Title: Long Shadows by Cecilia Dominic
The Lycanthropy Files Series Book 2
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltc
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Shape-Shifters
Being unique isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be.
The Lycanthropy Files, Book 2
By day, Lonna Marconi’s busy career keeps her mind off the fact she was turned werewolf against her will. By night, a dose of wolfsbane lets her inner wolf out to play while her physical body stays safe at home.
When an overheard phone call at work warns her a trap is about to be sprung, she turns from hunter to hunted in the blink of an eye.
She finds refuge with the Ozarks pack she never claimed as her own. Upon discovering a family secret that explains why she’s unique among her own kind, Lonna finds heat in the arms of Max, who’s the one thing she cannot trust—a wizard.
Another kidnapping attempt sends her navigating the treacherous metaphysical borders of a centuries-old war, pursued by rogue sorcerers, a band of ghostly wolves, and repressed memories that prevent her from reclaiming her heritage. All the while, trusting her back to a wizard who demands the price of her heart…and who may not have the luxury of giving his in return.
Product Warnings: Some sexy scenes, adult language, and alcohol consumption. Also descriptions of Italian food that might offend carbophobes.
Spoiler alert: if you haven’t read The Mountain’s Shadow, the content below contains spoilers.
People say I’m beautiful, but they don’t see the monster inside.
It was like a fairy tale: a big, beautiful house, a plucky heroine, an evil wizard… But the best friend never fares well, and I didn’t. The heroine got cursed too, but she found true love in the end. I got a lifestyle change that wasn’t a choice and came with no warning. The worst part? I couldn’t even remember the specifics of my first change— only that it was traumatic, so my mind had even less to make sense of.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I’m a werewolf. Please hold your applause. It will only make me cry. Big girls don’t cry, and when you’re a predator, you don’t show signs of weakness.
My part of the story started one rainy February morning. I’d just gotten into the office, a satellite site for the Arkansas Department of Family and Child Services, and snarled at the pile of cases on my desk when the phone rang.
“Marconi!” my boss Paul barked. “Get in here!”
I nearly jumped out of my skin. Literally. I had a wicked aconite hangover. No, I didn’t use it recreationally. I used it to “spirit-walk,” or create a spiritual doppelganger so I could roam as a spirit-wolf rather than a physical one. I almost kicked my spirit out of my body again when Paul startled me, but I took a few deep breaths to get everything settled in, like spreading batter into the corners of a pan.
Evil cake, that’s me.
It’s hardest for me to control my temper mornings after hunting, and I struggled not to bare my teeth at Paul when I walked into his cluttered office. The piles of files, papers, and dirty Styrofoam cups made me want to gag into the wastebasket. My nose picked up the scent of dried-out, rancid turkey sandwich somewhere under his desk, and I noticed he wore yesterday’s shirt. With his pointy noise, prominent thin ears, and wisps of gray hair clinging to his head, he looked like a sick rodent, and I pushed away the image of shaking him until his neck broke. I had done that to a rat the night before. It had been lurking about, tearing into the garbage bags my neighbors left outside their door, which unleashed an awful mélange of scents into the breezeway and my apartment. I’d complained, but the management hadn’t done anything about either the neighbors or the rat. It was generally frowned upon to hunt down and kill one’s neighbors, so the rat had to go. Paul was my management, and he paid me, so I squashed my impulses.
“Have a seat,” he said.
“Where?” Every surface was covered with paper.
He shrugged and sat. “As you can see, we’re overworked and understaffed, but we can’t afford to keep on dead weight.”
I folded my hands in front of me and pressed my nails into my knuckles. “I’m pulling my weight, Paul.”
“Right, but where were you last night? I got a call this morning that someone saw you at a club ‘shaking your booty’ and ‘getting shitfaced drunk.’” His air quotes almost made it comical.
“Not that what I do on my own time is any of your business, but I can assure you it wasn’t me.”
“Can someone give you an alibi?” he asked and leaned forward, a look of concern on his rodent face. “I don’t want to cut you from my staff, but the higher ups are after me to get rid of whoever I can. You know we have a code of conduct here and strict policies when it comes to dual relationships with clients.”
I nodded. “I’m aware of them. I was at home watching television, and I turned in early.” Into a spirit-werewolf, I added in my head to make it not technically a lie.
“They said they talked to you, and you recognized them.”
My eyebrows shot up my forehead.
“Come on, Marconi,” he said and gestured to my face. “You say you turned in early, but you’ve got dark circles under your eyes, and you keep stifling yawns.”
“I haven’t been feeling well. Look, Paul, I swear to you I wasn’t at any club last night.”
“That will do for now,” he said and wrote my statement of innocence on a piece of paper. “You didn’t happen to talk to anyone on the phone or anything like that while you were at home, did you?”
“Nope. I’m just a boring girl, Paul. Did the mysterious caller say I had mentioned their case or even who they were?”
“No. Fine. Get back to work.” He frowned at me once more. “But be aware I’m watching you.” He dismissed me with a wave of his hand and looked down at the open file on his desk. I took advantage of the moment he looked away to bare my teeth, then turn before he could see me. No man dismisses me.
I frowned all the way back to my office and sat to review cases, but my mind wouldn’t focus. Who was the woman at the club? Who looked that much like me? And who called Paul? Probably an unhappy parent. That part didn’t concern me as much—when you work for the Department of Family and Child Services, you make enemies, especially if you take kids out of abusive homes. That a parent was at a club didn’t shock me. That someone pretended to be me did.
But who hates me enough to try to get me fired? I wanted to know who she was and how she knew who I worked with.
I kept my Private Investigator license current to pick up some extra work on the side. Sometimes it came in handy for the job, so they didn’t say anything. It looked like I was going to be doing some extra work on my own time.
To read the first chapter, visit: http://www.ceciliadominic.blogspot.com/2014/02/long-shadows-excerpt.html
Cecilia Dominic wrote her first story when she was two years old and has always had a much more interesting life inside her head than outside of it. She became a clinical psychologist because she’s fascinated by people and their stories, but she couldn’t stop writing fiction. The first draft of her dissertation, while not fiction, was still criticized by her major professor for being written in too entertaining a style. She made it through graduate school and got her PhD, started her own practice, and by day, she helps people cure their insomnia without using medication. By night, she blogs about wine and writes fiction she hopes will keep her readers turning the pages all night. Yes, she recognizes the conflict of interest between her two careers, so she writes and blogs under a pen name. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with one husband and two cats, which, she’s been told, is a good number of each.
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