Blood and Chocolate | 2007
Ten years ago, in the remote mountains of Colorado, a young girl watched helplessly as her family was murdered by a pack of angry men for the secret they carried in their blood. She survived by running into the woods, and changing into something the hunters could never find--a wolf. Now, though she lives half a world away, Vivian Gandillon is still running. Living in relative safety in Bucharest, Vivian spends her days working at a chocolate shop and nights trawling the city's underground clubs, fending off the reckless antics of her cousin Rafe and his gang of delinquents he calls "The Five." Aiden Galvin is an artist researching Bucharest's ancient art and relics for his next graphic novel based on the mythology of the loup garoux--shapeshifters whose power to change effortlessly into the forms of both human and wolf was once considered holy among men. Wrestling demons of his own, Aiden hopes to explore the inner lives of these outsiders that he believes were persecuted to extinction--labeled monsters, murderers, werewolves. What he doesn't know is that the loup garoux are not only very real, they're far from extinct. During a chance encounter in an abandoned church celebrating the loup garoux, Aiden unknowingly comes face-to-face with the real thing, Vivian. Others may have secrets but none as extraordinary as hers, for Vivian is among the last of her kind, leading a tenuous existence under the protection and control of Gabriel, the powerful and enigmatic leader of one of the last packs of loup garoux on earth. After their brief exchange in the church, Aiden can't get Vivian out of his mind, nor can she forget him. He pursues her until she relents and begins to see him, but she can't bring herself to tell him the truth--and lives in fear of showing him what she really is. And what's worse: her future, and who she falls in love with, is already predetermined. To keep their kind from being hunted to extinction, Gabriel holds them to strict laws. One is that he must take a new bride every seven years, and Vivian has been prophesied to be his next.