Home > Dominick (Growl and Prowl #1)

Dominick (Growl and Prowl #1)
Author: Eve Langlais

 


Introduction

 

 

When she called him a pussycat, she didn’t mean it literally.

 

 

There comes a time in every man’s life where he’s got to choose: settle down or get smacked by his mom for not giving her grandbabies. After all, Dominick is not getting any younger, although age isn’t why he retired from the military.

After the incident they had no choice but to medically discharge him. Probably for the best because something inside him is struggling to break free.

Adrift and on the prowl, he runs into his high school crush, Anika. She’s still as beautiful as before, meaning of course he puts his foot in his mouth, down his throat, and out his…

Yeah, he’s still an idiot around her. He can’t help himself despite knowing he should stay away. The blackouts have started up again, resulting in a loss of clothes and a raw diet.

Discovering he's a giant freaking cat isn’t easy to accept, especially since his family’s idea of sympathy is offering him a can of tuna and dangling a string.

They won’t laugh for long once they realize Dominick can’t control the beast.

Only love can tame him.

Growl and Prowl, the series.

 

 

Prologue

 

 

“Terminate him.” The cold command jolted the doctor.

“You can’t be serious.” Johan shoved at his glasses, already firmly seated on his nose. He couldn’t help but fidget.

“I am very serious. He’s useless to me,” said the man financing the project.

Known simply as Mr. X, no one knew his actual name, but everyone feared him. Always dressed in a suit with oversized, wraparound sunglasses, Mr. X tended to appear abruptly and make sweeping changes with a barked command.

Dr. Johan Philips stood beside his employer as they observed the subject in question through the one-way glass that looked upon a room twenty feet below. Set up as a gym, it had cushioned mats, bars, and ropes to climb. At any time of day, at least two to four subjects could be observed being put through rigorous exercise, their small bodies agile and strong despite their age.

“It seems rather premature to call him useless. He’s still young.” The subject in question wasn’t even five years old and the only one to survive in the many batches of births for that year.

“The viable subjects have always manifested by this age. According to the numbers, more than ninety-five percent.”

“From a still rather limited pool of candidates.” A weak reply because Johan had also seen the stats. Those who didn’t manifest until after they turned two almost invariably had health issues and died before the age of six. This project had been slowly moving along before he arrived on the scene.

“The ratio of no-shows has been getting worse since you took over,” Mr. X pointed out.

“Because we’ve branched out. It’s to be expected that modifications might take several tweaks to take proper effect.”

“I’ve been more than patient. But obviously, you did something wrong. My understanding is that he’s just the oldest current failure. We have more coming.”

Johan fidgeted and hoped that Mr. X didn’t notice him starting to sweat. “If I just had more time… I’m sure it’s simply a matter of figuring out his trigger.” The thing that would make the subject valuable. That would save his life.

“More time means more money. He needs to be removed to make room for other prospects.”

And by removed, Mr. X didn’t mean sending him to live elsewhere. A furnace was kept hot at all times to handle items that might cause trouble should the wrong people come across them.

Still, Johan Philips hadn’t become the first doctor in his family so he could condone murder. “He’s only a child.”

“That’s where you’re wrong. He’s a failure. Your failure. It would be a shame if you were to share his fate.”

Johan swallowed hard. He knew that Mr. X wasn’t being facetious. Everyone was well aware that the scientist who’d worked the project before him had died in a horrible car crash.

Despite what the reports claimed, it wasn’t an accident.

Whose life mattered more? His or that of the subject created in a lab? The doctor pressed his lips tightly together and nodded. “It shall be as you command. I’ll have him removed before the end of the day.”

Mr. X turned from the window. “From now on, if they don’t manifest by the age of three, terminate them.”

“That would eject two more children shortly,” he exclaimed.

“I know. See it done.” With that ominous order, Mr. X departed.

Yet Johan remained a while longer, staring at the little boy playing in the room. Healthy and bright. His only fault being too human.

Johan didn’t visit the child until later that day. Heart heavy. Especially since subject DK04 smiled at the sight of him. “Hey, Dr. P.”

Emotional, and his guilt almost enough to make him want to run, he did what he had to. The next time Mr. X. called and asked, “Did you get rid of the failure?” the doctor didn’t have to lie when he said, “Yes.”

Over the years, other children were removed, as well. None ever made it to the incinerator.

When Johan died in a car crash twenty-seven years later, he took that secret with him.

 

 

1

 

 

“Eat that cookie and die.” The threat paused Dominick’s hovering hand.

How had Mom heard him reaching for the cooling treat? To this day, Dominick envied her stealth skills. Even tried to emulate her and thought he’d done a fine job of sneaking.

Ninja-eared Mom heard him and now threatened with a metal spatula. From previous encounters with that lifter, he knew she would slap his hand if it moved.

Question being, was it worth the sting and her ire?

“Can’t I have just one?” Yes, he whined. Anyone with taste buds would have begged for a cookie made by Nanette “Nana” Hubbard. His adoptive mother, giver of hugs, baker of cookies, currently in her avenging-kitchen-goddess mode.

Metal spatula in one hand, fingers curled around her cane with the other, at under five feet, Mom might be tiny, but she would still whoop his ass. No one made the mistake of thinking the tight gray curls and laugh lines made her weak. Nana Hubbard was a force of nature, and Dominick knew better than to ignore a warning.

But a cookie.

Hot from the oven.

Chocolate raisin oatmeal.

His favorite.

He needed one.

Needed. He almost growled the word. He’d had issues with his emotions lately. Too much pent-up energy inside.

And hunger. Add in a lack of impulse control, and he went for it!

The cookie he popped into his mouth burned and hurt almost as much as the whack. He’d endured worse abuse in his life, but never from his mom. She might give them the occasional slap when repeated warnings were ignored, but she never truly hurt Dominick or the other children. Nana barked more than she bit.

The worst trouble he’d ever gotten into happened in grade nine when he put that Smithers kid in the hospital. Call his sister a rude name? Like hell. Dominick never did tell his mom why he hurt the kid—Pammy didn’t deserve having it repeated—and he bore the yanking of his ear and the yelling as she sent him to his room.

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