Bitten (Women of the Otherworld Series #1)

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Overview

Now a TV series on the Syfy channel airing Mondays at 10 pm / 9 pm CT.

"Frisky...Tells a rather sweet love story, and suggests that being a wolf may be more comfortable for a strong, smart woman than being human." -The New York Times Book Review

Elena Michaels seems like the typically strong and sexy modern woman, She lives with her architect boyfriend, writes for a popular newspaper, and works out at the...

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Overview

Now a TV series on the Syfy channel airing Mondays at 10 pm / 9 pm CT.

"Frisky...Tells a rather sweet love story, and suggests that being a wolf may be more comfortable for a strong, smart woman than being human." -The New York Times Book Review

Elena Michaels seems like the typically strong and sexy modern woman, She lives with her architect boyfriend, writes for a popular newspaper, and works out at the gym. She's also a werewolf.

Elena has done all she can to assimilate to the human world, but the man whose bite changed her existence forever, and his legacy, continue to haunt her. Thrown into a desperate war for survival that tests her allegiance to a secret clan of werewolves, Elena must recon with who, and what, she is in this passionate, page-turning novel that begins the Women of the Otherworld series. 

 

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
It's not easy to find a fresh angle for the werewolf theme, but this debut novel from a Canadian writer proves that solid storytelling and confident craftsmanship can rejuvenate one of the hoariest of all horror clich?s. Elena Michaels is a self-described "mutt," a werewolf who left her secretive pack in upstate New York for a life among humans. In the year since she relocated to Toronto, she's embarked on a career as a journalist and begun a pleasingly mundane relationship with a decent man. All this is jeopardized when she agrees to help her old packmates hunt some troublesome mutts who are converting common criminals to werewolves and leaving a trail of conspicuous carnage. Reunited with her former lycanthrope lover and forced into brutally predatory confrontations, Elena finds the call of the wild subtly reasserting itself. Armstrong prepares readers for her tale's twists with several key revisions of werewolf lore the werewolf taint is mostly hereditary, and werewolves can be killed as easily as any human or wolf. Her true achievement, though, is her depiction of werewolf nature in believably human context. Elena's feral sensibility, like her psychological vulnerabilities, seems a natural outgrowth of her abusive childhood, and her relationship with the pack is that of any prodigal child to a close-knit family. The sensuality of Elena's transformations and the viciousness of her kills mesh perfectly with her tough personality. Filled with romance and supernatural intrigue, this book will surely remind readers of Anne Rice's sophisticated refurbishings of the vampire story. Agent, Helen Heller. (Oct. 1) Forecast: The sensual, non-genre jacket design will help to signal that this novelwill also appeal to mainstream tastes. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
KLIATT
Did you know there were female werewolves? Elena didn't—until she became one. Just after she gets engaged to hunky Clayton, a large pale dog nips her. That seemingly small love bite causes Elena to change periodically into the only female werewolf on the east coast of America; bitten females usually do not survive. The dog? Clay: a born werewolf. Elena tries to regain her normal life, and escapes to Toronto where she finds a kind lover. All seems manageable, with Elena hiding her occasional needs to change, until she gets an urgent phone call drawing her back into the werewolf Pack. There she hears that the local community fears wild dogs that have started killing humans. Before Elena left, she had kept records of all the werewolves; now she was called to help find out which "mutt" had attacked—and had compromised—the Pack. Elena also feels a pull to her old fiancé Clay. Will she be able to escape again? Will she want to? Or will she be killed in the process? A compelling, if somewhat predictable, fantasy. A couple of plot twists keep the reader's interest, and the sympathetic characters are well drawn. This book gives a whole new meaning to the term "bodice ripper": hot heavy breathing by lovers and killers, human and werewolf. This volume is the first in the series Women of the Otherworld, and the first novel for Armstrong. She's a keeper. (Women of the Otherworld, Book 1). KLIATT Codes: A—Recommended for advanced students and adults. 2001, Plume, 372p., Farmer
Library Journal
Elena is a werewolf the only female werewolf in the world. Betrayed by Clay, her former lover, who bit her while in his werewolf form, she is now resigned to a life of secret changes while attempting to remain in human society. Meanwhile, the power of the Pack and her deep-seated ties to Clay continually press on her, preventing a true commitment to her human lover. When the Pack Alpha calls her to help rout a band of murderous "mutts" (werewolves not affiliated with the Pack), Elena reluctantly becomes the animal she has fought so long to suppress. First novelist Armstrong presents true werewolves as those who follow Pack law and don't kill for pleasure. Changing into a werewolf becomes an act of nature, as does ripping mutts to shreds for threatening the Pack. Elena's struggle with her wolf nature and her love for two men is caught up in the werewolves' fight for dominance and territory. While the plot is as predictable as gang warfare, readers will cheer for Elena as she beats up the big boys and has the courage to choose her own path. Recommended for larger public libraries. Jen Baker, Seattle P.L. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-Armstrong puts a new spin on the old werewolf tales and has created a well-written, thought-provoking novel to boot. The only female werewolf in existence, Elena Michaels was bitten by her werewolf fianc and learned to live within the pack. Still struggling after 10 years to accept her identity and feeling anger toward her former lover and creator, she leaves the pack to live a relatively normal life with a nice normal guy in Toronto. Before long she is called back to help discover and destroy some dangerous non-pack werewolves, called mutts, that are torturing and killing humans. (Pack werewolves do not kill humans and monitor the doings of mutts to safeguard their anonymity.) More than just fast-paced action, this book offers an allegory of the difficulties with which one struggles when life takes an entirely unplanned and unwanted route. Does Elena accept who she has become and learn to live with it peacefully or does she continue to struggle, rant, and fight that which she cannot control? She is a feisty, tough character, easy to like, and with a good lesson to share.-Carol DeAngelo, Kings Park Library, Burke, VA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Debut werenovel about cultural lycanthropy. In Toronto, Elena Michaels, the only living female werewolf, tells us that about 35 of her kind live on this planet, nearly all born as werewolves. Those who become werewolves by being bitten almost always die of physical and mental stress brought on by the Change, and the werewolf gene is passed only through males. Elena was 19 when she was purposely bitten by psychopathic Clayton, later her sometime lover. A year ago, against all werewolf instincts, she choose to leave the Pack and live with humans. Boyfriend Philip has no idea that the reason Elena often goes out late at night is that she feels the Change coming over her. Pack alpha leader Jeremy calls her back to his estate outside Syracuse to hunt down a rogue werewolf. She and Clayton kill the recently bitten adolescent rogue, but three more are hanging about, one of them a serial killer, and they have killed one of the Pack. In one memorable moment during the rogue hunt, Elena and Clayton cavort and race about after sex. A rival pack kidnaps Clayton, overcoming him with a hypodermic needle. This pack wants Elena to help breed the pure werewolves (as opposed to half-wolf, half-human) that only a female werewolf can produce. They hope to trade Clayton to Jeremy for Elena. But now they have really raised Elena's ire. . . . Armstrong's lycanthropology, though vivid, lacks the depth of Whitley Streiber's epic The Last Vampire, but it's as smooth as cream all the way, sure to gain fans.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780452296640
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 6/29/2010
  • Series: Women of the Otherworld Series , #1
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 544
  • Sales rank: 75,111
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 7.40 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Kelley Armstrong

Kelley Armstrong lives in rural southwestern Canada with her husband and three children.

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Read an Excerpt

I HAVE TO.

