Category Archives: Wolf Love Serial

Wolf-Love, Installment No. 40 #shifter #romance #MFRWauthor

Wolf-Love

Installment No. 40

    The sun was setting low enough they had to put the visors down in order to see the road ahead, and still German and Sofia hadn’t said a word to each other. An entire day. They’d traveled a full day toward the west, toward their new future together, and neither had muttered a single word.

    Though he didn’t speak, German held her hand, releasing it only when they stopped to fuel up or when she curled her legs up under her to get more comfortable. Even then his hand found her, his fingers caressing her bare ankle while he stared straight ahead, far away in his thoughts while his body did what it could to stay close.

    Sofia didn’t need to be a direct descendent of Einstein to know it was their destination that bothered him. As she’d sensed less than a week ago—God, had it only been days?—when he’d made the offer to take her west, there was something about the place that hadn’t set right with him. Watching German now? With his jaw clenched so tight and for so long, he had to be nursing a headache?

    She’d given him enough time to stew about where they were going. Actually, considering how shut off he’d been since they’d left Maine, he was lucky she hadn’t ditched him at their last stop. Just because she’d mated herself to someone, it didn’t mean she’d scooped her brains out with a spoon. Something was wrong, and she’d be damned if she was going to walk straight into trouble just because a guy she trusted told her to. All right. Fine. Her guy. The scrumptious man who wasn’t really a man at all, but a beautiful and very lethal wolf.

    Who she wasn’t afraid of in the least.

    Not even before she’d learned she sported her own fangs sharp enough to…

    She was getting side-tracked with the hunt, her skin getting tingly just thinking of German’s tongue roving over every square inch of her body afterward. The intensity, the need, in those green eyes as he’d done it. He’d relished every second of it. So why the turn-around now?

    The answer was the same one she kept circling back to: danger up ahead.

    “All right.” Sofia put her feet down to lean back against the car door, wanting to catch every expression passing across German’s handsome face. He couldn’t lie to her, but he was pretty effing good at omission. This time, though, she wasn’t going to let him evade her, even if she had to bite him.

    Bite him…yeah. She waved her hands, squelching her thoughts before they traipsed wantonly further. She meant business, no mental sex. Right. “So, what’s with the silent treatment? And don’t tell me you’re the strong, silent type. After hearing you howl, I know better.” Jesus, but he’d been magnificent, announcing to anyone within earshot that they were on this earth, claiming their right to life, challenging the world to defy them. He’d been so confident of them both! But now?

    He didn’t turn to look at her, but she saw the baby fist of his jaw muscle tighten.

    Gads, she’d give a lot more than a penny for his thoughts. “Are you gnashing your teeth?”

    Her shot her a guilt-ridden look before turning to glare at the road in front of them. Shadows in his green eyes? Not if she could help it.

    “Maybe,” he bit out, the baby fist bunching again under the stubble.

    “Why?”

    He didn’t answer her.

    “German.”

    He looked at her again, and this time the shadows in his eyes pitched camp, stayed put.

    “Why are you gnashing your teeth?” Did she really want to hear the answer, now that she was getting a good look at the pain in those leafy green peepers? No. She wanted to dive out of the moving vehicle to safety. Head back to Maine where her life was shitty, but familiar, at least. She’d drag German with her. Let the damned Pathfinder make its own way to Minnesota.

    “You don’t want to know.”

    Great. He wasn’t lying. She didn’t want to know. But… “But?”

     He kept driving, stonewalling her. The tendons in his forearms buckling as he gripped the steering wheel, the tension inside the car thickening. Butter and a hot knife anyone?

    Christ, whatever it was couldn’t be good. Yet, he kept the SUV trucking west just the same. Like they had to get there no matter what awaited them. Whatever it was, though, German had known all along, so why was he now acting like he was heading to his own execution. He wasn’t, was he?

    Pfft. Ridiculous. Right? She wasn’t sure, not when she thought about the past several days. How efficiently he’d tied her up. Like it wasn’t unusual, like it was something he’d done many times before. How he’d fought his wolf whenever they’d kissed, or taken things further. Maybe it wasn’t just his passion he was struggling with. What if he hadn’t wanted to mate with her, but his wolf had demanded otherwise?

    Were the wolf and the man of two different minds? Could she drive herself a little farther around the bend? Balls. She was asking herself questions when she should be grilling German. She wasn’t a chicken. But the cold knot in her stomach wasn’t for herself. Which made it a hell of a lot harder to tackle the problem. She could hurt herself with whatever truth lay ahead for them, but she couldn’t stand to see German hurting.

    Good. She’d lived her whole life fighting for the things that mattered to her, and she never flinched to protect those she cared about. Barely eking out a living, she’d managed to keep Sol-Dog fed, healthy, and dog-happy because of her compulsion to keep her loved ones safe. Granted, keeping Sol happy meant keeping him at her side. Simple needs.

    Her eyes drifted to the center console, where German’s hand was gripped in a tight fist, his thumb fidgeting over his knuckles, as though it was engaged in a mini battle of wills. Like he wanted to touch her, but she’d pulled too far away. Seeing it wrung her heart, the tightness a physical thing. Without another thought, she drew her knee up to be closer to his hand. Instantly, his knuckles brushed her bare foot, his fingers coiling around her ankle, his shoulders softening as he exhaled. See? Simple needs.

    “Make love to me.” The Pathfinder jilted right as he shot her a startled look.

    “Jesus, Red.”

    Her response? An arched eyebrow. A silent challenge. He wanted to surprise her with whatever was lurking ahead? Fine. She’d bite. Grins. She could pun herself to death with this wolf thing, keep herself entertained for years to come. Truly. But.

    She walked her fingers down her stomach then shoved her hand inside her jeans. German’s nostrils flared. He stared straight ahead so hard she thought the windshield would shatter. Good. Sofia rolled her hips up into her cupped hand and caught her breath, giving in to a little moan for German’s benefit. She rocked her hips into her palm again. Then again.

    God. She was making herself hot, her nipples getting all sensitive and chafing against her shirt. For some reason, pleasuring herself in front of German was a turn on. A benny to knocking him off his guard, to banishing that look in his eyes. If he had regrets? She had no problem shaking them by the neck. He was her mate, wolf and man both, goddammit. She was going to fight for them even if he wasn’t going to.

     And she didn’t mind getting downright dirty to do it.

    ~S.C. Dane

    ~Installment No. 41 coming Tuesday, April 1, 2014.

Wolf-Love, Installment No. 39 #romance #wolf-shifter #MFRWauthor

Wolf-Love

Installment No. 39

    “I had no idea it was so…,” Sofia whispered into German’s warm, thudding chest. She was cradled within his muscled arms as they gazed up into the night sky, the stars blinking and silent above them like an enraptured audience. A little dumbstruck, she let her whisper trail away unfinished, her thoughts submerging under the wave of her feelings.

    So much had been happening to her, she could barely comprehend it all. If she tried wrapping her brain around the details, her body flushed with heat, negating the silly idea of any of this being impossible. Because it was possible. It was happening. Lest she think it wasn’t, all she had to do was rub her cheek against the man holding her snug to his naked body like she was something to be cherished. Besides that irrefutable evidence, if she craned her head around the bulge of her mate’s bicep, she’d see the deer carcass. The one they’d stripped. As wolves.

    “Amazing,” she said, the word ending her previous statement just fine. This was amazing. Being in German’s arms after he’d tenderly lavished her with his attentions. If she’d let her head interfere while it had been happening and not let her wolf instincts have free rein, she might have been wigged out by it. He had lapped nearly every inch of her with his tongue. He’d licked her. Over and over and over again.

    The swiping of his tongue across her fur had been the most sensual thing she’d ever experienced. It wasn’t sexual. More like a man washing his lover’s body, his ministrations those of a man who cared, who couldn’t get enough of touching the one he craved.

    Sofia had blissed out, her wolf body rolling to its back to stretch itself in full abandon.

    She knew what he was doing. German was reinforcing his claim, binding her tighter so her senses knew nothing of herself in the singular.

    Fine by her. She’d been alone too long not to appreciate being coveted. Since it wasn’t just her scent she carried, she could walk around with her head held high, exuding every damned mixed molecule. She could howl her pride as loud as she did earlier.

    As loud as German had. She didn’t have to be a wolf to have felt his abandon. His euphoria. As if he’d never experienced anything like the hunt before either. Except she knew he had. He’d caught her rabbits and birds to eat. The difference wasn’t only the size of the kill. This time it was because she was there to share it with him.

    Did he not hunt with the other members of his pack?

    At the moment, she couldn’t garner the gumption to ask. As she was when the gray wolf had been licking her from toenail to tail, she was blissed out, too sated to do anything but enjoy.

    

    If German let his guilt peer out of his eyes, the stars above wouldn’t be winking peacefully but glaring down at him, accusing him of being the treacherous bastard he was.

    Traitorous, too. Mustn’t forget traitorous. The two went hand in hand, after all, one striking with as much devastation as the other. Inhaling to quiet his rising fear, his nose filled with the lush aroma of…a bonded female smothered in his scent. And the metallic tang of blood.

    Killer. The scent she bore marked her as a hunter, not just bonded to one. If the odor of fresh blood didn’t fade before he got her to the Compound? Did it matter? Of course, the Alphas would overlook the transgression, see her as under the influence, as a new wolf who didn’t understand the New Order.

    German? They would crucify. And rightly so. He understood precisely what he’d done. How could he not? Ever since the day of his scarring, he’d vowed to never again deny what he was. That he’d enticed his mate to follow her wolf heart? It was hard to be sorry for that. Except… Keeping his face upturned, he faced the stars so he wouldn’t have to face the woman in his arms.

    Memories filled him so he no longer saw the night sky, but the field where he’d been playing as a cub. He could still hear the screaming drone of the cicadas, smell the freshly clipped grass of the ball field. It had taken him months to convince his mother to let him play with the human children. But it had taken years for him to be ready to try it, because feeling left out wasn’t what drove him. He’d wanted to test himself. Playing with human children was an evolutionary game of survival, just like all the games he’d played as a boy.

    A risky game, given he was no submissive wolf pup. But, he’d become very good at denying his instincts, at calming himself so his wolf wouldn’t show. What he hadn’t foreseen was how easily the other kids had pegged him as different, and had picked at him like vultures.

