Interview with Morpheus Wolfe
Character Interview with Morpheus Wolfe
By Lashell Collins
A chill runs up my spine as I peer out of the rear window of the black limousine. Even in the broad daylight the castle looks dark and foreboding. Creepy. And I know it came out of my imagination, and that nothing truly bad ever happened here … well, besides that fire in the ballroom a hundred years ago that killed over sixty people and resulted in the castle being forever haunted.
I take a deep breath just as the rear door of the car is opened, and a long bony hand reaches in to assist me. The skin is deathly pale, almost gray, and so icy cold to the touch that I physically recoil from the contact at first. Stepping out of the car, I get my first glimpse of the owner of that skeletal hand as my neck cranes up to see his face.
“Good afternoon, madam. I’m Butler.”
The soft whiny of his voice is as odd as his appearance — tall and lanky, severely pale skin that’s just shy of albinism, and a long gray ponytail that sat atop his otherwise peeled head and hung down his back. This was the horse shifter who ran the Twisted Manor household.
“Good afternoon, Butler.”
“Mr. Wolfe has been expecting you. This way please.”
He leads me from the driveway toward the front entrance of the castle, and I can’t help the shiver that runs through me. I’m going inside Twisted Manor to meet with the one and only Morpheus Wolfe.
I take a deep breath and swallow down a gulp of trepidation as I step through the doorway. Inside, Butler leads me straight to the living room. It is elegantly appointed, if not more than a little unorthodox with it’s deep burgundy walls and the black and purple velvet furniture done in the Louis XV style. The room is dimly lit, placing the fireplace on display as a dramatic focal point. Painted completely black from mantle to hearth, an abundance of purple drippy candles flickered in front of it. The hardened wax emanating from them almost appeared to flow onto the floor like lava in the shimmering glow of the candlelight.
“That’s so beautiful.”
“Thank you, Lashell. I’m gratified to know you think so.”
The deep, soulful voice shocks me, and I turn to see Morpheus Wolfe entering the room. He struts in like the cocky wolf shifter he is. His mere presence commands attention, yet he wears his distinction as easily as a comfortable pair of worn shoes. He’s dressed simply in a pair of black denim pants that hug his powerful thighs in an enticing manner, and a nondescript black t-shirt that accentuates his bulging muscles. His long thin braids are pulled back off his ruggedly handsome face and hang down to the middle of his back.
“That’ll be all, Butler.”
His eyes never waver from mine as he addresses his assistant. Once the horse shifter is gone, Morpheus smiles at me and reaches out a hand. “It’s lovely to see you again.”
I place my hand in his and try to ignore the tingle running up my spine. I don’t care what he says about the whole Soul Stealer controversy … I believe Morpheus Wolfe definitely possesses some sort of power over his fans. At least those of the female persuasion anyway. He bends his tall frame to place a kiss on my cheek, and I admit I’m slightly lightheaded by the contact.
“It’s wonderful to see you. Thank you for agreeing to speak with me today. I know you’re not fond of inviting strange humans into your home, but our readers are really excited about this interview.”
“Well, you hardly qualify as a ‘strange human’ now, wouldn’t you say? In fact, granting you this interview was a much simpler process than granting Aleigha her interview with me. She’s a little jealous of you in that respect.”
He places a large hand on my back and leads me over to a deep purple, tufted velvet sofa. I take a seat, surprised when he sits down at the opposite end. His body is angled toward mine. He crosses his legs and leans back, giving me his full attention. The steady gaze of his dark amber eyes is a little unnerving.
“So what is it your readers want to know?”
“Well, they’d like to know all about you. Small, seemingly unimportant things, like what’s your favorite color or your favorite food?”
Morpheus lifts his hands in a sweeping gesture that invites me to look around the room. “My favorite colors are those you see throughout the castle — black, deep purple, burgundy. I also love the simple black and white combination that’s evident in the den, the formal dinning room, and in our bedroom. Of course, the bedroom is now accented with canary yellow throw pillows here and there, thanks to Aleigha’s tastes.”
