Excerpt From Midnight Mate - A Wolf Shifter Paranormal Romance
Updated: Aug 13, 2020
Below is an extract from Midnight Mate...
OAK HAD RIDDEN A GOOD TEN MILES enjoying the warmth of sunshine on his back, the calls of nature in the air and a backdrop of blazing autumn leaves. He’d been chilled and at one with his animal spirit.
But all his peace evaporated, instantly, at the sight before him - the black ball of fur which lay in the clearing ahead.
He sighed and shook his head sadly.
But it was more than just the sight of death with disturbed him. As he entered the clearing something didn't feel right and the hair on the back of his neck rose in response. With a feeling of trepidation creeping up his spine, Oak stopped at the side of the forest clearing and dismounted. Ebony snorted and side stepped nervously sensing the scent of death nearby.
“Good boy... shhh... stay... shhh.” Oak stroked the horse’s nose soothing away his fears. He wound the reins round a branch of a bush, just in case Ebony got skittish and bolted.
Swishing through the leaves, he approached the wolf cub’s motionless body.
All his senses were on alert; listening for the mother wolf. She could be lingering close by.
Bending down he looked over the body of the youngster which was lying in a crumpled heap on the ground. The pup was about eight months old and female, based on the slight build. He frowned as he noticed a paw missing - torn off pretty crudely. He hated it when hunters took trophies - an ear, a paw, sometimes even a goddamn tail.
Oak's fingers burrowed deep into the pup’s silky soft coat, checking for residual warmth. It was already growing under-fur, the thick matting which wolves accumulated next to the skin. It would have protected the young wolf from the winter's cold.
If it had lived.
There wasn’t much warmth remaining. Oak estimated the she-pup had been killed at least six hours previously.
“Damn them,” he muttered to himself, angrily. It tore at his heart to witness such a mindless atrocity. Oak’s wolf growled sadly within him, mourning the loss of the innocent young female.
Hunters couldn't fail to miss the warning signs as they were posted in full sight on just about every trail in the Adirondack. Wolves and bears were protected and shooting them was prohibited - a prosecutable offense. But those responsible didn’t care shit-all about that, obviously. Murdering this eight month old pup was just a game to them.
There was no sign of the cause of death from the top side. Oak hauled the body over, to search underneath. He fully expected to find a gunshot wound somewhere.
A gush of blood spilled through his fingers, pouring from a large open cavity in the chest area, and it appeared the throat had been savaged too. He frowned in disgust. He couldn't be sure but it looked like the little wolf’s heart had been ripped out.
“What the hell?”
This was totally unacceptable. What kind of monsters would do this? The hair on the back of his neck prickled with nerves. Oak’s eyes darted around the clearing, searching for clues. He noticed a glint of metal among the leaves nearby, and another further on. Wiping the pup’s blood off his hand on a clean patch of its fur, Oak rose and strode across to inspect what the metal was. His eyes shot from one to the next. Empty beer cans, dozens of them, were scattered across a wide area. The leaves between had been trampled by a plethora of feet. A couple of piles of animal droppings littered the space. He screwed up his face in disgust. It stunk like dogs shit. Or more likely wolf shit. To the side remnants of a fire were evident, and strewn around, the remains of rabbit fur and bones.
Quite the party.
There was a strong gust of wind, and something white fluttered in the branches of the oak above his head, catching his eye. He tipped his head up to see.
He jumped, a little shocked at what he saw.
The pup's paw had been strung up on a length of rope and clutched within its claw was a piece of white paper. He reached up and tore the paper free and read the crudely scrawled words written in thick black wax crayon.
JUST A TASTE OF WHAT’S TO COME
An arctic chill ran down the length of his spine.
This wasn’t hunters and Oak knew, without a doubt, who was responsible.