    Until he bled raw with his instinct to dominate, to put a swift end to the teasing.

    It wasn’t the summer sun burning him up the day he stood next to the little square bag of second base, the screened dirt dusty under his cleats. It was his wolf chafing to come out. German had shoved his missing tail between his legs, had bowed his head, had flattened his ears in submission too many times. Luna knew he’d ceded gracefully to every confrontation. But, when the kid threw the ball at him while he wasn’t looking and hit him in the back of the head, the wolf in him had had enough.

    With a snarl, German had lunged, fangs dropping.

    Quick to react, his mother had charged into the fray like a stampeding elephant, snatching his hair like it was the scruff of his neck. Almost, he tucked his legs up, but never lost sight he was supposed to be a human boy. He let his mother drag him to the car and speed for the den.

    She didn’t say a word during the entire drive up the mountain. He sat in his seat, angry his mother had interfered. And proud. Because in spite of the whisper of wolf that had surfaced, he’d let no more out. He’d kept control even in his pique of anger.

    He’d won.

    Not understanding, his mother had humiliated him. She had forced him to bare his young back for the lash. To teach him a lesson. In order for the lesson to last a lifetime, she’d salted the wound so it welted and scarred.

    For his own good. For the good of the pack, she’d said.

    Dearest Luna. His mother had broken more than his skin that day. She’d broken his ties to the wolf-people. And now he was giving them something far more precious than a pound of flesh?

    “Sofia.” Saying her name unleashed the lake of tension damming up inside of him. Fuck. Was he really going to tell her how bad he’d screwed her over? If he had any decency, any honor, he would. For all that she’d loved her first hunt, he should tell her the pack was forbidden to do so. Hunting kept them too close to the wolves they were, kept their hunger for flesh too finely honed. According to the Alphas, wolves were hair triggers in human society. To keep them sharpened asked for trouble.

    “Hmmm?” She snuggled deeper and his arms automatically gripped tighter, securing her. Her skin was so soft against his, she seemed fragile. Yet, he knew it to be the paradox of his she-wolf. Sofia was delicate femininity with a core of steel, and she was incredible because of it. As iron-willed as any alpha should be. And he’d selfishly introduced her to the violent rush of the kill, honed her wolf instincts in defiance to the Alphas’ New Order. As if she wasn’t going to have a hard enough time conforming as it was, he was doing everything to undermine her dream of having a family.

    Maybe he could just present her to the Alphas, prove he’d let a rogue live, and then take off with her. After all, he and Sofia were a pack. Tiny, but his wolf had howled his pride just the same. Pathetic. He was just one man. Sofia craved a family.

    “You were going to say something?” Her breath brushed his skin, as warm as her voice.

    “Was I?” He forced a smile, but as soon as he looked down at her, it spread like soft butter on hard bread: easy. She made him smile, just like that.

    The stars shined glorious in her dark gray eyes, her lids lazy, heavy with thick lashes.

    In his mind he saw the red wolf streaking through the forest, then the darker crimson of fresh blood on her muzzle. Glorious, indeed.

    She pushed off from him, tucking a red tress behind her ear. “Yeah, you were.” Her eyes lost their dreamy sheen. “What gives?” She read him like the wolf she was, and his smile faded under the crush of his guilt.

    “If I told you it was a surprise, would you believe me?”

    Gray eyes narrowed, assessing. “Yes. Yes, I would.” She didn’t look happy about it, though. Couldn’t say as her blamed her. Not with the shame he was wafting.

    “Good. Then it’s a surprise.” Coward. Maybe. But he was also a realist, and very good at weighing the odds. German didn’t come close to measuring up to what the pack in Minnesota could give Sofia. He was just one wolf. One lone—and soon to be lonesome—wolf. Yeah, he’d taken supreme pleasure in hunting with his mate. A splendid moment he would cherish the rest of his life, would set high upon the shelf with the other wondrous memories of his red she-wolf.

    Which is what he had to do: put her on the shelf of his past. Not his present. And certainly not his future. She deserved so much better. Resolved, he stood up, holding onto the silk of her naked body until she got to her feet. Running his hand down the curve of her lean waist, he released her, his empty hand curling into a fist. “We should get going. We’ve got a long way to go.”

    Like an ant trapped in pine sap, he turned his back to her and walked toward the car, his every sense screaming, his ears pitched so hard to his mate he had to force his face forward. A single word from her now and his resolve would scatter to the winds, he’d crumple to the ground at her feet, confessing everything. Stealing more of her choices with his groveling. No. He’d done enough damage, and was determined to do no more. He’d teach her how to be wolf in the human world. No more wild forays into the woods.

    Sofia said nothing. They got dressed in silence.

    ~S.C. Dane

    ~Installment No. 40 coming Saturday, March 29, 2014.

Wolf-Love, Installment No. 38 #hunting #shapeshifter #romance

The following installment of Wolf-Love is dedicated to Nancy Fitzgerald and Dean Bubar, who know firsthand the glory and pride of a shared hunt.

Wolf-Love

Installment No. 38

    The first thing that came to Sofia when she woke was the scent of pine trees and musk, and her belly churned and warmed as though cooking the smell into her flesh, into her memory.

Rubbing her hand across her mouth, she pushed herself up into the sitting position. The scenery rolled by in a green and brown blur while cars jockeyed like metal horses in a long race.

    But all that was secondary to what she was really watching.

    German. The man who had her thighs moistening and her legs scissoring. Her mate. And man did she want to mate with him right then.

    He glanced at her, shaking his head. “Red, I’m going eighty here. Please. Get some clothes on before I aim this Pathfinder for the trees.”

    She caught the escalating of his scent with his heat. Her eyes drifted to his zipper and her womb throbbed, twisting deliciously deep within her so she had to work her ass around the pulsing sensation.

    “Red, I’m serious. The next exit isn’t for a few miles, and I’m not going to make it, okay? There’s going to be a goddamned wolf at the helm of this vehicle and we both know that won’t end well.”

    God, he was right, and she was a horny idiot whose brain napped in the sun while her body rode the Slip-n-Slide. “Ah, yeah, sorry about that.” Rummaging around the floorboards for her shirt, she pulled it over her bare breasts. One leg of her jeans was slung over the back of the front seat and she hadn’t a clue where her boots had wound up.

    Obviously she’d undressed in a hurry.

    “You okay?” she asked, hiking her jeans up her thighs.

    German raked a hand across his scalp, then shot her a shy grin. And something else. But the expression flashed too quick for her to catch. “Yeah, I’ll be fine.”

    “I don’t know what came over me. I mean, you’re right. We’re cruising down the highway. What did I think, we’d pull over on the median and get it on?”

    His eyes crinkled over an expanding smile. “That, Red, is a wonderful fantasy, and if we weren’t who we were, I’d be all over it.”

    “Weren’t who…oh, right. Two wolves sexing it up in a car on the side of the road would attract some unwanted attention.”

    “Bingo. And make no mistake here, Sofe. You drive me wild. Literally. It’s all I can do to keep my human form, and even then I haven’t.”

    “You get your fangs,” she purred with the memory of his teeth on her.

    “Baby, don’t.”

    Christ, she’d done it again. “Sorry.” But she couldn’t deny she loved how turned on he was around her, that she made him lose control.

    “Yeah, well, we get this car parked and those will be the last words you’ll be thinking.”

    “Now you’re doing it, so stop it. We’ll talk about something else. Like, where are my boots?”

    “You flung them into the back.”

    “Don’t even remember, nope. God, it was close, wasn’t it?”

     “Yes, but that was my fault. Your trying to back out of the entrance to that restaurant was a pretty strong hint you weren’t all right.”

    “So, we won’t be doing it again?” She couldn’t mask her disappointment.

    “Of course we will. How else are you going to learn?”

    She let her warmth ooze into her smile, but then a shadow passed and she curled into him for comfort. Without hesitation, he invited her body to push up against his, holding her close with his free arm.

    Sofia stared out the windshield, letting her thoughts stretch out like the highway in front of them. “What if I never learn? What if I can never be around people again? I’m going to be a burden and you’ll always…”

    German tugged her closer. “Stop it, Red. For one thing, you will get the whole walking-upright-around-humans thing because your reasons for freaking out aren’t based on fear. Most wolves who struggle do so because they see danger in everything around them. They can’t trust that the humans aren’t out to kill them. Which isn’t your problem. You’ve just got new and improved senses, and it’s overwhelming for you right now. The only way to learn how to cope with them is to immerse yourself over and over into the stench until you’re pretty much inured to it.”

    “Only pretty much, huh?”

    “Yeah. There’ll always be an odor, or a sound, or a movement that you just can’t ignore, one you react to instinctively and spontaneously.”

    “Plus, I smell and look weird.”

    He chuckled, tightening his arm on her. “Plus you smell delicious and look amazing.”

    God, I love him.

    Her fear of losing him suddenly overwhelming her, she wrapped her right arm across his middle. As if to anchor herself to him. Holy Moses, if something ever happens to this man? She didn’t want to think about it, and turned her thoughts toward the ones she’d had before falling asleep: taking care of him the way he took care of her.

    “Hey, we’re in Buxton.” She sat up, craning her neck as the giant green and gray road sign loomed then shrunk in the distance. “I heard there’s a huge deer population down here. Like so many, they get run over like porcupines in the road. We should stop and hunt.”

    Without a word, German glanced up into the rearview before flicking on the blinker, the Pathfinder cruising to the right and slowing as it hit the off-ramp.

∞ 

    German didn’t hesitate to take the exit. Hunting with Sofia? Hell, yeah. He’d told her he’d be honored to hunt with her at his side, and he’d meant it. So he’d launched himself onto her suggestion like the horny wolf he was. Was it one of his better ideas? Hell, no. If he wasn’t such a heartless bastard, he wouldn’t take Sofia hunting, giving her wolf a taste of hot, spurting blood. He wouldn’t let her learn what it was to run flat out, the pungent scent of musk and fear biting ruthlessly at her nose, taunting her toward the kill. He wouldn’t introduce her to the intoxicating power of balancing a vigorous life between a glorious death.

    But she was going to love it.

    Heartless. Bastard.

    Twenty minutes later the SUV was stashed on a back road and they were standing along the shaded edge of an old hay field abutting a dense forest. He eyed his naked mate with a hunger that eclipsed the one cramping his stomach.

