Ember's Curse (Prime Wolf), p.1Gena D. Lutz
Gena D. Lutz
Cover Artist: Tugboat Design
Formatted by: Tugboat Design
Copyright 2012 Gena D. Lutz
All Rights Reserved
This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This eBook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this eBook with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. All characters appearing in these stories are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. Names and incidents are products of the author’s imagination and any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations or persons is entirely coincidence.
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About the Author
I dedicate this book to the love of my life, Joseph. Thank you for teaching me that love is real and can do magical things…
I would like to thank Rachel Sockwell and Heather Rice for their advice, patience, and encouragement in this endeavor. They stuck by me even when I was high maintenance and annoying. I hope they’re strapped in and ready for the next book.
Big thanks to my CBG. I heart you girls very much.
I can’t forget to thank every one of my friends and family who have been so supportive…you know who you are.
Deborah Sletten, of Tugboat Design, has been very understanding and patient with me during this entire process that included the design of the cover and formatting of the manuscript. I highly recommend her company.
Tanya Keetch (The Word Maid) edited and proofread the book and provided helpful feedback on the story. She has a great eye for finding all kinds of mistakes. I highly recommend her services as well.
I was standing behind the bar of one of the city’s busiest nightclubs. Our building sat high on top of a beautiful rolling hill with a complimenting view that over looked the Pacific Ocean. I glanced through the glass doors, which opened automatically, to a spacious ocean side terrace. There were no guests occupying the dozen or so tables that were placed along the wood railing. Nobody wanted to risk the rain that was beating softly against the window and systematically filling the room with my favorite scent of ozone and spring floral. I loved the constant Oregon rains; they soothed me. Every table inside was packed full of people. It was open mic night and next up, for our viewing pleasure, was Astoria's own, Robby Stanton. He was a self-proclaimed comedian extraordinaire and he also happened to be a five hundred year old vampire.
"How's everyone doing tonight?" was his standard opening line. He chuckled after its delivery making his overly large stomach shake. Too bad he didn't have the foresight to drop thirty pounds and invest in a weight set before being stuck in the same body for all of eternity. But who knows what body type was in fashion half a millennia ago. He pulled his pants up by the belt and wiped the sweat from his shiny, bald head. "Before we start, let's give the staff here at Haven a big round of applause!"
Everyone clapped and smiled for us. I looked up at them and smiled back.
"You're bleeding, Ember," Nathan whispered over the dying applause.
"What?" I asked scanning my body. Sure enough, I had sliced my finger wide open.
Robby's head whipped around, and with the eyes of a predator, looked at me and then at my cut with hunger. That’s what I get for not paying attention to my work, I thought. I wiped the contaminated limes into the trash and went to the sink to wash up. By the time the blood was rinsed away, my wound had healed. It was times like these that made it great to have an immortal’s healing ability. I glanced around me, making sure my little accident wasn't noticed. We only had a couple humans here tonight, but still, I was thankful that Robby's act was funny enough to keep everyone's attention focused mainly on him.
I pulled my long black hair out of my face and twisted it up into a tight bun. Nathan walked towards me carrying a couple buckets of ice from the back room. The women at the bar, young and old, watched his every movement. He had a rather large fan club.
We made quite a contrast behind the bar together with me being an average 5'5 tall to his 6'2. He had short, dark hair with wispy curls that liked to flirt with the collar of his shirt. But what the ladies seemed to always swoon over were his oval shaped, chestnut eyes.
Yup, I was a witness to many a woman falling victim to his mesmerizing gaze. I seemed to be immune to his charms...actually, I was immune to everyone's charms. There was a reason for that though. Until I found my heartmate, I would never feel love, lust or simple attraction to anyone. Now, don't get me wrong I'm not virginal or anything. There isn't a magical chastity belt wrapped around me assuring that I be kept as pure as the driven snow. I have definitely had my share of lovers over the decades. I'm just lucky enough not to have that pesky urge of wanting a commitment. I was able to "love ‘em and leave ‘em", and that was just fine by me.
I could feel the atmosphere in the room change. A strong sense of tension became palpable in the air around me. The hair on my arms stood on end and my wolf began to stretch out and become more aware of her surroundings, a sure sign that trouble wasn't far away. Nathan must have felt it too because he dropped the bucket he was carrying and cast a glance around the club.
"The lady over by the pool tables is not looking so good. Maybe it's time to call her a cab," Nathan remarked.
