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    astone2292
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Cernunnos - 20. Chapter 20

The order was clear and no one dared to defy it. Cyn and Shea took off to the left, the Turbins went another direction, and Arric ran behind the nearest tree. Cursing himself mentally, the Alpha nursed his injured pride. How did Cyn know? I didn’t smell a thing, let alone feel anything in my instincts! A hunter. Growling to himself, the wolf’s thoughts flew. This can be no coincidence! A hunter near the site of a cernunnos attack?

A loud gunshot sounded from the vicinity of the hunter. He’s not aiming at me! I need to move! Peeking out, he saw the distance between the hunter and himself. If I get closer, I can strike. Arric darted between the trees, changing directions sporadically. After the third tree hop, another shot rang out, followed by a thud against the tree he was hiding behind. He sees me. I only hope the others have the same plan of attack!

Shea heard the shots and decided to strategize. This is what all that training was for, I guess! I’ve never run into a hunter before, but it seems like a simple problem. Close in until the gunner runs and attack them when an opening presents itself. He turned and saw Cyn behind another tree to his rear. Shea watched the deer quake in fear with eyes wide. He needs to calm down! He’ll go running off in the middle of the gunfire! Snorting, he warned the buck to stay put. A third shot echoed in the forest and a solid sound came from the tree his boyfriend was hiding behind. They’re after Cyn! Turning back to the gunner, Shea could only make a single assumption. It’s one of the three! He glanced to the left and saw Arric darting swiftly between the trees. Alpha has the same idea. Where are the Turbins?

A bark came from the Alpha; a warning. Sniffing the air himself, he came up with a faint trace. I smell it, but I wouldn’t have noticed the silver in the air if he hadn’t said something. He quickly let out a loud bark, informing the others We must move carefully! One bullet and we’ll be in deep shit!

Focusing on the task at hand, Shea advanced to the next tree. Waiting for another shot to ring out, he let out a loud snarl, followed by a series of rabid barks. To a shifter’s ears, they were just simple warnings to stop, but the sounds could strike fear into any human’s heart. Another shot rang out with a corresponding thud in front of Arric’s tree. The white wolf seemed nearly unphased as the Alpha took the opportunity to advance again. So, he’s waiting for a shot to go. Good idea.

Shot after shot, the wolves flanked the gunner. From the corner of his vision, Shea finally found Jaime off to his right and was pleased with his position. I’m fairly certain with his focus on us, the shooter doesn’t see him! But where is Kara? The three wolves waited for another shot, but the forest was silent. A move needs to be made. Shea darted his head from behind his cover and quickly retreated in hopes of faking out the gunman. Minutes passed and the stalemate was growing tiresome.

The commander turned to Arric as the Alpha’s patience was being tested. Growling loudly, it was Arric’s turn to throw nasty insults and a slew of vicious barks. Turning to Jaime, the auburn wolf seems ready to make a move. Shea woofed, instructing him to stay put.

The attention of the four shifters was grabbed as a prideful howl permeated through the woods. Shea recognized the claim of victory. Kara! Did...did she get him? He peeked from the side for a moment, only to retract his head. Letting loose a resounding bark, he demanded for Kara to speak or reveal herself.

Another resounding howl confirmed Shea's suspicion. That's her. She got him! Coming from behind his cover, Shea trotted towards the gunman's nest, followed by the other shifters. As they got close, Kara met them halfway and led them to the body. Approaching the prone and bloody body, the commander and Alpha surveyed it while Jaime took charge of policing the area.

With one sniff, Arric confirmed the identity of their attacker. Marric. The three have become two now. Observing the way Marric died, he grunted approval towards Kara and her bite to his neck. He wouldn't have had a chance to shift. She snapped his neck, as well as severing a jugular. It's a shame he died instantly.

The Alpha began his shift back into his human form. Once standing on his two feet, he knelt over the body and began rummaging through the backpack nearby. The lycan found what he was looking for. Cell phone. We can at least know what kind of messages Marric was sending. Digging further into the pack, Arric kept finding more and more useful things. “Jaime, shift so you can strap this bag to me. We need to head back. Marric’s phone will be enough to get us further than the scene itself. Agreed?”

