White Hat Wolf
“This free story is dedicated to all the fans of the Blue-Collar Werewolves series. “
Length: Short Story
Word Count: 3,613
Genre: Paranormal/Werewolf Romance
Available formats: PDF, RTF
© Cover Art by Alex DeShanks
New Concepts Publishing
Lake Park, GA 31636
This is a work of fiction. All characters, events, and places are of the author's imagination and not to be confused with fact. Any resemblance to living persons or events is merely coincidence.
Bradley Starr jerked awake. Nausea and bile burned in his stomach at odds with the cold layer of sweat sticking to his skin. Old images of pain and horror flickered behind his eyelids, waiting for him to sleep again. Since he was alone, he gave in to the shudder before rubbing his whiskered face with the palms of both hands. Just a dream, he reminded himself. Dreams had no power over you.
He was a grown man, not a helpless child. In charge of his own destiny. With a snort, Bradley rolled out of bed. He was glad for cool caress of the ceiling fan on his naked skin. Even the heavy gold chain around his neck seemed to soak in the cooler air.
Pacing around his room, he glared at the sturdy wood bed he‟d bought from his brother a year ago. It had been a point of connection, however fragile the thread between them might be. Then again, then reminder that his twin‟s hands had put that particular piece of furniture together didn‟t help him get over the dream. Already, the familiar guilt weighed down on him. Bradley sighed. He‟d never get back to sleep now. Reliving the god-forsaken nightmare that was his childhood, his legacy, held no appeal at two in the morning. Neither did remembering why he was currently alone in his bed.
Okay, that particular thought wasn‟t so bad. With Nicole the Demon Bitch gone, not only did he have the bed all to himself, but he could actually sleep in it. Fingering the gold chain, Bradley hoped his devil-spawned wife all the worst of luck in the darkest reaches of hell. A werewolf and a succubus, now that was a terrifying match. Or had been. Until he‟d made his deal with a different kind of devil.
Dragging on jeans and a t-shirt, Bradley stalked through the suburban fantasy house that Nicole had picked out. He longed to get out. To run. To go home to his pack. Instead, he bundled into his four-by-four truck and drove around his beloved hometown of Palestine, Texas. Bradley loved how the town nestled into the surrounding woodlands. Civilization and the raw, wild of nature, side by side. Yeah, there was some awful good hunting to be had out there.
Bradley‟s brain chose that moment to regurgitate. The foul memory bubbled to the surface and broke free. Running. Chasing prey through the woods. Only this was before he and his pack brothers had been saved from the old alpha, Garrick Moser. The prey stumbled, falling from two legs to hands and feet. The prey, a young woman, cried and scrambled, trying to regain her feet to run. Bradley held back. He knew what would happen next. And he wanted no part of it. The part of him that remembered his humanity turned away in disgust as the older ones circled, toying with her. Their attention focused on their prey, no one noticed as Bradley slunk away with his tail between his legs.
There was nothing he could do for the girl, but maybe, he could find where Garrick had hidden his brother this time. Bradley was desperate with worry for his twin’s disappearance. The alpha never fed Brandon properly after the things he did. Terrible things that Bradley couldn’t stop. Fighting back, trying to be the hero, always made it worse for his brother. A shadow detached from the trees, blocking his flight back to the pack’s lair on the outskirts of town. The alpha wolf was more than twice his size. Crouching, lowering his head in submission as a lesser wolf, Bradley nearly pissed on himself in terror. The alpha didn’t bother baring his teeth. He’d already had proved his dominance ages ago. Garrick Moser Changed, his body drawing upward into giant tree of a man. The grizzled gray and tan fur flowed back like the parting of the Red Sea. Bradley had seen that once in a movie and wished they had their own Moses to set him and his lesser packbrothers free from Garrick and his wardens. He figured they’d all die at the alpha’s whim, if not sooner, then a more grisly later.
Garrick crossed his arms over the hairy chest that was bigger than the barrels that the coyotes used to smuggle stuff that they didn’t want the human cops finding. He looked down at Bradley. Still, in wolf form, he cringed. Groveling worked best to appease the alpha and Bradley would do pretty much anything to keep from taking his twin brother’s place as pack omega. Real love meant that you’d do anything to protect the ones you cared about. It shamed him, but he couldn’t help it. Late at night the fear that he was like Garrick often held him in its claws, making him sick to his stomach.
The Change pulsed through him, forced into action by the alpha’s power over his pack. They were bound to him and Bradley didn’t have enough power to resist. His own fur pulled back into his skin as he was pulled upright onto his two overlarge feet. With more food available, he’d grown more than his brother. So, they were identical twins that would never be really identical anymore. Not while starvation and the other things continued. Even now Bradley could picture the vacant, lights-are-on-but-nobody’s-home, look that was always in Brandon’s eyes.
Bradley sucked in a shakey breath, stilling the urge to run and hide. That would be bad, then he‟d become the prey. Every waking moment, he spent trying to stay out of the way of the werewolves. Just like in the movies, Garrick’s buddies were the real monsters. So, Bradley reasoned that he couldn‟t take Brandon’s place as omega. Without him, who would look after the little ones? He couldn’t save his brother from Garrick, but he could keep the younger ones off the pervert’s radar.
“Where do you think you’re going, boy?” Garrick rumbled. Bradley shrugged one skinny shoulder. The alpha already knew he didn’t want to participate in their hunting games. One large hand struck the side of his head with the speed of a rattlesnake. Bradley jerked to the side with the force of the blow. His teeth rattled and his head exploded behind his eyes. Keeping his eyes low, he stayed his ground. Not prey. Not prey, he whispered the words like a mantra in his ringing head. Garrick chuckled, sending an involuntary shiver down Bradley’s back. It was never a good thing when the alpha was amused. People got hurt in degrading ways. “I just realized that you’re still a virgin, boy.”