Wolf Ranch, Book Four

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Kourtney wasn’t sure what to expect when she showed up unannounced at the Kelmount ranch. She knew that her surprise would be a shock to the whole family, but she had no idea how Logan would react. After all, they had only shared a brief fling last year that left her with more than just memories. A baby girl.

Now she was back, with their daughter in tow, and she needed his help. She is being pursued by a fellow witch who wants her child because of her unique heritage, and she the protection of Emma’s pack.

Logan is stunned to see her again, but he quickly steps up to defend his family. As they worked together to keep their daughter safe, Logan starts to realize that he has found his true mate.

Suspense builds as the dark witch closes in on Kourtney and Emma. Will Logan be able to protect them?

Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

Kortney Daniels blew out her breath as she turned into the driveway leading up to the ranch. This was it, no turning back.  

She slowed the black Honda Pilot she was driving so she could catch a glimpse of the house. Her eyes widened in appreciation of the building before her. It speared up, three stories of silvered cedar, and sprawled out in a way that said home and family. The house looked warm and inviting and intimidating all at once.  

“Wow,” came a muttered voice from the backseat. Kourtney grinned. Once again, she and Emma were in tune. Kourtney cast a quick look behind her shoulder and her heart melted as it always did when her eyes landed on her fifteen-month-old daughter.   

Emma’s eyes were opened wide, the bold, blue irises a pop of color against the pale hue of her skin. Kourtney could see herself in the wild-roses-and-cream complexion and almost delicate facial features, and it always warmed her soul to know that.  

But for now, there were other, more important things to think about. People to see. Confessions to make.   

Stomach churning, Kourtney faced forward again and inched closer to the Kelmount ranch house, hoping she wasn’t about to be thrown out. She took another bracing breath before putting the Honda Pilot in park and killing the engine. With shaking hands, she unbuckled Emma from her car seat, grabbed what she referred to as her ‘mommy and me’ bag, and then hefted Emma into her arms.  

Slowly, she climbed up the steps and then knocked on the door. She looked into Emma’s blue eyes and murmured, “Here we go, baby girl.”  

Emma gurgled and clapped her hands as the door opened.  

“Well, for God’s sake! Kourtney Daniels, get on in here and give me a hug!” Martha Kelmount’s smile was as bright as Emma’s, and her arms were instantly open. Tears stung Kourtney’s eyes at the immediate welcome.   

With a trembling smile, Kourtney said, “We decided it was time to drop by for a visit. This is Emma.”  

Martha’s lips pursed as she took in the baby girl. Kourtney knew the sharp gaze assessed everything about her daughter, from the unmistakable blue eyes to the thick, auburn hair holding dark-blonde highlights to the little feet shod in tiny tennis shoes.  

Then Martha nodded slowly. “Yes, I’d say it’s time. Bailey!” Her voice carried. “Are you coming in here to say hello to Kourtney?”  

“I’m coming, Ma! I had to get your cakes out of the oven before they burned. Kourtney, oh, Kourtney!” Bailey bounded into the room, arms outstretched, hair bundled into a messy bun. “Look at you! Oh—oh.” She came to a sudden stop, her eyes travelling from Kourtney to Emma to her mother and back again. “Well. All right, then. It’s good to see both of you.”  

Without another word, Bailey enfolded Kourtney and Emma into her arms, swaying them together in a warm hug.  

Kourtney felt relief wash over her. They weren’t going to kick her out. At least not yet.   

“I know I didn’t call,” she apologized as they moved from the foyer to the living room. “I started to, at least a dozen times. But I always chickened out.” She settled Emma on the carpet in front of a sofa and pulled out a couple of her favorite toys. As Emma happily banged away, Kourtney sat back and offered a weak smile. “As you can see, I’ve been busy. Tell me what’s been going on with you all. I’ve heard bits and pieces.”  

“Oh.” Bailey laughed as two other women entered the room, both of them carrying trays. “There’s so much to catch up on. This is Erika, Sawyer’s wife.” She indicated a beautiful woman with long, blonde hair. “And this is Carson’s wife, Grace.” 

Kourtney returned both women’s friendly nods as they placed their trays on the coffee table and joined Martha on the sofa. “I’d heard they’d gotten married. It’s so lovely to meet you both.” She exchanged a quick handshake with both women, then sat back as Erika poured coffee for everyone. “Just a dollop of cream for me,” she said at Erika’s raised eyebrow. 

