Enjoy this #Exclusive Excerpt from the new Anthology #ShiftersHallowsEve! This snip comes from Bethany Shaw’s, The Wolf’s Ghost…
Eva tip toed into the library and peered around at the collapsed bookcase. White and grey paws stuck out from the ruins. She took a step forward, gasping as the paws shimmered and then elongated into human hands.
She bit her lip and huffed. The wolves knew better than to enter her home. Anyone who did got what was coming to them quickly. She cocked her head to the side as she determined what to do with him.
She reached out with her mind, lifting the shelf from the body. A man lay on her floor. His chest rose in slow, even breaths, but he was unconscious. Blood coated his bare body from his head to his torso. It looked like he’d been in one hell of a fight. The Mountain Pack. No one else lived in these parts, at least not that she knew of.
She took a step forward so she could kneel before him to brush strands of his russet-brown hair out of his face. This man wasn’t like the other wolves, she didn’t know how she knew, but she did. He wasn’t a member of their pack. Judging by the howls surrounding the house, this man was on the run from them.
“Who are you?” she asked in a whisper even though she knew she wouldn’t get an answer. Her eyes raked over him again.
His face was mesmerizing. She wished he were awake so she could gaze into his eyes. There was something familiar about him, but she couldn’t place what. Wolves are the enemy, she reminded herself. Yet there was something about this man. There was no way she’d known him in her past life. It wasn’t possible. So who was he?
Howls and barks drew her attention to the window. She rushed to the opening, staring out into the storm. Figures lurked in the grass, stalking toward the house. She cast her gaze back to the mystery man on the floor. Any enemy of the pack is a friend of mine.
She inhaled as she whispered a spell, shrouding the home with a protective barrier. Certain no one could get in, she turned back to the man on her floor. His breathing seemed to be normal. That had to be a good sign.
“Let’s get you upstairs where I can have a better look at you.” Her eyes trailed over the fine muscles on the plains of his chest before dipping lower. She bit the inside of her cheek to stifle a smile. Heat warmed its way through her and she blushed, thankful the handsome stranger couldn’t see her. “Perhaps we can find you some clothes too. Now how am I going to get you all the way upstairs?”
She tilted her head to the side. It was All Hallows Eve, the one day of the year she had her actual body to move about in. However, there was no way she could lift or drag him through the house. Her magic was at its peak today, but did she have enough energy to float him all the way upstairs? She’d have to. There was no way she could drag his muscular, tall frame through the house.
She thrust her hands forward, letting her magic flow through her fingers, and smiling when his body levitated off the ground. She took a step back while keeping her focus on him. Her hands moved so his body floated in front of her, then she started a steady walk through the house, to the stairs, and finally to the first bedroom. Holding him in the air with her magic, she pulled back the covers and gently guided him onto the dusty, old mattress. Her face reddened as his member came into view again. The sight made her insides tingle and long for things she could never have. Love. Family. Companionship.
Eva closed her eyes and shook the thoughts away. There was no use dwelling on what could never be. Covering him with the old wool blanket, she stared at his face. He was breathtaking despite the blood and cut at his temple. She reached out to touch him, but stopped when he groaned. He shuffled beneath the covers as his eyes flittered a few times before opening. They were a beautiful grey like the storm clouds outside.
He sat up, running his back into the headboard and causing it to thump against the wall. His eyes darted around the room before finally landing on her. “Where am I? Who are you?”
She took a step back and swallowed. It had been so long since she spoke to someone, she wasn’t sure what to say. “I…my name,” she croaked, her voice coming out a strangled whisper. Clearing her throat, she tried again. “My name is Evangeline Telford, my friends call me Eva. You’re in my house. You caused quite the disturbance in my library.” She crossed her arms over her chest and glared. It would take her hours to fix the mess he’d made.
Even though she’d long since read all the books in there, it was still one of her favorite places to go in the house. For a few hours she could escape her prison and live vicariously through the characters in the stories.
A chorus of howls serenaded from outside. Her gaze drifted to the window where a few wolves sat on the grass, staring at the house.
“I can’t stay here.” He gathered the blankets around his waist and attempted to stand. His body swayed and he fell on his rear on the mattress, sending up a puff of dust. He coughed, then sneezed.
She shook her head, not wanting him to leave quite yet. There was something about him that she couldn’t place. “I assure you, you are quite safe in the manor. The wolves that are chasing you cannot come in. I’ve cast a spell that prevents them from entering. We are safe in here.”
The man narrowed his eyes at her, scrutinizing her. Had it been a mistake to tell him about the spell? No, he was a magical creature too. She smoothed a hand down her white gown and tossed her curly raven hair over her shoulder with a turn of her head.
“Who are you?” he asked, his face softening.
“I’ve already told you my name. I believe it is your turn to tell me yours.” She lifted her brow and tapped her bare foot on the floor.
He smiled, flashing her his white teeth. “Jace Herrington.”
“It is a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Herrington.”
Jace threw his head back and laughed. “Please, call me Jace.”
She hugged her middle tighter. It seemed very forward to call him by his first name having just met him, but she wasn’t going to argue. He was the first friendly person to enter her house in years. Who knew when she’d see someone again? However, this was also the only night she had to free herself. Did she ignore him to work on her own dilemma or help him? She closed her eyes, already knowing the answer. She wanted to get to know this mystery man wolf.
He’s the enemy. Be cautious, a tiny voice warned.
“I’m surprised Atticus has a pack so close to witches,” Jace said as he settled back into the bed.
Atticus! The man’s name made her blood boil. She balled her hands at her sides and gritted her teeth. Was he here? Could she finally exact her revenge on him?
Her gaze drifted to the window to see if she could spot him.
“Truth be told, I didn’t expect anyone lived here. The outside looks pretty run down.”
Eva snapped her attention back to Jace. His gaze roamed over the bedroom and she followed it. A thick layer of dust covered all the furnishings and the wallpaper was yellowed with time. He smiled as he returned her stare. “The inside looks pretty, uh…nice, though.”
She giggled as some of her anger dissipated. Jace wasn’t the problem and it wouldn’t be fair to direct her anger at Atticus toward him. He was Atticus’ enemy and that made him her ally. “Don’t be afraid of hurting my feelings. I admit I’m not the best housekeeper. Cleaning is the last thing on my mind. I tried to keep up with the housework, but who wants to spend an eternity doing that?”
“Huh?” His brow wrinkled with confusion as his eyes widened.
She sucked in a deep breath. Perhaps she should have kept it secret. Would things be awkward when he learned the truth about her? It was too late now.
“I don’t understand. I thought you were a witch?” he asked when she didn’t respond.
“I am. I mean, I was a long time ago. I am cursed in death, unable to cross over and forever trapped in this house.”
Jace clutched the blanket around him tighter. “What?”
“I’m a ghost.”
“You’re dead?” his face fell.
She nodded and looked at the floorboards. “I was murdered Oct. 31, 1921.”
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