For some reason that thought makes me giggle, and Morpheus smiles.
“As for my favorite foods I’m really not too picky. If any of your readers wish to invite me over for dinner, they can’t go wrong serving meat and potatoes. On a side note … I am something of an ice cream whore, and just about any flavor will do.”
I laugh full out at that comment. “Well, now I know what to bring as a host gift if I’m ever invited here for dinner. Forget about a bottle of wine, I’ll just bring a couple gallons of ice cream!”
“There you go.” Morpheus grins.
“You’ll be my friend for life then, right?”
“You just solved the whole riddle of me.” Morpheus smiles at me. “Thank you, and good day! Interview over. There’s nothing more to learn here.”
My laughter only grows, and I’m delighted to see the broad smile on the notorious wolf shifter’s face. I hold my side as I fight to compose myself. This is not the scary wolf shifter I was expecting to interview today, but his lighthearted mood has put me completely at ease.
“Okay, I have to say that I’m totally blown away by you right now.”
He frowns at me. “Really? In what way?”
“Well, it’s just … and don’t take this the wrong way, but we don’t often get to see your great sense of humor. More often than not you’re usually so intimidating and gruff and downright scary, but right now you seem perfectly pleasant. Relaxed and content.”
“I am relaxed and content. I’m in my own home, all of my family members are safe and healthy, the woman I love is upstairs, and I just finished writing a song this morning. My world is good.”
“Hmm. The woman you love.”
Morpheus grins at me and shakes his head. “I figured you’d pounce on that.”
“You don’t want to talk about Aleigha?”
“I don’t like to talk about my private life, no. It’s private, between me and her. That’s what private means.”
“Okay, I’ll take another tactic. How do you feel about being viewed as a dark fairytale prince?”
His scowl is inscrutable. “Dark prince?”
“Yes. That’s how many of my readers see you.”
He glances down at his arm. “I know I’m a little brown, but I always kinda thought I was light skinned. Maybe not as light as Dash, but …”
I giggle as my gaze lifts toward the ceiling. “I’m not talking about the color of your skin. Dark refers to your moodiness. Your brooding, your temper, your …”
“Ah, you mean my winning personality!” The corner of his mouth kicks up in a sexy smile, and I think he’s teasing me. “My confidence and pride.”
“Your arrogance, yes.”
He chuckles, and I can’t help but smile as I watch him. This man sprang from my imagination, so I know he is secretly as good-natured as he is scary, but somehow it’s fascinating to see up close.
Finally he composes himself and shrugs a shoulder at my question. “I’m just a musician, Lashell. Frankly, I find the whole fairytale aspect of our story a little disturbing, but if that resonates with readers, so be it. The comparison to Beauty & the Beast is … kind of cool, I guess.”
“Casting you as the Beast? Accurate, yes or no?”
He hesitates and then rolls his eyes. “I get it. I mean, I suppose I fit the profile — mysterious, harsh, reclusive, exacting. I am all those things at times, so yes … I do get it.”
“And Aleigha makes the perfect Belle?”
“Aleigha is the perfect fairytale princess. She’s sweet and good, and kind hearted.”
He pauses for a moment, his gaze wandering to the sweeping marble staircase as if he’s wondering what she’s doing upstairs, and fighting the urge to rush to her side.
“Honestly, Lashell, I will never know what it is that she sees in me exactly ... what made her come back to me. But I’m so grateful for whatever the hell that is.”
His gaze finally meets mine and I can see the raw emotion in his golden eyes. It’s almost too intimate, too intense to bear, and I have to look away. I wanted him to talk about Aleigha, but now I feel as though he’s just bared his soul. I need to lighten the mood.
“Here’s a change of subject completely … if you weren’t a musician, what do you think you’d be doing for a living? Instead of Morpheus Wolfe, guitar god, there would be Morpheus Wolfe, the … what?”
He grins at me and then glances around the room. “I don’t know. Probably Morpheus Wolfe, the plumber.”
