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Hunter’s Mark is a retelling of the Grimm tale The Skillful Huntsman. In original story, the huntsman hero meets up with some giants who ask him to shot and kill a tiny dog that guards a palace so they can get to the princess inside. The huntsman kills the dog but decides not to leave the princess to the cruelty of the giants. He tricks and slays them instead. Yay for the princess, boo hiss for the poor dog!
As a doggie mama, there was no way I’d have my hero do this. So I decided to include the dog in my story as a very important character.
Priss was a stray my other hero Casey found and cares for. Priss returns this care with fierce love, loyalty, and protection for his owner. Raised by humans, Casey must suppress his wolf shifter nature. Priss helps Casey keep calm, allowing him to remain in control. While a tiny, white Pomeranian, Priss has a big spirit. Big enough to stand toe-to-toe with a badass wolf shifter assassin.
In addition to the excerpt below, here are a few snippets of Priss in action.
When Hunter drugs and kidnaps his owner:
Peering over his shoulder, he [Hunter] saw the dog lick its owner’s still cheek.
“Want a treat?” He offered it a piece of Slim Jim. The pooch gave him a “f**k you” look and growled. Not so friendly now.
He raised his shades and allowed his eyes to shift, his wolf staring down the puff ball. It quivered but didn’t yield. He growled long and low, and the dog barked at him before flashing tiny white teeth. Ballsy little thing. His wolf decided to take a different tack and whined. The pooch moved and let him search the smaller man’s clothing.
And when his owner has a bad dream:
The young shifter mumbled and thrashed around on the bed. Priss pawed at him and whined, but Little Wolf didn’t wake up. Priss gave him [Hunter] a “fix this, motherf****r” look. Damn, for a prissy little thing, the dog was hardcore.
Artist Casey Smith lives a quiet life, under the radar of his enemies, until one fateful night he loses control and the astonishing image of a wolf racing down a suburban street splashes all over social media.
Hunter’s bullet never misses its target. The assassin seeks out and kills his prey with a clear conscience by following two simple rules: 1) Don’t kill innocents 2) Don’t kill shifters.
Realizing his latest assignment violates those rules, the hunter activates Princess Protocol and the assassin becomes the protector. Red hot attraction flares between the hit man and his former target. Can Hunter resist the sweet shifter in his care?
He stepped closer to Casey’s stall but stumbled over something small and furry. The toe of one Birkenstock caught on a clump of grass as he attempted not to trample the little beast, and he ass-planted with said beast jumping onto his chest to give him a broad doggie smile.
His buddy laughed piss-your-pants-hard in his ear. F**k a duck.
The target he’d worked so hard to observe remotely sank to the ground between his sprawled-out legs, peeling the tiny hairball off his chest and setting it on the ground.
“I’m so sorry! Are you okay?”
Big blue eyes fringed with long, pale lashes scanned his body while strong yet gentle hands moved over his ankles and legs, searching for an injury. Oh, a toucher. His wolf basked in the tactile attention. His breath hitched as those hands glided past his knees and skimmed his thighs.
Damn, he needed to get laid after this assignment.
“Oh, my, what a li’l sweetie. Look at those freckles! I wonder if he’s got them everywhere. I’d like to lick them,” Rex crowed in his ear.
The other man chortled. “Possessive, much?”
He inhaled deeply, only to be slammed with the force of a Mack truck. Strawberries on a warm summer’s day and fresh-cut grass—shit, his target smelled delicious. He took another breath, and his brain reeled. He’s a wolf shifter, too? F**k.
Casey’s brows furrowed. “Where are you hurt?”
He forced a smile. “I’m fine. No worries.”
Casey returned the smile, his wide and high beam combined with sparkling eyes. Hunter stared as warmth wrapped around him like a blanket. He had no ammo against such a happy, open expression. The guy freaking glowed.
V.S. Morgan has lived all over the US but calls Minnesota her home now. Her family includes her hubby, son, and a menagerie of pets.