Seaside Shifters, Bk 1
Chief of Police John Dakota is in a world of trouble. His peaceful town of Seaside, Oregon, has been rocked by a wave of unsolved murders. The bloody deaths are eerily reminiscent of ones that occurred in Seaside years ago. Back then John worked hard to make sure the truth about the killer was never revealed. Now he’s afraid the past is coming back to haunt him. Trevor English, the nosy reporter who occasionally shares John’s bed, is demanding information about the crimes. He also wants more of John’s affections. But John can’t afford to give in to either demand without risking the revelation of Seaside’s biggest secret: the town is a haven for shifters, and John is one of them. To solve the crime—and prevent more victims—John must delve into the past. Many members of Seaside’s shifter community are involved, but it’s becoming harder and harder to tell which residents can be trusted. Even John’s family isn’t above suspicion. The body count is rising, and it looks like John is the killer’s next target.
Thank you for visiting me on my Wild Retaliation blog tour. Below is an exclusive excerpt. At this point in the story several murders have already taken place and Sheriff John Dakota, a bear shifter, is expecting more because the deaths are matching ones that took place years before. In this scene he and his friend Jonas Murphy, a wolf shifter, transform and head into the woods to find a man and his twin sons to warn them of possible danger.
Jonas was already at Compton’s field when I arrived. It was a large plot of land near the woods that shifters used to change before letting their animal free. Basically, it was our safe haven.
I strode out into the pasture, and he nodded at me before stripping so he could shift. I watched his transformation because I thought it was a beautiful sight. The way the muscles stretched and changed amazed me every time.
As a wolf, Jonas’s transformation took slightly less time than mine. I didn’t know why it took longer to become a bear, just one of the mysteries of Mother Earth. I’d spoken to regular people who know about the paranormal world, and they always asked what it felt like to transform. And I always said the same thing—it’s hard to explain. There is pain, but it’s not intense and doesn’t last long. And the feeling of being free once my animal is out is amazing. It’s a second part of me, at least half, which I have to force down most of the time. Finally allowing him out is a sensation I can’t begin to describe.
One trouble with shifting is that once you’re an animal, you can’t speak to the person you’re with. Jonas and I were left with strictly nonverbal communication, mainly body movements. Jonas sniffed the air, and I did the same, though I doubted we’d catch the Aguirres’ scent so near to town. They were no doubt much farther away. We’d have to check the usual trails and hope to catch their odors.
Jonas lifted his snout, then gestured toward the woods and took off. I followed him, and he soon disappeared from sight. I could move quickly as a bear, but not as fast as Jonas, especially when he was running at full speed. He’d go out scouting and circle back to check on me.
Being a bear opened my mind, because I no longer had the concerns of the human world. As an animal, it was about the scents and sounds around me. It was simple desires like hunting and climbing and… fucking. Yeah, my bear was a horn dog. I guess because sex was a basic animalistic desire. I’d never had sex while shifted, though I knew some people who did—sex with other shifters while transformed, not sex with wild animals.
Trevor came to mind, most likely because I was focused on sex. Damn, the previous night together had been so hot. More passionate than I’d ever been with another guy. We had a strong connection, and I enjoyed the bond. I just wished he’d stop pushing for more than sex.
My bear didn’t only want sex, though. It also wanted love—a mate. I tried to ignore that desire, but it was strong, extremely strong. I wondered if every shifter felt the same pull to discover their mate. I couldn’t believe what an intense desire it was. One problem was that I had no idea how I’d know when I met him.
Some friends had known their mate the minute they met them. One even claimed he knew his wife was the one for him strictly based on her scent. Was that really possible? Others said it took time for them to realize who they were supposed to be with. My mate wasn’t necessarily a shifter, though that would make it easier. At least I wouldn’t have to explain what I was and hope he didn’t freak out.
Jonas returned, and I focused on the task at hand. He shook his head, telling me he hadn’t found anything yet. I lifted a large paw and gestured toward a lesser-used trail. He nodded, and off we went.
It took several hours and copious amounts of backtracking, but we did finally locate the Aguirre men in a small clearing. The boys were sitting around a campfire laughing and joking while Freddie scaled a fish. Most people would freak out if a wolf and a bear strolled into their camp, but the Aguirres were mountain lion shifters, so they recognized us as some of their own.
Jonas transformed first, and I quickly followed. Calvin and Cameron had blankets waiting for us so we didn’t have to speak to them in the buff.
“What’s going on, Chief Dakota?” Freddie asked.
I was torn over how much and what to share. Freddie didn’t know the truth about the previous killings, so I couldn’t be completely honest. I decided something between the truth and a lie was the best option.
“Do you remember the feral bear nine years back?” I questioned.
“There have been two recent deaths that match the first two from back then.”
He scrunched his eyes. “Animal attacks?”
“Truthfully, Freddie, I’m not sure if it’s animal or not. There are just too many things in common.”
“So what are you thinking?” one of the boys asked. I wasn’t sure which one because I didn’t know them well enough to tell the difference.
“It could be some sort of copycat,” Jonas answered. “A sick bastard who gets off on this type of thing.”
“What does this have to do with us?” the other twin questioned.
“Well,” I answered, “the third and fourth victims of the bear assaults were—”
“Twin boys,” Freddie interjected. “Are my sons in danger?”
“I don’t know for sure,” I replied. “But according to what I know, there are no other sets of twins in Seaside.”
“Shit!” Freddie paced a few steps, rubbing his face. The boys went to their father and put their arms around him.
“Don’t worry, Dad. We’re safe. No one’s coming after us.”
Freddie eyed me. “What do you think we should do?”
I answered, “The farther away from town you are, the better. How long were you planning on staying out here?”
“A couple days at least, but we can extend it.”
“For how long?” I asked.
Freddie shrugged. “I work from home, and I can do that just about anywhere.”
“Then why don’t you three get out of Seaside for a prolonged vacation? Get to Highway 101 and take it as far as you can. Tell your girlfriend where you are but no one else. Have her get in contact with me and only me.”
“You don’t think this guy will come after us, do you?” one of the twins asked.
“I doubt it,” I replied without going into detail. “I think you guys skedaddling will do the trick.”
“Then that’s what we’ll do.” Freddie faced his kids. “Let’s pack up and get out of here.”
“I’ll stay with you until you get out of the woods,” Jonas said. “That way you all have an extra set of eyes.”
I thanked Jonas for the offer, became a bear, and hightailed it back to Compton’s. On the way, nature summoned me, and I wanted nothing more than to follow my animal’s desires. If there weren’t so many things to take care of back in town, I’d locate a stream to play in and catch fish. It had been too long since I allowed that to happen. When all this was over, I’d have to take a weekend off and let my bear out to play.
Romance on the Edge
Ethan Stone doesn’t write your typical boy meets boy stories. With a combination of love and suspense he makes his characters work hard for their
HEAs. If they can survive what he puts them through, then they can survive anything. He enjoys Romance with an Edge.
Ethan has been reading mysteries and thrillers since he was young. He’s had a thing for guys in uniform for just as long. That may have influenced the stories he writes.
He’s a native Oregonian with two kids. One of whom has made him a grandfather three times over; even though he is way too young.
Readers can find Ethan online.
Twitter: @ethanjstone Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/ethanjstone/
His books: http://www.ethanjstone.com/my-books