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Here is a review from Delphina Reads Too Much: "The Last Werewolf was a very different were story. Not just because of the non traditional relationship, although that is not very common. It was different because the writers really took into consideration the animal nature of a were. There were subtleties throughout this book that really made it seem more like it was about weres than it was about people who happened to have a magical ability to change once and while. Each character was very different from the other and they all had things they needed to work through or decide. Watching them do this as they dealt with the "evil" that you know has to be in any good were story was so spellbinding that I read this story in one night. I highly recommend this book."
THE LAST WEREWOLF
Jennifer Denys and Susan Laine
Copyright © 2012Chapter One
“I’m the last werewolf.”
That thought kept going through Summer Harrison’s head as she traveled south to her father’s home in London—her late father’s home.
Just a few short hours ago she’d received a phone call from the hospice her father, Robert, had gone into for a respite from his struggle against cancer, to say that he had died in the night. Even knowing that he was going to die at some stage, her heart had still been torn into pieces. It had been just her dad and herself for such a long time. He was her entire family, and she utterly adored him. Living so far from home—well, her dad’s house, but she still called it home since it was where she grew up, and as such the place of many happy memories—she had cherished each and every visit these last few years.
Raising her head Summer had noticed the phone was lying on the floor where she dropped it when her knees gave out and she slumped to the floor in a heap, her body shaking with the intensity of her anguish. She had a violent urge to kick the phone against the wall, as if by doing so she would get revenge on it for imparting such awful news.
"Dammit, Dad, we could have had more time together if you hadn’t smoked.”
Her anger at the habit that cost him his life then gave way to guilt that she lived so far away. But that was because of her job. Summer worked in a university in the north of England as a sports coach and had debated long and hard about taking the job in the first place, but it had been a wonderful opportunity. You encouraged me to take up the post, even though it meant being so far apart.
Shaking her head to clear these bizarre, conflicting emotions of anger and guilt, Summer sat up and wiped her face as she thought back to the times she had been able to visit her father. They loved to talk about current affairs, although he had a tendency to wind her up by taking the opposing view even though his beliefs were the same as hers on most things.
On one trip they had argued about the re-introduction of the death penalty. Since he had raised her by himself, many of her principles and views came from him, so she knew full well he didn’t really want the death penalty brought back. Nonetheless, those loving talks—as they weren’t real arguments in any sense of the word—just proved that they were of like minds, ideals, and sensibilities. Robert had been not only Summer’s dad, but her idol in many ways.
After composing herself, as much as someone as grief-stricken as she was could do, she had gone into her kitchen and, with trembling hands, made herself a cup of tea.
“Thank God for tea in times like this.”
Curling her hands around the cup in an attempt to warm them, Summer sat at her kitchen table for some time as grief lessened and the welcome relief of numbness took over.
Finally she wandered back to the hall and picked up the discarded phone to discuss time off from work with her employers. She felt dazed as she spoke to her supervisor, hardly able to take in his kind words of condolence. Thankfully, it was near the end of term, so she was granted several weeks’ leave.
Shaking her head she then replaced the phone in its proper place. Her mind was so foggy she wasn’t sure she could concentrate on work at the moment anyway. She desperately tried to think what she needed to do and frowned when she wandered into her spare room which doubled as a dumping ground for everything from clothes to books to anything that she didn’t have time to put away properly.
“Where the hell did I put the suitcase?” She looked in the obvious place and it wasn’t there. “Dammit I don’t need this.” Rubbing her hands over her face, she tried to concentrate and remembered she had put it under her bed.
A few hours later she was on her way to her father’s home to sort out his funeral, although she figured there would be precious few attending. Summer scrunched her face as she deliberately avoided seats where other people were sitting, wanting to find a secluded spot. Amazingly the train was fairly quiet, and she found a seat where the nearest person was several places away.
With her father’s death she was the last werewolf. There was no one left of her family. And she was destined to be the last of her line, even the last one in the whole world for all she knew, because she’d never get involved with a man just to have children, and that made her feel so lonely. At least, she wouldn’t get intimate with anyone for more than one night. She liked sex too much to give it up entirely.
