Welcome to Day 11!


I’ve always enjoyed this story. I’m tempted to add onto it but I’m still thinking it over. I’ll finish some more projects then think about it some more 🙂


Grab your copy today!

Chapter One

Shaun McKellan stood before his wall of memories and examined his collection. Photos covered the entire north side of his studio, a tribute to one boy’s evolution. Baby pictures, young boy pictures, teenage pictures, all of the same child were displayed in a dizzying array of frames. They’d documented every important moment of Kerry’s life in brilliant color for the father who couldn’t be there for him. Blue eyes, perfect duplicates of Shaun’s own, peered back at him from the wall their gaze accusatory or maybe he was projecting.

Damn shifter rules.

“I can’t wait to meet you,” Shaun whispered to the latest picture of his son. Even after a dizzying number of phone calls and signing paperwork in triplicate, he still struggled to believe Kerry would be living with him soon. He’d had waited fifteen years to meet his son again and his heart ached at this new reality. A tragedy had resulted in him getting his heartfelt wish. Guilt nibbled away a bit of his joy.

Shaun had only been able to hold his baby for a few minutes before his wife took Kerry away. Violet had met her mate while pregnant with Shaun’s baby and with shifters, mates trumped husbands every time. He could’ve taken the divorce in stride—Violet had never truly loved him, but the loss of his son had been a wound from which he’d never recovered. He’d missed Kerry every day they’d been apart.

After Kerry’s birth Violet had insisted Shaun stay away to prevent Shaun from imprinting on their baby. If Kerry had bonded with his genetic father it would’ve been impossible for Shaun to live apart from their son. For the sake of everyone’s peace, he’d kept his distance from his son, but that hadn’t stopped Shaun from loving him.

He’d kept track of Kerry’s life through a series of photographs and emails. Whatever anger he felt toward the situation depriving him of his son, Shaun couldn’t say Violet or her mate, Dale, hadn’t kept him informed. Weekly updates, monthly pictures, and a flood of emails told him of his son’s soccer games and school grades. Over the years Shaun had sent Kerry presents, pictures, and little mementos so he wouldn’t think his father had abandoned him. Over email Shaun shared details of his latest art exhibit, and Kerry wrote about his sport scores or the bad jokes he’d heard from his friends. They’d made tentative plans for Kerry to come visit Shaun after he graduated high school in a few more years. That one hope had carried Shaun through more than one bad night. Shaun had once asked about seeing Kerry once he reached his teenage years, but Violet had told him it might trigger Kerry’s aggressive tendencies since Shaun was virtually a stranger.

Last month a drunk driver had killed Violet in a head-on car collision even a shifter couldn’t survive. After much reflection and several phone calls from Shaun, Dale decided to allow Kerry to live with Shaun. Apparently Kerry’s hormonal surges were too much for him to handle.

Shaun didn’t blame Dale for wanting to hand Kerry off to him. At fifteen years of age Kerry was entering the Changing Years, or at least that was what his ex-wife, Violet, used to call them. Dale didn’t have the time or energy to deal with a boy who, according to Dale, had never bonded with him despite Shaun stepping aside. As much as Shaun had wished Violet a long and happy life, excitement bubbled through his veins like he was mainlining joy. He could barely believe the time had finally come.

Tires crunching to a stop on the gravel driveway outside pulled Shaun’s attention away from the wall. His heart skipped and pounded in an alternate rhythm as he swung between excitement and anxiety. Stepping over to the window, he pulled back the curtain. A silver sedan sat in his driveway. The exact type of car he’d expect a lawyer to drive.

“He’s here!” Shaun shouted. He slapped a hand over his mouth. Werewolves had amazing hearing. He would have to learn to keep his voice down or deafen his son.

He dropped the curtain with shaking hands. Old insecurities twisted through him in a dark and anxiety-ridden path. What if Kerry decided he didn’t want his father after all? He took a deep steadying breath before running down the steps to reach his front door, then one more inhale and exhale before yanking it open. He barely had time to brace himself before a tall, skinny boy raced up Shaun’s front steps and slammed into his arms.

