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In Durham, to do for his mild­mannered brother—find the In Durham, mild­mannered academic Danny has missing and bringFennick them home. academic Danny Fennick has battened down to sit out the battened down to sit out the storm. He at grew up indifficult the He’s good solving storm. He grew up in the Scottish Highlands, so he’s mysteries. The dog is even Scottish Highlands, so he’s seen harsh winters before. better. seen harsh winters before. Besides, he has an advantage. Besides, he has an advantage. He’s werewolf. Or, toperson be This a time the missing He’s a werewolf. Or, to be precise, a weredog. Less is a ten­year­old boy who precise, a weredog. Less impressive, useful. walked into but the still woods in the impressive, but still useful. middle of the night and didn’t Except the other come back. With werewolves the Except the other werewolves don’t believe this antagonistic help is of any don’t believe this is any ordinary winter, and they’re distractingly handsome FBI ordinary winter, and they’re coming down overitthe Wall to agent Javi Merlo, quickly coming down over the Wall to mark their newthat territory. becomes clear Drew mark their new territory. Including Danny’s ex, Hartley didn’t run away. He Including Danny’s ex, Jack—the Prince Pup of was taken,Crown and the evidence Amazon Link Jack—the Crown Prince Pup of the Numitor’s pack—and the implies he’s not the Dreamspinner the Numitor’s pack—and the Amazon Link Link prince's brother, who wants to kidnapper’s first victim. Amazon Link prince's brother, who wants to Dreamspinner Link kill him. Dreamspinner Link The world ends not with a kill him. As the search intensifies, old bang, but withisa adownpour. Cloister Witte man with a A wolf winter isn’t white. grudges and tragedies areIt’s The world ends not with a Tornadoes spinathrough the dark past and cute dog. He’s A wolf winter isn’t white. It’s red as blood. pulled into the light of day. bang, but with a downpour. heart Newthe York happyoftoLondon, talk about dog all red as blood. But with each clue they Tornadoes spin through the cooks in aafter heatgrowing wave that day, but up in A Wolf Winter uncover, it looks lessNovel and less heart of London, New York melts tarmac, Russia A Wolf Winter Novel the shadow of and a missing likely that Drew will be found cooks in a heat wave that freezes an ever­ brother,under a deadbeat dad, and a alive. melts tarmac, and Russia thickening layer of permafrost. criminal stepfather, he’d freezes under an ever­ People first—organizing rather rally leaveat the past back in thickening layer of permafrost. A Digging Up Bones Novel aid drops and evacuating Montana. These days he’s a People rally at first—organizing populations—but the weather K­9 officer in the San Diego aid drops and evacuating is only getting worse. County Sheriff’s Department populations—but the weather and pays a tithe to his ghosts is only getting worse. by doing what no one was able

Chapter One

Slouched in the cup of a weather­ worn boulder, Jack watched one A bonfire of driftwood and old, of the town boys try to face up to dry bones burned on the shore of a wolf for his girl’s honour. Lach the loch, the wind picking black laughed at him, all teeth and smoke from the sullen embers slitted eyes, as he dragged the and tossing it up into the night. giggling girl tight against his Bottles glinted in the firelight as groin. For a second it looked like they were passed from hand to the boy would stand his ground, hand, bodies jostling as laughter but instead he swore at the girl veered to anger and back again. for being a tart and stalked off. Someone tossed an empty bottle onto the bonfire, making it flare Laughter chased him down to the with blue flame and sparks, and shore. everyone laughed. No one noticed the eyes in the crowd that caught the light and spat it back green. It was a town party. Most of the kids around the bonfire were bored teenagers, struggling to be bad with empty pockets in a small town. It was their cheap booze, their music turned up loud on speakers the wind kept blowing over ­­ but it wasn’t their land. So when the pack’s young wolves came sloping down out of the hills, with empty hands and sly smiles, they didn’t have any choice but to share their fire and their bottles. Not they knew they were hosting wolves, just the rough kids from the big farm up in the hills.

