The Wallflower

By: Dana Marie Bell

Annotation


Is Emma ready for a bite?

Emma Carter has been in love with Max Cannon since high school, but he barely knew she existed. Now she runs her own unique curio shop, and she's finally come out her shell and into her own.

When Max returns to his small home town to take up his duties as the Halle Pride's Alpha, he finds that shy little Emma has grown up. That small spark of something he'd always felt around the teenager has blossomed into something more--his mate!

Taking her--out for a bite--ensures that the luscious Emma will be permanently his.

But Max's ex has plans of her own. Plans that don't include Emma being around to interfere. To keep her Alpha, Emma must prove to the Pride that she has what it takes to be Max's mate.

Warning: This title contains explicit sex, graphic language, loads of giggles and a hot, blond Alpha male.





The Wallflower

Halle Pumas - 1

by

Dana Marie Bell




Dedication




To Mom, for always helping me look on the bright side and cheering me on even when you weren’t certain you knew what you were cheering about.

To Dad, who grinned so wide I thought his face would crack when he heard I was going to be published. Yes, I promise I’ll write a fantasy story one day, just don’t expect me to leave out the romance.

To my grandmother, who’s read every word I’ve ever written and loved it even when we both knew it sucked. I love you, Memom!

To my husband, Dusty; you’ve made all my dreams come true. (Other than the cabana boy one. But that’s okay. You’re not getting your big-breasted masseuse either, so we’re even.) Thank you for believing in me. I love you, sweetheart.

Special thanks to A and BR for reading this, helping me fix it and polish it up, and for cheering with me when I got the contract. Also thanks to JG and JW for the technical assistance.





Prologue




“So, have you heard? Max is back.” Marie watched with a friendly smile as Emma carefully wrapped her purchase. Emma felt her heart give a little jump at the news, though it wasn’t the first time she’d heard it. The knowledge that the hunky Dr. Cannon had moved back home for good after ten years away was hot gossip to all the women who trooped through her store.

Marie Howard was there to pick up a hand-crafted mirror with beautiful hand-painted tiles. Livia was there, even though she hated both Emma and Becky, because she was friends with Marie. As far as Livia was concerned, they were directly responsible for her breakup with Max.

Livia Patterson was one of the town beauties and knew it. Fine boned with alabaster skin, she had just the right dusting of rose at her cheeks to set off her pale blonde perfection. Add blue eyes the color of forget-me-nots and a tall, wispy build, and she was the epitome of the fragile blonde. The woman could brawl like a linebacker when the time came; she could shriek, and bats for miles around fell dead to the ground; but man if she didn’t work the whole Penelope Pitstop thing, and men fell for it. They loved that whole delicate flower of womanhood crap she managed to pull off so flawlessly. Not that Emma envied her or anything. Not really.

Men looked at Emma and saw sturdy womanhood. Hips made for birthing, plain brown eyes and nondescript brown hair, at five-foot-two inches Emma would never, literally, be able to stand up to Livia.

Add in the fact that most of the town thought she was in a gay relationship with Becky and her social calendar remained depressingly empty.

“Apparently Max is planning on taking over Dr. Brewster’s practice; he and Adrian will be partners,”

Livia cooed.

“So you’ve already spoken to him?” Marie’s expression of polite curiousness didn’t quite mesh with her tone of voice. Emma didn’t dare look too closely, but she thought Marie was almost exasperated with her friend. Everyone knew how hard Livia had once chased Max. Maybe she thought she could get the old fires burning once again?

“Yes, Max just bought his parents’ old house. I can’t wait to get in there and redecorate.” Emma could practically see Livia rubbing her hands in anticipation. “Of course, nothing in this shop will do. No real craftsman things. I want genuine antiques, not knock-offs.” Livia’s contemptuous gaze raked the store, and its owner, with equal derision.

When Livia’s back was turned, Emma, in a fit of childishness, mimicked the blonde as closely as possible. Marie wound up choking on a sip of tea as Emma put her hand on her hip and mouthed along with Livia’s words. “Of course, everyone knows Max would never set foot inside Wallflowers. Does he even know you exist, Emma?”

Emma tapped her nail on her chin thoughtfully as Livia turned back to her. “Yes, actually, I believe he does. Something…something to do with…punch. Cherry punch, if I recall correctly.” That had been the incident that broke up Max and Livia; Becky had spilled cherry punch all over Livia’s white prom dress in retaliation for some comment of Livia’s concerning Emma. Max had, apparently, taken Emma and Becky’s side and had broken off his relationship with Livia. Livia had hated Emma and Becky ever since.

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