Title: Living Wilder
Series: Wilder #1
Author: Lēigh Tudor
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: May 23, 2021
There’s a fine line between genius and insanity. Add in an irreverent prodigy with deadly combat skills and an upbringing devoid of normal life experiences, and that line’s going to get more than blurred, it’s going to get obliterated.
Three sisters, all geniuses, raised in a wildly abnormal environment, escape to a quaint hideout in the remote prairie town of Wilder, Texas.
Loren, is determined to make the town love her and her sisters, despite inappropriate clothing choices and a set of abs resembling corrugated steel. If the good people of Wilder require more convincing, middle sister, Mercy, has an arsenal of weapons and intimidation techniques to bring them around. Cara, with the temperament of a nun-in-waiting, does her best to dampen her older sister’s unpredictable natures.
To make matters more complicated, the town’s namesake, Alec Wilder, doesn’t buy into their backstories. He vows to protect his own little sister from their web of lies. But he can’t deny his attraction to Loren, the ring-leader of the sketchy threesome.
Nothing adds up when it comes to the new women of Wilder, but one thing’s for sure, figuring them out is going to be one wild ride.
Alec knew trouble when he saw it. And it had just walked into his house of worship wearing sheep’s clothing. Or in this case, a godawful dress that resembled his pup tent when he’d served in the Marines.
“You know them?” Ally whispered as she stared at the three newcomers, along with the rest of the congregation.
“They dress funny. Where do you think they’re from?”
“The bowels of hell.”
Shit, he’d said that out loud. He whispered back, “Bowling Hills.”
She seemed satisfied. He was anything but. He didn’t need a distraction.
“They don’t look trashy to me.”
“What?” Alec asked, his head turning toward his little sister.
“Kelly Jeeter’s mom heard from Lenore Sterling that these newcomers stopped by the 7-Eleven on their way into town. Said they were nothing better than white trash, the older two, anyway.”
“S’at so?” Eyes narrowed further.
“Said the blonde who wore tiny shorts with hooker shoes and the short-haired sister had on a leather bra. Said they were probably prostitutes.”
“And how did she know they weren’t just driving through town?”
“Kelly Jeeter’s mom is a realtor. Said they were renting a house just inside of Wilder.”
Inwardly, he congratulated himself on his powers of observation. He could still smell trouble, even when disguised as pious churchgoers. He’d keep his eye on them.
From a distance.
“You shouldn’t be gossiping about people you don’t know, Ally,” he whispered, recognizing how hypocritical that sounded in his head. But it was a teaching opportunity for his little sister.
She looked down and nodded. “Sorry, but you’re the only one I’ve told, and as I said, they don’t look trashy to me.”
The service concluded, and he was hell-bent on getting back to the farm and the work looming ahead of him.
And that’s when she noticed him noticing her.
Surprisingly, she didn’t look away in coyness or embarrassment. Oh, no, she blatantly stared right back as if she were daring him to blink.
Oh, hell, did she just lick her lips?
In fucking church?
He didn’t need this shit.
He needed calm and quiet; he needed an easy life without fucking platinum-blond distractions.
Yet the distraction kept staring.
He finally broke eye contact as they made their way past the pews and through the church doors. He shook Pastor Robert’s hand and reached back for Ally’s, ready to take control. If he didn’t, his sister would be pulling him toward every single female from the church steps to the parking lot.
Ally meant well, but he had no desire to dip his dick into the local pool of pussy. He was fine driving out of town for one-night stands or even a quickie against a bar’s back alley wall to address his sexual needs. He didn’t need female complications plaguing him in his home town where gossip ran rampant and more men than not ended up at the end of the church aisle saying, “What the fuck just happened?”
He’d made that mistake once, and the pervasive guilt from how that poor decision had affected Ally was a continual unkind reminder.
“Yoo-hoo!” Alec closed his eyes at the familiar voice. Pastor Robert’s wife, Emmy Lou. No getting out of this unexpected delay tactic.
He turned with Ally in tow and saw her, his blond nemesis, standing next to Emmy Lou with the two despots-by-association at her side.
Emmy Lou’s hand was waving them down, her other arm clenching her pocketbook to her side.
“Alec, you and Ally come meet your new neighbors.”
A frisson of apprehension speared up the back of his neck. New neighbors?
