Today we have an exclusive sneak peek at ALPHA MOON, the novella companion to CAGED MOON from the male lead's POV!!
COMING JUNE 17TH
My breath came fast as I bounded through the thick underbrush of the wooded preserve. Night cast its veil over the forests of Maplefield, leaving only instinct and scent my guides. It felt fantastic. Only the soft pad of my paws on the crisp fallen leaves echoed across the still autumn air, repeating a rhythmic mantra in my ears. Run. Run.
The others had fallen behind me, lost somewhere in the cacophony of trees, but I could care less. They’d have to deal. I needed to breathe. Playing Alpha to a group of pups after a hundred years was wearing. I never wanted this. I never asked to be…human, and the truth was, I hated it.
Nobody knew this. This was one of the things I kept locked away. I blocked a lot out. I had to. No one could know how alone I really felt, or how much I missed…
Pain threatened to engulf my chest, even in wolf form. No, I wouldn’t think about the past. In my mind, Aaron was dead. It had to stay that way, or I wouldn’t be able to do what I had to do, and my pack needed me.
I didn’t fail him. He made his own choice. The safety of the pack was eminent.
I picked up my pace, anything to drown out the montage of thoughts torturing my mind, but guilt, unrelenting with its venom, haunted me, and I wanted to scream.
“Aaron, what’s wrong?” My voice, young, had the urgency of a twelve year old child. Aaron lay huddled on the hard wood floor beside his bed, his knees tucked to his chest as he shook. His body trembled with the change, flickering in and out of a partial wolf-like appearance and that of a small human boy. Streaks of dirty tear trails marked his face. “What happened?”
“I want to go…home,” he said, his words choked.
“What’d he do to you?” Fear and anger gripped me, knowing Thomas, the man who took us in, did this. The day I call him father, will be the day I pour acid on myself and smile. The brief terror that he watched, made me pause, and I looked around the small cabin bedroom where my brother and I slept.
Rough log-cut bunk beds sat to the side of the room, and one shared dresser perched crudely under the single windowsill. A low flood of light trailed in through the panes landing just shy of Aaron’s sneakers. Everything else was stark and unwelcome in Thomas’ eyes. Even a sock hanging over a drawer asked for a beating. The man was military and a machine.
I wish he never found us. I’d have rather starved in the woods. I think Aaron would agree.
“Nothing,” Aaron said, running the back of his hand across his face to wipe the evidence away, but even at twelve, I knew better.
“You’re hurt. Let me help you.”
“You can’t help me!” Aaron screamed, kicking his feet out and scrambling away from me. “Just leave me alone.” His breath came in ragged compressions and his words hurt. I wanted to help him. “You don’t know what it’s like. It’s different with you. He likes you.”
I shook my head. “Don’t say that.” I hate him. I hate what he’s done to you.
“Just stay away from me. I wish everyone would just leave me alone,” he cried, when I caught the right side of his face in the streaming light, and everything in me fell. His eye had blossomed with black and blue veins, and purple fingerprints encircled his neck.
“I’m going to get us out of here,” I said, numbness protecting me with my reserve. “I promise.”
Branches whipped at my face as I sliced my claws down into the hard ground, wishing that would take away the guilt and anger that assaulted me. Why? Why all of it? My chest heaved as I skidded to a stop on the edge of the woods and let out a loud, longing howl that resonated across the dark forest, and vibrated through my soul.
A moment later, my Pack echoed back. It made me smile. They were my family now. No matter what, I wouldn’t fail them. I couldn’t, even if it meant sacrificing other things. Their protection came first. They needed me.
I was their Alpha.