One night was all it took to change everything.
One moment of weakness, and now I’m becoming.
Werewolves were supposed to be things only seen in movies, not things that exist in real life. Instead of med school and homework, my life is filled with a laundry list of things that were once impossibilities. Groups fighting over whom I belong to. The possibility of dying if I don’t learn everything before the next full moon. Figuring out how to survive in a world I never knew existed. But the biggest danger? Ty: history professor, super sexy Viking werewolf, and the man who’s been assigned by the Council to teach me how to survive becoming a werewolf.
Each book in the Wolves of Hemlock Hollow series is STANDALONE:
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The Wolves of Hemlock Hollow
By Heather McCorkle, Tera Cuskaden
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2017 Heather McCorkle
All rights reserved.
Caught up in the moment as I was, I didn't see fate coming for me. I should have. There were signs. Like the animalistic growl rumbling in his chest as he kissed a wet line down my jaw to my neck. I wasn't about to protest. The primal sound of it was sexy as hell. His incredible amber eyes developed a shine about them that seemed unnatural, but I figured that was the drinks we'd had earlier getting to me. His hips ground against mine, pushing me into the door to my downstairs apartment.
Again he asked to go inside, and again I refused. He was attractive enough, and I certainly had nothing against premarital sex, but casual sex was another thing altogether. Especially with a guy I had only met two weeks ago. It was bad enough that we were making out in the dark alley in front of my low-income apartment where my sketchy neighbors could come out at any moment. But then, Twin Falls, Idaho, wasn't exactly a hopping town after midnight. And seeing as my apartment building was only a little two-story number that housed less than fifty, the odds of anyone being around were slim to none. All the more reason not to go inside where temptation would lead me somewhere I wasn't willing to go yet.
The gentle nips at my neck grew harder. Walking that razor edge of pleasure/pain made my blood pump so hard the cool Idaho night felt more like Arizona in the midst of summer. Until impossibly sharp teeth grazed the sensitive skin of my neck.
Those teeth broke through my skin and sank deep into the muscles and meat of my neck. I screamed and writhed in pain but he had locked onto me with the strength of a boa constrictor. After an excruciating few seconds, his teeth withdrew from me in a rush.
One moment he was pressed against me, the next he leaped back and stood against the building across the alley as if using it to brace himself. His mouth hung open and within it, not one set of fangs shone in the streetlight, but two. A set on the top and a set on the bottom, much like a canine. The worst part; they were covered in my blood. My blood.
"What the hell?" I yelled, a hand going to my neck.
My fingers came away slick and sticky with blood. He stood there, staring at me with those gleaming eyes, blood trickling over his bottom lip. Slowly, like a cat's claws, his fangs retracted until they looked like no more than overly pointy teeth. Before tonight I had thought his toothy smile looked sexy. Now, not so much. If it weren't for the blood making a steady trail down his chin, I would have thought I'd imagined the whole thing. Then there was the pain.
Keeping my eyes on him, I fumbled in my pocket for my keys while the other searched for the mace I kept on me. My fingers settled around the metal canister. Hand so steady it surprised even me, I took it out, flicked my thumb under the safety cap, and pointed it at him. The bastard just grinned. A cold chill of fear threatened to extinguish my anger.
"What. The. Hell?" I demanded slower, emphasizing each word, desperate to hang on to the anger that gave me courage.
His shoulders sagged, his defined chest caving in on itself as if he were trying to melt back into the wall. The button-up shirt he wore lay splayed open, giving me a good view of the blood that dripped from his chin onto his pale pecs. Only moments ago I had opened that shirt in my eagerness to touch his bare flesh. The memory made me shiver with revulsion. That gorgeous, fit body of his suddenly seemed to sport more hair than I remembered. Hair covered his bare chest where I didn't recall him having any before, and the line of it from his belly button down into the waistband of his jeans had definitely thickened. The hand holding the mace began to shake, and I loathed myself a little for the weakness. He looked past the mace at me with something close to contempt.
"I'm sorry it had to be like this. I didn't want it to, I swear," he said.
