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Geonn Cannon is the author of over forty novels, including the Riley Parra series which has been adapted into a webseries by Tello Films. He's also written two tie-in novels and three short stories for the television series Stargate SG-1. Information about his other works and an archive of free stories can be found online at geonncannon.com

Underdogs 2: Beware of Wolf by Geonn Cannon

Everyone in Seattle knows the name Melody Louise Scott. The little blonde girl with a mischievous grin disappeared three days ago, and every night since her photo has appeared on the news with pleas for any information that leads to her being found safe. Not everyone knows the name Jenna Morris who was just reported missing. The only difference between the two girls is that Melody is white and Jenna is black.

Fearing the worst and knowing the police won't give her daughter priority, Jenna's mother hires Ari so she'll know that finding her daughter is the top priority for at least one person. Ari agrees to take the case, putting her at odds with a Detective Lorne, whom she first encountered during the Gavin debacle. Lorne has grown suspicious of what happened that night and uses the opportunity of working together to try and figure out what secrets Ari is hiding.

Meanwhile Ari becomes friends with a British canidae Millicent "Milo" Duncan, another wolf whose intentions may not be as pure as they first appear. With Ari distracted by the case and keeping Detective Lorne at arms' length, Dale becomes more suspicious of the new arrival's true motives for being in Seattle.

CURATOR'S NOTE

The second mystery in the long-running lesbian werewolf detective series, Beware of Wolf drops Ari and Dale in the middle of a pair of cases involving missing children. Once again, we return to a Seattle that's home to so much more than ordinary humans, as Ari and Dale fight to solve their case before it's too late — without knowing who they can trust among either humans or canidae. Another excellent mystery, with a pack of fascinating women at its heart. – Melissa Scott

 

REVIEWS

  • "These books are well written and have plenty of suspense, twist, turns and romance to keep you turning pages. I love Ari and Dale! The fact that they always do the right thing even when it's the hardest thing to do! They are two of my favorite characters! I look forward to hopefully seeing more of them!"

    – Inked Rainbow Reads
  • "I strongly recommend this series to everyone; it is one of the most original werewolf stories I've ever encountered, and Geonn's writing style never fails to captivate and intrigue."

    – Alix G on Amazon
  • "While I liked book one, I thought this was a good step up. If you are new to this series the main character is a werewolf who happens to be a private investigator. I love that these books mix mystery and paranormal together. You had a really interesting case of a missing girl, and the paranormal wolf side is heating up when someone from Ari's past makes an entrance."

    – Lex Kent
 

BOOK PREVIEW

Excerpt

Context was important. Without context, Ariadne Willow knew that things looked grim for her. She was currently in a burlap sack large enough to hold her wolf-form, the loop of chain that had been used to subdue her still around her neck. She could hear the men who'd abducted her talking because she was stuffed into the trunk of their car. The carpet underneath her reeked, and the road whispered under the tires as the bad guys drove to an undisclosed location for the next step of their dastardly plans.

Just as she planned.

Fifteen minutes ago she had spotted the beat-up blue Oldsmobile idling in an alley that dead-ended at a wooded area. The driver was behind the wheel, a lit cigarette in the hand that hung out the window. Ari stayed low to cross behind the car without being spotted, trying to pick up the trail of his passenger. It was nearly two in the morning so following the freshest scent was her best bet. She put her snout to the ground and let it lead her to the source two blocks away.

The guy was tall and wiry, crouched low and moving slowly so he wouldn't startle his prey. Ari mimicked him, but she managed to do a much better job of remaining inconspicuous.

As she watched, the guy crossed someone's side lawn and moved up to the chain-link fence. He moved with purpose, avoiding the furtive movements that would have been a giveaway to his nefarious motives. He quietly fiddled with the latch and almost immediately received a barked warning from further in the backyard. The man ignored it and pulled the gate open the rest of the way. He stepped back and to the side, waiting patiently until the border collie came running. The man extended the long pole he'd been carrying and readied the loop.

Ari moved out of the shadows that she'd been using for her cover and sent a thought across the yard to the dog.

Run. Go back to your people.

The dog skidded to a stop, confused. The man was confused as well, torn between getting what he came for and crossing into the people's yard. Ari didn't like 'speaking' with dogs. Canidae could do it with normal dogs, and to a minor extent could manage it between themselves, but other canidae at least had the benefit of knowing what was happening. For a dog to suddenly have a head full of human commands was perplexing to the poor beasts. Ari tried to keep it simple.

Danger! Run away!

