Wednesday, February 29, 2012

WIP kind of day


Sorry, been busy lately and forgot to write a blog post again. Rather than miss another week, you all are getting a tidbit out of my WIP (work in progress) folder. The following tidbit is the first chapter out of a piece that has the silly working name of "Cheese."

~ Rebecca

*****

The Clawscar Mountains were actually four separate mountain chains that ran parallel from the northern ice fields to the Western Sea. They were called that because that’s what they looked like if you stood on one of the higher peaks—like some giant beast had carved them out of the rock with its claws. The river that gave Green River Valley its name started at a volcanic hot spring in the far north, meandering its way south through deep, narrow crevasses between the Thumb and Pointer chains. Every so often, a spot became wide enough for a canyon and even more rarely, wide enough for a valley. Green River Valley was one of the largest valleys in the Clarscars. Towards the widest end of Green River Valley, there was a good sized village called Lower Riverdale.

Lower Riverdale was not a popular destination at any time of year. It was too far from the main roads to be “on the way” to anywhere. After the winter snows made the high mountain passes impassable, those few who might have wanted to come here stopped trying. That wasn’t to say the village didn’t have its attractions, of course. While the passes remained closed by snow and ice for half of every year, Green River Valley itself was low enough in altitude to have a nice long growing season that provided plenty of food. The high mountains on all sides also protected it from the worst of the winter storms. Life was isolated in the valley but it was also very rewarding to its residents.

When Rachel had come here as a new bride years ago, she had thought it queer that there was no Upper Riverdale and never had been. The village got its name from being located in the lower section of the valley, where the land was best for farming. Why not just call the village Riverdale and be done with it? As she had soon found out, the name was indicative of the sense of humor of its residents. Heavily populated areasin the south were filled to the brim with Uppers and Lowers and Greaters and Littles. The people who had settled the valley generations ago, disdainful of such silliness, named their little hamlet Lower Riverdale as a mockery to that practice. Rachel loved living amongst such free spirited people.

It was seven years ago last spring that her husband’s body had been found in the melting snow of the western pass. It had been seven years ago last summer that her father had shown up to take her back south. Rachel refused to go. Her father sold her into marriage with Hamish, a successful fur trader, to pay a debt when she was fifteen. While that had worked out remarkably well—Hamish had been a good man and loving husband—Rachel was not confident her father would sell her into another good marriage. And that could have been the only reason he would have come so far north to collect her. Now at age twenty-five, she was glad she hadn’t left.

The stubborn, independent people of Lower Riverdale, seeing what kind of father she had, rallied around her. Hamish had been a successful man but not a land owner. He left Rachel with a few sweet memories, a young son, a good reputation, and enough money to buy a little farm. As the daughter of a noble-born merchant with a somewhat shady reputation, Rachel had had no idea how to farm, but the Lower Riverlanders were happy to teach her. Now, seven years a widow, Rachel had turned that small farm into a small but successful enterprise.

In the beginning, she and her son Sam produced most of the things they needed for a simple country life. What little they couldn’t make themselves, they were able to buy with the proceeds from selling the hard, nutty-sweet cheese they made. One summer, a lowland trader had bought up all the cheese she had to spare after sampling some on market day. To her surprise, that same trader came again the next year, as soon as the snows had cleared enough to make the journey possible, and bought all of her cheese again. This time he promised to be back one more time before the winter snows closed the pass to buy any cheese she made over the summer. When she asked what was so special about her cheese, the trader told her that the queen herself had declared it the finest she’d ever eaten. The royal approval combined with the limited availability was enough to make her cheese in high demand with the court nobles. If she would agree to sell her Green River cheese only to him, he would agree to pay her very well for it. Rachel, not sure if he was serious or not, agreed. She had nothing to lose, really. At worst, they would be eating cheese all winter if he did not come back.

True to his word, though, the trader made the promised second trip, bringing the three new milk cows she had asked for in payment for her summer yield. If she was going to be producing cheese for trade as well as for her own use, the three cows she had started with would not be enough. And as before, if he didn’t come back, she wouldn’t be stuck with more animals than she needed.

With six milk cows with calves in her herd, the workload doubled. Rachel hired a couple of orphans to help poor Sam tend to the animals and the vegetable garden. The extra cheese she produced made extra work elsewhere, too. Rachel wasn’t the kind of person to simply throw out the whey after she’d separated it from the curds, so she made second-batch cheese for immediate use with it and used some of the resultant thin whey to make porridge and bread. The rest she traded to a pig farmer to feed his animals in exchanged for a whole smoked pig in the fall.

Before long, she hired the orphans’ older sister to make the bread and porridge because she needed a lot to feed the men and women who cut her hay between the spring planting and fall harvesting. Summer a great time to cut and collect hay, after all, and she certainly didn’t have time to do it. Then she found herself hiring a few housewives whose children were grown to help with make cheese because she was too busy organizing the village’s winter preparations to keep up with the cow’s milk production by herself.

Before she knew it, Rachel was the de facto leader of the village, all because the queen liked her home-made cheese. This was not at all the life she had been raised to expect but she loved it.

And the the barbarians came.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Her Snow Wolf

Pic from ~ wallpapers.androlib.com ~

Tuesday howls and yowls, shapeshifter lovers.

Oh, what a wickedly disappointing past week this has been. With Paypal deciding to strong arm several epublishers into a compliance dictated by the credit card companies, VISA/MC... well, some of us authors who have Indie published are experiencing the fallout, even if our ebooks are in compliance.

