Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Chapter Twenty-Four

Chapter Twenty-Five

Author’s Notes

Partial Bibliography

* * *

“Susan Krinard returns to her werewolf roots to spin an absolutely thrilling tale… A compelling, unforgettable romance of two lonely people who finally discover that love holds all the answers.”

—Romantic Times

“Touch of the Wolf is Susan Krinard at her best. [It is] a fascinating tale of beasts and beauties, love and betrayal, werewolves and humans, men and women… Touch of the Wolf is full of wonderful surprises.”

—Anne Stuart

“Touch of the Wolf a mystical, enthralling read, brimming with lyrical prose, powerful emotions, dark secrets, and shattering sensuality. Susan Krinard brings the world of the werewolf to life in a riveting and believable way.”

—Eugenia Riley

“Ms. Krinard has gifted us with a masterpiece of writing.”


“Two thumbs-up to the stratosphere for the dazzling second romantic fantasy from the pen of one of the genre’s next superstars… Krinard takes a giant leap forward in what promises to be a spectacular career. Brava!”

—Romantic Times

This book is dedicated to every man, woman, and child who has ever suffered the devastating effects of mental illness—those who have faced its challenges and have never given up hope of ultimate victory. It is also dedicated to the courageous men and women who have never ceased to search for cures, and to understand the mysteries of the human heart, mind, and soul.

—Susan Krinard, 2001

Chapter 1

South Vallejo, California, 1880


The vicious drunkard who bent over the cringing boy paused, his fist in midair, as if he had heard the voice of God Himself. Or, at the very least, a policeman with a club.

But if any policeman was to be found in this shabby excuse for a town, he was otherwise engaged. Johanna Schell had no faith in police.

Nor did she have any delusions of divinity. But she trusted in the air of authority she’d cultivated for so many years, and in the strength of her voice.

She crossed the muddy road to the haphazard line of shacks crouched along the docks near the railway station. In the gathering dusk, she could just make out the man’s unshaven face, the scar slashing his chin, the filthy clothing. He reeked of cheap liquor. The boy was pitifully thin, bruised, with the hollow, haunted eyes of one who had endured many such beatings. Johanna had seen that look before.

The man squinted at Johanna and produced an expression somewhere between a leer and a smirk. She saw the way he appraised her, judged her, dismissed her with the dubious aid of his diseased brain.

“You talkin’ to me?” he demanded, swinging toward her.

“I am.” She set down her doctor’s bag, took a firmer grip on her valise, and drew up to her full height, almost the equal of his. “You will cease beating that boy, immediately, or I shall summon the authorities.”

“The… ath-or…” He laughed. His young victim shrank in on himself, as if the laughter were only another sign of worse to come. “Who the hell you thin’ you are, Miss High-‘n’-Mighty Bitch?”

“I am a doctor. I’ve seen what you’re doing to that boy.”

“Boy?” He grabbed a handful of the boy’s frayed collar and jerked him up. “This boy’s m’son. I c’n do whatever I want wi’ him. No ath-or-tee’s gonna stop me. No woman, neither.” He spat. “Doctor, huh. How good’re you at healin’ yerself?”

Johanna ignored his threat. “What has your son done to deserve this?”

The man’s dull eyes grew confused. He couldn’t answer, of course. There was no reason for the punishment, save for his drunkenness and a natural depravity. But his confusion quickly gave way to resentment. He yanked the boy this way and that, until the lad squeezed his eyes shut and went limp.

“You ha’ no right to question me!” he snarled. “He’s useless! Should throw ‘im in the Straits and be done with’m!” He dropped the boy and grinned at Johanna. “You, too. Throw you in the Straits—af’er I have a bit o’ fun.”

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Categories: Krinard, Susan