smile.
He raised an eyebrow and then sat his briefcase at his feet. “I’m going to need the SUV again.” He tried not to notice the disappointment in her eyes.
How the hell was he going to get out of here without Juliette seeing him? Like him, she had a killer sense of smell, and he was willing to bet his life that she still felt the bond between them just like he did.
It would pull them together like magnets if he let it. All those years ago, they hadn’t just been in love. He hadn’t just worshiped the ground she walked on, adored and desired her.Non. He’d mated with her. For life.
Overhead a voice blared through a speaker. “The weather service has issued a voluntary hurricane evacuation—”
“Great,” André muttered as the crowd around him surged into chaos.
“If you’ll sign here, Mr. Deveraux.” He took the pen she offered and scrawled his signature on the line.
“What about you? Do you have any cars left?” Juliette’s voice was closer this time. André grabbed the keys to his rental and turned to gather his things. His gut tightened into little knots. Just turn around and walk away.
But he couldn’t. Sighing, he turned back to see her blue eyes glimmering with hope and a hint of desperation.
“No, ma’am. I’m afraid not,” the attendant said in a thick southern accent. André didn’t like the way the man behind the counter ogled Juliette. Didn’t like it one little bit. But he pushed the feeling aside and picked up his briefcase.
One by one the counters closed.
“I can take you wherever you need to go, cheri.” The words were out of his mouth before he could stop them. Inwardly, he grimaced.
Juliette turned toward the dreamy masculine voice. Deep, gravelly, she’d know it anywhere. That same voice had starred in all of her fantasies from the time she’d understood the attraction between men and women. Seductive words whispered in her ears as a young woman had caused her to lose her heart to its owner centuries before.
But that was a long time ago. She pulled her shoulders back and sucked in her stomach. Then she turned slowly, telling herself she would not cave in to him again. She would not forget what he’d done to her brother. She would not forgive him.
So she said the only thing guaranteed to put emotional space between them. “Aren’t you on the wrong side of the river, swamp rat?”
He didn’t so much as flinch at her words. What the hell was he doing here? And why did she feel the overwhelming urge to step into his arms and hug him?
Ah hell. This wasn’t what she’d expected when she came back from France. For starters, she’d expected to be able to rent a car. She shot the dweeb behind the counter a barely contained look of disdain. Not that it was his fault but she needed to get out of here, get to her family’s estate, and it seemed like all the cars in the city had been rented.
Taking a deep steadying breath, she stepped toward the last rental counter. The one André Deveraux stood in front of…looking hotter than holy sin. The expensive looking suit hugged his body to perfection, showed off those broad shoulders and trim waist. The crisp black fabric only added appeal to his tanned skin and silky black hair. Heaven help her, he looked good enough to eat. The epitome of tall, dark, and dangerously handsome. He made her tail twitch. Always had. She was terrified he always would.
“And you, mademoiselle,” she said to the blonde clerk who eyed André like a piece of chocolate. “Do you have any cars available?” Juliette cocked her head and prayed that the other woman’s answer would be yes.
“I’m sorry, ma’am. Mr. Deveraux reserved our last one.” Juliette didn’t miss the way the little southern tramp’s blue eyes lit up when she said Mr. Deveraux. Not that Juliette could blame her really. She’d fallen into the trap of his dynamite sensuality. That knowledge just pissed her off more.
Her temperature rose another degree and she resisted the urge to fan herself. Had she only been away a year? Surely it hadn’t long enough for her body to lose all acclimation to the climate. How did this place stay so hot and humid without melting right off the face of the planet?
She cut a glance at the big man a few short feet away. So close she’d be able to touch him if she stretched her arm out. The corner of that handsome mouth pulled up a quarter of a centimeter. Her breathing grew shallow. Dieu, he was handsome. Male perfection.
Chill, Julie. Just chill. Don’t let him know how much he affects you.
She adjusted the strap of her purse over her shoulder. “So, why are you here?” Truth be told, he was the last person she’d expected to come face to face with. This was only meant to be a short trip. Just long enough to sell the estate, tie up loose ends, and say goodbye to her past.
Which sounded like she had a plan for the future. If only that were true.
“Business meeting,” those kiss-me lips said.
“Ah.” He was taller than she remembered. She was tall for a woman and her heels gave her another three inches. But he…he towered over her. Broad, hard, muscular in all the right places. The top button of his crisp white shirt hung open revealing a sexy V of tanned skin. She’d kissed that very spot dozens of times.
