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The Rocky Mountains
When I was a kid, I traveled a lot and lived a lot of places, but one of the places I remember that had the most impact, was when I lived on and around the Rocky Mountains. Its a real shame you don't realize as a kid how much beauty is around you. You take for granted the view of the massive mountains in the distance, the snow topped peaks and drives through the changing leaves up through winding passes. I even miss the flooding in the spring. Now, as a kid we were told not to play in the dashing water, but we did anyway. Try to keep a kid out of a giant puddle and see how long that lasts. I don't however miss the cold, I never liked the cold, but hell, if I was a shapeshifter, I'd live in the Rockies and so, that is where I set my story.
I actually spent most of my elementary years around the Rockies. There are miles and miles of woods, probably less now, but I recreated from memory what I recall of as a child. How the air grows into a biting wind in the fall, the rich scent of pine and the colors dancing in the trees. Hopefully, I was able to share a bit of my memory with you all in this book. Show you the beauty in how I remember things.
I give you Dante's view of his world and the woods near at the Rockies. I hope you enjoy.
On the back patio, he stripped out of his pants and crouched down. He let his mind clear, and his beast answered, triggering his shift. A tingling wave swept over him, warm and slick like spiced oil. Bones shifted and grew, muscles twisted, but the liquid sensation never grew painful. Skin rippled and stretched, creating his new form. Thick black fur, as black as his hair, sprouted over his body until his true form slipped away, replaced by beast.
His senses came alive. Scents grew stronger and sounds sharpened. Only half-aware of thoughts and worries, he let them slip away. Instinct took hold, and he let that part of his mind free. The sense of the world hummed in his bones, filling him with a picture of the world far more alive than before.
Putting his muzzle to the air, he breathed in the scents around him. Crickets chirped and owls called in the night. He shook out his pelt, enjoying the sensation. The fur against his skin tingled in the breeze, urging him to run.
He ran hard and fast. Time didn’t exist. Minutes blended into the sights, scents, and sounds. He drank when thirsty and hunted when hungry, and all the complications of his other life disappeared.
The sense of his alpha reminded him of potential trouble. The whisper of Victor’s thoughts grew stronger the closer he got. He shifted his thoughts and touched his other half, drawing it closer to trigger the shift. It was said shifters were divided in their souls, and the moment of shift where his two souls met rushed through his body and mind. Calm, serene, near perfection in that moment. The sensation didn’t last as the shift began. Body twisting and contorting, his senses and thoughts returned as instinct moved away. Not gone. Instinct was always there.
He waited on hands and knees, absorbing his true form. He always felt a sense of disappointment that his other half moved so far away. Taking a deep breath, he walked through the woods to his favorite spot at the cliffs on the eastern edge of Victor’s pack lands. The moon had dropped out of sight, and the gray of predawn filtered through the cloudless sky. A warm summer breeze blew from the south, and the memories of the past few days returned with sharp clarity.
Dante sat on a mound of rocks, looking down at the sheer cliff in front of him. The mountains rose up around him and trees scattered the landscape. The jagged boulders below caught the red glow of color that filled the sky with its soft morning light. Birds chirped and bugs hummed as the day came to new life with the dawn. There were few things better than watching the sunrise over the woods after a morning run.
The wind blew against his bare skin, carrying with it the scent of the pack and the woods that made this place a home. He had thought of jumping once as a youth, right off the edge, before this place and people had become his home. He remembered wondering if the rocks would kill him. He hadn’t jumped because he hadn’t been sure it would.
He must have imagined August. The nightmares reminded him he was not a good person, no matter what Victor said. He had done terrible things, watched them happen. He couldn’t begin to count the deaths by his own hands. He hadn’t had many nightmares in recent years. But now they were back, reminding him of the blood and screams of the past.
He heard the faint rustle of brush behind him, the rich musk mingled with the flavor of fresh-cut cedar. A wash of sensation rushed into him through the pack weave. A tingle, reminding him that he wasn’t alone and never would be again. As comforting as an embrace.
Dante frowned, his eyes on the rocks as they grew pink with colors of dawn. He turned and looked at Victor. Pale blond hair, beginning to whiten with age, framed his worn face.
“It’s been a strange week.” Dante picked at his hand, digging dirt from under his nails with retractable claws. “I need to talk to you about something...
After years of abuse in his old shifter pack, Dante found a new life with Alpha Victor. He would do anything for Victor. Anything but stay away from Jesse, the half-blood stray. But when Victor names Dante his heir, he has no choice but to accept the duties given to him even if it means relinquishing the possibility of love. He owes his life and sanity to Victor, and that’s a debt Dante can never fully repay.
But Dante should have known the good life couldn’t last. His former alpha, Caster, is not a male who lets anything of value slip through his grasp. When rumors fly of Caster’s return, Dante knows the man will stop at nothing to possess him and his talent once again. When Jesse is kidnapped and Victor falls victim to an untimely death, his worst fears are realized. His old alpha has finally returned to reclaim him. Dante must use his fears and nightmares to save Jesse and his pack, even if it means sacrificing himself.
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