She giggled—a noise that sounded alien in her raw emotional state—thinking that her dad would never have allowed her to marry anyway. He had always disapproved of any male friends she had. She shook her head. She was never quite sure if it was because he was being a typical dad, and no man was going to be good enough for his only daughter, or if he was worried that she was going to give her husband a death bite instead of a love bite.
Barking out a louder laugh she turned her head away from the person further down the train who glanced in her direction, not in the mood to make eye contact, though he was rather cute. She admitted to herself that the reason she wasn’t going to settle down with any man was because there was no way she could marry them and then on the wedding night as she draped herself against him sensuously drawl, “Oh, by the way, darling, I should warn you that there is every chance I could rip your throat out in the middle of the night.”
Summer had this recurring dream of laughingly straddling a lover, maybe her husband, as they tumbled onto their bed. Naturally she would be on top, pushing him back as he tried to gain ascendancy, her firm athletic thighs holding his hips tightly, using her excellent upper body strength, borne from her werewolf genes as much as her profession, to hold his arms down as she eased herself down onto his hard, throbbing cock.
He would chuckle at her determination and give up, relaxing back to let her accustom herself to his size before she started to ride him, slow at first, rocking gently backward and forward as her juices moistened her channel, getting faster as their bodies became slick with sweat. His hands would caress her quivering body, stroking her flank and then reaching up to pluck her hard, pointed nipples. Her hands, meanwhile, would caress the magnificent pecs of his hairless chest and his wonderful firm six-pack. Her chosen would be as fit as she, of course.
As they moved in time-honored fashion, the moans, whimpers, and cries of their mutual passion would echo around the room as their orgasm grew inexorably to its climax.
It was a wonderful vision—and then it turned into an inevitable nightmare when she leaned forward in the throes of passion, her claws emerging as she gripped his shoulders, holding him tightly, fiercely, as she pumped him rapidly up and down, desperate to reach the final hurdle, and fur suddenly began to sprout all over her body, her fangs dropping as her face tightened.
When she smiled down at him all she could see was a look of absolute horror on his face as his body tensed in deathly fear, his arms desperately trying to push her away, and in that moment her passion—and her fantasy—died a quick death.
She snorted to herself and shuffled in her seat, unable to settle down and get comfortable. Actually if any man ever attempted to say, “You’re looking rather hairy tonight, dear,” she really would do him mortal injury. Not one to worry about having a big butt, she was rather conscious of her fur covering. Women who complained about having to shave their legs had nothing to worry about.
Slouching back against her seat, she tried to drum up a smile at her own joke, but her throat was still clogged with unshed tears. Swallowing several times to clear her airway, she turned to look out of the window of the train taking her from her home in York not really seeing the verdant landscape with its new spring leaves and the yellow of the rapeseed as she pondered how her mother had coped with being married to a werewolf.
A shiver of sadness went through her that she would never know. She reached for her sweatshirt and put it on, pulling the ends of the sleeves over her cold hands and wrapping her arms around her body.
Her mother, Emma, had died in a car accident when Summer was four, and her father was so distraught that he had never talked about his wife. Summer had never even seen a photo of her, but guessed she must take after her mother as she towered over her little, plump dad by at least six inches. And, bless his dark locks, her fair hair with red tones was clearly not from his side of the family.
She pulled her ponytail from behind her back to stare at her own hair. “Nope, nothing like Dad’s.”
“I’m sorry. Did you want something?”
Summer started and stared at the train attendant trundling the refreshment trolley down the aisle.
“Er. No. Just talking to myself.” The man gave her a patronizing look and continued on his way.
Frowning at the interruption to her thoughts, Summer tried to conjure up any long-forgotten memories of her mother, hoping by doing so that she could push away the grief that was threatening to overwhelm her, but it was really difficult. She could only dredge up about half a dozen snap-shot recollections, like her mother arriving back from visiting a friend one evening and Summer eagerly looking out of the window for her, hoping she would be home in time to tuck her into bed.
