Running for her life to escape the Lionsblood following her so tenaciously, Soli knows more than just her freedom is at stake. Lionsblood are the mortal enemy of her kind, the Wolfsblood. If he catches her, she has no doubt death would be a preferable fate.
Logan knows the second he scents the little fire wolf she's his mate. Convincing a Wolfsblood to mate with a Lionsblood, though, will be a tall order. Fortunately, Logan is up to the task. With a sensual seduction and one tiny bet, he will capture his mate's body and her heart.
Praise for Fire Wolf
"Ms. Karland uses scorching sex to convince the reader and a reluctant Soli that the fire wolf belongs with Logan. No woman could resist a lover like Logan, not even a Wolfsblood."
-- Candy, SensualReads.com
"...a sexy short read with original characters and storyline. I like the elemental wolves... Can’t wait [to see] which elemental wolf will be next in the series."
Wolfsblood: Fire Wolf
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2012 Marteeka Karland
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Snow blanketed the landscape like a white veil. Nothing marred the flat expanse of the valley other than a few sparse glaciers. A Fire Wolf's vivid orange and red pelt should have been clearly visible in all that blue and ice white, but somehow, Soli eluded her pursuer's acute eyesight. She knew she had because the Lionsblood, though following her closely, had yet to use the full speed of his species. She wasn't at all sure how much longer her luck would hold out either. Soli had used every trick she knew to shake the big male to no avail. He was an expert hunter. She was certain he could smell her fear and track her by that alone. If he did, she'd have to fight him knowing there was no way she could win against his much bigger, more heavily muscled body and keen fighting skills.
Heart pounding, senses on high alert, Soli burrowed as deep into the snow-filled crevasses as she could, trying to disturb the surface as little as possible. Leaving the safety of the snow tunnels was a desperate risk, but one she would have to take. She stuck her nose out the small opening and inhaled deeply, scenting the air once more to get a feel for how much ground the Lionsblood had gained on her. She took a deep, calming breath. Before she left her only cover, she had to have her wits about her. Running headlong into an ice field in a panic would get her killed just as easily as getting caught by the Lionsblood following her.
He was a few hundred meters behind her and closing fast. If she couldn't gain ground in the ice fields, she was as good as caught.
With a speed born of desperation, Soli burst from her snow tunnel and into the open. The ice field was littered with traps, but she skimmed lightly over each hidden crevasse as if they were in plain sight. If she misstepped and fell through the ice, the fall would be hundreds, if not thousands, of meters. A roar of triumph vibrated the very ground as she sped over the smooth terrain. The Lionsblood would be on her in a matter of seconds.
Soli leapt from ice wall to ice wall, zig-zagging in an attempt to throw off the male. He was most assuredly stronger and likely just as agile as she was, but she was smaller and lighter. If she could keep to the thinner sheets of ice, he would have to go around and away from her to keep from sacrificing sure footing. It was a huge gamble, but the only option available to her.
As she skimmed over the ice, her weight barely registering on the dangerous ground, she heard a sliver of noise like water running over ice and knew she was in trouble. Three more strides and the noise stopped. This was so dangerous. Everything in her rebelled at her continued push forward, but it was either this or take her chances with the Lionsblood. Somehow, Soli was certain the ice caverns would be far more forgiving than the male getting so close to her now. She could hear his great paws on the ice and snow, pounding the ground in a relentless chase. Still, she wove in and out of the maze of ice traps, skirting as close as she could to the thin sheets of ice without actually stepping into a cavern.
Just as she could see the end of the ice field, the huge glacier looming before her where she'd have solid footing and plenty of crevasses to slip into, the spidering cracks she'd heard before began again, much louder this time. She'd ventured too far onto the thinner ice over the worst part of the ice field. Soli ducked her head and ran as fast as her legs would carry her in her fire wolf form.
No more than half a dozen steps later, the ice gave way. Soli let out a yelp of surprise and fear, her front paws scrabbling for purchase on the practically nonexistent footing of the ice. It gave way beneath her, but a large hand closed over her paw, hauling her back to the surface as the male gave a huge leap, clearing the remaining distance to the safety of the glacier.
"Don't shift," he growled. "You're safer in your Wolfsblood form until we get deep inside the glacier." His tone brooked no argument. Soli tried to scramble out of his impossibly strong arms, but he held her fast, squeezing until she was afraid her ribs would crack under the pressure. "You've fought me enough for one day, little wolf. It's best you don't push me further."
Soli's body quivered, her sides heaving as he sped toward the shelter of the glacier, the enormity of her situation sinking in. The Lionsblood were mortal enemies of the Wolfsblood. Better she'd fallen to her death and been done with it. Whatever this Lionsblood had in mind for her couldn't be good. If he'd gone to this much trouble, her death was certain to be slow and painful. Her mother had always told her cats liked to play with their food. Soli knew she was about to get firsthand knowledge of that statement, and it terrified her.
Her captor was very large. Having half-shifted on the run, he was naked. Had he not been what he was, Soli would have admired the perfection of his body. Heavy muscles bunched under his skin in great masses, veins following the lines of his arms and playing across his chest. He was likely a good head and shoulders taller than she was in her human form and twice as wide. Still, he moved with a speed and grace Soli would never have thought possible of one his size. Tawny hair liberally covered most of his body, and the dark mane on his head spilled over his shoulders and down his back. In his half shifted form, he would have the advantage of being protected from the elements while still holding her captive.
Despite his size and prowess as a hunter, what frightened her the most were his eyes. Twin slanted orbs of gold and green held menace and death in their depths. He would use her, take what he wanted, then kill her without remorse. The look in his eyes said he'd killed on many occasions and would again. He would likely not even remember her after he finished with her.
The fear of certain death gave Soli new strength. She dug her hind legs into his side and bit down on the arm holding her tightly against his side as he ran. She raked at him with her claws, digging deep furrows into his flank, her body twisting in an effort to escape his steely grip. The Lionsblood didn't even grunt -- instead he shifted his grip on her so her back legs were away from his body, his arm under her front legs and around her ribcage. He held her so tightly she had to fight just to breathe.
When he entered the small opening in the glacier, he closed both arms around her, making his body as small as possible and protecting her from the walls of the ice cave. He could have just as easily cracked her skull to stop her thrashing, but instead, he'd wrapped his body around hers, leaving himself vulnerable to her attack if she chose to try and harm him again. Once inside, he didn't slow his pace, only cradled her close to his body as he ducked and dodged the falls of low-hanging ice on his way through the maze of tunnels.
Soli was puzzled at his behavior. She knew he wasn't a weak man -- he obviously could handle anything she threw at him -- yet he still left himself open to her. Was he so powerful he didn't care what she did to him? If that were true, Soli was in far more trouble than she'd feared. She knew she should fight. Every instinct in her demanded she fight this man for her very life. Yet, if she got away from him, what then? There were so many twists and turns in the glacier maze she'd never find her way back outside. Even if she did, it was close to sunset. If she were caught outside during the night when the surface temperature plummeted, she'd be no better off than she was now. Despair clawed in her gut. It seemed no matter what action she chose, death followed.
At the moment, however, she didn't have much choice other than to allow the Lionsblood to have her. He didn't seem to be bothered by the wounds she made, nor did he seemed inclined to let her down. She'd simply bide her time and bolt at the first opportunity. She just had to wait him out.