As a young gay man—and a werepanther—all Jin Rayne yearns for is a normal life. Having fled his past, he wants nothing more than to start over, but Jin’s old life doesn’t want to let him go. When his travels bring him to a new city, he crosses paths with the leader of the local were-tribe. Logan Church is a shock and an enigma, and Jin fears that Logan is both the mate he fears and the love of his life. Jin doesn't want to go back to the old ways, and mating would irrevocably tie him to them.
But Jin is the mate Logan needs at his side to help him lead his tribe, and he won't give Jin up so easily. It will take time and trust for Jin to discover the joy in belonging to Logan and how to love without restraint.
I usually didn’t notice girls, so it was not surprising that Crane saw her first. Once he pointed her out, and I noticed the men trailing behind her, I agreed that it was much too late for her to be out alone. The decision quickly made, we followed the woman and the four men down the empty, windswept street. Her furtive glances over her shoulder let us know she was aware that she had company behind her, stalking her. When she sped up, so did they, and from where we were, slipping in and out of the shadows, it all played out over the course of one block, from walk to jog to run. And maybe everything was fine. Maybe she was a master at TaeKwon-Do, or maybe she knew the guys walking behind her and it was a game, some weird kinky sex thing that they had going on that my best friend and I were not privy to. The fact remained that she was out, seemingly alone, at two in the morning in a very bad part of town.
“Can I just go by myself?” I asked even though I already knew the answer. “It would be so much faster.”
Crane shook his head before he darted away from me. Having known the man since we were kids, I knew better than to try and apply logic to the situation. With his whole affinity for damsels in distress, there was no chance that he would let me go alone. All I could do was stay beside him, matching his stride as we ran.
“I wonder what she’s doing out here,” Crane mused, quickening his pace.
She was clearly demented. Two in the morning in a bad part of town all alone, the girl obviously had a death wish that I hoped she didn’t drag Crane and me into. But whatever happened, the time to turn back had passed the minute we saw she was in danger.
Taking a quick detour into an alley, we quickly stripped out of our clothes, dropping jackets, sweaters, jeans, shoes, and socks into a pile in a doorway. We both had to shed all our clothes so we could shift and be scary. The fact of the matter was that the two of us would have inspired fear in no one. At five-eleven, I was not big. I was built like a swimmer, with long, sinewy muscles over a lean frame. My friend Crane Adams, at six-one and just over two hundred pounds, was more imposing than me with his heavily muscled body, but he would not have frightened anyone either.
But everything changed once we shifted. Once we became panthers, we became the stuff of nightmares, and I went from being smaller and weaker than my friend to stronger and faster in seconds. In my panther form, I was much scarier than any other I had met.
The scream reached me, and I listened a second to make sure I knew where I was going before I took off running. It was like being shot from a gun, the burst of speed before my vision changed and my focus lowered. I went from being blind in the dark to having perfect sight in a heartbeat. My change always happened that fast. It would take Crane longer to catch up to me, his own metamorphosis coming at the cost of minutes, not seconds. I had been told many times that my transition was like watching a wave roll forward and then back to reveal a beast where a man had been.…