Sample Sunday – The Amazing Super Wolf

Have you read my Wolf Boy Series of Young Adult books? The story circles around Cody, a teenage werewolf, who struggles to come to terms with his supernatural life. I’ve pitted him against Dr. Saarsgard. She’s my favorite kind of villain because she truly believes she’s right—and some readers might agree with her.

Dr. Saarsgard was first introduced in Book Two, Werewolf Asylum, and has loomed like a shadow over the remaining books. She is obsessed with unraveling the secrets of lycanthropy. She wants to create a vaccine that would give the werewolves’ superhuman abilities to everyone. But she needs test subjects, so she travels the world abducting werewolves and taking them to her institute. Cody escaped her clutches once. She has no intention of letting him go again.

In Book Six, The Amazing Super Wolf, Saarsgard finally makes good on her threat to whisk Cody away to her secret laboratory. Which brings us back to Cody’s struggle to accept his newfound abilities. The werewolf population at the institute is being tortured in the name of science. In order to free everyone, Cody will have to do terrible things, unspeakable things. And if he does, if he becomes everything he hates, will he still be welcome in the home he loves?

I’m sure you can guess which road he chooses. As Cody says, “All I ever wanted was to be a normal kid. Hang out with friends after school. Plan date nights on the weekends. No worries. No responsibilities. But that kind of life wasn’t for me. I was the amazing wolf boy. Astound your family and mystify your friends. And I had a job to do.”

Conflict abounds in The Amazing Super Wolf, both physically and emotionally. I hope you enjoy this excerpt.

The Amazing Super Wolf

TASW eCover (1)

 

ONE

 

October 26, 2008, Loxahatchee, Florida

 

I pressed my back against the tree trunk, my gun close to my chest. The night air cooled my sweaty skin. I smelled pine and palm trees, rabbit and raccoon. And her. Creeping through the forest. Quiet footsteps disturbed the brush. Just a bit closer, little girl. Closer and I’ll have you. I took a slow breath and focused all my senses.

And something weird happened. I did more than hear her moving behind me. I saw her. Not with my eyes. With something else. Her silhouette slipped through the trees, and I sensed it like radar, like heat sensors. Her body language told me which way she would step before she did.

What was going on?

I shook my head to clear it, spun from behind the tree, and fired. The paintball splatted against her chest. But not with paint. These were filled with Brittany’s improved Wolfsbane Brew, designed to incapacitate a werewolf whether in wolf form or not.

Ayanna’s back arched with the impact, and for a moment, I thought she might turn to the Dark Side. For us, the Dark Side meant our wolf beast guise—a seven-foot wolfman with claws and fangs. But her eyes met mine, and she fired.

Her shot struck my arm. It burned like fire. The potion coursed through my body, trying to paralyze me, trying to disrupt my connection to Mother Moon.

I said, “Ow!”

“Ow yourself,” Ayanna called. “Those things sting.”

“You did great, though. You didn’t lose control once.”

Her dark face split into a grin. Pride and pleasure swelled through the link, the psychic bond that connected the pack.

My pack. Despite my protests, I was the leader of my little band of werewolves. An honor I didn’t want or deserve. But I was the one with superpowers. And apparently, my skills were still growing.

Had I actually seen Ayanna’s spectral image through the trees? What was that all about?

I rubbed my arm, frowning. “That’s enough for tonight. School tomorrow.”

She tramped toward me through the brush. “I have an examination in algebra. But it’s all rubbish. I’m miles beyond them in my studies.”

I nodded in mock sympathy. I knew she secretly liked school, liked being the best in class, enjoyed the other kids’ awe of her exotic British accent.

“Great,” I told her. “I expect good grades.”

“Yes, big brother,” she sang.

I caught the sarcasm. I wasn’t her brother.

With my arm draped around her shoulders, we traipsed back to her house. We were in the woods behind her property. More specifically, near the boggy pond where we always met. We lived in Loxahatchee, Florida, a small town in the northernmost region of the Everglades. Like in any small town, everybody knew everybody. But few people realized we were werewolves, and I intended to keep it that way.

The trees petered out at the edge of a wide yard. Ayanna and her parents, Dick and Chloe Richardson, lived on an old horse farm with expansive pastures and tumbled-down fences. The yard looked even more open now. Their ranch-style house had been demolished in a tropical storm. All that was left was the cement foundation. Her father used the flat slab as a parking lot. His battered Winnebago was there along with his Lexus. My uncle often parked his truck there as well. Ayanna and her family lived in the renovated horse stable.

We reached the back door with its thick fisheye window. It was always unlocked for us.

I handed Ayanna my paintball gun. “See you tomorrow.”

She beamed at me. The look my girlfriend, Brittany, always warned me about. But Ayanna understood that I loved her like a sister. We were both okay with that.

I hopped on my bike and pedaled away. A year ago, if you had told me I’d be tooling around town on a candy-apple-red bicycle, I would’ve laughed. My friends at my old school in Massachusetts would’ve laughed, too. They probably all had cars by now. I tried not to think about it too much. They were a bunch of rich snobs anyway.

The ride home was pleasant enough. There was no traffic at that time of night. No one to see me. Leaving me free to use my super wolf speed. I could move faster than any human. The wind was cool in my hair. The stars were bright overhead. I sped down the flat asphalt as if it were a raceway. As if I could escape my misgivings. But they crept into my thoughts anyway.

My powers were growing again. Cripes! Why did everything happen to me? I’d just have to hide them, that’s all. I’ve had to hide things before.

I slowed when I reached my sub-division. I lived with my Uncle Bob and his girlfriend, Rita. They rented a small, blue house at the end of a cul-de-sac. The yard backed into the surrounding forest. The perfect place for a family of werewolves. I dropped my bike on its appointed spot in the front lawn and tiptoed up the wooden steps. I needn’t have bothered being so quiet—Uncle Bob met me at the door.

My uncle was a few inches shorter than me. His steel-gray hair curled where it hit his collar. He’d been watching The Tonight Show without sound, probably so he wouldn’t disturb Rita. “Getting in kind of late, aren’t you?”

“I was with Ayanna.”

“Have a seat. I want to talk to you about responsibilities.”

Ugh. Just hearing that word made me want to hyperventilate. I sat on the couch. He sat on the old recliner across from me.

“I’m your legal guardian,” he said. “It’s my responsibility to see that you are fed, clothed, and have a roof over your head. In return, it’s your responsibility to get good grades in school. That’s your responsibility to your father, to me, but more importantly, to yourself. Instead, you go out at night and—”

“I was with Ayanna. I was teaching her—”

“So, you feel that Ayanna is your responsibility?”

“No!” I chopped my hand down. “I am not responsible for her.”

“Then who is?”

I paused. “Her parents?”

