Elijah and his father Joshua find a young werewolf, Jayden, when his entire pack and family were murdered. They take in and train Jayden to hunt the supernatural with them. Elijah has a secret; he's fallen in love with Jayden, but he dares not tell a soul.
Elijah's sometimes lover, Chogan, is working a case with them. Chogan's unexpected attraction to Jayden forces Elijah to confront his feelings. What does it mean for the three men's lives? And just what is lurking in the woods?
Elijah is running at full speed through the trees, careful not to run straight into one. He'd done that before on a hunt. It resulted in a broken nose, splinters in his face, and a good dose of embarrassment. Also, if he knocks himself out, he'll be werewolf food, even if he isn't on this hunt alone.
He still has to lead the werewolf into the clearing where Chogan is waiting for him, so they can kill this man-eater away from prying eyes. Chogan Sakaate, an Algonquin Native American, is one hell of a hunter, and it was Chogan who called Elijah in on this hunt. They've hunted together many times over the years, ever since they met when Elijah was nineteen and Chogan was twenty.
Chogan's not hard to spot, his mammoth six foot seven inches of height making Elijah feel small even though he's only around three inches shorter. He's also broader, whereas Cho is all lean muscle, midnight black hair down past his shoulders, and chocolate brown eyes. It's hardly surprising they've fallen into bed more than once, but now is far from the time to be thinking about that.
"Next time you can play bait," Elijah laughs as he stops beside Chogan in the clearing and pulls his gun. Well, it's one of his father's Colts, but they've always shared weapons, from the moment Elijah learned to shoot.
The gray wolf appears before Chogan can answer. Just as Elijah is taking aim, another wolf appears, chasing the first. This wolf has shaggy brown fur, and is larger than the gray wolf. It's also wearing a collar that's designed to stay in place when the wearer Shifts.
"Don't shoot," Elijah says, just as the brown wolf pounces, taking down the gray wolf.
Watching two werewolves fight is always one hell of an experience. Elijah doesn't know if it's something Chogan has seen before.
"No shooting, you're sure?" Chogan asks calmly, always so damn calm.
"The brown one's with me," Elijah explains.
"Ah, the famous Jayden I've heard so much about."
Jayden Aberhamson, as he's known now. It'd been Elijah's dad's idea to give the stray they had taken in their name in the first week they found him. That was long before he'd saved their lives, hunted at their side, truly become family.
Elijah would say Jayden was like a brother to him, but the feelings he has for Jayden are decidedly unbrotherly. It doesn't help that at the age of twenty, Jayden is six foot with wide shoulders, lean hips, piercing green eyes. He's shockingly handsome, but like Chogan, that's not the end to his appeal. Both men are amazing hunters, loyal friends, good men. Elijah had never quite planned on them meeting. He hunts with Chogan only when away from his family.
"Yep, that's Jay." Elijah nods just as Jayden gets his teeth around the gray werewolf's throat and rips it out with brutal efficiency. Jayden has proven to be a better hunter than either Elijah or his father had imagined when they asked if he wanted to learn how to hunt like them.
"That was bloody," Chogan comments as Jayden disappears back into the trees.
Elijah tries to read him; a lot of hunters hadn't agreed with what they did, taking in a wolf cub. Some had tried to kill Jayden. But he's proven that he wouldn't take an innocent life. Not all hunters believe that all supernatural creatures are evil and need to die, but Elijah isn't sure how Chogan feels about the subject. Elijah is careful not to let the conversation linger on Jayden, lest he reveal his feelings..
At least Chogan hadn't become a hunter because of something werewolf related. He'd become a hunter after his family was killed by a dark magic practitioner.
"He's probably gone to get his clothes. We should get to work dealing with the body," Elijah says, still watching Chogan carefully.
"You're looking at me strangely," Chogan says.
"I'm waiting for you to freak out over Jayden," Elijah replies.
"I'm not freaked out. Wondering why he's here, though. He's never shown up when you've gone hunting with me before." Chogan shrugs, but he's getting out the stuff needed to burn the body. In some myths, werewolves always return to human form when they die, but Elijah has never seen it happen. You kill a wolf while he's furry, he stays that way.
"It is weird for him to show up without calling first," Elijah says, sliding his phone out of his jeans as he speaks, only to find his phone has a large crack in the blank screen. "Well, that explains it."
"And he came all this way just to check on you?" Chogan asks with a raised eyebrow.
"He was heading to Bighorn with Dad to check some stuff out, so they were in Wyoming as well. He didn't come that far." Elijah shrugs.
Suddenly the thought that something might have happened to his dad hits him, and Elijah goes still, not pouring the fuel onto the wolf corpse as he should be.
"What's wrong?" Chogan asks instantly.
"What if my dad got hurt on their hunt?" Elijah knows it's a possibility every time he leaves his dad or Jayden, that it'll be the last time he sees them, but that's the life they lead. His mother's family has been hunters for generations. He's built for this. But, God, the thought of his dad being gone—it hurts more than anything he can imagine.
"Your dad's a good hunter. Jayden would have had his back, right? I just saw how well he handles himself. I'm sure it's okay. Maybe your dad got arrested?" Chogan suggests, and that’s a possibility in their line of work. Seeing as most people don't know what lurks in the dark, it's hard to explain why you're in a forest outside of hunting season with a shotgun or some other weapon, even if you have fake licenses for the weapons that are legal to carry.
Just when he's really starting to worry, he catches sight of Jayden walking back. He relaxes slightly because Jayden's not rushing. He looks at ease, perfectly calm. Jayden wouldn't be so laid back if Joshua were dead.