I can’t help my laughter at his ridiculous response.
“Morpheus Wolfe, the dog walker. The family practitioner. Can you see that, with my temper? Patients would love my bedside manner.”
He’s still making jokes, and I’m finding it hard to believe this is the scary, militant shifter rockstar I’ve dealt with in the past. I think finding love has seriously mellowed him out. “Come on. Who are you kidding? You wouldn’t have any patients ’cause you’d scare them all away!”
He laughs at that before he finally gets real. “No, in all seriousness, if I wasn’t a musician, I would probably have either gone into politics, or I’d be the leader of some extremist shifter nationalist movement.” He smiles, but I get the feeling he’s actually being sincere this time. “One end of that spectrum or the other. You know, I’m all about promoting shifter equality and elevating my people, and pushing that agenda, so … I probably would have fallen on one side of that coin or the other. Most likely the political side, since that’s how our country works, and that’s how things really get done. Being an extremist is fine, but no one takes you seriously, right? They label you as trouble maker or crackpot or whatever they can to undermine your cause. Politicians get the respect, whether they deserve it or not, whether they’re crooked or not. But that’s how our world works. And that’s all of my soapbox rant you’re going to get today.”
I smile as I watch him, saying nothing for a few moments.
“Nothing.” I shake my head as I respond. “It’s just that that is the Morpheus Wolfe I’ve come to know. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I haven’t enjoyed spending time with this laid back, mellow, wolf shifter making the jokes and being perfectly charming, because I have. But this serious side of you, this side that always has his people’s welfare in the forefront of his mind … I think that sense of social consciousness is part of your persona, and it’s part of what endears you to your fans.”
He tilts his head as if in agreement, but he doesn’t respond, and I get the feeling he’s honestly trying not to talk about politics or social issues in this interview. I smile as I decide to honor his silent wishes and keep it light and fun.
“Does Morpheus Wolfe ever party too much and lose control?”
He grins at me. “Well, as you know, alcohol doesn’t have any affect on us, and the only drug strong enough to get us high is the toxic Iris, which I’m fundamentally opposed to on many levels. So, the phrase ‘party too much’ doesn’t really apply. But if you’re asking if I ever just let myself go and have a good time, the answer is yes. It’s just that my idea of a good time might be a little different from yours.”
“What’s a good time to you?”
He cocks an eyebrow and looks me over in a way that instantly has me squirming in my seat. His gaze is predatory and primal, as though he’s undressing me with his eyes. He said the woman he loves is right upstairs, didn’t he? I avert my eyes in an effort to halt the naughty thought process my mind has somehow drifted into.
“Another place in time and I would have been more than happy to show you, Lashell. Let’s just say that I have been known to overindulge in the carnal vices. Before Aleigha, that was done with a string of multiple females on a nightly basis.”
Still unable to meet his gaze, I quietly clear my throat. “One last question.”
“If you’re sure you can handle it. You look a little overheated there.”
He says this with a straight face, his eyes still trained on me, and I can feel myself blushing. A lone bead of sweat tickles as it slowly rolls down the back of my neck, causing me to shiver.
“The castle. The ghosts, to be specific. Is the place truly haunted, or is it just rumors? Did all of those ghosts really appear that night in the ballroom, or did you and your bandmates rig something up just to enchant Aleigha?”
Morpheus smiles at me, and I feel an icy breeze blow suddenly across my back. My hair is whipped over my left shoulder, and a frozen kiss nips at the base of my neck.
My gasp comes out on a frosty breath that I can see, like on a wintery morning. I turn with a start, but no one is there.
“Is something wrong, Lashell?”
I turn back to Morpheus, my heart pounding as my hand grips the spot on my neck. “Someone just kissed the back of my neck! I felt cold lips touch me there.”
He cocks an eyebrow at me once more. “And yet, we’re alone in the room. I’m sorry, what was your last question again?”
I stare at him unable to speak as the hairs on my arms stand up. Morpheus smiles, but says nothing more.