Hungry is the Night
The werewolves of the world live in tight knit gangs, or “dens”, for protection from outsiders – and each other. Every major metropolis has one; to belong to a den is to have a family for eternity. However, Grace Holtz, next in line to lead the Seattle den called The Nameless, has had enough of living under the crushing weight of her den’s expectations. Having fled to a small, rural town in southeast Oregon, her goal is to blend in and be as “normal” as possible for the rest of her unnaturally long life.
But Marcus Bowen, a wolf from the UK-based Feóndulf den (and the closest thing Grace has ever had to a lover), has other plans. Reappearing thirty years after their affair came to an abrupt and bloody end, Marcus needs Grace. He needs her to return to Seattle and arrange an audience with Mama, the current leader of The Nameless and Grace’s estranged grandmother. The leader of the Feóndulf and his heir have both been brutally murdered, and Marcus suspects that Grace and Mama are next.
Teaming up to hunt for the killer in the Emerald City, the pair slowly begin to realize their romance may not be as dead as they thought. However, as it becomes clear that the person they’re looking for holds secrets about both their dens, Marcus and Grace must grapple with competing loyalties, conflicting desires, and ultimately decide what matters more: their dens or each other.
The sensation of his lips against mine rippled through me like a shot of whiskey, warming and intoxicating, setting my blood dancing while at the same time making me shiver. When he reciprocated the gesture, when he reached out to hold my cheek with trembling fingers and shifted against my lips without withdrawing, the tight coil of control in my chest unraveled. I took a step forward, my body flush against his, and lifted my hands to grip at Marcus’ shoulders with a possessiveness I barely recognized.
Marcus mimicked my stance, but instead of pulling me closer, he took a step back, breaking the kiss with a small gasp. My eyes flickered open.
While he shook his head, Marcus’ eyes remained closed as he whispered, “Grace, we shouldn’t—”
“Marcus.” His eyes opened wide at the sound of his name. I gave a weak smile and lifted my hand to his face, trailing my thumb across his lower lip. “Don’t be so stupid as to make the same mistake twice.”
He blinked at me once, then twice. The corners of his mouth shot down into a frown and his hands dropped from my shoulders to my hips. He pulled me against his body while quietly whispering, “Ah, sod it, then,” before kissing me hard.
I answered in kind, my hands skittering unmoored across first his jaw, then his shoulders, then his sides, then his chest. I deepened the kiss with a flick of my tongue at his bottom lip, a teasing, tentative request that Marcus answered with unabashed eagerness, opening his mouth to my explorations.
Slowly at first, then in a progressively frantic tumble, I pulled Marcus back into my room toward the bed. I kicked off my shoes as I went, running the tip of my tongue along the top of his palate. He tried desperately to keep pace with me, capturing my lower lip between his teeth and biting down, not too hard, but just hard enough. Still, there was hesitation in his movements. No longer content with the skin available to my hands, I began easing his shirt up and over his body. Marcus tried to register a verbal protest, but it was lost in the crush of our mouths. It wasn’t until I relinquished his lips and began lavishing attention on his neck that he was able to say anything at all.
As soon as his mouth was free of mine, he breathed my name imploringly, caressing my back and shoulders through my thin sweatshirt. “Grace…”
“Don’t worry,” I answered, my words muffled as I pressed my lips against his carotid artery, my wandering hands pushing up under the hem of his T-shirt, fingers dancing over the newly exposed flesh at his side. “I’ll take care of you.”
When Robin Jeffrey isn’t checking out books to students at the academic library where she works, she can be found cranking out punchy flash fiction, lyrical essays, and world-rich romances. Her writing has been published in magazines across the country and around the world. She currently calls the Pacific Northwest of the United States home, where she lives happily with her husband and their out of control comic book collection. She currently resides in the rainy Pacific Northwest. More of her work can be found on her website, RobinJeffreyAuthor.com.
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