"Thoughtful, mystical, hauntingly moving.
Ms. Flynn creates a steamy, sensual tale of
faith, forgiveness, and love... Excellent!" Rendezvous
"A rich, complex novel filled with powerful
emotions, romance, and magic." Romantic Times
"No one makes the para-world seem more
like a perfectly normal occurrence than
the fantastic [Connie] Flynn." Harriet Klausner
"What a wonderful sequel to the story of
Lily and White Hawk. Action, lore, suspense...
romance woven into a marvelous story!"
Amazon Reviewer: Handydeb51
"I found Shadow of the Wolf to be as riveting
as Shadow on the Moon... These books are
difficult to put down."
Amazon Reviewer: Jan (Moscow, ID)
White Hawk has been ordered by his tribe's leader to drag the werewolf queen back to face judgement before their tribunal.
She killed his wife and left his daughter motherless. His every instinct screams to kill her but his Shaman's duty to the tribe prevents him from taking the vengeance he and his daughter deserve.
During their journey he soon realizes that Lily was stripped of her werewolf powers during a botched reversal ceremony. He has no sympathy for her new vulnerability — if anything he relishes it.
But, despite her hostile and rebellious introduction to the tribe, it's not long before many of the tribe members, including White Hawk's daughter, Shala, take to the new softened Lily.
To her absolute amazement. If not for the tribunal looming over her head she has found a peace that even White Hawk's scorn can't pierce. What worries her is the werewolf king, Sebastian. He also wants to punish her and has followed her to the highly cloistered canyon village where White Hawk's tribe has stayed hidden for centuries.
Foreseeing these events, their leader, a medicine woman of high regard, has been managing a migration from the canyon to a safer place that must be concluded under an upcoming full eclipse of the moon. Any who are not through the gate will be left behind.
Sebastian knows this and refuses to let Lily leave. He kidnaps Shala and attempts to turn her into a werewolf. Meanwhile the werewolf pack is attacking the villager as they try to leave. The moon is rising under a tempestuous storm and fate seems to foretell doom . . . under The Shadow of the Wolf.
Lily Angelica DeLaVega woke up screaming. Blood! Blood! Smeared on her hands. Spattered on the dolls and stuffed animals crammed into the shelves lining her darkened bedroom. Streaming down the damask-papered walls, dripping from the lace canopy of her fourposter bed. A warm, coppery tang filled her mouth, a once-thrilling taste that now repulsed her.
She shot upright and clutched her blankets to her chest, barely able to breathe. Just a dream. A familiar dream that visited almost every time she slept . . .
So why was she still screaming?
Smothering her cries, she doubled over, heart pounding. Not that it mattered if her screams carried. No one would hear or come rushing to check on her welfare. Her bedroom was located next to the long-vacated nursery which her parents had deliberately placed far from their suite to make certain no outraged wail or delighted shriek of the child she'd once been would disturb their sleep.
Although they often disturbed hers. Even this far away, she could hear their thoughts. Doris, her thin, almost emaciated mother was dreaming about chocolate and cream sauces again, indulgences long ago foregone by day, but which still haunted her by night.
Beside her, Lily's father slept deeply as usual, unaware of his spouse's nocturnal binge. Vincent, a partner in a prestigious brokerage firm, seldom dreamed. When he did, it was of bar charts and price/earnings ratios, with the occasional nightmare about being prosecuted for insider trading.
Now he snored loudly and fell deeper into slumber. As his noise escalated, Doris gobbled yet another calorie-free truffle.
The foray into her parents' minds eased the aftermath of Lily's nightmare, and she found herself breathing more freely. Soon her pulse returned to normal. She knew she wouldn't sleep again even though day was only beginning.
Central Park at dawn. If anything could ease her disquiet that was it. The New York City sidewalks would still be empty, the air not yet fouled by exhaust fumes or the discord of honking horns and neighing horses. She got up and went to the French doors that led to a balcony off her room, opening the fractionally parted shutters wider.
Was the bird still there? For three days now it had perched on the railing, watching her with quick golden eyes. The last time she'd stepped out, it had given a banshee's shriek, then circled above her like a buzzard waiting for its prey's final gasp.
She shook her head impatiently. Although unusually large, it was still only a bird. Since when did a Lupine queen allow an animal to decide what she would do?
She swung open the doors, ready to inhale the morning air. Before she could take a single step, the hawk gave a shrill cry and soared into the room.
"Out, you filthy bird! Get out of my room!"
Grabbing a silk decorator pillow from her bed, she swung it above her head and leaped up toward the flying hawk. One swing caught a flapping wing and unbalanced it, giving her only brief satisfaction as she saw it quickly regain control. Gliding to the topmost shelf of a bookcase, it landed with a flutter of wings that sent a Neiman-Marcus teddy bear tumbling to the floor.
