Home > Wolf Gone Wild (Stay a Spell #1)

Wolf Gone Wild (Stay a Spell #1)
Author: Juliette Cross

Chapter 1

~MATEO~

“Would you like another beer?”

If I thought it would do any damn good, I’d have a hundred more. But it was no use. Nothing helped. It was only getting worse.

That meathead at the bar is staring at us again.

Please just be quiet for five minutes. I need to think.

Yeah, keep lookin’, asshole. I’m going to bloody your face good.

Christ. He wouldn’t shut up tonight. The intensity of his urges were worse than ever. At least he leaned more toward violence than sex. His push for a fight was somehow easier to tolerate than his constant commands for me to get laid. Small blessings.

Look! He’s standing. He’s coming to challenge us. Good. Prepare for combat.

He’s leaving. Settle down.

Follow him.

“Sir?” The young waitress stared at me, wide-eyed with concern. I didn’t blame her.

“No.” My eye twitched. “Thank you.” I pulled out a twenty and set it on the table, then headed for the door.

That’s right. Time to wipe that sneer off that asshole’s face.

He wasn’t sneering. You’re imagining things. As always.

I’ve been imagining my fist knocking out his teeth. Now I want action.

Once outside, I took two seconds to scan the block, just in case Alpha was right and that guy was looking for a fight. He made me paranoid. Jittery.

My wolf might need to break someone’s bones, but I didn’t. I needed help. I couldn’t put it off any longer. The offending sneerer was talking to some chick and paying us zero attention, so I headed quickly up Magazine Street in the opposite direction.

You’re going the wrong damn way!

No, I’m not. We’ve got more important things to do than brawl on the street.

A growling snort sounded in my head. Oh, yeah? Like what?

We’re going to meet a witch.

You may be a coward, but you’re no fool. A woman is exactly what we need to take the edge off.

Aaaaand, here we go again.

Preferably a curvy one. Need something to hold onto when I’m—

A horn honked as I crossed Magazine, the nightlife still kicking even as some bars were closing down.

All supernaturals in New Orleans knew about the Savoie sisters though I’d never met them. They had individual talents to help supernaturals in need. And sometimes humans. Those who actually knew about our existence, that is. I’d pay anything right about now for their help. I’d take out a mortgage on my gallery and home if necessary. But I also had heard they were fair. One of them was a Hex-breaker. She’s the one I was looking for.

Coming up on Ruben’s Rare Books & Brew, I slowed my stride. The bookstore was closed this time of night, of course, but patrons of another variety veered around the corner and down the alley. Beautiful human women hung on the arms of inhumanly perfect men who escorted them to the back entrance of The Green Light. A throaty laugh belted from a pin-up gorgeous blonde in a pink latex dress. Vampire. She tugged her handsome catch for the night down the gas-lit alley to the back entrance.

Leaning against the corner of the building, seemingly disinterested in the comings and goings, was a tall, black-haired guy smoking a cigarette. He wasn’t just hanging on the corner. He was working for Ruben, the lord of the New Orleans vampire coven. I knew what he was within twenty yards of him. A wave of darker urges tugged on my psyche and my body.

Alpha rumbled a purring growl at the heady sensation the grim reaper stirred. We called them grims. Not because they escorted souls into the afterlife, but because they carried an aura of darkness, pulling on impulses and cravings that people liked to suppress, to keep in check.

Of the four supernatural creatures, grims and their powers were the most mysterious. My cousin Nico told me once that he’d seen six of them show up at an apartment complex fire when he lived in Houston. They slipped into the burning building without the firemen seeing them. Knowing lives had been lost, Nico thought maybe they did have something to do with transporting souls after death. Who knows? They never gave out information about themselves, but for some strange reason, they always seemed to know a hell of a lot about everyone else.

A grim was the perfect employee to hang on the corner of a vampire den. The supernatural law was that blood-hosts must go willingly to feed a vampire for the night. A grim standing near the entrance—arousing a human’s suppressed cravings for danger, lust, and vanity—would definitely tempt them into the vampire underworld.

Most humans were oblivious to the supernaturals living amongst them. Until they weren’t. Those in some inner circles knew about us. But they kept our secrets—out of fear or respect or both.

Though I didn’t like standing in the personal space of a grim, I figured if anyone had the information I needed, it would be him. I wasn’t sure who the Hex-breaker was, but I bet this guy did.

“Hey. You know the Savoie sisters?”

The grim—his features sharp and his intelligence sharper by the looks of his all-seeing brown-black eyes—sucked a deep drag of his cigarette before responding.

