Entrapped by her lover, Detective Maria Selena finds herself at the mercy of his whims. She gets little information from him and even less sane talk as he tries to convince her there isn’t a logical explanation for the changes she’s experienced over the last few days. She’s not giving up on the real world just yet, but reality soon takes a furry turn for her.
I couldn’t believe I was hearing this bullshit from anybody, and he honestly looked like he wanted me to believe it. Shadow’s face certainly showed me he believed it.
“Seriously? That’s the best piece-of-crap reason you can give me? That all this trouble I’ve been having with this heat in my body, it’s all because I’m a werewolf?” I questioned him.
“It’s unbelievable, I know, but it’s true. You’re now a werewolf,” he insisted.
“Stop the car.”
“I won’t. Not until you believe me.”
“I said stop the car!” I reached over and grabbed the wheel. I tried to turn it, but he held it straight and steady. The thing didn’t budge an inch towards me. “Stop the god damn car!”
Shadow slammed on the brakes, yanked the wheel to the right, and the car screeched to a stop by the side of the road. The neighborhood we were in wasn’t much to look at.
Brick apartment buildings with rusted fire escapes and alleys that invited drug dealers into their shadows.
Shadow shut off the jeep and turned his head to me. His voice was tense with a touch of anger. “Why do you find it so unbelievable? What in these last few days makes you doubt what I say?”
“Because what you’re saying is nuts,” I argued. “Werewolves? Really? Maybe in a bad horror movie, but this is reality. They don’t exist, so I can’t be one.”
“But they do, and you are. I bit you, and that makes you a werewolf,” he insisted.
“No, that makes me in the hospital for a few days with the worst hickey in the world,” I quipped. “There’s nothing werewolfy about a guy biting a girl on the neck. Just sick.”
“What about how fast it healed?” he argued. I opened my mouth, but nothing came out. I didn’t have an explanation for that. “What about your transformation? Look at yourself.”
I glanced down at my torn jeans and swollen breasts. “Just. . .just drugs. The ones you’ve been giving me,” I countered.
He shook his head. “I haven’t given you anything but a curse, though I couldn’t do any worse with that. You’re a werewolf, and the sooner you admit that the sooner we can begin to transition you into a new life.”
I cut the air in front of my with my hands. “No. No new life, no werewolves, just facts,” I insisted.
“I am giving you facts, but you’re taking them as legend. What more do I need to show you to convince you that you are no longer humans?” he questioned me.
I snatched the door handle and pulled. “A miracle, which is something that you and God are gonna have to find without me,” I retorted.
Shadow reached over and grabbed my hand. My eyes widened as I watched his fingers lengthen into claws. Fur sprouted from his skin just above the wrist and covered his hand in soft tufts. I felt the muscles ripple and shift, and his grip tightened like a steel vice over my hand.
He yanked my hand off the handle and forced me to turn towards him. His eyes were a stop-light yellow that glowed in the dim light of the setting sun, and his teeth slipped over his lips like a bad denture job. Fur sprouted from his sideburns and his hair grew out until it hit his shoulders where it stopped. His voice was deep, gravelly, and definitely not human.
“Now do you believe me?” he asked me.
I wasn’t easy to shake up, but this had me quaking like a suspect about to hear the verdict in his murder trial. I leaned away and tried to yank my hand out of his paw. He pulled me closer and the seat belt cut into my chest. His face was only inches from mine, and his breath blew over me.
“Well?” he growled.
I grimaced and turned my head. “I’ll believe you’re anything with that breath,” I quipped.
Shadow blinked at me for a moment, and then a grin slipped onto his lips. He chuckled and released me. I fell back into my chair and slipped down so my back was against the part of the door below the window. He leaned back and held his hand up in front of him.
“You amaze me,” he commented. My eyes widened when I noticed the fur disappeared from his face and his fingers changed back to their normal look. “Some people lose their minds under this much physical and mental strain, but you crack jokes.”
I sat up, but kept my back against the door. “I guess it keeps me sane,” I commented.
He dropped his hand and turned to me. “After seeing what I can do, do you still think I’m insane?” he wondered.
I pursed my lips and shook my head. “No, but you’ve got one hell of a hair problem.”
Shadow chuckled and started the car. “I suppose that’s one optimistic way of looking at it, but unfortunately it’s the least of my-our worries right now.”