"Get out!" Lily cried again, frustrated that the loathsome creature was now well beyond her reach.
The hawk cocked its head, holding her in its gaze, and squawked with such heavy malice that Lily felt as if she'd been punched in the stomach. She stared up, recalling the night she'd worked so hard to forget. A white hawk, screeching from the rim of a smoldering fire pit . . . A tall shaman who had monitored her and Jorje's every action in Ebony Canyon.
Was the shaman coming for her? Absurd! This was New York, nearly three thousand miles from Ebony Canyon. Though hawks were rare in New York City, that didn't mean she'd been followed. Dismissing the rush of fear, she hurled the pillow at the feathered intruder.
The bird rose gracefully to the ceiling, evading her shot, but the pillow struck the bookcase, and several dolls fell from the topmost shelf.
Porcelain heads ripped loose from their bodies and shattered. Arms and legs splintered. Rolling, the china broke into smaller pieces. An eye here, a nose there, a piece of an ear, a tiny finger . . . Fragile body parts littered the cherry-wood floor.
The sight made Lily's stomach lurch. Memories stirred; she pushed them back in a fit of rage. Practically flying herself, she waved her arms at the creature, shrieking at it to leave. One of her flailing hands closed briefly around a scaly leg. The bird teetered, sinking to the floor before it soared out the open balcony doors to roost on the railing. Lily slammed the doors shut on its raucous cries. <
Had the creature left its foul droppings, or even a smelly feather that she'd have to flush away? Livid at the intrusion, Lily looked around.
Narrow streams of morning sun filtered through the slats of the shutters and cast muted striped shadows onto the flocked fleur-de-lis of the pale blue wallpaper, across the bland, accepting faces of the toys. Except for the china fragments on the floor, everything looked just the way it had before the bird arrived.
She turned away, strangely unable to look at the battered porcelain bodies. She'd clean them up later, before the maid came. But for now, she'd have her walk. Her parents would be up soon, preparing for the vacation Doris so "badly needed." By being out of the house when they left, she'd spare them all the discomfort of insincere farewells. No bothersome bird would interfere with her schedule.
With that decision, she went into her bathroom to cleanse herself of the encounter. Just as she turned the gilded faucets of the shower, she felt a malevolent presence. She shivered under the spray of warm water, supposing that since the day had started with an evil omen, she shouldn't be surprised.
Sebastian had found her. She didn't wonder how. Of all werewolves, his psychic powers were the most prodigious. He could discern another's thoughts across continents. I
She'd known he'd come eventually. He wouldn't leave such a flagrant violation of Lupine Law unpunished. And killing another werewolf was the most flagrant of them all.
The queasiness in her stomach returned as it often did when she thought of Jorje, but she dismissed it and blocked Sebastian's probe, feeling a not-unexpected quiver of anger as her connection with him snapped. Her new concern left no room for dwelling on the bird, and she searched for a way to protect herself. She had no desire to learn what Sebastian had in store for her, but she couldn't escape him. So she'd . . .
Have to kill him, she supposed. And she knew just the way to do that. After all, wasn't she a werewolf queen?
Was a queen, came the psychic response.
Am a queen, she responded hotly. Powers or not, I'm still a queen. Nothing can take that away. Then, with an irate burst of energy, she severed their connection a second time.
Yes, she would have to kill Sebastian. But for now, she'd finish her shower, dress carefully, and leave the house looking like the queen she was.
This time the response came from her own mind: Like the queen I used to be.
Whenever Lily rose early to stroll the depths of Central Park, she was filled with animal energy. The mild blow of the wind, the leaves drifting around her feet, the cool, fresh morning air renewed her ties to the feral world. This particular morning the feeling lasted longer than usual.
She was elated with the prospect of returning to an empty apartment and knowing she'd have it to herself for weeks. Or maybe the battle with the hawk had revived her hunter's spirit. Even Sebastian's appearance was invigorating. She'd been waiting for months. Now he was here and she could plan her next step.
She didn't spend much time pondering the reason. The morning was too clear, the solitude too refreshing.
She traveled alone for several hours, arms swinging, head held high, confident of her place in the world despite the feathered threat on her balcony and the furred one lurking in wait. The sun rose higher as she walked, filtering through the trees. Sounds grew nearer, more frequent.
As she turned a curve in the path, she met an approaching man—a bodybuilder type with limbs so pumped with muscles they strained his pants and shirt. Although she caught his lascivious leer, she gave him little notice as they passed.
Then she felt his lingering attention. Her hand-tailored jeans fit her flawlessly, and she could sense his eyes ogling the sway of her hips beneath the hem of her Dior jacket. She glanced over her shoulder and met the man's eyes. He stopped, then turned and strutted toward her, smiling cockily. Thinking she once could have eaten three of his kind for breakfast, she scowled regally and sent him a psychic warning: Back off, foolish omega.
