Snow ridge shifters bundled set books 1-2 (ebook)
Snow ridge shifters bundled set books 1-2 (ebook)
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Welcome to Snow Ridge Colorado!
These fun novellas are quick easy reads for a busy schedules.
This bundle includes both books from the Snow Ridge Shifters Series:
- Second Chance on Snow Ridge
- A Fake Fiancé on Snow Ridge
- Second chance romance
- Small town romance
- There's a cow!
- Rejected mate
- Forbidden romance
If it wasn’t for a cow named Mistletoe, they never would’ve met, and this never would’ve happened.
Riko Silvano came barreling back into Addison’s life the same way he’d left it, with zero warning and shrouded in secrets. But it didn’t matter. She didn’t need him. She had a good life in the small town where they’d grown up. A life that Riko f-ing Silvano had wanted no part of. He’d broken her heart, and it had never quite mended back together. But now he was back, looking way better in his thirties than he ever had in high school…
Twenty years ago, Riko couldn’t get out of this suffocating town fast enough. But not for the reasons people think. He’d left to protect her—Addison Conley. The girl who’d had his poor heart squeezed tight in her fist since the first time he’d seen her, and he’d sworn he’d never come back. See, he was a shifter. And Addison, well, she wasn’t. Back in his younger days, he’d happily rebelled against the pack laws that said they couldn’t be together, but now that he was older and wiser…
Yeah, nope. He still couldn’t stay away from her. No matter how hard he tried. But it’ll take a lot more than the magic of the holiday season—and an old cow—to convince Addison to give Riko a second chance to win back his first, and only, love.
It’ll take a damn miracle.
Click here for a chapter 1 sneak peek
Click here for a chapter 1 sneak peek
Of all the possible ways Riko thought this little adventure would end, one thing he hadn’t ever considered was that he’d end up ass-over-elbow in a snare trap, swinging back and forth from a tree branch like an old man’s ball sack.
Not five minutes ago, he’d left his truck on the side of the road, wanting to walk a little and breathe the crisp air as he followed the centerline of the road that led into Fairplay, Colorado. A place he’d once thought of as home.
The sun was barely peeking over the horizon, but he’d already been driving for hours, trying to get a leg up on the snowstorm he could smell in the air. Up until today, it had been unusually warm in the mountains for this far into the winter, but otherwise, the place hadn’t changed a bit in all the years he’d been gone.
And it still smelled like cow shit, just as he remembered it, even though there were no cows left. They’d all been wiped out, thanks to human greed and a raging virus that roared through factory farms one by one, taking down every animal in its path. Most people wouldn’t associate the odor of manure to a place this close to a high-dollar ski resort—Breckenridge was just twenty-six miles north of the ranch—but Colorado was actually known for its cattle.
Or, at least, it had been.
Something crashed through the trees to his right and he froze. Reaching up over his shoulder, he pulled his weapon of choice from the homemade holder he’d made—mostly just some pieces of worn leather he’d pieced together—and hefted it in his right hand. The weapon was an Estwing E45A axe. He liked it because it had a long handle and a little more weight, it was forged all in one piece, and he could really get a lot of momentum behind his swing.
Muscles tense and ready, he waited for whatever it was to reveal itself. It sure was making a hell of a lot of noise. Maybe it was a bear. Or a moose. Too much for a shifter. Even an entire pack wouldn’t come crashing through the trees like that.
Unless they wanted him to hear them.
Riko cursed himself for not taking the time to shift before he’d started out this morning from his camp. He’d known he was taking a chance entering this territory in his human form, but to be honest, he really didn’t think anyone would be up and around this early. And if they were, and he happened to run across anyone, he’d assumed they might actually take the time to say good morning, maybe offer him a cup of coffee, and find out who the hell he was before they showed him why it had been a foolhardy idea to come back to this part of the country. Hell, if he was lucky, they might even give him a minute to explain why he hadn’t been left with much of a choice.
Branches cracked and swayed just a few feet into the underbrush, and after a quick glance over his shoulder to make sure nothing had snuck up behind him, Riko backed up a few steps and did a few practice swings, loosening up his shoulder. Then he waited.
The low-hanging branches rustled, a few leaves shaking loose and falling to the ground. A second later, a large black nose poked through the mettle of branches right about at chest level. The thing in the bushes snuffed out a phlegm-filled huff of air, and with one good heave, pushed its way through, exposing a dirty, white face and thick, brown hide. It burst out onto the road right in front of Riko, hooves click-clacking on the pavement as it caught its balance and righted itself.
They both froze. Riko couldn’t possibly be seeing what he thought he was seeing. There were no more cows left on any of the ranches. Not anywhere in the whole country. Maybe the whole world.
Except, apparently, this one.
His mouth began to water. As if the creature knew what he was about, it bellowed a deep warning moo, turned, and took off down the road, tail standing straight up and waving like a flag. Shaking off the shock factor, Riko took off after it, axe at the ready. There was no way in hell he was letting this meal get away. An animal that size would feed him for the next six months, maybe more, if he could find a good-sized freezer, or at least some salt to preserve the meat.
