Drive Me Wild: A Novel of The Others

Drive Me Wild: A Novel of The Others

by Christine Warren

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Overview

Drive Me Wild: A Novel of The Others by Christine Warren

Drive Me Wild

Christine Warren

Tess Menzies can work a spell with a few blinks of her baby blue eyes. But this dedicated witch can't summon up a single good reason she's been made an envoy between her kind and Manhattan's fiercest were-creatures. The two sides haven't spoken in four hundred years, and she'll need every miracle in the book to broker any kind of truce. And that means outwitting Council of Others leader Rafael De Santos whose tantalizing moves and fierce hungry kisses are magic even a formidable sorceress can't resist . . .



It doesn't take a cat's supernatural senses for Rafael to suspect that there's something strange about this unexpected peace offering. And finding the truth is just as tempting as uncovering the secrets Tess is trying to conceal. Why, she's tantalizing enough to make this wandering were-jaguar think he's found the perfect mate—one he's only dreamed of. But his stealth and her spells can't guarantee they have a chance at survival, much less a future together…

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781466814899
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 11/27/2012
Series: Others Series , #14
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 133,114
File size: 783 KB

About the Author

Born and raised in coastal New England, New York Times bestselling author Christine Warren now lives as a transplant in the Pacific Northwest (she completely bypassed those states in the middle due to her landlocking phobia). When not writing (as if that ever happens), she enjoys horseback riding, playing with her pets, identifying dogs from photos of their underbellies, and most of all reading things someone else had to agonize over.

Christine Warren is the bestselling author of The Others series, including Wolf at the Door, Big Bad Wolf, Born to Be Wild, Prince Charming Doesn’t Live Here, and Black Magic Woman. Born and raised in coastal New England, she now lives as a transplant in the Pacific Northwest. (She completely bypassed those states in the middle due to her phobia of being landlocked). When not writing, she enjoys horseback riding, playing with her pets, identifying dogs from photos of their underbellies, and most of all reading things someone else had to agonize over.

 

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

The minute Rafael De Santos stepped out the front door of Vircolac, he knew he was being followed. He could have credited a sort of preternatural sixth sense for the knowledge, a combination of the heightened hearing and sight of his Feline heritage, but that wouldn't have been precisely true. Because the fact was, whoever was tailing him was doing a piss-poor job.

Maybe Rafe's perceptions of this sort of thing had been colored by all the time he'd spent with the Lupines of the Silverback Clan, who were renowned for their abilities at covert actions like tails and stakeouts. It could be that the contrast between their expert maneuvers and the bungling of the figure behind him tonight made an otherwise perfectly adequate tail look inept. Then the tail tripped over a crack in the sidewalk and fell sideways into a garbage can, and Rafe shook his head. No, his stalker really was that bad.

Which begged the question: Why was someone tailing him in the first place? To begin with, Rafe was not in the sort of neighborhood where one was likely to be mugged. Admittedly, crime in Manhattan knew no real borders, but this swanky neighborhood in the Upper East Side was as safe as you were likely to get without abandoning the city entirely. So, he didn't think the tail was a common street thug.

He supposed it could be another Felix come to challenge him for his territory, but judging by the figure's general size and shape — not to mention apparent clumsiness — the upstart would be in for a rude surprise if he attempted anything of the sort. Again, not very likely.

He briefly considered the possibility that it might be another rogue Fae. After the incident a few months ago with Seoc and Fergus and Lucifer and the ruckus caused here and in Faerie by that delegation, just the thought made Rafe nervous. But again, this tail was way too clumsy to be one of the Beautiful People.

So what was left? Rogue Lupine sounded about as likely as a Felix challenger, given their proximity to Graham Winters's home and business. Any werewolf who attempted to act without Graham's consent in the heart of that Alpha's own territory would be three steps past stupid and not a little foolhardy. Such an idiot would likely have charged him by now.

This was a puzzle, and Rafe was enough a man of his blood to be very curious about puzzles.

Keeping his gaze straight ahead and his pace steady, he quietly turned the tables on his stalker and let the hunter become the hunted.

It didn't take much for Rafe to win the upper hand. In his tailored suit and Italian loafers, he had the advantage of surprise. No one ever expected an obviously wealthy man to know the first thing about defending himself or about tracking prey. Luckily, Rafe was more than just another wealthy man.

He was Felix.

He felt his mouth curve at the inherent arrogance in that statement of fact. There didn't seem to be a way to state it without arrogance. His people had been worshipped as gods centuries before humans ever entertained the thought that a single god might sustain the complexity of life. That sort of thing tended to breed arrogance in a man. Then of course, the very nature of the cat beast within him meant arrogance was indelibly stamped on his nature. The jaguar occupied the top of the food chain in its native jungles of South America. When one had no rivals at all, one stopped seeing rivals even where they existed.

