Things are going downhill. Like in a biblical sense, right down the damn hill. Or more like a mountain.
Fuck, fuck, fuck.
I land with a sore body with my foot lodged into a place I can’t easily get out of.
What’s happening here? I fight to get my foot out of the hole. This hole obviously wasn’t made by an animal. This is clearly man-made—someone made this trap. Sharp barbed-wire cuts into my skin, every movement becoming more painful.
How the hell did I find myself in this position? I’m gonna die here. On a mountain where no one will look for me. With my luck, I’ll probably be eaten by a bear.
I’m so frustrated. And beyond humiliated.
My boss said this would be an easy job. Just go, knock on his door and make the infamous Preston Wolfe sign the contract they sent to him yesterday via email. I currently have a printed copy of said contract sitting in my satchel.
My plan was simple.
My boss, Mr. McCain, said Mr. Wolfe was a prick but he also said that Wolfe isn’t capable of resisting a good pair of legs, such as mine. He suggested that I wear a miniskirt to sweeten the deal, to ensure he signs. I had no intentions of failing during my first week at my new job, so I took his suggestion and dressed the part. But nothing is going as planned.
First, my stupid car broke down, and I was forced to take a detour on foot. Now, half my leg is stuck in a hole, and aching like you wouldn’t believe. On top of all that, my phone is dead.
Now, I’m here in the middle of nowhere praying for a miracle to happen. Hoping some hikers are around, ready to come to my rescue. Even better if they are handsome, single, good with kids, and emotionally available. Oh, I can’t forget that they have to be able to hold a job, I’m not into leeches. Nope, move on, thank you very much.
I can’t deal with anything else, my new job is shitty enough. I need the commission from this signed contract to pay for my brother’s hospital bills. Right at this moment, it’s not looking like I’ll accomplish my damn mission, or survive the night, for that matter.
I’m not a mountain—or forest—kind of gal. I love the life in the city: the lights, the restaurants, the shopping. Up until a few months ago, my life was what every girl would dream of. Landing a great job right after graduating from an Ivy League school, a dreamy boyfriend, and a beautiful apartment. The dream didn’t last long. First, my brother got sick and I kept missing work to take care of him. In turn, my boss wasn’t happy about my erratic attendance, which caused me to get fired from said job. Then I find out that my dreamy boyfriend—now ex—fucked my so-called best friend. Therefore, causing me to move out of my beautiful apartment. With my brother needing my help and my urgent need of an affordable place to live, it just made sense to move in together.
I was looking around the web for a position with flexible work hours, and I applied to many different places, hoping to find something quick. An offer from Western Woods came my way, and it was impossible to refuse. They offered me an hourly rate, plus commission for getting contracts signed.
My brother is doing better these days, so I assumed a short road trip would be okay for me to make my initial attempt to get a commission. My first assignment was getting Preston Wolfe to sign this contract.
Wolfe’s property is located in the middle of California surrounded by mountains. It’s an area covered with trees, the perfect place for a company like Western Woods to expand its operations. But WW isn’t the only company trying to purchase the land from Wolfe. However, WW came with a good offer and a substantial amount of money to seal the deal.
Why in the living hell didn’t I call for help? Why did I take this stupid shortcut and not follow the small winding road that leads directly to the main house? Google maps said I was walking in the right direction to the property, but the damn app didn’t say a word to warn me about human traps.
It’s past four in the afternoon, soon it’ll be dark, and I’m pretty sure if I’m stuck out here all night, I’ll be eaten by an animal, perhaps even a wolf. Not the end I had in mind. Far from it.
I close my eyes, trying to remember how to pray, when suddenly I hear a snapping sound. I open my eyes and freeze in alarm.
I hear more noise, my heart is pumping hard against my ribs. I yank my cell phone out, remembering my phone battery is dead, but it’s not like I can call anyone and ask for help, anyway. Frustrated, I toss my phone to the ground since it can’t help me. My eyes continue to scan the trees, looking for what’s making that noise. And an escape route, not that I can move.
“Look what the cat dragged in,” a masculine voice says at my back.
My eyes go wide as I turn my head and catch sight of a man. My mouth goes dry, and my throat tightens, my heart almost stopping.
“Who are you?”
Sunlight glints through the trees, a pair of steel-gray eyes stare at me with a lethal look. He’s in jeans, boots, and a Henley. His forearms, rippling with muscles.
The man is wielding a gun, pointing it directly at my head. Fuck, the situation I’ve found myself in is becoming more dire by the second.
“Hey,” I stammer. My eyes staring straight at the gun, barely breathing. “Wait a second, I’m London Moore, I’m here because—”
“What are you doing out here, little Red?”
The man frowns, and moves closer to me. God, he’s gorgeous. Under different circumstances I would be ready to bat my lashes and wait for him to ask for my number.
He doesn’t reply, just cocks the shotgun. I hear myself gasping.
“You’re trespassing on my land.”
“You’re Preston Wolfe,” I declare, realizing who he is.
His eyes narrow. “You admit it, you know who I am.”
“Yes,” I reply. “I mean, I’m here to talk with you.”
“Of course you are,” he admits. “Trying to trick me to steal my land.”
“No,” I inform him, desperately. “You see, my car broke down, and I thought taking this detour was a good idea. Then I fell into this trap… Can you help me to get outta here?”
“No,” he says. “You know trespassing is illegal in this state?”
“Help me get out of here!” I demand.
And I’m rewarded with a smirk.
“If that’s your way of asking for help, miss. You’re fucked.”
