Authors: Ava Frost
This book contains sexually explicit scenes and adult language that may be considered offensive to some readers. This publication is intended for adults ONLY. Please ensure that this book will not be accessed by underage readers.
By: Ava Frost
Copyright ©2016 by Ava Frost
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without
permission in writing from the author. Reviewers are permitted to
quote brief passages in reviews.
© Copyright 2016 by Ava Frost. All rights reserved.
In no way is it legal to reproduce, duplicate, or transmit any part of this document in either electronic means or in printed format. Recording of this publication is strictly prohibited and any storage of this document is not allowed unless with written permission from the publisher. All rights reserved.
Respective authors own all copyrights not held by the publisher.
Claimed By The Wolf
In Russia, there were two types of men who transformed into wolves. The first type were not unlike wandering dogs, sweet and gentle but cursed to roam for their entire lives, always searching for something they cannot ever find. And the second sort were those who wished to be wolves in the first place, but whose intentions were always unclear.
Natalya was not sure which sort of wolf-man her boyfriend was, but she suspected he was one all the same, though she suspected he might be too American to understand her superstitions.
Perhaps boyfriend itself was a misnomer, a word which applied but did not quite fit, for Rhys was nearly twice her age at forty years old. And he did not even live in Russia, was not even on the same continent. Surely he could not be her boyfriend in the same way as her friends had boyfriends, with whom they flirted and had sex, and could physically touch whenever they wished.
And yet she did not know what other word might describe what he was to her. Despite their time differences, they exchanged messages and emails every single day. They had exchanged pictures, though not yet of anything intimate. And she had heard his voice on the phone, tinny over such a long distance but with a strange accent –even for an American- she couldn’t quite place; at least he did not make fun of her speaking skills as other foreigners had, and perhaps that was a perk of his age. And he sent her gifts through the website they both were part of. At least once a week, some small form of candy or flowers arrived for her. Sometimes the flowers were dead. She never told him this, as it was sweet enough for him to try.
Natalya found herself in such a strange situation because of a drunken dare one night. Her friends urged her to sign up for a mail order bride service via russiandelights.com, simply to see what would happen. Of course she remembered very little of the process, and when she checked the website later she found multiple emails and messages from moderators across the site requesting verification on her identity, or approving other aspects of her profile. And slowly an image formed of what was also ironically a misnomer. American men seeking exotics to marry could not simply buy a bride, as they apparently once had. Now, mail order services had become little more than fancy dating sights.
And she had forgotten all about it until about three months ago, when a notification arrived in her email that one of the men browsing the site had come across her picture and found her interesting.
More out of idle interest than thoughts of anything serious, she did a search right back for him.
In his profile, and in all the other pictures of him she received, he was a remarkably muscular man for his age. His face was lean and fine, with a strong jaw covered in reddish stubble. His hair also was reddish-brown, almost the color of fox fur in summer sunlight.
Looks weren’t everything. Natalya knew that. But she did not reject him from looking at his profile. And the next day, he messaged her with a simple greeting and a gentle inquiry as to how her day had gone.
This is madness
, she thought wonderingly at the time, and often afterwards, too. But perhaps even more madness was the sudden realization, looking into the eyes of the pictures he sent her, that there was a yellowish cast to his pupils. She would have put it down to being the light from the camera taking the picture, or perhaps a fault of her computer screen, but then she noticed his leanness bordered on gaunt. It was as though he hungered.
And when they spoke on the phone for the first time, a growl echoed in the back of his throat as a distant, uncontrolled thing. It never came again after that, but she did not forget.
“I am being superstitious,” Natalya murmured to herself as she sat at the desk before her computer, fiddling idly with the mouse as she waited for Rhys’s green light to fill in, to signal he had come on for their nightly conversation. But, she decided, even if she was a superstitious old maid at heart, she did not have to risk her life uprooting herself overseas like some of the other women on the same site had done. She could bask in the affection of this gentleman, and still enjoy her youth properly.
I honestly can’t see the downside to this
, she thought, almost happily, as his light finally blinked in. She waited a few seconds longer for the screen to finish loading up on his end.
And if he is a wolf, that’s exciting. But it is excitement I am enjoying from the safety of my own apartment.
“Hello, my dear Natalya,” Rhys typed, the text box popping up on her computer and filling in as his fingers all but flew.
“Rhys,” she typed back in greeting.
She expected their usual night of casual, friendly chatter, but the next message chilled her almost to the bone. Reading again provided no relief, either. The meaning of the phrase did not change.
“I have chosen you.”
