Hood’s Obsession (Kingdom, #9) by Marie Hall
Publication Date: July 19, 2014
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Erualis’ time is running out and now Rumpelstiltskin says there are only two who can save him…
Lilith Wolf, the daughter of the Big Bad Wolf and Little Red Riding Hood has a problem, she’s an unmated female in heat. She has to get away from the males of her village unless she wants to find herself involuntarily hand fasted to the first one to tame her wolf. So when Giles Damien comes to her calling due the pact she’d signed with Rumpelstiltskin years ago, she doesn’t really think twice about the fact that she’ll be journeying to Fyre Mountain, even though that means she’ll be crossing paths with an angry water dragon, a pub full of rowdy Merry Men, and rock dwarves with a taste for flesh… For an alpha female that’s an adventure. No problem. Find the Chalice of Hope, come back home, and life will return back to normal again.
But she hadn’t counted on an honorable Giles Damien to intrigue not only her female sensibilities, but her wolf too. He’s a warrior, but he’s sweet, he’s patient, and he’s altogether different from the aggressive, rough males of her village. Problem is Giles is a demone, and everyone knows they don’t mingle outside of their species. But now her sights are set on him and she’s going to make it her mission to prove to the stubborn headed demone that sometimes love can come from the most unexpected of circumstances…
Lilith Wolf ran like her life depended on it.
Mainly because it did.
They were closing in fast.
Two from the left side, three from the right, and they were catching up. They were men, but covered in fur, and they were coming in hard.
“Keep running, girl,” the leader growled. “We love it when they run.”
His voice was a bassy rumble, a mix between man and beast. Heart in her throat, she called to her animal, the wolf that lived and breathed inside of her. It pulsed, hungry and violent. Ready to defend her.
The men laughed. Great wolf, they were gaining. They were so close. Way too close. She could practically feel their breath on her neck.
Her skin shivered, throbbed with the energy of the shift and then…the wolf exploded out. She shed her skin, becoming nothing but muscle and fur, and the woods were alive.
The wolf was wild, free, unhindered by things like emotion. Fear, anger, pain…none of it mattered except the need to run.
Her muscles bunched and gathered and her giant paws practically tore up the ground beneath her as she swerved around giant weeping willows whose branches soared into the heavens.
The sun was setting; soon the moon would be the only light in the sky. If she could just reach home, then she’d be safe.
She had never expected when she’d planned her trip to her girlfriend’s house that tonight, of all nights, her body would suddenly explode into heat. She was two weeks off from the date she and her family had expected.
Which wasn’t terribly shocking, it happened, but for it to happen now…on her way home, all alone in the hollers of the shifters’ den. This was bad.
Very, very bad.
Panting, she urged her body to move faster, almost blinded by the pounding adrenaline rolling through her. Her vision had narrowed down to a pinprick of light; all she could see was one paw going in front of the other. One tree flashing by on the left and then the right.
Her keen hearing though could sense the pending footfalls of alphas on the hunt.
Her hackles rose at the thought. As long as she could stay just a couple hundred steps ahead, she’d be out of range of their call.
But her muscles were quivering and the adrenaline was starting to turn to shock.
And then, like an answer to a prayer, she saw the top of her family’s chimney just ahead, and the sight of it lifted her flagging spirits, giving her muscles an extra jolt of speed. She was so close. So unbelievably close, and just as she was about to release a yip of relief she felt the heated waft of breath brush the side of her sensitized ear.
And then a giant body plowed into her middle, knocking her senseless and tossing her to the ground. Snarling, she jumped to her feet, snapped her jaws at the red-haired leader who’d still not fully shifted, and darted away.
“Run, but I’ll get you,” he called out with his hands cupped around his mouth. “I’ll always get you, Lilith! You will be mine.”
Then he howled, and if she’d not been half-human and capable of reasoning, if her human side didn’t hate St. John the way she did, she’d have turned back around. She’d have gone to him, because he’d thrown out the mating call and her wolf wanted it.
But even as her human side knew to keep going, her wolf whimpered inside her. Because the wolf was in heat and that was basic and elemental, St. John was a strong alpha male and that was the only distinction her wolf needed.
Then another howl, and another. Three more, all joining in chorus, and she whimpered, her claws gouged into the earth as she stopped, pulled up short by the instinctual need to go to him. To crawl to that vile, repulsive male.
She whined as the call grew louder.
No. No. She screamed it at her wolf. Don’t go. This is a trap.
But the drive was just too strong.
Brain and body at complete odds, she turned and whimpered her way back to the circle of men. They stood, holding hands, the alpha drawing his strength from his pack. His brown eyes glimmering with the threat of violence and sex.
Violent sex. The claiming of a wolf. They’d all wanted her, daughter of the Big Bad Wolf and Little Red Riding Hood—she was a conquest, sport. A notch on their belt, that was it. They wanted to take what was hers and turn it foul, tarnish it, ruin her for another.
