An Ashton Grove Thanksgiving
Ashton Grove Werewolves series
Can a brokenhearted wolf find love a second time?
Autumn O’Roarke joined the Ashton Grove pack in an effort to change her destiny. After being mated to abusive wolf, she isn’t sure another mate is in her future, but she does want a place where she can be happy and made to feel welcome. But when she’s sent to the alpha’s house, things take a turn she hadn’t anticipated.
Gabriel Andrews has shut himself away in the old Victorian since the death of his mate and child. Having turned the pack over to his cousin Connor, he’s surprised when Connor’s mate sends a woman to his door with a problem. One sniff tells Gabriel there is something unique about the human woman standing in front of him, and the secrets she will reveal are enough to bring him to his knees. Determined to do the right thing, he swears to watch over her and protect her.
Two broken souls, Autumn and Gabriel face more than their own fears. A darkness surrounds Autumn as she faces a threat she can only overcome through love. Her love for Gabriel. But having been battered and bruised by her previous mate, can she learn to trust again?
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Autumn stared at the man in front of her. She’d heard the whispers in the pack and knew he’d gotten the scars on his face and arms from the demon attack several months before. The Ashton Grove pack had reached out to other packs seeking both men and women to grow their numbers after losing so many. Having lost her mate to a drunk driver, Autumn had taken the chance for a new start.
“Do you know why you’re here?” Gabriel asked.
“Aislinn told me to come here,” she answered softly.
“She seems to think you have a problem. If that’s true, why didn’t you go to Connor with the issue?”
“I don’t have a problem. I pay my rent on time and attend the pack functions. I promise I haven’t caused any trouble.”
His gaze softened. “No one said you were troublesome. They just think something is wrong. Have you had problems with anyone in the pack? Maybe a male who’s being too persistent?”
She shook her head.
“Perhaps one of the females has taken issue with you?”
She shook her head again.
Gabriel sighed. “Well, something has to be going on. Aislinn wouldn’t have sent you here if she didn’t have a reason.”
“I don’t want to cause any problems. I’ll pack my things tonight.” Autumn fought back tears, but one slipped down her cheek.
“Hey,” Gabriel said softly. “Easy, Autumn. I didn’t mean to upset you.”
He placed his hands on her shoulders, but she needed more comfort than that. She couldn’t remember the last time a man had touched her so gently. With a broken sob, she melted against him, wrapping her arms around his waist. At first, his arms held her loosely, as if he didn’t know what to do with her. But after a moment, he tightened his embrace and held her close. A hand stroked her hair.
Autumn knew she needed to pull herself together. It wasn’t the alpha’s fault she was crying. Living with her mate had broken her in some way. She’d thought his death would free her, but she couldn’t have been more wrong.
With a sniffle, she eased her arms from around him and took a step back, wiping the tears from her cheeks. Gabriel reached out and caught a stray tear as it dropped from her eyelashes.
“Better now?” he asked.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to…” She didn’t even know how to finish that thought. She didn’t mean to be so weak? To cry all over him? To disturb the solitude she knew he wanted? Maybe she was apologizing for all of it.
“It’s okay. Sometimes you just need to let it all out.”
About the Author
What happens when you get two artist romantics together? An impulsive marriage proprosal – and a woman who says yes (on the first date)! While Jessica’s husband may not have intended for the words “marry me” to pop out on their first date, she surprised him even more by saying yes! That was over 14 years ago and they’re hoping for many more years together.
Jessica Coulter Smith began writing at an early age, but it wasn’t until 2008 that someone convinced her to have one of her stories published. When she received her acceptance letter in August 2008, it set her on an incredible journey, one she hopes will never end. In 2010, she decided to stay home with the kids and write full-time. It’s a decision she hasn’t regretted, and one that will hopefully result in many more stories to come.
Jessica loves to interact with her readers on Facebook and Twitter! But if you send her a friend request, be prepared for cute kitty pictures and kids getting into mischief, as well as updates on her writing.