Shea nodded as Jaime shifted into his human form as Arric reverted to his white wolf. With the new bag attached, Jaime’s wolf came back out. Reverting back to the original formation with Cyn and Kara to the front, the red-haired wolf took a roaming position. They retraced their path. Cyn kept his eyes peeled the entire time. His instincts were working in overdrive. I barely caught that rifle’s glint! If...if I hadn’t said anything, who knows what would have happened! He turned to see Kara running with bloodstains on her muzzle, and mentally thought of the remaining team members that escaped his vision.

His mind stopped on Sheamus. Thoughts could not be formed of hypothetical outcomes. Thinking of the large man he met at the hospital, Cyn’s heart pulled. He’s been there for me this entire time. I don’t think I could have handled seeing him hurt.

As they arrived back at the pair of sedans, Jaime was the first to shift as he needed to remove everyone’s backpacks. Once Shea’s was removed, the commander’s body began to change. He then focused on detaching Cyn’s harness and whispered so only the deer could hear, “You were amazing out there, Cyn. I’m...I’m so proud of how far you’ve come.” The lycan looked up to the cernunnos’ wide irises. For the first time, Shea paid attention to the color of a deer’s eyes. I’ve always thought they were black! The pupil is just that big. Nearing the edge of the thin brown fur on Cyn’s face, Shea stared at the thin and brown ring surrounding the enormous pupils.

Just as Shea unlatched the harness strap around the buck’s neck, his neck was nudged by Cyn’s wet nose. “Thanks. I...I like you too, little man.” With the backpack removed, Shea expected the cernunnos to transform back into the short and cute man, but the deer remained. “You really like being a deer, don’t you?” Cyn snorted and Shea gently raised his hand to stroke the side of the neck. “I don’t blame you. I love running around in the woods. Maybe soon, when we aren’t dealing with this craziness, we can go running together. Does that sound like fun?”

Picturing the two running in the forest delighted Cyn to no end. He dipped his head slightly, being careful to avoid hurting Sheamus with his antlers, and snorted heavily. The buck took a few steps in reverse, allowing Shea’s hands to fall to his side, and silently shifted. Watching in awe, Shea forgot he was still naked as a cold breeze blew below his hips. With Cyn finishing his transformation, the lycan quickly opened the buck’s pack to brandish their clothes. The chilled fabric was not pleasant to feel as the clothes were thrown on. Beginning to shiver, Shea quickly started his car and cranked up the heat.

“Nice work, everyone!” Arric’s usual strong tone faltered as the Alpha felt the frigid wind. “Cyn. Most impressive by spotting the enemy. How did you know he was there?”

Pulling his new jacket on and zipping it as high as possible, Cyn’s voice shivered, “I...I just knew. Something felt off, so I looked...and-and saw the gun.”

“You’re saying it was your instincts?” Arric watched the smaller man nod. That’s crazy! I’m already blown away by his ability to shift silently, but to have animal instincts on that high of a frequency? Is this a common trait with cernunnos, or do all deer have this? The Alpha stepped forward and stretched out his hand to Cyn. “Your instincts may have saved someone’s life today, young fawn. Today will not go unnoticed.”

Cyn stared at the hand for a moment before seeing Shea nod behind the Alpha. Lifting his own, Cyn’s hand met Arric’s tight grip. “Th-thank you, Arric.”

“Let’s head back to the manor. We need to have the cell phone analyzed. I’m also certain everyone has earned the rest of the evening off. Turbins!” Jaime and Kara had just put their clothes back on as they stood at attention from their Alpha’s shout. “You’re invited to dinner at the manor tonight. Unless plans have been made, I suggest you attend.”

“Yes, Alpha.” The mated couple spoke simultaneously. With everyone clothed, the shifters piled into the vehicles and journeyed back to the manor.

Along the way, Shea couldn’t keep his hand off of Cyn’s. So much has happened! The mission was an incredible success, but I just can’t get over Cyn! The little guy was so fearless today. He was shaky when the gunfire started and I won’t blame him. “You okay, Cyn?”