His leering expression instantly transformed to fear. All swagger gone, he turned awkwardly and almost ran away.
Lily smiled. These foolish mortals hadn't the courtesy of the Lupine race. Not a single one of them dared treat another with such disrespect. Instantly, reality dawned. She couldn't have followed through on her mental threat. The man wasn't a lowly werewolf omega pup and she wasn't a powerful queen. He actually could have hurt her.
For twelve years she'd lived a life of power and invincibility, free from the fears and struggles of the human race. Now she was one of them again, vulnerable, in a world that had no place for her.
Her former burst of energy draining, Lily drifted to a bench and stared into a Chinese garden. The trouble with having once been a werewolf, she thought sadly, was that no one believed you. In fact they thought you were nuts. The Orientals might believe — and the primitive ones who dwelled in Ebony Canyon certainly did believe. But these cynical people of the West . . . ? No, not one of them believed.
When Doris and Vincent had come to the small-town Arizona hospital to reluctantly claim her, she'd been scratched, bruised, and hysterically babbling about lost powers, Dana and Morgan, and poor, poor Jorje. Her horrified parents had promptly swept her back to New York City. Pleading with the doctors to make her stop telling such outlandish and humiliating tales, they'd placed her in a discreet hospital catering to those whom they euphemistically labeled as "distressed."
The staff fed her drugs, told her she was hallucinating and clinging to her delusions as a defense against the horror of witnessing her friend's brutal death. She hadn't killed him. No one her size could have possibly broken a grown man's neck. This trauma, they further explained, had brought her emotionally barren childhood crashing down on her, making everyone around her seem like beasts. She was safe. No one was after her seeking revenge. Eventually Jorge's killer would be caught.
At first she denied it all. She was Queen Lily of the Lupine race, proud, invincible, ageless. Eventually, as the initial horror of her unwilling transformation back to human form waned, she realized the hospital would never release her if she clung to the truth. She stopped insisting and feigned a few sessions filled with weeping. Finally they let her go.
A sudden sound made Lily jump in alarm. She looked up and caught a flash of white. Her sight and hearing were extremely keen — a fact that had amazed the hospital staff — but even with this advantage she wasn't sure of what she'd seen. Not noticing any further movement, she soon became tired of looking and settled back on the bench to stare into the face of a smiling stone Buddha.
What was happening to her? No werewolf jumped at unexpected sounds or feared a posturing man. How would she deal with these insecurities and, even more important, what would she do with the rest of her life? Remain with Doris and Vincent, who could barely stand the sight of her? Go to work in some greasy fast-food restaurant and rent a cheap apartment with her meager earnings? And what of Sebastian? Each time she dropped her psychic guard she felt him out there. Lurking, waiting, in no hurry. Unhampered by the short years allotted humans, he basked in the luxury of knowing he'd get her eventually.
Unless she got him first.
Lily shifted on the bench, deciding to make a stop before she returned to the mercifully empty house. Few things could kill a werewolf, but holy water was one of them. She shuddered involuntarily at the idea of even touching the stuff, but knew she had to overcome this unseemly cowardice. Her future, her very life, depended upon it.
While she shored up her determination, people began walking past her. A group gathered by the Buddha, half listening to a tour guide. A couple meandered down the leafy path, hand in hand. Such ordinary lives they led. Pale and colorless, especially when compared to the glory of roaming the great cities and forests of the world, feared and fearless. Ordinary, so ordinary. Still, these fainthearted humans somehow managed, didn't they? Despite the threats around them, they laughed, held hands, and found some enjoyment in their meager existence.
Just then a small girl broke away from the group, whooping gleefully. Looking back mischievously at her pursuing mother, she pedaled her chubby little legs as fast as she could. What fun, her smiling little face said. What fun. She came straight toward Lily's outstretched feet.
Although Lily hastily pulled them back, she wasn't quick enough, and the girl tripped anyway. Lily caught her before she hit the ground and met a pair of impish eyes, a sparkling smile. Flooded with warmth, she smiled back, then handed the child to her apologetic and grateful mother.
The pair returned to the group, but the girl still had her attention on Lily and delivered several quick grins from behind her mother's legs.
Lily could hear the girl breathe, hear her smothered little titters over the drone of the guide's voice. But she couldn't hear the blood, she realized, that soft and constant thrumming through those tiny veins. Nor did she feel its irresistible lure.
Lost powers, just two among countless others. Many of them she missed — the freedom, the invincibility, the sheer vitality of such massive brute force. But not the hunger.
No, she didn't miss the hunger at all.