The Shadow Wolf: The Shadow Wolf\Darkness of the Wolf [NOOK Book]

Overview


On the run from authorities, gutsy Megan Moraine knows shadow wolves like herself have no place in this world. But she's still prepared to do anything to protect her young charges. That resolve is tested when the trio is captured by Gabriel Robichaux. Everyone knows that Gabriel is a ruthless bounty hunter, a member of an elite group called the Enforcers. Why then is Megan so attracted to her enemy?a wolf who hunts his own people? A wolf whose languid, sexy drawl makes her ...
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The Shadow Wolf: The Shadow Wolf\Darkness of the Wolf

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Overview


On the run from authorities, gutsy Megan Moraine knows shadow wolves like herself have no place in this world. But she's still prepared to do anything to protect her young charges. That resolve is tested when the trio is captured by Gabriel Robichaux. Everyone knows that Gabriel is a ruthless bounty hunter, a member of an elite group called the Enforcers. Why then is Megan so attracted to her enemy—a wolf who hunts his own people? A wolf whose languid, sexy drawl makes her dream the impossible?
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781459212459
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 9/1/2011
  • Series: Harlequin Nocturne Series , #120
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 170,318
  • File size: 407 KB

Meet the Author

Bonnie Vanak is a multi-published author of paranormal and historical romance novels. After a career in journalism, she became a writer for an international charity, traveling to poor countries like Haiti to write about issues affecting the poor. When the strain of her job demanded a diversion, she turned to her childhood dream of writing books. Bonnie lives in Florida with her husband and three rescue dogs. Visit her website at www.bonnievanak.com or email her at bonnievanak@aol.com.

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Read an Excerpt


Please, don't throw us to the wolves.

Icy air blasted Megan Moraine as she pulled open Casa del Sol's etched glass door. The hotel's sprawling lobby gleamed with polished wood and mirrored columns. Beneath the cracked soles of her secondhand tennis shoes, the marble floor sparkled.

Motioning the twins to remain outside in the sticky Florida heat, she scanned for threats. The restaurant here was a safe house, but so was the oceanfront Naples, Florida, mansion they'd visited last night. When Megan had exposed the silver crescent moon birthmark, the homeowner's expression had turned ice cold.

"I don't like Shadows, but I'm generous. I'll give you sixty seconds to leave before I call an Enforcer or send my mate after you," the Draicon werewolf had warned.

Sixty seconds didn't allow enough time to reach the car's hiding spot. Chased by a brutish male waving a meat cleaver, she and the girls raced down the beach. Megan spent the night guarding the twins, two seven–year–old girls who should have been tucked into soft beds instead of curling up on wet sand. As dawn streaked the gray skies, they'd snuck back to fetch the car.

More hostile Draicon could be inside, but she had no choice. Her jeans pocket held a few crumpled dollars. The aging Ford she'd hot–wired was running on fumes. She needed help to reach New Orleans and Alexandre Robichaux. The kindly Draicon secretly gave escaped Shadow Wolves new identities. He wasn't a soulless creature like his legendary Enforcer brother, Gabriel, who liked to make his captives bleed.

The girls' blue eyes widened as they scurried past the hotel lobby into the arched hallway. Megan felt more conspicuous when she saw the restaurant's linen–draped tables and polished silverware. The trick to blending was all in the act. Act like you belong, and people treated you that way. In a voice as impervious as a Palm Beach matron, she asked for seating on the terrace.

Their granite–topped table was half–hidden by a terra cotta planter. The terrace overlooked a lush garden of palms, ferns and tropical flowers. Best, she had a good view of the hotel entrance to eye new arrivals.

A smiling waitress in black trousers and starched white shirt sailed over, pen and pad in hand. Her gaze fell to Megan's right hand.

Damn. Megan clapped her left hand over the birthmark she'd forgotten to cover with cosmetics. She couldn't risk exposing her identity until they knew this was a safe house. But the waitress only smiled.

Megan glanced down at the heavy leather menu and cringed at the dollar signs. "One small glass of milk for them, and water for me, please."

"Cousin Megan, can't we have sausage and eggs?" Jenny pleaded.

"We can share," piped in Jillian.

"Maybe later."

The girls stared at the tabletop. Her heart broke at their crestfallen expressions. I'm doing the best I can. I'm sorry I can't do better.

The waitress hesitated. Megan lifted her chin. "That's all, thanks."

