Never let them see you scared. Never let them know you’re weak.

Pretty Little Werewolf
Sample Chapter 1

Nerves frayed worse than the ends of her shoelaces she kept picking at, Giselle Richards was in no fit state to deal with people, but that didn’t matter. As a minor, her life was dictated by the will of others.
Breathe. Just breathe. Giselle closed her eyes as the taxi cab came to a stop. She focused on centering herself, controlling her breath, being in the moment. Yoga had never really been her thing, but she did appreciate the way the breathing exercises helped to calm her wilder side. And today of all days, she needed that control. Walking in with hands jittery and shaking would be a dead giveaway of her nerves and, with a reputation preceding her, that would just confirm what everyone had to suspect – that she was a freak.
Never let them see you scared. Never let them know you’re weak. A mantra ingrained into the very fabric of her being. Life was tough for Giselle, and she had to be tougher. No matter how much she wanted to run screaming into the open desert. No. She had to go in appearing confident, with her head held high. 
One breath at a time, in and out. Slowly. Easy enough, normally. Today, however, not so much. And not just because of where she was. All it took was a quick glance up at the sky and she spotted it, in broad daylight: the beautiful roundness of the moon. Even now it called to her. It would be full come evening. The worst kind of monthly visitor a girl could ever have.  And it had to happen on this day.
New home day.
Just outside of the taxi cab stood the house that would become her new home. However long it lasted. Maybe a week or two… maybe less, after the moon had its way with her.
She’d like to imagine she’d live there longer. Great big two-story home. Probably four or five bedrooms inside. Maybe one of her very own. Now that was dreaming a bit too high. New room or not, the house looked nice, and obviously loved. Christmas lights strewn all over the yard were blinking in time with music. And Frosty and all his winter friends were waving from the curb. If only there were snow to complete the winter wonderland. Still, even without it, this home looked like a dream, with warm and loving people ready to invite her into their family. But Giselle knew better.
“You’ll see. This place will be wonderful,” Mrs. Perkins, her counselor said, a little too enthusiastically.
Giselle rolled her eyes, already feeling the pull of the moon calling her wolf to rise to the surface. Dealing with Mrs. ‘Perky’ Perkins was bad enough on a normal day… She really had to control her breathing today. Jenny Perkins just had to place her right away. Couldn’t hold out for a day longer. If she only knew how wrong she was.
Mrs. Perkins’ lips pulled tight with disappointment. “Oh, don’t be like that. This place will be wonderful.”
“You said that already.”
What the hell did that woman know anyway?  She didn’t have kids, and was certainly not a child of the system. Nor was she a freak of nature. Sitting there in her pretty pink pants suit with perfect blonde hair. Perfect nails. Perfectly stylish shoes. Perfect life to match, probably. If Giselle rolled her eyes any harder, they’d pop out and get lost under her seat.
“Fine, then. That sour puss is not going to help your situation any, but you’re still going in there and meeting your new foster family.”
The front door of the house opened, and Giselle watched a woman step outside. She spotted the cab and cracked a smile, but as soon as the she stepped off of the front porch, caution replaced eagerness and she took her time walking toward the car. Tall for a woman. Thin, but hiding it behind the bulk of winter clothes. She might have been mid-forties, Giselle couldn’t quite tell, but she moved with the grace of a younger woman. The look on her face, though, was more than cautious. She was worried, and trying to hide it.
Great. Just great! Here we go again. Breathe. You can do this.
Giselle’s reputation had already preceded her. How could it not? She might not even last the night let alone the holiday season at this house. Problem child. Weirdo. Freak. The echoes of all the terrible things she’d been called came back to haunt her, stealing some of her resolve. She fit all of the above and then some, sure, but it was wholly another thing to be called them. Hurtful as they were, she understood normal people’s fear. When you wolfed out once a month, literally, you couldn’t expect anyone, even the most well-meaning of families, to accept you.
Shuffled from one foster home to the next, she’d seen one too many a house like this: pretty to look at, but never meant to be hers. Her life had been turned upside down in the last three years. Growing up had brought more changes than she had bargained for. Most girls only had to worry about boobs and training bras during their pre-teen years. Maybe a few awkward days with stained clothes. She’d gotten all those gifts – and the added bonus of growing a bushy tail and a set of impressive canines each cycle. And as soon as that started, so had the revolving door of foster homes. Sure, they were all happy and welcoming at first; until they saw what kind of a freak she truly was. Then it was a race to get rid of her.
At least they’d been good enough to keep silent about her condition as they shuffled her back into the care of her caseworkers. ‘It just didn’t work out’ became her catchphrase.
Hiding her abnormality bought her a few months, but even then, someone would get wise and it was, “Sorry, but you need to leave.” Same old song, only the tempo of it seemed to increase each time it was played. 
“You planning on living in there?” The woman, her new foster parent asked, gazing expectantly though the car window.
Could she? Only two years left until freedom. Two more years until she was aged out of the system and on her own as an adult. If only. 

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About The Author

Katie Salidas is a USA Today bestselling author and RONE award winner known for her unique genre-blending style.

Since 2010 she's penned five bestselling book series: the Immortalis, Olde Town Pack, Little Werewolf, Chronicles of the Uprising, and the all-new Agents of A.S.S.E.T. series. As her not-so-secret alter ego, Rozlyn Sparks, she is a USA Today bestselling author of romance with a naughty side.

In her spare time Katie also produces and hosts a YouTube talk show; Spilling Ink. She also has a regular column on First Comics News where she explores writing from a nerdy perspective.