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Authors: Mason Sabre

Cade

BOOK: Cade
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Cade

 

 

 

                          Mason Sabre

Dedications

As always, my dedications first go to Tony and Cynthia. Without your care and support, my writing would not have made it this far.

Thank you to Kellie for my amazing cover.

To Angela, for all the work you do for me. Thank you.

To my street team, for all the shares and promotion you do for me. Without it, I’d just be a shadow in a vast sea of authors.

 

Shout outs

I asked members of my Facebook group for name suggestions. These are the ones I picked:

 

The woods where Phoenix was found: Denby Woods –
Louise
Makepeace-nunn

 

Three woodlands that were burnt to nothing:

Newberry –
Terrie Meerschaert

Breckenridge – Tonya Jewel

Duncliffe -
Vicki Easom Johnson

Cammore Woods – Angela Peters
 

The woodlands where Gemma stops to survey the damage: Neroche Woods -
Chrissy McMillan

 

Shout outs to people who helped with the pledges:

Melissa Ann, Jan Kinder, Louise Makepeace-nunn, Hilary Suppes, Joy Chapman, Samantha, Terrie Meerschaert, Liz Isherwood, Tessa Fryberger, Diana Cooke, Wendy Tucker, Chrissy Macmillan and Nina Stevenson

Thank you so much for the support.

 

Cade

Mason Sabre

This book is a work of fiction. All characters in this novel are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Author: Mason Sabre

 

Cover Art by Kellie Dennis at Book Cover by Design

www.bookcoverbydesign.co.uk

Copyright © 2015 by Mason Sabre. All rights reserved, including the right to publish this book or portions thereof (except for reviews, news media reports, brief quotes with attribution, and purposes of promotion of this book or other novels by Mason Sabre) in any form whatsoever.

Written permission may be obtained from the author.

 

ISBN-13: 978-1514219867

ISBN-10: 1514219867

www.masonsabre.com

[email protected]

https://www.facebook.com/msabre3

Other Titles

The Rise of the Phoenix (Society Novel 1)

Watch Over You

Cade

 

 

 

Mason Sabre

Chapter One

 

There was something about shifting from man to
wolf
that Cade MacDonald loved. He thrived on it and sometimes, he wondered if it would be better to live his life as his
wolf
rather than the man; it was certainly simpler. But it was more than just the simplicity. There was a sense of peace and home

a yearning deep inside that every bone-popping spasm quenched. As Cade's transformation completed, and he stretched into his new shape, his mind sharpened to his surroundings. Rain had fallen over the days before, leaving petals laden with rainwater and leaves weighted down with nature's burden. Tiny droplets of water clung to his grey fur as he padded away from the safety of his clothes and towards the trail that led into the trees.

The wind changed, gently ruffling Cade’s fur. He paused and raised his snout to catch the sweet scent of heather in the crisp evening air. The sun had already begun its descent as he turned to the path, inhaling once more and savouring the sweetness of the night. He took it all the way deep into his lungs, savouring nature's aromas before darting off into the darkness of the trees.

He ran.

He ran fast and free. His paws hit the ground and propelled him forward with each powerful step. He ran until he was out of breath, and yet he still went on. With each step, his strides became longer. He pushed himself, endeavouring to gain speed and run faster than he ever had before. A guiding hand from the depths of his soul urged him forward.

His heart sped up. It beat with every echo of his paws as they pounded onto the ground.

He fought his mind as he ran. He refused to give it permission to wander to places it wanted to go

to forbidden desires. She was there in his mind, relentless; always in his thoughts. She was an addiction he could not shake. Faster he ran, trying to satisfy the ache inside with something else, but it was no use. The longing inside was that of a starving man, and no matter how much he ran, he couldn't sate the hunger that burned within him. His soul ached for one thing only. One person.

Gemma
.