She looked over at a little girl who had recently got on and remembered with a smile that her mother had been wearing a very similar fluffy yellow cardigan over her shoulders, and in her child’s mind she had been awestruck thinking how grown up that had looked and how she envisaged wearing her own top just like that when she was an adult. But it was so strange as she couldn’t picture her mother’s face at all.
Summer also had no memory of how she had felt when her mother had died, but there had been instances in later life when she really needed a mum, like the first time a boy had dumped her. Her dad had shown no interest in any other women. But sometimes a girl just needed a woman to talk to, and a father just didn’t cut it. And so, with no mother-figure in her life, Summer had cried into her lonely pillow, hugging it tightly to her body.
Taking in a deep, calming, but wobbly, breath, she then wondered how Emma had reacted when she had found out she was married to a werewolf, and the chuckles that followed that thought nearly changed to abrupt sobs. Summer’s emotions were alternating back and forth so suddenly. Leaning her elbows on the pull-down tray, she hid her face between her fists, as if by holding herself this way she could avoid showing anything.
But her introspections wouldn’t abate. There was no way her sweet, quiet, well-read, adorable dad would have turned into anything that would frighten his new bride. If anything he would have shifted into a cuddly baa-lamb, and then Summer laughed hilariously out loud. The phrase ‘a wolf in sheep’s clothing’ would have been entirely appropriate to describe her father.
Her giggles abated when she got odd looks from the other people in her train carriage who had boarded at the last stop and taken the nearby seats, and she turned her face away, huddling in the corner away from prying eyes, tears falling down her face as the anguish at her loss finally overtook her.
It had taken some days, some very stressful, tense days, to start to get things sorted out. Thank goodness the funeral home was used to dealing with people whose emotional state was all awry. She found herself forgetting simple things like flowers for the service, until the undertaker had gently prompted her, and the funeral went smoothly in the end, if very quiet, with just herself and a few of her father’s friends in attendance, although she had nearly giggled during the service.
One of his requests for the ceremony had been for the classical tune ‛Air on a G String’. She had laughed, but not because the music seemed inappropriate for a cremation. Indeed it was a standard request at the crematorium apparently.
No, when she had read that request she had laughed uproariously because all his life her dad had been a smoker and this had been the theme music for a well-known cigar advertisement some years ago.
“Just for you, Dad,” she silently mouthed.
But there seemed to be a hundred and one things to do to sort out his life. There was contacting all the services to cancel his accounts. Gas, electricity, water, TV, council tax, et cetera, but also the library, bank, dentist, newsagent, and the Friday club he attended were a few of the myriad agencies that needed communicating with. It was all overwhelming, but in some ways this helped her begin to come to terms with his death. At least that’s what she tried to convince herself, sometimes unsuccessfully.
Actually it did help her pull together her fractured thoughts, having so many things to think about, but it was the night times which were the worst, when she had nothing to stop the despair that she would never see him again, never talk to him again, that engulfed her.
Thankfully her father had paid off the mortgage on his home, so Summer didn’t have to contend with the worry about selling the property. At least not at this stage, which was good because this had been her childhood home. Wandering aimlessly, she had found herself drawn into certain rooms, remembering the fun times that had happened there. Like the one time she’d been using the beds as trampolines with a neighbor’s child, aged six, and her dad’s anger when he had found them—but only because he hadn’t been invited. And he had then proceeded to demonstrate to both girls how it was really done. Summer had laughed so hard that day she’d thought her lungs would burst.
As Summer had drifted into the kitchen in her ambles through the house, she ran a hand over the aging cooker recalling the secret birthday cake he had decided to bake for her 18th birthday and giggled at the memory. They had both been sitting in the lounge when she had suddenly been aware of something.
“Um, Dad,” she had said, sniffing the air, her animal olfactory senses being keener than most humans. “Is there something burning?”
He had cursed and jumped out of his chair like his pants were on fire, having forgotten all about the cake, and it was burnt to a cinder.
