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"Watch out for werewolves," he warned.
Cheri responded with a deep sigh and stepped into the airlock to exit the ship. Outside she walked around her pride and joy, the small transport ship called Scarlet's Legacy, named for her mother. A few dings here and there. Seeing no serious damage, she headed to the hatch. Pushing her collar button to radio Rex as she approached the ship's entrance, she halted in her tracks, then released the button without speaking.
The largest wolf she'd ever seen blocked her way back to the hatch.
Her instincts, always attuned to animals of all kinds, told her this great beast was not a danger. Even with fresh werewolf warnings dancing in her mind, the uncontrollable urge to stroke the wolf's beautiful fur to determine if it was as soft as it looked raged inside her.
Sensing no threat, Cheri took a step closer.
"Holy shit, Cheri," Rex whispered in her ear breaking her calm. "There's a big fuckin' wolf by the hatch door."
"Yeah, I see him," she muttered sarcastically. "He's blocking the door." The wolf regarded her with the most stunning blue eyes. On his haunches with front paws resting forward, tail wrapped around his paws, mouth open slightly as he panted, revealing lots of white teeth, he was the most beautiful creature she'd ever seen. His coat was deep space black minus the stars.
"Don't move. I'll try to angle the cannon around and get a shot," Rex whispered in her ear.
"No," Cheri shouted into her radio. "Don't shoot him." She moved closer to the wolf, putting herself between the ship's gun mount and her visitor. The beautiful wolf didn't budge except for his gentle panting.
"What's wrong with you?That beast is two seconds away from ripping your throat out." Rex's flair for the dramatic emerged in full force.
Cheri glanced at the wolf and couldn't help but smile. The wolf in turn tilted his head to the side and his tongue lolled out. Her smile changed into a huge grin.
She crept forward to an arm's length away. The wolf watched. His eyes blinked slowly as if sizing her up and finding her acceptable.
"Are you crazy, Cheri?"
"Relax. He won't hurt me. I can sense it."
"Oh? You're a wolf whisperer, now?"
Reaching out with thumb and fingers tucked inside her palm to be less threatening, Cheri let the wolf sniff her hand. After bumping his long nose against her fist, he licked her knuckles. A girly giggle bubbled out as his rough textured tongue tickled her skin. She stroked his nose and scratched behind his ears. His fur was kitten belly soft.
"See, Rex. He's harmless."
Her sentiment changed in the next second when the black wolf's ears went straight up. He turned his big furry head toward the forest and a deep growl resonated from his throat.
"Someone's coming..." Rex shouted. The wolf sprang up on hind legs, towering over her. Sucking in a breath, Cheri almost peed on herself when the animal's great front paws landed on her shoulders and pushed her to the ground. A couple hundred pounds of canine landed on top of her as the sound of a sonic laser blast rang out.
The wolf yelped when she hit the ground with a thump. His paw brushed her neck, scratching her. The warm sting of the wound registered as her head struck the dirt. She fought the blackness of unconsciousness. Something wet caressed her cheek. The wolf licked her? She didn't have time to analyze the gesture before dropping out.