Tuesday howls and yowls, shapeshifter lovers.
So, here's the deal. I had an idea for a Big Foot flash scene, which I began writing. However, I'm exhausted after a long day of unexpected problems. So... instead here's Chapter Two from my WIP currently titled, The Black Wolf’s Prophetess -- starring Sondra and Duke, a wolf shapeshifter. And, yes, it is UNEDITED.
CHAPTER TWO ~ Duke
Duke Zon sauntered toward The Red Rock Den, his town’s noon to late-night hangout. The large private room at the back served as the common meeting ground for the males of his Virgo Moon Clan, and had for the last hundred and thirty years only when they stayed in human form, however.
For an instant he halted in his tracks. The raw alpha musk of Duke’s two older brothers, Thor and Tibur, boded trouble, the kind where they would all simultaneously shift to wolves and attack each other in a ferocious, all-out battle for rule of the pack.
Not what Duke wanted. His hackles raised, a painful sensation on the human flesh of his back. With his fight hormones flooding him, he mentally put the brakes on and felt another twist of pain. Determined to face Thor and Tibur down without combat, he gripped the door handle and strode inside.
Moving from early afternoon’s bright sunlight into the interior dimness of a cave, Duke instinctively stopped. His eyesight adjusted rapidly, though not as fast as he could sniff their exact location, almost directly opposite his position.
His brother’s faced each other, turning in tandem at his entrance, and Duke realized they’d agreed to join forces against him. Thor and Tibur had always worked hand-in-paw, so it shouldn’t have surprised him greatly. Still, the reality ripped through him as if he’d been struck by a lightning bolt.
He’d have to fight them both, not one and then the other. That is, if he really wanted alpha leadership.
Keeping the growl at the back of his throat tamped down, Duke challenged, “The reason for this meeting?”
“The future of our pack needs to be decided.” Tibur used his diplomatic tone.
“Why?” Duke raised his brow and aggressively moved toward his brothers. “Is there dissatisfaction with your decisions, Thor? Now, me, personally, I haven’t heard any snarling rumbles against you. How about you, Tibur? Heard anything against Thor he needs to know about?”
Tibur shot an uneasy glance at Thor, then eyed Duke again. “It’s not about dissatisfaction. Except with the females wanting to breed and bond. And we all know that situation.”
“We all do, don’t we?” Duke’s human canines bared themselves as he gutturally continued his confrontation. “Thor won’t choose a mate yet. He’s balling them all to the wall or chasing them in the woods and humping their beautiful hides.”
Thor’s night-black eyes gleamed to amber, then narrowed to slits. He growled a low warning. “Lykkoz knows I haven’t found my true mate.”
“Whatever your excuse, brother, don’t slash my hide over it. If, and when I want to be Alpha King around here, I’ll let you know. Until then, consider yourself unopposed.”
Charging toward each other, Duke and Thor snarled viciously, their noses inches apart. Clenching his hands into fists, Duke willed his tail not erupt. Once that occurred the shift to full wolf was on, and unstoppable.
Snapping a growl, Tibur shoved between them. “Not here. Not now.”
“No, Thor wouldn’t want it here and now. He’s panting for it in the arena, a spectacle of blood, saliva and hunks of fur for the whole clan.”
“Duke.” Tibur swivelled his gaze to him, his eyes somber with purpose. “Everyone in the pack knows the time has arrived. Your maturation reeks. For the sake of the pack-- ”
Duke thundered a growl interrupting his brother. “For the sake of the pack why don’t I just roll over and let you two dine on my entrails?” Harshly breathing and close to panting, Duke stared Tibur into temporary submission. “Pay attention to my words, brothers. If, and when I decide to be Alpha King, I’ll let you both know. I’ll make a formal announcement. Thor can prepare for his bloodlust public spectacle.”
Witnessing the sudden glints of restraint in Thor’s eyes, Duke eased back a step.
If nothing else, his oldest brother possessed a superior intelligence. He knew Duke had outmaneuvered him by pointing out the ruling advantage of winning in the arena. Of course, he and Tibur would attack him first, wearing his strength down, so Thor could dominate, stand over him in victory, before the bloodthirsty gazes of their pack.
Moments later, Thor slowly grinned in wolfish acceptance. As he took a step back, the promise of future battle glittered ominously in his gaze.
Gradually backing out of the room, Duke eyed Tibur and Thor with his own savagery. In a way, he’d dreaded this day, never possessing the ambition to conquer and rule like Thor. Yet, his nature didn’t allow him to submit.
The actual fight for supremacy held no concern for him. He’d play-battled his brothers to a standstill, often, and especially in their recent wrestling contests, whether as wolves or as men. His maturation, as Tibur has spoken it, surpassed the physical strength of both his brothers. And they well knew it, as did everyone in their clan, as well as the other wolf shifter clans living in the central wilds of Montana.
Once he stood clear of the door, Duke spun around, knowing his brothers wouldn’t follow. More dangerous, though, Lana, Elise and Meredith, stood on the raised veranda of the females’ meeting room, actually an elegantly appointed lounge hidden within the plain brick walls of the two story building.
Lykkoz! grant him wisdom! The three prime females, available for mating, obviously scented him to discover his mood and his state of mind. As he strode toward his all-terrain jeep, their gazes followed and Duke felt his skin prickle with their speculations. Their pungent fragrances tantalized his drive to mate, yet held no sway over his larger purpose to create his future as he wanted it with the Virgo Moon Clan.
Great Goddess watch over him, Duke hoped none of them approached with questions, or worse, an invitation to choose them as his mate if he did become the ruling alpha.
He’d run with Lana in his youth before her elevation in breeding status. They’d indulged in carnal play as wolves and humans. At the time, it had been good between them, a wild sweetness he still treasured. Yet, he’d felt no forever-attraction to her, as the connection was phrased. He didn’t fiercely hunger for any wolf shifter woman he’d met. In that way, he could understand Thor and his refusal to choose a mate.
Swinging around the corner, Duke saw trouble with a capital T and her name was Tess. Lana’s younger sister had seductively arranged her lithe-as-an-Arab-wolfess body on the hood of his jeep. Not slowing his step, he halted a few feet from her.
“Tess?” He arched one brow, hooked his thumb in the pocket of his low-slung jeans and waited.
Her sapphire and yellow eyes glittered on his face as she judged his reaction. Straightening, she gave up the pretense. “I’m operating as a proxy for Lana.”
“You’ve jumped the ditch too soon, little one. Thor reigns unchallenged. Lana could not belong to me as Mate.”
Visibly Tess deflated, slumping against the side of his jeep. “Hell’s lowered tail,” she grumbled.
Duke realized he crossed raging water, still he asked, “Tess, what’s wrong?”
“Oh, what does it matter now?” She shrugged. “Everyone knows, well, I guess not you. But, you’re a loner when it comes to...” Halting her flow of words, she shoved from his jeep and stood proudly. “I favor your brother, Tibur. And, I can’t chase him or let him chase me until Lana is chosen.”
Duke gave a nod. “I thought Tibur focused on one of his intellectual pursuits. He must be thirsting like the devil for your company.”
After a moment of silence, Tess asked, “What are you going to do?”
“Decide soon.” Duke walked around his hood slowly. “And let nature take it’s course.”
Wishing you shapeshifting love on the wild side…
Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance