Tuesday Teaser 7/8/15: Daughter of the Wolf Clan
Here we are, the next snip in Kit and Olivia’s story, and it’s still Tuesday so it’s not really late, right?
I had a casual poll on my Facebook Author Page a while back and people seemed to be split pretty evenly about which of these two best represented what Kit looked like in their minds. Which do you think? Light blond hair guy leaning on the tree? Or darker blond hair guy crouching? Let me know what you think!
And here is the snip:
Slowly, carefully, she moved away from him, easing her leg from between his, and untangling his hair from hers. Her heart thundered while she stepped over him. It jerked into agonized stillness when he caught her hand. He immediately let her fingers go and curled more tightly on his side. Her heart started up again after a long minute of watching him to be sure he slept.
Once out of his cave, she hesitated. Which way was home? She studied the dark landscape, wishing she had her brothers’ wolf-born eyesight. She didn’t know which way Kit had come when he stole her because she had inexplicably fallen asleep while he carried her. Just, she realized with uneasily, as she’d fallen asleep earlier.
No time to think about that now. She had to get moving before he woke and came after her. When he first picked her up and carried her off he had headed north and west. A look at the stars told her it was around midnight, and south and east were that way. Moving carefully to avoid kicking any loose rocks, she started down the steep slope and began her journey for home.
It was too dark to make a fast pace safe over the rocky terrain. Each slow, careful step made Olivia frantic to go faster. Kit could wake up any time, or one of his pride could find her. After what had happened when Kit was born, they must put out perimeter guards. Normally Uncle Taye at the den had men patrolling a mile out. If he had any reason to expect trouble, he had another set of guards two miles out. Olivia looked back to try to estimate how far she had come. Maybe a half a mile. She had to move faster!
She kept walking, trying to keep to the shadows where she could, flinching at every stumble or clatter of pebbles. Every now and then she glanced up at the sky to be sure she was still heading south and east, and to gauge how long she had been away from Kit. Please, she begged silently, please don’t let him wake up before morning.
As she walked, her mind went over the time they had spent together. When she first woke in his cave she was sure he would rape her. A shadow of the terror and fury she’d felt then moved through her now. If Maria hadn’t come, would he have stopped? Yesterday —er, before she fell asleep, he said he would never hurt her, that he hadn’t understood. For heaven’s sake, how hard was it to understand the word No? Yet, she believed him. She couldn’t say she knew what his life had been after spending only fifteen minutes with his family, but it was plain they were completely crazy. All of them having sex with each other? In plain view of everyone else? A shudder that had nothing to do with the cold night air jerked down her spine. No wonder Kit was messed up. She almost felt sorry for him. Even though he was a feral, uncivilized half-cat, a tiny part of her was drawn to him. He said he loved her. Once he was convinced she didn’t want to have sex, he respected that. Maybe if they’d spent more time together she could have convinced him to let her go. But she couldn’t wait around for him to change his mind. Her dad and brothers were already looking for her. She was pretty sure they’d started after her within hours of her disappearance. How long had it been? Only a day? It felt like weeks.
It was three hours later that she heard a distant rattle of rock behind her. She jerked around, her heart doing its best to block her airway, to search the dark shadows of the craggy landscape she’d passed through. It was just a nocturnal animal moving around. Right? It couldn’t be Kit. No, please, not Kit. She increased her pace until she was almost trotting, looking back every minute or so. She stumbled while she was looking over her shoulder, kicking a small avalanche of debris free. She froze, listening hard. Nothing. Relief made her almost dizzy as she rushed on. No, she told herself firmly, running and not watching where she was going was dangerous. The risk of spraining her ankle here wasn’t worth the increase in speed. She forced herself to keep her eyes on the ground and her feet to a walk. She still heard occasional rocks falling behind her, but each time she strained to hear more there was nothing. She struggled on, hoping she was moving in the right direction.
Hunger and cold made her long for dawn, but dawn was still hours away when a faint roar chilled her heart. Kit! Completely abandoning caution, she ran as fast as she could, sliding and skidding in the gravel as much as running. She chanced a glance back and saw a man-cat shaped shadow outlined against the star lit sky when it leaped from rock to rock.
Oh, God. She couldn’t outrun him. She couldn’t hide. And he was running right toward her.
“Olivia!” he screamed in his distorted cat voice. “Back back, my mate!”
“No,” she sobbed, running even faster.
He was closing on her. Fifty yards. Forty. Thirty. Olivia ran, knowing escape was agonizingly hopeless. Twenty yards separated them when she heard a sound ahead of her. Growling? Her breath rasped in and out of her so loudly she wasn’t sure what she heard. Kit was only ten yards away when she saw the gleam of canine teeth shining white in the dark fur of a wolf’s face.
Strength gone, Olivia fell, skidding painfully on her elbow and jaw on the rocky ground. She dragged herself up, to stare as two—no, three—wolves launched themselves, snarling viciously, at Kit. They crashed together in the air and went down in a thrashing mass of fur and teeth.
“Dad!” Olivia croaked. “Wait!”