WOLF WITHIN ~ chapter one ~ urban fantasy



                                                  

    BOOK ONE OF THE MOONLIGHT SERIES


              WOLF WITHIN

                               
                                                          

CHAPTER ONE

     “I have no idea why you’re here. You don’t have it anymore, the edge. You risked lives, proving you don’t have what it takes to do this job,” he began while exhaling and inhaling quickly, trying to restrain his anger. “You don’t give a damn about your team.”
     Detective Macy Gray sat back in the Bureau of Paranormal Investigations’ SUV waiting for Sergeant Mayco to finish expressing his disapproval, like he had every time they worked together. And every damn time she felt the same way, defeated. Like clockwork, doubt’s thin blades dug in and began to destroy the rest of her confidence.
     As if ignoring him would make his rant less, she stared forward, out at the desert scenery, avoiding eye contact. The air conditioner whined in the background, its fresh breeze moving the loose strands of hair sitting at her neck. She could have repeated the words ‘I have no idea why you’re here’ every time he said it. In this conversation alone, he was going on ten, maybe twelve repetitions. She didn’t say anything, knowing better than to add fuel to the fire. The first time she tried defending herself, she ended up thinking he was right.
     Damn, Harmony Grove, she thought. The community had been built to allow lycans, therians, the otherkin, and humans to cohabitate, and with its decadence and gates, it had become one of the wealthiest developments in the High Desert. Despite the wealth involved, Harmony Grove wasn’t immune to crime.
     The problems started with a domestic call involving humans. It was the only reason the local police department had been dispatched to the address and not the Bureau of Paranormal Investigations. After the officers arrived on scene, a woman, Mrs. Barrette, allowed them entry. Macy shook her head with the memory, while Sergeant Mayco continued his verbal assault. The officers began questioning the distraught woman in attempt to figure out what had happened. The questioning came to screeching halt when a man, identified as Mr. Barrette, entered the room and immediately began yelling and threatening the officers. One of the officers tried to take Mrs. Barrette outside while the other undertook the task of calming Mr. Barrette down. This proved to be a futile attempt; the husband became agitated with the officers’ presence and started to shapeshift into a lion. As both officers drew their weapons and ordered him to stand down, Mrs. Barrette ran out of the room, screaming. She had become a distraction and when the officers faced Mr. Barrette, he was half shifted. That left them with two options; fire on him or leave the house. Shooting Mr. Barrette wasn’t a realistic option and faced with an uncontrolled threat, they retreated.
     After the Desert Rock Police department contacted the BPI and had released the scene, they learned Mr. Barrette had fled the house. That forced the BPI to stop all traffic and to close the entrances into Harmony Grove. Without risking losing Mrs. Barrette, the team put their gear on and went inside. It had been dark, dirty, musky, and smelled like animals were living in the sprawling mansion instead of the reported human couple. It was obvious Mr. and Mrs. Barrette had been slowly turning their home into a lair.
     There were two questions on everyone’s mind…how long had it been going on? And, if they had been infected, why didn’t they go to the hospital for the antivirus? Maybe they’d been scared of public scrutiny, though Macy didn’t know why. Mr. Barrette owned Golden State Shipping, the largest shipping company for nationwide rail and trucking. With their money and influence, fear was the only thing that made sense. It also explained why they took White Cell, the street version of the CD4-T antivirus for the lycanthrope and therianthropy viruses, over going to the hospital for the real thing.
     An hour later they had found Mrs. Barrette upstairs, alone and struggling to shapeshift. Before they could talk to her, Mrs. Barrett had run, naked, and half-shifted, at the team. Sergeant Mayco yelled for the tranquillizers, and when they failed, he had given the order to kill. As the sharp shooter for the team, Macy readied herself and watched Mrs. Barrette step on pieces of shattered glass and wood from fallen picture frames with her approach. Now, as she sat listening to Sergeant Mayco, she could hear Mrs. Barrette’s heartbeat in her ears, its beat pounding inside her chest as her blood pulsed through her heart, trying to keep her alive. Macy had heard it weaken and hadn’t taken the shot. The Death Bloom curving up and around Mrs. Barrette’s bare shoulder and pale neck was the sign she wasn’t going to make it through the shift. She had been dying. Macy had seen the tightly wound bruise-colored bloom giving away her death and hadn’t added a bullet. She should have.
