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The Fullback Protector, Book 2 - Audiobook

The Fullback Protector, Book 2 - Audiobook

A Sweet Paranormal Young Adult Romance Series

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Welcome to Smoky Hills Academy

#1 in Football #1 in Wolf Shifters

I'm determined to prove to Liam that we aren't over. I need him to understand that I can handle the part of him that he revealed to me. I'm not weak.

  • Paranormal Romance
  • Wolf Shifter
  • Alpha
  • Contemporary
  • High School
  • Football
  • Fated Mates
  • Over Protective Hero
  • Forbidden Romance

Synopsis

Cora

I'm determined to prove to Liam that we aren't over. I need him to understand that I can handle the part of him that he revealed to me. I'm not weak.

But it doesn't seem to matter. Not to Liam.

So I'm trying to move on. Christopher, my home economics partner, seems like a good distraction.

He's sweet and kind and interested in me.

But everywhere I go, Liam seems to be there.

I'm trying to forget the one guy who stole my heart, but that seems easier said than done.

Rose

I know my parent’s death wasn’t accidental. And I won’t stop until I find answers.

I can't help the desire I have to discover the mystery of Smoky Hills forest. Even though I know it's crazy, I can’t help but wonder if there are creatures that roam our woods and I can't help but wonder if they took part in that fateful night.

The night I was made an orphan.

Determined to get answers, I start with Fullback Grayson Keller. He’s big. He’s burly. But he’s the only one who can’t seem to look me in the eye.

Even though it takes some convincing, he agrees to help—until I begin to dig a little too deep.

Suddenly, he wants to pull away. And somehow I care more about that than the answers I’ve been looking for.

Why did I let him into my life? Why did I let myself care? Why did I ever think this would end in a pretty little bow?

My obsession for answers doesn’t seem to matter. Not when Grayson leaves.

Not when it might even be my fault.

Chapter One Look Inside

The grass was soft under my paws as I kept time with Liam. 

He was a man on a mission, and there wasn’t anything I could do to slow him down. 

Something had happened to him. Something inside of him had changed. I could feel it, but it wasn’t my place to ask. He’d be forthcoming when he wanted to. 

I would follow him. He was my alpha. 

We slowed, and my ears perked. What do you hear? I asked, glancing over at him. 

One of the great things about being in a wolf pack—you can hear each other’s thoughts. Well, if they let you. Apparently, Liam wasn’t interested in cluing in his second-in-command. 

Liam glanced over at me with his eyes wide. Then he tossed his head toward the north. Confused, I tipped my nose that way and paused. Then I smelled it—and heard it. 

Liquor and music. It was probably the bar a few miles away. 

By the time I looked back at Liam, he was gone. I growled and took off after him. 

It was frustrating sometimes, being Liam’s friend. And even more frustrating since Cora showed up. I’d never seen a girl bring Liam to his knees until I saw him with her. 

Then memories of how I’d felt about Rose—how I still felt—flooded my mind. 

Liam had told me to move on. A relationship between a human and a wolf could never work. But that was before Cora. Before he’d found his fate. 

Now he understood the hell I’d been going through since the moment I’d walked away from Rose. The pain of forcing myself to stay away. 

The branches of bushes and low-hanging trees whipped at my face as I raced to catch up with Liam. A few seconds later, I stopped. Liam had changed back to human form and was crouched behind a tree. 

I quickly changed and moved to join him. I could feel his intensity as he stared at the small wooden building just a few yards away. I could hear the drunken laughter and smell the alcohol from where I stood. 

The fear of what lay inside of those walls creeped up inside of me. I liked my life in Smoky Hills. My foster mom was kind and generous, nothing like the hell I’d left when I walked away from the mother pack four years ago, bringing my kid sister, Brielle, with me. 

We were finished with our parents. There was no need for me to walk into a bar only to come face to face with them. 

“Come on, Liam. Leave it alone,” I said as I walked up next to him and rested my hand on his shoulder, hoping he’d sense my attempt at being calm. 

He snapped back and whipped around to glare at me. “Stop,” he commanded.

I felt the submission inside of me rise as I took a step back. “Sorry,” I muttered. Then I cleared my throat. There was being obedient to your alpha, and then there was being a coward. I was no coward. 

We were still teens and didn’t have that desire for complete dominance yet. It was the adults who demanded rankings, who fought to become the next leader. 

“This is a stupid idea,” I said as the gravity of our situation loomed over me. “We stay off their land, and they stay off ours.” Besides, Liam knew how I felt about my parents. Him bringing me here was challenging my loyalty to what we’d built in Smoky Hills.

Liam narrowed his gaze. “But they haven’t stayed off our land.” He huffed and turned his attention back to the bar. 

Confused, I studied him. “What?”

Liam remained quiet as he stared hard at the building in front of us. There was something going on, and I was going to find out what. “You need to tell me,” I said, shoving his shoulder and causing him to stumble back. 

