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Running Wild

Running Wild

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When my mom signs me up for The Real Werewives of Alaska, I’m thrilled. Not because I’m interested in meeting some furry jock on a reality show—I’m a notorious dating disaster and better off single—it’s an all-expenses-paid opportunity of a lifetime for my travel vlog.
Sebastian’s wolf doesn’t care that forever’s the last thing on my mind. He only sees one thing when we run into each other at the season kickoff party.
His Mate.
Even with my sweatpants and messy ponytail, he’s all in.
The wolf gets the girl—that was easy, right? Not quite.
The running back position with the Bloodhounds is Sebastian’s last chance to play pro football, but he’s risking his life, defying his old pack by returning to Holiday Falls.
Sebastian’s a wolf who gets what he wants, and he wants me. Taking a chance on him will be the adventure of a lifetime.
That is, if I don’t get myself kicked off the show first.

If you wish football season never ended, and love your heroes a little growly, you won't want to miss this grumpy/sunshine, fated mates romance!

Main Tropes

  • Growly, protective wolf shifter
  • Grumpy hero, sunshine heroine
  • Football player hero
  • Curvy heroine starting over
  • Dating Reality Show
  • Fated Mates

Read Chapter One

On paper, it looked simple. If I took this contract with the
Alaska Bloodhounds, I’d die.

Seven years ago, my twin brother Stefan ran me out of out of
my pack with one promise. Come back to Alaska, and we’ll do to you what you
wouldn’t do to your best friend. Kill you. My brother didn’t make false

Without a pack, I wasn’t a wolf anymore. I was just a
football player. One with a bad knee who’d run out of choices.

The Bloodhounds were the only ones who offered me a contract
after I tore my ACL. I was playing on borrowed time, and I couldn’t afford to
make any mistakes. Cameras were everywhere—a brand new expansion team in the
Continental Football Association meant a ton of press. Local guys, regular
football reporters, and our very own reality show.

The Real Werewives of Alaska. The Bloodhounds were an
all-shifter team, and someone thought it would be cute if they found us mates.
Didn’t know how that was gonna work. As a wolf, I had one fated mate, and
chances were pretty good she didn’t make it to the audition.

Once my brother found out I was here, I’d give the show
plenty of drama.

The guys on the Bloodhounds were solid. It was surreal to be
playing the game at this level, where everyone was the best of the best. I
convinced myself the expansion draft was the leftovers and the losers, like me.
Every position had been filled to compliment the guys he’d be working most
closely with. We’d been set up for success. Failure would be catastrophic.

I couldn’t fail these guys. Football was the only thing that
worked for me.

“We’re running a fade route to Sebastian.” Landon Fox was a
living legend. My brother and I used to fight about which one of us would pretend
to be him when we played pick-up games. Now he was my quarterback. This was
worth risking my life for. “Block the first guy and get off him. The defense
will cover the receivers and you’ll get a lane. Keep an eye out for the ball.”

He clapped, signaling the end of the huddle. Everyone headed
to their positions for the next play. It was a scrimmage, but we were all
fighting for top billing. A chance at the starting lineup. I could not screw
this up.

Block, then get in the
I’d done it a thousand times.

Landon barked out the play. Everyone around me was moving at
warp speed, and my feet were in concrete shoes. The players in the CFA were
bigger and stronger than the guys I played against. I ran into a mountain of a
man and attempted to keep him the hell away from my idol.

Get in the lane.

I couldn’t get off this guy. He matched every move I made.
Landon called my name, begging me to get open. His voice kept getting louder as
the lineman backed me into the quarterback.

I would’ve got half credit for the sack if I hadn’t knocked
down my own guy.

“Sorry, man.” I held out my hand to help him up.

Landon didn’t take it. “Figured a pro knew how to tackle.”

“Sebastian, get over here,” Coach yelled from the sideline.
“Watch Landon run the play a couple times.”

It took me exactly one series to relegate myself to bench
warming status. The rumors were true, and I lost something after the injury.
The game moved faster in the CFA, too fast for my excuses.

After practice, only a few guys were still in the locker
room. Some of them were like me, their squirrelly eyes darting everywhere,
afraid to leave and never be asked back. Then there was Landon Fox, who had no
reason to worry about his job.

I headed to the gym. Lifting weights would get my head straight
and give me a chance to end the day better than I began.

“Need a spotter?” I recognized that voice. It was the same
one that barked my name before I got backed into him on the field. I almost
dropped the weight when I turned around to find myself alone with Landon Fox.

