Shapeshifting: How I Spent My Summer
Yeah, I know. It seems like I’m repeating myself. I am, a little. The reason is I’m participating in The Romance Studio’s Summer Bash, so I want to make sure that new fans can sink their teeth into my stories.
New Release coming August 19th-ish, 2013: Grane: Book Two of The Luna Chronicle
In the northern Maine woods, a wolf pack unlike any other reigns the landscape. With the ability to shift into human shape, they are the supreme rulers of their territory. Until the real humans threaten their secret realm…
A seasoned fighter who has murdered too many of his fellow wolf-men to bear counting, Grane is long past salvaging, no matter the reason behind his lethal campaign. But then he meets Suma, the white wolf who wields the power to heal his emotional scars.
But Suma is not a wolf-woman who can easily forgive Grane his horrific deeds. She mistrusts him, and seeks every opportunity to remind the wolf-man of the pain he’s caused her pack.
Yet it is through this fire that Grane’s redemption is forged, and as he heals, Suma witnesses the unfolding of a generous heart, and learns there just might be passion and loyalty to be found in forgiveness—if they can survive long enough to find out.
Excerpt for Grane:
Although the threat the humans would return hovered, the early autumn days stretched out in an endless fashion. I figured out how to be less available to Armand and Suma, and spent many hours in the woods with Gor and Terra teaching them how to hunt and how to fight. They were quick learners, but they were often distracted by butterflies, or snakes, or skunks, or any other creature that tickled and tempted their attention. I laughed endlessly on those days, and my heart mended and grew strong in my love for them, while I grew accustomed to and enjoyed my status as the lowest pack member. The twins grew fast as wolf pups, but I still had to watch close for when they shifted into their human shapes. They could crawl around, but not anywhere near as well as they could when they had their four paws beneath them.
Terra squawked whenever she was prevented from doing what she wanted because of her human shape, but Gor often laughed and his round belly jiggled with his merriment. Terra always succumbed to his humor, and many times I left the two of them to figure their bodies out. They almost always triumphed, and I smothered them with kisses and bubbles on their bellies when they did. Their delighted screams filled me till I dripped my happiness onto those around me.
“The pups are very fond of their Uncle Grane,” Beth commented one rainy morning when we were left behind at the den with the babes.
I smiled at her and shrugged. “Perhaps,” I allowed.
The red haired mother laughed. “Perhaps.” She lifted Terra into the air and blew kisses upon her creased neck. The babe squealed her delight, and Gor begged for his turn. We both broke out into hearty laughter.
Suma came in during the middle of it, smiling amidst our mirth. I settled down and lowered my head.
“What has the two of you so happy?” she asked as she hefted Gor to her hip. I raised my eyes because her sister had not answered her. And learned why. Suma was looking at me, not her sister.
“The pups, Suma.” I answered without embellishment. I had learned to keep my answers short and to the point, and then ask for my leave. It was the only way I could cope with my affections for Suma, and it seemed to work. I could now keep my human shape when I was around the white haired wolf-woman, and my heart did not cartwheel all around my ribcage.
“This little pup right here?” she gurgled at Gor and twirled him. Her beautiful white hair swirled as she spun and her muscles flexed with the weight of the babe lifted in her pale arms.
My stomach flipped and my groin made a singular throb at the sight of her. “Suma, Beth, may I go now?”
“Go? You always leave whenever I come around, Grane. Please stay.”
Suma had not released me. I turned an imploring look to Beth, but she shrugged as if she were unable to help. I hunkered back down onto the floor of the den and waited to see what Suma was up to. At least we were not alone, so Armand could not get upset if he saw us together, even though Suma still had not returned him any affection. I would just have to deal with our lengthened visit.
“Are the pups making progress with their hunting, Uncle?” A flush of pink rose in her pale cheeks.
“Yes, Suma. They do well.” A grin tugged at the corner of my lips in spite of my best efforts to remain neutral.
She nodded, wanting to hear more, and I fell for her trap like a near-sighted bear.
“Except when they spy something more interesting than what they had been trailing. Just the other day, Terra roamed completely off track and found a mud slide into the stream instead. Gor and I could not resist the fun either, and we missed our hunt.” I grinned with the memory of it, and Suma’s laughter thrilled my heart.
“I suppose Terra is always our troublemaker?” she cooed at the babe in her sister’s arms.
“Not always,” I volunteered like an ass. I stood up and sauntered over to Suma while I gushed about Gor. “He sometimes—” I stopped cold as I caught my hand reaching for Suma’s elbow.
“I am sorry,” I breathed and folded onto the floor. “Suma, I forgot,” I whispered. Her scent drifted through my body as she bent down to lift my chin in her hand. I gazed into those doe eyes of hers, which were only inches from my mouth. It burned, as did the rest of me.
“Grane, it is fine,” she smiled and her brown eyes were the stones from the stream.
“Suma, you must not,” I croaked, and pulled my face from her grasp as I turned my back to her. So much for neutral.
“I must not what? Speak to you? Visit with you?” Her voice grew edgy.
“Yes, all of those things. Armand—”
Suma cut me off, her temper strident. “Armand is a wolf-pup and I will never mate with him. Nor will I mate with anyone else.”
“You are saying this now?” I bellowed, and stepped right back up to her. She squared herself to me and the heat from our bodies collided as my skin scorched to life. I glared straight at the face that glared at me, and my heart pounded in my throat as my stomach flipped inside out. I grabbed her head with both of my hands, pressed my mouth onto hers, and she responded with gripping force. Sparks shot through me, and I convulsed as I released her.
“May I go?” I barked, and did not wait for her permission. I fled away from the woman who drove me mad, who buckled me with her scent. Who goaded me on purpose! And I had just kissed her. Sweet suffering, I was in for it now. I could taste her on my tongue.