Another wolf had a baffled looking town boy nudged back against a tree, his mouth against the boy’s throat and a hand down the back of his trousers. It wasn’t in full adherence to the catechisms ­­ Gregor, sulking up in the heather, would call it defiance ­­ but the old man had always turned a blind eye to what happened by the bonfires. Maybe it served some sort of purpose: fucking, fighting, letting off steam in ways that didn’t matter. Or it could just be so that the old man could identify the wolves that watched for the bonfire being lit. Those wolves were usually sent away, below the Wall. Jack wasn’t sure why he was here. At 15 he knew what the

other wolves wanted, but he wasn’t interested in playing human for a night. Down in the circle of stones around the bonfire, a lanky teen with cropped black hair and crooked glasses laughed with the town boys while the wolf that had brought him glared sullenly at the back of his head. The game was meant to have Marie at the centre of attention, while her lovelorn companion mooned miserably over her. Not that she’d be ignored while her wannabe admirers talked ­­ Jack tilted his head, focusing on that murmur of conversation amidst the rest ­­ superheroes and football scores. Jack knew him. Of course he did. He knew every wolf in his father’s pack, and the dogs that ran the old man’s errands for him too. Danny Fennick was a year older than Jack, the kid everyone went to for homework when the school started to make noises about truancy and social services. Smart enough to be useful, but too stupid to know when to hold his tongue or stay down when he’d lost a fight. Just another dog. Useful, but not important.

One of the town boys tossed a beer at him, and made a joke about football that made Danny throw his head back and laugh. His grin was huge and ridiculously goofy, creasing his whole face up in service to it. And suddenly there was something on the shore that Jack was interested in.

Danny sucked in an irritated breath, and tasted the crown The fire scorched Danny’s knees prince pup of the pack in the back through his worn jeans, making of his throat. Even if he’d been nose­blind as the humans, he’d him sweat even with chill of a Highland autumn at his back. He have known it was Jack from the way Marie slid away from him sucked down a mouthful of warm, wet beer, and jeered good­ like he’d suddenly scalded her. naturedly at Milosz’s staunch Shit. claims that Lionel Messi was a god amongst footballers. His arm was slung casually over Marie’s Danny’s mind raced, trying to work out what he’d done that shoulder, idly rubbing the chill would warrant the attention of she didn’t feel from her upper the Numitor’s heir. There was arm. plenty ­­ from the Bank of Scotland credit card he’d set up “He’s good, but he’s no with odd job and cheating money Ronaldo,” Danny said, waving the bottle. He could get stronger to the list of Universities he had from the Old Man’s shelves if he in his notebook ­­ but nothing that any of the wolves should wanted, but it wasn’t about the know about. buzz. His metabolism wasn’t as Chapter Two

fast as a wolf’s, but it was fast enough to stop him catching drunk no matter how hard he chased it. The point was sharing flat beer and spit, the smell of sweat and hormones, and the easily offered membership. It was the proof that he was more human than wolf. That he could do it.

While Danny was groping for reasons, Jack took the beer out of his hand and swigged it down. Out of the corner of his eye, Danny could see Jack’s tanned throat working as he swallowed and the faint glint of gilt as the firelight caught on light stubble. “Do I know you?” Harry asked, squinting through the smoke.

A hand scruffed the back of his neck, fingers pressing down possessively against the ridge of “Make yourself at home,” Doug snorted. tendons, and a lean, hard body settled onto the rock next to him.

Jack wiped his mouth on his “Good thing he isn’t here then,” sleeve. “It is my home. My Da he said. “He’d kick us all off his owns everything from here to the land for not supporting Rangers.” farm.” He actually might too. Politics Uncomfortable silence fell. People and football were about the only liked dogs. There was something two human things that the Old about them that they found Man cared about. “One’s the only reassuring. Wolves were thing they do that affects us,” he unsettling, and there weren’t liked to say. “The other’s the only many wolves as Wild as Jack. He thing humans ever made that was the atavistic fear that matters.” something dangerous and sharp was watching you from the The joke broke the tension shadows. though, making laughter ripple through the group. Harry started Some people were drawn to it. to complain about Mr Patterson There was plenty of evidence of and algebra; Milosz grabbed that around the fire. Jack, another beer from his bag since however, wasn’t making any Jack didn’t seem to be planning effort to spin the effect he had on on giving the one he had back. people; he was just letting it It wasn’t the same though. With thicken. Jack there, everyone had remembered that Danny wasn’t Danny laughed nervously and one of them. Not really. shoved his glasses up his nose. His ears were sweating, and he “C’mon,” Jack said, standing up. was uncomfortably aware that Jack’s hand was still on the back His hand tightened on Danny’s of his neck. His brain was firmly neck, a mute demand that stuck on ‘oh shit’ about that, but clenched an atavistic reaction his body was more interested in down Danny’s spine to his gut. the flexing fingers and the fact that Jack was so far into his Danny didn’t have to go. Maybe personal space that he could taste he was the bottom of the pack wolf before smoke when he hierarchy, but he wasn’t prey. He breathed. still got up, tossing a half­hearted ‘see you at school’ to kids that