Straightening, he adjusted the erection pushing against the fly of his jeans, taking his time as if I weren't pointing mace at his half-naked body. The front step swam a bit. Damn, how deep had he bitten into me? I pressed one hand to the wound and kept the mace trained on him with the other. Freaked out and feeling exposed, I wanted nothing more than to dig my keys out of my jeans pocket and open my apartment door, but I didn't dare. Dropping my guard even a little wasn't an option.
Hot, sticky blood oozed through my fingers and ran down my neck. "You bit me, you son of a bitch!"
Going stiff, he stood up straighter, eyes darting down the alley in both directions. The alley swam, and not in a pleasant, too-much-Jack-Daniels kind of way.
"Get away from me, Raul. Now," I said, doing my best to sound like the badass I totally did not feel like at the moment.
Soft yellow light from headlights outlined his spiky brown hair. Someone had parked at the other end, beyond the small bit of green space that edged the building. When the lights didn't switch off, I realized whoever it was wanted to see us. I called out for help. The blinding bright light hid Raul's expression from me until he turned his back to it. Damned if he didn't look a bit smug — and beneath it, worried. The second part I liked; the first made me even more concerned than I already was.
He started down the sidewalk, moving away from the headlights. "See you soon, doll," he said in a sexy tone that made me want to vomit.
The headlights bounced off the green thread of the top rocker sewn to his black Cordura jacket. No matter how many times I had asked, he'd never told me what AVW — stitched onto the top rocker — stood for. The bottom rocker read Montana, revealing he belonged to some kind of group out of that state. Beyond that, I knew very little. Between the rockers sat a patch with strange symbols of circling knotwork woven into the shape of a canine with Norse runes all around it. That told me even less. Damn it, I should have known better.
"Not a chance, you freak. You ever come back here and I will kill you."
I couldn't even bring myself to kill spiders, but he didn't know that.
White teeth flashed in a grin before he dashed off. I wanted to follow him, make sure he left, but I couldn't move. Hell, I couldn't hold the mace up anymore. Before it could fall, I shoved it in my pocket, having to try twice. Soft footsteps padded from the direction of the headlights. While my fuzzy mind regretted having pocketed the mace, part of me realized it was probably a concerned neighbor who had heard me yell. But none of my neighbors were as tall and muscular as the man who came running down the alley toward me. I wasn't sure if it was the headlights, or if he had short golden hair, but one thing I couldn't miss were his ice-blue eyes. A woman could get caught in eyes like that. The man looked like he'd walked right out of one of the old Norse legends my dad had liked to tell me when I was a kid.
Everything swayed. Or maybe it was me; I couldn't tell. Strong hands gripped my arms, holding me upright. The skin of his hands tingled against my arms, growing warmer the longer he held on, until it felt like we might melt together into one. Something in my fuzzy brain tried to tell me that wouldn't be a bad thing, not at all. Those ice-blue eyes snagged my gaze and held on with a vengeance. Heat to rival that of an inferno lay behind those glacial blues and it pulled at me as if it wanted to consume me.
"You should get inside and lock the door behind you. I will go after him," said a voice with the right timbre to set my nerves vibrating in a very good way.
Survival instincts broke through the haze caused by blood loss. Yeah, that had to be it, the blood loss. I thrust my hand in my pocket and it came back out with my keys. As I turned them in the lock, I forced my weary head up so I could look at the blond man one more time. I wanted to remember his face, and not just because he was the only witness to the assault on me.
"Careful, he's dangerous," I warned.
"So am I. Do not worry about me. I will be back to make sure you are all right," he said.
I turned the knob and nearly fell as the door opened inward. Just before I closed it, I heard the blond man curse in a language I didn't recognize but that tickled at my memory. Several sets of footsteps pounded on the pavement. I slammed the door shut, threw the deadbolt, and bolted the other two locks for good measure. On weak legs I made my way to the bedroom, using the walls and furniture to keep myself upright. Coagulating blood forced me to peel my hand from my neck so I could use it.
Blood ran in a hot trail from the wound, down my neck and between my breasts. In this light I couldn't tell by the color alone how bad it was, but the flow was entirely too steady for my comfort. The fact that my heart was working overtime from the stress surely didn't help. Halfway there, with my stomach threatening to revolt and my vision swimming, I realized I should have grabbed my cell phone off the coffee table. Too late now. Besides, I didn't want the cops involved. Damn police only made things worse, a lesson I had learned all too well growing up. I'd go back for the phone in a moment and call Nikki from work. She'd take me to the hospital faster than an ambulance could get here. First, I had to stop the bleeding, and I was closer to the bathroom than the living room. Shock would soon slow my heart and with it my blood flow, giving me plenty of time to get to an ER. With six years into my medical degree I could do just as much — or more, in most cases — to stop the bleeding as an EMT anyway.
