Hunger of the Dragon [Fury 11]

By: Marcy Jacks

Chapter One

“Here you go, sweetie.”

Doug Jones nodded his thanks, cupping his trembling hands around the warm mug of tea the waitress put in front of him.

“You sure you’re doing all right?”

“I’m good. Don’t worry.”

He didn’t have any excuse for it, like a vitamin imbalance or a high sugar level. His shaking was for another reason entirely, a reason he didn’t think he wanted to share with a complete stranger.

Not with the Dog Catchers seemingly listening around every corner.

Doug was alone in the world now. He no longer had a mate to protect him. It wouldn’t be the best idea in the world if he went around advertising that he was an omega wolf shifter.

Not when the Dog Catchers wanted to bring in all canine shifters, fox shifters, cat shifters…

In fact, they wanted to sink their own proverbial claws into most shifters. Since Doug didn’t want to die, he was going to keep his mouth shut.

“Look, hun, if you need something to eat, just let me know.”

Doug shook his head.

She didn’t give up. “I’ve got blood sugar problems, too. I can bring you a lemonade if you like.”

“I’m not diabetic,” he said, which she likely didn’t believe when he reached for the sugar packets, his fingers still trembling.

Go away. Please, just go away.

The waitress eyed him. She was a middle-aged woman. She might have one of those things that pricked her skin to check her blood sugar in the back. Doug couldn’t blame her for assuming what was wrong with him, but he didn’t want her sympathy. He just wanted to pay her the dollar for the tea and be left alone.

Thankfully, she did back off, heading off to check on another table.

Doug sighed, holding the mug in both hands as he brought it to his lips.

He wished his body would stop. He’d been trembling ever since he’d done it.

He’d broken off his mating with Peter.

A mating. The deepest connection a wolf could have with someone. It was gone. Forever.

Doug didn’t know anyone who had ever done it. He’d only heard stories.

Back before his pack completely imploded and everyone…

Well, whatever, he wasn’t going to think about that. It would just make the shaking that much worse.

But he’d heard that for a shifter to willingly break off a mating, to sever that mental connection with their mate, that break was supposed to be as painful as willingly breaking his own finger.

He could now say for an absolute fact that it was true.

It had been like a barrier in his mind. A powerful force that had once comforted him by its mere presence.

He imaged there had been a sledgehammer next to it, something heavy, but he could still lift it if he tried.

He'd never tried. He'd never wanted to touch that sledgehammer or that wall. He'd wanted to keep them right where they were.

Until recently.

It started out with just touching the hammer. Closing his eyes, imagining his fingers around the handle.

Except it hurt to touch. He could lift it, but it hurt, compelled him to put it down, to walk away.

He'd done that for months. Never taking his swing.

Nothing stopped him, but there was always…something there. Something pushing him away.

Instinct to protect the mating? Possibly.

All he knew was that when he finally swung on that wall, it was the most painful act of his life. He'd shattered the wall with one swing, and felt as though he'd broken something in the process for his trouble.

Except he hadn’t willingly broken one finger. He’d broke all ten of them. In two different places each.

Doug had screamed to high heaven when he’d done it. For a brief second, he wished he hadn't done it. The pain was too much to bear, and he could hardly breathe. Peter hadn’t been with him at the time. Doug felt kind of badly for that. He imagined what the other man must have done after his own pain hit, after he recovered and realized what happened.

Maybe he would be relieved. Peter had never really wanted him. Peter had loved someone else. Someone who was probably dead now after what happened to their pack.

It had been a year since the main outbreak of the alpha sickness. The disease that made the alphas lose their damned minds and go on the attack.

They attacked and killed without hesitation. Their eyes crazed, their teeth dripping in the blood of their friends.