“Exactly.” He pointed at me with both hands. “Ayanna’s parents are responsible for Ayanna. And what are you responsible for?”

“Good grades,” I said dully.

“That’s right.”

“But what about being a pack leader?”

“Being a pack leader doesn’t make you a teacher. It makes you a boss. You guide. You protect. And if you want that girl trained, you damned well tell her parents to do it.”

“Because I’m the boss.”

“There you go.” He stood. “Good talk.”

I watched him walk down the hallway and disappear into his room. I didn’t want to be anyone’s boss. I wanted to be a normal sixteen-year-old kid. I wanted to hang out with my girlfriend and chill. What would that even be like? No responsibilities. No worries.

I went to my room and plopped down on my bed. I couldn’t sleep, so I called Brittany.

She yawned as she answered the phone. “There you are. I was beginning to think something happened to you.”

“Sorry. I lost track of time.”

“I bet Bob wasn’t pleased.”

“He doesn’t want me to take Ayanna out anymore. He says her parents should train her. But how can they when neither of them is an alpha?”

She yawned again. “That is a dilemma.”

“He says I should be the boss.”

“And you don’t agree?”

“I can’t tell everyone what to do. It’s not my thing. Besides, as far as I can see, being a pack leader isn’t about bossing people around, it’s about trying to please everyone.”

“You can’t please everyone.”

“Tell me about it.” I sighed. “I feel like I’m being pulled in five directions.”

“Well, you’re the boss. What do you want to do?”

“Run away. Just you and me. I want to go somewhere… else.”

“I always wanted to travel.”

She understood. She always did. No judging. No criticism. “I love you, Brittany.”

“I love you, too. And I would go anywhere for you. But in the meantime, I’m going back to sleep. See you in my dreams.”

I set down the phone, smiling. As I drifted off to slumberland, I imagined us somewhere that was the opposite of South Florida. Cold instead of hot. Mountainous instead of flat. Just the two of us. What would that even be like?

TWO

 

Bright and early Monday morning, I drove to school in my uncle’s truck. A normal procedure this semester. Lately, Uncle Bob had been having me drive everywhere on my learner’s permit. I was nervous at first, but now I didn’t mind so much.

In the seat beside me, Uncle Bob slurped his coffee. “I wish you would reconsider naming me first lieutenant of the pack,” he said.

I glanced at him. “Why?”

He gave an exasperated snort. “So, I can advise you.”

“You can advise me even if you’re not my lieutenant,” I said. “I welcome it. In fact, I plan to have a wolf democracy.”

He sputtered and nearly spilled his coffee. “That just isn’t done.”

“Then we’ll be the first. What’s the worst that could happen?”

“Someone might attack?”

“I can protect us,” I said. “Besides, no one knows we’re here.”

“Lavinia’s pack in Georgia knows where we are.”

I thought about Lavinia and her son Tommy Lee. A werewolf’s abilities came from the mother’s side of the family. Tommy Lee had inherited his mother’s werewolf traits, but he wasn’t very good at it. A real newbie. “Yeah,” I said, “but they’re our friends.”

He grunted in agreement.

I pulled to the drop-off point in front of the school and put the gearshift in park. “Touchdown. The crowd goes wild.”

“Good job,” Uncle Bob said. “I think you’re ready. If you want me to, I’ll make the appointment for you to get your driver’s license after school today.”

My stomach went all tingly inside, and I chided myself for it. I was the leader of the pack, for Pete’s sake. I wasn’t supposed to get nervous about stuff.

“All right,” I said, not looking at him. “In that case, I’ll leave my bike in the truck bed.”

We both hopped down, and he circled around to the driver’s side.

“I’ll pick you up at three o’clock,” he said.

“All right,” I said again, a little dazed. I was going to get my driver’s license.

I walked across the schoolyard. Seminole Bluffs High School was a one-story building with a football field in back. Home of the Hawks. The front was an expanse of white concrete with occasional holes cut out for scraggly trees. Kids milled about. A bus had just let out.

To the side, Eff scowled at me. Efrem Higgins was an ex-football star. He’d been my enemy, then my friend, now my enemy again. A few weeks ago, he’d found out I was a werewolf. Some people might be horrified at that revelation. Eff was pissed. I guess he thought I’d tricked him by keeping it a secret.

I avoided his glare by entering the school. The halls were packed, and the noise level went up two decibels. I slipped through the crowd. It was way easier than it should have been. As if I could anticipate which way people would go—and I wondered if I was influencing them, using my powers to unconsciously move them out of my way. I didn’t want to control people like that—although it was convenient.

As always, Ayanna waited for me outside her first class. Two girls stood with her, but they hurried inside the room when they saw me. I was glad Ayanna was making friends. She’d been homeschooled all her life, and her social skills were even worse than mine.

“Hi,” I said.

“Good morning. How did you sleep?”

“Like a rock.”

She cocked her head and frowned. “Pardon?”

“Never mind.” I grinned. “Did your parents give you trouble about getting in late last night?”

“They were both asleep. You?”

“Nothing I can’t handle.”

“Good. We can go out tonight, then.”

“Not tonight. Let’s take a break.”

“Oh.” Her smile fell.

And there it was again—the feeling that I needed to please everyone. And I was failing.

I nudged her arm. “Hey, next time you see me, I might have my driver’s license.”

“That’s a milestone.”

“Won’t mean much. I still won’t have a car.”

The warning bell rang.

“I have to get to class,” I said. “Good luck in algebra.”

I felt her gaze on my back as I walked away.

At last, the best part of the school day arrived—lunch. I was on Lunch B, so by the time 12:30 rolled around, I was starved. But that’s not why I looked forward to it. I bypassed the conga line at the hot food, grabbed a couple of apples from the new salad bar area, and hurried to my usual table in the back of the room.

Brittany was already there. She looked beautiful. She was growing her hair out, and it fell in a dark swag. She wore less makeup lately. Her eyes weren’t so black, her lips not so purple. But they still tasted as sweet. I kissed her softly as I sat beside her.

“Hi,” I said.

“Hi.” She smiled, and her nose crinkled just right. “I forgot to ask last night. How was your paintball session with Ayanna?”

“Great. The new potion works really well.” I placed one of my apples on her tray.

She reciprocated by giving me one of her yogurts. “I can tweak it further if you want me to.”

“You can?”

“Sure. The more Lynette teaches me about herbs and potions, the more everything seems to fall together.”

Brittany’s Aunt Lynette had degrees in herbology and holistic medicine. She was also a Wiccan Priestess. She and Brittany didn’t always get along, which made it tough when you lived together. But lately, they seemed friendly enough.

I said, “I wish I were as comfortable being a pack master as you are being a potential witch queen.”

“Did something happen?”

I drew a deep breath. “It’s just that lately—”

“Hi, Brittany.” A girl stopped at our table.

