“One shot…one kill. The sixteen-pound sledge hammer came down with such fierce power that the

granite boulder beneath shattered instantly. A spray of glittering mica exploded into the air and sparkled momentarily around the man who wielded the tool as if it were a weapon. Sweat ran in rivulets down Reno Manchahi’s drawn, intense face. Naked from the waist up, the hot July sun beating down on his back, he hefted the sledge hammer skyward once more. Muscles in his thick forearms leaped and biceps bulged. Even his breath was focused on the boulder. In his mind’s eye, he pictured Army General Robert Hampton’s fleshy, arrogant fifty-year-old features on the rock’s surface. Air exploded from between this thinned lips as he brought the avenging hammer downward. The boulder pulverized beneath his funneled hatred. One shot…one kill…

Nostrils flaring, he inhaled the dank, humid heat and drew it deep into his massive lungs. The only way he felt alive was to picture Hampton on every rock face he destroyed. Revenge allowed Reno to endure his imprisonment at a US Navy brig near San Diego, California. Droplets of sweat were flung in all directions as the crack of his sledge hammer claimed a third boulder victim.

Mouth taut, Reno moved to the next boulder. The other prisoners in the stone yard gave him a wide berth since they instinctively felt his simmering hatred, the revenge that was palpable in his cinnamon-colored eyes.

And they whispered he was different.

Reno enjoyed being a loner for good reason. He came from a medicine family of shapeshifters. The genes of his heritage allowed him to transform from human to jaguar at will. But even this secret power had not protected him—or his family. What life did he have left?”


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