My Pregnant Boyfriend

By: Elizabeth Monvey

Chapter One



Ethan studied the unusual tracks. The mud had captured the imprint of an animal on the run, and though he would say the creature was a feline, he knew immediately it was not a cougar. The claws looked smaller, and the way the paw pad seemed to bevel off indicated more of a sloped back gait. He hunkered to the ground and sniffed the area. His cat senses picked up something… unfamiliar, although there was an underlying scent of human mixed in as well. Whatever left this print was definitely a shifter; he just didn’t know what kind.

He followed the tracks deeper and deeper into the forest. When he’d first come across them near his cabin, he thought they’d belonged to some rogue predator and he wanted to make sure the cat kept moving northward, away from the human population. But now the tracks and scent piqued his curiosity. He debated whether or not to shift so he could follow better, but decided not to spook the other shifter.

Even though it was well past noon, a cold bite hung in the air. Fall in the Yukon was one of his favorite times, although he was hard pressed to stop and admire the golds and reds of the forest. He smelled snow in the air and knew it would arrive in a matter of days. Ethan hoped to find this new shifter soon. He might be a cougar with endurance for the cold weather, but that didn’t mean he liked it.

About an hour later, the tracks shortened in stride and he could tell the gait became steady. The shifter had stopped running, which allowed him a chance to catch up. Ethan was beyond curious now as to the type of shifter he tracked. The scents he’d picked up along the way only increased his beguilement.

The shriek of a cat echoed through the forest, loud and terrified. All Ethan’s feline senses went on alert and his cougar clawed to come out. He pushed the powerful animal side of him down but it wasn’t happy.

And then a gunshot rang out and the cat cry turned into a pitiful moan. Ethan sprinted forward, running as fast as possible toward the sound. A second later he burst into a clearing where a downed cat lay on its side. A man, dressed in camouflage and holding a Ruger No. 1 Varminter rifle, stood near the animal.

“Hey!” Ethan’s voice rolled over the ground and made the man pause. Ethan raced, trying to get to the man before he could put another bullet into the injured animal.

“This is my prey,” the man yelled back.

Since the hunter’s gun was a single shot, he wasted time in loading another round. Ethan reached him, yanked the gun from the man’s hands, and sent it flying.

“You have no idea what you’ve done,” the hunter said. He was an older man, with thinning grey hair and a small build. Cruelty blazed from his cold eyes. “This abomination must be killed.”

“Abomination? You’ve shot an innocent animal.”

The hunter shook his head. “Not so innocent. Believe it or not, that creature can turn into a man.”

Ethan’s stomach clenched. The number one priority of the shifter world was to keep their identity a secret from humans. Since the hunter had found out, and since he threatened the life of another shifter, there was only one thing Ethan could do. He had to kill the hunter.

Ethan let his cougar out, just a little. Just enough to elongate his claws and for his snout to emerge, with sharp teeth. He didn’t want to change all the way, at least not yet, but he could do lots of damage even partially changed.

“You’re another one,” the man whispered gleefully. His pinched features transformed to an almost maniacal happiness. His hand reached out, as if wanting to stroke the half-formed cat features. “Look at your face. You’d look lovely on my wall.”

Ethan swiped with his claws but the old man was quick. He pulled back at the last second and laughed, the high pitch giggle held a touch of insanity. The hair rose on the back of Ethan’s neck.

A knife poked him in the stomach.

Ethan looked down and saw the sharp blade gripped tightly in the hunter’s hand. “Well played,” he said.

“Two for the price of one.” If the hunter’s hand had been free, Ethan had no doubt the old man would have jumped up and down in joy while clapping with glee.

The human thought he was clever, but Ethan’s cat reflexes were faster. He ducked to the side while swiping his claws and caught the hand holding the dagger. The scent of blood filled the air as the hunter cried out. Ethan’s cougar rose to the surface, pushing to be let free so he could finish the job and taste the man’s blood. And boy, did Ethan want to give into animalistic desire.

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