My Elusive Mate
Middlemarch Gathering, Book 3
March 8, 2023
Marcus Kerr is a small-town werewolf without a mate. He’s not against the idea of a woman in his life, but now that he’s older, he’s come to accept there mightn’t be a mate for him.
Now Marcus is confused. He can scent his fated mate, but finding her is another problem.
Ria Hunter is a feline shifter hiding in plain sight. She’s an innocent but not so naive that she doesn’t understand that danger could swallow her whole if she ever relaxes her guard. A winter storm throws Ria in Marcus’s path, but the journey to happy-ever-after is not smooth sailing for this age-gap pair of lovers. It will take a little seduction and honesty before Ria says yes to the wolf.
Originally published as part of the Winter Wonders Anthology.
Other Books in the Middlemarch Gathering series
Read an Excerpt
Marcus Kerr jerked to an abrupt halt in the middle of a Middlemarch thoroughfare. Agnes Paisley jammed on her brakes and narrowly avoided hitting him. Marcus ignored her shrieks and gestures to inhale deeply, savoring the rich, fragrant scent riding the air. It was a woody, earthy aroma with a hint of smoke and intense chocolate. Hard to describe, but it called his name. He lifted his head, and his nose twitched.
Yes! His wolf stirred and attempted to push free of his human body. Claws formed before Marcus grasped his unruly wolf and ceased his shift. That scent. He snuffled, prepared to follow the trail until he found the source.
The shriek of brakes and the shove of a vehicle against his backside yanked him back to the present.
He turned to a car horn blast and Valerie McClintock’s steely glare. She pushed her spectacles up her nose and wound down her window. “What the devil do you think you’re doing, wolf? Only idiots stop on the road. Do you want me to run you over?”
“Sorry,” Marcus muttered, scowling at the heat in his cheeks. He normally kept to the background because he was new to Middlemarch. He liked the town and the feline community who’d welcomed him and other members of the Henderson pack after their lives had imploded in Scotland.
“Well, are you moving?” Valerie snapped.
“Yes, of course. I’m sorry for…ah…blocking your way.” Marcus retreated and halted on the sidewalk. He waited until Valerie and Agnes drove off before he dragged in another breath. What was that delectable smell? It made his wolf bristle with eagerness. He wanted to burst free and follow that earthy, smoky goodness. Marcus took half a step before his ringing phone stopped him in his tracks.
He answered the call. “Yeah.”
“Have you bought our coffee yet?” Rory’s Scottish burr came down the line.
“No, I’m almost at Storm in a Teacup. Did you want something else?”
“Please. Anita arrived a few minutes ago. Could you get her a coffee?”
“No problem,” Marcus said. “Be back in ten.” He could follow the scent trail for a bit since it was in the café’s direction. He drew the luscious fragrance deep into his lungs. It was like a drug to his wolf, and to be honest, Marcus found himself intoxicated, too.
But what was it?
Mate, his wolf supplied, the gruff thought echoing through Marcus’s mind.
Shock had him freezing on the footpath. He turned the idea over in his mind and rejected it.
Mate, his wolf repeated, this time with a trace of impatience.
Aware of the passing time, Marcus set off at a jog and, on reaching the café, he pushed inside.
The café was busy. He joined the end of the line, waving at the wolves and newer acquaintances he’d made since arriving in the country town.
“Hi, Marcus,” Emily, the café owner, said. “I haven’t seen you for a while. I hear you and Rory scored a big job making furniture for Lanark Castle.”
Marcus smiled. “The Middlemarch grapevine is efficient.”
“Yes, it is. We pride ourselves on our economy of speed. What would you like today?”
“Five flat whites, please. To go.”
Emily scribbled the order and slapped the slip on a spike for Tomasine, her employee. Marcus handed over his credit card, and after paying, stepped aside to let the next person place their order.
His next breath contained more of the scent, tinged with coffee and melted cheese. More alert, he scanned the cafe’s occupants. He spotted the same wolves, felines, and humans he’d seen during his first quick perusal, yet with every breath he took, he became more aware of the attention-grabbing fragrance.
“Marcus, your coffees are ready,” Tomasine called.
Marcus shook himself from his trance and strode to the counter to collect the coffee. “Thanks, Tomasine.”
His mind, or rather his nose, was playing tricks on him. Marcus headed for the door, coffee in hand. He’d come back later this evening, maybe when it was dark, and try to locate the scent trail.
In his peripheral vision, he spotted a café patron—an elderly woman. She hunched forward, the tap-tap-tap of her walking stick loud on the wooden floor. Marcus used his free hand to open the door for her.
“Thank you, son,” she said in a high, creaky voice that sounded as if it got little use. She teetered past him, ambling along the path and around the corner.
Marcus stood stock-still, his brain whirling with disbelief.
Mate, his wolf moaned.
He cautiously stepped outside and allowed the door to close. He sniffed and scowled. Bloody hell. He was losing his marbles.
Marcus snorted. They were off their rocker. No way in hell was that old woman their mate, no matter how enticing her scent.