“Oof,” he gasped, in his son’s surprisingly tight hold. Kerry’s left shoulder slid under Shaun’s chin, giving his son a few inches over him. Kerry had the gangly build of a young man with the strength of a shifter. Shaggy curls tickled Shaun’s nose as Kerry bent his head and sniffed at him. A low rumble vibrated Kerry’s chest.

Refusing to be put off by his son’s odd behavior, Shaun squeezed him tight. The missing piece of his life seamlessly clicked into place and for the first time in years he didn’t feel the holes peppered through his soul. He didn’t even try to stop the tears from dripping down his face and dampening Kerry’s shirt. A soundless sob burst from his chest. He gripped Kerry tighter.

“I missed you.” Kerry’s soft voice barely reached his ears.

“I missed you too,” Shaun choked out. Days and nights of dreaming hadn’t prepared him for the emotional reality of holding his son after all this time. He squeezed a bit tighter until Kerry laughed.

“Maybe I got my strength from you after all.” Kerry groaned and hugged him back.

Shaun’s laughter had a few sobs mixed in. He blinked back the rest of the tears. Kerry didn’t need a lake pooling on his shoulder. They stayed wrapped around each other until the sound of a throat clearing broke up the reunion.

Shaun looked over Kerry’s shoulder to find Dale Marin, watching them with an uncomfortable expression on his face. Shaun gently pried Kerry off him. Trying to regain a semblance of control he swiped at the wetness on his cheeks and awkwardly slid his damp palms across his jeans to dry them off. “Kerry, why don’t you go inside and get yourself something to drink out of the refrigerator while I talk to Dale? The kitchen is down the hall and to the right.”

“Okay.” After a long, considering look Kerry went into the house without bidding Dale goodbye or sparing a glance in his direction.

Shaun didn’t know what to make of his son’s actions, but he couldn’t miss the longing in Dale’s eyes as Kerry walked away. The reason behind Dale bringing Kerry to Shaun had nothing to do with the lack of love.

“It’s nice to meet you in person.” Violet only had good things to say about Dale over the years. Although Shaun hadn’t been able see his son, he’d never lost touch of what was happening in his life. If there had been any hint of abuse he would’ve gone and retrieved Kerry, imprinting be damned.

Dale offered a hand to shake. The man looked uneasy in his designer suit while standing in Shaun’s working-class neighborhood. It wasn’t a bad area but the residents in this part of town generally didn’t wear expensive wool suits that cost more than their mortgages either.

“For what it’s worth I never agreed with Violet about you. I thought you should be able to see your son. It’s obvious you care about him a great deal or you wouldn’t have kept in touch over the years.” Dale shrugged. “But I’m not a wolf, so I followed her rules.”

Shaun wished he could argue about how they’d handled things but they’d made the best decision they could at the time. “I talked to a werewolf consultant once and he verified what she said. It didn’t make it hurt any less though.”

Shaun had wanted to double-check the imprinting story. When he’d found it to be true it had hurt worse than if she’d lied to him.

Dale’s half-smile carried a world of regret. “I know. I checked on it too. I didn’t want to keep a father away from his son. It doesn’t matter now, I guess. He doesn’t want me. He’s never wanted me. I think he’s always resented that I’m not his father. Maybe at some level I’ve resented it too. Violet was never able to have another baby after Kerry. We tried, but it never worked out.”

“I know. I’m sorry.” Shaun didn’t share the late-night conversations he’d had with Violet. How she’d cried over the phone at what she saw as her failing. No sense in bringing up the past. Dale seemed like a nice guy who got a bad deal with a kid who didn’t want him, and a dead wife. Shaun blinked back tears as memories of better times threatened to crush him. They might have lived miles apart but Violet remained dear to him.