     “I can’t work like this.” he said, jolting her from her thoughts.
     Macy turned to watched his jaw clench.
     “Watching you stand by as a therian ran at your team is enough to have you fired. You should be kicked out of the BPI.” Again he did the breathing thing. In, out, in, out. “I don’t pretend to understand whatever Commander Arden is doing, but you shouldn’t be here. You’re going to get one of us killed. I shouldn’t have to work with you.”
     That part is new, she thought. She wanted to remind him that Mrs. Barrette had collapsed and died. But, Sergeant Mayco’s rant wasn’t about Mrs. Barrette and the missed shot. Not entirely; he was reminding her of Sergeant David Murphy. He had been a cop. A human cop. He’d also been her partner when their teams had undertaken a joint search.
     The damn search, Macy thought, and turned to look out the window. The search of the warehouse had turned to shit. The hunter wolves had stormed the area, ambushing them and forcing the team to spread out and find places to make a stand. She couldn’t remember a time when she’d gripped her gun as tightly as she had when firing on the first hunter wolf form. The twisted version of the lycan merged the parts from their human form and the animal form to give greater agility. The lycan she faced had stood seven feet tall on elongated hind legs. Its arms weren’t those of a human or wolf but rather an efficient mixture of both, and its hands were claws with long fingers. The hunter wolf form was said to be their defensive form against threats. What these ‘threats’ were, exactly, Macy wasn’t sure; she could have laughed at the thought of something threatening them.
     A lycan or therian carried the virus in its nails when in its hunter form, and was able to release the virus when it attacked its victims. One scratch and suddenly you’re fighting an infection. While their claws held the virus, it was their bites that caused the most damage. Inside their mouths were several glands filled with a concentrated version of the virus. One bite didn’t infect its victims — it killed them. 
     Sergeant Murphy had been standing beside her, gun drawn, watching the lycan’s dull, yellow eyes move over them. It opened its mouth, bared its teeth and that’s when they both saw its body tense with its next move. Reaction time had felt slow and her movements sluggish as it started running at them. She raised her H&K .45 loaded with synthetic silver, better known as syn silver, and fired. She’d heard the thump of its body hitting the floor and thought they were finally going to get out of the corner it had trapped them in. Her hopes had been shredded when a second one had jumped from a shipping container and started towards them. She’d burned through her magazine putting all thirteen rounds into one hunter form. She remembered the all-consuming fear as its chill slid through her with the second hunter form’s approach. Macy had heard David shout, ordering her to reload while he covered her, and she’d hurriedly jerked a magazine from her vest.
     No, she hadn’t watched it attack him.
     After reloading, they had both fired at the hunter form. Above the gunshots and roars she had heard the team yelling orders. Chaos. In a breath, the bleeding hunter form had plowed through them, pushing her to the side and attacked David. Hitting a container with the back of her head, her tactical helmet hadn’t protected her from the threads of unconsciousness. David’s rough yell had brought her out of the haze and as she’d regained her footing she had seen a clear shot. Together they’d shot the beast more than a dozen times with syn silver.
     It wasn’t her fault. She had done what she could. While it fought David, she radioed for help and tried to get another clean shot. In seconds, David had been dragged to the ground, his gun clicking empty as he continued to pull the trigger. At the same time, the hunter form swiped at him with its claws. She wouldn’t risk hitting David so the opportunity for a clean shot had died with him. After David’s body went limp, the hunter form turned on her.
     Thick, black blood had soaked its long, straw colored fur, giving away where their shots had hit. Its eyes had turned from bright to pale from syn silver poisoning and its fading pupils struggled to narrow on her. She’d taken three steps backwards, determined to keep her eyes on the hunter form and not on David’s motionless body. She’d raised her gun when her retreat had ended with her backed against a container. With the sound of her pulse rushing in her ears and her heart pounding in her chest, she fired the last shots at its head.
     She was lucky to be alive. She was lucky she hadn’t been infected. Too bad Sergeant Mayco didn’t care about the truth. All he wanted was someone to blame. Needed someone to blame.
