Read The Wolf Within Online

Authors: M.J. Scott

The Wolf Within

The Wolf Within
The Wild Side [1]
M.J. Scott
IGLA (2014)

Vampires, werewolves, warring couples. And that’s just the day job. Ashley Keenan is a normal girl in a world that’s left normal behind. She just wants to keep her head down and try to have a life. But she hadn't counted on the reappearance of Daniel Gibson, ex-lover, now a werewolf and the man she’s never quite forgotten, even if she can’t bring herself to date a supernatural. Worse, he’s back because the vampire who killed her parents just might be coming after her. It's a fight to guard her heart and her life and sometimes to survive you have to learn to love your inner monster...

PRAISE FOR THE NOVELS OF THE HALF-LIGHT CITY

Blood Kin

“Not only was this book just as entertaining and immensely readable as
Shadow Kin
—it sang in harmony with it and spun its own story all the while continuing the grander symphony that is slowly becoming the Half-Light City story. . . . Smart, funny, dangerous, addictive, and seductive in its languorous sexuality, I can think of no better book to recommend to anyone to read this summer. I loved every single page except the last one, and that’s only because it meant the story was done. For now, at least.”

—seattlepi.com


Blood Kin
was one of those books that I really didn’t want to put down, as it hit all of my buttons for an entertaining story. It had the intrigue and danger of a spy novel, intense action scenes, and a romance that evolved organically over the course of the story. . . . Whether this is your first visit to Half-Light City or you’re already a fan,
Blood Kin
expertly weaves the events from
Shadow Kin
throughout this sequel in a way that entices new readers without boring old ones. I am really looking forward to continuing this enthralling ride.”

—All Things Urban Fantasy


Blood Kin
had everything I love about urban fantasies: kick-butt action, fantastic characters, romance that makes the heart beat fast, and a plot that was fast-paced all the way through. Even more so the villains are meaner, stronger, and downright fantastic—I never knew what they were going to do next. You don’t want to miss out on this series.”

—Seeing Night Book Reviews

“An exciting thriller . . . fast-paced and well written.”

—Genre Go Round Reviews

Shadow Kin

“M. J. Scott’s
Shadow Kin
is a steampunky romantic fantasy with vampires that doesn’t miss its mark.”

—#1
New York Times
bestselling author Patricia Briggs


Shadow Kin
is an entertaining novel. Lily and Simon are sympathetic characters who feel the weight of past actions and secrets as they respond to their attraction for each other.”


New York Times
bestselling author Anne Bishop

“M. J. Scott weaves a fantastic tale of love, betrayal, hope, and sacrifice against a world broken by darkness and light, where the only chance for survival rests within the strength of a woman made of shadow and the faith of a man made of light.”

—National bestselling author Devon Monk

“Had me hooked from the very first page.”


New York Times
bestselling author Keri Arthur

“Exciting and rife with political intrigue and magic,
Shadow Kin
is hard to put down right from the start. Magic, faeries, vampires, werewolves, and Templar knights all come together to create an intriguing story with a unique take on all these fantasy tropes. . . . The lore and history of Scott’s world is well fleshed out and the action scenes are exhilarating and fast.”


Romantic Times

“A fabulous tale.”

—Genre Go Round Reviews

THE WOLF WITHIN

By M. J. Scott

 

 

THE WOLF WITHIN

 

Copyright © 2014 by M. J. Scott

 

All Rights Reserved

 

 

EBook Edition by IGLA
27 West 24
th
Street, Suite 700B
New York, NY 10010

 

 

All characters and events in this book are fictitious.  Any resemblance to real people, alive or dead, is entirely coincidental

 

Acknowledgements

 

 

For whoever wrote that book on wolf behavior that I read back when I was about eight . . . I think you started something!

And thanks to the usual suspects — the fabulous Agent M, the lovely Lulus and all the awesome people who make my world better each day.

Chapter One

 

 

When your past finally catches up to you, the smart thing to do is start running. Me? Apparently I’m not so smart. I just sat and stared at the man my PA was ushering into my office.
The man I’d never wanted to see again. “What the he—”

“Ash,” Jase interrupted, looking nervous, “this is Dan—”

“Daniel Gibson, I know.” The question was why in hell he was here. I glared at Jase. If he hadn’t already been dead, I would’ve strangled him. He did his best “I’m not here” impersonation. I turned my glare onto the man who most definitely
was
here.

“Ashley. How are you?” Dan asked, with a grin that could’ve melted the Titanic’s iceberg.

I curled my fingers around my silver pen, hoping like hell I’d fallen asleep and this was a nightmare. But Dan didn’t disappear in a puff of smoke or turn into a talking rabbit. He just stood there in a slightly rumpled dark blue suit, looking even better than I remembered.

I’d always liked him in blue.

He needed a shave and his dark hair was, just like it had been when I’d last seen him four years ago, too long.

He looked like Dan. Like memories I couldn’t afford to think about. Not a dream. More like a nightmare. And I was wide awake. Maybe I should just stab myself through the heart with the pen. It would be less painful than letting Dan back into my life. Not that I was going to do that. As soon as I kicked him out he could be just a memory again.

I stood. “I have nothing to say to you.” I had to fight to keep my voice steady. “Jason, please show Mr. Gibson out.”

Jase stood his ground. He’d adopted that blank unreadable expression vamps are so good at. He wasn’t giving me any clues what was going on. “He’s with the FBI. I think you should hear him out.”

“Yeah, Ash,” Dan drawled as he dropped into my visitor’s chair. “Hear me out.”