“I’ve got his bags in the back.” Dale nodded toward his expensive sedan. He shoved his hands into his pockets, his attention remained on the ground as he spoke “Violet left Kerry a trust fund. It’ll pay for college and help him some when he graduates. If you need anything else please call. I want to remain in Kerry’s life if possible.”

“You don’t need to pay to have me keep you updated. You and Violet were amazing about making sure I still felt involved in Kerry’s life and I’m happy to do the same thing for you. You’re welcome to stop by whenever you’d like. I might not make buckets of money, but I make enough to support us. Tomorrow I have an appointment with the alpha of the local pack to see if I can get Kerry into the neighborhood shifter school. Since Kerry isn’t a member of his pack we need permission to be in his territory and join the pack school. As a half wolf I don’t know if Kerry will ever be able to shift, but maybe they can help him deal with the aggression problems you told me about.”

Dale’s shoulders relaxed and a long sigh spilled out of him like a deflating balloon. “Good. That’s good. We didn’t have a shifter school near us. Violet would’ve liked that. Let me know if you need money for school expenses. I don’t know how these shifter schools work, but I’d be happy to pay for it or at least for half. Violet would’ve wanted that for him.”

Shaun nodded. “I’ll let you know how it goes. You’re welcome to visit any time. I have no intention of trying to keep him from you.”

“We’ll see. Now that he has you…” Dale let his voice trail away. They both knew Kerry might not want anything more to do with the man who helped raise him. After all, he wasn’t a blood relative and to wolves, blood was everything.

“I’ll keep you updated and you’re welcome to remain involved. There’s always room for more people to love Kerry.” Shaun couldn’t make any other promises that might involve Kerry without first discussing it with his son. Maybe Kerry could spend the summer with Dale or go on a vacation.

They worked together, emptying Dale’s car and dragging the suitcases containing all of Kerry’s belongings up to his bedroom. It wasn’t a huge space but it had a wide window to let in natural light with a nice view of the garden out back. Shaun had painted the walls a bright blue and drawn a mural with stars and a pack of wolves running beneath them.

“Violet said you were an artist. Did you draw this?” Dale pointed to the picture.

Shaun nodded. “Last week.”

There hadn’t been a lot of notice before he took custody of Kerry but Shaun had known what he wanted to draw.

“It’s very good.” Dale pulled a business card out of his suit pocket. “Here are all of my contact numbers. I know you have the house number but I’ll be traveling a lot since there’s no one left at home. If you need anything, anything at all, don’t hesitate to contact me. Violet would want me to make sure he’s taken care of.”

Shaun’s heart ached for Dale. To go from a family of three to being all alone had to be difficult. He took the card and slid it into his shirt pocket. He patted Dale on the shoulder. “I’ll take good care of him and I’ll make sure he knows you’re there if he needs anything. I’m sure right now he’s overwhelmed by the loss of his mother. Maybe you can take him for a few weeks in the summer?”

Dale’s twisted his lips into a rueful smile. “We’ll see. I know you are trying to pin this on a grieving son and it might be easier if that were the case. Kerry and Violet were never really close despite the werewolf belief that blood will bond. I’ve always thought he’s been pining for you all these years. Before Violet died, I was going to suggest he come live here with you. Violet couldn’t control him either. She was a strong wolf but as a mother she never could put her foot down. He walked all over her.”

“I hear that’s not uncommon for teens.” It eased some of his pain to think Kerry might’ve missed him too, but he refused to show Dale his inner joy. Dale’s grief over the death of his wife was obvious in the new hard lines on his face that hadn’t been there in the picture Shaun received only a month ago. “Give him some time.”

Dale rocked back and forth on his heels and looked everywhere but at Shaun. Shaun could tell Dale wasn’t comfortable showing his emotions.  He spotted a bit of moisture shimmering in Dale’s eyes before he spoke next, his words spilling over each other like a flooding river of vowels and syllables. “I had best tell Kerry goodbye. I’ve got a client dinner meeting tonight and a few hours on the road to get there.”

