Dire Needs: A Novel of the Eternal Wolf Clan

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9780451236234: Dire Needs: A Novel of the Eternal Wolf Clan

Feared by humans and envied by werewolves, the Dire Wolves are immortal shifters, obeying no laws but their own bestial natures.

Rifter leads the pack, and his primal instincts have led him to claim Gwen, a woman seeking solace from the chronic pain that has wracked her body her entire life.

But whatever future Rifter and Gwen have is threatened by an enemy of both humanity and the Dire Wolves...

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About the Author:

Stephanie Tyler is the New York Times bestselling author of the Section 8, Skulls Creek, and Eternal Wolf Clan series. She lives in New York with her husband, kids, and a crazy Weimaraner named Gus.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter One

Rifter needed a woman, Brother Wolf needed to run wild, and their appetites for sex and destruction mingled, rose with a hot howl as Rifter’s Harley roared through the winter night.

Both knew which appetite would have to be sated first—the fucking; then the running. Rifter and his wolf were usually on the same page in that regard. Tonight was no different, and he slammed his Harley to a stop in front of Bite, one of the many bars along the strip, because he smelled danger. He stomped inside, ignoring the way the room stilled and everyone turned to watch him. After hundreds of years, that shit got old, and he was well aware of what he looked like.

He was also well aware that no one in this room would want to be him, if given the chance. He could only pray no one ever would be put in that position again.

No, he was already part of a pack of the last six living Dire wolves, who cursed their immortality and wore their ferocity on their sleeves because they literally had nothing to lose.

Created by Hati, son of a Norse god, and watched over by a mystical clan of Elders, Rifter was six feet eight inches of raw muscle and more than seven feet, three hundred pounds when he was Brother Wolf, which explained the pain of the transition..

Brother Wolf was part of him—when he was driving the ship, Rifter could request things, and vice versa, but they were both equal in power. It was the only way they could inhabit one body. He had a great deal of respect for his wolf, knew what Brother needed and when he needed it. Brother did the same for him.

If one of them died, the other would too.

We should be that lucky, he thought, and Brother howled in response inside his head, reminding him of why they’d come here in the first place.

Brother Wolf’s biggest goal—beyond chasing moons—was to become Father Wolf. That could happen only by mating, and that shit was not happening anytime soon.

Rifter’s main goal was to die, but again, he’d be waiting on that one forever.

One of the female Weres, laced into a black bustier, caught up to him when he was halfway to the bar and rubbed her body against his. “Where’ve you been, Rift?” she purred.

“Prison,” he said as he pushed past her, semidisgusted that his response seemed to turn her on. Prison couldn’t hold Rifter and Brother Wolf, and God knew humans had tried more than once over the last centuries.

He took in the human motorcycle gang and the pack of wolves who’d started their own version of Hells Angels, only far more deadly, and then his nose led him to the young woman sitting alone at the bar. She was doing shots and swaying to the music, and she’d caught the bikers’ attention—human and wolf—neither of which was a good thing.

He knew immediately from the rumblings that she’d been here too long.

Typically, the wolves stayed among their own, but lately, they’d been mixing it up with the locals, and that wasn’t going over all that well with the weretrappers. This bar was owned and operated by a Were—but catered to humans as well. The thing was, most humans beyond the weretrappers didn’t believe that Weres existed at all, and the Weres and the Dires had been able to pass as full human for as long as they could remember.

He could deal with a fight to get his blood going. But first things first. He moved next to her, watched her turn to him, look up at him. Her eyes widened—appreciation rather than fear, and yeah, what the hell?

“You’re not in a good place,” he growled over the music.

“I’ve got a seat at the bar—that’s the best place,” she told him, not slurring her words yet, but by the way she was motioning to the bartender, she’d find herself doing so soon enough.

She was human and he was drawn to her.

Making sure she’s safe.

Right, because he was a goddamned Boy Scout. He didn’t give a shit about humans—those who knew about the existence of Weres were either terrified, or idiot groupies, or hunting his kind. The wider the berth, the safer for all involved. But there was something that yanked him to her, a zing right to his cock that had him by her side, watching her lick the salt from her hand, down the tequila and suck on the lemon while staring at him with green eyes that were far from innocent.

“I’m Gwen,” she said, her voice all hot and smoky sounding even though there wasn’t a cigarette in sight. She leaned back and stared at him again and let a smile tug one corner of her lips.

“Rifter.”

He knew she wanted to comment on the name, but she didn’t. Instead, she reached out and played with a zipper on his black leather jacket, then let a long finger roam over the soft, smooth fabric. He could picture the black against her creamy skin.

