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Authors: Stephani Hecht

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The Trials of Gregg

BOOK: The Trials of Gregg
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Sometimes when you least expect it…bam….love comes out and smacks you right in the face, and you have no choice but to deal with it.

 

 

For years, Navy SEAL John has been harboring a secret: he can shift into a Lion. He thinks he’s the only one of his kind. That is, until his commanding officer discovers his secret and takes him to the feline coalition. There, John finds out that he’s not alone. He also meets the alluring Hawk shifter, Gregg.

Gregg is given the task of helping John integrate into shifter society. As the two men grow closer, they find that they are attracted to each other. Will they be able to act on their attraction? Or will their differences keep them apart?

 

The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.

 

Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage the electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

 

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

 

The Trials of Gregg

Copyright © 2013 Stephani Hecht

ISBN: 978-1-77111-704-3

Cover art by Carmen Waters

 

All rights reserved. Except for use in any review, the reproduction or utilization of this work in whole or in part in any form by any electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented, is forbidden without the written permission of the publisher.

 

Published by eXtasy Books

Look for us online at:

www.extasybooks.com

 

 

 

 

 

The Trials of Gregg

Lost Shifters Book 27

 

 

By

 

 

Stephani Hecht

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dedication

 

 

(Remove this and insert your dedication…if no dedication, disregard and I’ll remove when formatting)

Chapter One

 

 

Gregg had heard the terms before—being the third wheel, always a bridesmaid, never a bride, being the odd man out, the unnecessary wingman, but he’d never thought to experience it in real life.

He sat in the cafeteria with Ash and Doc Featherstone to one side of him. Kallen and Drake across from him. Tatum and Baxley to the left of him. In other words, Gregg was surrounded by couples, and he was the only lonely guy in the pack. It made him feel a little, well…..pathetic.

Not that Gregg hurt for any guys wanting him. He had plenty of action when he wanted it. It’s just that none of them had been
the
guy, and since there were only so many males in the coalition, Gregg was beginning to give up any hopes of finding the right one. At this rate, it looked like he might as well be a spinster for life. He might as well take up knitting and get a bunch cats.

“What’s wrong?” Baxley asked Gregg.

Gregg gave a little jerk as he was pulled out of his pity party. He was surprised anybody had even noticed that he was in the situation, they were so caught up in each other. As it was, Baxley was sitting so far up Tatum’s lap, Gregg was tempted to ask them if they needed a room. Seriously, Gregg wasn’t a prude, far from it, but they were getting close to pornographic. All that was missing were the fluffers and the camera crew.

“He’s just pissed because he lost the fist fight with that Raven today,” Tatum spoke up.

Gregg rolled his eyes. Leave it to Tatum to bring that up. All Gregg wanted to do was forget the whole fiasco altogether. But no, Tatum had to pour lemon juice all over that still-fresh wound.

“It wasn’t my fault. That Raven fought dirty,” Gregg groused.

“Have you ever met one that hasn’t?” Drake asked. “You need to anticipate that when you go into battle with them.”

While Gregg knew that Drake was right, it didn’t take the sting from his embarrassment that he’d lost a fight to a stinking Raven. How was Gregg supposed to know that the Raven was going to have a pocket full of gravel any more than he knew that it was going to throw it in Gregg’s face in the middle of the fight? Gregg had been rendered blind and had his ass handed to him. It had not been one of his better moments. That was for sure.

“Well, who goes around with pocket full of gravel? I mean—come on! How could anybody see that coming?” Gregg defended.

“With Ravens, you always have to expect the unexpected,” Drake lectured.

That was Drake for you. Always giving sermons on how one should have done better on the battlefield. Even though he technically was now just a soldier like them and no longer an instructor, he still couldn’t seem to resist the opportunity to tell them when they fucked up.

“Yeah, it could have been itching powder he threw at you, and then where would you be?” Ash snarked.

“On the ground, itching and getting my ass kicked,” Gregg drawled.

“Which would have made this situation all the funnier,” Ash said.

Gregg threw his arms up in the air. “Since when did getting my ass kicked become a hilarious thing?”

“Awww….don’t take it so hard. We would be laughing at anybody who had been taken down by a handful of rocks,” Kallen soothed.

Somehow that didn’t soften the blows that Gregg’s bruised ego had already taken. He’d already had a crappy day, and he knew that with what waited for him at home, things would only be getting worse.

But of course he couldn’t share that with the rest of that gang. That would mean giving away the family
secret
. The one he had fought so hard the past couple of years to hide. So he had to just smile and act as if everything was normal as usual.

“I gotta go. I promised Tiffy I would bring her something home from the cafeteria,” Gregg said, already getting up.

“Doesn’t your dad cook for her?” Drake asked, always the sharp one.

No, because he’d actually have to get off his ass and be sober long enough to do that.

But of course Gregg would never say that aloud, so instead he just gave a shrug. “My dad isn’t the best cook, so Tiffy likes it when I bring her back food from here. Especially if it’s pizza night.”

That seemed to placate everybody but Drake, who gave Gregg a narrow-eyed glare. Gregg chose to ignore it. If the guy wanted to be suspicious, let him. That didn’t mean Gregg was going to break and let the truth slip out. Too much was riding on keeping this secret closed up tight.

Gregg grabbed a tray of food for Tiffy, making sure that there was some healthy food on her plate along with the pizza and dessert. With a resigned sigh, he made his way to the Hawk side of the coalition building.

