The Wolf Man's Legacy
Copyright © Lanette Curington / Lani Aames
All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction.
The book always came back.
She didn't want the book, didn't ever want to touch it again. The worn leather made her skin tingle with ancient memories of something she didn't want to know. When the book first showed up on her doorstep the day after Thanksgiving, she was filled with dread and anticipation, a mingling of emotions she didn't understand.
No return address, no stamps, no postmark, no address, nothing except her name lettered in an old-fashioned, fancy script on plain brown wrapping: Miss Susan Talbot. She worked in a used bookstore and people were always bringing old books to be authenticated or appraised. She sent them to experts because she had no formal training in the field. She was nothing more than a clerk. She sorted books, she stacked books, she sold books, but she didn't have the expertise to judge a book's worth.
Tearing off twine and paper in the cold, fading sunlight, she trembled with a peculiar mix of loathing and desire. The paper rustled and scraped against the sidewalk as an icy blast whipped it out of her grasp. She huddled, her back to the brisk wind, the narrow book pressed to her chest. The book felt warm against her breasts and a moan escaped her lips. Something stirred deep inside of her. Part of it was sexual, but most of it was a devastating primal need to...
To do what, she didn't know. The wind died down, and the sunlight grew paler. Soon it would be dark, but she couldn't keep from opening the book right then. The leather bound cover fell open heavily to reveal aged, discolored pages of parchment. The handwritten title "Bestiae Magicae" meant nothing to her although she recognized it as Latin.
Magic, certainly. Bestial? Beast? Bestial Magic? Magical Beasts? The rest of the handwritten pages meant even less, the cramped script almost illegible. Some pages, she noticed, contained notes written by different hands in the narrow margins. Some were in Latin, others in an older version of English, and some in more modern English. The book had obviously passed through many hands, through many generations.
In that moment, she knew she didn't want the book. She tried to open her fingers and let it fall to the pavement. Leave it for someone else to pick up and deal with the consequences and the curse...
Where had that thought come from? It didn't matter because her fingers wouldn't loosen their grip no matter how hard she tried. They continued leafing through the pages, searching for something...and she knew that when she found it, she would rip it from the binding, tear it to shreds with teeth and claw--
"Sue? Are you all right?"
Startled, she had whirled and almost growled at her neighbor, Dori. Heart pounding in her chest, beating against her ribcage like the frantic wings of a trapped raptor, she swallowed the sound and her jaw snapped shut.
"My God, Sue? What's wrong?" Dori whispered, her eyes wide in concern.
Sue shook her head and clutched the book to her chest again. "Nothing. I'm fine," she gasped, then turned, opened the door, and raced up the stairs to her apartment on the second floor. She ignored Dori calling her name as she fumbled with the key in the lock, as if her hands had morphed into something other than appendages with opposable thumbs.
Bursting through the door, everything tumbled from her hands. The small bag of groceries split and spilled its contents, her purse ricocheted off the corner of the catchall table, and the book slid halfway across the room.
No longer touching the tome, the sense of chaos and loss of control receded, and that primal need dissipated somewhat. She slammed the door shut behind her and leaned back against it, closing her eyes. Her heart returned to a normal rhythm, and her breathing evened. She no longer felt the call of the wild.
She opened her eyes, walked over to the book, and kicked it under the couch. The next morning, using tongs, she put the book in a bag and took it to work, dumping it on a back shelf with all the other old but unwanted books.
That night she had dreamed strange, incoherent dreams. Four-legged beasts loped through primeval forests, shrouded in moonlight and mist. On the hunt, they preyed on weaker animals, including Man...
And the next morning, bathed in perspiration and shaking in fear, she had awakened to find the book lying on her nightstand, between the clock and lamp.
Terror had seized her. Had she brought the book back without remembering? She couldn't have, could she? Using her clock, she swept it off the nightstand and kicked it into the darkest corner of her room where it lay for nearly a week.
