Chapter 2

Sleep eluded Malcolm consistently, until the early morning sun began to crest outside his bedroom and rise above the rippling ocean. It cast fiery glints along the waves below. He was brimming with anticipation of what lay ahead. He couldn’t wait to set eyes on his mate. See her in the flesh. He’d been waiting a lifetime to have her with him, and the day was finally here. He showered quickly and readied himself for the day. Staring out over the crashing waves, he ran various scenarios over and over. Exactly how was he going to tell Samantha who she really was? The right way escaped him. He ran his hands over his face, rubbed his tired eyes, and cursed quietly under his breath. A rap at his bedroom door ripped him from his mental exile. “Come in, Davis,” he said with slight exasperation.

Davis entered, carrying a tray of fresh coffee and toast. He was a slightly stooped over British gentleman who in his youth had likely been a rather imposing figure. While time had robbed him of much of his strength he was always impeccably dressed and had a constant twinkle in his eye. Davis was the family butler for years and a member of the Vasullus family. Generation after generation of his family served the Amoveo. They were the only branch of humans that knew of their existence, other than the Caedo. They lived to protect the Amoveo people from harm or discovery.

“Davis, why do you even bother knocking? It’s just the two of us here.”

“Well, sir, I wanted to be sure you were prepared for visitors this morning. I know it’s a big day today, what with Ms. Samantha arriving back and all. I thought you might be feeling a bit nervous and didn’t want to give you a fright,” he said with a quiet smile. Gently, he placed the tray onto the enormous mahogany nightstand. It looked small in comparison to the looming four-poster bed it stood next to.

“Why on earth would I be nervous? I’m her mate. She is mine. Period,” he growled. He stepped into his cavernous walk-in closet and haphazardly threw on a rumpled polo and khaki pants.

“Somehow, I don’t think it’s quite that simple, sir. She doesn’t even know she’s an Amoveo. That alone is a bit of a pill to swallow.” He poured a fresh cup of coffee and handed it to Malcolm. “Besides, her own grandmother doesn’t even know. Now she’s a right saucy dish that Nonie.” He winked.

Malcolm shot Davis an irritated glare and took a sip of his coffee, but stopped abruptly at the sound of a car crunching its way into the neighboring driveway. He passed the clattering cup and saucer back to Davis, brushed past him, and ran down the sweeping stairway to the bay windows. He stood at the edge of the window taking great care not to let her see him. He didn’t want Samantha to see him just yet. Malcolm, his body rigid with expectation, gently pulled back the thick drapery and stared at the little red car in the driveway below.

His heart skipped a beat, and his breath caught in his throat at the sight of his mate. He called up the sharp eyesight of the eagle. It took much of his limited powers to do it, but it was well worth it. He saw every beautiful detail of her face—her large almond-shaped eyes that reminded him of Ceylon sapphires, regal high cheekbones, a delicate nose, generous pink lips that begged to be kissed, and her face framed by lustrous blonde hair that gleamed brightly in the sunlight. He envisioned burying his nose there and breathing her in. His body responded urgently, tightening and hardening with an overwhelming desire he’d never experienced. Quickly, he stepped away from the window and let the drape fall down to block out the sun.


After the brutal drive along the I-95 corridor from NYC, Samantha finally pulled her old VW Bug into the long gravel driveway of her childhood home. The poor car had barely made the trip back to her grandmother’s house. She stopped for a moment, giving the old girl a rest before forcing it up the large hill. The enormity of what she was doing finally hit her. Self-doubt crept in and crawled up her spine. Was she doing the right thing? Was she really being brave and starting over, or was she running home a failure like Roger said? Her stomach tightened, and anger flared hotly in her chest. No! She was taking charge of her life, and he could kiss her ass.

A flash of light caught her eye, interrupting her inner dialogue. Sam looked over at the house that loomed ominously next door. She forgot how huge the old Victorian was—it dwarfed Nonie’s little Cape. It was as creepy as it was big. The Drew family had owned it for generations. Instead of looking stately, it looked aloof and horribly lonely. The wolf dream wasn’t the only dream that had played over and over. There was another one that didn’t have the same effect. She shuddered at the memory of the persistent nightmare she’d had since high school. She would wake up sweating, frightened, and just a little bit sad.

Sam shielded her eyes from the glare of the setting August sun as she peered at the old Drew house. She could swear the house looked like it was sitting there waiting for something. Sam shuddered slightly and threw the car into first gear. As the old rust bucket lurched up the gravel drive, she got the overwhelming feeling that someone or something in that house was waiting for her.

