Because clearly I have a fetish for redneck werewolves and their uptight, hunter boyfriends.
Here is the opening of The Hunting, Vol. 2, which I hope will be ready for publication soon. Or soonish.
FROM THE EDGE of the forest, cool and dark, Jackson watched his lover shiver in the grip of a nightmare.
Shiver, and then thrash—Eric twisted free of his sleeping bag and kicked it away like a mortal enemy, one bare foot crunching hard into the side of the truck bed. He came awake with a low, violent cry, sitting straight up and reaching for the knife he always carried strapped to his left calf.
It was gone. Left behind three hundred miles ago, abandoned in a bloody field, in a town neither of them would ever return to.
If we’re lucky, Jackson thought.
Eric relaxed slightly, the tension leaving his spine. He scrubbed a hand across his face and stared out bleakly around him. His gaze swept the clearing and the woods, passing right over the shadows where Jackson lingered. Even if he’d known where to look, he was just a man, with human eyes. While Jackson was anything but.
Eric shivered again, and Jackson imagined he could see the tiny hairs on the back of his neck rise up and stand on end. The mornings here carried autumn’s bite, today worse than usual. The wind howled around the open truck bed, whipping the short, dark thatch of Eric’s hair. An overcast sky warned of a nearing storm, an hour, maybe less, before the heavens burst open.
It was their fifth day here. Five days camped out in the game lands of upstate New York, slapping at mosquitos, staring at trees, and sleeping in the back of the truck together—if together meant lying down together with as much space between them as possible. If it meant Jackson waking up each morning while the sky was still dark to find Eric’s back turned to him, shoulders hunched against him, every line of him stiff with rejection even in sleep.
Jackson didn’t wake for him to wake up, couldn’t. Each morning he slipped silently away into the woods to hunt, or sometimes simply to run, to wear the edge off his own tension and forget that Eric hadn’t touched him willingly in five days.
Not since Jackson had changed into a wolf and slaughtered Eric’s stepbrother while he watched.
If that killing had been murder, then so be it. It had also been justice. When Jackson was human, he had worried over morality, right and wrong, and crossing the line. Now he was at peace knowing he would not hesitate to defend himself against any foe. And to protect those he loved, to avenge the wrongs done them, he would kill without mercy. Again and again, he would kill, until there was no one left to harm them.
And that was why Eric wouldn’t touch him.