Welcome Amanda to Rabid Reads!
What is it like to be a werewolf? This is, of course, one of the first questions I asked myself when I sat down to write Hunting Human. What would it be like? I could have done a lot of research, looked into the many, many mythologies that were out there and deduced, on a basic level, what it might be like. But that just didn’t work for me. It wasn’t enough. One of the things I set out to do when I wrote Hunting Human was to really explore what it would mean to be a werewolf. How would it impact your life? What would change? What would be the good, the bad, and the ugly so to speak. What I found out through Beth and Braden was that it is all a matter of perspective.
For Beth, being a werewolf is hell on earth. While vacationing in Eastern Europe with her best friend she is kidnapped and savaged by werewolves. She watches her best friend die. Beth barely escapes that night only to return home to find that no one, not even her family, believes her story. With time, coaxing and an application of logic those around her convince Beth that werewolves don’t exist. After all, she was bitten and nothing happened. And just as Beth is ready to accept that she’s blurring two horrific yet distinct events in her head, it happens. She shifts for the first time. Alone and scared Beth runs and for the next two years she moves around the country, never staying too long in one place, never making friends. Never healing. She’s alone. Who can she turn to for help? Who would believe her? She tries the internet but is frustrated by all of the information she is inundated with. She suffers through painful shift after painful shift. It takes every ounce of strength and courage she possesses to survive from month to month. And to top it all off? There’s a part of herself that Beth hates and fears. A part she doesn’t understand and can’t control. A part she holds responsible for the death of her best friend. For Beth, being a werewolf means isolation, fear and self-loathing.
For Braden, being a werewolf is as natural to him as breathing. Braden has a Prime lineage; his ancestors can trace their bloodline back to the first werewolf. And though he must still be bitten to turn he never wondered, in all his years of growing up, whether he would opt out and remain human. He’s grown up around werewolves, his father is one, his uncle was one. For Braden, becoming a werewolf just sort of falls into the list of things you do as you grow up. Go to school? Check. Get a job? Check. Get a driver’s license? Check. Become a werewolf? Check. He’s never wondered about it, never doubted it and when he finally takes the bite he’s got an entire support system in place to help him. His initial shifts, while uncomfortable, are not painful. And he’s got family, a pack, to keep him company, to share the experience with. His younger brothers Caleb and Chase and his little sister Lucy have all bought into the family legacy. It binds them together, keeps their family close. For Braden, being a werewolf means community, family, love and trust.
In hindsight, it’s no wonder that Beth and Braden have such a difficult road to walk together. They are both werewolves but Beth views it as an affliction while Braden views it as an extra muscle. They don’t understand each other and how could they? Their experiences are worlds apart. Their perspectives are polar opposites. But I think that’s what makes them good for each other, what makes them work. Yes, they have to fight and struggle and make an effort to move past misunderstandings, distrust and past traumas, but I think their relationship is richer for it.
She’d been fascinated at dinner, watching the other family members exhibit some of the same mannerisms. The way Lucy’s foot constantly bounced, the way Chase’s fingers flexed continuously around his silverware. Even Braden had teemed with energy. Braden’s father had been more difficult to read. He always exhibited such a calm, quiet air about him. But Beth saw it, even in him, in the way he lingered against his wife when he kissed her cheek, breathing in the air around her.
Anna was the only one that hadn’t seemed effected by it. Throughout dinner Beth had watched her, fascinated, as she carried on, business as usual. Beth hadn’t been aware of how open her study was until Anna leaned toward her and casually whispered, “I’m not like them. I never chose to be turned.” She’d leaned back into her seat and turned to her husband who idly stroked her arm.
“Hey,” Lucy said, breaking through her thoughts. She stood in the doorway wearing a pair of shorts and a T-shirt, looking for all the world as though she intended to relax around the house. “Are you coming with us?”
“Where?” Beth pulled off her socks and stuffed them in her shoes.
“When we’re all at home, we usually run around the woods surrounding the house. You know, goof around.” She smiled invitingly. “Wanna come?”
“I think I’d better stay here.”
“Ah, come on! I’m always outnumbered by the guys,” Lucy pleaded. “It’d be nice to have a girl to back me up for a change.”
“I’ll pass.” Lucy looked so disappointed that Beth forced a lie past her lips. “But maybe next time.”
“Are you sure?” Lucy hovered uncertainly in the doorway, obviously warring with whether or not to push the issue.
“Leave her alone, Luce.” Braden gave her a gentle shove down the hallway. “Chase is waiting for you downstairs and Caleb pulled in ten minutes ago.”
“Okay. See you in the morning, Beth.” She disappeared down the hall, yelling for Chase.
“My other brother. He came in from Portland.” He leaned casually against the doorjamb, studying her. “You didn’t eat much at dinner.”
“I wasn’t very hungry.” She turned away from his scrutiny and moved toward the window. Lucy and Chase goofed around on the lawn. Another man—Caleb, she assumed—scooped Lucy up over his shoulder and spun around. Lucy shrieked with laughter. The clear sky continued to fade from brilliant blue into a reddish-purple glow. They didn’t seem to notice. Or care.
“You shouldn’t skip meals before the change. It’s not good for you.”
“You should go. Your family is waiting for you.” Beth gestured toward the window, silently willing Braden to leave.
“I thought maybe I’d stay with you.”
“I don’t want you here.” She strode across the room, her mind set. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Braden caught the door she tried to slam in his face.
“It’s easier with someone else. Please, Beth.”
“No.” A spasm ran through her, her fingers clenching involuntarily around the door. “Go away.” A shudder racked her frame, the muscles in her shoulders and along her spine rippling. He had to leave. Now.
“It’s already starting?” He moved as if to step into the room, brown eyes warm and concerned.
Beth put her hand in the center of his chest and pushed. “Just go.” Desperation tinged her voice. He took a small step back, enough for her to slam the door and twist the lock. The moment she did another spasm ripped through her, tormenting her sore muscles and igniting the places the Taser had touched her. She barely managed to muffle the cry that bubbled up her throat.
Moving as quickly as she dared, she stripped out of her jeans and T-shirt. She was down to underwear when the first true contraction hit her. She stifled a scream, as the pain drove her to hands and knees.
The doorknob rattled and Braden’s voice pleaded through the door. “Beth, please. Don’t do this.”
Why isn’t he shifting?
Beth gasped for breath and struggled out of her bra. Her stomach turned. Saliva that tasted of the roast chicken dinner flooded her mouth. She distantly registered the first howl from the front yard. She answered it with a scream of pain that drowned out everything else.
About the Author:
Amanda was born and raised in Texas – and due to an unfortunate three year stint in Michigan – doesn’t plan to ever live anywhere where flip-flops and sweatshirts don’t constitute winter attire. Often audacious and adventurous, she tends to find herself in a slew of dangerous (and hilarious!) predicaments (law school and fighting raccoons in dumpsters) and thankfully has many friends ready to lend aid (while they laugh.)
When not lawyering, writing, or thinking about going to the gym Amanda is often caught sampling local cupcake offerings and planning to someday co-open an evil bakery and sell dastardly desserts. She currently lives in Dallas, Texas with one regular-sized cat and one jumbo-sized cat, and can be seen writing in public places frequented by hot guys (strictly for research purposes, of course!) with her friends and fellow writers Cupcake-Killer and Alter-Ego (names omitted to protect the not-so-innocent).
Kobo / Carina Press / Amazon
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About the Blogger
I review Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance books with a focus all things werewolf. Based out of Ottawa, Canada