The Howl and the Pussycat
by Ann Cory
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Paranormal erotic romance
Her day couldn’t get any worse—until the wolf shows up.
Jacquelyn’s sexy little Red Riding Hood outfit was supposed to rekindle her boyfriend’s flagging interest. Instead she’s red in the face and dumped for another woman. To add to the indignity, she finds herself pursued into the woods by a wolf.
Somehow she manages to escape, only to end up with two new pains—a twisted ankle, and a sexy rescuer who claims he’s been searching for her all his life.
After several decades of searching, Baldric is surprised that his destined mate is a provocative human woman with a catty attitude. Hardly a perfect match for a werewolf, but there can be no other partner for him. To seduce the woman he’s hungered for all his life, he’ll have to convince her hardened heart that he’s capable of love. And do it without scaring her off with the truth—that underneath his hard body beats the loyal heart of a wolf.
Where to find Ann
An excerpt from
The Howl and the Pussycat
Copyright © 2008 Ann Cory
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication
“Don’t be mad. Nothing may come of this and then we can just pick up where we left off. Absence is supposed to make the heart grow fonder and such.”
Her stomach churned. “Oh shut up. The absence is going to make me even more ready to be with someone else. You had your shot. Sorry I wasted three years on your ass.”
She clicked the phone off and slammed it shut, uninterested in anything else he had to say. Glancing into the rearview mirror, she took a good look at her reflection. Pathetic. All dressed up and nowhere to go. If she went to the party alone, it would be obvious what had happened. She’d spend the entire night catching glimpses of Sophie in Ted’s arms whispering naughty little words into his ear. The office would be buzzing with gossip in the morning. A great day to call in sick. Maybe even for the entire week. She wanted to hit something, strangle someone and scream obscenities all at once. Men.
Even more upsetting than Ted were the tears starting up. She hated to cry or admit defeat. Weakness sucked and so did getting dumped. Had he seen her dressed up like sin in heels, he never would have chosen Sophie. The whole idea of her costume was to get him to realize what a great thing he had with her. Brilliant plan gone wrong.
Jacquelyn wiped at her eyes, careful to not smear any mascara, and blindly tossed her cell phone to the backseat.
Was that a growl? She was about to turn and look behind her when a car pulled into the next space over, distracting her. A man in a dark blue jacket got out and ran toward the costume shop. For a split second she considered returning Ted’s wolf outfit, but the humiliation of explaining the situation to Cassidy quickly helped make her decision. Instead, she backed out of the parking space and pulled out onto the street. It would be a long, miserable drive back. She couldn’t believe how cold Ted had been. All the times she’d put up with his selfish ways and this was her thanks.
Not even ten minutes on the road, a light drizzle started that instantly turned into a heavy downpour, making it near impossible to see.
“Oh you’ve got to be kidding me,” she muttered aloud.
Before Jacquelyn had a chance to start up a solo tirade complete with f-bombs, she heard the same low growl she thought she’d heard before come from the backseat. She straightened and tried to catch a peek in the rearview mirror, a difficult task with the rain pounding the windshield. The blood rushed out of her face the moment she caught movement in the mirror. Or so she thought.
“What the hell?”
Jacquelyn went to take a second look when the car hydroplaned. Knuckles tense, she gripped the wheel and rode it out, doing her best to keep the car steady. Judging by the unfamiliar signs she passed, she realized her exit had come and gone. Shivers crept up her back as she heard something rustle around behind her. Not willing to risk getting in an accident, she veered off at the next exit and turned onto a gravel road. She followed it just long enough until she came to a patch of trees. God she hoped it wasn’t some rabid raccoon or stray dog. Before she panicked, she decided to take a look.
“It’s just your imagination. You’re fine. There’s nothing back there,” she reasoned aloud. With the car in park, she counted to five and turned around, coming face to face with a large gray wolf.
Jacquelyn screamed and bolted from the car. The rain pelted her skin and soaked her cape, making it twice as heavy. She looked back once and noticed the animal bound from the car and come after her. It let out a howl that reduced her to half-screams, half-whimpers. Why the hell did she pick to run toward the trees? She should have run toward the road and flagged down a driver, though dressed in her outfit she worried who would stop for her.
With only the newly risen moon to see by, she found herself running through a forest that stretched for miles. Old crippled trees surrounded her, looking like they would reach down and swoop her up into their gnarled clutches, a thought she quickly shook from her mind.
“I’m going to die, I’m going to die, I’m going to die,” she chanted to herself, trying to ignore her screaming calves and ankles. Not only was it murder to run in high heels, but her stockings scratched against her inner thighs. Talk about chaffing.
She looked back again and saw the wolf still hot on her trail. God, why was it chasing her? Dumped, desperate and now some wild thing’s prey. Her heart nearly beat right out of her chest, thundering loudly as she ran. How had it gotten inside her car in the first place? Did it crawl in when she first went into the costume shop? Someone’s cruel joke at her expense? Damn Ted. It was all his fault…somehow…in a way that didn’t make any sense, but made her feel better to think.
As she made it to a clearing in the woods, the rain let up, becoming a light mist. Just in time too, as up ahead she spotted a small cabin. Maybe her luck had changed? She tried to forget about all the scary movies she’d watched where a young woman runs into what looks like a deserted house, only to become dinner and a show for a band of nasty little men. Though, the other alternative, her limbs being torn apart by fangs and devoured, left much to be desired. One way or another she was screwed. And here she’d planned the night to be screwed for pleasure, not pain.
Jacquelyn fought the pain in her calves and ran toward the cabin like a madwoman, jarring her ankle hard in the process. Nothing, not even the grueling pain, would make her stop until she made it safely inside.
At the door, she stopped a moment to catch her breath and tried to peek in through the window. No lights were on. Should she knock? Waking an angry old man might not be a good idea. Out of good manners or stupidity, she didn’t know which, she knocked. A branch snapped behind her followed by another eerie howl. The sound vibrated and made her queasy. She didn’t dare look back.
As her hand closed around the doorknob, something grabbed her from behind. She heard herself scream, high pitched and blood curdling. Her knees buckled. Instead of falling to the ground, she felt herself being picked up and propelled over something curiously solid. Whoever or whatever it was couldn’t be good. Finally, the delicious black shrouded her vision, and she let it take her.