Her Wolf (Book 1 of The Circle Series)


When Giada unexpectedly backs out of a ritual meant to bring immense pride and power to her coven, she leaves home and everyone she's ever known behind.

Five years later, she returns hoping to make amends with her coven and reconnect with old friends. What ensues is an unexpected night of passion with the Alpha of the Silver Moon Pack, Sebastian Lykos. Their connection leads to a whirlwind summer romance that threatens to break bonds, unravel old secrets, and expose plans of betrayal and revenge long ago set in motion.

Will her coven welcome her back with open arms? Will Giada be able to overcome the multiple obstacles thrown her way or will she continue to run from her fate?

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GIADA There’s something about drinking warm milk before bed that makes me feel like a kid. Taking a sip from my mug, tingles spread throughout my body as I stare out at the cove-studded coastline.  It has become a routine lately to come out on the balcony at night. The sounds of the island and the waves crashing against the shore soothe me in ways not much can. Summer is almost here which means quite a bit of vacation time, more specifically beach time. There’s not much better than being barefoot, near the water, and feeling the sun on your skin.  The Marina Grande is my favorite beach on the island, despite all its pebbles. It’s also a part of the main port and there is always something going on. Yachts and ferries filled with tourists come in droves and it gets rather busy in the summer, but I don’t mind.  It doesn’t matter the time of day though, Capri is quite charming and the Amalfi Coast is undeniably beautiful.  I’ve always loved Italy. Both of my parents are Italian, but my dad was born here and still has family here. Whereas my mom’s family all live in Canada. I’ve been living here for a few years and while my apartment is tiny and my roommate is temperamental, I love my job. It’s a bonus that the food is divine and the people are incredibly friendly. I just can’t get enough of the Mediterranean lifestyle.  I teach English to teenagers and my contract is up in a few weeks. I am hoping it will be renewed again, keeping me here for another year at least. I also teach ballet to little kids on the weekends at the local studio Primi Passi.  If things don’t work out, I guess I could always go back to Naples and stay with my nonna (grandmother). She’d love to have me with her, I’m sure. One thing was certain, going home wasn’t an option. The mere thought of it causes some tightness in my chest.  The phone rings from somewhere inside. I run to grab it and plop myself on the couch.  Jacqueline’s smiling face appears.  “Hey girl! ” she shrieks.  “Hey! What a nice surprise! What’s up?” “Ah, not much. I just got home from work. It was my last day today. What time is it there?” she asks.  Jacqueline is one of my oldest friends. We met in dance class and have known each other for over twenty years. She’s back home in Toronto, so the time difference sometimes makes it hard to catch up. “Almost 10:00. You must be thrilled you’re officially on maternity leave. Now you can relax a bit before the babies arrive.”  “Yup. The doctor says I have no more than a week or two and they’ll be here.”  “I can’t wait to find out what you’re having and to see their precious faces. I still can’t believe you didn’t find out. I would never be able to do that,” I admit.  “Oh, you wouldn’t! You hate surprises and you’re such a planner. I can see you needing to coordinate colors and themes in the nursery and all the baby clothes would be hung up too far in advance.”  I laugh because she’s right. But then again, I feel like you can have all these ideas about parenthood but you don’t know what it’s like until you’re actually experiencing it. “So how are you feeling?”  “Ugh! I want them out right now, Gia. You have no idea the amount of pressure that is going on between my legs! It feels like someone took a bat down there and lately, I’ve been having shooting pains that go right up my-“  “What’s wrong with you? Why would you tell me that?” I shiver slightly at the thought.   “It’s called lightning crotch,” she adds nonchalantly.  “I did not need to know that was a thing! Why is that thing?” I ask incredulously. “I don’t know but it sounds exactly what it feels like. Jolts of pain right up the crotch. And no one thinks to tell you these things before you get pregnant. Everyone makes it sound so wonderful.” “Because it is. Well... I guess it looks like it is.”  “Mhmm,” Jacquie mumbles.  “Your skin looks great by the way and you’re glowing!” I add, trying to change the topic slightly.  “I’m sweating,” she snorts.  “For what it’s worth, I think you look cute.”  “There’s nothing cute about me right now. This,” she makes an exaggerated circular motion around her belly and face, “is not cute.” Sitting cross-legged on her bed with her shiny black hair piled on her head, I have to disagree. She does indeed look cute. Some tendrils escape and frame her face and her golden skin looks flushed.  “I bet Lucius disagrees,” I smirk. “Of course! He says I’m beautiful and perfect and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. But that man is full of s**t right now. He has to say that stuff. I’m his mate.” She rolls her eyes and sighs loudly making her chest rise and fall dramatically.  Jacqueline can be slightly melodramatic but as much as she’s prone to exaggeration, she isn’t one to mince words, hence her having no qualms telling me about her apparent lightning crotch.  As kids, we were inseparable until she found out Lucius was her mate. Mates are like a soulmate for werewolves.  That’s right. My best friend is a werewolf, but more specifically, she’s mated to the beta of the Silver Moon pack and her brother is the alpha. She’s the second highest ranking female in her pack and she has alpha blood. That combo is enviable among she-wolves.  Jacqueline has known Lucius her whole life and she had the biggest crush on him when we were younger. Naturally, she was ecstatic when she found out they were mates.  As for myself, I’m a witch. Witches don’t have anything like the mate bond though. And as wonderful as the bond is, I’m grateful there’s a bit more freedom when it comes to choosing partners. Wolves can be a tad controlling and possessive, which is something that from past experience turns me right off.  We live among humans in plain sight along with other supernatural beings and shifters like fairies, vampires, dragons and sirens. Historically, witches have been persecuted time and time again, so now we simply try to blend in and avoid attention for our own safety.  Jacqueline is showing me the nursery’s set up when my roommate storms in and slams the front door.  Chiara is clearly in a mood as she stomps her way into the kitchen. “Giada? What’s going on over there?” Jacqueline asks.  I roll my eyes and shrug my shoulders.   “Chiara, cosa è successo?”  (What happened?) I ask what’s wrong from the couch. More drawers are opened and slammed shut. What is she looking for? She ignores me and continues to look for something in our cupboard of pots, only to slam it closed with frustration again.  Irritated, I call her name again.  “Chiara?” I walk into the kitchen.  “Fatti i cazzi tuoi, Giada. Non ho patienza addesso per parlarti.”  (Mind your own f*****g business, Giada. I don’t have the patience to talk to you right now). Her face is scrunched up and she’s scowling. The tension in the kitchen is building and if I’m not careful she’ll blow up. Chiara already told me not too nicely to mind my own business, so that’s what I’m going to do.  We aren’t close but we get along well enough and I’ve always been able to deal with her moodiness. Lately, she has become unbearable and I know I should find somewhere else to live, but truthfully, I don’t want to. I like it here.  “Smettila di fare casino, è quasi mezzanotte e non sei l’unica che abita qui, lo sai?”  (Stop with the racket, it’s almost midnight and you’re not the only one who lives here you know?) I tell her sharply, trying to reign in my frustration as I walk away.  She yells back that I can find another place to live if I don’t like it. She would never be able to afford the rent in this apartment if I did that. She knows it as well as I do.  I can stop the slamming of drawers real quick with a flick of my wrist. I’m tempted to do so but I remind myself I’m above being petty.  Having powers is a responsibility I take seriously and I was raised to know that my magic should never be used punitively.  There are so many instances where I can use my magic to make things easier, but I try not to. Plus, avoiding exposure is paramount. There are serious consequences if humans find out about us and I didn’t want any trouble with the Tribunal.  The Tribunal is an elite group of supernaturals that govern us. They are elected to establish order and function like a justice system of sorts.  Their number one rule is to ensure humans have no idea we exist.  “I need to find a new place to live. I can’t deal with her anymore,” I tell Jacquie as I sit on my bed in my room. The commotion from the kitchen is muffled in here.  “Or you could simply come home,” Jacquie suggests as though it’s the most obvious solution. “That’s actually the reason I called. The twins will be born in a few weeks and we’re doing the naming ceremony for them shortly after. I want you there,” she explains.  My heart hammers wildly in my chest. It feels like there’s chalk dust in my mouth.  “Jacquie, I don’t know,” the words come out low and I can’t look at the screen.  “What do you mean? You’ll be done work and I spoke with your mom, she said you’re not travelling this summer.”  I didn’t answer. I didn’t know what to say to her. “Are you ever coming back?” Not if I can help it. I haven’t been home in five years. I didn’t want to face my coven, face the three people I was supposed to be linked to when there should’ve been four. “I don’t know,” I mutter. “What do you mean you don’t know? So you’re going to stay in Italy forever? What about your family?” Her voice is getting louder.  More questions I didn’t have the answer to. My parents visit, but I haven’t been back.  “Why are you pushing this all of a sudden?” I demand.  Jacqueline never questions me like this. She knew my reasons for staying away. I was a naive and silly girl who trusted the wrong person. That mistake cost me dearly. My world as I knew it then was ripped apart and I couldn’t cope with the guilt, couldn’t deal with what happened, so I left.  “Because I didn’t think when you left that it would be like this. I thought you needed some time and you’d be back. Talking over the phone and seeing you once every few years when I visit is not what I expected.”  I didn’t think it’d be like this either.  “Don’t you think it’s time to try to get past this?” she continues. “I am. I’ve built a life here.” I try to say with conviction but my voice shakes slightly.  “You’re not past it, you’re avoiding it. And I’m sure your circle would like some closure. When was the last time you talked to your cousin, huh? Charlie? Bauer? They lost Anessa too, and then they lost you. Did you ever think about that? About them and how they feel?” I did. More than she knows.  I thought about them often. The five of us. The pride of our coven. Cherished and beloved. We were supposed to perform a ritual that allowed us to share our powers thus becoming stronger individually and together.  And we were going to do it on my 21st birthday, the age a witch fully comes into their powers.  Pain pierces my chest and my eyes begin to water as I think about what we could have potentially become.  Circles require five witches. We would have formed what’s called a third-generation circle, which meant one of or both our parents were in a circle together as were some of our grandparents. Each generation to form a circle becomes stronger than the last and we came from very powerful families.   It’s very rare for that to happen because some witches practice their craft alone and aren’t in a coven and even those who belong to a coven don’t necessarily have or want a circle.  This was our fate, as we had been led to believe. But it didn’t happen and it was my fault. Then Anessa was murdered and I ran away. Images of a tall blonde with a wicked grin flash in my mind. The thought of her is still unbearable after all this time.  “I miss you, Gia. I know you’re off living your life, I know you’re happy there. But there are people here who still love you, who worry about you. I’m not saying you have to stay here, just come for a visit,” Jacqueline states.   The longing in her voice hurts me. I’m missing such an important moment in her life, yet again. I wasn’t there when she was pregnant with her son, Milan and I wouldn’t be there when the twins were born either. How many other things had I missed?  I put my phone down for a moment and wipe my eyes. When I pick it back up, she looks worried.  “I miss you too but I don’t know if I’m ready to do that, Jacquie. I want to see your pups, I do. I want to see you. I just don’t know,” I admit.  “Okay, Gia. It’s okay. I’m sorry I brought it up. I shouldn’t have pushed it. It can’t be easy, I know that I don't understand what you’ve been through and I’m sorry. I have to go get dinner ready now though. We’ll talk soon.” she sounds dejected.  “I’ll think about it, okay?”  “Okay. Love you,” she smiles.  “Love you too.” 

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