“Thanks for picking me up from the airport, Wally. You saved
me a huge cab fare.”
“Are you nuts? Let the best friend of my pack’s Alpha Female
take a cab?”
Helen grinned at the humongous guy in the driver’s seat. The
Wyoming Deputy Sheriff coat he was wearing made him look extra big.
“Fina says you’re studying organic chemistry. Do you like
it?” Wally asked.
“I love it. I’d like to work in the food industry someday.”
Helen blushed. “Don’t get me started talking about school. I’m boring and nerdy
when I do.”
“I’m far from bored,” he insisted. “I love food.” He patted the
tight stomach beneath his uniform. “And, nerdy or not, you’re still pretty.
While you’re here, if it’s okay, I’ll call you. Maybe you’ll invite me over or
we could go out.”
“I’d like that.” She examined his profile. “So you’re really
a werewolf, huh?”
“Natural born.” He winked, then turned onto a side road
crowded by tall pines. “All that time you were growing up together, you never
suspected Fina was a were?”
“It never came up,” she answered dryly. “Not until…” Her
“Not until those rogues back in Tennessee kidnapped you last
spring to force Fina to come back.” His hands tightened on the wheel and his
knuckles cracked ominously.
Helen nodded. “Thank you for coming to rescue me.”
“Wasn’t just me. Hell, every male in the pack fought for a
spot to come help.”
Wally wasn’t handsome. The angles of his face were too
severe. Still, they were tempered by an easygoing kindness reflected in his
brown eyes. “We’ll be at Fina’s place in twenty minutes or so,” he said in a
brighter tone. “How do you like Wyoming so—”
The humor on Wally’s face disappeared so fast, Helen stared
at him. That’s when, out of the corner of her eye, she saw the elk running onto
the road. She felt a sickening lurch of inertia before pain exploded inside her
* * * * *
“Did you have to change her?” Fina packed a huge
presence into a tiny frame.
“There was no time and no choice,” Wally whispered. “If I’d
done nothing, she’d be—”
“Will you two stop yelling?” From her hospital bed, Helen
grumbled. Her brow furrowed when she blinked, squinted and focused on the IV in
Fina hurried to her friend’s side. “You’re awake, thank God.
Do you remember the accident?”
“I remember an elk. Don’t you people have fences?” She
winced. “Why is everybody yelling? Including me?”
“Um, your hearing is going to be better than it used to be.”
Wally took her hand just as he had in the cab of his demolished pickup truck.
She remembered that. She also remembered the cop presence of mind he’d shown
when he’d crawled over to her in the overturned cab. How he’d tended to her,
called for help.
Wally continued, “You had an intracranial bleed. The doctors
have kept you in a medically induced coma for two days.” He gave her an
encouraging smile. “There’s a cut on your forehead but it’s pretty much healed now.
It’s kind of cute, actually,” he added as he touched her face.
“Okay.” Helen looked up at the ceiling. “How come I feel so
good? And did somebody call my mom?”
“What do you mean, not yet?”
Wally answered, “You’ll need time to adjust.”
“Adjust to what?”
“Your injuries were bad, Helen. If I’d had any other choice,
I wouldn’t have done it.”
“Done what?” she asked with rising suspicion.
“You were dying,” Fina interrupted, sounding on the verge of
tears. “He saved you.”
With the tips of his fingers, Wally brushed the base of
Helen’s neck. “I bit you, here. I changed you.”
“No. That does not mean what I think it does.”
He nodded slowly. “You’re a were. Like us.”
* * * * *
The inside of Fina’s home was comfortable and bright. The
bright part caught Helen off guard, considering the place was made of logs,