The deer’s brown eyes met Shea. He couldn’t figure out his own emotions. On one hand, he was thrilled with being included in the adventure, but the other hand is what scared him. Those three. They really do want to hurt me! Flashes of the limp body came to mind and he shivered, “I’m fine. I just...I guess I didn’t believe you when you said they wanted to hurt me.”

“I’m sorry this happened today. I could tell Arric was just as surprised as we were. It’s bad when the Alpha didn’t notice Marric before you mentioned there being a hunter.” Squeezing the smaller hand, Shea had a knot forming in his stomach. “I’m just glad you weren’t hurt.”

Cyn looked down to the larger hand and admired the squeeze. He sat and decided to return the squeeze, "You and Arric are strong leaders. I wanted to be useful."

"You were beyond useful, Cyn! You saved us from someone being injured or worse. Arric might be too proud to say it, but you were the star of this mission."

"But Kara killed the hunter. That's more than what I did."

Shea shook his head as he kept his eyes on the road. "She is trained to be the offensive member of our team. She did her job. You were meant to be the assisting tracker. To spot a rifle scope from our location was remarkable!"

Hearing praise directed his way was a new experience and Cyn's cheeks grew rosy in color. "I just...I just did what any herd member would do."

Back to the herd mentality? “Well, it might shock you to hear this, but your actions weren’t any different from a pack member’s.” Shea curled a smile on the left side of his face. “Other than formations and duties, there’s not much difference between a pack of wolves and a herd of deer.”

Cyn gawked at his boyfriend. I...I acted like a wolf pack member? “Is there much of a difference?”

“From what I know, herds tend to bunch together and form a filled circle, of sorts. Wild wolves use a single line system but for our teams, we typically pair up in a line, like how we were today. We didn’t give you too much of a designated role, but you filled the tracker spot with flying colors!”

“What were the other roles?”

“Kara and Arric acted as bodyguards and our main line of both offense and defense. Jaime was purely scouting, and I was there for leading and support.”

Leading? Hearing his boyfriend was the acting leader didn’t sit right with the cernunnos. “If you were leading, why were you behind everyone?”

“That’s a thing with wolves. The leader tends to stay in the rear of formation to keep everyone moving. I can order a change in direction if needed, and if someone begins to slow down, I’m there to urge them to move faster or tell the group to slow down.” From the corner of the wolf’s eyes, he noticed Cyn having a hard time understanding the concept. Maybe an example will help him. “Do you know what a pirate ship looks like?” Watching the deer nod, Shea continued, “Picture one. Where is the steering wheel located?”

As the deer thought of a visual, he quickly responded to the question, “It’s near the...rear.” In a gasp, Cyn completely understood the concept of pack leadership. “You can see how everyone is doing!” The person steering can order the crew around!

The wolf grinned from ear to ear at the moment of brilliance. “That’s right. A deer leader sticks near the front, right?”

“Yes, the head buck will guide the herd to the destination. Where we go is up to him, and the same for food and water.” Cyn twiddled his fingers nervously, “Although I sometimes will eat nuts off the ground as I see them.”

“You must have been a respected member of your herds to be able to sniff out danger like you did.”

The cernunnos’ heart sank as he thought of his roles in all of his herds. “No, I wasn’t. My...my antlers are not worthy of being respected.”

Shea hated the fact he was driving at the moment. He wanted to turn and stare deep into the eyes of the sad man. He...he wasn’t respected? “What do you mean?”

“I only have six points. Every herd I’ve been in, the head buck thought of me as weak. I...I have never won a challenge. I was never deemed fit to mate with any of the females, even though I couldn’t imagine doing that. The fact I wasn’t allowed marked me as the weakest.”

A low growl was kept behind Shea’s closed lips. He could smell that his vocal opinion scared the deer. “I didn’t mean to scare you Cyn, but you are anything but weak!” The statement was calm in volume and stern in tone. “I guarantee Arric would call your lead bucks ignorant for their closed minds. Strength is not everything, and I think you need to know that. If it weren’t for you, our mission would have ended in disaster.”

With furrowed brows, the deer tried to make sense of Shea’s statement. Strength isn’t everything? That...that doesn’t make sense. A deer’s strength and his antlers make up his status. “I don’t get what you’re saying, Sheamus. For cernunnos and wild deer, strength is how status is set. If I can’t win a challenge, then I’m next to nothing.”

“I guess that’s a difference between our species. With lycan, we look at strength, instinct, and intelligence. It’s fine to have all the power in the world, but if you don’t have the brains to make tactical decisions, your pack will fall.”

I get it! That...that is smart! “So, if someone wasn’t strong, they would use their instincts.”

“Just like you did today.” The instant the words left his mouth, Shea saw the biggest smile on Cyn’s face. He’s so happy! I want him to feel this way for as long as possible. A few more turns and Shea parked the car in front of Arric’s manor. His chest pounded like a tribal drum. Cyn kept staring at him with large brown eyes. “Cyn, I want to do something, but I’m...afraid I’ll scare you.”

The deer’s smile faltered, but came back with its original intensity, “You don’t scare me anymore, Sheamus.”

His heart soared as the lycan lifted his hand. Shea gently cupped the side of Cyn’s face, “Good.” The bigger man leaned from his seat and planted his lips on his passenger.

Copyright © 2021 astone2292; All Rights Reserved.
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Chapter Comments



1 hour ago, CincyKris said:

Great chapter!  They killed one of the traitors, Cyn gained a lot of confidence, and best of all, Cyn and Shea kissed!

Twenty chapters later and they finally kiss! 

9 minutes ago, drpaladin said:

For the first time in his life Cyn feels like a valued member of a group. It's a heady feeling for our valiant little buck to be both loved and respected.

If the pack has decent technical members, Marric's phone can show them everywhere he's been using the GPS and be a step closer to the other two, but the problem of other traitors remains. There is no valid reason for the main tracking team to fail beginning their track at the scene of the attack.

I'm sure Arric's pack is up to speed on all the latest technological ways to pick apart a phone.

I may be misreading the underlined portion, but I'm a little confused at the message being conveyed. 

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Just now, Yeoldebard said:

You certainly got my heart racing with this chapter. One wrong move, one ill timed dart and they'd be dead. Well written. And to have Cyn and Shea finally kiss is just icing on the cake.

Glad I could cause some heart palpitations! Thanks for reading and commenting!

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36 minutes ago, astone2292 said:

I may be misreading the underlined portion, but I'm a little confused at the message being conveyed. 

It seems clear to me. What is your interpretation?

We had the main team and our small band. Our group went to the logical point of origin and the other didn't. Who is primarily responsible for misdirecting it?

Another point is how Marric knew to be there. It would have been pure suicide for him to go up against the other larger tracking team; against five with a rifle, he had a chance.

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1 minute ago, drpaladin said:

It seems clear to me. What is your interpretation?

We had the main team and our small band. Our group went to the logical point of origin and the other didn't. Who is primarily responsible for misdirecting it?

Another point is how Marric knew to be there. It would have been pure suicide for him to go up against the other larger tracking team; against five with a rifle, he had a chance.

I think I misinterpreted "main tracking team" as Shea's group and not the actual pack tracking team. That's my bad! In regards to who misdirected the team, we'll find out. Lots of information can be found from a phone...

Marric, as well as the other two stooges, knew where the attack on Cyn happened. He must have been keeping surveillance on the area. Even though a one on five fight was a kamikaze move, there were two targets that were worth taking the shot, at least in my opinion:  Cyn and Arric. If Marric landed a shot on either of those two, the situation would have been dire for the group. It's possible Marric accepted the fact he would be a goner, but he did his darnedest.  

 

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8 minutes ago, dughlas said:

Better late than never.

Now to see how our little deer reacts to having his lips licked...

1 minute ago, Valkyrie said:

One down... two to go!  The ending was perfect :) 

Thanks, Val! Glad you liked the ending ;) 

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12 minutes ago, astone2292 said:

I think I misinterpreted "main tracking team" as Shea's group and not the actual pack tracking team. That's my bad! In regards to who misdirected the team, we'll find out. Lots of information can be found from a phone...