     Static from the radio broke through the silence inside the SUV. Macy turned to see Sergeant Mayco give her a sideways glance then looked back at the road. They both waited to hear the familiar voice of the dispatcher tell them there was an update. Seconds ticked by and the silence remained. Why hadn’t someone from the Department of Justice gone with them on the search? She had asked but Sergeant Mayco had refused to answer; that should’ve been a hint as to how the day was going to go. She glanced at the highway ahead of them and the semblance of a dirt road. Paper drifted in the wind while trash bags hung from creosote limbs, as if waiting to escape. The afternoon temperature was climbing into the hundreds, its heat emanating from the blacktop in blurred waves. Oncoming traffic lights floated in the haze of heat looking as if they were being turned off and on. Silence remained thick between them as the desert sat quietly with its tumbleweeds, junipers and cottonwood trees. Hidden by specks of pale green and endless sand were curves and deep ravines. The combination also hid a DOJ agent.
     If Sergeant Mayco hates working with me, why am I here? she asked herself. As team leader, he’d had a choice when Captain Dixon told them about the call. But her frustration didn’t end with Sergeant Mayco’s treatment, no, it was only the beginning. The missing Department of Justice agent added to the problem. Why isn’t the DOJ searching? No answer? Why is the agent in Desert Rock? No answer. Why am I here? No answer.
     The only information given to her had come from dispatch. The agent was investigating the possibility lycans were using a warehouse to trap humans and then hunt them. Since he hadn’t checked in when he was scheduled to, and wasn’t answering any of their calls, the DOJ authorized pinging his phone. Macy thought it was a little quick to start a search using an outside agency, but Commander Dixon wasn’t one to make waves. She might not have all the answers but she knew when lycans and therians were involved, every minute counted. From pinging his cell phone, dispatch gave them the agent’s position somewhere along the stretch of the 395 highway. Heading north, there were only a couple of warehouses along the 395, and most of them sat abandoned. More open desert than an industrial area, it was hard to understand how the agent found one warehouse when he wasn’t from the area and clearly had no idea what he was getting himself into.
     The desert in July was unforgiving. As the sun crawled higher in the sky, the temperatures were going to get worse. If what the DOJ said was true and he was stuck in a warehouse, it was going to become an oven. What would kill him first, the lycans or the desert? Unable to answer, Macy simply sat and listened to the rhythm of the tires on the uneven pavement.

***

     Kayne backed into the nearest aisle, flattening his body against a container. Through his torn t-shirt a deep sting from warm metal sent chills like spikes across his scraped skin. He took a deep breath and struggled for calm while watching russet fur move slowly away from him.
     Commander Wilson was going to have his head. No — he was going to lecture him for being in the warehouse when he wasn’t supposed to, then fire him. His wolf rose up inside him, giving him a taste of the power he could have if he allowed himself to shapeshift. All he had to do was shift. Kayne closed his eyes to gain control over his wolf. He was an agent with the Department of Justice and there were strict rules he had to follow. Remaining in human form was the most important. Being in human form was no different than being bound in chains, he thought.
      “I expected more!” he yelled. Am I losing it? “I didn’t expect a coward!” Yes, I am.
      A bark of laughter echoed and was followed closely by an ear-piercing sound of grinding metal. Kayne looked up, searching for the hunter wolf and saw it pushing on a container. The container might be smaller than the others, but it was big enough to kill him if the hunter wolf’s aim was true. He left his hiding place and ran towards the end of the aisle, jumping as the clang of ricocheting cement, metal and wood filled the aisle. The crash sent fist sized pieces of debris flying everywhere. Landing on his side, he quickly scurried to his feet, covered his face in the bend of his elbow and worked to get away from the thick of debris.
      At the end of the aisle, Kayne stopped and searched through the dense cloud of sand and dust hanging like a fog bank. The open container released a rancid smell while death worked its way through, meeting his nose like a sharp edge cutting through the air. Torture. Pain. Blood. They resonated around him as if warning him he was going to be next. Kayne took several steps backwards as the sickly yellow eyes of the hunter wolf glared through the thinning dust cloud.
      I’m going to lose the fight, he thought with horror, I’m going to die here like the others.
      Exhaustion, dehydration, and pain from his wounds filled his muscles, allowing the hunter wolf to easily corral him backward into another aisle. The sinking feeling of defeat grew into panic and he knew he had one option left. With his gun raised, he listened to the heavy footsteps, each thick thump making his heart pound in his chest. It wasn’t fear. The desire to shapeshift into his hunter wolf form gripped him with the need to survive. He was an alpha who had the strength to defeat the wolf threatening his life. But shifting wouldn’t give him Elijah; it would just create more problems. As if ignoring him, his wolf pushed harder, rising to the surface and filling his ears with its howl. He could beat the hunter wolf and stay alive. He didn’t have to shift. Kayne gripped his gun knowing all he needed was one shot.
