Big badd wolf, p.1
Big Badd Wolf, p.1Part #7 of Badd Brothers series by Jasinda Wilder
Big Badd Wolf
Copyright (c) 2018 by Jasinda Wilder BIG BADD WOLF
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Also by Jasinda Wilder
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My teeth were chattering, my bones were shaking, and I was shivering uncontrollably. Jumping into frigid water in the middle of winter will do that to you. On top of it all, I was fighting an erection the size of Montana. The girl I had just rescued was seriously gorgeous and completely naked under the blanket I'd wrapped around her as soon as I'd gotten her to the bar and out of her wet clothes. I'd done my best to keep my gaze on hers while undressing her, but it had taken all of my not-inconsiderable willpower to do so--I'm a red-blooded, heterosexual male in the middle of a dry spell that's lasted over a year, and she's a woman with the body of a siren. Still, despite keeping my eyes on hers, I couldn't help seeing her body...and god in heaven, what a body.
Medium height--maybe five-five or six. Skin the color of rich, dark caramel, exotic and flawless. Black hair dreadlocked into dozens of dreads about the thickness of my thumb, the tips hanging to just above her waist. Eyes somewhere between tan and hazel, so light brown they appeared to be nearly golden--the eyes of a lioness. Those thighs? Those hips? Those breasts? Jesus. Perfect. I've never met a woman I'd describe as perfect looking, until now. And that's really the only word that comes to mind as an apt descriptor for Joss Mackenzie. Beautiful, yes. Lovely, yes. Sexy, hell yes. Curvy, absolutely. Exotic, for sure.
Okay, enough gushing.
Looks aside, I had questions for her, or rather, about her, which I won't ask right now. Such as:
How did she end up in the water?
Why was she wandering the Ketchikan docks in the middle of a blizzard?
Why were her clothes so...baggy?
I mean, I'm not one to judge someone based on their clothes, but this girl, Joss, had been wearing faded, tattered gray sweatpants underneath loose blue jeans clearly cut for a male, several sizes too big, with giant holes in the knees. Her coat, hat, and mittens looked brand new, but underneath the coat she'd been wearing a thin, aged red fleece jacket, and underneath that a voluminous NYU hoodie, and underneath that, several layers of shirts--a long sleeve thermal, what looked like a shirt from a long-johns set, and three more baggy T-shirts. Her hiking boots had holes in the toes and the soles were coming loose on both heels, and she was wearing three pairs of wool socks, all of which were old and well worn. Her undergarments were in no better shape--white cotton granny panties with holes in them, and a white bra with the underwire poking out in places.
I can put two and two together, and the story behind the multiple layers of clothing, and the condition of them is...sketchy.
But that was none of my business.
What was my business was keeping my front facing away from her until I could get my erection to subside.
When I managed to get myself under control and turned back around to face her, still wearing my soaking wet jeans, I said, "I have to change. I'll grab you something to wear, too."
She stared up at me with those golden-brown eyes. "Just throw mine in the dryer for a few minutes. I'll put them on as soon as possible and get out of your way."
I snorted. "Not likely."
She frowned. "What do you mean?"
"This blizzard isn't going to let up anytime soon, which means you're stuck here with us for the time being. So you might as well take a long hot shower and put on clean, dry clothes."
"I don't have any clean or dry clothes." She gestured at the backpack on the floor nearby. "That's got all my clothing in it, and it went swimming with me."
"Lucky for you my sister-in-law lives here, and she's close enough to your size that she'll have something you can wear."
She sighed. "Okay. But as soon as the snow lets up, I'll leave you alone."
"You're fine. No worries." I twisted the doorknob and exited the room on shaky knees.
I was playing tough for the sake of appearances in front of Joss, but I was feeling the effects of the icy water myself. Once out of the room, I let myself slump back against the wall, tugging my hair out of the ponytail holder.
Bast and Dru were in the kitchen, anxious to hear my side of the story.
"What the fuck happened, Luce?" Bast asked. "Who's the girl and why are you both wet?"