Grace passed around small plates of molasses cookies and looked down at Emma. “Is she allowed?” 

“Yes, of course.” Kourtney pulled a sip cup of juice out of the bag and placed it next to Emma on the floor. The little girl took the offered cookie from Grace with a grin of delight, and bit into it. Kourtney smiled at her baby before shifting her attention back to the Kelmounts. 

Before she could say anything, Sawyer wandered into the room. His smile widened when he spotted Kourtney, and he moved closer to her. “Hey, there, stranger! I was wondering who came to visit.” He spotted Emma on the floor, cookie crumbs on her face, and went still. His dark-blue eyes widened, then narrowed as he studied the child. 

His nostrils flared and his mouth tightened. Sawyer glanced over at Martha. “Mom?” 

Martha nodded. “I know, son. It’s all right.” 

Kourtney shifted, her face heating at the accusing stare Sawyer gave her, and Martha’s quiet, accepting smile. “I came here to talk to you all. To talk to Logan.” 

Emma stood, and Bailey swooped in to grab her up. Emma let out a delighted gurgle of laughter as she was danced around the room. 

“Look at you,” Bailey all but cooed. “Such a pretty, smart little girl. You got cookie breath, girlfriend.” Bailey looked at Kourtney and gave her a once over. “You look tired, Kourtney.” 

Kourtney sipped at her coffee and sighed. “I am tired,” she admitted. “We drove pretty much straight through, only stopping for gas and food. I just needed to get here.” 

“Does Logan know?” Sawyer questioned. 

Kourtney hesitated then shook her head. “No. That’s why I’m here. To tell him.” 

“He’s not here,” Martha volunteered. “He and Carson went to Ennis to pick up those cows from Harvey Gowen. But they should be back later this evening.” 

Kourtney felt her face fall and her courage waver. Before she could say anything, Bailey spoke again. “It’s fine. Why don’t you go on upstairs and get some rest? I’ve got Emma, and we’re going to have so much fun together. Aren’t we?” She gave Emma a little toss in the air and laughed when Emma giggled. 

“Are you sure?”  

“Absolutely. Sawyer, go get their bags out of their car and take them to one of the guest rooms.” 

Without a word, Sawyer turned on his heel and left the room. It took him less than two minutes to come back in with the two duffle bags and a rolling suitcase. He started up the stairs, and Kourtney bit her lip. 

“Don’t worry about Sawyer,” Martha said gently. “Just go get some rest.” 

Kourtney nodded and leaned over to give Emma a nuzzle. “Be good, okay? I love you.” 

“Bye, Mama! Bye!” Unconcerned, Emma waved a chubby hand at her mother and went back to her newfound friend. Knowing her daughter would be well looked after, Kourtney followed Sawyer up the stairs and into a spacious bedroom. He gave her a curt nod and walked out, and Kourtney closed the door after him. 

Turning around, she inspected the room. The pale greens and watery golds of the bed comforter were echoed in the curtains and walls. A soft carpet in muted shades of blue and rose spread over the hardwood floor and the colors were carried through to the warm-looking throw blanket tucked over the arm of a blue loveseat placed by a window. 

It was comforting and inviting, and suddenly Kourtney felt exhaustion sweep through her. She dug into a duffle bag and found a pair of pajamas, then made her way into the adjoining bathroom. Here, the tones of blue and rose reigned again in the navy towels and warm, rose-colored shower curtain and throw rugs. Clear-glass jars of various shapes and sizes held bath salts and cotton balls; lotions and creams and oils. Sniffing them all, Kourtney settled for one that had notes of honey and vanilla, then turned the shower on to its hottest setting. She clipped her hair up so it wouldn’t get wet, stepped under the spray, and let the water beat at the fatigue.  

She soaped up her body, enjoying the luxurious lather and scent, then watched as the suds swirled away down the drain. Then she turned off the water, wrapped a large bath sheet around her, and toweled her body dry. After creaming her skin with the matching lotion, she moisturized her face, brushed out her long hair, and tugged on the comfortable red-plaid sleep pants and red t-shirt.  

Finally, she moved to the bed, set her alarm for a two-hour nap, and crawled under the covers. She was asleep before her head hit the pillow.