Chloe: Young, passionate, and independent, Chloe’s just bought a coffee shop and has plans to make it everyone’s favorite place in town. While away from home learning how to make the best ever pastries for her new venture, she hooks up with a hot stranger for her first sensual experience. She doesn’t expect to ever see him again, certainly not in her new coffee shop.
Damon: He’s ex-military. Tough. Protecting others is his mission in life. He long ago gave up expecting to find a bond-mate. When he agrees to watch over his Navy SEAL buddy’s little sister, he doesn’t expect her to turn his world upside down. He’s too old for such a vibrant young woman, but their mate-bond is hard to ignore, even if he wanted to.
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2021 Anne Kane
Damon slunk toward his prey. Silently. Head down. Eyes locked on the target. There would be no mistakes. This sorry excuse for a human would not live to see one more sunrise. The child cowering in the makeshift cage in the hidden room in the basement of the vile pervert’s home, however, would have a chance to grow up and forget about the nightmare of this night. The police had already been tipped off.
The man’s head jerked up, and he looked around wildly. “Hello? Is someone out there?”
Now was the most difficult part. It was so tempting to play with the target, to watch his fear turn to terror as he realized he’d gone from predator to prey. To play with him, like a cat with a mouse. To make sure he suffered every bit as much as his victims had.
But justice needed to be swift, and impartial.
That was the hardest part of what he did.
He was close now, almost close enough. He moved forward, covering more ground before bunching his feet beneath him. The prey turned to face him.
He launched himself, surging up and forward at the same time. His teeth found their mark, ripping through the soft skin of neck and severing the carotid artery. Bright crimson blood sprayed from the wound as the man went down, gurgling in horror. He clawed weakly at the gaping laceration in his throat, his life force already deserting him.
Why? The man mouthed the word silently, brows drawn into a confused frown as his body hit the ground. Then his eyes glazed over, and his body went limp.
The wolf shook his head, sitting back on his haunches as he watched the life drain out of this miserable excuse for a human.
Justice had been served. No other child would suffer from this man’s depravity.
Once he was sure the man was dead, Damon turned and loped back toward the stream he’d passed on the way up here. He needed to wash the blood from his fur, to remove all traces of what had transpired here. There was no need to dispose of the body. This far up in the bush, nature’s scavengers would take care of that, and if the remains were ever found there would be no way to trace the killing back to one lone wolf with an overriding sense of justice.
The water was cold. He plunged into its chilly depths, ducking his head repeatedly under the fast-moving water. When it finally ran clear, all traces of blood gone, he swam to the far shore and pulled himself up onto the bank. Shaking the excess water from his fur, he turned toward the trail that led back to where he’d parked his vehicle.
* * *
Chloe held her running shoes in one hand as she slowly turned the door handle, trying to make as little noise as possible. It would not do to wake her roommate at this time of the night. Sometimes being a werewolf sucked, especially if you had to sneak out in the middle of the night to go for a run.
Slipping into the hallway, she carefully closed the dorm room door behind her and headed toward the stairwell. Of course, there was an elevator, but she didn’t want to wake up half this floor with its arthritic squeals and groans. She was fairly sure the thing had been installed sometime before her grandparents met each other.
The stairs made more sense anyway since she planned to exit via the window on the second-floor landing. Being a werewolf had its upsides, one of which was the ability to jump from a second story window without risk of injury. Avoiding anyone who might be lurking in the foyer was a bonus.
The stairwell was deserted, which wasn’t much of a surprise. Chloe sat down on the top step and put her shoes on. It was the middle of the night and even if it weren’t, most people preferred to use the elevator. She descended to the second-floor landing and unlatched the window. She pushed it open and swung herself up and through the opening in one graceful move.
At least, she pictured it as graceful. Her landing on the grass below, not quite so good. Her left foot slipped on a candy bar wrapper someone had carelessly tossed on the ground and she ended up sprawled out with her feet in the air. Definitely not graceful, but at least no one was watching. She’d checked to make sure of that. The surveillance camera on the wall was a fake, put there in a prominent position to scare off petty thieves and overly amorous frat boys.
Getting to her feet, she brushed off her pants and headed out to the edge of town to find a likely hiding place. Shifting would be easy tonight. She’d put it off just a little longer than usual, and she could feel the itch under her skin, the wolf fighting to get out.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Anne Kane lives in the beautiful Okanagan Valley with a bouncy little rescue dog whose breed defies description, a cantankerous Himalayan cat, and too many fish to count. She spent many years trying to fit in and act normal, but finally gave up the effort. She started writing romance in 2008, and her fate was sealed when she won a publishing contract with Red Sage Publishing and just a month later Changeling Press accepted her first submission. Since then she has published more than thirty stories in a variety of sub-genres, all with a happily ever after.
She has two handsome sons and six adorable grandchildren and enjoys spending time with them whenever she can. Her hobbies, when she’s not playing with the characters in her head, include kayaking, hiking, swimming, playing guitar, singing and of course, reading.