Sunday, August 31, 2014

SNEAK PEEK SUNDAY: Her Midnight Stardust Cowboys ~ Chapter Twenty-nine


savannakougar.blogspot.com/p/blog-page.html


Her Midnight Stardust Cowboys

Note: Dontoya is facing enemies in his quest to retrieve the Ring of Union for Sherilyn.  With this ancient family ring, he will be connected with his mate in a way that enables him to protect her. However, there's one woman who will do anything to stop him, and make Dontoya her mate.

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First SIX paragraphs from ~


Chapter Twenty-nine:
Dontoya halted abruptly, stunned... 

Dontoya halted abruptly, stunned by the sight of a woman. Obviously waiting on his arrival, she stood before the cavern's entrance.

With her long straight hair, black as a raven's wing, and her beautiful angular features, she strongly resembled Maityra--the first woman who had captured his heart.

Maityra had refused his youthful courtship, choosing a man of stature. One who suited her as mate. Long ago, so incredibly long ago, Dontoya realized that truth, recovering his heart.

Yet, the woman, a Pruez, jolted him to his core. She lifted her hand in the ancient way of greeting, her gaze direct, unwavering.

The crystalline lighting had been activated, and the soft luminescence surrounded her. Even though, he stood a good distance away, her dark eyes were brilliant, as if he gazed into a moonlit pool.

Dontoya did not lower his ray rifle, or his blade. "Intruder, you must own enough of the ancient gene pattern to escape the traps of our tribal home."

~~~~~~

For more Sunday Sneak Peaks ~sneak-peek-sunday.blogspot.com~

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Blurb & Excerpts for HER MIDNIGHT STARDUST COWBOYS are on the page above.
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Wishing you shapeshifting cowboy love on the wild side...

Savanna

Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance ~

Saturday, August 30, 2014

FERTILIZATION



Chloe snuggled closer to Gill.  The strip she urinated on sat aging as it needed to for several hours.  Over the counter animal pregnancy tests didn’t yield results as fast as human ones.  Even a false positive required a visit to the local md/veterinarian for solid confirmation.  Gill’s soft snores lulled her deeper into sleep, where a fair-haired little boy ran after his darker haired sister.  It was if they knew their time would come.   Names flew by until one sounded right.  Lincoln tossed the ball he held toward his sister Greta.   Would those stick in the light of day? Chloe didn’t know.  She understood the call and lure of motherhood.  Biology ticked off the minutes and years, fertility topped the list of options available. Chloe sighed and smiled as her dreams continued.

Gill sat up, yawning.  He glanced at the clock on top his nightstand.  Something about one hour after midnight and his bladder signaled relief.  Thrusting his feet into his slippers, he padded quietly across his bedroom into the bathroom.  Blackie greeted him as he stepped across the threshold.  Her golden eyes glowed and dimmed as she walked out into the bedroom.  Behind her trotted her four kittens and the mangy male who fathered them.  Now fixed so more progeny didn’t occur, the Manx male twitched his stubby tail at Gill before following Blackie and kittens into the darkness awaiting them.

Yes, fertilization came to the Peak.  Many would bear fruit and others would help nurture and raise them.  How many more would find the Goddess’s touch wonderful remained unknown.  Gill yawned as he washed his hands.  He knew one thing.  Peace and tranquility felt good.  He wanted more of it.  How long this would last he didn’t know.  For now, sleep called him.  And that was beautiful.  He silently mouthed, Good night everyone as he pulled the covers back over him.  Soon snores feline and human, along with a few squirrel ones sounded.

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Happy Weekend Gang!

Short post this week.  End of the month at work and also end of the class I coached too.  I'm ready for the start of a 4 week training class to learn a new skill set at work.  I'll coach this once I've got the fundamentals ironed out. 

Fall is upon us.  Temperatures are changing.  Remember to share a good book or two with your loves and spice.  I know I will.

Until next week,
Solara

Friday, August 29, 2014

Lady Luck Lives...


Karma stood at the predetermined spot on the casino floor, waiting for Greely and Erol, but knowing they’d not show up.  After Erol’s reaction to Gree’s new body art she figured to duo was currently secluding themselves in their room and indulging in the idea of Viva’ Las Vegas!  She was thrilled to see her friend emerging from the idea of doomed love especially as that new love was Erol.  Nah, she didn’t hate the big lug, she actually thought he was great for Greely.  He loved her to madness and kept her safe and happy.  Who could ask for more for her friend?

That wouldn’t keep Karma from teasing him and riling him up however, nope, if Erol was ever going to ease himself, at least a little bit, into current times then he needed to loosen up.  Her kidding him could only help on that front…plus, he was just so much fun to tease.

“Whoo hoo!” a gambling patron screamed at the end of the row Karma traversed.  The excitement made her smile, as did the underlying knowledge that the happily jackpotting woman truly deserved the win she’d gotten.  The winners plans to give half the money to the children’s hospital that had saved her child’s life all those years ago after her terrifying birth, then using the rest to get said child ready to go to school, were laid out completely in Karma’s mind. It was a nice reminder that large groups of mortals like this made shielding nearly impossible.

A man in the next aisle over was projecting so loudly Karma knew she was needed.  This gambler was frantic for the next win.  Huge amounts of money were gambled away with each spin, the money coming directly from the food budget.  His children were hungry, his wife exhausted from trying to keep things together and her children safe, was on the verge of leaving for good if this man didn’t get some help.  Yet, he continued to drop bill after bill into the machine.  Deep down, she could feel his desire to change, but she could also see the chains that kept him tied to the one-armed bandit.
Karma slid into the seat next to him and dropped a few coins in the machine.

“Come on, you damn thief, all it will take is a few big hits and I’ll be flush.” The man yanked on the bandits arm and watched the wheels drop, yet again, in a losing pattern. “Fuck!”

“The machines are pretty cold here tonight,” she said to the gambler. “A smart player would go home to the wife and kids and not give the house any more money.”

“What?” The man looked over at her, but saw only what he expected, another guy losing money. “Mind your own machine, man.  I’m busy here.”

Karma nodded and realized it would take more than words with this one.  He needed to be shocked into the change he was ready for deep down and she was ready to oblige him. 

“Come on, come on.” Gambling man spun and lost again, his anxiety rising and money dwindling with each loss until he sucked in a squeaky breath, grabbed his left arm and fell to the floor.

“Ohmygoddess, someone call 911,” Karma called out as others crowded around the man to make sure he continued breathing.  He would be fine as she’d merely laid a severe anxiety attack on the man and not a real heart attack, but they felt the same.  The nearly dying fear was a good one to shock a person back to the side of good and by the pictures of this guy’s future now scrolling through her head, it was enough to get him away from the casino and into a Gamblers Anonymous meeting.  His family would be okay and he had another shot to make things right. 

She wandered and played for a few more hours, blessing the worthy with small wins and happy memories of their time in Sin City before calling it a night and heading to her room.  She’d been called many names in her life, but Karma was the one that fit best.  Tonight, however, she’d also played her part as Lady Luck.  Her exhaustion reminded her of why she’d moved to Talbot’s Peak. 
While mortals were always wide open to her, shapeshifters were totally closed.  She couldn’t read her own kind and it gave her a real peace.  The town offered a normalcy she couldn’t find elsewhere.  She loved her home and couldn’t imagine leaving it permanently.  A trip every so often with her best friend was cool, but it would be wonderful to finally go home.
~~~
So I got to wondering how Karma was enjoying Sin City and that's the story she relayed to me.  And in case you're wondering how she does at the casino...well, she always breaks even. ;)