He burst out from the trees and onto a country lane. He dug his paws into the mud to stop the momentum of his run and skidded. Lurching forward, he unsheathed his claws in a desperate bid to save himself from tumbling into the middle of the track. Relieved that there had been no oncoming traffic at the time, he mentally chastised himself for getting so lost in his thoughts that he had put himself in danger. Picking himself up, he spun around and shuffled back to the safety of the woodland’s edge.

A low rumble in the distance caught his attention; the thunderous sound of an approaching vehicle. Its tyres crunched on the gravel, the sound steadily growing louder. A flashing blue light swelled on the horizon until it became identifiable. He scrambled back as an ambulance approached and sent dirt and twigs flying into Cade's face. He turned sharply, closing his eyes as he spat out dust.

The sound of the siren faded just as fast as it had come. The blue lights dissolved into the distance until there was nothing left to see. The lane was empty once again. Cade slunk back into the shade of the trees. Something was happening. Something close. He chose to go down a different trail

one that ran alongside the road, but not too close. It broke away through sparse bushes, and into a thick carpeting of last season's foliage. He trod carefully. A small twig snapped underfoot and echoed through the woods. The trees thickened overhead, blocking out the last rays of sunlight as he moved deeper into the forest. Cool air met him, carrying with it the pungent aroma of rotted earth … and something else. Something infinitely worse. The scent made his flesh crawl and left goosebumps in its wake. He came to an abrupt halt as all his senses went on alert, suddenly painfully aware of how loud the silence was around him. He could smell blood

Human
blood.

He stood frozen to the spot, trying to gather his thoughts. Dread seeped into his skin. The scent of
Human
blood was the scent of disaster. The wind had died down and deathly silence remained. It was only when the sound of another siren filled the air that he realised he had been holding his breath. He let it out slowly, trying to calm his racing heart. He moved then, running quickly and determinedly. Whatever shit was unfurling was maybe closer than he wanted to know. He needed to be gone before trouble found him.

He scampered through the fallen needles, ignoring the stray ones that dug into the pads of his paws. He trotted along as lightly as he could manage, moving with as much speed as was possible without making any sound. The sound of his racing heart, however, thundered loudly in his ears.

The path Cade had taken gently sloped with the gradient of the land. He trotted down the trail and slowed when flashing lights lit the trees up in blue, a heartbeat of colour as they flashed every fraction of a second.

Cade could hear muffled voices. A crowd. He crept closer, hiding behind the trunk of a tree. Crouching and keeping low, he padded sideways, moving from tree to tree as he inched closer. The voices became clearer, and Cade could now hear the crackle of police and ambulance radios as well. Sobbing and crying accompanied the chorus of sounds, the night air now filled with an overwhelming sense of chaos and despair. Cade edged even closer until he had an unobstructed view of the tumult below. Keeping to the shadows so that the flashing lights wouldn’t illuminate him and make his presence known, his eyes took in the grim scene. The police had portioned off a section, and Cade peered closer to catch a better glimpse.

Not yet covered, a mutilated body lay on the ground. The scent of blood and death hung thick in the air, the smell of urine and vomit acrid as it burnt the back of his throat, even from this distance. Bright red innards appeared like a mound of meat on a butcher’s slab, slivers of intestine scattered around. The blood marks on the ground resembled spattered red paint. It made a clear and easy trail for the
Humans
to follow when they started hunting down the culprit of this hideous act. Of course, right now they were nothing but cowards. They all spoke with confidence

big men with big words

but no one had even ventured into the forest yet. Cade would have smelt them. But the woodland remained untainted by the stench of
Humans
. It would be a while yet. The
Humans
had
Others
who worked for them, and no doubt they’d prefer to leave it up to them to hunt for whatever
—or whoever—had done this
. Fucking
Human
cowards. Cade knew the relevant calls had already been made and that the
Others
were already informed and preparing to get involved.

The scent of blood surrounded him and the trail he could see led into the woods. Cade sniffed the air and began to head that way, the cries and whining of the
Humans
following him as he went.

