Sometimes it feels like you’ve been working on a project forever. While it was only about a year ago that I started writing my first M/M shifter novel, it feels like that right now, because I want it to be DONE! It seems slow only because I work on multiple projects at once, which means each project individually takes longer to be completed. But I’m starting to see the finish line! Currently 47,000 words, and I’m heading into the main climax of the plot.
So I figured I’d give everyone an excerpt today. I wanted to have this done and published by Christmas, but I’m not sure I’ll make that deadline. It may be more like January. Hopefully not later than that.
So meet the boys, Donovan McGinnis and Kersen of the Mentauri clan . One’s a Scottish doctor who never lived in Scotland, but was raised in places like India and Thailand. The other has family ancestry from Bali but grew up in Sumatra.
(Excerpt from Chapter 2)
Gunung Leuser National Forest, Sumatra
As the five humans dragged the injured tiger away, the young male tiger watched from high up in a tree, safely out of sight. Claws dug into the hard wood as he yawned, long canine teeth flashing. He was anything but tired, however; he was stressed.
That was his sister down there.
As soon as the humans were out of sight, Kersen climbed down the tree, loping over to where they’d left the broken strands of the snare. He growled, smelling his sister’s blood on the thin cords.
Pure idiocy. He couldn’t believe he and Gemi had been so careless. They both knew how widespread the snares had become in the last few years. The poachers were growing bolder all the time, and more clever, as well. Kersen’s older sister, Bitari, was going to kill him for letting Gemi be taken. Ever since their parents had died, Bitari had been the guardian of the family. Their Harijmau jadian keluarga, their weretiger clan, still recognized his aunt Mentari as leader, but like the natural tigers, the weretiger population in Sumatra was dying out.
Where would they hide when the natural tiger population went extinct?
Kersen rumbled to himself, taking a moment to familiarize himself with the scents of the humans. He’d heard Gemi’s cries from across the valley, but he’d come too late. It should have been him cutting the ropes and freeing her. Now they had a predicament. The only positive was she’d been taken by conservationists and not the poachers. But what if they decided to keep her? She’d be trapped in her tiger form indefinitely.
He couldn’t allow that. He’d follow the men and free her.
The area was layered with scents. Kersen took a moment to concentrate on them, familiarizing himself with the leader’s scent in particular. The man was a veterinarian or something. Kersen had watched him cut his sister loose, and bandage her. Coppery brown hair cut short with a beard, and white skin, which meant he was a foreigner. British, most likely. One of those people out to save the world. For Kersen, his plan was to stay near Gemi, tracking their scents.
Kersen took a deep breath, sniffing. The man had a pleasant smell. A touch of clove, or coffee, perhaps. Earthy smells. Kersen took another whiff, whiskers twitching. Cinnamon. Great Brahma, Kersen could lick the fellow up. He huffed. How could he be thinking such thoughts when his sister was in danger?
In any case, Kersen knew the man’s scent now. He would know it anywhere he encountered it again.
Licking his chops and trying to dispel the pleasant warmth that had begun to stir within him, Kersen followed the trail. He kept low to the ground, mindful of any snares the conservationists might have missed. He needed to know where they were taking Gemi. It was easy to stay out of the humans’ sight, easy to be quiet with all the noise they were making. The leader was speaking in English on his phone, likely with the center director. Kersen’s English was rusty, but he could make out most of it.
“What’s the ____ time of arrival? Has there been any ______ of the poachers in this area?” The leader’s voice sounded tense,and focused. Kersen couldn’t see him through the underbrush, but that was by design. If he could see them, they in turn might see him. Again, that warmth spread through him, feeling like home, like safety. He wanted to run over there and rub his face against the man’s leg. Mark him.
Why would he want to do that?
Kersen snarled quietly, falling back to make sure none of the men detected him. The jungle had been quiet all day. The village where the shifters lived their human lives was well to the west of here. He only needed to make sure Gemi got out before she accidentally bit and infected anyone. Locals knew of their kind. No one outside the area had ever believed their tales. The only danger would be for a white foreigner like this leader to discover Kersen’s people and spread word to the world.
The weretigers had lived hidden away for centuries. Myth had it that they all originated from a small group of shamen, wizards who had performed complex ceremonies to ask the gods for the power to transform into beasts. The gods granted them that ability, and also the ability to pass the gift onto others, through blood and bite. They weren’t like the fabled werewolves; the moon had no power over them. But weretigers were nevertheless connected to the wilderness.
The jungle and the tiger inside would always be linked.