    “Sofia,” he growled, stepping toward her.

    She stuck her hand out like a traffic cop. “Stop right there, German. I know that look in your eyes. But first you feed. Then you get dessert.”

    He did stop, too. As soon as she’d commanded it. He was hopeless, but would savor every delicious moment of being mated to her.

    “Just a little taste?” He whined. Pouted. Played.

    “Nope. Meat first, dessert second.” She fought her grin, determined to play this game, too. She didn’t cave an inch.

    “Okay, okay,” he ceded. But he couldn’t fight a sudden tingle, which shivered straight through the center of him. Willpower alone kept his toes from curling. “We’ll go hunting. But first, some schooling.”

    “Agreed.” Sofia sidled up to him with such a studious look upon her face, his wolf wanted to strut with pride for the mate the Fates had chosen for him. He reined in his enthusiasm.

    “First, have patience. Which isn’t always easy, but I think you’ve got that part covered.” Especially if her stubborn silence when he’d had her tied up was any indication. She’d sat like a stone until he’d caved.

    “Second, don’t get hurt. And I don’t mean that to be overbearingly protective. We’re hunting deer and they’re quicker with their hooves than you’d think. They’re also stronger than they look, so you always have to watch.”

    A quick nod. “Fine. I’ve wrestled calves on the farm, and handled the cattle and horses.”

    “Good. Then you have an idea of what you’re up against. Third, you’ll sweep and I’ll tackle first. Once I’ve got the deer, I want you up front with me to take my place, then I’ll go to the rear and finish. Got it?”

    “Why can’t I finish?”

    “Because you’ve never done it before and could get hurt. Watch first. Then you can do.”

    “Fine.” He’d believe her disappointment if her eyes weren’t practically luminescent with anticipation.

    “This is going to be harder than you think, Red. We’re not hunting with guns here. We’re putting our bodies into the fray and shit can go wrong in a hurry. They might look like Bambi, but there’s nothing harmless or naïve about deer. They know they might die, so they fight with everything they’ve got.”

    “Fine. I’ll watch and learn.”

    “Good. Okay, ready?”

    Sofia shook out her strong, slender arms and looked up at him expectantly.

    “What?”

    Her chin stuck out defiantly. “I don’t know what to do.”

    She’d been doing so well, he’d overlooked teaching her how to transform when she wasn’t emotionally charged. He nudged her chin with his knuckle. “You know how you shook your arms out? You did it instinctively. Now all you’ve got to do is shiver like that, only over your whole body. Shake like you’re covered in fur and soaking wet.”

    “Like Sol-Dog after a swim,” she blurted, pain flaring in her eyes half a second later.

    “Yeah,” he said softly, knowing how fresh the loss still was. “Like that.”

    Sofia braced her feet and shook her body. Hard. “Hey!” She snapped her face up, her gray eyes wide with fresh excitement. “It’s like sparks setting my muscles on fire.”

    “Bingo, Red. Do it again. Only this time, don’t stop, and keep thinking wolf.”

    She nodded, rattled her body, and buckled to the floor, where her bones and muscles stilled in mid-transition.

    “Again, Sofe, don’t quit now. Shake!”

    He watched her clamp her teeth together, determined to succeed. Then she shook and rocked herself right into her wolf form. His breath locked as he waited, apprehensive. A heartbeat later, Sofia flipped her paws beneath her and yipped up at him, her tail fanning from side to side behind her.

    His breath came with a relieved smile. “Well done, Red. Next time, I promise, it’ll be even easier. As easy as this.” With little effort, he conjured the heat and with it, his gray and black wolf. The instant he felt himself come together, Sofia smashed her smaller frame into his bulk, pitching him off balance. Digging his claws into the dirt, he shoved back, rubbing himself along her entire length. Then he took off, hell bent for the hunt with his nose skimming the ground, confident the red wolf would stay on his tail.

    He’d hunted alone for so many years that her being with him thrilled him to distraction, and he had to work at sifting the myriad scents of a new area while getting tasty tidbits of her presence. More than once he caught himself listening to her steady pant as they loped through the woods.

    Until the earth gave up the scent they were hunting for.

    Deer.

    He slowed to let Sofia come abreast. If she was running hard when the sweet odor of a grass eater was strong, she’d bolt their prey and they’d expend valuable energy chasing it for miles until it tired.

    German stopped them when his mouth watered. Close enough. It was time to send the red wolf on her sweep. Watching her rump glide silent through the trees, he resigned himself to another day with an empty stomach. Hunting took skill, and Sofia just didn’t have the experience. She was yet untested, and he wasn’t sure if she’d instinctively know to counter, to re-adjust, or take the initiative when the chance to make contact with the prey opened. Or if she’d just run pell-mell without trying to direct the deer toward her partner.

    He’d worried for nothing. Hunting came to Sofia like she was born to it. She pressed or backed off, whichever was needed to keep the deer moving. She was fucking amazing, and German had to force himself not to ogle, to keep up his part in the hunt while she darted and leapt through the sun-dappled forest fluid as a red serpent.

    Damn, though, it felt good to push his own body, to stretch his limbs, to savor the steady thump of his heart as it pushed his blood through his veins. He rejoiced in the puncturing of his claws into the cool, dark earth as he catapulted himself through one stride to the next, to the next, to the next.

    He could simply rejoice in the bounty of living with his mate, but his stomach protested with a painful twist. He really did need to eat, so he lunged when the warmth of the deer’s breath tickled his cheek, bowling it over in a somersault of spindly legs, snarling as he snatched its neck in his jaws to ground her.

    The red wolf descended like a flaming comet smack into the deer’s abdomen and slashed with a furious shaking of her head. Blood spattered, and the deer bleated frantically, screaming in protest against its death. Its liquid brown eyes strained and rolled as it thrashed, punching panicked jabs with its sharp hooves.

    German sank his fangs deeper, fought for purchase with his hind paws, and ripped backward, wrenching his shoulder and back muscles with such force the deer pitched toward him. From the corner of his eye, he saw the red wolf spin and catapult herself back at the doe like an arrow sprung from a string.

    With his body, he weighed down the deer’s neck and shoulders, pinning it so it couldn’t rise. The whole time he watched Sofia, too wondrously curious to interrupt her. The deer flagged in his jaws, its life ebbing with the blood pooling beneath it. German released his hold to join his mate in the eviscerating, where their excitement crescendoed into yips, snarls and the snapping of jaws, and ended in the tearing of flesh like fabric.


    They glutted and gulped, and lapped at the blood saturating their muzzles.

    Sweetest Luna, the submersion into the kill was glorious and swelled to a painful tension of bliss with his mate beside him. This bumping of bodies, the shared snarls and rending of meat between two sets of flashing, blood stained teeth was wolf, and German transported to a plane of sheer being, surrendered himself to the unity of pack, tiny though it was.

    He’d never known it.

    He had lived within himself, a lone wolf, where experience just was but not reflected. Now it was magnified because it was shared, and the joy of the other was like wind to a fire, fanning it into a consuming, savage beauty. German yipped to relieve the crushing euphoria, but finally he could stand the pressure no longer, and threw his bloodied muzzle upward, heaving his enraptured howls skyward.

    As she’d done with the hunt, the red wolf intuitively joined him in the triumphant celebration of life, and they did not stop until they were breathless, stuffed, and utterly sated.

    Then they turned their attentions to the smaller joys: the ministrations to one another, the cleaning of fur with gentle rasps of their tongues, and nudges of affections. These were the stitches in their unity, and like the hunt, it welded them together as the bonded pair they were.

    ~S.C. Dane

    ~Installment No. 39 coming Tuesday, March 25, 2014.

Wolf-Love, Installment No. 37 #wolf-man #romance #MFRWauthor

Wolf-Love

Installment No. 37

    Right.
Sofia wasn’t exactly okay standing by the sign pinned to the metal pedestal telling diners to please wait to be seated. The restaurant was overwhelming. The smell alone knocked her on her heels, and a reverberating clang from a pot dropping in the kitchen jumped her, so she’d plastered her back against the door to get out.

    As if she hadn’t just leapt backward like a firecracker had gone off between her feet, German calmly wrapped his fingers around her elbow and stared intently into her eyes.

    “You said my senses were heightened,” she panted, “but this is crazy.” Her eyes darted to find another exit.

    “Red.” His voice snagged her attention, his green eyes waiting to hold hers as soon as she looked at him. “Just take a long, deep breath. You’ll be okay.” His fingers squeezed a little tighter.

    “Yeah, hmm.” Sofia sucked in and released her breaths like a pregnant woman working through contractions. She’d begun to sweat with the heat building in her body.

    “Sofe, you’ll be fine. Think about other things.” A lethal grin crept to his lips, revealing a flash of strong, and oh-so-white teeth. “Think about the pattern of this god-awful rug if you have to.”

    She looked down for him. Anything for him. And because it would help them both if she could be in a public place. German hadn’t eaten a thing for a couple of days, and hell, they still had half a country to cross, so she’d better get her shit together.

    “God, even the rug reeks.” Her stomach lurched with the collision of smells: hot grease, the wilting salad bar, the cluster of human bodies in an enclosed space.

    “Concentrate on the pattern instead. And try not to breathe through your nose.”

    She nodded.

    “Yeah?”

    “Yeah.”

    The hostess bustled up with a couple of plastic menus in her arms, her skin beginning to sag so her bones showed through the missing plumpness of youth. “Two?” Over-plucked eyebrows colored in with a brown pencil arched with her question, and her breath wafted waves of Dentyne, which she chewed to hide the stench of the onions she’d recently eaten.

    Christ, Sofia, enough with the private-eye crap.

    “Yes, please. Red?” Thank God German was with her.

    Nodding again, she managed to croak, “Ah, yes. Yes, two.”

    “Something at the back would be preferable” German suggested to their hostess.

    “Sure, there’s a table open right over here.” Mrs. Dentyne marched on, weaving between occupied tables like a veteran athlete navigating an obstacle course at the Y.

    Escorting Sofia to the chair facing out so she’d have her back to the wall, German smiled pleasantly at the older woman. “This is great, thank you.”

    Man, his voice. Little licks of sunshine they were.

    After laying out their plastic menus, the woman left like she’d finished her station and a bell had chimed, marking time to rotate on to the next challenge. Sofia tensed, as if ready to give chase. As though the woman was prey. Oh.

