Rachel Kemet is a successful Assistant District Attorney living in Tampa. Engaged to one of the wealthiest men in town, her future seems assured. That is until her past comes back to haunt her. Barely a month from her wedding, she gets a call informing her that the most important person in her life has returned and he is being held at the Tampa police station on suspicion of murder.
Fiancé all but forgotten, Rachel races to the PD to find the man who has haunted her dreams since the age of seven--her foster brother, Richard. There is no blood tie between them but Richard reminds her of a deeper bond, one that was forged when the two of them were mere children—children of a strange, half human race called the Amon-kai.
Age Rating: 18+
Eyes Like a Wolf - An erotic novel
The rock whistled through the air and sliced the tender skin just above my right eye. I cried out and dropped my library books on the sidewalk, putting a hand to my forehead where a wet trickle of warmth was starting to flow.
“Freaky eyes, freaky eyes—Rachel’s got the freaky eyes.” The voice belonged to Todd Jenkins, the meanest boy at Wayne Hills Elementary. I turned to see him laughing at me, his grubby fists filled with stones. Behind him were Stevie Coltrain and Jaycee Murdock, boys that followed him and did whatever he told them. They were all older than me and several grades ahead—by rights I should have been beneath their notice. But Todd made it his business to notice and persecute anyone who was different, as I certainly was.
“Leave me alone!” I yelled at them, wiping the stinging blood out of my eyes. It wasn’t my fault I looked strange—everyone in my family had the slanting pale green eyes that could see in the dark as well as the light.
I never should have told that I could see in darkness, never should have let the girls at Priscilla Waverley’s slumber party know there was anything more unusual about my eyes than the way they looked. But I wanted so badly to be special, to fit in with the popular group. She and the other girls had turned on me, spilling my secrets to the school at large and now I was known as ‘freaky eyes Kemet,’ a name I hid from the rest of my family, especially my older brother Richard, in shame.
“Freaky eyes, freaky eyes,” Todd taunted, and his followers took up the chant as well.
I tried to remember my father’s words. We are the Amon-kai—that means we’re different, Rachel my darling. We’ll always be different and the world doesn’t like people who don’t fit in. When they laugh or tease you, just ignore them.
Bending to pick up my library books, I did my best to ignore the taunts and jeers. But then another stone hit my back and a third hit my shoulder. I looked up to see all three of the boys advancing on me, lobbing stones as hard as they could. When a fourth stone hit me just under my left eye, I gasped and dropped my books again. They weren’t just teasing me now—they really wanted to hurt me.
My nerve broke and I ran stumbling down the sidewalk, feeling the stinging stones raise welts and bruises on my unprotected back. The wet warmth was getting in my eyes again, blinding me. Even eyes that can see in the dark can’t see through blood. I fell, skinning my knees and palms on the sidewalk, crying with the fierce pain—the pain of rejection as much as the physical agony of the sidewalk erasing my skin.
The boys behind me laughed at my fall and pelted me with more rocks and sharp gravel. I felt one cut my ear and another raised a lump on my scalp. I got up and ran on, desperate now to reach the shelter of our cool ancient Victorian mansion at the end of the street. Only there would I be safe—safe in my brother’s shadow. Richard was actually my adopted brother, but no blood relation could have been more protective or caring. He could and would protect me with his life, I knew.
“Freaky eyes! Freaky eyes! Only dogs and cats can see in the dark—you’re an animal!” Todd Jenkins yelled behind me.
I risked a glance back and saw that they had almost caught up with me. Their hands were still half full of stones and there was malicious glee in their piggy faces. If they catch me, I thought wildly. ~Oh, if they catch me!~ It was then that I knew I was running for my life.
“Animal eyes! Freaky eyes!”
I turned my head, not wanting to see the look of hate in their faces and ran headlong into my older brother’s chest. The wind was knocked out of me and I would have fallen if he hadn’t caught me and held me close.
“Rache?” He used his nickname for me, peering into my face worriedly. He must have seen the smears of blood on my face and the hot tears I felt in my eyes because his face hardened immediately. He pushed me behind him and turned to face my tormentors.
“Freaky eyes! Freaky...” Todd Jenkins’ mean voice trailed off as Richard advanced on him and his cronies. Richard was twelve and in middle school. He was already filling out, getting the size and strength the men of the Amon-kai were known for.
“What did you do to my sister?” Richard’s voice was low and menacing. It hadn’t changed yet to the bass rumble it was sure to become, but it was deep enough to frighten a schoolyard bully like Todd.
“She’s a freak,” he said defiantly, as if that answered Richard’s question and excused his own actions at the same time. “You’re all freaks—my old man says so.”