“And what’s our biggest worry?” I asked him.
“Getting you safe. The men who kidnapped you learned a great deal about you and might have passed that on to their employer,” he pointed out.
I leaned back in my seat and crossed my arms over my chest. It was a pain getting my arms over my huge breasts. “That isn’t going to be easy if their employer owns half the city.”
“But you forget that I own the other half, and my townhouse is located there,” he told me.
I frowned. “Why are you going to all this trouble for me, anyway? Aren’t I just a chewy snack that your teeth didn’t finish off?”
His smile fell off his face and he shook his head. “No, you’re my responsibility. I never wanted to get you involved, but I couldn’t just stand there and watch you bleed to death in that alley.”
I raised an eyebrow. “How involved am I?”
“To use your own police terms, you’re part of the investigation,” he replied.
I snorted. “That I guessed, and that reminds me. What was going on in that alley that night between you and those guys? I heard you mention that moonstone that doc owns and the other guy not wanting to fork it over.”
Shadow pursed his lips. “That is the source of all these problems. The moonstone is-”
I held up a hand. “Some magical item that turns people into werewolves. I know. A friend told me.”
He raised an eyebrow. “Who’s this friend of yours?”
“I don’t reveal my sources, but my friend said a lot of people were looking for that moonstone,” I told him.
“And did your friend mention who those people were?” he asked me.
“The two guys you dropped in the river, and some other higher-ups he wouldn’t give names to. Speaking of that river, you really need to do a better job hiding your furry tracks. I spotted them a mile away,” I commented.
His eyebrows crashed down over his eyes. “Where did you find these tracks?”
I straightened. “Where the bodies were found,” I told him. I noticed his eyes narrowed. “That isn’t where you dumped the bodies, is it?” I guessed.
“No. I dumped them a mile further upstream, and I didn’t visit where the police pulled them out,” he revealed.
“So what I saw was what? The competition?” I guessed.
“I would guess that’s who it was,” he agreed.
“I thought you said these guys were good at being shadows,” I reminded him.
“They are. That’s why I would further guess that’s how they found you. They left those tracks for a werewolf to follow, and they followed you in return,” he surmised.
I growled and slammed my fist against the dashboard. “Damn it! It was a trap and I. . .I-” I pulled back my hand and saw I’d left a dent the shape of my hand. “Holy shit. . .” I muttered.
“It’s generally considered a curse, but ‘holy shit’ can describe being a werewolf,” he told me.
I raised my hand in front of my face and flexed my fingers. They looked normal. “I don’t feel any different,” I pointed out.
“No, but you shouldn’t. Your new body is fitted to you. It’s an evolutionary asset not to stumble over your new muscles and-” his eyes flickered to my breasts, “-assets.”
I wrapped my arms over my chest and narrowed my eyes. “Watch it, boy. I’ve punched a guy for less.”
“I don’t doubt it,” he replied. His eyes looked away from me and back to the road. The streets had less trash and more traffic. We passed new apartment buildings and luxury condos. “You now have superhuman strength, senses, and speed, and the aging process has slowed.”
I brushed my hand over the dent. “No aging? That wasn’t in any of the fairy tales,” I quipped.
He chuckled. “No, it’s mostly attributed to vampires, but werewolves are also long-lived.”
“How old are we talking about?” I asked him.
“Quite old.” He turned off onto a side street and the buildings changed.
We were on streets that showed off shiny old townhouses. They were the narrow kind with four stories and a rental bill that would’ve drained my salary dry. Even the lit streetlights looked down on me as we passed by them. There was also a lot of hills. You couldn’t see down any of the blocks because hills blocked the view.
“We’re almost to my house. I hope you don’t mind a change of atmosphere,” he told me.
“You mean from depressing to snobby? I can live with that, but on my terms,” I warned him. I looked out the window and watched the tall houses fly by. The last rays of the sun were disappearing behind the horizon of tall buildings. “So werewolves live in these things like normal people?”
“Yes, but what’s this about your terms?” he asked me.
I turned to face him. “I play by my rules, and that means if I want to leave, I leave.”
He pursed his lips. “That wouldn’t be a good idea.”
“Maybe not, but it’s one I’m going to follow,” I returned.
“We’ll see what to do when we arrive,” he countered.