Marric, as well as the other two stooges, knew where the attack on Cyn happened. He must have been keeping surveillance on the area. Even though a one on five fight was a kamikaze move, there were two targets that were worth taking the shot, at least in my opinion:  Cyn and Arric. If Marric landed a shot on either of those two, the situation would have been dire for the group. It's possible Marric accepted the fact he would be a goner, but he did his darnedest.  

 

It might seem reckless, but he had a better than decent chance. His miscalculation was basing his attack on what he knew wolves might detect and dismissing the wild card represented by Cyn.

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3 minutes ago, drpaladin said:

It might seem reckless, but he had a better than decent chance. His miscalculation was basing his attack on what he knew wolves might detect and dismissing the wild card represented by Cyn.

Dismissing Cyn was a mistake, for certain. What may be unseen in the story is whether Marric was just setting up his gear for the shot, or if he's that terrible of a gunman. Perhaps he had a thought process of, There's...there's no way that deer just saw me. 

Yep. They scattered. Crap!

5 minutes ago, drsawzall said:

From the frying pan into the fire....just saying...

Plenty of snow in Sheboygan to put out the fire...just sprayin'. :gikkle:

I do agree things will start getting more intense. For both Cyn, and his relationship...

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4 minutes ago, Patch1 said:

Finally!  Cyn is seeing his worth!!  He has been told time and again that he is weak and he started believed it.  But now, he is finally seeing that he has value.  That he is indeed strong! 💪 It is so much like watching a child grow into his own....so rewarding!  Oh and THE kiss!!!!  Yes!!!!🐺:heart:🦌  :kiss:

I knew as soon as I wrote the kiss, I would have Patch going bonkers! Glad you liked the chapter, bud!

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1 minute ago, astone2292 said:

I knew as soon as I wrote the kiss, I would have Patch going bonkers! Glad you liked the chapter, bud!

You know me too well!!!!  Like is not strong enough of a word!!!!  Love barely covers it!  The whole chapter was amazing!  It kept me on the edge until Kara killed Marric.  And then BOOM!  What a terrific ending!

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Finally! A kiss!! Clearly with Cyn, Shea needs to go slow. It is nice to see his patience rewarded! I am impressed with the details about Cernunnos' life. I assume you are inventing it as you go along. Or maybe you outlined ideas before you started writing. In any event they must be coming from you. Thanks. 

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Lycan shooting lycan with SILVER?!? That's some treasonous schtuff if I ever did read!! Seems Arric has let the wolves rule the den! He should take a chapter from Cyn in keeping better council with his own wolf...

 

Shea: Mom, I'm in love with a deer

Mom: Oh Dear...a deer?!? We must have him for dinner!

spacer.png

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Why am I feeling a "The North Remembers" scene is coming to the treacherous pack with only difference is a few more survivors.

Survivors being 

Arric though he may choose to go down with the ship

Turbines

cyn and Shea

Runt tracker and trusted other from turbines

season 7 hbo GIF by Game of Thrones

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Really enjoying this story love how it's so very different  to normal shifter stories. Can't wait to read what happens next .

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8 hours ago, JeffreyL said:

Finally! A kiss!! Clearly with Cyn, Shea needs to go slow. It is nice to see his patience rewarded! I am impressed with the details about Cernunnos' life. I assume you are inventing it as you go along. Or maybe you outlined ideas before you started writing. In any event they must be coming from you. Thanks. 

Aww, were you waiting for the first smooch? I've planned out the mentality and set the bar of what Cyn has experienced and what he has not, but as he approaches something, I decide whether he has done it (sit on a bed, for example). I looked at how deer behave in the wild, as well as a refresher course in wolf packs, but for the most part, I'm making things up as I go. 

 

7 hours ago, RafaelDe said:

Lycan shooting lycan with SILVER?!? That's some treasonous schtuff if I ever did read!! Seems Arric has let the wolves rule the den! He should take a chapter from Cyn in keeping better council with his own wolf...

 

Shea: Mom, I'm in love with a deer

Mom: Oh Dear...a deer?!? We must have him for dinner!

spacer.png

Oh, dear. I can't wait to introduce Shea's parents...

5 hours ago, Hellsheild said:

Why am I feeling a "The North Remembers" scene is coming to the treacherous pack with only difference is a few more survivors.