Have a great weekend!
Serena

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Mooney and the Ice Bucket Challenge, Talbot's Peak Style





Erma Bombeck was a really funny lady. I know, you’re probably wondering how I even know her name. I’m a 26-year-old witch. I was raised by an Egyptian demi-god after my black magic addicted mother traded me to him in exchange for her drug of choice. I’m mated to a beta werewolf and step-mother to his pups from a previous mating (though since their original mother is less than worthless, I don’t bother with the ‘”step” part. I’m their mom, period. I just didn’t give birth to them.) Erma Bombeck was a typical American housewife who wrote some really funny books about her life back in the ‘70s. The lady’s been dead since I was a little girl and I didn’t exactly grow up in a way that would have exposed me to her sense of humor in the first place.
That was before Amazon launched its Kindle Unlimited program. Like most mothers of young children, money can be a little tight to come by for unnecessary things like recreational reading. Now, most moms would simply go to the library. I cannot do this anymore. My adorable boys would follow me, because that’s what wolf pups do. They follow their mothers everywhere, especially places their mothers don’t really want to be followed. I have not gone to the bathroom without an escort since school let out for the summer.  (And you thought you were getting itchy for school to start up again!) Now picture that kind of devoted followership while trying to look for a good book. Not happening. Say what you want about the big corporate e-book dealers, it’s been a life saver for me.
The biggest problem with Kindle Unlimited is the selection of books. Most of it is not geared toward anything I would normally want to read. My friend Gloria and I spend probably as much time looking for KU books as we spend actually reading them. You know what gem we found? Erma Bombeck, 1970s humorist extraordinaire. It’s been forty years since most of these free books were published and they are just as relevant now as they were then.  Don’t believe me? Check out her book, “If Life Is a Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing in the Pits?” Copy write 1979. The first line of the intro goes like this: “I’ve always worried a lot and frankly I’m good at it.” It’s almost like she had wolves for family, too!
Let me tell you something, if I could somehow bring her back from the dead so she can come spend a week or two in my house, she’d have enough fresh writing material to keep her busy for decades. Take last week, for instance, when my sweet, loving sons decided their dad needed to participate in the ice bucket challenge.
First off, I need to fill you in on a few things. Brett and Coby are eight-year-old litter mates, which is
not exactly the same as fraternal twins in humans but it’s close. They refuse to be called by their given names, instead answering only to Loki and Thor. They adore their father to the point of hero worship and like all wolves in a pack environment, they also love pranks. But they don’t exactly understand the nuances of human things like fundraiser challenges, nominations, and timing. Well, that’s not strictly true; they got the
timing just right but not in a good way.
My mate, Mooney, is a funny, quirky guy who can be a bit of a banty rooster, except that he’s 6’4” and 250 lbs in his human skin and not the slightest bit stringy. Human weight translates directly to wolf weight when they shift, so he’s freaking enormous in the fur. He talks the talk, walks the walk, and backs down from a true alpha wolf every time. Anyone not an alpha wolf had better watch out. He’s a beta, not a furry carpet to be walked on. He does love the boys very much, though, which is probably the only reason we still have children.
Last week, we had an… incident involving a mad scientist, rogue mutant werewolves, and a monster that was a mix of human, mammoth, and werewolf. That last one was running around stompling everything it couldn’t eat or shit on. I don’t know who started calling it the hellephant, but the name stuck. Long story short, the town’s top alpha, Dante Hancock, managed to muster a team that effectively stopped the stompling hellephant before it destroyed the town of Talbot’s Peak but not before it ate half the vegetation between town and the highway. What goes in must come out, and that all needed cleaning up, too. Since Dante’s crew took the brunt of the assault, Nick, my mate’s brother and the alpha of the McMahon Pack, volunteered to head up clean-up efforts.  This landed my mate head first up the hellephant’s ass looking for unexploded ordnance and anything else of value that Atcheson may have eaten. (Yes, the hellephant has a name. He started off as human, though he was a pain in the rear even before Morlaxion captured him for his mad experiments.)
So Mooney came home after a long day of being buried up to the waist in waste from both ends, though not at the same time, thank the Goddess. He how hot, tired, stinky and cranky. All he wanted was a shower, a meal, and some quality down time. Instead, as he walked in the back door to our home, he triggered the trap Loki and Thor had laid for him.
The little scamps had filled a five gallon bucket with mostly ice because they didn’t know when he’d be home exactly. Thanks to making homemade ice cream over the summer, they knew that if they added some rock salt to it, the melting ice water would be colder that the 32 degrees Fahrenheit ice water usually is. It had a good hour to sit and stew before Mooney walked through the door. That would have been bad enough, but the pups did not stop there. You see, the ice bucket challenge is supposed to be filmed so it can be posted on the internet, so they also swiped a motion sensor security cam from the Pack’s stash and aimed it at the door. And then, because why not go all out if you’re going to do it at all (werewolf mentality in a nutshell) they rummaged through the Halloween decorations for the melted witch prop, set it to the side of the door, and then tied a string to the bottom corner of the door so that when the door was opened, the prop would be dragged right into the path of the falling ice water. And then they put a chunk of dry ice under the prop so that it would start smoking when it was disturbed.

