Wednesday, November 16, 2016

WIP Wednesday: Meet Adrian, an adorable fail!wolf

Last week I shared a snippet from Camp H.O.W.L. so you could meet Tate, a Were psychologist who works as a camp counselor helping teenagers who need to learn to master their Shift. This week I'm introducing you to his toughest challenge yet--Adrian, the 27-year-old son of the Portland Alpha who never hit his Werewolf puberty. Weres Turn when they're nineteen, so when that year came and went, Adrian and his family adjusted to the news that he was human.

Until his 27th birthday rolls around and he finds himself hitting Were puberty--in the middle of a crowded city street. Adrian's pretty much the definition of a fail!wolf. I can't wait for you to get to know him! *g*

Camp H.O.W.L.

Adrian stopped at the crosswalk and took a sip of his coffee as he waited for the light to change. He nearly heaved when the bitter liquid spilled across his tongue. He’d ordered this drink dozens of times and it had always been sweet and smooth, nothing like this awful concoction. The taste of burnt coffee lingered in his mouth, held there by a syrupy residue that he could feel like a weight against his tongue. 

He licked against his teeth, trying to rid his tongue of the sensation. This entire day had been a nightmare, and he’d only been up for an hour. Even the hot shower he’d taken to try to loosen his tensed muscles and ease his headache had been a disaster. The hotel must have been having water pressure problems because the rain shower head had been anything but relaxing. The water had hit his skin like tiny missiles, leaving him feeling tender and raw afterward. 

The light changed and Adrian moved across the wide street with the smattering of people who’d been waiting near him. The man nearest him must have had his Bluetooth headset turned up to eleven--Adrian could hear every word. He glanced over, surprised that the nicely dressed businessman wasn’t more concerned about privacy. From what Adrian had heard, it sounded like the man was listening to an audiobook or pod cast that was describing a sex scene in lurid detail. No one around them looked the slightest bit scandalized, which made Adrian reevaluate some of his assumptions about Indianapolis. The book would have raised some eyebrows even in his liberal hometown of Portland, but it got nary a sideways glance here in the Heartland. 

Adrian brought his foot down hard on the curb and almost went sprawling, but the businessman he’d been watching grabbed him by the elbow and kept him on his feet. Adrian’s satchel swung forward and slammed into the man, the impact knocking one of his earbuds out. 

Adrian’s face flamed when a long, loud moan split the air, but no one noticed. The businessman gave him a concerned glance once he’d steadied Adrian on the sidewalk, but Adrian waved him off with a quick thanks. The book continued to play, muted slightly when the man tucked the earbud back into place.

Adrian stopped short, stepping to the side when another group of people went by. No one had heard. That’s why they hadn’t reacted. Because the man had been listening at normal volume, and even when the earbud had fallen out, no one had heard because it hadn’t been audible. 
Except he’d heard.

Adrian rubbed his hand across his face. What was going on? He was used to seeing his Packmates react to to things that were outside the register he could process, but he’d obviously never experienced that himself.

He'd never given much thought to what Were senses must be like. Sure, he'd seen his sister flinch when fire alarms went off, or noticed how irritable his family could get when they were in a loud, crowded restaurant. But mostly, the Weres he knew adapted to their heightened senses.

That couldn't really be what was happening, though. He didn't know anyone who had Were senses but not the ability to Shift. Not that he personally knew anyone born to Were parents who was a human—like him. But still. No one hit Were puberty at twenty-seven. Did they?

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