Hoping I didn't split my head open on the doorframe, I let go of the wall and took a leap of faith by crossing the open space to the bathroom. My hand left a bloody streak on the door as I stumbled through. The vanity offered me something stable to lean on and was thankfully at the right height so I didn't have to lift my hand to do so, because at that point, I didn't think I could.
From within the vanity mirror my ghost stared back at me. Or at least that's what it looked like. My bronze skin looked sickly pale, a hue I strove hard to avoid with as many hours in the sun as I could manage while working full time at the bar and studying for med school. Blood stained my straight-as-an-arrow black hair, making it cling to my neck and left breast. I didn't want to peel away the hair, didn't want to see, but I had to. Swallowing my fear, I pulled my hair away from my neck. The pain caused my vision to go dark, but it came back after a few blinks.
Bright red blood flowed from not one but four sets of holes in my neck, two above and two below my carotid. They weren't deep enough to show muscle or bone, but the sight of them was enough to make my stomach twist. I definitely should have grabbed my cell phone. I could have at least called one of the waitresses from the bar to come get me. With one hand bracing myself against the sink, I opened the vanity with the other and grabbed the hydrogen peroxide. The way I figured it, a biker guy with a bizarre biting fetish and weird teeth was likely to carry some kind of germs. Even if he didn't, I wanted to boil the freak's saliva from my skin and this was the best way I could do it without actually using boiling water.
White-hot agony exploded into my neck as I poured the bottle of peroxide onto the wounds. My vision went black and this time it didn't clear.CHAPTER 2
The apartment buildings rising to either side zipped by in a blur as my feet ate up the pavement, but it was not fast enough. He was pulling away. Eyes gleamed from the darkness as he chanced a look back at me. Damn, but the wiry little bastard was fast. A solid thud resounded as he leaped up onto and over the wooden fence at the end of the alley. To get more air, I bounced a foot off the concrete block wall of the closest apartment, then landed on top of the fence. I could have jumped straight up and cleared the six-foot height, but someone could have been watching. Better to make it look like I was just a fan of the move from old kung fu movies rather than have someone suspect the truth.
As I descended I scanned the area. An open green space stretched in all directions with a lawn that went for acres dotted with trees and bushes. My gaze cut through the dark easily enough, locating him already halfway across the lawn, the metallic green threads of those damn rockers of his gleaming in the moonlight. No one but him was in the immediate area.
"Raul, stop now and I'll go easier on you!" I yelled. I didn't need to see his face to know it was him. I'd know that detestable pine, Cordura, and exhaust stench anywhere.
He flipped me the bird. I jumped from the top of the fence with everything I had, launching myself close to thirty feet. Wood splintered and cracked but it didn't sound like the fence came down, so I didn't bother to look back. The moment my feet touched the grass I took off. The whites of Raul's eyes reflected the moonlight as he stumbled backward, mouth agape. He only got a few paces before I caught him within the shadow of a huge fir tree. I grabbed the back of his Cordura jacket — and a bit of his hair — and tossed him to the ground. He landed on his back and froze halfway up on his elbows. His breath came in gasps that had more to do with the stench of fear wafting off him than with being out of air. Rank as it was, the fear smelled better than that nasty cologne he was wearing. No doubt that had been a ploy to throw me off his scent. And it had worked, for a while.
"You just bit a woman. The Council will have your hide for that," I said.
Not just any woman, but one with eyes like tiger's eye gems that felt like they had tried to pull my soul into them. Even now I could not get her out of my mind.
"Stay out of this. It doesn't concern you," he demanded as he started to rise to his feet.
Fists closing, my chest rumbled with a sound that made him freeze before he could even get both legs beneath him.
"You are in my territory, which means it concerns me. And you broke one of the oldest laws, which means it concerns the Council. I am taking you back to Hemlock Hollow," I said.
