An orphaned kitten may be the only witness to romance and the impossible.
Officer Alex Wolf responds to a lot of ‘paranormal’ calls that aren’t. Exotic pet birds aren’t monsters and unusual dog breeds aren’t aliens. It’s a good thing he likes the Animal Control officers, but he both yearns for and dreads those calls where he runs into ACO Jason Shen. Jason’s scent is so delicious that Wolf has a difficult time humaning around him.
Animal Control calls take a disturbing turn, though, when Wolf and his lizard-man partner, Krisk, discover the impossibly mummified bodies of rats and an unfortunate mother cat. The rescue of the cat’s sole surviving kitten not only gives Wolf more time with Jason, which is both perplexing and wonderful, but also leads to dangerous discoveries. Something inconceivable stalks the city and its officers of the law. Wolf has to figure out what it is before it can attack and drain the life from the people and the kitten he loves.
About the Author
The unlikely black sheep of an ivory tower intellectual family, Angel Martinez has managed to make her way through life reasonably unscathed. Despite a wildly misspent youth, she snagged a degree in English Lit, married once and did it right the first time, (same husband for almost twenty-four years) gave birth to one amazing son, (now in college) and realized at some point that she could get paid for writing.
Published since 2006, Angel's cynical heart cloaks a desperate romantic. You'll find drama and humor given equal weight in her writing and don't expect sad endings. Life is sad enough.
She currently lives in Delaware in a drinking town with a college problem and writes Science Fiction and Fantasy centered around gay heroes.
Read an Excerpt
Copyright © Angel Martinez 2017. All Rights Reserved, Totally Entwined Group Limited, T/A Pride Publishing.
“You really should learn to do this yourself, Alex.” Mom tsked as she turned the shirt to work on ironing the right sleeve. She was the only one who called him Alex—A. Wolf, some researcher’s idea of a joke.
“I know. I’m sorry.” Wolf leaned against the counter devouring his eggs and bacon. Maybe it was one of those bad son things, but he’d always liked this. Standing in the kitchen with her first thing, with the iron going back and forth, back and forth was soothing. “I’ve watched you lots of times?”
“It’s not the same as doing. You know that.” She gave that sort of definite nod she had when coming to a decision. “When you come home tonight, you have a date with the ironing board.”
“No, before.” With a little flourish, she set the iron aside and whipped his shirt off the board. Then she glanced up and laughed. “Your face! You’re not going to die if we have dinner fifteen minutes late.”
Wolf couldn’t help a disgruntled growl. “I get so hungry at work.”
“All part of the adulting we’re supposed to be working on this week.” Mom draped his uniform shirt over a chair. “Sometimes you have to put the things you want off until you get the things you have to done.”
“Yeah, yeah, impulse control.” He glowered at his work boots. Being human sucked some days. At least there’d been the good kind of bacon for breakfast. He licked his plate clean and set it in the sink.
“Exactly.” She wrapped her arms around him, her silver hair just tickling his chin. Had she always been so small? “You’re doing so well these days and I’m so proud of you. But I worry. I won’t always be here, sweetie.”
“Mom, don’t say things like that.” He held her tight and kept the howl that wanted out to a whimper. He wished he could tell her that she would live forever. She had to. But he knew that wasn’t how things worked. “I miss Dad.”
She bustled to put away the ironing board, swiping at her eyes. “I do too. Every day. We always will and that’s normal. Get yourself presentable, Alex. You’re going to be late. Lunch is in the fridge.”
Well, fuck. Now he’d upset her. It always made his stomach ache. He hurried to get on his uniform shirt and tie, stopping at the mirror in the hall to make sure everything was straight. That had been one of his proudest days, when he’d first managed to make a tie sit straight and neat. Dad had been so pleased.
Wolf snagged his lunch from the fridge and his hat from the hall table, then did a quick about face and hurried back to the kitchen to kiss his human mother’s cheek. “Love you, Mom.”
“Love you, too.” She gave him a quick peck and smiled for him though her eyes were still red-rimmed. “Be careful today. Come back in one piece.”
“Always.” He shot her a grin before going out the front door, their goodbye routine ever since he’d been accepted to the police academy. Except Dad had once been part of that ritual, too.
At twenty-eight, Wolf was already twice as old as the oldest of his kind. His original kind. One of the issues the researchers had never been able to agree on was whether he would have a wolf lifespan or a human one, or something in between. Human was looking more likely but even humans didn’t live forever. His adopted parents had grown old and his heart felt stomped on thinking about it.
It had been almost a year since Dad’s heart had given out. Mom was doing better, so was Wolf, but he had howled for three nights running to the point where the neighbors had called the police. The regular police. That had been embarrassing for everyone involved and one of the officers had finally called Carrington to come talk Wolf down from the roof.
He jogged down the front steps to his waiting Wrangler and turned to wave to Mom as he drove away. The three-story semi-detached shrank in the rearview as he drove down to the bottom of Terrace St. Probably would’ve been better if he’d taken SEPTA to work but then Krisk would have needed to take public transit too. That would’ve just been too strange for everybody.
Both of them had adapted to the human world as best they could but with his huge feet that overshot the pedals and his tail that made sitting in the driver’s seat uncomfortable and awkward, Krisk had never mastered driving. His house in East Falls was on the way to the station, though. Easy enough for Wolf to pick him up on the way in.
A couple jogged by as he pulled up to Krisk’s historic Tudor townhome. Wolf returned their friendly wave, because that’s what you did with humans. Sometimes it hit him how weird it was that a lizard man could afford a house in this neighborhood. Weirder still that the neighbors didn’t seem to think much of it. Wolf had been inside and had been shocked by how upscale everything was when Krisk had invited him in for kale and fried mealworms. The kale he’d had to pass on but the mealworms had been good. Kind of nutty.
Krisk did have the best garden on the block in the spring with his herds of azaleas. Maybe that made everything else okay with the neighbors in a swanky part of town.
Not even a minute ticked off on the dashboard clock before Krisk emerged, pressed and polished as always. Wolf reminded himself to ask his partner if he ironed his own shirts.
Krisk shook his head, indicating that either he’d had breakfast or he wasn’t hungry. While he did hiss and snort, Krisk never spoke a word, probably because his mouth and throat weren’t the right shape for it. They got by, communicating in gestures and texts, and after four years, they understood each other damn well.
As Mom had predicted, they were late. Luckily, a quick jog from the parking lot out back and through the squad room—where Larry the ghost whistled while he made his terrible coffee—got them to roll call before the lieutenant came out of her office. Wolf stopped in the doorway to the briefing room, sniffing, and Krisk gave him one of his questioning looks, one brow ridge raised.
“Someone’s nervous. Excited. I dunno.” Wolf shrugged as they made their way to chairs in front of the lectern. “Yeah, yeah, I know. None of my business.”
Lieutenant Dunfee strode in soon after and proceeded in her sharp way through the briefing, all the usual sorts of sightings they knew would be false alarms, admonishments and assignments.
“That’s it for this morning, ladies and gentlemen,” she concluded, though she didn’t move the way she usually did when she was about to leave the lectern. “If you’d be kind enough to remain an extra moment, I understand that Officer Monroe has an announcement for us.”
Kyle rose hesitantly from his seat at the edge of the room and now Wolf could place the origin of the nervous scent. Really nervous.
“So, um, me and Kash…” His face blushed a shade of red that nearly matched his hair as he swallowed hard enough for Wolf to hear across the room. His partner, Vikash Soren, waved a go on gesture at him with an enigmatic smile.
“I kinda proposed and Kash offered a counter-proposal—”