Home > Wolfed : Cursed By Love

Wolfed : Cursed By Love
Author: Leia Stone


ONE

 

 

I finished wiping down the bar and then walked to the back office to clock out.

“See you tomorrow, Ronan.” I peeked my head into my boss’ office. It was three a.m. and fatigue was pulling at my limbs. Ronan was leaned over a stack of invoices, glasses perched on the edge of his nose as he stroked his red bushy beard.

“Night, lass. Be safe,” he called out in his thick Irish accent.

I tapped my purse and the Walther P22 that I carried. “Always am.”

Ronan was a motorcycle-driving, forty-five-year-old buff dude who drank more scotch than he did water. He was like a father to me, especially considering I never knew my own father. My mom and Ronan grew up together and had known each other since kindergarten. He always checked in on our family to make sure things were okay. It was just me and my mom and our little house on Lake Pend Oreille in Sandpoint, Idaho. Sandpoint was basically a tourist stop for out-of-towners and “locals” coming up from Coeur d’Alene and Spokane. It had a San Diego beach vibe without all the parking issues and nineteen-dollar margaritas.

I’d started out cleaning tables at the Rusty Spoon when I was sixteen, but this January I’d turned nineteen and Ronan let me bartend.

The tips were way better.

When I stepped outside into the cool night air, I hopped on my bike and pulled up the kickstand. My mom owned the little house on the corner of Larch Street and 3rd Ave. She’d bought it twenty years ago for a hundred and fifty thousand dollars, but with the hot market we were in now she could probably get half a million for the tiny two-bedroom. As if I’d ever let her sell. I wanted to be buried in that beach house.

I pedaled past McDuff’s and waved to Nik, who was just getting off his shift.

“Hey, beautiful. Good tips tonight?” he hollered.

“Not bad!” I called back as I rode by.

Nik was the bartender of McDuff’s; we flirted often but nothing ever happened. He was a manwhore and I didn’t mess with those. Even now there was a blonde waiting for him by his car. I shook my head and chuckled.

Riding past Bonner General Hospital was usually the highlight of my night. I always liked to peer inside in an attempt to see something exciting. I once saw a woman running inside with a bloody thumb in a bag. I’d always loved those ER shows; it was part of what inspired me to apply to veterinary school. I loved animals more than people and didn’t faint at the sight of blood, so becoming a vet was a given. Slowing my bike as I passed the hospital, I gazed through the windows, but other than some people sitting in the lobby with throw-up buckets, there was nothing cool.

Lame.

I was about to race on home from there when I saw a trail of blood that left the sidewalk and trickled into the woods behind the hospital. I skidded to a stop, leaving a black tire streak on the clean concrete.

The fern bushes and grasses were all mashed down as if someone had stumbled in there.

Holy crap.

Was today the day I actually saw a gunshot wound or something cool like that? Crime in Sandpoint was pretty nonexistent, and I didn’t wish harm on anyone… but what I wouldn’t give to see something really gnarly. There was probably something wrong with me that I didn’t shy away from gore. I just thought the human body was so fascinating. Biology was my favorite subject in high school, and dissecting frogs didn’t bother me one bit.

A moan came from the woods and I froze, swallowing hard as the hairs on my arms stood straight up. Okay, this just got real.

“H-hello?” I called into the woods, and an injured whine called back almost immediately.

Was it an animal? That got me moving. Humans were okay mostly, but animals were pure-hearted creatures that I would take my chances with over a human any day. Parking my bike at the edge of the sidewalk, I pulled out my gun and kept it loosely at my side, finger off the trigger. Even though Sandpoint was considered semi-liberal for Idaho, everyone I knew carried a gun. It was like having a cell phone, you just didn’t go anywhere without it.

Stepping off into the woods beside the hospital, I did a mental sanity check. Was I really following a trail of blood into the woods? Yes. Was this a smart thing to do? No.

Eh, I had a gun. What could go wrong?

“I’m not going to hurt you, but I do have a gun in case you try to attack me,” I told the dark empty woods. Human or animal, I wouldn’t hesitate to shoot if my life was threatened.

That whimper came back to me and it was definitely not human. Crap. Did I really want to run up on an injured cougar right now? Bears didn’t whimper, and local hunters were usually good about tracking down their kills, but maybe one got away.

“Don’t bite me or I’ll finish you off!” I told the dark trees. I should probably call for help; it was three in the freaking morning and if I got attacked no one would know. But I’d left my phone in my purse, which was hanging on my bike.

The next whine came from my left and I scurried that way, scanning the ground as my eyes adjusted to the moonlight. It was full, luckily, and bright enough for me to see the—

“A wolf,” I gasped as my gaze fell on the magnificent creature.

He was huge and grey, but the coloring was so light it was almost a silverish white which gave his fur dimension. He was panting hard, and a wound at his back leg was bleeding freely.

“Shit.” I stepped closer and his lips peeled back from his teeth.

I pulled out my gun and pointed it right at him and he stopped.

Smart wolf.

My mind raced a mile a minute. Did I shoot him and put him out of his misery or try to get him some help? As messed up as it sounded, it was encouraged to cull the wolf population here in Idaho. They were reducing the population of elk and deer, which was frowned upon. It was something as an animal lover I didn’t agree with.

Wolves didn’t die from leg wounds though, right? It looked like clean puncture wounds. Maybe another animal had bitten it? But the flesh wasn’t hanging off, so it could be repaired. I considered calling Dr. Gassly and seeing if he would stitch him up but dismissed the thought immediately. Gassly wouldn’t treat a wild wolf; he would probably say it had rabies.

“Dammit,” I growled as the situation tore at my heart. I couldn’t kill a wolf. Wolves were freaking badass. Bears too. Deer carried Lyme disease so I was totally okay busting a cap in their asses, but wolves… no. I couldn’t, wolves were like giant puppies with rage issues.

My gun was for idiot drunk male humans, not injured wolves. Beautiful wolves with golden honey eyes like this one deserved to live. I reached out and the wolf froze.

“Don’t bite me,” I told him, and touched the fur on his back with my fingers. If I could just test his nature, maybe if he were docile, I could...

He snapped at me and I withdrew my hand, shoving my gun in his face. “I’m trying to help you!”

He looked at the gun and growled.

Okay, maybe this wasn’t the best way to get him to trust me.

Don’t be stupid, Averly, I told myself as I put the gun down in the grass.

The wolf tracked my movements and I found it odd that he was so responsive. Genius wolf.

“Friendly neighborhood bartender Averly here,” I told him and reached out with my free hand again.

He stilled, but let me rake my hands over his uninjured back.

Hmm. He was pretty docile when I wasn’t waving a gun at him. “I wonder if you’d let me give you stitches,” I mused aloud. “I’ve done hundreds on a banana and I’m getting really good.”

Hot Books
» House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1)
» A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire
» From Blood and Ash (Blood And Ash #1)
» Deviant King (Royal Elite #1)
» Sweet Temptation
» Den of Vipers
» Chasing Cassandra (The Ravenels #6)
» The Sweetest Oblivion (Made #1)
» Steel Princess (Royal Elite #2)
» Angry God (All Saints High #3)
» Serpent & Dove(Serpent & Dove #1)
» ENEMIES
» Credence
» Archangel's War
» House of Sky and Breath (Crescent City #2)