Suffice it say, this has put a kink in some of my authorly plans, even though I only have the one short story, SANTA BABY, SEVERAL STARS AWAY, currently Indie published. So, for now, it's back to the ole drawing board... so to speak.

However, as soon as Her Midnight Stardust Cowboys is ready, I will be Indie publishing my first SHAPESHIFTER SEDUCTIONS title. Currently, I'm writing Chapter Thirty. And, honestly, I don't know how many chapters I'll end up with. I am pleased with how the erotic love story of Sherilyn, and her two cowboy shifter heroes, Zance and Dontoya, is growing and evolving... and, yes, climaxing. ~big smiles~

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this week's flash scene.
~~~~~~

Her Snow Wolf

Brutally tired, Kerry rubbed her neck as she padded down the short hallway to the only haven in her life for the past several years... her bed. Oh, there was no man waiting for her, ready to rock and roll her to passions unparalleled... or provide any kind of sex, loving or lustful, at all.

No, those days were gone. It would have been too dangerous to get to know any man. Her life was at stake.

Although, given how desperately tired she'd become of late just trying to survive and get through each day, somehow death held a certain appeal. Maybe, she'd get some rest. Maybe, she'd get some peace... maybe... oh, who knew?

Yeah, R.I.P. Mentally, Kerry snickered and chuckled at herself seeing an image of the typical gravestone. She was just too weary to actually laugh out loud.

But, maybe instead of the pearly gates, the devil would pitchfork her into a hell where she had to endlessly relive her life for her past great big sin...the sin that had driven her into this lonelier-than-lonely life.

She didn't think of it as a sin... still, those she'd betrayed would be telling the devil to bedevil her.

After lighting a small candle inside a glass bowl holder, Kerry collapsed on top her makeshift bed. She'd managed to find someone's deserted stash of pillows, rapidly throwing them inside her old minivan. During her travels, she'd collected a pile of blankets and enough sheets to change them regularly.

At this point, she counted herself lucky to have stumbled onto this out-of-the way, deserted old farmhouse. Surrounded by a stand of trees and acres of land, the house had become a refuge of sorts -- even if she always looked over her shoulder.

That is, a refuge once she'd been able to find a minimal-wage job in Talbot's Peak as a dishwasher -- no paperwork involved. She didn't dare try to get a good-paying position. She would have been SWAT-teamed in a New York minute.

Even so, with her little bit of money she'd made the rickety house liveable enough by fixing the well and the plumbing, and by getting a couple of generators going, one with solar power and one using alcohol as a fuel.

One of her big accomplishments had been learning how to use a still, and make her own moonshine. She not only ran her generator on it, but her minivan as well.

In moments her head dropped onto the largest pillow, and Kerry snuggled deep into her nest of pillows and blankets. She'd been on the lam for about five years now. Unable to use a bank account or credit cards, she'd paid for everything with cash, and had bartered for other necessities.

A sigh of despair escaped her. It was a damn rough life. But it was all she had. All she could look forward to.

Recently, though, she'd been having these highly erotic dreams. That didn't surprise her given her lot in life. Yet, the dreams were so sexy-hot intense, and felt more real than the reality of her mostly miserable life.

And the man... tall, commanding... commanding in his presence. And, both demanding and commanding with her. His body was carved muscle yet lithe, and she could imagine him running easily, swiftly.

Somehow he was familiar to her, but not. His unusual mane of hair was gorgeous and close to snow-white. His eyes held a primal darkness that both intrigued her and warned her he was not to be trifled with... not by her. Not by anyone.

But it was his hands, the way he used them on her... in the relentless darkness of his eyes she could see whenever he stroked her body that he wanted her every pleasure, and expected it. He expected to take his own pleasures as well.

Several times, when Kerry woke up in the morning, she'd been surprised by her surroundings... as if they weren't real. But, of course, they were. All too real.

Not that she had the take-me-away erotic dreams every night. No... at first, it had been every couple of weeks. Now the frequency of the dreams -- and they were never the same as far as the wild passionate lovemaking that occurred for what seemed like hours at time -- now, the strange dreams had increased to nearly every other night.

Kerry hardly dared to hope the dreams would continue. And, like tonight, usually she was so exhausted, it wasn't as though she could even try to summon them up, or practice any kind of lucid dreaming.

Instead, before succumbing to fatigue, Kerry shivered for long moments trapped by thoughts of everything that could go so easily wrong in her life.

****

Zraiv, that's all he could recall of his original name, stood bare-ass naked beneath the bright white fang that was the moon. He barely felt the icy layer of snow just above his ankles.

He'd found her... finally. The woman who had saved his life. More, she'd saved his very soul. She'd saved the wolf, and didn't know she also saved a man.

When Zraiv had remembered her after several years of amnesia, he'd tried every way in hell to connect with her mind, hoping against hope she was still alive. Kerry -- he thought that was her first name -- had been a student intern at the underground lab where they'd kept him as a prisoner.

Her extreme intelligence -- he'd sniffed it the moment she walked inside his area of the lab -- had guaranteed the innocent young woman with the wise-beyond-her-years eyes would be lured into the university's DOD program as a future biotech geneticist.

But then he'd witnessed it as she gazed at him, trapped behind a thick transparent panel in his wolf form. What 'they' knew but she wasn't aware of yet. She would be able to develop the skill of mentally speaking with him when he was wolf.

Of course, she hadn't realized the prominent scientist mentoring her used artificial means to induce, then keep him in his animal form. She didn't know the mad human beast was responsible for his tortured existence, and enjoyed Zraiv's suffering.

Because the day, the hour she'd realized his sentience, his constant pain... his human angel had begun brilliantly planning his escape into the mountains edging the underground compound. Only realizing he would endanger her if he didn't leave, Zraiv raced toward freedom and into the concealing brush.

His angel had deactivated as many of the nano devices as she could, but there had been a chip inside his brain that quickly erased large portions of his memory. Somehow his physiology had dissolved it, helped along by a community of shapeshifters he met by the grace of Goddess shortly after his escape.

Slowly, Zraiv had regained the missing pieces of the puzzle that was his life. At least, for the last ten years he'd been on the planet Earth.

Now... now, all he wanted was to be with her. Zraiv silently moved toward the little house that hid her from the world, but not from him. Her woman's scent twitched his nose and his cock -- bold and upright despite the cold.

Before she realized his sentience, she'd called him her beautiful snow wolf, cooing to him and stroking his coat whenever they'd been together in the lab. Now, Zraiv wanted her hands all over his man's body.

First though, so he wouldn't frighten his angel to death, he shifted...
~~~~~~



