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Hungry Like a Wolf

Novels Of The Others 8

by

Christine Warren

To all the amazing readers who have taken this journey with me, and wandered around in the world of the Others. I wouldn’t be a writer today without all of you.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

With special thanks to my editor, Monique Patterson, for discovering my work and deciding to share it with everyone else.

I’ll never forget that.

One

Logan Hunter and Rafael De Santos strode up the wide granite steps to the front door of Vircolac’s, braced to plunge headfirst into the heart of the enemy camp. Well, Logan was braced. Rafe’s step had a suspiciously eager spring to it, and his expression looked more lazily amused than wary. He’d recently defected.

Few people had been more surprised than Logan when Rafe decided to take a mate, especially a human witch. Actually, Rafe might have been slightly more astonished, considering he’d spent most of his adolescent and adult life demonstrating where the expression “tomcatting around” came from. But he had taken a mate, and apparently it didn’t matter to Rafe that he was supposed to be one of Logan’s closest friends. In matters of marriage and mating, not even friends could be trusted.

“Last week they somehow managed to rig the door of Graham’s office to lock from the outside.” Logan held open the door for his companion and checked the hallway to be sure none of the perpetrators he was currently griping about lay in ambush. “Then they sent me in there to wait for him. As soon as I stepped inside, the door slammed shut and trapped me in there with Annie. Annie, of all people!”

Rafe grinned at Logan’s obvious dismay. “I thought you liked Annie. She is a very attractive woman, after all. And intelligent. I would think she’d make some lucky Lupine a fine mate.”

Logan growled. “I grew up with her, man. It would be like sniffing my sister.”

“You and your pack mores. It’s not like she’s actually any blood relation to you.”

“That’s not the point.”

“Right. Because the point is that you probably humiliated a beautiful and sensitive young woman by tearing down the office door just to get away from her. How do you think that made her feel, you insensitive clod?”

Logan scowled. “I didn’t tear it down. I just kicked it in. But Annie knew it wasn’t about her. She’s cool with it. She’s not interested in me, either.”

“Right, puppy. She just smiled and thanked you for opening the door and told you to have a wonderful day.”

Logan paused and remembered. “She told me to shove the door up my ass and shit splinters.”

“Precisely. Logan, you need to learn that whether she’s a werewolf, a shapeshifter, a witch, or a human, women are women. They all need to be flattered and coddled and made to feel special.” Tipping the attendant who took their coats, Rafe led the way down the main hall and toward the club library. “It is a wonder to me that you’ve ever managed to get a woman to stand still long enough to take her clothes off.”

“And that’s such a sophisticated observation,” the Lupine scoffed. “Don’t bother to pretend with me, De Santos. Under that pampered, nancy-boy Casanova image you like to project, you’re just as much an animal as I am.”

“I might be an animal, my friend, but I am not a dog.”

“Very funny. And it’s wolf, Garfield. Not dog.”

Rafe smiled a feline smile.

“You can’t tell me all those single females didn’t drive you crazy.” Logan sniffed the air in the hall outside the library. His keen senses caught the faint but unmistakable odors of breast milk, perfume, and female skin, and his body went on high alert. Well, part of it went on high alert, the rest just went tense and frustrated.

Damn it.

Bracing himself, he clenched his jaw involuntarily as he reached out to open the door. “They were after you almost worse than me.”

“They meant well.”

“I don’t care what they mean. I want them to leave me alone.”

“Aren’t you supposed to be happy about the idea of finding a mate and settling down with one single female forever and ever and ever? You canines usually seem so taken with the idea.”

Rafe slipped ahead of Logan and entered the room. The fire crackling in the hearth at the far wall cast a very becoming glow on the skin of the two women standing beside it. Logan shook his head as he saw his friend’s gaze shift and fix on the one who looked like a curly-headed urchin. He was still getting used to that possessive gleam that sparked in Rafe’s eyes every time they turned toward Tess Menzies De Santos.

“And you took to it just fine, Morris. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to do my own finding, damn it.” Logan had lowered his voice, and he looked carefully away from the women at the hearth. “Missy’s friends just don’t seem to understand that mating is a whole different ball game from just getting married. Maybe if they weren’t all so … human.”

Rafe shrugged. “Regina is not human. And Tess might technically qualify, but she is a cut above the average, you must admit.”

“Regina has been Other for less time than it takes me to mark a fire hydrant. And Tess doesn’t count. She’s a witch. And she’s taken.”

“Damn right.”

Logan heard the possessive note in Rafe’s voice and watched the Felix stalk toward his wife. The Lupine fought the simultaneous urges to snicker and roll his eyes. A couple of months ago, Logan would have bet his left canine tooth that Rafe would never settle down with one woman, let alone one who wasn’t a shapeshifter. Good thing for him no one had taken him up on that bet, because the marital bliss that followed Rafe and Tess around like a cloud would have meant some seriously tough hunting for Logan.

He still really didn’t get it. Not that he had anything against taking a mate—he was Lupine, for God’s sake— but he liked for there to be a certain sense of order to his world. And in his world, a Felix did not settle down with one woman and look happy about it. Of course, in the ideal version of his world, the only woman he’d wanted for himself in longer than he cared to think about didn’t up and marry his best friend—who was also the pack alpha— either.

Shit.

Tearing his gaze away from the sweet, smiling face on the other side of the room and plugging his nose to the warm, milky scent of new motherhood that wafted from the same direction, Logan turned on his heel without bothering to say hello to the ladies. Damn Graham for getting to Missy first, and damn himself for caring. Graham Winters was like a brother to Logan. For all intents and purposes, the men were brothers, and Logan did not poach on his brother’s territory. Even if the concept didn’t go against every fiber of his loyal body, it also meant risking a fight to the death with an outcome that he honestly couldn’t predict.

He swore once more and then again, quietly, because in this house, you never knew who might pick up on it. Some of the folks who frequented this club had sharper ears than he did, and that was kind of a scary thought. He took a firmer hold of his self-control and tried to beat back the restlessness that seemed to roil constantly inside him these days. He had been called to a meeting with his alpha about pack business, and he’d present a businesslike demeanor if it killed him. Graham did not need to know that his beta had the hots for his mate.

* * *

Graham kept an office on the first floor of Vircolac in the heart of the action. He said it helped him keep an

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