weren’t listening. Marie started to get up too, but after a glance at Jack settled back down into her seat.

Chapter Three

“Well, you won’t be able to say that again.”

The old yew had grown crooked on the shoreline, trained by the wind into a crooked bend. Danny woke up under it, peeling one sleep­glued eye open to squint up at the dawn­coloured blur of the world. He reached out on automatic, groping for his glasses.

Jack shrugged his acceptance of that and ducked his head, his teeth finding the tender welts he’d sucked into Danny’s throat the night before. Then he rolled off and sat up, tossing Danny’s glasses over to him.

It was like he was the only thing in the world.

He shivered.

“Never met a dog who needed them either,” Jack said.

“Don’t tell me dogs feel the cold too,” Jack snorted. He tossed

The lens were smudged and damp with dew. Danny wiped “Do you really need them?” a sleep­blurred voice growled next them with his thumb ­­ adding to him. Jack’s hand flexed against smudges but getting rid of the moisture ­­ and put them on. The his stomach. “I’ve never met a soft smudges of the world wolf that wore glasses.” resolved into sharp lines and discrete colours. He glanced over “I’m not a wolf,” Danny said. at Jack, watching the other boy pull his t­shirt on. He scrubbed his hands over his face, stifling a yawn, and started to sit up. Jack rolled over on top Black ink marked his skin, ogham in hard lines down his spine and of him, lean muscle and heavy splitting off the hard slats of his bones pinning him down. His face was close enough that even ribs. A wolf head was branded Danny’s crappy eyes could make under his arm, in the tender skin of his armpit. It was a scar, not out the details, the sharply elegant bones under tanned skin ink ­­ and it wasn’t easy to scar and the almost pretty curve of his one of them. Danny remembered the texture of it under his lips, mouth. He had green eyes, the raised and rough, colder than colour of leaves. Jack’s skin.

Danny’s shirt at him and rose easily to his feet. “We should get back.”

“Never seen you at one of the bonfires before,” he said. “Spoke to a human and everything.” Jack glanced over his shoulder. “I go to school with them. I speak to them.”

Last night had been hard kisses and the scrape of teeth, fingers digging into his arms and hips, heady in the dark. This morning “I’ve never seen it,” Danny was wet jeans and a sneaker gone snorted. “I heard that Mrs Davies missing entirely in the night. asked you a question in Latin class and you just stared her Questions itched on the tip of down.” Danny’s tongue. What had that been about? What did it mean That got a snort. Latin was ­­ today? Were they going to do it technically ­­ their first language. again? Did one of them need to The language they’d brought up say something? over the wall with them, the one they told their oldest stories in. Except they were very human Except that was a living language questions, and maybe one day that had adapted to living cheek Danny would have a human to by vowel with the Picts, ask about them. Right now he borrowed some lexicon from was with a wolf, and the old Danish, and had about as much man’s boy didn’t answer a dog’s in common with Mrs Davies latin questions. textbooks as Cosmo had with Chaucer. They walked along the shore, Danny hopping between “It was a stupid question,” Jack hummocks of grass in his bare said. “Who told you that?” feet. He was a bit taller than Jack, a few lanky inches, and he caught “Anya, Anya Dubriki,” Danny himself stooping to try and close said. Jack had turned around to the distance. The silence started walk backwards, too confident to to itch on him after a while, like a care about his footing. He looked flea he couldn’t quite reach, and blank. Keeping his eyes down ­­ even the fact it was a bad idea focused on Jack’s jaw and lips couldn’t make him hold his instead of his eyes ­­ Danny tongue. waved his hand in the air at