Sam climbed out of her car at the top of the drive and gave her stiff body a long, lazy stretch. She grinned, hearing her name carried in the breeze. She looked over and saw Nonie waving from the top of the beach stairs. Although well into her seventies, Nonie still had spunk. Her silver hair was swept gracefully up in a bun with loose pieces flying around her twinkling blue eyes. She scooped Sam up as though she were still the little girl with pigtails and braces. She thought Nonie gave the best hugs. They made her feel completely enveloped in warmth, like she could stay cradled there forever. Cherished,always cherished.

“Well, my goodness! Samantha Jane Logan, it’s good to have my girl home! How was your trip? Not bad traffic, I hope,” Nonie said, slowly releasing her grip on Sam.

“No more than usual. It’s so good to be home Nonie. Are you sure you’re going to be able to stand having me around again?”

“Well, I’ll have to tell all my lovers to back off, but it’s worth the sacrifice,” she said teasingly. “Come on now, bring your things in, and let’s get you settled.”

Lovers? Sam knew she’d been teasing, but the idea still made her queasy. It wouldn’t be outrageous to think that Nonie got more action than she did. Sam had only had two lovers in her life, and neither one had lived up to her expectations. The first was her college boyfriend of three years, and the second was the only boyfriend since. It had been a brief affair that lasted less than a year. Sex and love were intermingled for her. She had friends that could separate the two, but not her. That pesky thing called her heart always got in the way of the whole friends-with-benefits thing. The sex she’d experienced so far didn’t exactly inspire her to seek it out. In the movies or on television, it was portrayed as this electrifying event. Well, it just wasn’t like that for her and she doubted it ever would be.

She brought her bags into the house and realized that it was probably better she felt that way. She smiled wryly, looking around her childhood home. If she did meet someone now, she couldn’t exactly bring him back to her place. Nonie insisted Sam get herself unpacked and settled while she got lunch together. Sam knew what was for lunch when she had walked in. The whole house was filled with the comforting aroma of Nonie and Pop’s conch chowder. Smiling wistfully, she climbed the stairs up to her old room and started getting settled. She put her clothes away and slipped back into her old room easily. Like a pair of comfy old blue jeans. She stood at the bay windows, overlooking the ocean and the beach below. A glint from the Drew house caught her eye, as it had earlier. This time she could see someone in the window upstairs. She cranked the window open and leaned out to get a closer look. Whoever it was stepped back and the drape closed. Strange. Who was there? Her curiosity was peaked.

Growing up here all those years, she never saw anyone except the live-in butler, Davis. She swore the guy was older than dirt. She and her best friend, Kerry Smithson, would double-dog-dare each other to go over and step just one foot on their property. Sam smiled at the memory. They usually ended up giggling, screaming, and running back home. The Smithson family owned the house to the left of Nonie’s. It had been the family’s summerhouse for years. She and Kerry grew up together sharing everything, every summer since either of them could remember. During the rest of the year, they’d stayed in touch with letters and phone calls. Sam had gone to boarding school because it was too desolate in the off-season. Nonie didn’t want her growing up alone.

“Sam! Lunch is on,” Nonie called.

“Coming, Nonie,” Sam shouted as she closed the window. She bounced down the stairs and slid into her chair at the kitchen table, just as she had so many times as a girl. “It smells amazing, Nonie. Now I know I’m home.”

“Well, dig in, my dear,” she said.

Sam ate the first spoonful and smiled. “Thank you, Nonie.” Her throat tightened, and her eyes began to well up. The swell of emotions took her by surprise.

“It’s just soup, dear.” She covered Sam’s hand with her own.

“No.” She sniffed. “Thank you for everything, for raising me, for taking me in now, for the soup, for all of it.” She giggled a bit through her tears, feeling foolish for such a display. New Englanders aren’t exactly known for free-flowing emotions.

“Now, now. I should be thanking you. If it weren’t for you, I’d have no family left. You keep me young. I’m thrilled to have you here with me. Kerry’s parents have left for the summer already, off to Paris or something.” She waved. “So that would leave me with old Davis next door, and he’s even older than me.” She chuckled. “Thank goodness you’re here. The winter will be much more tolerable this year.” She smiled. “Come on, your soup’s getting cold. Eat up.” She gave Sam’s hand a squeeze.

“Wow. Davis is still taking care of that old place? How old is he now? He was like a fossil when I was a kid.” Sam smiled over her bowl at Nonie.

“Very funny, missy. He’s not that much older than me, smarty pants.”

Sam chuckled and dug back into her chowder, savoring every bite. They fell into a slightly awkward silence. Sam had never really explained to Nonie why she was coming home, probably because Nonie hadn’t asked. A few weeks ago, she simply called up and said she’d be moving back home.

