Changing Moon 1 - The Pauper Prince is releasing today! I'm so excited. I really love these characters and I hope you do too.
Lance Fitz is an orphan, lost in the foster care system. He’s a survivor and tough as nails. Attacked and beaten, his attacker is murdered. Lance, with blood on his hands and a broken spirit, flees to the solitude of the peaceful pine forest of the Black Hills of South Dakota.
Andrew Reed, a handsome shape shifter discovers a man in his barn loading a duffel bag with supplies. Before he can ask questions, the young man spots him and runs. Andrew chases after him. What he discovers at the end of a fast paced run through the woods astounds them both.
Can Andrew help Lance heal enough to trust him? Can he convince Lance to stay before he runs out of Andrew’s life, forever beyond his reach and the slavery that has him bound to the land and vampires?
“911. What is your emergency?”
“There’s blood everywhere. I’m trying to make it stop but his throat’s cut. How do I make it stop?!”
“What is your address and I will send an ambulance…”
“I don’t know… I just moved here yesterday. His name’s Roger Reese. Please, there’s blood everywhere….
“It won’t stop… I can’t hold it together…”
“Police are en route and I have an ambulance on the way… Stay on the line with me okay…”
“Please hurry! I don’t think he’s breathing anymore!”
“The blood’s everywhere… How do I stop it… I can’t hold the wound together…”
I stood in the barn, my backpack filled with the items I was borrowing. Everything had a coating of dust, I figured nobody would miss them; I’d return them when I was finished. I wasn’t stealing—just borrowing.
He walked into the barn, on the opposite side from where I stood. I froze—unable to even breathe—caught with my hands quite literally in the cookie jar… a big ceramic Pooh bear full of nails, which I’d been adding to my backpack of spoils. He was tall, at least 6”, clearly older than me by a year or two. My breath caught, and not because of what I was doing… I’d never seen a man as ruggedly handsome. He was bare-chested and his jeans hung low on his hips. His body was lean and muscular. His skin was a deep golden brown that stretched across a muscular chest and ripped abs. He had spiked black hair and large sky blue eyes. Surprise flashed across his face as he saw me, and in that instant—I ran. Could have stared at him all day… I mused as my sneakers pounded the dirt. He seemed exotically beautiful, those blue eyes and black hair. Another day—another lifetime—I could get lost in him. Today—no time—gotta run. With my spoils in my duffel over my shoulder, I made for the tree line in a dead sprint. He gave chase—on my heels, calling after me. I didn’t turn around to see how far he’d follow—I just ran. The trees—the forest—they were my safety zone.
Where does he think he’s going? I thought as I ran, my breath coming in controlled pants. He didn’t stop at the trees. I could hear feet running after me. Crunch—crunch—pant—crunch—crunch—the rhythm of breathing and running through the tree litter, muffling our footfalls. I’m fast—you learn to be fast when your life depends on how quickly you can disappear. He steadily fell behind despite being taller than me. In no time, I couldn’t hear him anymore. I didn’t stop. It might’ve been the adrenaline from being caught, but it felt like he still followed, still tracked me.
I’d put a couple miles between me and the ranch, following the animal trails I’d become familiar with. I’d lost him, but I continued to run anyway. I could feel the thrill of the chase and the adrenaline in my veins. Panting hard, I reveled in the heady feeling that running wild through the trees gave me. A part of me never wanted to stop. I felt like I could outrun anything—anytime—anywhere.
“Ah!” I screamed. A pain stronger than anything I’d ever felt hit my stomach like a sledgehammer, knocking the wind clear out of my lungs, ripping my guts from my body until I was sure they were scattered across the forest floor. I fell, tumbling to my hands and knees—duffel bag sliding to the ground.
I curled into a pain-filled fetal ball, trying to hold myself together through the intense cramping. For the first time it hit me how alone and vulnerable it was to live like this, but only for a second as the pain came again in an overwhelming wave. My insides boiled and my skin crawled. I clawed at my arms, wanting to peel the skin from my body in chunks. I couldn’t stand the scratchy irritating touch of my clothes. I screamed in agony, as I yanked on my shirt and pants, dragging them off, away from my oversensitive skin as quickly as I could. I struggled, trying to gasp for air, but I couldn’t breathe because the air wouldn’t go into my lungs.
I felt my bones turning to jelly and reshaping themselves. My joints were changing direction. My chest seemed to expand, getting larger and deeper. Fur… fur?… seemed to force itself from through skin and cover my body. Claws and paws replaced fingers and hands… and I could see my nose… well, not my nose but a large brown snout sticking out from my face. When the pain finally subsided, and I could breathe again, I found myself standing on four legs and I had a tail. A thick chocolate brown pelt covered my body, except for my stomach and feet which were white. I walked in circles looking at my tail, in complete disbelief.