Did I mention that I’m a witch? Or that my mate is a wolf? It almost didn’t matter that they were making a pun on “The Wizard of Oz.” Mooney saw motion, got a face full of salty ice water and hellephant poo, which promptly ran down the back of his shirt. Once he managed to peel himself off the ceiling, he saw a smoking pill of witch robes.
He came unglued.
I know this because we have video evidence, which I am trying very hard to keep from reaching the internet. I have a feeling that Mrs. Bombeck would have had a field day with all of this, but since she’s no longer with us, you get my interpretation of the events instead.
On the upside, I do now know exactly how much my husband loves me and how quickly my kids can put themselves in their room out of a sense of self-preservation.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

She Shot the Triceratops, But She Did Not Shoot the Owner

Note: while not quite the heroine, this wallpaper was as close as I could find.

End of August howls and yowls, shapeshifter lovers.

Today's flash scene was inspired by a CRAZY *someone lost their mind* news story I read a few days ago.

HEADLINE-SNIPPET: "School Kid Suspended And ARRESTED For Imagining Shooting A Dinosaur ~ Steve Watson | Furious parents not informed until police had taken son into custody."

This is dedicated to Alex Stone, the sixteen year old student from South Carolina, who dared to actually IMAGINE what any fictional writer might imagine and write for publication.

~~~~~~

She Shot the Triceratops, But She Did Not Shoot the Owner

"Noooooooooo!!!" Sharra screeched. To her ears it sounded like the enraged banshee she'd heard while walking the night in Ireland. Said banshee was now a close friend.

But beyond that wonderful thing in her life, the tiny triceratops who regularly devoured her in-full-bloom roses had managed to sneak past the magick defense grid she'd just conjured last night. Sharra shrieked again, her furious wail bouncing off the nearby mountain peaks.

Somebody's pet -- Sharra quaked with anger -- the blue-green mottled dinosaur cast a glance in her direction that looked suspiciously like a satisfied smirk. Sharra scowled a warning. When the pitbull-sized beastie didn't move, she balled her fists, and planted them on her hips.

They glared at one another, once again. In the past, the primordial creature had raced away, disappearing before any punishment could be justly delivered -- before Sharra could chase after it, thus discovering its very irresponsible owner.

She'd considered scrying, but why waste her magick on the trivial matter when compared to the state of the world? Why spark the naughty pet's hide with the fire she could swiftly manifest, when she needed to guard her reserves of energy to deal with the population of demons constantly threatening Talbot's Peak.

Wanting to remain unmolested by the kooks and society at large, Sharra had moved to the territory Dante, and his pack of shifters and supernaturals, patrolled and protected. She'd homesteaded several years ago, regularly reporting any suspicious activity to his patrol teams.

But as the spawn of the reptile gods eyed her last red rose, Sharra smoldered. Heat exploded through her, and she imagined smoke pouring out of her ears. If she wasn't careful, it would become reality.

With a great big rose-eating grin, the petite triceratops snapped its neck to the side, and engulfed the beautiful red bloom within its beaked mouth. Crunch-munch, it was gone!

Sharra threw her head back and screamed from the depths of her loins, from her outraged soul. "That's it, you dino scoundrel," she yelled, shaking her fist. "Now you're going to get it."

Whirling, as the triumphant beastie ran off, Sharra raced inside her stone cottage. She  grabbed her 357 Magnum while mind-summoning Trydon, her black-as-sin unicorn. He met her at the door, and Sharra grabbed a hunk of his flowing mane, jumping astride.

One thing about a dinosaur, small or large, they left a trail of crushed plant life in their wake. "Follow," Sharra hollered, on fire with her determination to mete out justice, and shoot the dino critter in its formidably muscled butt.

Always up for a chase, or a wild gallop across the wide open land, Trydon eagerly leaped forward and lowered his horn to skewer their rascally foe. Working together, mind-to-mind, the two of them rapidly negotiated the path of trampled prairie grasses and bent wildflowers.

Goddess damn his unscaly but glittery hide, there the smart aleck, rose-devouring dino was, heading for the foothills. Trydon blasted a snort of victory, and charged.

Sharra brandished her gun. "We're going to get you!" she hollered, her warrioress blood on the boil. From a long ancestry of witch warriors, she'd reached the point of no return, her normally cupcake-sweet nature lost to fierce resolve.

The small triceratops bounded in an odd racing the gait, moving swiftly toward an outcropping of rock that resembled an enormous medieval castle. Sharra figured he must have realized a fury-driven witch, and a unicorn that wasn't afraid of him, gave chase. And weren't about to quit.

****

'Help!' Quoff mindspoke. 'They're chasing me.'

Seated at his enormous desk, Zerod immediately touched a button on his control panel. 'Lowering the drawbridge,' he mind-communicated to his pet triceratops. His family had bred the modified dinosaurs for centuries now.

Rising, he quickly strode to his lookout balcony. It was shielded somewhat by the giant rock of the outcropping he lived within. Still, Zerod had a grand view of the foothills, and the prairieland beyond. What he observed had his loins twisting into knots of sheer lust.

The woman in hot pursuit of his Quoff rode her black unicorn like a Celtic war goddess. Whipped by the wind, her fiery copper hair streamed out behind her. The bountiful mane of riotous curls begged for his taming hand.

His only regret, as he continued to watch, she wasn't riding naked. To his utter astonishment and ferocious delight, the amazing woman stayed the course, galloping pell-mell right over the drawbridge and into his courtyard. Was that a 357 Magnum in her hand?

Spinning around as his life depended on it, Zerod dashed down his spiral stairway -- jumping to the floor at about midpoint. He landed with a loud thud of his boots, instantly running for his lowered drawbridge. Zounds, he was intrigued beyond measure.

****

Sharra took aim as Trydon skidded to a halt on the stone pathway leading away from a real drawbridge over a real moat, filled with shimmering water. As fascinating as her situation had suddenly become, she was not going to miss her opportunity.

Bang! Sharra fired at the triceratops, who suddenly stopped for a reason she couldn't determine. Only a bit off her mark -- the dino's butt -- the bullet struck closer to his flank.

Sharra frowned as she witnessed the bullet embed itself, then slowly re-emerge. What the Goddess eyes? It was as if the speeding bullet had sunk into a spongy substance it couldn't penetrate.

Sharra watched the bullet clank dully on the stone walkway. Irate to the core, she threw her leg over Trydon's neck, and leapt off his back. Stomping toward it, she ignored the triceratops who now sat calmly, his manner perfectly behaved.

"Woman, did you just shoot my pet?"

TO BE CONTINUED...

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Wishing you love and passion on the wild side ...

Savanna 

Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance

Monday, August 25, 2014

Release Day!


IT'S HERE! My MMF menage, Jessalina's Pets, is now available from Siren. And at a 10% discount, too! One tough lady, two hawt guys, and a bargain price. How can you pass that up?

Rich, bored and looking for diversion, lynx shifter Jess impulsively buys a pair of "pets" at the local slave market. Fin and Deon figure playing pet for the rich kitty will be the cushiest gig they've ever had. All three are in for big surprises concerning each other, with love the biggest shock of all.

Back to the serial story next week. This week you get a book excerpt. You can check out the rest at www.bookstrand.com/jessalinas-pets

EXCERPT

Jess grabbed a sword similar to the one she held and tossed it to him. He caught it expertly. The purported lover had fighting skills. She smiled thinly. They would not save him.

“Last chance,” she said to Deon. “Tell me what I saw out there. Tell me what you are, or I’ll slice him to ribbons.”

Deon set his mouth in a stubborn line. “You don’t have to tell her anything,” Fin said. “She won’t hurt me. I’m too pretty.”

“Don’t be so sure,” Jess said, and swung at his naked chest. She meant to deal him only a scratch. He brought up his sword and blocked her with unexpected skill. Jess smiled. “You’ve had training.”

“I have a checkered past.” He swung his weapon experimentally, and adjusted his grip. “We’re perfectly willing to share your bed, together or separately. Most women I know would jump at the chance. You don’t want to muck it up with all this baseless suspicion.”

“Hardly baseless.” They circled. “You’re a slave. All slaves try something eventually. It’s to be expected. And I’m not like any woman you know.”

“You’ve got me there,” Fin said. “I tell you what—I win, we fuck, and you stop asking questions about Deon there. Agreed?”

“I don’t make deals with pets.”

“Then defend yourself, Mistress.”