“Oh, hi, Monica,” Brittany said.

“I heard you started blogging over the summer.”

“Yeah. It’s all about herbs and their properties. How to mix them. You know.”

Monica narrowed her eyes. “Herbs as in cooking?”

“No,” Brittany drawled. “More like in potions.”

“Ah.” She brightened. “That sounds interesting. Maybe I’ll look it up.”

“Great. Thanks.”

I smiled indulgently as Monica walked away then hunched my shoulders and leaned closer. “As I was saying, my werewolf powers seem to be getting stronger. Every day it’s something new. And I just don’t—”

“Brittany, did I hear this right?” Another girl strode to our table. Her companion lagged behind. “You want to be a pharmacist?”

“Apothecary.” Brittany nodded. “I’m studying herbalism.”

Her face scrunched. “Herbs as in cooking?”

“No, Emily. Medical herbs. Natural remedies. That sort of thing.”

“Oh.” The second girl popped up. “That makes much more sense. I didn’t think you could cook.”

I said, “Actually, she’s a terrific cook.”

“Well, check out Mister Over Protective,” Emily said.

The girls giggled and wandered off.

I said, “Anyway, lately it’s like I can read people’s minds. Like I know what they’re going to do before they do it. And I started thinking. What if I’m not reading their minds but projecting mine. What if I’m influencing—”

“So, Brittany, you’re like a blogger now?”

Three more girls appeared.

Brittany said, “Hi, Susan. Yeah, I’m blogging about herbs.”

Susan cocked her hip and held out a finger. “So, it’s like a cooking show?”

“No, it’s not a cooking show,” I barked. “What kind of question is that?”

“I was just asking. Sheesh.” Susan and her cohorts ambled away.

I raised my hands. “What is wrong with people?”

“Forget about them,” Brittany said. “So, you’re afraid you’re taking thralls.”

My anger deflated. She got me. She always got me. I nodded. “Inadvertently.”

“This is serious. You need to find out all you can about it.”

“How? It’s not like someone will have a blog.” I regretted my choice of words as soon as I said them.

She looked hurt. “Someone might.”

I sighed and opened my yogurt. We ate in silence for a few moments.

“Okay,” she said. “You’re afraid you’re mentally influencing people. What else?”

“I know when someone’s lying. I smell it in their sweat.”

“Like a chemical reaction.”

“I guess.”

“That sound’s helpful. What else?”

“The link to my pack is stronger. If I put my mind to it, I think I could communicate with them in real time.”

“That sounds helpful, too. Do all alpha wolves have these powers?”

“Maybe. I don’t know. But here’s the thing. Power corrupts. And I don’t want to wake up one morning to find out I’m the bad guy.”

She placed her hand over mine. “I understand. I do. I felt the same way when I found out I was a super powerful witch. But we can’t hide from who we are. All we can do is learn to use our abilities responsibly. Practice makes perfect, right?”

I nodded. I would never practice making a thrall.

She pulled her hand away. “Don’t look now, but Eff is staring at us again.”

“I hope he’s not going to make trouble.”

“He called last night urging me to break up with you,” she said. “He didn’t use the word werewolf. He just said you weren’t who you seemed.”

“My uncle would freak if he found out Eff knew about him.” A familiar weight landed in my stomach. I pushed it away. “Speaking of my uncle, he’s going to take me to get my driver’s license after school today.”

“That’s great. You must be excited.”

I scowled. “What’s the point if I don’t have a car?”

“Baby steps.” She got to her feet. “Call me tonight and tell me how it went. Smitten you.”

“Smitten you.”

THREE

 

After school, Uncle Bob, Rita, and I drove out to the DMV in Royal Palm Beach for my official road test. I rode in the truck bed, as usual.

Rita had flaming red hair and the widest smile I’d ever seen. She had always been my cheerleader, and this afternoon was no different. “You’ll be fine,” she called to me out the back window. “Just remember to check your mirrors. And keep your hands at ten and two.”

“That’s not right anymore,” Uncle Bob said. “They want you at nine and three because of the airbag.”

“It was ten and two when I took the test,” she said.

“Sure. Ages ago.”

“What do you mean by that?” She poked him.

Then came a mock argument about what driving was like in the covered-wagon era. Their good-natured bickering made me feel even more anxious.

We got to the DMV and went to the area for people with appointments. My examiner was a woman of few words. She sat shotgun in my uncle’s truck, her only indication that I should begin. I ran over the curb during my three-point-turn, and I wasn’t exactly centered in the designated parking space, but she didn’t even look up from her clipboard.

We went out on the road. Royal Palm Beach was like a mini city. It had parks and stores and movie theaters. I followed the examiner’s instructions, turning right here, turning left there, making sure I came to a complete stop at the stop signs. After a while, she directed me out of town.

The surrounding area was mainly jackfruit groves and horse ranches crisscrossed with country roads. Some were paved, some not. My examiner chose a paved road. Two lanes of black asphalt, flat and straight. Traffic came toward me on the other side. There were no cars in the lane in front of me. They were all lined up behind. I was doing the speed limit, my sweaty hands firmly at nine and three.

Suddenly the examiner sat up straight and shouted, “Squirrel!”

Time stopped. I peered ahead. The squirrel in question sat on my side of the road. Options ran through my mind.

I could slow down and hope the squirrel ran away. But what if it didn’t? Would I have points taken off for winning a game of chicken?

What if the squirrel ran into oncoming traffic? Would I have points taken off for chasing a woodland creature into certain doom?

The squirrel watched me approach, wringing its tiny hands. I didn’t want to hurt it. So, relying on my newfound, untried superpowers, I attempted to influence its mind.

It didn’t have a coherent thought in its head. As I connected with it, I was hit with a barrage of images—tree, grass, nut, tree, sex, sex, SEX.

I tried to project a thought. Run away, little squirrel. Run into the trees.

Instead, the little monster ran straight toward my truck, leaped up, did a backflip like a freaking ninja, and landed on the hood. It bounced once then hit the windshield—SPLAT—all four legs extended.

“Eek!” the examiner shrieked.

“Awk!” I answered.

The squirrel pressed its beady eye against the glass and stared at me. I turned on the windshield wipers. It latched onto the wiper blade and swung back and forth.

Feigning calm, I flipped on the turn signal and pulled to the side of the road. The trailing line of cars zoomed past. All twenty-seven of them. A few slowed down long enough to give me dirty looks.

I turned off the wipers. Ninja squirrel slid down the windshield. It chittered at me, tail twitching.

The examiner said, “That’s unusual. I wonder what made it do that?”

I glared at it. You communicate in images? Try this one. I projected an image of me in my wolf form.

The squirrel’s jaw dropped. Its little eyes widened. Then it leaped off the hood and disappeared into the trees.

I ran my hand over my face, trying to keep my emotions out of the link. Hopefully, Ayanna hadn’t picked up on what had happened. I would never hear the end of it. I turned on my turn signal, checked my blind spots, and inched onto the road.

“Excellent,” the examiner said. “We can go back now. Turn right at the next intersection.”

We returned to the DMV. And just like that, I had a driver’s license. The picture made me look like a dork, but at that moment, I didn’t even care.

“Congratulations.” My uncle thumped me on the back.

Rita gave me her wide smile. “We should go out to dinner to celebrate.”

I paused. My birthday was coming up, and I’d hoped they’d take me out then. We couldn’t afford to go out to eat twice in one week.

But Uncle Bob hopped into the back of the truck, my designated spot, and waggled his brows. “Dinner it is. You drive, Cody.”

I drove to the Coffee Café, which was my uncle’s favorite diner. I held the door open for them as we entered. The place was small. It had a long counter where I sat when I came in alone, a few tables in the middle of the room, and a line of booths under the windows. It smelled like coffee and bacon even though breakfast was hours ago.

Anne, the waitress, smiled and waved. “Well, if it isn’t my favorite family. Come on over. I got a place for you right here.”

We slid into the proffered booth. A big jack-o-lantern was painted on the window with poster paint. Daylight filtered through and tinted the table orange.

Anne brought over the menus.

“We’re celebrating tonight,” Uncle Bob told her. “Cody just got his driver’s license.”

“That’s wonderful!” Anne hugged me against her ample bosom and kissed my cheek.

I was feeling kind of proud of myself after all the fuss they were making.

Uncle Bob said to get whatever I wanted, so I ordered the smothered steak, which was a half-pound hamburger patty covered with onions and gravy over a bed of mashed potatoes. Delicious as always. I wolfed it down then sat back, patting my stomach. I was stuffed.

Then Anne walked toward me through the tables, her face alight, carrying a huge piece of chocolate cake with a birthday candle on it. She moved slowly so she wouldn’t put out the flame, all the while singing off-key. “Congratulations to you. Congratulations to you. Congratulations, dear Cody. Congratulations to youuu.” On the final, drawn out you, she set the cake before me.

There was a smattering of applause from the other diners.

“Thank you,” I sputtered, flabbergasted.

I found there’s always room for cake.

Afterward, I drove home. Uncle Bob and Rita settled in front of the television. They’d missed the beginning of Jeopardy. I went to my room to call Brittany.

“Hi,” I said.

Her smile lit up my phone. “How’d it go?”

“I got it.”

“I knew you would.”

“Maybe we can go on a real date now,” I said. “Like dinner and a movie.”

“Sounds great. I’ll pencil you in.”

“When?”

“When what?”

“When can we go on a date?”

She chuckled. “Let me check my social calendar. I can’t go right now. I’m busy talking to my boyfriend. And remember that tomorrow is the dark moon, so I’ll have rituals with Lynette and Myra.”

“Dark moon on Tuesday. Check.”

“Oh, and I have my early birthday party on Sunday. Did you invite Ayanna and her parents?”

“Yes, but I’ll remind them.” I frowned. My birthday was on Thursday, but she didn’t mention it. Didn’t she remember?

The next morning, I drove to school. My uncle rode shotgun as usual. Getting my driver’s license didn’t change my life. Not that I’d expected it to.

I wrestled my bike out of the back of the truck and walked it to the bike rack. Eff came out of the parking lot and stopped dead, staring at me. Maybe he thought I’d wolf out, and he’d catch me in the act. I considered approaching him and starting a conversation. Prove to him I was the same kid he was friends with before. But, nah. That would make it worse. I dropped my gaze and locked up my bike.

Inside the school, the halls were as noisy as ever. I made my way to Ayanna. She stood with the same two girls. They gave me blinding smiles before disappearing into the classroom. I hoped they didn’t think I was her boyfriend.

“Good morning,” Ayanna said.

“Hey.” I nodded. “I got my driver’s license.”

“I thought as much. The link fairly hummed with pride. And what was that about a squirrel?”

“It was nothing.”

“Are you sure? It felt like you were rather perplexed. I would be happy to go out and give it a stern talking to.”

My cheeks warmed. “How was your algebra exam?”

She smiled. “I believe I performed admirably.”

“That’s good. We’ll make an A student of you yet.”

“I’m more concerned with my extracurricular activities. You should come over tonight. We can practice with the paintball guns. Work on our concentration.”

“Not tonight.”

“Why not? It will be dark. And Brittany will be busy.”

I was tempted. I really was. But I was the one who talked her parents into sending her to a public school. So, I was responsible for keeping her grades up. Plus, I didn’t want to hear about it from Uncle Bob again. “We’ll go soon. But you don’t need me with you to practice concentration. Are you doing that meditation thing I showed you?”

“Almost constantly.” She smiled. She was pretty when she smiled.

“Well, keep it up. It’s important to strengthen your connection to Mother Moon.” I looked around as the bell rang. “I better go. Don’t forget Brittany’s birthday party this Sunday. They’ll have food.”

“I wouldn’t miss it.”

With a nod and a grin, I hurried to my first class.

Lunchtime came, and I sat with Brittany at our special table. We exchanged yogurt and apples.

As we ate, I said, “Are we still study partners? Because we haven’t been studying much so far this semester.”

“Well,” she drawled, “we don’t have classes together this semester. Besides, I won’t have as much time for schoolwork this year with the blog and all.”

“The blog.”

“It needs a lot of attention. I can’t study witchcraft and American History at the same time. What’s the point of schoolwork anyway? I can’t afford to go to college.”

“You could go to a community college. We both could. What happened to your dream of becoming a graphic artist?” For that matter, what happened to my dream of becoming a doctor? What would I do now that I’m a werewolf?

“Things change,” she murmured. “Interests change. I’m really into making potions. It’s like working a puzzle, learning how all the pieces fit together.”

“You can study herbology in school. Or even chemistry.”

Brittany sighed as if deep in thought. The yogurt container slipped from her grasp, bounced on her tray, and spattered her Michael Meyers t-shirt with pink slime.

“Darn it,” she said. “I’d better go clean this up.” She kissed my cheek and stood. “Don’t forget—rituals this evening. So, call early.”

I called Brittany after dinner. It was the best time. She’d be fasting so my call wouldn’t disturb her meal. And the sun was still out.

“Hi,” I said. “Ready for your big night?”

“We still have to take a bath.”

I imagined the three women in the hot tub together. “By any chance, is this one of the naked ceremonies?”

“Why?”

“I could come over. Lend you a hand.”

She giggled. “Cody.”

“What? We hardly see each other except at school.”

“Speaking of which, I’ve been thinking about what you said about my grades, and I decided the best way to get back at my father is to get straight A’s in my senior year.”

