Hurri Cosmo has a new MM paranormal shifter tale out: Once Upon a Wolf.
Hawk is alone, hiding from the world, living in a tiny, rickety cabin his grandfather built. He has few supplies and fewer yet of the skills needed to survive on his own, but because of what he did, because of what his father caused him to do… well, there’s just no other choice.
But then one day “Ghost” shows up. A large lone wolf who begins to “take care of” Hawk. He brings him game, he protects him from predators, and he even pulls him from a raging river. He is Hawk’s only friend and Hawk begins to talk to ghost as if he is human and can understand.
Except Ghost isn’t human.
Yes, Ghost has filled a void in Hawk’s life, and he is very grateful, but he is a wolf and Hawk needs the company of a human. In fact, Hawk is desperately lonely, to the point he even tells Ghost he longs for the touch of a man, the first time he has ever said such a wicked thing out loud.
Then one full-moon night a large, beautiful naked man breaks into the cabin and grabs Hawk, looming over him like he wants to eat him alive. At first Hawk is terrified, but then he realizes the stranger has Ghost’s amazing golden eyes...
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Taking care of the man was proving to be a little more intense then Ghost first thought it would be. Comical, too. Feeding him was no challenge but keeping him from killing himself with his eagerness for life certainly was turning out to be.
His own readiness for something just out of reach every time he was with the man was also a huge trial. Something quite unusual had happened in the river this morning. Something unexplainable, even by Ghost’s standards. For a moment in time, a time of great desperation, he had been able to hang on to his human with more than just paws. He couldn’t see, the water and the situation too demanding for that. But Ghost had been able to wrap something around the man’s hips, and he knew his paws were not capable of that.
Something in his very being had changed in him ever since the human had come into his life.
He had always been attracted by the man’s aroma, always wanted to mix it with his own. His desire to taste him was overwhelming at times. Making the human his was easy enough since there had been no challenge, but it was claiming him that seemed impossible. If the human had been a wolf, Ghost would have mated with him. He didn’t care Hawk was very obviously a male of his species. How could it matter? Except, the fact Hawk was human, and Ghost was not, did.
However, there was something else that was just at the surface and with the full moon this very night, he was more aware of it than ever.
He could feel it. It was coming.
He loped into the woods, quickly finding and killing a fat rabbit. He then trotted it back to the cabin and laid it on the doorstep. He yipped and scratched at the door, but he heard no movement inside. Appeared the man was sleeping. Good. After this morning’s ordeal there was no doubt he needed it. But frustratingly, this door was proving to be a real problem. He had watched how the man opened it, with those marvelous hands of his. He lifted a paw to examine it. Similar. He also had fingers of a fashion. They weren’t long like the man’s, but he had claws, which he liked. Something the man didn’t have. Still, those fingers…
And he couldn’t help but think that was exactly what he had when he grabbed hold of the man in the river. Hands and fingers.
But it didn’t matter at the moment because, even if he had somehow, miraculously, sprouted hands this morning, they were gone now. And he had no idea how to get them back. Ghost jogged into the woods and gathered more game for the man, laying it all at his door. He would wait patiently for the man to wake up.
Hawk woke with a start. Had he heard something?
He threw his cover off, jumped to his feet and ran to the door. It wasn’t until he had flung the door open, expecting to find Ghost standing there, that he realized, not only was he well rested again but his feet no longer hurt. At all.
And there was quite the array of game lying at his feet. Seemed Ghost had already been and gone a number of times.
Hawk lifted one of his feet to examine the bottom. Once scratched and cut, now it appeared completely healed. He could still make out scabby scars but that was it. How could that be? It was only hours ago he had done the damage and these wounds seemed days old. He remembered how Ghost’s wounds, too, had given the impression of being days old once he had him in his cabin and near the fire. The large wolf had hardly needed his care. He recalled joking about Ghost’s magical skin. Was there something truly enchanted about Ghost? Could it be when he had licked Hawk’s wounds the wolf had not only stopped any kind of infection from taking hold, but also healed him like this?
Hawk pulled in a long breath as he examined his other foot and found the same thing. He could see where the cuts had been but that was it. Then, checking the minor scratches on his arms and legs and even thinking about the ant bite on his ass, he marveled that they were all completely healed. Was this proof magic existed? His father had believed in it. So did most of the townspeople. Not only did they believe in magic, but in monsters. Growing up, Hawk had witnessed more than a few times his father picking up his gun and heading out the door to meet up with any number of the townsmen, all crashing together into the dark woods after drinking themselves into false bravado and whipping themselves into a murderous frenzy. “Hunting the monsters,” he would sometimes yell out at Hawk if he caught him staring at him. Hawk never asked where he was going. Not when March was like that, all wild-eyed and smelling of liquor. He learned quickly asking his father anything in that state would as soon receive a fist to the face as it would an answer. If March offered up any kind of explanation, ever, Hawk knew to be content with it.
