Phaze • March 9, 2009
ISBN-13: 9781606591055 • ISBN-10: 1606591053
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This book is also available in print as combo including the prequel THE WEREWOLF WHISPERER.
Jazmine Carmichael is the leader of a pack of werewolves living in Eclipse, California. When two of the pack members die under mysterious circumstances, she’s determined to get answers.
Blaze Petrofsky and two other researchers often played a game of what if. What if werewolves were real? They set about creating the virus, meeting failure after failure, until he buys an old trunk in an auction. In a small silver tin, he finds werewolf cream. One of his colleagues tries it out, and it works. Before Blaze can look for a cure, he’s removed from the project and the government takes over.
Now, five years later, the nightmare has come back to haunt him when a beautiful, mysterious, sexy woman brings him a wolf to autopsy. A wolf who, on closer inspection, is human. When Jazmine is arrested, Blaze follows the clues she left behind, hoping to pay back the debt he owes for rediscovering and unleashing lyncanthropy. But is he too late to save the woman he’s come to love?
Read an Excerpt
A strange, unpleasant odor drew Jazmin Carmichael from the haze of sleep. She took a deeper breath and then came awake with a start. She knew that smell. Decomposition and death. What the hell? Looking around the room, her gaze came to rest on the body lying next to her.
Even the thick coat of fur couldn’t disguise the cold emanating from the carcass. The chest no longer rose and fell, and the limbs were fully extended and stiff. She stifled a shriek as she leaped away from the bed. Freezing floor tiles sent a shock of sensation through her. She stared, feeling colder by the moment. This couldn’t be happening, yet here was the gruesome truth in her bed.
Last night, she’d brought Patrick Talbot home and taken him to her bed. Not so much a lovemaking session as a job interview. In just a few days, with the rising of the full moon, she would go into her first mating heat. Anecdotal evidence suggested if she didn’t take a mate, her mental status might be affected. A few of the common werewolf myths even theorized her body would shift back to human form and leave her mind forever feral. Was it just an ancient explanation for insanity, as Serena thought, or something more concrete? As leader of the pack, she couldn’t take the risk. So, she had been picking through the available males, looking for a suitable one to choose as her mate. So far, she’d only had two candidates. Michael O’Toole, the horror writer was one. However, he was near the bottom of the pack order and, despite one lustful encounter, she couldn’t picture herself with him for life. Besides, he was smart—too smart—and would probably question her decisions. She wanted a partner, not a competitor.
Which is why Patrick had been much more to her taste. Tall, buff, tan, pretty to look at, but not overly blessed in the brains department. Exactly what she wanted.
She circled the bed, hoping against hope she’d only imagined this. Perhaps it was a nightmare. The cold seeping into her joints convinced her that this nightmarish situation was real. She closed her eyes and then opened them again. The face on the pillow wasn’t attractive. The eyes were open and blank, the corneas already cloudy with death. The creature’s nose was dry and the lips were pulled back in a feral smile revealing overlarge canines.
After running her shaking hands through her hair, she reached for the bedside phone, then thought better of it. A cup of coffee would go a long way toward calming her nerves.
She pulled on a pair of sweatpants and the white wife-beater hanging over the end of the bed. It engulfed her and hung nearly to her knees. Oh God, it was his shirt!
Shuddering, she cut her eyes toward the stiff corpse and ripped the garment off her body. Bile rose in her throat as she threw the shirt to the floor. She grabbed her bathrobe off the back of the door and fled to the kitchen.
By the time she’d measured out beans and ground them, her insides had stopped churning. While the coffeemaker gurgled, hissed and spewed forth the black sludge she called coffee, she realized she felt calm, too calm. What was happening to her? Shock? Was that causing her to feel so disconnected? She had liked Patrick, really liked him. Why wasn’t she crying and hysterical? Instead, she was making coffee. What the hell was wrong with her?
Just because she was the leader of the pack, everyone assumed she had self-confidence galore. Pah! She had good looks and lots of sex appeal. Unfortunately, those qualities only got you so far. She did have chutzpah though, in spades. Fake it ‘til you make it, was her motto. She had gotten really good at faking it. Had she gone too far, to a place where her real emotions were locked up too tight to be shown?
She poured a cup of coffee and took the first bitter sip, savoring the taste. As she drank, the kick of caffeine seemed to clear her mind, allowing her to focus. She needed to call for help. Thankfully, Jackson answered on the first ring.
“Eclipse sheriff’s department.”
It must be a slow day at the office for him to sound so eager for excitement. Well, she certainly had the news to jump-start his day. Why did she feel so numb and disconnected? A man had died, for God’s sake!
“Hello?” Jackson’s voice had an edge of impatience. “Is there someone there?”
Suddenly, the impact of what had happened hit her. She tried to speak around the huge lump of emotion in her throat, but her voice caught in a sob. Then the damn broke and a wail burst out.
“Hold on. I’ve got caller ID pulling up here.”
Shuffling sounds ensued, and she could almost see him frantically pushing buttons on his government-issue phone.
“Jazmin. Is that you? I’m on my way.” The line disconnected and Jazmin sank to the kitchen floor. It wasn’t until she heard the car pull up in front that she realized she had to get up and unlock the door. Too bad her legs refused to work.