Wolf's Bane (Monstrous Hearts #2)

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See how the girl smiles while shaking the pins from her hair? It makes her entire face glow in the warm lamplight of the bedroom. Her high heels are the next things discarded, kicked off with a few disdainful flicks of her feet and left to wait on the plush carpet.

The man watches her intently, leaning back against the dressing table as his eyes devour her every movement. He’s already half-undressed, his suit jacket shrugged off and his black tie tugged loose and left to hang. His unbuttoned shirt reveals what a sleek tuxedo has hidden all evening—powerful muscle at ease, hair marking a trail down past a lean, hard stomach. A predator’s body with its insatiable appetite.

When the girl slips off her shimmering gown to reveal herself in full, he can’t resist any longer, lunging for her with that feral quickness. But she only laughs at the pressure of his teeth against her throat, arching into his hands as they slide down the sweet line of her back. Her own fingers pull at his remaining clothes, tearing them off with equal hunger until they are both stripped down to bare skin.

“I want to see you,” he breathes against her neck, and she shivers, half-afraid that she won’t be able to show him.

A final tender bite and then he pulls away, eyes gleaming at her. For him, shifting out of human form is as effortless as ever, like the flicker of a shadow. There’s a quick shake to settle his black fur into place, and then the wolf pants open-mouthed, still watching the girl.

Another tremor of self-doubt passes through her, but she crouches down with a smile, twining fingers into his thick pelt as a cold nose snuffles at her cheek. Then she closes her eyes and concentrates, feeling the first cramps of change start from deep inside her ribcage.

Her shift isn’t as effortless as his, hands scrabbling against the floor as they morph into paws and a whimper of pain sliding between sharpening teeth. But the black wolf presses close, steadying her shaking body until bone locks in place and muscle reknits, until new fur stops writhing and yellow eyes flash.

And from where the girl crouched, a she-wolf now rises, yelping in excitement while shaking herself from head to toe. The black wolf sneezes a wolf-laugh, but his ears prick in pride at his beautiful Alice, still graceful even as she bounces in raw delight.

She rubs against him, smoke to his charcoal, before they both move for the open window and the night that waits beyond. The moon has turned the world into bone and shadow, and yet they join it without fear, the she-wolf as swift and sure as her lover while they run into the deep gloom of the trees. Dawn will find them human and sleeping in muddied bedsheets, but for now the forest is theirs.

Hist! Hear how they howl.

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