Esher: Winter Valley Wolves #7

Esher: Winter Valley Wolves #7 by V. Vaughn, Mating Season

Book: Esher: Winter Valley Wolves #7 by V. Vaughn, Mating Season Read Free Book Online
Authors: V. Vaughn, Mating Season
1
    T he glass slide chatters against the microscope as I move it into place. My hands are shaking, although I’m not sure why I’m nervous. I already know what I’m going to see. The bruising, weight loss, and sheer exhaustion I’m experiencing tell me all I need to know. The textured dial is round in my fingers as I turn it to focus on the tiny drop of my blood. I peer into the viewfinder and discover exactly what I expected to see. Too many lymphoblast cells. My leukemia is back, and with a vengeance.
    I squeeze my eyes shut, but it doesn’t stop the tears that escape and roll down my cheeks. I’m going to die this time. A name slips from my lips in a whisper. “Esher.” He was my savior the last time, but I burned that bridge to ashes. My college chemistry lab partner did the unthinkable when he gave me a vial of werewolf blood to inject into my bloodstream, although at the time I had no idea how much he risked for me.
    I whip the slide out of the microscope, and the edges are sharp in my hand when I throw it across the lab toward the metal door. The rectangular piece of glass bounces off and shatters on the tile floor below. Just like my relationship with the only man I’ve ever loved did years ago. God, I was such an idiot. My stupid ambition is part of the reason the Silver Lake werewolves have become wary of humans.
    I grab the broom to clean up my mess. Shards of glass clink as I push the broken bits into the dustpan. I manage to finish just before Dr. Gina Sand arrives. I used to be in charge of all the labs at Winter Valley University, but Dr. Sand now shares that position with me. I fight the growl of annoyance that builds in my chest over that recent change in my career.
    Dr. Sand fell from grace a few months back when her claim that the local wolf pack was actually a group of werewolves couldn’t be proven. As an accomplished geneticist, she was welcomed with open arms by the university when she applied for a job. Because they already had me in place as the head of scientific research, they offered us co-positions. If I wanted to keep my job, I had no choice but to accept.
    I paste a patient smile on my face. “Good morning, Dr. Sand.” Even though we’re equals, she has never told me to call her Gina. I wish I’d had the balls to insist she call me Dr. Thompson instead of Andi.
    “Andi.” She freezes in place. “Why don’t I smell coffee?”
    I’m a pushover most of the time, and I know it. My usual reaction would be to apologize. But the fact that I just confirmed my death sentence minutes ago makes me brave, and I answer, “Because I haven’t made any yet. But I have no doubt you know how.”
    She glares at me, and any other day I’d scurry to rectify my mistake. It’s so not happening today. I turn my back to Dr. Sand and approach my computer.
    To say my life is stressful right now would be an understatement. Ever since my incident with the love of my life, Esher, led me too close to exposing the Silver Lake wolves to the dangers of government research, I’ve become a silent advocate for the werewolves. Each school year, Dr. Sand would send me a new recruit to research the wolves, and I would do whatever was necessary to sabotage the data. But when the last round led to men in black scouring my lab for evidence, Dr. Sand began to suspect me.
    The chime of my laptop booting up is faint compared to the banging of the coffee carafe slamming into the housing of the machine. Dr. Sand is not a patient woman. Now she’s here and dangerously close to discovering the truth. The Silver Lake wolves are werewolves, and I’m living proof they’re valuable to genetic research. But I’d rather die than help her turn them into lab animals that would be subjected to invasive testing or risk possibilities that could be much worse.
    A string of profanity comes from the small room we use to store our things. The splattering noise I hear makes me think she didn’t get the filter in quite right and

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