Running from the Wolf

By: Laura Ann


To the girl in the red glasses.

May your grins and giggles

Stay with you for a lifetime.


Thank you to the wonderful Victorine

For my cover. I love it! And to my Beta Crew.

You make my books so much better.


Ruby Sanchez felt like there was a swarm of butterflies doing the polka in her stomach. She sat at a table for two in a cozy cafe, waiting for her date to show. A date she had never met. This internet dating is like perpetually setting yourself up for blind dates. She thought with a nervous giggle. You never quite know what you’re going to get. Her emotions seemed to be pinging all over the place. She was a mix of excitement and nervousness, topped with a little bit of hope.

She and B.W. had been emailing for a couple of weeks through a dating site they had both signed up for. No pictures or names were exchanged in order to help people make a deeper connection and for safety purposes. B.W. had contacted Ruby first, pointing out they had similar interests in their profiles and they had settled into an easy email conversation.

After a couple of weeks, they had decided they wanted to meet in person, which was why Ruby now sat with those overactive butterflies. She had left her dark hair down and long and had taken the time to put on a little bit of makeup. Her dark lashes usually didn’t need mascara, but she knew when she used it, it made her light, blue eyes pop against the dark fringe. A touch of blush against her creamy cheeks and a swipe of lip gloss on her already plump, red lips brought out her slightly exotic features.

Although her day job was teaching middle school math at Middleton Prep, she ran marathons in her spare time and she found things like makeup to be a hindrance, which is why she usually kept a bare face; except for special occasions ... like today.

Her foot bounced under the table and she pushed on her knee to stop the motion. Calm down. He’ll be here soon. B.W. was already five minutes late and the thought of being stood up made Ruby extra anxious.

“R.S.?” A tenor voice asked.

Spinning her head to look over her shoulder, Ruby spotted a man watching her with an expectant look on his face. “B.W.?” She asked in return, standing up to meet him.

A slow smile crept across his face as he looked her up and down. Ruby felt a bit of unease slither up her spine at his blatant perusal. Ignoring the red flag running through her mind, she thought. I suppose it’s natural, I’ve been curious to know what he looked like too.

He stuck his hand out. “Braedon Wolfe. Nice to meet you.”

Ruby shook his hand. “Ruby Sanchez. Nice to meet you too.” As he walked around to sit across from her, she allowed herself a more subtle study of him. He was only a few inches taller than her own five foot, seven inches. He had a lean, athletic build, which his skinny jeans and tight t-shirt accentuated. His hair was dark brown and hung to his shoulders, giving him a slightly rebellious and wild appearance. He wasn’t exactly what she would call handsome, but he wasn’t bad either. Just ... average, with a slightly wild streak.

After getting comfortable in his seat, his dark eyes settled onto hers. “I had no idea I was getting such a hottie when I asked to meet you.”

Ruby bristled and narrowed her eyes. She was used to people commenting on her unusual looks but had thought things would be different with Braedon since they had gotten to know each other without visuals. I don’t even know what to say to such an outrageous comment.

With a raise of her eyebrow, she picked up her menu and decided to ignore his statement. “I’ve only been here once before, do you know what’s good?”

Braedon cleared his throat and put on a contrite face. “Sorry. That wasn’t really an appropriate comment. You’re just so pretty. I’m surprised you would even be on a dating website. Doesn’t seem someone like you would need it.” Picking up his menu, he let his eyes wander down the page.

Ruby wasn’t sure what to think. Something about his apology seemed contrived, but he said all the right words. You hardly know him, just give him a chance. She told herself. She shrugged her shoulder. “It’s all right. I guess we’re both pretty nervous, huh?”

He smiled and went back to reading the menu.

After they had put in their orders with the waitress, an awkward silence reigned for a few moments.

“So ... “ he began, “tell me about yourself.” He leaned his folded arms on the table and tilted his head to the side, showing he was listening.

“Okay,” Ruby said, feeling heat creep into her cheeks at his undivided attention. “Well, I know we both mentioned several things in our emails, but if it’s okay with you, I’ll just kinda start from the beginning?”