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Urban fantasy takes a walk on the wild side with Rhiannon Held's remarkable debut.
Andrew Dare is a werewolf. He’s the enforcer for the Roanoke pack, and responsible for capturing or killing any Were intruders in Roanoke’s territory. But the lone Were he’s tracking doesn’t smell or act like anyone he’s ever encountered. And when he catches her, it doesn’t get any better. She’s beautiful, she’s crazy, and someone has tortured her by injecting silver into her veins. She says her ...
Urban fantasy takes a walk on the wild side with Rhiannon Held's remarkable debut.
Andrew Dare is a werewolf. He’s the enforcer for the Roanoke pack, and responsible for capturing or killing any Were intruders in Roanoke’s territory. But the lone Were he’s tracking doesn’t smell or act like anyone he’s ever encountered. And when he catches her, it doesn’t get any better. She’s beautiful, she’s crazy, and someone has tortured her by injecting silver into her veins. She says her name is Silver, and that she’s lost her wild self and can’t shift any more. The packs in North America have a live-and-let-live attitude and try not to overlap with each other. But Silver represents a terrible threat to every Were on the continent. Andrew and Silver will join forces to track down this menace while discovering their own power…and passion for each other.
"Held’s characters are believable, and her compelling story begs for further development in future novels." —Library Journal, starred review
"Complex characterization and layered plot make this author definitely one to watch!" —RT Book Reviews
The lone werewolf smelled like silver and pain. Or maybe it wasn’t pain, maybe it was fear. In human form, Andrew Dare’s nose had missed that undertone altogether, and even in wolf it was elusive. Her trail wove beneath one of the power line towers straddling this strip of grassy, undeveloped land, and the metal bar clipped the top of Andrew’s ears as he padded under. He twitched his ears, checking again for any nearby humans, but he remained alone for the moment.
Pain and fear or not, she was a Were carrying silver, and that could mean only one thing: she was a European. Only European Were used silver on each other and would therefore have reason to carry it, and damned if Andrew was going to let any of them cause trouble in his alpha’s territory.
The lone’s trail had followed the power lines for several miles but now it diverged into a suburban development probably close enough to be considered part of Nashua, New Hampshire. Andrew stopped where the tangled unmown grass met a path into a cul-de-sac and considered, panting. The summer sun was low now, the heat was easing, and the scents he got from the development were fogged with car exhaust as everyone returned home for the evening.
Risky, to follow any farther in wolf form. The human scents Andrew found on the wind were few and far between, suggesting an upper-middle-class neighborhood with big lots. People in those neighborhoods didn’t ignore strays, they called animal control. And animal control knew the difference between a dog and a wolf, and a wolf and a creature that massed much larger than any natural wolf.
Andrew sniffed again and allowed himself a growl when he smelled no humans close enough to hear it. Damn that European. It was one of the oldest tricks in the book to stick to heavily populated areas so cars would drive away one’s scent and pursuers would have to sacrifice their wolf form’s superior nose, but knowing it didn’t make it any easier to counter. He’d have to push himself running back to his clothes and his car to not lose any more time. He was already—Andrew put his nose to the trail again—half a day behind as it was. But standing here debating would waste as much time. He started back.
It was good to run. Andrew had spent too much time stuck in traffic driving up here from Virginia. His muscles protested the pace at first, an aching commentary on how much time he’d been spending in human lately. Why bother shifting when he had no real pack to hunt with?
His nose caught a rusty tang and he jumped a few wires remaining from an old fence as he turned his thoughts instead to what the European Were might hope to accomplish here. Was she scouting the territory for the rest of her pack to follow, or did she plan to challenge and replace one of the sub-alphas in the larger Roanoke pack herself? He’d chased another silver-smelling lone last year, but that man had disappeared over the Mississippi into the Western packs’ territories long ago. Much as Andrew had hated to let the lone go, he trusted the Western packs to deal with him.
Andrew doubted this lone was after him personally, either. If so, she was long overdue. He’d escaped back to North America a decade ago. Still, the fact that she had brought silver suggested she was looking to punish someone. Andrew didn’t intend to allow that. Once he caught her, he’d drag her back to explain herself to his alpha. If she didn’t have a good enough reason for her failure to ask permission to cross Roanoke territory he’d have the pleasure of shoving her on a plane and out of Roanoke for good.
When he reached the bush where he’d hidden his clothes, Andrew crouched low and drew in a deep breath. Shifting at this moon phase was an effort, though at least the moon was waxing rather than waning. Andrew concentrated, eyes closed, pushing, pushing, until he felt the blessed tipping point. Everything fell into the new configuration: sight and scent and arrangement of muscles. He stretched his arms to settle his mind into it, and then pulled on his clothes.
It took a frustratingly long time to find the right cul-de-sac by car from the other side, but when Andrew finally returned to the spot he’d left off, traces of the Were’s trail still remained. He jogged a little to make up time as he followed the scent on foot in human form. At least the Were hadn’t been running. Her scent was thick, suggesting she’d wandered.
