Excerpt from Birthright by J Anne Fullerton

That night in bed, relaxing after a strenuous sexual work out, she brought up the subject of the full moon.

Nick lay on his side, tracing trails of perspiration on her skin with his fingertips. He felt more alive than at any point in his life. There was more energy and passion in him now that when he had been a young man. It was all due to the wolf that resided within him and he had her
to thank for that.

“I need to talk to you about what’s happening to you,” she said, looking into his distracted eyes. He was staring at her damp naked beauty with hungry appreciation. “About the full moon that’s coming up. The men have noticed the change in your behavior and they came to  me.”

His gaze focused quickly, connecting with hers.

“I haven’t been myself, that’s true,” he admitted with chagrin. He recognized the change in himself and was at a loss to correct it.
“I can’t seem to keep my temper in check. I almost hit Danny when he ripped out a one of the vines. It was an accident. I got so angry so quickly that I almost couldn’t stop myself. I was so embarrassed that I didn’t even apologise. I just walked away. I should apologise.”

“I told Ed the truth.”

“What?” He sat up quickly.

“You need him on your side in this,” she said. He relaxed, acknowledging that she was right. “The wolf is testing you. It’s pushing its boundaries to see what you’ll let it get away with. You have to keep it from dominating your personality. You aren’t a violent  man, so you need to show it that you won’t allow it to become aggressive.”

“How? It just happens. I don’t even realize it until after I’ve done it.”

“You have to think of it more like the physical embodiment of an emotion, not like the actual animal. It’s more like a knee-jerk reaction right now. You have to learn to control it like any other emotion. You don’t allow sadness or jealousy or even happiness to just take over. It has to learn that you are in charge of when it gets to come out. It may be tempting to give in because it feels good. That’s when you have to consciously work harder to maintain control. I’m not saying this will be easy or painless. I can’t honestly tell you what to expect when you actually change.”

Nick flopped onto his back, hands resting on his stomach. He stared at the ceiling, wishing it would open to reveal the mysteries of life.

“Will I look like Dirk?”

She shrugged, turning onto her belly. He reached out and smoothed his palm over the swell of her rump.

“The more control you have over it the more wolf-like you’ll be. Most people are so afraid of it that they let go of any kind of power they might have over it. They don’t know how to safely let it out because they’re resisting it. It fights against the human half and can’t completely emerge. That’s when it becomes something like Dirk. I’m hoping you’ll be able to shed your skin like I can, but I don’t know how difficult that might be for you.”

He turned to face her, his gaze sharp.

“Show me how you do it.”

Agatha was no longer afraid to show him everything about her Birthright nature. She had been hesitant early in their relationship to reveal her other form because it was disturbing to witness the actual change, but he needed her tutoring now. She rose up on hands and knees. Without preamble, she allowed her skin to split and slough off. It fell onto the
quilt in a pile of bloody strips. In the guise of a grey and white wolf, he stood above him. She shook out her flattened pelt to fluff it, her tail whipping loudly.

Nick stared wordlessly. It was quick and surprisingly less gory than he had expected. The skin scraps were wet with blood on one side, but it hadn’t been a violent or particularly bloody event. He reached out to brush her fur with his hands. It had a pleasantly coarse texture, thicker and heavier than a dog’s. He ran his fingers along her underside, finding eight prominent nipples. She growled softly when he tweaked one. He let go and lay back with a contented smirk.

A cloud of fur filled the air as she changed back. It floated down to the bed and onto the floor in thick clumps. She frowned at the debris, kneeling in the middle of her old skin and fur.

“Well, I’ve made quite the mess,” she muttered. “I don’t suppose it’s fair to ask Mrs. MacLeach to clean it up. I’d best get the broom.”

*Fullerton says of her work, “I write for my own amusement and everyone else’s amazement.” To see more from this author check out her website @ www.jannefullerton.com*