"I need a change of clothes," I said, rather than answering his question. "For myself and for her. No way in hell I'm going to my place now--I barely made it here."
Dru went into their room and emerged a minute later with two stacks of their clothes--yoga pants and a hoodie for Joss, and a pair of drawstring track pants and a hoodie for me.
"Thanks," I said. "I'm gonna get her in the shower. Can you make some coffee?"
Dru just nodded, and Bast stood with his arms crossed over his powerful chest.
I stepped into the bathroom, flicked on the hot water, and stripped out of my wet jeans and underwear. I rinsed the cold water out of my hair and off my body, and then got out much sooner than I'd have liked. I toweled off, wrung my hair out and left it loose--a rarity for me--and then donned the clothes borrowed from my oldest brother. They were huge on me as Bast is a couple inches taller than me and at least fifty pounds heavier, but they were warm and dry, and the drawstring let me keep the pants from falling off. I left the hot water running, put the clean clothes on the closed toilet seat lid, and returned to see Joss.
She was sitting where I left her, wrapped in the blanket, shivering, teeth clenched together, looking wet and miserable and uncomfortable, and beautiful as hell despite it all.
"I've got clean clothes in the bathroom for you, and the hot water is running." I held out my hand to her. "Here, let me help you up."
She ignored my hand and stood up on her own, but it was obvious she was weak still, and shaky. "Just show me the bathroom."
I frowned at her sharp response, but shrugged it off. "Okay."
She held the blanket tight around her, and seemed to be trying to shrink as small as she could, especially when I entered the bathroom behind her. She shrank away from me, her fists clenched into the fleece of the blanket, huddling against the bathroom wall, as far away from me as she could get.
"I know how a shower works," she snapped. "I don't need help."
I blinked, surprised. "I was just--you almost died. I don't want you to pass out in the shower, or fall and hurt yourself."
Dismissively, she said, "I can manage. I'll be fine, thank you."
I held up both hands palms out. "Okay, then. Take as long as you want."
"I will, once you leave the room."
Wow, okay. Better add snarky and ungrateful to the list of descriptors.
I backed out, closed the door behind me, and went into the kitchen. The scent of brewing coffee filled my nostrils, and I inhaled deeply as I slumped exhaustedly into a chair at the breakfast table. Dru was at the stove, cracking eggs into a blue ceramic bowl two at a time. Bast reached into a cupboar
Sitting kitty-corner to me, Bast rested his thick, tattooed forearms on the edge of the table.
"So, why'd you go swimming in the Passage in the middle of a blizzard in December?" he asked.
I sighed. "We're out of real food over at the other apartment, so I was heading over here to make something for lunch. I heard a splash." I sipped the hot, bitter coffee; Dru makes coffee the way our family likes it best--strong enough to float horseshoes in it. "I went to see what the splash was, figuring in this weather, at this time of year, since a splash that loud probably meant trouble."
Bast glanced past me at the bathroom, where the shower could be heard running, along with the faint hint of a female voice singing something. "The splash was her, I take it?"
I nodded. "Yeah. I jogged across the street to the docks, and saw her in the water."
"And jumped in after her," Bast filled in.
"Well...yeah. I mean, she'd have died in that water. It's cold, man." I shrugged. "She's...prickly, so I don't really know much."
A few minutes later, I heard the bathroom door open, turned around in my chair to watch steam billow out of the doorway, and then Joss emerged, wearing Dru's yoga pants and hoodie. Dru was a couple inches taller than Joss, and slightly more slender, so the pants were tighter on Joss than they would have been on Dru, which meant they were tight. The hoodie was an old one of Dru's, a faded gray with "Seattle Police Department" emblazoned across the chest. It fit Joss like a glove--maybe a little too well, especially for my libido, which had once again sat up and taken notice of this girl. She wasn't wearing a bra, obviously, and when she walked out of the bathroom and down the hall toward the kitchen, her lack of...erm, support...was evident in the way her breasts swayed under the soft, thin, faded cotton. She had a towel in her hands and was squeezing it around her dreads to dry them as she entered the kitchen.