Rafe liked to think of himself as more than just his beast, more than the jaguar spirit that crouched within him. He embraced and appreciated that part of his ancestry, that aspect of his nature, but as a modern civilized man, he liked to think of his nature as more complex than "man by day, jaguar by night."

He had, after all, grown up in a penthouse apartment in Manhattan, not in the dense, tropical jungles of his father's childhood. He had attended private schools and a prestigious university, learned how to ace an exam and order fine wine for sophisticated companions. He knew which fork to use at even the most exalted tables and could debate with intelligence and gusto topics ranging from Kierkegaard to Handel to the politics of Eastern European nationalism. And he could do it all with a droll wit and an urbane smile.

None of that negated the feral predator lurking in his soul. The one that knew it could turn on his would-be stalker and rip out the man's throat before his enemy could even voice a scream in protest. It was the same beast that first realized his stalker smelled like a woman. And not just any woman. She smelled like a witch.

The fragrance roused his curiosity even higher. Witches and werefolk rarely had contact with each other, and it had been that way for as long as Rafe could remember. He had heard a few stories over the years about why that was the case — tales that ranged from ancient race wars inspired by divine edict to a magical version of the Hatfields, the McCoys, and that infamous pig. Rafe doubted either story could claim the crown as the whole truth, but he realized he'd never before bothered to wonder about it. Not until he found himself being stalked by a female witch on a deserted street in Upper Manhattan on a Wednesday night.

Funny how that sort of thing could spring itself on a man.

More determined than ever to satisfy his curiosity and find out what the stalking witch wanted with him, Rafe continued to lead his unsuspecting hunter straight into a trap. He imagined things could get interesting tonight, and after a run of boring business meetings, the diversion might prove to be just what he needed.

*
Heeere, kitty-kitty-kitty ...

The singsong call echoed through her head, making Tess Menzies bite down on her lip to stifle a snicker. You wouldn't think her current position — crouched in the shadows of an old brownstone, her eyes glued to the elegant facade of the building across the street — would be one conducive to humor, but then again Tess had always been one to laugh at inappropriate moments. Like when her grandfather was berating her for wearing the wrong outfit to his sixtieth birthday party. He didn't seem to find the humor in telling a fourteen-year-old that her heels were too low and her hemline too long. He hadn't appreciated the joke.

At all.

He probably wouldn't appreciate her fanciful idea about cajoling the most powerful werecat in Manhattan to her side with a ditty and a saucer of milk, either. The man seriously lacked a sense of humor.

Her own sense of humor was what had kept Tess sane for the duration of the most boring night of her life. She'd been lurking at the mouth of this alley for close to three hours, and her muscles had long ago given up their protests over her cramped position. She hoped that wouldn't pose a problem when she tried to force them to move again. According to the intelligence provided by her grandfather's sources, her mark should be making his move any second now.

The thought inspired yet more snickering. This whole episode just screamed for the use of language like mark and intelligence, even though the closest Tess herself had ever come to espionage or intrigue was watching old Humphrey Bogart movies on satellite. The idea that she'd gone straight from curling up on her sofa in Tribeca on dateless Saturday nights with a bowl of popcorn and the opening credits of The Maltese Falcon to staking out a private club on the Upper East Side ...

Well, the comic implications of that just went on forever.

She supposed her grandfather could have picked someone less suitable for carrying out this particular favor, but she figured it would have taken a lot of time and some serious effort. After all, she knew of one former marine, three former police officers, a retired private investigator, and a (mostly) reformed thief just in her grandfather's immediate circle of friends. Any of them could probably have located this particular shapeshifter and delivered the council's message with a tenth of the fuss and muss Tess instinctively knew she would cause given half the chance. Not to brag, but she had a knack for that kind of thing — namely, for turning a simple task into something out of an Abbott and Costello movie.

What could she say? It was a gift.

You'd think her grandfather would take that into consideration before giving her this assignment. But no. When Grandfather got a notion into his head, nothing short of a seismic catastrophe could shake him from his course, and the jury still deliberated over whether even that could do the job.

Sighing, Tess wrapped her arms around herself and chafed her hands up and down to try to generate some heat. The crisp October night that had felt so pleasant just an hour ago had taken a decidedly chilly turn. She indulged in a moment of regret that she hadn't stopped to fill a thermos with coffee before she set herself up here to wait, but shrugged it off. If she had coffee, she'd be drinking it, and if she drank coffee, she'd have to pee, so it really was just as well. She couldn't exactly knock on the door of the building she was using for concealment and ask to use their bathroom. She'd probably give the poor owners a heart attack, and wouldn't that justify her grandfather's opinion of her?

