Frigid-brrrrr howls and yowls, shapeshifter lovers.
Yes, last night broke the cold-temp record for this area. Oh joy... snarl and snark.
So, a couple of announcements. Once I get some time, I'll put the finishing touches on our ShapeShifter Seductions free read, LOVE TO THE RESCUE, and upload it to Smashwords, etc. Serena Shay has designed a lovely and character-perfect cover.
Also, the final edit for RIDE THE ROAN STUD, written by my alter ego, Stevie Klark, has been turned in. If you want to check out the fab-beautiful cover art click on last week's post.
Alright then, this week I'm offering what could be the first chapter of a Talbot's Peak erotic romance short story... that is, if my wonderful and wacky muse cooperates... and if life cooperates??? Yeah, who knows?
Chapter One ~ Drev Zander
Drev aimed his hunting rifle at the ten foot tall, densely woven bush where he heard the telltale gobbles. He followed the emerging flurry of wings as the wild turkey began to take off in flight. About to the pull the trigger, his jaw dropped instead.
The rifle fell from his line of sight.
"What the 'f'?" left his mouth as puffs of steam. A giant burst of light, then a white-winged, pale purple horse galloped in front of the only turkey he'd been able to track for days.
With a twinkling flash, the ethereal beautiful creature vanished from view. But not before Drev caught the scent of lilac and musky equine, an intriguing mix he found appealing.
What the freakin' hell had he just seen? And, was she real? As in flesh and blood? And not some ephemeral vision, or some strange, inter-dimensional intrusion into his reality.
Damn, he wasn't a drinkin' man, except for a couple of brewskies during the weekly poker game at Louie's bar and grill. And the malty Scottish ale he indulged in on Saturday night's at Duff Mc'Duff's old-fashioned tavern. Nor was Drev into the dug scene. No way, no how.
Okay, he reasoned, it was Talbot's Peak, home of the shapeshifter crowd, and other assorted supernatural beings. He knew about the witches, the vampire dance partners at the supperclub. There was at least one goddess, and an Egyptian demigod.
But a purple tinted Pegasus who could obviously appear and disappear?
Rumors about a nude purple fairy, Drev considered to be town lore. Was he wrong?
Damn stunned to his core, Drev instinctively clutched his gun tight as he'd trained himself to do in any circumstance. Instinctively, he faded into the mid-afternoon shadows of the forest, a life-saving ability he'd fine-tuned during his short time as a special ops soldier.
Yeah, he'd been kicked out dishonorably. Not following orders did that to a man.
As it turned out, no sweat off his brow. He had no stomach for killing the innocent, or collateral damage as they euphemistically called it.
Yeah, he slept well at night.
Still as stone, on watch for any high strangeness, Drev began buzzing with his hunter's honed intuition. Or the sight as his granny called it.
Given his flash-brief sighting, Drev figured a conversation with dear gran on the other side was long overdue. Not that she'd ever mentioned a winged horse.
Sure as the laughing devil himself, she'd delighted in telling him *scare the hide off you* stories about the Kelpie, a horse shifter, and about the Each Uisge, a Highland supernatural water horse.
Waiting for the buzz to quit, Drev replayed the paranormal event in his mind. So, there had been the sound of hooves softly crunching the blanket of frost-saturated leaves.
With his shock subsiding, and his curiosity on fire, Drev silently moved toward the bush, his keen eye searching for hoof prints. He'd been trained to track by his friend and mentor, Dane, a mountain man and a puma shapeshifter.
Currently, he and Dead Aim Dane, as he was affectionately known, worked together keeping the Peak's animal life in balance, and also supplying meat to Dante. The alpha werewolf owned the subterranean complex known as the Interspecies Pleasure Club, and his customers were ravenous for wild game.
Hunkering down, studying the first hoof impression, Drev felt the fast throb of his blood. Excitement built inside him, even as the land's subtle energies flowed through him telling him more about her.