I've been fighting it all night. I'm going to lose. My battle is as futile as a woman feeling the first pangs of labor and deciding it's an inconvenient time to give birth. Nature wins out. It always does.

It's nearly two a.m., too late for this foolishness and I need my sleep. Four nights spent cramming to meet a deadline have left me exhausted. It doesn't matter. Patches of skin behind my knees and elbows have been tingling and now begin to burn. My heart beats so fast I have to gulp air. I clench my eyes shut, willing the sensations to stop but they don't.

Philip is sleeping beside me. He's another reason why I shouldn't leave, sneaking out in the middle of the night again and returning with a torrent of lame excuses. He's working late tomorrow. If I can just wait one more day. My temples begin to throb. The burning sensation in my skin spreads down my arms and legs. The rage forms a tight ball in my gut and threatens to explode.

I've got to get out of here-I don't have a lot of time left.

Philip doesn't stir when I slip from the bed. There's a pile of clothing tucked underneath my dresser so I won't risk the squeaks and groans of opening drawers and closets. I pick up my keys, clasping my fist around them so they don't jangle, ease open the door, and creep into the hallway.

Everything's quiet. The lights seem dimmed, as if overpowered by the emptiness. When I push the elevator button, it creaks out a complaint at being disturbed at so ungodly an hour. The first floor and lobby are equally empty. People who can afford the rent this close to downtown Toronto are comfortably asleep by this time.

My legs itch as well as hurt and I curl my toes to see if the itching stops. It doesn't. I look down at the car keys in my hand. It's too late to drive to a safe place-the itching has crystallized into a sharp burn. Keys in my pocket, I stride onto the streets, looking for a quiet place to Change. As I walk, I monitor the sensation in my legs, tracing its passage to my arms and the back of my neck. Soon. Soon. When my scalp starts to tingle, I know I have walked as far as I can so I search for an alley. The first one I find has been claimed by two men squeezed together inside a tattered big-screen TV box. The next alley is empty. I hurry to the end and undress quickly behind a barricade of trash bins, hide the clothes under an old newspaper. Then I start the Change.

My skin stretches. The sensation deepens and I try to block the pain. Pain. What a trivial word-agony is better. One doesn't call the sensation of being flayed alive "painful." I inhale deeply and focus my attention on the Change, dropping to the ground before I'm doubled over and forced down. It's never easy-perhaps I'm still too human. In the struggle to keep my thoughts straight, I try to anticipate each phase and move my body into position-head down, on all fours, arms and legs straight, feet and hands flexed, and back arched. My leg muscles knot and convulse. I gasp and strain to relax. Sweat breaks out, pouring off me in streams, but the muscles finally relent and untwist themselves. Next comes the ten seconds of hell that used to make me swear I'd rather die than endure this again. Then it's over.

Changed.

I stretch and blink. When I look around, the world has mutated to an array of colors unknown to the human eye, blacks and browns and grays with subtle shadings that my brain still converts to blues and greens and reds. I lift my nose and inhale. With the Change, my already keen senses sharpen even more. I pick up scents of fresh asphalt and rotting tomatoes and window-pot mums and day-old sweat and a million other things, mixing together in an odor so overwhelming I cough and shake my head. As I turn, I catch distorted fragments of my reflection in a dented trash can. My eyes stare back at me. I curl my lips back and snarl at myself. White fangs flash in the metal.

I am a wolf, a 130-pound wolf with pale blond fur. The only part of me that remains are my eyes, sparking with a cold intelligence and a simmering ferocity that could never be mistaken for anything but human.

I look around, inhaling the scents of the city again. I'm nervous here. It's too close, too confined; it reeks of human spoor. I must be careful. If I'm seen, I'll be mistaken for a dog, a large mixed breed, perhaps a husky and yellow Labrador mix. But even a dog my size is cause for alarm when it's running loose. I head for the back of the laneway and seek a path through the underbelly of the city.

My brain is dulled, disoriented not by my change of form but by the unnaturalness of my surroundings. I can't get my bearings and the first alley I go down turns out to be the one I'd encountered in human form, the one with the two men in the faded Sony box. One of them is awake now. He's tugging the remnants of a filth-encrusted blanket between his fingers as if he can stretch it large enough to cover himself against the cold October night. He looks up and sees me. His eyes widen. He starts to shrink back, then stops himself. He says something. His voice is crooning, the musical, exaggerated tones people use with infants and animals. If I concentrated, I could make out the words, but there's no point. I know what he's saying, some variation of "nice doggy," repeated over and over in a variety of inflections. His hands are outstretched, palms out to ward me off, the physical language contradicting the vocal. Stay back-nice doggy-stay back. And people wonder why animals don't understand them.

I can smell the neglect and waste rising from his body. It smells like weakness, like an aged deer driven to the fringe of the herd, prime pickings for predators. If I were hungry, he'd smell like dinner. Fortunately, I'm not hungry yet, so I don't have to deal with the temptation, the conflict, the revulsion. I snort, condensation trumpeting from my nostrils, then turn and lope back up the alley.

Ahead is a Vietnamese restaurant. The smell of food is embedded in the very wood frame of the building. On a rear addition, an exhaust fan turns slowly, clicking with each revolution as one blade catches the metal screen casing. Below the fan a window is open. Faded sunflower-print curtains billow out in the night breeze. I can hear people inside, a room full of people, grunting and whistling in sleep. I want to see them. I want to stick my muzzle in the open window and look inside. A werewolf can have a lot of fun with a roomful of unprotected people.

I start to creep forward but a sudden crackle and hiss stops me. The hiss softens, then is drowned out by a man's voice, sharp, his words snapped off like icicles. I turn my head each way, radar searching for the source. He's farther down the street. I abandon the restaurant and go to him. We are curious by nature.

He's standing in a three-car parking lot wedged at the end of a narrow passage between buildings. He holds a walkie-talkie to his ear and leans one elbow against a brick wall, casual but not resting. His shoulders are relaxed. His gaze goes nowhere. He is confident in his place, that he has a right to be here and little to fear from the night. The gun dangling from his belt probably helps. He stops talking, jabs a button, and slams the walkie-talkie into its holster. His eyes scan the parking lot once, taking inventory and seeing nothing requiring his attention. Then he heads deeper into the alley maze. This could be amusing. I follow.

My nails click against the pavement. He doesn't notice. I pick up speed, darting around trash bags and empty boxes. Finally, I'm close enough. He hears the steady clicking behind him and stops. I duck behind a Dumpster, peer around the corner. He turns and squints into the darkness. After a second he starts forward. I let him get a few steps away, then resume the pursuit. This time when he stops, I wait one extra second before diving for cover. He lets out a muffled oath. He's seen something-a flash of motion, a shadow flickering, something. His right hand slips to his gun, caressing the metal, then pulling back, as if the reassurance is enough. He hesitates, then looks up and down the alley, realizing he is alone and uncertain what to do about it. He mutters something, then continues walking, quicker this time.

As he walks, his eyes flick from side to side, wariness treading the border of alarm. I inhale deeply, picking up only wisps of fear, enough to make my heart pound, but not enough to send my brain spinning out of control. He's safe quarry for a stalking game. He won't run. I can suppress most of my instincts. I can stalk him without killing him. I can suffer the first pangs of hunger without killing him. I can watch him pull his gun without killing him. Yet if he runs, I won't be able to stop myself. That's a temptation I can't fight. If he runs, I will chase. If I chase, either he'll kill me or I'll kill him.

