It’s been a while since I posted here, but life has been crazy! So, I’m finally back, and here’s a new snippet! This is from Zero Tolerance, the prequel to the First Blood trilogy. The fun part about this prequel is that it can be read completely outside the series as a standalone novel. It wraps up the story completely. If you’ve read the series, this book gives you more insight as to past events. For most effective reading order in the series, read this before Third House.
Avery and I set our bags down against the wall near the door and headed toward the mat. While I stopped at the mat’s edge, he continued walking onto it until he faced the gorilla shifter, who gave him a wicked grin. Both took defensive stances, and I held my breath.
“Give me all you’ve got, and don’t worry about hurting me,” Smith warned. “I can take it.”
I was positive he could, but I wasn’t so sure about Avery. Without warning, my friend shifted and dove at Smith like he’d done to me yesterday morning, only Smith shifted just as fast, grabbed Avery right before his teeth could latch on, picked him up, and tossed him across the mat. Okay, tossed wasn’t the right word. Chucked was more like it.
The snow leopard hit the ground hard, stunned, and took too long to recover, giving Smith the upper hand, allowing Avery to be chucked to the other side of the mat. That blow sparked something in Avery I hadn’t seen yet, and he stood, turning bared teeth toward Smith. For the next ten minutes, the two exchanged blows. Avery was a much better fighter than I’d given him credit for during our Interview. I was likely our weakest link that day and he’d been making up my slack.
When he was satisfied, Smith shifted to his human self, a very naked human self, and ordered Avery to stand down. Both shifters’ clothes had shredded upon shifting, which was another good reason for Avery to bring a second set. He limped over to his bag, but Smith stopped him halfway to it.
“Don’t bother, kid. You’ll be shifting again. In fact, I want you to work with Fennel and Cage for the next hour. Bobcats, don’t kill him. We need him alive and learning.”
The two cats were already shifted and now eyed the bigger cat approaching them. I would’ve guessed that Avery could take them since they were smaller, but the wicked grins they gave him didn’t bode well for Avery’s future. Neither did the wicked grin cast my way from Smith.
“Now, you’re the one who interests me,” he drawled. “I’ve never fought beside or against your kind, but I’ve heard stories.”