Forced to leave their homes because of their forbidden love, Hunter and Rolan bond more deeply when they become Fireheartmates, the rarest of mates in Wolven history. Planning to live happily ever after, they are unprepared for the evil Shades of Zardan who make Hunter their host.
Can Hunter survive being a host for the Shades—if he does, he will be the first ever to do so. Can Rolan’s love save him from certain death?
Hunter had never felt happier. Love was so consuming and wonderful, and when Rolan agreed to move in with him he thought his life was complete.
Rolan had been in his mind and heart forever, but the Wolven who had run with another Set, one that Hunter would never join, hadn’t given him a second glance until the Games.
It wasn’t that they were different species, but there was a definite hierarchy in Martak. If you were born on one side of the valley, you kept with your own kind and never mingled. Hunter thought back to the events of their first real meeting as he prepared to meet his love.
“You ready for the Games, Hunter?” his youngest brother called out to him across the long room in their wood cabin.
“I’ve been ready for ages.” Hunter came out of his bedroom, adjusted his soft leather pants and tied the waistband tightly.
“Hold on a minute, just need to find my hair thong.” Hunter scratched around on the dresser until he found the rawhide plait he used to tie back his long black hair. He was proud of his hair, always kept it shining and clean, and trimmed it back whenever it went too far past his shoulders. He did prefer to keep it long, though. He wasn’t vain about the rest of his appearance, although he knew his friends were secretly envious of his high cheek bones, square jaw and tanned skin, but he was fond of his hair. It usually hung loose around his face, but when he was Gaming or wrestling with his Set he always tied it back.
Danniel was hopping about impatiently from foot to foot by the time Hunter was ready to leave. This was to be the first Games he would be allowed to compete in—he’d always been too young. He grabbed his brother by the shirt and pulled him to the front door.
Hunter good naturedly ruffled Dan’s hair and chuckled. “You don’t have to rush. Nothing starts until noon, and the sun isn’t anywhere high enough yet. We’ve got plenty of time.”
“That’s what you think. We have to go and put our names down for the Games and I can’t make up my mind if I’m going to go for wrestling and bows and jumping or climbing or throwing or ….” Danniel trailed off. “I really don’t know what I’m good at. I thought I knew, but when I was practicing yesterday there was this girl…and she was better than most of us at everything. It was really embarrassing. I’m glad girls don’t get to compete with us men, but it still made me feel bad.”
“Don’t worry little bro’, you’ll do fine. And just put your name down for the things you like to do, and if you can’t get round to all of them, it doesn’t matter. The prizes go to individual performance and accumulated points at the end of the day, and no one can do everything. There’s just not enough time.”
“So what are you going to enter, Hunt?”
Hunter had already decided to enter as much as he could—he was exceptionally athletic and strong, and modestly thought he’d do reasonably well in the contests he could fit in. His best game was shifting in mid-air from Wolven to human shape and back again. He was a fast shifter and never lost balance on the run or leap.