As he turns the corner down a connecting alley, he relaxes. All has been silent behind him. I creep from my hiding place, shifting my weight to the back of my foot pads to muffle the sound of my nails. Soon I am only a few feet behind him. I can smell his aftershave, almost masking the natural scent of a long day's work. I can see his white socks appearing and disappearing between his shoes and pant legs. I can hear his breathing, the slight elevation in tempo betraying the fact that he's walking faster than usual. I ease forward, coming close enough that I could lunge if I want to and knock him to the ground before he even thought to reach for his gun. His head jerks up. He knows I'm there. He knows something is there. I wonder if he will turn. Does he dare to look, to face something he can't see or hear, but can only sense? His hand slides to his gun, but he doesn't turn. He walks faster. Then he swings back to the safety of the street.

I follow him to the end and observe from the darkness. He strides forward, keys in hand, to a parked cruiser, unlocks it, and hops inside. The car roars and squeals from the curb. I watch the receding taillights and sigh. Game over. I won.

That was nice but it wasn't nearly enough to satisfy me. These city backstreets are too confining. My heart is thudding with unspent excitement. My legs are aching with built-up energy. I must run.

A wind gusts from the south, bringing the sharp tang of Lake Ontario with it. I think of heading to the beach, imagine running along the stretch of sand, feeling the icy water slapping against my paws, but it's not safe. If I want to run, I must go to the ravine. It's a long way, but I have little choice unless I plan to skulk around human-smelling alleyways for the rest of the night. I swing to the northwest and begin the journey.

Nearly a half hour later, I'm standing at the crest of a hill. My nose twitches, picking up the vestiges of an illegal leaf fire smoldering in a nearby yard. The wind bristles through my fur, chill, nearly cold, invigorating. Above me, traffic thunders across the overpass. Below is sanctuary, a perfect oasis in the middle of the city. I leap forward, throwing myself off. At last I'm running.
My legs pick up the rhythm before I'm halfway down the ravine. I close my eyes for a second and feel the wind slice across my muzzle. As my paws thump against the hard earth, tiny darts of pain shoot up my legs, but they make me feel alive, like jolting awake after an overlong sleep. The muscles contract and extend in perfect harmony. With each stretch comes an ache and a burst of physical joy. My body is thanking me for the exercise, rewarding me with jolts of near-narcotic adrenaline. The more I run, the lighter I feel, the pain falling free as if my paws are no longer striking the ground. Even as I race along the bottom of the ravine, I feel like I'm still running downhill, gaining energy instead of expending it. I want to run until all the tension in my body flies away, leaving nothing but the sensations of the moment. I couldn't stop if I wanted to. And I don't want to.

Dead leaves crackle under my paws. Somewhere in the forest an owl hoots softly. It has finished its hunting and rests contented, not caring who knows it's around. A rabbit bolts out of a thicket and halfway across my path, then realizes its mistake and zooms back into the undergrowth. I keep running. My heart pounds. Against my rising body heat, the air feels ice-cold, stinging as it storms through my nostrils and into my lungs. I inhale, savoring the shock of it hitting my insides. I'm running too fast to smell anything. Bits of scents flutter through my brain in a jumbled montage that smells of freedom. Unable to resist, I finally skid to a halt, throw my head back, and howl. The music pours up from my chest in a tangible evocation of pure joy. It echoes through the ravine and soars to the moonless sky, letting them all know I'm here. I own this place! When I'm done, I drop my head, panting with exertion. I'm standing there, staring down into a scattering of yellow and red maple leaves, when a sound pierces my self-absorption. It's a growl, a soft, menacing growl. There's a pretender to my throne.

I look up to see a brownish yellow dog standing a few meters away. No, not a dog. My brain takes a second, but it finally recognizes the animal. A coyote. The recognition takes a second because it's unexpected. I've heard there are coyotes in the city, but have never encountered one. The coyote is equally confused. Animals don't know what to make of me. They smell human, but see wolf and, just when they decide their nose is tricking them, they look into my eyes and see human. When I encounter dogs, they either attack or turn tail and run. The coyote does neither. It lifts its muzzle and sniffs the air, then bristles and pulls its lips back in a drawn-out growl. It's half my size, scarcely worth my notice. I let it know this with a lazy "get lost" growl and a shake of my head. The coyote doesn't move. I stare at it. The coyote breaks the gaze-lock first.

I snort, toss my head again, and slowly turn away. I'm halfway turned when a flash of brown fur leaps at my shoulder. Diving to the side, I roll out of the way, then scramble to my feet. The coyote snarls. I give a serious growl, a canine "now you're pissing me off." The coyote stands its ground. It wants a fight. Good.

My fur rises on end, my tail bushing out behind me. I lower my head between my shoulder bones and lay my ears flat. My lips pull back and I feel the snarl tickling up through my throat then reverberating into the night. The coyote doesn't back down. I crouch and I'm about to lunge when something hits me hard in the shoulder, throwing me off balance. I stumble, then twist to face my attacker. A second coyote, gray-brown, hangs from my shoulder, fangs sunk to the bone. With a roar of rage and pain, I buck up and throw my weight to the side.

As the second coyote flies free, the first launches itself at my face. Ducking my head, I catch it in the throat, but my teeth clamp down on fur instead of flesh and it squirms away. It tries to back off for a second lunge, but I leap at it, backing it into a tree. It rears up, trying to get out of my way. I slash for its throat. This time I get my grip. Blood spurts in my mouth, salty and thick. The coyote's mate lands on my back. My legs buckle. Teeth sink into the loose skin beneath my skull. Fresh pain arcs through me. Concentrating hard, I keep my grip on the first coyote's throat. I steady myself, then release it for a split second, just long enough to make the fatal slash and tear. As I pull back, blood sprays into my eyes, blinding me. I swing my head hard, ripping out the coyote's throat. Once I feel it go limp, I toss it aside, then throw myself on the ground and roll over. The coyote on my back yips in surprise and releases its hold. I jump up and turn in the same motion, ready to take this other animal out of the game, but it scrambles up and dives into the brush. With a flash of wire-brush tail, it's gone. I look at the dead coyote. Blood streams from its throat, eagerly lapped up by the dry earth below. A tremor runs through me, like the final shudder of sated lust. I close my eyes and shiver. Not my fault. They attacked me first. The ravine has gone quiet, echoing the calm that floods through me. Not so much as a cricket chirps. The world is dark and silent and sleeping.

I try to examine and clean my wounds, but they are out of reach. I stretch and assess the pain. Two deep cuts, both bleeding only enough to mat my fur. I'll live. I turn and start the trip out of the ravine. In the alley I Change then yank my clothes on and scurry to the sidewalk like a junkie caught shooting up in the shadows. Frustration fills me. It shouldn't end like this, dirty and furtive, amidst the garbage and filth of the city. It should end in a clearing in the forest, clothes abandoned in some thicket, stretched out naked, feeling the coolness of the earth beneath me and the night breeze tickling my bare skin. I should be falling asleep in the grass, exhausted beyond all thought, with only the miasma of contentedness floating through my mind. And I shouldn't be alone. In my mind, I can see the others, lying around me in the grass. I can hear the familiar snores, the occasional whisper and laugh. I can feel warm skin against mine, a bare foot hooked over my calf, twitching in a dream of running. I can smell them: their sweat, their breath, mingling with the scent of blood, smears from a deer killed in the chase. The image shatters and I am staring into a shopwindow, seeing nothing but myself reflected back. My chest tightens in a loneliness so deep and so complete I can't breathe.

