As redhead Molly Kincaid traveled blithely through the forest on her way to her grandmother's house, she came upon a Wolf ... His name was Wolf Trevelayan--his enormous stature and dark, penetrating gaze made him an intimidating, almost frightening presence in these deep, dense Maine woods. And what she knew of his tangled past frightened her too. The strange death of his first wife, his sinister habits, his secretive demeanor--they all pointed to Trouble. But for Molly, no rumors could trump the deep attraction she felt--a lust for Wolf that consumed her body and soul. She would willingly bow to his wild ways, even if it meant leaving everything she loved and allowing him to guide her into the unknown....
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August 04, 2008
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Excerpt from Big Bad Wolf by Linda Winstead Jones
Kingsport, Maine, 1893
"Stay on the road."
Molly nodded obediently as she took the basket from her mother.
"Goodness only knows what waits in those woods. You could get lost very easily."
Molly smiled. Her mother worked so hard and worried so much. The shortcut Molly usually took to Grandma's house saved time, and there was really no reason to worry her mother unnecessarily.
Believing that Molly was an obedient daughter, Mary Kincaid smiled as she straightened the hood of Molly's red velvet cape. "I'm sorry to ask you to do this day after day, but your grandmother is stubborn. If only she would stay with us until she's completely well...."
"I don't mind," Molly said. Then she kissed her mother on the cheek. "The walk is good for me, and the weather's been quite pleasant, lately."
She couldn't tell her mother that she loved walking alone through the woods, watching the changes from spring to summer. It was the one part of the day she wasn't rushing from one place to another delivering the bread her mother baked, or hurrying to finish the mending they took in, or washing someone else's clothes.
They'd managed fine since her father's death three years earlier. The Kincaid women worked hard.
The shortcut through the woods was Molly's gift to herself: A peaceful interlude in a hectic day, a bit of beauty to enjoy.
She followed the road until it turned and she could no longer be seen from the house, and a short distance down the way passed the narrow and rarely used road that led south to Vanora Point. Then she ducked into the sheltering shade of the trees, venturing away from the road and going deeper into the woods.
There was a path of sorts, a narrow meandering trail that would take Molly to her grandmother's house. The light that fell here shot through the white pines in widely spaced bands that touched the forest floor, fingers of light tinged with blue as they reached for the ground.
Molly slowed her pace as she stepped deeper into the forest. She hated to lie to her mother, but it seemed such an innocent lie. The time saved was spent with her grandmother, a woman who was as stubborn and willful and loving as her only son, Molly's father, had been.
The red velvet cape Molly wore had been a gift from Grandma Kincaid. It was the only extravagance evident in her wardrobe. Her clothing was serviceable, plain, and sturdy, and consisted entirely of neutral shades of brown and gray and the occasional white blouse. Her mother insisted that with the bright red Kincaid hair curling down her back, Molly needed no more color. Grandma disagreed, and so she'd spent a portion of her savings on the red velvet. Molly so loved the bright cape that she wore it year round.
Molly's mother and her grandmother disagreed often. That was the reason the elder Mrs. Kincaid refused to move to town, Molly suspected. Not because she so loved the house she'd shared with her late husband, Molly's grandfather, who had been gone for more than ten years, not because she wanted to express her independence. She just didn't want to live with her daughter-in-law. Perhaps she even wanted to hurt Mary Kincaid a little, or to make her life more difficult than it already was.
Molly kept her eyes on the path before her as she entered a heavily wooded and dark region of the forest. This was like another world, far apart from her everyday life in Kingsport. Molly had always been convinced that there was magic in the forest of some sort. Some days she was certain it was good magic, other days she felt an ominous chill. However, she was not afraid of unknown magic or of getting lost--not as long as she stayed on her narrow footpath.
"What's in the basket?"
Molly spun around at the intrusion of the distinct, low voice.
"Who's there?" She was surrounded by tall, thick trees, and she could see nothing else. Her heart beat fast as she searched for a man to go with the voice. "Who's there?" she repeated.
She heard the interloper a moment before she saw him. His footsteps were loud in the silent forest as he came near and stepped between two tall white pines. He was dressed in simple hunting gear--a checked shirt and heavy trousers, a thick waistcoat and stout boots--and there was a rifle cradled easily in his arms. He was dark haired and tall, but what struck Molly most strongly was the wicked grin on his face.