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 enemya wolf who hunts his own people? A wolf whose languid, sexy drawl makes her dream the impossible?
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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 sevenyearold 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 hotwired 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 linendraped 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 granitetopped table was halfhidden 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.
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 whiteblond 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 silverhaired 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 Shadowshoping to force their Draicon brethren into acknowledging them as equalsnearly 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 thankyous 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.
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 HarleyDavidson Tshirt and steeltoed 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 twiceover.
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
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 Tshirt 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.
This was not how he had envisioned starting his longawaited vacation. Gabriel stared at the unconscious woman slumped in his arms. Asleep, without the spark igniting her seablue 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 5055 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 silverhaired 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 mindjust 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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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!
Being on the run absolutely sucks and when you have to hide not only yourself but two small children it is beyond awful. Megan Moraine is part of hidden culture of Shadow Wolves who have the power to make themselves invisible. Megan is trying to save herself and her twin cousins from a marked death by avoiding those determined to kill them. The problem is the head executioner, Gabriel Robichaux just walked in the door. While capture may not be inevitable, escape is always an option. Gabe takes them to his island getaway and explains he is not one of the bad guys but someone trying to protect her. Megan is not buying this story but the more time she spends with him the more she comes to believe that he may be her only salvation. But one surprise that both of them discovered is not easily brushed aside and cannot be dismissed and when the entire network of safety is compromised no one can be trusted. When the bad guys do come after them the target they want to destroy is not the one they expected so the tactics must be changed because this is all worse than previously thought. How that is possible Megan will never know but once she and Gabe become a united force nothing is going to separate them and unexpected problems can be resolved Bonnie Vanak has taken to this genre with such great characters and storylines you get lost in. She writes with great clarity and her supernatural world while detailed is quickly absorbed and wonderful to read. Thanks Bonnie!
If you like fast-paced and unpredictable adventure stories with a few twists and steamy sex, you will love this book. These wolves will keep you on the edge of your seat as they do everything in their power to save the lives of two little girls.
The Draicon Council has incarcerated shadow wolves on Shadow Island out of fear of the sub-species skill to turn invisible. Megan Moraine knows she cannot raise her two younger seven years old twin cousins (Jillian and Jennifer) from a prison cell; so using her invisibility power, she escapes with her young relatives. Draicon Council Enforcer Gabriel Robichaux hunts escapees. Known for killing runaways as much as bringing them back to lockup, he stalks the three female shadows. However, his reputation for assassination proves false as he tries to take Megan and her wards to a safe house, but someone inside his support cell betrays Gabriel and the three females. The latest Draicon wolf romantic urban fantasy (see The Immortal Wolf) is a terrific thriller due to the traits of the fearsome foursome while on the lam. Gabriel and Megan are falling in love, but most significant to both of them is getting the youngsters to safety. The twins make the tale as they are frightened but intrepid. This is an exciting entertaining read. Bonus story: Darkness of the Wolf. For killing his Alpha, Guy Laurent was imprisoned for life in the Savage Kingdom Zoo. Phoenix offers him his freedom if he escorts Brianna the young Draicon girl and her guardian Kayla Morris to the youngster's pack. He accepts the job while wondering why Kayla ignores her Draicon background. As the adults fall in love, neither loses sight of keeping their young charge safe from insidious enemies. This reprint of an e-byte novella is a fun Draicon urban romantic fantasy. Harriet Klausner
Megan Moraine is a shadow wolf, a breed of werewolf (or Draicon) despised and feared by their own kind for their unique abilities. Exiled to a secluded island with the rest of the Shadow's they are often beaten, tortured and worse.when Megan finally fears for her life and the lives of her two young cousins she manages to escape with them and is on the run in Florida when she runs into the most feared of Draicon Enforcers, Gabriel Robichaux. Gabriel is not the ruthless, heartless man she thought though and Megan immediately feels an undeniable attraction to the darkly handsome and mysterious Enforcer. But Gabriel hides more than his true purpose with the Enforcers; he keeps a darker secret that if found out will make him even more hunted than the beautiful Shadow he can't get out of his head. This is my first read from author Bonnie Vanak and her Draicon Werewolves series. The world she has built in The Shadow Wolf is fascinating but jumping right into the fourth novel in the series was a bit confusing at first. There was little introduction into this complex world Vanak has created or the series in general, however, after a few chapters in I started to get the hang of it. The author gives a unique take on werewolves with fresh and creative abilities for the paranormal genre. Providing plenty of romantic tension, dangerous suspense and steamy passion to keep you absorbed and the story line moved at a good pace, flowing smoothly. I enjoyed the characters Gabriel and Megan, both were strong and well written with several layers to peel back as you moved along in the story. Their passion and attraction was undeniable and I liked how despite that Gabriel and Megan are destined mates the author didn't use that as an excuse to throw them together and right into bed; they actually got to know and respect each other first. The secondary characters were interesting as well, especially Gabriel's brothers, and I found myself curious as to their stories that preludes this one. I also found myself immensely intrigued with the Phoenix Tristyn, just what is his story? I would definitely be interested in reading more of this series and other works from this author, The Shadow Wolf was a great read that I thoroughly enjoyed! The bonus story at the end, Darkness of the Wolf, was also fabulous and another four wine glass read in itself!