The bovine ran about thirty yards, then veered sharply to the right and entered an overgrown field.
Arms pumping, thighs burning, and his pack of supplies thumping hard against his back, Riko chased after it. The fucking thing was a lot faster than it looked. Who knew that an animal that spent most of its time wandering around chewing on regurgitated grass while staring dreamily into space could run like its life depended on it?
Which it did.
The toe of his boot caught in a tangle of long grass and Riko stumbled but didn’t fall. Hacking at the offensive stuff with his axe, he ripped his foot out of the mess, watching as the cow got farther and farther away from him.
With a quick look around, he took off running again, this time heading toward the copse of trees on his right. He recognized this field from his days as a kid, and if he wasn’t mistaken, he’d be able to cut off the cow on the other side and claim his meal, as long as it kept following the obvious path through the fields. His cousins used to fall for it every time.
Childish laughter echoed through Riko’s head, long lost remnants of another time. Another life. He shook his skull hard, chasing away the memories. There was no going back to that life, and he’d damned well better remember that while he was here. As soon as his father was buried and a new alpha was chosen, he was getting the hell out of there. This was not his home anymore.
Refocusing, Riko ducked and weaved through the trees, avoiding low-hanging branches and leaping over rocks and other debris like a champion obstacle racer. Sweat beaded on his brow, and he shook it away before it could drip into his eyes and blind him. Just ahead, he saw the break in the trees he was looking for, and the field just beyond that.
And his fucking steak dinner.
The damn cow was still moving, though it had slowed down to a nervous trot. Every few seconds, it would swing its large head around, looking for him. But the thing was smart. It didn’t assume the coast was clear and it could go back to grazing. It just didn’t know where the threat was. But it knew was still there.
Riko slowed down just a bit and crept up to the edge of the tree line, his eye on his meal. He checked his grip on the axe, swapping hands and wiping his palms on his jean clad thighs. One slip, and the cow would be off again. His stomach protested the thought—loudly—and he wrapped his free arm around his waist, as though he could tamp down the hunger pangs with nothing but willpower.
Completely focused on the animal, who had finally slowed to a meandering walk, Riko crept forward, stepping heel to toe in order to make as little noise as possible. He kept his breaths shallow, forced his heartbeat to slow, and took his time. If he fucked this up, he’d be eating rabbit again tonight.
It occurred to him that it would be somewhat of a challenge to transport an entire cow the rest of his journey with only the pack on his back, but he’d figure something out.
A branch snapped under his foot, and Riko froze, his eyes on his prize. The cow froze, also. The ear closest to Riko pivoted like a radio antenna trying to catch a signal, and then a nervous shudder started near its head and worked its way all the way down to its tail, which gave a sharp swish.
Riko waited a few seconds, his heart pounding so loud he wondered how those big ears didn’t hear it. Carefully, he slid one foot forward a few inches and took a step. Then two. Three. He lifted the axe, each finger lifting and re-gripping the handle again.
And suddenly, the world went topsy-turvy. A hoarse shout escaped his lungs as the ground disappeared and cold air rushed past his face as Riko was flung straight up in the air a good twenty feet. He paused, suspended in space for a second like a cartoon animation, before gravity took hold and down he went, dropping like a rock. Three seconds later, he came to an abrupt halt, coarse rope criss-crossing his body and biting into his arms, legs, and ass as he swung lazily back and forth in the air. Luckily, his supply pack protected his back.
It wasn’t a freak tornado that had grabbed him up. It was a fucking booby trap. Homemade, from the looks of the net, but effective, nevertheless, as Riko had found out.
“Son of a bitch!” he shouted at the top of his lungs to any and all who were listening. And then remembering where he was, he dropped his voice and cursed some more, choosing a colorful array of words that would’ve sent his mother—bless her soul—running for the soap.
Riko struggled to twist his body around, finally managing to get his face between two of the ropes and watched—his stomach clenched—as the cow ran off willy-nilly through the fields.
“Fuck!” He twisted back around and pounded his fists against his thighs. “Fuck, fuck, FUCK!” Suddenly, it occurred to him—he didn’t have his axe. Leaning forward, he spread his thighs and searched the ground beneath him.
There it was. A glint of steel lying amongst the leaves and twigs that had hid the trap he dangled in.
But Riko hadn’t survived this long by depending only on his axe, although it was his favorite. As shifting wasn’t an option in this position—these were brand new jeans he was wearing—he pulled his right pant leg up, exposed the top of his old combat boot, and dug around for the small blade he’d shoved down inside before he’d set out that morning. Not wasting any time thinking about how much gravity was going to hurt, he set to work on the ropes.
“Wrecking my teenage years wasn’t enough for you, so now you’re back to fuck up my trap?”