“It was a monster,” someone sobbed. “He came along the road and then he attacked us. We were doing nothing.” The voice was young and high-pitched and snivelling.
Humans
and their stupidity, Cade thought with disgust.

“No. It sat outside and waited for us,” another one cried.

Someone wept, deep, gut-wrenching sobs. If they weren’t
Human
, Cade might have felt an ounce of sympathy for them. But the lies were already starting.

“This is why we should execute them at birth,” a woman shouted.

“I always tell my Jack that,” another said. “I was telling him just last week that we should get these things gone.”

“Kathy told me that she knew someone who had caught it from them. This girl had been playing in the sandbox and she cut herself. Their germs were all over the place from the night before. Next day, her mother woke up ... found this thing.”

“Poor thing,” the other woman gasped, and Cade growled deep in his throat.

“She killed the entire family,” the woman continued.

This was the problem. These stupid Chinese whispers. Cade wanted to jump out and howl at them. He and Stephen could have a good laugh later at the pathetic way the
Humans
would piss their pants at the snarling wolf who leapt from the darkness.

“He was over six feet tall.”

“They need to be killed before they kill us.”

“We didn’t know it was there. We didn’t see it,” a young voice chorused.

“We didn’t see him coming,” another echoed. Cade counted four boys sitting with paramedics, wrapped in blankets. One of them was getting his hand tended to. Another was just sitting there alone. He was smaller than the rest. Just a child. He looked up just then and his eyes met Cade’s.

Shit.

Cade ran.

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Two

 

If it were possible to unsee things, Cade would have done it in an instant. He wished he could go back to moments before and make a different decision, choose a different path. He sped through the forest, his strong limbs carrying him forward swiftly as he tried to put as much distance between himself and the
Humans
as possible. The last thing he needed was to get involved in a fucking
Human
homicide in any way.

Cade reached his pile of clothes and closed his eyes. Shifting, forced and fast, was going to hurt, but he had to. He braced himself and fought to try to see himself as a man. It was hard not to let his thoughts wander to the
Humans
. His eyes kept opening, checking that he was alone. He held his breath and forced himself to calm, visualising himself as a man in his mind. He let the images spread through every part of his body, feeling them from his head, all the way down to his tail. He exhaled slowly as the change began, and his bones started to move and realign. His claws retracted and the fur returned into place, leaving bald paws. His bones rippled under the skin until fingers emerged, and his paws became a hand once again. His tail shrank back. His snout receded, recreating the face of a young man. The fur on his head became the mousy brown shade of his own ruffled hair. He knelt panting, naked and exhausted. Bracing himself on his hands, he let his body recover from its transformation. The breeze around him had a slight chill to it, and his bare skin broke out in goose bumps. He breathed deep and slow, allowing himself to take the moment to rest. Shifting always left him feeling drained and ready for sleep. It was like sex in that way. A natural drowsiness came upon him, and his eyes begged to close, even for just a moment. But he needed to leave. The
Humans
were cowards, but they would come looking soon, and when they did, he wanted to be out of there.

Cade pushed himself up, grabbing his clothes as he rose. Steadying himself on the tree trunk next to him, he hastily pulled on his jeans. He fastened them and his belt and pulled on his grey t-shirt. His skin slowly began to warm up—with a shift always came heat.
Others
always ran at temperatures hotter than
Humans
, but after a shift, anyone would think that they were running a fever. Cade pulled on his trainers, then stood and stretched every part of his body in a bid to wake it up and get moving. He had to step carefully now. His eyes and ears weren’t as sharp as when he was in
wolf
form, but his senses as a man were still more enhanced than any
Human’s
.

As he headed back, his eye caught sight of something lying in the dirt. It had rolled into a river in the earth that, in the heavy rains, filled with water, but tonight it was bare and dry. Cade cautiously picked his way down to it. It was a bag—a backpack—the kind a child uses for school. Cade pushed at it with his foot before going down on his haunches. He bent closer and instantly recoiled as the scent of urine invaded his nasal cavity. Scanning the area carefully, he examined every shadow, listening with focus for any sound that was out of the ordinary. Satisfied that he was alone, he breathed through his mouth as he tried to unzip the filthy backpack.