I glanced across the bar at the drunken woman in the billiards room. She had two guys pawing and slobbering all over her. One had his hand shoved down her tight red halter-top with his tongue plunging in and out of her mouth. The other larger dude stood behind her guiding the threesome into the back room. It was a very dark and private area that rarely saw any foot traffic, and was the perfect spot for a couple of scumbag werewolves to take advantage of the unsuspecting human.
"Do you want to take this one or should I?" Nathan asked me as he finished cutting the limes that I had abandoned.
"I’ll handle it." I did a quick scan of the bar and everyone seemed to be content. “Cover for me. This shouldn't take very long," I said with a wink.
I hopped over the bar just in time to watch the door to the back room swing shut. I hurried between the tables that were filled with laughing vampires and werewolves. Not even one of them paid any attention to me. I thought it a little odd considering most of their drinks were empty and vampires usually kept their glasses full of blood. We stored a generous amount stock piled in the back just for them. We mixed it with tomato juice, and sometimes the bottles of liquor themselves, to hide it from our human customers.
Before I could take more than a few steps towards the poolroom, I was stopped in my tracks by a voice that seemed to carry over the wind. "Ember." I turned my head and saw Robby staring straight at me. His mouth moved with purpose, delivering jokes to please the
I pushed back at him with my own power; a power that took him by surprise, making his words stumble out. He laughed the mistake off like the seasoned professional he was and doubled his efforts to roll my mind.
What he didn't know, what few people actually knew, was that I wasn't only a wolf. Thanks to a curse that plagued my family for the last two centuries, I was part vampire as well. Rob the Vampire’s lip twitched slightly in annoyance and he shot one final push through me. This time it took hold, rolling my mind over like a stray ball dancing its way down a steep hill. The room disappeared and I found myself lounging on a deserted beach. My actual body would be left standing where I'd left it, stuck on autopilot. It would follow through with any lingering commands left unfinished in my brain and then subsequently follow, by stored memory, all normal functions after that.
The jeans and T-shirt I had been wearing were gone; instead I wore an itty bitty red bikini. My breast spilled out over the elastic material that barely covered my nipples, and for fuck’s sake, a thin string ran straight up my ass.
My hair was no longer pulled up in a bun. It now flowed freely down my back, tickling my waist. Sitting up, I wrapped my fingers around a rather large diamond necklace that adorned my neck, and with a firm tug, I broke the strand and tossed it to the ground. I couldn't stand anything around my neck. This she-wolf wasn't meant to be leashed, even by something as non-threatening as a necklace.
Waves beat up against a shore composed of uncountable pieces of crystal sand. The unnatural grains sparkled in the sunlight making me squint.
"Do you like the world I built for you?"
I turned at the sound of Robby's voice behind me, but all I could see were miles of glistening trees. They were all made out of precious gems, stretched out in both directions. A sharp pain pierced my head and I had to force myself from falling to my knees. I rested my hand against a clear amber trunk. The tree was cool and smooth to the touch. I tried to use my own power to draw my consciousness back to my true reality but the magic was inaccessible. It seemed like it was packed in a little box and put away on a dusty shelf, stored in the recesses of my mind.
"What kind of creature are you, my Venus?"
I pushed myself off the tree and it shook. Emerald leaves drifted to the ground making a tinkling sound as they landed, one after the other, all around me.
"You brought me here to ask me that? I'm a werewolf, asshole," I snarled. "Put me back into my body now."
Laughter rocked the imaginary world Robby created and brought with it more shooting pain that plunged inside my head. I covered my ears and squeezed my eyes shut while I concentrated on finding my power. I saw a glimmer of it at the end of a long tunnel and sent my wolf chasing after it.
"In due time and only after you tell me the truth about who and what you are."
"What I am is no secret. I am one of the cursed." I managed to explain over the pressure building inside of me. My wolf came back to me and she was glowing bright with power. I had never been in this kind of situation before so I was clueless about what steps I should take next.
A phantom hand brushed against my stomach and traveled up and over my breast. I batted at it but nothing happened. I just looked like an idiot hitting myself.
"I have met other wolves like you before, even dined on one or two, but you smell different from them. Your blood holds more life. It draws me to you, makes me want to sink my fangs and my dick deep inside of you."
The situation had just gone from irritating to downright fucked up. The last thing I needed was a crazy vampire lusting after my blood. I opened my mouth to say something, to tell him how bat shit crazy I thought he was, but realized it was futile. He enjoyed keeping me trapped in his little world and wasn't about to free me from it anytime soon. It was up to me to get my ass out of this mess.