Unfortunately all this introspection led to her bursting into tears, and rushing out of the kitchen. She tried to tell herself she’d always have those memories, but another part of her knew she’d never be able to laugh over these things with him ever again, and she felt very depressed, particularly as there was no one else she could share them with.
Now she was trying to find some final documentation for the bank and was searching in what she called his document box, a big brown wooden box he kept under his bed. He had told her as a child quite forcibly never to open it because he kept important documents in there, but now she had to. She had felt guilty opening it, but was glad she had nonetheless because the first thing she had found was his Will which had helped with her dealings with the bank.
The final record she was now after was her mother’s death certificate which the bank needed because some of her father’s affairs had, apparently, been linked to her mum’s, a joint insurance policy or something. Summer gritted her teeth in irritation that he had left her to sort all this out, and then felt remorse for doing so.
As she searched she sorted the items into several piles, old bills that could be binned, documents she needed to keep, and memorabilia she wasn’t prepared to get rid of yet, like his certificate for twenty-five years of service at the engineering firm he had worked at. He had been so proud of it.
In some ways having all these things to deal with helped keep back the grief, but finding things like a card she had made him for Father’s Day when she was seven were heart-wrenching. It was made out of a cut-out egg crate painted yellow and stuck to a card to represent daffodils. It was tough on her fragile emotions to see this visible proof of the past she and her dad had had together. Summer had gone through one box of tissues and two toilet rolls yesterday before she had decided she couldn’t do it anymore and had to put the box aside.
Taking a deep calming breath, she now started again.
“You can do this, girl. You’re British, stiff upper lip and all that.” Reaching into the box she pulled out the first item on the top.
Bill for dry cleaners. Okay, that can be binned.
Last electricity bill. That needs checking to see if it has been paid.
Invoice stamped ‘paid’ from the funeral home for her mother. It was not really necessary to keep as it had been so long ago, but she wasn’t prepared to throw it out.
Program from a show she had attended with her dad last Christmas. Definitely not necessary to keep, but no way was she throwing it out. She smiled through her tears, remembering how much they had enjoyed that production of ‛The Hound of the Baskervilles.’ She had threatened teasingly to howl along with the actor voicing the cries of the hound. Her dad had given her such a horrifying look of ‛Don’t you dare’ that she had snickered through the following moments of suspense. Oh yes, she had enjoyed that production, although she wasn’t sure her dad had.
Receipt from the supermarket. That went in the bin.
Purple ribbon, somewhat tatty. She frowned at this one as she had no recollection of ever having had such a ribbon. She shook her head, and put it in the bin collection.
Photo of a pretty blonde woman wearing such a ribbon standing next to her smiling father.
Summer frowned. So that was where the ribbon came from, and she quickly dug the ribbon back out of the bin, to hold on to as a keepsake, although she wasn’t quite sure why she felt an urge to do that. She considered the picture further. It was an old photo, and it wasn’t of anyone she recognized. She idly turned it over. Emma. That was all it said.
“Oh my God. That’s my mother.” She sucked in a gasp and with a trembling hand ran a finger over the portrait. “I knew she was fair haired. I just knew it.” He had kept no pictures of her. He had never really explained why. To see her mother’s face now after all these years...tears threatened to fall on the precious picture, so she clasped it to her chest for a brief, heart-wrenching second before laying it aside and then gathered a heap of tissues in her hands. Bending her head, she let it all go.
Some time later, having finished her outburst, feeling better for it, and having poured herself a large glass of wine, she returned to the bedroom to finish her task, smiling at the picture she had carefully laid on her father’s pillow. Her eyes kept getting drawn back to it, her curiosity as to her mother’s image being so strong, but she sighed, knowing she’d never finish the task if she didn’t concentrate. She was so pleased to finally have something of her mother and to know what she looked like.
Standing with wine in one hand, she reached into the box. The next item was an envelope. A very yellowed envelope, indicating it had been there a long time. It wasn’t that which surprised her, but the fact that it was addressed to her.
Why on earth would her father have a letter in his box for her? And why hadn’t he ever given it to her? Her brain flooded with questions she couldn’t answer. She shook her head. Well, there was only one way to find out. She had to open the letter, so she lay the glass down on the nearby chest of drawers.
