Blind Devotion

The Shifter Chronicles 3

by M.D. Grimm

(Beginnings Book Three)

In Haven, Montana, the shifters and their human allies are safe—for now. But that safety hinges on the town’s location remaining a secret, and it’s about to be compromised.

Cougar shifter Travis Kuger spent the past several years alternating between craving revenge and wishing he could forget his painful past. Ever since the shifter-hating Knights blinded him and killed his family, Haven—and Sheriff Jack Ulger—have been Travis’s refuge.

Travis and Jack know their friendship could be much more, but Jack is part of Haven’s ruling wolf shifter pack. If he takes a non-wolf mate, he could be banished forever. But when a knight infiltrates Haven, love becomes the least of their problems.

Second Edition with updated and revised text.

This book is on:
  • 1 To Be Read list
Published:
Publisher: Independently Published
Cover Artists:
Genres:
Tags:
Pairings: M-M
Heat Level: 4
Romantic Content: 4
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 26-35
Protagonist 2 Age: 26-35
Tropes: Forbidden Love, Friends to Lovers
Word Count: 48870
Setting: Montana
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Same Universe / Various Characters
Excerpt:

Several minutes later, he grinned wide when he recognized the large figure walking ahead of him. Jack jogged up to his friend. Travis stopped and turned, a smile on his broad face. The sun glinted off his shades, and Jack had to tip his head back, considering Travis was a good five inches taller.

“Morning, Sheriff,” Travis said.

“And a good morning it is,” Jack said. At least, he considered it a good morning, now that he was in Travis’s company. Jack noticed the two bags of groceries in the crook of Travis's left elbow while Travis held the cane out before him in his right.

“One of these days I’m going to wear different cologne and try to trick you,” Jack said. “Your sense of smell is just too damn good in this form.”

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Travis chuckled. “I’ve told you before, it’s not your scent. Or not just. Your gait also gives you away. And besides, who else would be crazy enough to take a stroll in this cold?”

Jack laughed. “Let me take those.” He grabbed the bags from Travis before his friend could protest. He continued down the sidewalk, Travis beside him. A few citizens were outside, starting their cars and shoveling out their driveways.

“You could have just taken one,” Travis said. But he didn’t make any attempt to get them back.

“I know,” Jack said, amused at the difference of reaction from years ago. He’d learned quickly that Travis’s initial hostility wasn’t anything personal. It mostly Travis trying to keep up barriers so he wouldn’t be hurt, as well as resisting any hint of pity. So Jack had done everything in his power to prove that he was trustworthy.

Then the mill incident on Halloween night and the aftermath. Jack swallowed hard. After that day, he’d done what his father told him and stepped away. The strangest part was, Travis didn’t seem the least bit surprised. Whenever they encountered each other, they were cordial, respectful, the banter easy without hostility, but it was a distant friendliness. Jack had hated it since he not only missed his friend but he’d developed a crush. Yet he wanted to make his father proud, and he believed the future he wanted could only be his if he listened to the old wolf.

“Todd get caught in the adult shop again?” Travis asked.

Jack shook himself back to the present. “How’d you know that was why I was here?”

“You came from the general direction of his house. Lucky guess.”

Jack knew it was more than a guess. Despite being blind, Travis “saw” better than anyone Jack had ever known.

“Yep, had to tell his parents this time. Cheeky cat.”

Travis chuckled. “Don’t tell me you never did something like that when you were a young wolf.”

Jack snorted. “Of course, I did. I just never got caught. Have you met my dad?”

They both laughed.

Jack lengthened his strides to match Travis’s. The guy was elegantly thick and tall, and yet he was the gentlest shifter Jack had ever met. Travis had a deep voice yet was soft-spoken. The children of the neighborhood adored Travis, and when he was younger, he used to happily babysit. He was so gentle and sweet, the kids called him their teddy bear, despite the fact he was a cougar shifter. Jack always wondered where all that gentleness came from, considering how biting Travis could be. Also, since cougars, more than any other feline shifter, weren’t known for being warm and fuzzy. Especially since most of the male cougars he’d met were smug assholes. Though the same could be said for wolves. Cougars were exquisitely efficient killing machines, built for sneaking up on their prey with enviable stealth and grace and taking it down in a way that minimized any chance of injury to themselves. Jack knew about prowling and predation, but he still could admire the particular beauty of a feline predator.

Feathered soft blond hair framed Travis’s face, and he had a sexy dusting of hair covering his chin. Jack knew Travis’s eyes used to be blue but the first and last time he’d seen them, they’d been disfigured. Travis never spoke of his blindness or the events surrounding it. Jack had his guesses, puzzle pieces picked up through the years. Yet he knew better than to pry.

His father never even wrote down whatever Trixie had told him all those years ago when Travis first arrived. Jack had searched every single file, both physical and digital and came up with nothing. If he wanted to learn about Travis’s past, he’d have to ask the source.

Travis turned left at exactly the right spot in front of his house. Jack would always marvel and appreciate how easily his friend navigated the world.

“You working on a new book?”

“Yeah. Delilah just returned from vacation so we’ll hopefully meet up in the next few days.” He took off his glove to pull his keys out of his pocket. He fingered the different keys before finding the right one.

“I still miss a step when I go up my own stairs,” Jack said. “You do it so smoothly.”

Travis snorted. “Not always. The second day after I bought the place was a delight. Splat, right there in front of everyone helping me move. But memory’s all I got, right?”

His tone was light, but Jack heard the dark undertone to Travis’s words.

“Must have been before I swung by.”

“Yeah, about thirty minutes. Surprised no one told you.”

“Del must have threatened them.”

“She’s good at that.”

COLLAPSE

If you enjoyed this story and want more of Jack and Travis, please check out their sequel, "Ghosts of Halloween Past." Available at Amazon and Smashwords.

About the Author

M.D. Grimm has wanted to write stories since second grade (kind of young to make life decisions, but whatever) and nothing has changed since then (well, plenty of things actually, but not that!). Thankfully, she has indulgent parents who let her dream, but also made sure she understood she’d need a steady job to pay the bills (they never let her forget it!). After graduating from the University of Oregon and majoring in English, (let’s be honest: useless degree, what else was she going to do with it?) she started on her writing career and couldn’t be happier. Working by day and writing by night (or any spare time she can carve out), she enjoys embarking on romantic quests and daring adventures (living vicariously, you could say) and creating characters that always triumph against the villain, (or else what’s the point?) finding their soul mate in the process.


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