Authors: Aurelia T. Evans
Tags: #Erotic Romance Fiction
A Totally Bound Publication
©Copyright Aurelia T. Evans 2014
Cover Art by Posh Gosh ©Copyright February 2014
Edited by Sarah Smeaton
Totally Bound Publishing
This is a work of fiction. All characters, places and events are from the author’s imagination and should not be confused with fact. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, events or places is purely coincidental.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any material form, whether by printing, photocopying, scanning or otherwise without the written permission of the publisher, Totally Bound Publishing.
Applications should be addressed in the first instance, in writing, to Totally Bound Publishing. Unauthorised or restricted acts in relation to this publication may result in civil proceedings and/or criminal prosecution.
The author and illustrator have asserted their respective rights under the Copyright Designs and Patents Acts 1988 (as amended) to be identified as the author of this book and illustrator of the artwork.
Published in 2014 by Totally Bound Publishing,
Newland House, The Point, Weaver Road, Lincoln, LN6 3QN
This book contains sexually explicit content which is only suitable for mature readers. This story has a
Aurelia T. Evans
Book two in the Sanctuary series
Witch and werewolf, wicked and wild—what happens when a woman has to choose?
As a werewolf and witch, Kelly belongs to neither pack nor coven, making her a perfect addition to the ragtag collection of dogs, humans and canine shapeshifters at the Chambers Dog Sanctuary.
After recently being transformed against his will, Malcolm—one of the Sanctuary residents—wants nothing more than to shed his werewolf skin and return to his shapeshifter pack. Kelly tries to help him accept his new wolf nature, but then some of the shapeshifters discover Salvation, an organization that claims to cure magical hybrids. Kelly has long since made peace with lycanthropy, which tempers her volatile magic, but when Malcolm begs Kelly to accompany him for one last attempt to resume his old life, she agrees for his sake.
Upon arriving at Salvation, however, the already shaky balance of her life becomes even more tenuous, forcing Kelly to decide which part of herself, wolf or witch, she loves—or fears—more.
For Cass, all my warmths for you.
The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of the following wordmarks mentioned in this work of fiction:
Motrin: McNeil Consumer Healthcare
Clue: Hasbro, Inc.
Jack Daniel’s: Jack Daniel Distillery, Lem Motlow Prop, Inc.
Starbucks: Starbucks Corporation
Suicide Girls: Sean Suhl and Selena Mooney
The Wizard of Oz
: Lyman Frank Baum/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.
Skype: Skype Technologies S.A
Facebook: Facebook, Inc.
Bluetooth: Bluetooth Special Interest Group
Landover Baptist: Americhrist Ltd.
To add injury to insult, Kelly tripped on the step down to the sidewalk. Her box of personal items fell out of her arms, and she went sprawling, scraping her knees and elbows on the concrete. The cardboard box didn’t spill any of its contents onto the street, but that was the only saving grace the universe saw fit to offer her.
She heard their laughter through the window. Mr Harris, her now former boss, was probably closing his office door, taking his bottle of Scotch out from his desk drawer and pouring a tumbler full in quiet celebration of her unceremonial firing.
In many ways, Kelly had been an excellent secretary.
Oh, excuse me—administrative assistant,
Kelly thought snidely. She’d worked her ass off. Just like she’d worked her ass off at the lingerie store for a few months before she’d been hired for the administrative assistant job. And just like she’d worked her ass off at the jewellery store for a few months before that. Kelly had to work hard to offset the disadvantages of hiring her.
Some of the women on staff kindly called her ‘spacy’ instead of ‘ditzy’, but even so, Kelly could keep Mr Harris’ calendar straight for months in advance, and she had a good phone personality. Also, her legs looked excellent in a skirt, and since Mr Harris could see those legs from his office, that little detail hadn’t hurt. In fact, Kelly suspected that her legs might have been the reason why the rest of the journalistic staff had put up with her as long as they had—at least the male segment of it.
In fact, some of the women as well as the men had put in for an office pool on how long it would take for someone to see more of her thigh tattoo than the sliver that showed at the hemline of her skirts. There were also side pools on what it was, how many more tattoos she had and who would be the lucky bastard who managed to get her out of her skirt.
Kelly had alternated between finding the pool amusing and degrading. Usually she opted for amusing because it made her feel better about being considered the biggest tease of the
Right up to the point of her firing, Kelly had rebuffed all advances, avoided all romantic entanglements and kept the subject of her tattoo to herself. Sex had been hard enough to manage in high school without things going crazy, but since college, it had become nigh impossible with her…complications. Better to remain professional.
