This excerpt is from Wolfed, the first book in the Wolf Girl Series by author Leia Stone.
I hated Mondays, they were like your period, they just snuck up on you out of nowhere and ruined your week.
I settled into first period with a literal troll breathing down the back of my neck. Starting my Sophomore year in college with the same rejects who tormented me in middle and high school was not my ideal academic environment, but the only option available to me at the moment. Spinning in my seat, I glared the troll down. His nostrils flared making the small tusks in his cheeks point upward, giving me a gnarly view of his tiny brain through his giant nostrils.
“Packard.” I growled, “We’ve talked about personal space before. Please keep your acid breath to yourself.”
A few of the other students snickered, but when Packard took my bag and chucked it across the room, they quieted.
My bag hit the wall with a thud and slid to the ground, splaying its contents all over the floor.
Rage welled up inside of me as I closed my eyes, breathing in and out deeply, trying to keep my wolf calm. Acid breath knew what he was doing, he knew if he could get me to awaken my wolf, even the tiniest bit, I’d be suspended. Even being cuffed at birth, my wolf still tried to break free every chance she got. It was something that was forbidden at Delphi High and was equally forbidden at Delphi University.
Breathe, breathe, breathe.
Om Dali lama.
Fur rippled down the edges of my arms and I cursed to myself.
I felt Packard draw closer, the heat from his disgusting oily skin pressing in on me. “Go on, wolf girl. Show me what you’re made of.”
My eyes snapped open and they must have been yellow, because he reeled backwards.
Since I was five years old, the magical rejects that went to Delphi Elementary School had called me Wolf Girl. Why? Because no other wolves went here. I was the only one with a family stupid enough to get tossed out of Wolf City. There were tons of trolls, even more witches, a few vampires and lots of fey, but the wolves… we kept a tight hold on our pack. You really had to fuck up to be cast out to live with the magical riff raff among the humans.
The cuffs on my wrist sent a magical pulse throughout my skin then and an electrifying pain shot up my arms. Anything to keep my wolf at bay.
I hated this place. I hated what they did to me. The teacher hadn’t entered the classroom yet so technically if I could just calm down and not get caught with furry arms or yellow eyes…
“Take a breather.” My one and only friend Ash whispered from her seat beside me.
Good idea. Sometimes she knew me better then I knew myself. Witches had a way with reading people’s emotions.
I stood, tearing down the aisle and past where my bag lay splayed out on the floor. Bursting from the door of the classroom I ran down the hallway the entire time my wolf was beat on my chest, begging to be let free.
Stay calm, stay calm. I told my inner wolf. She had a mind of her own, never listened to anything I told her, didn’t care that we’d been cuffed and kept from shifting, she tried any chance she got to be free. It didn’t matter that the cuffs electrocuted me when she tried to get out, it didn’t matter that she’d never actually been let out and never would. She didn’t care. The fur continued to ripple down my arms as I envisioned tearing Packard’s throat out and shoving it up his ass.
Just one shift, one run, one howl and I could appease her. Being human felt like a cage and when I got angry, it was even harder to keep her inside that cage.
My nails sharpened to points as the seams of my cut of jeans shorts swelled.
“Calm the fuck down.” I growled at myself, my voice gruff with my wolf. Magic shot from the cuff and pain laced along my spine again as I stumbled past a few witches.
Over a decade of being bullied at Delphi and my parents wondered why I had anger issues. Just once I wanted to let loose and show them all how much I hated them, but I was afraid I’d actually kill someone and the cuff would probably kill me before then.
I needed to release some of this tension, go for a run or something before I exploded. For some reason the last fifteen years of being this school’s punching bag had finally broken me and I was ready to snap.
I ran down the hall, feeling the muscles in my body tighten and clench. The simple act of exercising worked wonders for taming my wolf and I did it often to ward off an attempted shift when I was around my human friends in my apartment building. One patch of fur here at Delphi with a bunch of magical kids wasn’t so much a big deal as it was with the human population.
I burst free of the double doors and into the school parking lot and that’s when my wolf surged to the surface.
Tipping my head back she let loose with a full-on howl which ended as a human scream that was full of rage and agony. Pain that Packard couldn’t be dealt with properly. Anger that I was stuck in this fuck all of a school with a bunch of assholes who hated me, while my parents worked three human jobs to keep us fed. The cuff shot out a powerful burst of magic and I gasped in pain, cutting my howl off from my throat as it turned into a straggled cry of pain. I collapsed to the floor, holding my arms as my claws retracted and the fur retreated. Nothing like getting tasered every time you tried to be yourself.