“I want to wear this,” she murmured.

“Later. Naked,” he told her and she stared at him, her neck graceful, her body more so, and she looked like some kind of aristocrat, like she should be in a ballroom instead of here.

But she was here. There would be no female Weres for him tonight, even though more were already circling. He picked up on the low growls, because Dires never went for humans. Everyone was confused, and he was president of the club.

He expected this to be all over fucking Facebook within the hour. “I want to take you home,” he emphasized, in case the naked part hadn’t been enough of a clue.

Have to. Need to. Fuck, he felt like dropping to his knees and howling and it had nothing to do with the full moon.

She tilted her head and continued to study him.

“I’m not into anything beyond sex.” Blunt for sure, but he had to make that clear.

A small smile played on her lips. “Don’t worry—I won’t be around long enough to stalk your tall ass.”

“You’re moving?”

“Dying.” Rifter froze and she shrugged. “You’re not going to let a little thing like that stop you from coming home with me, right?”

“You’re joking.”

“No, I don’t joke about death. Well, that’s not true—I’m a doctor—we have to. Gallows humor keeps us from getting too emotional.”

“You’re dying and so you’ve decided to pick up strange men in dangerous bars.”

“It’s like one of those bad game-show questions—if you found out you only had a short time left to live, what would you do?” She laughed but there was little humor behind it. “I have no idea what I want to do, besides not die.”

She looked healthy to him—healthy and beautiful, with long blond hair, wearing leather, and she did fit in here, in a weird way. And Christ, he could think of nothing more he wanted to do than die. I-fucking-ronic, as Vice would say. “How long do you have?”

“At least through the night. And it’s not catching,” she added as an afterthought. “Are you worth it?”

He didn’t know how the hell to answer that. So he did so truthfully. “Hell yes.”

“Then let’s go.”

Rifter checked to see if Vice was hanging around, because women sometimes acted this way with his packmate, who was a walking ball of sin. But no, Vice was nowhere in sight and everyone was antsy.

Goddamned full fucking moon. Like a bitch with a whip.

He didn’t bother to fight the urge to pick her up, and he slung her over his shoulder, caveman-style, grabbing her jacket off the back of her chair. He heard her startled, soft gasp, but she didn’t protest as he walked out with her, daring any of the wolves to follow him.

They all knew what he was—they may not like him, but they sure as hell knew to respect his power.

When he got to his bike, he set her down and handed her the coat. Her hair tumbled over her shoulders, her black tank top had ridden up a little along her belly and her cheeks flushed from the cold. “Thanks for the ride.”

“That was nothing.”

She refused the helmet he offered, instead wrapping her arms around as much of his waist as she could, and off they went. Normally, he didn’t give a shit about the icy roads, but his passenger wasn’t as indestructible as he was. Though he gave the bike lots of gas, he didn’t get stupid on icy corners and snowy shoulders. After a while, she was no longer holding on and had put her hands in the air, yelling into the wind. He went faster because it seemed to excite her.

When he stopped in front of her house, a pretty little Victorian in the middle of nowhere, she hopped off and he followed her as she walked up the path. Before she could get to the door, he took her arm and pulled her close and brought his mouth down on hers before he could stop himself. She tasted like sugar and cranberries—tart and sweet—and he wanted more. Wanted it all, and Brother Wolf seemed to agree, as he was ignoring the running in favor of letting Rifter take his time.

When he pulled back, her lips were swollen and she was breathing hard and he was glad about that. “Every guy in that bar wanted to take you home tonight. Why me?”

Her eyes flicked over him coolly. “You were the biggest.”

He couldn’t tell if she was joking.



 

Chapter Two

Gwen wasn’t. He was huge. Really freaking huge—built like a brick shithouse, long, shaggy blond hair, hard jaw, cut cheekbones and those eyes—holy hell, they were gorgeous. Gray and blue and black and brown, all speckled like a kaleidoscope that could pull her really far in.

She’d more than noticed him when he’d walked in—no, she’d felt him.

Rifter. Even the name tugged at her.

He wouldn’t be gentle, and she was so tired of being treated carefully. She just needed to get through the next few hours without a seizure.

“Just give me a few minutes, okay?” she asked, and he nodded, his gaze raking over her as he stripped off his leather jacket and threw it across her couch. Looked between it and her, and my God, she already felt naked.

He made her already small house seem like it was made for dolls, but somehow, she’d fit against him surprisingly well, despite the height difference. Her lips felt well kissed and her body strummed in anticipation of more.

“Just a minute,” she repeated and backed out of the room before she stripped down and jumped him. A little tequila and all her carefully held self-control obviously had disintegrated.

