We’re so close to publication date on Book 3: The Symbiotic Law and I’m so excited to share it with you all. In a couple of day I’ll be announcing a giveaway for free copies of Book 3 to people who join/are members of my mailing list, but in the meantime I thought I’d wet your appetites with another excerpt from chapter one. Follow the link at the top of this post to get the FIRST SNIPPET and continue reading for the
Eoin scoffed and stood up with a soft groan. He stood in front of a small mirror hanging on the wall and tugged on his hair. Broad fingers combed through the dirty strands, braiding them into something resembling order that he tied off with a few nimble motions. Satisfied, he turned back to Ethan.
“What are you talking about? You’ve got a whole family. We’ll look after you.” He made a sharp, impatient gesture. “Well, don’t just sit there—pack a bag, and don’t forget the stone. The faster we put a little distance between you and this city, the easier I’ll be able to close my eyes again.”
Ethan stumbled into action. Jeans and T-shirts went into a duffle bag with his bathroom kit and a clean pair of socks and underwear.
With care, he emptied the bottom of his closet, worked loose the floorboard covering his hidey-hole and pulled out the jeweler’s box holding the bloodstone pendant. Touching it made his skin crawl so he shoved it to the bottom of his bag and piled his shit back up until it didn’t look like anything of any importance had been taken from the room.
He found Eoin washing his hands in the kitchen, a plastic bag containing the meager contents of his pantry hooked in the crook of his elbow.
“Do you have it?”
Ethan nodded mutely.
“Do you have a coat? Get it. Never go anywhere without a coat. Except maybe a desert, but even then.” Eoin sniffed and wiped his hands off on his torn sweater.
Ethan figured it was less hassle to just do what he said rather than protest. He tripped over a stack of books on the floor. There were three volumes, two from Jansson that he hadn’t had time to read before the older man’s murder. On a whim, Ethan grabbed those and stuck them in his bad along with his clothes. He had no idea where Eoin planned on taking him or how long his uncle would deem it too dangerous for him to come home.
He bored easily. What if there was no television wherever they were headed? Ethan shrugged off that gloomy thought and grabbed his coat off the hook. It had a layer of dust along the shoulders that made him sneeze.
Satisfied now, Eoin led the way downstairs.
“We’ll have your car.”
“Where are we going?”
His uncle ignored the question. He pressed Ethan back from the front entry and slipped out the door first. After a thorough check of the hallway, he stuck his head back in and grabbed Ethan by the elbow, hustling him down the street to the parking garage where his Audi sat under several tons of concrete, Hondas, and a small fleet of Toyota Priuses.
“You have to tell me where I’m driving us to.”
Eoin pulled out a battered smartphone from his pocket, the Otter case showing significant wear and tear along its rubberized edges. He flicked through a couple pages while Ethan sat, one hand flicking his keys while his eyes catalogued the pedestrians walking by—hoods up and shoulders hunched against the rain but nary an umbrella in sight.
“Care to be more specific?”
“King’s Street Station.”
Ethan frowned but stuck the keys in the ignition and whipped them out of his long-term parking stall.
Patrick Clanahan, Seattle Police Detective, werewolf, recently well-satisfied male, bounded up the stairs to his—what should he call him? Lover? Partner? Mate? His own version of “it’s complicated,” let’s put it that way—a bag of takeout dangling from one hand and an impulse six-pack of beer swinging from the other.
To be honest, he all but whistled coming through the unlocked door. He’d left his—his Ethan well-fucked in his bedroom and now he returned triumphantly with dinner and beer and they were going to give this thing between them a go. It wouldn’t be easy—Pat wasn’t an optimist on a good day, but better trying together than crashing and burning on their own. Right?
Of course, whatever good mood he’d been nursing since picking up their food around the corner evaporated when he shut Ethan’s door and took stock of the silent apartment. The very empty, silent apartment.
The beer clanked against the kitchen counter.
Pat held his breath and strained his werewolf hearing, desperate to be proved wrong, but his initial stock of the scene remained true. Ethan wasn’t in the apartment.
Anger rushed through Pat’s nerves, and he dropped the bag of dim sum, uncaring of how it landed on its side, spilling dumplings and packets of dipping sauce everywhere.
Ethan had promised—! But no, he hadn’t promised anything outright, had he? Pat racked his memory. The other man had said they would try—but his exact words hadn’t been anything strictly binding, just the word of a magician. What stock could you put in that?
Pat snarled and slammed his fist down on the counter, making the wood groan and the beer bottles rattle.
Promise or no, Ethan had said he wouldn’t run away again; Pat hadn’t inflated that fact in his head.
On the heels of the anger, shame and guilt tried to rear their heads, sending his heart beating triple time in his chest, thundering in his ears and pounding hard against his chest until his body began to ache with it.
Had it been a ruse? Or just cold feet? Did he so misjudge their coupling—god, had it only been an hour ago that he’d had Ethan on his back, buried so far inside the other man, Pat cleaving to him in slippery desperation—that Ethan felt the need to sneak away behind his back?
The self-flagellation might have continued ad nauseam if at that moment the front door hadn’t swung open, distracting Pat from his black thoughts. His senses snapped to attention and zeroed in on the figure standing on the threshold: dark jeans, work boots, black shirt, and leather gloves, sunglasses, and a nondescript baseball cap pulled low over his eyes. He smelled like bitter herbs, salt, and gunpowder.
Something about the combination made the hair on the back of Pat’s neck stand on end and he tensed, mouth open in a snarl of shiny white teeth—too sharp to belong to any human man.
The man turned to Pat, one hand coming up quick and sharp, and the next moment several hundred volts of electricity shot through Pat’s chest. He convulsed and staggered against the counter, only just keeping his feet under him.
He snarled and tore the TAZER leads out of his shoulder and jerked the gun out of his assailant’s hand. Pat didn’t waste time on a strategy or thought. He barreled into the other man, sending them crashing to the floor.
Pat’s fingers tingled with the change, bones rearranging themselves into heavy, clawed fists as his jaw lengthened the extra inch necessary to accommodate his predator canines.
He took a fist in the gut and scrambled for the upper hand. He boxed a little to blow off steam but Pat was a werewolf first and he’d never feel as comfortable fighting in his human skin as he did in his wolf one. Still, he had heavier bones, inhuman strength, and a good dose of displaced rage on his side.
The other man’s head made a satisfying crack against the floor and his body slumped, going loose with unconsciousness. Pat forced his hands to uncurl from around the man’s throat. He sat back on his haunches, chest heaving, breaths puffing out short and hard from the adrenaline. His nose ached and blood dripped down the lower half of his face, but he could already feel the cartilage healing itself.
A quick check of his attacker’s pockets revealed a glaring lack of identification or wallet—just a business card, the logo faded almost beyond visibility and crumpled with dirty folds. Ethan’s address was written in neat capitals on the back.
Pat fumbled out his cellphone and took a picture of the card, which he sent to his partner at the Seattle Police Department. Sabira Mallory called him back almost immediately.
“Is this about our case?”
“That was fast,” Pat said.
“I was working on my report, so I can give it to Captain Augustas on Monday. You didn’t answer my question.”
“It’s not. I have a situation here.”