I’m so excited to celebrate my book birthday with all of you! This YA Dark Fantasy novella is now available in ebook, paperback, and audiobook. You can find it at:
Barnes & Noble
As part of the Launch Party over on Facebook today, you can read the first section of The She-Wolf of Kanta below. Be sure to drop by, we’ll be doing giveaways and talking about werewolves all day – including a beautiful She-Wolf bracelet, a wolf paw print pin, and a signed copy.
If you enjoyed reading this, please let me know and share with your friends! It’s the release day and I hope to get this novella out to as many werewolf-loving YA readers as possible.
First Section from
The She-Wolf of Kanta
The crickets were deafening as moonlight streamed down through the branches. Mercy’s pulse rang in her ears and her entire body was tense. Her left calf kept cramping up, but she ignored it. A moment’s delay when the beast showed its face could mean a gory death. She couldn’t fail tonight, not after months of practice. Behind her she knew Father was watching, and she wondered if he felt as nervous. The forest was deceptively peaceful, but Father said they were close, and that if she remembered her training, she could hear them, too.
She got into position in the middle of the clearing with her foot poised above the pedal switch. She tried to calm her mind and focus. The clamor of crickets surrounded them, but that was merely wrapping the noises beneath. She tried to listen closer. She heard an owl in a tree, her father’s raspy breaths, and the heavy, padding paws of the beast stalking her. Her mouth was dry and her body began to tremble. Father had said she would panic, that it was a normal reaction to facing one in the wild for the first time. That was the deciding moment, he had said. She needed to keep control of herself, but that was so much easier when she knew they weren’t near, when she knew it was safe.
Then she saw it. Through a thick patch of bushes, a pair of yellow eyes caught the moonlight and locked on to hers. Mercy froze. It was said when you looked into a werewolf’s eyes, you felt how easy it would be to become its prey. Facing one required both a strong mind and a strong body. It was as much a mind game as a physical one, and never had Mercy felt so small and insignificant. She had a very sensible and primal urge to run away. There was no way to prepare for that moment, Father had told her. That was the gamble of going trapping to begin with, whether or not you would be able to contain the urge to flee. She felt her legs shake but forced herself to stay rooted to the spot. If she ran, both she and her father could be torn apart.
When the werewolf lunged forward, the only thing Mercy could think of was how big it was. The careful planning she and Father had done over the past months was suddenly forgotten, and her mind went blank. When the creature leapt into the air, its arms out to its sides and its black claws extended, she went rigid with terror. All she could do was stare and gape and be fascinated by the size of it. She forgot the warnings, she forgot everything, until her father cried out behind her.
He cocked the gun and pulled her free from her trance. If he shot it, the beast was useless, and their work wasted. She slammed her heel down on the switch and jumped backward just as the beast landed. Four long black claws sliced at her back as she turned on her heel. She winced but didn’t slow down. Five seconds, Father had said. That was all the time she had before she was caged in with the beast. She locked her eyes on the branch she had put down as a marker and forced her legs to move. It was actually easier when she didn’t have to look the beast in the eye. Mercy leapt at the last moment, clearing the branch. Behind her she heard the cage hit the ground and the metal pin lock into place.
The werewolf was snarling, biting at its cage, its teeth making tiny indentions in the metal. The cage always made them hunch down so they looked smaller.
She turned to her father. “I’m glad you didn’t shoot.”
He was standing with his rifle held out, still aiming at the frantic, caged werewolf. “You were slow.”
She took a deep breath to get her body to stop shaking. “I panicked.”
He nodded and finally relaxed his arms and lowered the gun. “I warned you about that.” He went to the front of his truck and pulled out a long tube and a metal dart. Mercy had crafted many of them over the years, from whatever metal scraps they could find. The dart’s long metal tip was about three inches long, made to penetrate any part of the beast’s body. He loaded the dart and walked up to the cage. The werewolf within snarled and backed away, almost as if it knew what was coming. Father held up the tube, and with a single puff of air struck the beast in the leg. It let out a long, lonely howl and slumped to the floor. Its eyes drooped and a bit of saliva dripped down between a pair of sharp canines.
“It works fast, doesn’t it?” she whispered.
“You move that slow again, you’ll get worse than a few cuts on your back. You’ll be dead, or worse, one of them.” His blue eyes were hard as he glared at her. “I’d hate to have to hunt you down, Mercy.”
She didn’t look away or flinch under his gaze. “I know. It won’t happen again.”
He walked around the cage until he was near the beast’s rear then cursed under his breath.
“What is it?”
“It’s a female. I thought for sure you would have attracted a male, but I guess you’re too young for that still.”
Mercy felt a pang of frustration at her father’s words. She wasn’t technically a woman yet, and that would hamper her usefulness as bait. Male werewolves were drawn to women, not little girls. She didn’t understand why a female werewolf would come for her, though she supposed that considering how the males were preferred, there were probably more females left in the forest. Females were worth far less though.
Father slammed the side of the cage and crouched down to eye the beast with a curl of his lip. “If I had known it was female, I wouldn’t have wasted a dart on it. I should have checked first.” The werewolf rolled its eyes lazily to look in his direction.
Mercy put a hand to her father’s shoulder. “It’s alright. Maybe we can still bring her in. Surely somebody can use her.”
He sighed and got to his feet. “I doubt it, but I guess since I’ve already wasted the money, it couldn’t hurt to try.” He motioned to the leather straps hooked on to the tail end of the truck, and the ramp they would use to pull the beast into the truck bed. “Strap her up. We’ll drag her worthless ass in.”
Mercy nodded and set to work.