Bast gestured at an open seat on the other side of me. "Have a seat. Dru's got some eggs and bacon finishing up. Hungry?"
She took the offered seat hesitantly, still sponging at her dreadlocks. "I--no, thanks. I'm fine."
Her stomach growled volubly at that moment, though, putting a lie to her demurral.
Dru laughed again, plated a few strips of bacon and a heaping pile of eggs, and set it in front of Joss. "Hope you're not a vegan." She then divided the rest between the three of us.
Joss snorted. "Umm, no." She sucked in a deep breath, held it, and let it out slowly. "I guess I am a little hungry. Thank you very much." She picked up the fork and stabbed some scrambled eggs. "I've never had eggs and bacon in the middle of the afternoon before."
"We like to eat what we want, when we want around here, and eggs and bacon is good anytime." Bast tipped backward in his chair, tugged open the fridge, reached in, and pulled out a bottle of hot sauce, a jar of salsa, and a container of sour cream, and piled the lot in front of Joss. "Dig in."
Joss stared at the array of condiments and then, hesitantly, reached for the salsa and sour cream. She glanced around as she took a dainty spoonful of sour cream, as if wondering if it was even okay to do so.
Bast cleared his throat. "Don't know how you do it where you're from, but around here, we don't skimp. So pile that shit on, babe."
Joss eyed him, hesitated again, and then dug a larger glop of sour cream and piled it on. "Better?" she asked, eyebrow lifted.
Bast laughed. "Hey, I just meant to not be shy about it. We won't bite." He paused, and then jerked a thumb at me. "Well, Luce here is kind of a wild card, so you never know about him."
I glared at him. "Really, Bast?"
Bast chortled. "I'm just fuckin' with you. Luce don't bite."
I glanced at Joss. "Don't mind him. He's just an idiot who doesn't know when to stop."
Joss paused in the act of spooning salsa onto her eggs, glancing between Bast and me. "Bast? His name--your name is Bast?" She stirred her eggs with her fork. "Like...Bast, daughter of Ra, Egyptian goddess of cats?"
Bast frowned. "Wait, what?"
Joss shrugged. "That's who Bast is, in Egyptian mythology. Depicted as a woman with the head of a lioness."
"Well, I don't know shit about Egyptian mythology," Bast said. "My name's Sebastian, but everyone calls me Bast."
"Oh. Well...that's marginally less interesting." Joss blinked, as if realizing what she'd just said. "I--I mean, um. Shit."
Bast was belly laughing. "No, no, don't apologize, that was funny." He glanced at me. "You fished yourself a winner out of the Passage, Luce. Damn."
"Passage?" Joss asked.
"The Inside Passage," I answered, pouring coffee for everyone else and setting it to brew another pot. "Don't know how much you know about the local geography--"
"Pretty much zero," Joss cut in.
"Well, Ketchikan is located on what's called the Inside Passage, a coastal route through all the little islands around here."
Bast eyed Joss as he added hot sauce and sour cream to his eggs. "So. Who're you?"
"Joss Mackenzie," she answered, after swallowing her bite.
"Well, Luce you know, I'm Bast, and this is my wife Dru. There are a bunch more of us around, you'll probably meet the rest of them later, though."
"More?" Joss sounded a little alarmed by this. "There are more of you?"
I snickered. "I'm the second youngest of eight brothers."
She blinked at me, absorbing this. "Eight--you have...seven brothers?"
"And...they all live here?" She turned to glance at the hallway, trying to figure out the room math.
Bast cackled. "Oh, hell no. There's another apartment down the street, and several of our brothers live close by with their wives or girlfriends. Can you imagine all eight of us plus women in this little apartment? Jesus."
"Wait--eight brothers plus wives and girlfriends...how many of you are there?"
