A Siberian Werewolf In London
Grigori Solovyov goes to London to track down a Russian mobster who is stealing from the pack. Then Melisande Reule walks into his hotel, bringing his wolf howling to the surface. He knows he has found his mate. But when she is targeted by a Russian assassin, Grigori must fight to keep her safe and at his side. Available on Amazon, Kindle, Smashwords.com, and on Barnes and Noble, Nook, Sony, Kobo, iTunes and others.
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Melisande Reule stepped from the cab in front of the London Hilton and breathed deeply. She looked down at her wrinkled suit and sighed. Seven hours in an airplane would crease any material. She smiled as she glanced around. Another city and another experience – new foods to try, new people to meet. The sun was shining, it was a glorious day. She wanted to try a pint of warm beer, tour a castle, and search out all the tapestries in the English museums. She thought to skip in her happiness but was afraid she might trip in her high heels. Dressing for success didn’t lend itself to skipping. Besides at thirty years of age, she was a little old to be skipping in public and didn’t want to embarrass herself. So, Melisande strolled into the lobby, her head held high, pulling her suitcase behind her, as she walked up to the desk.
“Sandy, darling, I’m so glad you could make it,” a voice called from across the lobby, waving at the young woman who entered.
Grigori Solovyov, Siberian lycanthrope, straightened from the marble column he was resting against. His wolf senses flared, his claws started to break through his fingertips. He could feel the wildness surge within him. Hair started to push through his flesh. His clothes became an irritation against his inflamed skin. He wanted to howl. But he was standing in the lobby of a posh hotel in London. He couldn’t risk someone noticing his reaction.
He subdued his wolf spirit, taking deep breaths to calm his animalistic side and stared at the young woman who had walked into the building and triggered his response. Never before had he lost control. Never before did he feel so out of control. A word was reverberating through his soul. “Mate.” Could it be? Was it possible? Not able to stop himself, he moved closer to her.
He could feel her irritation, as she dealt with the aristocratic woman in the big hat. But it was the woman in the blue suit who held his interest. She was exquisite, her figure slim, her carriage tall. Her long blond hair swept into a twist at the nape of her neck. She turned, and he saw how the cobalt silk suit she wore matched her blue eyes. She walked with confidence. She looked educated and independent.
He wanted to touch her, hold her, watch her eyes darken in pleasure as he buried himself deep within her, binding their souls together, forever. Grigori listened to her conversation without guilt. He needed to know her name. He needed to claim her. He couldn’t deny it. It was instinctual. This woman was his other half, she would complete him.
The young woman reluctantly turned toward the aristocratic lady. “Lady Ashton, I just arrived. I thought our appointment was for tomorrow at three.”
“Of course dear, but I thought you might want to come over tonight, to see the collection,” Lady Ashton said.
“I’m sorry, but I have another appointment this evening. I hope you understand.”
“Oh, of course dear. I guess it can wait until tomorrow. Well, I’ll run over to Harrod’s and see what’s new. I can always use a nice pair of shoes. See you tomorrow, Sandy,” Lady Ashton said, as she waved and headed toward the door.
“It’s Melisande, or Meli, but it is never Sandy,” she said as she continued to the counter.
Grigori smiled as he heard her mutter. She was a feisty little thing. He walked up and stood next to her at the front desk. He noticed how the top of her head would come to the bottom of his chin. She would fit him perfectly.
“Yes sir?” the hotel clerk asked, giving him an appreciative smile.
“I believe this lovely lady was here first,” he said, gesturing toward his mate.
“Thank you, sir. How wonderful it is to know gentlemen still exist,” the woman answered, her voice flowing over him like warm rain. She turned to the clerk. “You have a reservation for Melisande Reule.”
Grigori stood patiently waiting while Melisande went through the process of checking in. Melisande was a lovely name. He could smell her now. She smelled like roses on a hot afternoon. He wanted to taste her to see if she would taste as sweet. He felt his canines lengthen and forced his wolf back again. It was demanding its mate. Grigori listened to her voice and let the sweet tones wash over him. He was so mesmerized by her, he almost missed her room number, 403.
Melisande smiled at him and turned to walk away, but Grigori needed to touch her. He stepped in front of her and smiled his most charming smile, as he offered his hand.
“Welcome to London, Melisande. I am, Grigori Solovyov. I hope I will be able to see you again.”
“Thank you, sir. You are too kind,” she said as she placed her hand in his. He rubbed his thumb over her knuckles, caressing her. He liked the feel of her. Her skin was so soft.
“Grigori, please . . .”
“Grigori, it was a pleasure meeting you,” she said, slowly pulling her hand free.
Grigori was reluctant to release her. She smiled as if she felt his struggle and turned to walk to the elevators, the bellboy trailing behind her. Grigori watched her go, his fingers still tingling from the shock of electricity that had passed between them at first touch. She was the one. If he tried hard, he could see a sliver of yellow light trailing after her, the beginnings of the mating bond taking hold.
He yearned for her to look back, to be curious, to need to see him once more, to know the mating heat was affecting her, now that they had touched. A hunter scenting prey, he waited. And as the elevator opened, she turned. Her face flushed, when she realized he was watching her, but he rewarded her with a smile and a slight bow. Perfect, she was absolutely perfect.
His trip to London was looking up. Grigori loved the hunt, and this prize was the most important. She was his mate, his true love, the one woman born for him, and he would have her. It was beyond anything he had ever hoped for.
There were no mates in Siberia for the males of the pack. He had believed he was destined to be alone, doing his duty to the pack but never having a family of his own. As the elevator doors closed, taking Melisande from his sight, the clerk cleared her throat, trying to gain his attention.
