Claire and her cousin Kelsey are hunting when Kelsey shoots a deer Skinwalker--a shapeshifter. Soon Claire and Kelsey are both captured by Skinwalkers seeking revenge. But when angry villagers attack the Skinwalker camp, Claire has to make a difficult choice. Whose side is she really on?
Cheryl gives an overview of the book:
Claire’s stomach tightened in hunger. She held her bow and arrow ready to bring down some game. But it had been a hard winter. There still weren’t many animals about.
It was spring. The forest should be teeming with rabbits and squirrels, but the forest felt empty. Claire had never seen it like this before. Her grandfather said he’d seen harder winters, but not in Claire’s memory. Never had they been so hungry.
Claire looked at her cousin Baynard beside her. Baynard looked thinner than usual, the bones in his face standing out. He’d grown a lot this past winter. Baynard was always hungry. As hungry as Claire was.
A rustle of leaves brought Claire’s gaze back to the forest. She strained to see through the bushes. In front of her was a moving red-brown shape. Maybe it was a deer. No, it was two deer. She could just see the moving shapes through the leaves.
Claire lowered her bow and arrow, and turned to Baynard. He still had his arrow aimed at the deer.
“What are you doing?” she asked and grabbed his arm. “Has the hunger made you lose your mind? You know only King Rudgerd’s men can kill deer.”
Baynard shook her hand away. “The King’s men aren’t here,” he said. “And everyone in the village is hungry. A deer would feed many families.”
The first deer poked its head through the bushes to stare at Claire and Baynard. Its big liquid eyes were intelligent and wary.
Then the deer cocked its head to one side, its ears flicking. It seemed to wonder what Baynard was going to do.
“Baynard!” Claire caught his arm again. She saw something in the look of the deer that wasn’t animal, but wasn’t fully human, either. “Stop! It’s not a deer. It’s a Skinwalker!”
“All the more reason to kill it,” Baynard said.
He sent his arrow flying.
“No!” Claire cried, grabbing at his arm. But it was too late.
The arrow shot through the air, straight at the deer. The arrow caught the animal right in its throat. Blood spurted, spraying on the leaves. The deer staggered, then fell to its knees.
Claire ran forward. “No!” Dread filled her. Don’t let it be a Skinwalker, she thought.
When she pushed aside the bushes, she saw the deer lying limply on its side. Blood was pooling into the earth and staining the deer’s coat. Its chest was still – it would never breathe again.
But this was not a deer, not an ordinary deer. As Claire watched, the dead deer began to change form. Its nose and muzzle shrank, pulling inward. Its neck shortened; its torso lengthened. Fur pulled back to reveal pale white skin. Soon a young man lay in front of them, an arrow through his throat.
Claire knelt beside the Skinwalker. “I’m sorry,” she whispered. “I’m so sorry.”
She looked over her shoulder at Baynard. Her cousin stood still. He didn’t come over to see if he’d killed a deer or a Skinwalker. Maybe he already knew.
I love to read. Books nurture me, helped me survive the abuse I endured as a child and teen. I also love to write. I write fantasy books and edgy, realistic fiction for teens.
My fantasy books often hold hope that I need, and feel others might need, too, while my...
"Powerful. Explosive. Moving. A MUST Read. Hunted is a truly captivating book, with a story that pulses with originality, social awareness, and a razor sharp intelligence. Incredibly gripping and impossible...