That’s when a throat cleared behind me.
My whole body stiffened as I stood on the tips of my converse shoes, preparing myself to come face to face with a teacher.
Being a wolf, I was categorizes as a ‘predator student’. The only other species that got that designation here were the vampires, and the dark fey. The vampires were kept so well fed no one really bothered policing them and everyone was terrified of the dark fey so they didn’t police them either. But me… if I partially shifted, growled, eyes went yellow, anything to show I was “threatening” a fellow student, it was all recorded and counted against me.
One more strike and I was out of here.
I inhaled as I spun around, and the first thing I smelled hit me right in the gut, sending warmth down my chest, trickling through my stomach and settling right between my legs.
One smell, that’s all it took for me to know these four things.
“Having a bad day?” His voice was deep, husky, undeniably sexy.
My eyes went from the dark wash jeans that clung to his muscular thighs up to the powder blue t-shirt he wore which was so tight it was like a second skin. It strained against his muscles, showing every dip and curve, even his nipples which were pointed tight. When I got to his face, my heart jack knifed in my chest. Eyes the color of honey looked back at me from behind thick black lashes. He had a chiseled jaw and a chin butt. Honest to God, I’d always wanted to meet a guy in real life who had a chin butt. It was a weird fetish of mine.
Bucket list achieved.
“You could say that.” I ran my fingers through my blonde hair, taming any fly always and trying to get my shit together.
Other than my mom and dad, I’d never met another wolf.
“You don’t have much control over your wolf.” His comment probably wasn’t meant to cruel, by the tone of it he was just making an observation, but it stung none the less.
I shrugged. “Why should I want to control her?”
His eyes went from warm honey to hot lava and I swallowed hard.
“New student?” I asked.
Please say yes.
Having another wolf at school would be amazing, especially this wolf.
Wolf boy and wolf girl ride off into the sunset together and live happily ever after in banishment.
He shook his head slowly. “Just visiting.”
I peered out at the parking lot to see two huge dudes that stood on either side of a black SUV which was pulled up to the curb. They had their hands out, stilled at their sides like they were going to pull a weapon on me for talking to this guy. He must work for the Alpha and be here on business or something.
“From Werewolf City?” I pried.
I was slightly desperate to know everything about the place my parents were banished from.
His eyes slowly transformed from orange, to yellow and then to a striking bright blue as his wolf retreated. This guy was insanely hot, movie star hot. My wolf liked him but I was pretty sure she would like any decent looking male of her same species. We couldn’t afford to be picky in a place like this.
He nodded slowly. “Why are you here?”
Shame burned my cheeks. I didn’t answer and dawning lit up his face as his gaze fell to the cuffs at my wrist.
“Banished?” He asked, confused.
I nodded and his lips turned into a frown. “Do they hurt much?” He pointed one meaty paw at my wrists and I chuckled.
“Only like I’m being burned alive.”
A possessive growl ripped from his throat and I stumbled backward a few paces, not expecting it. He opened his mouth to speak, when the doors opened and the school administrator, Mr. Darkworth, stepped out, he was short for a fey, just a touch over six feet tall and still the wolf next to me had a few inches on him.
“Sawyer, I’m so sorry to keep you waiting.”
Why was that name familiar?
When Mr. Darkworth saw me there, he looked startled. “Demi, I trust you are behaving?” He glared down his nose at me.
I tucked a chunk of long blonde hair behind my ear and nodded. “Just, getting… a bit of fresh air sir.”
I moved to go back inside, taking this as my cue to bolt, when Sawyer’s hand snaked out and grabbed me gently by the upper arm. My heart jumped into my throat at his touch, his eyes blazed yellow as I looked up at him.
“Do you like it here?” His voice was gruff, his wolf close.
I snort laughed, “Are you serious?”
Who could be happy here? As a wolf I needed to live among my kind or I’d go crazy. Thank God for mom and dad or I would have to be put down. No one liked living here, on the outskirts of Magic City, crammed in with the humans, it was fucking awful.
He released my arm, eyes blinked twice, flashing from yellow back to blue as if shaking off his wolf.
Mr. Darkworth frowned. “Shall we, son?” He motioned Sawyer into the double doors that led to his office and I took the other set back to class.