“So that makes it okay to hurt us?” Richard advanced on the three of them and Stevie Coltrain and Jaycee Murdock backed up uneasily. Rocks, the evidence of their guilt, dropped with a clatter to the sidewalk before them. Todd, trying to look brave, puffed out his chest and held his ground.
“She’s a freak,” he said again. “She went to that party at Prissy Waverley’s house and Prissy’s dad was makin’ hamburgers so your freaky little sister asked if she could eat hers raw—not cooked or nothin’.” Todd made a face and Stevie Coltrain muttered,
Richard shrugged as if my craving for raw meat was no big deal. “We like our meat rare. So?”
“So?” Todd looked outraged. “So then she told Prissy Waverley she could see in the dark—proved it too. She walked all around Prissy’s house in the pitch black and didn’t bump into a single thing. Prissy said you couldn’t even see your hand in front of your face but she didn’t trip or stumble or nothin’.”
Richard cast a glance my way and I shrank back, feeling much worse than I had when Todd and his crew were jeering at me. The first rule in our family was never tell the secrets of the Amon-kai. In my longing to fit in, I had broken that rule. It might mean punishment from my mother or father but it was the loss of Richard’s good opinion that I really feared.
“You hurt her,” he said, taking another step towards Todd. “Threw rocks at her. Nobody hurts my little sister.”
“I ain’t afraid of you, ya freak.” Todd’s quavering voice belied his brave words. “You just come on and try somethin’. You think the three of us can’t take you?”
“No, I don’t. Besides, there’s only two of you now.” Richard's voice was flat but he was grinning at Todd in a most disturbing way. In his dark face, the pale green eyes of the Amon-kai stood out much more than in my own, lighter features.
Todd threw a glance behind him to see that Jaycee had run away. Stevie Coltrain was still holding his ground but just barely. Richard was not someone you wanted angry at you.
“C’mon, then.” Todd’s voice was filled with false bravado. “My old man taught me how to fight freaks like you.” He dropped his own handful of rocks and lunged forward suddenly. Richard sidestepped his advance as gracefully as a dancer. Then, moving almost faster than my eyes could follow, my brother had the bully on the ground, his right arm pinned behind his back and pulled high between his shoulder blades.
“Ow! Stop it! I’m gonna tell my old man and you’re gonna be sorry.” Todd’s threats were still more shouts of outrage than pain. That changed with Richard’s next move.
“Never go near my sister again.” His voice was cool but the pressure he exerted on Todd’s arm was serious business.
Todd shrieked, and his red face turned a dirty white color like old socks that have been worn so often you can’t ever really get them all the way clean.
“C’mon, man. Let ‘im go. We didn’t mean no harm.” Stevie Coltrain sounded close to fainting himself.
“Look at the blood on my sister’s face and tell me you didn’t mean harm.” Richard’s voice had gone scary and adult. I was almost frightened of him myself. He looked up at Stevie’s terrified face. “Leave if you don’t want to be next.”
Stevie didn’t need to be told twice. He took off like a shot, shouting over his shoulder, “I’m gonna tell!” Richard didn’t pay him any attention. He had turned back to Todd Jenkins, who was wheezing, his face pressed hard against the sidewalk.
“Are you ever going to throw rocks at my sister again?” he asked quietly, giving Todd’s arm another yank.
Todd shrieked again. “No, I swear ta God. I promise, I give, whatever, just let me go!”
“Are you right-handed or left-handed?” Richard asked.
“What do you care?” Todd demanded. Another yank from my big brother had him screaming. “Right—right-handed!”
“Good. Then you won’t be throwing rocks at anybody else for a while, either.” There was a muffled pop that turned my stomach, and Todd made a strangled sound and writhed on the concrete. When Richard got off him, I saw the bully’s right arm was bent at an impossible angle. My older brother stooped to look into his wide-eyed face. “Remember,” he said quietly. Then, turning to me, “Come on, Rache. Let’s go.”
I had been standing bug-eyed, watching the fight, unable to speak a word. I let Richard take my hand and lead me past the cool shelter of our wide front porch to the dim interior of the old Victorian mansion. Once he got me into the bathroom where he could tend to my wounds, my composure broke.
“Richard,” I wailed, feeling my face crumple like a balled-up tissue. “What if you killed him? You’ll get in trouble and go to jail.”
“I didn’t kill him, Rache,” he said with surprising patience for his age. “I just taught him not to mess with our family. Not to mess with my little sister. Now come on, let me see your face.”
He wet a washcloth in the sink and squeezed it out before dabbing gently at my wounds. Even though he was gentle, I flinched at the stinging sensation as he wiped away the blood. Richard winced in sympathy.
“Sorry, Rache. I know it hurts.” He sighed. “I wish we were already bonded. Then I could heal you and stop the pain.”