      One shot.
      “When I tear you apart, he’ll give me a reward,” the hunter wolf snarled. Its heavy footsteps grew louder as it stalked closer. “I’ll give him your head.”
     The conflict inside Kayne raged on. He needed to get out the warehouse alive. He needed to get answers. The hunter wolf lunged forward, but as fatigue had taken bites from his muscles, Kayne’s retreat wasn’t fast enough. His back slid across the steel as a claw missed his chest and skidded across his shoulder and then the container. Kayne went to his knees, his left hand on the ground, trying to stop himself from hitting the floor. He felt a hot sting slice across his back. He growled, a low rough sound, and stood up to run down the aisle. The hunter wolf followed, its inhales tangling with growls while its sharp nails took bites of Kayne’s t-shirt and flesh. Feeling the pain from each slice, Kayne growled as warm blood cooled on heated skin.
     Ahead of him Kayne saw a corner and, picking up his speed, he headed toward it. Rounding the corner, his eyes widened and he tried skidding to a stop. Like his muscles, his dull reflexes weren’t quick enough. The hunter wolf swung its massive arm and making contact its fist collided with Kayne’s chest. The force sent him flying through the air and Kayne watched in slow motion as the distance between them grew. Pain exploded within him, as if his chest burst open, pushing his bones and his breath into the warehouse. The crash came quickly when metal met skin, and his body folded in on itself.
     Kayne struggled to get up from underneath his own weight before the hunter wolf attacked again. His head felt like it had been filled with water and his lungs burned making the simple act of moving impossible. Claws grazed his skin as the wolf grabbed his fraying t-shirt, lifted him off the floor and tossed him into another container. His wolf pushed against the pain, fighting harder toward the shift. Beside him, hidden under a handful of straw, the grip of his Colt 1911 peeked out. He didn’t know when he’d lost it, but knew he had to get back if he was going to live.
     Kayne took a deep breath, knowing what he had to do even as every fiber of his pride and his wolf rejected the idea. He lowered his head, his eyes to the floor, and raised his right hand in defeat. “Enough,” he mumbled through swollen dry lips. “Enough.”
     “I will kill you.”
     “Yes,” Kayne agreed through clenched teeth. What if it killed him, there in the warehouse, surrounded by trash? His wounds were too deep to heal on their own. “What will you get?” he asked, his throat burning with the words, his breath feeling like sandpaper. He was showing submission to the thing approaching him and, as much as it was killing his pride and driving humiliation deep into his wolf, he needed time to recover. He needed to get his gun.
     “A prize.”
     “I know your prize.” Kayne growled.
     Despite nausea filling his stomach and pain sinking into his skull, he threw himself in the direction of his gun. He landed hard, the hit causing his side to erupt in flames and sent straw flying. Rolling to his knees, he forced his legs to move and crawled towards the exposed grip. His fingers curled around the familiar feel and with the gun cradled in his palm, he rolled to his back. The hunter wolf roared in fury and started toward him. Kayne sat up and pointed the barrel at its muzzle.
     “You won’t shoot. Your need for revenge is your poison. By being here you are giving him his revenge.” There was no fear its yellow eyes as it spoke, only anger and insanity. Dark insanity. Keeping its narrowed stare on him, the hunter wolf stalked closer, its chest heaving, its arms hanging at its sides.
     “If this is his revenge, why isn’t he here?” Kayne asked.
     “He found what he was looking for.”
      Found what? Kayne thought as he struggled to his feet. As soon as he thought it, the question drown in his injuries and the need to stay alive. Damn, he was close to finding Elijah. The hunter wolf stared at the barrel of the gun then moved its eyes to meet Kayne’s. There was something happening to it, it wasn’t the same as it had been earlier. The red lines bleeding into the yellow gave it away.
     One shot.
     The answers to his questions would die with the hunter wolf.
     One shot.
     How much more damage was he willing to take for the single-minded desires that fueled him every day? Desire? I’m blinded by revenge. Elijah knew it, and was playing with him. The warehouse had been a trap.
