Forged in Moonfire (Amber Lee Mysteries Book 4)(7)

By: Katerina Martinez

He is weak, Aaron wanted to say. He abandoned his family and fled to a different state without saying a word. If he was having problems with his wife he should have stuck around and fixed them, not run away into the desert. Aaron wanted to be nothing like his father. He’d show them how much stronger he was.

Aaron caught the rumbling sound in the air at the same time that Jackal did. She perked up, went around Aaron and watched the road leading up to the hub. There, riding on the backs of large bikes, was the rest of the pack. Made up of four large bikes and a car, the convoy of burly men would have been hard to miss coming up the mountain road. If there were humans around, they would have heard this ruckus; but the pack didn’t much seem to care.

In fact, it seemed as though they enjoyed the fanfare their engines were causing.

At the front of the pack, on a heavy black bike with a wolf’s jaw around the headlight, rode Aaron’s father. His dirty blond locks flowed in the dying sun like silk in the wind, and even from this distance Aaron could see the blue of his eyes. Sharp. Predatory. Authoritative. And deep in the cage within his chest, the place where the wolf lived, Aaron felt a trickle of excitement. He wanted to drop to all fours and howl into the sky and proclaim his heritage. I’m one of you! he would say with that single primal howl. But he wasn’t one of them. Not yet.

Jackal cocked her head over her shoulder, grinned, and said “Oh and Aaron; try not to smell so… new.”


The vehicles pulled into the hub in a rumbling roar of chrome and rubber. Some of the bikes pulled spins in the hub, their rear tires screeching so loud the sound sent birds scattering out of trees in a panic. Others parked up next to Jackal’s car, their riders dismounting and pulling keys from their metallic steeds.

Aaron’s father came to a slow halt in front of Aaron. He slipped his left leg off the seat, kicked up the tire stand, and switched the bike off with a turn of the key. Aaron’s heart was starting to pound hard against his chest. Strangers! Enemies! It was just as it had been with Jackal at the tattoo parlor, only now Aaron had a sliver of control which he was desperately hold onto. But the cracks in his composure were starting to show. His forearms were starting to hurt as the muscles began to stretch and pull and rip. He flexed his fingers and thought of Amber and her sweet copper hair and the pain ceased, but his heart refused to slow.

“It’s alright, son,” his father said, extending a hand in a greeting gesture.

But before Aaron could take his father’s hand a man came barreling from the rack of bikes, striding hard across the hub like a bull across a bullfighting ring. He had a full head of unkempt black hair, thick brows, deep brown eyes, and a jaw like a bulldog. The man was easily a head taller than even Aaron, and he was coming in hot; cocked, locked, and ready to rock.

“This is Marcus’ son?” he asked in a tone that was half mock, half threat. Aaron could see that his neck was strained, veins popping out from over his black shirt. He might have looked like a wrestler, charging at his opponent. Hell, he might even have been a wrestler for all Aaron knew.

Aaron shifted his body side-face, clenched his fists again—fully aware of the sharp nails that had begun to grow from the tips of his fingers—and prepared to defend himself. The guy was big, but that probably made him slow. Aaron had been in a fight with a bigger guy before, back in school. Aim for the knees, he told himself, bring him down fast and hard so that they can all see what you’re made of.

The bull charged right past Aaron’s father and made a run at Aaron, challenging him with his body if not his words. Aaron noticed that his father hadn’t stopped the mad rush of his pack-mate but he didn’t have time to question it, nor would he do so loudly at any rate.

A fist flew at Aaron’s face. Aaron jerked to the right, clasped the man’s thick arm, and pulled it round his back but the man’s elbow shot into Aaron’s face like a shotgun blast and cracked his nose. Aaron staggered back a few steps as gushes of blood fell from his face. His heart was racing now, hammering. He was changing shape now, too; his eyebrows were thickening, the bones in his forehead reshaping to create tough ridges of flesh and marrow, and his teeth were starting to elongate… painfully.