She thought back to the sweet werewolves who imprinted upon families and followed them as part of their endless wanderings, seeking food and affection.
Hesitantly, trying not to slip into her native language as she tended to do when her mind blanked on English, she wrote back to him. “What do you mean?”
“I saw you hesitate,” flashed back at her quickly. “I just meant that I was speaking with some other girls while I’ve also been talking with you.”
Somehow, that hurt. But hadn’t she just been contemplating doing the same thing to him?
“And I have decided that I like you best, Natalya.”
“I like you best, too.” He was the only man she had ever spoken to through this service, but perhaps it was best not to bring that up just now.
“I’d like to come visit you.”
And now she spoke out loud, a soft guttural sound of surprise for which there was no word equivalent in either language. It was more akin to a gasp. “And?”
“And that is all. I’m neither asking nor demanding. All I’ll say is I am quite fond of you, my dear. This old man would like to see the woman who spends so much time with him.”
“You’re not so old!” she protested.
She almost felt him laugh through all the miles separating them, and felt her lips curve upwards at the edges in response. And with his next message, he simply asked about her day. Just like that, they slid back into their old routine as seamlessly as though the first few minutes never happened.
Natalya still didn’t know what to think of that. She was too wise, she hoped, to fall for any traps, but lying over long distances could not have been any easier in this day and age. There also was his voice to base assumptions upon but even though he sounded genuine enough, sometimes it was hard to tell what might nourish and what might poison, or kill, or worse.
And so she did not bring it up, and neither did Rhys. Not for the rest of their half-hour communication, during which a moderator also messaged her to ask how things were going, and not for the next night, or several other nights after that.
A week later, she convinced herself it was nothing but a harmless little joke. Or maybe Rhys, for all his hard physique, was growing soft and sentimental even over the short time she knew him. Soon enough, she thought, smiling to herself on the train headed home from work, she would find him reminiscing mournfully about his younger days, with a pipe held unsmoked in one hand.
But then, he mentioned it again.
“I really would like to come visit you, Natalya. Is there any reason I can’t?”
They spoke on the phone this time, a rare luxury he paid for –all the men of the mail order bride websites were expected to pay for everything, with pleasure for the opportunity even to do so.
Laying on her back in bed, Natalya closed her eyes. “I am not sure, Rhys. I have responsibility, a job. I can-not be able to afford this.”
“I assure you, Natalya,” he crooned, intentionally botching her name in an attempt to make her laugh, “that I would cover all the expenses. I am a gentleman, after all. You would have nothing to worry about. I just want to hug you.”
She was so startled she couldn’t speak.
“Is that so strange?” Suddenly, he sounded so terribly lonely she hurried to fix it.
“No, of course not! I just thought man like you might want more.”
The smile returned to his voice as swiftly as it dropped, though Natalya thought his voice wore it more crooked than before. “I’d like more if you wanted more. But a hug would be a very good start. It gets kind of lonely out here.”
Natalya thought of the crisp mountains outside her window, the city at the base casting leaping gouts of neon orange flame up stone turned crystalline by moonlight, all the way up to the silvering peak. She didn’t know if America had anything like that, but she thought Rhys might be the sort of man to mention a pretty sight if he had one.
Yet, as beautiful as it was, listening to the voice of the older man she had been exclusively talking to for months now, neglecting her friends, her workouts, her hobbies to grab even a few more seconds with him, suddenly that mountain seemed a pillar of isolation. And now she was the self-imposed queen.
A hug might be nice
, she admitted to herself.
“Can I think about it?”
“Of course!” Rhys shouted excitedly, and then spoke hurriedly, as though his voice ran through the wind to try to extinguish flames clinging to his clothes. “Absolutely, my dear! You take as long as you need to!”
Deep inside, she already knew her answer.
Acquiring the passport was the easy part. The eleven hour flight was harder, though surprisingly not as hard as Rhys thought it might be. Though he wasn’t normally a man to splurge for a small upgrade to anything when it wasn’t necessary, he went ahead and bought himself a ticket for first class just for the occasion. After all, it wouldn’t do to meet Natalya while in the midst of a foul temper.
And so for eleven long hours, Rhys enjoyed a constant barrage of cranberry juice and friendly chatter from the attendants. The basket of cookies and crackers headed in this direction at regular intervals, to the point where he barely felt able to eat the actual meal offered to him. Comfortable seats and ample leg room, important for a taller man such as himself, lulled him in and out of a steady dose. During his waking time, he finished reading one novel and began the next, or else he simply stared out the window where the sky and the ocean met at a barely distinguishable line, and he thought of where he was and what he was doing.