Volyk learns very young that he has to hide what he is—oboroten’, shape-shifter—after his father is killed and skinned by a hunter, and the pack that takes in his pregnant mother is hostile to his kind. When Volyk is ordered to fight the pack’s beta to prove his fitness, but instead obeys his hormones and tries to mount him, he’s declared an abomination and forced to flee.
Ilya, too, hides a secret. Being young and gay in modern Russia is dangerous, and he knows it. But the truth eventually gets out, and his brothers lure him into the forest to kill him. They’re stopped by Volyk, who hides the mortally wounded Ilya in his den. The only way to heal the human is to turn him into an oboroten’.
Unfortunately, Ilya’s gentle nature is ill suited to the life of a wolf. But when Volyk’s old pack returns, seeking to take away Volyk’s magickal den, Ilya will have to embrace – truly become – the wolf Volyk made him, to save both his mate’s life and his own.
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I really enjoyed this expanded version of the story. I liked the first but this brings the full story out. I like how the history between Ilya and Volyk is so heartbreakingly tragic. They’re more connected than they realize. The emotions in this story are wonderfully written. You can feel Volyk’s tentativeness and Ilya’s reluctance.
I liked the addition of the beta/alpha storyline. It brought a new dimension to the story and made the history of the oboroten so much deeper. I want more stories with this history and the characters we meet. Especially Rodion. I want his story so badly! There’s a sweet happy ending in this story but I would gladly read more.
Ilya is kind enough to stop by today about how he and Volyk enjoy their meals prepared. Have to say it sounds more difficult than you’d think. Read and enjoy!
You can probably imagine that a pair of wolves, living in a den of crystal in the middle of the Russian steppe, don’t cook all that much! But there is a funny story I can tell you… Volyk teases me, sometimes, about being the only wolf he knows who prefers his food ‘kissed by fire.’ And for a long time, there was no way to cook meat in our den, other than to drop a chunk of it into the fire. But just before our first Christmas together, Volyk went to one of the dachas, the country homes, beyond the southern edge of our territory. The owner had just acquired an American-style barbecue – I’m sure he was very proud of it. And Volyk stole the grill off the top of it, and dragged it all the way back to our den – I wish I could have seen that, but he wanted to surprise me and did it while I was asleep. So now I can cook, after a fashion. And onions and garlic grow wild along the riverbank, and there are mushrooms to be had in the forest. One of these days, Volyk is going to admit that he, too, enjoys his food ‘kissed by fire’!
And the angel said unto them, be not afraid…
Ilya was not afraid. Enraptured, yes. Entranced. But not afraid. He had been ready for death when he closed his eyes in the wolf’s embrace. Instead, he was whole, and awake, and in the arms of a man more handsome than any angel. Volyk’s long thick hair was the brown and gray of the wolf’s pelt, his cheekbones angular, his lips full. And his eyes were the same beautiful fiery amber as the wolf’s.
Maybe he had only dreamed the wolf. Or maybe he was still dreaming. Surely he had done nothing in his life to earn the gift this moment would be if it were real.
Rory Ni Coileain majored in creative writing, back when Respectable Colleges didn’t offer such a major. She had to design it herself, at a university which boasted one professor willing to teach creative writing: a British surrealist who went nuts over students writing dancing bananas in the snow, but did not take well to high fantasy. Graduating Phi Beta Kappa at the age of nineteen, she sent off her first short story to an anthology that was being assembled by an author she idolized, and received one of those rejection letters that puts therapists’ kids through college. For the next thirty years or so she found other things to do, such as going to law school, ballet dancing (at more or less the same time), volunteering as a lawyer with Gay Men’s Health Crisis, and nightclub singing, until her stories started whispering to her. Currently, she’s a lawyer and a legal editor; the proud mother of a budding filmmaker; and is busily wedding her love of myth and legend to her passion for m/m romance. She is a three-time Rainbow Award finalist.
Facebook Author Page: www.facebook.com/Soulshares/
Facebook Author Group (Rory’s Three Rs): www.facebook.com/groups/721651487924752/
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