Thursday, June 7, 2012

Beast Man -- Chapter 1

The following is the first chapter of "Beast Man." The full book is available on the Kindle and Nook. Enjoy!


Chapter 1

“I am not wearing a dress.”
“Lea,” Mari shook her head in disapproval, “Be reasonable.”
“Rowen doesn’t want me wearing anything revealing anyways. Do you Rowen?” The fiery brunette turned to face Rowen with her hands on her hips.
“Somehow I doubt a wedding dress will be less revealing than your normal attire,” he noted, fighting back a grin, “While on the subject: must you wear shorts and… what ever that is… all the time?”
“It’s a tank-top,” Lea hissed, “And I’ve seen wedding dresses reveal a lot more of a woman’s assets than this. Since when do you have a problem with the way I dress?”
“Okay!” Mari exclaimed, holding her hands up to stop the brewing argument, “I can work around the dress situation, but you have to wear something nice. It’s your wedding after all”
“Can’t we just elope?” Lea pleaded.
“And rob your mother of the chance to give you a proper wedding?” Rowen frowned, “I had not realized you were so selfish.”
Lea rolled her eyes as she crossed her arms.
“We haven’t even set a date yet, you know,” she pointed out.
“I’m working on it,” Mari replied, becoming increasingly flustered, “I have been working on this alone since… everything got cleared up.”
“Right, because the most important thing after we found out that Rowen’s brother was the murderer was planning the wedding,” Lea raised an eyebrow, “Does it have to be so soon, though?”
“You and Rowen have been…” Mari swallowed hard before continuing, “Living together for several days now and it won’t be long before people start to talk. You haven’t even officially announced your engagement.”
“Because we’ve known each other for less than a month!” Lea exclaimed, “How weird would that be?”
“This is exactly why my pack never associated so closely with humans,” Rowen rubbed his temple, grimacing; “Far too many human ways to follow.”

~*~*~

“What’s all the hullabaloo about?”
“My sister’s drama,” Erik shrugged, “Hopefully things’ll go back to normal soon.”
“Why’s Rowen back in the picture?” Brian grumbled, “I thought you said your dad was taking care of it.”
“Apparently the real murderer was caught.”
“Caught? Who was it?”
“Why don’t you use your super power of research to find out?”
“Why so grumpy?” Brian asked, “Did Heather reject you?”
“Do you have memory loss? She wanted to meet my family… If they find out I’ve been secretly dating hu… girls, I’m dead.”
“I still can’t imagine them being as mad about it as you’re making it sound… Why can’t you tell them that you don’t want to be a part of their religion?”
“Because… it’s not exactly a choice,” he whispered, “But still…”
“Buddy, you need to relax… get away from it all…”
“Oh? Have something in mind…?” Erik raised an eyebrow suspiciously.
“Most definitely,” Brian grinned, “I’ll need to get a few things first… and I’ll need a picture of you.”