Liam let out a growl and charged me. I let him tackle me to the ground. I could feel his agitation, but it was better if he took it out on me instead of the mother pack. 

Liam attempted to throw a few punches, but I dodged them. His anger was clouding his judgement and his aim. After a minute of unsuccessful hits, he growled and pushed off me as he stalked back over to the tree. “You don’t understand,” he said, leaning his back against the trunk and tipping his face toward the sky. 

I moved to stand, grateful that I could feel him starting to calm down. I needed to protect him at all costs, and allowing him to start a war between us and the mother pack was not fulfilling my duty. 

“What don’t I understand?” I asked, standing a few feet in front of him. 

A wave of sadness crashed over him, and he scrubbed his face. After a few moments, he tipped his face forward and met my gaze. 

“I’ve given up on Cora,” he said. His tone was deep, and I could feel the pain in his heart. The same pain I felt when I walked away from Rose. It was like nothing else I’d ever felt. Rose my mine. She was my fate. Leaving her was like leaving a part of myself. 

“I’m sorry, man,” I said, bowing my head slightly so he would know I was serious. 

Liam didn’t respond right away. When I glanced up, I saw that he’d turned his attention back to the bar. “It doesn’t matter. It’s in the past. The one thing I can do now is protect her.” He turned to look at me. “And I will do that. It’s the only thing I have left.”

He wouldn’t get any argument from me. I knew exactly how he felt. It was the only semblance of happiness that I could find, protecting Rose. It was the one thing I could do for her, and I would do it wholeheartedly. 

“So why are we here?” I asked, stepping up to him. He’d told me earlier that we were going hunting, I just hadn’t realized that hunting the mother pack was what he had in mind. 

Liam tapped his fingers on the tree as he stilled his gaze. Then he sighed. “Someone saw us.” He cleared his throat as if he were embarrassed. 

I furrowed my brow. 

“A few evenings ago, I took Cora out to my waterfall. We talked.” He peeked over at me. “We kissed.”

“Okay,” I said slowly, waiting to hear where this was going. 

“There was a wolf. Not from our pack.” He cleared his throat. 

“Did he know who you were?” I stepped closer to him, willing him to meet my gaze. 

He hesitated for a moment and then glanced up at me. “Yes,” he whispered. 

I let out a low groan as I turned and ran my hands through my hair. “Is that why we are here? The mother pack saw you with a human?” I turned to glare at him. How could he have been so stupid? 

Liam nodded. “I know. It was reckless. I tried to fight him off, but he got the upper hand.” He paused as if he’d told me too much, but I didn’t care. I was done with secrets. He was going to tell me everything. 

“Your heart is pounding,” I said, lifting a finger and shoving it against his chest. “Which means you are lying. What aren’t you telling me?”

He studied me for a moment before he sighed. “He knows about Cora, that’s all that matters. Now, Coach Pennington told me to fix my mistakes, so that’s what I’m doing.” Liam pushed off the tree and took a step toward the bar. 

I grabbed his hand and pulled him back. Then I paused, focusing my attention on the inhabitants of the bar. I needed to know if my parents were in there before we went any closer. 

After weeding through the voices, I concluded that Patsy and Wes weren’t in there. I loosened my grip on Liam and stepped back. I felt more confident about going into the bar now, but I still needed to establish some ground rules. 

“I’ll let you go in on one condition,” I said as I meet his gaze. 

Liam studied me and then slowly nodded. “What?”

“No shifting.” We weren’t like the wolves inside that building. They were adults, and we were still teens. There was no doubt they would be strong. They stayed in wolf form longer than we did, which meant the wolf blood coursed through their veins and strengthened them in a way that we couldn’t compete with. 

Liam let out a low growl as he jerked his arm away. “Grayson,” he said, his tone low and menacing. 

I held my ground even though I felt my resolve softening. He was the alpha, but I knew I needed to stand my ground. The last thing we needed was to start a war we couldn’t win. 

“What would Cora want you to do?” I asked, stepping closer to him. “Or your mom?”

That seemed to register with Liam. He brought his gaze up to meet mine and held it there for a moment before he sighed. 

“Fine. No shifting.” He turned but then hesitated and looked back at me. “But I get to say when we leave. Okay?” he asked, leaning in. 

I nodded. “Agreed.”

He started making his way toward the bar. I stayed a few paces behind him. I could feel his agitation and knew it was best to give him a little space. 

Liam pulled open the door, and the smell of beer and sweat wafted out. I wrinkled my nose and cursed the heightened sense of smell. That didn’t seem to deter Liam as he walked in with his shoulders back and his head held high. 

I could tell he was hurting. This tough-guy act was his attempt at protecting himself, but inside, he was breaking. 

No one seemed to pay us any mind as we slipped through the crowd. Some were dancing on a small wood platform, but most were hanging out in groups, drinking and laughing. 

