Diane Leyne

In celebration of the Halloween season, I'd like to share with you a little excerpt from Claimed by Wolves, the first book in the shifter series, Call of the Wolf. 

She was sitting on one of the kitchen chairs making notes on her tablet when she first saw the movement in the distance. She wasn’t sure what it was at first, but then she caught the scent of wolf. And it wasn’t just any wolf. It was a shape-shifter wolf. She sniffed again. It was Gabe. She wasn’t sure how she knew, but she did and she wasn’t sure whether she should be amused, annoyed, or angry. Well, time will tell.

But just what was he up to? Was he trying to scare her away or just get close for some crazy reason? Was he just going to stay in the distance and spy on her? She smiled to herself. He didn’t know that she had wolf blood and could scent him. She went back to working on her tablet, pretending she didn’t know he was there, waiting for him to make a move.

It took a while, but eventually he was close enough for her to see him. She’d seen her brothers in wolf form a couple of times when they were kids, but not in years. She could see a little of the resemblance. None of them looked like pure wolf. Maybe it was the human side or maybe it was just the wolf bloodline, but they looked more like wolf-dogs, less threatening then pure wolf, but still large and potentially dangerous to one who didn’t know. In wolf form, he was bigger than the biggest German shepherd dog she’d ever seen, lean with jet-black fur the same color as his hair. He had the same blue eyes as he did as a human, but they were even more startling in this form.

She could see him approach her tentatively. She decided to pretend nervousness but then try to lure him close.

“Hey, doggie. Who do you belong to? It’s kind of late for you to be out, isn’t it? Is your owner around here somewhere? Did you run away?” she asked in the type of crooning voice people used with dogs.

She watched him hesitate, playing at being the shy homeless wolf-dog.

“I’m Sam. Who are you?” she asked. “Do you have a collar? Maybe if you come a little closer I can see who you belong to and call them to come get you. They are probably worried about you, running off late at night like this.”

He wagged his tail just a bit as he stood and stared at her. Then he moved just a big closer. Then a bit more. Finally he was about twenty feet from the porch. He sat down and looked at her and her tablet. She had to hold back a smile. He really was so transparent. He’d come here to snoop. She bet if she left the tablet alone she’d come back to find him trying to check it out.

“Have you just come to visit? You can come closer if you like.” She thought for a moment. “Are you hungry? Don’t go away.”

She hurried into the kitchen. What did she have in the kitchen that didn’t have to be cooked other than cookies and ice cream? She’d just loaded up on staples but cooking took time.

She looked in the fridge. Bless Ginger. There were two roast beef sandwiches. She unwrapped one and put it on the plate. She made sure she made lots of noise walking back out, giving him time to shift back if he’d switched to human form to peak at her tablet.

Sure enough, when she came up, he was up on the porch and her iPad had been moved slightly. She probably wouldn’t have noticed if she hadn’t been looking for it. She smiled to herself.

“Are you hungry? Want a sandwich?”

She put the plate on the floor and watched him approach it reluctantly. If he was pretending to be some kind of homeless dog, then he should be starving. It was almost ten. It was highly likely he’d already had dinner and wasn’t terribly hungry, but he had to eat her offering as a part of the charade.

Maybe she’d buy some dog food when she went to town. Serve him right if she forced him to eat kibble if he came snooping again.

Carefully he started on the sandwich. She wondered if he ever ate in wolf form. He seemed to find it puzzling. Most dogs would just dig in, but he was trying too carefully, like he was hung up on human manners. Maybe she should cut it up next time?

When he was finally finished, she reached out and patted him. She encouraged him to come closer to her, and she scratched him on the top of his head and then under his chin. He looked up at her, and she saw the startling blue eyes. She ran her hands around his neck as if looking for a collar and found none as expected.

“Poor puppy. Are you homeless? Just a wild dog with no one to call master? No one to take care of you?” she crooned. He moved closer to her, shoving between her legs and putting his head on her knee. She pulled him close, leaning down to kiss him on the nose.

“Now what am I going to call you? It’s late and I’m not feeling terribly creative, so I’ll just call you Fido for now. Do you like that, Fido?”

She held his head in her hands and looked at him. “Fido.”

He pulled away, edging down the steps. “Don’t like it, eh? Well, I’ll think of something better when I’ve had more sleep. If you come back tomorrow night, I’ll have some more dinner for you. Would you like that?”

He looked at her and barked once before running off into the night.

She watched him go and then went back to her iPad. She smiled when she touched the screen and it came back to life. That was not where she’d been when she put it down. She’d been making notes for her novel, and now it was at her file directory.

She wondered what he was hoping to find. Hopefully he’d be back again tomorrow. She’d make sure there were interesting files for him to find.



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