A lump clogged her throat as she studied her young cousins. Hair dye had turned their soft white–blond curls coarse and dull.

Their shoulders were thin, their blue eyes glazed with sleeplessness. The matching strawberry shorts and flowered shirts she'd bought at a thrift shop were faded and ragged. Ever since they'd escaped the island prison, they'd been too quiet, forced to act far too old.

Soon. Sausage and eggs and heaps of whatever you want to eat. If we can just make it until our escort shows up.

Searching for hostiles, Megan scanned her surroundings. Only one customer had looked up at their arrival. The silver–haired man seemed more absorbed in his newspaper. Resentment and old hurt surfaced as she scented Draicon werewolves. Clustered together at a large table, they laughed as they dug into a big plate of sausage. They were her people, yet not.

Why do you hate us so much? We 're not so different.

Not different, but feared, taunted and shunned by ordinary Draicon. Tired of being treated as inferior, Shadow Wolves had retreated to a small Caribbean island to raise their young. Six years ago, rogue Shadows—hoping to force their Draicon brethren into acknowledging them as equals—nearly exposed their race to humans. Worse, they sold their story to a popular American talk show. The program was stopped before it aired and a Draicon with the ability of mind control convinced network executives the story was fake.

Afterward, the influential Council of Draicon feared that all Shadow Wolves wished to embrace sedition and establish a new order. To contain Shadows, they raised a force field around the island. A steep bounty was placed on the heads of any escaped Shadow.

The waitress returned with a tray on her outstretched palms. She set down two large glasses of milk, a mug of steaming coffee, and three plates piled with sausage and eggs. Megan protested. The woman held up a hand.

"Someone canceled an order. Can't let good food go to waste. It's on the house." She winked.

The girls beamed and a chorus of thank–yous followed. Megan swallowed past a sudden lump in her throat at the woman's compassion.

"Thanks," she managed to say.

Caution returned as the waitress scribbled on her pad, then handed the check to Megan. "Enjoy. My name's Mitzi."

When the waitress walked off, Megan read the note. "You're among friends. Remain here and someone will be along to help you get out of shadow."

Even though the code phrase was correct, Megan hedged. There was a fat reward for capturing an escaped Shadow Wolf. Enforcers didn't care if the escapees were beaten and raped before being turned over.

Hot coffee burned her mouth as she took a deep swallow. Megan took a bite of the food. It was delicious, but she had no appetite.

The roar of a powerful motorcycle drew her attention to the hotel entrance. A man parked the Harley, drew off a black helmet and swung a muscled leg over the saddle. Megan's heart raced. The rider's face was permanently stamped into memory from the photos circulated among Shadows of their worst enemies.

Black liquid sloshed as she slammed down her coffee cup. Her mouth opened and closed like a fish gasping for oxygen.

Gabriel Robichaux.

Oh God. She'd walked straight into a trap.

Megan looked around, desperate to escape, but it was too late. If they left now, surely he'd see them. She slid down her seat.

The power and raw charisma he exuded felt like a tornado as he ambled onto the terrace. Tight black leather pants hugged each inch of his rock hard thighs and taut buttocks. A Harley–Davidson T–shirt and steel–toed scuffed boots gave him a dangerous air. Stubble shadowing his angular jaw contrasted with his classical good looks, like a biker with the face of an angel. Dark brown hair curled down to his wide shoulders. His mouth was sultry and mobile. Four women sitting at a nearby table gave him the twice–over.

If they only knew what exactly he was, they'd run away screaming. Draicon, like her. Only not like her. Not Shadow, outcast and shunned. He was an Enforcer, who returned escaped Shadow Wolves to their island prison.

No Shadow ever escaped the powerful Gabriel.

Megan glanced at the girls.

"Jenny, Jilly, remember how I told you Enforcers are the bad ones? How they hunt down our people and return them to the island prison?" When they nodded, she whispered to the girls. They nodded. Plan all set.

Megan sauntered toward the restroom. She had to pass him. Her palms went clammy as she felt him glance in her direction. Peripheral vision caught Mitzi nudging Gabriel.

Palms sweating, she raced into the women's room. Megan drew in a trembling breath. He could inconspicuously follow her in here, but at least she had a few moments.

Bracing her palms on the counter, she studied her reflection. The face in the mirror was strained and framed by dull black hair that hid her natural honey blond. Shadows edged eyes the color of deep lake water. The secondhand clothing was streaked with sand, but at least it wasn't the hated purple tunic Shadows were required to wear.