~*~*~

“You are not having cold feet, are you?”
“I rarely get cold. Perk of having fur, you know.”
“Lea,” Rowen sighed heavily, “Do not put your wall up now.”
“I don’t have a problem with being married to you,” she began seriously, “Really, I think that’ll be great. It’s the wedding I’m not too fond of.”
“Indeed, it is a great task… walking down the aisle and saying ‘I do.’”
“Don’t make fun of me,” Lea slapped his arm playfully as she sat on the edge of the bed, “I just don’t like the idea of a bunch of eyes watching me walk down the aisle in a dress and… shoes.”
She shuddered at the word.
“Have I mentioned how much I hate shoes?”
“I noticed that about you,” Rowen chuckled, “I imagine heels would be a nightmare for you, yes?”
Yes,” Lea grimaced.
“Perhaps we can have an outdoor wedding… surrounded by trees and on the grass… You could be barefoot.”
“That sounds… nice, actually,” Lea frowned, surprised, “But my mom is running the show here.”
“It is our wedding, not hers,” he pointed out, “She only wants for it to be perfect.”
“What about you? What do you want?”
Rowen grinned widely, wrapping his arm around Lea’s waist as he pulled her unto the bed, against his chest.
“Ah, is that all you have in mind?” Lea rolled her eyes.
“You did not take that to mean I wished to further out physical relationship, did you?” he asked, feigning innocence, “I merely wished for you to be closer to me.”
Right,” Lea replied sarcastically, “Sex is the farthest thing from your mind?”
“Now that you mention it…” he raised in eyebrow, leaning forward.
“Slow down, Romeo,” Lea pulled away, “I’m not through with you yet.”
“My beautiful Feline, I certainly hope you will never be through with me.”
“Haha. You’re very funny,” she told him tonelessly, “Look, if you’re not going to be serious, I’m going to my room.”
Lea turned around and made to get off the bed. Rowen, however, pulled her down on the bed again, pinning her against the pillows.
“Do you really believe I would allow you to leave without a kiss?”
“I had hoped,” she smiled.
Chuckling, Rowen captured her lips with his. Lea wrapped her arms around his neck, pulling him closer.
Much to Lea’s surprise, Rowen was the one to break the kiss. She frowned in confusion as she attempted to catch her breath.
“Are you certain you wish to sleep in your own room tonight?” he asked, running a finger over her cheek.
Immediately, Lea’s Beast purred, leaning into his touch.
“We will behave ourselves if I stay in here?” she asked once the purring ceased.
“Are you more worried about me or yourself?” Rowen inquired.
“That’s a good question.”
Rowen chuckled, leaning down again. A loud ring startled the pair.
Lea groaned as Rowen got off the bed, reaching for something on the nightstand.
“You finally got a phone?” she raised an eyebrow, moving to prop herself up on her elbow so she could see him.
“Sorry,” he told her, flipping the phone open, “Rowen here.”
His expression went from annoyance to concern in a blink of the eye.
“Are you certain, Alpha…? Yes, we can meet at the store in the morning… Teryn has no Mate, but he will be respectful. I have known him all my life and I will vouch for him… Yes, I will take care of it.” He snapped the phone shut and sighed heavily, shaking his head.
“What’s wrong?” Lea frowned, “Who’s Teryn?”
“A member from my old pack,” Rowen explained as he sat on the bed again, rubbing his temple, “He called your father, requesting to speak with him in person.”
“And you?”
“Yes… He says he has information that we need.”
“Information about what?”
“I do not know. Your father said he was vague about the details, but we are meeting him in the morning at the store.”
“Why does it matter if he has a Mate?” Lea tilted her head questioningly.
“Males without mates are sometimes harder to trust… especially around females such as yourself. Teryn, however, has never had a problem controlling him self around the females in our pack.”
“Is he a friend of yours?”
“Yes,” a slight smile appeared in his lips, “We grew up together.”
“I’m glad I get to meet someone from your old pack that doesn’t want to kill me,” Lea commented.
“Indeed,” Rowen agreed, his smile widening, “I have missed him since leaving the pack.”

