Authors: Stephanie Tyler
“Fast-paced, dark, and wickedly edgy,
is a paranormal shot in the arm for the genre! No one writes a bad boy hero like Tyler.”
New York Times
“Stephanie Tyler puts a unique, fresh spin on shape-shifter romance. In
, she creates a raw, sexy world where werewolves make and break all the rules.”
New York Times
Whispers in the Dark
“Stephanie Tyler has created a story that kept me on the edge of my seat. With breathtaking danger, sizzling romance, and unexpected twists, these Dire Wolves are going to rock the paranormal world.”
New York Times
Bound by Darkness
hooked me from the very first page.”
—Shiloh Walker, author of
If You Hear Her
Praise for the Novels
of Stephanie Tyler
New York Times
“Red-hot romance. White-knuckle suspense.”
New York Times
Deeper Than Midnight
“Sexy and witty.”
“Stephanie Tyler is a master.”
A NOVEL OF THE ETERNAL WOLF CLAN
A SIGNET ECLIPSE BOOK
Published by New American Library, a division of
Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street,
New York, New York 10014, USA
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First published by Signet Eclipse, an imprint of New American Library,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
First Printing, March 2012
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Copyright © Stephanie Tyler, 2012
All rights reserved
SIGNET ECLIPSE and logo are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
Printed in the United States of America
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party Web sites or their content.
If you purchased this book without a cover you should be aware that this book is stolen property. It was reported as “unsold and destroyed” to the publisher and neither the author nor the publisher has received any payment for this “stripped book.”
For Lily, because this story could never have existed
Horatio: O day and night, but this is wondrous strange!
Hamlet: And therefore as a stranger give it welcome.
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.
The Jungle Book
ifter needed a woman, Brother Wolf needed to run wild, and their appetites for sex and destruction mingled, rose with a hot howl as Rifter’s Harley roared through the winter night.
Both knew which appetite would have to be sated first—the fucking, then the running. Rifter and his wolf were usually on the same page in that regard. Tonight was no different, and he slammed his Harley to a stop in front of Bite, one of the many bars along the strip, because he smelled danger. He stomped inside, ignoring the way the room stilled and everyone turned to watch him. After hundreds of years, that shit got old, and he was well aware of what he looked like.
He was also well aware that no one in this room would want to be him, if given the chance. He could only pray no one ever would be put in that position again.
No, he was already part of a pack of the last six living Dire wolves, who cursed their immortality and wore their ferocity on their sleeves because they literally had nothing to lose.
Created by Hati, son of a Norse god, and watched over by a mystical clan of Elders, Rifter was six feet eight inches of raw muscle and more than seven feet, three
hundred pounds when he was Brother Wolf, which explained the pain of the transition.
Brother Wolf was part of him—when he was driving the ship, Rifter could request things, and vice versa, but they were both equal in power. It was the only way they could inhabit one body. He had a great deal of respect for his wolf, knew what Brother needed and when he needed it. Brother did the same for him.
If one of them died, the other would too.
We should be that lucky,
he thought, and Brother howled in response inside his head, reminding him of why they’d come here in the first place.
Brother Wolf’s biggest goal—beyond chasing moons—was to become Father Wolf. That could happen only by mating, and that shit was not happening anytime soon.
Rifter’s main goal was to die, but again, he’d be waiting on that one forever.
One of the female Weres, laced into a black bustier, caught up to him when he was halfway to the bar and rubbed her body against his. “Where’ve you been, Rift?” she purred.
“Prison,” he said as he pushed past her, semidisgusted that his response seemed to turn her on. Prison couldn’t hold Rifter and Brother Wolf, and God knew humans had tried more than once over the last centuries.
He took in the human motorcycle gang and the pack of wolves who’d started their own version of Hells Angels, only far more deadly, and then his nose led him to the young woman sitting alone at the bar. She was doing shots and swaying to the music, and she’d caught the bikers’ attention—human and wolf—neither of which was a good thing.
He knew immediately from the rumblings that she’d been here too long.
Typically, the wolves stayed among their own, but lately, they’d
been mixing it up with the locals, and that wasn’t going over all that well with the weretrappers. This bar was owned and operated by a Were—but catered to humans as well. The thing was, most humans beyond the weretrappers didn’t believe that Weres existed at all, and the Weres and the Dires had been able to pass as full human for as long as they could remember.
He could deal with a fight to get his blood going. But first things first. He moved next to her, watched her turn to him, look up at him. Her eyes widened—appreciation rather than fear, and yeah, what the hell?
“You’re not in a good place,” he growled over the music.
“I’ve got a seat at the bar—that’s the best place,” she told him, not slurring her words yet, but by the way she was motioning to the bartender, she’d find herself doing so soon enough.
She was human and he was drawn to her.
Making sure she’s safe.
Right, because he was a goddamned Boy Scout. He didn’t give a shit about humans—those who knew about the existence of Weres were either terrified or idiot groupies or hunting his kind. The wider the berth, the safer for all involved. But there was something that yanked him to her, a zing right to his cock that had him by her side, watching her lick the salt from her hand, down the tequila and suck on the lemon while staring at him with green eyes that were far from innocent.
“I’m Gwen,” she said, her voice all hot and smoky sounding even though there wasn’t a cigarette in sight. She leaned back and stared at him again and let a smile tug one corner of her lips.
He knew she wanted to comment on the name, but she didn’t. Instead, she reached out and played with a
zipper on his black leather jacket, then let a long finger roam over the soft, smooth fabric. He could picture the black against her creamy skin.
“I want to wear this,” she murmured.
“Later. Naked,” he told her and she stared at him, her neck graceful, her body more so, and she looked like some kind of aristocrat, like she should be in a ballroom instead of here.
here. There would be no female Weres for him tonight, even though more were already circling. He picked up on the low growls, because Dires never went for humans. Everyone was confused, and he was president of the club.
He expected this to be all over fucking Facebook within the hour. “I want to take you home,” he emphasized, in case the naked part hadn’t been enough of a clue.
Have to. Need to
. Fuck, he felt like dropping to his knees and howling and it had
to do with the full moon.
She tilted her head and continued to study him.
“I’m not into anything beyond sex.” Blunt for sure, but he had to make that clear.
A small smile played on her lips. “Don’t worry—I won’t be around long enough to stalk your tall ass.”
“Dying.” Rifter froze and she shrugged. “You’re not going to let a little thing like that stop you from coming home with me, right?”
“No, I don’t joke about death. Well, that’s not true—I’m a doctor—we have to. Gallows humor keeps us from getting too emotional.”
“You’re dying and so you’ve decided to pick up strange men in dangerous bars.”
like one of those bad game-show questions—if you found out you only had a short time left to live, what would you do?” She laughed but there was little humor behind it. “I have no idea what I want to do, besides not die.”