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Rebel Mate

Rebel Mate

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Everyone assumes I applied to The Real Werewives to find the love of my life, but I came to tell my side of the story--it's time my voice is heard.
At one time, I was America’s Sweetheart. I starred in movie after movie and won major awards all before the age of ten. Everyone thought my life was perfect. That was until I emancipated from my parents and woke up in Vegas married to the world’s most notorious rock star wolf. We weren’t in love, and it didn’t last. It was a cry for help.
The scandal got attention—the wrong kind. Directors refused to return my phone calls, and the press went from Princess Roxy to Poor Roxy overnight. It’s been almost twenty-five years since my fall from grace, and I want to set the record straight.
Turns out, there’s been a sweet cowboy wolf waiting for me on Colorado Ranch all this time. He says he’s always known I was his mate, and he wants to give me the home and family that's become my dream. Hollywood? I don’t need them anymore. But that rock star from my past? He just might get the last word.

Main Tropes

  • Protective wolf shifter who always knew Roxy was his mate
  • Smokin' hot hero over 40
  • Cowboys
  • Curvy former movie star
  • Dating Reality Show
  • Rock star ex

Read Chapter One

The network might have canceled the show, but nothing could stop The Real Werewives. We were filming more than we ever had before. No rules—everything done our way. And it was awesome.

Tonight’s stop on the comeback tour, as we nicknamed it, was downtown Sunset Springs. Just like every other night.  My name was on the marquee, and production had pulled out all the stops.

“Good evening Sunset Springs!” The spotlight shone on Bibi, and the reflection from the sequins on her dress would have blinded a mere mortal. In another lifetime, I’d starred in some
blockbuster films, but I had no chance of outshining Bibi le Bonnet. “Tonight, we plan to test the limits of your imagination. Who’s up for a game of charades? We’ll bring two of you on stage at a time to guess what the gorgeous and talented
Roxy Carole has drawn for you. No one can forget Roxy, right?”

At one time, I was America’s
sweetheart. I won an Academy Award before I turned ten. Which sounds like a fairy tale, except, in addition to a full-time acting job, I was raising two parents who’d never had more than fifty bucks in their bank account until I hit
it big. At age twelve, I gave up trying to get them to do the right thing and joined the party. By fifteen, I was an emancipated minor. At seventeen I was
divorced, in rehab, and the only spotlight pointed in my direction came courtesy of think pieces about where I went so tragically wrong.

So, it was a matter of which Roxy they remembered, but the look of pity always followed. I hated that the most.

“I’ve asked for drawing suggestions from the crowd—and for you to keep it somewhat clean. This will make it on to The
Real Werewives
. Anything you say can and will be used all over the
internet.”

No lies detected there, Bibi.

“Thought the show was canceled,” someone called out from the audience.

To the delight of the crowd, Bibi
rolled her eyes, a move made much more impressive with her two sets of false lashes and her sparkly eye makeup. I motioned for her to give me the microphone.

They hollered when she handed it to me. I had a feeling they hoped hot mess Roxy would make an appearance.

She wouldn’t. I’d been sober for
over twenty years, and even though my drink looked like a cocktail, it was only seltzer. Just because it had been a while since my name was in lights didn’t
mean I ever stopped acting.

“The party’s over when The Real
Werewives
say it’s over,” I announced. “The network will be begging us to come back, but we don’t need them.”

The crowd roared, but Tina shook
her head from behind the camera. Of course, she wanted her job back—I’d never
forgotten how scary it was when Hollywood turned their back on me. But this was my chance to show them once and for all I didn’t need them. That I could be
successful without their blessing. And it would feel amazing. I was done asking for other people’s permission to shine.

If things kept going the way they
were, Stephanie and Tina would be fools to go back to their old contract. Our views were through the roof, the advertising money went straight into our pockets, and all the Werewives Experience events in Sunset Springs were crazy popular. We’d sold out Drag Pictionary night. Who does that?

The Real Werewives, baby.
That’s who. And don’t you forget it.

“Who are my first two victims, I
mean contestants?” Bibi brought the rowdy crowd back to order. “Okay, if you have ticket number fifty-four and eighty-seven, come on up to the stage. I’ll give Roxy clues, and the first one to guess what she’s drawing will win one of our fabulous prizes.”

A man and a woman came up on stage, and cameras flashed, recording every moment. I picked up my marker and waited
for Bibi to check the clue.

She waggled her eyebrows and bit her lip. “This is going to be so much fun. Draw a rectangle, Roxy.”

I marked the middle of the giant
sketch pad.

“No, not there. Lower.” She put an emphasis on the word. Bibi could make anything sound scandalous.

I followed her instructions.

“Okay, next I need a model.” She
approached the guy who’d come on stage. “Bend over, gorgeous.”

He looked at her, wide-eyed, but
the crowd was going wild, and everyone in Sunset Springs knew better than to question Bibi le Bonnet.

