As a Wolven of the Armak, Karter is forbidden to love a human. So what happens when he meets his soul mate, and they are ripped apart because they are so different? Karter tries to forget Mark, but his relationship with the evil Bane nearly destroys him, and when he and Mark meet up again, things don’t exactly go according to plan. Will Karter ever become Mark’s lover in every way, or are they destined to lose each other again?
On a scale of one to ten, having a needle thrust through his nose was probably an eight on the pain ladder. Karter fingered the new ring and winced. The things he would do to gain the attention of his future lover, who adored piercings, said they turned him on, but strangely didn’t have any himself.
There was always a group of Others hanging around the mysterious Wolven, making him laugh, stroking his ego, and playing the role of faithful servants. But Karter was sure Bane was just waiting for the right guy to come into his life, and he wanted desperately for it to be him.
It wasn’t that Karter lacked confidence. He was popular and sociable in his Set, often seen as its leader. But Bane had become his ultimate goal ever since he first saw him strip down to his white designer body-hip briefs that day at the pool.
Karter had come down for his early morning swim, a ritual he had begun as a teenager to rid himself of the odors of a night running with his Set. As younglings, they would get together after school, most nights, to run and hunt. It was a way of bonding with the Set and gave the young Wolven a chance to let off steam and get used to their transformed bodies.
Wolfshifters in the Armak didn’t turn until they reached puberty. It was then, by a lot of trial and error, they learned how to shift smoothly back and forth from human to their Wolven shape and how to control their animal bodies and appetites. Parents could only do so much. Shifting had to be experienced, not told.
Karter remembered his first night on the run, howling at the full moon that had helped him make his first change. The alien feel of the damp leaves underfoot and the tangled mass of scents on the wind intoxicated him. It took practice to separate the enticing strands of aromas, pick one, and chase it to its source.
His first kill had been savage and frightened him with its ferocity. It was at that moment he first feared being trapped forever in his Wolven pelt, never again to enjoy human pleasures and pleasuring. It became a recurring nightmare. But, of course, as soon as his blood hunger had been sated and he allowed his breath to slow, Karter focused on his human form and became himself again—strong, well-muscled, and gorgeous. Not that he would have described himself that way. He was just Karter, a young man with an eye for fashion and a flair for undergarment design.
It was his passion for great underwear that had first drawn his gaze to Bane at the pool, as well as something half-remembered. Bane looked a lot like someone Karter had spent his early adulthood trying to forget.
It was his first run. He was both excited and frightened at the same time. He’d been warned about what to expect, but was still shocked when the change came suddenly and painfully as soon as the full moon rose in the sky.
“Remember, Karter,” his father had warned. “Remember yourself. Don’t let being Wolven consume you, or you will lose your ability to shift back to human form. You don’t want to be trapped in the half-life of a wolf. Remember who you are.” The message had been reinforced many times when he was a youngling. He held on to those thoughts of himself as he changed. He’d never felt anything like it. His limbs twisted and his body shortened. He even fancied he could feel his pelt grow. And then there were his teeth. He wished he could lift up a hand to feel them, but his fingers had morphed into paws. His sense of smell, always keen, was now a hundredfold to what it was before, and he could focus on the tiniest trace of the many aromas around him.
The first snapping pain was soon over, and he was ready to run. The night was exhilarating. When he finally loped back to the old oak near his home, exhausted and spent, it was dawn, and the setting of the moon helped him change back. As he stood up, naked and a little sore, Karter was startled to see a dark-haired teenager, much his own age, staring at him with wide-open blue eyes.
The stranger had looked shocked and stood still as a statue at first. Karter saw him watching warily as he dressed. Karter looked up as he finished lacing his leather pants, locked into the human teen’s eyes, and felt a tingle of connection.