I turn quickly and lash out at the nearest object. A streetlamp quavers and rings with the blow. Pain sears down my arm. Welcome to reality-changing in alleyways and creeping back to my apartment. I am cursed to live between worlds. On the one side there is normalcy. On the other, there is a place where I can be what I am with no fear of reprisals, where I can commit murder itself and scarcely raise the eyebrows of those around me, where I am even encouraged to do so to protect the sanctity of that world. But I left and I can't return. I won't return.

As I walk to the apartment, my anger blisters the pavement with every step. A woman curled up under a pile of dirty blankets peers out as I pass and instinctively shrinks back into her nest. As I round the corner, two men step out and size up my prospects as prey. I resist the urge to snarl at them, but just barely. I walk faster and they seem to decide I'm not worth chasing. I shouldn't be here. I should be home in bed, not prowling downtown Toronto at four a.m. A normal woman wouldn't be here. It's yet another reminder that I'm not normal. Not normal. I look down the darkened street and I can read a billet on a telephone post fifty feet off. Not normal. I catch a whiff of fresh bread from a bakery starting production miles away. Not normal. I stop by a storefront, grab a bar over the windows, and flex my biceps. The metal groans in my hand. Not normal. Not normal. I chant the words in my head, flagellating myself with them. The anger only grows.

Outside my apartment door, I stop and inhale deeply. I mustn't wake Philip. And if I do, I mustn't let him see me like this. I don't need a mirror to know what I look like: skin taut, color high, eyes incandescent with the rage that always seems to follow a Change now. Definitely not normal.

When I finally enter the apartment, I hear his measured breathing from the bedroom. Still asleep. I'm nearly to the bathroom when his breathing catches.

"Elena?"

His voice is a sleep-stuffed croak.

"Just going to the washroom." I try to slip past the doorway, but he's sitting up, peering nearsightedly at me. He frowns.

"Fully dressed?" he says.

"I went out." A moment of silence. He runs a hand through his dark hair and sighs.

"It's not safe. Damn it, Elena. We've discussed this. Wake me up and I'll go with you."

"I need to be alone. To think."

"It's not safe."

"I know. I'm sorry."

I creep into the bathroom, spending longer than necessary. I pretend to use the toilet, wash my hands with enough water to fill a Jacuzzi, then find a fingernail that needs elaborate filing attention. When I finally decide Philip has fallen back asleep, I head for the bedroom. The bedside lamp is on. He's propped on his pillow, glasses in place. I hesitate in the doorway. I can't bring myself to cross the threshold, to go and crawl into bed with him. I hate myself for it, but I can't do it. The memory of the night lingers and I feel out of place here.

When I don't move, Philip shifts his legs over the side of the bed and sits up.
"I didn't mean to snap," he says. "I worry. I know you need your freedom and I'm trying-"

He stops and rubs his hand across his mouth. His words slice through me. I know he doesn't mean them as a reprimand, but they are a reminder that I'm screwing this up, that I'm fortunate to have found someone as patient and understanding as Philip, but I'm wearing through that patience at breakneck speed and all I seem capable of doing is standing back and waiting for the final crash.
"I know you need your freedom," he says again. "But there has to be some other way. Maybe you could go out in the morning, early. If you prefer night, we could drive down to the lake. You could walk around. I could sit in the car and keep an eye on you. Maybe I could walk with you. Stay twenty paces behind or something." He manages a wry smile. "Or maybe not. I'd probably get picked up by the cops, the middle-aged guy stalking the beautiful young blonde."
He pauses, then leans forward. "That's your cue, Elena. You're supposed to remind me that forty-one is far from middle-aged."

"We'll work something out," I say.

We can't, of course. I have to run under the cover of night and I have to do it alone. There is no compromise.

As he sits on the edge of the bed, watching me, I know we're doomed. My only hope is to make this relationship so otherwise perfect that Philip might come to overlook our one insurmountable problem. To do that, my first step should be to go to him, crawl in bed, kiss him and tell him I love him. But I can't. Not tonight. Tonight I'm something else, something he doesn't know and couldn't understand. I don't want to go to him like this.

"I'm not tired," I say. "I might as well stay up. Do you want breakfast?"

He looks at me. Something in his expression falters and I know I've failed-again. But he doesn't say anything. He pulls his smile back in place. "Let's go out. Someplace in this city has to be open this early. We'll drive around until we find it. Drink five cups of coffee and watch the sun come up. Okay?"

I nod, not trusting myself to speak.

"Shower first?" he says.

"Or flip for it?"

"You go ahead."

He kisses my cheek as he passes. I wait until I hear the shower running, then head for the kitchen.

Sometimes I get so hungry.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Table of Contents

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First Chapter

I HAVE TO.

I've been fighting it all night. I'm going to lose. My battle is as futile as a woman feeling the first pangs of labor and deciding it's an inconvenient time to give birth. Nature wins out. It always does.

It's nearly two a.m., too late for this foolishness and I need my sleep. Four nights spent cramming to meet a deadline have left me exhausted. It doesn't matter. Patches of skin behind my knees and elbows have been tingling and now begin to burn. My heart beats so fast I have to gulp air. I clench my eyes shut, willing the sensations to stop but they don't.

Philip is sleeping beside me. He's another reason why I shouldn't leave, sneaking out in the middle of the night again and returning with a torrent of lame excuses. He's working late tomorrow. If I can just wait one more day. My temples begin to throb. The burning sensation in my skin spreads down my arms and legs. The rage forms a tight ball in my gut and threatens to explode.

I've got to get out of here-I don't have a lot of time left.

Philip doesn't stir when I slip from the bed. There's a pile of clothing tucked underneath my dresser so I won't risk the squeaks and groans of opening drawers and closets. I pick up my keys, clasping my fist around them so they don't jangle, ease open the door, and creep into the hallway.

Everything's quiet. The lights seem dimmed, as if overpowered by the emptiness. When I push the elevator button, it creaks out a complaint at being disturbed at so ungodly an hour. The first floor and lobby are equally empty. People who can afford the rent this close to downtown Toronto are comfortably asleep by this time.

My legs itch as well as hurtand I curl my toes to see if the itching stops. It doesn't. I look down at the car keys in my hand. It's too late to drive to a safe place-the itching has crystallized into a sharp burn. Keys in my pocket, I stride onto the streets, looking for a quiet place to Change. As I walk, I monitor the sensation in my legs, tracing its passage to my arms and the back of my neck. Soon. Soon. When my scalp starts to tingle, I know I have walked as far as I can so I search for an alley. The first one I find has been claimed by two men squeezed together inside a tattered big-screen TV box. The next alley is empty. I hurry to the end and undress quickly behind a barricade of trash bins, hide the clothes under an old newspaper. Then I start the Change.

My skin stretches. The sensation deepens and I try to block the pain. Pain. What a trivial word-agony is better. One doesn't call the sensation of being flayed alive "painful." I inhale deeply and focus my attention on the Change, dropping to the ground before I'm doubled over and forced down. It's never easy-perhaps I'm still too human. In the struggle to keep my thoughts straight, I try to anticipate each phase and move my body into position-head down, on all fours, arms and legs straight, feet and hands flexed, and back arched. My leg muscles knot and convulse. I gasp and strain to relax. Sweat breaks out, pouring off me in streams, but the muscles finally relent and untwist themselves. Next comes the ten seconds of hell that used to make me swear I'd rather die than endure this again. Then it's over.

Changed.