Using the tongs, for she dared not touch it again, she dropped it into a paper bag and dumped it into a trash bin on her way to work. Every night, her dreams had been plagued by the moonlit beasts, but this night they intensified. She became one of the beasts, trotting alongside a black-coated male nearly twice her size. When he sniffed the air, she tilted her snout up and caught the scent of prey, too, and howled with the others, the sounds echoing eerily through the trees. He took off and she ran beside him, muscles rippling smoothly beneath her thick coat of silver-white fur. He urged her to keep up, and she didn't want to disappoint him. She ran with the pack, hunting...catching...tearing...
Sue exploded upright in bed, hair, nightclothes, and bedding sodden with her sweat. When she turned to look, the book lay on the nightstand.
Once again, she kicked it into the corner.
Now, it was Christmas Eve. Always, the book came back, but this night she thought of something that should take care of the book for good. Each night, she had dreamed of howling and hunting in the moonlight close by the side of the black-coated male until the dreamscape seemed more tangible than her reality. A part of her knew she had to do something or the alternate world would consume her life. She tonged and bagged the book and took it to the cellar. Tossing it into the leaping flames of the furnace, she watched it burn with a muddled sense of relief and grief.
Considering everything, she fell into a deep sleep easily.
Once again, she ran with the male, but this time it was just the two of them. Tonight was different. Her body ached with need and longing. She burned in the tender place between her hind legs. She wanted to stop and stretch her forelegs out as far as she could, giving easy access to her mate. But she followed him, knowing their union would come in due time.
Finally, he stopped in a moonwashed clearing and turned to her, their soft panting the only sounds to be heard. They touched noses briefly, then he moved behind her, sniffing beneath her tail. His rough tongue swiped once across her burning flesh, relieving the ache and exacerbating it at the same time. She stretched forward, her back arching, her rear high in the air. Once again his tongue raked across her and her body writhed beneath his touch. Again and again, he lapped between her legs until she exploded within and without...
Sue growled softly with the pleasure that coursed through her body. She raised her hips higher, squirming her sex into his swirling tongue. The growl turned into a moan as her eyes flew open. She stared at the ceiling as she floated off her orgasmic high, aware she was no longer dreaming...but the rough tongue, hot and wet, continued to lap and lick at her clit and labia.
She raised her head until she could see over her pumping hips and between her wide-spread legs. Her heart accelerated at the sight of the black wolf.
* * * * *
Dylan Hunter had followed the trail of the book as soon as it went on auction at Sotheby's early in the year. The previous owner, referred to only as the Collector by the pack, had kept the book safe, but his heirs were not as diligent. Before the pack was aware of the Collector's death and the distribution of his estate, the book had been sold as one volume among thousands.
Only able to sense the book's whereabouts in his wolf form, Dylan quickly lost track of the book. For months, no matter that he roamed much of the populated world in wolf form, he never sensed the book anywhere. On the bright side, the book hadn't been made available to humans to be used against the pack.
He was tired and he was edgy. Without knowing who had the book, the pack was on alert, ready to move at a moment's notice, prepared to defend themselves and ensure pack survival.
Finally, Dylan sensed the book the day after Thanksgiving. His instructions had been to get the book no matter the cost, but none of them could have predicted who would have possession of it. As soon as he realized who she was, he watched and waited. Most of the pack, including himself, thought she was little more than legend. Now he knew she truly existed.
Susan Talbot aroused him as no other woman, human or pack, had in a long time. He liked the way her brown hair glittered with red and gold highlights in the pale winter sun. He had yet to get close enough to see the color of her eyes and he wondered if they were green, blue, or brown. He approved of the way she carried herself, fiercely and with determination, even though he knew she was going through a trying time.
Dylan felt a little guilty because he added to her tribulations by invading her dreams each night. At first, he merely introduced her to the pack by way of their wolf form. He sent her images of how their ancestors had hunted in ancient times. He wanted her to grow accustomed to her legacy.