Here goes nothing, I thought. If my wolf was pulsing with power then it stood to reason that by shifting into her I would be able to tap into it. She filled my skin immediately, taking over the use of my body. Light spilled forth and I relaxed, falling naturally into it, as my body shifted from human form to beast.
When my eyes opened, I was no longer trapped in Robby's gem encrusted world. I had awoken on top of a whimpering brown werewolf. The taste of copper filled my senses and blood spilled from the corners of my jaw. The wolf cried out again and this time I released his neck and stepped away. I had come back to my body just in time to witness the after math of a gruesome battle between myself and the wolves from earlier. I was relieved to see that I had apparently won. The wounded wolves scrambled to their feet and without a second look in my direction took off down the alley.
I shifted back to my human form. It felt magnificent to be in my real body again, less hollow. I ran my hands over my shirt, taking the extra time to smooth it out. The feel of my beloved jeans hugging my hips was euphoric and I came precariously close to succumbing to my world famous happy dance...almost.
"Good evening, Ember," came a familiar voice that echoed down the dimly lit alleyway. There were only two light posts used to illuminate the back area of our building, and like always, one of them was busted out. The one lonely beacon that remained barely gave off enough light to see ten feet in front of me, so I had to squint to make out the small feminine form strutting slowly my way.
"What are you doing back here, Sylvia?" I asked the second half of my pack’s Alpha pair. She was the last person I ever wanted to run into, especially in a dark alley where I had just chased away two wolves from another pack. I was still on probation from last year’s little stunt and she would be all too pleased to rat me out to Tommy.
My hand brushed up against my thigh as I started walking to meet her part of the way, but I stopped when I felt something wet coat my fingers, I was bleeding. One of the wolves must have used a silver weapon on me before we shifted to fight. That's the only thing that would keep it from healing. It figured they’d stoop that low; the Redwoods were nothing but weak bullies.
I shifted positions so I stood more sideways, hiding my wounded leg. I just hoped that would be enough to cover any evidence of the fight because there was no way I could mask the scent of the blood soaking through my pants. Luckily, judging by the bored look on her face, I felt pretty confident that my secret would be safe.
"Is that anyway to greet your leader, Ember?" Sylvia asked. She came to a stop a few feet in front of me, cocking her hip and curving her body into a lazy pose. She raised her perfectly manicured hand up in front of her face, taking her sweet time, inspecting each one of her red tipped nails. After several seconds of silence, she lifted a thinly curved eye brow and stared me directly in the eyes. I couldn't help the growl that escaped from between my lips. My wolf was itching to get out, she was eager to accept the blatant challenge issued from the other she-wolf. I somehow reined in the urge to rip her to shreds, and with due respect to her position in the pack, I broke eye contact first, averting my gaze. I could hear the purr of satisfaction in her voice from winning the small victory when she finally began to speak.
"It doesn't matter why I'm here," Sylvia said with a sneer. "You answer to me...and since we are currently in the business of asking questions, do you mind explaining to me why I saw two Redwood wolves running away from you like their tails were on fire?"
Ah, shit, I thought to myself, she saw everything. The only question now was how she was going to use this information to her best advantage.
"I was just clearing the bar of riffraff...it's what I do," I explained, briefly catching e
She flinched a little at the reminder of my dominance and had to force her eyes from dropping to the ground in submission. But when she returned her attention back on me, she did so with a cocky grin.
"I will let Tommy deal with you and your defiant behavior later," she said with a dismissive wave. "Right now I have other matters to discuss with you."
"I'm listening. What's up?" I asked.
"It's about something I've been working on for a very long time, Ember," she said grinning ear to ear. "Tommy and I have found you a husband.
My mouth dropped open and my head buzzed with confusion. Did she just say what I think she said? A husband? I watched her facial expressions carefully, looking for any signs of jest.
"You can't be serious, Sylvia," I said while trying to stay composed. "You already know that the prime females wait for their true mates. It’s an unwritten law." I couldn't believe I was actually having this conversation.
"Oh yes, I'm aware of your family’s curse. But really Ember, what your ancestors did to piss off some vengeful little witch centuries ago is no concern of mine." Sylvia began to pace back and forth. She stopped every now and then to check if she still held my attention. She didn't have anything to worry about. I had her completely in my sights, and I was having a hell of a time keeping my claws in.
Ember's Curse (Prime Wolf) by Gena D. Lutz / History & Fiction have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes