Authors: V. J. Chambers
by V. J. Chambers
A BBW alpha werewolf story that takes its cues from “Beauty and the Beast”…
The mind of a beast. The body of a man.
Calla Reynolds awakes in a dark room but not alone. There is someone else with her. He is a wild man—beautiful and sculpted, possessed of a feral sensuality. He cannot speak. He only growls and whines. He stirs complicated feelings within her—fear, pity, and shamefully… desire. She vows to help him escape their dark prison, whatever it is, wherever they are.
Ryder Pierce changed into his werewolf form ten years ago, and he lost himself inside the animal. Now, he is back in human form, but he can’t remember how to be a man. In his mind, he is still a wolf. He is drawn this soft woman, however, to her curves and swells, to her quiet voice, to her calm strength.
If anyone can tame his wild beast and bring back his humanity, it will be her.
© copyright 2014 by V. J. Chambers
Punk Rawk Books
Please do not copy or post this book in its entirety or in parts anywhere. You may, however, share the entire book with a friend by forwarding the entire file to them. (And I won’t get mad.)
by V. J. Chambers
Calla’s head hurt.
She rubbed at the tender spot on her skull, and she slowly opened her eyes. She couldn’t see anything. It was pitch black.
She scrambled to her feet and felt the reassuring solidness of a wall at her back. She put her palms against its smoothness and felt around, looking for something identifiable on the wall. But there was nothing but a smooth surface, no discerning features on it at all.
Where was she?
She blinked hard, trying to see anything, to make some kind of sense of what was going on here. But it was dark. It was so dark. She took her hands away from the wall and drew them up before her wide eyes. At first, she couldn’t see anything. But then, she blinked again, and… yes, there! She could see the outline of her fingers. There was a little bit of light in here then.
Where was it coming from?
Calla’s eyes swept the darkness, looking for a sliver of light. Light meant the outside world. It meant she could escape.
She didn’t see anything.
But she heard a rustling in the distance. The rustling noise told her that the room she was in was long, because she could tell that the sound was far away.
It also told her something else.
She wasn’t alone in the darkness.
She held her breath, waiting for another sound.
She heard it again, the rustle of limbs, the faint patter of feet against the floor. The floor was strange wasn’t it? She tentatively tapped her own foot against it. Was it metal?
At the sound of her tapping, another noise came from the depths of the darkness. Something vocalized—a guttural noise. A snarling growl.
Her heart picked up speed.
It was an animal. She was trapped in a dark room with an animal, like some kind of ancient sacrifice. Or… or a Roman gladiator! At least they’d given the gladiators weapons, however. She had nothing. She could feel that she was still wearing her clothes, but she didn’t have her purse. Not that she carried weapons in her purse. She had a tiny pocketknife set in there, though. The blade was maybe an inch and a half long. She used the scissors and nail file attached to it more often than anything else. It had been a gift from Chad, and even though she’d gotten rid of almost everything he’d ever given her, she’d kept the pocketknife. It was useful.
But she didn’t have it now, unless her purse had been flung inside here with her. Maybe it was on the floor.
She dropped to her knees, feeling around on the floor for it. But the floor was just like the walls had been. A smooth, empty surface.
Oh God. Where was she? What was happening?
She couldn’t really be a sacrifice to an animal, could she? People didn’t do that kind of thing anymore. Not really. Sure, the religious nuts wanted everyone to believe that there were Satanic cults dotting the landscape, and that they all killed babies and drank blood, but the truth was that there was more hysteria than truth to those kinds of claims. And besides, she’d never heard of a Satanic cult feeding women to lions.
What had made her think it was a lion?
Probably thinking about the gladiators, she supposed. She’d pictured the Colosseum in all its splendor, the gladiators decked out with pitchforks and nets and swords, and the lions being released from the holding pens, growling and leaping on the men, tearing them to bits.
She’d been to the Colosseum once. A trip to Italy, an exchange trip. She taught high school English, but she’d been able to come along as a chaperone to help out with students. They’d all trooped up into the Colosseum and looked down on it, but of course, it didn’t look the way it had looked thousands of years ago. It was still standing—still formidable after all this time—but it was weathered and battered. The tour guide had told them that they used to fill the Colosseum with water to stage sea battles. Really, seeing the Colosseum had been one of her favorite parts of the Italy trip. She was fascinated by ancient Rome, much more so than the Renaissance, for instance, and she had enjoyed seeing all the Roman ruins much more than she’d enjoyed going to the Da Vinci Museum. Of course, she had to pretend that she was interested in all of it, because she was a teacher. Teachers had to model the behavior they wanted their students to adopt. She and the other teachers wanted the students to be engaged and excited by all the things they were seeing. So Calla had to act as if she was thrilled by everything they’d seen on the trip.
She was good at that sort of thing. At acting differently than she actually felt.