~ Have a Magickal Shapeshifting Week ~

Savanna

Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance ~
~~~

Monday, February 27, 2012

Target: Talbot's Peak



Cochrane couldn’t stop touching himself. It wasn’t just the diner. This whole town made his nerve ends itch. In between bites of his flapjacks (“We don’t use the P-word in my place,” the cook/proprietor had told him) and the crunchy abomination the menu said was Fakin’ Bacon, he continuously checked the placement of his two hidden bowie knives and the pistol tucked under his jacket. The rifle, loaded with silver rounds, sat in the trunk of his Chevy, waiting for action.

Talbot’s Peak, Montana. A town the hunters’ network said had been taken over by shapeshifters.

He studied the diner’s other patrons with senses honed through years of stalking the unnatural. The two young men seated by the window, shoveling flapjacks into their mouths, appeared human. He had his doubts about the pair of old guys arguing politics in the booth behind him. The one with the moustache was clearly a wolf, just by the way he growled out his words, never mind the yellow eyes. Cochrane had already spotted five wolves in the breakfast crowd alone, along with a definite cougar and something he thought might be a horse. The rest he had no idea what they were, except they were more animal than human.

Even the proprietor had his hackles up. She seemed friendly enough, topping off his coffee, asking could she get him anything else. It was the delicate way she placed her feet when she moved, like a bighorn picking its way up a rocky escarpment, that had tipped him off. Damn, these things were clever. If you weren’t watching for the tells, you’d think they were just normal folks.

He cleaned off his plate, washed it down with a gulp of strong coffee, and motioned for his check. Time to get this show on the road.

Out on the street, Cochrane paused to take stock. Where to start? The whole town was crawling—and loping, trotting, stalking and flying—with shifters. If he started firing wild, he’d probably take out half a dozen right here in the center square. While he’d find that immensely satisfying, it wouldn’t help him in the long run.

Word had it some kind of war was brewing between the Hancock werewolf pack and some newcomer faction. The presence of so many shifters right out in the open confirmed it. The beasts were consolidating, choosing sides. Once their pissing contest was over, he doubted the leaders would just let their armies dissolve. Predators lived to kill, and they always aimed for the weak. Normal humans, here and elsewhere, wouldn’t stand a chance.

His attention was drawn to a young man exiting the bakery down the street. He had a bag in one hand and a gingerbread cookie man in the other. He didn’t so much bite as rip the head from its pastry shoulders.

Good God, that was a tiger.

Cochrane had hunted a weretiger clan in Bengal, and barely escaped alive. Two others in the party hadn’t been that lucky. No question now which shifter he’d start with. First the cat would talk, and then he’d die.

The tiger ambled down the street. With a final touch-check on his pistol and its silver bullets, Cochrane loped in pursuit.

He’d nearly caught up with the tiger when rough hands grabbed hold of him and yanked him into an alley. The grizzled old wolf from the diner thrust his nose up in Cochrane’s face. He sniffed, and nodded. “Yep. A hunter. Told you, Lance.”

The other old guy pinned Cochrane’s arms. In spite of his age and lack of height he had a grip like King Kong. Cochrane struggled uselessly while the wolfman searched him. He found both Cochrane’s knives and the gun with no trouble. “Well, lookie here. Clear violation of the town’s weapons ordinance.”

“You can’t hold me,” Cochrane spat. “I’ve got more rights than you animals. Even if you finish me, others will come. We all know about you.”

Kong tsked. “You humans act so entitled. It makes me ashamed I share so much DNA with you. Here’s the thing. Vernon and me, we don’t see eye to eye on a lot, but some basic things we agree on. Both of us want the best for Talbot’s Peak, and we’ll fight to the death to protect it.”

“And,” the wolfman added with a grin full of teeth, “we don’t like hunters.”

“So we’re going to have to make an example of you. I think I’ve got just the thing. Let’s take a walk to my office, shall we?”

# # #

Cochrane stumbled out the door and stood on the sidewalk, panting. He’d managed to escape, but what now? Not only had they taken his weapons, they’d stripped off his clothes and dumped a gallon of purple paint on him. The cardboard wings they’d duct-taped to his back thumped his shoulders with every shot of breeze.

What the hell kind of torture was this supposed to be? He shrugged absently, causing the wings to bump. Who knew how an animal’s mind worked?

Screw it. He was loose, and they didn’t know about the arsenal in his car. Once he was armed, he’d show these beasts what for. Ignoring the shouts, hoots and pointing fingers, he sprinted for where he’d left the Chevy.

He hadn’t even made it halfway across the square when a white sedan with the county seal and “sheriff” stenciled on the side screeched to a stop right in front of him. The big-bellied man who got out was clearly human. “Thank God,” Cochrane said. “I’ve just been assaulted by—”

“Wellnow,” the sheriff said, looking Cochrane up and down. “So you’re the one been sparking all the rumors. Aren’t you chilly down there?”

“I didn’t do this.” Cochrane held out his purple-painted arms. “This was done to me. Two old jokers kidnapped me and took my clothes. They called each other Vernon and Lance.”

“Lance?” The sheriff’s brows shot up his forehead. “Mayor Link? You trying to tell me the mayor did this to you?”

Cochrane’s gut did a twelve-story freefall. Of course a town full of shifters would be run by a shifter. Why hadn’t he thought of that?

The sheriff strongarmed him into the back of his cruiser. “C’mon, Tinkerbell. You can sprinkle your fairy dust down at the county lockup. Goddamn pranksters, bothering honest folk. Nude purple fairies. Jesus Christ.” The onlookers both cheered and boo’d as Cochrane was taken away.

# # #

Miss Elly stood by the diner’s window and, along with the two humans, watched Sheriff Busby cart Cochrane off to the hoosegow. She snorted. “Hunters. Who knows what goes on in their heads? So,” she added with a bright smile, “you boys plan to stick around?”

The tall one shook his head. “We’re just passing through. We only stopped for breakfast.”

“Yeah.” The other was still staring out the window. He looked queasy. “Nothing here for us.”

She nodded, satisfied. “You made the right decision. We’re pretty insular here. We keep to ourselves and we don’t cause trouble. Trouble comes to us, we deal with it.”

“Hey, that’s us too,” the older one said with an easy grin. “Live and let live. Especially when we’re outnumbered and outgunned.”

“You boys have more sense than Mr. Purple out there. How’d you hear about us?”

“Our dad told us.”

