Character Spotlight: Gunnar Penn

Welcome back to a new week of posts for the April A to Z Blog Challenge! Today, I’ll be tackling the letter G by sharing some information about a side character from my upcoming novel, Capturing the Wylde Wolf. Remember, as with all my character spotlights, I can only share so much without giving away story spoilers, but I’ll share what I can.

In the Outagamie Pack, Gunnar is one of the oldest. In their ragtag group, most leave when they find their mate or station in life, but Gunnar had neither—not that he minded. He wasn’t exactly in a hurry to settle down, and he preferred the company of other misfits than going out on his own. With his experience and extended time at the house, he’d worked his way into the number two spot and helped Evan run things.

When he was twelve, Gunnar’s human stepfather, Jerod, came home in a drunken stupor. That night would be the last time the old man put his hands on Gunnar’s mother, a wolf half-shifter. She struggled to shift when she was scared, but even if that wasn’t the case, Jerod had forbidden her and her son from changing. Gunnar eventually came to realize it was because the pathetic excuse for a man was scared of them.

The final straw snapped in the young boy’s mind when he witnessed Jerod shove his mother down the stairs. She tumbled sideways, bouncing between the wall and the rail until she landed at the bottom with a sickening thud. Blood pooled around her head as she lay still.

Everything after that happened so fast that Gunnar barely knew what was happening until it was all over. Jerod turned to see the boy glaring at him from the corridor that looked over the entryway. Gunnar let loose a scream that morphed into a howl as he shifted faster than he ever had before; in a matter of seconds, he was racing down the hall in wolf form.

Though he was still small, the boy was fueled by anger and pain, and Jerod’s reflexes were slowed by the alcohol. Before the man could react, Gunnar was upon him, slamming him into the wall with the force of his leap. They slid sideways and tumbled down the stairs together, landing on the dead woman at the bottom.

A snapping sound was immediately followed by Gunnar howling in agony—he knew his wrist was broken. Unable to put weight on that paw, he still got to his feet and pounced on the disoriented man’s back, burying his teeth in Jerod’s neck.

Jerod cried out and fell to his knees, beating at the boy’s face with his fists. Gunnar growled and clamped down even harder, barely feeling the pain from the fists or his broken bone. He dug his claws into the man, intensifying his hold.

Soon, Jerod’s blows weakened, and he stopped screaming. He collapsed onto his face, but Gunnar held on, only releasing his grip when the man hadn’t moved for at least a few minutes. Jaw aching, he tumbled off the pile of bodies, landing on his bad paw. As he turned back to look at his mother and stepfather, the weight of what he’d done began bearing down on him.

What would the police think? It was unlikely they would be some of the few who knew shifters existed. Would they think a random wolf got in? He couldn’t take the risk of being discovered for what he was, let alone being blamed for their deaths. With a whimper, he ran as fast as his three legs could carry him and never looked back.

For several days, Gunnar stayed in wolf form. A young, naked child wandering the dark, secluded streets at night, rifling through garbage cans, would draw too much attention. He napped during the day, hiding wherever he could. His paw throbbed constantly, and finding a comfortable position to lie down in was challenging; various cuts and bruises covered his body from the tumble down the stairs and his journey since. Though he couldn’t tell if he had a black eye without shifting to human form, he knew Jerod had done a number on his face. His bloody nose and lip had improved, but one eye was swollen almost shut.

Weak from pain, exhaustion, and a lack of sufficient food and water, he collapsed in the woods he was travelling through to reach the next neighborhood. Gunnar had no idea how long he’d been unconscious, but when he woke up, it was daylight and a pair of wolves were watching him from a few feet away. He watched the wolves turn into humans, then passed out again.

When he woke up again, he was in a small hospital-like room, hooked up to an IV. Gunnar realized he had shifted in his sleep, and saw his wrist was in a cast. He later found out the two wolf shifters brought him to a doctor who took care of beings like them, and one of them was always by his side.

Gunnar stayed in the doctor’s care for several days until he was healthy enough to leave—the only problem was he had nowhere to go. After hearing his story, the shifters invited him to live at the pack house with them. He accepted and soon became a part of the Outagamie family.

Gunnar has been at the pack house ever since, often still feeling like an outcast among outcasts, but it was the only home he knew. The friends who had taken him in all those years ago had moved on and left the house, and Gunnar found himself hanging back while everyone he’d known in his childhood eventually left, and knew ones arrived.

Very few pack members know of his past.


Unfortunately, friends, this is where I must leave Gunnar’s story to avoid any details that will be covered in the book.

I hope you enjoyed this sneak peek into another Capturing the Wylde Wolf character. Much of the backstories I’m sharing in these blog posts can only be found here! I have listed some further stats below.

Age: 26

Height: 5’10”

Build: Average

Weight: 160 lbs

Hair color: Sandy blond

Eye color: Light brown

Personality: Trusts few people, doesn’t like talking about his past, feels like he’ll never truly fit in anywhere, hardened but still friendly.

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