    “You’re burning, Sofe. Try to take it down a notch.”

    “German, this is…I don’t know what this is. Intense. How in the hell do you ever get used to this?” Her fingers gripped like death to the plastic menu, she felt her panic rise as she spoke, her clothes trapping her heat.

    “Come on.” Not waiting for her to follow, her mate grabbed her hand and bee-lined it for the exit. Sofia followed willingly until her body went incandescent, her spine exploding a shower of sparks, igniting the blood racing through her veins. Her booted feet stopped where they were as her knees buckled.

    She heard German mutter “Fuck,” and started to say she was definitely that, but couldn’t get her words out through her squeezing throat. Then the ceiling fans flipped into view and German was racing for the door with her scooped like a babe in his arms. Thankfully, he hadn’t caved to her teasing when he’d hogged a handicap spot, parking the SUV as close to the front door as he could get it. Just as he’d suspected, she hadn’t been able to keep her shit together. I failed. She’d beat herself up later when she wasn’t freaking out about being seen.

    As gently as rushing would allow, German pushed her across the front seat and crammed in behind her. Eschewing seatbelts for the sake of time, he gunned the Pathfinder out of the gravel parking lot, away from curious eyes.

    Sophia tumbled into the carpeted floor, panting. She tried to talk again, but wound up mangling some lispy yowl.

    “Don’t worry about it, Red. Nobody saw a thing. Just focus on your breathing, okay. You can do this.” He glanced down at her while still concentrating on traffic in order to get them out of the weave and maze of the town.

    She tried pushing her words beyond the fangs filling her mouth.

    “What’s that?” German grinned down at her. “I didn’t get what you said. You’ve got something in your teeth.” He picked at his own front pearlies with his index finger, the jerk managing to pull his attention off the busy streets long enough to tease her.

    Sofia growled, her lip curling off her sharp incisors.

    Clamping her hand over her mouth in apology, she battered her cheek with a padded paw, instead, her heart jackknifing around in her chest like a chased rabbit. Whining as she writhed in the tight spot of the gravelly floor, she flipped to her belly, stretching so she could stick her ass up into the seat.

    “Easy there, baby. You’ll be fine,” The skin around his green eyes tightened, but he kept his smile for her, kept up his chatter. “Just remember to breathe through it and it will happen. Just like before only better. You know what to expect now.”

    Sofia felt the spin of the tires under her… legs?

    Oh God. Yeah, okay. She had legs, probably four of them if her arms were already gone.

    Arms already gone. Arms are gone. Arms are…fucking A. Breathe. Again. Breathe and sslooow. Yeah, okay. She had this. She was coping without needing German’s touch, doing fine. Her face was mere inches from the black plastic heater duct by the floor, but yeah, she had things under control.

    Legs in back bent so I can push up and sit like a normal…yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay. I’m a four legged animal, it’s okay. Juust sit up.

    Sofia pushed off from her front legs, popping into the passenger seat, her four paws pivoting in the center like she was an elephant balancing on a circus ball.

    What the? Tail. Freakin’ tail in the way.

    Not a problem. She just had to get her mind around her compass points. Ass south, head north. Being wolf in a moving vehicle could be dealt with. It wasn’t that bad. She was safe, German was making sure of that. Her heart quit kicking spastically and settled with her thoughts. Until she fell chest first against the dashboard with her muzzle smooching against the windshield when the SUV sped around a tight corner.

    When she righted herself, she gave German a hard stare.

    He didn’t even flinch, but flashed her a magnificent smile. “Hi ya, Red. You’re looking good.”

    Her tail wagged. Christ Almighty, her tail wagged.

    “Yeah, I love you, too.” Her mate blushed before turning his gaze back to the road.

    He loved her? He loved her. Sofia nudged her head under his arm and tried to squirm onto his lap, her tongue darting out as if to lick and kiss the shit out of him.

    Laughter bubbled out of him like a fizzing soda can, the feel of it against her fur effervescent, and she squirmed with the thrill of it, to accommodate the pressure foaming forth.

    “Good Lord, Red, you’re going to drive us off the road!”

    She nudged again for good measure, to shake him up so he’d laugh again.

    “Come here.” German lifted his arm to tug gently at one of her ears.

    Holy, that’s nice. She pressed her face against his palm.

    “That’s it, baby, just settle in.” He positioned her head across his lap, picking up a rhythmic stroking of her ears while he drove left-handed.

    Sofia sighed contently, rolled her eyes upward without removing her chin from her mate’s lap. His scent was heavy there, his body warm. She drank in the hard line of his grizzled jawbone, the curl of his human ear, the length of his black lashes. He was beautiful. And he was all hers. Her body knew that fundamentally, relaxing under the stroke of his tugging caresses.

    “You are so beautiful,” he murmured, like he heard her thoughts and whispered them back to her. “So effing beautiful, Red.”

    She sighed gustily, like Sol-Dog used to do when he was content and sleepy.

    “I’m going to keep driving, okay. I think the rolling of the car works for you, so we’re going with it.”

    Whining, she shoved her nose into his tight stomach. She might be getting drowsy, but she hadn’t forgotten why they’d tried out the restaurant in the first place.

    “Don’t you worry about me, I’ve gone a lot longer than this without eating.”

    Inside she bristled, angered that her mate should be acquainted with such hunger. And this time it was her fault. She’d wigged out, ruining his chance to eat. Her first foray back into the human populace hadn’t been what she’d expected. Her senses hadn’t just been assaulted, they’d been bombarded and overrun. Jesus, but people were offensive. She’d thought so before, but now she had a true appreciation for why they were. Her heightened sense of smell could now arrange the heavy hash of odors into singular, delineated scents. Sounds were amplified, her skin hypersensitive.

    Which gave her a new appreciation for German’s skill level, for how well he blended into the general human population. It wasn’t easy, not by a country mile, not when everything was sensed with such clarity, so much intensity. Add to that an innate distrust, and Sofia understood why it was such a coup for the wolf-people to walk upright among the enemy. Doing so really could save their lives. What better camouflage could a wolf have? The Big, Bad Wolf in the tale of Little Red Riding Hood had been smart to don Gramma’s cap and nightgown.

    The thought made her tail brush lightly against the seat she was stretched across, and she relaxed her weight against her mate’s thigh, breathing in his warmth, the resin of his scent. Her lids grew heavy as the road stretched out and away from the bustle of the town. Her last thought, before she let the rhythm of the road lull her to sleep, was of German’s hunger.

    Their next stop, she swore, would be for him, her protectiveness arching like steel inside of her. Even before she’d learned she was a wolf, she’d known she had a deep capacity to tend, to be loyal to another. That iron will was what had kept her hand steady as she’d held a gun to her best friend’s head and squeezed the trigger. No matter the cost to herself, her loved ones would not suffer at another’s hand. Not even under her own, for that matter.


    I love you, too. German
didn’t stop driving, even when he reached Bangor and the beginning of the Interstate that would carry them south, closer to their destination. While the SUV sucked up the miles like a vacuum cleaner, he kept glancing down at the she-wolf’s head on his lap, the muscles of his chest squeezing his ribcage so hard he had to consciously gulp the air into his lungs in order to breathe.

    Thoughts churning, he replayed her latest shift. Restaurant glitch aside, she’d done a wonderful job handling her transition. By herself. He’d talked because he knew his voice comforted her, but he hadn’t had to ground her, to jolt her brain back to reality. She’d had a bit of a moment, but he’d given her time to figure it out. Granted, he was half a heartbeat from interfering, but she’d wrested control at the last second.

    He’d thought he’d hid his relief. Until his lips parted and from them spilled the words I love you, too.

    He was a sick bastard. The Alphas were right on that score. And he was taking her west to leave her there. Dearest Luna, he needed his head examined. She wasn’t ready, not by a long shot. She’d do better meeting a pack of wild wolves than his damn clan, who conducted themselves with rigid human mannerisms.

    For him, living at the Compound had been like being in one of those gothic novels where the aristocracy acted strained and restrained, and the rest of the peons clamored for a foothold just to survive. Sickening. Absolutely fucking sickening.

    And he was speeding back into it with the most precious thing he’d ever had in his lonely life? He didn’t need his head examined, he needed his ass kicked and his furry balls ripped off, just as his Sofia had threatened.

    He felt his body roast from the outside in and glanced down at her. She was starting to shift in her sleep. He wouldn’t wake her if she slept through it, seeing as how she’d had enough exposure to the whole wolf business for a while. Her brain could use the break.

    Doing his best to keep his eyes on the ribbon of highway, he stole long moments to watch her body contort and manipulate itself back into two-legged status. She moaned a couple of times, and writhed gently, but otherwise she slid beautifully. German stroked a lock of her red hair then let it drop, picked it up, stroked it again, let it drop, repeating the caress like he’d done to her ears until she lay quiet with her head still resting on his lap.

    Ah, his red she-wolf. A gift he didn’t deserve. Cutting off the dangerous free-fall of his thoughts, he let his gaze caress the dip of his mate’s bare stomach, the curve of her hip as she lay across the front seat next to him. So strong. So feisty and fearless. Once the initial shock of his leaving wore off, she’d be fine with her new family. She was a survivor. She could handle herself.

    Trouble was, he wasn’t so sure anymore if he could do the same.

    ~S.C. Dane

    ~Installment No. 38 coming Saturday, March 22, 2014.

Wolf-Love, Installment No. 36 #wolf-shifter #romance #free-story

Wolf-Love

Installment No. 36

    Sofia used the drive to the restaurant to get her heart rate somewhere into normal range. Everything was happening so fast, but as long as she took those wonderful deep breaths she figured she could handle things. It didn’t hurt in the least that German kept a close watch over her, alert to her every mood, her every movement. If it had been anyone else she’d have felt smothered, boxed in. Yet for some reason, German’s attentiveness made her feel safe. Coveted even. The feral gleam in his green eyes probably had a lot to do with that. There was hunger in his gaze, as if he couldn’t watch her enough. As though he was constantly starving, no matter that he rarely lost physical contact with her. He seemed to crave touching her.

    Her gaze dropped to their linked hands laying between them. Without taking his eyes off the road, he lifted them to press his lips to her fingers, inhaling their combined scents. She pooled liquid and warm, deep and low. God, why had she gotten dressed? Clothes were a restraint, a barrier between her skin and this man beside her.