“About dat ride—” he began but she cut him off with a shake of her head. She couldn’t accept a ride from him, no matter how much her heart begged her to do exactly that. André Deveraux was and would always be off limits. Her family may no longer be alive to keep up the feud, but they’d roll in their graves if they knew she’d gotten back together with the man who’d murdered her brother.
And getting into a car with him would surely be the first step to getting back together because where André was concerned, she had less than zero willpower.
No. Better to not even tempt herself.
Who was she kidding? She was already tempted.
“No thanks. I wouldn’t want to keep you from your meeting.” And she couldn’t take the chance that she’d either coldcock him or kiss him. The best thing to do was walk away.
So she did. Turned on her sexy little Donna Karan stilettos and started down the concourse.
“Uh, the exit is the other way,” André said, his voice lifting over the flurry of passengers.
Juliette stopped. Of all the times to look like a complete imbecile. She bit back a choice word and turned toward him again. But he was already striding down the corridor. She didn’t miss how all the women turned to watch him go by.
Damn the man. And what he did to her insides.
* * * * *
André put the key in the ignition and turned it to the right. The big SUV revved to life. He sat there for a moment looking out at the gray sky and drizzle of rain. Why was she here? Of all the times to run into her, why now? He smacked the steering wheel and closed his eyes.
The image of her long smooth legs filled his mind. He didn’t have to reach far into his memory to remember all the times those gorgeous lean limbs had wrapped around his hips, locked behind his back as they’d thrust together, driving against each other toward the ultimate bliss, a completion he’d never found with anyone else.
He jerked the stick into reverse, checked the mirrors and backed out of the space. If he knew what was good for him, he’d leave her and her fine ass on the side of the road and head home.
Where is home exactly? that niggling little voice in the back of his mind asked. He ignored it and shifted to drive.
“Swamp rat,” he snarled and headed for the parking lot exit. If he was a swamp rat, so was she.
André nodded to the gatekeeper and stopped again before pulling onto the road. He turned the radio on and gazed out at the street. Packed with cars, the scene reminded him of Noah and the flood and all the animals lining up to get on the arc. As far as the eye could see, harried looking passengers, eager cab drivers, and anxious rental car drivers were heading for the hills. How long would it take to get home?
Or get a cab, that voice whispered, obviously on Juliette’s side. Right toward safety or left toward her.
Right. Left. Right. Left. Thunder shook the windows and the sky opened up. He took a deep breath.
“Into da frying pan.”
Still calling himself an idiot, André pulled up to the curb and put the SUV in park. Rain pounded the windshield. The wipers, going full blast, barely shed enough water to make the single line of taxis lined up in front of him visible. Passengers scurried to stow their luggage and duck inside. One by one the cars pulled away.
“Hurricane Love has really picked up speed and strength in the last twelve hours.” The pleasant voice came through the vehicle’s speakers. There was an underlying tension in the announcer’s tone, one that André himself felt. “She’s strengthened from a category two storm to a category four. Much of the east coast is under a hurricane watch and areas from the Florida-Georgia line are currently under full voluntary evacuation. Low-lying areas are already experiencing high water and we’ve recorded almost an inch of rain here in Savannah. We expect officials to call for a mandatory evacuation within the hour if the storm doesn’t change course.”
Yep. It was time to get outta Dodge.
Under a thin overhang stood the woman who’d captured his heart so long ago. Several dark brown bags sat at her feet and she glanced at the sleek watch on her wrist.
He lowered the window and called to her. “Get in.”
She focused on him immediately and shook her head just as quickly. “No, thank you.” Her voice carried over the steady rhythm of rain drops on the roof.
“Come on, Juliette. You’re gonna get soaked.”
Her eyes widened slightly. Most people wouldn’t have even noticed, but the wolf in him picked up the slightest details. Details that often meant dinner or going hungry. Too late he realized his words had a double meaning. A phrase and a meaning he’d used with her in the past. She stayed frozen to the spot.
Letting out a frustrated sigh, he pressed the button to open the cargo door and another to lower the back seats. Then he hopped out and strode over to her, ignoring the water pelting his dress shirt.
“Don’t order me around, wolf,” she said quietly, her words laced with steely determination. That was new. Not that she’d ever cowered before, but in the past she had been softer, more agreeable. Stubborn yes, but she’d also deferred to him as any good bitch would do.
The problem was she’d deferred to her family’s wishes more. That particular memory brought much pain and anger to the surface but he pushed the emotions away and focused on her.
“Just get in the damn car.” He picked up the nearest bag and reached for another. A small fist came out of nowhere and slammed against his jaw. His head cracked back at the impact.