Fin lunged at her. He was better than his careless manner suggested, but not better than her. Jess realized that within minutes. She kept the knowledge from him by a series of clumsy parries and one wild swing that left her wide open. He didn’t take advantage of her offering, simply stepped back and allowed her to recover. Then he clipped the pale snow rose from her suit’s lapel with a deft flick of his wrist, and flashed a scoundrel’s grin at her.

Her feline urge to toy with her prey threatened to swamp her. Far too seldom did she find an opponent to test herself against. Her female peers recoiled, aghast, from the thought of combat, and the males got surly when she beat them. Fin’s skills presented opportunities for all sorts of new games, during a sword match and after.

Their blades clashed. They drew apart. Both were panting now. “You’re worth every cent I paid for you,” Jess told him.

“You haven’t even sampled my true skills.”

“Tell me what Deon is and we’ll rectify that.”

“It’s not my place to say.”

“Then you’ll just have to lose.” Jess leaned in and with one quick twist disarmed him. He made a startled yelp. She pressed the tip of her sword against his collar. Fin had the sense to stand still. “I’d hate to have to mark your flesh,” she said. “Now talk.”

The words had scarcely left her lips when she was seized from behind. With one hand Deon caught the wrist of her sword hand. The other pressed a razor edge against her throat. Even taken by surprise, she recognized it from its feel as one of the duocorn horns. The kind her female ancestors had used to dispatch their enemies.

“Really,” Deon growled beside her ear. “Did you think I’d just stand there like one of your useless society friends and let you hurt him? Not on my behalf.”

Jess remained predator-still while Fin took her sword. Stupid girl! she berated herself. Stupid, careless girl, to believe for even a second her defiant pet would be cowed just because she held a weapon. That jumped her brain to the blade at her throat. The clinical part of her wondered. A horn? All those weapons on the wall at his disposal, and he had gone for this?

Perhaps it was adrenaline that spurred her racing thoughts. All at once the pieces fell into place.

Fin tossed her sword into a corner. “No need for violence,” he said to Deon. “I’m sure we can come up with a solution that doesn’t involve blood on the floor.”

“I don’t see how,” Deon said, “now that I’ve threatened her life.”

“You had good reason, protecting your secret.” Jess spoke coolly, though beneath her silk blazer her heart pounded like a racing stallion’s hooves. “Don’t be frightened. I won’t betray you, or kill you. There are so few of you left.”

She felt his hard body jerk against hers. The horn at her throat slipped. She extended her claws and scored his forearm. Not deeply, but the surprise of it had the effect she desired. He yelled and let her go. Jess grabbed the horn and twisted away, out of reach. She backed to the weapons wall and faced them in a crouch, with the point of the horn aimed at Deon.

“This isn’t the first time you’ve used one of these, is it?” She brandished the horn. “Though not in this manner, I’m sure. It’s more of a gore for you, isn’t it?”

He glared at her so murderously she wondered if she ought to risk a reach for another sword. Fin hopped between them, his hands out. “All right, you caught us,” he said. “He’s my brother. Half brother. Quarter brother. Cousin. Something like that. He’s part silver fox. He doesn’t shift because his form comes out weird. All that bad blood in the line. He won’t—”

“Save it,” Jess snapped. “I know what he is.”

Saturday, August 23, 2014

TYING UP LOOSE ENDS PART ONE




Tyburn looked up at the night sky, smiling he leaned against the tree closest to him.  Yes, the ladies bemoaned their lack of active participation in the ultimate battle for the Peak.  They knew the new civil defense coordinator counted them amongst the reserves ready to defend the town if the need arose.

With several Phoenix soaked and peanut stuffed pumpkins in him and around him, the hellphant made his way to a trillion light year away portal that only Tyburn and the Peak’s two top witches knew about.  What no one else knew was Cochrane landed there with him.  Tyburn’s smile grew as he imagined the look on both of their faces when they realized there was no way back to their former lives.  In fact, if the extra words he hastily added to the spell attracting Cochrane and his target to the portal worked, their past would be long gone.  Forgotten to a point where dreams replaced reality.  There was enough to keep both of the pests busy and occupied.  Two twin worlds orbiting a Phoenix sun awaited them.  Yes, magic and the supernatural had their place in the cosmic order. 

Tyburn glanced back over his shoulder as a low squeak sounded.  Rachel must be on the porch.  The middle board of the old porch creaked and squeaked.  A visit to the hardware store would fix that.  Enjoying the seasons without additional noise other than the beats of their hearts and the small one resting beneath Rachel’s mixing with the crickets brought him contentment the more he thought about it.  He wondered how soon she would realize their last rebirth sexual encounter bore fruit.  One neither of them planned.

Rachel stepped out further on to the porch, her hand on her stomach.  Pregnant. . .she couldn’t ask how or why.  She knew the answer as well as any human or supernatural much less immortal knew.  Explaining this to her very human daughter and granddaughter was going to take some talking.  She resisted biting the inside of her cheek and worrying away her grin.  How good a father would Tyburn be? Was he father material?  Too many questions and a lot of time to ponder them at another point.  Right now, she needed cuddles on the old swing chair near the stairs leading down to the tall oak middle of the yard.  She opened her mouth to call out.  Tyburn turned as though he heard her unvocalized need.  He walked toward her smiling.  What had changed him?  She didn’t know.  She was starting to think she was pretty sure she didn’t need to know.  Then there was his twin sister Atrena. Rachel rolled her eyes and sent a silent prayer skyward.

Back Across Town on the Highway

Gill opened the sunroof on his car.  Chloe sat next to him.  The quickly purchased pregnancy test stuffed in the plastic bag laid between them on the console. Gill reached over, stuffed part of the bag under his leg so the wind didn’t whip it out the sunroof as he picked up speed.  Wind spilled down and over them as the quiet of the night enveloped them and the space within the car.

Moments passed before he spoke.  He took Chloe’s hand as he did.  “I appreciate you telling your family where you stood on them hanging around.”  He raised their entwined hands to his lips.  Pressing his lips against first Chloe’s hand then both of them where their fingers interlaced, he nipped before lowering them.  Chloe’s soft gasp told him he had her attention.  He spoke again.  “I purchased some land when I decided the Peak was home.”

He slowed down as they neared a sign illuminated by the car’s headlights.  He grinned as he viewed the sign.  Vernon and Nick had out done themselves.  The alien insignia followed by an arrow pointing toward the mountains in the distance would draw most away from town.  Good.  Those that wandered into town would be watched and warned as needed. Some might stay, making good citizens and additions to the populace.

Chloe’s sigh broke the silence between them.  Gill glanced toward her as he eased off the road.  He turned the car off and turned to her.  “Yes, love,” he said.

Her eyes met Gill’s.  They agreed taking the pregnancy test mattered.  In the wake of what happened, knowing for sure made sense.  This talk about land made sense too.  How settled down was Gill prepared for?  Multiple births ran in her family.  Twins and triplets to be exact.   How ready was either of them for that?  Chloe licked her lips.  Peeing on a piece of plastic in the middle of the night under the stars didn’t appear romantic.  Finding out, just the two of them, without others around appealed to her more than a house full of relatives waiting and watching.  She hoped they all found their new accommodations appeasing cuz they weren’t moving back in.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 Happy Weekend Gang!

Sorry for the late post.  Work had me running all week.  The Spice Homestead is still recovering from illness and the screwy weather. DP started a new round of meds this week. He's doing better.  Gal Pal is busy preparing for her sister's visit and other family obligations next week.  Mage and his lovely wife are off to a pride festival and a few days R-and-R for a late birthday get away for her.

Oh, and me  you ask? I'm half way through an 85K urban fantasy I'm writing.  I've got a few pages done on the next Cascade Bay story. Though work has me diving head long into a training seminar next month, I'm hoping I get some good writing time in. 

Remember to share a good book or two with your loves and spice as you relax.  I know I will.

Until next week,

Solara

Friday, August 22, 2014

Greely's Ink

Sorry about that folks, I'm running behind today, which is not all that unusual.  What do you think of Greely's tattoo?  Gorgeous isn't it.  I found it over on Photobucket posted by ladynokitsune.

Check out below to see how it all went and if Erol was able to maintain his composure.