I’d never let him think he intimidated me. He might not be a
wolf, but he was all alpha. Guys like him ate fear for breakfast. There was a
reason I wore this guy’s shirt when I was a kid. I wanted to be like him in
more ways than one. I’d been run out of Alaska once and I’d be damned if I let
it happen again.

“I’d like that.” I racked the weight I was using and grabbed
a heavier one. I lay down on the bench, Landon stood behind me. Even with the
silver streaks in his hair, the guy was still impressive. The muscles strained
underneath his shirt to conquer the iron. But this game wasn’t about strength
or speed. It was about smarts.

“Let me know when you’re ready,” he said.

“I was born ready.”

I cursed under my breath as my muscles trembled. Not the
time to show any weakness. Mind over matter. I’d been human too long, and with
all these shifters around me, my wolf was begging to come out. My wolf hated
weakness, and I pushed through the last rep.

“I watched your films,” Landon said as he racked the weight.
“Not something I usually do for a rookie. I let you guys prove who you are on
the field. What you did in college ball doesn’t mean shit in the pros. But Coach
said you were special, and I wanted to see what the hype was about. See what
you could do. We need to have total trust in each other if we’re going to win

“Film doesn’t mean shit. What happens on the field matters.
I couldn’t block that guy.” I wrapped my hands around the bar again. “I
deserved to be benched.”

“One bad play won’t kill your career. Unless you let it get
in your head. You’ve got to set yourself up for success instead of expecting

“I’ve got no room for failure.” He had no idea what was on
the line for me. Or that I was playing on borrowed time.

“None of us do. That doesn’t make you special. You’re part
of this team now. We’re only as good as our weakest player.”

And today, that was me. “Won’t let it happen again.”

“I treat every guy in the locker room the same, no matter
what people are saying about them.” Landon sat on the bench beside me. “There are
a lot of people who are excited for you to be here. Coach is probably your
biggest fan. But your confidence faded when he pulled you out. You’ve got real
talent. Don’t let the other guys think they’ve got your number. The absolute
best have terrible games. The ones that can come back are the ones who rise
above it.”

If he dug deep enough on me, chances were good he knew what
happened with my brother. “I’m not supposed to be here.”

He squinted in confusion. “What are you talking about?”

“My brother kicked me out of my pack. Said he’d kill me if I
ever came back to Alaska.” I’d never said it out loud before. Just told everyone
I wanted to concentrate on football. The only wolves who knew the truth were in
a place I could never go back to. My home.

My wolf rumbled in approval. Been a long time since I heard from

“Guess that’s in my head a little bit,” I added when he didn’t
say anything. I just told the guy I was a ticking time bomb.

“Give your all to this team, and you’ll get it back.” After
all his time in the league, Landon couldn’t be a stranger to pack wars. “You
fight for these guys, and they’ll fight for you.”

It had been a long time since anyone said they’d fight for
me. “I’ll be better tomorrow.”

“You’re not starting at less than zero tomorrow because you
had a shitty practice today. Same if you blow it out of the water. Every day,
it’s a new game.”

He’s giving you a
second chance,
my wolf said, in case I was too thick-headed to get it.

Landon didn’t lead by fear and intimidation like my brother
did. This was the kind of leader I wanted to be. A piece of me wanted my pack
back. “Thanks for coming to talk to me. I needed to hear that.”

He grinned. “Get out of this gym, you’ve worked hard enough
today. We’ve got a party to go to.”

“That’s right. The Real Werewives.” I’d been handed
an itinerary by a smiling woman on the way into practice but I left it in my
locker. I’d been considering skipping the party to focus on tomorrow’s
practice, but Landon expected me there. “What’s your take on that?”

He offered his hand to help me off the bench. “Should be
interesting. The team’s worried about having us so far away from home. They
think we’ll be motivated to stay and play in Alaska for the long haul if they
find us women.”

“Have you met any of them yet?” Some of the guys in the
locker room had been interviewed by the show. Not me. They didn’t care about a
rookie. Yet. But that worked to my advantage. The less my brother knew about my
whereabouts, the better.

“Not yet. Looking forward to the party. I’ve always said the
game is my mistress, but having a few pretty ladies fighting over me never

“That’s for sure.” I laughed.

“You have no idea what you’re in for.” Landon grinned. “This
isn’t a frat party. You’ll have more women fighting over you tonight than you
know what to do with.”

My wolf growled. Yes.
“Not sure how it’s going to work. Wolves have fated mates.”

I wasn’t opposed to having a little fun, but there was no
way any of these women could be forever.

“You’re not just a wolf, you’re a Bloodhound.” Landon
smacked my shoulder. “But you’re more than football. Get your ass out of the
gym and I’ll see you at the party tonight. You need a distraction.”

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