Andrew grew more cautious as the trail turned into a yard. He couldn’t say for sure with his human nose that no one was home, but the windows were dark and no car was in the driveway, so he strode up for a quick look. The sun’s angle made the window reflective against a faint background of blinds. A complete handprint stood stark against it. The placement—Andrew matched his hand to it—suggested someone trying to look through. He peered, but the blinds had no crack big enough to see anything beyond.
But the air held no hint of Were other than the lone anywhere in this neighborhood. A werewolf in human form eating garlic would have been able to tell that.
The trail wound away from the window through front yards until it reached some trash cans beside a garage. The lone’s scent was on them as if she had poked through after knocking them over. Looking for something?
Two women approached, pushing strollers, so he righted the cans to look like a good Samaritan. This house was blocks away from the first one where she’d been looking in. That made no sense, even if the Were had a grudge against some particular humans. What was this woman after?
* * *
Silver had been running for a long time. It began with the monster. The monster poured fire into her blood and smiled as she screamed and her wild self fled. He’d thought her so far gone in burning, he’d not watched her closely, and she’d escaped. She sensed him distantly behind her now. Following her trail. She couldn’t let him catch her, or it would begin all over again.
The monster chased distantly, but Death followed close behind. He stalked her with endless patience, waiting to claim her when the monster’s snakes of fire finished their task. She glimpsed him behind her when she could no longer run and had to walk. Her ears strained to hear the forest’s voices beneath the padding of his feet. They had something of an unspoken accord, she and Death—she did not run too fast and he did not catch her just yet. Instead, he padded in her footsteps, tongue lolling out in canine laughter as she tried to ignore him and strained for the scent of her wild self. If only she could find her wild self, then perhaps she would be whole again. But the fire made her head pound so much it was hard to think.
At night, sometimes Silver would invite Death to sit with her. He hulked there opposite her, smug and black. He was blacker than night or a raven’s wing or anything Silver could remember when words and memories wiggled and twisted from her grasp. But then, he was Death. That was description enough.
Sometimes at night the wind tossed the branches of the stately columns of trees around Silver, and the small monsters at the light’s edge shrieked and warbled, making the forest’s voices whisper in concern. Then Death would howl to the Lady’s round, shimmering disc and make the fire burn in Silver’s veins. Your death is in you, his howls told her. In your blood. You cannot fight what is in you.
Silver screamed and begged the Lady to make it stop when the fire burned bright. She curled around her useless arm as the fire pulsed. Each time Death called to the fire, the snakes engraved on her skin grew longer and twined their hissing, traitorous way from the cup of her elbow ever closer to her heart. Silver begged the Lady to protect her from Death, begged the Lady to help Silver find her wild self.
Sometimes the forest crooned a comforting counterpoint to her screams, and sometimes it drew back in shocked silence. Death panted and laughed. The Lady did nothing, as she had done nothing when the monster poured the fire into Silver’s arm.
This day, as Silver trudged through the forest, calling her wild self and searching the trees for a gray flicker of muzzle or flank, she wondered if the Lady still loved her. The Lady had given Silver her wild self from love—perhaps She had taken that wild self back when love waned. Maybe Silver had lost that love by taking the Lady’s gift for granted.
But the Lady had not waned. She was full and luminous above Silver, as always. And surely it was a sign of the Lady’s favor that the monster had not caught her yet?
Coming upon a stream, Silver found a still place with few ripples and looked into her eyes, searching for her wild self inside as well as out. Her wild self could as easily have hidden deeper rather than running outward from the fire, but Silver saw no sign of her. Dimness made it hard to see, since though the Lady’s light fell all around her, it did not touch Silver except indirectly.
Even in dim light, Silver’s hair showed nearly all white now, brown chased away. She blinked in surprise. The fire had burned the color from it, of course, but only the new growth. New growth was old now, and she wondered at Death’s patience. She pressed her hand flat against the stream’s cold surface, printing it before Death shattered everything into ripples as he lapped at the water.
At her midday meal, Silver did not invite Death to sit with her. Alone, she forced down the foul-tasting carrion she had found. She drew off her shirt to trace the snakes’ path on her dead arm, tickling their diamond-scaled backs with her fingertip. They writhed in pleasure and hissed to her. Silver frowned, trying to understand Snake. If she could speak their language, perhaps she could persuade them to leave her.
Surely this could be solved by cleverness. Perhaps it was even a test for her to prove herself worthy of the Lady’s gift. Silver considered this. Death must be outwitted somehow. She frowned at him. Invitation or no invitation, he sat on his haunches nearby, nose tipped to test the air. When he felt her gaze on him, Death turned to face Silver.
“Let go,” he said in her brother’s voice. Her brother was dead, so Death had his voice. He had all the voices of Silver’s pack. “Please. We miss you, Silver. Come back to us.” Silver knew that it was not her brother speaking, and Death knew she knew, but he liked to taunt her.
Silver sat up and threw a rock at Death, missing him by a wide margin. She needed to keep moving, and not let him distract her, or the monster would catch up. Thorns curled up to bind her feet and hands, trying to hold her there until the monster arrived. She tore free before they could take proper hold, though they rustled triumphantly at the blood they had captured from her. Time to run faster again. Always running.
