Table of Contents

Book Cover
Trigger Warnings:
References to sexual assault; on-page gun violence
Author's Notes:
Was This Book Published in An Earlier Edition?: This book was previously published under the same title in 2012 by MLR Press. This edition has been revised and updated, and includes a Christmas-themed short story, "Tofurkey and Yams," set in the same universe; the short story was originally published separately by MLR in 2011

Book Info

Author:
Series:

Real Werewolves Don’t Eat Meat

Series Type:
Individual Stories Same world,
Number In Series:
2
Publisher:
Vegan Wolf Productions
Published:
8 September 2022
Book Type
Words:
94,586
Pages:
321
Tropes

Synopsis

A member of Boston North Pack is attacked by humans who say they were hired by a shifter. The same night, Melia, the wolf who changed Kyle Slidell, returns to Boston. The pack suspects Melia of arranging the attack, but Kyle believes someone else is behind it. He just doesn’t know who.

The following day, at the regional Alpha gathering in Pennsylvania, Kyle finds his answer. Saul Hughes, another Alpha, has a long-standing grudge against Tobias, Boston North’s Alpha and Kyle’s mate. Believing Tobias and Chal Torres, the other Boston-area Alpha, are both too weak to rule packs, Saul wants to take control of Boston North and City Pack. But no one suspects how far he’ll go to get it.

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Excerpt

I showered first, hurrying down the hall and back with one of the extra-large towels I’d found in the closet in our room wrapped around my waist. While Tobias was out of the room, I sat on the edge of the bed and looked out the window. I wasn’t sure what to wear on the first official day of Alpha-Con, so I wanted to see what he put on first.

By the time he returned from his shower, clad in a towel similar to mine, the noise in the hallway had died to nothing. “I think everyone else has gone downstairs,” he said. “Why are you still in a towel?”

“I’m waiting for my Alpha to order me into some clothes,” I replied.

He rolled his eyes and dressed in khaki slacks and a green button-down shirt I didn’t remember ever seeing him wear. He usually chose jeans and T-shirts. Or the denim cut-offs he’d worn most of the summer. I’d brought a royal blue shirt and grey slacks I generally wore to work. Taking Tobias’s lead, I put those on and we went out to the hall.

Only Suzannah hadn’t gone downstairs yet. She stood outside our room, arms folded, looking like she was close to tears. “Did something happen?” Tobias asked her.

“The Alpha of the Erie Pack happened.” She didn’t sound close to tears. She sounded pissed. “Homophobic piece of shit that he is. He stood here lecturing the pack members he brought with him about why they should avoid you two. I’d rather not even say the rest of the crap he spewed. Then he pretended he hadn’t noticed me standing here and asked what it was like being in a pack ruled by the weakest Alpha in North America.”

Tobias rested his hand on her shoulder. “Let it go, Suz,” he said quietly. Suzannah took a deep breath. “We can’t afford to be in conflict with anyone else here. You understand that, don’t you?”

“I understand.” Suzannah spoke in a monotone. “I don’t have to like him, though.”

“No, you don’t,” Tobias agreed. “Just avoid him as much as you can.”

His hand shook slightly when he took it off Suzannah’s shoulder. He was at least as pissed as she had been, which explained the amped-up compulsion. He would hide it better, of course; that was what alphas did. They didn’t display any sign of emotion if they could help it. I would have to persuade him to talk about it later on, when we had some time alone. Otherwise he would hold it in and explode at a time when it might not be warranted.

The three of us went down the front staircase. The closer we went to the first floor, the louder the shifter hubbub became. I wasn’t sure how many packs were in the northeast, but from the sound of it there had to be close to a hundred shifters gathered in the dining room and parlor. And kitchen, we discovered when we reached the first floor.

Basically, people were everywhere. Zane stood in the hallway at the foot of the stairs, acting as a traffic director, though I would have thought he’d have assigned that job to his assistants. “Good morning,” he said with a broad smile. “You three are the last down. We have a buffet set out on the kitchen island. Take what you like, eat where you like, and then we’ll all go downstairs.”

“We’re meeting in the basement?” Suzannah shuddered. Since she’d been kidnapped by Art, she could barely tolerate places without windows.

“The house is built into a hill,” Zane replied. “A slight one, but enough to allow the rear of the basement to open into the back yard. There are plenty of windows in the room where we’ll be meeting. It’s just the best room for meetings, since it’s large and soundproofed. Noise from outside or elsewhere in the house won’t distract or interrupt us. Don’t worry, it isn’t like a typical basement room. You aren’t the only wolf who becomes slightly claustrophobic, Suzannah.”

Her eyes widened. She obviously hadn’t expected the Arkhon to know that much about her. Neither had I, and I suspected even Tobias was surprised.

Then again, the Alpha of a pack often knew what his pack was thinking and feeling. It was part of the magic that made him Alpha. Given that, it made sense that the Arkhon would have that power with all wolves under his rule.

For Zane, that would be an awful lot of wolves. I couldn’t imagine being responsible for so many and having all their thoughts rolling around my brain. I struggled sometimes just with the mate bond Tobias and I shared.