The border collie turned tail and ran back into the yard.

"Oh, you stupid mutt..." the man muttered.

He started to go after it, but was stopped when Ari began barking. He turned and, when he saw her racing toward him, decided to go with the bird in his hand. He faced her full-on and brought the pole around. A short length of chain looped around Ari's neck when she was close enough and the man pulled a trigger to tighten it. Ari's bark was cut off to a wimpy squeak, her forepaws lifted off the ground as the man lifted the pole. He used the pole as a safety measure, keeping her from biting him as he examined her.

"Definitely a fighter!" New Guy was bulky and bald. His face was wide and flat at the chin but tapered to a smooth dome not far above his eyebrows. The reek of cigarettes was strong on him, as were other odors Ari didn't feel interested in identifying. She snarled and bared her teeth at him, twisting her body in an elaborate move designed to look like escape. Instead, she took a quick look at her new environment. A wall of lockers stood as barricade to a series of dark offices, with several tools strewn about between the two.

"It's a female."

Idiot frowned. "Huh? You didn't say nothin' about whether you wanted a boy or a girl."

"No, it's good. Females are called bitches for a reason." He tilted his head to the side and then nodded. "Okay. Go to the office and tell J.J. to get you some cash. Usual rate."

Driver nodded and tapped Idiot's arm to make sure he followed. New Guy let Ari's front legs drop and started walking, pulling the rigid pole he'd attached to her chain. Ari tried to fight, but the ground was too smooth to give her traction. After skidding a few yards she got her feet under her and reluctantly trotted into the warehouse behind him.

They entered into a room full of cages stacked two high, running along the length of the interior wall. Ari lifted her head and looked at them as she was dragged past, meeting their eyes. She heard some of their thoughts as she was pulled along.

Not like us.

Help?

A few of them were too aggressive and riled up to make sense, their spittle glistening on the bars of the cage as they barked at her.

"Come on," New Guy growled. He hauled her through another door into a blindingly bright room that reminded her of a doctor's exam room. The diagrams of canine anatomy and pictures of dogs on the wall revealed it was actually a veterinarian's realm. New Guy bent down and grunted as he hauled her up onto the table in the middle of the room.

"You behave. We're just gonna make sure you ain't got no diseases or anything, all right? Wanna make sure you don't keel over your first time out."

Ari flattened her ears against her skull, widened her eyes, and whimpered

"Looks strong. Mean, too." He lashed out with his right hand and slapped the side of her head. "You got a temper, huh?"

Ari blinked to steady her vision. Oh, you're gonna pay for that...

The man looked around and pushed the fence shut to hide the fact he'd been there. He jerked the pole and started walking, half-dragging Ari back the way they had come. She put up a valiant fight, making it look good. Even a man this stupid would be suspicious of a dog that was abducted willingly. She snarled and snapped at the chain, throwing all her weight against her back legs. Just because she planned to be stolen didn't mean she was going to make it easy on the jerk. The one thing she didn't do was bark, even when the choke chain allowed it. She didn't actually want anyone coming to her aid.

The man finally got her back to the Oldsmobile. The driver saw them coming and popped the trunk, getting out so he could help stow her.

"That ain't a border collie," he hissed.

"I still got one. What's it matter? This one is wild. Could be rapid."

"Rabid, you idiot. And thanks for tellin' me that before I got near its mouth. Hold him still, will ya?"

Idiot stepped over Ari's back and held her still with both hands. Driver got the bag out of the trunk and held it wide. She got a glimpse of his face - long and thin with a scruff of black beard but no mustache. She would remember that face. The bag was secured over her head and then the rest of her body was shoved inside by Idiot. She was lifted off the ground, tossed into the trunk without finesse, and the lid slammed.

Now the car was thumping over an uneven road. The air smelled salty and cold, and she could hear the lapping of waves. Industrial District, she guessed. Judging by the time they'd been on the road, it was somewhere close to the West Seattle Bridge. Driver finally slowed down and Ari heard the rattle of a garage door being manually lifted. The car rolled through and the gate was dropped behind them. The weight of the car shifted as her kidnappers got out.

"What did you get?" someone new asked.

"Some kind of mutt."

I'll show you mutt.

The trunk was opened and Ari twisted inside the bag. The new guy laughed. "Whoa-ho, a lively one. That's a good sign." He put a hand on her shoulder through the bag, pinning her down as he opened it to look inside. "Hm. Nice coloring. Looks strong. You should've seen the stray McCauley brought in the other night. Fuckin' skin and bones. It needed a walker just to stand upright."