“Hmm. I think I remember him. He came through here about ten years ago. Poked around, then left. Smart man. I see he raised smart boys.” She crumpled their check. “Breakfast’s on the house if you get out of town within the next fifteen minutes. Vernon and Lance might come back looking for more hunters to play with.”

The two got up in a hurry. The older brother nodded toward the counter and Elly’s array of fresh-baked pies. “Can I have a slice to go?”

# # #

And that’s why Talbot’s Peak has nothing to fear from this particular pair of hunters, just in case anyone was wondering. Names have been withheld to protect me from a lawsuit.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Passionate Welcome Home


Josh stomped his feet and blew into his hands. A burst of cold air wormed its way down the neck of his parka, icing its path over his shoulders and billowing out the insulation keeping him warm. “A week in warmth. I want to go back already.”

Anthony’s muffled laugh reached Josh as he worked the key from his pocket. “It’s not funny. You didn’t get one hell of a sunburn or deal with peeling and itching for two days.”

“Look, Tory slathered you in lotion and kept telling you to stop morphing every time you hit the water. Thank Gods and Goddesses alike we found the wholesaler and stocked up on sunscreen. Our tans happened fast. Not that any of us were trying. Much exposure at those levels and I’m surprise we all didn’t burn.” Anthony blocked the wind whipping around them. Josh wanted to lean back and snuggle into Anthony’s warmth.

Anthony read Josh’s desire from heat he threw off the moment the two of them got off the plane. Tory had wanted to visit with Sally and bring her up to date on the trip. Sally and her hubby wanted to spend several winter months away from the cold. Anthony didn’t blame them. Tory and Josh agreed with him that alternating time between places made sense. “Get us inside and we’ll warm each other up.”

Anthony could read the change in Josh’s aura without having to call upon his canine instincts. Much more and they’d melt the snow piled along the walkway leading up to the bar’s entrance. He wanted to reach out and touch Josh, running his fingers along the nape of his neck where his bite mark blended with Josh’s tan. Even Tory couldn’t make out the sets of animal and human teeth imprints running along Josh’s jugular. She knew the story behind their first mating that bonded them together. Only he and Josh knew how each had nipped and drawn blood as human and shifter to ensure their claim stood out amongst shifters.

Josh almost sighed as the lock clicked and the door pushed open. Tory wouldn’t be home until morning. She’d kept her suitcase and Eza with her indicating more than once women needed to talk and spend time chatting about female things. With Sally’s hubby out of town, the two of them would probably be up late. Josh began humming as he moved into the small entryway, reaching for the light switch as he moved midway down the hall.

“Turn too many lights on and we announce we’re home. Why not use your extended sight and get us upstairs?” Anthony’s warm breath curled around his neck and lapped at his earlobe as though he licked and suckled the sensitive flesh between his lips.

Josh swallowed hard. Chilled fingers entwined with his. Anthony’s larger hand met with his, cupping his palm against Josh’s smaller one. Heat swept over his wrist and raced up his arm. Sparks of passion ignited deep in his groin. Getting them upstairs without leaving a trail of clothes, or their suitcases forgotten along the way, wouldn’t be easy. Then again, as long as they got them, their clothes, and suitcases behind the closed door of their living space, and out of the main pathway, what else mattered?

“Race you to the shower. First one striped. . .” Further words stuck in Josh’s throat as Anthony captured his lips.

Solara

Friday, February 24, 2012

One of These Things...is Not Like the Other


“What kind of pet store doesn’t have any pets to look at?” Glenn smirked, pushing the broom across the wood slats in front of his store, The TP Pet Shop.  The last tourist left grumbling the same refrain as the tourists before him. 

What kind of pet store indeed?

“Hey Glenn, come ring us up dude…”

Glenn stashed the broom and made his way to the register.  Joe, his best friend and business partner, stood wallet in hand while his evening conquest stared down at the collection of muzzles, harnesses and pet boots sporting lockable O rings with obvious lust.  The only reason Joe would have him ringing this stuff up is if he was offering Glenn a piece of the action.

“Joe…”

“Wait man, meet Harmony.”  His friend turned to the fluffy woman next to him and smacked her ass with some umph.  “Show him the walk, sweetheart.”
And walk she did in a very purebred poodle form.

“Sorry Joe, not tonight.”  Glenn shook his head to clear the confusion and fear coming from the street.   

“Something’s coming and I need to be here to receive it.”

“Again?  Christ, Glenn, we just found homes for the last batch…”

“I know, but outside of Talbot’s Peak, everyone thinks we’re a pet store, not a place to get high end fetish gear  for shapeshifters who like to play with their animal side.  You’re the one who named it a Pet Shop.”

“Yeah, but I thought the play on words would be funny…”

“It is, Joe, for the Peak-ites living an alternate lifestyle.”

Glenn rang up the gear and took Joe’s money.  All the while trying to ascertain what direction trouble was coming from tonight.

“Well I still like the name, Dude,” Joe growled.  “Ah, think you can handle things and I’ll help out in the morning?” 

“I’ve got it, man…have fun!” Glenn swallowed back the laugh he had brewing as he watched Miss Harmony strut and lead his friend around by his tongue.

“Ah…make that early afternoon.” 

Okay so maybe a little further south than the tongue.

Thunder boomed overhead, lights flickered and a deluge of water dropped from the heavens.  This had been a crazy winter with it’s sometimes snow sometimes rain, plus the wildly fluctuating temps.  Something was amiss and Mother Nature was pissed.  He could only hope his continued rescue of lost animal babies would score him some points in the end.

***

Bobbi Sue was cold, wet and scared.  Not a new thing in her life, but certainly unpleasant.   

Recent cutbacks at work had led to her being released from her job at Score’um, Snore’um and Bore’um lawyers’ repulsive-aire.   She knew she should have looked for work in the shapeshifter sector, but other shifters scared her…hell, everything scared her. 

Along with her job going by the wayside, so did her apartment and everything she owned.  Repossession and eviction sucked.

“Come on, Jonesy, leave them there on the step…under the stoop so they don’t get wet.”

“Trev, I don’t wanna leave them…”

“Did you tuck the blanket around them to keep them warm?”

“Trev…”

“I don’t either, Jonesy, but we can’t afford them and this place has a reputation for taking good care of lost pets.  So please make sure they little buggers are warm and have that food and water we scored for them, and then let’s go!”

“Okay, ready.  Hey Jonesy, why the purple again?”

“’Cause you’re damn gullible, cuz!”