Yes, the supposedly mythical horse had to be a she, given her dainty structure, the refined shape of her head. As his sighting of her flared before his mind's eye, Drev realized the gorgeous creature's image had been burned into his brain, never to lessen or be forgotten.
Without thought, Drev slowly followed the minimal outline of her hooves. The length of her stride was longer than he'd anticipated, as if she floated.
Scat! As Dane would say. Drev stood on the edge of the mile's high, rock cliff, staring into the blue, autumn-golden Montana sky. Unless his girl Pegasus could transform into a small puffy cloud... well hell, she was nowhere to be seen.
Only her deep hoof prints remained, evidence of her existence, and that she'd launched into the great blue yonder. Winging where? Or had she merged with the very air?
Drev sighed and growled at the same time. He'd struck out twice today. The young tom had been destined for his brother's Thanksgiving table. Chased out of his flock, now he'd be prime eatin' for a predator.
Dammit. Drev stomped a boot on the rocky surface, frustration owning him for moments. With four kids and work sporadic these days, his brother and his wife hadn't been able to budget in the traditional feast.
While he could afford to help out, despite his live-off-the-land lifestyle, there wasn't an organic turkey to be had in town. Not that he could find. Yeah, understandable as hell, no store in Talbot's Peak dared offer predator shapeshifters anything but high quality meat and poultry.
Drev slung his rifle over his shoulder, then scanned the primal majesty of the scenery that suited him just damn fine. With a keen ear he listened for any sign of danger. He also listened to the musical symphony of the forest, of the pine-tree valley below.
He'd come to understand this enormous uncivilized land reflected his character, what he was on the inside. Drev drew in large breaths of the crisp cold air, calming and energizing himself for his return trip.
Not a week ago he'd trekked into Talbot's Peak from his mountainside cabin. Since his brother lived about forty minutes away, he'd arranged for boxes of groceries to be delivered.
These days Drev's only transportation was a snowmobile. And he liked it that way. Except in a helluva situation like this. Yep, three strikes, he was out. And out of luck. As far as a holiday turkey dinner.
All because of a gossamer-like, winged horse most would consider to be mere hallucination... or a figment of their imagination. Not fevered obviously, but induced by freezing your effing ass off out in the middle of the forest.
In Drev's case, his unusually rapid metabolism kicked in, and he stayed warm enough no matter the frigid temps. Oh yeah, he'd learned why -- the hard, being-experimented-on way. During his short stint, the military's genetic scientists -- funded by trillions of missing tax dollars -- traced it to his Celtic ancestors. Or the ancient lineage responsible for the legendary berserker warriors.
Double piles of scat! Only the denizens in hell knew the monster soulless warriors his blood and tissue samples were likely helping to build, had already genetically built. Once, as Drev was being dragged back to the recovery room by two musclebound soldiers, who believed he was still conked out, he'd glimpsed row after row of nude men on hospital beds.
The usually closed and barred door had been left open.
Using his peripheral vision, Drev mentally recorded the perfect soldier types, perfect because of their super-sized, GI Joe physiques. But shit on a stick, they'd looked like frozen corpses waiting to be animated.
Yeah, brought to life like sc-fi Frankensteins, they would obey orders without question, without sentient thought.
Drev shook his head vigorously, clearing away the nightmare-creepy remembrance.
The moment he stilled, he felt feathers caress his face. The tips of her wing feathers so impossibly delicate as the sensation of being stroked continued for several moments.
I am sorry, hunter, he heard inside his mind. I couldn't help myself. Soft whirls of air brushed against Drev's face. Then. I didn't know you were feeding your family.
For just a split second, Drev had to ask himself if he was take-me-away delusional. Yet, deep down, he knew better. Often, he and Dane communicated telepathically when they hunted together.
Besides, the fragile feminine voice not only teased his soul with a had-to-solve mystery, but triggered every male atom of him. His cock swelled, quickly becoming ramrod hard.
Wishing you love and passion on the wild side ...
Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance