Summer of Her Golden Wolf
"Where are the ghosts?" someone jokingly called out. Kassy laughed along with the rest of the group touring the Bannack, Montana ghost town.
"Mining for gold, what else?" the guide shot back, then launched into her recitation of Bannack's gold rush history.
Kassy trailed behind studying the old-timey tools inside the ore crushing mill. What had life been like, really? For moments eery whispers bombarded her head. As quickly, they stopped. What the...?
Real ghosts? No, we live. The image of a young handsome man appeared holding an open bag of gold nuggets.
Dumbstruck, Kassy murmured, "Gold fever never dies."
Shapeshifter, Zorzun, used his wolf nose to sniff the summer wind gently sweeping through Bannack. He sought the bold half god who had telepathically contacted Dante, the alpha werewolf leader of Wolf Peak Territory. Claiming to possess vital intel, the rogue deity finally convinced the Peak's Circle of Witches of his beneficent intention. Zorzun had been chosen as Dante's 'trusted one' to meet with Pellegro. After all, he'd previously interacted with another god dynasty on Earth. Yet instead of Pellegro's power-potent essence, Zorzun caught whiffs of the most divine female scent. The woman was human. But her lineage was rare.
"Did you hear that?" A tall sexy man asked over his shoulder. He reminded Kassy of a strutting rooster—certainly with that shock of red hair.
"What did your hear?" she asked, playing it safe.
He faced her, a smile playing on his lips. "The whispers," he paused. His blue-gray eyes glittered...yes, supernaturally. "Whispers from those who live in our past."
"Yes, whispers," she admitted. "But I didn't hear anything specific...until..."
"Until?" He raised a brow truly interested.
"A vision," she hesitated, "of a miner with gold nuggets. He spoke."
"Pardon me," he looked above her, "the wolf arrives."
She drew him like a super-charged magnet. Zorzun forced himself to continue his casual stride toward Hendricks Mill, where the mined gold had been processed. Howl about fate's inopportune timing. Here he was on a mission, and mating excitement gnawed at him with vicious fangs. He hadn't even seen her. Not yet. Wait! Zorzun halted in his tracks, sniffing again. By the grace of Mother Shining Moon, the demigod's supernatural odor slapped his nostrils. More intriguing, the woman's scent mingled with Pellegro's. They stood together inside the ore mill. Howls, yes! Zorzun hurried his steps as fast as he dared.
"Wolf?" Kassy blurted out. Damn, wish I hadn't said that. Leave, she told herself, before something weird, something not-good happens. Intending to slip around Mr. Rooster Guy, instead Kassy found herself sandwiched between two tall muscular men. Very *yum* muscular men. Her breath jerked inward. As quick, the air whooshed out of her lungs. Great, how embarrassing. "Excuse me." Kassy took a step. The wolf, as Mr. Rooster called him...he moved with her, blocking her escape. "Pellegro, may I assume?" Mr. Wolf's deep resonant voice shivery-melted Kassy—to her shock. No, no! She stiffened her spine. "Get out of my way."
"Pellegro, may I assume?" Zorzun made damn certain the flame-haired woman remained caged between him and the half-god.
"Get out of my way." Even though her tone was soft, controlled, her words pelted him, both ice and fire.
"Ma'am, I'd like a word with you. Please."
Picking up her mental vibes, Zorzun knew the woman pressed against him, wished like hell she could stomp his foot. Leave. Given he sported cowboy boots, and she wore running shoes, he was safe. Zorzun grinned to himself.
"At your service. To whom am I speaking?" Pellegro smirked, understanding glinting his eyes.
Now what? Kassy fumed and frowned, hearing...
"Zorzun is my handle. Dante sends his regards. Where would you like to speak?"
Zorzun, what an unusual name. Does he have to feel this good? Dammit! Irritated, her anger rising, Kassy wriggled wanting to edge her way out. Nope, she stopped. He liked it too much.
Should I scream, make a scene?
"There's quite the lovely picnic spot by the water at Vigilante campground. Do you know the area?" Pellegro's accent intrigued Kassy. Who was Mr. Rooster?
"I do. Should I bring lunch?" Zorzun cupped her shoulder, so gently she couldn't complain.
The woman he thought of his already, the woman he touched, singed him with her inner fire. Given her fury to be free of him, Zorzun figured he should be going up in flames. Howls, he'd be on mating fire once they...
"I have enough lunch to share." The smirk stayed on Pellegro's face. "I'll expect you in an hour. Bring a bottle of wine. You are a connoisseur, correct?"
"Your preference?" Zorzun arched his brows.
Before he could blink, the half god spun away, and was strolling down the path.
"Wow, where did he go?" his woman murmured.
"Oh no." Kassy held her breath and covered her nose. Too late. A couple wearing clothing saturated by cigarette smoke passed by. "Allergic. Don't call 911. Please, don't. They'll kill me," she gasped out before the seizure hit. Her knees buckled, and Kassy collapsed, helpless, unable to speak. Yet she remained conscious, aware, as usual.
Zorzun's strong arms, amazingly strong, caught her. "How do I help you?" His whispered words felt intimate. Somehow.
Can't speak. Dammit. Frustration knifed Kassy, and she wished like hell the seizure would end quickly. She never knew how long it would last. Only that she recovered.
Zorzun held the limp body of his woman close. "It's okay," he told several people who looked on with concern, and were poised to call 911. Lifting her into his arms, he added, "she had the flu recently. I'll take her to the hospital, have her checked out." As he strode toward his blue Ranger truck, Zorzun performed a mental scan automatically. What was wrong with her? He'd have to search deeper. No matter what, he'd find a way to heal her. Zorzun figured the curvaceous redhead was in her fifties. No problem. He owned a hundred and fifty-five years.
Mygawd, he's carrying me as if I'm a feather. Shock raced through Kassy drumming her heart. Just what I need on top of anaphylactic shock. More shock. For a moment, the downright sexiness of the man hit Kassy, slapped her senses wide awake. Where was he taking her? His stride was decisive alright. Kassy couldn't see the direction they headed.
I'm taking you to my truck to revive you.
Kassy stilled inside. Did I really hear those words?
Telepathy. Yes, I'm speaking to you, beautiful woman.
Beautiful woman? More shock wave-rolled through Kassy. She mentally shook herself. No. Stop. Stop.
I can't put you down. Leave you unattended. Howls, his woman felt deliciously perfect in his arms.
Moments later she stiffened. Wriggling slightly, she came out of her seizure. Relief washed through Zorzun down to the soles of his feet.
"Put me down. I can walk now."
"Are you sure you're okay?"
"Put me down, please."
Reluctance stabbed Zorzun. Yet he carefully placed her on her feet. When she steadied, he stepped back.
Watching him warily she backed away. "Thanks for your help. I can manage now."
She turned, and Zorzun leashed himself shoving his hands in his jean pockets.
Struggling to keep her breath, Kassy walked faster than was good for her. About halfway to her minivan, she glanced over her shoulder. He wasn't following. Bigtime relieved, she slowed gulping in breaths. Glad I parked in the shade. Close to hyperventilating, Kassy climbed inside her temporary travel home on wheels. She locked the door quickly. No sight of Mr. Wolf Zorzun. Once her breathing eased, Kassy grabbed her water bottle, and swallowed her supplements. She would have driven away, except a familiar exhaustion claimed her. Kassy could only crawl to her makeshift bed. She collapsed on the large pillows.
Letting his nose follow her, Zorzun planted his feet on the ground. Once he heard her vehicle's door open, the chase was on. His woman's scent told him an unhealthy fatigue caused her to fall asleep fast. His challenge: save his woman from herself, then meet Pellegro with a bottle of wine in about forty minutes. As if fleas attacked, Zorzun Itched to wolf-heal her. He silently opened the back door of her minivan, no problem. Careful not to disturb her, he slipped inside. Getting out of his clothes proved interesting in the confined space. But unleashing his wolf, easy.