"Umm..." I counted on my fingers as I listed everyone. "Bast and Dru, Zane and Mara--plus Jax, Brock and Claire, Bax and Eva, Cane and Aerie, Cor and Tate, me, and Xavier, so...fifteen?"
Joss chewed, swallowed, and blinked, looking overwhelmed. "Wow. That's...that's a lot of people."
"Only child?" I asked.
"Uh...something like that," she answered.
Dru, now seated with her own food and coffee, wiggled her fork at Joss. "Oh, she's totally an only child."
Joss frowned. "How do you know?"
"I recognize that look on your face," Dru said. "I'm an only child too. I was the first woman to snag a Badd brother, and let me tell you, trying to civilize this pack of wolves has been...amusing, shall we say."
"How bad can they really be? Lucian seems okay, so far." Joss allowed the tiniest hint of a smirk to touch the corners of her mouth, the first sign of amusement or humor I'd seen from her.
Dru burst out laughing, and had to cover her mouth with her hand, as she had a mouthful of food. "Oh, honey. No--the brothers, their last name is Badd, B-A-D-D." She grinned at Joss. "And, as the first Badd girl, I can testify that they can be all kinds of bad." She punctuated this with a suggestive wiggle of her eyebrows.
Joss colored. "I didn't mean--" She seemed unable to explain what she meant, and didn't finish her statement.
"Don't scandalize the poor girl, Dru. Jesus." Bast managed to say this with a straight face. "Can't you see she doesn't find your crude humor entertaining?"
"My crude humor?" Dru protested. "You're the one who thinks it's funny to smack my ass in public."
"You're my wife. I'm allowed."
"Yeah, but not in front other people, you goddamned orc."
Joss spluttered at this, and tried to cover it with a cough.
Bast winked at her. "It's okay to laugh, Joss. You landed smack dab in the middle of a bunch of real comedians."
"So I'm finding out." Joss ha
Dru eyed the plate in surprise. "Damn, girl." She set her fork down. "Still hungry? I can whip up some more real quick."
Joss looked almost a little frightened. "Oh, no. No, thank you. I'm fine."
Dru narrowed her eyes. "Sure? It's no trouble. How about some toast?"
Joss shook her head. "Oh, no. Really. I wouldn't want to...I mean, I don't want to be an inconvenience." She looked at me. "I can't thank you enough for rescuing me, Lucian, but I really should be going."
"This blizzard is gonna blow for a few days yet," I said. "I live here and I barely made it a quarter of a block from my apartment to here. You really should just hang out until it blows over."
"Ain't an inconvenience if we're offering," Bast said.
"I just--" Joss shifted on her chair, toying with the fork. "If you're sure it's not a problem, I could probably eat a piece of toast or something. And then I really will go. I'll find a hotel or something."
I snorted. "Not much to choose from, and they're all full."
Joss shook her head. "I'll figure something out. I just met you. Lucian already jumped into the bay--the Passage, I mean--saving me. You've made me food, given me clothes. I can't--I couldn't impose on you any more than I already have."
I twisted in my chair to face her more directly. "Joss, it's fine. Really."
"Shit, babe, you heard the count," Bast said. "Fifteen of us. You think one more person is gonna, what, put us out of business?"
"Out of business?" Joss asked. "What business?"
"Well, it was a figure of speech, but we own a bar. It's downstairs."
Joss wrapped a finger around a dreadlock, while Dru popped bread into the toaster. "Let me get this straight. There are eight brothers, your last name is Badd, and you own a bar in Alaska?"
Dru nodded seriously. "And the other brothers are all just as sexy as these two. Legit."
Joss blushed again. "I hadn't noticed," she said, glancing down.
Dru blew a raspberry. "Oh bullshit you haven't noticed. You wouldn't be blushing if you hadn't noticed that Lucian here isn't exactly hard on the eyes." She bumped her hip against Bast's arm as she walked past him. "And my macho fuckstick orc of a husband is pretty nice to look at, too."
Big Badd Wolf by Jasinda Wilder / Romance & Love / History & Fiction have rating 3.7 out of 5 / Based on37 votes