Wolf at the Door

Wolf at the Door

by N. J. Walters

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Overview

Gwendolyn Jones is working on an article about werewolves, not that she believes they exist. But there are people out there who do, like the nervous man who slips her a flash drive with information he claims will prove to the world shifters are out there. Gwen starts questioning just what to believe when two very real werewolves come knocking on her cabin door later that night.

Someone has a flash drive with pictures that could endanger his pack, and alpha Jacque LaForge will do whatever it takes to destroy it. But the something deep inside him ignites when he knocks on the door of that “someone”. He didn’t think he’d find a mate, or that when he did, she’d be human. But now that he’s has found Gwen, he knows he has a fight on his hands to protect her from his former vengeful pack who are out to hurt him by any means necessary.

Each book in the Salvation Pack series is a standalone story that can be enjoyed in any order.
Series Order:
Book #1 Wolf at the Door
Book #2 Wolf in her Bed
Book #3 Wolf on the Run
Book #4 Wolf from the Past
Book #5 Wolf on the Hunt
Book #6 Wolf on a Mission
Book #7 Wolf in his Heart

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781640630185
Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC
Publication date: 07/31/2017
Series: Salvation Pack Series , #1
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 150
Sales rank: 121,371
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Once upon a time N.J. had the idea that she would like to quit her job at the bookstore, sell everything she owned, leave her hometown, and write romance novels in a place where no one knew her. And she did. Two years later, she went back to the bookstore and her hometown and settled in for another seven years. One day she gave notice at her job on a Friday morning. On Sunday afternoon, she received a tentative acceptance for her first romance novel and life would never be the same.

N.J. Walters is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who has always been a voracious reader, and now she spends her days writing novels of her own. Vampires, werewolves, dragons, time-travelers, seductive handymen, and next-door neighbors with smoldering good looks—all vie for her attention. It’s a tough life, but someone’s got to live it.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

"Shit." Gwendolyn Jones winced as the toes of her right foot connected with a brick that looked like it had obviously fallen from the retaining wall quite some time ago.

"What are you doing here, Gwen?" she muttered beneath her breath as she lifted her foot and bent her toes forward and back to make sure she hadn't broken anything. If she'd known she'd be pacing up and down a derelict cemetery path she would have worn boots instead of sneakers.

Of course, she knew what she was doing here. Her job. Well, not everyone considered it a job, but she did. Gwen was proud of the stories she penned for various tabloids and magazines around the world. Her stories on the macabre and the paranormal had done well.

In the course of her career, she'd met a lot of interesting folks, including a man who believed he was an honest to God vampire. He would only meet her at night and insisted she wear a necklace of garlic for her own protection. She'd indulged the guy and had gotten enough material for several articles. He'd been harmless, if slightly off-kilter.

Usually she only met people in public places. Heck, these days the bulk of her interviews were conducted through email. But when Hector Canton had contacted her, he wouldn't tell her anything over the phone. He would only talk to her in person, and since he was passing through her town he'd requested a face-to-face meeting. But he wouldn't meet in public. It had to be somewhere private.

Normally she wouldn't have agreed to such a thing, but Hector claimed to have proof that werewolves really existed. Now, Gwen didn't believe in werewolves any more than she did vampires, but a good story was a good story.

An owl hooted off to her left and the brisk October wind began to seep through her thin jacket. "Should have worn a sweater," she muttered, while she rubbed her hands over her arms in an effort to stave off the chill.

Hector was late and she was running out of patience. She'd been pacing outside the cemetery gates for twenty minutes now. "Ten more minutes, Hector."

Then she'd go home and treat herself to a mug of hot chocolate and curl up on the end of the well-worn sofa with a good book. She'd purchased the latest paperback by one of her favorite authors, which coincidentally enough was about werewolves. She grinned as she remembered the hot-looking guy from the cover. Oh yeah, that would warm her up in no time.

An alpha werewolf was all fine and good between the pages of a novel, but she didn't think she'd like an ultra-tough, take-charge guy telling her what to do in real life. In fact, she knew she wouldn't. Of course, a fictional alpha male made great fodder for hot nighttime sensual fantasies.

A sound came from off to her right. A skittering sound, like a large animal or a man hurrying across the ground. She reached into her pocket and grabbed her pepper spray. Better safe than sorry. Her other hand griped her digital recorder. She always taped her in-person interviews so she could give all her attention to the person she was talking to without fear of forgetting any details she'd need later.

Her purse was at home. She learned a long time ago to put her driver's license and some money in her pocket along with her keys. Her pepper spray, phone and recorder went in her jacket pockets, leaving her hands free. Just in case.

Not that she was expecting trouble. Hector had seemed a bit high strung over the phone, but not crazy. Okay, the guy obviously believed in werewolves, which meant he wasn't quite all there, but Gwen was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. She would have felt a lot better about things if he'd agreed to meet in a café or restaurant instead of the local cemetery.

The rustling sound reached her ears again and she squinted to try to see through the dark. The moon was almost full and gave off some light, but not enough to cut through the darkness. The old cemetery was outside town and had no lights at all.

