Marked by the wolf box s.., p.1
Marked by the Wolf Box Set, p.1Mac Flynn
Marked By the Wolf Box Set (Werewolf Romance) (c) 2014 Mac Flynn
Genre: Contemporary Romance / Paranormal Romance / Romantic Comedy / Fantasy Romance
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I lay on the bed my naked body squirming atop the silk sheets. Over me was the dark form of my lover, a man as handsome and strong as any. He covered me with his warm, muscled body and wrapped me in his arms. I grasped his shoulders and sighed as he kissed my neck. He raised his head and his brilliant blue eyes stared into mine.
"Danielle, wake up! Wake up!"
I yelped and fell forward out of my chair. A pair of strong arms caught me, but they weren't the arms of my lover. I was in the arms of my work chair and coworker, Johnny Miller. That meant I was in my cubbyhole cubicle at the office and again bored out of my mind so bad that I fell asleep.
As always after awakening from a wonderful dream I was my usual perky self with energy, vigor, and-hell, who am I kidding? I was a zombie low on brains and with not much prospect of getting one around that office. Well, except for Johnny. He was smarter than me which probably explained why he was the only one I could tolerate. He was also kind of cute, but the cuteness only went as far as friendship would allow.
"Wha? Huh? What happened?" I mumbled.
"You fell asleep, that's what happened," Johnny replied.
I shrugged off his hands and stifled a yawn. "Oh, is that all?"
"Is that all? That's the third time this week I've had to wake you up. Some day I won't be able to save the day," he scolded me.
I sighed and ran my hand through my hair. "Yeah, I know, I'm just so bored with all this paperwork." I gestured to a pile a foot tall at the end of my desk that was an inch tall that morning. "These piles breed faster than rabbits, and are twice as annoying."
"Three times more annoying, but who's counting?" he laughed.
I slumped over my desk. "I am. This job is so boring my mind gets rusted just thinking about it."
He patted me on the back. "We all feel like that, but what are you going to do about it? Go choose your own adventure?"
I squared my jaw and straightened in my chair. "I could do that. I could leave right now and-"
"-and you should because it's almost five," Johnny told me.
I glanced at the clock on my computer screen, realized I'd been asleep long enough for the screen saver to come on, woke up the computer, and checked the time. There was only four minutes left. I hurriedly prepared myself for the evacuation.
"Going somewhere, Miss Lyman?" he teased me. My name was Danielle Lyman, but everyone, when they weren't being sassy, called me Danny.
I glanced at my watch. "I will be in three minutes. Did you need something that takes only three minutes?" I returned.
"No, but there was something I've been meaning to ask you for a couple of months." He slid into the extra chair in my little dungeon and his hands fiddled with each other.
"I hope it's something about a raise because my two-year anniversary is coming up," I quipped.
"Not quite." He grabbed a chair, scooted it over to mine, and sat down. His face looked so serious while also being so nervous.
"You okay? You look a little sick," I asked him.
"I'm fine. I was just wondering if you were, well, if you were doing anything tonight."
I stiffened and blinked. "Nooo, why?"
"Well, I thought maybe you and I could-well, do something together."
My face drooped and I patted him on the shoulder. "I appreciate what you're trying to do, but I don't think I'm ready for an affair with my boss. Not when I'm about to get a raise."
He snorted and leaned back. The serious expression was gone and there was a smile on his face, but I didn't miss the pain in his eyes. "Can't blame a guy for trying."
"No, but this is the fifth time this month, and that makes it the tenth time this year," I pointed out.
I'm sure you're wondering why I wouldn't take my cute coworker out for a date. It's because I wasn't ready for commitment, and it was against company policy. One of us would have to quit our job, and I knew it wasn't going to be him. With that sort of ultimatum, it would be a hell of a commitment on my part. I'd be taking all the risk and he'd reap all the benefit of me. If things went south so would my bank account balance, and with student loans to repay from a college degree I still hadn't found a use for I just couldn't take that risk.
"I figure if I play the slots long enough I'm bound to win," he commented.
I stood and patted him on the shoulder. "Maybe, but I gotta go. See you tomorrow." I walked out as the clock struck five and didn't look back. If I had I probably would've stopped myself from leaving and thrown myself into his arms. If I'd known what trouble lay ahead for me I definitely would have thrown myself into his arms.
Since I wasn't a psychic and didn't have spider senses, I walked out of there and left the building and work behind me. My favorite place to relax was a nice pub five blocks off the busy part of the city. That was where the electronic billboards advertised flashy clothes and designer breast jobs. The first I didn't look good in, and the second I had covered with my curvy body.
I took a taxi to my favorite pub, stepped out of the car, and looked up at the dark night sky. The streetlights kept the stars from shining, but nothing except the buildings could keep that full moon hidden. It smiled down at me and I smiled back. It was an old friend, after all. I'd seen it a lot during my long twenty-five years of living. Soon it was about to become an intimate partner in my life.
