by Kate Hill
From Changeling Press
Now that Hugo, the nasty werewolf from Triple Shot Tracy, has been imprisoned, all is well at the magic campground -- unless, of course, you're the wolf himself.
Hugo has been living under a curse. Considering his reputation, it seems to be well deserved. Only a certain type of woman can release him and he has spent ages looking for her. It seems his chance for freedom is over, until Sadie arrives with the power to set him free in every way.
But will his disposition, not to mention his archenemy, Charity the Werewolf Queen, ruin his final chance at happiness?
The werewolf growled and paced the length of his cell. His blue eyes gleamed against the black fur covering his face. He was a fascinating creature. Standing on two legs, like a man, he had clawed hands and feet and a face that shared the characteristics of man and wolf -- an elongated nose and a mouth filled with sharp white teeth. His long, sleekly muscled, unclothed body was covered in a coarse black animal coat. Yet to Sadie, who stood watching him from a safe distance, he was beautiful.
In the magical world, Sadie was an expert on shapeshifters. Recently she had been contacted by the Princeton family who specialized in supernatural beast control along the area of Hot River outside the Wicked Wild. Hot River ran through the heart of the magical world, cleansing it and providing life. Sadie had spent years on its banks and prided herself in knowing the habits of just about every race of shapeshifter who lived along it.
In spite of this wolf's particularly dangerous nature, the Princeton brothers had decided not to kill him. They needed her expertise to either cure him or keep him contained. She'd spent the past five years in the Wicked Wild, the best place to study werewolves. No doubt if anyone could help the Princetons with their fanged, hairy problem, Sadie was the one to do it.
The werewolf stopped pacing and grasped the bars of the cell. He stared at her, his growls softening, and ran his tongue over his dark lips. Sadie's stomach tightened. She longed to move closer, to touch him, feel the hard muscles rippling beneath his animal coat, but at the moment he was far too dangerous. No doubt in his current state he would tear anyone who approached to shreds. She needed time to work with him, to help him harness his power and temper it.
Behind her, she heard the scuffle of boots on the stone floor in the dungeon where the beast was caged. She had almost forgotten the Princeton triplets -- Tripp, Oakes and Jeb -- stood behind her.
"Can you help him?" Oakes asked.
Sadie drew a deep breath and released it slowly, then turned and faced the identical blue-eyed, black-haired triplets. They were great hunters of primitive supernatural beasts, but when it came to rehabilitation of higher creatures, such as shapeshifters, they were sorely lacking in skills. Yet their concern for this werewolf seemed genuine.
"Possibly," she said. "His kind can be difficult to deal with, but I haven't seen one this cranky in years. Other than the female pack in the Wicked Wild, of course, but they have much more control over their powers. Still that's not surprising. Females handle the curse much better than males."
The triplets exchanged glances and Jeb said, "Maybe the females are so ornery because he's responsible for the state they're in."
Sadie's eyes widened and she jerked her thumb in the direction of the cage. "This is Hugo?"
"You know him?" Tripp asked.
"Who doesn't?" she snorted. "He has the worst reputation in the werewolf community. This changes everything." She turned back to the cage, her heart pounding with the excitement of a good challenge.
"Changes what?" Tripp demanded. "Does that mean you won't help us?"
"On the contrary, it has sealed the deal. I want him. If I can help one like him, that means my training has been worthwhile. I'll have to move him to my place."