Wooing the Wolfman: A Fated Mates Paranormal Romantic Comedy (Dating Monsters Book 4)
Wooing the Wolfman: A Fated Mates Paranormal Romantic Comedy (Dating Monsters Book 4)
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- Fated Mates
- Werewolf Romance
- Protective Hero
- Human Turned Werewolf
- Found Family
There are two things you should know about me.
1. I’m a newly turned werewolf who’s allergic to dogs. Fun fact: that includes wolves, even mine.
2. I’m the only werewolf in history who wasn’t born one. Until now.
As the best friend of a nosy vlogger-turned-vampire, I’m used to trouble. It’s practically my middle name. But nothing could prepare me for what I found when I returned to New Orleans.
Someone is attacking innocent humans and turning them into werewolves. I need to stop them before someone dies. Except, I can’t do it alone.
I need my mate’s help.
Unfortunately, our relationship is completely effed up, thanks to me.
So now I need to not only stop these attacks, but also woo my Wolfman back, because I’m done fighting fate.
Sigh. I’m going to need a purse full of allergy pills and a couple drinks to get through this...
Fans of the Wolfman will love this new modern and chic take on the beastly legend himself!
Two point five seconds.
That was how long Sam’s date had to get her grabby little hands off my man before I ripped them clean off.
Oh, sorry, was that a little violent?
Thanks to the unwanted beast now residing in my body, that tended to happen more often these days. It was hard enough being a vampire’s best friend, now I was a werewolf to boot. I kept experiencing all these new urges and desires, like exhibit A: bitch-slapping the tall drink of water with long, flowing locks and wandering hands. Hands that were currently curled around Sam’s flexed biceps.
I saw red.
The wolf in my head growled, and I barely managed to swallow the unwelcome sound before it escaped my throat. I’d learned early on that growling tended to upset the normies—a.k.a. humans. Truth be told, it upset me too. This wasn’t me. I wasn’t some slavering animal. Far from it, in fact. In all my relationships, I was the sensible and boring one. The Mother Hen—as my best friend, Anna, called me. I was the cool to her hotheadedness. The prude to her imprudence. The careful to her carelessness. Just like Rizzo sang in Grease, I don’t drink or swear. I don’t rat my hair…
But apparently, I do growl, howl, and shed all over the furniture.
This thing inside of me had a mind of its own. One it loved to lord over me. Like right now. In my mind’s eye, it flashed its fangs and pawed at the darkness, restless and anxious to claim its territory.
Which I so wasn’t okay with.
Sam wasn’t some possession I could claim. Not that the wolf agreed. It wanted me to march onto the dance floor and snatch Ms. Grabby Hands by the hair and toss her out into the cold. I, however, had more manners than that. I hoped.
“Yikes. You look like you’re about to murder someone.”
I started at the sound of Anna’s voice. My vision came back in focus just as she plopped down on the nearest chair and stared at me. Cradled lovingly in her hands was a plate of precariously tall cake that, when whole, made a three-tier monstrosity in the shape of a bat. I lifted a brow, then met her gaze. She couldn’t eat cake, and neither could ninety percent of her guests, considering they all checked the undead category on the local census. Vampires and solid food didn’t mix, much to Anna’s dismay. But that hadn’t stopped her from ordering a wedding cake. Anna had always possessed a certain fondness for confectionery baked goods, a love not even death could cure. Had I a guess, I would wager she’d used her few non-vampire guests to swing the cake, all so she could sniff a slice.
It was a weakness I understood well. Except, mine was chocolate—my one true love in this world. Imagine my heartache when I was told that werewolves, much like dogs, couldn’t eat it. Cue my inner drama queen, throwing her arms up in the air and screaming at the skies when I’d learned that little tidbit of information. Afterward, much like the proverbial toddler, I’d immediately gorged myself on a box of my favorite chocolate treats only to find myself praying to the porcelain gods for the next day and a half.
I could handle just about anything, but take away a woman’s chocolate and you take away her reason for living. I refused to abide by this. One day, I’d find a solution, even if it killed me.
Anna scootched around in her chair and perused the dance floor. The instant her gaze fell on Sam and his lady friend, she frowned. Before the ceremony, Anna had warned me Sam had brought a date, so I’d been given a little time to prepare myself, but even I could admit it hadn’t worked. Seeing them together was akin to someone stabbing me in the gut, over and over and over, just for laughs.