Bobbi Sue watched as the two boys made their goodbyes to the bundles of yips in the box and took off down the street.  She should be disgusted with the duo, but their caring natures came through loud and clear to her animal senses.  Those boys truly couldn’t take care of the litter and wanted the safest place to leave them.  The TP Pet Shop was that place, or so she had heard also.

Quick steps brought her to the box and a few uncomfortable minutes later she was situated between the warmest of the pups.  They were a litter of cocker spaniels so she guessed their colors would match her somewhat.  Hopefully, the owner wouldn’t look too closely at the pups and she could hide her toy Yorkie body long enough to score some warmth, food and clothes.

***

Glenn looked into the box and smiled.  Six adorable, purple tinged Cockers all in good health with food, water and warmth.  These weren’t abused animals, just sweet puppies in need. 

The odd one out was the Yorkie shifter, but clearly she didn’t realize she was missing the shock of purple fur like the others.  He wouldn’t tell her…yet.  Nope, he was good at waiting and he’d waited for her for a very long time.

Have a wonderful weekend!
Serena

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Teen Age Angst And Technology Don't Mix


The last picture for the "Men of Talbot's Peak 2012 Calendar" is DONE! Two guesses who it is...

On to other projects now. Next up: cleaning up the rough drafts of my two Talbot's Peak stories. Then after that, who knows?

~ Rebecca

************************************************************************

She was sitting at the end of the coffee counter and had been most of the day. Late teens, tall, thin but with some nicely proportioned curves that would fill out beautifully when she got older. Extra-long black hair, bright blue eyes and pure white skin. She would be a show-stopper if only she’d do something with herself, Marissa thought reflectively.

There wasn’t much the girl could do about the glasses, but they were the big chunky style so in fashion these days and could be played off as hipster without much effort. The clothes the girl was wearing looked like Salvation Army rejects, but that could also be spun into a hipster look with a few adjustments. The hair in the messy top knot secured with chopsticks was pure hipster as-is. Marissa stopped wiping down the counter and cocked her head to the side, looking directly at the girl now. There wasn’t really any reason she could see that the girl wasn’t a super popular hipster. Curiosity got the best of her, and she walked down to the other end of the coffee counter.

“Hi! My name’s Marissa. What’s yours?”

“Um.. [mumble mumble mumble]”

Marissa leaned forward, noting that the girl had failed to actually look up. She’d glanced at Marissa over the top of her enormous glasses but that was about it.

“Sorry, didn’t catch that.”

The girl signed and finally looked up.

“Look, if you’re going to make fun of me, too, just forget about it. OK?”

“Um, I have no idea what you are talking about,” Marissa said, confused. “I just saw you sitting here by yourself all day and was wondering what’s up.”

“Look, I just made a mistake, ok. I didn’t know Siri was going to do that.”

“Ooook. Let’s try this again,” Marissa said doggedly, not willing to give up until her growing curiosity was satisfied. “Hi. I’m Marissa. What’s your name?”

“Joanna.”

“Good! Now we are getting somewhere!” Marissa exclaimed peppily. “And now that we have that out of the way, dish.”

“Um, dish?”

“Yeah. What’s got you so bummed?”

“I don’t want to talk about it,” the girl said morosely. But she didn’t turn to leave, Marissa noted. If she truly didn’t want to talk about it, she would have at least turned away, right?

“So,” Marissa said, thinking over their brief conversation to date. “Siri. You are having a problem with your iPhone 4S?”

Oh. My. God. Marissa thought a moment later. Boy howdy was Joanna having problems with her iPhone. Mental note: never gonna upgrade from my dinosaur Cricket flip phone!

The gist of the flood of angst and tears, to Marissa’s bemused guess, was that she had just gotten a new iPhone 4 for her birthday and told the Siri app on the phone to call her “Princess Buttercup,” thinking it was funny. The next day, Joanna sent her contact information to a boy she liked. Unfortunately, the Siri app recorded “Princess Buttercup” as a real nickname in her contact info—which also got forwarded to the new hottie. In the efficiency only found in high school gossip rounds, everybody now knew she’d told her phone to call her that. Total teen chaos had taken over poor Joanna’s life.

“Really?” Marissa said. “That’s all that’s wrong?”

“That’s all?” Joanna squeaked. “It’s enough! My whole life is ruined!”

“Nah, that’s easy to recover from,” Marissa said with a smirk. “And you can make Mr. Big Mouthed Hottie look like an ass in the process.”

Ah, yes, Marissa thought as the girl’s eyes first went wide with disbelief then narrow with interest.

“All you have to do is start a counter rumor. Say that you read on some tech blog that the Siri app does this and you’d thought it would be funny to try it. Say that you sent your contact info to Mr. Too Hot To Trot, thinking that surely a guy as cool as that would be up on all the latest tech news. Then just roll your eyes and shake your head. Walla! Everyone will be laughing at him instead of you.”

“You are so awesome! I’m going to go do that right now!”

Marissa stood back at watched the now-excited-rather-than-angsty teen grab up all her stuff and make a mad dash for the door. Ah, yes, she thought then rubbed her still flat belly. With any lucj, she’d be having a boy. Boys didn’t have that kind of silly melt-down. Did they?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Chapter Twenty-Seven ~ Swallowed Him Like a Great Serpent



Tuesday howls and yowls, shapeshifter lovers, and Happy Sun in Pisces.

From Astrology.com ~ "A new Moon in Pisces on February 21 inspires us to break through the fog of illusion and embrace a unique opportunity to turn fantasies into reality."

With that in mind, this week I am treating you, hopefully! it will be a treat, to a 'rough draft' of the latest chapter from my WIP ~ HER MIDNIGHT STARDUST COWBOYS.

This part of my first ShapeShifter Seductions' erotic romance, is Indiana Jones inspired. As well, Dontoya's ancient American Indian heritage is featured. And, of course, the strength of his inner black cougar shows up.

As a bit of a set up, Dontoya realizes to protect Sherilyn from her enemies, he needs to have the same mental connection with her as Zance, his partner, does. For that, he must retrieve the Ring of Union, as it was called in the ancient times by his tribe. However, the ring is actually an advanced technology that has been lost to most of humanity.

The challenge: the ring is located deep inside his family's home during the Great Deluge. The fifty mile stretch of cave tunnels and immense caverns is in the Grand Canyon, an area currently off limits to tourists, and guarded by private corporation mercenaries. Not only that, a group of his original tribe separated themselves, remaining in their family's caves. To keep themselves hidden, they will kill anyone who intrudes.
~~~~~~

