Authors: Dani April
Arielle and the Three Wolves
Arielle Banks is a veterinarian living alone in the small town of Wolf Creek. One night she hits a wolf with her car and takes it home to nurse it back to health. The wolf is tame and becomes her only company, a comfort for which she is grateful. A month after the accident, she wakes to find a handsome man has taken the place of the wolf.
Jason Wildback is a shape-shifter. After fate brings him to Arielle’s house, he fills the void that’s been in her life for so long. Their passion for each other grows. There is one catch, though. Jason has two brothers, easygoing Kyle and troubled, chivalrous Luke. Jason wants Arielle to take them on as her mates as well.
She can give her body to all three men, but can she give them her heart?
Note: There is no sexual relationship or touching for titillation between or among siblings.
Ménage a Trois/Quatre, Paranormal, Vampires/Werewolves
Siren Publishing, Inc.
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A SIREN PUBLISHING BOOK
IMPRINT: Ménage Amour
ARIELLE AND THE THREE WOLVES
First E-book Publication: September 2012
Cover design by Christine Kirchoff
All cover art and logo copyright © 2012 by Siren Publishing, Inc.
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Arielle and the Three Wolves
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Once again for my mother Catherine and my aunt Margaret.
ARIELLE AND THE THREE WOLVES
Copyright © 2012
A huge form ran out in front of the Suburban. Arielle Banks applied the brakes. It was too late. A thud sounded off the driver’s side front. It made her feel sick, and she felt like the SUV ran over a heavy object. It was too dark outside to tell for certain.
Arielle continued to force the brake. The pavement was wet from a flash thunderstorm. For a moment she lost control of the vehicle, and it skidded and it came to a stop at an angle on the shoulder.
“Shit!” Arielle screamed. She was such a misfit and had such bad luck. Why did things like this always happen to her?
She looked over her seat. It was dark, and the rain still poured down against the roof. When lightning illuminated the sky, she saw the black thing she had struck lying in the center of the road about thirty yards behind. The thing, whatever it was, wasn’t moving.
She didn’t want to open the door. If she hadn’t loved animals, she would simply have put the Chevy in drive and gone on. She took a heavy breath and clutched the door handle. The rainfall was so heavy she could barely hear herself think.
Where in the hell was that umbrella?
She thought she had stored it in the glove compartment. When she reached inside, it was not there. “Oh, shit!” she cursed under her breath again. Instead she saw the flashlight the car dealership had mailed her as a present when she bought the Suburban. She settled for it and scooped it up. A burst of courage hit her, and she pulled open the door.
The storm buffeted her as soon as she took her first foot down from the interior. Fortunately she had worn her jacket and got the hood over her head at once, but too late to keep her hair from getting drenched. A flick of her thumb sent the beam of the flashlight down the dark road. She was too far out in the country for there to be any street light or building light, and at this late hour there were no other drivers on the road with her. She was all alone. The flashlight paved the way ahead through the rain.
The big black creature lay on the road where she had hit it. At first she thought it was a dog. There were plenty of farm houses around here, in fact she had just been returning from one. The dog could have belonged to one of them.
She slowed as she got closer to the animal. She crouched low and shined the light directly on it while she kept a few feet of safety distance away. That wasn’t a dog. “Oh, my God!” she whispered to herself and got up a little closer to examine it. It was a huge wolf. The biggest one she had ever seen. Though she had not seen many wolves in her life.
At first, she thought it was dead. She must have hit it on the head and killed it. More courage was gained from this thought. She walked all the way up to it and bent down to check.
The wolf opened its eyes. It stared at her as if in accusation. She was a veterinarian and knew animals well. She could read the pained expression out of its noble face. When it raised its head, she crawled back a step. The animals she saw in her office were house pets or farm animals. This creature was different. It was a wild animal, and she had injured it. It would be very angry at her.
She loved animals, but not well enough to do something dumb like let this wolf take a bite out of her.
She was ready to get up off the ground and bolt back to the safety of her Chevy SUV. However, she saw she didn’t have to worry. The wolf couldn’t move. For all she knew it could be dying. She had hurt it badly. At the very least she had broken its right hind leg. She knew this from the awkward angle it was bent on top of the asphalt. There could be internal bleeding. The poor wolf was probably in critical condition.
The wolf looked back at her over its shoulder. It tried to make eye contact with her. Humans were never supposed to make eye contact with animals. They saw it as a sign of aggression. Animals only made eye contact with each other when they were about to attack, or warn off a potential predator. Often, if an animal tried to make eye contact with a human, it meant it was sick or even rabid. As a vet, Arielle instructed first-time pet owners to never make direct eye contact with their pets. This was one way a person could turn even a nice dog vicious.
The wolf looked her square in the eye. It was like it wanted to communicate with her. Those eyes were intelligent. They weren’t malicious. In spite of her fear, she got to her knees and went another step closer to the stricken animal. She was careful to stay out of range of those huge incisors. She didn’t want to get bitten.
The wolf was obviously in a lot of pain. She imagined it made a heroic effort not to cry out. It wasn’t in attack mode, and it didn’t seem to be angry that she had almost killed it. Instead it seemed to ask her for help with that forlorn stare. Since it didn’t have a voice, that was the best it could do.
Could she leave and abandon it here? She felt responsible for it, and she was a veterinarian. She had the skills to try and save this animal. Isn’t this the reason she had become a vet in the first place?
She let herself move all the way up to it.
If she miscalculated its intentions now, it likely had enough strength left in it to take a good chunk of her skin off between its huge jaws.
“Hey, boy, I’m sorry I hurt you,” she spoke to it. Timidly she reached out a hand. She felt like a fool when she did this. Her love of animals would get her in a lot of trouble some time. She just hoped this wasn’t the night. “You won’t bite me will you, boy?”
As if in answer the wolf whined and lowered its head back to the pavement. Wow, this was one smart wolf.
“I want to help you,” she whispered to it. Every muscle in her body was tensed as she touched its coat for the first time. Her fingers trembled. Each split second she expected it to rise up its head and bite her.
To her surprise and great relief, this didn’t happen. It didn’t move and allowed her to pet it. Her heart pounded in her chest so hard it almost hurt. Slowly her adrenaline level came back down, and her heart rate slowed. She tarried way too long over the wolf, but needed the time to convince herself that it wouldn’t attack her. The rain still poured down, and her clothes were soaked.
When she allowed herself to breathe again, she realized she was in an untenable position out there in the middle of a thunderstorm on the rural county route hunched over a hundred-and-fifty-pound wolf. She had to act quickly if she was to accomplish any good at all on the wolf’s behalf.
She gained her composure and started to think with the veterinary-trained part of her mind. She examined her patient. He was indeed bad off. Her vehicle had struck it in the shoulder or possibly even the midsection. After knocking it to the pavement, her left front tire had driven over its hind leg and shattered the bone. There was a large open wound back there. Blood seeped from it and wetted the blacktop and mixed with the rain water in a puddle. On closer inspection she saw the bone protruded from the wound.