True Knight - Patricia Logan Page 0,1

heavens it was fast.

Our alpha’s change was even faster. He’d once said that he experienced no pain at all during the change because it was instantaneous. Floyd Reardon, our alpha, also had the middle form—half human, half wolf—which he could bring out any time, not only during the full moon. Apparently all alphas had the ability to hold this form while the moon was full. It never failed to freak me out when I saw it. It was like watching one of those old horror movies and probably the coolest fucking thing I’d ever seen in my life.

Sam lifted his face to mine and grinned. I smiled back and slung a long arm over his shoulder, turning us back to the clearing where we’d left our clothes. It was a long walk back in bare feet but I didn’t care.

The moon was full. Sam was with me. All was good in my world.

Ricky

“Fuck, that was too close!” I shifted out of my fluffy form and back into a brown-haired boy of seventeen. I started heading for the lane at the top of the hill where I’d left my clothes and parked my 1992 Chevy Blazer. My ride looked a lot like the deputy’s even though I’d bought this one from old man Thompson right before he died; the deputy’s Blazer was only a few years old.

I approached the road and looked side to side, lifting my face to the sky to take a long whiff of what might be hiding in the forest. I’d somehow outrun the wolves and I could no longer pick up on their scent. I was alone here and satisfied that I couldn’t be found out. I emerged from the cover of trees, headed toward the Blazer, and reached into the cab where I’d left my clothes. As I hopped into jeans and a long-sleeved T-shirt, I heard a twig snap behind me. I spun around instantly, nose twitching, searching the tree line for predators. I scented nothing, but the overwhelming feeling of being watched was almost too much to take.

Still, there seemed to be nothing there. I saw no glowing eyes, smelled no scents but those of the sequoias, and listened hard for heartbeats, hearing nothing but the wind as it whispered through the leaves. Prosper Creek was filled nearly to overflowing with snowmelt at this time of year but the sound of water rolling over its bed of river rocks held no secrets either. Oddly, I still felt eyes on me.

I didn’t take the time to slip into my tennies. Instead, I ran around the front of the car, yanked the door open, and jumped into the driver’s seat, shoving the key into the ignition. Something with no scent was out there. I didn’t know what it was, but it was something I’d never encountered. I pulled the car out onto the road and hit the gas pedal with my bare foot, churning up a cloud of dust and gravel. I looked into the rearview mirror and confirmed there was nothing following me.

Something had been there.

I just knew it in my little bunny bones.

Chapter One

Prosper Woods Chronicle. Letters to the editor:

“Last night I looked through my window and was almost certain I saw a racoon with yellow eyes staring at me as I bathed. I find it very disturbing that the townsfolk continue to put up with these pests as we groom sensitive areas. Someone should do something.” Signed, “A concerned shaver.”

Romeo

My first impression of Prosper Woods, California was that it was exactly as I’d hoped. As I drove my old pickup down main street, headed for the sheriff’s station, I passed a gas station, a local bar, and the general store. A man stood on the sidewalk outside the store, sweeping. He glanced up at me as I passed and instead of returning my friendly wave, he glared at me and huffed.

Well then.

I parked in front of a brick building and shut off my truck, looking through the windshield at the sign which read Prosper Woods Sheriff Station and smiled. It had taken me a long time to make the decision to leave Los Angeles which had been my home for the last thirty-two years. I sure hope I made the right one. I swung the door to my pickup open and stepped out, stretching my back and legs as my feet hit the asphalt.

Prosper Woods, California is located in the great sequoia forests north of the twin national parks, Sequoia and Yosemite.

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