I see him and know what this turmoil inside of me means: He's the one. My forever.
Kayla is the nature lover, the all-American beauty who can't understand why she's so drawn to distant, brooding Lucas. Adopted as a young child, she has no way of knowing that she's inherited a... read more
Kayla lost her parents when she was really young, only five years old. She was with them in the woods when two drunken hunters shot her parents thinking they were wolves. She was taken to Dallas and adopted by another family. She's gone to counseling because of the traumatic event, and her... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
Kayla lost her parents when she was really young, only five years old. She was with them in the woods when two drunken hunters shot her parents thinking they were wolves. She was taken to Dallas and adopted by another family. She's gone to counseling because of the traumatic event, and her shrink has convinced her to spend the summer in the woods where her parents were murdered to face her fears and move on. She enjoyed the experience, and decided to return, working as a sherpa, a person who guides people through the woods.
Her best friend at camp, Brittany, leads her through the woods for a surprise birthday with all of the other sherpas. There in the clearing, along with the rest of the wilderness guides, is Lucas, the head of the sherpas and the guy she has a strong, mysterious attraction for. When she blows out her seventeen birthday candles, she doesn't even think when she wishes for him just to kiss her. The weird need for him is starting to scare her.
Their first group to lead out is the next day: a group of kids from a university along with their professor. They're hoping to observe some wolves. Kayla finds out that Mason, the professor's son, is nice enough, and figures a simple relationship with him would distract her from her complicated feelings for Lucas.
They set off, but Lucas makes Kayla walk in the front with him. Kayla figures it's because she's new, though she half-wishes it's because he's jealous of her and Mason.
Everything's going along fine until they have to cross a rapidly flowing river. Lucas wades through the treacherous water and ties a rope to the other side so the others have something to hold onto when the cross the water. Kayla goes last. The water was harder to move through than she thought, even though she was a lifeguard a few summers ago. Suddenly, the rope snaps, and she is brought downstream. It takes every once of her strength to try to stay at the top and keep from drowning. Eventually, she manages to bring herself to shore. Only to find herself face to face with a bear. The bear growls at her, and is about to attack her when a wolf appears, and attacks it. Kayla can do nothing but watch as the wolf defends her from the bear. Eventually, the bear turns away. Kayla watches the wolf until the others come, and the wolf disappears. Lucas isn't with him; everyone reasons he probably outran her because he was, in fact, known for his speed. But something is up: the rope was cut.
Lucas throws out that it was probably his brother Devlin doing it. He wanted nothing more than to sabotage the sherpas, being a former one himself.
During the rest of the trip, Kayla's confused feelings for Lucas grows as well as her relationship with Mason. Traditionally, when a group reaches its destination, a sherpa stays behind with them. Mason convinces Kayla to volunteer to be the one. Lucas looks oddly hurt, but agrees.
Mason takes Kayla on a "romantic" hike up the hill nearby, and while away from the camp, starts kissing her so intensely, it's borderline rape. She tries to get away from him, but she can't. Then her wolf, the wolf that saved her from the bear, jumps out and growls. Mason, as though expecting this, pulls out a pistol loaded with tranquilizing darts and fires at the wolf.
Kayla is horrified when Mason tells her the truth: the group of university kids weren't really that, but were scientists, out looking for werewolves. And they wanted to use their DNA to make this drug that allows you to turn into a wolf. Their all in it for the money. Not only are they greedy, but they also believe that the wolf they captured was really a werewolf, and that he was going to shift back any time. Kayla thinks they're crazy, but to help the wolf, she knows she's going to have to play along, so she does.
When night comes, she goes to the cage to break the wolf out. Only, when she cracks open the door, the wolf transforms into Lucas. Kayla is shocked, naturally, and starts to head back to her tent, but Lucas grabs her arm. She then finds out that not only is he a werewolf, but apparently, she is to become one, too, at the next full moon, in two days. The first transformation always happens on the first full moon after the seventeenth birthday, Lucas says.
Eventually, Lucas gets Kayla to go with him. Along the way, Lucas reveals that they are mates, that's why they had such an intense attraction towards each other, and that when in wolf form, he can hear her thoughts. Also, the werewolves preferred the term "Shifters," and that they called non-Shifters "Statics." And that if he isn't present for her first change, Kayla could possibly die.
Eventually, they reach their destination: a cave behind the waterfall. It's stocked up with things as if people are there all the time. Kayla and Lucas stay there for the night.
The next day, they continue growing closer. Lucas fills her in all about the Shifters. Kayla still doesn't really believe she's going to become one, but she's falling harder for Lucas by the minute.
The next day, Lucas wakes Kayla up urgently. Devlin has found them. Devlin wanted to take back his title as alpha despite the fact that his being part of the pack was a danger to their secret society. Since Lucas was the alpha now, he attacked.
In the end, Lucas killed him. He had to. When fighting for alpha, it's a fight to the death, though when Lucas battled Devlin for it earlier, Devlin ran away, leaving Lucas the victor. Now, all was right.
Lucas was injured in the fight, which wasn't good with Kayla transforming that night. But he was slowly healing, and ended up pretty good for that night. Before Kayla shifts for the first time, she has to choose a mate, and kiss him in the moonlight. At first, nerves win out and she tells Lucas that she isn't ready. He transforms into a wolf and howls mournfully, and starts to run away. But Kayla calls back to him. She's ready now. He turns back human and they kiss. And then, they shift together. Kayla finds it easy and natural, not what she suspected at all.
The next day, Lucas and Kayla travel to Wolford, the hidden Shifter village. There, she meets Lucas's parents and becomes a part of the Dark Guardians, a group of Shifters dedicated to protecting their secret.
In the end, not only is Kayla living happily ever after, but she really has come to terms with her parents' death. The hunters had seen wolves. Her parents had taken her out into the woods to show her what she would be when she grew up, and how shifting isn't something to be afraid of. And it isn't, Kayla now knows.
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