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The Fanged Hour

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Sin City, a place where rules don't exist and happily ever afters? Well, they are meant to be kept in fairytales, they have no place in real life! Or do they? Terisa Seale learned at a young age that blood doesn't necessarily mean bonds and family isn't always what it seems, leaving her jaded and guarded to the idea that happily ever afters even existed. Terisa's father died when she was ten, and what she thought was the perfect life came crashing down around her. Months after Terisa's mother Kaity met her second chance mate, Wade Damien and made a choice that affected life as Terisa and her brother knew. Fifteen years later, Terisa and her brothers find themselves at a crossroads. After being prideless for most of their lives and learning to only rely on each other, Terisa has to choose between holding onto the pain that has made her what she is or allowing herself to become vulnerable once again.

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It was almost like I had watched the scene play out a thousand times before. Just as the lights went out my eyes flew open. My younger brothers Andrew and Nikolas were hovering over me inches from my face, a look of panic and sheer fear plastered on each of their faces. This wasn't the first time I had this nightmare, no, this nightmare played on a constant loop and I always seem to wake up at the same time, in the same place and I haven't been able to figure out the meaning behind it.

"Risa?" Nikolas softly said as he moved back, giving me some much needed space. I started to sit up in my bed with the assistance of Andrew. He steadied my shaking body as I shifted. Then the looks came, the knowing look my brother's always got when they knew I was hiding something from them. I had a horrible poker face, and the boys always seemed to know when to call my bluff. I was waiting this time to see if either would.

Andrew, Nikolas, and I have been on our own for the last fifteen years and as far as I was concerned that wasn't going to change anytime soon. "Niko, it was just a nightmare, relax." I said to my baby brother who was now sitting at the end of my bed. He was the one I worried about most. Nikolas was empathic like I was, he always knew without me having to say anything that something was wrong. It was a bond he and I shared together, even though it drove me crazy I was thankful for it. I took a quick survey of the bedroom and realized that my double bed was definitely not big enough for the three of us to be curled up on like when we were children. When the boys were little we used to build blanket forts on my bed and pretend we were anything we wanted to be. As children you don't learn what the world is really like, well at least you aren't supposed to.

"Risa, this is the fourth one in two days. You need to talk to us about it." Andrew calmly said. I knew he was right, I had been bottling up so much for so long that it was probably negatively affecting my sleeping ability. I didn't know what to say, or where to even start. They knew this nightmare as well as I did, it wasn't a random occurrence anymore. I couldn't talk, as much as I tried to explain it, like I had every other time to no avail. I was only able to lean into my brother's chest and sob silently as the memories that the nightmare triggered came flooding back to the forefront of my mind.


I have been raising my brothers basically since I was ten years old. Our father Mathis Seale was a scout for the Stormy Canyon pride located in Willow Beach, Nevada. He was sent on a secret mission by the king of the pride himself. King Richard had selected my father because he was the best scout that the pride had to offer. He was cunning, wise and above all else dedicated to the pride. Richard wanted to know in advance what he was sending his men into, therefore our father’s services were desperately required.

Our father was sent to investigate a rumor the King had heard. A rumor that had been brought to the King's attention through the grapevine regarding a rival pride strengthening their alliances and advancing closer to our region near the Arizona- Nevada border. The Nightshade pack my father was sent to assist was one of the last true remaining alliances we had; others had become corrupted and now, everything was about money, land and pride. Our father took his position in the pride just about as seriously as he took his duties of being our father. Andrew, Nikolas and I were loved beyond measure within the pride, we were Mathis’s children, we would be the next great scouts of the Stormy Canyon pride.

I remember it so well, it's like a movie with a moment in time that is playing on repeat in my head constantly. Dad had come in, he sat my mother down at the kitchen table and he told her what the King had asked. She begged and pleaded for him to say no, to not go but it wasn't in his blood to disobey a direct order. Our mother always hated when dad was sent away for any length of time. As I grew up I started to wonder if it's just because she hated raising us, or was worried for him.

That particular October evening seemed colder than most other days. The temperature outside had hit forty-six degrees and while you would think being in Nevada would be warm, you would be thinking wrong. The three of us sat beside each other on the grey carpet steps we had just ran down and waited. Dad told us he was called away for work, he didn't know how long it would take but that the king requested he go. He gave us all a kiss on the forehead and reminded us how much he loved us. "Take care of your brothers Terisa, no matter what. You three are stronger together than you ever will be apart." My dad whispered in my ear before he left. We didn't know it then, but that moment was the last one we would ever have with him. I didn't know the weight of his words until much later in life.

Six weeks later I found my mother Kaity crying in agony on the floor of her conjoining bathroom. I knelt by my mother's head as she sobbed, repeating the words "he's gone" over and over. It turned out that our father had been slaughtered, his life snuffed out before he could really see what any of us became. Rumors said our father had been attacked on his return from Nightshade Pride. When he was supposed to meet up with the rest of our pride, the warriors who were going to aid the Nightshade Pride. Those warriors and hunters never made it back to the allied pack. Our king began to believe that shady dealings were in fact taking place.

