Tall, Dark and Wolfish

BOOK: Tall, Dark and Wolfish
9.23Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Table of Contents



















































About the Author

Copyright © 2010 by Lydia Dare

Cover and internal design © 2010 by Sourcebooks, Inc. Cover design by April Martinez

Cover images © fmbackx/iStockphoto.com; mehmet alci/ Shutterstock.com; bil nol /iStockphoto.com; StanRohrer/ iStockphoto.com; Photos.com

Sourcebooks and the colophon are registered trademarks of Sourcebooks, Inc.

Al rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and

retrieval systems—except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews—without permission in writing from its publisher,

Sourcebooks, Inc.

The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious or are used fictitiously. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental

and not intended by the author.

Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of

Sourcebooks, Inc.

P.O. Box 4410, Napervil e, Il inois 60567-4410

(630) 961-3900

FAX: (630) 961-2168


To Petrina and the ladies at the Historical Romance Critique Group on Yahoo!—Thank you for cheering me on, your wonderful friendship, an endless

supply of smileys, and for catching all those pesky typos.


Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh July 1816

If Elspeth Campbel revealed how much she wanted to leave the cold, damp cave, her coven sisters would surely think she was mad. Her plaid slipped

from her shoulders, and she fought the shiver that threatened, trying to close her eyes and mind to the chil y Scottish air. She couldn't pul the plaid back

into place until the ceremony was over.

They were meeting earlier than scheduled, as Caitrin foresaw trouble on the horizon for the
though she hadn't revealed her fears to them yet.

Truthful y, Elspeth didn't think Caitrin was certain what threatened them. They al knew the visions were clearest for their seer when the five of them were


To her right, Rhiannon tightened her grasp on Elspeth's hand while Sorcha and Blaire closed the space between them, which tightened the ring of four

around Caitrin. In the middle of their circle, the seer's eyes were closed, her hands stretched toward the heavens.

Caitrin hummed an ancient melody, passed from one generation of
Còig witches to the next. Then sh
e stopped and al was quiet in the cave—so quiet

that Elspeth could only hear the drumming of her own heart and Sorcha's rapid breathing to her left.

"I see a handsome man," Caitrin began softly. Her lilting voice echoed off the dark cavern wal s.

"I'd like ta see one of those," Sorcha giggled.

The murderous look Rhiannon shot the youngest witch prevented any further levity from entering their circle.

"He bears the mark of the beast," Caitrin continued as though she'd never been interrupted.

Chil s shot down Elspeth's spine, which had nothing to do with the loss of her plaid or the cool air in the cave.
The mark of the beast.
She'd heard those

words her entire life.

"He wil disrupt us. He wil try ta take Elspeth from our circle."

Suddenly Elspeth had three sets of eyes on her. It would have been four, but Caitrin's were stil closed as the vision played out in her mind.

"The beast canna be al owed ta break our coven. Disaster wil fal if he succeeds." Caitrin's haunting blue eyes opened and she focused them on


Sucking in a surprised breath, Elspeth tried to snatch her hands back from Rhiannon and Sorcha, but their hold tightened. Her heart pounded faster and

she felt certain she would faint.

Caitrin stepped forward and touched her fingers to Elspeth's brow. "Do ye ken the man I speak of, El?"

A nervous laugh escaped Elspeth's throat and

she nodded. She had never thought he would actual y come for her. After al , he'd abandoned her mother long before she was born. "My father," she


Though Elspeth had never met her sire, she knew he wore the mark of the beast. So it must be him. Who else would try to take her from her coven?

Caitrin's brow furrowed. "He felt younger than that."

Elspeth shook her head. "I doona ken another man with the mark, Cait."

Final y the seer nodded. "Very wel . Ye must be diligent. He canna be al owed ta take ye from us. The future of the
Còig d
epends upon it."

