An urban Tuesday is here and today's pick is from a book I read about a year ago; maybe a little more. No matter the time though, I still remember this scene I'm about to share part of because of the intense protectiveness shown by the hero towards the heroine though he is severely wounded. Charles forces himself to shift from his wolf form in order to not scare Anna, his mate.
Many might recognize the snippet from Author Patricia Briggs's Cry Wolf, the first book in her Alpha and Omega series. Ms. Briggs is my favorite UF author. She weaves the world we know with the world she wants us to know flawlessly, in my opinion. She also sprinkles just enough romance for my lustful side to be sated by the connection shared by the hero and heroine.
Here's today's snippet. Let me know what you think afterwards.
“I’m sorry,” she said, dropping her eyes from his yellow gaze. Sorry she was a bother, sorry she wasn’t stronger, better, something.
Power flared over her skin and jerked her eyes back to him. He’d dropped to the ground and was starting to change back to human.
It was too soon, he was too badly injured. Hastily, she shut the outside door with her hip, dropped her box on the floor, and hurried to his side.
“What are you doing? Stop that.”
But he’d already begun, and she didn’t dare touch him. Changing either way hurt—and even a gentle touch could leave him in agony.
“Damn it, Charles.”
Even after three years of being a werewolf, she didn’t like watching the change—her own or anyone else’s. There was something horrible about seeing someone’s arms and legs twist and bend—and there was that stomach-churning part in the middle where there was neither fur nor skin to cover the muscle and bone. Charles had been different. He told her that either his mother’s magic or being a werewolf born made his change quicker: it had also made it almost beautiful. The first time she’d seen him change, she’d been in awe. This time wasn’t like that. It was as slow and horrible as hers. He’d forgotten the bandages, and they weren’t shaped right to change with him. She knew that the bandage would tear eventually, but she also knew it would hurt.
So she slid along the wall to avoid touching him, then ran to the kitchen. She pulled open drawers, searching frantically until she found the one where he kept his sharp and pointy things, including a pair of scissors. Deciding that she was less likely to stab him with scissors than a knife, she grabbed them and went back. She cut as he changed, ignoring his rumbling growl as she forced the blade under too-tight cloth. The additional pressure would hurt, but it would be better than waiting until the stress on the fabric finally tore it to pieces.
The speed of his change slowed more and more as it continued, until she worried that he was going to be stuck halfway between: she’d had nightmares about being stuck in neither one form nor the other. At last he lay curled on his belly at her feet, fully human.
She thought he was through, but then clothing formed around his naked body, flowing over his skin as his skin had flowed over flesh as he changed. Nothing fancy, just jeans and a plain white T-shirt, but she’d never known a werewolf who could do that. This was real magic. She didn’t know how much real magic he could do. She didn’t know a lot about him other than he made her heart beat faster and nudged her usual state of half panic away.
She shivered, then realized it was cool in the house. He must have turned down the heat when he’d come to Chicago. She looked around and found a small quilted throw folded over the back of a rocking chair and snatched it up. Careful not to brush too hard on his over-sensitized skin, she laid the blanket lightly over him. He lay with one cheek against the floor, shuddering and breathless.
“Charles?” Her impulse was to touch him, but after a change, the last thing she wanted was touch.
His skin would feel new and raw.
The blanket slid off his shoulder and when she lifted it to cover him again, she saw a dark stain growing rapidly on the back of his shirt. If his wounds had been of the usual sort, the change would have mended them more than this. Silver-inflicted wounds healed a lot slower. “Do you have a first-aid kit?” she asked. Her pack’s first-aid kit was equipped to cope with wounds dealt in the half-serious fights that broke out whenever the whole pack got together. Impossible to believe that Charles wasn’t as well prepared as her . . . as the Chicago pack. “Bathroom.” His voice was gravel-rough with pain.
The bathroom was behind the first door she opened, a big room with a claw-foot tub, a large shower stall, and a white porcelain pedestal sink. In one corner of the room was a linen closet. On the bottom shelf she found an industrial-sized first-aid kit and took it with her back to the living room.
Charles’s usually warm brown skin was gray, his jaw was clenched against the pain, and his black eyes were fever-bright, glittering with hints of gold that matched the stud he wore in his ear. He’d sat upright, the quilt pooling on the floor around him.
“That was stupid. Changing doesn’t help silver wounds,” she scolded him, her sudden anger fueled by the pain he’d caused himself. “All you did was use up all the energy your body needs to heal. Let me get you bandaged up, and I’ll find some food.” She was hungry, too. He smiled at her—just a little smile. Then he closed his eyes. “All right.” His voice was hoarse. She would have to take off most of the clothes he’d put on. “Where do your clothes come from?” She’d have assumed they were what he’d been wearing when he’d changed from human to wolf, except she’d helped strip him so the Chicago doctor could examine him. He hadn’t been wearing anything except bandages when he’d changed into his wolf.
He shook his head. “Wherever. I don’t know.”
Alpha & Omega Book One
Back of the book: