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Nothing prepared doctor and single dad Jake Blackstock for Aimee Styles. He’s instantly and fiercely attracted to her, despite her secrets and the shadows in her near-black eyes. Jake’s falling hard. He knows nothing about her…or what she really is
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Some secrets can kill. Others bite…
To the citizens of Wolfe Creek, Aimee Styles is dead. What they don’t know is she’s alive…and a werewolf. After she was bitten two years ago, Aimee isolated herself away from the town, determined to keep them safe. But all it takes is an icy winter evening—and an incredibly virulent flu—to interrupt her self-imposed exile.
Nothing prepared doctor and single dad Jake Blackstock for the sight of Wolfe Creek’s missing girl, or her delicate beauty. He’s instantly and fiercely attracted to her, despite her secrets and the shadows in her near-black eyes. Jake’s falling hard. He knows nothing about Aimee…or what she really is.
But something else lurks in Wolfe Creek’s shadows. Something malevolent. Something that won’t hesitate to rip apart their life and new love…
"This was a fast-paced and well-written story and had that air of mystery and suspense that's been consistent all throughout the series." ~ Bookaholics Not-So-Anonymous
4 - Death comes to us all... Even in fairy tales. Stars!
The third book in the Wolfe Creek series more than made up for the disappointment of its predecessor for me. Kaylie Newell pitched Aimee and Jake’s story perfectly. Well-paced, beautifully descriptive and extremely eerie right up until it’... ...more
Aimee was a werewolf that didn't know how to adjust to society. Only a few people in her circle knew she was alive living in the woods. One day she gets terribly sick and the sexy doctor Jake helps her get better. He knew who she was, and he promised... ...more
The Wolfe Creek series has been hit and miss for me so far, the first book was outstanding but the second seriously fell short, so to discover early on that the magic had returned in The Moonshadow’s Daughter restored my faith hugely.
Kaylie Newell has recreated the eerie darker atmosphere that h... ...more
Kaylie Newell was born in the great state of Oregon, where she was raised alongside rivers and lakes and scruffy dogs that chased their tennis balls as far as Kaylie's noodle arms could throw. As she grew, so did her imagination, and it didn't take long to realize she was a romantic at heart. She began to fancy herself the future wife of a cowboy, the likes of which graced every paperback novel she could get her hands on. She decided to go to college in Oklahoma to snag herself one, but irony won over when she fell in love with a hippie in sheep's clothing instead. Together, they came back to Oregon, started a family and watched their dreams unfold. Kaylie wrote her first book when her girls were toddlers, editing sex scenes with The Wiggles on in the background. She's proud of many things in life, among them the fact that she can still recite her lines from Romeo and Juliet from her seventh grade play, the fact that she can set a grilled cheese sandwich on fire faster than most people can make one, but mostly she's proud of the stories blossoming inside her noggin on a daily basis.
Aimee Styles brought her knees up to her chest, trying to get comfortable. The campfire roared, licking the chilly air with its orange, sparking tongue. Waves of heat caressed her face and hands, but she was still cold. And achy.
She sat on an outcropping of rock in front of the cave where she spent her nights. She’d learned to live simply; a sleeping bag, a few changes of clothes, a toothbrush and a comb. Her comfort level didn’t matter much anymore. Now she’d found she was just as happy sleeping on the ground underneath the trees as she was in a bed.
That’s how it had been these last two years. She could have learned to acclimate back into society if she’d really wanted to. Could have gone back to wearing cute shoes and going to clubs on Friday nights. But as the days passed, then stretched into weeks and months, she found the longer she stayed away from that life, the more she didn’t know how to embrace it again.
Besides, they think I’m dead anyway. And I am. At least the part they knew.
An owl hooted in the branches above and she looked up. Wispy clouds moved across the night sky, where stars were spilled like table salt. The air smelled of burning wood and leaves, but beyond that hung a heavy sweetness, something she’d never been able to pick up before she’d been bit.Animals. Vegetation. Things that had grown as familiar as the subtle scent of her perfume had once been.
