Blog Tour: ARIEL by Donna McDonald: Excerpt and Giveaway!
Date Published: February 16, 2015
Despite her sharp scientific mind and her degree in bio-molecular genetics, Dr. Ariel Jones hasn’t figured out how her life changed so much in a single day. Before she can blink and ask about what is going on, she’s being shot with a billion nanos and some very potent wolf blood.
Now she can suddenly turn into a giant white wolf with the bloodlust of a starving animal. And she’s an alpha wolf…or so she is told by the even larger, very male, black wolf who was used to create her. Hallucination? She wishes. Whether human or wolf, Reed talks in her head and tells her how to handle things…or rather how to kill them…starting with the men who hold them all captive. Too bad he can’t tell her how to put her life back like it was.
Admittedly, there are perks to being a werewolf, such as meeting sexy werewolf guys like Matthew Gray Wolf. It’s not like the science labs were overrun with sexy men in white coats. She also doesn’t mind learning about a side of herself she never knew existed. It's great changing into a real wolf whenever she wants, but being a living experiment wasn’t part of the scientific career she’d planned for herself. Neither was falling for the local werewolf alpha, but what else is a newbie werewolf caught in her burning time going to do?
Ariel shook with cold as she came up out of a deep, drugged sleep. Naked and shivering, she determined that she was lying on a small cot.
As she struggled to open her eyes, she could just barely make out the forms of Dr. Crane and his white-coated asswipe of an assistant. They were staring into the cages where they’d stashed the other two women who had been captured alongside her. There was a bunch of growling and hissing which kept getting louder as the men talked.
Dr. Crane looked extremely pleased with whatever was happening. The knowledge pissed her off, but her dark thoughts of doing vicious and hideously cruel things to both men surprised her.
Ariel lifted a pale hand in front of her face, which blurred out of focus, but finally came back in. So far, nothing overly unusual had happened to her body, unless you counted the sick headache she had at the moment. She felt strange though—very strange. Her stomach growled with fierce hunger and there was a steady fire burning between her legs. Those two white-coated bastards had better not have touched her. If they did, she was cutting off their man parts and throwing them in the recycler. Later, when she was more alert, she promised herself she would check her body closer.
A loud clanging against the bars of her cage had her covering her ears. Sound—all sound—hurt terribly and increased her headache. A percussion band played in her head as she fought the pain.
“I’m afraid your doctoral thesis is now a complete failure, Dr. Jones. Apparently, the metamorphosis strand is a deterrent to transpecies mutation as well as being something to shorten a person’s life. Now I have to decide what to do about you. We can’t just turn you loose in society and have you telling everyone what we’re up to here. You were certainly a waste of a couple billion very expensive nanos we can’t get back. Sadly, you’ve become the only failure case, rather than the pinnacle of our success.”
It took her a lot of effort, but Ariel finally managed to manipulate her hand enough to get her middle finger to stand up alone. Crane’s laugh at her silent rebellion grated on every nerve she had, not to mention how much his voice hurt her ears.
“When I get out of here, I may kill you just to watch you hurt,” Ariel croaked, her mouth dry as dust.
Crane laughed harder and walked away. At his departure, the growling and hissing in the cages next to her ceased. When the room was totally silent once more, she drifted back into a peaceful oblivion where she could pretend nothing had happened.
Dr. Jones—Ariel. Wake now, but do not shift. Wake in human form. Think of yourself as human and you will be one.
Ariel rolled to her side on the canvas cot and tried to pull the scratchy cover she’d found over her naked body. Even with her knees scrunched up, it was far too short. She covered her eyes with a hand as she fought off the nightmares which were now continuously talking to her. There must have been hallucinogens in what they gave her.
I am not a hallucination. I am Reed—a three hundred year old alpha. You are a two day old version. It is very wise of your wolf to hide itself from those who seek to harm you.
Ariel groaned and rolled to the other side. “Head hurts. Stop talking to me.”
I know you are in pain, but you must fight off the drugs now. Crane returns soon. He is planning to move you to another facility and dissect your body to find out why conversion failed with you. They have identified another experiment victim and she arrives tomorrow. You must rescue the others and kill Crane before he can turn more.
“Kill Crane? Sure. I’d love to do that,” she repeated, covering her eyes with her hands.
Yes. I regret the extremeness of the step, but Roger Crane must not be allowed to continue his work. You will have to destroy the lab as well. Accidents happen all the time in Alaska. I doubt Feldspar Research will fund any other scientist if we completely destroy the proof of Crane’s success.
