In a futuristic world ruled by demons, werewolves are enslaved to fight in gladiatorial matches for the amusement of their evil masters.
Kiara remembers what life was like living free -- before she was taken by demons and bred to gladiators so that the new generations of wolves would retain their ferocity but forget their freedom. Mated to top gladiator Grit, she has a son with this surprisingly gentle lover who is also planning their escape. When Grit is killed in the arena, his close friend Bolt upholds his promise to protect Kiara and the cub.
Bolt and Kiara have loved each other from the moment they met, but they buried their feelings because she was mated to his best friend. When Grit dies, despite their guilt, Bolt and Kiara surrender to their desire for each other. Will their love be strong enough to help them win freedom from their evil masters?
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Bolt (Fangs and Fists 1)
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2017 Kate Hill
Sometimes Kiara felt like the masters watched everyone, every second. Perhaps they did. With their magic and technology, they could do almost anything. That was how they'd managed to capture so many wolves.
Unlike certain other species, wolves lived much as they did thousands of years ago. They hunted for food, took shelter in caves or in cabins made by their own hands. They accepted little of modern life. For years they'd taken pride in their ability to survive simply, happily, but what they considered independence might ultimately destroy them. The freedom they valued had been taken by creatures who had spent generations perfecting magic and advancing technological skills.
"Is there anything I can do to help you?" Lila asked.
"No, but thank you for your kindness."
"It's all we have left, isn't it? If we're not kind to each other, no one else will be. Not here."
Kiara nodded. Lila walked to the door.
Just moments after she left, the door burst open.
Startled, Kiara jumped to her feet, her senses alive.
Two guards shoved Bolt inside. Naked and covered from head to toe in dried blood, he stood, trembling visibly. His blue gaze found hers and Kiara felt a bit ill. She'd never seen him like this.
"She's yours now," said one of the guards. "We'll remove the cub of her previous mate."
Kiara nearly panicked. She growled, her inner wolf on the verge of attacking the guards, futile as it would be. Still, she'd rather die fighting to protect Jett than willingly surrender him to these monsters.
"No," Bolt said. "The cub is too young. Let her keep him for now."
"Very well," said the second guard. "But it will soon be weaned. Do your duty, wolf. She's a healthy female and ripe for more offspring."
The guards marched out, leaving Kiara and Bolt facing each other.
Kiara wasn't sure about the severity of his injuries. The blood covering him didn't look fresh, which was good. Apparently any wounds he'd sustained had started to heal.
She couldn't begin to guess what he'd endured.
"Come sit." Kiara reached for his hand. It was ice cold and he jerked away.
"I'm a mess."
"It's not the first time I've had blood on me," she said, remembering the days when she'd hunted with her pack.
This time when she took his hand, he tightened his grip so that it was almost painful and followed her to the washroom. She turned on the water in the black tile shower.
Kiara withdrew her hand from his grasp to cover the toilet with a towel. Then she urged him to sit while she wet another towel in the sink.
"Do you have any open wounds that need attention?" she asked.
"I think they've all healed. I've been in a cubicle for most of the night," he said, his voice a bit hoarse.
Neither spoke for several moments while she cleaned the blood from his face. All the while he stared at her. Bolt had the most beautiful eyes she'd ever seen -- almond shaped and the blue of a clear autumn sky.
The towel turned red and she washed it again, wrung it out and left it on the side of the sink. By then shower was steaming up the bathroom.
"Get in," she said.
Bolt rose and did as she told him. She couldn't help noticing the firm curve of his backside and the play of muscles beneath his gore-covered body. It seemed wrong to notice his magnificence when he was in such a state, but she couldn't help herself.
He stood under the water, still trembling despite the warmth. Kiara didn't hesitate before stripping off her clothes and joining him in the shower. She took a cake of unscented soap and started washing him. She lathered his chest, shoulders and arms. Streams of hot water swept away the pink-tinged lather.
"Talk to me, Bolt," she said, managing not to sound as worried as she felt.
"I don't know what to say."
"What happened? What did they do to you?"
"I don't want to talk about it." His eyes became more focused and his shocked expression turned to one of rage. "Bastards!"
He slammed his fist into the tile. It crumbled and fresh blood welled from his knuckles.
Kiara drew a sharp breath and took a step back.
"I'm sorry," he said, glancing at her.
"Don't be. I'd rather you be angry than --"
"In a stupor?" A faint, sad smile tugged at his lips. "Kiara, I'm so sorry. Grit, he --"
Staring into her eyes and caressing her cheek, Bolt said, "I had to claim you, otherwise there was no telling who they'd give you to."
She felt almost as bad as when she'd learned of Grit's death. So Bolt didn't return her feelings after all. It had been pure fantasy on her part. He'd only taken her out of decency and the desire to protect her because she was his friend's wife.
She nodded, took his hand and lowered her gaze so that she could concentrate on pulling a few embedded pieces of tile from his bleeding knuckles. Water washed away more blood and the wounds began to heal.
"I understand, but you didn't have to do this."
He swallowed and cupped her chin. "You don't want me."
"It's not that."
"I'm sorry. That's a terrible thing to ask so soon after Grit. How could you want anyone right now? Kiara, I won't force you. I'd never --"
Standing on her toes, she threw her arms around his neck and kissed him -- not a simple kiss, but one filled with all the passion she'd felt since the moment they'd met.