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Amanda's Wolves

By´╝ÜBecca Jameson

Chapter One

Amanda picked up the phone and rolled her eyes as she answered it—the third call from her sister that day. “Mary. What now?”

“You’ll be here Sunday, right?”

“Yes.” She was exasperated with the entire ordeal.

“And you’re driving, right?”

“How else would I get my stuff there? Of course.”

“Just making sure. You don’t have to get all sassy on me.”

“I’m twenty-five years old, Mary. I know Mom and Dad like to think I’m some sort of recalcitrant child, but I’m a grown woman. I can drive across the country. I have an actual license and everything.”

Mary blew out a breath.

To be honest, Amanda hated the way she was treating her sister. It was uncalled for. They’d been close growing up. They were only three years apart. But Mary had always been the “good” sister. And Amanda had been the “naughty” one. At least that’s how their parents saw it.

Lucky for Mary, she’d had more brains. She managed to get a college degree—or two—and got the hell out of Nowhere, Oklahoma. Unlucky for Mary—as far as Amanda saw it—she had left town only to go to Nowhere, Montana.

Why? Was she crazy? She said she liked the small-town atmosphere, but she wanted to start fresh somewhere. And she’d chosen a place far enough from home that it kept their parents from visiting.

Molly and Ben Williams were not exactly the type for road trips. They lived a simple life in Oklahoma. As far as Amanda knew, they’d never left the state.

They also spent the last twenty-five years making Amanda’s life a living hell. All her mother cared about was the church she belonged to and making sure her daughters got a clean ticket to heaven.

Mary had suggested Amanda come live with her over nine months ago.

Amanda had balked for every single one of those months, insisting she needed to finish the next semester of school and then deciding to complete her degree in summer school. A degree in anthropology she doubted she would ever use. It had taken her seven years to finish it, and she had no idea what she would do with it now that she had the diploma in her hands.

She’d run out of excuses. And frankly, her mother was driving her fucking bonkers with all her rules.

Nice girls don’t _____. She could fill in that blank with any of about a dozen things without flinching, she’d heard it so many times.

One of the things nice girls didn’t do was move out of their parents’ home before marriage, which was why Amanda still lived under her father’s roof.

It seemed, however, that nice girls could move out to live with their sister. If only that move didn’t seem quite so lateral. Her biggest worry was that she was jumping out of one frying pan into another. There was always the possibility life with Mary would be every bit as stifling as life with her parents.

The town Mary lived in, Cambridge, Montana, didn’t seem to offer much more than the one Amanda was leaving.

It did have a ski resort, though. And she found the idea of learning to ski intriguing. She’d never even seen skis.

What she dreaded most was finding Mary to be as controlling and restrictive as Molly and Ben. Lately, though, she couldn’t imagine the situation being any worse. And she was finally willing to trade residences in hopes that the trade would prove to be up and not down.

Mary sounded excited enough. Amanda hadn’t seen her in over a year—not since Mary moved out of the family home to open her own preschool in Montana. At first, Amanda had been pissed at Mary for abandoning her. But soon she’d switched from angry to jealous. If Mary was having even an ounce of fun out on her own, it would be worth it.

Amanda decided to needle her sister a bit. “Any cute guys in that town?”

Mary hesitated. “Is that all you care about?”

“Yep.” She flopped down on her bed in her childhood room and stared at the ceiling. She was restless, like a caged tiger. She needed to get out of this house, this town, and this state, and live a little.

“Well, I’m sure there are. But they don’t work at my preschool, so I can’t say I’ve had a chance to meet any of them.”

“So, you aren’t dating?”

There was another pause.

“Mary?” Did her sister have a secret? Amanda smiled. Oh yes. This was going to be great. If Mary had a boyfriend, the world would be a perfect place. No way would she hound Amanda about her extracurricular activities if she had her own.

“No. I’m too busy.”

“Uh-huh.” Amanda wasn’t buying it. Something was up with Mary. She knew it. And for the first time, she felt good about her decision to leave Oklahoma in hopes of greener pastures. She sat up and looked around her childhood room. She didn’t have much to pack really. Her clothes and a few trinkets. She could do that by noon. “On second thought, I think I’ll get there Friday.” She pushed off the bed and tugged her suitcase out from underneath.