    I’m a wolf. Yes, he was. But at the same time he wasn’t. Her thoughts were muddied about that. Her feelings, her instincts, blended too well with her rationale. She couldn’t separate logic from her gut feelings. Maybe her new wolf brain and her human one were still trying to get along?

    You were never human. Again, German’s words cut through the miasma of her thoughts, just like everything about him cut straight to the core of her, to her every cell. She felt him inside of her like she felt her new wolf prowling around. She relished the feeling of both.

    “You all right, Red?” She saw his worry, sitting up front and center in those spectacular green eyes.

    Automatically, she smiled for him, as if she wanted nothing more than to ease away his anxiety. Crazy? No. Making him feel better made her feel better. “Yeah. Just thinking stuff over.”

    He turned back to watch the road, but she knew his attention wasn’t on the yellow line sliding by. How she knew, she couldn’t say. Only that she felt very connected to him. She’d always been good at reading body language, but this went way beyond. Like a binding of souls. The obvious slapped her like a welcome sign on the border of Duh-land, clearing her thoughts like the swiping of a giant hand.

    She and German had bonded. Wolf bonded. Not two humans who professed their spiritual ties to one another, but physically bonded.

    Holy shit. She’d been spewing off about the bonding thing when she’d gone on her rant, but now she really got it. She felt it living in her blood, pumping through her heart, along her veins, beneath her skin, through her mind. German the wolf-man dwelled inside of her.

    “We’re bonded.” The words tumbled from her mouth easy as smoke rings, only so much heavier. German turned to her, his gaze sharp, wary. She met it with certainty, no fluff, and no regret. But a lot of wonder.

    She felt the slowing of the vehicle in her body.

    “German.”

    “Yeah?” He wasn’t driving. Too much of his focus was on her.

    “The wheel. Either pull over or pay attention to the road.”

    The Pathfinder leaned right and bogged down on the soft shoulder. He hadn’t even bothered to use the blinker or look in the rearview mirror. Good thing they were on a rural back road. German’s tension filled the interior.

    Sofia’s spine flared like a struck match.

    “Deep breath, baby.” He’d already released himself from his seatbelt, now he was unhooking hers. His body close. His clothes were saturated with his scent, his t-shirt tight on his chest and muscled shoulders. Strong hands glided over and down her arms without touching. His fingertips hovered, yet she felt him on her skin.

    “We’re bonded,” she repeated.

    His eyes flicked to hers. A curt nod, yet uncertain.

    She put her palm to his cheek, the scrape of his grizzled jaw on her skin shooting a thousand arrows low in her belly. “It just sunk in.”

    He held himself still, as though the next move would be explosive. “And?”

    “And, okay.” She took another deep breath, her smile spreading open like a lady’s fan. “Okay.” Heavy, overwhelming, but all right. More than all right. Fucking fantastic. Sharing herself, she didn’t feel weaker, but stronger. A shit ton stronger. “It’s very good.”

    His eyes searched her face as an apprehensive grin crept upon his lips. “Yeah?”

    She suddenly got a whiff of his arousal, a sharp tang like a smoky tendril curling from her nose all the way down deep through the center of her. Sofia squirmed in her seat, leaned back to spread her legs.

    “Holy Christ.” The growl was bestial, the words the only hint of man.

    Sofia was throbbing, her heartbeat pounding at the juncture of her thighs. The burn of her spine spread outward, consuming her. She dug her fingers into the thick muscle of German’s chest to ground herself.

    “Out. No wolves in the car.”

    Whatever that meant. Then it dawned on her. They were both close to shifting into wolf. What would passersby think of two wolves humping in a vehicle, no human driver in sight? It would attract unwanted attention.

    First rule of being wolf: stay under the radar. To her, that was pure instinct, it hadn’t needed saying. German fumbled for the door handle. Somehow, he twisted as they spilled out and caught her in his arms. “Got you, baby.” His words may have been guttural, but the devotion caressed her burning skin.

    Oh, yeah. He had her. And carried her straight into the woods. The pungent odor of spruce and cool moss bombarded her, yet she opened herself to the balm of the forest. She felt safe here, protected. German lowered her to the ground as he took her throat in his mouth, laved her skin with his tongue. She arched into the sensation, her head falling back to invite him.

    She wanted her clothes off. Now. Sundresses were going to be her favorite item of clothing. Barefoot, too. The heat radiating out of her argued for no clothes at all. So sensible.

    Her hands were under German’s t-shirt, shoving the fabric up his chest. Reaching over his head, he gave a quick yank and slipped free of the cloth. His body shuddered as he freed himself with a deft slide of the zipper on his jeans.

    Of course, he went commando.

    Last thought as he buried his face under her hair, nibbling sensual kisses in a trail from behind her ear until her caught her nipple in his wet mouth. His tongue laved that, too, bobbing her breast as it orbited around the taut bud.

    She clapped her hand to the back of his head to keep him there and arched harder, wanting more of his mouth. A sharp pinch of his fangs and she was pushing at her jeans instead.

    Then her entire body ignited and her limbs had other ideas. Like before, she was contorting and buckling in her mate’s embrace. Her heart raced frantically and she bit down on the moan sliding up her throat.

    “Let it out.” The command was a cool breath against her bare skin. Sharp teeth nipped her neck and her lips parted, as if to kiss her answer. The wolf-song came out instead, and the arms holding her squeezed tighter, the heart at her back pounding hard. “Yes.” It was a snarl, a needing.

    A final flare of burning heat and Sofia was gazing down at her paws. Until it felt as though the sun spread its rays across her back and German as wolf sat on his haunches behind her. But not for long. The gray wolf slid along her flank, his furred cheek grazing along her side. He bumped her face with his, his jaw stretching wide.

    Sofia twisted, pushed her butt to his ribs to knock the other wolf off balance. A low growl was her only warning. Within seconds, she learned again what it was to be bonded as wolf. Only this time, she gloried in the carnal slip from humanity.

    ~S.C. Dane

    ~Installment No. 37 coming Tuesday, March 18, 2014.

Wolf-Love, Installment No. 35 #freestory #romance #MFRWauthor

Wolf-Love

Installment No. 35

    The gray light of pre-dawn was what German opened his eyes to. That, and his mate’s slender back curved against his chest and belly. They’d fallen asleep in that position and hadn’t moved. Such a wonderful way to greet a day, he thought, and before reality could press cold fingers around his heart he burrowed his face into the red tendrils at her nape to breathe her in.

    Oh, yes. Unmistakably, she carried his scent with her own. Nuzzling deeper, he gave his pride full rein. His mate was beautiful, her red fur breathtaking, and so rare he’d never seen it on another wolf before. Her eyes, framed within that fiery crimson, had been like tide worn stones a beachcomber picks up simply because of the irresistible depth and shine in the glossy gray. They had remained that way even after she’d shifted back to her human shape. A wolf’s eyes.

    “Good morning,” Sofia murmured, her voice thick with sleep as she snuggled closer.

    German pressed his lips to the warmth of her skin. “Morning to you, too. How do you feel?” His arms closed tighter around her of their own accord.

    “Still tired, honestly.” Her stomach growled, its emptiness gurgling across his forearms.  Anxiety squirmed its unwelcome self through his own belly. He did not like that his mate was hungry, and the alien yet familiar urgency to rectify it had him loosening his hold to take care of her needs. “Can I feed you again?”

    “Only if I actually eat this time.” Her grin was sleepy, heavy.

    “I will make sure you devour every morsel.”

    “Good, then yes. Feed me until I’m stuffed.”

    He dabbed a quick kiss to her cheek before rising, his wolf taking over the impulses of the man. He was a selfish prick for giving in to it. What he was about to do wasn’t fair to Sofia, but screw it. He’d already stepped over that line like he was Paul Bunyan. So, yeah, to hell with it. His wolf wanted his mate fed, and not just symbolically. German’s body was strumming with excitement as he retrieved the rabbit he’d skinned earlier.

    This time he handed her the entire carcass, a sudden shyness overtaking him. “Here. This probably looks disgusting as hell, but if you, ah, well, actually, I would love to see you tear into it. Like you wanted to earlier so soon after you changed from wolf.”

    When she said no effing problem, he thought he’d fly off to the sky, but dropped to his knees instead, as if doing so grounded him. He watched Sofia sink her teeth into the rubbery muscle and rip at the flesh. Accompanying her appetite was a low, menacing growl. Her lashes lifted as her cheeks blossomed with pink rosettes, like she’d burped in a public place.

    “Yes! That’s wolf,” he boasted, a triumphant smile splattering across his face. The male wolf in him preened, until his mate grinned sheepishly and offered him the half-eaten carcass.

    German shook his head, his smile ebbing. “Absolutely not. It’s all yours, every scrap. Suck the bones dry if you want to. I’m loving this.” He couldn’t drag his eyes off the sight of her.

    “You really do, don’t you,” she replied around a bloody mouthful, like she felt his pride shining forth so bright it was eclipsing the rising sun.

    “Yes.”

    “German?”

    “Yeah.”

    “Share this with me. As our first meal together.”

    The man in him wanted to, but the wolf was stronger. “No, but thank you. Your body needs the nourishment.”

    “Eat with me,” she insisted. “I’m getting stuffed already and I would feel better if you ate something, too.”

    “No, Red.”

    “Please.” She whipped him with her plea.

    “Wolf, you hurt me,” he admitted, his jaw hardening as he defied her. “I brought that to you as your mate, to nourish the she-wolf who will carry my pups. It is my honorable duty to you.”

    “Pups?”

    German’s breath locked in his lungs, and he eyed her warily. Shit. He shouldn’t have said that. “Yes,” he exhaled slowly, wishing he could rewind, or magically erase the words he’d let spill from his ignorant lips.

    “As in fluffy puppies?” She hadn’t paled, but she’d fallen utterly still, like she felt herself sitting in the crosshairs of a hunter’s rifle scope.

    “Shit.”

    “What?”

    I should have told you that before claiming you. You were raised as a human, how were you supposed to know.”

    “That’s rhetorical, isn’t it?”

    “Yeah,” he sighed, and then rose to pace in front of her.

    “Keep walking back and forth like that.”

    He halted in front of her and she waved her hand impatiently. “Go on. I never said you could stop.”