Survivors being 

Arric though he may choose to go down with the ship

Turbines

cyn and Shea

Runt tracker and trusted other from turbines

season 7 hbo GIF by Game of Thrones

Great. Another person found their way into my Google Drive...

 

3 hours ago, Librent said:

Really enjoying this story love how it's so very different  to normal shifter stories. Can't wait to read what happens next .

I'm so glad you're loving this story! I still thank @CincyKris for the offhand comment in LitS for this story's concept. It was so different and I wanted to tackle it! Working on a RitS chapter currently, so a new Cernunnos chapter will be written within the week :)

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When I make a comment in my persona as the Old Troll I frequently forget to ask the author´s permission. Making gramatical comments on a story is just the retired teacher in me sneaking out around the corners. Some authors accept my grammatical comments in the spirit in which they are intended – one of making the work read better -- other authors quite frankly tell me to 'fuck off' -- the story is theirs to tell. If my suggestions (and that is truly what they are, suggestions) irritate you I will dive back into my cave beneath the bridge and not say anything more. But in your case, they are so few and far between ---

Mister Will

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16 minutes ago, Will Hawkins said:

When I make a comment in my persona as the Old Troll I frequently forget to ask the author´s permission. Making gramatical comments on a story is just the retired teacher in me sneaking out around the corners. Some authors accept my grammatical comments in the spirit in which they are intended – one of making the work read better -- other authors quite frankly tell me to 'fuck off' -- the story is theirs to tell. If my suggestions (and that is truly what they are, suggestions) irritate you I will dive back into my cave beneath the bridge and not say anything more. But in your case, they are so few and far between ---

Mister Will

Bring on the grammatical comments!!! If there are numerous on a single chapter, feel free to shoot me a PM, but I am always looking for feedback! I want to be the best writer I can be, and feedback is necessary to accomplish that goal.

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Oh, dear, how gacious of you, and the old schoolteacher-troll has found nearly zero excuse to nip at your toes (and from me that probably is a statement of high praise). Many, many times in reading stories, probably by youngr authors, I have had to bite my tongue to keep from over-correcting their work. I consider those  many grammatical errors I see in some works as the fault of poot instruction. I would blame them on the Covid isolation except that they were preent long before the Covid problem, so there is nothing left to blame them on but lack of education. Sometimes I do have a problem though, my grammar learning period was over 80 years ago and I find that many of the rules have changed since then, for example, I no longer panic when is see a preposition as the last word in a sentence, that used to be a sin. Even with that relaxation, I frequenly find myself rewriting a sentence to invert the word order to avoid that as it still rubs my grammar bone the wrong way.

Mister Will

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27 minutes ago, Will Hawkins said:

Oh, dear, how gacious of you, and the old schoolteacher-troll has found nearly zero excuse to nip at your toes (and from me that probably is a statement of high praise). Many, many times in reading stories, probably by youngr authors, I have had to bite my tongue to keep from over-correcting their work. I consider those  many grammatical errors I see in some works as the fault of poot instruction. I would blame them on the Covid isolation except that they were preent long before the Covid problem, so there is nothing left to blame them on but lack of education. Sometimes I do have a problem though, my grammar learning period was over 80 years ago and I find that many of the rules have changed since then, for example, I no longer panic when is see a preposition as the last word in a sentence, that used to be a sin. Even with that relaxation, I frequenly find myself rewriting a sentence to invert the word order to avoid that as it still rubs my grammar bone the wrong way.

Mister Will

I feel that the rules of writing haven't changed very much. Styling, however, has taken a heavier forefront in this age of literature. I do see some relaxation on the rules of the comma, and this gives me some issues. I also recognize in comparison to its proper usage and format, I do not use ellipsis correctly. Most, if not all of mine do not have a space at the end, but I feel it looks awkward when used proper. 

With the evolution of Tik-Tok and social media, the biggest challenge that writers face is the shortening attention span of the reader. The first few sentences have always been considered the most important section of the book, but it has now grown essential for the writer's success. If the book doesn't nab the reader's attention within several seconds, the book is dead. I'd love to continue this conversation about grammatical topics in a personal message and hear your input!

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