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The wolf stumbled from the cave, knowing that someone was searching for him and he couldn’t protect himself this time. Feverish and ill, his head throbbing so hard that it hurt to move, he couldn’t pull his thoughts together.
After all this time, after all of his preparations, he was going to be brought down by an illness.
The searcher’s tendrils spread out again, brushing across him without recognition or pause. The Northlands were rife with wild magic—which is why other magic couldn’t work correctly here. The searcher looked for a wizard and would never notice the wolf who concealed the man in its shape unless the fever betrayed him.
He should lie low, it was the best defense . . . but he was so afraid, and his illness clogged his thoughts.
Death didn’t frighten him; he sometimes thought he had come here seeking it. He was more afraid he wouldn’t die, afraid of what he would become. Perhaps the one who looked for him was just idly hunting—but when he felt a third sweep, he knew it was unlikely. He must have given
himself away somehow. He’d always known that he would be found one day. He’d just never thought it would be when he was so weak.
He fought to blend better with the form he’d taken, to lose himself in the wolf. He succeeded.
The fourth sizzle of magic, the searcher’s magic, was too much for the wolf. The wolf was a simpler creature than the mage who hid within him. If he was frightened, he attacked or ran. There was no one here to attack, so he ran.
It wasn’t until the wolf was tired that he could gather his humanity—that was a laugh, his humanity—well then, he gathered himself together and stopped running. His ribs ached with the force of his breath and the tough pads of his feet were cut by stones and an occasional crystal of ice from a land where the sun would never completely melt winter’s gift. He was shivering though he felt hot, feverish. He was sick.
He couldn’t keep running—and it wasn’t only the wolf who craved escape—because running wasn’t escape, not from what he fled.
He closed his eyes, but that didn’t keep his head from throbbing in time with his pounding pulse. If he wasn’t going to die out here, he would have to find shelter. Someplace warm, where he could wait and recover. He was
lucky he’d come south, and it was high summer. If it had been winter, his only chance would have been to return to the caves he’d run from.
A pile of leaves under a thicket of aspen caught his attention. If they were deep enough to be dry underneath, they would do for shelter. He headed downhill and started for the trees.
There was no warning. The ground simply gave out from under him so fast he was lying ten feet down on a pile of rotted stakes before he realized what had happened.
It was an old pit trap. He stared to get up and realized that he hadn’t been as lucky as he thought. The stakes had snapped when he hit them, but so had his rear leg.
Reprinted from Masques by Patricia Briggs by arrangement with Ace Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc., Copyright © 2010 by Hurog, Inc.
Before Patricia Briggs penned her bestselling Mercy Thompson series, she cut her authorial teeth on a medieval fantasy called Masques. In it we meet Aralorn, a shapeshifter who fled her noble existence for a life of adventure as a mercenary spy. A jewel in the rough, Masques promised a sequel that never saw the light of day...until now. Together with the newly revised and updated first novel, Wolfsbane weaves a sinuous story of romance, danger, mystery, and magic. Masques & Wolfsbane delivers the first two tales of the Sianim saga in one fast and fiercely fun volume.
In Masques, Aralorn and her companion Wolf—a shapeshifter whose feral form hides a mysterious past—are sent to fight Geoffrey ae’Magi, a sorcerer with dangerous plans for Aralorn’s homeland...and all mankind. But can they defeat his illusory magic—a power so great it transforms men and monsters into vacuous slaves?
In Wolfsbane, Aralorn and Wolf must come to terms with their feelings for each other as they return home for her father’s funeral. Yet when they arrive, they learn that the Lyon of Lambshold is not dead, but trapped in a powerful spell. Can they find who’s behind it...before Aralorn falls to the blackest of magics?
Hardcover Book : 480 pages
Publisher: Ace Books Inc./Imp Of Putnam Berkle ( February 01, 2011 )
Item #: 13-325255
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.25 inches
Product Weight: 17.0 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
would love to have more of this as a series
I really enjoyed these books. Loved the characters. Change of pace from her Mercy stories. Big fan of this author,would like to see more books written about Aralorn & Wolf. Can't wait to read all her collections!!!
Really a great writter love her people in her books. Makes me wonder how writters do this, hope they never stop.
This is a really great book (yes, I know it's really two books). I have trouble putting it down each time I pick it up. Briggs is an excellent writer and I look forward to anything she publishes in the future.
I really enjoy this author's Mercy series and thought I'd try this book as well. It starts off a bit wobbly in the first book, but then takes off and the ride is tremendous! I really loved the characters and the second book in this set is just as good as the first. I highly recommend to anyone who loves a good read!