Home > Wolf Gone Wild (Stay a Spell #1)(16)

Wolf Gone Wild (Stay a Spell #1)(16)
Author: Juliette Cross

But it was the facts listed about the sex drive of werewolves that really had my eyes bugging out. Words like insatiable need and rough coupling and aggressive bed-play, then finally pursue his prey until he won her. First off, wowza. That little lesson got me all tingly. But then I was like…huh? I hadn’t seen any evidence of Mateo’s aggressive sexual nature, like, at all. Which reminded me we were just doing a job together and were friends. Just because werewolves had super-hot libidos didn’t mean they wanted to bang just any chick. So the truth was that Mateo didn’t see me in that way.

All cool. No biggie. I was there for him to do a job, to break this hex. I needed to talk to Jules about her plan soon. For tonight, I’d dive into one more history lesson.

On the cover of the book on my lap, the werewolf’s eyes, narrowed into slits and hooded, glowed an eerie yellow. A chill spider-walked down my spine as a flash of Mateo on the sofa popped into my mind. When I’d heard him growl, I glanced back, catching the shimmer of fiery gold in his eyes. It was fleeting, mere seconds. But holy cannoli, for that brief moment in time, I wasn’t looking at Mateo at all. I was staring at his wolf. And the way he was looking back at me had turned my knees to jelly. If he hadn’t recovered so quickly, I might’ve asked him to leave. But he was so jittery and nervous, I couldn’t kick him out. All I’d wanted to do was distract him from whatever was bothering him.

Thank goodness Clara cast her joy spell on him, because I sure as hell wasn’t much help. That had annoyed me more than anything. I’d thought my presence was what always calmed him down, but tonight he was more agitated than ever. I couldn’t make sense of it.

Sighing, I flipped open the book to the actual origin story. I knew it had to do with a witch who hated her tormentors and had punished him with a curse, but honestly, it wasn’t anything I’d been very interested in. Until now. Scanning chapter six, I found what I was looking for.

Ethelinda of Roma descent was one of many witches on the run from the Spanish Inquisition. When finally captured and put into the torture dungeons for her crimes of witchcraft, she was tormented by one particular officer, Capitán Diego Ortega. He was a notorious witch hunter and gloried in torturing his victims before he eventually killed them. His brutal tactics to force Ethelinda to divulge names of other witches and where other covens were hiding only served to inflame her need for vengeance. While being threatened with an Iron Maiden should she not comply, she conjured a dying curse:

“Men are beasts, Capitán. So be it. Blood of your blood, till the end of time, will curse your name and pay your crime. In every heart, beauty will dwell beside the beast, only the man can tell, who will rule and who will feast. I curse you, Capitán Diego Ortega, and all your male kin.”

With the spell spinning in the air, she pressed herself back onto the spikes of the open Iron Maiden, binding the spell with her blood and her death.

Whoa. That was a serious freaking spell. It didn’t say what kind of witch she was. What special gift she held. Every witch had a particular power, even though we all had some level of telekinesis and intuitive abilities with nature. I kept reading.

The ironic twist to Ethelinda’s tale was that Diego did not stop his witch-hunting ways. Rather the opposite, he became even more feared as the most ruthless witch hunter during the time of the Inquisition, scouring the countryside, especially in beast form. He gave his wolf free rein and devoured every witch he hunted down, becoming the true beast Ethelinda claimed him to be.

Then there were black and white illustrations of women, obviously witches, clothes half-torn, gashes, and mutilation. Yuck. Very similar to what was in the book of The Beast of Gevaudan. I shut the book with a quick clap.

“Okay. And that’s enough light reading for the night.”

Apparently, one of Diego’s offspring moved to France at some point a few centuries later to the Gevaudan region. His kin with the curse spread wide. It was pretty chilling when given this sort of evidence that some werewolves truly did let their beasts take over. I turned my lamp off and snuggled down into my covers.

I couldn’t imagine Mateo as a bloodthirsty animal, tracking down witches and killing them. I just couldn’t see it. He was, like Clara said, a nice guy.

“No way,” I mumbled into my pillow, drifting into sleep.

The moon was full and beautiful, shining down on a pool in the warm summer night, stars shimmering on the water like fireflies. It filled me with all good feelings as I inhaled a deep breath and wrapped my arms around myself. The only strange part was a low, vibrating hum in the air.

A twig cracked behind me. Spinning around, I searched the shadows but found nothing. At first. Then, there, two pinpoints of glittering gold pinned me in place. The owner of those feral eyes stepped from the darkness into the moonlight, all nine feet of him in a ghastly, monstrous form. Elongated snout, knife-like teeth, finger-length black claws hanging from his long deformed hands. I noticed, as he stepped closer, the rest of him was covered in sparse patches of black hair, furry only on the ridges of his shoulders and his back.