shoulder height. “Dark hair, huge glasses, got a stutter. Thinks you’re cute.” The corner of Jack’s mouth tilted in a smirk. “Sounds like you.” “I don’t stutter.” It would have been smooth if Danny had planned it. Instead he caught the words as they left the mouth, the implication a second after that, and tripped over his own feet. He could feel heat scalding his face. Jack just raised his eyebrows, snorted, and turned to face the way he was walking again. Danny scrubbed his hands over his face, pushing his glasses up into his forehead. He was an idiot. Just this once, he told himself, shut up. Please?

Chapter Four “It’s for school,” Danny lied, not looking up from his book, as his ma blew in with the wind. “Homework.” Wolves could usually tell if someone was lying: the smell of their sweat, the kick of chemicals hitting their bloodstream, the signs of nervousness in their body language. Thing was, the more you lied the easier it was, and the less tells you had. Danny had been lying for a long time. Or maybe his mom just didn’t pay that much attention to what he did.

as his, but where it made him look like he had nits she looked elegant. The pretty dress she had on, sturdy cotton over bare legs, looked odd on her. “Why are you skinside this late? Isn’t there a hunt?” She shrugged. “Bron can go.” Pride glowed in her face, her pale hazel eye bright, as she added, “She’s a good hunter, but that’s no use if the rest of the pack don’t know it.” Danny held his tongue. He was a good hunter ­­ yeah, of rabbits and squirrels but it was still prey. His sister spent a lot of time chasing, but not much catching. That didn’t matter. Every time the prophets’ saw him, they remembered his ma had thrown a tame pup. So they needed to see the wolf that had made her bloodline good just as often.

“Maybe if you didn’t read so much, you’d not need to wear glasses,” she said, kicking the door shut. On the way past the table she skelped her hand over the back of his head. It didn’t rattle his teeth, so it was meant as “It’ll be good for you when all that’s over,” Ma said. She opened affection. “It makes you stand the fridge and grabbed a carton of out.” milk, tearing the corner off the cardboard with her teeth. “You “So would walking into walls,” spend too much time with he pointed out, pushing the offending glasses up his nose as humans. It’s not good for you.” he looked up. He looked like his ma ­­ tall, lean, and dark. She wore her hair cut nearly as short

Danny dog­eared his book and sat back. “Cos?”

She took a drink from the carton, and wiped her mouth on her sleeve. “You get attached too easy. You think things mean more than they do. Jack might have fancied you for a night, but that means nothing. You mean nothing to him.” That wasn’t news, and it wasn’t as if it should matter. Danny had plans, and the pack’s golden boy was never going to be part of them. It kinda did though ­­ like a punch to the chest. He swallowed and shrugged. “I’m a dog, ma,” he said. “Not an idiot.” She nodded and shoved the milk back in the fridge. On her way back out, she hesitated. “You’re not the child I wanted,” she said. “I’m still your mother. I want the best for you.” “I know.” She scuffed his head again on her way out, stripping her dress off at the door and tossing it behind her as she pulled her skin on. In wolf form she was still lean and dark, and she didn’t look back as she chased off into the hills after the hunt.

Danny got up and shut the door after her, picked the dress up off the floor because it seemed like the sort of thing you do. He knew his ma wanted what was best for him; she’d just never accept what that actually was.

Chapter Five

they have your incisors on a cord, don’t come asking me to chew your food for you.”

The canon who took weekly assemblies in the school was a “You use molars to chew.” mild, gingery man, who talked about love, forgiveness, and how his religion fit into the pages of a “Read that in a book?” she jeered. book. He smelled of dusty paper He gave in to temptation and and butterscotch. jabbed his elbow back into her Prophet’s piety was a reek of old arm. She glared at him and wounds, sweat, and the smoke of growled, a surprisingly low rumble of sound escaping her sacrifices. They only preached lips. A glare from one of the older about forgiveness, when they were telling the wolves they had wolves made her prim her lips into a line, swallowing the noise, none. and they both sat pretending to pay attention to the rest of the Danny sat cross­legged on the shore, picking at the frayed knee prophet’s sermon. of his jeans absently, and zoned out everything but the most emphasised words. Those were where you were usually expected to respond, to cheer or jeer...or shift. A sharp finger jabbed into his side, making him twitch. “Pay attention,” Bron hissed. He glanced sidelong at his little sister. She looked like him and ma, with dark hair and the same long jaw, but in snack size.