“Who is that woman?” I asked, distantly aware of my fingers drumming against the table.
“No idea. She’s his plus one, so there’s that.”
My lip curled of its own volition. If I were in wolf form, I’d be flashing my fangs right about now. The worst part of all this was it was all my fault. I first met Sam almost two years ago, back when I was human. He’d immediately known that we were mates. He’d even been open and honest about it. And I—well, I stomped on his heart. Multiple times. Now, I got to sit here and stew in the epic disaster that was my love life.
Clearing my throat, I refocused my thoughts. “What else?”
“She ordered the salmon,” Anna said.
Okay, so not a vampire—which I already knew. The one perk of being a werewolf was the heightened senses. My nose could pick up on the slightest scents. Overwhelming but often helpful. And thanks to that little skill, I could smell a fanger a mile away. Anna had a particular aroma about her now, one I’d never noticed as a human. It wasn’t unpleasant, but she didn’t smell like sunshine and roses either.
Anna pursed her mouth, a telling tic of hers that told me I wouldn’t like what she had to say.
“I also know this isn’t their first date.”
My chest tightened. I’d suspected as much because who in their right mind would bring someone they’d just met to a wedding. But that didn’t make it any easier to hear.
Anna turned back to me and lowered her plate to the table. “How do you plan on winning him back?”
Right. Because I’d made that bold proclamation before walking her down the aisle. Trust Anna to remember that small detail.
Sighing, I reached across the table and snatched her plate, dragging it closer. The smell of vanilla, sugar, and a hint of Bailey’s tickled my nose. I reveled in the scent. There weren’t many problems sugar and booze couldn’t solve.
I grabbed a nearby fork and sliced off a chunk of cake. Anna’s face took on a wistful expression as I popped the piece into my mouth and started chewing. When she’d first been turned, she’d chosen to eat vicariously through me, fetching me her favorite snacks such as Cheetos and popcorn. Guess some things never changed.
“Honestly, I don’t know if I can,” I said after swallowing. “It’s been a year.” A year since I ran away, a year since I’d been turned into a werewolf, a year of ignoring Sam and Anna. Was it any wonder he’d moved on and found himself someone new? “That’s a long time. I can’t expect him to just ditch his new…,” I choked out the word, “girlfriend. I wouldn’t even know where to begin.”
“Do you want to be with him?” Anna asked, leaning forward. “Like, for real? Because when we last discussed this, you weren’t convinced.”
I nodded. I remembered that conversation. Remembered us in England, sitting in the snow beneath a tree, discussing how Sam only wanted me due to his biological urge to procreate.
Werewolves were funny beasts. Unlike vampires, we didn’t mate for love. Our mates were chosen solely for the purpose of producing the strongest offspring. This natural instinct that drove us toward the best possible partner. When I’d learned of that fun little tidbit, I’d jumped ship and bailed on Sam—after sleeping with him. Hell, I’d left the country just to escape him.
Then, by some sick twist of fate, I’d been turned into a werewolf, and now, suddenly, things were so much clearer. Now, I understood the call. Now, I understood how badly I’d screwed the pooch—metaphorically speaking.
In short, I was a terrible, terrible person, and I would count myself lucky if Sam so much as spoke to me again.
Disheartened, my attention darted to Sam, and I jumped when I realized he was staring right back at me. He and his date were dancing, their arms wrapped around each other, but Sam’s gaze never wavered.
I shivered and refocused my attention on Anna. “Yes, I want to be with him.” No doubt about it. In fact, it was the only thing me and the wolf agreed on.
“Good!” A smile crossed Anna’s lips. “Because I would bet every last dollar in my incredibly flush bank account that he still wants to be with you.”
I gave a dry laugh. “Yeah, right. He wants me. That’s why he’s here with another woman.”
“Please. She’s just a distraction. We don’t even know her name. Shows you how unimportant she is if he hasn’t even introduced her.”
“He hasn’t introduced her because that would be awkward. You’re my best friend.”
“Nah. It’s because, at the end of the day, she doesn’t matter.”
Even I winced at that. I didn’t like the idea of him using this woman just because. But it also killed me to imagine Sam feeling feelings for someone else.
Man, this mate business sucked. Why couldn’t it be any easier?
“Was it like this for you and Vlad?” I asked.
