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Welcome Birthday Guest Stephani Hecht!

Jax’s Special Day

Jax looked at the clock on the wall of the training center and let out a sigh. He was willing to bet he was the only student at the Coalition Training Academy who wasn’t looking forward to the weekend. Who was he kidding? He was the only teen in the world who wasn’t looking forward to the weekend in the whole world. Which just showed how sucky his life really was.

Okay, maybe it wasn’t all doom and gloom. He was working toward the goal of someday becoming a soldier for his feline Coalition. Better yet, he had more friends there then he ever did at the civilian school. He’d even snagged himself a boyfriend. Yet, in the process of doing all that, he’d lost a ton, too.

He’d first been disowned by his family for his decision to become a fighter. At first, he’d thought it’d been because he was so small. Sure, he may be a Lion shifter, but in he was dinky, even by human standards. Then his father had actually put a bounty on his head. That’s when Jax found out his dad was more than a little bent. So, he had no place to go on the weekends.

Most of the time, he didn’t mind that so much. He’d made friends with some older students who had no homes, either. So, he would just hang out with them. It even let him forget he didn’t have a normal life for a bit.

But this weekend was different than the others. It was his birthday. His sixteenth to be exact and the first one he would have since his family had splintered.

He ran his hand through his hair as he fought off the usual waves of frustration. He’d never imagined his future would have played out this way. Just a year ago, he’d been the good obedient son. The one who always toed the line and tried so hard to be perfect. Where did it get him? Alone and forgotten on his damn birthday.

“Okay, class is over. Go back to the dorm and get ready,” their instructor, Logan, called.

Jax jerked back into the present as his classmates began to file out of the training room. After a moment, he followed. Not that he had to get ready for crap, but he did want to say goodbye to the others. His best friend, Ava, would be spending the next couple of days with her fathers. Even Jax’s boyfriend, Alvus would be taking off. On some weekends he did stay behind, but his parents insisted he come home at least a couple of times a month.

Jax still dawdled a bit, so by the time he arrived at the dorm, Ava was already gone. He felt a pang of disappointment. She hadn’t even given him a frigging Happy Birthday. Which was a bit odd. She was so reliable and never forgot those kinds of things. Yet, she’d done so when it mattered to him the most.

Alvus and his twin were still there, though. Alvus darted around a couple of glances before he reached out and tugged Jax behind a set of bunk beds. It gave them a rare moment of privacy, since the dorm was mostly empty.

“I wish I didn’t have to go home,” Alvus said as he wrapped his arms around Jax’s waist.

“I wish you didn’t have to go, either.” Jax leaned forward until their foreheads were touching.

Even though he and Alvus had been together for a month, it all still felt so new to Jax. The comfort he got whenever Alvus touched him. The mere fact that they even touched, period. It still made Jax feel all jittery inside whenever Alvus smiled at him. It depressed Jax even further as he realized he wouldn’t be seeing that grin again until late Sunday.

Jax could have stayed that way forever. But, there was the overpowering fear of them being discovered. It was a huge no-no for students to get touchy-feely with each other. So, Jax forced himself to take a step back. Which turned out to be a good thing since he heard Ava calling his name.

“I thought you left already,” Jax said as he stepped out from behind the beds.

He frowned when he spotted Ava’s dads, Shane and Trevor, with her. Even stranger, Shane was smiling. That scary ass Assassin never did that. Unless, it involved him murdering or maiming somebody.

“I forgot something.” Ava smiled at him.

“What?” Jax asked.

“You.” She pointed a finger at him.

“What do you mean?”

“My dads talked to Mitchell. He agreed to let you come home with us this weekend. We’re taking you to this new place at the mall. It’s a huge arcade. They even have bowling in there and a restaurant.” She danced a little on the balls of her feet. “Everybody from the Academy is going to be there, too.”

A wave of happiness went through Jax as he spun around to look at Alvus. His boyfriend had a huge smile on his face and a twinkle in his eyes. He even shoved his hands into his front pockets as he gave Jax a sheepish hug.

“You knew about this?” Jax accused him.

“Yeah. Ava swore me to secrecy, though. I’m not about to have her kick my ass, because I spilled,” Alvus said.

Jax felt so excited he wanted to hug his boyfriend. He didn’t dare, though. Not when the others were watching. So, he had to settle for a playful punch.

“Just let me pack a bag,” Jax said to Ava.

“I already took care of that,” she informed him. “Besides, you’re needed in the cafeteria.”

“Why?” Jax frowned.

“Just follow me.” She waved her arm.

When they arrived, Jax’s mouth parted in shock. Not only was it full of people, but they were all there for him. Not only did a huge round of applause greet him, but the place was decorated with balloons and streamers. There was even a huge cake with his name on it. The best part, though, was the table that was loaded with gifts.

He couldn’t believe who’d shown up. Not only was Mitchel, the Coalition leader, there, but so were all of his teachers. Some of them even came up and hugged him. Jax could hardly talk as he greeted all them. He was so overcome with emotions. For once, they were all good ones, too.

After a dinner of pizza, Jax began to open his gifts. When he grabbed one of the larger ones, he grew confused. It felt heavy and there was no name on it. He carefully peeled away the heavy gold wrap and revealed a long box. When he lifted the top, he was greeted by a set of weapons.

They were large, silver blades. The handles were ornate and black and curved to fit into his palms. Even without touching them, he could tell the edges were sharp. They certainly weren’t practice daggers. No, they were something a real soldier would use.

“What are they?” Jax asked as he traced his fingers along them.

“They’re sai,” Shane said. “Since, you’re learning the art of defense now, I thought they’d be the perfect starting point for you.”

Jax jerked his head up in shock. Shane was smiling at him and he looked…proud? Jax never expected to see that kind of expression thrown his way. Much less from one of the most respected members of the Coalition.

“You got these for me?” Jax asked, stupidly.

“Yeah, why are you acting so surprised?” Shane asked.

“I don’t know. I just never expected…” Jax trailed off as he shrugged.

Shane put a hand on his shoulder and gave him a gentle squeeze.

“I’ve already told you this, but I guess I’m going to have to repeat it,” Shane said. “You’re my family now, Jax. We all care for you and are going to make sure you turn into an amazing soldier. Now, have a damn happy birthday.”

Shane walked away, but Jax still felt a warm sensation go through him. His sixteenth birthday had turned out to be great after all. Despite the fact his parents had turned their backs on him, his new family had come through. As Jax looked down at his weapons he knew he’d never forget the moment. No matter how many more birthdays he went through.

I am giving away a free copy of Jax’s Rebellion to one commenter!

 

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43 thoughts on “Welcome Birthday Guest Stephani Hecht!

  1. Glad jack had an wonderful birthday, this little teaser is awesome.
    God I love jax’s story, can’t wait for the next one.

  2. I need to get caught up on the “main” series so I can read this, it sounds good,

    Glad Jax gets a happy birthday!

    Brandi

  3. I quite enjoyed Jax’s Rebellion and can’t wait to read more about both him and the next book in the series.

  4. Not familiar with this series. I am going to have to do some hunting to find and get the first book.

  5. I loved the first part of Jax’s story and need to read the next. Loved his birthday story.

  6. Shane is my favorite of your characters. It was a fun short story, thanks for sharing it.

  7. This sounds amazing. I haven’t read any of this. Is it part of a series and where can I find it please? Thanks 🙂

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