I nodded. Brittany’s father used to punish her for good grades, saying he didn’t want a show-off know-it-all for a daughter.

“That’s great,” I said. “Let’s get together to study this Thursday.” Maybe once she saw me, it would jog her memory that it was my birthday.

“Thursday? Um, no. I might be busy that day. This is my first Halloween as a Wiccan, and I’m not sure what rites they observe.”

“But Thursday is October thirtieth.” My birthday.

“Exactly.”

“All right.” I sighed and shook my head. Didn’t anyone remember?

END OF EXCERPT

The Amazing Super Wolf is the sixth and final book of my Wolf Boy Series. But you don’t have to read the previous books to enjoy it. Look for it at Amazon or these other bookstores.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sample Sunday – The Bear, The Werewolf, and The Blogger

The Bear, The Werewolf, and The Blogger is the fifth book in my Amazing Wolf Boy series. Its predecessor had a lot of violence, as werewolf books sometimes do, so in this book, I decided to focus on non-violent issues. No werewolves were harmed in the making of this book.

The story takes place in 2008. It’s fun to look back and see all the changes we’ve been through. Today, blogs are commonplace. Not so much in 2008. Early bloggers were celebrities. So, I pitted Cody, my teen werewolf, against Storey Evans, a popular blogger who views herself as an investigative reporter.

When she was young, Storey witnessed her father being torn to shreds by a pack of werewolves. The horror of that night turned into a vendetta. She now runs a blog called Noneties—The Non-Human Entities Among Us. She is obsessed with exposing werewolves and other shapeshifters for the good of the public.

Now the blogger is after my werewolf, and he must outwit not only her but the multitude of monster hunters who follow in her wake. He does so with his usual bumbling humor.

If you read the previous books, you’ll remember that I like to use authentic Wiccan rituals in my stories. In The Bear, The Werewolf, and The Blogger, however, I detailed a Native American wedding instead. I hope you find it interesting.

And now, without further ado, here is an excerpt from The Bear, The Werewolf, and The Blogger.

BWB eCover

THE BEAR, THE WEREWOLF, AND THE BLOGGER

ONE

July 25, 2008, Loxahatchee, Florida

Brittany held my hand as she led me to the back porch. The stench of chlorinated water permeated the air. The filmy curtains stirred, letting in snatches of starlight. I slipped my arms around her. She pressed against me. Her lips found mine. Her kiss was grape-soda sweet. The wolf within me stirred, and it was all I could do to keep from transforming right there.

She pulled away, fumbling with her shirt. I stilled her fingers and undid the buttons. One button. Two buttons. She wore a bathing suit underneath. I slid my hands down the warm contours of her waist. With a little sigh, she pulled away and turned her back. I closed my eyes.

She gasped. “This feels so good.”

I unzipped my jeans and let them drop. I wore an old bathing suit. It was too small to begin with, but after Brittany’s kiss, it was noticeably snug. The only way to hide my bulging enthusiasm was to get into Aunt Lynette’s new hot tub. But as soon as my nethers hit the hot water, I was off like a rocket. My eyes crossed.

I said, “Uh.”

“Cody? Are you all right?”

I said, “Uh.”

“Don’t be such a baby. The water isn’t that hot.” She splashed me.

Behind us, a voice drawled, “That’s enough, you young’uns. This water’s for meditating, not splashing.”

I moaned and slipped sideways off the little plastic seat.

Aunt Lynette approached carrying a flickering candle. “Move your hairy legs, werewolf. This here tub’s supposed to hold six people.” She set the candle on the edge, climbed in opposite us, then dropped a muslin pouch into the water.

I sat gingerly beside Brittany. “What’s in the sack… er, the bag… er, what’s that?”

“Calming herbs,” she said. “We got to keep you under control, wolf boy.”

“I’m under control.” I glanced at Brittany. “Mostly.”

Just then a whiff of the stinking herbs hit me in the face. I sneezed. Brittany laughed and splashed me again.

Aunt Lynette leaned back. “This will be good for our rituals.”

“Better than that blow-up pool we had,” Brittany said. “Is Myra coming in?”

“She’s cleaning up supper.”

I stretched my arms over the top of the tub.

Brittany used my bicep as a pillow. “This is so relaxing.”

I felt like a teabag.

Aunt Lynette said, “I hear tell you’ll be moving soon.”

Not if I can help it.

“Actually, it’s been delayed,” I said. “There’s been some trouble at the construction site. Someone stole the kitchen sink.”

Brittany giggled as if incredulous. “The kitchen sink?”

“Yep. Still in the crate.”

Aunt Lynette said, “Where are you gonna be living again? In a barn?”

“An old stable. At the Richardson place.” I smiled at Brittany. “It’s supposed to have a hot tub, too. But only for two people.”

She gave an exaggerated pout. “I still don’t like the idea of you living so close to Ayanna. I’ve seen how she looks at you.”

Ayanna had had a crush on me since the day we met.

“She’s a member of my pack. And a friend,” I said. “But she knows it won’t go further than that.”

Brittany snuggled against me. “Better not. I’ll turn her into a toad. I’m a Witch Queen, you know.”

Aunt Lynette barked a raucous laugh. “Not yet you ain’t.”

Brittany cast her an angry glare. Aunt Lynette shot her one right back.

Uh-oh. Touchy subject.

Hurriedly, I said, “I thought Eileen was going to join us.”

“She was on the phone with a florist,” Brittany said. “Wedding stuff.”

“Ah.” I nodded. It was hard not to be excited about the wedding. William’s joy was contagious. What would it be like to have someone promise to stay with you forever? Even my own mother hadn’t managed that feat.

“In a Wiccan wedding, everyone would bring flowers to decorate the altar,” Aunt Lynette said. “Just go out to a field and pick ‘em.”

“Must be a beautiful ceremony,” Brittany said.

“We call it handfasting,” Lynette said, “and in the eyes of the goddess they would be one. But she insists on observing tribal ways.”

“They aren’t actually getting married, though, right?” Brittany said. “I mean it isn’t legal.”

“In the eyes of the American government, no, it ain’t legal.”

“It could be,” I blurted. “You can get married in Florida at sixteen.”

Aunt Lynette snorted. “Well, her aunt refused to sign off on her, and her poor mother ain’t here to tell her no.”

“They’re in love. Would you tell them no?”

“Durn tootin’ I would. They ain’t knowed each other but a matter of weeks. Takes longer than that to recognize love.”

“I disagree,” Brittany said. “I believe in love at first sight.”

I said, “I fell in love with you the first time I saw you crossing the parking lot at Video Stop.”

She smiled. “You never told me that.”

I kissed the top of her head.

“That’s smitten,” Aunt Lynette grumbled. “There’s a difference between being smitten and being in love.”

“Cody?” Myra called from the doorway. “Bob and Rita are here. They said they’d wait for you in the truck.”

I sat up straight. “They’re early. Or am I late?”

Brittany moved to stand up. “That was a short soak.”

“No, you stay. I can see myself out.”

“Okay. Remember, tomorrow’s Saturday. We’re going down to Tamiami with Eileen in the morning.”

“I’ll be ready.” I climbed out of the tub then leaned for a goodbye kiss. “Smitten you.”

“Smitten you, too.”

I balled up my clothes, picked up my shoes, and stepped out the back door. The night air felt cool on my overheated skin. Eileen and William’s impending wedding played in my head. Could there be such a marriage between Brittany and me? Every time I mention it, she just smiles. She says she loves me—but only after I say it first.

I circled the side of the house and passed the carport where Brittany’s lime green Beetle sat parked for the night. As I walked, I glanced around for Haff, Brittany’s dog. There was no sign of him. Probably out chasing rabbits. I approached my uncle’s truck.

“Hoo-whee, boy.” Uncle Bob waved a hand as if I stank. “What have you been doing?”

“Aw, they put some herbs in the hot tub,” I said. “I’ll shower when I get home.”

“We aren’t going home.” Rita turned her dazzling white smile on me. “The Richardsons invited us over for drinks and to see the latest improvements on the stone cottage.”

Oh crap. Was the thing finished?

“I’ll thank you to ride in the back,” Uncle Bob said.

As if I rode anywhere else. I climbed into the truck bed and settled in, still dripping, next to the toolbox. And just like that, we were off to see the Richardsons and the stable/cottage.

* * *

Dick, Chloe, and Ayanna Richardson lived on an old horse farm on the outskirts of the small town of Loxahatchee. No horses, of course. Horses weren’t fond of werewolves. Their house was Spanish style, as were so many others in the area—red-tiled roof, beige stucco walls, arched windows. It was a distance away from ours, which was one of the reasons Uncle Bob was so keen on moving into their backyard. By the time we reached the long, dusty slope of their driveway, I was dry, although still reeking of herbs. I squirmed to pull on my t-shirt and jeans without standing up.

Dressed in a colorful dashiki with a kufi cap, Dick Richardson stood in the yard admiring the row of spindly flowers lining the front porch. The weather-beaten plants looked more suitable for Africa than South Florida. Dick loved anything African. Behind the house, the silhouette of a huge baobab tree rose over the roof. The trunk was easily fifteen-feet wide. It was made of concrete and rebar, but it looked real.

Uncle Bob pulled his truck behind the Richardson’s mustard-yellow Winnebago, and Dick walked over to open the door for Rita.

“Halloo,” he rumbled. “Welcome, welcome.”

“Thank you, kind sir,” Rita said.

Chloe stepped out of the house. She was dressed as brightly as her husband. A turban tamed her thick hair. The two women hugged as if they hadn’t seen each other the day before.

“What’s that odd odor?” Dick asked.

“Cody,” Uncle Bob said.

All eyes turned to me. Like I was the puppy who had been rolling in it. Without another word, they traipsed around the house to the backyard, Rita and Chloe arm-in-arm and Dick and Uncle Bob side-by-side. I climbed down from the pickup and slunk after them.

The backyard was wide and flat. The only sound came from the splashing of the fake waterfall and the crickets around the koi pond. The only light was starlight. A shadow moved on the patio, and Ayanna glided silently toward me. She took my hand. We followed the adults to the dreaded stone cottage.

We’d started calling it the stone cottage because the walls were made of big round stones, probably excavated from the horse pastures. As homes went, it wasn’t bad. Low to the ground with small irregular windows. I wiped my feet as I stepped over the threshold. The living room smelled faintly of horses. There was no electricity and so no lights, but werewolves didn’t need light to see.

“What I wanted to show you is this,” Dick said with his booming voice.

Everyone crowded into the kitchen. The skylight above showed the starry sky.

“Well, what do you think?” Dick waved a hand as if performing a magic trick. “We have a kitchen sink. The workers cannot or will not say what happened to the original. But no matter. This is a nice upgrade.”

“It’s beautiful,” Rita cooed. She ran her hand over the tiled interior. It looked like a blue and gray mosaic.

“Imported from India by way of Home Depot,” Dick said. “I now declare this abode occupant ready.”

I groaned. Again, all eyes turned to me.

“I sense apprehension from you, young master,” Dick said.

Ayanna elbowed me and whispered, “Tell them.”

I cleared my throat. “It’s just that… Well, my father always says familiarity breeds contempt. We’re all friends now, but how friendly will we be when we start living together?”

“We’re more than friends,” Uncle Bob growled. “We’re packmates. And we’re moving in.”

He shot me a glare that struck me cold. His reprimand was not only in his eyes and words but in the link, the telepathic bond that connected the members of the pack. Uncle Bob was the pack master, but it didn’t seem to agree with him. The weight of command made him sullen and authoritarian. I nodded and took a half-step back, although I hated myself for doing it. Uncle Bob was my friend. What was happening between us?

“This calls for wine.” Chloe’s smile was as bright as her turban. “Come to the house. I believe Concepcion is ready for us.”

I led the way, fleeing the cottage as if it held my doom. We filed onto the patio of the main house.

The Richardson’s housekeeper, Concepcion, was lighting a pair of citronella candles she’d placed at either end of a platter of finger sandwiches. My favorite was her fairy bread. White bread heavily buttered and dunked in sprinkles.

I sat at the table and looked out at the silent yard. A few lightning bugs flitted around the flowers surrounding the koi pond.

Dick pulled out a wine bottle. “You won’t have tried this one. It is Ifrikia Rouge Reserve from Tunisia, produced in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains.” He poured a measure into four glasses. The wine had a deep maroon color.

Rita took a glass, sniffed, and sipped. “It’s delightful. Tangy aftertaste. Is that… raspberry?”

Dick laughed and sat. “You have a discerning tongue.”

Concepcion came out with a couple of root beers for Ayanna and me.

Chloe passed over empty wine glasses. “Don’t drink out of the can, Ayanna. It is unseemly for a young lady.”

“Which brings us to our next announcement,” Dick announced. “In one week, our little flower will turn fifteen.”

“It is a milestone birthday,” Chloe said. “In Africa, the celebration would draw a hundred people. Or more.”

“Here, it is only us. But our celebration will be no less heartfelt. I invite you to join us next Friday for our party.” Dick raised his glass. “To Ayanna.”

“To Ayanna,” we answered in unison and drank.

Ayanna looked both embarrassed and pleased.

 

TWO

Saturday morning, I was up at daybreak. Time to meet the fam. It was an hour drive to the Tamiami Trail Indian Reservation, and Brittany and Eileen wanted to get an early start. Technically, my presence wasn’t necessary since I wasn’t a member of the wedding party. I was Support Guy. I combed my hair and tied it into a tail and put on my white dress shirt and good shoes. The ones that squeaked when I walked. No tie. I wasn’t worried about impressing the tribal elders. I just wanted to make Brittany happy.

Uncle Bob and Rita were still asleep, their bedroom door closed. My father slept on the couch where he’d put down roots ever since he left my mom. He snuffled a soft snore. I tiptoed through the living room and out to the front porch. Even at sunrise, the air was hot and muggy. Birds squawked in the trees, and rabbits stirred the underbrush. We lived in a sub-division that backed into a forest. Loxahatchee was in the northern tip of the Everglades.

I closed my eyes and stretched out with my senses. Brittany and I had a sort of link, a bond that tied us together. I felt her across the distance, knew she was on her way. Her presence was as warm as a hug. A few minutes later, the girls drove up in Eileen’s woody station wagon.

I bounded down the stairs and leaned in through Brittany’s open window. “Good morning. You look nice.”

She did, too. Her spiky hair was tipped in blue, and her lips were blue to match. She wore a dark, sleeveless dress that showed off the creamy paleness of her skin.

Brittany smiled. “So do you.”

She slid over on the bench seat, and I slid in. From the driver’s seat, Eileen gave me a strained smile. Not her usual laid-back self. I wanted to ask why she was bothering to get married when the preparations made her so miserable. Then I thought about marrying Brittany. I would endure anything to be with her.

Eileen was a nudist, but the last few times I’d seen her, she’d worn clothes. Today it was a sundress with bright green flowers. She was changing. For William. I wondered if someday she would resent it.

She backed the car down the gravel driveway, and we headed out. Eileen’s car didn’t have air conditioning. Worse, it only had AM radio, and the only station it got in was an oldies station. Brittany and Eileen sang along with the tunes. I didn’t join in, although I recognized a few of the songs. They brought to mind riding in the old convertible with Mom when I was a kid. She loved the oldies. But Mom lived in Massachusetts and I lived down here, so there was that.

We took I95 south toward Miami. Rush hour hadn’t even started yet, and already traffic was a nightmare. But we made good time, and soon we were taking side streets to the Reservation. Tamiami was more city than a town. Crowded and bustling.

“Wow,” I blurted. “It looks like anywhere else.”

Brittany laughed. “What did you expect? Tepees?”

My cheeks turned warm. “Well, no. Of course not.” Only I guess I kind of had.

“You’re thinking of the traditionals,” Eileen said. “They live west down Tamiami Trail. Look there.” She pointed to a four-story building with an orange overhang and flags out front. The sign said Miccosukee Administration Building. “That’s where I had to go to get permission to have the wedding on tribal land.”

“But William is a member of the tribe,” I said.

“They have a matriarchal society. Everything goes through the mother, and my mother was mostly Norwegian.”

“You should have the ceremony at home. At our house.” Brittany shrugged. “We have a nice, big yard.”

“Will wants it on the reservation. He wants us to live here.”

“Ah.” I nodded. “For all the free benefits.”

Eileen clucked her tongue. “There are no free benefits. You can rent a house pretty cheap, and the healthcare is good. Will gets a dividend check each month from the casino, but that’s money earned by the tribe. It’s not free.”

Brittany chuckled. “You sound like you’re already a member.”

“I’m starting to realize that I’ll never be part of the tribe.” She sighed. “I just want a place to belong, you know. Somewhere I fit in. Since Mom died…”

“You fit in with us. You have a home. We don’t want you to leave.”

“There’s no place for me there. Not now that Myra’s back. Whoever heard of a coven with four people? No one, that’s who.” Her sigh became ragged. “I love Will. I figured we’d get married sooner or later. Why not sooner? But Lynette wants me to have a Wiccan ceremony. Will wants tribal customs on tribal land. Lynette insists we marry on the new moon or the Goddess won’t bless us. Will says we can’t be ready that soon. I feel torn in half.”

We pulled into a sub-division. The houses were small, the yards large, some well-kept, others not so much. Just like any other neighborhood.

“Is this where Will lives?” Brittany asked.

“His mother.” Eileen stared out the windshield, her hands white-knuckled on the steering wheel. “I haven’t met his uncle yet. A mother’s oldest brother has a very important role in the family. If he doesn’t like me, I’m afraid the whole thing will be off.”

As we pulled into a driveway, William stepped outside. He also wore a white dress shirt, but his shirt was stretched over bulging muscle. Fitting, since he could turn into a bear. But that was a secret. I don’t think even his mother knew. He opened the door for Eileen then took her in his arms and kissed her like we weren’t there. Brittany smiled at me, crinkling her nose in the way that I loved.

I got out of the car then held out my hand for her. Sunlight caught her dark dress, drawing hints of deepest purple. She wore her usual combat boots and carried a kid-sized My Little Pony backpack for a purse.

A woman stepped onto the porch. Chelsea Osceola, Story Keeper of the tribe and William’s mother. She had long, black hair and wore a red-and-yellow patchwork skirt.

I gave her a little bow. “Chehuntamo.”

Her dark eyes sparkled as if she were suppressing a laugh. “Chehuntamo. It’s good to see you both again. Brittany, I understand you will be Eileen’s maid of honor.”

“Yes, ma’am,” Brittany said.

“Please come inside. Many of the family are already here.”

We followed Chelsea into the house. The living room was crowded. As we entered, everyone stood. I felt like I was at an inspection.

Chelsea said, “This is Brittany. She stands with the bride. And this is Cody, her plus one.”

That’s me. Support Guy.

A shriveled old man squinted at us through wire-rimmed glasses. “I see your auras. Oh, yes.”

My smile froze, belying the alarm that shot through me. Howard, William’s father, could tell I was a werewolf by simply looking at my aura. Was that an Indian thing? I couldn’t afford to have anyone else know my secret.

William and Eileen entered. The screened door banged behind them.

“And this is Eileen,” Chelsea announced.

A tall man stepped forward. He had bronze skin, gray-streaked hair, and wore a crisp dress shirt, long-sleeved in spite of the growing heat.

William said, “This is Michael, my mother’s oldest brother.”

Eileen held out her hand. “How do you do, sir?”

The man took her hand in both of his. “Eileen. We have many questions for you.”

“And we have questions for all of you,” William said.

Michael frowned. “You do?”

“I want my father to preside over the ceremony.”

Even Eileen looked shocked. A pervasive mutter rose.

“Nokosi!” someone spat.

Michael’s face darkened. “Your father is banned from tribal land. You know this.”

“I ask that the ban be lifted.”

The voices fell to shocked silence. Howard had been shunned after he got drunk one night and turned into a bear while in a bar. No one was hurt except Joseph Achak, his intended target. Still, he made a lot of people nervous.

“No,” one man said. “That isn’t possible.”