Too weak, Kassy didn't try to get comfortable. From a dead sleep, she jerked awake. Flame-golden eyes burned into her. Her heart stopped, then pounded. Is there a wolf staring at me...am I dreaming? Before she could blink or think, a tongue licked her cheek softly. Even in the dim interior she could see a wolf face...unless this was a dog-wolf hybrid. But how in the hell could it have gotten inside? Was it going to eat her? Again, the animal's tongue touched her cheek, as if to calm her. "Nice doggie," she tried, given his expression seemed benign.
As full golden wolf, a form beyond wolf, Zorzun covered his woman's body gently with his. Sniffing, he blew his breath against her face. Her scent activated his supernatural healing ability. Even though, he didn't know the cause of her ailments, his force enveloped her, penetrating. Zorzun realized many such healings would be needed to return her to vibrant health. Quickly, he determined why. Over a lifetime she'd been severely damaged by the poisonous pollutants blanketing Earth. Her body was too sensitive. She was so ethereal in nature that her tolerance remained low. Her eyes flew open. Beautiful Caribbean-azure eyes.
"Good doggie. Good wolf," Kassy crooned. "How did you get in here?"
Is he smiling? Sure looks like it.
His wet nose touched the tip of her nose like a kiss. Then his intent gaze blazed on her again.
"Are you friendly?" He nosed her cheek with obvious affection. "I guess you're not going to eat me, huh?"
Okay, for real, he shook his head 'no'.
"Gold dust. You look like your fur is dusted by flakes of gold." Unaware she'd raised her hand, Kassy lightly stroked his ruff. "Your head is haloed by a golden light. How is that?"
Zorzun longed to shift to human. Fiercely longed to answer his woman's question. Howls, he already loved her touch. However, transforming to a man wasn't a good idea, not with her fragile health. Besides morphing would frighten her terribly.
"Not much sunlight in here," she murmured. "But you're still golden." Lightly she threaded her fingers through his coat. "And your fur feels incredible. You know I like dogs...and wolves."
She paused, frowned a bit. "Do you need a home?"
"I still can't understand how you got in here. Everything is locked."
Magick, he spoke to her mind.
Magick, Kassy repeated as the thought seized her mind. It is like magic.
"Beautiful," she murmured. "You are so beautiful." She caressed the golden wolf dog with both hands, lost in the sensations.
You are beautiful, flooded her mind.
"What?" she uttered in surprised response. His nose kissed hers again.
"What a sweet guy you are." Kassy stroked her thumb from his nose to the top of his magnificent head. His ears flattened, softened in appreciation.
I can't explain your presence, wolf-dog, yet somehow I feel safe. And I'm feeling much better...how is that? Mentally, Kassy shook her head.
Zorzun silently howled with happiness. She did hear his mindspeak, even if she didn't realize it. His woman also naturally accepted the healing frequencies he poured inside her. "Name," she crooned. "What is your name? I mean, you need one. You probably have one. Gosh, maybe you're lost. Do I need to find your owner?"
Zorzun vigorously shook his head *no*.
"Okay then," she drawled, still petting him. "We'll decide on a name later." She sat up so they were eye to eye.
Zorzun stared into her amazing blue-glittering eyes. The soul of a high priestess stared back at him.
Impulsively, Kassy uttered, "Why do I feel okay...so much better?"
Vitality like she hadn't known in ages spread through Kassy. She smiled spontaneously. Oh yeah, nothing this miraculous, nothing this unexplainable had happened in a long, long time. Her golden wolf dog and this sudden rejuvenation...wow!
Once paranormal events had been plentiful, amazing in her life–but had died out when her health rapidly declined.
"Why don't we go outside?" Kassy leaned forward to open the minivan's back door. Her hand sank into a pile of...was it clothing? "What's this? I know I didn't leave any clothes back here."
Zorzun spun around quick as if he really wanted to go outside. He used his shoulder to bump his future mate enough so her hand lifted away from his human clothing. Now what? How did he distract her?
"Okay, okay, big boy. I'll open the door." Within moments she'd shoved the door open, and was following him as he leaped outside.
Zorzun whirled to her. Attempting to look as doggie-cute as he could, he playfully lowered to his front legs, then wagged his tail.
"Aren't you impressively adorable?" She cupped his face and caressed his furry cheeks with her palms.