That low hum rumbled deeper, louder. It wasn’t a hum at all, but a vibrating belly-growl coming from the beast stalking nearer. Some survival instinct told me to never run from a hunting predator, but holy hell, my brain shut down and my body took over. Without thinking, I turned and ran straight across the shallow pool, splashing water on my long skirt.

My skirt? I didn’t wear skirts. But apparently I did in horrible nightmares. For even through the haze of thinking that this felt way too damn real, I knew I was dreaming. This wasn’t real. But the fear pumping my heart into overdrive was definitely hella real.

I ran blindly into the woods, hurdling fallen logs, dodging overgrowth, glancing over my shoulder at the werewolf hunting me, his breath coming out in guttural huffs.

“This isn’t real. This isn’t real,” I mumbled over and over to myself. “Wake up, Evie.” I glanced back, catching those golden eyes far too close for comfort. “Wake the fuck up!”

A low-lying branch swatted me across the face, stinging with too much realness. What the hell was this?

Suddenly, I heard the rip and felt the snag of my skirt before I went tumbling to the ground. I rolled over and watched the beast now on all fours, stalking closer, his yellow eyes narrowed on me.

“This isn’t real, this isn’t real,” I murmured, paralyzed as he crawled over my body.

I fell back onto my elbows, mesmerized and horrified by his giant head and hanging jaws and golden eyes. He pressed a giant hand or paw or whatever to the center of my chest, shoving me to the ground, black claws digging through my blouse to prick my skin. My blouse? I didn’t wear blouses. I shook my head as his gaping mouth did something really weird. It, I mean, he…smiled?

“I’m definitely real, baby.” His voice was Mateo-like but deeper, like way deeper, like chasms-in-the-middle-of-the-earth deeper. He pressed his snout down to my ear and licked down the column of my neck. “Best not forget it, pretty witch.”

I jerked awake, the mid-morning sun streaming through my window. Panting, I looked down at my sleep shirt and felt my neck, thinking there might be claw marks. So stupid. Just a dream. I glanced at my Wolverine clock, his clawed hands pointing at ten and twelve. It felt like I’d just gone to sleep seconds ago, but I’d overslept by hours.

“What the hell?”

My phone vibrated on the nightstand. I jerked it into my lap, my eyes still blurry with sleep and my heart still pounding with the thrilling—no, not thrilling but terrifying, Evie, TER-RI-FY-ING—dream I’d just had. Mateo had texted several times since nine a.m. when I was supposed to be at his place. We’d exchanged phone numbers, but hadn’t texted yet. But friends text, right? I scrolled to the top first.

Mateo: Where are you?

Mateo: You okay?

Mateo: I called Mystic Maybelle’s. Clara said you were still sleeping. Text when you wake up.

Me: I’m up!!! Sorry. Overslept. Grabbing breakfast then heading over.

Before I could even stumble into the bathroom, my phone vibrated in my hand.

Mateo: Must’ve been some seriously sweet dream. See you soon.

“What the—? How did he—?” But no, werewolves weren’t psychic. Only witches had that ability. Some of them.

I laughed at my insanity and my ridiculous subconscious for conjuring a dream that did way more than terrify me. Tantalized me, more like. Kind of a wet dream, if I was totally honest with myself. Yeah, now, what would a psychiatrist say about that one?

Yes, well, you see, Dr. Freud, I was a peasant girl running through the woods because a bloodthirsty werewolf chased me. And when he caught me, getting ready to rip me apart, he licked my neck instead and I came in my peasant panties. What’s that? Yes, a high-milligram antipsychotic would be agreeable.

No more nighttime reading on werewolves. That was that.

While I took a freezing-cold shower, I couldn’t help but wonder what Alpha’s voice sounded like in Mateo’s head. Somehow, I had a feeling I already knew.

Chapter 11

~MATEO~

Evie had been crazy quiet today. She assured me she was fine, but she’d been working on her tablet with her stylus like a madwoman. Completely ignoring me. That also had me wondering what the hell she was working on. But the way she closed her work or pressed her tablet to her chest when I passed by her to get us some waters out of the mini-fridge or find another tool told me it was private. I guess we weren’t that kind of friends yet. Still, her behavior was strange, and the way she was looking at me was…weird.

Very.

No one was asking you.

You really want to know why she’s acting weird?

I heaved a sigh.

Pin her down and fuck it out of her.

Yeah, that’ll work.

It would definitely work.

You’re so goddamn insane, I can’t believe you’re actually a part of me.

Believe it. I’m your better half.

That was so ludicrous I didn’t bother to respond. I stepped back from the mermaid sculpt and flipped off my torch. Removing my helmet, I stared at her and circled, making sure there were no edges I missed, needing the welds completely smooth. But no. It was just as I’d intended. I couldn’t believe it, but I actually met my deadline. By one damn day. And all because of the girl on the futon chair I’d dragged downstairs for her.

   
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