Zane winked. “Arkhons know everything. Go have your breakfast, you three. I’ll see you downstairs. Tobias, your pack’s status is first on the agenda.”

“What about my mate?” Tobias tensed as he asked. I didn’t know whether anyone noticed except me.

“We will address that.” Zane’s attempt to avoid answering was paper-thin. “I’m not certain when yet. Probably toward the end of the day.”

Right. That way, when all the homophobes flip out, it’ll be easier to contain them.

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Exclusive Excerpt

 

A really random idea came to me, and I blurted it out before I could stop myself. “What if we had a child?”

“Werewolves have some magic, but not enough to make a guy pregnant,” he said in a teasing tone.

I swatted his leg. “I’m serious. We could adopt, maybe. Or even have a surrogate mother.” One of Jerry’s friends had done that with his partner. They’d become the parents of a baby girl carried by one of the partner’s cousins.

“Kyle.” Tobias took my hand and brought it to his cheek. “I love you, and if we could have children, it would be wonderful. But you may have noticed that there are no children in the pack?”

“Yeah.” The fact hadn’t really registered on me until now. In our pack, we had only adults. I wasn’t very familiar with any other packs, but I didn’t recall seeing any kids hanging around during the times I’d visited City Pack territory.

“Female shifters can’t bear children.” Tobias lay beside me, still holding my hand against his face. “They can become pregnant. If anything, I think shifters are more fertile than regular humans if they don’t take precautions. But the fetus can’t survive the shifting.” He paused and swallowed hard. “Except once, that I know of. One of the women in my first pack became pregnant and managed to carry the child almost to term.”

He shuddered, which gave me a pretty big clue that things hadn’t been quite right with that baby. “What happened?”

“The baby—it looked like it had been crushed. I don’t know how else to describe it.” He closed his eyes, then shook his head and opened them again. “Everything was shaped wrong. It couldn’t even suck, because its mouth wasn’t formed correctly. The doctors told Sheila and her mate that even if the baby survived, it would never have any kind of life. For a few days, they kept it on IV feedings, then Sheila and her mate decided to end the feedings. They didn’t want their child to suffer. It died the day the IV came out.”

I didn’t even want to think about what the child might have looked like. The revulsion on Tobias’s face was enough for me.

The way he’d told his story irked me, though. “Was the baby a boy or girl?”

“Boy. Why?”

“You kept saying ‘it.’ Whatever the child looked like, and whether he survived or not, he was still a living being.” Referring to a baby with a pronoun generally reserved for things just seemed wrong.

“You’re right,” he said quietly. “He. They named him Morgan. Morgan only lived four days. He was born seven weeks early. That’s the only case I know where a shifter’s baby has survived long enough to be born at all. Usually pregnant females miscarry during or immediately after their first shift.”

“That’s awful.” I could only imagine how hard it was for the women to know they would never have children. “I didn’t mean we should use a werewolf as a surrogate. I meant a human woman.”

“You don’t understand.” He looked into my eyes, and his brown eyes were wet. “There are no shifter babies. Males have impregnated human females before, and the babies have lived and grown up. They’re always human. I don’t know why. I guess whatever causes us to be shifters isn’t carried in the genes.”

“We could raise a human child,” I argued.

He shook his head. “It wouldn’t be safe, Kyle. Remember what I told you when we first got together?”

I remembered all too well. He’d tried to talk me out of becoming his lover because other packs might see it as a sign of weakness on his part, and because they might harm me to get to him.

The same thing they might do if we had a child.

“We could keep him or her safe somehow. Have guards or something.” I had no idea why it had suddenly become so important to me to have a child with Tobias. Something inside me wanted it so desperately I was almost in tears.

“And what if one of the pack accidentally attacked him or her in shifted form?” Tobias said. “God, Kyle, what if you or I did? There’s no way to keep a child safe among a pack of werewolves. The males who have children either leave the pack to stay with the children’s mothers or leave the mothers to stay with the pack. The kids don’t live with the pack. Ever.”

I pulled my hand free of his and turned away from him. Kids had never been high on my priority list. I’d even laughed at Jerry’s friends when they’d had their daughter. I tolerated children, but I hadn’t been a big fan of them.

Now, after spending the day playing with my nieces and nephew, I wanted a child. I wanted to build a family with the man I loved. The impulse made no sense to me at all, but I desperately wanted it.

And it would never happen.

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Paranormal Romance, Uncommon Hearts

Biography

Karenna Colcroft lives just north of Boston, Massachusetts, and has been in love with the city since childhood, though she has yet to encounter any werewolves, vampires, or other paranormal beings in her travels. At least none that she knows of. Though since in her non-writing life, under another name, she offers services as a channel and energy healing practitioner, it could be said that she herself is a paranormal being. The jury’s still out on that.

Karenna is a polyamorous, nonbinary human who splits time between the home she shares with her husband and the one she shares with her committed partner. She also has two adult children and a bonus son, three grandchildren, and two and a half cats. (Half in terms of time the cat lives with her, not in terms of the cat itself…)

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