I stretch and blink. When I look around, the world has mutated to an array of colors unknown to the human eye, blacks and browns and grays with subtle shadings that my brain still converts to blues and greens and reds. I lift my nose and inhale. With the Change, my already keen senses sharpen even more. I pick up scents of fresh asphalt and rotting tomatoes and window-pot mums and day-old sweat and a million other things, mixing together in an odor so overwhelming I cough and shake my head. As I turn, I catch distorted fragments of my reflection in a dented trash can. My eyes stare back at me. I curl my lips back and snarl at myself. White fangs flash in the metal.

I am a wolf, a 130-pound wolf with pale blond fur. The only part of me that remains are my eyes, sparking with a cold intelligence and a simmering ferocity that could never be mistaken for anything but human.

I look around, inhaling the scents of the city again. I'm nervous here. It's too close, too confined; it reeks of human spoor. I must be careful. If I'm seen, I'll be mistaken for a dog, a large mixed breed, perhaps a husky and yellow Labrador mix. But even a dog my size is cause for alarm when it's running loose. I head for the back of the laneway and seek a path through the underbelly of the city.

My brain is dulled, disoriented not by my change of form but by the unnaturalness of my surroundings. I can't get my bearings and the first alley I go down turns out to be the one I'd encountered in human form, the one with the two men in the faded Sony box. One of them is awake now. He's tugging the remnants of a filth-encrusted blanket between his fingers as if he can stretch it large enough to cover himself against the cold October night. He looks up and sees me. His eyes widen. He starts to shrink back, then stops himself. He says something. His voice is crooning, the musical, exaggerated tones people use with infants and animals. If I concentrated, I could make out the words, but there's no point. I know what he's saying, some variation of "nice doggy," repeated over and over in a variety of inflections. His hands are outstretched, palms out to ward me off, the physical language contradicting the vocal. Stay back-nice doggy-stay back. And people wonder why animals don't understand them.

I can smell the neglect and waste rising from his body. It smells like weakness, like an aged deer driven to the fringe of the herd, prime pickings for predators. If I were hungry, he'd smell like dinner. Fortunately, I'm not hungry yet, so I don't have to deal with the temptation, the conflict, the revulsion. I snort, condensation trumpeting from my nostrils, then turn and lope back up the alley.

Ahead is a Vietnamese restaurant. The smell of food is embedded in the very wood frame of the building. On a rear addition, an exhaust fan turns slowly, clicking with each revolution as one blade catches the metal screen casing. Below the fan a window is open. Faded sunflower-print curtains billow out in the night breeze. I can hear people inside, a room full of people, grunting and whistling in sleep. I want to see them. I want to stick my muzzle in the open window and look inside. A werewolf can have a lot of fun with a roomful of unprotected people.

I start to creep forward but a sudden crackle and hiss stops me. The hiss softens, then is drowned out by a man's voice, sharp, his words snapped off like icicles. I turn my head each way, radar searching for the source. He's farther down the street. I abandon the restaurant and go to him. We are curious by nature.

He's standing in a three-car parking lot wedged at the end of a narrow passage between buildings. He holds a walkie-talkie to his ear and leans one elbow against a brick wall, casual but not resting. His shoulders are relaxed. His gaze goes nowhere. He is confident in his place, that he has a right to be here and little to fear from the night. The gun dangling from his belt probably helps. He stops talking, jabs a button, and slams the walkie-talkie into its holster. His eyes scan the parking lot once, taking inventory and seeing nothing requiring his attention. Then he heads deeper into the alley maze. This could be amusing. I follow.

My nails click against the pavement. He doesn't notice. I pick up speed, darting around trash bags and empty boxes. Finally, I'm close enough. He hears the steady clicking behind him and stops. I duck behind a Dumpster, peer around the corner. He turns and squints into the darkness. After a second he starts forward. I let him get a few steps away, then resume the pursuit. This time when he stops, I wait one extra second before diving for cover. He lets out a muffled oath. He's seen something-a flash of motion, a shadow flickering, something. His right hand slips to his gun, caressing the metal, then pulling back, as if the reassurance is enough. He hesitates, then looks up and down the alley, realizing he is alone and uncertain what to do about it. He mutters something, then continues walking, quicker this time.

As he walks, his eyes flick from side to side, wariness treading the border of alarm. I inhale deeply, picking up only wisps of fear, enough to make my heart pound, but not enough to send my brain spinning out of control. He's safe quarry for a stalking game. He won't run. I can suppress most of my instincts. I can stalk him without killing him. I can suffer the first pangs of hunger without killing him. I can watch him pull his gun without killing him. Yet if he runs, I won't be able to stop myself. That's a temptation I can't fight. If he runs, I will chase. If I chase, either he'll kill me or I'll kill him.

As he turns the corner down a connecting alley, he relaxes. All has been silent behind him. I creep from my hiding place, shifting my weight to the back of my foot pads to muffle the sound of my nails. Soon I am only a few feet behind him. I can smell his aftershave, almost masking the natural scent of a long day's work. I can see his white socks appearing and disappearing between his shoes and pant legs. I can hear his breathing, the slight elevation in tempo betraying the fact that he's walking faster than usual. I ease forward, coming close enough that I could lunge if I want to and knock him to the ground before he even thought to reach for his gun. His head jerks up. He knows I'm there. He knows something is there. I wonder if he will turn. Does he dare to look, to face something he can't see or hear, but can only sense? His hand slides to his gun, but he doesn't turn. He walks faster. Then he swings back to the safety of the street.

I follow him to the end and observe from the darkness. He strides forward, keys in hand, to a parked cruiser, unlocks it, and hops inside. The car roars and squeals from the curb. I watch the receding taillights and sigh. Game over. I won.

That was nice but it wasn't nearly enough to satisfy me. These city backstreets are too confining. My heart is thudding with unspent excitement. My legs are aching with built-up energy. I must run.

A wind gusts from the south, bringing the sharp tang of Lake Ontario with it. I think of heading to the beach, imagine running along the stretch of sand, feeling the icy water slapping against my paws, but it's not safe. If I want to run, I must go to the ravine. It's a long way, but I have little choice unless I plan to skulk around human-smelling alleyways for the rest of the night. I swing to the northwest and begin the journey.

Nearly a half hour later, I'm standing at the crest of a hill. My nose twitches, picking up the vestiges of an illegal leaf fire smoldering in a nearby yard. The wind bristles through my fur, chill, nearly cold, invigorating. Above me, traffic thunders across the overpass. Below is sanctuary, a perfect oasis in the middle of the city. I leap forward, throwing myself off. At last I'm running.
My legs pick up the rhythm before I'm halfway down the ravine. I close my eyes for a second and feel the wind slice across my muzzle. As my paws thump against the hard earth, tiny darts of pain shoot up my legs, but they make me feel alive, like jolting awake after an overlong sleep. The muscles contract and extend in perfect harmony. With each stretch comes an ache and a burst of physical joy. My body is thanking me for the exercise, rewarding me with jolts of near-narcotic adrenaline. The more I run, the lighter I feel, the pain falling free as if my paws are no longer striking the ground. Even as I race along the bottom of the ravine, I feel like I'm still running downhill, gaining energy instead of expending it. I want to run until all the tension in my body flies away, leaving nothing but the sensations of the moment. I couldn't stop if I wanted to. And I don't want to.