To my darling tyttärentytär (granddaughter) Summer,
I am so sad that I cannot be there to hold you in my arms. My Emma sent me valokuva, photograph I think that word is. You are so beautiful, just like Emma when she was baby. She is so happy you are born. Never did I think she would take husband. And now she has lovely daughter.
“Granddaughter? This is from my grandmother?”
Utterly surprised, Summer glanced up at the address on the letter, having skimmed straight past it to read the body of the letter, and suddenly her legs gave way, and she slumped onto the chair. The address was in Finland.
“I have a Finnish grandmother? Wha—” Her jaw dropped in amazement. “Oh my God, that means my mother was Finnish too. Shit. Hell. Why didn’t Dad ever tell me?” She puzzled, and then laughed out loud. “Well, that explains my—our—fair coloring!”
Returning to the letter, her heart beat faster at the thought of having relatives again. Her father had been an only child, and his parents had died before she was born. She knew that her father had been about twenty years older than her mother.
I cry that you are so far away, but there are reasons why Emma will not come home. However, I think of you every day.
Summer frowned wondering what on earth the reason was that her mother had been unable to return to home, to Finland. There were so many possibilities. Perhaps she had run out of money and left for another country to find her fortune there. Or perhaps she had left her motherland for a man, falling in love and romantically abandoning her former life. Or maybe she had been in some kind of trouble, like protesting against firearm companies or fighting against global warming, or robbing a bank, or what if she was an international spy being hunted by James Bond and his ilk? She chuckled. There were indeed so many potential options, it was extremely intriguing.
But I am sure that my daughter can teach you ways of our life. To be ihmissusi —I had to stop and read letter from your mother. She uses the word werewolf. Such funny word. What I mean to say is it can be difficult for child to be one. However, when you turn into your susi, your wolf, for first time, nothing can be more exciting.
“What?” She sat stunned, her head spinning as she read that last paragraph in the letter over and over, and then when she could voice her thoughts it came out as a whisper, “My mother was a werewolf. My mother was the werewolf. The—” she stopped and read the word again slowly, enunciating it like a child sounding out a new bit of vocabulary just learned. “Ih-mis-su-si.”
Her father had rarely talked about the life of a shapeshifter, but one thing he had been clear about was that Summer was half human and half wolf shifter—a werewolf—not that there were other types of animal that a human could turn into, as that was only the stuff of stories as far as she knew. So that meant he must have been the human. No wonder he didn’t talk about being a shifter, since he couldn’t. Then something else struck her. “That means that I might not be the last werewolf. There could be others out there, in Finland.” Her jaw was practically on the floor in astonishment at this revelation. Her mind was a whirl of images, questions, sensations, all fighting for dominance, all threatening to overwhelm her already overladen emotions.
For several minutes she couldn’t do anything more than sit and let it wash over her. When she could compose her thoughts into some sensibility she looked again at the letter and saw that she had nearly finished reading it.
Your valokuva is by my bedside, and I kiss you every night. One day I hope to see you. But know, darling Summer, your grandmother loves you.
The overriding thought that was going through her head was that she knew beyond a doubt that she had to go to Finland. Her grandmother, her mummu she guessed would be the translation, may no longer be alive. Summer winced as she considered this, and a pang of sorrow hit her that she may have lost her only other relative before she had even met her. But there may be others in her family she could find, and that gave her hope, excitement.
She turned to a photo of her late father, which she had laid on his pillow next to her mother’s. “Hey, Dad. You know I have to go, don’t you? This was our home,” she said, waving an arm around the room. “But without you it isn’t the same. I need to find my family. I need to find more people like me.” Knowing that part of her was using this as an excuse to get away from her immense sadness, she still felt the urge to do this, almost an impulse. Other feelings like intrigue and anticipation were dampening down the rawer emotions.
Taking a look at the new picture of her mother, on the corner of which she had attached the ribbon, Summer added more quietly, “And I need to find out what happened to my mother and why she left Finland, her home.”