Chapter Twenty-Seven ~ Swallowed Him Like a Great Serpent

Almost upon him, the enemy braves mind-hurled their large silver blades, tipped with rattlesnake venom. Dontoya slowed abruptly, then spun imitating a cyclone. The energy field he flung around himself simultaneously, caused the six knives to swerve and miss.

Rattlesnake Spirit had warned him, looming before his mind's eye briefly.

With another Tasmanian-devil spin, as Zance called his ability, Dontoya launched inside the secondary tunnel, a natural part of the cave system. Too late, he realized all the traps had been activated because the Pruezi invaders had attempted to gain entry, but failed.

Since the four traps were located closer to the palatial cavern, Dontoya raced forward, once again relying on his cougar sight. With the luminescence of the main tunnel fading, the inky darkness enveloped him.

Odors swamped Dontoya's nostrils telling him the eco-system of the cave remained vital. Also, nearly seven months ago one of his cousins had walked the tunnel on a learning journey.

His training took over, and a layout of the three mile, gently snaking tunnel appeared before his mind's eye. With each trap clearly defined, he would be able to rapidly switch off the mechanism and transmute the magick. Or, if that wasn't possible, he could use his skills to escape. So, he hoped.

Pacing himself for the long run, Dontoya listened for the pursuit of the six braves, but their footfalls could not be heard. If they weren't chasing after him, then...

His gut roiled and tightened, a sure signal that something more dangerous lay ahead. With his gaze cutting through the darkness, Dontoya saw the first glyph, as depicted on the map inside his mind. The code was a warning to the members of his family about the trap ahead.

Dontoya shielded himself from the energy of the ensnaring curse, then focused on the trap meant to cage an intruder, and seal off further entry into the tunnel. He shot a mental beam at the mechanism, delaying the trigger just long enough. Behind him two sets of old-fashioned bars spiked downward.

