Monday, March 20, 2017

Ravaged - Chapter 1

Here's a little taste of what's coming. I'm sure because of the delays some folks are thinking, "Is she really writing?" I'll be posting the first few chapters of Ravaged over the next couple of weeks as I wrap up things.

* * *

Chapter 1

The scent hit Logan Polk as he straightened with a bag of feed on his shoulder. She-were. Definitely she-were.

Wolf. His kind.

His canine libido stirred regardless of his human side, and he sniffed the air, trying to detect her location amid the cold, wet wind of the approaching snow storm. Montana was neutral territory for the various North American weres, but most of them visited in the summer and fall when hunting was good.

Not that the occasional loner didn’t find it a good place to relax other times of the year. Or hide.

Like he did.

There. He admitted it like the therapist wanted.

It was fucking embarrassing for an alpha to have been kidnapped and tortured by a bunch of Normals. It was far worse to be treated for PTSD because of the experience.
But the therapy was working. He didn’t have the nightmares like he used to. He owed Esther and Aaron a lot for insisting he talk to their daughter Sarah’s doctor in Billings. Honestly, if another were had suggested it, he would’ve ripped their throats out.

But the witches understood. Sarah understood even more because she had been captured and tortured by the same assholes. The nineteen-year-old was talking about going to college next year back in California. She was getting on with her life.

And he was killing time in neutral territory.


The internal insult was lost when he spotted the she-were. She approached a bright yellow Jeep. Even if the plates hadn’t screamed rental, the color did. Not even Marvin, the town’s librarian/theater operator would be caught dead in anything that bright as his camouflage-style nail polish attested.

The lady had long brunette hair pulled in a tight ponytail. Legs that went on forever. If only she would turn around…

“Dammit, Polk! Get a move on. Ed can’t wait all afternoon for you to load his truck.”

The she-were whirled around at Wade’s shout. Mother Wolf bless his boss’s bullhorn voice. The stranger was even better looking than his imagination had painted her. A perfectly proportioned rack and a face that would make angels weep.

She frowned when she caught Logan staring at her. Even though he was downwind from her, his unblinking gaze was unmistakably wolf. Instead of approaching him, either to take him up on his blatant offer or to warn him off, she tossed her shopping bags in her Jeep, climbed in and pulled away.

Ed and Wade flanked him as she headed down Main Street and out of town. Wade clapped his shoulder. “She’s a looker all right.”

“Yeah,” Ed drawled. “We were all beginning to wonder which way your flag flew. Guess Marvin wins the pool.”

* * *

Alyson Tribideaux glanced in the rear view mirror. Nothing was behind her but the deepening twilight. Of all the things that could have gone wrong on this trip, another werewolf in town was not one she expected. Much less a lone alpha from the bold way he watched her.

Was he yet another beau Papa had steered in her direction? Damn, she knew she should have lied to him about where her next project was taking her.

Please, God. Let the wolf at the feedstore be the only one around. The last thing she needed was fighting off a bunch of suitors in Tuttle Creek while landing the biggest interview of her career.

The Reverend Ford Haight had taken over the Sunshine Believers four years ago. He moved the controversial group from Los Angeles to a ranch outside of the little Montana town. He was also credited with turning them into productive members of society after their leaders had kidnapped American TV actress Jessie Alton, the star of the hit comedy “Buddies”.

For some strange reason, none of the media had run the story, not even the most notorious of the tabloids, The National Scoop. He’d brought the incident up first when he answered Alyson’s letter and emphasized that he wouldn’t cooperate if Alyson only focused on his group’s lurid past. When she wrote back, saying she strived to be even-handed about her subjects in her documentary on splinter religions, Haight agreed for the Sunshine Believers to be included.

When she asked if they could have a phone conversation, he refused politely. He pointed out he didn’t trust her enough yet to allow her to have the ranch’s private numbers. Given modern trolling techniques, she really couldn’t blame him.

So, she had left a message with Maddy, one of his adherents, at the general store to let him know she was in town as he had instructed. The teenager was far younger than Alyson had expected, but she promised to deliver the note when she went home after her shift. For now, Alyson had to be patient, something she’d never been good at.

Her real problem on this project may be the alpha wolf getting in her way. This close to winter, she figured she would miss most of the hunting crowd. And he may take her rudeness as a reason to approach her.

Oh, hell. If he was one of Papa’s plants, he’d approach her anyway. Maybe it would be best to do her own hunting rather than go back into town when she needed more supplies.

Except she couldn’t hunt cherry amaretto ice cream in the wild.

Why couldn’t Papa be as forward thinking as John Lannigan, the leader of L.A.’s werewolf pack? According to the grapevine, Lannigan’s daughter was his beta.

Not that she wanted to be Papa’s second. She wanted love, passion, respect for being herself, not because she was the pack princess. She definitely didn’t want to be treated like a breeding bitch. She wanted to be swept off her feet by someone who adored her.

You’re being as chickenshit and backwards as you accuse Papa of being. You’re the wolf, not Red Riding Hood.

A flash of tan fur darted from the forest. She slammed on the brakes, and the Jeep’s tires screeched as it slid on the asphalt. Thank Mother Wolf, the forecasted snow hadn’t arrived yet, or the vehicle would have slammed through the guard rail and rolled end over end into the deep ravine on her right.

The acrid scent of burnt rubber mixed with the wet air as she opened the vehicle’s door. A few flakes fluttered to land on the hood of the Jeep and her nose. The wolf had already disappeared into the thick brush on the other side of the road.

She took a deep breath. Werewolf. An unfamiliar pack. The one who had been staring at her back on Main Street? She hadn’t been able to detect his scent in town with the wind at her back, coming off the surrounding peaks.

The road meandered around the river and up Mount Tuttle. He could have caught up with her if he knew the area better than she did.
Not if. Since. She’d been in Tuttle Creek long enough to pick up the keys for the rental cabin and supplies. Scouting the area should have been her first priority.

But then, she’d been mocked incessantly for being more human than wolf. Never in front of Papa though, and she hadn’t been stupid enough to whine to him. Deep down, she knew he felt the same way as those who’d insulted her even if he never said a word.

Still, if it were the werewolf in town who’d been staring at her, there were easier ways to get her attention than running in front of her Jeep. She climbed back into the driver seat, shifted gears, and hoped she found the rental cabin before dark.

* * *

Golden eyes watched the vehicle as it disappeared around the bend. The shape-shifter would be strong enough to breed. She wouldn’t survive any more than the weaker mammals he had experimented with on the ocean-side of these mountains, but she would live long enough. And in this isolated plateau, no one would discover she was missing until he had a score of his kind to prepare the way for his master by killing the usurper.

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