After the prophet had gutted the goat, tossing the remnants into the lake to confuse the local cops later, Lach stalked over. He waited for Danny to start to get up, then shoved him hard enough to send him sprawling. Bron stepped back so he didn’t fall on her. “Dogs show wolves respect,” Lach told Bron. “You can’t let them get above themselves.”

“He knows his rank,” Bron said. Her face had that odd blank look it got sometimes, when she was “I am watching.” She rolled her eyes at him. “When embarrassed to be seen with her

dog brother but too stubborn to admit it. “I don’t need help.”

The joint popped in the wrong direction ­­ the sound of a dislocating joint was Lach raised his eyebrows. “He unmistakable ­­ and Lach snarled raised a hand to you. I saw it.” with a mixture of rage and pain. Rage twisted his face and he “Elbow,” Danny said, still flung himself down on Danny sprawled on the stones. He with a snarl and a viciously screwed one eye shut, squinting thrown punch. His knuckles up at Lach. “You really should caught Danny on the cheekbone have gone to some of those ­­ that snap was another biology classes.” unmistakable sound ­­ and then the heavy weight of him was “Shut up,” Bron snapped, kicking gone. his ankle. She lifted her chin and put her hands on her hips. “You The interruption was such a want to beat up a dog, Lach surprise that Danny wasn’t Givens, don’t try and use me as entirely sure how to react. He an excuse.” took a breath of cold air, blinked through the pain in his face, and He grinned at her, showing teeth rolled to his feet. No one stopped in something that didn’t even him getting up this time. pretend to be anything but a threat. “I’m a wolf, sweetheart. I A bruised Lach was standing at do what I like. Take what I like.” bay, his hands clenched and his weight on his good leg, as he It wasn’t the threat really ­­ like stared nervously at Jack. The Lach was the first wolf to beat younger wolf licked blood off his Danny up ­­ but the way Lach lower lip like he’d never tasted looked at Bron. Over the last year himself before, and the strange, she’d gone from being a stocky vacuum pressure of the Wild blob of a child to being a sort of tugged at Danny’s hackles. recognisable teen, but she was still a kid. “Do you want to call that a mistake?” Jack asked, tilting his So Danny pulled his knee up and head. “Or a challenge?” kicked, nailing Lach in the knee cap with the heel of his sneaker. Lach swallowed, eyes flicking as

he weighed his chances. They weren’t good.

“I didn’t need help,” he said.

“Shut up,” Bron said, poking him “This was nowt to do with you,” in the ribs again. “Idiot.” he muttered, trying to find a middle ground between showing fang and showing throat. “The dog needs to learn his place.” Jack glanced at Danny, a quick slant of leaf­green eyes, and then back at Lach. “His place is where I tell him it is,” he said. “Just like yours.” Colour slapped Lach’s cheeks. “You ain’t your Da.” “To beat you?” Jack said. “I don’t need to be.” For a second violence hung in the air. Lach’s hands worked at his sides, clenching so tight his knuckles bulged, but then he backed. He shuffled backwards, dropping his head and muttering submission under his breath. Jack watched him go, and then turned back to Danny. He hooked his hand around Danny’s neck, a casual affection that made Danny twitch with a weird mixture of panic and longing.

lying on the table, Danny fidgeted with them blindly as if pretending to be busy would Danny sat at the old man’s kitchen table and quietly sweated make this less… his discomfort through his stained t­shirt. It wasn’t the first Less. time he’d been in the house, but “You know you’re a dog?” Jack he’d always had a reason to be said. “Doesn’t matter who you there before. Dropping off the fight, you won’t make rank.” mail he’d picked up from the farm, bringing the sports pages Danny wrinkled his nose. “If I up, collecting money to pay the was looking for rank, I’d not fight farmer for using the truck. Lach,” he said. Jack cuffed him This was disconcertingly close to around the ear. It didn’t rattle his teeth. Danny ducked his head being social. and sat back. The chair dug into his back, the edges pressing Jack grabbed his chin and tilted Danny’s head back, studying his against his shoulder blades. “I face in the smoky yellow gaslight. won the fight.” Chapter Six

Some of the houses were hooked up to electricity, but the old man “You sound like Gregor,” Jack had never had the patience to put said. “On his ass, spitting out teeth, still swearing he won.” up with that.