Dead leaves crackle under my paws. Somewhere in the forest an owl hoots softly. It has finished its hunting and rests contented, not caring who knows it's around. A rabbit bolts out of a thicket and halfway across my path, then realizes its mistake and zooms back into the undergrowth. I keep running. My heart pounds. Against my rising body heat, the air feels ice-cold, stinging as it storms through my nostrils and into my lungs. I inhale, savoring the shock of it hitting my insides. I'm running too fast to smell anything. Bits of scents flutter through my brain in a jumbled montage that smells of freedom. Unable to resist, I finally skid to a halt, throw my head back, and howl. The music pours up from my chest in a tangible evocation of pure joy. It echoes through the ravine and soars to the moonless sky, letting them all know I'm here. I own this place! When I'm done, I drop my head, panting with exertion. I'm standing there, staring down into a scattering of yellow and red maple leaves, when a sound pierces my self-absorption. It's a growl, a soft, menacing growl. There's a pretender to my throne.

I look up to see a brownish yellow dog standing a few meters away. No, not a dog. My brain takes a second, but it finally recognizes the animal. A coyote. The recognition takes a second because it's unexpected. I've heard there are coyotes in the city, but have never encountered one. The coyote is equally confused. Animals don't know what to make of me. They smell human, but see wolf and, just when they decide their nose is tricking them, they look into my eyes and see human. When I encounter dogs, they either attack or turn tail and run. The coyote does neither. It lifts its muzzle and sniffs the air, then bristles and pulls its lips back in a drawn-out growl. It's half my size, scarcely worth my notice. I let it know this with a lazy "get lost" growl and a shake of my head. The coyote doesn't move. I stare at it. The coyote breaks the gaze-lock first.

I snort, toss my head again, and slowly turn away. I'm halfway turned when a flash of brown fur leaps at my shoulder. Diving to the side, I roll out of the way, then scramble to my feet. The coyote snarls. I give a serious growl, a canine "now you're pissing me off." The coyote stands its ground. It wants a fight. Good.

My fur rises on end, my tail bushing out behind me. I lower my head between my shoulder bones and lay my ears flat. My lips pull back and I feel the snarl tickling up through my throat then reverberating into the night. The coyote doesn't back down. I crouch and I'm about to lunge when something hits me hard in the shoulder, throwing me off balance. I stumble, then twist to face my attacker. A second coyote, gray-brown, hangs from my shoulder, fangs sunk to the bone. With a roar of rage and pain, I buck up and throw my weight to the side.

As the second coyote flies free, the first launches itself at my face. Ducking my head, I catch it in the throat, but my teeth clamp down on fur instead of flesh and it squirms away. It tries to back off for a second lunge, but I leap at it, backing it into a tree. It rears up, trying to get out of my way. I slash for its throat. This time I get my grip. Blood spurts in my mouth, salty and thick. The coyote's mate lands on my back. My legs buckle. Teeth sink into the loose skin beneath my skull. Fresh pain arcs through me. Concentrating hard, I keep my grip on the first coyote's throat. I steady myself, then release it for a split second, just long enough to make the fatal slash and tear. As I pull back, blood sprays into my eyes, blinding me. I swing my head hard, ripping out the coyote's throat. Once I feel it go limp, I toss it aside, then throw myself on the ground and roll over. The coyote on my back yips in surprise and releases its hold. I jump up and turn in the same motion, ready to take this other animal out of the game, but it scrambles up and dives into the brush. With a flash of wire-brush tail, it's gone. I look at the dead coyote. Blood streams from its throat, eagerly lapped up by the dry earth below. A tremor runs through me, like the final shudder of sated lust. I close my eyes and shiver. Not my fault. They attacked me first. The ravine has gone quiet, echoing the calm that floods through me. Not so much as a cricket chirps. The world is dark and silent and sleeping.

I try to examine and clean my wounds, but they are out of reach. I stretch and assess the pain. Two deep cuts, both bleeding only enough to mat my fur. I'll live. I turn and start the trip out of the ravine. In the alley I Change then yank my clothes on and scurry to the sidewalk like a junkie caught shooting up in the shadows. Frustration fills me. It shouldn't end like this, dirty and furtive, amidst the garbage and filth of the city. It should end in a clearing in the forest, clothes abandoned in some thicket, stretched out naked, feeling the coolness of the earth beneath me and the night breeze tickling my bare skin. I should be falling asleep in the grass, exhausted beyond all thought, with only the miasma of contentedness floating through my mind. And I shouldn't be alone. In my mind, I can see the others, lying around me in the grass. I can hear the familiar snores, the occasional whisper and laugh. I can feel warm skin against mine, a bare foot hooked over my calf, twitching in a dream of running. I can smell them: their sweat, their breath, mingling with the scent of blood, smears from a deer killed in the chase. The image shatters and I am staring into a shopwindow, seeing nothing but myself reflected back. My chest tightens in a loneliness so deep and so complete I can't breathe.

I turn quickly and lash out at the nearest object. A streetlamp quavers and rings with the blow. Pain sears down my arm. Welcome to reality-changing in alleyways and creeping back to my apartment. I am cursed to live between worlds. On the one side there is normalcy. On the other, there is a place where I can be what I am with no fear of reprisals, where I can commit murder itself and scarcely raise the eyebrows of those around me, where I am even encouraged to do so to protect the sanctity of that world. But I left and I can't return. I won't return.

As I walk to the apartment, my anger blisters the pavement with every step. A woman curled up under a pile of dirty blankets peers out as I pass and instinctively shrinks back into her nest. As I round the corner, two men step out and size up my prospects as prey. I resist the urge to snarl at them, but just barely. I walk faster and they seem to decide I'm not worth chasing. I shouldn't be here. I should be home in bed, not prowling downtown Toronto at four a.m. A normal woman wouldn't be here. It's yet another reminder that I'm not normal. Not normal. I look down the darkened street and I can read a billet on a telephone post fifty feet off. Not normal. I catch a whiff of fresh bread from a bakery starting production miles away. Not normal. I stop by a storefront, grab a bar over the windows, and flex my biceps. The metal groans in my hand. Not normal. Not normal. I chant the words in my head, flagellating myself with them. The anger only grows.

Outside my apartment door, I stop and inhale deeply. I mustn't wake Philip. And if I do, I mustn't let him see me like this. I don't need a mirror to know what I look like: skin taut, color high, eyes incandescent with the rage that always seems to follow a Change now. Definitely not normal.

When I finally enter the apartment, I hear his measured breathing from the bedroom. Still asleep. I'm nearly to the bathroom when his breathing catches.

"Elena?"

His voice is a sleep-stuffed croak.

"Just going to the washroom." I try to slip past the doorway, but he's sitting up, peering nearsightedly at me. He frowns.

"Fully dressed?" he says.

"I went out." A moment of silence. He runs a hand through his dark hair and sighs.

"It's not safe. Damn it, Elena. We've discussed this. Wake me up and I'll go with you."

"I need to be alone. To think."

"It's not safe."

"I know. I'm sorry."

I creep into the bathroom, spending longer than necessary. I pretend to use the toilet, wash my hands with enough water to fill a Jacuzzi, then find a fingernail that needs elaborate filing attention. When I finally decide Philip has fallen back asleep, I head for the bedroom. The bedside lamp is on. He's propped on his pillow, glasses in place. I hesitate in the doorway. I can't bring myself to cross the threshold, to go and crawl into bed with him. I hate myself for it, but I can't do it. The memory of the night lingers and I feel out of place here.

