Witch and werewolf, wicked and wild—what happens when a woman has to choose?
As a werewolf and witch, Kelly belongs to neither pack nor coven, making her a perfect addition to the ragtag collection of dogs, humans and canine shapeshifters at the Chambers Dog Sanctuary.
After recently being transformed against his will, Malcolm—one of the Sanctuary residents—wants nothing more than to shed his werewolf skin and return to his shapeshifter pack. Kelly tries to help him accept his new wolf nature, but then some of the shapeshifters discover Salvation, an organization that claims to cure magical hybrids. Kelly has long since made peace with lycanthropy, which tempers her volatile magic, but when Malcolm begs Kelly to accompany him for one last attempt to resume his old life, she agrees for his sake.
Upon arriving at Salvation, however, the already shaky balance of her life becomes even more tenuous, forcing Kelly to decide which part of herself, wolf or witch, she loves—or fears—more.
Reader Advisory: This books contains werewolf and witch-related violence and death, religious-themed interspecies hatred and bloodsport. It also contains scenes of intense rough sex, including D/s, sadomasochism, bondage, some anal play, a scene in which a strap-on is used against a man, and polyamorous relationships. This book is primarily MF but includes MM scenes and reference to FF relationships, as well as ménage and voyeurism.
Publisher's Note: This book is best read in sequence as part of a series.
General Release Date: 28th March 2014
Kelly opened her eyes to the ceiling of her trailer. It used to be hers and David’s. Now it was just hers. It was cozy and a little worse for wear, but serviceable. Werewolves liked a lot of space, but outside the trailer, she had all the space she could ask for.
The curtains fluttering above her spread to let the morning sun in through the partially opened window. Kelly relished the morning sun on her face as much as the moon at her back. She liked the camper because of the skylight in the bedroom, so that she could see the stars when she went to sleep. It was part of the reason she hadn’t left it behind when she’d fled from the pack after killing David.
David had promised her the world, promised her thunder at her feet and her magic tightly reined by the strength of the wolf.
Well, the wolf was strong, and she’d had more control over her magic after she’d changed. However, following the change the wolf had taken completely over, and Kelly had lost herself within it.
It had taken months before David had been able to challenge the wolf long enough to make her submit to him. Once he’d become her alpha, she had finally emerged from her wolf skin, hair a wild tangle around her, body filthy and scratched but otherwise intact. David had taken her against a tree, and she had submitted again, because he had been alpha and she had been his bitch, which was what he’d wanted all along—a witch as powerful as she was under his command, snagged before she’d had a chance to figure out what she was and how to control it on her own.
Kelly had quickly become a trophy for David to flaunt before his pack and all the others over which he’d lorded. She had tolerated it, because when she’d been alone with him, he hadn’t been so cocky. His body had been hers, and when they’d run through the woods, she had kept apace neck and neck instead of running behind. She’d stayed because the wolf really had helped her control her magic. She was indebted to David for that.
She’d also stayed because covens didn’t like werewolves, and there hadn’t been anywhere else to go.
She stretched her limbs now, feeling the ache of last night’s run. These days, she ran alone, but that didn’t make the running less sweet. She missed pack, but she was also relieved to be released from her fealty to them, from their stares and snickers and skepticism of her magic in spite of her efforts to show them.
When Kelly sat up, she saw that the snow had piled up against the lower part of the window screen. The sun was already bright, glaring against the glittering snow drifts—it would be the last snow. Kelly enjoyed the last snow much as she enjoyed the last hot night of summer.
She smiled and got out of bed to make some hot chocolate.
The aisle between the bathroom and the kitchen was barely wide enough for her to walk through. On the way, Butch Cassidy tangled between her feet.
Normally, animals couldn’t stand werewolves, but her witch nature still called to felines, and the ‘unadoptable’ tomcat Butch Cassidy had firmly adopted her. Aside from Renee, Kelly hadn’t thought anyone at the sanctuary would really take to her, but on her first night, Butch Cassidy had braved the snow to scurry to her trailer and yowl at her door until she’d let him in. He had then cuddled himself—cold, wet, scraggly fur and all—against her stomach as though she were his personal heater. Kelly hadn’t complained. Far from it. She used to think her ’appetites’ had barred her from such attachments. Although she was still a fierce predator, well, she knew how to better handle that hunger these days.
Kelly could adapt to a lot. When she had been human, she had adapted to keeping herself on a tight leash, to being constantly ashamed of herself. Then, when David had turned her, she had adapted to the new demands that lycanthropy had placed upon her, and she’d adapted to David’s demands as well. He had been a bit of an arrogant ass at times, but unlike some of the other men who vied for alpha status, he had actually been a decent leader. However, just as her best times with David had been when they were alone, so were her worst times.