Time to acknowledge the elephant in the room.

Sam didn’t know how to start or where to begin. Nonie’s sea blue eyes were inspecting her intently, and it made Sam squirm a bit in her seat.

“So,” Nonie began, “are you ever going to tell me why you decided to leave New York?”

Elephant acknowledged.

“Not that I’m complaining. Please don’t misunderstand. I’m just…well I’m worried about you, Samantha Jane.” She took a sip of her tea but didn’t take that intense gaze off of Sam for one second.

Sam pushed what was left of her chowder around the oversized bowl and stared into it as if the right answer would be revealed in the bay leaves. Nonie was a bit of a velvet steamroller, and she always got what she wanted with gentle but persistent measures. To be honest, Sam was surprised it had taken her this long to start the inquisition.

Sam took a deep breath and a large swig from her glass of milk, really wishing that it was a shot of bourbon. “I couldn’t hack it.” She shrugged. “I got tired of waiting.”

“Waiting?” Nonie cocked her head, and her eyes squinted with obvious confusion. “You mean waiting tables?”

“Well, that sure. Since I’m an artist, I suppose there’s no way around that one.” She laughed softly. “But more than that. Waiting for my art to sell, waiting for Mr. Right.” She sat back in the chair that had once seemed so big. “Just waiting. I came to a point where I felt like I was waiting for my life to start, but at the same time life was passing me by.” She leaned on the table with her elbows and rested her chin in her hands.

“Is that all? Something must’ve sparked this revelation.” Nonie’s eyes narrowed, and that I-know-you’re-not-telling-me-everything tone dangled in air.

Sam avoided her gaze and immediately gave more attention to her chowder. “I had a dream,” she mumbled.

“I’m sorry, dear? I didn’t catch that. What did you say?”

Sam cleared her throat and said it again. “A dream,” she said with a bit more volume. She grimaced because she knew it sounded crazy. Hell, it sounded even crazier once she said it out loud. She forced herself to look up at her grandmother. To her relief she was met with a small smile and the same loving eyes she’d seen her entire life. “Sounds kind of nutty, huh?”

Nonie shook her head slightly and placed her teacup in its saucer. “Not nutty at all,” she said serenely. “What kind of dream was it?”

Sam hesitated and nibbled on her bottom lip. “I dreamed of being here at the beach.” She smiled back at Nonie and took another sip of her milk. “It just made me want to come home. That’s all. Besides, I’m in my thirties now. I gave the big city a shot in my twenties, but…new decade…new start.”

Nonie made a small sound of understanding but clearly knew Sam wasn’t telling her everything. Sam avoided telling Nonie the whole truth about the dream. She wasn’t sure why, because normally she told Nonie everything. She wanted to keep that private.

Change the subject, change the subject.

“Nonie,” she said with more enthusiasm than necessary. “Is someone living in the Drew house with Davis? I could swear I saw someone in one of the upstairs windows.”

“Oh, fine.” She sighed. “Change the subject.”

Sam smiled and shook her head. Nonie always could always see right through her.

Just call me Ms. Cellophane.

“Seriously, I saw somebody in one of the upstairs windows. It was a little creeptastic.”

“Maybe it was Davis.” Nonie smiled slyly.

“Okay. What’s the deal?” Sam leaned in and pushed the now empty bowl aside. “You know that house has always given me the creeps. With only that old caretaker guy, Davis, living in it, the place always had a major haunted house vibe. Lonely and sad looking you know.” She shivered and rubbed her arms. “It always gave me the creeps…not to mention nightmares.”

“What nightmares?” The stern tone of Nonie’s voice caught Sam completely off guard. “Samantha Jane Logan. Answer me.”

Sam sputtered a bit before answering. “Well, it’s really not a big deal.”

“Fine, then tell me,” she said more softly.

Oh yeah, velvet steamroller.

Sam rolled her eyes and smiled. “You are like a dog with a bone.”

Nonie simply smiled and sat back with her wrinkled hands folded delicately in her lap, patiently waiting to get the explanation she asked for.

“Ever since high school, I’ve had a recurring dream that I’m lost in that house with someone calling my name.” Sam leaned back in her chair, and her gaze wandered to the kitchen window and landed firmly on the old Victorian next door. Her voice wavered and dipped to almost a whisper. “It’s a man. His voice is deep and almost hypnotic. I can hear him calling me. He sounds so…desperate. I run from room to room, but I can never find him. It’s dark, and I’m alone.” Her eyes filled with tears at the vivid memory of it. She sniffled and wiped at her eyes with the back of her hand.