“No. I don’t know the Savoie sisters.” He measured me from head to toe, flicking a tip of ash onto the sidewalk. “But I know about them.”

Smartass. Break his nose.

Shut up.

“Do you know anything about the Hex-breaker?”

He regarded me with a nonchalance that rang false. This guy observed, calculated, and stored away everything with those dark eyes. He probably knew more about the people in the Bohemian, trendy district of Magazine Street than anyone else.

“The second sister, Eveleen. Redhead. Spunky personality. Expert level curse breaker. One hundred percent success rate according to the Witch’s Coven Guild database. Works four to five nights a week at the Cauldron, which the sisters co-own. Including tonight.” He glanced up and narrowed his eyes as if trying to recall something. “I don’t think she’s closing tonight.”

Whoa. “How do you have access to their database?”

He shrugged, refusing to answer as he scanned the street, watching passers-by with that hooded gaze. He was done feeding me information.

“Quite a gig you’ve got here.” I nodded to the alleyway.

He blew out a stream of smoke and stubbed his cigarette against the brick wall behind him. “Better than some other jobs grims are hired for.” His voice had dropped to a low, threatening level.

Alpha growled a warning.

“Is that so,” I said as a statement more than question. I could believe it. And I sure as hell didn’t want to know what jobs he referred to.

“Standing on a street corner, smoking cigarettes, and people-watching for $150/hour? Yeah. It’s a good gig.”

Damn. Ruben paid well. I’d never met him, but everyone knew of him. Good to know he appreciated his employees. I was fairly sure Ruben had access to the information database in this dude’s head for that kind of hourly rate.

“I guess I owe you a tip for the information.” I reached for my wallet in my back pocket.

“Nah.” He grinned, his wide mouth quirking up more on one side. “Knowing a wolf is about to walk into the Cauldron is payment enough.” Shaking his head and grinning, he looked down and pulled out his pack of cigarettes from his back jeans pocket.

“Why’s that?”

He lit a cigarette, squinting as he inhaled. The tip turned orange, his brows creasing in sympathy. Suddenly, I had the urge to punch that look of pity off his face.

Go with this feeling.

His gaze sharpened on my own. He must’ve caught a flare of the wolf in my eyes. The longer I stood here, the more my insides fizzled with urgent agitation and the need to do violence. Hot blood hummed in my veins, pushing me harder. Shifting from one foot to the other, I kept my hands in my pockets so I wouldn’t reach for him.

The grim stood straighter, but not to buck up on me. That would be stupid. He might be near my height, but he had no idea who he was really dealing with. Actually, he probably did. Perhaps, he was preparing to run, which told me he was far wiser than I’d suspected.

Bring it on, grim.

He spoke, his tone even and low and full of warning. “They don’t deal with wolves. Never have.”

I nodded, narrowing my gaze on the witch’s place down the street, needing to shift my attention to the goal at hand.

Mmmm. A redhead. I like.

If she’s going to help us, you’ve got to keep your mouth shut.

A dark chuckle rumbled in my mind.

Fine. I had no choice, one way or the other. With a parting nod to the grim, I strode with purpose toward the Cauldron.

Chapter 2

~EVIE~

This is the last thing I needed. After a ten-hour shift, a frat boy puking on my boots, and a drunk-ass chick singing an off-tune, super slutty rendition of “Pour Some Sugar On Me” on our bar-top, I now had a werewolf begging me to break a hex.

A fine werewolf at that. And, okay, maybe he wasn’t begging. I wasn’t sure a man like him knew how, but the thought sent a primal shiver from the top of my spine down to where it zinged between my legs.

“You’re Eveleen, right?”

While the never-break rule of No Werewolves kept pinging around in my head, his smoky baritone told my lady parts it was a silly, silly rule.

“It’s Evie. And yes. But I seriously doubt yours is a hex.”

“It is.”

Did he just growl at me?

“Look, Wolfman.”

“Mateo.”

“Whatever.” I hopped up on the bar-top, spun my legs over to the other side, and landed beside him. “I wish I could help. But we’ve got rules. No werewolves. Sorry.”

It didn’t matter how beautiful he was with those broody, soulful eyes and that unruly dark hair falling past his chiseled jaw. Jules would kill me. I tried to ignore the pained look hardening his expression as I passed behind him. Jules hadn’t laid down the laws for no reason. She was smart and cautious. All in an effort to keep us safe. Ever since our mom relinquished reign of New Orleans to Jules and hightailed it to the Alps with my dad for a well-deserved retirement, Jules had taken her job very seriously. That’s why I ignored the torturous tightening of his mouth and furrowed brow and kept on walking.

   
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