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First Glimpse - TL Reeve and Michele Ryan's UNBREAKABLE

Erotic Romance Fantasy MF Michele Ryan and TL Reeve New Release Paranormal Romance Shifters Wolves


Leaving the Past Behind, Book One

Copyright © 2018 by TL Reeve & Michele Ryan

Hayden Raferty-Lopez is nervous about returning to Window Rock—with so many memories wrapped up there. However, she’s excited to start her life with her mate in the town she calls home.

Nico Lopez knew this day would come. He’s been planning for it since the day his little wolf finally accepted his apology and gave him the chance to make it up to her. However, something is off about his mate. Everyone around them is settling into their new “adult” lives except them.

When Kalkin Raferty offers them a job taking down a piece of the Paranormal Bounty Hunters, both Hayden and Nico are ready for it. What they’re not prepared for are the conditions the orphaned shifter children and teens are kept in, nor are they prepared to find a green-eyed cub, who steals their heart.

Secrets are revealed, and lives will be irrevocably harmed. Those who were supposed to be allies will be exposed and the lies they told will shape the Raferty pack for years to come.

Publisher's Note: This series is connected to TL and Michele's TSU and Apache County Shifters series. TEP does not publish the TSU series.


Chapter One


It didn’t get any better than this. The heat from the first of many dry, hot Arizona summer days caressed Hayden Raferty-Lopez’s skin as they drove the last fifteen miles into Window Rock, with their windows rolled down. In front of them in the large moving truck in front of were Bodhi, Emma, and Cassidy. The other members of their family would be returning before nightfall, if not the next day. If someone would have told her at eighteen, Hayden would return to Arizona with not only her mate, but her twin’s mated family too, she wouldn’t have believed them.

When Hayden first left home, she’d given up on everything and everyone. Too much had happened. Too much hurt. Too many tears. Too many nights wondering why her. In the beginning, the idea of coming back to where Nico broke her heart made her stomach clench and her heart ache. As an adult, she could look back at it and understand the hows and whys of the situation both she and Nico had been placed in, but as a seventeen-year-old girl, all she’d seen was her world falling apart with no way to fix it. Hayden would have rather spent the rest of her life near Turnskin University in Colorado than anywhere close to Window Rock, Arizona.

But, things always have a way of changing, and she did eventually go home to visit.

After years of dealing with her unsettled emotions about leaving home and the hole left by Nico, she finally found herself. It hadn’t been easy, nothing good in life ever is, she supposed, but in a few short years she and Nico had found their ‘okay’ place. They were finally building their lives together, and the love she had for him grew every day. Then, a few weeks ago, she, Emma, and Bodhi walked across the stage—graduates of Turnskin University.

Now, with her degree in forensics, she hoped to join her uncles or at least maybe Vigilante Security and her Aunt Keeley. All kids deserved to have families, and all families deserved to have their children, especially if they had been kidnapped. Keeley could provide those things for those in need, and Hayden hoped she could do the same with her newly acquired skills. It was the least she could do, after everything everyone had done for her throughout her life.

She glanced over at Nico, who wore a smug grin. His brown eyes glittered with an ever-present arousal. He didn’t have Bodhi’s build or even Tate’s or Henry’s. Nico reminded her of a sleek coyote even though he was a wolf. He’d been muscular but not bulky. Athletic. When he wrapped her in his arms at night, he made her feel protected and loved. Sitting next to him, she burned for him. A niggle of need wriggled through her belly. They were a week out from the full moon. She realized the tighter her bond to Nico became, the worse the symptoms for the full moon became. They’d done their best to abstain because they hadn’t been ready for children just yet; however, sometimes nature had a way of taking over. She didn’t regret those nights being tied together. What she did begin to feel was... Shame.

Of the last three years, at least sixteen of those months they’d lost themselves to the full moon, and no pregnancy had occurred. She and Nico had been relieved, sure, they were young and they both needed time, but a small bit of her, some part she didn’t understand, had been disappointed. When Emma pulled her aside a few days before they left and told Hayden she and Bodhi were expecting, she was happy for her friend and mated sister. To be an aunt was a great honor, yet a small part of her yearned for the same satisfaction of having her own child. Which, in a way, weirded her out. It begged the question; why did it bother her so much now?

Hayden adjusted herself in her seat and sighed. She supposed it was one of those mate things she never took the time to learn because, well, she’d refused to listen to anyone when it came to Nico. Now, she wished she had. She glanced over at her mate again, and her heart gave a heavy thump. She loved him. She couldn’t live without him, and within a few days, she’d crave him until it physically hurt. Nico glanced at her, and the swirling lust she glimpsed within his eyes had her breath hitching. His nostrils flared, and a low growl built in his chest.

“Good thing we’re almost home, huh?” Nico licked his bottom lip. “Would hate to delay the trip.”

She wouldn’t have minded one bit. “Can’t have that, now can we?”

He chuckled. “Tease.”

She shrugged. “I could say the same about you.”

Nico took her hand in his. “Just a little bit farther.” It’d almost been as if he said it more to himself than her.

“Yeah. Finally,” she murmured.

He’d been itching to return to work. He’d given up a part of himself to become a college student in a school he really didn’t have to go to. In order to stay in their co-ed house, each of them were required to take a full load, which equated to eighteen credit hours a semester. However, when the time came for her to graduate, Nico dropped out. Sure, he could pick up the remaining criminal justice credits for his B.S. degree in Tucson at the state college there, but Hayden knew he’d always been destined to be a deputy.

“So, do you know what you’d like to do first?” He lifted their joined hands and placed a kiss to her knuckles.

“Visit my dads and Loraine,” she answered. “It’s been too long since we’ve seen Gabriel and Natalie.”