André grabbed her wrist before she could pull it back. In a stealthy move, he dropped the bag and wrapped his other hand around her throat. She was so small, almost frail in his grasp. Her creamy skin stood out in stark contrast to his darker tan. For the first time, he noticed the dark circles under her eyes, eyes wide with shock.
“Bad move, shewolf,” he murmured the instant before he pulled her flush against him. Her soft womanly curves gave against his harder frame, and her delicate floral scent swirled around him. A startled gasp left her lips. He saw the shock warring with longing in her eyes as he dipped his head and claimed the ruby lips that still haunted his dreams.
The passion that had always flared white hot between them raged anew. He’d never met anyone who made him lose his cool like Juliette did. No one had ever ignited his desire, threatened every last thread of control the way she did.
He loved and hated the way she pushed his resolve to the breaking point. When he’d been young and foolish he’d tried to believe that he could hold back. God knew he’d tried. But it was impossible to stay away from Juliette. And once she was this close, when the hot, powerful attraction settled around him like a heavy fog…he was a goner.
She leaned against him now, that same hand that had struck him moments ago steadied her against his chest. Her lips were soft and yielding beneath his; he teased them with his tongue. She tasted of chocolate and wine. Rich, warm, tempting. Oh yes, he could drown in her and die a happy werewolf.
She’d always been like this. Fiery hot one second and sweet and supple the next. She did crazy things to his mind…and his cock.
André loosened his hold on her throat and let his hand slide into the silky strands of her hair to cup the back of her head. She moaned against his lips, and he swallowed the sound. In the back of his mind warning bells were sounding the alarm. Sex had never been the problem for them. Chemistry they had by the bucket.
It was loyalty. Her loyalty had never been to him.
And loyalty was more important than anything to him.
Before he completely lost his mind, he pulled back slowly. Where he found the strength he didn’t know, but somewhere over the years he’d learned to control his baser urges. He was pleased that his cock was no longer the boss. Neither was the beast he kept leashed just beneath the surface. The werewolf and his human side were constantly at war. And though he leaned back just enough to put an inch between them, just enough to remind his were who was in charge, he couldn’t stop himself from staring at her mouth. Nor could he stop his smile when he saw how swollen those satiny smooth lips were.
Who would have thought it? A boring business meeting on the east coast was suddenly looking up. His cock jerked against the thin material of his boxers. Things were definitely looking up.
“Let me go.” But just as quickly as he’d gotten his hopes up, he was reminded of why they weren’t together, why he’d spent years trying to forget this woman, to stop wanting her.
She pushed against his chest and he did as she asked, though he suddenly felt empty. She wasn’t here because of him. It was all a coincidence, bad timing. When would he figure out that he could never have her all to himself? When would he remember that her loyalty was to her family? When would he get it through his thick skull that she was a Vassar and Vassars were not to be trusted?
He stepped back and gave her a long sweeping look. Trust or not, he couldn’t leave her here. Who knew how long it would take her to get a taxi? Quickly, he gathered her bags and shoved them into the cargo area of the SUV.
“Give those back,” Juliette ordered, her fiery side roaring back to life. He heard her foot stomp against the pavement. “André!”
“So you do remember my name. What was it you called me before? Swamp rat, cheri?” He gave her a dark look.
She stepped out from under the cover and the rain made quick work drenching her hair and clothes. She’d never looked more beautiful. Young. Fresh. Her lips were full from his kiss, and her blue eyes flashed with fire. Sexy as pure sin.
Unable to help himself, he mentally removed her clothes, turned the frown that marred her pretty face into an alluring smile meant just for him. Damn. He was up shit creek without a paddle. He had to snap out of it and fast.
He’d drop her off wherever she needed to go and then he’d resume his to-do list. Drive home. No. Drive to Louisiana. Finish the buy-out. Collect his money and get on with his life. Traveling. Maybe Antarctica would be cold enough to cool his libido.
“Give me my bags, André,” she said in a superior tone of voice that grated on his nerves. A long slender hand with perfectly polished nails clasped over her hip and she leaned into it. “I’ll get a taxi.”
“You’ll do nothing of the sort.” Though that would be so much easier, so much safer for his sanity and the beast that snarled, demanding release.
“You can’t make me—”
Such childish quibbles. When would she learn? He was bigger, stronger, and far more determined.
When he made no move to follow her orders, she stepped toward the pile of luggage, reaching for one of the leather handles.
“You should have just gotten into the damn car,” he growled as he wrapped an arm around her waist, the other under her knees and lifted her.