Each day he followed her as she walked to work and back again. He never approached her, afraid she might somehow recognize or sense their kinship before she was ready to accept it. One day, on her way to work, she went out of her way to drop a package into a trash bin several blocks from the bookstore. He wasn't surprised that she was trying to rid herself of the book. He had sensed her fear and agitation when he crept into her dreams.
He opened the bin and found the bag she had carried, but it was empty. He leapt in and searched through the disgusting refuse, but he didn't find the book. Pulling the lid shut, he shifted into a wolf and tried to sense the power of the book, but he felt nothing, the same nothing he'd felt for months until he found Sue Talbot.
He wasn't sure what to do. Should he search farther afield, or continue to watch Sue? He shifted back into Dylan the human, and crawled from the bin, frowning. Something else was influencing them all--the book, Sue Talbot, and him--and he didn't like it one bit. He didn't like the unknown, especially when the stakes were so high.
Feeling as if he'd lost control of the situation within a split second, Dylan hurried to the bookstore to make sure that Sue Talbot had continued with her day as usual. He breathed a sigh of relief when, through the front window, he saw her standing behind the counter. At least she was a constant he could count on.
Or so he thought. Later, that night, as he entered her dreams, he found Sue in her wolf form, keeping pace beside him, her coat a frosted silver enhanced by the light of the moon. He was pleased to find she had joined in the dream, but what pleased him most of all was that it seemed right she should be with him.
Later that night, after the dream had faded, he changed into wolf form and once again sensed the presence of the book in Sue's possession. Relief flooded through him. The book was safe, yes, but it also meant he wouldn't have to leave her to hunt for it again.
Night after night, she joined the pack and ran close by his side. She learned to scent prey and howl so that her call echoed across the forest. And she learned to help with the kill. He never allowed the dream pack to hunt a human. Although their ancestors had done so, they had learned to protect themselves and no longer needed to hunt the humans who would like to destroy them.
He sensed her unrest, the continual struggle within her. Part of her was drawn to the freedom and savagery of being a wolf, but another, deeper part of her resisted. She hadn't yet accepted the untamed part of herself and until she did, she wouldn't rest easy.
By Christmas Eve, she still hadn't come to terms with what she was. He felt she had yet to completely understand. They couldn't go on like this much longer. He couldn't, anyway. He desired her and wanted her for his mate, as she thought of him in the dreams. She would have to accept her legacy and he hoped to persuade her to accept him.
Late that night, wanting to be near her when he entered her dreams, he easily picked the lock to her apartment. Inside, he shifted into his wolf form and padded through the rooms to her bedroom.
She slept in the nude. She tossed and turned and moaned in her sleep until the covers were a tangled heap and slid to the floor. He raised up and rested his forepaws on the footboard of the bed. She rolled from side to side and her legs spread so that he could see the tangle of hair and the cleft beneath it. He could smell her arousal and it seemed to fill the room. His wolf body reacted to what his man mind found stimulating.
He dove into her dream. They weren't with the pack and he was surprised to find that she orchestrated the dream this time. He could smell her here, too, the rich, musky odor of a shewolf in heat. Her season had come and he would be her mate. When the thought completely wrapped around his mind and engorged penis, he came to a halt in a moonlit clearing.
He turned to her and touched his nose to hers. Unfortunately, wolf snouts were not made for kissing. The wolf in him took over and her scent led him around to her backside. She stood still, waiting for him. He still had human thought, too, and he licked her swollen flesh. She tasted as rich and lush as her scent. He closed his eyes and swiped her with his tongue again and again, and she moved into him, rubbing her tender juiciness against his tongue...
She growled, a low sound that turned into a human moan. He opened his eyes and found he was no longer in her dream. The human Sue lay sprawled on the bed, writhing in ecstasy, and his wolf head was between her thighs, his tongue buried in her pussy.
She tasted good, even to his wolf palate. He didn't want to stop. But when the last shudder of orgasm rippled through her body, she raised her head and looked into his eyes. For a moment he thought she was going to scream. With one last greedy flick of his tongue, he bounded from the footboard into the air.