Shivering, she reached for the sleeping bag and pulled it around her shoulders. The sliver of moon wasn’t very high. It just peeked over the tops of the pine trees, and she guessed it was around ten or so. Mags should be here soon.
In the distance she heard a car making its way up the logging road. Craning her neck, she caught the periodic flash of headlights through the trees—tiny at first, then brighter, larger, until she heard the car round the next curve and slow to a stop on the gravel shoulder. And then the engine cut. A door slammed. Footsteps, coming up the hidden trail to the south. The trail she’d had taken great pains to cover with brush and rocks. Only one person knew about it, and Aimee rose to meet her now.
A few twigs snapped and bushes rustled. There was a muffled f-bomb or two. She smiled and dropped the sleeping bag at her feet.
“Jesus, Joseph, and Mary!” Maggie exploded through the trees and into the firelight, pawing at her hair. “I think a spider dropped on me. Can you see anything?”
Aimee grabbed her friend by the shoulders, turning her around so she could have an obligatory look.
Maggie shook her long brown curls and danced from foot to foot. “Is there anything? Get it out!”
“Oh shit. Hold still.”
Laughing, Aimee pushed her away. “I’m kidding.”
“Don’t do that.”
“I couldn’t help it.”
“And I brought you pizza and everything.”
The tantalizing scent wafted from Maggie’s backpack. Pepperoni and pineapple, her favorite. Her mouth watered. It had been ages since she’d had pizza.
“Forgive me?” She batted her eyes and clasped her hands under her chin. “You wouldn’t withhold greasy sustenance, would you?”
Ignoring that, Maggie stepped past, lowering herself carefully to a log in front of the fire. It wasn’t easy. Her belly stuck out like a small beach ball underneath her jacket.
“My God. Are you about to pop?”
Maggie wriggled out of the backpack. “No. But it feels like it. I’ve got a few more months to go.”
Aimee sat down and helped get her friend’s arm free of one of the heavy backpack’s straps. She knew it would be stuffed with food and little things from home. Last time Maggie had brought an old iPod loaded with comfort music, which was nice while the charge lasted.
They met up here every month, mostly just to talk, sometimes to argue. Maggie, Aimee’s best friend since childhood, and one of only a handful of people who knew what she had become, andwhere she really was, couldn’t understand why Aimee wouldn’t come back to the land of the living. No one would have to know, she’d pleaded. There were others who’d made it work. Maggie’s brother-in-law, Zane, for example. She’d argued that Aimee didn’t need to be some wild mountain woman for the rest of her life. She could live among humans successfully.
To which Aimee had fired back, I don’t know how! And I don’t have reason enough to risk it, anyway.
Aimee looked over at her friend now and marveled how lovely she’d become since she’d gotten pregnant. Maggie had always been pretty. But now…now she was stunning. Marriage agreed with her. Family life agreed with her.
Maggie must have felt her staring, because she glanced over while opening the small box of pizza. “What?”
“I think you’re actually glowing.”
Shoving a piece in Aimee’s direction, Maggie laughed. “I think that’s the campfire.”
“No. You look good. Happy.”
Maggie popped a few pieces of pepperoni in her mouth and smiled. “You know me so well.”
“Well, it’s pretty obvious. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you this…I don’t know. Content.”
“I am happy,” she said, suddenly pensive. “But I worry about you up here all alone. I wish you’d reconsider this. For me?”
Aimee poked at the fire with the toe of her moccasin. The fire crackled and popped at the disruption, as tiny sparks swirled into the darkness. “What’s to reconsider? It’s not that easy.”
Maggie rolled her eyes.
“What? You might as well say it.”
Maggie sighed and put her pizza on her napkin. “Okay. You want me to say it, I’ll say it.” She slapped the crumbs off her hands. “I think you’re using what happened to you as an excuse.”
She stared at Maggie. “I…what?”