The real problem had arisen when David had wanted Kelly to change Renee Chambers, the young woman on whom Grant Heath had set his sights—the young woman who David had been afraid would be the start of a new pack for Grant.
Even for a werewolf, Grant had been a problem child, a vicious man with what David had called ‘a screw loose’ and what Kelly had called ‘depravity’. It hadn’t defined all of Grant—Kelly had liked him well enough, partly because David had hated him so much. Technically, he could have been alpha. He could have easily beaten David in a fight. But the sub-alphas and the rest of the main pack would never have let him lead. They had all known that something wasn’t quite right with him.
But instead of rewarding Renee—small, scared, strong Renee—for killing Grant and ridding David of his greatest rival as well as a rogue werewolf well worth the name, David had wanted Kelly to change Renee, exactly what Renee had denied Grant. He’d intended to assert his dominance over Grant, dead or not, by taking her. Another bitch to display, another trophy for his case.
Kelly had refused.
David had struck her and told her that she would obey him. Wolf pelt had rippled over his skin. He had said he would drag her there by the scruff of her neck if he had to. He had been used to getting his way.
Kelly supposed it had been easy for him to forget how much she was capable of. All the wolf pack had ever experienced from her was the occasional cold breeze, her uncanny ability to reply to something they were thinking, as well as her little charmed trinkets, potions and spells that she sold from her truck and online. She had become the circus sideshow, the freak among werewolves, the witch girl who slept with the alpha but wouldn’t eat humans anymore.
At the time of David’s command, Kelly had understood two things—the first was that she needed to protect Renee, who didn’t have the benefit of magic to protect herself. Yes, Renee had managed to kill Grant, but if Kelly went after Renee or if David decided to take matters into his own hands, Renee would not be lucky enough to avoid the transformation again.
The second was that Kelly should have known from the start that she was meant to kill David. There had been no writing on the wall, no drawings of him in the notebook she had begun to keep for such purposes. Yet in that moment, Kelly had known that David had to die. And Kelly thought some part of her had known all along.
Kelly had done it for Renee, but she had also done it for herself.
She’d made the death quick and left him on the forest floor for the other werewolves to find and bury. Because she was a bitch, killing the alpha didn’t make her the new leader. And because she was a witch, the pack had banished her instead of setting upon her with tooth and claw, the justice of the forest. They’d feared for their own lives if they tried.
They’d let her leave with her truck and the trailer before the sun set. Once she’d reached the highway, she’d realized that she finally did have somewhere else to go—Renee’s dog sanctuary, where Renee had already harbored one werewolf, however poor judgment that might have been at the time.
The shapeshifters had reserved a little suspicion of her, and no wonder, after Grant had turned one of them. That man, a tall, dark and handsome stranger to her, had showed every sign of an involuntary turn. He wasn’t as wild as she had been in her first months—his body was already accustomed to shifting. But almost immediately, Kelly had seen his struggle with every twitch, every avoidance of eye contact and in the fever that burned far deeper than his skin.
Kelly had thought that she might be of some help. And fortunately, Renee had agreed.
Kelly had accepted that her werewolf nature would make it hard to live with the canine shapeshifters and the sanctuary dogs, neither species at all compatible with lycanthropes. So instead of living in the log cabin with the main shapeshifter pack or in the shapeshifter barn with the rest of them, she had her own small piece of land at the edge of the forest to park her trailer. Renee had even offered space in the greenhouse for Kelly’s potted herb garden she maintained for her small magic business.
Kelly thought that part of the reason the shapeshifters had been warming up to her these last few months were the potions she provided. From Kelly’s birth control potion, better for Ki than pills, to the poultice that Kelly had made for a young pit bull rescue with wounds from a dog fight, to the potion for Lotus’ migraines, Kelly had proved herself and her motives to be quite different from Grant’s. And after a few weeks, the dogs had become just as excited to see her as any human or any shapeshifter. They still kept some distance, but they happily hopped around a few yards away from her, and they didn’t bark anymore when she transformed.
Kelly sipped her hot chocolate on the trailer stairs as the morning sun saluted her skin and Butch Cassidy played with her toes. She gamely flared them for his amusement until he headed back into the trailer away from the cold.
The only resident left at the sanctuary who had not quite warmed to her was the new werewolf, Malcolm. Even during the full moons when he couldn’t hold back the transformation, he refused to run with her. He would jump the property fence and leave her behind whenever she tried to entice him to follow. Every morning after, he would limp back in human form, the hair on his body tipped with frost.
The rest of the time, Malcolm stalked his broody self around the sanctuary and avoided everyone as though he could spread lycanthropy to his friends by proximity. But he particularly stayed away from Kelly—as if he were afraid that if she got close enough, he might actually like her.