Megan summoned her magick. Unlike the twins, she was a Halfling and required energy to shift. Her body screamed, the starved cells needing nourishment from rare meat. Burning pain scraped across her raw flesh, but she focused. For the girls, she had to do this, had to become…

Shadow.

As if in slow motion, her hands and arms vanished. Megan squeezed her eyes shut. When she opened them, nothing showed in the spotless mirror.

She was invisible.

Until someone else came to use the restroom, she was stuck. A door opening by itself would raise suspicion.

By now the twins, shadows themselves, would be waiting by the car. Even though they were young, their powers were far more advanced. Come on, come on, Megan silently implored. Someone use the restroom.

The door creaked open and she started forward, then stopped. Her knees felt like cooked spaghetti. Megan trembled wildly.

Hardened with ruthless intent, the face of a male Draicon poked inside. Gabriel.

He entered, looking beneath the stall doors. Stunned, she inched backward until hitting the wall. His nostrils flared as he straightened.

Oh dear heavens, he'd caught her scent.

Panic flared as he strode in her direction with smooth grace and stealth. Gabriel's dark brown eyes widened. They flashed amber, signaling the emergence of his wolf. Her gaze traveled from the chiseled jaw and hollowed cheeks, down to the T–shirt stretched tight over his broad chest, to his long, muscled legs.

Tight leather snugly cupped his bulging sex. Megan acknowledged her sudden flare of sexual interest. Sheer biology. He was the enemy, the one she feared most, but striking in his innate masculinity. The air sizzled between them, the chemistry so intense she couldn't ignore it.

Biting back a hiss, she bunched her fists.

"I know you're there, Megan," he said quietly. "You can't hide from me."

Impossible. She was invisible. But he advanced, boot heels clicking on the tile floor.

"Just come with me now, and don't make a fuss."

Like hell I will. Hugging the wall, she inched toward the door. Almost there, almost, she could make it, open the door and be gone…

Gabriel pounced. Steely arms encircled her waist. She twisted, snarled with all her might, but he had pinned her against his hard body.

Depleted of energy, she could not maintain shadow. But she'd be damned if she went down without a good fight.

Terror squeezed her heart as her body materialized. She writhed in his powerful grip, but he held tight. Then he freed one hand. Megan shrank back. Here it comes. He was going to hit her. That's what Enforcers always did. Just for laughs.

Instead she felt him caress her cheek. The gesture felt soothing and erotic. Gabriel bent his head and brushed aside her hair. He was inhaling her scent. Surprised, she stopped struggling. Enforcers didn't care about their captives. She'd heard they only punished and brutalized. Alarmed at the rising tide of desire, she wondered if Gabriel's methods were even crueler than other Enforcers. Lower her defenses and then strike like a snake.

A tantalizing scent of leather, pine and spicy male filled her senses with erotic awareness. The space between her legs felt open and wet, wanting. Well aware of the distraction, Megan resumed her struggles to get free. But she was too exhausted.

Warm breath feathered over her cheek as he bent his head. "Shhh," he murmured. "It's all right. Everything will be all right. Sleep now."

This was the true danger, his deep, hypnotic voice lulling her into doing as he wished. Megan felt her eyes closing.

He pushed a hand through her hair, the gesture almost tender. Just before she passed out, she felt a sensual brush of his mouth across her neck as if Gabriel marked her.

Then the grayness turned black, and everything else faded into shadow.

"Dammit."

This was not how he had envisioned starting his long–awaited vacation. Gabriel stared at the unconscious woman slumped in his arms. Asleep, without the spark igniting her sea–blue gaze, she looked defenseless and young. Long dark lashes feathered against her cheeks. He nuzzled the top of her head, detecting the faint odor of hair dye. She was small, but her slender body looked capable of a good, hard fight.

Lifting her carefully into his arms, he stepped into the hallway. "Mitzi," he addressed the woman racing toward him. "Tell Jay to pull the Expedition by the back. Did you get the twins?"

"They're in the kitchen." His employee looked upset. "They're terrified. They're just kids, Gabriel."

"I know." Aware of his arousal, he shifted Megan in his arms, wondering why she'd caused such an intense reaction.

"You're going to have to do a major mind sweep of all the customers. Some were pretty upset when the twins started crying. Jay and I told them the police were on their way."