When I sat down, I noticed Ash had gathered up the contents of my bookbag and placed it on my seat. I gave her a smile of thanks and then spent the entire class staring at a spot on the wall and wondering what the fuck just happened and who that guy Sawyer was?
I spent the entire rest of the day thinking of Sawyer. He saw me lose my shit and howl. How embarrassing… and he was here ‘visiting’, that was vague as fuck. I told Ash about it at lunch and she was all ears.
“How old was he?” She leaned forward twirling a blue chunk of hair between her fingers.
I shrugged. “Older than me but not by much. Maybe twenty-one?”
“Want me to do a spell and find out why he was here?” Her eyes glittered and I grinned.
“Nah, I like the mystery.” I said, “I’ll brew on it for years, wondering where the man of my dreams went before I settle down and marry a human.”
Ash snickered. “You sure?” She motioned over to Issacs’s table, “He’d take you back in a heartbeat.”
I clamped a hand over her mouth. “We do not speak of the time I hooked up with a fey, okay?” Peeling my fingers from her mouth one by one, she laughed.
“You said you liked it.” She reminded me.
I pulled a chicken tender from my plate and pointed it at her throat. “Speak another word of this and die.”
Isaac was hot but he had a weird foot fetish thing and I wasn’t feeling the pointy ears. It was a phase and Ash knew that.
“Maybe he’s on socials. Sawyer, any last name?” Ash pulled out her phone, ready to detective the fuck out of this guy.
“Nope. Just Sawyer.” I peered over her shoulder as she typed Sawyer into Instagram and started to scroll profiles. We were about halfway down the page when the cafeteria doors burst open. Four hulking males fanned out and scanned the crowd, and one female with bright red hair brought up the rear.
I didn’t need to smell them to know they were werewolves. I could see it in their stances, the way they sniffed the air and searched the cafeteria with yellow eyes.
What did I do? I shrank in my seat trying to disappear when one of them looked directly at me. A quick scan told me none of them were Sawyer.
Maybe he went back and asked the Alpha about a girl named Demi who was cast out of the pack, and they said I shouldn’t be allowed to go to school here, or maybe—
I held my breath as terror rushed through me. “Yes?” I squeaked.
The dude hovering over me was jacked, a huge wolf and one I now recognized as being the one at the waiting car yesterday in the school parking lot. There was a gun at his hip, likely filled with silver bullets and a vampire stake in a holster at his thigh. This dude wasn’t fucking around.
He handed me a letter with a golden wax seal. Legit it had a wax seal like this was 1901.
I gulped, taking the letter. “Thanks.” I attempted to shove it in my bag and prayed he’d go away.
“Open it.” The wolf growled.
The whole cafeteria was watching me now, even the lunch lady looked nervous for me.
Tearing the seal, bits of gold wax falling into my lap, I rolled the letter open and scanned it. Typed in an italic font was a letter addressed to me.
You are hereby cordially invited to attend Sterling Hill Colligate Academy of Werewolf Sciences. Werewolf Law 301.6 states that all unmated females ages 18-22 must be present the year the future Alpha chooses his mate.
Werewolf City Alpha in residence, Curt Hudson
What the what?! My heart hammered in my chest as I noticed there was messy handwriting which scrawled a personal note at the bottom.
P.S. This was the only way I could legally get you out of there.
My stomach dropped, my mouth going dry.
Curt Hudson was Alpha of Werewolf City, which meant… Sawyer was the fucking Alpha’s son. I’d met the alpha’s son and now I was being invited back to Werewolf city because he was choosing a mate? What in the actual hell was happening?
I stared at the sheet of paper in my hand and then looked up at the dude. “Uhh, cool thanks. I’ll… think about it.”
He shook his head. “I was told by the Alpha to tell you the offer expires in sixty seconds. He does not hold your parents’ transgressions upon you. But he wants to deal with this matter quickly.”
Whoa. Sixty seconds? He didn’t hold my parents transgressions against me? What did that mean? That despite their banishment, I was being given a place back into werewolf society? I had to chew the inside of my lip to bite back the tears. I stared at the cuffs on my wrist letting my mind process his words.
“Those will come off. You’ll be a regular member of society with proper living accommodations and a clean state.” The guard seemed to be reading off of a second paper that he held. “You have thirty seconds.”
Ash flew into my arms, pulling me into a hug and the entire cafeteria went silent as they watched me decide. “Go,” Ash whispered in my ear. “I’ll tell your parents. They would want this for you.”
