Shifter - Book One
Stefan Draeger has waited for four years to claim his mate, the girl who would fulfill his every dream. The moment he saw her he knew she was meant for him, only she was too young at the time to take. Now she is old enough for the pleasures he has in store for her, if only he can convince her of it first.
Sidney Martin refused to believe in the tales or madness of her father. She waited her whole life for the freedom he has denied her for so long. The freedom to experience life her way, with her rules. She never thought she would be tossed from one prison to another. Or that her second prison would unlock the doors of her passion that can only be tamed by the Shifter.
The chilly air of the early October night, along with a good chase, called to his blood. A hunt should be on. Being the one hunted wasn’t cool, yet Stefan Draeger took it as a challenge. He ran in the woods with a smile. He loved how the adrenalin felt in his system, loved the thrill of any kind of chase, even when he was the one being chased.
Many times over the past few years, he would come to this place, come to these woods to remember his father, and one day, he would come to seek his revenge for the death that should never have happened.
Stefan stopped running to remember and to catch his breath. His hearing was alert. It allowed him the ability, not only to hear all the sounds of nature but also the noise of the footfalls the men were making as they ran after him. His memory was sharp. He recalled the last time he was close to this house that had soon turned into his nightmare. The house that he thought, as a child, had swallowed up his father, never letting him go, and then caught on fire. He had seen it only for a brief moment before he was discovered, but it was enough of a sight to have his anger boiling and all the memories rushing toward him once again. Hell, he was shocked to discover the place still standing and looking as if nothing had happened all those years ago. Stefan remembered how he didn’t get his hunt that night. Instead, he lost his youth and childhood.
“I think it went over here!”
Stefan snapped out of his thoughts of the past. He felt his anger rise. The voice, the voice that had filled his nightmares as a child, the voice that had haunted him for so many years, was once again close.
Unable to control himself, his lip curled up with a snarl, and he sent out a warning growl with a deadly hiss. Only at the age of nineteen, his warnings weren’t so effective. His brother always told him that he needed to work on them, and his mother only said it would come in time. Dedrick! His brother and head of the family. If he knew what Stefan was doing tonight, he would skin Stefan’s hide for sure.
Stefan sniffed the air to see how close or how far away they might be before he once again took off at a run. His shirt was dirty, his pants ripped, and his thin jean jacket did little to keep the cold air from his body. His hair was plastered to his face with sweat as he ran.
Stefan once again stopped running, this time to examine an old tree with a hollow base; the same base that he had been shoved into so many years ago in order to hide from the men who were hunting him. He was breathing hard but found that he couldn’t tear his eyes away from the tree. In fact, he had to walk up to it, graze it with his fingertips.
“I want you to stay here. Do you understand me?”
The hands that always held him, comforted him were now shoving Stefan into a dark hole in a tree. Tears fell from the little boy’s face at the thought of his daddy leaving him.
“Don’t leave me, Daddy,” he sobbed. “Please!”
“If they find you, they will kill you.”
Stefan wrenched out of the memory when a twig snapped just behind him. Hair started to sprout over his body at the sudden tension, knowing a fight was impending. This change was a special trait for his kind. One of the things that made all of them sought after for so many years as well as why they were called a shifter. The ability to change at will, unlike their ancestors. The only thing Stefan couldn’t control and hated was when he was in his heat. A painful sexual need that gripped him on the full moon.