Releasing at ARe exclusively on October 1st, you'll also be able to find this gem on other etailers sometime after the 10th. I'll be sure to post updates, in the meanwhile. Would you like a sneak peek at Giovanni and Murphy's first meeting?
Seven Hills Centurion, Giovanni Conti balanced the she-wolf with care and no small amount of interest. Though Salvatore declared the airport neutral territory for travelers, Giovanni caught her scent the moment he cleared security. With time to spare before his flight, he entertained himself by tracking her. As long as she remained within the airport, no one from Seven Hills would accost her.
She moved like a wolf on the hunt, striding with purpose cutting in and out of people, avoiding them with a smooth expertise he admired. When she ducked into the shop for a sandwich and a beverage, he’d grimaced. The call with her mother said she wasn’t planning to leave the airport. He didn’t have to keep following. Still, the length of her silky brown hair, honey bronzed skin and pale, pale hazel eyes captivated his imagination.
Inserting himself into her path to answer his curiosity, he hadn’t expected her to slam into him. More concerned she’d bruised herself, he caught her before she stumbled. The low-heeled pumps she wore were sensible for a meeting, not for striding through an airport. Shock with ripples of wariness and more than a dab of desire filled his nostrils.
Oh, she likes what she sees. Pleasure speared him. Women were so delightful. They came in all shapes and sizes. Some were confident, some were shy. They used laughter and jokes to set those around them at ease or they relied on their keen intelligence to snare interested males. He loved them all.
“Buon pomeriggio.” He gave her a moment to be certain of her balance before releasing her. “And my apologies for blocking your path.”
“Buon pomeriggio,” her swift reply in his native tongue tickled him. “Please, accept my apologies for colliding with you. I’m usually better about maintaining my personal space.” Though her tone was light, tension wound through her voice and she didn’t attempt to hold his gaze.
Relaxing his stance, he adopted an air of soothing. Most wolves within Seven Hills were less dominant than he and the other Centurions. Serving Salvatore, the Alpha of Seven Hills, and by extension his mate, was a privilege he and his brother wolves enjoyed. From gentle reminders to rebellious wolves to take downs of wolves gone wild to acting as spymasters and information gatherers, no task was too great or too small for him.
“Mi perdoni, cara,” he used the endearment to encourage familiarity, then resumed the courtesy of her language. “I stepped into your path to say hello. So it was my fault, not yours.”
“Thank you,” she surprised him by not making her own excuse or defusing his apology. So many of the Americans he met, wolf or otherwise, turned out to be apologists. She shifted her carry on bag and not so surreptitiously glanced at her watch.
“May I escort you to your gate? Or perhaps to a café? We have one or two.” All of which served better food than the sandwich she’d purchased.
“Lovely offer.” She recovered enough to smile as she spoke, but she adjusted her grip on her bag nonetheless. “I don’t want to miss my flight or overstay my welcome. Turning into Edward Snowden isn’t my idea of a good time.”
Though familiar with the name, he didn’t catch the reference. At his frown, she laughed and it chased some of the nervousness from her voice.
“The being stuck in Russia with no passport part, not the leaking state secrets part.” The explanation helped, but he didn’t see her in the same vulnerable position. Nothing in her scent said deceit. Her smile faded. “Diplomatic humor, sorry. It was nice to meet you.”
When she withdrew a step as though to circle him, he pivoted and fell into step with her. “You haven’t actually met me, cara.”
“I’m batting a thousand today,” she groaned, then juggled her items to offer her hand. “Murphy DeWitt.”
Accepting her hand, he lifted it to his lips. Grazing her knuckles with a kiss, he inhaled deeply of her scent. Eucalyptus and mint layered beneath soft pear and sage, offered him a deep breath of a bright, clean exotic morning. Savoring the tingling taste on his tongue, he enjoyed the catch in her breath and the leap of her pulse. All of the above were far preferable to her discomfort and wariness.
“Ciao, cara, I am Giovanni Conti,” he pitched his voice low, trusting her hearing even amidst all the background chaos of the airport terminal. “Centurion of Seven Hills.”