At least her family would be expecting her return anytime now. They’d come looking for her. Her brothers would kill St. John if they ever discovered how he’d used pack magic against her. She crawled on her paws and belly, screaming at the wolf to stop.
“That’s right, you beauty,” St. John cooed. “Come to your master.”
She snarled and he laughed.
“You cannot deny me, Lilith, I am an alpha.” And the moment he said the name, the collective power of the pack slammed into her like a rolling tide and she knew this nightmare was real.
She would be raped, tainted, all because he could.
It wasn’t that St. John wasn’t good looking; up until last year he’d been a mate. A friend. She’d considered him as an option briefly, but he had a temper, and when shifters mated, it was for life. She was picky. So she’d slowly begun pulling away from him, giving him every hint she could that she was not interested. Making a point to sit as far away from him during gatherings as possible, giving only monosyllabic answers to any questions he’d ask, never making eye contact. All subtle hints that she was not interested.
And even so, three months ago he’d asked for her hand.
He should never have done that. Should never have demanded she tell him the truth. Because the moment she’d denied him, she’d sensed his immediate shift from cordial friendship to dangerous obsession. Wolves hated to be denied, but most especially alphas.
She watched in horror as his fingers slowly undid one button of his shirt at a time. Not only was he going to rape her, but he was going to do it to her while in his half-turned form.
Doing that while she was fully wolf would show not only dominance, but disdain. That he could overpower her even as a man.
She whinnied when the stench of his arousal brushed her sensitive nose. He reeked of male musk, a horrible, fishy stench. Now her wolf finally seemed to understand what was going on, because she snorted the scent. Offended by its repulsive odor.
Finally her wolf did not recognize this alpha as its mate. If she had the scent would have been clean, crisp, intoxicating. But now it was too late; she was locked under the power of the alpha’s call.
He dropped the shirt to the ground. St. John was covered in a furry carpet of red all along his arms and torso. She shook her head even as her paws dragged her into the center of the circle.
“Cover her eyes, boys,” St. John laughed.
Then she was set upon, but still under her thrall she couldn’t move. Could only scream in her head as hands tied a velvet mask around her eyes.
Shivering, trembling, she whimpered and awaited her fate.
Cries and howls suddenly exploded around her and the power locking her limbs in place was gone. But these cries weren’t ones of jubilation and conquest, but raw, visceral fear and pain.
Terrified, she jumped to her feet, shaking her head from side to side to release the mask. Had her brothers found her trail?
But if they had, why wasn’t she scenting them? She smelled smoke and brimstone. Not altogether displeasing, but not the fresh earthiness of her clan. What was going on?
Growling, she rubbed her head against tree bark to peel the damnable mask off. She debated whether to shift back to human form but quickly dismissed the idea. Stronger as the wolf, she knew she had no choice but to remain as she was.
There were grunts and hard exhalations of breath, a body being slammed. Then another. More howls. And then finally silence.
Standing stock still she listened to the rustle of dry leaves dance on the grassy meadow. To the chatter of squeaking mice. The hoot of an owl. The breeze smelled of apples and flowers and something dark…something dangerous.
Only one heartbeat besides her own remained in these woods. The mask was only half off; all she could see were her paws and the ground. Pulse racing she stood on edge waiting for the…whatever…to come at her. She could hear its breathing; it hadn’t gone anywhere.
The longer she waited, the louder her instinct became that this predator meant her no actual harm.
Realizing she needed more information than what her nose could give her, Lilith put her wolf to sleep by calling her shifting fire with no small amount of trepidation and shifted into her human form quicker than she’d ever done before. Yanking the bloody mask off her face the moment she was able.
An ebony-skinned man with hair like shadow and gleaming red eyes stared back at her. Dressed in dark jeans and shirt, he’d have almost blended into the darkness around them if it weren’t for the strange, luminescent sheen that rippled just beneath his skin. Like coals that’d been banked but still burned with a light glow of fire.
In his hand was a sword stained with blood. There were no wolves around, no dead bodies… It was just her and him.
“Lilith Wolf,” he said in a seductively smooth drawl, “come with me.”
Marie Hall is a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author who loves books that make you think, or feel something. Preferably both. And while she’s a total girly girl and loves glitter and rainbows, she’s just as happy when she’s writing about the dark underbelly of society. Well, if things like zombies, and vampires, and werewolves, and mermaids existed. (Although she has it on good authority that mermaids do in fact exist, because the internet told her so.)
She’s married to the love of her life, a sexy beast of a caveman who likes to refer to himself as Big Hunk. She has two awesome kids, lives in Hawaii, loves cooking and occasionally has been known to crochet. She also really loves talking about herself in the third person.
If you want to see what new creations she’s got up her sleeves check out her blog.