“O—K.” she said groggily, working her body into an upright position. Sitting up hurt as much as anything else did. “And I thought my divorce was traumatic. Either my nightmares are getting bossy or I’m hearing real voices in my head.”
Putting a hand up to her head, she rubbed the base of her skull where they had shot something into her brain stem.
“Hey nightmare, since we’re on a speaking basis, do you know what the hell Crazy Crane shot me with in the back of my head?”
My blood—I believe. He took it at the pinnacle of my wolf’s lunar cycle. Since I was already in my wolf form when he caught me, hitting the lunar pinnacle was evidently strong enough to cause a species turning. I had heard the legends, but human turnings have not been done since the middle ages. Packs prefer to propagate organically. Unfortunately, Crane found a way to take the choice from me.
Ariel laughed. Her intuition spoke to her all the time, but it usually didn’t announce she was a wolf in human form. “Hey Nightmare, are we going to keep talking in my head?”
Yes. I am your alpha. You are an alpha in training. So yes—we will talk in your head—until we can do so differently. I cannot shift from my wolf until the bullets and collar are removed from me. Silver has a restraining effect.
“Being shot with your blood doesn’t make you my dad or anything, does it?” Ariel could have swore her nightmare wolf tried to laugh. He huffed like a dog doing it.
No. But it does make you my responsibility until you take a mate who can look out for you. Being part of a pack is like having a large family. I think you might like it once you understand it.
Ariel snorted. “So I’m an alpha. Does being alpha mean you’re top dog or something?”
We are canis lupis, not dogs. Alaska is home to more than eleven thousand wolves. More than half are what humans call werewolves. This is what you have become, Ariel Jones. You are now both human and wolf, as are the other two females. They are your charges and the first of your pack. They are your responsibility and will look to you for guidance on how to adjust to their new lives.
His comments—which she was starting to believe weren’t just voices in her head—had Ariel standing on wobbly legs and walking to the bars of her prison. In the cages next to hers, two multi-colored wolves paced restlessly. They were less than half the size of the black wolf, but still real enough to convince her she wasn’t just having a nightmare. Oh no—she was living one.
“Brandi. Heidi. Relax. We’re going to escape. I promise.” When both multi-colored wolves sat and turned to her expectantly, Ariel shook her head. She knew their names and could command their obedience. Though she’d never been a person given to swearing, there were no normal words to express the enormity of her shock. Was she truly going to one day be a wolf as well?
“Un—fucking—believable,” she whispered. She turned her head until she saw the edge of the giant black wolf as he leaned against one side of his cage. “Reed? Is the giant black wolf you?”
Yes, Ariel. The giant black wolf is me. You should see the alpha of the Wasilla Pack. Matt’s wolf is even bigger.
She felt like peeing herself when the black wolf turned his head and met her gaze like a human would during a conversation. He had the greenest eyes she’d ever seen on a man or animal. They were filled with a kind of determination she’d never felt before, but had a feeling she was about to get an education in it.
Crane returns. I know it is him. His stench will haunt me for the next hundred years of my life.
“Okay. I’m wide awake now and mostly willing to believe you,” she said, hoping all three wolves understood she was working her way to acceptance as fast as she could. She went back to her cot and huddled under the short cover. “Hey Reed, did I get bigger or something?”
Yes. And you are strong enough to kill the men who will be trying to kill you. You have to try, Ariel. It is important to me that you and the other women survive. When they open the cage to take you out of it, call your wolf to help. She will be more than happy to answer. I’ve been helping you hold her back until the time was right.
“My mind is having a hell of a time trying to believe all of this is real, but I’m sure as hell not ready to die. Let’s say I believe you. What does my wolf look like?”
Until she comes, none of us will know. I just hope she’s big and strong. Rest now and pretend to be weak. You do not want them to know what you really are until it is too late.
Ariel leaned back on the cot and tried to look as pathetic as possible so her captors would believe she was just as harmless as they assumed she was.
Inside, she was praying that Reed—or whatever inner voice was helping her survive—was right about her being able to free them all.
About the Author
Donna McDonald is an active dreamer and finds writing to be the best way to use her creativity.
Needing to satisfy both sides of her brain, she is a cross-genre author of contemporary, fantasy, and paranormal romances. Her books appear on bestseller lists for humor, romantic comedy, space opera, and more.
She craves laughter from her readers and focuses her attention on making that happen as often as possible. She loves to hear from anyone who has read her books.
5 copies of Ariel in ebook format (any channel)