The werewolves are here.

Book One. STALK.

Every breath you take.

Nick was walking toward the elevator in the building where he had a meeting with the growers’ association representative when a woman breezed past. He had a vague impression of a symphony of silk moving in time with the undulations of her body, but it wasn’t her looks that captivated him. It was her scent.

He turned around and followed, meeting be damned, dragged by a scent that pulled him along like she was magnet and he was steel. Before he thought through what he was doing, he’d followed her home. She lived within walking distance of where she worked.

That was when the obsession began. He thought about stopping her on the street to ask if she’d like to get a coffee, but there were a hundred reasons why that sounded like a bad idea. There was no mutual friend to introduce them. No community or social network they shared. She didn’t go trolling bars for dates. So he watched and waited, thinking eventually an opportunity would present itself when he could talk to her without alarming her.

Reese was aware of the man who followed her. On any given morning walking to work, if she stopped and looked behind, she would spot him somewhere on the same block. Same thing at night. Even when he was hidden by a shadow or a sign or other people, she’d developed a sense that detected when he was nearby. The last thing she did before bed was to look down at the street from her window. He wasn’t always in the same spot. But he was always there.

 

She’d thought about going to the police, but the guy hadn’t really done anything except make her nervous. She imagined a possible conversation with the police.

“Has he done anything to indicate that he intends to harm you?”

“Well. No.”

“I see. But you’re afraid of this man, Ms.,” looks down at clipboard, “Braga?”

“Well. No.”

“He’s done nothing to worry you and you’re not afraid. Why are you here again?”

“He’s following me.”

“And you don’t know who he is.”

“No. He’s a complete stranger.”

Taps pen on paper. “There’s not much we can do about that.”

“Isn’t there some kind of ordinance against stalking?”

“Ordinance. That’s a good word. And yes. Stalking is a crime, but stalking consists of two main components. Following is one. Harassing or threatening is the other and more important. Is the man threatening?”

“No.”

“Harassing?”

“No.”

“Then technically he’s not stalking. Just following. Unless he’s doing it for the purpose of intimidating, annoying, or alarming, then no. Following is not a crime. You let us know if it escalates.”

Reese sighed. But as the dialogue in her mental play began to drift away, a plan formed. She would wait until she and her ‘follower’ were in a populated place, then turn and confront him. He would either cease and desist or ‘escalate’, in which case she could tell the police that she had an actual crime to report.

If nothing else, it would be enlightening to get a good look at him. He’d never been close enough for her to really get a mental fix on his looks, other than the fact that he was tall and athletic, judging from the way he moved and carried himself. She knew he had dark hair, but beyond that, she wouldn’t be able to identify him with certainty if he was sitting at the booth next to her in the deli where she had lunch on Tuesdays.