“They’re renting the old Bailey house down by your east field.”
Of course, they were. His head fell forward as he chuckled at his bad luck. When he forced his head up, there she was, smiling at him, and not in a neighborly way. He wouldn’t have been surprised if she’d sprouted fangs.
“Alec, Ally, this is Loren, Mercy, and Cara. They’re sisters and new to the area. And get this, their last name is Ingalls. Isn’t that something? The Ingalls girls living in Wilder.”
The one with the short dark hair rolled her eyes, nudging the blonde, who almost lost her footing.
He shook each of their hands, leaving Loren’s for last, almost buckling at the unexpected strong handshake from such a small woman.
Ally hung back behind him and waved timidly.
“Nice to meet you, Ally,” Loren said, peeking around him to his sister.
“Hi.” She waved back.
Emmy Lou, ever the welcoming committee, added, “Alec and Ally are direct descendants of this town’s founding father, Eubanks Wilder.”
The blonde, Loren, returned a subtle smirk. “Wow, so cool. You’re like local celebrities.”
Was that a tinge of sarcasm? He caught the glint in her eye.
“Hardly,” Alec snapped.
Aaannd fuck. He was hard.
The blonde kept endearing herself to the weakest link, Ally. Like a lioness spotting the wounded baby antelope falling back from the herd.
“How old are you, Ally?”
“I turn fourteen next week,” Ally replied, her eyes glancing at the younger sister who appeared just as shy as Ally, standing behind and to the side of the she-devil. And what was that sound? Was the younger one humming?
“What a coincidence,” Loren said, “Cara is also fourteen. Maybe you can show her around school sometime. Show her the ropes.”
His mind took a twisted turn, imagining her arms tied to her sides. Under his control.
Before he could think to soften his tone, he piped up with, “Ally’s pretty busy at school. She’s taking advanced courses and has very little extra time.” A small elbow from Ally found his side, and just as quickly, the smile on the spectacular demon in front of him wavered, the glint in her eye turning into a shard of glass.
“Where do you go to school, Ally?” the demon asked, undaunted.
“Wilder High School.”
Emmy Lou added, “The middle school and the high school are in the same building. We’re trying to raise money to give the middle schoolers their own location. You can imagine the things they must see walking around all those high school students in the hallways.”
The other sister, Mercy, appeared confused. “What things?”
Alec watched the sisters look at Emmy Lou like they seriously couldn’t imagine.
“Well, you know, things middle schoolers shouldn’t see.”
“Like what?” Mercy asked. And she looked dead serious, despite rudely popping her gum.
The demon distraction finally appeared to recognize that Ms. Emmy Lou would rather chew glass than talk about the shit high schoolers got into in the hallways at school.
She chuckled. “You’ll have to excuse us. We were home-schooled.”
He barely registered her words; he couldn’t help but notice how her lips were tinged a soft red. His eyes narrowed, thinking she must have feasted on a small deer on the way to church.
She continued, “I’m afraid we’re not well-versed at what goes on in middle or high school, but Cara here will be signing up for classes tomorrow and it sure would be nice if she knew someone.” She turned toward Ally again. “What grade are you in?”
Before Ally could answer, Alec stopped the conversation short. “Sorry to interrupt, but I’ve got to get back to the house. It was nice meeting you.” Once again, he grabbed Ally’s hand to distance her from the coven.
Unexpectedly, Loren reached out again to shake his hand “Nice meeting you, Alec.” Dark brown eyes pinned him down as if daring him not to reciprocate. For Ally’s sake and considering he was being scrutinized by the pastor’s wife, he reached out. But this time her grip softened, her middle finger running seductively through his palm as they disengaged.
His hand fucking tingled, which made him mad.
And then even more so when it reached his dick.
Fuucckk. How’d she make a handshake seem so filthy?
Lēigh lives in the suburbs of Atlanta, GA, with her husband whom she lovingly refers to as The PoolBoy.
She recently retired from a career in the tech industry, working a variety of positions where she sold, trained, marketed and managed . . . a ton of shit. She loved it, don’t misconstrue the excrement comment, but now finds herself blissfully happy following her, well, bliss.
Lēigh’s motto is “Find your tribe and love them hard.” If this sounds like someone ya’ll want to hang out with, come join her tribe!