Happy Release Day, DANI!
Excerpt from FIRST BITE,
Book 1 of the Dark Wolf Series by Dani Harper
“Come with me if you want to live.”
Neva stared at the enormous hand the stranger extended her. Her gaze followed the black leather–clad arm up to the massive shoulders, the strong jaw, and the thick lock of wavy blond hair hanging over his dark glasses. “You have so got to be kidding me,” she said.
He shrugged. “I always wanted to say that line. Except I’m not kidding.” With his other hand, the big stranger plunked a flower arrangement of purple irises and orange chrysanthemums on the bedside table. He yanked the tiny card off it and stuffed it into his jeans pocket, but not before she read, To our valued employee, Bob.
“You stole somebody’s flowers?”
“Camouflage.” He opened and closed the drawers and closet. “No clothes left, huh? Guess you’ll have to come as you are.”
“Why would I go anywhere with you? I know what you are.” She practically spat the words at him, even as she grabbed the remote from the bed and poised her thumb over the red button for the nurses’ station. “You’re one of them.”
“Yeah, well, I know what you are, too, sister.”
Of course he would know, but it still stung. She didn’t want to be like him or any of the rest of the damned creatures under Meredith’s thumb. “Look, I know who sent you. And I can give you twice what she offered you.”
He laughed at that. “Trust me, nobody could pay me enough to come here. It stinks.”
“What about your pack leader?”
“I have no pack. I’m just here to spring you.”
Something like hope stirred inside her and she pushed it down hard. Not only was this a werewolf she was dealing with, but he had screwed up her plans once already. She wouldn’t be fooled. “Meredith won’t like it,” she tested.
“Who?” He slid the sunglasses down his nose, revealing vivid blue eyes that studied her as intently as she was studying him. “Look, if you have a gripe with somebody, that’s your problem. I’m here to get you out of here. Period.”
From the set of his mouth, he looked like he was bracing himself for an argument. She was all set to give him one, too, then realized this was exactly the opportunity she needed. “Okay.”
“Look, we both know you can’t stay—what?”
“I said okay. I want to go. Go ahead, get me out of here. You messed up everything the other night and you’re responsible for me being in this place, so you owe me, mister. Let’s go.”
“Wait just a damn minute.” He pulled the sunglasses off completely then and pointed them at her. “I saved your frickin’ life, lady. If anybody owes anybody, it’s—”
“Just get me out of here and we’re even.” She started struggling to her feet as he opened and closed his mouth, obviously at a loss for words. He recovered enough to offer his big hand again and this time she took it and used it to pull herself up, finding herself standing almost nose to nose with him. Or rather, nose to chest. Neva was tall herself, but this guy was huge. She eyed him warily. “No funny stuff. Get me out of here and we’re done.”
He hesitated, his brow furrowed. “Anyone in their right mind would be happy to get out of here, but you’re a little too keen. You thinking of trying to off yourself again?”
“That’s none of your business. Are you going to help me get out of here or not?”
The frown deepened but he didn’t argue further, just put his sunglasses back on. “Can you walk?”
“Not fast, but yeah.” Okay, technically she’d only shuffled around her room and limped partway to the nurses’ station once. She had no idea if she’d hold up any further than that, but she wasn’t going to say so. Instead, she pulled the ties of her bathrobe tighter and grabbed her cane.
He placed himself on her left, her arm and leg casts against him, and threw an arm around her, his big hand curled around her waist. “What’s your name?”
“Why’s it matter?”
“Well, if we’re stopped, it’ll look pretty suspicious if I don’t know my own cousin’s name.”
Cousin. Well, it was lot better than pretending to be his girlfriend—she wouldn’t have to feign affection. After all, if he was her own cousin, Alec, she would have punched him rather than hug him just out of childhood habit. “I’m Neva. So who the hell are you, anyway, the werewolf police? Why do you keep interfering in my life?”
He was silent for a long moment. “Travis. No. And goddess only knows.”
She swung around and thumped the center of his chest with a right hook, which was all she could reach from the awkward angle. It was a point in his favor that he didn’t let her fall—she’d overbalanced and would have done a fine face-plant if he wasn’t hanging on to her.
“What the hell was that for?” he demanded.
“Must be extra good luck since you already stabbed me in the same frickin’ spot,” he muttered. “Lean on me,” was all the warning she got before he abruptly propelled the pair of them sideways through the door and down the hall.
She’d been worried that she wouldn’t be able to keep up, but there was no need. Her feet barely touched the floor at all. She couldn’t be glued more tightly to Travis’s right side if he’d used duct tape to secure her. And despite the strength of that big arm and its sizeable hand, he somehow managed not to squeeze her too hard. As for the effort required of him, she might as well have been a sack of groceries as he negotiated a path through the busy halls.
To her surprise he smelled good. Her senses were so much keener now, which was a real drawback in a place like a hospital, where most smells were repellent at best. Travis’s scent was earthy and definitely male, but not in a stinky-gym-socks kind of way—instead it reminded her of hiking trails in the mountains and summers by the lake. And it was strong. This close to him, the scent of him canceled out all the others around her and she was oh so grateful for that little perk.
“My goodness, girl, where are you going?” It was Fern. Breaking away from a group of nurses by the elevator, she came over and looked like she was going to start examining her patient for damage. Instead she folded her arms and glared up at Travis. “This gal’s in the hospital for a reason, mister.”
“My cousin and I were just heading to the gift shop for a few minutes and then maybe the cafeteria,” Neva said quickly. “I’m all right. I feel pretty good and I’m really not putting much weight on my leg, see? Barely had to use my cane at all.” She waved it and smiled.
Fern looked unconvinced. “You’re going to wear yourself out.”
“He promised to carry me if I got tired.”
On cue, Travis swung her up into his arms. “I’ll take good care of her, ma’am. We want her to get better.” He leaned down to Fern and whispered, “Shopaholic. Neva won’t be happy until she buys a few magazines and some knickknacks.” Neva smacked him solidly but he ignored it.
“Don’t keep her too long,” warned Fern. The frown was still there, but it had relaxed to two furrows instead of three. “I’m off shift now, honey,” she said to Neva. “I’ve got a three-day weekend, but I’ll check in on you first thing when I get back on Tuesday. I don’t want to hear that they had to double your pain meds because of this little escapade.” She patted Neva’s good leg and headed back to her coworkers.
The chime of an elevator door sounded and Travis turned and walked into the car with Neva still in his arms. Several people followed them on.
“You can put me down now,” she whispered fiercely.
“Later,” he said, smugly. “The nurse was right. We don’t want to wear you out.”
“And what was that bit about me being a shopaholic?”
“You know you have trouble controlling yourself.”
“I do not!”
“You can’t be helped if you don’t admit you have a problem.” He smiled and addressed a couple who were staring at them. “She was injured at a shoe sale. Trampled when the doors opened.”
“I am so going to hurt you,” she muttered.
She repeated the phrase when they arrived in the parking garage. “A motorcycle? Are you crazy?” she said as he set her on her feet. “Nice bike, but I’m not getting on it.”
“You’ll be fine.”
“No, I mean I’m not going with you. Thanks for getting me out and all, but we’re done. We’re even now and we’re done.” She dismissed him with a wave and headed toward the pedestrian exit. It would have been a much more dignified departure if her gait wasn’t so awkward, if the floppy little cloth slippers offered a little more protection from the hard pavement, if she was used to using a cane, and if she wasn’t dressed in a thin bathrobe with nothing but baggy pajamas underneath.
And if she didn’t feel Travis’s disapproving gaze drilling into her back every damn step of the way.
Forty-five minutes later she’d made it off the expansive hospital grounds and covered three city blocks. One block was with her own energy, and the last two were by sheer force of will. She was heading south so the wind was at her back, but she was still freezing. Wasn’t it supposed to be May? Neva collapsed gratefully on a bench at a bus stop, and was even more grateful that no one else was there. She had to think, had to plan. At least she had a couple of pieces of ID in her bathrobe pocket. That was all she’d been carrying the night she’d jumped—just enough to identify her body.
It was still enough. She just had to figure out a way, and fast. With no idea what day it was—Tuesday? Wednesday?—she didn’t know how much time she really had before the full moon turned her into something she couldn’t live with.
Dani Harper website – http://www.daniharper.com
ISBN: 1477807594 (ISBN13: 9781477807590)
Series: Dark Wolf #1
Expected Publication Date: Oct 15
First bite by Dani Harper
Geneva “Neva” Ross doesn’t want to die. But now that she’s been turned into a werewolf against her will, she’ll do anything to protect her family and friends…even if that means taking her own life.
After witnessing Neva’s leap from a high ledge, Travis Williamson—a Changeling with a dark past—uses his powers to save her life. He feels a connection to the strong-willed woman whose eyes flash that familiar Changeling green. While Neva is hospitalized, Travis risks everything to kidnap her, knowing the approaching full moon will put everyone in jeopardy.
Bickering constantly to hide their growing attraction, Travis and Neva run from the authorities…and from Neva’s sinister sire, Meredith de la Ronde. Meredith delights in creating new shape-shifters and compelling them to do her dark bidding; now Neva must join Meredith’s murderous wolf pack…or die.
Intensely suspenseful with deliciously sexy twists, this paranormal romance—the first in (the title of series)—intertwines sensual passion with an epic, thrilling battle between good and evil.
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E-COPY of First bite by Dani Harper
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