“Seems more sad than scary,” Nonie said quietly, her eyes searching Sam’s. She opened her mouth to say more but shut it quickly. She fiddled with her teacup and continued to inspect Sam with worry-filled eyes.

“It’s just a silly childhood dream,” she said with a wave of her napkin and a swipe at her nose.

“Mmm hmmm,” Nonie murmured, not sounding all that convinced. “I do remember you having trouble sleeping. Why didn’t you tell me about this when you were younger?”

Change the subject, change the subject.

“Hey, you never answered my question. Who’s living in that house with the old guy? Did one of the Drew family members actually move in?”

Nonie remained silent and gave a coy shrug.

“You stinker,” she teased. “There’s someone else living in that house now isn’t there? There’s gotta be because the person I saw through the window was way bigger than Davis. Come on, Nonie,” she prodded. “You must’ve met one of the Drews in all the years you’ve lived here. I never have, and I know Pop never mentioned it.”

Nonie leaned in and lowered her voice as though she didn’t want to get caught sharing the juicy bit of gossip. “Well, from what I understand, young Malcolm Drew lives there now. He’s supposedly the brooding, loner type. Very mysterious,” she whispered. “According to Millie at the diner, he runs the family fortune, overseas shipping, or some such thing. Recently moved back here—alone—and now runs the whole business from right next door. He was an only child just like you. I heard his father had died a couple of years ago. I never met the mother, no one here has. Oh, heard rumors of course. But who knows. Maybe you could go over and introduce yourself? Bring him a plate of cookies or something.” She winked playfully.

“Nonie! I’ve been here less than twelve hours, and already you’re trying to set me up. With some weirdo shut-in no less. No. No men. My first priority is finding a job.”

“I thought your first priority was your art?”

“Well, first I’ve got to find a job to support my art. As I firmly established in the city, it’s not exactly in high demand.” She sighed. “I was thinking of asking Millie if they needed any help at the diner.”

“I thought you were tired of waiting tables?”

“Millie’s place is like my second home. Besides, she usually loses her staff at the end of the season when they go back to school.”

“Sounds good,” Nonie said with her typical optimism. “Let’s go see her at the diner tomorrow and see what’s what.”

Within a few moments, they fell into a comfortable silence and listened to the soothing sounds of the ocean while they ate.


He’d followed her back from New York. He had his orders to run surveillance on the Logan woman again. They’d observed her off and on over the years. Watching carefully to see if she showed any sign of infection, but so far zip, she was just a woman. He sighed with boredom as he watched her go into the house with her grandmother. Dropping his binoculars on the seat next to him, he quickly took down some notes. Tony hated this assignment because he was convinced there was not going to be any action. He wanted to be in the thick of it and bag an Amoveo for himself, not following some pathetic, freak waitress around. They hadn’t killed one for years, not since her parents. That had been a big job, bumping off an Amoveo and his human whore. He cringed at the thought of it. A human woman knowingly mated with one of these animals. It infuriated him. The worst part was that they created some kind of mutant offspring. This woman was a walking atrocity, half human and half animal.

Anger and disgust welled up inside of him. He remembered some of the stories he’d been told. How his ancestors had hunted down and killed these creatures, freaks of nature that practically spat in the face of God. His grandfather had told him about some of the kills he’d made back in the day. They hadn’t gotten any good ones in years. What he really loved though was that you got two for the price of one. Kill one Amoveo and their bitch died too. What could be better than that? It had been a great side effect to help them wipe them off the face of the earth. They had gotten very good at hiding from his family—from the Caedo. They were a sneaky bunch of bastards. His grandfather told him—Don’t ever think your job is done. We cannot rest until all of these devils are eliminated from our world. Tony couldn’t let his grandfather down. He wanted to make his mark and do his family proud. Recently, he had taken measures on his own that were outside the box. He smiled smugly to himself, admiring his own creative brilliance. He was making his final notes when the cell phone rang loudly next to him. He saw the number and smiled. It was his partner. “Hello?”

“Have you seen her?” the voice asked.

“Yes, she just got home. She’s inside with the old lady. Nothing major has happened. I’ll call you if—”

“Shut up and listen.”

The command was abrupt. Tony hated being told what to do, but waited in silence.

“Her mate has found her. Do not let her out of your sight. He will definitely try to make contact with her soon. If he does, you know what to do.”

“Yeah, look I’m not stupid.” His comment was met with a click as his partner hung up on him with no warning. “Yeah, good-bye to you too.” Tony hurled the phone onto the seat next to him. “Screw you. Think you can tell me what to do? You fucker,” he spat. Furious, he pulled away from the side of the road. As he drove away from the house, he kept repeating his new mantra, the one that kept him going. “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”