When I don't move, Philip shifts his legs over the side of the bed and sits up.
"I didn't mean to snap," he says. "I worry. I know you need your freedom and I'm trying-"

He stops and rubs his hand across his mouth. His words slice through me. I know he doesn't mean them as a reprimand, but they are a reminder that I'm screwing this up, that I'm fortunate to have found someone as patient and understanding as Philip, but I'm wearing through that patience at breakneck speed and all I seem capable of doing is standing back and waiting for the final crash.
"I know you need your freedom," he says again. "But there has to be some other way. Maybe you could go out in the morning, early. If you prefer night, we could drive down to the lake. You could walk around. I could sit in the car and keep an eye on you. Maybe I could walk with you. Stay twenty paces behind or something." He manages a wry smile. "Or maybe not. I'd probably get picked up by the cops, the middle-aged guy stalking the beautiful young blonde."
He pauses, then leans forward. "That's your cue, Elena. You're supposed to remind me that forty-one is far from middle-aged."

"We'll work something out," I say.

We can't, of course. I have to run under the cover of night and I have to do it alone. There is no compromise.

As he sits on the edge of the bed, watching me, I know we're doomed. My only hope is to make this relationship so otherwise perfect that Philip might come to overlook our one insurmountable problem. To do that, my first step should be to go to him, crawl in bed, kiss him and tell him I love him. But I can't. Not tonight. Tonight I'm something else, something he doesn't know and couldn't understand. I don't want to go to him like this.

"I'm not tired," I say. "I might as well stay up. Do you want breakfast?"

He looks at me. Something in his expression falters and I know I've failed-again. But he doesn't say anything. He pulls his smile back in place. "Let's go out. Someplace in this city has to be open this early. We'll drive around until we find it. Drink five cups of coffee and watch the sun come up. Okay?"

I nod, not trusting myself to speak.

"Shower first?" he says.

"Or flip for it?"

"You go ahead."

He kisses my cheek as he passes. I wait until I hear the shower running, then head for the kitchen.

Sometimes I get so hungry.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 682 )
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(405)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 687 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Bitten by Bitten

    I don't think Armstrong could've started out her "Women of the Otherworld Series" any better. This is one of her best books ever. This book inspires fear, hope, and so many other emotions its hard to count.

    She never lets you down with this first book and she never falters to let you care about the characters. Every single one of them. I highly recommend it for a good urban fantasy with some heartbreaking romance on the side.

    12 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 15, 2010

    Bitten

    In Kelly Armstrong's book, Bitten, the reader will be pulled into a completely different world filled with drama, action, and romance. The main characters Elena and Clay have a love hate relationship that many people could relate too. Their constant fighting and drama will catch the attention of the reader. This book is so different from all the other werewolf books because it relates back to real human life and the struggles, but of course adding the twist of a werewolf life as well. This is the type of book that the reader will not be able to put down. Page after page it gets more and more intense as the fight for territory, revenge, and the only female werewolf unravels. This is an unending story, leaving the last page of the book as open interpretation. The only way to find out what happens next is to continue reading the series to find out more to this intense story of Elena and Clay. Armstrong's words just fly off the page and gives the reader very vivid images and grab their attention. This book will pull the reader into a world of unending imagination. While reading Bitten, the reader themselves will feel as if they are a character in the story as well, imagining what it would be like to actually be their fighting, going through "the change", and living everyday life as one of them. This is the first book of a series that will change the way the reader looks at "Women of the other world."

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Bitten

    After simply loving the fantastic timing and characters in Kelley Armstrong's The Awakening and The Summoning, I thought I'd check out her backlist to see if her adult novels were just as good. I knew in picking up Bitten that I'd be getting a werewolf novel (perfect timing for Halloween) but didn't know much else. What I stumbled into was a complex and very character driven story about a strong female werewolf, trying to build a life for herself outside of the Pack. Since werewolves are only born male, Elena was bitten (against her will) and has never really gotten past that little detail. Even though her Pack has helped her try to accept this new part of her life, she's determined to break all ties with them in favor of trying to make it on her own in the city. She does pretty good for a while, even moving in with her boyfriend Phillip - a kind and patient man who has absolutely no idea what she really is. That is until the Alpha Jeremy calls asking for help and her return does she start to panic. Even though she's been gone more than a year, Elena still hasn't really sorted out her feelings about being a werewolf or her fellow wolves. She really doesn't know what to do about Clay, Jeremy's foster son, the man who stole her heart but who ends up breaking it since he tends to act more like a wolf than a man. Unwillingly, Elena returns to help the Pack only to discover they are on the brink of an all-out war with loner-wolves who will stop at nothing to get what they want.

    Elena's story moves at a fast clip with plenty of action and some truly memorable characters to lead the way. Unfortunately, as I got more settled into Bitten, I continued to have issues with a few aspects Elena's story. The characterizations are all there and there were even some really good Pack dynamics happening - I just couldn't get over my irritation with Elena. That's not to say I didn't like her at all, I actually did - she's had some pretty rough things happen in her life and has come out a strong, determined woman - very admirable, but I couldn't stand the way she treated Clay and Phillip. I mean, I know Elena had moved away, trying to make a clean break from her life with the Pack and had set up shop with Phillip; but when things change does she break it off with Phillip or even ask for some time apart? No, the girl doesn't know what she wants (somewhat understandable) and so continues to keep both men stringing along. Very bad form. I understand that there was a lot going on to distract her from making up her mind, but she was so dang slow about it just ended up hurting my head. Probably part of the reason is because I became super attached to Clay. Southern drawl and all, the man is a total package so just maybe, I might have ended becoming a little defensive where he was concerned. That said, Bitten spun an intriguing story full of what I like best: believable characters - I just wish some had acted a little differently.
    seemichelleread.blogspot.com

    7 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Great Book!

    I love Kelley Armstrong's style of writing. She can capture the reader and keep them hooked. I couldn't put this book down until I reached the end, then I went and bought the whole Otherworld series. She has a great balance of drama, mystery, romance, and fantasy. This is definitely a book I will read many times.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Bitten

    Bitten happens to be my first paranormal book and I really enjoyed it. I would talk to my family and friends about it and get them into Bitten too. I love how it's not the men that's always saving the day, but the women this time. Very Romantic and love the action. Kept me reading more and want me know more about what is going on. I don't think there's a word for me to descibe how good this book is to me.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 21, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Great plot, good for a younger generation

    #1 in the Otherworld Series, I picked up Bitten because there was much praise given it by fans and other authors. I enjoyed the concept, and a couple characters stood out, including Clay, Elena's werewolf love, and Jeremy, the werewolf Alpha pack leader; however, I found that Elena seemed to lack true character depth. She had a very hard life growing up, and her first true love, Clay, but her and turned her into a werewolf. She despised him for many years. The danger to Elena's life comes when Jeremy calls her back to Stonehaven, away from her life in Toronto--where she is trying to live a normal life, with a human fiancé, a job, and an apartment--to help control some pesky mutts (werewolves without a pack) that are causing trouble and killing humans. The details in both the fighting and the sexual scenes felt very blaze and left me thinking "that's it"? Her relationship with Clay and the pack members is clear, and she proves to be an asset, but from the very first page to the very last, I found myself uninterested through an adult perspective. If I had read Bitten as a 16-year old, I would've enjoyed it. Very good plot and a few characters stand solid to continue as fascinating characters, but overall I wasn't impressed with the bland writing style. This is definitely a teen book in my opinion. Not captivating enough as a paranormal romance novel for mature adults.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 20, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A good first book in the series.

    I liked this book. It was off beat and the characters are entertaining. It took me a while to become engrossed in the book but once it picked up I couldnt put it down. Clay and Elena are definitely a facinating couple.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 1, 2010

    Otherworld

    Of all the recent Fantasy/Thriller novels flooding our world, Kelley Armstrong's "Bitten", is definitely one of the better ones. It is not fussy or overwritten and there is nothing amateur about it.