* * * * *
Sue felt a scream rise in the back of her throat as the black wolf, having somehow escaped her dream, leapt forward. In mid-air, he...changed, and the sound froze in her vocal chords. Thick, black fur receded to smooth muscled skin, paws morphed into hands and feet, and snout diminished to become a human face, crowned by a long mane of golden blond hair. In the space of a few seconds, it was a man, not a wolf, that landed on top of her.
He had taken most of his weight with hands and knees so that only his belly slapped against hers, his rigid cock cradled by her mound.
"Who-who-who--" she stammered. She swallowed hard and finally managed to ask, "What are you?"
"I've been in your dreams, Sue," he murmured as his gaze raked over her face, illuminated by the moonlight streaming through the window. "Your eyes are brown, aren't they?"
"H-How do you know my name? What are you doing here?" She tried to push away from him, but he was too heavy. Oddly enough, she didn't feel fear, after that first shock of seeing the wolf and his leap into the air. "How did you do that?"
"It's a long story." He head dipped and he placed a kiss on one erect nipple. "My name is Dylan Hunter. I'll tell you everything...later. Right now, I'd like to finish what you started in your dream."
"No! I mean, it was just a dream. How could you be more than a dream?"
"I've been in your dreams for a few weeks now, ever since you started dreaming about the wolves." He placed a kiss on the other nipple, but this time lingered to tongue it into a tighter knot. She gasped, and remembered what that tongue, the tongue of the wolf, had done to her only minutes ago. "At first, I led the dreams, but tonight, tonight was all yours. You dreamed yourself in heat so that we could mate. I swear I will explain everything to you, if you'll only let us mate now."
"I don't know..." Her protest drifted off as he gently rubbed his erect cock against her mound, and his mouth surrounded one taut nipple, then the other. Her hips lifted to meet him of their own accord, and her back arched as if to push her breast further into his mouth.
This man, Dylan, was a stranger, and yet, he wasn't. She had run with him night after night for nearly a month. If what he said was true, then it had been her decision to mate with him. She shook her head, trying to clear it. There were too many questions, too many thoughts intruding on her, and all she wanted was to feel.
And she did feel. The heat of his body permeated her skin as he moved within her legs and settled his long length against her. She wrapped her legs around his hips and laced her fingers in the tangles of his hair, to bring him closer to her. At some time within the past month, the shewolf she became in her dreams had fallen in love with the black wolf. If Dylan was the personification of that wolf...well, she didn't want to think that far ahead.
His lips slipped over hers as his erection slid inside of her. She arched to meet him, her fingers tightening into fists. His tongue probed deeply as his cock plumbed her depths, and his hands glided along her back, up the nape of her neck, and raked into her hair. He thrust hard, pulled back and thrust harder. Each stroke filled her and sent a fresh onslaught of electrified tingles through her body.
It had been so long, too long, since she'd taken a man inside of her, and she couldn't remember it ever being this sweet. They moved as one, a perfect rhythm bringing both of them closer to the edge with each surge. He stiffened and increased their tempo, the final touch to the ultimate prize. Her mouth flew open against his as she ignited, and the rush of heat radiated throughout her limbs. She cried out and he groaned simultaneously, their sounds of delight as intermingled as their bodies. With one last thrust, Dylan slumped against her and lay still, nuzzling against her neck.
Her skin prickled. More. There was more to be done, but this was enough for now. She snuggled against him and reveled in the afterglow of their lovemaking. It could be no less. She would learn to love Dylan as the shewolf inside of her had loved the black wolf.
Dylan wrapped an arm around her. "We have to talk, Sue, but later. Okay?"
She nodded and closed her eyes. Later was quite all right.
* * * * *
The Christmas tree lights blinked and twinkled merrily as Sue and Dylan, wrapped in a warm blanket, sipped hot cocoa. Neither of them had dressed. Skin to skin, they sat on the couch, Sue in Dylan's lap. She felt the stirring of his penis against her hip, but they had decided they needed to talk.
Sue set her mug aside and picked up the book, the first time she'd touched the leather surface since finding it on her doorstep a month ago.