A shiver raced down Gwen's spine and the fine hairs on the back of her nape stirred. She took a step toward her car. It was only a few feet away and she'd taken the precaution of locking all the doors except the driver's and backing the vehicle in so she could easily make a quick getaway if need be. She might be eager for a story but she wasn't stupid.

A low growl came from off to the left and she took another step back. She had no idea what kind of animals might be running around the surrounding woods. Maybe it would be smarter to just wait in the car. Just in case. As she put her hand on the door, she heard a voice calling her name.

"Ms. Jones. Ms. Jones." She tucked her recorder into her pocket, keeping it running, and left one hand on the door handle. Her other one clutched the pepper spray.

A short, balding man about two inches shorter than her five-foot-eight hurried toward her. Even in the dim light she could tell Hector was highly agitated. He stumbled to a halt in front of her and she had to put out a hand to keep him from running into her. He was sweating, his eyes darting all around him. He reminded her of a frightened mouse.

"Mr. Canton?" She couldn't believe he was on foot. He must have parked farther down the road and walked the rest of the way to the cemetery. The town was a good ten-minute drive from here. She wasn't sure how long it would take to walk that distance.

He swiped a hand over his forehead. "Yes. Yes." He stuck one of his hands into his pocket. She brought her right hand up, holding the pepper spray at the ready. This entire situation was creeping her out. Why had she agreed to do this? Oh yeah, a story.

He pulled his hand out and thrust it toward her. It wasn't a weapon, but a flash drive. She almost laughed out loud her sense of relief was so profound. She'd certainly overreacted. Chalk it up to creepy atmosphere and the cloak-and-dagger theatrics Hector Canton insisted on.

She took the flash drive and slid it into her pocket. "Can you tell me what's on it?"

"I'm risking my life. If they find out, they'll kill me."

"Who?" Her heart began to race and she peered as far as she could see into the darkness surrounding them. Was someone following Hector Canton?

"The werewolves, of course." He looked at her as if she wasn't all that bright.

"I see," she began, trying to figure out the best way to proceed with the interview. "If you know they'll kill you why are you doing this?" He obviously thought werewolves were real, so she would humor him. She'd thought he was going to be one of those guys who had excess body hair and howled at the moon — harmless but wacky. But he honestly believed in werewolves.

Now he appeared totally bewildered. "Someone has to tell the world."

He seemed so sincere she didn't have the heart to tell him no one would ever believe his story. Okay, maybe a few of the more rabid fans of some of the magazines she wrote for would, but most would simply find it an entertaining tale.

He was staring at her so intently she felt like she had to say something. "That's brave of you."

He nodded, seemingly satisfied with her praise. Gwen honestly didn't believe she was going to get much more out of this interview and decided to cut the meeting short. "Is there anything else you can tell me or is all the information on the flash drive?"

"It's all there." His agitation was growing with each passing second. His eyes continually darted from her, to the surrounding woods, to the cemetery and back again.

A dog howled in the distance, the sound stark and lonely as it echoed through the dense woods and the surrounding hills. Hector bolted fast as a jackrabbit, racing back the way he'd come. "Run before they find you." She watched for another moment as he disappeared and was swallowed up by the night. When a second howl joined the first, she jumped into her car and pushed down the lock. She didn't want to have a run-in with either a pack of wild dogs or a group of men out hunting with their hounds.

And that's all it was. There were certainly no werewolves running around. They were nothing more than a figment of Hector's wild imagination.

She took a deep breath and let it out gradually, hoping to slow her racing heart. Her hand shook as she turned the key in the ignition. The engine rumbled to life and she gave a quick prayer of thanks when it immediately started. Her car was old and not always reliable. She put the vehicle in gear and rolled down the road. There was no sign of Hector Canton, but the flash drive he'd given her was practically burning a hole in her pocket. What was on it that had him so excited?

Even as she wondered about the content, she laughed at herself. "Probably a few pictures of a wolf and some eyewitness accounts. That was usually the kind of proof she got from the people she interviewed.

There was no denying that Hector's mood had spooked her. She shook her head and scolded herself for being so gullible. A cemetery on an autumn evening near a full moon was the perfect setting to give anyone the willies. Add in a few howling dogs and a nervous man professing to believe in werewolves, and it was no wonder she was jumpy.

She turned on her CD player and sang along with Annie Lennox's sultry voice, wishing she were even half as good as the singer. She was just belting out a chorus when a black shape darted across the road in front of her. It happened so fast she barely had time to react. She slammed her foot down on the brake and then she had to fight to keep the car on the road.

"Stupid." She knew better, but it was incredibly hard to fight the instinct to try to stop as fast as possible. What had she seen? A deer? A dog? It had all happened so quickly she wasn't sure. Whatever it was, it had been really fast.

"Well, that was a rush." She clung to the steering wheel, her knuckles white. Adrenaline pumped through her body, making her limbs shaky and her stomach queasy. She took several deep breaths to calm her racing heartbeat.

She didn't like the idea of just sitting on the side of the road so she released her foot from the brake pedal and started for home again, keeping a watch on the road and surrounding area. The rest of the trip was without incident, but a couple of times she could swear, when she glanced out the side window, there was some kind of animal running through the woods, keeping pace with her car.

