Wolf's Heart (Feral)

Wolf's Heart (Feral) by Melissa Jolley

Book: Wolf's Heart (Feral) by Melissa Jolley Read Free Book Online
Authors: Melissa Jolley
C HAPTER O NE
    Larissa Lovell stood in the center of the vast conference hall, wondering how she ever let Sarah talk her into this. Waiting in a very long queue in the middle of a science fiction and fantasy convention was not her idea of a good time.
    Fantasy freak best friends with crushes on television stars, who’d have ‘em—me, apparently. She frowned at her own inner musings as she took in the sights.
    Larissa looked around at the labyrinth of booths impersonating forest scenes and distant planets. A multitude of wolf masks and scantily clad warrior women completed the effect. She felt conspicuous in her V-neck T-shirt and jeans, her sweater haphazardly tied around her waist. Thank God I’m over my body image issues, she thought wryly, just as a particularly slim, yet buxom blonde wearing a leather string bikini and not much else, walked past. The Xena wannabe looked bored and very haughty.
    She’s so getting paid to be here . Larissa smiled at the idea, happy she wasn’t the only person who’d been forced to attend.
    She stared toward one of the forest stands, and her eyes focused on the back of a rotund, hairy man wearing a crisp white toga, and a laurel wreath wrapped neatly about his shiny, bald head. Suddenly, she had visions of the convention being a front for a Caligula-style orgy. A shiver rolled down her spine at the grossness of that idea. She quickly focused her thoughts on the many things she would prefer to be doing, like finding out what some hunky Scot wore under his kilt in Edinburgh. She was fairly certain that’s what Sarah was doing, when not at her work conference. While Larissa, as the dutiful bestie, got roped into getting the autograph of some lame-ass guy who pretended to be a werewolf for a living. What was his name again? She looked down at the paper in her hand. Ah, that’s right, Zane Adamson . She didn’t even know what he looked like. The convention program only had a picture of a wolf, and that was a real wolf, not even a guy in makeup.
    Despite her misgivings, she could not deny the atmosphere had an exhilarating effect that seemed to permeate the air. Or was that the smell of frankincense mixed with leather and latex? Between the “Summer of Love” scent in the air and the Xena and Caligula rip-offs, she began to wonder whether it was really just a big fetish party. Larissa giggled quietly to herself. If that were the case, it might have been worth coming to.
    No, it was definitely something more elusive than incense and rubber. She could even feel it affecting her. An irresistible sense of anticipation coursed through her and the hairs on the back of her neck seemed to be standing at attention, though she would never admit it aloud.
    She gently tapped the locket that dangled ominously at the entrance of her cleavage, threatening to disappear from sight between her breasts. The movement was usually a stress indicator, but right now it was a deliberate reaction to the frankincense. Her grandmother, Mala, had burned it almost continuously her entire childhood. Just before she passed away, Mala had given Larissa the locket she now played with delicately. It was the one heirloom she’d allowed from her former life. The locket contained no pictures, only a tiny verse:
    Mother, Sister, ancient friend, bring this magic to an end.
    Magic. Larissa knew there was no such thing.
    A loud laugh broke her reverie. Her wandering mind made an abrupt return to the present and she realized that hairy toga guy was leering at her. Trying to hide her distaste—she was not that desperate—she turned to face the back of the person queuing ahead of her. A blush warmed her cheeks when she realized they were about five feet away. “Damn,” she muttered, as she attempted to hurry forward. Instead, she tripped over a large lump of something at her feet.
    Horror-struck, she watched the floor move swiftly toward her. She managed to get her arms up to protect her face before— thud —landing on it.

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