First, some info: The February newsletter will go out Tuesday morning (U.S. time), and will include a Guild Hunter short story. I’ll post up a note once it’s been sent, so please check here first if you haven’t received your copy.
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I did a TV interview last week (more details to come once the piece has been scheduled), and was asked if I could do some writing for a few shots. I started doodling randomly – and this fun little story is what emerged.
Note for aspiring writers: I did do some editing on this vignette to smooth out the original rough draft, fix typos etc. Editing is crucial, no matter how short or long the piece.
I hope you enjoy this foray into the Psy-Changeling world!
Hawke walked down the corridor, well aware he was being followed by stealthy little wolf paws—or paws that were trying to be stealthy in any case. Inside him, the wild predator who was his other half opened its mouth in a wolfish grin.
Halting at the open doorway to Riley’s office, he poked his head inside. “Did you get the report?”
A nod from his senior lieutenant. “You want to talk about it now?”
“No. Let’s do it tonight—you still up for that?”
“Absolutely.” Riley saluted him with his coffee mug. “Mercy is calling it Testosterone Night by the way.”
“She’s just jealous because girls aren’t invited.” Grinning, he continued down the corridor, accompanied by the clicking of tiny claws on the stone of the den floor. They hesitated when he turned toward his own office and he could almost feel the keen disappointment that colored the air.
Popping in quickly, he grabbed his sleek black sat phone and walked out again, careful to keep his back to the tracker on his trail.The little paws scampered to keep up with him, stopping only when he ran into Riaz.
The dark-haired lieutenant raised an eyebrow. “You realize you have a tail?”
“He’s not bad. Just needs a bit more seasoning.”
Riaz’s eyes, a dark gold, filled with affectionate laughter. “Along with a few feet of growth.”
Lips tugging up at the corners, Hawke said, “Pretend you don’t see him.”
As they talked Pack business, Hawke was very aware of sharp little wolf ears listening in. Once he and Riaz were done, he carried on down the corridor and to one of the exits into the White Zone, the safe play area directly outside the den. Heading to the trees, he stashed his phone in his jeans, stripped, and shifted into his wolf form.
The paws behind him ran to follow as he shook his body to settle his new skin, the silver-gold of his fur rippling, then loped deeper into the forest. Aware the little tracker wouldn’t be able to keep up with even a fraction of his adult speed, he kept his pace at one the other wolf could maintain.
Stopping at the edge of the waterfall nearest the den, he looked down at the froth of water, and after a moment, the owner of the stealthy paws padded up to stand beside him. The pup hadn’t yet gained his adult color, was still a soft brown as he leaned his body against Hawke’s, his small heart beating faster than an adult’s.
Hawke growled a greeting before returning his gaze to the water.
When he turned away from the crashing fall after several minutes, the pup fell in with him as they ran the short distance back to the den. Shifting to human form, Hawke pulled on his jeans and watched the pup change in a show of light and color. A little boy stood in front of him seconds later.
“Did you see me?” Ben asked, pure delight in eyes that were still wolf-amber. “I stalkeded you!”
“You did very well.” Hawke crouched down in front of the boy. “You’re an excellent tracker.” He wasn’t lying—for his age, Ben was very, very good. In point of fact, he was better than many older children. “Have you been practicing?”
“Yes! I stalkeded Mama and Papa and even Uncle Judd!”
Hawke ruffled the boy’s hair. “That’s what I used to do when I was younger. I’d follow my father all around the den.” His father had allowed him to believe he was getting away with it, as Hawke had just done with Ben—he wouldn’t be much of an alpha if he didn’t help raise the boy’s confidence in his own skills. “But you know you can’t try to stalk people out of the safe areas?”
Ben nodded again. “And when they’re kissing. That’s boring.”
Hawke bit back a laugh. “Yeah, kissing is pretty boring,” he agreed solemnly. “Go on back inside now. I have to head out of the White Zone.”
“Okay. ’Bye!” Waving vigorously, Ben ran toward the doorway to the den, shifting halfway through into his pup form. Hawke’s smile grew deeper. No doubt, someone else would soon find themselves “stalkeded”.
Copyright © 2013 by Nalini Singh