~~~

“Hello foxy ladies, you are burning down my house…yes you are.  What can Big Ed do for you today?”

Greely smiled politely even though she wanted to bend in half and laugh like a crazy loon.  Big Ed was neither big, nor Ed like.  No he was more of an Eddie…Eddie Munster that is.  “Hi Ed, my name is Greely and I’m looking to have some work done.”

“Well, hot mama, are we stamping it or clamping it today?”

A crackling gurgle sounded from beside her and the scent of used matches filled the air.  Greely turned her head in time to see Karma step in front of a nearly alarmingly angry Erol to cover the sudden glow of his human nostrils from the tattoo artist. 

This was not going to go well.

“Actually, I’d like both.”  Greely answered, while keeping half her attention on the ornery dragon to her right.

“Right on, Sizzle. Why don’t you bring your sultry self on over here and we’ll get started.”

“Sizzle, SIZZLE!” Erol lifted Karma and they moved as one towards Big Ed. “I’ll show that puny human how to sizzle!”

“One moment, Mr. ah, Big Ed.” 

Greely turned and grabbed Erol’s arm and tugged for all she was worth and still he moved forward. 
Only now, he was dragging her along for the ride.

“Good luck, sister, Slimy here is pissed and nothing is going to stop him from eating Big “living dead” Ed over there.” Karma chuckled while flicking her finger over and over on Erol’s forehead.

“Erol, STOP.” Greely ordered, her voice firm and not at all shy.  Much to her amazement, Erol stopped and looked over at her, concern and frustration warring in his gaze. “You need to wait for me
outside, love.”

“NO!”

“Yes.  We haven’t even started yet and look at yourself, imposing and threatening—sexy as hell, but still.  We don’t want to scare the artist while he’s putting the ink on my skin or creating holes in my tummy.”

“Eeech, ouch!” Karma barked as nasal sparks hit her arms. “Watch the words there, Gree, or he’ll scorch me.”

“My apologies, humpback.” Erol said before dropping Karma to the floor and looking at Greely. “I will be good.” He spat, the last word with so much disgust she could barely contain her smile.

“I’m sure you will try, but I’ve decided to do this on my own.  You will escort Karma outside and either gamble or take in the fountain.  I’ll be out in a bit.”  Greely dug her drawing out of her pocket and moved back to Ed.  “Now, where were we?”

“Stamping it first, Pretty Lady.  Would you like to ride my hog for this or climb up on the table?”

Karma’s squeak and Erol’s growl made her smile as she chose the gorgeous bike.  “Out Erol.  Now!”

##

One hour later…

Greely found her traveling companions at the fountain surrounded by cops and wondered if her time in Sin City was about to be cut short.  “What happened, Karma?”

“Hey Gree, well, Erol needed to cool off, if you know what I mean,” her friend whispered, for her ears only.  “Poor Erol tripped and fell in,” she said louder for the uniformed group around them.

“Did he now?” Greeley smirked, then played along. “Oh Erol, baby, are you okay?”  She rushed to his side, hugging and touching him as a concerned girlfriend would.