Elspeth nodded. She'd never known Caitrin's visions to be wrong, but in her twenty-one years, her father had never even contacted her. It didn't seem

likely he would suddenly show interest in her wel -being. "I wil be careful."

At the same time in London…

Rain poured over the brim of Lord Benjamin Westfield's beaver hat. He stepped out of the darkness and crossed the threshold of Canis House, the

exclusive social club to which he belonged. He handed his drenched greatcoat and ruined hat to the awaiting footman and walked into the warm light of

the drawing room.

Ben glanced around at the other members, searching the faces for his older brothers. They weren't there. Thank God! He didn't think he could put on a

cheerful face tonight, and they would most certainly see through his dark mood.

"Is the Duke of Blackmoor here this evening?" he asked the footman just to be certain.

The man shook his head. "I have not seen His Grace. However, Lord Wil iam was here, my lord."

Ben looked around the room once more. He didn't see Wil . If he was quick, he could leave before his brother ever knew he was here. "And Major


The footman gestured toward the back of the drawing room. "At his usual table, my lord."

Ben took the first relieved breath he'd had in days, hopeful the major could help him. He thanked the footman and then crossed the room to where his

father's oldest friend sat in a dark corner, sipping whisky. "Am I interrupting?"

Major Desmond Forster's dark eyes twinkled as he looked up from his drink. "Ah, Benjamin. It's been an age. Please, please." He gestured toward an

empty chair at his table. "To what do I owe this honor?"

Ben swal owed. It wasn't something he could just blurt out. In fact, now that he was here, he didn't know what to say to Forster at al . "I, uh, could use your

counsel, sir."

counsel?" The old man leaned back in his seat and grinned. "I am flattered. I thought you general y sought out Blackmoor."

Usual y he did want his brother Simon's advice. But this wasn't something he could discuss with either of his brothers. In fact, keeping Simon and Wil

from learning his secret was of the utmost importance. Ben took a deep breath and leaned in close over the table. "I'm in trouble, Major."

The man's smile vanished instantly. "What sort of trouble, Benjamin?"

He held tightly to the table and wil ed the words out of his mouth. "I didn't change."

"You didn't change?" the officer echoed.

"With the ful moon last night," he explained. "I. Didn't. Change."

For the first time in his life as a Lycan man, Benjamin Westfield hadn't sprouted a tail, long snout, or paws with the coming of the ful moon. He'd sought

the moon the same way he always did, this time in a clearing in the woods, for his transformation. But last night nothing had happened. A moonbeam

touched him, but the change that was so much a part of him didn't come, and he'd stood there for an eternity waiting and wondering why he was broken.

Major Forster's face drained of its color and his mouth fel open. "You didn't
change?" he repeated, this time i
sotto voce
, with a world of meaning in

his words.

Ben shook his head. "Do you know why?"

"Benjamin, we always change."

"Wel , not me. Not last night."

The major motioned for two more glasses. "What happened?"

"Nothing happened. The moon hit me like it always does. But I didn't feel the pain, nor the joy, of changing. Nothing happened at al ."

Major Forster scratched his head. "Prior to last night, did you feel the same cal of the moon in the days leading up to the moonful?" He pushed a glass

of whisky toward Ben with the tips of his fingers.

Ben sighed. Now that he mentioned it, he hadn't felt the same cal . He hadn't been lusty or angry or felt the need to withdraw. But he hadn't real y paid it

much attention. Changing was as natural to him as breathing. It had been a part of him for fourteen of his twenty-six years, since adolescence.

Ben could only shake his head in dismay as he slumped in his chair. "No. I don't believe I did."

"Do you believe this has anything to do with that little incident in Brighton last month?" Major Forster raised one eyebrow.

Ben's eyes shot up quickly to meet the major's. "How did you know about that?"

"News travels quickly in our circle, Benjamin."

"I didn't mean to hurt her," Ben mumbled.

BOOK: Tall, Dark and Wolfish
9.23Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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