As far as hunting monsters, Hawk was never invited to go. “Too fucking stupid,” had been the reply, accompanied by a hard palm to the back of Hawk’s head when, one time, a friend of March’s had the audacity of asking why. “Don’t care if the dumb sonofabitch shoots himself, but I don’t want him shooting me!”
No, Hawk never went on those excursions into the deep wood where evidently the monsters lived, although it had been a favorite pastime with the men in town. However, Hawk thought those forays were more often about getting naked and drinking till dawn. Oh yes. He couldn’t help but hear the hushed stories. It was why Hawk wasn’t invited. No wives or kids. “Hunting monsters” was messy business and was no place for the squeamish. True enough since they were all old men, ugly and fat and wrinkly. But Hawk thought about the naked part anyway. He thought about it a lot. Especially these last several days because the moon was nearly full, and it was on these nights that the town’s menfolk would go about “protecting their village.”
Did he believe there were real monsters in the woods? Absolutely, but nothing more than the normal grizzly or black bear. However, he was beginning to believe in magic. All his wounds were healed, and he held the magic had to have come from the wolf. And now, because of that magic, running out to check on his traps was possible.
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Finally, Hawk stopped. There was no way he was going to make it back to where his clothes and boots were. He lifted a foot to examine the bottom of it and sure enough it was turning into a bloody mess. He truly believed he had thicker soles than this. But it proved yet again that making it out here on his own was questionable at best. And now he was stuck out in the middle of the woods, probably still a half mile from his clothes, no idea at all where or how far his cabin was, and unable to go on.
Hawk gently lowered himself down to sit on a log whose bark had somehow been stripped away. He was thankful because he just could not deal with any more sharp or rough edges. Especially on his bare buttocks. Of course, the log was rotted. Hawk should have realized that. It gave way and Hawk was soon sitting on the ground.
That was when he began to laugh. It started low in his belly and just blossomed from there. He laughed and laughed until tears were streaming down his face. Even so, he was fully aware of the fact that the tears of laughter were deadly close to weeping.
When he had control of himself again, he glanced up at a very confused wolf who was sitting close to him and who had licked, several times, the hands Hawk had put over his face as if he were trying either to comfort him or gain his attention. Wiping away the wetness from his face he was shocked the wolf came closer yet and took a swipe with his tongue. Hawk lowered his own hands and let the wolf gently lick his face, removing all evidence of his tears.
“One of these days I’m going to kill myself with my stupidity,” Hawk said as the wolf started to lick other areas, like the bleeding scratch on his upper right arm, the many cuts and scrapes on his shins and thighs. “Oh, Ghost. I have no ability at all to live out here by myself.”
Ghost quit licking his wounds and nudged Hawk’s hand. Hawk smiled at him and began to stroke him.
“Okay, you’re right. I’m not alone. I have you. But right now, I can’t even walk.” He lifted a foot to the wolf. “See? My feet are all cut up. I can’t continue.” Hawk groaned. “But I have to. I need my clothes. And I need to get back to the cabin.” Hawk made to rise up from the ground, but Ghost nudged him until he sat again. “What? I said I have to go and get my clothes.” The wolf yipped, and Hawk gazed into his golden eyes. “Are you trying to tell me something?” Ghost yipped again, then turned and started to walk away. Hawk struggled to his feet but once again Ghost turned, and this time stood sideways against Hawk’s body glaring up at him. Yes, the wolf was glaring, and blocking his way. It was now obvious Ghost wanted him to stay put. Hawk sat to demonstrate he understood. Incredibly, the wolf nodded once, turned and loped off into the woods.
I live in Minnesota where I hold tight to the idea that here, where it’s cold a good part of the year, I won’t age as fast. Yep, I avoid the truth as much as I avoid mirrors. But one of the reasons I love writing is reality doesn’t always offer up a “happily ever after” and being able to take control of that is a powerful lure. Being a happy ending junkie, writing just makes them easier to find. Oh, I don’t mind “real life” and I do try to at least keep it in mind when I write my stories, but I truly love creating a wonderful couple, knowing they will fall in love and have their HEA. Every - single - time. And, of course, that is exactly the reason I love reading this genre, too. Give me a glass of red wine, some dark chocolate, and my computer, whether I’m reading or writing, and I’ll be entertained for hours. The fact I actually get paid to do it is Snickers bars on the frosting on the cake.
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