“I’m fine.”

“Good, oh thank goodness.  Can we go, officers?  I’d like to get my man back to the hotel and into some dry clothes.”

“Yeah, go ahead, but stay away from the fountains from now on, okay.”

“Fine.”

“Thank you, thank you.”  Greely tugged Erol away from the crowd and back towards the hotel.  Half way there, Erol ground to a halt and started pulling at her shirt.

“What are you doing, Erol, stop.”  She patted at his roving hands only to remember that resisting was ridiculous when it came to her dragon.

“Show me what you did to yourself.”

“Fine, here.” She opened the front of her coat to show him the cute silver ring at her belly, loving how it twinkled with the lights on the strip.  Erol fingered the little piece of jewelry, lust in his eyes and a grumble in his throat.

“I like that, a lot.”

“Good, now let’s go.”

“No, show me the other.”

Greely turned, dropped the jacket in back and let him see the tattoo she’d drawn herself and big Ed had located on her upper back.

“Oh Greely,” Karma gasped.

“That’s me,” Erol said, so quietly she wondered if he hated it, but his gentle touch told her more.

“And me…if I too, had a dragon form,” she whispered over her shoulder.

“I love it, Fair One.”

“Oh good, then you won’t mind it being bigger, say covering my whole back?”

Erol reeled her in and kissed her hard.  There was no part of her lips left un-nibbled, his tongue pushed passed them and mapped out her mouth with precision and depth, giving her the next best thing to sex here on the Las Vegas strip.

“We’ll talk about it,” Erol muttered. ”…later.”    
~~~
Have a great weekend everyone!

Serena

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Bonus Post: The Final Fate of Abel Cochrane


(I wrote this chapter weeks ago as a joke for fellow Supernatural fans Serena and Rebecca. Just thought I’d share.)

Cochrane gaped at the two men standing before him. “What do you mean, no?”

“You want me to draw you a picture?” the hard-eyed older one said. “Because it’ll look like this: a big black N and a big black O, with a nice heavy line underneath. Any other questions?”

“But you’re hunters,” Cochrane said. “You’re supposed to be the best in the business. There’s a town full of shifters out there. Monsters. They’ve got a mad scientist turning normal people into even worse monsters. Didn’t you hear what happened out on Route 15?”

“We heard,” the tall one said. He was not as hostile as his brother, but just as adamant. “We know who caused it, and we know who stopped it. It’s over. Let it go.”

“Are you kidding me? Talbot’s Peak has been taken over by those—those animals. You want to wait until they start branching out? Killing innocent people instead of each other? How can you just let it go and still have the gall to call yourselves hunters?”

“Watch us,” the older one said.

“We’ve been to Talbot’s Peak,” his brother added. “We know the situation there. It’s best to leave it alone. Even our father warned us to stay away from there. If you were there and they let you go, then you’re ahead of the game. I’d take it and run.”

“Your daddy’s dead and gone,” Cochrane said with a sneer. “And you two have lost your edge. I don’t know why I bothered. With or without you, I’m cleaning up that pit. You two can—”

“That’s it,” the older one said. “You’re lucky I don’t consider you worth the jail time. Cas?”

Cochrane whirled at a fluttery sound behind him. A man in a trench coat, who hadn’t been there seconds before, reached out and touched him.

The motel room disappeared.

A frigid wind nearly knocked him off his shaky feet. The room’s walls had been replaced by open sky of an eye-blasting blue, pierced by towering, snow-laden mountains. Make that MOUNTAINS. These made the Rockies look like speed bumps. Three men bundled in thick wool clothing and surrounded by a herd of goats stared at him. The goats barely blinked.

“What the hell?” Cochrane cried in rising panic. “What the hell? Where the hell am I?”

One of the men cleared his throat. “Tibet.”

“Tibet?”

“Yes, yes. Tibet.” The men hurried their goats away.

“Tibet?” Cochrane repeated weakly. The wind whipped the word away. Gradually he realized his feet were wet. He looked down and discovered he was standing up to his shins in snow.

“Goddammit,” he snarled. Those two lunatics weren’t hunters. They were witches. Had to be. That meant when he was done with Talbot’s Peak he’d have to kill them too. But first …

“Okay,” he said. “Okay.” It wasn’t the end of the world. Well, technically, but still. He had his sheepskin coat and the weapons concealed beneath it. Snow was just really chilly water, so thirst wouldn’t be a problem. There looked to be plenty of daylight left, time enough to find shelter. Cochrane started walking.

Tibet. The Himalayas. Yetis. Some village out in this snowy waste must have a yeti problem. He could earn a living here. If not here, India. That swampy jungle mess was rife with shifters and djinns. Or Japan. You couldn’t take three steps in Kyoto without banging into a demon.

It wouldn’t take him long to work his way back across the Pacific. Then they’d see some action, just you bet.

Saving people, hunting things. Making the world a cleaner place, one continent at a time.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

I Got Nuthin'

As I was picking through my slush pile (bits of scenes) I realized that everything I had in that fold had already been shared, was too dumb to allow another person to see or... looked like something I should smoosh into another story I was working on. I started this process about 5pm last night and made myself go to bed a little after 1 am. I literally worked on four different WIPs, three that had already been in progress and one that started out as eight--yes eight--separate unrelated scene flashes. I don't really want to share any of the stuff I was working on, though, because all of them look like they'll be submittable and publishers are getting very picky about that sort of thing.
So, what to post. Hm, random pictures with micro flash scenes? That sounds like fun, right?





"Ok, Thor, you hold the door still while I get up on the stool and balance the bucket of ice water."

"I don't think this is going to work, Loki. Mom takes showers all the time and she doesn't melt."

"Yeah, but this joke isn't for Mom, though, is it? She doesn't use this door, only Dad does. He opens the door, the ice water falls, and then it hits the melted witch prop conveniently place just to the side of the door. It sets off the dry ice and Presto! Best prank ever! What could possibly go wrong?"









"You guys did a good job out there today. Why don't you head home easrly today. You've earned it, especially you, Mooney. Thanks for taking one for the team in cleaning up all the mammoth scat. Go spend some quality time with your mate and pups."

"Awe yeah, Dante! You don't have to tell me to go twice! I'd just about kill for a hot shower right about now!"




"Dad, can we come out of our room now?"

"Dad? Dad?.... Mom?"

"Mom, can we come out of our room now?"


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Ride the Roan Stud ~ First Chapter of Manuscript


Summer howls and yowls, shapeshifter lovers.

So, with the hellephant down for the peanut-allergy count, here's a change of pace. This is the first *unedited* chapter of a shapeshifter paranormal erotic romance I've penned under the name of Stevie Klark. Later on, I'll explain why. Right now, I'm polishing said manuscript for submission.

Anyhoo, if my buddy authors would like to suggest improvements, please, I'm all ears. As well, any comment that offers a way to improve this first chapter, again, thanks for the help. I found this difficult to write, and it could certainly be awkward in spots.
~~~~~~

Ride the Roan Stud

Chapter One:
Ghost Walker

Badlands, the Four Corners
Late Spring 2013

Not so much despair, Ghost Walker thought. A seed of desperation clawed at him, yes. No, it was a profound sadness eating at him like winter's starving wolf.