Light footsteps approached from all sides, but I didn't dare take my eyes off Raul. Lips quirking up into a smirk, he rose into a crouch.
"I don't think so. Like I said, this doesn't concern you," he said, voice filled with that damn bravado of his again.
But it was a misplaced bravado, because the ones I smelled in the darkness were not all his people. His people were closer, but others were coming. I would just have to hold out. Raul stood and crossed his arms while others leaped at me from the shadows. Dodging, I avoided the man coming at me from my right. I planted my foot into his back, right on the middle patch of his jacket, and sent him sprawling. Another came at me from behind. Lunging back and crouching at the same time, I grabbed his leg, yanked, and sent him flying over my back. Grunts and curses told me he had collided with either Raul or the other one. A fist flew at me from the left, my instincts pulling my face out of its path a second before it could connect. I grabbed ahold of the wrist attached to it, yanked it forward and down, and flipped the man onto his back.
They came at me again, slower but no less determined. I took them down yet again, bloodying a few lips and blackening a few eyes in the process. If they kept it up they would soon force me to do much more than that. The way they panted and heaved meant they would get desperate during the next round, which meant things were about to get bloody.
From the shadows, Raul came at me, swinging what looked like a baseball bat. It connected hard with my left shoulder and knocked me off balance.
"Go the hell down, Viðarrson," he said, voice little more than a growl.
He swung again, but this time I grabbed it in mid-swing and tore it from him. His eyes shot wide open, but to his credit, he didn't cower. That was, I was certain, mostly because of his buddy trying to sneak up behind me. Without looking, I sidestepped and ducked, then whipped the bat around behind me to connect with the bastard's midsection with a swing that would have earned me a home run. The others hesitated like they did not want to go another round. One of them suddenly slumped to the ground as if the very thought made him faint dead away.
The stories about me weren't that scary.
Raul suddenly slumped as well, falling to the ground with the gracelessness of one who was completely out of it. Shit. A sharp sting in the side of my neck took my voice and my consciousness a moment before I could tell the others that I was one of the good guys.
Excerpted from Once Bitten by Heather McCorkle, Tera Cuskaden. Copyright © 2017 Heather McCorkle. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
awesome paranormal romance 'Once Bitten' by Heather McCorkle is book One in "The Wolves of Hemlock Hollow" series & this is Sonya and Ty’s story. Sonya is tough, alone and studying to be a doctor. She meets Raul who she thinks is ok and after a date they start to make out when he ups an bites her hard which is how she gets infected. Sonya is hurt when Ty comes upon them and chases Raul away. Ty ends up being the one to help Sonya thru her change but Sonya doesn’t know what to believe or do. Ty usually is unflappable in these situations but something about Sonya calls to him. Ty finds He wants to and will protect her and be there for her as long as she will have him. There is a lot of heat, romance, mystery and suspense along with the paranormal aspect and a dash of Norse mythology in this book. I did like this book and look forward to more in this upcoming series. My rating: 4.0 stars **** "I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review***
One night was all it took to change everything. One moment of weakness, and now I’m becoming. Werewolves were supposed to be things only seen in movies, not things that exist in real life. Instead of med school and homework, my life is filled with a laundry list of things that were once impossibilities. Groups fighting over whom I belong to. The possibility of dying if I don’t learn everything before the next full moon. Figuring out how to survive in a world I never knew existed. But the biggest danger? Ty: history professor, super sexy Viking werewolf, and the man who’s been assigned by the Council to teach me how to survive becoming a werewolf. Review: Great start to this new series. I read four great paranormal romances last week and this was one of them. It was action packed from the start, from Sonya being turned to Ty saving her and them going on the run, Sonya's training. It truly is full of action and fast paced. It was an average length but seemed to be over before I knew it. It is not only full of action but also some super sexy times too and it was written sensually and emotionally. There is a lot of machinations going on and it was hard to figure out what everyone ulterior motives are/were. I really liked how the story based the wolves around Viking/Norse mythology and wove the two together. The only thing that I think would have made the story better was if it was in a longer format, and more things were fleshed out. Great paranormal romance from this new-to-me Author. 3.5Stars *I voluntarily read an advance reader copy of this book provided by the publisher.*
I loved it! It's an amazing read. It has been quite some time since I read paranormal romance and I'm glad that I read this one. It's book one in what looks like a promising new series. Characters are all well-written, story is engaging, and there are enough twists and turns to keep it interesting from the very beginning until the end. There is also some mystery around main characters. When Sonya's one mistake lead to her becoming a werewolf, she has no idea what to do. Somehow Ty ends up to be the one to help her through her change. She is wary of him. She doesn't think that she can trust anyone in this new world, which has been unknown to her until now. But soon she realizes that Ty is exactly who he says he is... and the attraction between them is unmistakable. But will she even survive this ordeal to think about her future. Ty has never helped a new werewolf before so there are a lot of things he doesn't know. He is trying his best to help Sonya. One thing is clear to him, there is no way he will ever let anyone hurt her. He will protect her and be there for her as long as she will have him. Even after her change he'd still wants to be with her. Now they only need to stay alive, and make to until after she changes.... but what they don't know is that things will get even more complicated then they're anticipating... It's an intriguing story. I think it's brilliantly written. There was no dragging, it flowed smoothly, there was enough romance, adventure, and mystery to make it perfect. I think all paranormal readers will love this book.
