A heartfelt thank you is in order! Last week's freebie offers saw hundreds of you downloading the English version of the boxset of the first three books in the Luna series.
And to my Italian Lunatics, over a hundred of you embraced the Italian version. Your unwavering support and enthusiasm have made this giveaway an international success!
Someone asked about a mysterious character in the first chapter of “Lycan Legacy – Penumbra.” Although he had no dialog, I still think of him often. The opening scene of this book is one of my favorites, as I always strive to drag the reader into Luna's world with a thrilling sequence from the very beginning. Here's an excerpt from Chapter 1:
The snarling black bear raced through the underbrush, intent on mayhem. Only the snapping of twigs warned me of his presence. Something had muted his scent.
I sprinted, jerking left and right through the forest, confident that I could outrun the fastest bear.
Then he hit me from behind, bowling me over to roll around on the forest floor. The contents of my backpack spilled haphazardly where his claws had slashed it open.
How did a bear become faster than a werewolf?
No time for reflection. I used the momentum of his attack to roll, abandoning the pack in mid-air. I sprang to my feet and sprinted even faster than before. My invisible handbag slapped against my side as I ran. I snugged the strap tighter.
I triggered an oxygen boost to ramp up my metabolism, which made me almost ten times as fast. It was a desperate last resort, as it could only last a few minutes before burnout.
This early morning stroll had turned into a hunt.
Maybe he would stop and rip through the food in the destroyed pack?
No such luck. The thumping sound of four feet pushing his thousand-pound body at race-car speed echoed through the forest.
I risked one look back. His paws moved at stroboscopic speed, pushing him faster and faster.
What the hell was this thing? No bear could be this fast, this strong. Even shape-shifting were-bears couldn’t do what this bear was doing. And he didn’t smell like a were, didn’t feel like a were. Demon possessed? No hint of sulfur, just the overlay of motor oil, like he had rummaged through a junkyard to look for food.
Even my fastest speed wasn’t enough to let me get away from this monster. Sure, I was extending my lead, but I was getting tired and couldn’t keep up this pace much longer. This creature didn’t seem to be breathing hard.
I raced through the midday forest, searching desperately for the perfect tree. Not too big, not too small. I could climb like a squirrel, but if the tree were large enough, so could black bears. If the tree were too small, the monster would shake it enough to knock me down.
There it was! The right size, but with no convenient low branches for me to use for vaulting up.
Okay, we’ll do this the hard way.
I lost half a step as my foot claws popped out, destroying my boots. Without the boots, I was slightly faster. Even better, I could use my claws in climbing.
I had only done this trick once before, goaded by desperation and fear during an attack from my former alpha.
One microsecond before hitting the tree, I extended one foot to hit the trunk. My claws dug into the bark, and I pulled up with that leg while pushing off the ground with my other leg.
The result was that I converted my horizontal motion to vertical motion up the tree. It also concentrated all my weight and considerable momentum on one foot. I ignored the pain as multiple bones in my foot broke.
I scaled twenty feet of tree and was reaching for a convenient limb when the bear hit the trunk below.
The tree shook like a willow in the wind, way too much tumult for a twenty-year-old tree hit by a thousand-pound bear.
The limb I had barely touched jittered from my grasp. For an instant, I hung in space, and a series of images of what would happen if I hit the forest floor flashed through my mind. A desperate grab with my left hand got two claws on the limb.
Instead of continuing my scramble up the tree, this left me hanging like a ripe piece of fruit twenty feet above the ground.
Surely, he can’t jump high enough to touch me. I have time to regain my spot on the limb.
My inner wolf overrode my hopes, jerking my legs up to my chest. This nearly dislodged my tenuous grip on the branch. That wasn’t necessary.
I finally got my right hand on the branch, matching my left-handed grip.
Then the bear’s fangs bit me in the ass. Luckily, he only got a bit of meat, a lot of pants, and renewed energy from me.
Only now I held my weight plus the weight of the bear. The branch bent down, further and further, as my grip weakened.
What would give first, my grip or the bear’s teeth?
My pants gave in first, ripping like tissue paper.
I almost laughed when the bear was dumped to the ground and the now unweighted tree limb sprang up, pole vaulting me to the next big branch, nearly forty feet above the ground.
This limb was much thinner, but still strong enough to hold my weight. I wrapped my body around it and crawled back to the bole of the tree.
I sat astride the limb and took inventory. Right foot, multiple fractures; right butt cheek, gored by bear teeth; body, exhausted but alive. Miraculously, I still had the invisible bag that stored my magical goodies. Not that any of these would help against this monster.
One deep breath to calm my racing heart and turn off the oxygen mask spell, then I leaned over to examine my opponent. Maybe he had gotten killed from that fall? Or at least knocked himself unconscious?
No such luck. He was scrambling around, spitting mad. Then he stood on his hind feet, opened his mouth wide, and screamed in anger.
“Too bad, Yogi!” I shouted. “I’m way up here, and you’re way down there. Even if you climb up, I’ll just jump to another tree. Go back to your damn den.”
A two-inch diameter tube poked out of his open maw.
“What the hell is that?” I muttered. “Did he eat a lead pipe?”
Then my innate bullet radar screamed in my skull.
He’s got a built-in rocket launcher! I thought just before he fired.
I hate to leave you hanging (just like Luna in that excerpt), but the action doesn't stop there. If this snippet piqued your interest, click here to dive deeper into “Lycan Legacy – Penumbra.”
Shifting our focus back to the bear, he's a product of experiments overseen by the US Army. His story and the ensuing clash with Luna were deeply moving. And, speaking of leaving things hanging, I realized I left our cyborg bear's story unfinished in that book. So, I've decided he'll make a comeback in a future Luna installment. Curious about Yogi's fate? Stay tuned to the series to find out.
Thank you for being a part of Luna's journey. Your dedication to reading our tales means the world to us.
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