Cover image for Once a wolf
Once a wolf
Krinard, Susan.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Bantam Books, [2000]

Physical Description:
388 pages ; 18 cm
Format :


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X Adult Mass Market Paperback Central Library
X Adult Mass Market Paperback Central Closed Stacks

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His love was wild...nbsp;nbsp;his soul untamed...nbsp;nbsp;his touch forbidden....

From acclaimed author Susan Krinard comes the second novel in a magnificent trilogy of a powerful clan whose sensual legacy is cloaked in secrecy-and a beautiful woman kidnapped by an outlaw whose forbidden embrace could reveal her true identity.... Once a Wolf

In the unspoiled expanses of the American West, Tomás Alejandro Randall was called El Lobo, the desperado and sworn enemy of powerful financier Cole MacLean.nbsp;nbsp;Few humans knew his true identity: heir to a wolf bloodline that made him as much an exotic beast as a devastatingly attractive man.nbsp;nbsp;It was Tomás's plan to lure Cole MacLean's elegant fiancée, Lady Rowena Forster, from her New York mansion to the wild frontier.nbsp;nbsp;There he planned to seduce the golden-haired beauty as revenge for the destruction of his family at MacLean's hands. But once she was in his possession, El Lobo found himself unable to resist the call of his own untamed passion-a passion that would claim the beauty for his own.nbsp;nbsp;As for Lady Rowena, she desperately hid her own wolf heritage behind an icy, controlled exterior. Yet the famous "Lady Ice" found her inhibitions melting and her true nature emerging in the presence of this handsome desperado.nbsp;nbsp;Both knew the danger of their pairing, but their wild hearts would risk everything-even death-for a chance at everlasting love.

Author Notes

Susan Krinard graduated from the California College of Arts and Crafts with a BFA, and worked as an artist and freelance illustrator before turning to writing. An admirer of both romance and fantasy, she enjoys combining these elements in her books.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

The second entry in Krinard's most recent historical/werewolf romance trilogy, this novel features a Victorian lady who is compelled to recognize the animal powers that lie beneath her New York high-society manners. Lady Rowena Forster has not changed into her wolf form for years; in fact, she's hoping her upcoming marriage to powerful and wealthy Cole MacLean will keep her "honest." Then, Rowena is kidnapped by another werewolf, Tomas Alejandro Randall, who is seeking revenge against MacLean, and she is forced to look beneath her veneer of civility. What is the right way to deal with one's werewolf nature? Tomas simply accepts that he is a werewolf, and Cole uses his power to manipulate one and all. While Rowena begins to fall for Tomas's gentler side, Cole's minions are busy tracking them throughout the West. Krinard tells her tale powerfully, with strong secondary characters, including Cole's younger brother and a young girl Rowena and Tomas save from a mob of angry villagers. While the story feels a few chapters too long, this paranormal tale will appeal to lovers of both horror and straight historical romance. Rowena's transformation from the Lady of Ice to a Lady of Fire and her union with Tomas makes for fascinating, and erotic, reading. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved



one   New York City, 1878   It really is the most wonderful news, Lady Rowena," the middle-aged matron said, smiling with benevolent indulgence upon her hostess. "All society is looking forward to the wedding. And as for short engagements"--she made a dismissive gesture--"everyone knows they are the ideal."   Lady Rowena Forster returned Mrs. Arthur Van Rijn's smile and offered her and her two daughters another serving of tea. The young ladies accepted with just the right degree of formal grace.   "My girls have benefited so much from your tutoring," Mrs. Van Rijn said, observing her daughters with pride. "I quite despaired of them ever becoming proper ladies before you took them under your wing."   "It was my pleasure, I assure you," Rowena said. And, indeed, the girls were attractive. But they would have been accepted in society, polished or not, because of their family's standing among the aristocracy of New York--the aristocracy which, three years ago, had welcomed Lady Rowena Forster into its midst.   When Rowena fled her arranged marriage in England, she had gone to the one place where her brother Braden, the Earl of Greyburn, would never have thought to look for her: America. She had lived quietly for a time, relying on the generous inheritance she'd received from a distant relative. But then word had come from England that Braden no longer demanded her marriage to the American of werewolf blood chosen for her. Though the Cause of preserving the werewolf race was still his life's work, he no longer forced others to be an unwilling part of it.   All at once Rowena found herself free. She could go back to England, but there were painful memories there she was not prepared to resurrect. And soon after she came out of hiding, she found that New York society was only too glad to embrace an earl's sister from England. She had slipped easily into the routine of a winter Season and summers at Newport or Southampton. After nearly three years, she was an established member of the elite.   But the social round, and a strong commitment to several charitable associations, was not enough to fill the vacancy in her life. The husband, children, and normal, human life of which she'd always dreamed were still denied her.   Until the man she had least expected to meet had come into her circle and offered companionship, unique understanding, and the answer to her dilemma.   "It's so gratifying that you have decided to settle here in New York," Mrs. Van Rijn went on. "We should all miss you terribly were you to return to England."   "As I should miss you," Rowena said with a tiny nod. "We shall visit England several times a year. Mr. MacLean no longer has any need to personally manage his family's holdings in Texas."   "But of course. He would be quite beyond the pale to expect you to live among savages." She set down her cup and folded gloved hands in her narrow lap. "Mr. MacLean is a true gentleman."   Yes, Rowena thought. A true gentleman. No one in New York could dispute that, least of all herself. He was the fantasy of every unmarried woman in New York: immensely wealthy, handsome, charming, impeccably attired and mannered, a generous patron of favored charities, possessing the friendship of husbands on the Stock Exchange and blessed with his family's substantial land ownership since long before the War of Secession.   The fact that Cole MacLean had lost his arm in the War, fighting for the South, was not held against him. It made him seem the more dashing to admiring young ladies.   How ironic that those ladies had lost him to the one woman who hadn't wanted anything to do with him at first. Cole was, after all, the very man her brother had intended her to marry; that knowledge had made her avoid him assiduously for nearly a year. Then she'd begun to learn that he was the single perfect mate for her.   Yes, quite perfect.   "I'm sure you have many preparations to make," Mrs. Van Rijn said, rising. "We have imposed too much on your time."   Rowena snapped out of her musings and stood with a muted rustle of skirts. "Not at all, Mrs. Van Rijn. Your company, and that of your daughters, is always most welcome." She offered her hand. "I trust that I shall see you again soon?"   "We will be attending Mrs. Peacock's Farewell Ball," Mrs. Van Rijn said. "We shall see you there. And then, of course, we will be leaving for Newport." She pressed Rowena's hand. "Your wedding will be the highlight of the summer Season."   Rowena murmured words of gratitude and exchanged good-byes with the two Van Rijn daughters. Her parlormaid, Kate, showed them to the door.   Rowena watched from the window until the Van Rijn carriage was lost among the many others negotiating the busy street, and only then allowed herself a moment to sigh and lean against the nearest chair. The stream of callers had been endless since the formal announcement of her engagement to Mr. Cole MacLean. She had been brought up to receive multiple guests with perfect aplomb, and yet it was almost as if she were eager to be rid of the prescribed rituals that amounted to little more than pretty words and self-satisfied pretensions.   She shook her head. She must be weary indeed to have such contrary thoughts. Cole would not appreciate them. He expected her to be the exemplary hostess, a credit to his standing and situation. When she and Cole were married, life would be much the same, if not more challenging. She couldn't let herself falter, not even when the children arrived. Children who would never know of their beastly heritage. Wasn't that worth every sacrifice?   Suddenly aware that Kate was still in the room, Rowena dismissed the girl and climbed the stairs to her bedchamber. She went at once to the wardrobe and drew out the heavy wedding gown that had been finished just days ago.   The gown was of white mousseline and silk brocade stitched with pearls, its virginal purity appropriate in spite of Rowena's years. Few in New York would guess that she had reached the age of thirty, and no one challenged her complete respectability.   The dress was beautiful, extravagant, and extremely expensive. Cole had commissioned it from Worth himself on a trip to Paris. He'd told her that it was essential to display wealth as well as possess it; to do less would damage his reputation among their peers. Rowena had questioned him about the necessity for such exorbitance wasted on a gown she'd wear but once. A few coolly reproving words from him had silenced her on that subject.   She shuddered to remember how she'd behaved with Cole at the beginning. The bad habits she'd accumulated in a life time of defying her brother soon became disagreeably apparent. She reacted to any challenging masculine authority with discreditable spite and sarcasm.   Cole had been the one to point out to her that her manner was overly bold, her speech much too pointed and hardly fitting for a lady of delicacy and rank. In fact, it smacked of the vulgar beast she wished to overcome.   He was right. He was always right. It was not his business to change; she must do the adapting. She had not been forced to marry him; she had chosen, after two years of his acquaintance. He had given her one final reason above all others to accept his proposal of marriage.   He alone knew what she was. She need never fear that some slip would reveal her shame, or that her keener senses, however she struggled to keep them in check, might betray her. She would not be burdened with knowing she deceived some ordinary man who believed that she, too, was normal.   Human.   Cole was not human. But Braden had been mistaken in assuming him to be a willing participant in his Cause. Cole had grown to feel the same distaste for his werewolf blood as Rowena. He wouldn't let his wife stray one step from humanity. He alone could keep the wolf at bay--and protect her from herself.   A gentle voice sounded deep in Rowena's mind: "But do you love him? Love is the most important thing in the world."   Of course Cassidy, Braden's young wife, had never spoken those exact words to her, not at Greyburn in England nor in the girl's letters to New York. But had she been here now, she would have said something very similar.   Cassidy hadn't lost her innocence in marriage to the earl, or in embracing her werewolf nature. She still believed that love could solve every problem.   It had no place in Rowena's plans. Once she had hoped to love, but no longer. Love and passion were too closely entangled. Passion lay close to the animal nature, the uncontrolled wildness that was the beast. Rowena had long ago decided that she would die rather than foster that monster within herself.   Romantic love, anger, yearning, desire: Ardor of any kind was behind her. Her sole desire was for stability, and ordinary children who would look to her for guidance.   Surely that was enough.   Carefully Rowena restored the gown to its place, as if she could put troubling thoughts away just as easily. Her uncooperative mind moved to the latest rumor--subtle, generally ignored--that Cole had engaged in some less-than-honorable business practices.   Of course all men in his position had enemies, those who would look for blots in an otherwise spotless reputation. Such envious busybodies would speak of dark secrets and hidden motives. But Cole's only dark secret was his loup-garou blood, and he had renounced that forever.   Rowena sorted through her gowns to choose the one most appropriate for tonight's dinner party at the Greenwells'. Cole would be there, of course--his last engagement before leaving on business for Chicago. She would stand at his side as living proof that he had nothing of which to be ashamed.   She smiled at her own conceit that Cole needed her protection. He was a man who stood unshakably firm and dignified in the face of his anonymous detractors, and would scorn the support of a woman. Just as he'd scorn her if she ever suggested such support.   Ringing for Kate, she removed the pins from her hair and studied her face in the dressing table mirror. In a month, she would no longer be Lady Rowena Forster, but Mrs. Cole MacLean. Her old identity would cease to exist. Cole made it possible. He made it inevitable.   She shivered and looked away.   Excerpted from Once a Wolf by Susan Krinard All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.