Wolf Love:Werewolves of Granite Lake 1

By: Jane Jamison

Werewolves of Granite Lake 1

Chapter One

Patty Hallow was headstrong. As far as she was concerned, being strong-minded was an asset. She was also determined to live life the way she wanted and would stop at nothing to do so. May hell and brimstone rain down on anyone who tried to get in her way.

“Girls shouldn’t travel alone,” her mother had said. “It’s not safe or appropriate.” Dorris Hallow was a true Georgia lady and versed in all the proper ways that a Southern lady should act. She was at a loss as to explain how or when her daughter had gone astray. After all, she’d raised Patty the same way her mother had raised her, with morals, common sense, and knowledge of a woman’s role in life. It wasn’t her fault that her daughter acted downright strange at times. Sometimes she wondered—yet, of course, had never spoken out loud—if Patty hadn’t been switched at birth in the hospital and she’d somehow gone home with some lower-class Northerner’s daughter. As far as she could tell, a mix-up seemed the only logical conclusion. But as she’d told Patty so many times before, “I did the best I could, given what I had to work with.”

“You’re going to wish you had a man with you,” added her father. “A girl alone is just asking to get raped. And if that happens, then that girl shouldn’t go around hollering about being taken advantage of later on. A girl with the good sense God gave her would know better than to put herself in a bad situation.”

“Women”—how she hated being called a girl—“can do any damn thing they set their mind to. And screw those who get in her way.” She wouldn’t bother trying to explain that a woman should have the right to dress any way she wanted and not feel unsafe. That the man who didn’t treat a woman respectfully, no matter how she dressed or acted, wasn’t a real man. Her folks simply didn’t understand no matter how many times she’d tried to explain it.

She’d stopped by her parents’ home to say good-bye to her folks, but now she wished she hadn’t. Yet, halfway out the door, she whirled around, unable to not get the last word in. “And for the record, a woman should be able to walk down the middle of the street butt naked and be safe. A good man will give her the shirt off his back. A bad one will take advantage of her. How about making men responsible for their actions? They’re not the animals you seem to think they are.”

Although looking at her father sitting in his beat-up recliner, the flaps of his jeans pushed to the side to give his big belly free rein to spill out, a beer in one hand and a smoke in the other, she had to wonder. Maybe some men really were only a step away from being animals. Not all men, of course, but some.

With those parting words, she’d stormed out of their small home on the outskirts of Billow Bluff, Georgia, population 600 and declining, and had gone straight into Richie’s Fruits and Veggies Market to quit her mind-numbing, soul-killing job as a checker. Then she’d headed home and spent the next few days selling every possession she couldn’t shove into her backpack. At last, on that following Saturday, she finally put her feet to the pavement.

She’d always wanted to walk and hitchhike across the country, and now that she’d turned twenty-three, she figured it was about time to get at it. If she waited any longer, she feared she’d end up like so many of her friends. Stuck in a crappy job, married to someone she no longer really liked much less loved, and rubbing cocoa butter on a swollen belly pregnant with the first of who knew how many snotty-nosed children.

No way in hell would she survive such a life. She was sure she was meant for something bigger. At least, something different. She just wasn’t sure what that something different was. But that was okay. She’d figure it out soon enough. She was sure of it.

She’d already gone quite a distance. Although she wasn’t keeping track of how fast she was trekking it down the road, she was getting places fairly fast. Besides, it wasn’t the destination or how fast a person got there but the journey itself that mattered. At least, that was what her former English teacher, Mr. Harvey, had always told the class. She was simply proving him right.

As she headed down the highway taking her out of Arkansas and into Oklahoma, she reflected on some of the people she’d met along the way.

Mrs. Flanders had been “a hoot and a half,” as her father would’ve said. A real fun and lively woman. As one of the few female truckers Patty had ever met, Mrs. Flanders—“Honey, will you please call me, Auggie? It’s short for Augusta”—had a ton of stories and jokes to keep Patty entertained along the ride. Add the fact that the kind woman had secretly slipped fifty bucks into her backpack and she was one of Patty’s all-time favorite people.