I strolled down the sidewalk and stopped in front of the pub. The name of the place was Public Pewter, and the game of the place was to get drunk. I opened the old oak door and stepped into a different world. The establishment was done up in mid-seventeenth century coach inn complete with wood paneled walls and a bar made from a single slice of giant log that ran along the entire back wall. There were the modern conveniences of a dance floor, jukebox, and every type of beer in the world on display on the wall behind the bar.
I took my usual table in the far corner. It was a dark spot where I could watch everyone without being watched. I pretended I was an anthropologist studying the mating habits of the local inhabitants. Most were the customers very primitive, and some of the pickup lines were even worse. A minute after I sat down a waitress brought me my usual drink, the caffeinated soda, and left me to my studying.
The night was the usual rambunctious antics. People danced, got drunk, tried to dance, fell down, and laughed out the door with a pretty girl, guy, or both under their arms. I sat in my corner watching humanity make a spectacle of itself, but not all of it was funny. There were tender moments of couples walking in hand in hand and kissing over a plate of salsa and chips. An old couple came in and danced slowly to a rock-n-roll song, but even with the drums and guitar playing in the background the tender magic was still there. It made me regret not saying yes to Johnny.
The old couple just left when a young guy slipped into my booth. He was a little taller than me with a thin nose and a goatee. His clothes were clean but simple, and he constantly
"I know, but I thought maybe you'd want some company," he replied.
"Depends on the company," I quipped. I looked this man up and down, and wasn't sure I liked what I saw. He gave off a vibe that rattled me, and I wasn't usually rattled.
He shrugged. "I don't think I'm that bad, and I've got a great party we can go to." The man turned to me with a crooked smile. "It's uptown and you get to rub elbows with a bunch of high-society folks."
I glanced down at my worn blouse and dress pants. "I don't think they'd want to rub elbows with me. Mine aren't exactly clean," I pointed out.
He laughed and waved off my concern. "You look great, fantastic, even. Besides, you're just the person we're looking for."
I raised an eyebrow. "Why?"
The man coughed and gave me more than a cursory glance. "You're, well, how should I say it? Very well filled out."
I frowned. "And that's supposed to make them like me how?" I asked him.
"Let's just say they like to sink their teeth into a new acquaintance who's a little more real than the rubber implanted stick people," he replied. "So what do you say? If you don't like it we can always call you a taxi. There are plenty around at all hours," he offered.
I sloshed my drink around in its glass and sighed. "Why not? What do I have to lose?"
"That's the spirit! Come on, my car's out front." He took my hand, but I pulled it back.
"Wait a second, I don't even know your name and you don't know mine," I pointed out.
"Oh, sorry. It's Stanley Grieg. And yours?" he asked me.
"Danica Lyman," I replied.
He smiled and offered me his arm. "All right, Miss Lyman, if you would be kind enough to follow me I'll take you to a night you'll never forget."
I took his arm and led me outside to a red sports car parked on the curb. Around us the city was alive with throngs of people, honking horns, and car exhaust. He opened the door, I slipped inside, and he got into the driver's seat. Once the doors were closed the interior was as quiet as a tomb. The whole world could have been in the middle of a nuclear war and we wouldn't have known. I'd never been in anything half as luxurious as this five-star hotel on wheels, and I squirmed in my chair.
"Problems?" he asked me as the car jumped forward into the busy two-lane traffic.
"I think your car's monthly insurance bill costs as much as my apartment," I commented.
He chuckled. "Probably," he agreed.
"So what do you do for a living?" I wondered.
"Oh, I'm an errand boy." I turned to him and raised an eyebrow. "I'm very good at my job," he added.
"What do you deliver? Drugs?" I joked.
"Not exactly. I'm sort of a go-to man for the people I'm taking you to. When they want fresh-um, members, they trust my judgment enough to go out into the city and bring them back somebody like you. Fresh blood, as it were," he explained.
"Well, I've got plenty of that," I replied.
He smiled. "Yes, I imagine you do."
We drove several blocks through fancy boutiques and shops that dazzled the tourists and party-goers. The Bohemian elegance of the small businesses gave way to forests of office buildings and hotels that towered over us like imperious overlords. A few of the buildings had garages beneath them and into one of these Stanley turned. The garage sat below street level and was lit with sickly fluorescent lights.
There were two dozen other cars around the main stairs into the building above us. Many of them were long, black cars with chauffeurs at the wheel reading large books to pass the long wait. There were a few other flashy vehicles, and a group of men stood at the bottom of the stairwell laughing and talking. Stanley helped me out of the low vehicle and over to the stairs.
"That's a nice one you have there," one of the men yelled to us.
Stanley glared at him. "Hold your tongue, you idiot," he snapped. He hurried us past and into the stairwell that led up into the building. "I have to apologize for my friend. He's a little drunk around this time of night," he told me.
"Is he one of the people I'm supposed to meet?" I asked him.
Stanley smiled and shook his head. "No, not at all. The people you're going to meet are near the top floor partying as we speak."
We climbed the stairs to the lobby of the building. It was a tiled-floor, echoing kind of lobby with a glass front and doors. Stanley led me to the elevators and we climbed in. Just as he said there were fifty floors to the building and he pushed the button for the forty-fifth. The elevator climbed the floors and when the doors opened again we were in a different world.