Once Bitten, Heather McCorkle Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews Genre: Romance, My first read of Heather's novels, but I love the werewolf genre and this sounded fun. I found it a little - well - bland I guess? It was well written, the characters were all clearly set out and the take of the werewolf genre had some fresh additions. Sounds good doesn't it? However I just found the story dragged, with nothing much happening until the last 20% or so. Even then I found that for a group so set in rules and hierarchy the story-line went well off track. I couldn't see how all these things, all these anarchist actions wouldn't have been seen coming, if those in charge had been taking note. Its hard to see a rigid, supposedly strong and well run system fall down so badly by the actions of such inept characters. There didn't seem to have been much thought or planning of what would happen, and the ones creating the mayhem were strangely lacking in intelligence and strategy. The story-line is sound, and things like this do happen but it needed to have characters that were capable of planning and executing such a strategy for me to believe it. Its kind of a one plot book too, in that Sonya's transforming was a part of that overall plot. I liked Ty, apart from his manner of speaking which proved irritating after a time, but he was so laid back he was almost horizontal, which didn't fit so well with his thoughts on throwing everything, disregarding all the rules, because he was so attracted to Sonya. I anted to say "get a grip man, its only for a couple of weeks!!" The man I thought he was would have done just that, not been mulling constantly about giving in to temptation. Its one of those reads that feels very simplistic, not complex drama but a quick easy read. Depends what you want - and its different for everyone, for me its more often the complex drama that does it. First books in a series have a hard task and for me this one doesn't quite live up to the promise of the description. I'm undecided as to whether I want to continue with it. I'll see nearer the time I guess, how much other things I've got on and whether I'm pulled in by the description. I'm not saying I would read more, not saying its a no go for me but I am on the fence over it. Stars: two and a half, a good premise but it needs a bit more action and drama, a little more speed for me. Maybe in the later books? ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers
'Once Bitten' by Heather McCorkle is book One in "The Wolves of Hemlock Hollow" series. This is the story of Sonya and Ty. Sonya is tough, alone and learning to become a Doctor. Sonya meets Raul who she thinks is nice and after a date they start to make out when he ups an bites her. Sonya hurt and struggling to realize what he has done with Ty shows up to chase him away. Ty takes on the role as her 'teacher' for learning what she is becoming after Raul's assault. Ty is suppose to have a non-emotional connection while teacher her to become a werewolf. But he is finding it hard to do that. Sonya is struggling to understand what is happening to her...but her father had told her stories of what she is now dealing with. "My honest review is for a special copy I voluntarily read."
Holy werewolves, Batman! What did I just read!! Once Bitten by Heather McCorkle is incredible! Book 1 of The Wolves of Hemlock Hollow Series, this book has a winning combination of romance and heat, action, and drama, not to mention plenty of Norse lore and mythology to make a paranormal lover combust! This story was unique and quite different from the shifter stories we’ve come to know and love. Ms. McCorkle did a marvelous job with weaving her story and I am so looking forward to what’s coming next. Please note that an ARC was generously provided in exchange for an honest review of which this is both honest and completely voluntary.