BIG BAD BEAST
Werescape Book Six
by Skhye Moncrief
One day in the Big Woods, Normal Josie wakes up and helplessly watches a Shifter virus kill her immediate family in their remote wilderness homestead. Josie has no choice but to carry on. She’s forced to brave the forested Wild alone, leading a string of pack horses with all the supplies she can manage to her uncle’s Shifter outpost–back to where she became known as a little Normal female who could kick butt with the best Shifters, back to where she fell in love with the only Shifter she could ever mate. Thank goodness he isn’t there. But when living among a pack of Shifters, a girl has to obey the alpha. And her alpha has secret plans for her, plans that involve the only Shifter she loves–the Shifter who now irritates the hell out of her.
Stationed at an isolated agricultural outpost with nothing but teenage hormones for company, Shifter Hostillian doesn’t mind monotonous day-to-day schedules where he rules the roost. And then his inner Wolf’s favorite wild cat screeches at his door. He has no desire to mate the only person who challenges everything he utters. But his Wolf makes demands the minute it catches Josie’s scent.
Stand back and watch the fireworks light up the Minnesota sky because the BIG BAD BEAST can’t help but to huff and puff and blow Josie’s house in…
Wolf writhed in agony inside me because she was even more beautiful when she hissed words through grated teeth. But I’m unlike the Shifter Tacitus who seeks challenges. No. I prefer my females docile and safe at home. Josie will never be either.
Mine, Wolf growled.
“Gods-damn-it, Hostillian. Don’t growl at me. Just let me pass.” Her pale blue eyes glinted like they had a Shifter glow of their own.
Play, Wolf hummed.
Sit. Quiet. Let me think.
Her heart thrashed like she faced a grizzly.
And she’d said Augustus had that damned wink when he gave her this assignment. He sent her on purpose. Hell, I can’t let her go out with the curfew a few hours away. Not that tight little ass and those pouty lips. What kind of Guardian would I be if anything happened to a female? “There’s nowhere you can go this time of day. You have to stay here.” Hopefully, I sounded calm. But she has a way of working from every angle to pry my flesh from my bones. A way of forcing every one of my blood cells into my swelling cock.
“You’re kidding. Right?” she snarled. “You and me in the same space until morning?”
She’s right. But I’d be damned if she got the best of me in any discussion. “If you behave, everything will be fine,” I managed calmly.
“Me?” she crowed, pointing at the floorboards with obvious rage reddening her cheeks. “You’re the one who accused me of coming here on purpose. I offered to leave too.”
Unfortunately, I couldn’t allow her to win. “You will behave. I have seven teens here learning to grow wheat. But they’re highly impressionable–”
“How dare you suggest I’d seduce them!” She thrust up a finger and stabbed the pointed tip into my chest. “I don’t know when the last time was I even looked at a youth the age of the one that just left. He’s scrawny.”
The solid fingertip jabbed harder with each of her words.
Not hard enough to soften Wolf’s cock. “You’re not leaving this cabin until sunrise.” I turned my back to her, leaned an elbow against the biting doorframe, and stared at unfolding grassy prairie beyond the gaping gateway.
Movement even farther out noted my loping students in their Wolfskins were returning to prepare for the evening meal. “You’d better find something to do, Josie. The boys are back. In were-form. And they’ll be shifting shortly. If you don’t want to mislead them by staring at their nude bodies, you’d better back away from the door and find something to do.”
What an asshole. First implying I can’t behave appropriately around these children. Then daring me to go stare at their nude bodies. I pivoted and planted my tail on the end of the bench farthest from the doorway and Hostillian’s glowing Wolf stare.
Banked coals never warmed a space as much as they did now. Or I’m about to explode from pent-up frustration.
“Just a minute,” Hostillian said with his authoritative timbre.
Not to me. To the teens. Or he would have been as asshole.
The floorboards creaked behind me.
Under the weight of his six-foot-five steely mass of perfectly-chiseled muscles. Why, oh, why, can’t I be normal? Just be a woman who makes men fall at their feet? Not gush into puddles. Men don’t gush. But just have them writhe at my boots. Just Hostillian. Why? Is it too much to want something so desperately? I’d wasted half of my life on that stupid desire. Trying to prove I wouldn’t be in his way. That I’d be safe walking across the compound if he wasn’t around. That he wouldn’t have to worry about me. But he still doesn’t want me.
My heart sank.
Foolishly betraying my warrior façade if Hostillian had his Wolf in his ears.
My cousin planned this. Yes. Stuck his snout in my business again. But I’d leave in the morning. Beat Augustus at his game. Survive this night.
The floorboards creaked again.
More softly though. Farther away.
The door snapped shut.
Hostillian probably took pants to his boys.
Thump. Thump. Thump.
My pulse in my skull. Pounding out a death march. Beat by agonizing beat. Ticking off the moments before they’d all come inside. Stare at me like I’m the main course. Or worse. He probably told them who I was by now. Oh well. I’d just pull myself together. Make due till morning. Prove all those years I studied how to survive hadn’t been wasted. Maybe on a foolish fantasy about Hostillian. But not with learning to defend myself.
No. I hadn’t wasted a moment on self-defense. And nobody would make me think I had. Not Hostillian. Not a pack of wet-behind-the-ears youths. My sire might have wanted me to be more of a daughter than a woman who could stand up to Hostillian. But he never once told me I was a failure or an embarrassment to the clan. So, to hell with Hostillian’s lack of interest. I’d show this lodge of mangy wolves that I deserved respect.
The door creaked.
A floorboard answered.
One by one, they trickled through the doorway, silently, except for the bitching planks. Hostillian must have told them to be respectfully quiet. Or threatened them with their lives for any misbehavior. I remember the days in school when all the young males feared Augustus. Knew there would be hell to pay if anything went wrong. Hence, their accepting me and my little need to prove myself to whoever doubted I could take care of myself. So, my cousin taught the males of his clan how to demand the same respect from youths.
A final creak of flooring and one snap of the door noted the noisy parade’s end.
Surely he stood behind me.
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Word Count: 38,000 words
Cover Artist: Erin Dameron-Hill (EDH Graphics)
My Thoughts: Big Bad Beast is an absolute must-read. I loved losing myself in Josie’s story. I’m definitely going to be on the lookout for more from Skhye Moncrief!
About the Author:
Aside from muscled men in fur, leather, denim, or kilts, I love cultural ecology, cultural evolution, cultural relativism, and natural processes. Big ideas. Simple concepts that manifest in world building to crazy people like me who studied anthropology and geology before turning to writing romantic fiction. My rule of thumb is to love the good, the bad, and the ugly of every culture in my tales so every aspect of my stories resonates as real as possible.
Yahoo Group/Newsletter: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/skhyemoncrief/
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