“He is not welcome,” said another.

“My father is a Navajo medicine man,” William said. “He is qualified to preside.”

Michael motioned at the shriveled man. “Barney can—”

William’s voice rose. “I am within my rights.”

From the back of the room, an elderly man said, “The council has already ruled on the matter of Howard Shebala.”

“If my father is not allowed,” William said, “then I will leave. That will be to the tribe’s detriment. The census is already dangerously low. This marriage is as important to you as it is to me.”

This was apparently jaw-dropping news to everyone but Chelsea.

“Coffee?” she asked us.

“I’d love some.” Brittany smiled.

We followed Chelsea to the kitchen, leaving William and Eileen to hammer out the wedding details.

The kitchen smelled like hot grease and sugar. Two women danced around as if choreographed. One fished doughy disks out of a countertop deep fryer while the other dusted them with powdered sugar.

Chelsea said, “These are my sisters, Marjory and Susan.”

“Hello,” I murmured.

“Frybread,” the younger of the sisters said. “Have one.”

My mouth watered. I wrapped a napkin around a six-inch round of hot goodness. A depression in the center held a spoonful of berry jam. I sat at a table that was piled high with paper plates and cups. Brittany joined me with her cup of coffee. A steady breeze streamed through the open window, making the checkered curtain flap. I couldn’t tell if it was hotter outside or in the kitchen.

“How long have you known Willie?” the oldest woman asked.

“Just a few months,” I said.

“Harrumph. He speaks as if he’s known you his entire life.”

“I’ve known Eileen for years,” Brittany said.

Laughter came from the backyard.

The woman cocked her brow. “Perhaps you would be more comfortable outside with the other children.”

Do we look like children?

Chelsea blushed and gave a sheepish shrug. “It’s cooler out there.”

We stood obediently. I snagged another frybread as we went out.

The backyard was a wide expanse of green. No fences. Children ran everywhere. One group played an informal version of lacrosse. Another group took turns climbing a tree and jumping from the branches. Brittany and I sat together at a patio table. A wide overhang shaded the porch, and ceiling fans kept the breeze moving.

Brittany sipped her coffee. A short distance away, a group of twelve-year-old girls huddled together, grinning and glancing over their shoulders at us. When they noticed I was looking at them, they giggled.

I sighed and leaned toward Brittany. “Look, I have something to tell you, and I don’t think you’ll like it.”

“Oh, boy.” She set down her cup.

“Last night when my uncle picked me up—”

A girl appeared at the table. She wore a pink dress and had ribbons in her braids. Her dark eyes trained on Brittany. “Is it true you’re a witch?”

Brittany smiled. “I am. But not the Halloween kind. I use my powers for good.”

The girl nodded. I gave her an indulgent smile, and she returned to the knot of giggling girls.

“Anyway,” I said. “Last night, we went to the Richardson’s and… The stone cottage is ready for us to move in.”

“Oh.” She looked stunned. “Did you tell them you didn’t want to?”

“Yeah. I said it was a bad idea and that it would ruin our friendship and—”

“Oh my gosh, it’s true?” Two more girls appeared at the table. “Can you put spells on people?”

“I can,” Brittany said, “but that’s not what being Wiccan is all about. We want to understand nature and live in harmony with the world around us.”

“Ooh,” they crooned.

I smiled and nodded as they slipped away. “So, yeah, I told them I didn’t want to. Then my uncle gave me the look. I really don’t see how I’m going to—”

Three other girls approached. They hung on each other as if needing support. “Can you ride a broom?”

“What kind of question is that?” I bellowed. “Go on. Get out of here. All of you.”

They squealed and scurried away, laughing.

I realized I was halfway out of my chair and sat back down. “You can’t, right?”

She shrugged. “I don’t know. I never tried.”

The door creaked open, and William stepped out. He sat at the table with us. “Thank you both for coming. It means a lot.”

“No problem,” I said. “Did you get everything straightened out about your Dad?”

“I think I have them convinced.” He grinned.

“Excellent,” I said.

“Will you have the wedding here?” Brittany motioned to the swath of grass behind the houses. The lacrosse game was breaking up.

“There’s a nearby park,” William said. “The land must be consecrated, blessed every sunrise and sunset for seven days. The problem is, they play lacrosse there, too. We had to wait until after a scheduled game to start the blessings.”

“That’s why you couldn’t have the wedding this weekend.”

He nodded. “It’s the perfect place, though. Should be plenty of room. Eileen wants a maypole.”

I frowned. “Isn’t that supposed to be in the spring?”

William raised his eyebrows.

“Hey, you! Stop that!” Brittany leaped to her feet, glaring at a tall boy who was shoving around a smaller one.

The kid scowled at her then pushed his victim again. The boy fell. Like a shot, she was down the green slope and in his face. William and I hurried after her. Turned out, the tall kid wasn’t a kid after all—he was our age. He towered over Brittany.

She poked him in the chest. “Who do you think you are?”

“I don’t answer to the likes of you,” he growled.

“Is that right? You think you’re scarier than me because you’re Native American?”

His ruddy face darkened further. “I may be Native, but my people were here long before yours.”

One of the girls snickered. “Better watch out, Thomas. She’s a witch. Turn you into a toad.”

He took a half-step back. “A witch?”

“You hurt?” Brittany helped the younger boy to his feet.

“No, ma’am. Thank you, ma’am.” He stared wide-eyed for a moment then ran off. A group of lacrosse players ran with him.

William said, “On your way, cousin.”

Thomas snorted and trudged off. Three cronies trailed in his wake.

“You know him?” Brittany crooked her thumb.

“Aunt Marjory’s youngest.” William nodded. “He’s a bit of a bully.”

“I’ll say.” Brittany huffed out her breath.

“C’mere, fierce one.” I chuckled and kissed the top of her head.

The door slammed, and Eileen hurried toward us. “Y’all come in and get some brunch. Don’t you leave me in there all on my own.”

“Sorry.” Brittany hugged her.

William clapped me on the back. The four of us traipsed back to the house. I noticed Thomas and his cronies eyeing us from a distance.

Did that whet your appetite for more? I hope so. You can buy The Bear, The Werewolf, and The Blogger at your favorite eBook store or get it in paperback. And be sure to leave a short review. I’d love to hear what you think of it.

Book Giveaway – The Amazing Wolf Boy

Enter to win an advanced review copy of The Amazing Wolf Boy, the first book in my new Wolf Boy series. The contest runs from now until May 1st. You will be transfixed by this nerd who becomes a werewolf. Laugh at his ridiculous attempts to cook a Valentine’s dinner. Thrill with his death-defying antics. Just click enter.

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Amazing Wolf Boy by Roxanne Smolen

The Amazing Wolf Boy

by Roxanne Smolen

Giveaway ends May 01, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

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