I bit my nails, ground my teeth and flipped through the pages at a furious clip because I never knew what was going to happen next and the suspense kept me glued to my chair. The Shadow Wolf has the emotional punch to make what happens to the hero and heroine matter to a reader. Right off the bat, Ms. Vanak introduced characters that would appeal to a reader. She painted a scene of despair, hopelessness and fear while showcasing the heroine's determination, strength and loyalty. The first chapter presented the main players who have the most to lose and gain during the course of this story and sets up the initial conflict between the hero and heroine. And wouldn't you know, just as I'm writing this I realized something about one of the characters that I read about early on. I'm in shock. Oh, my gosh! I didn't catch it on the first read through. That really twists the knife. And now I understand all the ramifications. I'm officially blown away. Oh poor, Gabriel. Yes, Ms. Vanak created characters I cared about. Once the hero, Gabriel bared his heart, there was only one option open to me and that was to fall in love with him too. I wanted to hug him, care for him and wanted him to be happy. He eventually gets all those things from Megan, the heroine but not without some seriously suspenseful and heartbreaking moments along the way. Megan has had to fight tooth and nail to get where she is and to get where she's going. She has been hurt so much and so badly, trusting someone else is a huge stumbling block for her. And yet, for all her doubts and fears, she tentatively reaches out to Gabriel and the action begins. The twins are adorable and important. They are little kids who've seen too much and yet still retain some of their innocence and charm. They are the glue that holds the little group together initially until the bigger picture gets painted for a reader and the scope with which they're up against is revealed. The suspense of not knowing who to trust, why what is happening is happening and will they get away and survive intact is a constant. Not knowing if both Gabriel and Megan can get beyond their own fears and reach out to the other is another effective hook in this story. What is really going on and why everything is so perverted is another question to be answered. So many threads weave through this book and Ms. Vanak didn't let one dangle. Eventually everything comes to light in a spectacular confrontation. There are different levels of secondary characters and some are more important than others. The most fascinating for me was Tristan. He can be a cool dude one second and the other, he's popping footballs. Amazing man with a hint of omniscience, I'd love to know more about him. The others have supporting roles or shed light on the hero. The heroine doesn't really have any friends so that's an emotion tugger. The conflicts are many but the solution comes down to a decision that only Megan and Gabriel can make. Once they do, it was thrilling to see the intense and volatile scenes that followed. And it was a WOW! moment when it was revealed just what Gabriel really was. Never saw that coming and it made me wonder why they were hunted in the first place. Something tells me it was the other nasties that arranged it all those many years ago. Interesting thought and it makes sense. Read the Full Review at The Long and Short of It Romance Reviews
Megan is on the run with her two young charges. If they are caught, they can be shipped back to the island where Draicon shadow wolves are held as prisoners and considered secondary citizens with no rights. Determined to fight for them and avoid a horrible fate, Megan must get them to unknown safety. I'll admit that I normally don't give romance novels the greatest of reviews. It's not due to a bias against them. They just aren't typically well developed, a faect which fits the needs of many people reading them. However the characters in Bonnie Vanak's The Shadow Wolf are more developed than is typical of the genre, and the story line surprisingly holds undercurrents of racial discrimination and civil rights throughout the fantasy romance. The fast paced writing is well detailed and the romance side is well blended into the main storyline. It is an enjoyable light read. Disclaimer: A copy of the book was provided by the publisher.
Megan is a Draicon Shadow wolf. She can turn invisible, which isn't normal Draicon powers. This causes the others to fear Megan's kind. The Draicon council has put all shadow wolves in prison on Shadow Island. There's no way Megan can raise her two twin cousins in this prison. She escapes and is on the run with her two seven year-old cousins, Jillian and Jennifer, trying to get to a safe house. Gabriel-an Enforcer working for the Draicon council whose job is to go after runaways-brings them back to prison. Gabriel is gorgeous and sexy and dangerous. He carries a dark secret, which means he can't claim a destined mate, because she'd become one in power, spirit, and body with him. Gabriel's okay with this, until he meets Megan. She's beautiful and has a few secrets of her own, but the one person she fears the most is Gabriel. As fate would have it, these two are destined to be mates, but neither one is ready to surrender their fears, trust issues, or heart. If they can overcome, their love has the power to set all the shadow wolves free. The Shadow Wolf is a steamy, hot romance, but it's also a heartwarming love story. Gabriel and Megan had me biting my nails for them to get together. And another thing I love about Gabriel is seeing his love for the twins. It just makes him even sexier. The Shadow Wolf is a beautiful love story that I would recommend as a must read for all who love Paranormal Romance. I also love the book cover and there is a novella at the end about Guy and Kayla's love story.
Unfortunately, this is the second decent book she has written. The first is "Imortal Wolf" her most popular supernatural book. Bunny
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