Since she recalled once having read somewhere that the best cure for boredom on a stakeout was fantasizing, Tess let her mind wander down that path for a minute. She could just picture herself clad head-to-toe in black, from her black jeans and supple black boots to her thin black turtleneck sweater. She looked more like a cat burglar than anything else. Not exactly a reassuring sight to find on one's doorstep at two thirty-seven AM.

She swallowed another chuckle and shifted her weight subtly, her gaze still on the doors across the street. Her little fantasy was probably way off base, though. Judging by the ornately carved doors of the buildings around her, the beautiful historical architecture, and the pricey addresses, no one on this block or the next answered his own door, even at two thirty-seven AM. That, she assumed with a smirk, was what butlers were for.

In that respect, Tess was certainly out of her element here in the land of milk and money. Her own perfectly adequate loft a block shy of SoHo would probably fit inside the foyers of most of the houses on this street, especially the house she currently had her eye on. The four-story limestone building sat in the middle of the block like a grande dame holding court. No signage marred the exquisite facade — unless you counted the classic brass address numbers as a sign — nor did any other marks indicate that Tess had staked out one of the most exclusive and prestigious private clubs in all of Manhattan.

But then, when your club catered to vampires, werewolves, and other creatures of the night, neon was probably not a particularly discreet choice.

For at least the last two centuries, Vircolac had easily retained its title as the best-kept secret in Manhattan. The only reason Tess had learned of it was because the Witches' Council had a vested interest in some of the people who passed through its thick, oak doors.

Well, people might not exactly be the correct term, since the membership of Vircolac consisted entirely of the less human members of New York society. Vampires, werewolves, and shapeshifters of all kinds filled the club's membership list, and the only humans who ever made it past the doorman were rumored to be closely connected with the club's owner, Graham Winters. A werewolf himself, Winters ran the club like a medieval kingdom, and unless the general consensus had things entirely wrong, Vircolac generated about as much income as the average kingdom. Most people referred to it as a business empire, and for a single club to gain that distinction meant that Graham Winters probably had more money pass through his fingers on a daily basis than Tess's little herb shop in the East Village could expect to generate between now and the end of time.

It must be good to be the king.

In addition to his duties to his business, Winters supposedly kept an equally tight rein on the Silverback Clan, the werewolf pack he led and the single largest collection of shapeshifters in Greater Manhattan. As Alpha, he was directly responsible for every single member of that pack, and he was said to take the job very seriously.

In his spare time, Tess supposed wryly.

Winters, though, was not why she was crouching in the shadows of some garbage bins on a Wednesday night in October. She didn't have to deal with the werewolf, thank the gods. Instead, her grandfather had sent her here to bell the cat.

Rolling her eyes, Tess shifted her weight and sighed.

Right. Like she was so qualified to chase down a werecat with nothing more going for her than a diplomatic message and a sunny disposition. Blond hair, blue eyes, and a curvy figure against 350 pounds of muscle, razor-sharp teeth, and claws like tiny, lethal daggers? Sure, those were great odds.

Looking back at her conversation with her grandfather, Tess could recall bringing up those very salient points to him just yesterday. She had mentioned that she was absolutely the worst person for the job of delivering an official message from the council. Heck, she wasn't even a member of the Witches' Council, let alone a representative. She had precisely no knowledge of nor experience with werefolk of any kind (not that many witches did, since the two groups tended to avoid each other like a particularly nasty strain of the Ebola virus), and generally Tess tended to end up with her foot in her mouth at any and all available opportunities. So what made her the choice for this assignment again?

Oh, right. Grandfather's standard answer. "Because I said so."

Tess grumbled to herself and pressed the button on the side of her watch to illuminate the dial. According to the information the council had provided, the werecat she'd come to see was already ten minutes later than his regular timetable indicated. Apparently he didn't realize he had a stalker with better things to do with her time. Sighing, she trained her gaze back on the door to Vircolac and settled in for an extended wait.

She didn't get one.

Almost as soon as she had the carved oak doors back in her sight, the right side opened and a figure stepped out. It paused for a moment to speak to someone on the threshold.

"Finally," she breathed, freezing in place, gaze fastened on the man across the street.

She got a brief look at his face while he stood in the pool of light cast by the fixture over the club's doors, so she knew this was her guy. His features had the angular, slightly exotic cast of his Latin ancestors, and even in the artificial light she saw the bronze hue of his skin and the way his black hair gave off almost blue highlights. Add to that the tailored fit of his suit, the arrogant, graceful way he held himself, and the liquid quality to the way he moved, and Tess had no doubts. She had a bead on Rafael De Santos.