Before us was a large room lit with strobe lights and flickering colors that encompassed all the colors in the rainbow. On the left side was a long table filled with food of all kinds, and in the back was a small stage with a door on the right side. On the right was a DJ playing loud, fast music, and in the center of the room was round columns spaced evenly apart supported the tiled roof. The rest of the floor was taken up with people dressed in sleek red dresses and their hair done up in the latest fashions. They occupied all ages, from the old matriarchs who sat in chairs placed beside the columns to the young teenagers who danced to the music provided by the DJ. Among the dancers and those at the table were others like myself who were dressed in street clothes and other less formal attire. The room was unnatural warm and I immediately began to perspire.
Stanley gently placed his hand on the small of my back and guided me out onto the floor. "What do you think of this party?" he wondered.
"It's certainly-" I stopped when my eyes caught sight of a brilliant pair of blue eyes. They belonged to a handsome young man of about thirty and dressed in a fine suit. His beautiful eyes scrutinized me with such a strong mix of interest and fear that my heart picked up the tempo.
Stanley shook my shoulders. "Is something wrong?" he wondered.
I shook myself and turned away. "N-nothing. I just thought I saw somebody I knew, but I was wrong."
"Good." Stanley glanced at his watch and frowned. "I just remembered there was a call I needed to make. Would you excuse me for a few minutes?"
I glanced at the time. A few minutes short of midnight. "Sure, we've got time to kill," I agreed.
Stanley smiled, bowed his head and left for the elevator. He stepped into the machine with a few other and the doors closed behind them. I was alone and feeling slightly nervous about being alone with so many people. My eyes inadvertently returned to the young man. He still watched me, and I noticed an older woman stood beside him. She stood regally at his side in a blue dress with frills on the modest collar. Her white hair was short and permed, and she glanced from the man to me and back against to the stranger. Her lips moved, but I couldn't hear any sound over the noise of the music and laughter. The man pursed his lips and turned his head away, but his eyes tared at me out of their corners.
I wandered over to the refreshments and a woman of about forty in a smart business suit came up to me. "You must be one of the new people," she commented.
"Um, yeah, I guess I am," I replied.
She smiled and looped her arm through one of mine. "The real party's about to start. Why don't I show you to the stage with the others?"
"Others?" I looked around the room and saw that the other people in the normal attire were being led to the stage.
"Yes. Now let's get you up there so we don't miss you," she encouraged me.
She guided me to the stage and up the short flight to the top. The others and myself were lined up at the back of the stage, and our handlers stepped down to join the crowd congregating at the base. The DJ stopped the music and joined the partiers as they pressed in against the stage. The people were packed in a tight line that stretched from one side of the floor to the other. I saw the man there with his older escort. He stood in a tense stance as though about to jump onto the stage, but the woman held his arm t
The room quieted when the door beside the stage opened. Two men stepped out. One was a bespectacled older gentleman who wore a black suit and led his companion up the stairs. His friend was a young man of about thirty-five with long black hair tied back in a low tail that cascaded down his back. He had dark eyes and pale lips that smiled at each of us as they passed by to a podium at the front-center of the stage.
The bespectacled man took the podium first and cleared his throat. "We are all gathered here at the bi-yearly meeting of the wolf to welcome our guests for the sacrifice of their time, and their lives," he announced. The mention of our lives caused a ripple of nervousness to pass through our little line.
One of the men in our group stepped forward. "What the hell is this about our lives?" he asked the bespectacled fellow.
"You have been chosen for a very important task," the younger man spoke up. He strode back down our line to the man who stood out. "We are a very select order of people who reside in this city. Our common bond is a gift and a curse. The gift is a long life, but the curse is that every two years we must satisfy the beast within ourselves. That night is now upon us, and we have chosen you to satisfy our hunger," he explained.
"Fuck this, I'm out of here," the irate man replied.
He tried to push past the dark pony-tailed fellow, but the man grabbed him. The dark stranger pulled back the other man's arms and sank his teeth into his throat. The man's body twitched and convulsed as blood poured from the wound. The other people in my line, me included, understandably screamed our heads off and raced for the front of the stage to jump off.
The first person to fly into the crowd, a woman my age, landed into a mess of clawing hands that pulled her down to the floor. The partiers dove on top of her and we heard her screams as they tore her apart. The others on the stage panicked and tried to force their way through the crowd, but my terror and lack of athleticism kept me on the stage and with a great, and terrible, view of the whole gory scene.
The partiers transformed from the Wolves of Wall Street to just plain wolves. Their faces elongated and their hands lengthened into long, sharp claws. They tilted their heads back and let loose a horrible chorus of howls as their clothing tore from their bodies, replaced by thick coats of fur. They dove at those not transformed and pulled them to the ground. I couldn't see what was done to the others, but by the screams I didn't want to know.
Marked by the Wolf Box Set by Mac Flynn / Romance & Love have rating 3.6 out of 5 / Based on25 votes