“Can you tell me where the nearest florist is?” he asked.
Once the clerk wrote down the address, Grigori headed for the door. Flipping open his cell phone, he called Dmitry Volkov, the Alpha of the Siberian lycan pack, and told him he would be delaying his trip back to Siberia.
Melisande looked back at Grigori. What was it about the man? His voice flowed over her like warm honey. She felt her nipples tighten and a flush of warmth between her legs. He was dangerous with a muscular physique and emerald-green eyes. His hair, brown and silky, was tied at his neck with a leather thong. She longed to run her hands through it. The attraction between them was strong and instant.
He was dressed in a black silk suit and looked like the lord of a castle. His accent sounded Russian. She could picture him riding a large black horse through the forest. He was beautiful, and she wanted to leap into his arms and never let him go. The temptation was overwhelming and unnerving. She had never felt such strong reactions to a man.
Jumping into his arms would scandalize Lady Ashton and her friends, and since Melisande was here to work for them, she couldn’t afford to cause a scene. She was the foremost authority on medieval textiles, and was here to date a tapestry from Lord and Lady Ashton’s collection. Melisande hoped that if they liked her work, they would tell their friends, and she would get several new contracts as a result of this first one. Word-of-mouth was always her best resource.
Melisande let the bellboy open her room, and she walked in. It was bright and airy with a queen-size bed prominently displayed. Drawn by the light, she went to the windows and looked out to see a view of the Thames. The sun was shining on the water, and it sparkled and glinted. She turned back to hand the young man a tip and, once he left, locked the door.
She walked back to the windows and this time looked down along the walkway that ran parallel to the river. Her breath caught in her throat when she saw the gorgeous man on the sidewalk below. As if he could feel her gaze, he stopped and turned. Grigori’s eyes found hers, and she felt branded. He smiled, and she felt her knees weaken. She raised her hand in a feeble wave. He bowed to her in response, then turned and continued on his way. Unable to move, Melisande watched until he disappeared in the crowd.
She shook herself as if she were coming out of a dream. Maybe it was jet lag. The flight from Washington, D.C., was over seven hours long. She needed a bath and a nap to set her straight. Unpinning her hair, she moved to accomplish this first order of business.
Three hours later, Melisande was thinking of ordering tea, when there was a knock at the door. She opened it to find a beautiful bouquet of lavender and white roses in a crystal vase held by a deliveryman. She signed the receipt and carried the bouquet to the table. The flowers were beautiful. She touched a petal, then buried her nose in a bloom. She loved how the lavender and white roses smelled together.
She smiled when she glanced at the card. It was signed in a firm masculine hand. Dinner with you would be my utmost pleasure. I’ll pick you up at eight. Grigori.
“He is very confident,” she said and laughed. How could she resist him?
Grigori leaned back in his chair, as he felt the first stirrings of emotion come through the mating bond. He had just finished talking to the hotel staff about his plans for dinner. He could sense how much Melisande liked the flowers and was excited about going to dinner with him. Feeling his heart quicken, he picked up the single red rose he had purchased from the florist and moved into the bedroom. Pulling down the covers, he sprinkled the petals from the rose over the surface of the sheet.
He could see the yellow cord of light, which was now the width of a pencil, flowing from his chest and disappearing into the distance. Only someone with psychic powers would be able to see the cord tying his heart to Melisande’s.
As the cord grew stronger, he would pick up more and more of her thoughts and emotions. Once the bond was complete, they would be able to touch each other’s minds, and in fact would need to touch each other’s minds. For one of the most devastating effects of the mating bond was extreme grief, if either partner couldn’t touch the mind of his or her mate. And if something happened, and one of them passed onto the next plane of existence, then the mate would want to follow. Such was the way of the lycanthropes of Siberia.
Grigori admitted he needed to know more about his mate. He wanted the evening to be perfect. With a couple of phone calls, he discovered that she was an American who worked at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Smithsonian Museum, and lived in Virginia. Her parents had retired to Florida, leaving their only child alone. She was an expert in medieval tapestries. And from overhearing her conversation with Lady Ashton, he assumed she must be here to view the famous Ashton Collection.
He found Melisande fascinating and wondered what psychic abilities she had. For it became known, very recently, that only a woman with psychic abilities could mate with a lycanthrope and produce children with wolf spirits. Because his pack had run out of mates, the Alpha and leader, Dmitry Volkov, was sending the single males out in ones and twos, hoping they would find mates among the human population.
Surprisingly, that wasn’t why Grigori had come to London. He had come to help Scotland Yard track down a member of the Russian mafia, who was stealing from the pack warehouses in Yakutsk. The mafia trafficked in smuggled gems and metals, buying drugs and arms to bring back to Russia.
The previous day, Grigori had helped with the arrests and thought he would be on his way home to Siberia this afternoon. But then, Melisande walked into his hotel and changed his life. Nothing would ever be the same. He carefully considered what to wear before going in to shower. This was the most important night of his life. The claiming of his mate.
After his shower, Grigori paced back and forth across his hotel room for an hour. He had finished his preparations long before it was necessary. He felt edgy, restless, impatient. He was glad no one could see him. He was known for being cool and collected at all times. If his pack mates could see him now, they would tease him unmercifully.
Grigori looked at the clock on the wall for the hundredth time. The moment was finally here, and the stage was set. He glanced around, taking in all the details. Everything was just as he imagined. He would have Melisande in his arms tonight. Grigori smiled in satisfaction and left his hotel room to go upstairs.