Copyright © 2012 by Rhiannon Held
Posted August 1, 2012
by Rhiannon Held
Genre: Paranormal Romance | Dark Fantasy | Mystery
Andrew is a werewolf who has never really been content with his current Virginia pack due to his rocky history in Madrid, Spain where he acquired the nickname "the Butcher of Barcelona." He is charismatic, very quick, has a strong sense of honor, and enough strength to become Alpha of his very own pack, but he considers that to be too much work. Thus, he follows orders as his pack's enforcer. While on a mission to uncover the lone wolf on his Alpha's territory, Andrew discovers a tortured and mentally-broken werewolf in human-form. Having no clues as to where this madwoman comes from or which pack she belongs, Andrew takes on the responsibility of discovering her tortuous past himself since her erratic disillusions and cryptic babel, if true, could be detrimental for werewolves everywhere and needs to be stopped!
Silver is scrawny, white-haired, some what brain damaged due to silver exposure, and very reluctant to be around anyone but the ghost of Death who follows her closely and acts almost as a pessimistic spirit-guide. Mostly, she is forlorn, distraught, and confused about her past and speaks in her own daffy language (ex. angry snakes that live on her arm, a glowing lady that lives in the sky, losing her name and wild-self, and a monster that is hunting her) that few understand. When her silver-tainted scent rail is discovered by Andrew (who she refers to as the Warrior), she confidently follows only because Ghost approves and tells her to trust him. She understands she "can't run forever", but is continually haunted by tainted memories. And, when her blood-poising problem lessens, Silver becomes more lucid in ability to fight her gruesome past.
This was an interesting book. Firstly, I really appreciated the development both of the main characters went through from beginning to end. Andrew grew from a unaccomplished loner to a more authoritative figure while Silver went from being incomprehensible to knowing she had been and can be again. Together they made a "formidable team." Secondly, The crackling tension between Andrew and Silver was really satisfying since their interactions showed that there is indeed a thin line between infuriating and irresistible. Their relationship slowly matured into a romantic one without coming off as forced or implausible. Thirdly, the psychotic murder mystery aspect to the story was well written with Silver's Mother's pack resolving much of the confusion and secrets, but it definitely added a gruesome and uncomfortable tone to the overall tale where bloody vengeance was the name of the game.
Likes: I really enjoyed the various packs introduced throughout this story. The different cities (and there are lots of them!!) where the packs resided really kept the story interesting by displaying a different Alpha/power-figure, scenery, pack formality, and even changing family environments--so there was always something new and refreshing to read about since these numerous settings opened up a broader picture for the reader.. Plus, the Roanoke ancestral history was fascinating, especially considering how very traditional they were in passing on names from the original settlers into the modern day.
Dislikes: I would have enjoyed a better conclusion to Andrew's lost teenage daughter in Spain since he misses her "like a physical pain sometimes." The reader was left
5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 17, 2012
Quick catching of my attention. The storyline was fast paced and takes you directly into the action. Solid characters Andrew and Selene aka Silver. I wouldhave loved a lit more of a wrap-up to finish the story but if this turns out to be just the beginning of the story for these characters, I can't wait to see the next segment/installment.
I'll definately be waiting to see what else Ms. Held will produce.
5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 26, 2012
Silver by Rhiannon Held is a unique and refreshing take on Werewolves in present day. I enjoyed the mystery behind the story and the well developed characters. I found Dare to be a wonderful main character and Silver although seemingly insane is strong and feisty. The premise of the story exciting and well worth the read. It is a great dark/urban-fantasy story filled with plenty of mystery for those of you who love mysteries. I couldn't help but like the character 'Death.' He was almost like the character's conscious and guide. There were some things that I didn't like about the book for one, the pacing was really slow, you have a lot of build up toward the question of who's the monster after Silver and yet it wraps up in what seems like 3 chapters. I guess I expected more. The blurb on the cover is a little misleading about the romance between Silver "Selene" and Dare. Although it was nice that it didn't strong-arm the story, it would've been great if the romance between the two was developed earlier. Overall, I did enjoy this story and I think if you're looking for a great story involving werewolves and not so much on the romance, than this is it! I look forward to reading more from Rhiannon Held.
4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 3, 2012
Posted June 21, 2013
I really enjoyed this book, read it in one sitting. The concept of a werewolf living with the amount of silver in her body as the title character is a new one for me. I will definitely read more by Ms. Held as soon as it is available.
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
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Posted February 26, 2014
I was leafstar strong loved leader of bladeclan ( sigh ) but those days are over all my clan are either disbanded or dead in a jadeclan raid you can call me my formle name before i was a leader leafstorm i am green furrd cat yes i know how funny that sounds but its part of my power i can control nature so your clan will never be sick others think me a freak pleas do not be like them accept me you are my last chanceWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 16, 2014
Posted February 14, 2014
As a fan of paranormal subjects, I was pleased to find this unique approach to the standard werewolf story. The author's storytelling had depth and her werewolf culture and characters were more multidimensional than most. I found this an engaging and enjoyable read.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 1, 2014