~*~*~

“Anyone got a butter knife?”
“Lea,” Hector began sternly, “Now is not the time for jokes.”
“But the air is so thick with tension,” she shrugged, “I just wanted to lighten the mood.”
“We are all concerned about what information Teryn brings,” Rowen told her, “And… even though I know he is very careful around females, I worry that…”
“Hey,” Lea took his hand in hers, “No male could ever take me away from you, dude.”
Rowen chuckled and nodded, stroking her face gently, causing her to purr.
“I would feel better if you were not here.”
“If I don’t work, I don’t get paid,” she pointed out.
The bell jingled. All heads turned to the newcomer.
“Teryn,” Rowen greeted him, “It is good to see you again.”
“Rowen,” Teryn ducked his head respectfully, not moving from the door as he kept his eyes averted from the three.
“This is the Alpha, Hector Stine,” Rowen introduced, “And his daughter, my Mate, Lea.”
“It is a pleasure to meet you,” Teryn replied.
“You can come closer, we don’t bite,” Lea commented.
“My apologies. I did not want to seem to invade anyone’s territory,” still, he did not move.
“Come forward,” Hector ordered.
Teryn nodded and approached the counter.
“You said you had information that we needed,” Hector prompted.
“Yes, it is regarding my pack.”
“Is Trent not doing well as Alpha?” Rowen frowned.
“No, he is fine. Trent sent me to warn you, actually,” Teryn finally looked his friend in the eye, “Ailín’s followers have been restless since his death.”
Death?” Lea squeaked, “You never said that he was…”
“My apologies, love,” Rowen whispered, “I did not wish to cause you distress.”
“Ailín’s followers?” Hector questioned, “From when he was Alpha?”
“When my brother and I fought for the Alpha title, many of the pack left, but those that remained chose a side. Some supported me and some supported Ailín.”
“After my brother won the Alpha title from Rowen, a few of Ailín’s supporters became angry,” Teryn explained.
Trent is your brother?” Lea asked, “You two don’t have a rivalry like Ailín and Rowen, do you?”
“No, my brother and I are good friends,” Teryn assured her, “I was glad when he took the title of Alpha. He wanted to name me Beta, but… I did not want it to look as if he favored me because of our relation.”
“I did not realize that Ailín’s supporters would dislike Trent as Alpha,” Rowen frowned, “He was always well liked within the pack, by both sides.”
“They do not want anyone but Ailín to be Alpha and… they seek revenge for his death.”
“They’re coming here?” Lea gasped, “To kill Rowen?”
“Possibly,” he nodded gravely, “They are very upset. All I know for certain is that I overheard some of them arguing about you, Rowen. Not long after that, they disappeared without telling anyone where they were going. On my way here, I tried to track them down, but I found no traces of them.”
“Not again,” Lea groaned, plopping down on the stool.
“It will be alright, Mate,” Rowen told her firmly, “No harm will come to you.”
“Well, believe it or not, but it’s not me I’m worried about,” she crossed her arms, rolling her eyes.
“You have a fiery one,” Teryn commented, his lips twitching slightly, “Trent sent me to warn you and help in any way I can.”
“Thank you,” Rowen replied gratefully, “Alpha, I would like to—”
The bell rang, signaling the arrival of two women who looked into the store curiously.
“Welcome to Stine’s Antiques,” Lea told them, attempting to smile warmly, “Let me know if you need anything.”
“Thanks,” the older of the two returned her smile and nodded.
The pair began perusing the shelves.
“I told you we should’ve closed for the day,” Lea whispered to her father.
Hector sighed and nodded in agreement.
The younger one of the pair kept glancing at the group, her eyes lingering on Teryn. Her companion nudged her and whispered in her ear. With their enhanced hearing, Lea, Hector, Rowen, and Teryn were all able to hear her say “He’s not bad looking.”
Mom,” the younger one hissed, “Not now.”
Her mother shrugged, smiling widely.
Lea stifled a laugh with her hand and looked at Teryn, who had his eyes firmly planted on the girl admiring the antiques.
“You don’t live near here, do you?” Lea asked.
“We’re a bit closer to Denton,” the mother replied, “We don’t normally come out this far, but… Anyway, Kat wanted to check this store out.”
“I hope you find something you like,” Lea told Kat, “Did you have something in mind? I could help you find something if you want.”
Kat looked stunned that Lea was speaking to her and opened her mouth to try to say something, but no words came out.
“She wanted to see if there was anything ‘animal-ish,’” her mother explained for her.
“We have a few animal figurines, but that’s about it,” Lea replied, shrugging sadly, “But we’re always getting new things in, so if you check back sometime…”
“Great,” the woman smiled, “Maybe next week when…”
She turned to leave, but Kat grabbed her arm and whispered “Not yet… please.”
The woman raised her eyebrows and looked at Teryn, whose eyes were still on Kat.
“Talk to him, then,” she told her daughter.
Kat looked torn. She glanced between Teryn and the door.
With a heavy sigh, she nodded and turned to leave.
“That was odd,” Lea commented as the door shut behind them, “She looked like she liked you, Teryn.”
“And that would be odd…?” Teryn frowned.
“I meant that the way she was acting was odd. She looked scared to talk to anyone.”
“I am not the only one who noticed her scent, am I?” Rowen had his eyes closed as he continued to inhale though his nose.
“Smells Beastly,” Lea nodded, “But she seemed so… human. Her mom was no doubt human.”
“Teryn, are you alright?” Rowen asked, looking at his friend in concern.
Teryn swallowed hard before nodding stiffly.
“We have more pressing issues,” he told the group, “Alpha, I am here to help in any way I can.”
“Good,” he nodded, “First, I need to know more details about Ailín’s supporters… and possible avengers.”

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