“Drive carefully and if you ever want to take Kerry for the weekend or on vacation or anything give me a call. I can’t imagine how hard this must be.” Dale’s entire world had spun out of control with the turn of a drunk driver’s wheel.

“I will. Thanks.” Dale shook Shaun’s hand then turned and walked out of the room without another word leaving behind a wave of despair Shaun could almost taste. A shifter would’ve howled from the pain the broken man emitted with his every motion.

Shaun went upstairs to his attic studio to give Dale and Kerry some privacy to say their goodbyes. After several minutes where Shaun did nothing more engaging than check out the condition of his paintbrushes, the front door slammed shut. He hadn’t heard it open but he definitely heard it close.

Not wanting to leave his son alone in a strange house, Shaun hurried back downstairs eager to talk to the son he’d always wanted.

“Hey, Dad.” Kerry’s shy smile warmed his heart and wrapped ropes of affection around his soul.

“Hi. I didn’t know if you’d be comfortable calling me dad.” But damn he’d dreamed about it.

Kerry’s eyes darkened. “I wasn’t going to call Dale dad, he didn’t smell right. I’ve never had anyone who smelled like family, until you.”

Shaun stepped further into the room. Unsure of what to say, he tried to rally. “Surely your mother—”

Kerry interrupted. “No. She always smelled like she was hiding something. I’ve wanted to come live with you my entire life. Even Mom said I could once I hit my Changing. She thought it would be too dangerous for Dale since we didn’t get along. She suggested sending me away to a shifter boarding school but I told her if she planned to ship me off she might as well send me to you.”

“I would’ve taken you.” He never wanted Kerry to feel unwanted.

“I know.” Kerry’s tone, strong and steady, swept away Shaun’s unease. He hadn’t failed. Kerry had known he was wanted.

Shaun searched for another topic. “Dale seems like a nice guy.”

“For a human.” Kerry wrinkled his nose as if he’d smelled spoiled milk.

Shaun laughed. “I’m human.”

Kerry inhaled deeply. “Yeah, but you smell like home.”

Interesting. Maybe he’d made a mistake staying away from Kerry all those years. When he’d held infant Kerry he must’ve made a bigger impression than anyone had suspected.

“Your mother did what she thought was best. When your DNA test proved you had shifter characteristics we both thought you’d do better with a shifter parent.” Shaun tried to keep his voice neutral, no sense blaming a dead woman for mistakes they’d both made. “Tomorrow I’m going to try to enroll you in the local shifter school. I don’t know if you’ll be able to shift or not, but you’ll have a lot of the same hormonal fluctuations as full shifters and it’ll be better if you’re among others going through the same thing.” Shaun had done enough research about adolescent shifters to write his own library worth of books.

“Cool.” Kerry smiled broadly. “I hope I can shift. I’d love to be a wolf.”

“We’ll see. I’m sorry to say your blood is diluted with my humanness.” Shaun hated to bring up the fact Kerry might not being able to shift, but it was a real possibility.

Kerry shrugged. “That’s cool.” Shaun could tell from his son’s expression that Kerry would be terribly disappointed if he couldn’t transform. Shaun didn’t blame him. Shifting into a completely different animal was an amazing ability.

“What do you say we order some pizza and get to know each other?” Shaun didn’t know many teens that would turn down pizza.

Kerry grinned. “Extra meat?”

“Is there any other way?” Shaun pretended offense.

“No, there really isn’t.”

Shaun pushed speed dial to get his favorite pizza place on the line. After ordering an extra large pizza with double meat he sat on the couch and lived the dream he’d always wished for of spending the night eating pizza and talking with his son.

22 thoughts on “Welcome to Day 11!

  1. I found a blurb for Kissing Orion, but I can’t find it online to purchase.  What happened?

    Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

  2. I think this is one of the few of your books that I have not read, it is going on the TBR list.

  3. I loved this book and have read it so many times, I’d love either an extended version or a sequel just to find out what happens next.

  4. I’d forgotten about this book. Thanks for reminding me. Another one I need to re-read.

Comments are closed.