“You said it, I’m a dog. Lach “You’ve bruised,” Jack said, rubbing his thumb along the edge doesn’t get any credit for beating me,” he said. “All anyone will of Danny’s cheekbone. remember is that a dog made him squeal.” “I do that,” Danny said, squirming under the attention.

Ma had taught him that, hauling him out of the dirt where she’d “It’ll heal.” put him. “You might not come Not as quick as Jack would have, out of a fight with all the teeth you went into it with, boy,” she’d but quicker than his glasses. said, “But sure their blood is on When Lach had hit him the leg had broken off. The pieces were the teeth you’ve got left.”

“I don’t need your protection,” he said. “I’m a dog, not a human.” Jack cocked his head to the side. It was a sharply lupine gesture on a human frame, lacking only the Even without a clear view of him, flop of pointed ears. Danny could feel Jack studying “Are all dogs as stubborn as him. you?” There were some things that you didn’t learn from books. At least, not the ones you could get from a school library.

“And I thought you were just a pretty face, Danny Dog.”

Danny shrugged. “I guess.” He grabbed his glasses, folding the “I’ve got a pretty good ass too.” broken frame in his fingers, and Jack snorted out a rough laugh at stood up. “I know my place. It’s not under your paw.” that. The curve of his mouth

made Danny “It’s not bad,” he said. “I could make sure they left The lazy grin that Jack gave him was cocky as hell, as he stood up. you alone.” It took longer than Danny liked to “Not where I’d put you.” admit to get out, “I can take care It was impulse. Danny knew of myself.” better, but if he couldn’t have one “Pride goeth before getting your thing he wanted then he’d have ass handed to you,” Jack warned the other. Before anyone could try him. He sounded more admiring and tell him that’s what he wanted, so he had to buck the than anything else though. Not traces on principle. Still clutching that Danny deserved that. He his glasses awkwardly in one wanted to take the offer of hand, he cupped the other protection, to tuck himself into around the back of Jack’s neck ­­ Jack’s shoulder and stick there. cropped hair prickling against his fingers ­­ and kissed him. Except he couldn’t get used to that. He’d always be a dog, but For about two seconds. Then Jack he’d not always be here. He growled smugly into his mouth couldn’t get used to having someone fight his battles for him. and took the kiss back.

Chapter Seven Jack sprawled on the old stone, sunning himself under the pale, early autumn sun in jeans and nothing else. Fresh rank ink stained his skin, picking the hard lines of his ribs in raised, shiny welts. He could feel the poison itching in the ink, the gall scraping his skin as he sweated it out of his pores.

Danny laughed and staggered against Jack, leaning into the embrace. “Everyone saw you.” “I asked you.” “Yeah, I saw you,” Danny said. “You stole that knee move from me.”

Jack snorted and shoved Danny away, scruffing his hand over his hair. “There’s not a lot of rules in He was seventeen and the heir­ presumptive of the Pack, the only a wolf fight, Danny, but I think challengers of rank left his da and Da would have words if I fought as dirty as you.” his brother. Life was good. He twisted, scratching his shoulder­ blades against the stone, and let In four years he’d never seen himself enjoy the sun, the smell of Danny win a fight. Half the time he didn’t even walk away from heather, and the idle thought of them, he was dragged. But the getting up and chasing a rabbit. wolf clutching his rock­smashed balls, or trying to hold his ear in Or ­­ his ears twitched ­­ a dog. place long enough for it to grow He rolled off the stone onto his together, never seemed to think feet, the grass damp against his they’d won either. soles, and waited for Danny to make the rest of the way up the hill.