Richard believed that Jared the new King of the Nightshade Pride had called for aid as a trap and now, the alliance was disintegrated and my father was dead. From that day on my mother was a different woman. She was hardly around, and when she was she was intoxicated which was especially hard for shifters like us. Similar to werewolves, our tolerance to substances is much higher than the average humans which means we would need to consume much more liquor to feel its effects the way my mother was.

I kept remembering my father's final words to me. “You are stronger together than you ever are apart,” I’ve kept those words with me every day. I made it my mission in life to make sure Nikolas and Andrew were taken care of. I tried to shield them from our mother's drunken rants as much as I could. I actually enjoyed the days she stayed out late or just never came home because those nights made the ache my heart was feeling over the loss of my father slightly more bearable. This trend continued, weeks passed and Kaity, as I had started to call her because she lost the right to the title of mom, had been missing in action for two weeks. This was the longest that she had been on one of her booze-riddled benders. It had been five months now, five long, terrifying, exhausting months since the news broke of my father. My mother started falling so far down the rabbit hole that she was of little use to us anyways.

"...Happy Birthday dear Risa. Happy Birthday to you." Andrew and Nikolas sang proudly. It was my Eleventh birthday today. I had learned to make simple cakes from the box when I was little, I watched Kaity make them and sometimes even helped out. Blowing out the candles I made the traditional birthday wish, one that I would very soon grow to regret. I cut them each a slice of the vanilla cake and we sat at the kitchen table together. What the three of us didn't know was that our lives were about to change drastically the next morning that led us on a completely different path, one we couldn't even begin to imagine.


"Earth to Terisa!" Nikolas said, waving his hand in front of my face. I blinked a few times, clearing the last of the memories from my mind. "Sorry guys, really I'm fine. It was just a nightmare, they aren't even real." I said trying to sound as believable as possible. I knew my brothers wouldn't believe the sorry attempt, this wasn't the first time I had woken them up screaming, thrashing and soaked with tears and sweat. I knew they were getting worried about me but I needed to remain strong and never let them see me like I was that night again. "Bullshit!" Andrew blurted out, not even bothering to be discreet. I rolled my eyes, I didn't have time for their overprotective attitudes. "Risa…" Nikolas pouted and I sighed.

"Really, boys, it was just another nightmare. I am okay. I promise." I said and that finally made them relax a little bit. "What's on the agenda for today?" I asked the two of them knowing I would get the same answer I always did, work. "We have a meeting with a potentially new client in Henderson in a couple hours." Andrew said proudly. The boys had started a roofing business together last year and it had really taken off. I smiled at no one in particular. I would get the details after I got home from work myself. "Alright, out now, the both of you. I need to get dressed." I said, trying very subtly to dismiss them from my presence. Andrew and Nikolas shared a long sideways glance with one another but eventually caved and left me alone to get ready for my day.

I was the personal assistant to the owner of the Emerald Island Casino in Henderson. I have been working there since the day after my twenty-first birthday. I quickly made my way over to the closet on the far end of my room and began flipping through different outfits until I finally settled on a navy blue mid thigh pencil skirt and a long sleeve cream blouse with a high neckline and cuffed sleeves. Wandering back over to my dresser I opened the top drawer and grabbed a rolled up pair of nude tights. I made quick work of getting into the outfit I chose before grabbing the hair brush off the top of the dresser. I began running it through my wavy caramel brown hair which sat just below my shoulder.

I had just enough time to get my makeup done if I wanted to eat breakfast with the boys before heading in to work for the day. I kept my makeup simple using mostly a black mascara and eyeliner combination with minimal eyeshadow. I had crystal blue eyes and I wanted to make them pop a little more. After taking one last look in the mirror I grabbed my purse and headed out of my room, down the hall and to the kitchen. There was an everything bagel with herb and garlic cream cheese sitting on the counter with a glass of orange juice beside it. Andrew and Nikolas were sitting at the kitchen table going over the details for the potential client they were hoping to sign this afternoon.

"So tell me more about this client of yours, what's the job?" I asked them as I sat in my spot at the table. "Don't know yet." Andrew replied, barely looking up from the paper in his hand. "A company out of Las Vegas is looking to have a whole bunch of houses redone for property they have inquired about in Henderson." Nikolas explained, taking a sip of his coffee. "Sounds fascinating, but why Las Vegas?" I asked, chewing my food. Nikolas and Andrew shared another sideways glance with each other and this time I was ready to call them out on their crap when my phone started buzzing in my pocket. I quickly pulled it out and looked at the caller ID, K. Damien, I ignored it and shoved the phone back into my pocket. This was the seventh call in the last two days and I just couldn't understand why my point wasn't getting across.

"I'm going to be late if I don't head out. I'll see you guys for dinner tonight." I said waving to my brothers before turning around and leaving the apartment. Something about today seemed off, I didn't know what it was exactly, but something was causing the electric air that was surrounding me. I could feel the static prick my skin as I walked across my building's parking lot to get to my white Nissan Altima. I didn't have a long drive from Boulder City where we lived now to Henderson where I worked. I planned to use the drive to try and figure out why Kaity has been calling me nonstop after all these years, and if I really wanted to open that can of worms back up.

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