Trial by Fire, sequel to Jenn Lynn Barnes's fantastic Raised by Wolves, is published by Quercus in the UK tomorrow, and to celebrate we have a cool chapter trail for you to follow. Four blogs are taking part, and there will be four extracts posted in total. You'll be able to find the next part of the chapter over at Girls Without a Bookshelf very soon.
“No more school, no more books, no more teachers’ dirty looks . . .”
For a two-hundred-twenty-pound werewolf, Devon Macalister had a wicked falsetto. Leaning back in his chair with casual grace, he shot a mischievous look around our lunch table. “Everyone sing along!”
As the leader of our little group–not to mention the alpha of Devon’s pack and his best friend since kindergarten–the responsibility for shutting down his boy-band tendencies fell to me. “It’s Thanksgiving break, Dev, not summer vacation, and technically, it hasn’t even started yet.”
My words fell on deaf ears. The smile on Devon’s face widened, making him look–to my eyes, at least–more puppy than wolf. To my left, Lake, whose history with Devon’s ﬂare for the dramatic stretched back almost as far as mine did, rolled her eyes, but her lips parted in a grin every bit as irrepressible and lupine as Devon’s.
A wave of energy–pure, undiluted, and animalistic–vibrated through my own body, and I closed my eyes for one second . . . two.
In control of the impulse to leap out of my chair and run for the woods, I glanced across the table at the last member of our little quartet. Maddy was sitting perfectly still, blinking her gray eyes owlishly, a soft smile on her lips. Images–of the night sky, of running–leapt from her mind to mine through our pack-bond, as natural as words falling off lips.
The impending full moon might have been giving the rest of our table werewolf ADD, but Maddy was perfectly Zen– much more relaxed than she normally would have been when all eyes were on the four of us.
Despite our continued efforts to blend in, the buzz of power in the air and the unspoken promise that within hours, my friends would shed their human skin were palpable. I recognized the feeling for what it was, but our very human–and easily fascinated–classmates had no idea. To them, the four of us were mysterious and magnetic and just a bit unreal–even me.
In the past nine months, my life had changed in more ways than I could count, but one of the most striking was the fact that at my new high school, I wasn’t an outsider, ignored and avoided by humans who had no idea why people like Devon and Lake–and to a lesser extent me–felt off. Instead, the other students at Weston High had developed a strange fascination with us. They didn’t approach. They didn’t try to penetrate our tight-knit group, but they watched and they whispered, and whenever Devon–Devon!–met their eyes, the girls sighed and ﬂuttered their eyelashes in some kind of human mating ritual that I probably wouldn’t have completely understood even if I’d grown up like a normal girl.
Given that I’d been raised as the only human child in the largest werewolf pack in North America, the batting of eyelashes was every bit as foreign to me as running through the woods, surrounded by bodies and warmth and the feeling of home, would have been to anyone else. Some days, I felt like I knew more about being a werewolf than I would ever know about being a teenage girl.
It was getting easier and easier to forget that I was human.
Soon. Soon. Soon.
The bond that tied me to the rest of the pack vibrated with the inevitability of the coming moon, and even though I knew better than to encourage Devon, I couldn’t help the way my own lips tilted up at the corners. The only things that stood between the four of us and Thanksgiving break were a couple of hours and a quiz on Shakespeare.
The only thing standing between us and delicious, feral freedom was the setting of the sun.
And the only thing that stood between me and Chase–my Chase–was a distance I could feel the boy in question closing mile by mile, heartbeat by heartbeat, second by second.