“I liked the book best much. I was sucked in to it. I heard nothing. I kept reading and reading I can’t stop. Thanks for writing beautiful books xx”
And then the Hugging Saint holds up his arm and his people fall back.
He walks past them and towards me. For the first time I notice, he’s tall and slim. A long white shirt falls halfway to his thighs, over a pair of jeans. And on his feet, open toed sandals.
He looks normal.
He’s not a saint, or a god. He’s human, I realize.
He drops down in front of me, sitting cross-legged and peers into my eyes.
His eyes are large, a deep, dark brown, and fringed with thick eyelashes. Like mine but not. They are softer, gentler. More open. Unlike me, he has no secrets, this man.
“You don’t need to try so hard, Leana. It’s okay to be who you are,” he says.
Who am I?
“Who are you?” I ask, the words drawn out of me.
At which he chuckles. A warm sound, friendly, one which breaks the tension that has gripped his followers.
“I am Matteo.” He says. “And, you are safe here,” he adds. Look around you. There are many here just like you.”
I start at that. Look at him confused. What does he mean?
Then a touch on my shoulder has me turning to see a little girl who’s come through the crowd. And then a boy pushes his way through into the circle. And another. And another
The girl smiles at me. Bright, open, kind. Her eyes gleam, the eyes of a wolf that can see in the dark.
I look at the child next to her, and the others, and one of them points to himself, then to me. He tilts his head, his ears pricking up as if he can hear what the humans can’t.
As if he can hear like I do.
Matteo is right; I am among my own here.
“You are not alone, Leana, do you see now? Many of the orphans here are shifters. And there are humans, too. Death comes to us all, is that not true? Regardless of which species we belong to.”
I look at him in wonder then, to find he’s been watching me all along. He smiles, touches my cheek and I start. His touch is gentle. Like that of someone who wants nothing from you.
Someone who just wants you to be you.
Then his hand falls to his side.
I notice that his smooth forehead is creased. On his face a look of surprise, of having discovered something he’d forgotten, almost as if he, too, is reconnecting with a part of him that he’d lost somewhere. He hesitates as if undecided. As if he wants to touch me again.
Instead, Matteo gets to his feet and takes a step back. I sense him withdrawing from me. And the feeling that I have lost something… something I never had in the first place… is so strong that I want to protest, when the girl next to me, tugs at my arm. Grasping her hand, I stand up and find I can’t let go.
I look into her eyes, and forget everything else, for in them I see myself for what I am.
A lost, senseless-with-grief girl.
A confused, half human half wolf, in girl’s clothing.
A hungry wolf girl so like her father. Hungry for food, for love, for attention. For my place in this world.
She puts her arms around my waist and hugs me. Accepts me for who I am and what I have done.
There’s no judgement.
No recriminations that what I had done is wrong.
And I begin to cry. Tears pour down my cheeks, plopping onto her hair as she grips me tight.
I realize I don’t need to define myself. I can just be me.
He was her destination, she just didn’t know it. When Maya leaves Luke to search out her blood family, she also uncovers secrets about her past. With more than 130 four and five star reviews and counting.
Mikhail Anton Ray: I needed her to fulfill my destiny but she became my life
Leana Iyeroy: I’ll never submit to another shifter or a vampire – but he is so much more than either.
Mikhail must mate with wolf-shifter Leana to harness their collective energies, and overcome the vampire built mind-net that has infiltrated the humans robbing them of their emotions. But when Leana’s ward is kidnapped and used against them, the future of humanity is at stake.