Unlike most of the other felines, who lived away from the coalition, a majority of the Hawks resided at the building. It was part of their makeup to want to live together as one cast. Sometimes it could be inconvenient, though, like for Gregg who was trying to hide the fact that his father was an abusive drunk.

Oh, they all knew his dad was an alcoholic. There was no way Gregg could hide that. Not with as many times as the man had gone stumbling down the halls of the cast dwelling. Plus, that had been the reason why he had been banished from their former cast in the first place. But everybody thought he was one of those happy and harmless drunks. If they only knew the real truth, they’d be shocked down to their toes.

The only saving grace was that thus far all of the old man’s rage had been directed at Gregg and not Tiffy. As far as Tiffy went, Gregg’s dad, Almont, had just chosen to ignore her completely. It had been that way ever since their mother had flown off and never come back five years ago. After that, Almont wanted nothing to do with any female, even his own daughter.

Gregg cautiously made his way into their living quarters. The place reeked of the illegal liquor that the shifters used. It was the only thing that could get a shifter drunk, since human booze didn’t have any effect on them. Even though the cast leader, Daniel, had warned him not to buy the stuff, Almont continued to ignore him. Gregg thought the only reason why Daniel hadn’t thrown Almont out of the cast for his continued disobedience was because of Gregg and Tiffy. For while he might not give a damn about Almont, the leader did care for the siblings, and he didn’t want to send them out into the cruel shifter world unprotected.

Gregg looked around the living room and wrinkled his nose at the mess. Dirty dishes, empty bottles and other litter covered the floor. It looked as if the place hadn’t been cleaned since Gregg had last tidied up a week ago.

The worst mess of all lay in the middle of the living room, on a recliner, his mouth half-open, drool spilling out as he snored—Almont. Anger surged through Gregg. He knew it was wrong, but he hated the man, father or not. While Almont had never gone so far as to lay a hand on Gregg, he had a wicked sharp tongue.

The funny thing about it was people never realized that sometimes words could hurt ten times worse than any punch ever could. Hell, there were times when Gregg wished that Almont would beat him instead of throwing mean comments his way. Gregg could take a punch. He’d gotten beaten up pretty badly on the battlefield, so that was nothing new. But some of the venom that spewed from his father’s mouth was just downright painful.

Moving cautiously, so as not to awaken Almont, Gregg skirted his way around the man, then made his way to Tiffy’s room. As soon as he opened the door, it was like he was entering a new world. Her room was all pink and purple, bringing a bit a joy into their drab existence. It was also as neat as a pin. Which said a lot, considering she was only thirteen. The walls were decorated with posters from some boy band, and she was lying on her bed, listening to music through her earbuds.

She still sat up as soon as Gregg entered the room, a huge smile coming over her small, lightly freckled face. She had the same dark brown eyes as Gregg, and her hair was long and a mass of curls, just like Gregg’s would’ve been if hadn’t kept it cut so short to conceal that very thing.

“What did you bring me to eat?” she demanded.

“What? No hello?” he asked in a teasing manner.

“Hello, brother dearest,” she replied in a sarcastic manner that only a teen girl was capable of pulling off.

By way of answer, he set the tray down on her nightstand. She carefully examined the tray, smiling at some of his choices while frowning at others. “Why did you get me broccoli? You know I hate that stuff.”

“Hey, I have to act like I’m halfway responsible. I can’t get you all junk.”

She wrinkled her small nose at him. “Just so you know, I’m not going to eat it.”

“Fine, be my guest. Then when you grow up, you’ll end up working a civilian job instead of being a soldier.”

Gregg knew that Tiffy’s biggest wish was to one day become one of the cast’s soldiers. While she might look all girly-girl on the outside, inside lived a girl who wanted to kick some major ass. Not that Gregg could blame her, given some of the crap life had thrown their way. It was one of the reasons why he liked to fight. It felt good to get some of his aggressions out. If a Raven or two got hurt in the process, well then too bad, too sad.

“Has he been sleeping since you came home from school?” Gregg asked, finally deciding to address the three-hundred pound elephant sitting in their living room.

Tiffy shrugged as she picked at her pizza. “He was semi-awake when I came in, but he didn’t say anything to me. I just went to my room and watched some TV. I could hear him yelling some a little bit ago. It was mostly about you.”

A surge of anger went through Gregg. Why did they have to be stuck with such a loser set of parents? It just wasn’t fair.

“You know you could always meet me in the cafeteria after school instead of coming here? My friends won’t mind,” Gregg said.

It was an offer he’d made a million times before, and every time Tiffy had refused. This time was no different.

She gave a shake of her head. “No, that’s your time. I want you to have it. You don’t get enough free time to be happy. Besides, your friends annoy me.”

“What’s wrong with my friends?” Gregg asked.

Tiffy rolled her eyes. “Don’t even get me started on that one.”

Gregg decided that maybe she was right, and that was a topic best left untouched. So, instead, he asked, “Would you rather if I just skipped going to the cafeteria altogether and came straight home instead?”

Tiffy’s eyes grew large with alarm. “That would be the worst thing that you could do.”

Confused, Gregg pressed, “Why?”

“Because Almont would still be awake then, and he would start in on you. I don’t want to see that.”

“He’s your father, you should call him that,” Gregg gently admonished.

“I’ll call him Dad when he starts acting like one. Until then, he’s just Almont to me.” Tiff’s voice shook with anger.

BOOK: The Trials of Gregg
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