Liam walked up to the counter and rested his arms on it. The bartender was busy and didn’t notice us right away, which I was grateful for. It gave me time to focus, to figure out an exit if we needed it. It also gave me time to make sure my parents were nowhere to be found. My initial analysis was correct. They weren’t here. 

“Thought I smelled something a little…off,” a woman sneered. 

My ears perked up, and my skin pricked as I whipped my head around to see a middle-aged woman leaning against the bar, her gaze running up and down Liam. I growled and stepped forward, but Liam’s hand stopped me. 

“I’m not looking for trouble,” Liam said. 

The woman cackled as she straightened and turned to meet Liam head on. “Then you stepped into the wrong bar.” Her gaze flicked over to me. “Who’s your bodyguard, half-breed?” 

Rage boiled up inside of me, but I told myself to remain calm. Liam’s jaw muscles were clenched, but I could tell he was trying to stay composed. 

“Don’t call me that,” he said, his voice low and menacing. 

“What?” the woman asked, leaning in further. “Your slut mother tainted our blood with hers. And then you have the balls to walk into our bar?” She was inches from Liam’s face. “Half-breed.” Then she spat on his cheek. 

The fire inside of me burst into roaring flames. It took all my strength not to change right there and bite her head off. Liam was my alpha. It was my job to protect him. 

I could feel the same hatred coursing through Liam as he lunged. 

Realizing that neither of us would come out of a fight unscathed, I pulled on Liam and pushed him toward the far wall. The woman who had been taunting us had stepped forward as if ready to take any blow Liam was going to throw her way. 

I moved between them and met the woman’s gaze. Her eyebrows rose. “Ah, so he’s the alpha.” She spat as she tossed her head in Liam’s direction. “Why do you follow him? You’re stronger. Your loyalty to his kind is sickening.” She leaned in and breathed her stale, hot breath on me.

“We are leaving,” I said in a low, threatening voice. I took in a few deep breaths and felt my body simmer. 

The woman laughed as she glanced around at the other bar denizens. They had all stopped what they were doing to watch our interaction. “Chickens. Living among humans has made you soft. You’re weak because your human-loving parents made you weak,” she said as she turned to stare at me. 

That was all I needed. My cool head melted, and rage burned through me. Before I could stop myself, I pulled back my fist and connected with her jaw. If she only knew her accusation didn’t apply to me. 

Both of my parents were wolves and low-life killers. I didn’t want them around. Ever. I’d follow a half-breed over them any day. Liam may have a human for a mother, but he was stronger than any wolf in this bar. 

The impact from my blow sent her stumbling backward, shrieking. The crowd around us stood stunned as I turned and ran toward the door. Thankfully, I could feel Liam’s long strides behind me. 

We burst through the door and out into the parking lot. We kept our backs to the building so we could run through the shadows. It took mere seconds for both of us to shift, and soon we were running as fast as we could through the woods. 

It took miles to finally outrun the howls of revenge as a group of shifters followed us. I hoped that they would see us as insignificant teens looking for trouble and eventually forget all about us. Which seemed to be the case as their calls for blood faded into the darkness around us. 

As we neared Smoky Hills, my frustration with Liam felt as if it were choking me. I was loyal to him. I always would be. But if this was how he was going to deal with the loss of Cora, he was going to hear it from me. 

We shifted back and walked to the edge of the woods, the town visible through the foliage. I knew Liam could feel my tension. I wasn’t trying too hard to hide it. 

“Don’t,” he said as he kept his gaze turned toward the town. 

I let out a sigh. “You can’t do this. Starting something with the mother pack will not fix the pain.” My heart squeezed. I knew what he was going through. I went through the same destructive behavior when I had to walk away from Rose. “It gets easier,” I said as I reached out and set my hand on his shoulder. 

Liam hunched, as if the pain he was carrying was too much to bear. Then he straightened and nodded. “I know. But that doesn’t change the fact that a wolf out there knows about Cora and me. If my dad won’t fight, we are all in danger.” 

He didn’t look at me as he pulled away and started to jog down the street. I could feel the pain inside of him, so I let him go alone. 

He didn’t need me telling him how dangerous things were going to be if he went to Cora. He already knew. It was just going to take time for him to come to peace with it. 

I scrubbed my face and tipped my head back. I blew out my breath as my ears perked to the sounds around me. 

Jordan’s diner. 

I could hear laughter and the clinking of dishes. As I glanced around, I saw that the diner was just a few buildings over. The urge to see Rose—to hear her heartbeat—coursed through me, and before I could stop myself, I headed in that direction. 

Jordan’s was one of the only restaurants in town. If anyone asked, I could say I was just picking up some grub. But I knew the real reason. 

Rose was there, and she was my world.

No matter how much I tried to ignore it.

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The Smoky Hills Academy

Welcome to Smoky Hills Academy #1 in Football #1 in Wolf Shifters