Heart of the Wolf Series
Due to her unusual birth, Amber has abilities no other werewolf has ever possessed. On the run since childhood, the lone wolf avoids contact with other werewolves at all cost, continually moving, constantly looking over her shoulder and always alone.
Everything changes when Amber saves a werewolf from the mere brink of death, Blake, the only werewolf to ever protect her. Love blossoms, but not without tribulations when Amber realizes she must help her new pack rescue a member who is being held hostage by a rival pack.
Warring with emotions of going from lone wolf to the pack leader’s mate, Amber must decide if she is willing to risk Blake’s life to know true family and friendship despite the fact that the Council is hell bent on locating her and will stop at nothing until she is found. Will Amber’s special abilities be enough to keep everyone safe?
The wind howled as she ran through the heavily wooded forest. Or was the howling the beast that haunted her? Amber knew she should keep running, but instead stopped in her tracks. She was tired of always running from the darkness that followed her everywhere. She gave in to the hot searing pain and fell to the ground, quickly shedding the clothes that bound her to the human world. Throwing her head back, she screamed when her flesh crawled and her bones began the painful cracking and popping. Rain poured through the trees while Amber clawed at the wet soggy ground, her head feeling like it would explode. The flashes of lightning, followed by the loud rolling thunder, swallowed her howls of pain. On all fours Amber panted, the transformation was complete. She was alone in her own world of nightmares.
Bright yellow eyes rimmed with black peered out from the dense trees, the silhouette of the large wolf illuminated in the storm as the lightning lit up the night sky. Amber’s sensitive ears heard the drops of rain falling through the trees and bushes, landing on the bed of leaves and wet earth around her. At the sound of rustling leaves, the wolf whipped her head in its direction. Something scampered from tree to tree before stopping dead in its tracks, feeling the presence of danger. The rat’s beady eyes stared into the menacing yellow glow; its body stood motionless. The only thing moving was the twitching of its whiskers as the rodent quickly sniffed the air.
She was hungry, but not for the rat. Amber rose from her hunched position on the sodden leaves. Turning away, she could have sworn the rat gave a sigh of relief as it scampered away. Moving deeper into the woods, Amber knew exactly where she needed to go.
She had spotted the lone camper a couple of days earlier when scouting the area. It had been almost too easy. Even in her human form, Amber could smell the camper through the dense woods. He did nothing to hide his scent. She had made enough noise to alert the man to her presence, on purpose. When he heard the commotion, he came to investigate.
Being a pretty young woman, Amber knew most men would not feel threatened by a lone female in the woods. Her five foot six frame was slender, but toned and well defined. With werewolf genetics, she stayed in excellent shape. Long dark brown, almost black hair flowed gently down the middle of her back in soft waves. Her almond shaped chocolate brown eyes, fringed with long lashes were alluring. Her naturally pouting lips were soft and full. She drew a lot of attention from men, mostly unwanted because she preferred to be left alone. This time, she would use it to her advantage.
The man had been mesmerized by her beauty and was quick to offer her a bottle of cold water, which she took with a sweet smile. Because he was talkative, Amber quickly learned that his name was Andrew Small. He was the CEO of a small accounting firm working a couple of towns over. Snickering at an inside joke while winking at her, he boasted that money was no object. Andrew went on and on, bragging about how he would sneak away a couple of times a year for extended vacations on the company's dime. He felt they owed him that much since he worked so hard for them and got burned out. He needed some alone time.
He told Amber of how he had discovered the extremely secluded, wooded area on previous camping trips, and had planned on being there for a couple of weeks.
During their mostly one-sided conversation, Andrew informed her that this campsite was his own secret hideaway. His family knew he was camping, but he never told them exactly where he was going. This made it to where no one would show up out of the blue. It was the perfect secluded area with no cell phone or internet coverage. He could get away from the family and a hectic job. Which was all the better for her--no one to hear his screams.
Amber allowed her wolf’s senses to guide her through the darkness. The first set of storms for the night was slowly passing. Lightning was seen less often and the rain had nearly come to a stop. She glided through the forest, seen only by the other creatures of the night. The woods were silent while the wolf padded quietly to the edge of the tree line. Amber could see Andrew’s shadow through the thin material of the tent every time he passed by the lantern hanging inside. From where she sat, she could smell the small fire that burned beyond the tent. What really had her attention though was his scent. With her ears perked at his high pitched whistling, she watched him move around inside the tent.
Heart pounding in her ears, Amber could almost taste his hot blood now. She reminded herself she had to be patient. Her wolf’s teeth and claws were sharp enough to tear through the tent. However, she had learned a big lesson in patience when she had first turned.
Attacking through the wall of the tent had given her first victim a chance to fight back. She remembered the searing pain of the knife stabbing into her side, slipping along her ribs. Luckily, that first camper hadn’t gotten a good hold on the knife when she had attacked. Amber knew she would have been dead if the blade had pierced her heart.
