Friday, February 15, 2013

To Catch a Croc by Amber Kell


Protect those you love, annihilate everyone else.
    For as long as he could remember Denton Stills has followed his friend Carey around. When Carey gets a mate Denton starts to consider maybe it is time for him to find his forever man. However the only one sniffing around is an obnoxious puma who seems to think Denton is as good as his. When saltwater crocodile shifters try to move into Denton’s territory he takes a page from Carey’s father “protect those you love, annihilate everyone else. Will Denton be able to hold back a shifter invasion with his friends or will he have to ask for help from the one man who makes him thinks happily ever after might be possible?


As he emerged from the shrubbery, the scent of people approaching made Denton freeze in his tracks. He hadn’t smelled that kind of shifter in a long, long time and in the cool Northwest country he’d never thought to smell them again. What were they doing here? Why had they invaded his home? Brutal memories sent fear icing over his chest and grabbed him by the throat. He started shaking again but this time not from cold.
    “Hello there, Freshie,” a hard voice said.
    Two large shapes appeared from the darker area of the park.
    Crap! Saltwater crocodile shifters!
    He’d hoped for once his nose had been wrong and that his gun wasn’t still in his Jeep. The saltwater or Indo-Pacific crocodiles were much larger than freshwater and it reflected in their human form. Denton knew he couldn’t take them, especially two of them. In his animal state, Denton would be several feet smaller than the strangers before him. Not to mention as a human, Denton was thin and lanky, nothing like the muscular beef-meisters standing before him. His mind raced as he tried to remember if anyone had mentioned salties moving into the area. He was pretty sure information like that would’ve stuck in his head.
    It annoyed him that Carey had been right. He never should’ve come to a public lake to swim in his crocodile form. He’d hoped to escape detection in the dark. Apparently, although the humans didn’t see him, the other crocs knew exactly where to find him.
    “Hello,” Denton said, keeping a wary eye on the salties. He didn’t trust saltwater crocs—they moved into territory and killed everything in their path. Sure, they couldn’t live in freshwater but that didn’t stop them from keeping everyone else from living there either, especially if an area had both.
    “We came to give you a friendly warning,” the man on the left said. He had muddy brown hair and eyes that changed from black to brown in the dim street lights scattered around the park.
    The man on the right stepped forward. “We thought you should know there’s a new bask in town and we don’t want no freshies tainting up the waters.”
    “I see. Thanks for the warning, but aren’t you guys a little north for crocs?” Most croc shifters didn’t like to leave the warmer climates. Denton only lived in Seattle because that’s where his friends were. If given the choice, he’d go live in Florida or someplace hotter. Only his heated rock and almost scalding baths got him through the cold winters.
    Denton kept his body facing them, not wanting to show the salties his back. Both of the men were wider and more muscled than him. He didn’t care to give them the chance to pounce him unaware. He knew how to protect himself, but with two men so much bigger and potentially more lethal, he didn’t stand a chance.
    “Now that’s for us to say, isn’t it?” the croc on the left growled.
    “I suppose it is.” Denton tried to keep his voice level and non-confrontational. He hoped to get away with minimal damage. His adoptive father, Aden Gale, was going to kick his ass once he learned Denton had traveled without a weapon on him.
    One of the salties stepped forward, and Denton stepped back. Fear had his heart beating a rapid staccato in his chest. A bask of salt water crocs had destroyed his family when he was a young hatchling. Denton only escaped because he’d been out swimming. Coming home to find his family in pieces had gutted him.
    He’d clung to the new friend he’d met at the watering hole. Carey, who was in Australia on vacation, persuaded his father to take Denton home with them. For some reason the tough mercenary couldn’t say no to his son who had him wrapped around his little kindergartener’s finger in an inescapable bind. To this day, he didn’t know how they’d smuggled him into the country. He didn’t want to know how they got him legal-looking paperwork.
    He wished he’d told someone where he was going. Anyone. Instead he’d snuck out of the house without saying a word.
    Now Denton yearned for his friend’s presence with the ferocity of a young child wishing for a pony for Christmas.
    “The boss said we couldn’t leave any bodies lying around, so we’re only here to deliver a friendly reminder for you to get out of town.”
    Before he could react, one huge fist punched Denton in the eye and sent him tumbling down to the ground.
    Laughing, the saltwater crocs approached. “You have one day to evacuate.”
    Still stunned by the first hit, Denton didn’t scramble out of the way fast enough. One giant steel-toed boot slammed into his ribs. He heard the crunch and snap of his bones shattering. He didn’t remember much after that because everything went black.

Amber Kell
Sit down and have a little read

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