    His hands went to his hips.

    “I love the sight of you naked and moving. Keep it up.”

    “You’re incorrigible.” But the corners of his mouth twitched.

    “I know.”

    “I’m telling you what it means to be mated, that you could carry wolf pups, and you’re commanding me to walk in front of you?”

    “Yeah. I wasn’t going to use so many words, but yeah.” She grinned up at him.

    “Sophia, you’ve mated a wolf, for Luna’s sake. I’m a four-legged animal. I’m not human, no matter how much I look like one. Jesus, female—I cock my leg to mark my territory.”

    She was rock solid and leveled her gray eyes on him. “Are you freaking out? Because, that’s my job, you know, and you’re stealing my thunder.”

    Her tone silenced him, and he felt stupid in his moment of anxiety.

    “Look. Last I checked, I’m wolf, too. And if my recent behavior is any clue, I’m about as feral as you are. And I’m loving it. But it’s still new, so yeah, there’ll be times I’m going to be a little shocked.” She stood up and pointed her finger into his chest. “But if you ever doubt my bonding to you, so help me I’ll tear your furry balls off.”

    His eyebrows leapt out of their furrow.

    “And another thing,” she was on a roll so she was taking advantage of the momentum. Besides, her outburst had scattered his thoughts, as if all that existed was right then, right there in front of him. He couldn’t have interrupted her if he tried. “I’ll eat every bit of this rabbit if it splits my guts wide open, but as soon as I’m done, we’re going hunting for you.” The finger she’d been pointing bumped his sternum. The sharp period at the end of her demand.

    His pride for her flushed outward, fanning into a joyous smile as he bent upon one knee and looked up at her. “You would do me a great honor by hunting at my side.”

    “Damned straight.”

    Saucy tart. He itched to claim her anew, to worry his teeth at her neck. However.

    “However…I think we should put off hunting and stop at a restaurant once we drive out of here.” There. He was back on track, the thing he’d reclaimed hadn’t been this she-wolf, but his bid for freedom.

    “Go to a restaurant? That sounds so human, doesn’t it?” Her reluctance was plain, not that he’d blame her. Less than twelve hours as a wolf and she was already shunning the two-legs. Not an encouraging sign as far as his plan went, but he still felt the niggling of pride within his heart. But still. No matter their stance, this was something all wolf-people deemed important.

    “Because it is a very human thing to do. Being able to walk upright among humans is a skill, and not all of us can do it. Not being able to do so puts a wolf in jeopardy, it limits his resources for staying alive.”

    “You make it sound like you’re hunted.”

    German gave her his best isn’t it obvious? look. 

    Sofia shook her head. “I’m an idiot. You’re wolves. Men hunt and kill wolves all the time.”

    “Yeah, but you’ve forgotten that you’re wolf, too, which means we need to test your capabilities.”

    “I’ve lived with people my whole life, I think I’ll do just fine.”

    “Don’t be so sure, Red. You look different now, smell different. If you think their reactions to you before were off-putting, just wait. Humans tend to stare at our eyes and teeth.”

    “I didn’t stare and I was human.”

    “You were never human, so you don’t count.”

    “God, it’s so weird. Wait! What do you mean I look different?”

    Sofia jumped up, her gaze searching and a little nervous, like she thought her ears were poking out of the top of her head, or worse.

    “You’re fine. You look like me.”

    “I have a scraggly beard?”

    With her he always seemed to be on the verge of smiling. Happy. “Very funny, but no, you don’t have facial hair. What you do have is a magnificent set of chompers.”

    “Really?” She dashed to the SUV to have a look in the side mirror.

    “Holy shit, I do!” Sofia turned, grinning. “That is sooo cool. Hey, but wait? Where’d my other teeth go?”

    “I don’t know exactly. Maybe you’ll shit them out.”

    She punched him hard in the arm.

    “Ow! That hurt!” he yelped, rubbing his bruised bicep.

    “Baby. Now come on.” She snagged his hand. “Let’s find you a restaurant to eat in so I can take my big test.”

    German let her drag him into the Pathfinder. Maybe it was a little too early to be testing her, but damn him, they didn’t have much time, and he wanted to see, wanted to be the one to witness Sofia’s firsts. Fuck the reasons why and what they meant. If he couldn’t have her, he wanted the memories. He’d just have to watch her very closely. And perhaps she was right. Sofia had lived among humans for a long time, maybe she would be fine.

    ~S.C. Dane

    ~Installment No. 36 coming Saturday, March 15, 2014.

Wolf-Love, Installment No. 34 #romance #freebook #MFRWauthor

Wolf-Love

Installment No. 34

    German did not let Sofia go when she buckled into her wolf form. He remained inside of her, riding the searing writhe of her sliding organs even as his own muscles undulated and tugged at his stretching bones.

    He howled his bliss as he pumped his seed, but steeled his body to a rigid trembling as he warred to hold his human form. His mate had commanded him to do so and he’d kill himself trying. Besides, embracing his she-wolf, relishing the caress of her fur against his bare skin was a euphoria he wasn’t ready to abandon.

    Not when they’d just consummated their union and he’d marked her as his for all time.

    There was no question now who they each belonged to. His scent was already beginning to swell from her pores, coating her skin. Or her fur, as the case at the moment turned out to be.

    He’d done it. He’d forever bonded himself to another. His chest constricted so tightly it squeezed tears from his eyes. Christ-Jesus, their bond was an open wound that eclipsed the scarring, just as he figured it would. But unlike the desecration of his smooth skin, Sofia’s imprinting saturated him with completion.

    Not resentment, as the marring had done to him, and he shook his head to rid it of unbidden thoughts of the Alphas. Right then, he preferred to wallow in the sensation of his female snuggled against his body, holding her as she calmed enough to revert back into her human form.

    Again, he didn’t release her, not even as her heat provoked beads of sweat from his temples and across his shoulder blades. Because just thinking about giving her some space to stretch widened a hole inside him he couldn’t bear.

    Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

    He’d done it. He’d truly and irrevocably attached himself to another wolf. A complication he’d hoped to avoid, but now he knew he’d never possessed the strength to resist her in the first place. He was too wild, too close to the hearts of his four legged brethren who never shifted.

    What would the Alphas think of him now?

    Well, they’d see him for the primal wolf he was, wouldn’t they. His heeding the call of the instinctive mating rituals would come as no surprise to them. Too often he’d been condemned for succumbing to his carnal corruption, the term coming into use to reference anything a wolf did instinctively. And Sofia? As a rogue, she would be forgiven, the blame placed on his shoulders, exactly where it belonged. On that, he would side with the Alphas. This mess was his fault. Oh, but wouldn’t they be cursing him once they realized the kind of wolf the rogue was. They would have their hands full.

    German could almost smile at the idea of the trouble she was probably going to cause.

    No. She wouldn’t. Sofia wanted a family too much to jeopardize her chances. She was smart, and would learn the ways of the Pack. While she deals with the loss of her mate.

    German groaned and tilted his head back until it hit the tree he leaned against. Sofia squirmed her cheek into his chest, and he pressed his lips to her crown, inhaling her new scent.

    Dearest Luna, he hardened again. And wouldn’t you know, Sofia responded.

    Ah yes. The beauty of being bonded.

    Sofia sat up, cupped his face in her palms as she lowered herself onto him, swallowing the hardness of him in her hot sheath. The little gulps of her silken muscles choked him so his breaths hitched. He was utterly mesmerized while she slid up and down his length with a stroking rhythm. A fevered moan tendrilled out of his mouth, and Sofia locked her lips upon his to take it into herself.

    A burning haze filled German’s head as his female clenched and pulled, clenched and pulled, milking his root until his whole body tensed in spasms of release while they held each other. Sated, they rested as they were against the supporting birch, without separating, at ease beneath the watch of a billion stars spread across the ebony sky.

    German settled a languid gaze upon the contented face before him. He leaned in to lick her bruised lips. Sofia’s gray eyes sparkled with the reflection of the stars. “So beautiful. You are so beautiful.” She took his breath, this woman who now held claim to his every molecule.

    She smiled softly with his compliment, lowering her lids in a liquid blink.

    Always I am yours, he almost promised aloud, caught up in the peace of being hers. Idiot. He was hers, but still. Saying she would own him forever felt like another promise he was just going to break. The truth of which pushed his thoughts toward the future. A future without this wolf-woman. Without his Pack.

    The latter he could handle. Was looking forward to the freedom of it, as a matter of fact.

    The former? The empty years yawned in front of him, a cold and empty abyss worse than nothingness. Because loss carried its own kind of crushing weight. A quick shiver ran up his spine.

    “You all right?” Sofia tightened her hug to comfort him. Such an act of tenderness from one who had only known hardship. He could kill them all for trying to ruin her. Had the humans succeeded, he figured his life would be worth even less than when he was to leave her behind at the compound. At least, she would be alive. She wouldn’t feel complete now that they’d mated, but she’d have something close: a caring family.

    Fuck. “Yeah, I’m all right.” Right then, with her in his arms? He was perfect. Too bad it wasn’t going to last.

    ~S.C. Dane

    ~Installment No. 35 coming Tuesday, March 11, 2014.

Wolf-Love, Installment No. 33 #shifter #romance #MFRWauthor

Wolf-Love

Installment No. 33

    Sofia lay curled within German’s embrace, unwilling to remove herself from the sense of utter protection. She didn’t want to lose this feeling of security, not when reality still burned under her skin like an arsonist had taken up residence in the house of her bones. God alive, she’d actually turned into a wolf! At one point, she didn’t think it could really be happening. Her brain didn’t make the leap with the rest of her body, and she’d stared down at her paws, her arm/legs stretching in front of her as if from some phantasmagoric height. Her stomach had lurched at the view, lodging itself like a slimy rock under her lungs. Then her heart had gone spastic and the rest of her followed to circle the drain.

    Until those vice-like arms pinned her, instantly giving her substance, reminding her that her body might be melting, but it was shifting into something solid, a being with form. It hadn’t just been the feel of German, either. His scent had filled her, consuming her every cell the way the emerging wolf had. German had saved her life. She wasn’t going to dick around about that. With the remnants of her fear still clinging to her nerves, she snuggled in deeper against his chest, garbling a thank you through a throat lined with burdocks and broken glass.

