First Line Friday: Wolf Games
Today is the re-release of WOLF GAMES! If you haven’t already, be sure to pick up your copy!
June, Liard Hot Springs, Northern British Columbia
Maggie hesitated as the boardwalk underfoot blurred.
She nodded but grabbed another couple of pills from her backpack and chased them down with a few swallows of water. Her dizzy spells had grown more frequent. Was she really okay? Not yet, but the cure might be closer than before.
“You’re seriously freaking me out. If I didn’t know better I’d suspect you were popping something other than herbal remedies.” Pam blocked her path and looked her over sternly. Finally satisfied, her friend grabbed Maggie’s gym bag off her shoulder. “Since you insist you need to soak instead of just hitting the sleeping bags, I’m your Sherpa. You concentrate on walking. I don’t want to have to figure out how to carry your sorry ass again.”
Maggie laughed faintly. “Hey, it only happened one time.”
“Yeah, once was enough. You may look like a twig, but you’re damn heavy.” Pam winked, then offered her elbow. “Do you need an extra hand? I’m here for you.”
“I’m fine. Really. I just need a couple hours floating. Liard Hot Springs is a little bit of heaven on earth.”
They walked in companionable silence down the worn boards of the four-foot-wide path leading into the bush of northern British Columbia, summertime heat rising around them. Beautiful weather had followed them the entire trip from Vancouver. The bright green colours of new growth in the marsh grasses on either side of the boardwalk made a soul-refreshing break from the concrete that had filled Maggie’s world for far too long. Towering spruce trees, the brilliant blue of the June sky, crisp clean air—all of it slipped into her blood like a tonic. A tightly locked knot in her core loosened, and for the first time in almost a decade she didn’t resist.
Her wolf stirred.
Oh God, that felt amazing. Maggie stopped in midstride and closed her eyes to let the sensation roll over her. Surround her. Like an icy cold barrier had broken open a crack, shivers trickled through her limbs. Electric. Delightful.
“Shit, are you having a seizure or something?” Pam clutched her arm and shook her gently. Maggie fought to keep from baring her teeth. Because wouldn’t that just freak the human out to learn there were some secrets even best friends didn’t share.
They were close to the changing shelters, rustic wooden squares built of upright rough-cut timber. Splashing noises trickled to Maggie’s ears as she fought down the longing in her limbs she refused to answer. “I’m just tired. Let me get into the water.”
“Fuck that. You have…drown. Just…careful…hell.” Pam’s voice faded in and out of Maggie’s range of hearing. It was the most confusing thing. Her friend’s lips continued to move, but the words disappeared. All that remained was this loud buzzing noise, like a swarm of horseflies. Maggie tried not to laugh at the funny expression on Pam’s face as she waved her arms frantically and flapped her hands at someone racing around the corner of the decking surrounding the hot springs.
Someone? Maggie peered harder through the fog drifting in front of her eyes. That wasn’t a person, it was a walking wall. Whoa, the man was huge. Dripping wet from head to toe, gorgeous tattoos seemed to writhe on his torso as he reached for her.
Hmm…he smelt delicious.
Sensations of happiness and contentment stole through her chaotic thoughts. Her feet didn’t seem to be touching the ground anymore, and the world bounced gently. She cracked open one eye to gaze around. Above her, the trees rotated, and a small cloud chased across the sky in a blur. Warmth surrounded her up to her neck and she let out a contented sign. Her head rested on something firm yet soft, and she nuzzled against it tighter. A steady banging echoed in her ear, somehow reassuring.
And that scent? Oh yeah. She drew a deep breath, filling her nostrils and enjoying the way her mouth watered. It was like sitting down to a well-cooked rib-eye steak, with all her favorite side dishes. The sweetest dessert, followed by a dozen shooters. Maggie took another leisurely inhalation before snuggling closer to the thumping noise.