Then he saw it. It was about one hundred yards in front of him. A shoe—an innocuous shoe. It was enough to make Cade stop and stare. The shoe didn't belong in these woods. It didn't belong in any woods. Clutching the bag in his hand, he stood and walked over to the shoe where it lay half-covered in pine needles. The sides of the shoe were caked in mud and dirt and needles, the laces frayed and filthy. The shoe was small, but not so small that it belonged to a child. It was a dress shoe and inappropriate for the woods. A hiking boot would have been better footwear for these parts. This was something made for special occasions. Worn and battered, the sole bulged in parts, revealing dirty fabric from inside.

Cautiously, he inched forward, then froze in disbelief. A few feet away lay a body. Torn, black trousers covered legs not big enough to be an adult’s. As he moved closer, Cade's heart sank. This was no man. This was a child—a boy.

Cade inched around the body, his eyes ever searching as he did. He sniffed the air, trying to detect any scent that might warn him of someone approaching—
Human
or
Other
. He scoured the woods around him, stopping on every shadow, no matter how small. Darkness crept in around him like the sneaking tide along the shore. For whatever reason, he couldn't shake the perturbing feeling that invisible eyes were watching him.

Above him, where the darkness above the trees rolled in, an owl began its night song, awakening from its dozing state. Cade listened hard, straining his ears in every direction and picking up sounds of the small woodland creatures that scurried about.

He kept himself low as he set his sights back to the boy.

The child lay slumped against an old fallen tree. The way he was lying made it difficult for Cade to make out his face. From this angle, however, it appeared to be swollen—disfigured. Perhaps it was the lack of light? Cade hoped so.

He moved around, trying to get himself at a position where he could see more clearly. The scent of blood was strong, almost completely covering the boy. Cade realised this wasn't a child he was looking at; this was an adolescent. Because of all the bruises on his face, though, Cade could not surmise his age.

Tufts of dirty, blond hair poked out from the boy’s head, but most of it was lathered in fresh blood. The scent of it hung thick in the air. What it meant weighed in Cade’s stomach like lead.

With every second that passed, Cade's heart sank a little farther. A
Human
boy, dead, in these woods. The woods were for
Humans
, but at nights, after hours, like now, they were used by
Others
. This crime, whatever it was and wherever it had happened, wouldn't matter. It would surely be blamed on
Others
. Someone—or something—had attacked two boys. The
Humans
would seek their revenge—a boy for a boy. Just like always. Were there not enough wars already? Not enough deaths? Cade was tired just from the thought of it. He couldn't stand another battle. He couldn't bear to bring war to his kind. How many would lose their lives this time?

Cade was staring into the broken face of a catalyst. So many deaths and losses would be sure to follow. The thought was a bitter one. This wasn't Cade's land. It didn't belong to any
Other
in particular, but they would all be tied to it … and they would all be blamed for it. Whatever this was, it would be the fuel to the already burning pyre of hatred that swelled in the hearts of every
Human
.

The night pressed in, bringing with it a darkness that filled not only the woods but also Cade’s very essence. A trail of blood led up to the boy, red dots on flattened needles. He frowned as he scrutinised the pattern. He had been working for the Department of Supernatural Affairs—or DSA—for a couple of years only, but it was long enough to recognise that this wasn't the pattern of someone who was bleeding and had dragged themselves to safety. Cade's eyes widened as realisation suddenly dawned on him. The blood wasn't the boy’s.

Cursing under his breath, he lowered himself to the ground so that he might get a closer inspection. Careful not to make a sound, his sights stayed on the boy for a minute, watching for movement, a flicker. It didn't matter. One sign and Cade was ready to act. He knew he was walking on ice, hearing it crack all around him. He sniffed the air once again—the scent of blood was strong, but there was something more. A smell all too familiar. Deep and musky ...

