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Trinity March's heart slammed against his ribs. He sat up on his sofa bed. He should have been deeply asleep, but the argument at the pack gathering had nagged at him all night.
Trin had brought Calhoun to the meeting, argued they hire him to help protect their women and children. Their alpha had scoffed. So what if one of the villages had been attacked by rogue shifters, with warriors killed, women and children enslaved? They'd been weak. The tribe Trinity had served as shaman was three times as large. They didn't need an enforcer like Calhoun.
Calhoun's attitude hadn't helped. His chilling appearance in black leather and mirrored shades had matched his reputation as he'd leaned against his motorcycle, his scarred face impassive. He hadn't seemed to care if the pack hired him or not.
Trin shoved hair out of his eyes, knowing he wouldn't be able to sleep with worry eating his gut. He'd felt this way for months.
He looked out the window and through the yellowed lace curtains he glimpsed a light on in the cabin of his elderly human neighbour, Mr Jenkins. The old man had been limping when they'd both visited their mail boxes yesterday. Trin needed to mix up a remedy, use it as an excuse so he could put a hand on the man's shoulder, touch him, heal him, if only temporarily.
Thinking of healing eased the tension, brought back normality. He would get up and grind some herbs fresh from the garden out back. Then he'd find a way to convince his alpha to see Calhoun, to speak to him alone.
Outside, that light from Mr Jenkins' cabin flickered as a shadow moved, fluid as dark liquid.
Trin's enhanced eyesight caught the turn of the knob on his cabin door. It opened softly, admitting the breath of the night.
The scent he caught was unwashed skin, motor oil and stale beer.
It did not belong to any of his pack mates.
The cabin only possessed two rooms, the great room where he was lying on his sofa bed, and his son Sage's room. Listening to the drum of his heart, Trin eased the covers off, hyper aware of the too-loud rustle of his bedding.
He rolled off the bed and onto the floor, snaking to the ground.
Bang! His pillow exploded.