A soft smile curved Anna’s mouth. “No. The concept of being with him terrified me at first, but I never ran away.”
Oh, ouch. I felt that barb. Not that it wasn’t deserved. When things got rough, I’d run away from everyone and everything. Tucked tail and jumped ship all the way to Mississippi. Becoming a werewolf had obliterated my life, and I’d needed help. At the time, the only person I’d been willing to ask was Reggie, my sperm donor. I’d only learned of his existence about a year and a half ago, but that had made it easier to knock on his door. And seeing as how he was the alpha of the Mississippi Pack, he’d helped me gain control of the monster within.
“What do I do, Anna?” I stole another bite of cake. “How do I fix this?”
“Well, may I suggest starting with an apology?”
I scoffed. “Really? That’s your advice?”
“Better than not saying you’re sorry,” she said, shrugging. “It’s probably something he needs to hear.”
I refrained from rolling my eyes. Not because her suggestion was silly, but because obviously, I was going to apologize. I needed to know what to do after that. “And then what?”
“And then, my love…” She perched her chin on her hand and smiled. “You pour your heart out. You tell him what you’re feeling and what you want from him. Then you wait and find out if he wants the same.”
“That simple, huh?”
She quietly chuckled. “No. Not that simple. Emotions are never simple. They’re raw and painful and often make you feel like you’re standing naked in the snow. But I think you owe him a little vulnerability. He deserves to know where he stands with you, even if that means ending things entirely. If you can’t care for him the way he needs, set him free. Don’t string him along.”
I slowly nodded.
Anna leaned back in her chair and folded her hands in her lap. “But if I can make one more suggestion?”
I lifted a brow.
“Do it elsewhere. It’s my wedding, and I’m just not in the mood for any drama.”
I snickered under my breath. Yeah, I could understand that. I really did need to talk to Sam before the night ended, but I could certainly take that conversation elsewhere. Anna was like my sister. The last thing I wanted was to possibly ruin her wedding by getting in a fight with Sam or his date.
“And speaking of my wedding…” Anna winked, then stood, her gaze now locked onto something across the hall.
I turned to find her new husband, Vlad, striding toward her, a single rose in hand. The love these two shared made me ache inside. Their path hadn’t been an easy one, but they’d come out stronger in the end.
I wanted that. A partner. Someone I could rely on and love with my whole heart. It was what had sent me running in the first place. When I’d first learned that werewolves were driven to procreate, it’d terrified me to think that I might never find love. That Sam was only interested in me because of what I could give him—children.
But watching Anna fight for her true love had given me hope. And hope was a powerful thing. Maybe there was more for me with Sam. I certainly felt something deeper for him. Unfortunately, I had no idea what he felt for me.
With a happy laugh, Anna skipped toward Vlad. Once within reach, he bowed at the waist and offered her the rose. I wasn’t the only woman to swoon at the sight of him doting on his new wife. These were romance goals right here. The man certainly knew how to play the game.
Anna took the rose, then walked into his open arms and kissed him. The room erupted with cheers. Together, Vlad and Anna swept out onto the dance floor and began swaying to the music, now lost in each other’s eyes.
Damn. They really knew how to make a girl want something deeply.
“They’re quite the beautiful couple,” a familiar voice said.
My mouth curved into a grin, and I turned. “Hi, Mom.”
“Hey, baby.” She took Anna’s abandoned seat and lowered her wine glass onto the table. Concern dimmed her eyes as she studied me. “How are you doing?”
Right to the hard question. “I’m okay. It’s… tough being back. Seeing all that I missed. But I’m adjusting.”
She nodded, a sympathetic smile softening her features. “Anna missed you, but she never begrudged you for leaving. I just thought you should know that.”
I bit back a wince. Anna might not have held a grudge, but I had. It was the sole reason behind my leaving. Our whole lives, we’d been best friends—inseparable, most would say. But then she’d been turned into a vampire. And soon after, me into a werewolf. I wish I could say I handled my transition with grace and poise, but the truth was far messier. I’d blamed Anna, accused her of dragging me into her problems and nearly getting me killed. I’d unfairly placed all my blame on her. Emotions were strange like that. They colored your reactions.