She couldn’t believe they were three already. They were terrors, keeping her dads Jace and Blake on their toes while Loraine had been the disciplinarian. Her mom ran a tight ship when it came to Gabriel and Natalie, and Hayden supposed it was for a good reason. If they didn’t get into good habits now, when would they?

“Sounds great. We should also find somewhere to live too.” Unbeknownst to her, Kalkin had continued to pay Nico his salary while he’d been away with her at school. What money he hadn’t been using for classes or supplies for school, Nico had been saving for them. When he told her, she’d needed a minute to digest it all. They had enough to make a substantial down payment on a house or live comfortably in an apartment.

“I can’t believe I’m asking this,” she said, never actually wanting to bring up their shaky past since they reconciled. “But you didn’t keep your apartment?”

He shook his head. “Nope. I moved out a week after the incident and crashed on friends’ couches until I got to TSU.”

Surprise filled her. “Really?”

“Yes, little wolf. I did some pretty shitty things in my past, including fuck things up with you. I realized the moment you ran away, I had to atone for my own shortcomings and rebuild my life.”

Hayden sat there. She hadn’t expected his answer. In some ways, she figured it was best not knowing what happened after finding the other woman in his apartment. Sure, she had plenty of times she could have asked him while they were at school, but she put it out of her mind, treating it like it’d been no big deal in the end. To find out now that Nico had treated it as a big deal blew her away. He’d sacrificed everything to get her back.

“Look,” Nico stated, pointing at the welcome sign to Window Rock. “We’re almost there.”

Nervous energy flowed through her veins. Anticipation curled in her belly. They were home. Like all those years ago when her aunt Holly’s car came to a shuddering halt outside the sheriff’s department, Hayden glanced around the town, a bit leery of her surroundings. The same emotional roller coaster she’d been on every time she set foot in town raged within her. Her wolf had taken to ignoring her by now. Usually giving her a drool stare, like, come on, get over it already.She agreed.

Nico stopped at the gas station at the edge of Main St. and pulled in behind Bodhi. The passenger door popped open, and Emma gingerly climbed down, then waddled to the restroom. Beside Hayden, Nico chuckled. The poor thing had spent more time in the bathroom on the way to Window Rock than not. It also piqued Hayden’s curiosity. How far along was Emma anyway?

“Do you think she has the guts to tell everyone?” Nico’s question surprised Hayden.

“What do you mean?” She had to play it cool. Emma hadn’t said not to tell anyone, but she also didn’t make a big deal about it either. Hayden understood why her friend told her right before they left as well. She would have become increasingly suspicious after the many stops and the amount of food Emma had consumed as well.

“Little wolf, I scented it on her. She’s pregnant.” The corner of Nico’s lips twitched. “She didn’t really think she could keep it from us, did she? Not after Alex and Terri’s little bundle of surprise.”

“I think they were basking in it. Like, making their own little plans and their own little future,” Hayden answered. “I don’t think it was intentional.”

“You’re probably right. Between Bodhi and her, they’ve had hard lives. They both deserve a little happiness.”

A few moments later, Emma hurried back to the truck and mouthed, ‘sorry,’ before getting in. Nico and Hayden chuckled. When the driver-side door popped open next, Hayden tilted her head to the side. Bodhi lumbered over to them. If he suspected they knew the truth, Bodhi didn’t give it away.

“Hey,” her brother said, crouching next to them. “This is where we leave you. Emma and I are going to go get set up in our apartment.”

Oh. Well, crap. After finding out about Nico giving up his apartment, she’d hoped to do some apartment hunting with Bodhi and Emma since they’d given her an open invitation. “Oh, okay. We’re going to go see Dads and Loraine anyway.”

Bodhi grunted. “Sorry, sis. We found a place early this morning online, and it’s perfect for us. We couldn’t pass it up.”

She waved off his explanation. “It’s okay, Bodhi. I understand. I’m happy for you guys. Go have fun being domesticated.”

He rolled his eyes. “Whatever. We’ll see you later. I am more than sure Kal and the gang will be having a welcome home party for all of us. Bell called Emma a bit ago. Her, Christoph, and Jackson should be here in a couple of hours as well. Said something about buying a house and settling down.” Bodhi shrugged. “I don’t know.”

Oh God, was everyone pregnant but her? “Good to know.” Hayden smiled. “I’ll let everyone know what you guys are up to.”

“Thanks, Hayden. I knew we could count on you.” He stood then tapped the roof of the truck before heading back to his vehicle.

“We’ll do it together, little wolf.” Nico eased her over to him then brushed his lips across her. “Don’t be sad. You’re not losing anyone, baby. We’re all here for you.” He kissed her again, this time, igniting the simmering desire within her.

She moaned, placing her hands on either side of Nico’s face, almost as if she held on to him for dear life. When he finally broke the kiss, the satisfied smirk on his mouth caused her to snort. “Don’t be too smug.”

“Hard not to be.” He rubbed her nose with his. “You’re like liquid sugar on my tongue.” Nico glanced around the parking lot after Bodhi pulled away. “Come on. I have a surprise for you.” He popped open the door.

Confused, Hayden got out. “This is a gas station. What kind of surprise can you have here for me?”

Nico held his hand out to her and she readily took it. “You’ll see.” He tugged her into his side then dipped his head, so his lips were inches away from her lips. “I’ll meet you in the woman’s bathroom in two minutes.”

He gave her ass a pat, urging her into the small store attached to the station. Hayden looked back at him, half worried he’d lost his mind and half afraid they’d get caught. She followed his instructions and like Nico said, he joined her, locking the door behind him after he entered the space. The feral gleam in his eyes told her she was in for it. Every bit of her lit up with excitement. Her sex ached. Her clit throbbed with each step he took towards her.

“You’re all mine now,” he snarled, closing them in a stall. “Give me some sugar, baby.”


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