Read Shadow Walker Online

Authors: Mel Favreaux

Shadow Walker (32 page)

After a moment, the she-wolf turned her angry gaze to hers once more, eyes flashing from golden to red.

Adrenaline coursed through Casey and found her vision much sharper. She wondered if the entire pack was on its way for the feast tonight as yet another howl rose from the forest. The grip she had on the knife brought a dull ache to her palm. She was afraid to move. If she released the blade, the wolf would surely lunge. With another wolf on the way, Casey prayed it wouldn’t show up behind her. Against one wolf she would stand a fighting chance, but two?

A low growl sounded, one she could feel and hear. Her worst fears confirmed, the other wolf was behind her. Casey kept her eyes trained on the female in front since she’d already shown aggression. She considered the newcomer could be fiercer and was torn about what to do.

Would she rather look death in the eye or have it come from behind?

Her only hope was the wolves would distract each other long enough for Casey to put as much distance between her and them as possible. She hoped to make it to the tent for the shotgun.

The tiny hairs on the back of her neck stood on end, and a growl from behind resonated up her spine. The female took a step closer and snapped her jaws. The echoed response from the one unseen sounded like it had been brought up from the pits of hell.

Despite the frigid temperatures, sweat rolled down Casey’s temple. The newcomer’s footsteps padded heavily on the ground. From the corner of her eye she saw him, less than two feet from her. His attention was solely on the female.

Her heart thundered when she recognized him. It was the wolf she’d spotted earlier. The one she had a history with. Casey had stared at photos of him for too many years not to recognize his unique marks and color. Her fears settled only a fraction with his arrival.

Remembering the few times she’d spotted the male with a few of his pack mates, Casey recognized the female as well. The female was a darker, only slightly smaller version of the male. Her eyes however were the normal golden color of most wolves, where his were a pale grey. The male had always been her favorite; the other a close second. Despite her unease, Casey wondered why they seemed vengeful of one another.

The male stepped closer, almost like he was attempting to wedge his way between her and the female wolf. Casey’s heart jumped in her chest when the she-wolf snapped with alarm and lunged a few feet toward the male in a feint move before turning and lunging toward her. With a deep growl, the male jumped and intercepted his pack-mate just before she was able to pounce on Casey.

Struggling to keep herself from making any noise or sudden movements, Casey clenched her fist around the handle of the knife, waiting for the moment when she would have to fight.

While their paws scrambled for purchase in the snow, Casey rolled to her feet and ran. The snow was falling rapidly and she slid on a layer of ice and fell while the horrible sounds of the scuffle behind her reached a crescendo.

She realized almost too late, that she would be unable to make it to the tent and the much needed weapons before the animals turned on her in such close quarters. Fighting with the zipper and then digging…Rising to her feet, Casey scuttled cautiously but quickly in attempt to put as much distance between herself and the snarling wolves. Another growl rose to her right and brought a halt to her progress.

Adrenaline flooded her mouth; the acrid taste of coffee burned her throat. She crouched for protection, raising the knife. Casey wasn’t going down without a fight. As the growling wolf moved closer, it was one she also recognized.

He too was one of the pack-mates, though the other male was far larger. She watched as his eyes stared over her shoulder toward the fray as the howls, growls, and gnashing jaws stopped.

Dread settled over her. Now she had a pack of wolves to defend herself against. She wished she had her three-eighty. At least with it there would be a fighting chance against three wolves. With a knife, she knew her chance was slim to none.

A growl sounded behind her, and Casey knew at least one, if not both wolves were approaching. She heard a soft whine that made her think one of them had been injured in the fight; the winner was behind her. It was foolish but she couldn’t resist a glance at the creature who would most likely be the cause of her death. Fear mixed with relief when she saw the male looking largely unscathed save for one scratch on his cheek. Once again, his eyes weren’t on her but on the other wolf.

When he neared, the other male averted his eyes, lowered his head, and backed away. The larger male snuffed and stepped closer to her when the other turned and fled.

Less than two feet separated her from him. She struggled not to make eye contact, but his eyes were so beautiful and uncommon. The paleness of them completely belied the usual golden of most wolves.

“Please,” she whispered. Her hands shook from cold and fear; she wasn’t sure which was more prominent.

The wolf lowered his eyes and bowed his head.

It was the same pose the other male had given before he’d slunk away. Adrenaline still coursed through her, she was afraid to think the wolf had shown her signs of submission only to fool her enough to drop her guard.

