Hell’s last chance could mean their last breath.
, Book 4
When artist and tarot reader Sabrina Wolfe runs across an old carousel wolf in an antique shop, she can’t resist buying the compelling symbol of her totem animal, her protector. But she isn’t prepared when the wooden animal comes to fang-flashing life—and shifts into a darkly sexy man.
Arand is the last of seven immortal warriors sworn to protect the Lady of the Beasts. Freed by Sabrina’s touch, their instant physical attraction is hot, intense—yet neither is safe until twenty-four hours have passed and the curse is truly broken.
Hades plans to use every one of those hours to unleash his last effort to control the world—or see both the warrior and his woman dead. Though help comes from unexpected quarters, Arand and Sabrina alone risk paying the ultimate price for victory. Their lives…and their very souls.
Product WarningsThis book contains an immortal warrior who can pour on the heat, a woman who can take it, gods, demons, and downright nasty battles. Now really, does it get any better than this?
Copyright © 2013 N.J. Walters
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication
The wolf was carved from wood. It wasn’t real. But there was no denying the growl that grew louder with each passing second.
It was making her dizzy to watch him so she closed her eyes and tried to figure out what she should do. Call animal control? They’d think she was out of her mind. Call her friends? She had no idea how dangerous the creature was.
She opened her eyes and made herself look again. What she was thinking was insane. An inanimate object didn’t come to life. That was impossible.
Yet the wolf was still in the corner, moving faster and faster. Suddenly, the creature sank down on his back haunches. Muscles straining, he launched himself into the air straight at her.
She thought she might have screamed, but she couldn’t be sure. There was no time. She thrust her arms out in front of her, but there was no stopping the wolf’s momentum as he flew through the air.
At the last possible second, the wolf twisted in midair, arching his spine as he hit the sofa a few feet away from her.
The wolf scrambled to his feet, faced the now empty corner of the room and displayed his razor sharp fangs. She couldn’t blame him for being upset. She never wanted to go through anything like that ever again.
Her head was still whirling, making her stomach slightly unsettled, but the pounding in the back of her head was down to a dull roar. She didn’t think she had a concussion. At least she hoped she didn’t.
Now that the world had stopped spinning, she was faced with the reality of a massive wolf hunkered down a few feet away from her, watching her intently through eyes as black as midnight. He was much larger than any wolf species she’d ever heard of, and she’d studied them plenty during her teenage obsession with them. He resembled a gigantic timber wolf.
“Nice wolf.” She kept her voice pitched low, not wanting to startle him in any way. His paws were huge and the claws at the end of them were nothing to fool around with. He could kill her with one swipe.
The wolf moved slowly, as though he was trying not to spook her. Muscles flexed and rippled beneath his shiny coat of fur. Sabrina held her breath, hoping, praying he wouldn’t attack.
He climbed down off the sofa and began to explore his surroundings. Maybe he was hungry. Not that she had much to feed him. She didn’t think he’d particularly enjoy vanilla yogurt or peanut butter and crackers, which were her staples. The only meat she had on hand was some two-day-old sweet and sour chicken.
His toenails clicked on the hardwood planks as he wandered into the dining area. She sucked in a breath and slowly moved her hand toward her phone. She’d call Tilly. That woman knew everyone and could call in some men to help her contain the wolf until he could be released back into the wild.
Sensing her movement, the wolf spun around and growled. Her hand fell back to her side.
And common sense came to the fore. What exactly would she tell Mathilda? Oh, the wood carousel animal I bought from Jules came to life and is standing in my living room. Her friend wouldn’t contact animal control. She’d contact the psychiatric ward of the hospital and Sabrina wouldn’t blame her a bit.
She was beginning to wonder if she was losing her mind.
The wolf really was spectacular. Fierce and wild, he made her heart ache just looking at him.
His fur was a combination of black and gray, his eyes dark and fathomless. It was as though he could see into her very soul. She lost herself in those eyes for a few seconds before reluctantly shaking herself out from under his spell. And muscular, that was an understatement. The wolf had muscles on his muscles.
He padded toward her, his big paws making no sound. She held out her hand as fear skated through her. He hadn’t hurt her so far, but that didn’t mean he wouldn’t.
Surprisingly, the creature stopped a few feet away from her. He kept his gaze locked on her and his body began to shimmer in front of her. Sabrina sat up straighter. What was happening?
Digging her fingers into one of the throw pillows on the sofa, she watched in awe and fear as the wolf began to change before her. Fur was absorbed into his body to reveal smooth, tanned flesh. Claws retracted and paws became hands and feet. The wolf stood upright, his snout shortening, his jaw retracting.
Sabrina shook her head in disbelief, ignoring the slight twinge of pain at the back of her skull. A man stood before her, naked and perfectly formed—washboard abs, well-defined pecs, thighs like tree trunks. A thatch of dark hair covered his chest and arrowed downward to his groin.
Her breathing was fast and shallow and she made herself take slower breaths. Last thing she wanted to do was hyperventilate. But it wasn’t easy. Sweat popped out on her back and forehead and her heart raced along at a speed much too fast for comfort. She rubbed her chest and tried to calm herself.
She swallowed past the lump in her throat as her gaze slid over his erection. The guy was hard and thick everywhere.
He gave a low growl and she jerked her eyes up to his face, ignoring the heat creeping up her cheeks. She couldn’t believe she was ogling the guy instead of offering him the soft cotton throw lying across the back of her sofa.
His face stopped her breath. She knew that face, the hard line of his powerful jaw, his thin lips, his straight nose and broad forehead. Crap, this was the guy from her daydream.
Maybe she’d hit her head harder than she’d thought. After all, a wolf had just shifted into a man in front of her. Maybe she’d connected the man and the wolf in her subconscious because of her daydream.
Or maybe she was still deep in a meditative state and had only dreamed the wolf was real and that she’d been thrown from his back. Maybe this was nothing more than a vision, one she was supposed to learn something from. That made perfect sense and allowed her to feel as though she wasn’t totally losing it.
“Okay, I can deal with this.” She really didn’t have much choice. Last night’s debacle with whatever evil was trying to invade her life had shown her that much. Hiding her head in the sand wouldn’t help. First thing she had to do was figure out what was real and what was nothing more than imagination or a vision.
“Who are you?”
He rubbed a hand over his chest and she bit her bottom lip to keep from groaning aloud. Really, it wasn’t fair of him to bring attention to all that prime male real estate he was showing off.