HYBRID by Shannon West and T.S. McKinney
by Shannon West and T.S. McKinney
Jax’s little brother Mason is all grown up and finds himself longing for a life of adventure. He finds it in a way he never planned late one night while walking home to the lodge beneath a full moon, when he is attacked, bitten and left for dead by a huge black werewolf. As he’s dying and all hope is fading, he is discovered on the trail and believes he’s being saved. Instead, he’s bitten a second time, and this time by a vampire.
Mason finds himself in the middle of an ancient war between the vampires and the Dire werewolves, and during a raid, he’s captured by the wolf who first bit him, a strong alpha named Finn. Finn is powerfully attracted to him, but Mason is changing, becoming something not quite wolf and not quite vampire—a new creature with powers of his own.
We were a couple hundred yards away when I saw Rayce, Cade’s beta, step out on the wide front porch with a couple of gammas behind him. They were bulked up and about half-shifted so that answered the question of whether or not they’d already scented us coming. Rayce lifted his face in the air and sniffed again, long and hard. I could hear his menacing growl all the way over where I was standing. I raised my hand in the air and called to him.
“Rayce! Hold on a minute. It’s me—Mason. I’m home.”
He didn’t react any way at all. Just kept staring at me. Funny how I never realized before how truly scary my former pack was. I’d grown up with these guys, and they had all been my friends and protectors. Now I knew what their enemies must have seen when they looked at them, and it wasn’t pretty.
A few more of his guys came out on the porch behind him with some jumping down into the yard, just waiting for his signal. “Rayce!” I said again. “It’s me, Mason. At least come out and talk to me first before you get all excited.”
He snarled something at me and then said something over his shoulder to his men. Then he slowly began to saunter my way, three of his big gammas behind him. He managed to look casual, like we were no big deal and he ate guys like us for breakfast every day, but every line of his body was tense. His muscles were bulked up and ready for action.
I heard Finn make a little whining noise—he wanted to fight them so damn bad. Valerian hadn’t made a sound, but he stepped up closer to me. The menacing look on his face would have stopped me in my tracks, had I been Rayce and his men, but they just kept coming.
“No,” I said as forcefully as I could, talking to both of my men. “Don’t let them provoke you. This is my family, damn it.”
“Somebody needs to tell them that,” Finn grumbled from beside me.
“It’s Mason,” I yelled again. “Damn it, Rayce, don’t you recognize me?”
“Mason est mort,” he said, speaking Cajun, like he always did when he got excited.
“No, I’m not dead, Rayce. I’m right here. Just a little…different. Come closer and really look at me. Smell me again. I’m still here somewhere.”
He was within about twenty feet now, but he mostly had eyes for Valerian. He had recoiled when he got close enough to realize exactly what he was dealing with. “Vampire,” he’d said in his Cajun accent and made the sign of the cross on his chest, falling back a few steps.
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