    She felt German’s chuckle rumble across her skin as he caressed a lock of hair along her temple. “I believe you just said thanks. You are very welcome, but you might want to hold off talking for a few more seconds. The vocal chords are the last thing to come around.”

    Sofia simply nodded, her cheek slipping along her hair plastered to German’s bare chest. Too embarrassed to look up, she remembered how she’d clung to his voice, his scent—how her body had invited his as though it wasn’t complete unless he physically joined himself to her.

    And that rope, or steel band, or whatever it was between them, demanded their union. She was now so attached to German, she felt the ache of missing him. The only way to ease it was for him to touch her. Hence, her not moving from the precious security of his embrace. Jesus, she’d straddled for him, she had begged him to penetrate her and make her whole.

    Saying she loved him didn’t begin to cover her feelings for him.

    Because it feels too human.

    “Holy shit.”

    “One of your first words as a she-wolf is holy shit?” His baritone chuckle rode across her nerve endings. “It’s appropriate, mind you, but I guess I expected something a little more eloquent.”

    Please, please, please keep talking.

    She adored the sound of his voice for the comforting way it resonated within her, how it stilled her and thrilled her all at the same time. It reminded her of the song she’d ultimately howled for all she was worth.

    It was his song. Meant only for him.

    And she’d released it like a benediction. For her mate.

    Holy shit. This wolf-man was her mate, and now she understood it on a level which stunned her as much as turning into a wolf had.

    “You must be starving.”

    Starving? There were more overwhelming things keeping her preoccupied, so she wasn’t even thinking of how empty her belly was. But, now that German reminded her, it woke up and protested, growling like the depraved thing it was. The big body sheltering hers gently slid away, repositioning her into a comfortable spot on the ground. It was night, and the earth should have been cold on her bare skin, but it wasn’t. She radiated a wondrous heat, making the dirt a welcome contrast to her skin.

    “You stay here and rest while I get you something, okay?”

    Like he was going to the fridge.

    Sofia’s belly snarled louder. Hunting was good. She wanted to go.

    But, damn, her body was tired. Considering what it had been through, she shouldn’t be surprised by her exhaustion. German pressed a light kiss on her temple then stepped away to remove his clothes. He turned to her, his nose lifting, and flashed his beautiful teeth in a moonlit smile. “Get some sleep, Temptress. You’ll need your energy.” He disappeared so quick it was like he stepped off the planet.

    The guy had some serious skills, making her think retrieving dinner was a done deal. She could think on other things. Like the other reason why she’d survived her first shift: the dreams. Straddling on all fours had seemed like the right thing to do, just as it had been in her dreams. Except then she’d panicked when she realized she truly had paws and she wasn’t going to wake up from this.

    German’s clutching onto her had been a lifeline in more ways than one. His scent in her nose had tripped her instincts. Those exact ones she’d fallen on when she’d raised her face to howl at the tree-woman. Only now Sofia knew the woman in her dreams was a wolf-woman, too, and she’d helped her recover her song. No. Not her song. Her mate’s song. German’s song.

    She’d howled as if her life had depended on it. Halfway through it German’s timber coiled around it like…like a rope or a steel band, strengthening it and her right along with it. No wonder his voice had the power to arrest her. He was her mate, her fated one.

    Not yet.

    She didn’t know how she knew that with such certainty, but given everything else happening to her, she couldn’t dismiss it. They weren’t mated, since she’d freaked out just as she’d spread her backside for him, welcoming him with animal abandon. Yeah, animal abandon all right: wondrously open. Guileless. Without a trace of humanity. She’d had a few seconds of sheer glory before it all came crashing down on her.

    Closing her eyes to savor her lost moment, she found herself drifting peacefully between the realms of sleep and wakefulness, where she was aware, yet detached. Until the scent of warm blood teased her nostrils and transported her musings to the flesh, where they resided in balmy kinship. Her spirit swelled like the aroma of the fresh blood, bolting her upright because it wasn’t her stomach growling. It was her, and she wanted whatever it was that smelled so delicious.

    “I see someone has an appetite.”

    Sofia lifted her face to German, unable to drag her eyes from the sight of him. He was beautiful in the moonlight, his green eyes glittering with the reflection of the silver moon. Still. “That rabbit smells so good.” Saliva flooded her mouth, forcing her to lick her lips and swallow. She felt her cheeks burn, and it wasn’t because there was a glorious, naked wolf-man standing in front of her.

    “Don’t be embarrassed, Red. Your reaction is perfectly wolf. One hundred and ten percent normal.” He held the hare by its broad hind feet and stripped its pelt down over its head to expose the flesh.

    Sofia clambered to her knees to reach for it, but caught herself at the last moment, folding her hand into her stomach. “Sorry about that. I’m so hungry I’m losing my manners.”

    He winked. “It’s appreciated. We’re wolves. Here, you get first dibs.” German held out a healthy chunk of slick burgundy. “It’s the liver.” He knelt in front of her, offering her sustenance with an expectant shine in his eyes. “It is my gift to you, and I would be blessed if you would take it, —” He bit down on the word or words which would have followed.

    For some reason, the omission energized the link she felt between them, and the beaming sunshine inside her burst forth. Sofia wrapped her lips around the crimson gift German offered her.

    As he’d done the first time he’d fed her like this, German pressed his lids closed and inhaled so deep his bare chest heaved. “Thank you.” His voice snagged in his throat as she wound her tongue along his bloodied fingers. “Sofia, I…” he opened his eyes, but aimed them for the ground as his ears flared pink. Sofia’s head filled with his blooming scent. His gaze flicked upward, then pinned her with a hunger that surpassed her snarling stomach, and his determined gleam stabbed through her, impaling her heart.

    Quicker than the strike of a snake, he was crushing her against him, his mouth tentatively brushing her own: a soft contrast to the strength in his arms. Sofia begged for more with passionate greed, suckling his mouth to entice him further.

    Like a thing possessed, he responded, his heat engulfing her own, and she lay back upon the earth, relenting to the press of his fangs against her windpipe.

    “I’m…” German growled as he released her to press kisses along the path of her sternum. His shaking said what his voice couldn’t; as did the presence of his sharp teeth. He was losing control.

    She made him lose control, and her pride flushed to consume her. Sofia arched her back as his incisors pinched her nipple.

    “Stay,” she commanded, forcing him to hold his human form.

    “Sofia,” he pleaded.

    “No.” She was relentless.

    German roared into the taut skin of her belly, the vibration purring straight to her thighs. Gripping the thick muscles of his shoulders she rolled her hips around the warmth pooling between her legs. A pleasured growl scintillated through her as she turned to straddle for him.

    “Sweetest Luna.” She felt his lips curl into an appreciative smile as he yanked her tight to the curve of his stomach and hips, his face buried under the hair at her nape. Sofia’s skin erupted in fevered goose-bumps. Their bonded scent flooded the air around them as German’s root slid along the crease of her buttocks, and automatically she spread her thighs wider. With the gentle nudge of his intrusion, she arched for him, yet he went no further. With an impatient growl, she sat back to take the length of him, and erupted with a thousand sparks from the exquisite pain of her mate filling her.

    ~S.C. Dane

    ~Installment No. 34 coming Saturday, March 8, 2014.

Wolf-Love, Installment No. 32

Wolf-Love

Installment No. 32

    By the time German pulled his Pathfinder to the side of the road he was all too ready to get Sofia the hell out of the area. A quick trip deeper into the woods, a little fanning, and he had her scent. Not long after, she was in his sights. The setting sun illuminated her in a hazy, golden glow, turning her into something mythical, her red hair dark as blood. If he’d had his tail, the damned thing would have been whipping in circles he was so glad to see her.

    “Hey,” he said, his breath escaping him because she’d snagged it. Half a second later he had her scooped in his arms, his face buried under that blood red hair, his lips and teeth worrying the curve of her neck. Marking her.

    Shit. German eased her out of his arms, putting her feet back on the ground as heat rose to his face. “Sorry.” Even though she’d been pliant. More than that, she’d curled against him, her fingers biting into his shoulders so she could hold on. Christ, the sensations almost buckled his knees.

    He set her away from him before wiping his hand over the shit eating grin bursting on his face. “I got the car.” His head bobbed like a moron. Sofia beamed at him, yet seemed as shy about their exuberant display as he was.

    “Charlie—

    “Didn’t give me too much trouble.” He hadn’t given him much grief at all, not even when he’d asked for Sofia’s things, like the guy was guilty and anxious to be done with the mess. German offered him no words of comfort, no forgiveness. The guy was guilty. Charlie was why Sofia had shot her dog. If she hadn’t, the farmer would have. So, no, German didn’t go out of his way to say everything was fine.

    Nobody came to speak to him while he was putting their stuff in the SUV, either. Not a single soul said they were sorry. The bird-girl stayed in the kitchen and he was glad for it. After all, what would he say to her? Thanks for being a fucking fuck. Not very articulate, but returning to the farm only served to remind him how much he hated humans, how happy he’d been roving around in the woods with Sofia.

    The Pathfinder’s keys jangling in his hand reminded him, too, of what he was really doing: it wasn’t just collecting stuff. It was getting ready to turn Sofia over to the Alphas in exchange for his freedom. Ironic as hell, but he didn’t think it was funny.

    “All right then. Let’s go.” Her face shined up at him, expectant. German’s stomach fell, leaving him too hollow.

    “Yeah. The car’s this way.” He took her hand, not realizing he was doing it until the warmth and softness of her skin filled the hole in his guts like a gushing tidal wave. Suddenly, he was suffused with the happiness he’d felt when he’d first laid eyes on her a few minutes before.

    Her fingers curled tight around his.

    They’d been driving south on Route One for a while before Sofia said anything. “You got heated seats in this thing?” Her window was down, the wind pushing her hair along her cheeks, the setting sun lighting her fair skin. She was so beautiful and didn’t even know it.

    “You hot, Red?”

    “A little.” Pink crept up her cheeks, competing with the setting sun. “More than a little actually,” she confessed.

    “Go ahead and take your clothes off. Nobody’s watching.”

    “Except you.”

    “I’m watching the road. See?”

    She retorted by lifting one eyebrow. Which he saw because he was not, in fact, watching the road. “Tart.”

    “Villain.”