The problem was that she hadn't expected him to be quite so mouthwateringly gorgeous.

Tess sat mesmerized for several minutes before a moth flying perilously close to her cheek reminded her that not only was her mouth gaping open like the legs of a cheerleader on prom night, her tongue was probably hanging out, too. She clamped her jaw shut with a click, but her reaction seemed almost beyond her control.

The man took her breath away.

For some reason she'd had this picture in her head of the shapeshifter as unappealing, sort of bestial and feral, his humanity a thin veil over his more savage nature. She knew that image didn't exactly mesh with his reputation as a charming if feckless rogue, more Casanova than killer, but her mind had discounted the stories as rumor. No one could be as handsome and charming as the stories made out, not unless he worked in Hollywood and regularly appeared on the covers of national magazines.

But now here Tess was, finding them to be absolute fact. If not shameful understatements.

The only evidence she saw of this man's bestial side was the animal magnetism she could feel rolling off him, even from fifty feet away. It made her fingers itch, her mouth dry out, and her — Well, she really didn't want to think about what her other parts were doing.

Focus, Tess. Focus.

Dragging her eyes off the werecat's butt — conveniently positioned toward her as he spoke with the figure in the doorway — Tess ordered her heart to slow down and her thighs to unclench so she could get back to the task at hand. She'd need all her faculties operational for this one. She could just feel it.

Why does he have to be so gorgeous?

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "Drive Me Wild"
by .
Copyright © 2012 Christine Warren.
Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Drive Me Wild 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 58 reviews.
crayolakym More than 1 year ago
Rafael De Santos is a Felix of a cursed line of feline shapeshifters slated for extinction if the curse cannot be lifted. A curse that can only be lifted when a Felix falls madly in love. However, the curse doesn't stop there. The story goes, that the love he shares must be of that of a witch. There is only one problem: Rafe has it in his head that felines don’t mate for life and lives the life moonlighting as a ladies man… a lot. That is until he pounces on Tess Menzie one night while she spies on him on behalf of the Witches’ Council. “”Eaten many humans have you?” She felt his mouth shift into a grin. “A few here and there.” He paused. Nuzzled. Purred softly, “Want me to eat you?”" Everything about Tess drives Rafe insane, rendering his body eager to claim her as his own, but his conscious reminds him she is a Witch, and these two preternatural groups don’t mingle and it’s been this way since the signing of the Accord almost 400 years earlier. The Accord is being threatened with those who want to reveal themselves to the human and walk among them as equals, an act that the humans are just not ready to face. It is up to Rafe on behalf of the shifters and the Witches’ Council to work together to prevent this from happening, and it just happens that Tess has been put into the middle as the liaison for both sides. Tess can’t help but render herself helpless when around Rafe, despite her tough facade, and Rafe can’t stop this growing possessiveness building within him to have Tess to himself. What is the biggest issue faced in a 320 page book? Finishing it and  desperately craving more. Christine Warren delivers a mouthwateringly purrfect love story with a wicked twist and unpredictable story line. While Warren’s exaggerated use of the word “scream” often feels misplaced and overused, she more than makes up for with her unique style of writing that pulls the reader into the story as if they are Tess and being sexually tormented by Rafe, leaving you yearning for more with every turn of the page. This could easily flow into a series, and I really hope it does as I was hooked from page one. Who wouldn’t want a little Rafe in their life? *You can view the original review at City Book Review
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have been waiting so long for this to come out, and it was totally worth the wait. I love Tess and Rafe together. Totally hooked!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ANOTHER WONDERFUL BOOK BY MS. WARREN. LOVE HOW TESS IS ALWAYS CALLING RAFE BY CAT NAMES. LOVE WILL ALWAYS BREAK A CURSE.....A MUST READ BOOK!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
. . . It's JACKALS, not "jackels," dear copy editor. Was your Spellcheck out to lunch?
Tangen More than 1 year ago
I have read several of the books in this series, no overpowering need to read them in any particular order, and I became obsessed with finding the one which tells of this particular couple. Rafe is always portrayed as being very self possessed and amusedly calm regardless of the disaster at hand, while Tess is more ready to interfere in things and not at all intimidated by her impressive husband who heads the Council of Others. This is a surprising tale with a lot of twists, shape shifting, spell casting, and erotica. Very well worth the money,superb!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book had me laughing out loud. I could not wait to finish the book but was sad when it ended I loved it! I cant wait for more from Christine Warren!
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This book was worth purring over.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Only 197 pages
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was entertaining and I liked the characters.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an awesome book. I love the whole series but this one has a little something extra. A great story and characters that keep me interested.
Liz-the-book-lover More than 1 year ago
Love, Love, LOVE!
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Funny hot and great!
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Hot!!
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