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Out to avenge her family's deaths, Amarie Badeau has vowed to destroy the beasts that killed them. She becomes the Huntress, tracking the monsters by day and stalking them by night.
Kolt Masatache is the leader of his people, a group who are hereditary shapeshifters. He watches Amarie and when she steps over the line, he knows he has to stop her.
Will Kolt be able to convince Amarie she is wrong? And will Amarie learn to trust the very beast who has destroyed her life?
Their worlds collide in a flurry of anger and passion and on a dark moonlit night they both will discover that to hold onto a forever kind of love you have to let it go... first.
The forest was absolutely silent. No sound was heard: not a bird, not even the wind. It was as if the entire wood held its breath…waiting.
Suddenly, there was a crash, and out of the bushes ran a huge black wolf. Its eyes were filled with the red light of madness as it raced down the narrow deer path. It glanced back once, with almost human intent, before continuing its mad dash toward safety.
Another step was heard, this one lighter but no less determined. From the trees came a woman, her delicate face intense in the light of the full moon. She was dressed in dark clothes so she blended in with her surroundings. A huntress with only one reason to be out on this moonlit night…
Holding a perfectly balanced crossbow, she knelt and looked at the tracks on the path before her. A feral smile touched her full lips as she rose and stared after the beast.
“Soon you will be mine,” she whispered. Holding the bow at the ready, she glided off after her prey.
She heard none of the normal night sounds, which meant her quarry was still close by. Her eyes shifted back and forth as she stalked the wolf, knowing the slightest misstep could lead to her death. The silence around her made her neck prickle and she became even more wary.
As careful as she was, it almost wasn’t enough. The wolf burst from the cover of a nearby shadow, its long fangs aimed at her vulnerable throat. The only thing that saved her were the lightning fast reflexes she’d honed over the years.
Cursing out loud, she rolled with the creature, using the butt of her crossbow to fend it off. Its snarling teeth snapped inches away from her nose as the beast pressed its advantage. A flash of metal distracted it, and it howled in pain as the eight inch blade of her hunting knife stabbed deep into its side.
Rolling to safety, the huntress whipped the crossbow up into position just as the wolf staggered to its feet, the blade protruding from its body. “You son-of-a-bitch,” she hissed. “Come and get me!”
The wolf howled and sprang—its mouth wide open, saliva dripping from its gleaming fangs. The crossbow hissed, and the silver tipped arrow struck the beast square in the heart.
Screaming in agony, the creature fell to the ground. The huntress came to her feet and nocked another arrow before carefully approaching the still twitching carcass.
Once she knew it was dead, she dropped the bow to the ground, tearing open her shirt. She breathed easier when she realized the animal hadn’t wounded her. “You missed me, you bastard.” She kicked the furry body. “And you’ll never kill anyone else again.”
As if in answer, the wolf’s body twitched and began to change. Fur melted away as the limbs grew longer. Dark flesh lightened and became pale, sickly white. The face altered before her eyes: the elongated snout flattening and the eyes widening. Soon the transformation was complete.
It was a human.
The same pale blue eyes that had glared at her from the wolf’s face looked sightlessly up at her now. A man in his mid-forties with carrot red hair, he was flabby and unprepossessing. This werewolf had taken to hunting children since they were easier prey. But that was over. This man—this monster— would never hunt again.
Swinging the crossbow over her shoulder, she reached down and took the dead man/beast by the ankle. Grunting with the effort, she dragged the body out of the trees to the center of a nearby meadow.
Quickly, she pulled away all the dry grass surrounding the corpse and piled it on the body. Once a wide enough fire ring was made, she added small branches and sticky, flammable pine resin to the makeshift pyre. Then, reaching into her pocket, she pulled out a lighter. Bending, she set fire to the grasses closest to her, scooting back rapidly as they caught with a loud…whoosh.
The flames filled the night sky as she watched impassively. When the smell of burnt flesh drifted her way, the huntress trembled.
Putting her face in her hands, Amarie Bandeau wept as only a woman can, crying as though her heart would break. Not because she’d killed, but because she’d killed too late...
...Wiping her eyes, Amarie stood up and made her way as close to the fire as she could bear. Stretching out her arm over the burning corpse, she pulled a smaller knife out of her belt and touched it to her arm.
For a moment she stared at the eleven scars that graced the underside of her left forearm. Then, gritting her teeth, she sliced her knife into the tender flesh. The blood ran down her arm and into the fire, making a hissing sound.
“For you, ma famille,” she whispered. “It isn’t enough…it will never be enough.” For no matter how many of these creatures she destroyed, it wouldn’t bring back the loved ones that had been taken from her.
***end of excerpt***