Her mother had explained that the change would be uncontrollable in the beginning, but she’d never expected anything like what had actually happened. She still had a lot to learn about being a werewolf. Once the realization of her first kill and the shock of being stabbed set in, she had not been able to hold her werewolf form long enough and changed back. As a werewolf, Amber would have healed quickly, but as a human, she did not. Luckily, the knife didn’t go very deep, so there was no real damage.
Being stabbed had been very painful, and the thin scar served as a reminder for her to plan ahead. She had learned that lesson well. At the time, she had bound herself the best she could and, to her horror, disposed of the half mutilated body. She was stronger than a human, but in her weakened and shocked state, she had considered burying his remains. There were just too many variables she had not considered. Even in her inexperience, she could see the bite marks had been made by an oversized wolf. If the body were found, they would have investigated and found the evidence; her DNA would have been all over him. This could not happen because this would give humans the positive proof they sought of the werewolf's existence.
Thinking quickly, she set the tent ablaze with the body inside, burning all evidence of the attack.
Amber was brought back to the present as the shadow moved, reaching for the tents flap. Drawing back on her haunches, she prepared herself for the attack. Her mouth filled with saliva, pooling and dripping down the side. Her sensitive ears heard his slightest movement. Andrew’s heartbeat was strong and steady. The zipper was loud when he pulled it slowly down, allowing the tent flap to fall open. He stood with a beer bottle in his hand, nothing more.
In the dark of the night, the storm began to renew its strength. Amber’s large black wolf readied itself and, at the bright flash of lightning, she pounced, knocking Andrew back into the tent with her strength. She heard his frightened gasp, his eyes wide as he stared in terror at the yellow eyes glowing down at him. She drew in a deep breath, savoring the smell of his fear.
Amber growled deep in her throat, baring her sharp teeth. Suddenly, she smelled something and, in the part of her brain that retained human thoughts; she knew Andrew was urinating on himself. The animal in her wanted to laugh, but her vocal cords were tight, and it came out as a low growl instead. She could hear his heart pounding erratically in his chest, his blood singing loudly to her as it swished through his veins. She had to have it.
Andrew was not a small man by any means, and he fought hard. Pushing and shoving with hands and feet, but his human strength was no match for Amber’s powerful jaws. He screamed when her sharp canines sank effortlessly into the soft skin of his throat; his blood trickled into her mouth. He thrashed around trying to push her off, but she was too strong, her grip tight. With a quick shake of her head, the thin skin of his throat shredded, allowing the sweet coppery blood to flow free, to stream warmly into her mouth. Andrew’s garbled screams and, now, feeble attempts to fight ceased after only a few moments.
With the bloodlust upon her wolf, Amber lost all control and savagely ripped off chunks of skin, meat and muscle. Her strong teeth crunched through his bones like they were nothing more than toothpicks. The wolf lapped at the blood his still beating heart pumped, squirting through his exposed veins; until his heart stopped, and there was no more blood. The wolf had made her kill.
The wolf’s bloody teeth showed in a wicked grin as it savored Andrew’s fleshy meat, he tasted like pork. She liked pork! With her belly full the wolf stretched, yawned, and lay down on the ground, head resting on her paws. With the bloodlust sated, the wolf relaxed, but her ears were ever alert for anyone or anything that may try to sneak up on her. The wolf released its control and allowed the change to consume Amber's body once again.
Turning back to her human form was painful, but not as much as the change into a werewolf. Once she was fully returned to her human body, Amber glanced around to ensure no one was there and hurried to the cold stream to wash the blood from her skin. Running through the woods to her stashed clothes, she dressed quickly and returned to the campsite.
As a human, Amber was still mortified, but also amazed that she could savagely kill and eat another human being. She couldn’t change the fact that she had been born a werewolf, or that humans were werewolves natural prey. She had grown up with the horrible secret and knowledge that if humans discovered what she was, they would track her down and kill her.
Amber mentally gave herself a shake, wiping the thought from her mind that maybe they should. She was too willful to take the cowardly way out. Life might not be much fun, but it was still worth living. Hopefully, things would eventually get better, but Amber knew she would always have to keep the wolf side of her hidden from the world.
There could be no trace that Andrew had been camping in the area. So, Amber worked quickly at tearing down the tent and starting a fire, while tossing things in that would burn. Items that would float were pitched into the river and swept quickly downstream. She then carried the remaining items deep into the woods and found the rocks she had come across during her runs. The cracks leading to caverns went deep underground. As she dropped them, Amber heard Andrew’s personal items bouncing off the rocks inside and then lay quietly where they would rest forever, unseen from the rest of the world. She stood for a moment, wondering if she had done the right thing. She shook her head at the doubt running through her mind and turned away from the opening.
Returning to the campsite, Amber stood with her hands on her hips. I appeared as if someone had camped there, packed up and left. No sign of a kill. Nodding in silent approval, she turned and walked away.