Danny laughed and then squirmed away, shoving his “I beat Black Mac,” Jack crowed, hands in his pockets and looking hooking an arm around Danny’s serious. neck in a rough hug. Since the “Jack­” night on the beach, Danny had gained two inches on Jack. It It wasn’t the first time he’d said made Danny slope and slouch, but Jack just ignored it. “Did you Jack’s name with that blend of reluctance and determination. see me, Danny­dog?”

The sort of voice that meant serious talks and having to point out that, while this’d had fun, Danny was still a dog.

that’s what they say about you, Danny.”

He looked down, glasses sliding down along his nose, and This time Danny didn’t give Jack grimaced unhappily. “I’m going.” the chance to dodge the hook. He shoved a crumbled square of “Don’t be an idiot,” Jack said. paper out. “Here.” “What is there for you, down It was obvious that Danny had there?” been carrying the letter in his pocket for a while. The paper was Muscles flexed along the sharp creased and recreased, lettering line of Danny’s jaw, working worn off along the folds, and it under the tanned skin. He smelled of Danny’s sweat and shrugged awkwardly and skin. Jack gripped it by the glanced up, eyes bouncing off corners, ignoring the wind’s Jack’s cheekbones. He poked his attempt to pull it out of his hands, glasses up his nose, hiding and scanned it impatiently. behind the smudged lens. As if, all of a sudden, they were back to “Why are you showing me this?” strangers playing dominance games. Danny shoved his hands into his pockets, hunching his shoulders “A life,” Danny said. so they were sharp as wings. “You’ve a life here.” “I’ve been offered a place at Leeds University, Jack,” he said. The corner of Danny’s mouth tucked up in a rueful grimace. “So you’re clever,” Jack said, letting the wind take the paper. It “It’s a wolf’s life,” he said. “I’m kited away, flapping like an not a wolf.” injured bird. Danny took a half­ step after it and stopped himself. “Yeah? Well, in case you haven’t “I didn’t need some humans in a noticed, you aren’t human school to tell me that. No one did. either,” Jack snapped. There was Too clever for his own good, a growl in his voice, the wolf

scraping his vocal cords rough. “You can’t go.”

who believed. It just wasn’t something anyone did. Wolves crawled up over the wall to beg Danny looked up finally, meeting the old man to take them in, to his eyes. There was something make them part of his pack, or almost frantic behind his face as were banished howling down he asked, “Why not?” south for their sins. No one just up and left. “Da won’t let you.” He wasn’t saying the right things. “He can’t stop me.” It wasn’t working. He could see that in Danny’s face, the crack in Jack snorted. “If you really think his resolve sealing as he made up that, you haven’t been paying his mind. Whatever Danny had attention, Danny Dog.” wanted when he gave Jack that letter, he wasn’t getting it. The wind skirled around them, rattling the long grass and “You’re not going,” Jack said. sending a crow tumbling across the sky as it tried to right itself. It Danny set his jaw. “I am.” had caught Jack’s mood, his black temper chasing clouds in from Jack could have asked. He could the north. have admitted he didn’t want Danny to go. Not yet. Except the Danny looked up and shivered. old man’s favourite son didn’t He couldn’t see the Wild like Jack beg a dog for anything. It was did, couldn’t pick out the long weakness. The first step to being bodied hounds in the clouds as tame they harried the North Wind’s heels, but he could feel it. He “Have you forgotten your place?” shivered and shifted, scuffing his Jack asked, stepping into Danny’s battered old trainers over the space. “You’ll do what I tell you; ground. and I told you: you’re not going.” “He can’t stop me leaving the pack. That’s in the catechism.” It was. Of course it was. Danny paid more attention than most

The words still weren’t right. Jack gave up on them, and dragged Danny into a rough, hard kiss. It was all teeth and impatience,

hands grabbing roughly at each other as they tumbled to the ground. Silvery heather smelled like dust and herbs as they rolled in it, the still raw ink stinging sharply as Danny’s hands scraped over it. Afterwards, he stretched out on the bed of crushed heather smug that he’d made his point. Danny was going nowhere. Two days later he was gone.

Profile for TA Moore

Crying Wolf - Dog Days Prequel  

A prequel story from the Wolf Winter series. Find more here: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/authors/ta-moore-941

Crying Wolf - Dog Days Prequel  

A prequel story from the Wolf Winter series. Find more here: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/authors/ta-moore-941