“Not in the beginning, of course. You needed time to deal with the trauma, the change, all that. It was physical torture, emotionally horrific, and I get it. I know it’s been even harder because this was all an accident. Jim was trying to protect you that night and you got bitten when you were caught in the middle. None of this was supposed to happen, but it did anyway. That said, it’s been two years, Aimee. Two damn years and you still won’t come down off this effing mountain. You’re part wolf. I get that, too. But you’re not dead. You could have a life. A good one. But I think you’re too scared to try, even though you might really want to.”
Aimee bristled. Partly because she hated being lectured. Partly because she hated when Maggie was right. After she’d been bitten, Jim, the caretaker at the Wolfe Creek Inn and one of her only other friends in town, had helped her through the trauma. He’d explained what would happen, what to expect. After she’d finally gone through the full transformation and the reality set in, she didn’t think she could have a normal life again. She still didn’t think she could. It was all just too hard to face.
“Just food for thought,” Maggie said, picking up her pizza again. “So to speak.”
Looking back at the fire, Aimee picked at her slice. All of a sudden, she’d lost her appetite.
“Hey.” Maggie nudged her with her foot. “You can’t stay mad at a pregnant lady, remember?”
“It’s against the rules. Rule number one, you can’t eat me. Rule number two, you can’t stay mad.”
“I can’t eat you?”
“Werewolf. You know.”
Aimee gave her a reluctant smile.
“I love you,” Maggie said, frowning. “I just want what’s best for you, that’s all.”
Aimee nibbled on a piece of pineapple, the juice sweet on her tongue. It reminded her of high school, when they met at the local pizza parlor after seventh period. A simpler time. Never in a million years would she have guessed what was in store for her. Back then her biggest worry had been what dress to buy for homecoming.
The wind picked up, bringing with it a few stinging drops of rain. Soon, they’d turn to sleet.
“You doing okay?” Maggie asked, putting her hands in her pockets. “You look pale.”
“I’m fine. Maybe a little run down, but fine.”
The campfire danced in the wind and the smoke blew up toward the trees. The small animals living in their branches were silent now, burrowing down for the night. Even the owl sat quiet, making Aimee uneasy.
“Positive.” Aimee got up and wrapped her arms around herself. “You should get back. It’s getting cold. I think it might snow.”
Maggie tipped her head toward the sky. “Yeah? How do you know?”
“Just a feeling.”
Maggie slung her backpack over her shoulder with a groan, probably glad to be heading home. Aimee couldn’t blame her. She had a handsome husband waiting, and these woods were creepy even in the best weather.
The wind gusted again, almost blowing the fire out. Aimee took Maggie’s hand, helping her up.
“I think I’ll walk you to your car this time.”
Maggie eyed her warily. “Why?” She’d learned to trust Aimee’s animal instincts, since they’d proven themselves valuable more than once.
Aimee looked around, uneasy. She couldn’t smell anything—the wind was too stiff. She couldn’t hear anything, either. But she could feel it. Something off. Something that made her skin crawl. Not a lot. Just enough to want Maggie safe in her car and headed down the mountainside, away from this little den in the woods.
She took her friend’s elbow, feeling protective. She’d been the same height as Maggie growing up, but now she was taller, leaner, more muscled. Stronger, too, but that didn’t change the fact that part of her still felt vulnerable sometimes. The human part.
She glanced over her shoulder again as the wind whistled through the trees. “Come on. Let’s go.”
“Should I be worried?”
“Of course not. Just don’t want you to catch pneumonia out here.”
“What about you? Do you need anything? Want me to bring you some lunch tomorrow?”
Aimee smiled, wanting to pull her friend along faster. “I’m fine. Promise.”
“Will you be warm enough?”
They made their way down the dark path, branches reaching out to snag their clothes and hair. The wind swooshed through the pines overhead and they swayed back and forth, shaking needles down like rain.
Maggie’s little yellow car sat parked at the side of the logging road like a faithful friend. She turned, her cheeks flushed, her curls blowing wildly about her face. “Promise me you’ll be okay up here. That you’ll be warm enough, have enough to eat.”
“Mags. Your mothering instincts are in hyperdrive.” Aimee laughed. “I’m fine. Cross my heart.”