     The hunter wolf roared, the sound bouncing off metal and filling the space between them. Kayne waited while it flexed its claws and rushed forward. When it was close enough, three shots swallowed the warehouse in a blaze of blasts leaving blue-grey smoke curling around the barrel of his gun. Lightning strikes of pain bound his wrists in sharp barbs as its last roars went unheard. Gripping his gun, he watched three blooms of dark crimson soak through russet fur. Kayne held his breath, prayed it fell, and watched its red eyes dim.
It roared — an angry, crazy sound — and tried to take a step. Its muscles bunched and it lurched forward, tittered, and then stumbled backward. The next shot sent it reeling and when it hit the ground a loud, bone-crushing smack sounded. Relief swept over him, and the breath Kayne had been holding exploded from his chest. Around him, the scent of syn silver clung to the air then drifted on its own smoky sweetness.
 Slumped against a container Kayne inhaled a slow controlled breath, while blood seeped from various cuts across his body. The only concern was the syn silver destroying his evidence. He needed evidence. With one last hard pull of air, he controlled his breathing and listened to the hunter wolf’s labored inhales.
     “They’re real,” he mumbled to himself, disbelief in his voice. “It’s an ersatz.”
     Ersatz was the name the DOJ had given the werewolves and therians they were finding with mixed DNA. The tests had been done on bodies, not living people, because — much like the one in front of him — they never stopped fighting. Arresting them was hopeless and they never shifted back to their human form, making identifying them impossible. Time would tell, but he was sure he knew what was happening in Desert Rock. Elijah was creating a disposable army that would destroy the vulnerable relationship between humans and shapeshifters. The breakdown would create a divide and maybe provoke another war. The Requiem, the day shapeshifters were seen as equals to humans, would have been for nothing. Kayne wanted to know why? Why Desert Rock?
     Dark crimson blood seeped out from matted fur to coat the concrete. Kayne watched and, cradling his left arm, stood up. More blood covered the floor forming a puddle as he cautiously approached the body. The hunter wolf’s lower jaw propped its head up, almost as if it was going to laugh at him one last time. Kneeling down Kayne watched its red webbed eyes roll up and out of sight. It’s dying, he thought, along with my answers. Chills sank into his core with the knowledge he had come close to dying just like the beast in front of him.
     Around them, the warehouse held its secrets and Kayne wondered how many containers held victims. And what else was the warehouse keeping hidden from him? Kayne moved closer and with a dirt-stained hand covered in blood and scratches, he reached out and pushed on the ersatz’s shoulder. It moved, its weight carrying it over and it hit the ground. Its mouth closed in a wet, sloppy snap as its teeth clenched together.
     From the side, its right claw came up and grabbed Kayne’s shoulder. “Traitor.” it growled.
     Kayne jerked, his gasp of surprised swallowed in his struggle to get away. Tight and sore, his muscles didn’t respond to his demands. While he struggled, the ersatz drove its ashen nails into the flesh of his shoulder. It tightened its grip forcing its poisoned tips deeper and finding his shoulder blade, began grating against bone. Fire spread out, snaking into Kayne’s arms, up his neck and down his sides.
     The ersatz pulled hard and, using its hold on Kayne’s shoulder, brought Kayne’s face close to its own. Their eyes met, one set amber, wild with fear, and the other webbed with crimson and dying from syn silver. The ersatz sucked in a breath and clumsily shifted its bulk. Kayne’s fight turned to desperate fear when the first stings of poison penetrated his muscles. The lycanthrope virus wasn’t going to hurt him, even if the ersatz was carrying a tainted version. The silver, however, would. As more virus seeped from its nails, it pushed syn silver into Kayne’s body. Letting a frustrated growl loose from his chest, Kayne cursed and felt the syn silver penetrate his flesh. His heart moving the poisoned combination through his veins with each beat.
     Death, blood, and silver drifted on its breath, misting Kayne’s face as its mumbled words tumbled from its gaping mouth. Without waiting, Kayne raised his gun and, with a shaking hand, placed the barrel against its head and pulled the trigger. The claw holding Kayne seized, then pulled free from his shoulder as it jerked backward from the force of the shot. A mist of blood covered Kayne, the floor, and the container while brain matter and skull fragments landed softly behind it.