From all the parts I could see, I could only come up with one possible answer—I had gone completely nuts. What the Fuck! WTF wasn’t strong enough for this hallucination. I must be certifiably insane… bound for a rubber room… or a dog pound. People don’t just turn into animals. Somehow, I’d entered a Tim Allen movie and I’d become the ‘Shaggy Dog’… No, something inside felt offended… not a dog—a wolf. Oh God, ‘American Werewolf in London…’ I was a monster. Well, no surprise there, now the outside and inside match. People will see a monster when they look at me, as they should. Sometimes I hate my internal voice; I cringed and shivered at my own thoughts. Shoving the self-hatred back into a box in the corner of my mind and stomping on it hard, I shook my head, which became a whole body shake… fur twisting and flopping across my body all the way to the tip of my tail. It felt good.
I grabbed my clothes, what was left of them, with my mouth and buried them under some bushes, along with my duffle bag of treasures, alongside a large tree. A part of me—there but separate—told me to hide everything. If I ever turned back to a person, I’d need to return and get my stuff. If… what the hell!
Well, at least I could think, I was still me… sort of. I felt like me, but more—like something else—lived in my head too. Wonderful multiple personality disorder… yes doctor my other personality is a wolf… wanna see? I bet I can’t find a psychiatrist who allows pets in their office.
My new senses practically overwhelmed me with information. My sense of smell—I could smell everything. The forest is unbelievably filled with scents of animals and trees. If scents were cars, I was downtown New York on the busiest day of the year, caught in mid-town traffic. But it wasn’t my sense of smell that was alerting me now, but hearing… someone still followed me, my imagination hadn’t been playing tricks on me. I quickly covered up my trail and hid in the bushes. I wanted to see if the handsome man from the barn had trailed me here.
Damn but he’s hot! I couldn’t help thinking when he broke through the trees. The wolf seemed to be in agreement. He’s beautiful, just as I remembered, only now I could see his beautiful sky blue eyes a little closer, eyes rimmed in thick long black lashes. He had the kind of eyes that would see clear into a person’s soul. When he hit the end of my trail, to the point where my wolf paw tracks, which were huge by the way, took over from the person I used to be, he crouched down to look very closely at them. He looked around with a confused look on his face, and then he kind of smiled to himself. He stood up and began to circle around the area where the tracks changed over, as if he were looking for something. He went in ever-larger circles, widening his pattern, searching for something with a growing scowl on his face. I knew if I stayed, he’d find me in minutes. I had to leave. But before I could move, he walked past me and my new nose picked up his rich scent—thick musk, the deep woods and the earth. He smelled heavenly. The wolf wanted to step right out of my hiding place and pant after him. He wanted to drop to the ground and show the man our white belly, with all four feet in the air and give him our submission. He wanted to play and make the man chase after us through the woods. I told the wolf to just shut up and run. I darted off into the woods silently. I was hungry, thirsty and I knew if I wanted I could run like the wind. So I did, leaving the wonderful smelling man behind.
I ran and ran and ran. The wind in my fur, the smell of the forest in my nostrils, pine needles and damp earth under my paws—it’s impossible to explain how exhilarating and peaceful everything became. There were no worries about the future, no thoughts of the past, only the immediate need and its fulfillment. The wolf wanted to hunt and I let it; he seemed to know how to take care of his hunger. The wolf knew where the deer were without thinking about them and I headed on silent feet for the herd sleeping in the tall grass.
I moved in tune with all the life that pulsed all around me. I crept up silently, had the deer in my teeth, and snapped her neck, before I realized what the wolf intended. The wolf had totally taken over, ripping through the hide and inhaling large amounts of steaming flesh, relishing in the coppery goodness and warmth sating its hunger. Somewhere in the back of my mind, my human self screamed “Oh gross!”, but the wolf gloried in his kill, and he felt exultant, content. When I finished as much of the deer as my engorged stomach could hold, I was sure I’d never be able to eat again. Completely stuffed, I lay down in the grass and rolled over. I didn’t want to think about how much raw meat I’d consumed. I’ll never be a vegan now. I laughed to myself, the sound which escaped me sounding like a bark.
I was officially a killer. No surprise there, my dreams had been reminding me of my failings for quite a while now. I rubbed my muzzle on the grass, and licked my huge paws, cleaning them. Then, I headed for the stream I could hear trickling nearby. I felt extremely at ease and comfortable in my new furry hide. I was at peace for the first time in a very long time. The wolf was blissful, I was happy and I had no idea why.
I couldn’t get the vision of golden skin, black hair and blue eyes out of my head. The memory of his scent and an unrealistic urge to have the man’s hands running through my fur had me wanting to curl up and lick my own balls. Yes, I could reach them… no I refused to give in to the urge to do so.