By: Angela Stevens
Genre: Urban Fiction, Paranormal, Native American
Tore Vargr finds his world turned upside down when he is forced to choose between the love of his life and the life he loves. Tore chooses Annike, disrespects his brother, Erik, and sets off a chain of events that shape his life in a way he could never have imagined.
Outlawed from his clan, Tore embraces his new responsibilities of father and protector as he carves out a new life in a human world. But a jealous brother has a long memory and Erik is nothing if not patient, when it comes to exacting revenge. When Tore’s past catches up with his present, he has to learn to pull from an inner strength.
There is a battle of two wolves inside us all.
One is evil: it is anger, envy, greed, arrogance, jealousy, resentment, lies.
The other is good: it is joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy, truth.
The wolf that wins?
The one you feed.
— Cherokee proverb
The fire roared in the center of the clearing, taking the chill out of the December air. Fur boots kept out the snow, while woolen blankets draped across knees ensured shivers were kept at bay. Tore joked with his friends as they shared sodas and wild tales. They fell silent, their eyes flicking to someone behind him. Tore turned. A tall elegant girl smiled at him. His friends forgotten, he found himself staring.
She asked if she could sit. Embarrassed and tongue tied, he shifted along the log to make room for her. Eavesdropping, he heard her friend call her Annike and he locked the information into his heart.
Almost immediately, Tore found himself captivated by her mouth. When her lips pursed in thought, he wondered what it would be like to kiss them. When she smiled, they curled up at the corners, creating pretty dimples in both her cheeks. As Annike ran her pink tongue across her bottom lip, he fantasized about their taste. When she caught her top one with her teeth, his breath caught in his throat.
They found themselves cocooned on the log, their friends having migrated to the barbecue pit. The soft glow of the fire lit up her face. Tore popped the cap on a soda, “You thirsty?”
She reached for the bottle, her fingers touching his. Moments later he blushed, realizing he still held it and was staring at her. Muttering an apology, he looked away. She laughed, placed the glass between her lips before offering it back. Tore put his own to the bottle, his heart skipping at the thought of her mouth having touched the same place.
“You’re Tore aren’t you?” It surprised him that she knew his name. “Annike.” She stretched out her hand. A tingle of excitement raced through him as skin slid across skin. “This is the first time I’ve been to one of these.” She waved her free hand at the partygoers. “I’m only halfway through my transition,” she explained.
Tore continued to hold her hand. “Thought I hadn’t seen you here before, I’ve just about finished mine. I turn eighteen this month.” He cursed himself. Was that all he could think of to say? Any minute now, she’d walk away and find someone more interesting to talk to. Think, Tore. Say something cool. “You…um…want to go for a walk?” Oh great, now why would you ask her that?
“Sure, I’d love to.” She stood folding the blanket that had been across her lap.
Oh, she does! Tore jumped to his feet slopping the soda, splashing her pant legs with fizzy orangeade. “Oh, I’m sorry…” He knelt down and used the sleeve of his sweater to wipe her legs. She was giggling. He blushed as he noticed the wet orange stains on the cream wool.
Damn, he sure was making a great impression.
“You ready?” She nodded towards the trees.
She led the way through the crowds of other youths. Tore put his hand to the small of her back, not wanting to lose contact for a second.
As they walked through the woods, she slid her hand into his. “I saw you hunt yesterday.”
Her hand felt warm and soft in his and he squeezed it tighter.
“I was by the out crop. Watched your wolf come across the fields. You’re fast.”
“It was my first solo hunt. That doe almost got away from me.” Why did he say that? He should have shrugged it off, said he’d caught loads. Now she’d think he was a loser.
“It did? That must have felt good bringing her down, then. Haven’t tried it yet. I don’t have a clue how to read my instincts.”
“I could take you out. We could try something small together. I’ll talk you through it. Erik did that with me a few times before I went solo.”
“Would you? I’d like that.” She was breathless when she spoke. He wondered if she meant it, but her eyes were sincere. A burst of electricity shot through him, she meant it.
They stopped by the river and lent against a boulder to keep out of the wind. Her golden hair shone in the moonlight. Tore was again tongue-tied but she rescued him with a question about his studies. They chatted as they skimmed pebbles across the water’s surface.
“You’re not how I imagined,” she looked sideways, giving him another of her dimpled smiles.
“How long have you been thinking about me then?”
Now she blushed. She skipped another stone, “The others talk, tell stories.”
“They do? What do they say?”
“That you’re cocky. Have lots of human girlfriends. Stuff like that.”
For some reason, he hated that she’d heard that. “It’s just an act…I’m not like that… just talk, with the guys.”
“I’m glad it’s not true.” That whispered breathiness had crept back into her voice. Stone-skimming forgotten, he found himself gazing into her eyes. As she returned his stare, their hands reached out and connected. As their fingers laced, a fluttering in his stomach caused his heart to play copy-cat. He leaned forwards, stopping inches from her mouth.
Annike pulled her hand away and brushed the snow from her clothes. She started to walk down the path and Tore hurried after her.
Did he do something wrong?
“We should get back. Nea will wonder where I went. I didn’t tell her I was going.”
“My friend from earlier. We look out for one another, she’ll worry.”
Tore walked her back to the campfire, wishing time would slow down, so he could have her to himself for longer. All too soon, they were back in the crowds. She surprised him by sitting down beside him instead of finding her friend. Tore pushed his luck further as he sat closer and pulled a blanket over their laps.
Hours later, the crowds thinned. Annike watched them disperse. “I’d better head back too, I suppose.”
They stood, the silence awkward for a moment. Tore wondered if he should ask to see her again. Before he plucked up courage, she stood on tiptoe and pulled him by his sweater to her. Did he dare chance a kiss? Her honey scent filled his senses as she whispered in his ear.
“Tore, Son of Isak, one day you’re going to be my mate.”
Annike didn’t wait for an answer. She turned and left.
A stupid grin appeared on Tore’s face. He watched her curvaceous hips sway back and forth, hypnotizing him as she walked away. With those words, she laid her claim. And with that smile, he accepted his fate.”
About the Author:
Angela Stevens is the author of contemporary adult romance novel Lemon Drops and Love and the newly released book 1 of her Urban Fantasy Trilogy, The Wolf You Feed. Her first children’s fantasy book, Mariquita will be out in the spring.
Angela is British born and moved to Virginia, USA nine years ago. Always a keen traveler, she has enjoyed spending time living outside of her native country. She is an ex-teacher and the mother of two children. When empty nest syndrome threatened, Angela turned to writing novels to fill her growing free time. Her hobby has now grown into a fully-fledged obsession and she works on her books full time.
Loving both contemporary romance and urban fantasy genres, Angela flip-flops between the two. If you ask which is her favorite, she is always undecided. For now her genres remain separate, but maybe in the not too distant future they may combine. She is currently trying to find the time to draw up plans for a steamy fantasy romance series, so watch this space.
When Angela is not writing you can find her indulging in her other passion, ice hockey. She discovered her love of this sport when she first moved to America. Now a rabid Washington Capitals fan, Angela can often be found ‘Rocking The Red’ at the Verizon center supporting her beloved team.
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