EXCERPT

© LAUREN DAWES 2020

Stripping out of his sweats, he thought about the cat who inhabited his body, sharing his blood, his instincts, and his brain. He thought about him coming to the surface of his mind. Between one breath and the next, Drake’s vision changed from color to muted shades of blue and gray. Throwing his head back, he roared and let the beast out.

            For three hundred agonizing seconds his bones broke and reset. His muscles and tendons were torn and reformed to fit his cat’s sleeker, more lithe body. His jaw throbbed as the larger incisors took up residence, his whole face elongating and flexing. Finally, fur started to sprout.

            Like all Shadows, his coat was solid black. There were no hints of rosettes beneath the solid swallowing color—he was all oily darkness. All fluid grace.

When the pain finally subsided, he flexed his whiskers forward and stretched out his new body. There were a few pops and groans as his new bones slid into shape and he finally felt like he was seated in his new skin properly.

           

 

Digital ISBN:978-1-922353-05-4
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-922353-06-1

Sensing eyes on him, he threw one last look at the house. Grayson was standing in between the jambs, his eyes cycling between human and cat. The guy eventually nodded, having gotten a good enough read on Drake’s emotional grid—which was, BTW, fucking screwed up—and retreated back into the house.

Drake huffed.

            Turning, he started pawing through the underbrush, his fur getting tangled in burrs as he passed. He didn’t know where he was going—all he knew was he had to keep moving. This news had shaken him to the core, and although he didn’t know the female, he knew the feelings her parents and siblings must be running through because he had suffered through them too.

            Regret.

            Fear.

            Anger.

With a small snarl, he picked up the pace, not bothering to dampen his footsteps as he went. He had no intention of hunting, but if a deer was stupid enough to get in his way right now, he’d be sure to show it a good time.

            He ran until his lungs burned like they were laced with shards of glass and his muscles ached, but still the same thought was banging around in his head: it had happened again.

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© 2019 by Lauren Dawes