He'd failed. Once again.

The medicine man, Bear Feather, had taken every care with his lessons, teaching him the shamanic way. Even so, on this third, this last chance to complete his vision quest, Ghost had been unable to withstand the challenges Earth Mother placed in his path.

With his mouth parched, and his skin burning as if he'd been set on fire, shade from the sun's relentless heat beckoned Ghost Walker. Struggling, he hopped on one foot from boulder to sun-baked boulder.

Hours ago, his physical strength had been sucked away by the trials of surviving in the badlands. Now he dragged his broken ankle along the gritty cracked floor of the red desert.

Ghost Walker didn't need his sacred gift from the Great Spirit–foreseeing the future while walking the shadow spirit realm–to know his final fate.

Death walked with his shadow.

Ghost felt the skeletal hand cling to him as he continued hopping toward the patch of shade beneath giant layers of rock. Should the Great Guy in the Sky, as Bear Feather grinned and spoke, granted a miracle–if Ghost was  rescued, belonging to the tribe would not be denied to him.

Yet, he'd remain on the fringe–only tolerated like a pathetic stray. Worse, Ghost Walker had no family.

As a young child he'd been adopted by the Olaloxie tribe. His single mother had lost her battle against injuries suffered when she'd fallen from a cliff ledge. There'd been no relatives to claim him, and with his odd ghostly coloring no one else stepped forward offering to care for him.

After several months of grief and loneliness as his only companions, a representative from the mysterious Olaloxie arrived, and claimed kinship. However, as Ghost soon learned, rather than blood lineage, the tribe had been formed by the medicine men and women from many tribes–during the time when the white man advanced westward.

From Canada to Mexico, the wise ancestors had gathered in the Colorado regions of the Four Corners–having failed to persuade their tribes to negotiate alliances with each other. As westward expansion grew, the Olaloxie realized  destiny wheel-turned against their survival.

After days of smoke ceremonies, the Olaloxie shamans and their followers journeyed to the badlands. Upon arrival, they made their home inside the ancient abandoned caverns of the Far Sky People. To this day, the tribe hid themselves, careful to remain undiscovered by the outside world. 

Using the last of his strength, Ghost Walker willed himself to keep moving. He'd find some relief if he could get to the jagged tower of rock, a desert formation he'd never seen before.

He struggled closer, his vital spirit lessening with each step. Hours ago, the stabbing pain of his ankle had deserted him. Only numbness remained.

Ghost silently mocked himself with laughter, the madness brought on by the blazing heat and his pitiful circumstance. Yet the voice of life called to him.

Despite the searing heat of the large boulder, Ghost grabbed hold, pulling himself forward. He gasped for breath now.

Pausing, he gazed at the car-sized slabs of rock, and the inviting patch of shade. Struck by the sight of an odd dark slit between a monolithic stone, he stared even as he collapsed, held up only by the boulder.

If his bleary gaze wasn't deceiving him, the shadow–not thirty feet away–appeared to be an artificially constructed opening.

Mirage?

Ghost blinked rapidly, and prayed to the Great Spirit to know the truth. His answer arrived as the slant of the sun's rays strongly illumined the rod like cut between two monolithic slabs of rock. Intrigued despite his near-death condition, Ghost pushed himself up enough to fall on his bloody abraded knees.

His palms stung painfully as he crawled through the narrow passage to the opening. Using the juts in the boulder as handholds, Ghost pulled and shoved himself to a standing position. Stiff as a zombie, he moved toward the unnaturally dark opening.

Ghost realized the Great Force was at work as a rush of cool air struck his face–as the darkness faded and a golden illumination took its place. Astonished, dumbfounded, he simply stared.

A fanciful mirage? Had his mind leapt over the edge of sanity and into the chasm of wishful thinking?

Ghost tried blinking several times. Only the Great Spirit knew why his fevered brain conjured a scene out of a Steampunk novel–like the ones read by some of the older children he tutored.

Because he'd never been drawn to those stories, Ghost had to ask himself, were the Victorian-age steam machines filling the enormous cavern somehow real? His jaw slackened and his mouth hung open.

A sleek yet full-bodied vessel hovered above the cave's floor. Grand in structure, the airship dominated.

If this was real–and not his delirious imagination–how?

Perhaps, a fold in the weave time, as Bear Feather might have explained it. Ghost snapped his mouth shut. What if...?

Shock coursed through him chilling his blood as if he'd dived into an icy stream. However, a medicine warrior stood his ground when shone the wonders of the Great Universe. He learned whatever his senses, his spirit could tell him. 

Ghost focused, studying the phantasmagorical scene beneath the air ship. He had no frame of reference, given most things mechanical remained a mystery to him–even his uncooperative car. Glistening brass wheels within ever-larger wheels obviously powered various devices, which ranged from the size of a toaster to the size of an old VW Beetle.

Overhead, several different types of aircraft hung from the ceiling in a manner Ghost didn't understand. Fascinated by the smaller plane with bat like wings, he committed the beautiful flight craft to memory. 

What captivated Ghost the most though was the river steamboat at the far end of the cavern. Without thought, wanting a closer look, he hopped a step inward.

Instantly, an unseen force slammed into him. Like a plate glass window had been blasted into him, Ghost thought. The sensation of being hurled through the air was the last thing he remembered before darkness stole his mind.

Regaining consciousness, Ghost tasted the grit and sand of the desert floor. The afternoon heat baked his back, and Ghost hazily wondered if he was now as red as a cooked lobster.

When he tried to roll over, a moan escaped him. Agony rushed through the length of his body like an angry river. Still, he forced his bruised body to obey. Turning over, Ghost collapsed on his back, relieved when there was no flare of pain.

The strength of Father Sun's light blinded him for an instant. At least, he knew there'd been little passage of time, given the sun's position.