In the privacy of her bedroom, she downed a couple of extra pills, the newest in a long line prescribed by the neuro, but they wouldn’t work. None of them ever worked for long, which was why she’d had to choose between med school and having a life. Well, more so than the average med student, because the damned seizures got in the way of everything and the meds made her stupid or silly or sleepy.

She was tempted to throw them away, but then functioning would be gone. She was already living with a death sentence, so why make it harder?

God, the morning’s neuro appointment couldn’t have been any worse. She’d demanded the truth and she’d gotten it.

“The seizures will kill you,” he’d said. “You’re close to OD’ing on the meds and they’re not helping. The activity is everywhere. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

The MRI film left little doubt: The length and increasing severity of each episode debilitated her—inside her brain was the perfect storm of electrical impulses.

“Feel free to use my case as a write-up,” she’d told him, and the doctor’s mouth had twisted in empathy and pain.

He’d been frank but not unsympathetic.

She’d gone straight to the bar from the consult.

Tomorrow, she’d go back to work for a twenty-four-hour shift because what else was she supposed to do? Stay in bed with this man for the next few weeks?

She peeked out at Rifter, the breadth of his back taking her breath away. The leather jacket lay on her couch and she shivered, thinking about the way she’d be wearing it.

There were definitely worse ways to go.

He was looking out the window, no doubt because there was nothing else to look at, unless he liked medical textbooks. For the first time, she saw her place through someone else’s eyes and realized how stark it was.

The house was white walls, bare floors. Rented. Even the furniture wasn’t hers. The linens were bought on the cheap—without much thought, at the closest store when they’d had a sale. Everything was disposable because she never wanted to get that attached to anything—or even anyone, something she admitted to herself only in moments of extreme honesty—again.

She didn’t want roommates—didn’t want to live in a dorm or an apartment with people. In the past years, being around them had made her feel crowded, like she wanted to jump out of her own skin.

No, the only thing that had given her peace over the past years had been her daily runs. Sometimes she went twice, if only to feel the freedom of the wind on her face, the road before her open, her feet flying across the ground.

She wondered what would happen if she simply continued running without looking back, running until she literally dropped.

She’d lost so much and now she was literally losing time, sand through an hourglass that slipped through her hands no matter how tightly she fisted it. And her house mocked her now, a blank slate, much like her life. She’d thrown herself into medicine, wanting a way to make people feel better in the way no doctor had ever really been able to help her.

At first, the seizures hadn’t been an issue. They’d been well controlled, almost suppressed while she was growing up, but when she’d hit twenty-one, they exploded, and four years later they were daily occurrences. She’d been so good—slept as much as she could, ate well, exercised.

Being good was so overrated. No one ever looked back on their lives and thought, Well, at least I was good.

She’d bet even Mother Teresa had regrets about that.

And so, when she’d gone to the bar tonight, she’d been looking to feed those long-buried instincts, her nerve endings tingling as she’d downed the tequila, as if her body was thanking her for finally allowing it some enjoyment.

How long had it been for her? Felt like forever since she’d had to choose between medicine and men. She couldn’t believe she was still a goddamned virgin.

She’d made her bed and now she was so ready to undo it and experience it all.

Funny thing—she didn’t feel like a virgin. It was like her body knew what it needed, and now that she was finally giving in to that baser set of pleasures, it would guide her with touchstones every step of the way, starting with the man she’d brought home.

And so she went back out to Rifter. “Can I get you anything?”

“You.” He tugged her to him without further preamble. She liked that—having spent her life dealing with logic and science, and with her disease these last years, it was wonderful simply to give in.

Tonight she’d worn black leather pants, boots and a tight black top and had felt more like herself than she had in a long time. But now she just wanted skin to skin—needed to strip all the clothes off and roll around with this man. She reached up to twine her hands in his hair, pulling his face to hers for a kiss.

He tasted better than any drug or drink—instant intoxication.

His hands skimmed her body, cupped her breasts and then lifted her shirt and broke the kiss to pull it off her. It flew over her head with a soft breeze as his han...

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Book Description New American Library. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 390 pages. Dimensions: 8.4in. x 5.8in. x 0.7in.Feared by humans and envied by werewolves, the Dire Wolves are immortal shifters, obeying no laws but their own bestial natures. Rifter leads the pack, and his primal instincts have led him to claim Gwen, a woman seeking solace from the chronic pain that has wracked her body her entire life. But whatever future Rifter and Gwen have is threatened by an enemy of both humanity and the Dire Wolves. . . This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Bookseller Inventory # 9780451236234

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