“All the way down. Yes, like that.
Hands on the floor. Spread your legs a little. Move your feet back. Yes, you look good like this. Okay, Roxy, draw this gorgeous gentleman, but put him in the rectangle.”

I had a clue of what we might be
drawing, and I did as I was told. I preferred to do my sketches in pencil so I could fix any mistakes before anyone saw them—not that I showed my artwork to
many people—but the crowd at the Orchid Lounge wasn’t looking for perfection.

“Don’t think you’re off the hook
over there.” Bibi sidled up to the lady who’d come on stage. “I need you to model for Roxy too. Give me your fiercest stance.” She waited for the volunteer to comply. “Now put your hands in the air. Just like that.”

“Where should I put her?” I asked.

“Wherever you want, doll.”

How scandalous did I want to make this? I didn’t have many options when I had to make the drawing big enough to for the crowd to see. We had a camera trained on the sketchbook so everyone could see it on the overhead screen. But this was all about broad strokes and
suggestions. Letting their mind fill in the blanks.

I put the new figure behind the old one.

“She’s gonna spank him!” someone
called out.

“Get your minds out of the gutter, ladies and gentlemen!” Bibi pretended to act aghast. “Roxy, draw a sun.”

Didn’t expect that.

“She’s gonna put suntan lotion on his ass! They’re at a nude beach.”

Another exasperated sigh from Bibi. “It’s not that kind of show. Many of you probably did this very thing this morning before you got your fancy juice at the Fresh Squeeze. And you paid good money to do it.”

“Yoga!” The lady let go of her
pose. “I’m doing a sun salutation, and he’s in downward dog.”

“Thank goodness. Order has been
restored.” Bibi put her manicured hand over her heart. “Yes, that’s exactly what you’re doing. Let’s see what your prize is. Lucky you, it’s a gift certificate to Whispers. You can make all your naughty little dreams come
true.”

I should’ve asked Bibi to pay me in Whispers gift certificates. A sweet wolf named Damon said I was his forever mate, and he was having a little trouble breaking out of his shell. When most
of the ladies who’d come to Colorado Ranch had been claimed by their mates, I
felt like Damon was still a little intimidated by me. It was time to get this wolf to claim me. Even if I needed to call in the help of a drag queen and some sex toys to do it.

At least, I’d have a lot of fun
trying.

“Where are our next contestants?” Bibi tapped her finger over her lips. “Lucky number thirteen, get your sweet ass on the stage. Number fifty, you might as well come too.”

Two shadowy figures approached. The spotlights on the stage made it hard to see anything in the crowd. I’d only
done a few live events in the past—let’s not talk about those—but the anonymity was a blessing.

This time it was two men. Bibi was going to have a field day with this one. I squinted as they grew closer. One of them looked familiar.

Way too familiar.

No, my past didn’t come to Sunset Springs to bite me in the ass. The crowd ratcheted the volume up to a fever pitch, confirming my worst fears.

Henley Due was no stranger to
making a spectacle on stage. He’d been touring with his metal band since before I understood what those strange, tingly sensations he used to give me meant.

But now, the only thing this man
made me feel was annoyed.

“Looks like we have more than one celebrity gracing us with their presence tonight.” Damn, he even had an effect
on Bibi. She batted her eyelashes at him and bit her lip. “Is this really Henley Due of Due Diligence?”

An even louder roar of the crowd. I wondered if anyone would notice if I slipped out the back door.

They’d notice. I had a camera
following my every move.

And to think I’d missed that when I faceplanted into obscurity.

My heart pounded as his lips curled into a smile. The ladies in the crowd screamed like we were at one of his concerts.

“It is.” He picked up Bibi’s hand
and kissed it. “But you’re not the lovely lady I came to see.”

Of course not.

He motioned for Bibi to hand him
the microphone. She was putty in his hands. I couldn’t be mad about it—I’d fallen for it too. But I was older now. I liked to think I was wiser.

He stepped closer to me, and I
crossed my arms in front of my chest. Whatever he was trying to sell, I was not buying. Henley Due belonged to another lifetime, another woman I only looked at
in newspaper clippings and documentaries about my tragic teenage years.

His gaze slid over my body. “Looking good, Roxy.”

“What do you want?”

“I hear you’re a Real Werewife
now.”

I looked around the stage,
unfolding my arms and holding them out. Downtown Sunset Springs had been transformed into Werewives Central, and we liked to think we were all over the
internet. But we were in our own little bubble—an echo chamber—and that was dangerous.

“There’s a problem with that,” he
continued.

“What?” I hated that he made my
façade crumble—the one that was calm, cool, and collected. He’d ignited the wick, and he knew exactly what would make me explode.

“You’re still my wife.”

“Oh no, he didn’t,” Bibi bellowed
as a hush fell over the crowd.

Oh yes, he did.

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