Silence, the soul drumming inside. In that moment, Ghost Walker realized he no longer heard the call of his spiritual path.

But where was death?

Ghost shuddered inside, a freakish nightmare of sensations assailing him. He could not fathom why he remained almost lifeless upon the parched skin of the Mother.

Somehow life clung to him, holding him hostage.

~~~~~~


Wishing you love and passion on the wild side ...

Savanna 

Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance

Monday, August 18, 2014

Restitution


Cochrane glanced around Talbot’s Peak’s center square and tried not to let his horror show. It looked like the whole misbegotten population had turned out. To honor him, the wolf-man Dante said. Yeah, right. They were still shapeshifters, and they still outnumbered him, and they had still confiscated his weapons after the fight was over. This better not be the honor accorded the victim right before the sacrifice.

At least they’d left him his clothing this time. That was a step in the right direction.

A lean, gangly man with a twitchy nose stepped up to the podium. He’d been pointed out to Cochrane earlier as the current Mayor. “Fellow Peakites,” he spoke into the mic, “by now you’re all aware of the monster that threatened us and our town. We came together in the face of peril, and we triumphed. I’m proud of all of you.

“Today we honor those who directly risked their lives and safety to defend us. Dante.” The wolf man seated near the podium stood and bowed modestly to the cheering crowd. “Duff McDuff and his cohorts.” From out of the crowd the Scotsmen and -woman raised tankards of liquor and roared something in Gaelic. “Rafael Golden.” The Mayor nodded skyward, where an eagle circled. “The Turkle family, who politely declined to join us this afternoon. Ditto for Syprelli, a newcomer to Talbot’s Peak, who nevertheless put her life on the line for us. I hope you all help to make her feel welcome here in the days to come. May I also extend our gratitude to a young man who played a vital role in our defense, yet chooses to remain anonymous.” Cochrane spotted Deuce standing with a bunch of glowering wolves dressed like Twilight wannabes. He was the only one smiling.

“Ewan Carter and Maureen Starkey.” The blond man standing at the front of the crowd hastily yanked his hand off his girlfriend’s rack. The girl in the glasses just laughed and left her own hand where it sat comfortably on his ass. Cochrane tried not to scowl directly at them. That damned coyote still owed him for that bite on the wrist, even though the cast had come off a while back. And her. She was a hunter, or supposed to be. She’d clearly thrown in her lot with the enemy. Women. Couldn’t trust ‘em.

“And a special thanks and our undying gratitude to another stranger to our town, who nevertheless literally leaped into the jaws of hell to save us all. Abel Cochrane.” The crowd broke into thunderous applause. Numerous hands propelled him toward the podium. The Mayor stepped back and motioned to the mic.

Cochrane stared out at the sea of faces confronting him. Shifter faces. Monsters, every last one of them, hiding behind faux human features. Clapping and chanting his name.

“Just doing my job,” he mumbled into the mic, and tried to make his escape.

“Just a moment.” The Mayor caught his arm. “I’ve been told you initially came to Talbot’s Peak for a specific reason. We’d like to help out. Mr. Lincoln? Mr. McMahon?”

Cochrane stiffened. He recognized those two old geezers stepping out of the crowd. Purple paint, cardboard fairy wings, public nudity and the cops. He wasn’t going to forget those sons of bitches any time soon.

“Mr. Cochrane,” the aged ape who’d once been Mayor of Talbot’s Peak boomed within earshot of the mic. “Last time you visited our fair hamlet, Vern and I—well, we did something mean that I know now we shouldn’t’ve. We’d like to apologize for that. No hard feelings?”

He held out his hand. Cochrane just stared at it. “Take it,” Lincoln murmured through a politician’s smile. “Otherwise Vern here’s liable to shift, and that’ll put his big wolfie jaws right in line with your dingle. We wouldn’t want any accidents to happen in front of the children, would we?”

Goddamn shifters. They’d trapped him good and proper. Cochrane seized the ape’s hand and pumped it once, then repeated the gesture with the grinning old wolf’s. The audience went wild. Short trip for them, he thought scathingly.

The high school band raised their instruments and broke into the ceremonial music from the end of the first Star Wars movie. That appeared to signal the end of the gathering. The crowd broke up, most headed toward the center square’s various eating establishments. Better that than him, Cochrane reckoned.

Oh Christ, here came the coyote, with Maureen at his side. Probably after the rest of his arm. The hunter tensed for battle.

“Mr. Cochrane,” Ewan said, amiably enough. “As long as everybody’s apologizing, I want to say I’m sorry for the bite. You sorry you tried to kill me?” Cochrane didn’t respond. The coyote shrugged. “Told you,” he said to Maureen.

“That’s why I didn’t take the bet. Sir?” Maureen addressed Cochrane. “I quit.” She walked off arm and arm with the coyote, now and forever a traitor to humanity. Picked a monster over her own kind. Typical woman.

Once he got his weapons back, she could die along with the rest of them.

“Mr. Cochrane.” Now that the mic was shut off, the Mayor also shut off his joviality. “You saved a ton of lives at the risk of your own, and we’re forever grateful. Just the same, I think it would be best all around if you left Talbot’s Peak right now and never came back. I’d even go so far as to say stay out of Montana altogether. There are plenty of other places in the world for you to ply your trade. I’m sure you can find one.”

Cochrane studied the Mayor’s hard eyes, then those of Dante, just beyond his shoulder. The Scottish contingent had clumped together and watched the hunter warily. The two old bastards went on grinning, like they couldn’t wait to get their mitts on another bucket of paint.

“How can you do this?” he muttered at the Mayor. “You know what these things are.”

“Better than you can imagine,” the Mayor growled back. “I was born human, Mr. Cochrane. We have more in common with ‘these things’ than you believe. I’ll take their kind over yours any day.” He smiled thinly. “Thanks again. Have a nice day.”

The Mayor, with Dante and the Scots as backup, escorted Cochrane to his car. He got in without a word and drove out of Talbot’s Peak. And that was that.

For now. In spite of everything that had happened, the basic threat posed by a town full of shapeshifters remained. As soon as he replenished his weapons stash, he’d be back.

One final tribute awaited him as he drove down Route 15. The Turkle clan had gathered at the side of the road. As Cochrane motored past they raised various weapons in salute. A grinning Abram Turkle hefted his newly-arrived bazooka.

Cochrane slowed and saluted. When he returned to clean up the town, he would spare this bunch. He would never hunt turkeys again. They were true Americans.