I’ve always been a sucker for that first “cute-meet” scene in a romance story. You know, when the hero and heroine first make eye contact and magic happens? Well, it didn’t quite happen that way in Wolf Rising, Book 8 in the SWAT: Special Wolf Alpha Team Series. That’s because werewolf/SWAT Officer Jayden Brooks was too busy that first meeting saving high school teacher Selena Rosa from one of her former students who’d dropped out to join a gang. Brooks had to tackle Selena to the floor to keep her from being shot, which left her a little woozy. At least that seems to be the reason the normally fiery woman is so out of it. Their second meeting in the dayroom of the Dallas SWAT compound was much more “cute-meet.”
As you can see from the excerpt below, this second meeting does go well, with lots of banter and sexual chemistry. This scene was so much fun to write because the two characters seemed to hit it off pretty much all on their own. I barely had to work that hard at it. I just put them in a room together and they took it from there.
The dayroom was big enough for the whole SWAT team to fit, as well as their extended pack, which was a good thing, since it was growing in leaps and bounds. In addition to the two couches and coffee table, there were beanbag chairs and a sweet big-screen TV. Since it was the holiday season, there was also a Christmas tree with all the trimmings. Brooks gestured to one of the couches, then sat down beside her.
“I’m glad we got a chance to talk in private,” Selena said. “I wanted to ask if you got injured in the rescue but wasn’t sure if I should bring it up in front of everyone else. I know guys can get embarrassed when women ask questions like that around other men.”
He was so distracted by the sexy curve of her hips as she crossed her legs that he almost missed what she’d said. “Injured? Nah.”
“You weren’t? Huh.” She frowned, confusion clouding her eyes. “There was so much blood on my clothes, not to mention the floor, and when I realized it couldn’t be Pablo’s, I naturally assumed it was yours.”
Brooks’s first instinct was to say nothing. That was the standard response anytime someone outside the Pack saw something they shouldn’t. But Selena looked so distressed, he had to tell her something.
“Oh, you must mean these.” He gestured at the freshly healed scars on his forearm from both the small bullet hole up near his elbow and the larger incision he’d gotten when Trey had dug Pablo’s bullet out of him. “I cut myself on a piece of glass picking you up. It was nothing.”
Selena studied the scars, her eyes narrowing a little before she looked back at him. Brooks had no doubt she was trying to figure out how scars that looked like they were a week old could possibly have produced as much blood as she’d had on her clothes. When she stared him straight in the eyes for several long moments, he wondered if this was what her students felt like when they’d been caught lying. He held his breath, sure she was going to call him on it.
But instead, she nodded and broke eye contact. “I’m glad it wasn’t anything more serious. You could have gotten shot shielding me like that.”
He breathed a sigh of relief. “It was nothing. I was more worried about hurting you. I slammed into you pretty hard. I didn’t break anything, did I?”
Selena shook her head. “No breaks, thank goodness. The doctor was worried I might have gotten a concussion, though. He could be right. My head was a little wonky last night for sure.”
“Wonky?” It was his turn to frown. “What do you mean? Should you be out of the hospital?”
Brooks subconsciously moved closer, his heart beating faster at the thought that he’d hurt her. He was half a second away from sweeping her up into his arms and hauling ass for his truck to take her to the hospital.
Selena must have read his mind, because she stopped him with a smile and a gentle hand on his arm. “I’m okay…really. I’ll admit my heart rate was all over the place when I was there, and I had a fever nobody could explain, but thankfully, everything went back to normal. As it turns out, the doctor decided my symptoms weren’t related to anything physical.”
“What was it then?”
She took her hand away from his arm as she shrugged. “He seemed to think I’m dealing with post-traumatic stress.”
A part of Brooks was relieved Selena wasn’t physically injured, but at the same time, he was worried. PTSD wasn’t anything to mess around with. He’d known a lot of good cops who’d lost their jobs, their families, and sometimes more because they’d gone through a rough situation they’d never been able to get past.
“Have you thought of talking to someone about it?” he asked.
She sighed. “You sound like my principal and vice principal. They want me to talk to somebody, too. In fact, they’ve essentially kicked me out of my class for the rest of the week, so I can take time off to recover. Whatever the heck that means.”
“Selena, this is serious,” Brooks said. “Someone tried to kill you. It’s normal to be affected by something like that. Normal to feel confused, scared, and freaked out as hell. It’s also completely normal to sit down and talk with someone about it.”
Her shoulders sagged. “I know. And to be honest, I am a bit freaked out by everything that happened—the parts I can remember anyway. But honestly, I’m not sure who I’d even talk to about something like this. I don’t know if I could walk into a therapist’s office and open up to someone I’ve never met. My grandmother is the only family I have left, but I don’t want to worry her any more than she already is after what happened yesterday.”
Selena thought a moment. “I suppose I could talk to my priest, but he’s such a gentle soul that I’m not sure I could bring myself to tell him all the things I was feeling in the classroom when Pablo was waving that gun around.”
“You could always talk to me,” he said softly. “I mean, I know you just met me, but at least you don’t have to fill me in on all the details, since I was there with you. And I do a pretty good job of listening, if I do say so myself.”