    He barked his laugh. So he was, more than she knew. Yet, her smile wouldn’t let him brood. In fact, he was too preoccupied with basking in the easy way they rode side by side. It was the same as when they’d been hiking: together, but with something big surrounding them and only them. Like they were protected in some bubble, and all the rest of the world didn’t matter.

    An illusion. Life could still bite them both on the ass. As a matter of fact, it was sharpening its razor teeth as they cruised west, straight into its jaws. Yep. He’d better enjoy this now while he could because the happy sunshine sure as hell wasn’t going to last.

    And it didn’t. Several miles later and Sofia was squirming in her seat, trying not to be obvious about it. Not to hover, he pretended to concentrate on the road. Not that he could say what they’d just passed if he got quizzed on it. The rogue beside him was where his focus was. She was now inhaling breaths like she was trying to cure the hiccups.

    He could barely stand it. “You going to be able to ride this one out, Red?”

    She nodded, but her eyes told him the truth. His foot gained weight like he wore a cement shoe, and he scanned the flashing scenery for a good place to ditch the vehicle. And themselves. They didn’t need witnesses.

    A fissure in the tree line and he was cutting the Pathfinder at a right angle down a narrow road with ruts so deep he figured the ground was going to eat the muffler and his gas tank. Thank Nissan for the skid plate. Spruce boughs slapped at the exterior like a hundred angry ravens’ wings, scratching off the paint job.

    But screw it. Sofia was ripping close, her scent so thick in the confined space of the car as to be physical. He felt it on his skin, tasted it on his tongue, and his cock lengthened until it hurt. If he claimed her, it wasn’t going to be gentle when he did.

    But he couldn’t think of that. He had a woman in the passenger seat whose pupils were so huge her eyes were black. He jammed the vehicle into Park, leapt out, and skidded across the hood to the passenger side to help her out.

    Sofia’s body was a flame burning so hot it was clarifying her blood, refining her wolf scent. German’s cock bucked like a bass caught on a fisherman’s hook. Holding that body next to his? Torture. The invisible thread bounding him to his red wolf was a fucking steel band piercing his skin, his guts, his heart, and he needed her to be him. The physical extension of himself which would render his being complete.

    As if she felt it too, her mouth encased his windpipe. His hand groped madly for his zipper to relieve the God-awful pain.

    Then she uttered the single word that stopped him dead: Mine.

    She claimed him.

    She. Claimed. Him.

    And German could not harm this creature who owned him from the bare skin of his toes to the black tips of his fur. He did the only thing he could do for her, and the muscles of his heart rent it to a bloody blob in his stricken chest. He pulled away from the red wolf who was claiming him as hers.

    She was changing into another being, for Luna’s sake. For the first time. It didn’t matter if she wanted to mate with him right then. He knew better. He had seen too many first times with other rogues.

    They freaked out.

    The brain, so long wired to see itself one way, couldn’t cope with what its body was doing. It couldn’t translate the new information it was receiving. The wolf’s body, by sheer existence, placed demands. It moved its paws but needed to know where. It wagged its tail but needed to know why. Body and brain required symbiosis to function.

    German had yet to see that happen.

    Except, so far, with Sofia. He hadn’t been lying when he’d said she was a natural. And it boded well for the both of them.

    First, and by far most importantly, for Sofia’s sake. Of any rogue, or born wolf-person he’d ever met, she was the one who had earned her fur. She was the one who’d endured years of living as wolf within the confines of her human body and the human world around her. Yet she’d never succumbed, had never lost touch with her essential self.

    Second, but not less important in his estimation? She was also the only rogue he’d known who carried within her soul a wolf song. For him. Which meant she’d been born connected to the wolf-people somehow, and he didn’t mean just because of her blood. She would have had to have heard the wolves singing at her birth.

    What in the hell, then, was she doing stuck in the middle of a Territory that hadn’t known wolves for nearly a century?

     Forget it. He had other things to concentrate on. Like the woman writhing in front of him. She was completely changing, and he was scared to death for her. His thoughts orbited around the woman who…

    Oh. Shit. Luna, have mercy on my hide.

    …spread herself to welcome him.

    She was a Temptress. A Siren. The Destroyer of what little self-control he had. Within a few mesmerizing seconds, her shift was fully realized and he forgot to breathe. Sofia’s red fur shined as magnificent as he’d imagined for too many sleepless nights. Her wolf body was lithe and strong on slender paws. German’s spine sparked and a fire lit under his human skin, his claws pressing on the tips of his fingers.

    Then Sofia’s beautiful gray eyes rolled, and her ears flattened as her tail sucked itself to her underbelly.

    “Shit!”

    Sofia panicked. Floundered her legs and paws, and snapped her teeth as if she tried to talk, and German’s heart flailed punches against his ribcage like an amateur boxer in the first round.     He muckled her without even thinking about it, lashed his arms around her until her wolf body was flattened against his chest.

    She froze in his embrace, heaved against his crushing arms to take in a great breath, then howled German’s song at the sky like her life depended on it.

    German’s tears loosed and streamed down his face in a beatific baptismal of this—his woman as wolf.

    ~S.C. Dane

    ~Installment No. 33 coming Tuesday, March 4, 2014.

Wolf-Love, Installment No. 31

Wolf-Love

Installment No. 31

    They backtracked along the trail until the scent of livestock threaded the air.

    “Wait for me here.” Saying the command was easy. Walking away was harder. Much harder. But German kept his back turned to the woman he’d left behind on the trail. Until he realized the initial yank on the invisible cord between himself and his mate wasn’t cinching tighter, trying to recoil like a living thing.

    He turned around. “What the hell are you doing?”

    Sofia stopped, blinking, then her eyes grew hard, her stance determined. “I don’t take orders.”

    “You don’t take…? Wait. I didn’t order you.” Did I?

    “Yeah, you did. Wait for me here,” she mimicked, her chin tucked to make her voice deep. To make it sound like his. It came out sounding pretty dumb. Exactly like she’d meant it to.

    He dug deep for a growl, but pursed his lips to foil a rising grin instead. “We’re almost at the farm. Take a sniff.”

    “Ordering me around again?” But she pushed her pert, little nose into the air to test the wind currents. “Shit.”

    “Yep. Lots of it.” Along with rotting corpses. Her dog wasn’t far away. Bad enough she was staying away from the farmhouse because she didn’t trust herself. German didn’t think she needed the kick to forget her self-restraint. Not that he would blame her if she gave in to the murderous urge. He understood better than anyone how Sol was family to her, but he didn’t need her turning to wolf in front of a dozen human witnesses.

    “I knew it stunk, I just never realized how bad.”

    “Your wolf is getting stronger. Which is why you need to stay here and I’ll come back for you.”


    I’ll come back for you. A promise. Green eyes intent, sharp. German meant it, and Sofia felt a funny tumbling in her belly that took her breath. “Okay.” She no sooner said the word and he was standing in her space, his lips brushing hers, his gaze still intense.

    Then he stepped back, the air a little chillier for it. “Can you follow the trail the hiker took to get in these woods?”

    She wasn’t sure, but nodded. Mainly to keep herself from erasing the chill, the distance between them.

    “Good.” German reached up as if to touch her hair then dropped his hand. “His scent may actually get spottier the closer to the trailhead you get. Think you can still do it?”

    “I can only try, right?” She held his gaze, refusing to lean forward to encourage his touch. If he wanted to, he would, and she wasn’t going to make the first move: he had enough of her heart already.

     “I’ll find you.” He had such confidence. Then he turned, wolf-like in his quickness, and headed for the far pasture. God, the guy was gorgeous. Now that she’d the seen it for herself, she realized he moved differently when he was around people, like he masked his wolfiness so it wouldn’t show.

    Smart. He was so fluid, his confidence draping him like a second skin, as if his body knew it was the strongest and quickest animal around. Which it was, but she understood why he hid it: people would instinctively cut him a wide berth. Huh. If she’d known just how different she really was, maybe she would have learned the same trick. Maybe then she wouldn’t have been shunned during her childhood.

    But those days were behind her. She watched German skirt the field, his lope effortless, ground covering. He ran like a wolf on two legs, the ease of it showing his joy. So beautiful.

One day, she hoped that grace would be hers, that the love of freedom would shine out of her the way it did in German.

    Hope rose inside her so she felt like a frigging helium balloon. A birthday one: all happy and crap. Because she was going to a place where there were people like German. Like her. They would teach her to embrace this wolf lurking inside her, help her master her new senses. She bet she’d even get to run with them, full of jaunty strength like German was doing now.

     But she’d stay mostly with the man who found her. She didn’t think she’d be able to do otherwise: as German’s body shrunk and finally disappeared in the distance, Sofia’s sense of well-being took a swan dive into the crapper. She didn’t realize she was following him until the four strands of high tensile wire blocked her from getting in the pasture.

    Get a load of that. She tailed him like they were physically connected by an invisible rope. A wolf thing? Or was she just being needy? She didn’t know, given she’d never been in an intimate relationship before.

    Sofia shook her head and backed away from the open field into the woods where she should stay in case she lost control of herself like she had earlier. German was right: remaining behind in the protection of the forest was safer. Besides, it was cooler in the shade of the big spruce trees. Since she was running a little hotter than what had once been normal, she welcomed the darkening closeness.

    Damn, she was full of cravings. Ignoring the strongest one, she went in search of the trailhead, sticking her nose up and around trying to pick up the scent of the hiker. She felt a little subconscious doing it her methods were so obvious. So awkward. Like she was a toddler learning about balance. It will get better. She’d learned to walk, right? So, she’d learn how to follow a scent trail without looking like a moron doing it. She could watch the wolf-people at the Minnesota compound as she honed her skills—observe and copy. Why not? God only knew where she would’ve ended up if she hadn’t figured out how to do that. She could adapt somewhat. At least, this time there wouldn’t be revulsion. The people in Minnesota would know she was a wolf and not care. Because they were too, even if they masked it as well as German did.

    God, she couldn’t believe her luck. Family. A jewel which had always hovered out of her reach, like the North Star: shining so bright and beautiful, but beyond her grasp. Not this time. Maybe she was being naïve and too damned hopeful. But right then, with the image of German running so primal still searing itself upon her brain, she embraced the idea with her heart flooding wide open.

    And why not? She’d once thought people turning into wolves was a myth. Finally being part of an accepting family could come true, too. Right?

    ~S.C. Dane

    ~Installment #32 coming Saturday, March 1, 2014.