It didn't affect her as it had then, although she still felt an aura of energy around the book. She opened it up to the title page.
"Magical Beasts," Dylan translated.
"That was one of my guesses."
"It's a book of secrets, written so long ago no one knows exactly when. These pages explain all about creatures that humans know as myths. Such as unicorns, gryphons, chimaeras, and werewolves."
"Werewolves," Sue repeated softly. She had already guessed part of it. Dylan was a werewolf, but she still didn't know where she fit in.
"It explains how they come to be, what they can do, and how to harness their powers or, in some cases, how to destroy them. It was my job to make sure the book didn't land in the wrong hands. If I had failed, and I thought I had many, many times over the past ten months, we could have all been destroyed."
"It might as well have been in the wrong hands because I didn't know what to do with it. I didn't even want to touch it. I tried to get rid of it. Dylan! I even burned it, but it always came back."
He shook his head. "I'm not sure why that happened. The book itself isn't magical. I've had the feeling there's another force at work here and that proves it. But I have no idea what it might be."
"I don't either." Sue ran her hand over the parchment. She felt a connection to the pages, but Dylan had explained that he felt connected to it, too. "Where does all this have to do with me?"
"I only know a small bit of the story. I don't think anyone knows, or remembers it all. The pack now consists of the wereborn, meaning we were born werewolves. In the past, before the werewolves gained control of their powers, they were savage beasts that killed anyone unlucky enough to cross their paths. My ancestors decided to do something about it and formed the werepack, working to civilize werewolves. They felt that if we could gain control of our shifting and powers we wouldn't be at the mercy of the savage within."
"Okay, I think I understand."
"Your grandfather, on the Talbot side, was one of the last to be bitten by a werewolf and become a werewolf himself. At first, he didn't have any idea what was happening to him. By the time he figured it out and was killed for ravaging several humans, he had fathered a child, your father."
"The family never talked about my grandfather much, only that he'd been killed under mysterious circumstances. You mean I'm a werewolf, too?"
"You're wereborn, Sue. Second generation, but you have the potential to be very powerful. Part of the legend that many of us didn't think was true." He grinned and kissed her cheek. "Don't worry, sweetheart. You won't automatically shift when the moon is full and go on a killing rampage. But I can teach you how to shift if you want to learn."
Sue remained silent and touched the book again. She now knew why she'd searched for a certain page when she first held the book. That page contained the information on werewolves. She had wanted to destroy it because the wereborn part of her knew how dangerous that information could be.
She looked at Dylan, into his smoldering green eyes. She thought she would fall madly in love with him in time and that made her happy. But the thought of shifting into a wolf was frightening and wonderful all at the same time. By now, she was used to the opposite emotions that had overwhelmed her since receiving the book. She kissed him and rubbed her cheek against his.
"Yes, Dylan, teach me. I'm scared, but I want to know what it's like to run wild and free. And not just in my dreams."
"You'll love it, Sue. I promise you that." His hand slid up the nape of her neck and brought her lips to his. He kissed her hard, a kiss full of passion and desire. She felt his cock grow erect against her hip and her own desire welled within her.
"Later," she said breathlessly. "You can teach me later. Right now, I have a better idea."
"Mmmm, it must be the same idea I have," he whispered against her cheek.
Sue picked up the open book and started to toss it onto the coffee table. She hesitated when a piece of white paper fell from between the pages and fluttered to her lap.
Dylan's tongue touched just under her ear and trailed along the side of her neck. She picked up the paper and unfolded it, ignoring Dylan's insistent tongue for the moment.
"Look at this."
The paper was edged in red and white striped candy canes tied with green bows. Printed in green near the top: From the desk of Mama Claus, Christmastown, North Pole. Below, in neat, old-fashioned lettering that matched Sue's name on the outside of the package when she first received the book, was written:
"No." Dylan shook his head. "It can't be."
Sue almost agreed then she threw her arms around Dylan's neck and laughed out loud. "If werewolves are real, why not Santa and Mama Claus, too?"