Leaving the Pack
This is my debut novel, published by Tirgearr Publishing on May 16th 2014.
What’s it all about? It’s about werewolves.
But nobody believes in werewolves.
That’s just what Paul McHew and his friends are counting on.
They and their kind roam our city streets: a race of people from whom the terrible legend stems; now living among us invisibly after centuries of persecution through fear and ignorance. Superficially Caucasian but physiologically very different, with lunar rhythms so strong that during the three days of the full moon they are almost completely controlled by
their hormonal instincts, you might have cursed them as just another group of brawling youths or drunken gang-bangers. Now at the point of extinction, if they are to survive their existence must remain restricted to mere stories and legend, but, paradoxically, they also must marry outside their society in order to persist.
The original cover:
The responsibility for negotiating this knife-edge is given to Paul, who runs the streets with his friends during the full moon, keeping them out of real trouble and its resultant difficult questions. Having succeeded for years, he finds his real test of leadership comes when he meets Susan, a potential life-mate, to whom he will have to reveal his true identity if he is ever to leave his pack.
As I said on the “about me”page: 10% of the author’s royalties will be donated to WWF, the World Wildlife Fund.
You can get it here: Leaving the Pack
And at your local Amazon store here….
This is the brand new cover to celebrate the publication of Book Two and Three….
And here’s an excerpt to whet your appetite…
Paul promptly caught another taxi home to get ready, eager to reunite with the gang, as Susan had called them. They weren’t really a gang, but that was how they appeared to outsiders and how it was easiest to explain to them. Paul and his companions thought of themselves as a pack.
The pack had no name, nor did it need one. Few people knew they existed, which was how they wanted it to be, how it had to be. It seemed to Paul that the pack had always run together and he hoped that they would for years to come. It would not be exactly as it now was, if but the pack itself could continue to exist, then he would be happy. The members, though they had never changed before, could not remain the same indefinitely. All would leave when their time came—his own nearing now—and others would replace them.
If they had to disband the pack, he would be responsible. He was the one chosen to control them, to make sure that their energies were channeled into acceptable activities. It usually went very well. They met every full moon and for three days they roamed the city and its suburbs, seeking women and thrills, drinking heavily and generally disrupting the lives of the inhabitants in an effort to expend the energy that surged through them all night. Only in daylight did they rest, the sun seeming to drain them of strength.
Discarding his soiled clothes, he began to shave the thick stubble which had grown on his face since the previous evening. His beard was heavy, reaching up to just underneath the top of his high cheekbones. He used an open razor, sliding the blade over his jaw and throat confidently. As he watched the skin pressed by the sharp steel, he mused that tonight, once more, he would walk a knife edge when he stepped out under the full moon. As the sun descended on these days, so his blood rose, taking him high above normality and creating a vacuum on either side, into which his fall seemed eagerly awaited. He rode along the ridge of blackness, galloping on a sword blade with the void on either side, its weight drawing him down, its depths calling to him, willing him into its unseen softness, its unimaginable seduction. But he disregarded its voice, ignored the ease with which he could sink, slip over the side into its luxurious violence.
Every night it was like that, staying just back from the brink. Often, he had brought himself to that verge in order to test his own ability to refuse that urge, to remind himself of its existence, its position, and the need to tread carefully when circumstances took him, sometimes almost uncontrollably, towards that precipice, so he would never be caught unawares by the temptation. He had leaned over many times, looked deep into the maw of that emptiness, and sometimes it was all he was able to do to drag himself back out against the force of its velvet gravity, to deny the smooth-voiced assertion that he belonged within its depths. So far, he had succeeded, had not succumbed to its suave argument.
Though violence frequently reared its head, the pack rarely broke the law in any serious way. They always ensured there was no interaction with the police – the police asked awkward questions.
As he strode along the darkening streets, his thoughts slipped back to Susan. He had been as entranced as he knew she had. He’d never before felt like he did then, sitting and conversing with her. She was beautiful and challenging. He had never felt a need to go out of his way to impress someone before, but he had used everything he knew to enrapture that girl. A part of him knew that he could, at any time after the dance, have asked her to get her jacket and she would have brought him home, but that would have been cheating. He could have done that with anyone. However, he sensed that if he had met her three days earlier, the same would not apply. Even then, she had done her best to level the playing field, to deny him the advantage he had over her. She was extremely strong-willed and exuded an inner strength he had encountered in few people. He felt she was a person who would stick to her principles in the face of anything opposing them, and that drew him to her.
Another part of him had known immediately that she was not to be like the others. He had wanted to talk to her so that he could be sure and would be truthful that morning when he told her he would be back. He’d seen, somehow, that he would never want to say goodbye, or ever tire of this beautiful creature, who felt, smelled and tasted so good. He could love her for life.
That thought, however, brought with it more baggage than he cared to deal with right now. In the middle of the very time his life was postponed, when all of his existence was condensed into these appetites and experiences, he was now confronted with something which could completely change the course of his normal life and signal the end of this periodic suspension in its present form, the only form he knew, and lead to a distillation of a different kind, one he wasn’t sure he would like the taste of. Unfortunately, he didn’t think he could simply defer his thoughts until after the sun sank next evening.
The gloaming was marching as he approached the sea. He could smell the brine of low tide on the estuary wafting in on the humid air. Above, the jet-streaks in the sky were dull grey in the twilight and the moon would rise clear over the water. A distant howl carried over the concrete to him. It quickened his pulse and made him smile excitedly. How could he contemplate life without that sound, without that tremor, that extra heartbeat which made the world spin a little slower and the detail of instants so much clearer? But his previous train of thought brought him to the same destination: he had been pondering this for some time. He knew, had known all along, that the pack was not an end but a means, and the meaning would not last for him, for anyone, forever. He had been waiting for just this kind of event to happen. Nevertheless, despite his expectation, his anticipation even, he had been taken by surprise. He’d just never imagined that after so many nights, moons, years of roaming, he would have been so utterly overwhelmed by emotion.