That gorgeous smile returned. “Well, since it seems like I have the rest of the week off whether I want it or not, maybe we could get together and talk over lunch?”
“Lunch would work,” he agreed. “But how about dinner instead? If you’re comfortable with that, I mean.”
Selena didn’t answer. Crap. Had he completely misread the situation? It hit him then that he’d never even considered the possibility she might have a boyfriend…or a girlfriend, for that matter. But then he heard her heart thump a little harder and realized she was definitely intrigued by the suggestion.
“I’ll consider dinner,” Selena said slowly, her lips curving in a surprisingly sultry way. “But only if you come to my place.”
Brooks certainly didn’t mind going to her place, but he was a little taken aback by the invitation. Then he picked up a very distinct scent filling the room. Damn. If he didn’t know better, he’d swear she was getting aroused. Which immediately got him going, too. The image of him humping her leg came roaring right back.
“Are you good in the kitchen?” he asked.
Selena gave him a look that suggested she knew exactly what she was doing to him. “I’m good in every room of my place.”
He chuckled, loving the unexpected flirty banter, especially when her face heated up, making him think she’d been more shocked by the words than he had.
“Well, in that case, dinner at your place it is. Tonight work for you?”
She hesitated, and again he was struck by the idea that this wasn’t the way she normally behaved. But then she took a deep breath and nodded her head. “Tonight sounds good. Eight o’clock?”
They talked a little while longer…and flirted a bit in between exchanging phone numbers, too. Every once in a while, he’d pick up the tantalizing scent of her arousal.
But now, it was mixed with the one he’d picked up when he’d first walked into the admin building. He tried to get his head around the amazingly complex aroma. It was equal parts delicate flowers, exotic spices, and something feminine and uniquely Selena.
He couldn’t believe how different her scent was today from yesterday. It was almost like he was smelling a different woman.
But no matter what Selena smelled like, Brooks couldn’t deny how strongly her scent affected him.
Some of the guys in the Pack had experienced this sensory sensation before, and in every case, it involved stumbling across The One.
Did Selena’s amazing scent mean she was his soul mate, a woman he’d known for all of thirty minutes?
His head spun at the idea. Not because he didn’t believe in the idea of finding The One. It was simply that he’d never expected it to happen. He’d tried a long-term relationship once, and it had failed spectacularly. After that, he’d stopped trying.
But if Selena was The One, that would all change, right?
He was still wrestling with those thoughts when Selena stood up. “I’d better get to the store and pick up some stuff for dinner if I’m going have everything ready by eight.”
“You know you don’t need to do anything fancy, right?” He flashed her a grin as they walked to the door. “I’d be happy with another tray of brownies.”
Selena laughed. “You know, I think you mean that. But putting together a good meal isn’t work for me. I love to cook. It’s what I do for the important people in my life. Like you.”
Brooks gazed down at her, suddenly robbed of speech. Selena slowly ran the tip of her tongue over her lips, leaving a moist sheen behind that made his gums tingle as his fangs threatened to slip out. He leaned in to kiss her, when suddenly, the door jerked open.
Brooks shot out a hand and caught Selena before she could fall, but that didn’t keep her from blushing as Khaki and Rachel stood there with knowing looks on their faces. There were some introductions, a few apologies, and a lot of laughter as Selena got her feet back under her.
Neither of them spoke as Brooks walked her to her car. When they got there, Selena opened her door before turning to him with a smile.
“I’ll see you tonight.”
The urge to kiss her was still there, but he held himself in check and returned her smile instead. “I’ll be there.”
As Brooks watched Selena’s car disappear down the street, he replayed the moment right before Khaki and Rachel had opened the door and interrupted them.
The thought of Selena’s luscious lips had him thinking about all kinds of things a couple normally didn’t do on a first date.
SWAT Book 8
Just when he’s found The One…he might lose her.
SWAT Officer Jayden Brooks doesn’t believe there’s a soul mate out there for him—The One. But when he saves high school teacher Selena Rosa from a hostage situation, he knows he’s in big trouble. Her scent is irresistible.
Selena finds the big cop irresistible, too. In fact, the buttoned-up teacher gets a little carried away—during a steamy make-out session, she bites him. Turns out, the traumatizing events at the school triggered her werewolf gene. Fangs and claws are appearing and her aggression is out of control. The change is happening, and Selena doesn’t understand.
It’s going to take everything Brooks has to pull her back from the edge…and ultimately win her heart.
Hungry Like the Wolf (Book 1)
Wolf Trouble (Book 2)
In the Company of Wolves (Book 3)
To Love a Wolf (Book 4)
Wolf Unleashed (Book 5)
Wolf Hunt (Book 6)
Wolf Hunger (Book 7)
Wolf Rising (Book 8)
About Paige Tyler
Paige Tyler is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of sexy, romantic fiction. She and her very own military hero (also known as her husband) live on the beautiful Florida coast with their adorable fur baby (also known as their dog). Paige graduated with a degree in education, but decided to pursue her passion and write books about hunky alpha males and the kickbutt heroines who fall in love with them.