A snippet here and a snippet there

Here’s another quick snippet from Tracked, book two of the Stalker’s Moon series.  Tracked, as well as Hunted (Stalker’s Moon, book 1) are now available in both e-book and print editions.

The snippet is from the unedited rough draft of the relaunch version of of the novel. As always, all the usual disclaimers and rights apply.  Also, this snippet does not follow immediately after, or even close, to the previous one. I’m evil that way. VBEG

*

God, I hurt. Every muscle, every nerve seemed to scream in agony. My head pounded. No, it felt like someone was pounding on it. And I was hungry. Starving. My stomach ached with it and my white tiger demanded release. We needed to hunt, to feed. The need to shift was almost overpowering. But not yet. Not until I knew what had happened.

I didn’t want to move. I didn’t want to, afraid of how much it would hurt when I did. Instead, I tried to think. But it was hard, so hard. My mind seemed to focus only on the pain and the hunger. Everything else was a dark morass not to be passed, at least not easily. But I had to.

I swallowed hard, noticing for the first time the taste of blood. Carefully, I ran my tongue over my teeth and the inside of my mouth. My teeth, not my tiger’s at least, were intact but I could feel where the inside of my right cheek had been badly cut. It had started healing, so whatever had happened had been at least several hours earlier.

But, damn it, what had happened?

Why couldn’t I remember?

I couldn’t put it off any longer. No matter how badly I hurt, I needed to figure out where I was. Maybe then I’d have an idea about what happened. More importantly maybe I could find something to eat. Never before had I been this hungry. If I didn’t find food soon, I’d lose control and shift and that would be bad. I wasn’t sure why, but I knew it would be.

I drew another deep breath and tried to focus on my surroundings. I lay on something cold and hard. Concrete? I was, for the most part, on my stomach, arms above my head but bent slightly at the elbows. My legs were slightly bent at the knees, Okay, so far so good. At least I had all my limbs.

Gritting my teeth, I gathered my strength and tried to rise to my hands and knees. The metallic sound of chains dragging across the concrete broke the silence. Suddenly, I couldn’t move any further. Not that I’d managed to move much, maybe six inches per limb. What the hell!

My eyes flew open and my tiger once again fought for release. How dare they! Someone had chained us! No one chained us! We’d kill them.

I released my breath and closed my eyes again, counting to ten. As I did, I forced my cat back. I needed to think and not as a predator. Something had happened, something bad. My stomach pitched as the probable explanations dawned on me. Being captured by a normal who’d figured out about our existence was bad enough, especially if he was going to try to force a shift on me in order to reveal our existence to the world-at-large. But another explanation sent chills of fear through me.

Volk.

Oh, God, please don’t let it be Volk.

How long I lay there fighting down the panic threatening to overtake me, I don’t know.  Between fear and hunger, I wanted – no, I needed – to shift. If I shifted, I could slip my bonds and escape. That thought had my eyes snapping open again and a slight flicker of hope formed. Surely if Volk had captured me, he’d make sure I couldn’t shift. He wouldn’t make a mistake like this.

Focusing on the leather cuffs locked around my wrists, I slowed my breathing. I couldn’t do anything about the hunger – how long had I been unconscious? – But I could keep control. I needed to know more about where I was before shifting. Once I did, I’d shift, slip the chains and get the hell out of there.

I changed positions slightly and pain washed over me again. With it came a new wave of hunger.  My stomach hurt so badly. It felt like it was on fire and would soon consume me if I didn’t find something to ease it. No, not something. Meat. Red meat from a fresh kill. I needed meat and I needed it now.

Just the thought of it was enough to start the shift. Teeth elongated and muscles tensed. I pulled against the chains, fighting them much as I’d fought against the shift just moments before. Why had I been denying my tiger her release? I no longer remembered and didn’t care. She was the one best able to get us out of here. Then we could hunt.

Nothing else mattered.

“Maggie, don’t!”

Caught in the middle of a shift, time suddenly seemed to stop. For one very long moment, I fought my tiger for control. Never had it been so hard to stay human. Never before had I wanted to shift so badly. But one small part of my mind told me I couldn’t. He told me not to. My mate wouldn’t do anything to hurt me. So he had to have a reason to keep me human. He’d tell me what was going on. I had to trust him.

I turned my head in the direction of his voice. A gasp was torn from my lips the moment I saw him. He lay against the far wall. His face was bruised and swollen. From the twist of his body and the way his arms disappeared behind his back, I knew he was bound. But why secure him so he couldn’t shift but not me? Could it be that whoever had taken us didn’t know what we were?

“J-Jim.”

I tried to focus on him. He was my link to sanity.

He twisted and tried to sit up, wincing in pain. As he did, I gritted my teeth. Moving like that he looked so helpless, so much like – prey.

Food.

No! God, what was wrong with me?


If you haven’t bought your copy of Tracked yet, you can do so on Amazon. All my books are published without DRM. If you are a member of Kindle Unlimited, you can read the book that way as well. Most of all, if you enjoyed the book, or any of my other work for that matter, I’d love it if you left a review. They help more than you realize.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.