“I’ll think about it.”
I groan in frustration, this man is impossible. “What the fuck do you want?”
“Such a dirty mouth on a beautiful girl.”
“I would be nicer if I weren’t in pain with my foot stuck in this trap with a dickhead pointing a gun at me.”
The man smirks again. But he lowers the gun. Thank goodness.
“I’m not here to steal anything. I’m not a thief, I’m a Western Woods employee.”
“Same shit,” he replies. “Pfft. They even sent you here wearing a short skirt.”
He scratches his bearded chin, his gray eyes assessing me from head to toe, leaving me aroused knowing that I shouldn’t be. The sunlight filters through the canopy of trees above us, making him look like a god.
Jesus Christ, the man is so freaking hot. It should be illegal. The sanity of the female population around him is at risk.
I groan to myself, my lady bits shouldn’t be taking notice considering the situation I’m currently in. My damn libido is messing with me because I’m actually checking out the rugged mountain man, in spite of the pain I’m in. It doesn’t matter how hot he could be. Right?
Preston finally steps toward me, which makes my pulse beat even faster.
“Don’t move,” he orders.
While he kneels down beside me, I have a chance to look at his thick dark hair, and the fullness of his lashes that most women would pay a fortune for. His hands move over my bare thigh below the hem of my skirt. The pads of his fingers are rough, my skin tingles, and I shudder as those hands slide down my leg toward my swollen ankle.
He reaches into the pocket of his jeans and pulls out a red Swiss army knife, which he uses to slip through the trap and twists it. Instantly, the wire around my ankle loosens. Acting on impulse, I yank my leg free, whining as the back of my ankle catches on the barbs.
“Thank you,” I huff out. I turn and hobble over to pick up my phone lying on the ground a few yards away, I’m busy trying to stand back up when he grabs me and tosses me over his shoulder. Caveman-style.
Preston Wolfe carries me as if I weigh nothing and then begins to walk. It doesn’t matter to him how loud I’m screaming or how hard I’m pounding on his back. He’s all muscle, I feel like an ant fighting an elephant.
“Let me go, you big brute!” I snap, still hitting him with my fists as if they were hammers. “You big ape, let me go!”
“I’m trying to help you, stubborn girl. I need to check on that ankle of yours,” he scolds, his hands tightening around my body as he starts to walk down a path through the thick tall trees.
“I don’t need your help!” I cry out loud. “I can take care of myself. Let me go, right the fuck now!”
Of course, he’s not heeding my words. He’s focused on traipsing through the forest with me over his shoulder and the shotgun in his hand.
“Let me go!”
“No,” he says. “I haven’t decided that you aren’t here to trick me. I need to keep an eye on you.”
An eye on me? What does that even mean?
“Are you kidding me?” I question unbelievably. “Fucker.”
“Do you think I’m kidding?”
I wiggle in his hold.
“Are you fucking kidnapping me?”
“That mouth of yours will get you in trouble, Red,” he snarls, his voice is like thunder, shaking me.
“Red? Seriously?” I sass.
He doesn’t say a word, just slaps my ass as if he has every right to do it.
I shiver, his unexpected action like a wave crashing over me, making me drown in my arousal.
“I’m not here to trick you. I’m here from Western Woods, my boss wants to offer you an honest deal with a substantial amount of money in exchange for your land.” I yell, trying to make him understand.
Preston comes to a stop. A low growl rumbling through his chest, as I gasp when he pulls me off his shoulder and shoves me up against a tree.
“What do you really want?” I swallow the hard lump in my throat. Why does that question made in that deep timbre sound like an indecent proposal? I think I made a terrible mistake coming into the lion’s den. Or should I say into the wolf’s den.
“Western Woods, you know? The reputable company, who’s offering you a deal…”
“I know who they are,” he hisses. “I know who sent you here. I don’t care if they branded the fucking company with a fancy as shit name. Shit will always be shit.”
I gasp at his words.
“Do you think anything happens on this mountain without my knowledge? You came out to ask me to sign a deal. You came out to try and trick me.” He snarls the words out, narrowing his gorgeous eyes on me.
“Look, miss…” he scowls, thinking for a bit. “What the fuck is your name?”
“Like I told you before, my name is London Moore.” I say, lifting my chin in a stubborn way. I’m trying to remain composed. Well, as composed as you can be in a situation like this.
“I take it all back then, London,” Preston smiles, but it doesn’t reach his eyes.
I sigh, feeling defeated. And frustrated. “Thank you. Now, as I was saying…”
He looks at my hair, then at my naked legs.
“You’re dangerous…” That sounds like an accusation.
“Wha—” My breath catches as he throws me over his shoulder again and begins to walk. My heart is hammering hard against my ribs like a drum.
“Put me down, Preston Wolfe. I don’t want to go anywhere with you.” I’m a liar. A fucking liar. Good thing my nose doesn’t grow like Pinocchio’s.
“You’re mine now,” he growls and something inside me reacts.
But my stubborn streak is still firmly in place.
I’m not giving in without a fight.
“What did you say?” I ask breathily.
“I knew you were a thief.”
“I’m not a thief, or a criminal of any kind. I’m just here to…”
“To kick me off my land, right?” he growls.
“But whatever you are, you were trespassing on private property. And now I’ve gotta figure out how I’m going to punish you.”
Fuck my life.
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Excerpt from Big Bad Wolfe by Bestselling Author Susana Mohel. Copyright Susana Mohel 2022 - subject to change.