Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Once again, the stench of disembowelment and blood hit Tinker like a tidal wave of everything foul in the universe. Jesus Christ in Heaven! What could have caused this carnage?

Beside him Ramona gasped and choked back a gag. “Where’s the werewolf?”


She put a trembling hand to her mouth as her horrified gaze traveled from one pile of werewolf to another. Bits and pieces had splashed the walls and splattered across the ceiling. Blood, skin, fur, and entrails dripped from the bars as if the werewolf had swallowed a grenade after pulling the pin.

“How the hell did this happen?” Ramona’s voice trembled. “Oh, God, this is awful.”

Tinker turned his back on the cage. Last night’s meatloaf and mashed potatoes threatened to spew from his stomach and project across the room. After several deep breaths, he regained control and turned to Ramona. “I want to know what did this and how it got inside this facility.” His demand came out forced and angry. She has to know.

“How would I know?”

“You were an animal for at least three months before we found you.”

Hurt flickered across her face. “So?”

“Wouldn’t you know what’s capable of this much damage if it existed out there?”

“No.” Her voice turned to ice, and Tinker cursed himself for hurting her and not trusting her. “But it scares the hell out of me.”

“I’m sorry.” He tugged her into his arms. “This…” he gestured toward the horrific mess in the cage …”shouldn’t have happened.”

Ramona pushed away from him, but avoided looking at the massacre. “I know.” She moved across the room and stood with her back against the wall. “Last night, the werewolf spoke to me.”

“It what?” Alarmed, Tinker stepped toward her. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

“It told me to let it go, or it would die here.” She gestured around the room. “I didn’t believe it.”

“Ramona, you must be mistaken. Werewolves that young aren’t capable of speech, especially in their wolf form.”

“It spoke to me, Tinker,” she forced the words between her teeth as if fighting to control her anger. “Why the hell would I lie about something like that?”

“I didn’t say you lied. I think you’re wrong, is all.”

“You still don’t trust me, do you?” Ramona headed for the elevator. “You still think of me as some sort of wild animal.”

“No.” He reached for her, but she dodged his seeking fingers. “Ramona.”

She slapped the up button and turned her back on him. When the door opened, she entered without another word. As the doors closed, she didn’t turn around to face him again.

“Damn it,” he whispered. She was beautiful and intelligent. Why couldn’t he get past the animal that lurked deep inside her?


The full moon rode low above the mountains and sailed past Ramona as she ran in her wolf form. She jumped a sturdy log and landed on the other side with light feet. Cool night air blew across her furred body as she kept up a grueling pace. Whenever Tinker entered her mind, she growled. It hurt too damn much to think about what he must feel toward her—disgust among other things. Part of her knew that wasn’t entirely true, but she pushed it to the side, preferring to linger in her anguish.

After an hour, she slowed to a trot and then finally to a walk. Breathing hard, she made her way to a small creek that meandered through this part of Grandma Mountain. Lowering her muzzle to the water, she lapped at it, keeping a wary watch on the night around her.

At a slight movement to the right, she jerked her head up, body tensed for fight or flight, depending on how dangerous the predator might be.

A shadow shifted out of the trees and formed into a man. Her stomach tightened with a rush of unexplainable lust. Jesus, what’s the matter with me? She felt as if she was losing control of her mind and soul—and didn’t like it one little bit.

The man came into focus and stepped toward her. “Hello, Little Red Riding Hood.”

Oh my God. It can’t be... The werewolf who attacked her grandmother all those years ago had returned from the grave.