The gun fell to the floor in a metal clang as Kayne scrambled backwards, away from the ruined body. The toxic mixture of virus and silver quickly sinking into his muscles. He wanted to growl, howl, curse, and then shift and kill the ersatz all over again. Inhaling and exhaling his panic, his fingers curled into the palms of his hands, becoming tight fists. He cursed, his words slow and distorted as his throat tightened around each sound.
     Let it go, his body begged.
     Wrapped in venom and threading through syn silver, his memories gave him haunted eyes that would never turn silver again. The heavy feel of emotion rushed forward, pulsed, and gave him the delicate face haunting every dream. Burning fuel and rubber filled his nose as the bitter tang of blood filled his mouth.
     “A child…” he mumbled.
     He closed his eyes and prayed the memory would leave him the hell alone. Slowly the smell vanished, the girl’s face faded, and he found himself staring blankly at a container. His failure would allow Elijah to continue his rampage.
     A seizure gripped his body, turning the knuckles of his hands white and like a cord had been pulled, his knees bent and were drawn to his chest. With his body curled into a ball, fire spread, engulfing him while his wolf howled in his ears and clawed at the darkness swallowing him. If I give up, if I stay where I am, I’m going die. A low growl rumbled in his chest. He rolled to his side then struggled to get to his knees. A soft pat hit the ground, its sound making Kayne turn his head to watch a line of scarlet blood fill a crack in the concrete. Chasing the red line were black fingers, reaching out into the healthy blood. Death had waited patiently for its prey, and he’d become its next victim.
     Damn, silver was a painful way to die.
     As if waiting for him to give up, shadows moved into his mind, surrounding his thoughts with grey. The grey was a place between worlds where the animal and the human merged into one. Where they would die as one. If he accepted the grey it would turn black, and his wolf spirit would have no other choice than to follow. In the black they would meet death together.
     His mind flooded with voices, memories, as if the grey opened a floodgate to the thoughts he kept locked up. Part of him thought he deserved the punishment of death. He knew he hadn’t been the best alpha, was the worst sentinel, and an even worse friend. The pack would greet his death as they were supposed to, with tradition and then they would find a new alpha. It would go on and on. His thoughts went to the files in his truck — as if they mattered now that he was dying. The BPI would eventually find the warehouse and everything inside would lead to an investigation. They would learn why he was there.
     What will they do when they learn the DOJ was there to investigate them?
     Kayne lay on the concrete floor knowing they would find his truck, the files, his body, and then the ersatz. Only they won’t know it’s an ersatz. No, they’ll follow protocol and after finding him — and the evidence — they’ll call Commander Wilson.
He coughed, the force causing his back to arch off the concrete and his dying breath to burn his lungs. Fresh blood sat on his lips, its bitterness telling him he didn’t have long. An image drifted towards him, wrapped in whispers, but in his weakness he couldn’t stop it.
     “No…” he mumbled.
     Thick spit bubbled from between his dry lips and slid to the corners of his mouth. How long before they found him? How long before Elijah found him? It was his ersatz. His warehouse.
The concrete felt as if it was cradling him and he sank further waiting to feel the silver’s poison spread. His muscles curled, tightening against bone, then hot fingers touched his forehead. With the last of his strength he gripped the wrist and heard a surprised yelp. Opening his eyes, he saw his worst nightmare was coming true. Detective Gray stood over him, her dark hair hanging by the sides of her face, her dark eyes gazing down. They had found him. Finally, the BPI was there.
     “Detective Gray?” he whispered. Terror struck and he imagined her sifting through the files in his truck.
     “Did that thing do this to you?” Detective Gray asked.
He tried to answer her, but his mind wouldn’t stop going back to the files and his investigation.
     “Did you kill it?” she demanded.
     Detective Gray’s face faded in and out until her dark hair melted into greasy blonde hanging in clumps at the sides of her bruised and broken face. She knelt beside him on scraped knees, while around her eyes dried, cracked blood covered scarlet bruises.
     “Did you kill it?” she asked again, her words ending in a whistle.
     Kayne stared at the dirt covering her thighs, arms, and bare stomach and the shredded shirt hanging off one shoulder. What he saw explained everything and nothing. A jagged bite made from human teeth disfigured her bare shoulder while the stench of blood — both werewolf and human — surrounded her like a blanket. Kayne wanted to answer her, he tried saying yes, that thing had done this, and yes, he’d killed it, but the sound forced from his mouth was a groan, not a word.

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Wolf Within ~ Urban Fantasy ~ Chapter One

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