Spotlight on The Last Wolf by Maria Vale, Plus Excerpt & Giveaway!
Today we're excited to spotlight The Last Wolf by Maria Vale! Read on for more about Maria and her book, plus an excerpt and giveaway!
Meet Maria Vale!
Maria Vale is a journalist who has worked for Publishers Weekly, Glamour magazine, Redbook, the Philadelphia Inquirer. She is a logophile and a bibliovore and a worrier about the world. Trained as a medievalist, she tries to shoehorn the language of Beowulf into things that don't really need it. She currently lives in New York with her husband, two sons and a long line of dead plants. No one will let her have a pet. Visit her at https://www.mariavale.com/.
If she returns to her Pack, the stranger will die. But if she stays...
Silver Nilsdottir is at the bottom of her Pack’s social order, with little chance for a decent mate and a better life. Until the day a stranger stumbles into their territory, wounded and beaten, and Silver decides to risk everything on Tiberius Leveraux. But Tiberius isn’t all he seems, and in the fragile balance of the Pack and wild, he may tip the destiny of all wolves...
Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble | Chapters | iBooks | Indiebound
“I’ll take a receipt,” Ti says when the man hands the card back.
“You’ll take yourself out of here is what you’ll do.” And the man pulls back his camouflage jacket. I see the handle of a big gun stuck in a holster.
In that second, my breath comes fast and my heart beats hard and a growl rumbles through my chest, but Ti just shakes his head at me.
How is it that he is never afraid? How is it that I never scent that cocktail of salt and old leather, the potent combination of sweat and adrenaline, the smell of fear? In one step, he pulls the receipt out of the cash register and hovers above the man, so that the Junkyard Man can feel the many inches Ti has on him. Feel that this man, my bedfellow, has the BMI of a jackhammer.
The bell rings at the door, and the man lets his jacket fall, covering the gun. It’s no one, just a thin older man with a yellowed mustache and yellow fingers.
The man looks for a moment at Ti, and then his eyes slide back to the Junkyard Man. “Marlboro Red, Anderson. Soft pack.”
Ti’s mouth tightens, his nose flares under his furrowed brow, and my unflappable bedfellow suddenly smells like a crushed cottonmouth.
“Time to go,” he snaps, putting his hand around my arm.
The door to the back office is opened slightly. The boss watches through the crack.
“I can’t believe you let him treat us that way.” Bafflement flits across the boss’s pimply face as I point to Anderson. “I don’t know how you got to be in charge, because you’ve got the balls of an Omega.”
Ti jerks hard on my arm, and I stumble across the threshold of the body shop.
“What would make you say that?” he says, clambering into the car beside me.
“He’s not in charge; he’s just some high-school kid.”
“Didn’t you see? It said, right here...” I jab my finger at a spot high on my left breast. “It said ‘BOSS’ in big letters.” “Oh Jesus, Sil.”
Ti starts the car, and the engine roars on. I sniff hard, trying to get rid of the smell of the carrion sticks, but all I get is the smell of petroleum. The faces of the angry junkyard man and the frightened boy who was not the boss and the man with the yellowed mustache tapping his red and white package against the heel of his palm stare through the window until we are out of sight.
At a stop sign, Ti reaches across me to pull on the seat belt.
But I’m feeling angry and like I need to run, and I push him away.
“You have to wear it.”
A car behind us beeps, and I leap out of my seat.
“Listen to me,” Ti says. “Let me just get you out of town, then we’ll undo it.” Whoever it is leans on their horn, and my breathing comes faster and I kick off my shoes.
“Shit,” Ti hisses, then steps on the gas, one hand holding the wheel, the other pushing me back against the seat.
Unzipping my jeans, I wriggle my hips until my bottom half is bare.
“Not now. Just try to hold on for me.”
But it’s too late. My face starts to push forward before I’ve even stripped off my shirt. Ti floors it, taking the curves at a squeal. At a dirt road, he peels off down what will probably be a snowmobile track soon.
He hits the brakes and then comes around to my side and opens the door. He lifts my grotesque half-changed body from the seat. My eyes can’t focus and my ears can’t distinguish, but as I lean against his chest, I feel the rumble of his voice.
As soon as he lays me on the moldering pine needles beside the path, I start to stumble off, ricocheting against a willow.
I’m already far away when I can finally hear him, his usually soft voice raised in a yell. “Run, Wildfire. Don’t let anyone see you.”
I’m careful to keep low and to the trees as I race for our territory. Once I cross the marked and posted boundary though, I don’t head straight back to the Home Pond. Instead I run wild, reveling in the crunch of frost-covered leaves under my paws. At the peaks, I breathe deeply the ice-cold air and watch the subtle shifts of soft gray over the lower peaks and valleys all around me, each damp caress washing away the heat and death.
Then John howls, telling me that’s enough already and it’s time to come home.
The sun is almost gone by the time I stumble awkwardly up to the boathouse dock. Both big wooden chairs are occupied. John nods to Ti and puts his hand in my ruff.
“Tomorrow,” John says. “Early,” he says. He doesn’t say that I’m in deep trouble, that there will be hell to pay, but as I lay myself down and roll my shoulders back, starting the change, I know there will be.
No law is more strictly enforced than the law against changing Offland. It is the only way to protect our sacred wild. The humans already slaughter the æcewulfs. Hunt them with rifles and bolts from the ground and from the air. If they found out about us...
As soon as I’m in skin, Ti opens the big red-and-gray-striped blanket wide. I curl naked into his lap, and he props his head on mine.
I lay my hand on his chest. “Why were you so angry about that man in the gas station? Not the man with the gun. The other one. The man with the dying lungs?”
“I wasn’t. You were getting upset. I was worried about you.”
I frown, my finger beating with the speeding rhythm of his heart. I know there’s something going on inside here. A man as much as threatened him with a gun. But Ti stayed stone faced and quiet voiced. That changed, though—I know it, I smelled it—when he saw the man with the yellow-stained fingers and breath like coal and rot.
“Ti?” I shift up, so I can whisper in his ear. “You know we’re not allowed to kill without eating. But if you need me to, I will eat him for you.”
He doesn’t say anything, but his thick arms pull tight around me. We listen for a while to the coyote shrieks in the distance.
“You know,” he finally says, “you’re the only person who has ever wanted to protect me.”
When the sun is gone and the clouds cover the waxing gibbous moon, he says, “I don’t think he would taste very good.” “No. I didn’t think he would.”
The Last Wolf
By: Maria Vale
Release Date: February 6, 2018
One winner will receive a copy of The Last Wolf and a poster (US only).
I really like the cover. I love how the man and wolf are perfectly blended together. Im also glad i visited the website to see all the terms and explainations