After some time away, I’d realized that none of what’d happened had actually been Anna’s fault. More like, wrong place, wrong time. But by then, I’d already been gone for so long that I hadn’t felt comfortable reaching out to her. Then I’d learned of her wedding and knew I couldn’t put our reunion off any longer. I’d already missed out on all the fun that came with being her maid of honor. I didn’t want to miss out on the rest of her life.
Thankfully, she’d shown far more mercy than I had and immediately forgave me. Because that was Anna. Me? I tended to hold onto things longer. Took me longer to process them. Hence, the running away.
“So, tell me how you’re actually doing now,” my mother prodded.
I couldn’t help but smile. Such a mom thing to ask. “Really, I’m okay. A lot of adjustments, but Reggie has actually been really helpful. He taught me how to shift and integrated me into his pack.”
Her face whitened. “You’re a part of his pack?”
“Mom.” I squeezed her hand. “Don’t worry, okay? He’s actually been great to me.”
“Yeah, now that you’re a werewolf,” she griped. “This is the man that abandoned us when you were born human. But now that you’re like him, now he has time for you?”
I didn’t have an answer to that because she was right. Reggie had done exactly that. He’d wooed my mother, knocked her up, then bailed the second he realized I’d been born human. It wasn’t until I was practically mauled to death by a werewolf that my latent genes activated. Then he’d decided I was worth his attention.
At first, I hated him. But as I came to understand the wolf inside, I also grew to understand Reggie. I would never think of him as anything but my sperm donor. He did, however, work well as the pack alpha. That was where our relationship ended though.
My true father was and always would be the man who had stood by my mother’s side and helped raise me. The man who was currently stealing Anna away from Vlad for a quick dance.
“Why couldn’t you join the New Orleans Pack?” my mom asked.
I shot Sam another secretive glance. Thankfully, this time he was distracted. I wasn’t sure I could handle another of his piercing stares right now. “Because of Sam.”
Understanding smoothed my mother’s frown lines, and she nodded. “Are you going to talk to him?”
“Eventually. I have to. I can’t live like this.”
“You know you have my full support, baby. No matter what you decide to do. I just wish life had been kinder. This isn’t the path I wanted for you.”
“Me too, Mom. But I’m alive, right? That’s something to be thankful for.”
“Absolutely. I thank God every day for that.”
I winced and shot a furtive glance around the room, but no one seemed to hear my mother dropping the G-word. Vampires tended not to like hearing it.
“Anna says I need to talk to Sam, lay it all out. What do you think?”
“You know me, baby. I’m all for the truth. Even if it’s scary and causes pain. Wouldn’t that be simpler than lying to yourself or someone you love?”
I ignored the hypocrisy of my mother’s statement, considering she’d lied to me my entire life about my true parentage, and instead focused on the scary L-word she’d just uttered. Love? I wasn’t even sure if I loved Sam. I had feelings for him, sure. But love? I only knew that my wolf wanted him. That I wanted him. For now, that would have to be enough.
“Go to him,” my mother continued. “Take him outside where you two can talk in peace. That is, if you can get him away from his date.”
That would be the hard part. I couldn’t imagine she’d be fine with him leaving to talk with another woman. Maybe it’d be best to wait until he was alone. But so far, I hadn’t seen the two of them apart.
I shot Anna a glance and watched as Vlad reclaimed her as his dance partner and dipped her in his arms. She giggled, then lifted her head and kissed him, her hands threading through his hair.
Yeah, I wanted that.
So, maybe I needed to make fate work for me instead of against me. Maybe I needed to ask for a little help separating the two, then dragging Sam’s ass outside.
“Thanks, Mom,” I murmured.
“I should go steal your father back before he charms every woman in this place.”
I laughed. My father absolutely was a charmer. He’d already moved on to a new dance partner, spinning her in tight circles before handing her back to her original partner. The man was so laid back and always knew how to have a good time—a talent I sadly hadn’t learned from him.
Rising to my feet, I snuck onto the dance floor, grabbed Anna’s hand, then pulled her away from Vlad. His eyes widened, but he quickly smiled when he caught sight of me.
“Sorry, Battikins. Need to borrow your wife for a moment.”
His expression went all gooey at the word wife, and I rolled my eyes.
“Just bring her back to me,” he said, his accented voice deepening with emotion.
Laughing, I looped my arm around Anna’s elbow and led her away.
We may have been separated for the last year, but she would always be my partner in crime. And it was time to stir up a little trouble.