A sweet scent assailed him. A familiar scent. One that brought back a world of memories he’d just as soon forget. As the net spun in a slow circle, Riko stopped cutting and twisted his torso around, craning his neck to see.
A girl stood below him. No, not a girl. She wasn’t a girl at all anymore, but a woman who had grown into her own skin, with all of the curves and swagger that had been lacking all those years ago. Her dark hair was pulled back from her face, showing off high cheekbones, and soft, wispy hairs curled around her neck.
“Addison?” He tried and failed to keep the shock and relief out of his voice. “Addison Conley? What the hell are you doing out here alone in the middle of the woods?”
She tipped her head to the side and regarded him with narrowed, hazel eyes. “Well, I was hoping to catch something for dinner,” she said dryly. “But then you stumbled into the trap it took me all day to make.” She sighed dramatically.
“You set up this trap?”
“Why do you sound so surprised?”
“I’m just...surprised is all.” Riko shoved his knife back down into his boot. “Let me down from here, will you?”
She bent down and picked up his axe, testing its weight in both hands before she shoved it into the canvas bag she had slung across her body. “No. I don’t think so.”
“No?” Riko spoke more to himself than to her. Maybe it was the incessant noise his stomach was making that had blocked his hearing. “What the hell do you mean, ‘no’?” he shouted.
“I mean, you’re a pig. And an ass. And I’m leaving you up there to contemplate the lives you’ve ruined.” She started walking away, stopped, and turned back to him. “Think of it this way. At least if any hunters wander by, they won’t shoot you on sight since you’re already in the net and all.” She smiled. “See? I’ve already done you more favors than you ever did for me. You’re welcome.” Then she turned on her heel and walked away.
Riko scoffed, not quite believing she was just going to leave him there. He’d come all this way. Risked his fucking life. There was no way she would leave him hanging like this.
She wouldn’t do it.
The rope creaked in the cold as he spun in a slow circle, his head turning first one way and then the other as he watched her walk away.
With his favorite axe.
Well, hell. She was leaving him there. Pulling out his knife again, he went back to work on the rope. He would fix her damn net later. She wouldn’t even need the fucking thing if she hadn’t fucked up his cow hunting. “Nice fucking hello,” he mumbled. “She could at least pretend she was glad to fucking see me.” His gut ached, but it was only from a lack of food, not because the female he’d never gotten completely out of his head had, quite literally, just left him hanging.
He sawed at the ropes until there was a big enough hole for his body to fit through. With one eye on the curvy figure of Addison growing smaller and smaller in the distance, he shoved the knife back into his boot. Maneuvering onto his hands and knees—no easy task, mind you—he pulled the net beneath him forward, slowly making his way to the hole he’d created. Hanging on tight, he twisted and bent his body in half, coming out ass first until his feet broke free and he was swinging by his fingertips fifteen feet off the ground. With a soft curse, he let go and dropped. He hit hard and rolled, somehow managing not to twist an ankle or break a wrist. Either injury would heal quickly, but it would still hurt.
Running his hands through his hair to get it out of his eyes, he adjusted his pack and set out after her. He didn’t bother wasting energy by running. He could still see her through the tall grass.
Besides, he knew where she was going.
As he followed her down the old worn path, he wondered why the hell a human woman as gorgeous as Addison was still in this town. Was she married? Was that it? Had she settled down with one of the ranchers? Maybe had a few kids? Did she get into bed every night with a guy who was more interested in the TV than the piece of perfection lying next to him?
A low growl rumbled through Riko’s chest at the thought of her in bed with another male. He didn’t like it.
However, he had no say in who that woman slept with every night or what she did in any other part of her life, and he never would. Addison wasn’t a shifter. And that meant she was off limits. Back in high school he didn’t give two fucks about that. His only concern was getting his dick wet. But they weren’t teenagers anymore, and actions had consequences now.
Something he would do well to remember.
Riko sighed as she headed straight toward town, such as it was. He would bet good money not a damn thing had changed since he’d taken off at the ripe old age of seventeen, with nothing but the clothes on his back, an attitude, and a resolution that he would find a new pack and never come back to this place.
And yet, somehow, when he’d gotten the news that the alpha had passed on, he’d found himself traveling north. The place where he’d been born and raised until he’d found the quickest way to get the hell out of there.
Population before he’d left? Probably exactly the same as it was now. A town where everyone knew everyone, along with their parents and grandparents and distant cousins, and gossip traveled faster than the speed of light. Hell, a guy couldn’t take a piss in the woods without the whole goddamn town knowing about it five seconds later. Humans and shifters alike.
Riko stayed within the trees and watched as Addison entered the outskirts of Fairplay’s “historic” downtown. The stretch of buildings had always reminded Riko of a movie set from the Old West. A bunch of rough and ramble shacks with façade store fronts.
Just like the people who lived there.
He kept his ears open and his eyes on the seductive sway of Addison’s hips as she strolled down the middle of the empty street.
Maybe later he’d go back out and look for that cow.