    I wanted to read this book. As I was browsing through my library I came across two more of Kelley Armstrong's books that I had forgotten I owned. Shame on me. They are now on my TBR pile.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 10, 2009

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    I WAS LOST FOR WORDS BUT IN A GOOD WAY

    I THOUGHT I SAW MY FAIR SHARES OF SERIES BUT THIS ONE WAS OFF THE CHAIN..I FELL IN LOVE WITH THE CHARACTERS AND THE WAY KELLEY WRITES...I CAN PICTURE EVERY DETAIL IN THE BOOK...SHE SET THE THEME IN SYRACUSE WHICH IS WHERE I AM FROM AND IT HAD ME THINKING FOR A MINUTE IF THERE WAS REALLY WEREWOLVES OUT HERE LOL...SHE HAS BECOME MY FAVORITE AUTHOR...I CANT WAIT TO GET THE REST OF THE SERIES...IM STUCK WITH WATS GONNA HAPPEN NEXT EVEN THO I STARTED THE SERIES FROM THE THIRD BOOK!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 5, 2009

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    A well-crafted novel where detail is packed in every inch of each letter of each page.

    Armstrong does a remarkable job in introducing her world with this first book. Her writing style really fills in the gaps of each character as if you known Elena, the main character, and others for years. The fact that she pokes in small stories or flashbacks as the story progresses makes it as if your reliving the character's life. Not only, but she also pokes in werewolf history and culture in her stories so not even the reader is left with a question mark or an overly scratched head. Armstrong truly made her book original and stand out from the rest. Personally, this book has become a well weaved novel that not only does its duty as a great romance book, but contains a plot and a story line hidden behind the pages that truly deems this a great book overall. Armstrong also does a great way of communicating her thoughts while leaving you chuckling at the sarcastic humor that covers each page. I will definitely say that this is a must read for all werewolf romance readers.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 5, 2009

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    Kelley Armstrong has the best wolves around!

    After reading quite a few other books with werewoves involved I really wasn't a big fan of the fury things. After reading Ms Armstongs version of werewolves I am hooked! The whole series is great (currently on book 6) and I plan to read every book she has wrote.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 13, 2009

    Bitten

    A abused woman grows up and falls in love with a man who doesn't reveal that he is actually already bitten her and is expecting her to still want him in the end.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 1, 2009

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    I Also Recommend:

    Definately "Bitten" by the Armstrong Bug

    In all my reading, and I read a lot, there's no love story to compare to that between Clay and Elena. I love all the Women of the Otherworld novels, but there's not a story among them that's as powerful as Armstrong's first, "Bitten."

    Elena is a young woman torn between the normal life she wants and the supernatural world she craves. Bitten and turned into a werewolf by the man she loves, Elena has left that world to find her place among the humans. On call, though, drags her back into the life that she's tried so hard to leave behind, and the arms of the man who she feels betrayed her.

    Armstrong presents the age-old story of werewolves in a new light that is all her own. They're sexy and smart and completely enthralling. There's nothing more appealing to me than a story built around a woman who can kick butt and "Bitten" delivers. Strong emotions, but the strongest is love and forgiveness. You won't be disappointed.

    (not for kids)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 10, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Bitten

    So, I came into Bitten having read nearly all of the other books in the Women of the Otherworld series. In fact, the books with Elena narrating are the only ones I haven't read. It was very interesting to read this one, knowing it was the first in the series and already knowing in broader strokes who major players like Elena, Clayton, Jeremy, and Karl, are.<BR/><BR/>The narration in this book is much darker than in her more recent works, where the women seem more vibrant and infused with personality, and it took me a few chapters to get comfortable. Once I got used to Elena's voice, however, I found that I quite liked that it was not so light in tone. Elena's story is darker, for one thing. She struggles with a difficult childhood and a terrible betrayal as an adult, as well as her dual life as a werewolf, and so the darker tone in appropriate, I think. I remember not liking Paige as much, right away (Dimestore Magic was the first Armstrong I read); I think I actually came to like Elena more quickly, or maybe I just found her easier to relate to than sheltered girly girl Paige.<BR/><BR/>Elena's first story, which focuses on her return to the Pack when it is threatened by a group of outsiders, is really about her coming to grips with herself, not only as a werewolf, but who she is as a person. She has to learn to accept certain things about her nature, and reconcile her past with her life now. She also has to resolve her feelings for Clay, the wolf who she fell in love with, and who betrayed her in the worst way possible, by making her a werewolf without his consent. I found her personal journey just as compelling as the more action-oriented parts of the plot.<BR/><BR/>There were a few elements in the book that I struggled with. One, the infidelity. Elena has constructed a human life for herself, living with a human man and holding down a regular job. When she returns to the Pack, her feelings for Clay resurface, and while she struggles with the emotional side, she easily gives in to the physical. I think having suffered infidelity in a serious relationship in own life, I find it very difficult to sympathize with those who commit it. The other issue I had was learning to like Clay. I see his biting Elena without her consent as a form of rape, worse than anything her foster fathers did because she trusted him and loved him, and rather than offering her a choice she might well have taken, he made the decision for her. Elena eventually decides that being a werewolf is a good thing for her, but she was still made one without the opportunity to say yes or no. In the long run, I just had to buy into Elena's way of thinking, and roll with her decisions.<BR/><BR/>Overall, though, I thought Bitten was excellent. The plot revolving around the Pack was full of action, but Elena's emotional journey was the meat of the story for me. I'm very glad I finally picked this book up.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2004

    LOVED IT!!! IT WAS HARD TO PUT DOWN

    A great story w/ very few slow spots. I trully loved the book and I'm happy to hear there is a sequel to it... can't wait to read it as well.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2004

    FANTASTIC !!! MUST READ!! and I'm not a werewolf fan.

    If you ever wanted to know what it would feel like to be a werewolf or dog, there is no more accurate rendition of that feeling...I'm sure..than the one described by Kelley Armstrong. What a thrilling story and to learn that it is her first, that blew me away. Not only are her story lines exciting in 'Bitten' and 'Stolen' the second book, but I think what I enjoy most is her description of all the senses that a werewolf/dog experiences. This book was an unexpected surprise....A MUST READ! PS. it's gruesome, exciting, sexy and thrilling.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2003

    Waiting for the sequel!!

    From the first page to the very ending I lived, slept even breathed the book. I enjoyed the book very thoroughly and even went back and read it a second time before starting a new one. When I heard there was a sequel I rushed out and bought it full price. This is the most amazing book I have ever read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2003

    Couldn't Put It Down!!!!

    Truly a great story. I first noticed the authors second book, which looked very interesting. Of course I wanted to start at the beginning....so I read Bitten. It was definately not what I expected at all. But I am soooooo glad I read it. What a great twist on an old story. Kudos to Kelly Armstrong.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2003

    The world of Werewolves through Elena's Eyes

    This book was wonderful. If you are looking to get into werewolve culture, this is the book to read. You'll enjoy it's face paced and savage nature. You won't be able to put it down untill it's done!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2003

    Great Read Even For the Pickiest of Readers

    I can honestly say this is one of the best books I have ever read. The plot flows perfectly, the characters are believable, and the writing style flows so nicely that pages just melt by. Armstrong has done everything perfectly in every way. Usually books in a series leave things hanging, but Armstrong wraps everything up aimiably. This is one of the greatest literary achievements, and I recommend you don't miss it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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