"Impossible. You're just spooked. It's the moonlight, wind and trees playing tricks on your eyes." Still, she was glad she'd left the lamp on over her front door. The yellow light welcomed her as she pulled into the gravel driveway alongside the cabin.

She turned off the ignition and sat there for a moment, letting her nerves settle. "Right. There's nothing to worry about." Her little pep talk helped. Some. But sitting here fretting wasn't the brightest thing to be doing.

She made certain she had her house key ready before she unlocked the car door and got out. The wind sent a batch of leaves skittering past her. The aspens swished and the pine trees swayed, their leaves and branches adding to the music of the night. It was a beautiful fall evening, the kind she usually took pleasure in. The past few nights, she'd dragged a blanket onto the front porch, curled up in a deck chair and enjoyed every moment of nature's serenade. Tonight, all she wanted to do was get inside and bolt the door.

Gwen was suddenly very aware of how alone she was so far from town. Her nearest neighbor was a five-minute drive down the road. For a former city girl used to people living practically on top of one another, the quiet was suddenly unnerving.

Up until a month ago, she'd lived in Chicago. But her great aunt had died suddenly, leaving Gwen a home in rural Tennessee. So she'd packed her belongings and driven to Wayman's Peak for the adventure and the chance to live rent-free. She was suddenly having second thoughts about her decision.

She scrambled up the three wooden steps of her porch, not caring if she was acting irrationally. After all, there was no one around to see her. Maybe she should get a dog.

The thought was no sooner in her head when she heard a howl in the woods beyond. "Dog, not a wolf." She jammed the key in the lock and sighed in relief when the door opened. She went inside and started to shut it but stopped to stare out into the surrounding forest. The howl came again, this time sounding much closer.

Gwen slammed the door shut and drove the bolt home. A frisson of fear rushed through her as another primitive howl ripped through the night. She raced into the living room and yanked down the old shotgun that was mounted on the wall to the left of the fireplace. She didn't know much about weapons but she knew it was loaded. She'd checked as soon as she'd moved in.

She'd never fired a gun before. Maybe it was time to change that. If she was going to live so far outside of town she needed to be able to protect herself. The next time she went into town, she would ask the local sheriff what permits she needed and if there was somewhere she could practice.

Gwen stared down at her hands and gave a gurgle of laughter. She was acting like an idiot, standing in her coat in the middle of her living room holding a shotgun. And all because a man she didn't even know had fed her some crazy story about werewolves.

"Get a grip, Jones." She set the weapon aside, being careful the safety was on. The best thing to do was put it back on its rack, but she couldn't quite bring herself to do that yet. She pulled off her coat and hung it up before digging out the flash drive and mini recorder.

"Let's see what you've got." She tossed the small red drive into the air and caught it as she walked across the room to her work area. She'd jammed a desk into the corner of the dining area to create an office space. It was by a window and she loved the view of the woods beyond. Now it was pitch black, nothing but a sea of darkness.

She tugged the drapes closed.

The computer was only sleeping, so it came back to life quickly. She set the recorder aside to examine later. Maybe something Hector had said would spark an idea for an article, although she rather thought the whole conversation was a write-off.

She inserted the flash drive and clicked on the first file when they appeared on the screen. Just as she'd suspected, a picture of a wolf popped up. The next one was similar. There was also a rambling letter from Hector giving names to the wolves. "Louis and Jacque LaForge. That sounds French, maybe Cajun."

Gwen closed the letter and almost shut down the entire thing. There was a can of cocoa sitting in the kitchen cupboard calling her name. She could deal with this tomorrow. She should deal with this tomorrow in the light of day. But curiosity won out in the end and she clicked on the next file, which had more photos in it.

The cursor settled over the first icon and she swore as she gave in to temptation and clicked. She gasped and sat back in her chair when a picture of a half-naked man appeared. On closer inspection she could see sharp fangs coming from his elongated jaw and the razor-like talons on the ends of his fingers.

"Right. Obviously Photoshop." But the closer she looked the less she thought so. "Someone spent a lot of money on those fake fangs and claws. Either that or they know a damn fine special-effects makeup artist." Either way, she was done for the night with Hector Canton and his werewolves.

Not that it was all bad. She couldn't use the pictures because she didn't have permission and didn't want to end up getting sued, but she could certainly spin a few stories for some of her tabloid customers. All in all, the night wasn't a total bust.

Time to break out the hot chocolate and her book.

A hard, heavy pounding shook the front door, jolting her out of her chair. She didn't waste any time running for the shotgun. Had Hector followed her home? Maybe he was crazy? She knew better than to break her rule about meeting in public. Why had she made an exception tonight? Too late to be asking that question now.

She thumbed the safety off. Her palms were damp and shaky, but she swallowed back her fear. How hard could it be to point and shoot? It was like a camera. This close she couldn't miss.

The knock came again, this time not quite as loud. "Ms. Jones?" The voice was low and deep, definitely male.

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "Wolf At The Door"
by .
Copyright © 2014 N.J. Walters.
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.

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