Werefox Maggie hoped that once the werefox pelt-hunter who killed her family was dead she could stop running. Instead, his friends have taken up the chase. Abandoned by her lover Lucas, Maggie takes help from a domestic violence shelter…only to be kidnapped when she is mistaken for another girl on the run. Escaping, she finds solace with John, a vampire ally of the shelter group.
After several nights of seductive passion, Maggie considers staying with John, who swears to protect her at all costs from a gangster eager to include Maggie in his menagerie of exotic “pets.” But is the love and devotion of a vampire enough to stave off not only a ruthless criminal gang, but also a last pelt-hunter out for revenge?
Awakening, Maggie realized she was in a large bed, the sheets soft and shiny. “Hello?”
She got up, then went looking. The furnishings were sparse, but a good deal more fancy than last night.
She moved into another room, the weak sunlight through the windows welcoming.
She searched the house, again finding empty dusty upper rooms. Like at the other house, there was a shut basement door which opened when she pushed on it. She descended the stairs to find John on his side. Again she undressed, changed form, and curled up on his bed, against his back.
But this time he woke at her touch. “Why are you here again? And don’t tell me this time you had no other bed to sleep in, when I put you sleeping into one last night.”
Teasing him is a fun distraction. “Do you not like women?” she said bluntly, as she changed again to human.
“Only the non-brazen ones.”
“Your loss.” Maggie began dressing. “The sun’s out, so the snow’s stopped. I’d really like to leave today, ok?”
“No, it’s not safe.”
“It won’t ever be safe, but I can’t stay here, John. I have to find a new life for myself.”
“Look, I don’t mean to sound hard. But it’s not safe.”
“I’m a shifter, its never safe for me. People are always going to want my pelt for some mystical bullshit. People just like you.”
“’People like me’ don’t want your pelts, actually. Because there’s nothing that it will do for people like me.”
Maggie stopped, looking at him. “What?”
“Aren’t you listening to what your nose is telling you, little fox? I’m not human.” John bared fangs much more delicate than her animal ones.
“Vampire.” Explains a lot, especially the earth smell, if he’s always sleeping underground. “Sorry, I’ve heard of vampires, but never met one before. So why help humans? Why help me?”
“Because eternity gets boring,” he said scathingly. “And there’s only so much clubbing you can do before you want to kill yourself from sheer boredom.”
“Not good enough. And you’re hardly the sort to go out dancing, with all the austerity you seem to surround yourself with. Why, John?”
“Because a stalker killed my adopted son a few years ago. Alice probably told you how the shelter began. This asshole guy was after a woman, Jill, and my son stood up for her, got in the way. He got killed for his trouble, before the asshole killed her, too, then himself. Isn’t the world grand?”
“No, it’s not. Sometimes it’s hell. I’m sorry.”
“You and everyone else.”
“Shh.” She moved closer, but he pulled away.
“You aren’t dead, just because he is.”
His eyes widened and his mouth tightened in anger. “You bitch.”
“I am a bitch,” she said, her eyes shifting to yellow. “A bitch is just what you need right now, to get your heart out of the grave and get it pumping blood again.” She brushed his lips with hers. “A bitch in heat.”