Besides, the curiosity that had inspired the office pool had kept her around longer, long after patience with her aforementioned complications had begun to wear thin.
Kelly picked herself up off the pavement, avoiding anyone’s gaze. She checked her injuries—white scrapes with only a mild well of blood. Once she’d returned home to unemployment and a mailbox full of bills, she would have plenty of time to deal with her wounds.
Proverbial tail between her legs, she picked up her box of belongings and tried to ignore the relief coming at her in waves through the
office walls as well as the disdain emanating from passers-by. For all of her skills at remaining professional and polished, at managing schedules, pinch-hitting for copyeditors, fielding angry calls, schmoozing with advertisers and typing like the wind, none of her admittedly exceptional abilities as a desk jockey had kept her from being fired for what Mr Harris had kindly called ‘pathological bad luck’.
For instance, Kelly couldn’t count the number of glass knick-knacks in the office that had had to be replaced. Kelly would walk by people’s desks before she’d had her coffee, and suddenly a candy bowl, cat figurine or other kind of breakable object would go flying. Kelly had learned to buy plastic back in college, but it wasn’t as though she could warn everyone else without sounding crazy.
Also, office-wide blackouts always seemed to somehow coincide with the week she popped Motrin. It had got to the point where, whether most of the staff were conscious of it or not, they had started compulsively saving their documents whenever they saw her pill bottle on the desk.
And it was truly a remarkable coincidence that, when Kelly answered the angry calls declaring that the
would be out of business and its staff on the breadlines by next Sunday, lights and computers flickered around the office. On several occasions, the light above her desk had burst in a shower of sparks. Kelly had always paid for the replacement lights, even though the maintenance crew had kept telling her it wasn’t her fault. After the fifteenth replacement, they’d stopped reassuring her.
Then there were things that were not bad luck, per se. She just gave people the creeps. The men in the office could fantasise about her legs wrapping around them all day, but they also knew that when it crossed their minds for more than a few seconds, Kelly would look over at them with those ‘unsettling’ green eyes, as though she could tell what they were thinking.
On occasion, she would absentmindedly inform someone across the room who was calling them even before the phone rang. Sometimes, she’d hand people things that they hadn’t asked for yet or she’d put something in Mr Harris’ schedule before he had told her to add it in.
And all of that was just the tip of the iceberg.
There were also the times when she would look in someone’s direction, stricken with profound sadness…and the next day, that person would get the news that their father had passed away or their wife had been laid off or there had been a fire. She always seemed to know when catastrophe would strike, which would have been more useful if she had been a journalist herself—although some of the more adventurous reporters had started preparing for a big story whenever Kelly made herself a mug of calming motherwort tea.
Then there had been those late nights when she hadn’t made it home in time before a trance had come over her, and she’d had to raid the maintenance closet again to paint over whatever she’d drawn or written on the walls. Her apartment walls were practically covered. When there was no space left, she just painted it over and started again. But that was home, where she could hide her strangeness. She had been lucky no one had ever caught her blacking out at the office.
No matter how calm she tried to keep herself, no matter how hard she tried not to know things she couldn’t possibly know, no matter how much she tried not to hear what other people were thinking, no matter how much she tried to hold in whatever made things go crash around her for no apparent reason, and no matter how good she was at her job…this was how it always ended. With the normals kicking her out and giving an
recommendation to the next poor souls who had to deal with her, because how were they supposed to explain the reason why they had let her go? They usually said something blameless like ‘personality clash’, ‘personal issues’, ‘a little socially awkward but very capable’, ‘not a good fit’ and her personal favourite—‘downsizing’. By one.
Her black kitten heels clicked on the pavement as she walked home. Her apartment wasn’t too far away. The walk to and from work usually cleared her head, but today her frazzled mind devolved into its semi-weekly maelstrom of anxiety, confusion and desperation. Maybe this time she wasn’t going to be able to get back on her feet and find another job. Her résumé had started to resemble a patchwork quilt, and she was quickly losing her marketability. Her legs weren’t going to get her by forever, at least in respectable circles.
She jumped as the first car alarm went off.
“No, no, no, no,
” Kelly muttered. She walked faster, but the whirlwind in her mind only grew stronger, now mingled with fear—fear of what everyone around her would think if they realised that the succession of car alarms and now the flickering street lights and lanterns were because of her.