Her hand tightened on the hunting knife, not ready to give in. It wasn’t over.

The thunderous reverberation of running footfalls jerked her attention. She turned just in time to see the female wolf lunge. Casey didn’t have time to raise the hunting knife before one hundred and fifty pounds of wolf slammed into her chest.

Its teeth gnashed mere inches from her face. Rolling out from beneath the blow, she covered her face and throat. At the same time, driving her elbow into the wolf’s ribcage, using every bit of strength she could manage with the blow.

Casey howled in pain when the wolf sunk her teeth into her left shoulder. Her mind reeled when the cry echoed and was joined by a chorus of howls that rose in the forest. The pain made her vision grow dark. Managing to get one leg under her, to regain leverage, Casey shifted, using the wolf’s own weight to toss it over her shoulder.

Viciously sharp teeth had torn through the heavyweight parka. Casey hoped the elbow driven into the bitch’s ribs had done enough damage and was relieved when she noticed the female was slow to get up.

Casey tried to ignore the intense pain in her shoulder that traveled down into her back and chest. The exposed wound burned as the cold air leached the warmth from her. But she was alive, and this wasn’t over yet. She couldn’t give in. With a grunt, Casey rose to a crouch and raised the knife when the wolf got back to her feet.

Blinking away the rapidly falling snow that landed on her lashes, Casey tried to ready herself for the next attack. The handle of the knife was smooth in her palm. A strange tingling began to flow through her. She feared blood loss had sapped too much of her strength.

With another snarl, the animal bolted for her. Holding her breath, she gave up a silent prayer and slid to the side at the last moment. Turning, Casey sank the blade deep into the female’s throat. Growling with pure rage, she powered through the thrust with every bit of her remaining strength. The perfectly honed weapon sliced through bone.

There were no howls or growls from the she-wolf, only a burbling sound from her gaping throat that marked the death rattles. Casey collapsed onto her back. The pain took her breath away, halting her pent up sob over what she’d done.

The last thing Casey’d ever hoped to do was kill one of the creatures she’d loved most: her favorite female wolf. She stiffened at a low sound nearby. Shifting her gaze, there was the male. Her knife lay with the dead female a few feet away. She was completely helpless now.

Her body shuddered, whether from the pain, cold, or shock, she had no idea, but her lids were getting heavy. This was going to be it. What had started out to be a wonderful day had turned into her worst nightmare.

If the male wolf didn’t kill her, the cold would. Hard logic settled in. Casey watched the wolf slowly approach. She was dead. Her family wouldn’t know to look for her until she missed her scheduled call.

By then, there wouldn’t be much of anything left of her body in the forest? Would the wolves scavenge as much of her as they could and scatter her bones?

These thoughts flickered through her numbed mind.

The wolf neared, and she licked snow from her lips, tasting blood.

Hers or the she-wolfs?

He lowered his face to hers. Casey’s heart raced when she saw where the scratch had been on his cheek. There was no sign but a bloody smear, the slight wound was healed.

The cold leached away her pain.

He was a handsome specimen of the wolf. His deep grey coloring had been what had drawn her in. His legs looked to be as thick as her forearms, if not larger, and his paws larger than her hands. But most unique of all were his eyes. Black lines drew attention there. They were so pale. She could feel him look straight into her soul, and it stole her breath once more.

Growing numb all over, she stroked the wolf’s muzzle with a smile. “You always were my favorite,” Casey whispered just before the darkness enveloped her.

* * * *

End of sampler.
Walker’s Run
is available at MuseItUp Publishing and all online reputable vendors.

 

To my mother,

who always encouraged me to follow my dreams

and loved nothing more than to listen to a good story.

 

To my number one fan, Amber Vaughn.

Had I not met you this series would never have taken off,

and I wouldn’t have been able to create this awesomely beautiful tigress.

Thank you for the years of brainstorming, frustration, tears, and friendship.

You’re the random to my insanity.

 

Acknowledgements

 

My sister’s Michelle and Meranda, and my sis-in-law Katie for their unerring support. You three were a great foundation when I desperately needed a reality check.

 

Shadow Walker © 2014 by Mel Favreaux

 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, or events, is coincidental and not intended by the author.

 

MuseItUp Publishing

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Cover Art © 2014 by Cora Graphics

Edited by Gloria Oren

Copy edited by Judy Roth

Layout and Book Production by Lea Schizas

eBook ISBN: 978-1-77127-502-6

First eBook Edition *March 2014

 

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