Preparing for the next trap, Dontoya shouldered his rifle, and lengthened his racing stride. He heard the stone slabs begin to slide apart.

When an oppressive weight landed on him, Dontoya created etheric wings to defeat the attack of this curse. Mentally lifting himself, he leaped over the widening, nearly six foot gap.

Landing on the other side, far from the edge, he swiftly regained his speed. Had he missed, he would be plummeting into a stone prison, and the water would be rising quickly.

The next trap he faced was a holo field, an advanced technology that held an enemy in suspension, and manifested his worst fears repeatedly. Screaming, then begging for mercy were the end result. That, and eventual insanity.

Dontoya knew the trick to sailing through the field. He'd practiced enough times under the direction of his father. Blanking his mind, he waited until he observed the field's wavering glimmer.

Sherilyn, he spoke silently as he ran toward it, his stride easy and rhythmic.

Dontoya immersed himself in his memory of her, and felt the unique glow of his mate's spirit. As the subtle drag of the field touched his face, he closed his eyes.

At that instant he relived his orgasm with her. An inferno of pleasure smoldered through him. He felt as if the power of the sun moved through him again and again, just as it had before.

Sherilyn. Mate.

Too soon, Dontoya became aware he had emerged on the other side of the field, and now ran in an area of the tunnel that inclined upward. His footfalls slipped on the moister surface, so he lessened his pace.

In the same moments, the faint stench of bat guano from a colony located in another section of the cave sharpened his senses again. His warrior's focus returned full force.

The final trap would blast a trumpeting sound, the frequencies designed to bring an enemy to his knees. If that failed, a vibrational weapon would deploy, searing the interloper's nerves.

To overcome this agony, and move through the disabling sound, Dontoya knew he needed to lighten the weight of his body as he did when levitating. His imagined wings would not carry him this time. His challenge was that he rarely practiced this particular spiritual art, not having any real use for it in his current rancher's life.

Regret at not having done so, would not serve him now, he drily reminded himself. Instead, he thought of Sherilyn, the beautiful mate he and Zance had waited for, and sought for more years than either one them cared to count.

Ruthless determination seized Dontoya. His cougar claws and fangs nearly erupted, and his ferocious desire for her scorched his blood with the need to conquer anything or anyone.

With his heart drumming for his mate, Dontoya sensed for the next action of his enemies. As warrior, he psi-felt no immediate threat so he eased his pace, comfortably jogging.

Despite his physical exertion, Dontoya concentrated on slowing his breaths. To defeat the ancient-technology trap, he had to become invincible in a different way by using his inner strength.

Altering his mind-set to one of universal peace, he mentally hummed until he vibrated. Once in tune with the One Great Spirit, Dontoya prayerfully offered up his flesh, and seconds later, he felt his strides lengthen and float. His boot moccasins barely touched the cave floor.

Making certain he maintained his internal hum, Dontoya pierced the darkness with his cougar gaze seeking the glyph that would warn him of the trap. As he glimpsed it, another warning punched the pit of his stomach hard, and he was jerked off stride.

Someone had breached the sanctity of the cavern, but only the first entryway.

Deliberately locking away that 'knowing' for now, Dontoya regained his oneness with Spirit. Using every ounce of his shamanic discipline, he summoned the lightness of his body, and once again the sensation of floating claimed him.

Even to his gaze, the last trap would be invisible. His only clue would be the distance traveled as the glyph's code signaled.

Dontoya fought to keep his breaths slow and sacred, in time with the spin of the universe. Yet he knew...

The trap's frequencies grabbed for him. There was no sound of trumpeting, but the electro-magnetic crackle that surrounded him hissed like a cave-full of angry snakes.

As if flames licked at his entire body, his skin burned. Still, Dontoya launched himself upward. He flew into the void suddenly yawning before him, and the trap swallowed him like a great serpent.

Transcending the needles of pain being driven into his flesh, Dontoya raised his frequency, entering cosmic consciousness, as his new-age friends called it.

Finally spit out, he landed on his knees. He struggled to rise, but air left his lung in huge gasps. With his energies now depleted, he fell forward. The obsidian blade he still carried cut into his palm drawing blood.

The coppery smell enraged the cougar, and Dontoya surged to his feet. The savage spirit of his cat ran for him, and he sprinted toward the cavern's entrance, toward the enemy who waited upon his arrival.