And even though right at that moment, she felt utterly terrified, she forced herself to take deep breaths and to be as calm as she could.
She was locked inside a dark room with an animal. She didn’t know why. But the animal was on the opposite side of the room, and it hadn’t come for her yet. Maybe it wasn’t going to hurt her. After all, most animals—even predators—weren’t unreasonable. They attacked when they were hungry or when they felt threatened. Otherwise, they tended to leave well enough alone. So maybe she could stay on this side of the room and the animal could stay on that side of the room, and nothing more would come of it besides that.
She braced herself against the wall.
, she thought at herself.
Calm. I’m calm.
She wasn’t sure what the point was of acting differently than she actually felt if there was no one around to see her. It wasn’t as if she was fooling herself, after all. She almost wished that someone else was here. If she had somehow managed to get into this situation with a group of students, for instance, then she’d be in much better shape. She’d stay calm for them, and she’d know that she needed to keep them safe. She’d have a purpose. But all alone, she didn’t know what to do.
She shut her eyes and opened them again, not that it made much difference. Her eyes were slowly adjusting to the darkness, and she could see the outline of her own body better. But when she stared out ahead of her, she couldn’t see anything.
That’s because there’s nothing in this room,
Just me and the animal.
But she couldn’t see the animal. She squinted, hoping maybe for a flash of its eyes. Nothing. She supposed that there needed to be light to reflect off an animal’s eyes. And it was dark in here. Oh, so dark.
She needed to get out, that was what she needed to do. And it wasn’t going to help anything if she panicked, so she should attempt to stay as calm as possible. She monitored her breathing, keeping it as even as she could. But she couldn’t slow her heart, which pounded erratically in her chest. And she couldn’t stop the sweat that was gathering inside her armpits, between her thighs.
They said that dogs could smell fear, and Calla had always thought the only way that could be true is if there was a distinctive scent in the sweat of a frightened person.
Was she giving off that scent now? What was it doing to the animal on the other side of the room?
She hadn’t heard anything in a few minutes now. She waited, listening. Maybe if she heard nothing, she could convince herself she’d imagined the animal.
But it was no use, because she couldn’t hear anything over the frantic racing of her heartbeat.
And besides, she didn’t need to be lulling herself into a false sense of security right now. She needed to be finding a way out of this room.
She began to inch along the wall, hands running against it. She moved in the direction opposite the animal, although she thought that it would probably be true that the door was behind the beast, that she’d have to fight it to get out.
That was the way things went. Ironic.
Well, perhaps not. She thought of the Alanis Morrisette song, of reading that certain professors didn’t feel the song was truly about irony, but simply bad luck. Calla had been young then. It must have been just after the song came out, because she was fairly sure that she’d still been in high school. She’d liked Alanis Morrisette back then, and she’d felt defensive. She did think the song was about irony. At least she had back then.
It would be years before she would stand up in front of a group of unruly teenagers and try to explain to them the concept of irony in a way that would make sense to them.
“Expectation,” she would say. “Irony is all about expectation and reality, and the way that two of them intersect. When the precise opposite of what you’re expecting happens, that’s irony.”
But that wasn’t quite right, and Calla knew it. Truthfully, irony was a bit like a joke. It didn’t work unless you felt an emotional reaction. You either got it or you didn’t. Explaining irony tended to ruin it, just like explaining a joke did. Irony was a bit unfathomable. That was why it was so powerful. Irony gave a little jolt to the reader. The jolt was what irony was. But explaining the jolt to teenagers? Trying to quantify something that wasn’t exactly quantifiable? Calla had never quite found an explanation for irony that she liked, and she’d been teaching English for nine years.
Maybe she’d figure it out at some point, but truthfully, she wasn’t coming up with creative ideas much anymore. She’d got her lessons down pat, and now she simply refined them. She didn’t rework them from scratch with completely new ideas. It was easier that way. The first few years teaching had been utterly exhausting, having to not only plan out every lesson but grade all the papers and figure out how to manage the discipline problems. Finally, she’d settled into something that mostly worked in her third year—
But that wasn’t actually right, was it?
She hadn’t settled because it worked, had she? She’d settled because she met Chad, and she was much more interested in their burgeoning relationship than she was in her job. She started going through the motions at work then, just doing whatever she needed to do, so that she could give all of herself to Chad.
And then… when it was all over, she was left with a job that seemed more like a prison sentence, not a creative outlet. She wasn’t sure how that had happened. She’d always wanted to be a teacher. She’d always thought she’d be good at it, and that it would fulfill her. But it hadn’t. And so she’d thought that Chad could fulfill her. But he hadn’t, not in the end. In the end, he’d betrayed her and crushed her. So now…
Her fingers reached out and found a corner. She was at the end of the room then. This new wall formed the back of the room—maybe the front.