Here’s the link to the Weekend Writing Warriors central page, so you can visit all the
participants sharing excerpts today…a fun way to sample new books and find new authors! (Also welcome to the Sunday Snippet visitors!)
In late March I published a paranormal fantasy romance The Captive Shifter, but since I was in the midst of excerpting my scifi romance at the time, I didn’t share from Shifter. I’m going to do a few weeks from it now. Some of you who go wayyyyy back with me on snippets may remember I shared bits from this when it was a WIP several years ago.
Kyler, the shifter, has been used as a source of magic in a major spellcasting and isn’t recovering well. Caitlyn, the heroine, goes to the kitchen to see what can be done about his diet at least.
Not even the Witch Queen herself ventured into the kitchens – the Cook was absolute ruler in this area and no one ever risked her displeasure. Caitlyn, however, walked into the kitchen fearlessly. She’d been here before. Undercooks and kitchen maids bobbed their heads and spoke greetings as she passed. She made her way through the supply shelves, through the preparation stations, past the plating area, into the heart of the kitchen, where its undisputed monarch, the Cook, held court in the glow of the ovens and stoves.
“What brings you here, my friend?” Nadelma, the head cook herself, smiled at the intruder and beckoned her close. Nadelma was substantial, with a proud bearing and a serene face. Her glossy black hair was neatly dressed in a giant braided bun, woven through with colorful beads. A long angry scar slashed across her cheek, disappearing below the collar of her dress, where a pot of boiling sauce had spilled on her many decades before, according the kitchen lore, when Nadelma had been a kitchen maid. Caitlyn had secretly worked healing magic on the cook’s scar for weeks, carefully reducing the impact a bit at a time, making the mark less prominent, less red and twisted. She liked Nadelma.
Concealing her own considerable magical powers, Caitlyn enters the service of the northern Witch Queen masquerading as a simple healer. Under order from her goddess, she’s searching for a magical gem stolen long ago from her own people, believed to be hidden in the massive castle. The task is daunting but Caitlyn is sure she can locate the gem and escape, bringing the prize back to the temple where it belongs. Until she meets the captive shifter and her loyalties become dangerously divided.
In payment for her past services to his people, Kyler the leopard shifter has entered into a life of servitude far from his forest home, allowing the Witch Queen to tap his magic to power her ever darker spells. Factions at Court are threatening to turn the Queen to the Shadow. Her increasing demands for magic will cut short his nearly immortal lifespan. Kyler’s resigned to his fate until the day he crosses paths with the new arrival, whose secrets and magic entice and attract both man and leopard. Has he met his mate at last?
The Queen will never willingly release him from captivity. Caitlyn’s goddess refuses to grant her any delay in accomplishing her own task. Can they locate the magical gem, fight the Shadow and win free of the Witch Queen to earn the right to be together?