With his heart pounding like a war drum, with his desire for Sherilyn igniting his blood to lightning, Dontoya swung his rifle into position. On silent feet, he charged around the tunnel's long sinuous curve.
~~~~~~

~ Have a Magickal Shapeshifting Week ~

Savanna

Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance ~

Monday, February 20, 2012

Read 'em and Weep



“Okay, gennulmen—and lady,” Louie said with a nod and a smile for Miss Elly—“prepare to lose your shirts. Except you, Gil. You’re too scrawny for my tastes.”

“Just deal.” Gil, in human form for once with the full moon five days past, wrinkled up a nose still decidedly squirrellish. “And not from the bottom of the deck this time.”

“Are you implying I cheat? I’m shocked, I tell youse.”

Vern MacMahon leaned across the table, one forearm resting on Miss Elly’s pretty checkered tablecloth. “Do you cheat? No offense, but you being a rat from New Jersey, questions do arise.”

“Well, yeah, of course I cheat. It’s second nature. Just not tonight.” Again he nodded toward Miss Elly. “This here woman, she scares me.”

“Are we gonna play cards or what?” Gil said.

“Not everybody’s here,” Miss Elly said. “We’re waiting for—”

The diner’s door swung open. An enormous form in a slouch hat and black trench coat ducked to clear the jamb. Sergei regarded the astonished, wary shifters staring at him. “I am late?” he said.

“You’re right on time,” Miss Elly said. “Pull out your wallet and pull up a chair. You boys all know Sergei, right?"

“I know tigers don’t come into herbie places,” Vern said. He edged his chair closer to Elly’s and angled his body protectively toward her. “Unless they’re hunting.”

“No hunt,” Sergei said. He tossed his hat onto another table and took the empty chair beside Gil. “I would not harm Mrs. Ewing. She makes excellent latkes.”

Vern frowned. “Latkes?”

“Potato pancakes,” Louie said, and snorted. “Mine are better.”

“It’s flapjacks,” Miss Elly said firmly. “We don’t use the P-word in my place.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Gil said. “We gonna play cards or what?”

Sergei peered down at him. His nose worked briefly. “You are squirrel.”

“Sometimes.” Gil scrunched down on his chair in an attempt to get rodent-sized. “That a problem?”

“There is squirrel at my employer’s compound. It doesn’t act like squirrel. It sits and tree and watches, all night long.”

Gil looked uncomfortable. “Maybe it’s sick.”

“Yap yap yap,” Vernon said. “I didn’t take the night off to talk.”

Eager to shift attention elsewhere, Gil said, “Business slow at your place too?”

“Yeah. It’s Dante’s new supperclub. It’s digging into the customer base.”

“Yours, maybe.” Louie shuffled the deck and started to deal. “We ain’t seen much of a drop at Rattigan’s. Tuesdays was always slow anyway. Look, Gil. I’m dealing off the top.”

“Rah rah.” Gil reached for one of the sandwiches Vern had brought over from his own diner. Elly, the only strict herbivore at the table, had provided a veggie tray and cookies. Louie had brought a case of beer from Lex’s microbrewery, and fresh coffee perked behind the counter.

Gil studied his hand, then tossed a matchstick onto the center of the table. “I’m in.”

Three hands passed without incident, though the men watched Sergei warily. The pile of matches in front of the white tiger started to grow, second only to Miss Elly’s. “And I thought I had a poker face,” Vern grumbled.

Sergei flicked a glance at him, then laid his cards on the table. He had another straight, this one king high. Gil threw down his own rotten hand in disgust. “You’re all against me,” he complained. “It’s because I’m a squirrel, isn’t it?”

“No, it’s because you suck at poker.” Louie gathered the cards together. “Beer break,” he announced.

Gil hopped up and snagged a beer. Sergei accepted a cup of herbal tea. Vern and Elly went behind the counter for coffee. Vern leaned in close and slid his arm around her waist. “Careful there, wolfie,” Elly murmured. “We’re in public, sort of.”

Vern growled into her ear, “Why’s the tiger here? Do you know who he works for?”

Elly glanced at Sergei, who had commandeered the plate of cookies. “C’mon, Vern. I’m not stupid. You and Lance talk all the time, and I’m right over here. Well, I’ve got my own connections. Mary set this up. She’s friends with Gypsy from Dante’s club, and Gypsy’s been dating the tiger. She says Sergei’s balanced on the edge of something, and whichever way he tips could depend on the people around him. So this is us, tipping.” Elly poured them coffee. “Wouldn’t you rather know where he is and what he’s up to, Mr. Could Be the Mayor Someday?”

“You sly ewe.” Vern nuzzled her neck. “You sure there’s no fox in your family tree?”

“Those rumors about Uncle Freddy have never been proved.”

The game resumed. One hand had to be scrapped because five aces turned up. Elly shot Louie a tsk-tsk and got a fresh deck out of a drawer behind the counter. “Sorry,” Louie said. “Force of habit.”

“Yeah, right,” Vern said. “I’m going to sic the health inspector on your ass. Your place has rats in the kitchen.”

“Yours has wolf hairs in the turkey club.”

“Gentlemen.” Sergei displayed his cards. “This wins pot, correct?”

“Nope.” Elly spread her inside straight on the table. “This does.”

“That’s it.” Gil got up. “The Russian ringer I can live with, but a woman who wins at poker? That goes against nature.”

“Careful there, squirrelly,” Miss Elly said. “You could wind up losing your nuts.”

Sergei also stood. “I should be going. People question my whereabouts.” He picked up his hat and tipped it to Miss Elly. “I had good time tonight. You are good people.” He stepped out into the night.

“Good time?” Louie scoffed. “I don’t think that albino bozo cracked a smile all night. I’d hate to see his idea of a bad time.”

“I hope we don’t.” Miss Elly gathered up matches and started to count them. “I’m not Gypsy, and I don’t have her ESP, but I’ve got a positive feeling about tonight. I think our tipping may have worked.”

“Even though you won?” Vern said.

“Especially since I won. Tigers like a challenge, and they don’t like unfinished business. He’ll be back, and we’ll be here, and I’ll keep on beating his ass for as long as it takes to win him over. Feeding him my flapjacks shouldn’t hurt, either.”

“Nice,” Louie said. “Where’d you learn so much about tigers?”

“Hey. Herbivore. Studying predators comes under self-preservation.”

“Is that why you’re dating the wolf?”

“No, I just think Vern’s a cutie. Well, lookie here. Gil, you came up shortest tonight. You owe me a mocha at the coffee shop. Gentlemen, shall we adjorn?”

“Until next Tuesday,” Vern agreed. “And that’s mochas all around, squirrel boy.”

“Nuts,” said Gil.