Cade reeled back, shock slamming into him with force. It was
wolf
—tainted
wolf.
The boy was a half-breed.

The limp form in front of him suddenly murmured.

The boy was alive.

Cade backed up fast, putting enough distance between them. The thing in front of him was nothing more than a child, but the creature of every nightmarish dream he’d had as a child himself. His mind told him to run—get the hell away from all of this. It was trouble he didn’t need.

His
wolf
fought him inside, though, urging him to go to the boy before the
Humans
showed up. His mind flashed with images of the boy—waking suddenly, alone and afraid in the dark. Left in the dark for the
Humans
to find and do with as they pleased. He had survived this far. He had survived a bite, at least, and had somehow made it to there. That in itself was quite a feat. He didn’t deserve to be left to such a dreadful fate now.

Darkness surrounded Cade. The night had come in swiftly, but it did not hinder his vision.
Others
could see perfectly in the dark, even in this form. There was nothing but endless trees and the occasional hoot of the owl above.

He swore under his breath, fighting with what his mind was telling him he should do and what his heart was telling him was right.

Cade had only ever seen one half-breed before. But it hadn’t been a boy. It hadn’t been something defenceless. Not like this. It had been a man. He had deserved what had happened to him, though. He had deserved every feverish moment of the transition as his
Human
body fought against the lycanthrope that surged through his veins. He had been one of the many
Human
hunters who loved nothing more than to slay innocent
Others
, and he got himself bitten by a child as he had tried to kill her. Of course, the child had died, but then, so had the half-breed piece of filth. He had snapped his own spine with the spasm of the shift as his body had raged with hunger and sickness.

If the
Humans
didn’t get this boy first, he would surely die some painful death by himself in the woods. Cade didn’t know what he would do with him if he did try to help him. Half-breeds weren’t allowed to live. They didn’t belong—not in the
Human
world and not in the
Other
world. They were abominations that roamed in limbo between the two races; nothing but dangerous rogues who feasted on anything when the hunger took them.

Stephen, Cade’s best friend, said that the reason half-breeds were feared was that they had power. Although not physically stronger than a pure shifter, they were mentally stronger. They could choose to shift at any time. They were not bound by the Luna cycle. Silver had no effect on them. They weren’t dragged down by the same limitations as
Others
. They were a threat to both sides because if they could overcome their maker, if they could destroy them, they would have the great power of pure-bloods and
Humans
combined. They would be a superior race of their own. But it was all centred on
if
.
If
they could survive the manifestation of the creature they would become,
if
they could take out their maker,
if
they could take the power.
If

If
they lived that long. 

The boy was still out of it. He didn’t appear to have moved at all. Unable to help himself, Cade approached the boy once more and crouched down next to him. He reached out and carefully pressed his fingertips to the boy’s throat. He was hot, feverishly hot, but he was alive. Shifting took it out of the most pure and experienced of
weres
, but for someone who was born
Human
, Cade couldn’t imagine the amount of energy a shift must take. He knew that the boy must have shifted to be covered in so much blood. The blood around his mouth was also an indication that he had bitten and torn flesh off something. He would not have been able to do that with
Human
teeth.

Cade couldn’t leave him there, though. He couldn’t leave him to the
Humans
and what they would call mercy.

“Fuck,” he swore softly. Grabbing the boy’s bag once more, he slung it over his shoulder and then crouched down to slide his arms under the boy. “What the
fuck
am I doing?” he muttered to himself as he lifted the boy into his arms.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Three

 

The boy was lighter than Cade had imagined, his frame slight. He could feel the boy’s hip bone jutting into his stomach as he carried him. The transformation was perhaps taking too much of a toll on the boy’s young body. If he wasn’t feeding, before this incident at least, he was going to waste away to nothing … fast. The almost emaciated form he now held in his arms told him that the boy had most definitely not been giving in to his hunger cravings. There was also no doubt in Cade’s mind that he had not been turned within the last few days, but longer. The scent of
wolf
from the boy was strong.

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