Pretty cool, huh? But, if you’re lost and wondering what the deuce is going on, you’ve got to check out the first book in the The Luna Chronicle series. It’s titled Luna, exactly in the way that Grane is the subject of the title in the second installment of The Luna Chronicle series. As soon as you read the first book, you’ll get oriented with the pack, whet your appetite for the brutality and tenderness of Nature at her wildest.
Now, the other book I wrote, No Little Thing, is shape-shifting on a whole new level. We’re talking vampire-killers. Here’s the skinny:
Lily Fain’s life as a horror novelist isn’t perfect, but it suits her, even if she has written off true love in exchange for her fictional world of monsters. Then her imagined world comes to life when she discovers she has a stalker who isn’t the average fan, but a real vampire who wants her dead.
Griffyd Fychan is a vampire-killer who is seven feet of lithe muscles, quick reflexes, and an explosion of ferocity that strikes terror in those he hunts, even those he rescues. But when the slayer steps between Lily and her vampire stalker, Griffyd’s instincts not only compel him to protect her from their mutual enemy, but to bond with her, as well.
The problem? Griffyd isn’t human–he belongs within the pages of Lily’s horror novels.
Faced with the menacing vampire-killer’s affections, will Lily retreat in fear to her author’s life? Or will she surrender to her dark passion for Griffyd, whose bonding to her could alter her in ways neither one could have ever foreseen?
“No Little Thing”
Excerpt for No Little Thing:
The vampires were almost winning. They were so close, after centuries of silent killings, camouflaged feedings; the opponent clueless that a war was even being waged. Firkar curled around his desiccated belly, his skin soft and thin like parchment. Yet it caressed his jagged bones, pleasantly supple to the touch; his touch alone, as Firkar had never involved himself with the intimacy of transfiguring a human into his own kind, had left the trick of propagation to others while he focused on eliminating his species’ threat.
They slaughtered his kind in the thousands, perfectly designed for the task, as if Nature itself stood behind them, guiding and abetting the killers in their purpose. The slayers were tall, every one of them, with an arm span that allowed them to strike without getting hit themselves.
And the raw power of that strike?
Firkar had seen lightning rip its course to destruction, and the vampire-killers’ swipes carried no less demolition. They were a force to fear and respect as much as the searing voltage that blitzed out of the sky.
Yet, his enemies were far more accurate, their intent far more predictable. For once a vampire-killer set upon his quarry’s trail, he rarely missed in his aim, and vampires stood little chance against one. Especially since Firkar and his kind were singular creatures, were incapable of standing the presence of a fellow vampire for any longer than it took to transform one.
To amass their numbers to annihilate the slayers?
Vampires were too volatile, too predatory, too selfish.
Too much of everything that hindered cooperation.
We are not too selfish.
He refused to believe his own description. Didn’t the fact that he hunted the slayers’ females and their young offspring prove that? Yes, he destroyed them for his own sake, his own vengeance, and Firkar’s thin lip lifted in a sharp-fanged snarl as he drew his bed fur up over his head, burrowed himself deeper into the soft embrace of the pelt, far removed and safely cached from the heat of the sun.
Revenge? He had roamed the earth’s edges for hundreds of years in the name of it, never once forgetting he now did so minus one eye, plus four long, purple, puckered scars that marred his otherwise alabaster skin. The cursed things were like ropes that conjoined his empty eye socket to his left shoulder blade, where he had twisted in a last- second recoil from the lethal swipe of a slayer’s talons.
Yet, he had escaped, and there were not many who could boast of such a feat. But his scars were no badge of honor, as they hampered his feeding, cast him deeper into the shadows, forcing him not to enamor his prey with his beauty, but to slaughter it in ambush, as if he was the monster humans had fabricated to scare their little children into behaving.
So be it.
He remained these hundreds of years on the fringe, smelling what the vampire-killers could not: the latent females of their kind, and therefore, the progenitors of their species.
Nature’s single, and only, contribution to the leveling of the playing field, and Firkar took full advantage. He had killed how many future slayers in all of his centuries?
Enough to have nearly erased the future of his enemy. When one died, there would not be another to replace him. Firkar’s hunting had made sure of that, had reduced their numbers so that he knew where each of them dwelled around the world, which territories they kept clean of vampires. And most important, which ones were in proximity of a latent slayer female.
He had but one more vampire-killer to track.
It was time for him to travel again, to leave the safety of his lair in the pursuit of his vengeance. Yet this time, the vampire did not relish his journey. He had put this one off for the last, knowing full well who he would encounter.
The one who had rendered him hideous.
The slayer who had nearly smote him from his vengeful path.
Griffyd ap Fychan, the vampire-killer who had not only scarred his beautiful flesh, but had slain more of Firkar’s kind than any other, with a savagery that impelled fear into every vampire who knew his name.
He had been ferocious as a human warrior, and had become insatiable as a vampire-killer. Firkar shuddered, ran his claws along the puckered ropes of his cheek.
Griffyd ap Fychan would not mate. Could not mate.
To duplicate his ferocity, to allow him to imbue his offspring with his swift savagery? Would be enough to tip the balance of Firkar’s hard won advantage, plunging his kind back into the darkness of near extinction.
Firkar could not fail in preventing his nemesis Griffyd from mating, would dare to acquaint himself with the company of other vampires for this particular endeavor. Solitary as he was, he was no fool, had not walked upon the earth as long as he had without learning the wisdom of caution. He would let the lesser ones feed upon the female, directing them toward the kill. If Griffyd ap Fychan discovered their scent trail, Firkar would sacrifice the younger vampires for the greater good of his mission.
And live to hunt another night.