Today I pulled out Sanctuary Unbound, book four of Red Rock Pass by Moira Rogers. It's been on my virtual shelf for over a month now. I opened it up, read the first page or so, and... felt my heart plummet.
I've been with these characters since Becoming, a short story/prequel, where the Alpha, Gavin, found his mate. In that, we also met a very young boy/shifter named Keith. In Cry Sanctuary, a very grown Keith =) finds his mate. Despite following the lives of those in this pack through three books and a few short stories, I didn't realize just how much I had bonded to these men and women. Wolves.
Until I read the opening of Sanctuary Unbound.
In the last book, Sanctuary's Price, Gavin was hurt. And Keith even more so. But fine. Now, as we proceed into the first chapter of the latest piece, Gavin is being monitored on an EKG. His age has caught up with him. Even though he is well over a hundred, Gavin has always been portrayed, much like other wolfshifters, as a man in his prime. But he's not there anymore.
And the question has come, is Keith ready?
So, tears for me. It's been a while but apparently I can still lose my mind over some fictional characters. Not sure how I'll proceed at this point. I doubt Gavin will actually die but if he does, I'll be sad for moons. Gavin and Keith aren't even the main characters anymore!
SANCTUARY UNBOUND, page 1
Cindy gritted her teeth and peeled the backing from the last lead. “I’ll have to see what the EKG shows, but you sure the hell look like you’re having another heart attack.”
Gavin had to move the oxygen mask and unclench his jaw to speak. “It’s not as bad this time.”
He was pale, sweaty and trembling, and she barely managed not to call him a liar. “Put the mask back on and keep it there.” She turned on the machine and checked the signal integrity. “Sit still while I talk to Sam.”
Gavin’s wife hovered in the doorway, tension in her dark eyes even though she’d fixed a stern look on her face. “For God’s sake, do what she says or I’m going to finish you off before your heart gets a chance.”
Instead of arguing, he nodded and leaned his head against the raised headboard of the bed.
Cindy pulled the door shut behind her and watched Gavin through the window. “There’s not much I can do here, Sam. It’s the same as last time. I’m not a cardiologist.”
“Damn it.” Sam squeezed her eyes shut as she lifted her fingers to rub at her temples. “What if I gave him some of my energy? Sasha and the lot of them should be back this afternoon. Maybe if she used magic to bind us…”
“It wouldn’t do anything but hurt you, Sam. Werewolves have accelerated healing, and we live a long time.” But not forever. Gavin’s problems were mundane, and the sort they rarely saw, even in a sanctuary town like Red Rock. “He’s just…not a kid anymore.”
“And this war is killing him.” Sam exhaled sharply. “He can’t keep this up, can he?”
Cindy urged Sam to the chair beside the doorway, keeping tight hold of her hand even after she sat. “There are a lot of things that don’t help, things a werewolf wouldn’t normally have to worry about. The smoking, for one. And yes, his stress level.”
“He doesn’t think Keith’s ready. That’s why he can’t slow down.” Sam’s voice dropped to a hoarse whisper. “When Keith found Abby… You know how he’s been. It was the first time we’d seen him alive in years. And Gavin thought he might be ready to take over. But when Keith got hurt…”
No one knew better than she how close he’d come to dying. “Keith is recovering faster than I’d hoped. The hard truth is that, physically, he’s stronger than Gavin now.”
“Then Keith needs to know that.”