The look I shot at Jase had him backing out of the office in a hurry, closing the door with a decisive click. Leaving me alone with the one person in the world I didn’t want to be alone with. I got a waft of the familiar spicy smell of his aftershave and the tantalizing something that was pure Dan. I gripped the pen harder. “There’s nothing you can say to me that I’d be interested in.”

“Really?” he said. His eyes caught mine and I tried not to fall into the silvery gray depths.

“Really,” I said, looking down at my desk. Avoiding his gaze felt stupid but stupid was better than sorry. His eyes had always been my weakness. But I was in no mood to be charmed.

“How about the name McCallister Tate?”

My eyes snapped back to his as my stomach lurched. “What are you saying?”

A slow smile rolled over his face. “So maybe there is something I can say that would interest you?”

“Daniel, I will hurt you, I swear.” My heart kicked into overdrive. The mention of McCallister Tate’s name had sent enough adrenalin shooting into my system that I figured I could take Dan if I had to. Or at least get in one good punch. “What about Tate? They said he was dead.”

“No body was ever found. No staking. No burning.”

“I know that. What’s changed?” I lowered myself back into my chair, not breaking eye contact. The pen rolled through my fingers and clattered onto the desk, coming to a rest against the pile of spreadsheets I’d been working on.

“One of his accounts was accessed.”

“How do you know?”

“I have my sources.”

He was asking to be punched, truly. “What’s it got to do with me?”

“I’m on the taskforce. We need some help tracing the transaction.”

No way was that the whole truth. “The FBI doesn’t have forensic accountants?”

“Yes, we do. But I told them I wanted the best.”

The best? I narrowed my eyes at him. I knew gratuitous flattery when I heard it. I was good: good enough to break away from the big firm I’d started with, take eighty percent of my clients with me and keep growing from there. Ashley Keenan. Untangling the finances of vamps, weres and humans across Seattle. My own little niche. “You have the best.” I worked with the top IT guys, investigators and the police—but the FBI had access to things I’d never dreamed of.

“Maybe.” He shrugged, a particularly fluid Dan gesture so familiar it made my stomach hurt. “But it’s not personal for them.”

The ache in my stomach doubled.
Shit
. He had me. He’d had me from the moment he’d waltzed through my door. Like the past four years had never happened.

 Because it
was
personal. McCallister Tate ripped a hole in my life twelve years ago and I’d never been able to fill it. Not completely. If I could help catch him. . .

“This isn’t fair, Dan.” Catching Tate was one thing. Helping Dan to do it might just come with another price. One too high for me to pay.

He shrugged again. “Life’s a bitch, Ash. You know that. But this is a chance to make it less so.”

No, it was only a chance to swap old, old pain for newer pain. One way or another. “This doesn’t change anything.”

The smile—that old familiar steal-my-heart-away smile—bloomed again. “I take it, that’s a yes?”

“I charge eight hundred an hour.” And where Dan was concerned, that wasn’t nearly enough.

“Don’t worry, we can pay.” He folded his arms, straining the lines of his suit as his biceps flexed. “You look good, Ash.”

I bared my teeth at him. “If you’re going to flirt, it’ll be double. Like I said, this doesn’t
change
anything.”

He nodded, one eyebrow lifting slightly. “Yes, you did.”

It was hardly a promise to behave. My nerves were zinging like I’d just mainlined a triple espresso and every instinct I had told me this was a bad, bad idea. But he had me over a barrel. For anything else but Tate I could’ve kicked Dan out of my office and back out of my life. But a chance to take down Tate? That was the offer I couldn’t refuse.

But first, I needed some time. “Are we done?”

“Ash, honey, we’re only just getting started.” His voice rumbled slightly and I couldn’t stop the tiny flip of my pulse at the sound. I could, however, recognize the stupidity of the reaction.

I stood. I wasn’t going to sit here and let him weave that voice around me. “Oh no, I think we’re done. You can have your people call my assistant and set things up.”

Dan just grinned at me, not going anywhere. I could tell he was enjoying this. Bastard.

“I think you’re out of luck. I’m the official accounting liaison.”

“You wouldn’t know a balance sheet if it bit you on the ass.”

“Yeah, but I’m the one who deals with the humans mostly. You are still human, aren’t you Ash?”

I bared my teeth at him again as the implications sank in. He wasn’t just on
a
taskforce. He was on
the
Taskforce. The FBI’s Supernatural Crime Taskforce. The one staffed mainly by vamps and weres. Shit.

“Yes. You still a werewolf?” Stupid question. There’s no going back once you changed. One little bite and everything’s different. Whether you like it or not.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m okay with supernaturals, mostly. I’d worked hard to be okay with them after Tate. After all, unless I wanted to live like a hermit, it was hard to avoid them. And I wasn’t going to let Tate turn me into a recluse. So I did therapy and then did my best to fight the fear and treat them like everybody else. But my hard won live-and-let-live attitude didn’t mean I wanted to become one. I get my shots—my Dad was an immunologist and
big
on vaccination—but we all know they’re hardly perfect protection against either virus. Dan was proof of that.

“Furry and lovin’ it.” He laughed, a rumble that stroked across my skin. I told myself it was basic were energy that made him sound so good. Made me want to curl up in the sound until all the bad stuff went away. Which was a lie because he’d made me feel that way long before he’d become a werewolf.

It wasn’t funny to me. It felt like getting my heart broken all over again. And stomped on. I looked down at my desk again and swallowed until I knew my voice would be steady. Then I looked back up. “Well, then,” I said coolly. “Like I said. Nothing’s changed.”

One dark eyebrow arched up. “Is that so?”

“Yes.” I hoped he’d believe me.

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