Maggie unlocked the door and settled into the seat to start the engine.
“You be careful driving down,” Aimee said. “The deer will run right out in front of you.”
Maggie closed the door and cranked the window down. “I will. You be careful, too. Not with the deer, but…you know.”
She nodded and stepped back. “I know.”
“So, I’ll see you soon?”
“Very soon. Now, get going.”
She had to fight the urge to push the car down the hill herself. Something watched from a distance, and the hairs on the back of her neck prickled.
Maggie finally pulled away, and Aimee stood there as the taillights grew smaller and smaller, then disappeared altogether. Hugging herself, she looked around again. The gusts blew harder by the minute.
Her entire body ached now, and she thought she might have a fever. But that didn’t have anything to do with her sudden case of the chills.
Jake Blackstock looked through his small office window and into the packed waiting room. This flu had spread like wildfire and was currently working on Wolfe Creek’s most vulnerable residents—kids and the elderly.
From the vantage point of his desk, he could see two women from the local pie-baking group, who just last week had given him an apple turnover to die for. Both pale and miserable, they were probably wrestling with the inevitable high fever and fatigue this particularly nasty virus brought with it.
He sighed and rubbed his neck. He’d be late again tonight. His parents would have to keep Daniel overnight, and he hated that. But he was the only doctor for miles and these people had to be seen. Someday he hoped his son would understand the long hours and missed school functions. But for now, Jake had to satisfy himself with the fact that this was life. He did the best he could.
Shana, his nurse, stuck her curly blonde head in the door.
“Your mom just called. She said they’d keep Daniel tonight.”
Jake smiled, relieved. Thank God his mother could read minds. A useful tool now. Back in high school, not so much.
He rubbed his eyes, put his glasses back on, and looked at the chart that lay open on the desk. “Okay. Thanks, Shana. I’ll be out in a second.”
“Mrs. Payne is in room two, all ready for you.”
Shana stood there a second longer, until he glanced up again.
“Did you get those cookies Jeanette left at the front counter?”
All the female “over sixties” in town felt it their mission in life to bring him food. All kinds of food. Anything and everything under the sun. Normally, this would have been great. But there came a time when one person and his three year-old child couldn’t eat one more bite. And if they did, they’d just go ahead and explode.
“Can you take them?” Jake said.
“You know I’m doing gluten free.”
“Well, I can’t. Honestly. Will you please put the word out that I’m properly fed?”
Shana leaned against the doorframe and smiled. “She said you were looking peaked.”
“What does that even mean?”
“It means you’d better get used to more cookies.”
Shana’s smile faded. Her blue eyes were solemn behind her wire-rimmed glasses. “So how are you doing? Really?”
Jake leaned back in his chair. He should be used to this question by now, but it felt like a blow to the chest every single time. It had been a year. Long enough to recover a little. Not to forget, not to get over it, but to get through it. And he had, very slowly. The anniversary was coming up, and he’d been trying to stay busy. The busier he kept himself, the less he could think about her, or wonder how much she’d suffered at the end when he hadn’t been there to save her.
“I’m okay,” he said evenly. “I am. Just trying to put one foot in front of the other.”
She nodded, looking unconvinced. “And Daniel?”
Daniel was a different story. A boy needed his mother, simple as that. He tried to be both mom and dad, but it was a tall order, and some days he just fell painfully short.
He glanced back out at the waiting area. People were coughing, shifting uncomfortably in their chairs. He’d already kept them waiting longer than he should have. Besides, this conversation had taken a dangerous turn. He didn’t think he could talk about it anymore without getting that weird choking feeling.
He clenched his jaw and glanced back at Shana. She looked worried now, her hands clasped in front of her belly, her thumbs rubbing each other methodically. She probably felt bad for asking. Poor Shana. She meant well.
Jake forced a smile. “He’s fine. We both are.” He pushed his chair away from the desk and it scraped against the old hardwood floor. “Can you tell Mrs. Payne I’ll be right in?”