From "Sleepless Beauty"


Gates landed on her rump on a forest floor then clambered up and brushed herself off. In this fairy tale, she wore a long red cape, and a wicker basket covered with a red-and-white checkered napkin sat beside her.


"Little Red Riding Hood, oh brother!" She grimaced with disgust then noticed the slinky red dress she wore underneath the cape. "Well, that's certainly an improvement."


"It certainly is," a male voice said huskily behind her.


She jumped. "Dr. Cramer!"


"You were calling me Dewitt."


"That was before you started attacking Marcus." She turned toward him. "And just where...." Her voice trailed off as she really saw the doctor. "You're a wolf."


"In a manner of speaking."


He stood upright like a man, but his feet were paws, and he wore an ascot and an old-fashioned smoking jacket which came to his thighs. His long, bushy tail wagged while he smoothed the gray fur around his muzzle and pointed ears with his hand.


Smothering a laugh, she picked up her wicker basket. "You look charming."


"No, you look charming. Ravishing." His wolfish gaze caressed her as he licked his lips.


"Where are you off to on this glorious morning, Little Red Riding Hood?"


"I'm off to visit my grandmother."


"And what have you got in your basket?"


Lifting the napkin, she checked. "A container of my low-fat chicken salad, a loaf of whole wheat bread, some pickles, an apple, and homemade oatmeal cookies. Also the Sunday business section of The Charlotte Observer. Yes, it's my grandmother all right. Just the kinds of things she'd enjoy."


The wolf licked his chops. "Sounds delicious, Red. And so do you." More predatory male then predator, he began to stride toward her.


She backed away until she hit a tree.


He leaned forward and rested his hand on the tree by her head. "You're so beautiful. I want to eat you up."


"Dr. Cramer, this is unprofessional!"


He nuzzled her throat. "You like bad boys, I can tell, and I'm the baddest boy in fairy tales, Red. That's why Alden was being so damn annoying. He wanted to get your attention, and he succeeded. I saw how you were ogling him."


Heat flamed her cheeks. "Marcus is my friend, and he was trying to help. Besides, I don't date business associates."


"How about friendly wolves? Want to hear me howl? Better yet, I'll make you howl... with pleasure." His free hand moved up her ribs toward her breast. "Come on, give the Big Bad Wolf a kiss. He's big in all the right places."



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