Gabriel cursed again. This went all wrong. Then again, nothing ever went exactly right when he was called in to deal with a Shadow Wolf.

"Breakfast on the house for everyone." The restaurant could afford it. It had turned over a profit ever since he'd purchased it ten years ago.

Jay, the restaurant's manager, hurried over. "Want me to put her in the truck, too, Gabe?"

"No," Gabriel said, more sharply than he'd intended. "Take care of the customers until I can do a little mind cleansing."

He felt protective, even territorial, of the unconscious woman. She felt soft in his arms. Another uncomfortable surge of arousal raced through him. Breathing in deeply, he caught the unfamiliar, odd smell of something faintly sinister, as well.

This Shadow must have come into contact with evil forces.

Using the restaurant's private kitchen exit, Gabriel headed for the SUV and settled her in. He gently smoothed her hair, disturbed at the lines of strain on her face. A low hiss escaped him as he saw a purpling bruise on her forehead.

Gabriel growled softly, wanting to find whoever dared to hurt her so he could demonstrate the power of his fists. "You're safe now," he told her.

He went into the kitchen. The twins were huddled together on a chair, their eyes wide, holding each other's hands. Sending waves of reassurance into their minds through his powers, Gabriel squatted down to their level. "All will be well, mes petites. I'm going to take good care of you."

Then he waved a hand, telepathically commanding them to sleep and instructed Jay to put them into the back of the SUV. Gabriel called his housekeeper.

"Jean, we're having company. I need you to go shopping for twin girls, age seven. They're about 50–55 pounds. Get a bunch of shorts, shirts, enough sizes in case they don't fit and charge it to my card."

He hung up, went into the restaurant and planted subtle suggestions in the minds of the customers, nothing but a heated squabble between an irate husband and his wife. Even the pack of Draicon werewolves acquiesced. Everyone smiled and nodded, except for the silver–haired man folding his paper and setting it aside.

The man gave Gabriel a small, knowing smirk. His blood went cold. He tried again, probing the man's mind—just a squabble, no one hurt, nothing to see…

It felt like he'd smacked against a concrete wall. Gabriel inwardly winced, resisted rubbing his temples from the small spike of pain.

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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 30, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    The Shadow Wolf

    I received this ARC from netgalley

    I have officially been WOWED!

    There is nothing about this book that I didn't like! The flow of the story was effortless; the characters were all likable and exciting. I mean give me this, I love all things werewolves. But THESE werewolves were downright awesome! Ok, let me break this down as best I can, I tend to have trouble writing reviews of books that I like as much as this one.

    First off Megan is a heroine that any woman would love to read. She was gutsy, she had gumption, and she didn't reject the idea of having Gabriel as a mate. And let me just say that Bonnie's intro of Gabriel into the book. The woman wrote a head to toe description of this man, and I found myself building him in my mind, I blinked at the book, and then went.. "OH DAMN!" The total brilliance that was surrounding what each character looked like, I could see the swagger. I felt his eyes look at me from under that black Stetson, and holy wow, he rivaled some of my favorite Alpha males in books that I've read. Megan handled herself in the presence of this man with such ease. She didn't take any guff and she called him out on the carpet when it needed to happen. It was a real romance, it was a real soul deep mating, and I lapped up every inch of both of these characters.

    Then you enter the whole storyline. The concept alone is enough to praise Bonnie Vanak for. What a masterful idea to give racism and civil rights a face in this group of werewolves. The book didn't stop, even in the short conversational scenes, I was glued to the book and I didn't want to put it down. I could see the percent dwindling on my Kindle I starting shouting at it going, "NO! I don't want it to be over yet!"

    I found myself crying so many times in this book because I got so deeply involved with the characters that my family around me was going "Um, why are you crying at the book." And here I am blubbering trying to explain the power of the writing in this book to make me cry like I was.

    I have not only fell in love with the characters in this book, but have bought the first two books in the Draicon Wolves Series and gotten book one from another of her series. Thank you Bonnie for creating this world that I can gush over and get others to read and enjoy!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2012

    Wolfeh

    I is here

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2011

    Finally a decent book from Ms. Vanak

    Unfortunately, this is the second decent book she has written. The first is "Imortal Wolf" her most popular supernatural book. Bunny

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2011

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    Posted March 20, 2012

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    Posted December 27, 2011

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    Posted December 9, 2011

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    Posted September 20, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2012

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