"They make walkers for dogs? How's that work?" Idiot, of course.

"Shut up, idiot." The new guy cinched the bag again and hauled Ari out. She was momentarily dangled upside down before he put her on hard concrete. She snarled and thrashed like a fish, the wolf part of her brain panicking at the lack of control. New Guy told Driver to hold her head down, and he grabbed it through the bag. The wolf wanted to try biting him even through the thick burlap, but Ari calmed it and held it back. The bag was opened again and New Guy reached inside. Something was latched to the chain around her neck and she was hauled out. The fish metaphor took on new meaning as she was lifted onto her hind legs and forced to stand.

She was in a garage; three rows of fluorescent lights illuminated a large but empty work space. An open door led into what looked like a dark warehouse. Ari could hear men laughing and cheering. Their shouting was joined by a rattle of chains, and underneath it all was the snarl and barking of her cousins. She could smell blood, and it made her twist and buck against her captor's arms.

"Definitely a fighter!" New Guy was bulky and bald. His face was wide and flat at the chin but tapered to a smooth dome not far above his eyebrows. The reek of cigarettes was strong on him, as were other odors Ari didn't feel interested in identifying. She snarled and bared her teeth at him, twisting her body in an elaborate move designed to look like escape. Instead, she took a quick look at her new environment. A wall of lockers stood as barricade to a series of dark offices, with several tools strewn about between the two.

"It's a female."

Idiot frowned. "Huh? You didn't say nothin' about whether you wanted a boy or a girl."

"No, it's good. Females are called bitches for a reason." He tilted his head to the side and then nodded. "Okay. Go to the office and tell J.J. to get you some cash. Usual rate."

Driver nodded and tapped Idiot's arm to make sure he followed. New Guy let Ari's front legs drop and started walking, pulling the rigid pole he'd attached to her chain. Ari tried to fight, but the ground was too smooth to give her traction. After skidding a few yards she got her feet under her and reluctantly trotted into the warehouse behind him.

They entered into a room full of cages stacked two high, running along the length of the interior wall. Ari lifted her head and looked at them as she was dragged past, meeting their eyes. She heard some of their thoughts as she was pulled along.

Not like us.

Help?

A few of them were too aggressive and riled up to make sense, their spittle glistening on the bars of the cage as they barked at her.

"Come on," New Guy growled. He hauled her through another door into a blindingly bright room that reminded her of a doctor's exam room. The diagrams of canine anatomy and pictures of dogs on the wall revealed it was actually a veterinarian's realm. New Guy bent down and grunted as he hauled her up onto the table in the middle of the room.

"You behave. We're just gonna make sure you ain't got no diseases or anything, all right? Wanna make sure you don't keel over your first time out."

Ari flattened her ears against her skull, widened her eyes, and whimpered.

He kept his steady glare on her.

Ari coughed, trembled, and hunched her shoulders. When she looked up at him again she rolled her eyes back in her head and went limp. She dropped onto her side and let herself fall as limply as if she was dead onto the hard tile floor. Ouch. She lay perfectly still and held her breath as New Guy stared in shock.

"What the hell. What the hell." He got onto his knees next to her, both eager to try and help but reluctant to touch her. He finally seemed to decide the ruse was too complicated for a dog to fake and put his hand on her throat to feel for a heartbeat. Ari didn't have to fake a rapid pulse. "Those assholes..." He got to his feet and ran from the room.

Ari immediately flipped onto her stomach and pushed herself up. She brought up one forepaw and pushed it through her collar, holding it there until the claws flattened into fingernails. The hair receded from her hands and arms, her body changing shape with pops and cracks that sent waves of pain through her body. As soon as she had opposable thumbs, she got the choke chain off and tossed it. She arched her back and felt the last few bones pop into place.

Her hip and shoulder ached where she had taken the tumble, but she couldn't focus on that. She limped out of the exam room and back down the row of cages. All the dogs were now staring at her in confusion. The aggressive ones still bared their teeth but they were too confused to actually bark.

Back in the garage Ari ran to the lockers she'd spotted earlier. There was a thick brown jumpsuit hanging on a hook by one of them and she grabbed it. She had just yanked up the zipper when she heard New Guy shouting curses from the direction of the vet's office. She eyed the row of tools nearby and grabbed the shovel. She ran back to the cages and arrived just as New Guy and the Vet came running out of the office. They stopped in their tracks when they saw her.

"Who the hell are you?"

"You oughta be careful who you call a mutt," Ari growled.