[note: small proofing details may change with final copy]
Craig couldn’t predict setting a werewolf free would lead to this much trouble.
Two months after the kidnapping of his best friend’s mate, Phil can’t stop thinking about the Hunter that set him free. He can’t get the smell out of his nose, and its driving him nuts.
Craig’s only ever known for one thing, hunting werewolves. He was born into it, raised to do nothing but kill the beasts, so when the hell did he let one free. Worse, why can’t he stop thinking about it.
When Phil and Craig meet up again, they start events that will slowly entangle all of them in the war that’s about to unfold—as long as they manage to survive the first wave.
“There,” Craig’s dad, Marty said, though Craig wasn’t allowed to call him Dad. He was squatted down, his gun lying across his lap, his fingers lightly lingering over the dirt, pointing out a sign they had been looking for months now. “Ya see that, boy?” he asked Craig, his voice always going to a gravel of disappointment whenever he spoke directly to his son.
“Yeah.” Craig sighed. It wasn’t that he hated hunting, or that he didn’t want—need—to be here with his da—Marty, but it was for totally different reasons than he was ever going to admit in this small group of people.
Though, truth be told, it was for the same reason that Marty adopted the disappointed tone with him. He didn’t know, however, the minute details, except that he’d fucked up and let a werewolf free when, clearly, it was too injured to make it out itself.
That was the lie he’d told himself—and it was true, he did let it go. But something told him there was more to the story.
It was complicated, and Marty didn’t know the details Craig did. He just suffered through an over blown ego that was going to get the better of him. Craig just hoped at the end of it, he wouldn’t be changing into the wolf Marty hunted. Then, again, maybe that was what Marty truly wanted…try to fuck up his viewpoints, so that now he truly did believe the bullshit he was shouting.
The group started off again without another word or look between Marty and Craig, thank God. These hunts had begun to pull his heart in two directions and as the ripping magnified, his brain was beginning an alliance with the heart that told him all this was bullshit.
They crept on through the brush, the pine needles thick and bulky as they made their way toward the area where they had picked up that guy a month before. Marty and the four others with Craig were certain the beasts would still use the same area of this vast land when they shifted, and that made his mind leap with his heart and had him seeing the bullshit as it was, rather than letting his history and upbringing cloud his judgment.
Still, if he thought about it, he understood why and where his dad’s mind had snapped, why he’d slowly started to shape into Marty, but he didn’t really want to think of that at the moment because he didn’t want to remember. He didn’t want to sink back into that depression that made him learn to use the weapon between his palms along with the way he whispered across the pine needles without a sound.
He didn’t want to know what would truly happen if his mind fought with the two parts of his heart, or if it chose the side that was currently losing.
He didn’t want to live the rest of his life in this futile fight for extinction of a creature no one knew a thing about, nor would they ever.
He didn’t want this life anymore, and so he needed to fight the influences he had been brought up with, battle the instincts to fight before thought or feeling, wrestle with memories from a past he hasn’t been able to work through, because it’d be pushed into his face every second he stumbled.
He had finally found something to change his perception of the world he once knew, and it was proving to be right. It was proving to change him without a second thought on his part, like that one moment when he woke like the Prince kissing Snow White.
Yeah, that was really girly. Craply apt, though. Shit.
“What?” Dave said from his left, making Craig jump slightly. He hadn’t thought he’d laughed out loud.
Craig smiled a little at him as he shook his head. Nothing. That was what it was. It was nothing—nothing anyone of this group wanted to hear or understand. Nothing that mattered in any manner if his father got what he wanted and found what he needed, because without one werewolf, he’d be deep into the hole his father had beaten him into moments after his mother had been slaughtered. He also wouldn’t be coming out alive.
Craig sighed for what seemed the hundredth time as Marty opened his mouth to run off shit about the abominations and what he was going to do to them once he found them. It was dinner time, and probably the last chance even to piss before the night took over the world and the werewolves would populate the place in the form that made them a shit load more fun to hunt.
It also made them safe, though. Marty was at the point where he was ready to hunt them in human form, tracking and hoping as he slipped into their houses and slit their throats. It wasn’t like they would ever know if they were wrong, especially if, in their minds, that person they just slaughtered was a werewolf.
Craig was over it. Even more, he was over Marty and his fucked up mind.
His cock was also throbbing. The further into the forest they had gone, the harder he had gotten. The titch in his neck pricked up even more. All it wanted was for Craig to drop everything and start running until he ended up in the hands of…
Yeah, his what? was a better place to put that thought. A thought that just shouldn’t have been there, but the closer the night had come, the more he felt as if everything in his life was wrong and that when he had been holding that werewolf…that felt right. That was the place he was meant to be.
Those thoughts felt more right, that with the werewolf was where he should be, than when he’d admitted to himself he was gay, which happened to be a long time after he realised guys turned him on. How fucked up was that?
Taking in a deep breath, Craig tried his hardest to push away the lust. He wanted it to go away, but the best he could do was try his hardest to forget that he was hard in the first place. It didn’t help. It was difficult to get rid of the need to run his hand down the hard line and relieve some of the pressure.
It was harder to just not let his dick take control and pull him in the direction it wanted to go and be with the beast…to the person under all that fur. Craig wanted to sooth the one with the dark eyes that held sadness.
Craig had started thinking about the man under the fur from the first time he closed his eyes in the van as they drove out of the boondocks of the national forest where they had parked. Honestly, he hadn’t really put focus on what the body of the man looked like until a week later, when those eyes and the beast would have clearly turned into a man. Yet he had no real knowledge of what they looked like when they were human, how much they changed, filled out from human to beast—and that had made his mind crazy. It could never choose.
Lately, however, those eyes and dark hair had been attached to what Craig’s last one-night stand had looked like. Lean muscles, sharp lines. Solid features. A male through and through, though no taller than Craig’s five-foot-eleven frame. Though that man had been blond and hairy, Craig had seemed to darken it all and strip him of every bit of hair so that all that skin was his for the taking.
He shuddered. His head snapped up, looking to the west. His muscles pulled tight. His thighs trembled to move. He needed to get moving. He needed to be somewhere else. Anywhere else but here.
“What’s up, kid?” David asked him, gaining the attention of everyone else. None looked at him. They were all scanning the trees, trying to see something that wasn’t there, feel something imaginary.
“I…don’t…know…” Craig said slowly, shifting with his inner arm, his rifle into his hand.
“It’s nothing, the boy’s fucked when it comes to instincts,” Marty sneered, making Craig roll his eyes, thankful he was facing the other way.
“That might be,” David agreed. “I think we should head out.”
“Right, gents, let’s move out,” Marty ordered.
Turn in tomorrow for the final one *smiles*