My parents. I’d forgotten about them, I couldn’t just leave them. Could I?
She pulled away from me and I looked up at the dude. “Can I pick up my stuff? See my parents?”
He shook his head, crossing his arms over his chest. “You’ll be given new things, your parents are not permitted to know about this until after you arrive in Werewolf City.”
A sob formed in my throat, but I pushed it down. I couldn’t let these fuckers see my weakness.
Go to Sterling Hill? Live among werewolves again? It’s all I’ve wanted since I was a little girl. I have no idea why my parents were banished from Werewolf City, they never spoke about it. Said it wasn’t for children’s ears and then when I became a teenager my father told me it was too painful. I figured it didn’t really matter anyway. What was done was done, lifelong banishment to the reject pile of the city, destined to live among magical trash and humans the rest of my life. Delphi corner was a small five square mile area in Spokane Washington which was spelled to repel humans, we could be ourselves here but if we stepped outside the area, we needed to be on our best behavior and appear human… assuming that was possible.
I glanced at Packard, he’d probably never been outside Delphi Corner. Not like I had or the vampires or witches, since we could easily appear human we were allowed to get human jobs and live and shop among them.
“Times up.” His voice was sharp and I knew he wouldn’t wait a second longer.
Leave Delphi? Leave my parents? Go back to Werewolf City… All because I’d met the alpha’s son for five seconds and he was picking his mate this year?
It was… crazy. Insane.
A dream come true?
I looked again at the cuffs on my wrist. To be able to shift, to finally let my wolf out… I couldn’t conceive of it. She shook my skin like it was a cage and in that moment my decision was made for me.
“I accept.” I stood, my voice husky from my wolf’s rise to the surface. He nodded and indicated I follow him. I looked down at Ash and her wide eyed expression. Tears pooled in her gaze.
“I’ll call you tonight.” I whispered as I leaned down and gave her a final hug.
“This is crazy but I love you.” She whispered and my throat tightened.
“Holy fucking shit I love you back.” I half sobbed.
Standing, I brushed my eyes clear of any emotion, and followed the beefy wolves to the double doors.
I was finally leaving this hell hole. I thought that they would let me go in peace but then I felt a wet thud to the back of my head I knew that just wasn’t true. It didn’t hurt so much as it startled me. Something wet ran down my neck and with a plop an orange slice fell to the ground.
“Later, wolf girl!” It was Bianca, I knew that shrill nasally voice anywhere. Fucking Bianca. That dark fey had the heart of a devil.
Fur rippled down my arms and then the cuffs lit up, bringing me to my knees in pain as I was electrocuted. Laughs filled the space and I just wanted to die. It was their favorite thing to do, laugh while I was shocked to shit. All of the wolves who’d come to escort me, looked at me with pity, I was so freaking embarrassed. When you’re bullied for so many years, a few things can happen.
- You can become really shy and introverted, sink into yourself and want to disappear.
- You become a bully yourself, angry and mad at the world.
- You get numb to it after a while, so dead inside emotionally it doesn’t really bother you anymore. It’s like you expect it.
I was somewhere between two and three. Angry but numb to it all. Over the course of my education here I’d been called a dog, told I smelled like shit, been given flea shampoo, and for prom someone hung a rhinestone collar and leash on my locker. I just didn’t care anymore.
“Let’s just go.” I told the wolf guards as I stood, shaking off the incident, because they were looking at me like they were waiting for me to wolf out and rip Bianca’s head off. I wanted to, I did, but I wanted to leave this place forever more.
One of the wolf guards who’d come with them, the tall female with red hair, reached out to a passing witch and grabbed the apple off her tray. Then she reeled her arm back and chucked it. I followed the red apple, surprised at the sudden throw and grinned as it knocked into the side of Bianca’s head.
Every student in the place stood then and the lead guard shot the red headed wolf a glare. “Let’s go before they curse us.”
“Worth it.” The red head winked at me.
Emotion clogged my throat. My entire life I’d been alone, a freak, a wolf without a pack, no one but Ash to count on and now…
My happy emotions were short lived when a black bag was thrown over my head, plunging me into darkness.
“Sorry kiddo, the Alpha gave strict instructions not to trust you with the location of the school just yet.”
A firm arm gripped me under my arm pit and I was marched forward blindly.
By the time we got outside and I heard a van door roll open, I found myself wondering what the fuck just happened.