I wasn’t exactly sure what he meant, but I submitted to his gentle wiping of my cuts and bruises with the cool damp washcloth, the tears still leaking silently from my swollen, puffy eyes. I was only seven and had never been through any kind of personal violence before. But losing my brother’s good opinion mattered more to me than my stinging cuts and lumps.
“Richard,” I said at last, as he was finishing up with the first cut I had gotten, the one over my right eye on my forehead, “Are you gonna tell on me about...you know?”
“Tell Mom and Dad that you told a family secret, you mean?” He raised a black eyebrow at me, and his eyes seemed almost to glow in his dark face.
“Uh-huh.” I hung my head, ashamed.
“No, Rache. I’m not going to tell,” His voice was surprisingly gentle. “I never told you this, but I told once. I showed off for my boy scout troop when I was nine.”
“Really?” I looked up with wide eyes. Richard had always seemed so steady and sensible to my seven-year-old mind. So adult. He was almost more like a third parent than a sibling.
He nodded. “Yup. It was on a camp-out. Artie Sloan was getting on my nerves, so I decided to teach him a lesson.” He shrugged. “I was just being a stupid little kid.” His voice was an unconscious imitation of my father’s tone when he spoke of the wild pranks he’d pulled in his adolescence.
I bit my lip. “So what happened?”
Richard shrugged shoulders that were just starting to broaden. “I proved I could run faster than any other guy in the troop. Also that I could climb to the top of a tree the rest of them couldn’t even get to the first branch of. And...I forget what else. Stupid stuff.”
“But what happened?” I persisted.
Richard looked sad for a moment. “Well, the rest of the guys wouldn’t get near me for the rest of the day and Scout Master Jenkins brought us back two days early. The next day he came to see Dad and I could hear him saying that I didn’t belong in the troop. Mom and Dad didn’t want to make waves, so they took me out.”
“Just like that?” I frowned at the unfairness of it all. Was it Richard’s fault he had such extraordinary abilities? That he was better than the rest of the boys at almost anything physical? There were things that I could do that no other girl in my class could do–mostly the seeing in the dark thing but my other senses were sharper than normal too. I didn’t expect to ever inherit all of Richard’s gifts because I was a girl. Girls of the Amon-kai received much more subtle talents.
“Just like that.” Richard snapped his fingers, as though to illustrate the point. “Look, Rache, the point is that sometimes it’s hard to keep it inside. We can do all this neat stuff but we don’t dare tell anybody about it. When you do, it always blows up on you.” He sighed, a surprisingly adult sound from a twelve-year-old. “Like my old scout master, Mister Jenkins. I’m pretty sure he’s Todd’s dad. So that’s why Todd hates you so much– ‘cause his dad hates me.”
“Oh.” My eyes widened with understanding.
Richard dabbed at my head once more with the red-splotched washcloth. “Come here for a minute,” he said, throwing the cloth in the sink and tugging at my hand. I came to stand beside him willingly enough and he turned us to face the full-length oval mirror that was on the back of the bathroom door.
“Look at us.” He nodded at the mirror.
“Why?” I asked, uncertain of what I should see, but I looked anyway.
Two children stood there, one slight and pale and blond with delicate features– a little pixie, my mother affectionately called me. The other was a boy well on his way to manhood.
Richard stood head and shoulders above me, so that when he put his arm around me, as he frequently did, my head was barely at the level of his chest. He had hair so dark it was almost black just like my father’s and his features were stronger than mine but still finely molded. His skin was a deep, natural tan several shades darker than my own pale alabaster.
Richard had been adopted or ‘fostered’ by my parents when he was only three. His birth parents, another family of Amon-kai, had been killed in a car wreck. He had been with my mother and father since before I was born and he fit into our family seamlessly, maybe because he looked so much like my father that he could have been a younger version of him.
“Look at us,” he said again. I looked, but I was looking at him. Since the day I had been born, Richard had always been the dark to my light, the night to my day, the strength to my weakness. My guide, my protector and defender. The perfect big brother, even if he wasn’t really blood. But blood or not, he had the same slanting eyes, the pale green of the Mediterranean on a calm day with no other fleck of color at all. The eyes that all of our people had—the eyes of the Amon-kai.
“What do you see?” Richard asked, staring intently at our reflections, meeting my strange eyes in the mirror with his own.
“I don’t know,” I said, shrugging against his arm, which was around my shoulders.
“Family,” he said, squeezing me tight, the way I loved. “Family, little sister. And someday soon we’ll be mates. So we have to stick together, no matter what.”
I didn’t exactly know what he meant by that anymore than I had understood his earlier talk of bonding. But I liked the idea of always being together, of never being parted from him. Somehow it seemed right to think of spending my life with Richard. It seemed right all the way down to my bones.
“Family,” I repeated, hugging him back, thinking that I finally understood. “And we’ll always stay together.”
Little did I know how soon we were to be ripped apart.