(55,000-word novel condensed in print to 194 pages.)
MA: for mature readers
An erotic drama, with laughter and tears, his story will touch you, and have you touching yourself. Two worlds collide as Duke has to tell his boyfriend Mike his secret, that not only can he change into a... read more
For Duke, being gay isn't a problem; he's in a healthy, positive, long-term relationship with Mike. They're inseparable, as they'd been since they'd met as childhood friends, but Duke still hadn't 'come out' to Mike yet. He, like the rest of his family, has the ability to change, for him, from... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
For Duke, being gay isn't a problem; he's in a healthy, positive, long-term relationship with Mike. They're inseparable, as they'd been since they'd met as childhood friends, but Duke still hadn't 'come out' to Mike yet. He, like the rest of his family, has the ability to change, for him, from a devilishly handsome college guy to a black German Shepherd.
For spring break, Duke gets dropped off at home by Mike. We get to know Duke and meet his family, both changed and unchanged. He shares a couple moments, one sticky and one sweet, with Dustin, the kid next door who's grown into the guy next door.
Each year Duke and his family go on a retreat that Mike isn't allowed to come on, it's the one week a year Duke's family and their kind hang out together 'changed'. Duke and Mike agreed that this one week a year would remain a 'mystery week' for both of them, each allowed to do whatever or whomever they wanted.
At the retreat, Duke has a lover, Rourke, an Irish Steer. Rourke is a 'purist,' a primitive people who live as animals and never leave the retreat. Over the last year, Rourke was brutalized emotionally and physically for his dual desires, not only to live in the 'outside' world but also for being gay.
To save Rourke, Duke has to be his Alpha, claim dominance over him as part of his pack. Dominance is established by 'the games,' a series of matches, different sexes, different ages, and different species. Duke faces Rourke's brother in the third round; Duke gets hurt in the end, and the ramifications are felt all the way to the sequel.
Two worlds collide as Rourke comes to live with Duke, but only as his pet. In order to free Rourke, Duke has to tell Mike his families' secret and in order to do that they have to be mated. Duke's family comes together as grandpa, the family Alpha, has to approve.
Duke, Mike, and Rourke, still an Irish Setter, head back to school. Rourke becomes accustomed to life in the 'outside' world. Duke has a hard time bringing himself to tell Mike his secret, his families' secret, and as the tension mounts, it comes out in a gasp.
Duke and Mike, as animal science majors, volunteer at the university veterinary clinic. Now 'out' to Mike, Duke feels free to change, prompting one of the dogs they care for to 'unchange,' he's really a primitive like Rourke. They rescue Yip and set out to find how a primitive made it off the retreat, and why.
The investigation behind them, they celebrate, declaring it National Mike Day, as Mike was the hero of the ordeal, and the day ends with Duke proposing to Mike. They become accustomed to their new life, with not only Rourke but also Yip living with them. This adds Yip to the pack.
Duke gets a distressing phone call from Dustin, the boy next door now the guy next-door, he's been attacked by his alcoholic bigoted mother. They head back home, confront her, and then 'change' to hunt for him. Dustin is found and Duke's family takes Dustin in, adopting him. This adds Dustin to the pack.
Because of his injuries, Dustin needed a kidney and the only donor match was Yip. Dustin starts to change, at least one part of him does; he starts to knot. They decide not to tell him their secret, explaining his condition as a constriction. School out for Duke and Mike, they move back home.
As they wait for Dustin's school to end, Duke and Mike plan their 'mating,' which they decide to have at grandpa's farm, where Rourke and Yip are now staying, working. They come across Drippy, the girl next door, the local whore. Duke starts to regret all the lies they have to tell Dustin.
Coming back to the farm later, they find that Yip left Rourke for Drippy. Duke, as Alpha, forbids Yip to see her again, but he can't force Yip to love Rourke. They set up for their wedding, decorating the meadow, and have their rehearsal dinner.
The day of the 'mating' they wake to find the meadow vandalized. They recover and have their 'mating,' which is crashed by Drippy, claiming to be pregnant. As a gift, Mike's parents give them tickets to California to make their 'marriage' somewhat, legal. Before they leave, Duke has to mate with Mike.
Returning from their honeymoon, Mr. and Mr. Duke and Mike Simon are surprised by all their family and friends, human and animal, even Dustin. They have a nice reception, telling everyone about their trip. That night Duke spends time with Dustin, now that he knows their secret, but Dustin has a secret of his own.
Duke wakes after having a sex dream about Dustin, with Dustin in bed next to him. Duke gets a call from grandma; grandpa is in the hospital. The 'genetic material' that allows them to change has to be extracted, grandpa wants to give it to Mike as a gift, and to find out if and how this can be done they meet Genevieve, a hundred year-old tortoise who teaches Duke a fourth form.
Duke starts to learn this fourth form, glowing tendrils of light. They visit the farm, Rourke and Yip, and Drippy is indeed pregnant. Yip cares for her but she isn't expected to survive the pregnancy.
Duke masters this fourth form. Drippy's baby is corrupted and needs additional 'genetic material,' which Dustin can provide. Genevieve flies up and they perform the transfer, Genevieve giving her life so the pup can live. This adds the pup to the pack.
After spending time with Rourke's new boyfriend, Charlie, a horse, Mike decides to accept grandpa's gift, the ability to change. Duke and Dustin come together over their relationship. Duke performs the transfer using the fourth form and Mike is changed.
Duke wanted Mike to be canine, Mike wanted to be equine, but nothing was guaranteed as they'd come across dogs, horses, bears, cats, cows, deer, a tortoise, and even kangaroos. As a twist, Mike's animal form isn't revealed, just hints left throughout the story.
“(to Mike) Of course not, you're cynical, I can tell by lookin' at ya, too smart for your own good." She pointed to me (Duke). "You're full of love, I can see that too. The two of you are a perfect balance; I can see that, clear as the yin-yang tattooed on my ass.”Genevieve
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