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Afterwards, the students mobbed me with questions and effusions. But my wolf slid past so quickly her act bordered on rudeness. What did students matter when Claw was present? Without wasting time on apologies, we took the stairs to the back of the lecture hall two at a time.
All three werewolves rose as I approached them. The gesture might have been respectful, but it felt more like intimidation. I tensed, fully expecting a mean-spirited comment from one of Claw’s companions.
After all, Theta was dour by nature and Harry hated me because I’d lost him the job of presidential protector. Both were strong, hard, and capable. No wonder they found it frustrating to cool their heels in a small college town.
Claw was their alpha, however, so where he went they followed. Now, they let their leader do the talking for the group.
“Olivia.” Claw’s voice was as sweetly seductive as the cloud of butterscotch surrounding him.
“Claw.” I breathed the word as I relived our most recent conversation. For weeks, I’d avoided this werewolf who turned my inner beast unruly. But three days ago we’d all been invited to the White House for a formal thank-you from our President.
There, Claw had finally drawn me aside and forced the conversation I’d been trying to escape.
“What you and Val want,” he growled, “is an abomination.”
“I have to do this.”
“At least hunt with the pack one more time before you make a final decision.”
“I’m trying to cut that tie, not strengthen it.”
“You think starving your wolf will make her leave you?”
“I’m not starving her. I’m segregating her.”
“That’s the exact same thing.”
His eyes had said I was an idiot, but his mouth remained silent. We’d left it at that. Or I had.
Since then, Claw kept showing up just beyond speaking distance. In the cafeteria when I met with a student interested in a career in archaeology. At the edge of my vision when I walked home on a day too warm to be stuck in a vehicle. Outside my bedroom window just before I closed the shades for the night.
His silent presence should have been creepy. But Claw met my eyes, raised his brows, accepted my silent refusal to budge on my decision.
Rather than a stalker, he was a sentinel guarding a recently Changed werewolf. He disapproved of my decision, but he wouldn’t try to force the issue. Instead, he watched, waited, expressed his willingness to help if I lost the battle with my inner beast.
Now, he took a single step forward. His lips parted—for a kiss or a comment?
I never knew, because Claw’s languid grace shifted into alertness as his eyes flicked up and over my shoulder. Behind you, my wolf warned unnecessarily.
I whirled, taking in the grandmotherly form of Dr. Inez Sanora, the new department chair. She was one inch shorter than I was, her long gray hair twisted into an unremarkable bun. But her tone reminded me less of a fairy-tale grandmother and more of the big, bad wolf.
“When you have a moment, I’d like to speak with you.”
Apparently my joke about tomato juice hadn’t hoodwinked everyone.
Do you want to know what happens next? Keep reading in Moon Dancer!