Brother Wolf loved fast. Rifter, almost as much. This close to a full moon, the need for it was magnified.

Unlike the Weres, the Dires weren’t forced to shift during a full moon, and they could remain unshifted for a lot longer than the Weres without any harm. The Dires generally had more control over themselves, their first shift occurring at twenty-one rather than the Weres’ sixteen.

The Dires and their Brother Wolves were equals, inhabiting the same body, respectful of the other’s needs and wishes. And Rifter’s Brother Wolf was more than a little pissed he hadn’t been allowed to fight.

“I’ll make it up to you,” Rifter told him when he stopped the bike off the main trail through the woods and parked it where it wasn’t easily spotted. He stripped and threw his clothes over his bike. Didn’t matter that the temp was below zero—Brother Wolf always ran hot. For a long moment, he took in the quiet of the woods around him, before his brothers and no doubt some Weres arrived. And then it would become rowdy and raunchy and Rifter could get into that, too.

But the feeling that everything was about to change, that’s what sent shivers of a different kind through him.

He’d been around for a hell of a long time, watched eras come and go. He’d seen great leaders and watched the horrors that humans inflicted on one another. Most times, he’d had to numb himself, and they’d always fought on the side of good.

But this . . . something was happening in his world. Surrounded by supernatural beings his entire life—Weres, Vamps, other shifters, witches, demons—most of the time, they kept to their corners.

He’d prayed to the Elders for any kind of help, the way he’d done when he’d been captured but he’d refused to continue because it only made him more frustrated. The mystical clan of four who watched over the Dires, all created by Hati, son of a god who chased the moon, was unattainable; they believed in letting the Dires work out their own problems.

Don’t think on that now, he warned himself, and Brother Wolf agreed enthusiastically.

He shifted, letting himself revel in the pleasure and pain of the process, the impossibility of which had been widely documented by doctors and scientists alike. He felt sorry for those tied so closely to logic that it left them so bound to rules, to black and white, that they missed out on a lot of life and its messy, unexplainable, follow-no-rules beauty.

For Rifter, being a Dire meant everything. There were many things he regretted over the course of his extended lifetime, but being a wolf had never been one of them.