Book Two of
I hope you enjoy it.
High Commander Kade Quil loathes everything about his former enemy world, Pygras. Ordered to assist a Pygrian priestess on a rescue mission, he explodes—until he meets the graceful shape-shifter priestess assigned him. Her enchanting pink eyes halt his warpath. What creature could she manifest?
Scholar Willa Canatar must save her kidnapped sister, but tolerating the handsome but nasty-dispositioned investigator is torture. When tragedy blows their mission apart, the priestess and the cop become entangled in the turbulent forces of the universe.
The invincible Master of Cig wants the shape-shifters dead, their magic stolen, so he’s experimenting on them, exterminating their prophecy of his fall. Before he accomplishes his evil plot, he’ll face a sneaky cop with few boundaries, a beautiful priestess, and a wolf-spirit from the Second Universe ready to prove the Master’s immortality a myth.
Someone near the Master holds the secret to trumping the undefeated Kade Quil—take the priestess the high commander wants, and kill his people.
[ This excerpt is rated PG. The story is rated R. ]
Rising from meditation, Willa opened her eyes to the run-down outpost-town before her, and she watched a gray and black hovercraft with gleaming silver Ministry symbol on the side pull up to the storefront Kade had entered. Chilled, she watched two officers climb from the topless and sleek-looking jet ride and proceed into the store.
She rose to her feet, sure the high commander was in danger. What could she do? She danced around a bit, her nerves fraying. Knowing no reasonable reaction but to get there, she seized the laser pistol from the grass, and she broke into a mad dash.
Around the back of the building, she ran and skidded to a halt at the private entrance of the store. There was a lock. Slowly, she turned the door handle until she heard a click.
It’s open! Is it a miracle with the gods on their side, a trusting town, or just a lucky accident?
She eased the doors open, praying she’d not be heard. Her prayers were immediately answered when she looked up, above the door, and spotted the bell she was about to ring. She snatched the ringer from the door frame.
Whew… It was a miracle she’d caught it. Maybe the universe indeed was on her side.
Slithering into the sunlit back room, she passed shelves of stock and scooted up to the curtained doorway that led to the shop’s main room. Her stomach in a knot, she peeked through the hanging cloth and watched the Ministry officers confront Kade. She felt the laser pistol in her grip, useless in her small hands. Attempting to fake proficiency with the weapon before trained professionals might get them both killed or arrested. She sure couldn't shoot the thing. Was there anything she could do that would not get them slabs in a coroner’s office?
Not by herself. She set the pistol on the floor and began the Chant of Change.
The room slanted in her perception, rearranging, and stars filled her sight. Traveling, traveling, traveling. She heard voices far away, Kade’s voice among them. Finally, she touched with her mind her companion-spirit, the wolf in another dimension, and Willa asked for her she-wolf’s great strength.
Willa felt her nose grow, her ears perk and shift, her body mass shrink, then grow long instead of tall. Cookie dough-colored fur sprouted from her flesh. She felt the presence of her companion taking spiritual space within her, a part of her soul, until she was no longer a she but a they.
As soon as Willa and her wolf felt the melding transformation complete, they stood united in one lupine body behind the curtain, poised for a springing leap, the laser pistol on the floor at their paw, sensing the ultimate timing for their intervention.
The first Ministry officer grabbed hold of Kade’s arm and shoved him against the counter, patting him down for weapons. The high commander spun around, surprising the officer, and he gave the cop a hard-fisted punch, sending him to the floor.
That second, Willa and her companion-spirit kicked the pistol from under the stock room curtain across the floor to Kade.
Then the wolf took them through the thin curtain and launched at the second officer already reacting to Kade’s assault by drawing a weapon. United, Willa and her wolf slammed into the cop’s chest, knocking him off-balance and sending him hard to the floor.
Kade spotted the pistol skating toward him, so he dived away from the first officer’s easy reach, and gained the weapon in a daredevil catch. Then he shot upward at the second cop now aiming his pistol, and he downed the man, rendering him unconscious.
The wolf pounced upon and straddled the second officer, pinning him beneath their great lupine body. They pressed their wet black nose to the second officer’s nose, and issued a loud and serious growl so close to his swollen eyes and mouth dropped open aghast with surprise and fear, he didn’t dare move without drawing their mighty bite.
Through their peripheral vision, she saw the high commander swiftly gain his feet, gripping his weapon and taking account of what had happened in a handful of seconds.
All was still. Willa and her wolf had given Kade the room.
Unrushed, he stepped over the unconscious Ministry officer, confirmed his state with a gentle kick, and he confiscated the weapon the cop’s hand had been going for. Then Kade strolled over to Willa and her companion guarding their catch, and he looked down to the police officer they held to the floor.
The high commander smiled. “She’s beautiful, isn’t she?”
The man did not risk a slight move, and Willa thought him wise. Kade stripped that man of his weapon already in his hand.
Next, the high commander regarded the shopkeeper, the man now plastered against the wall, spread-eagle, terrified of what he’d seen and what might happen next.
“Relax, shopkeeper, no harm will come to you. I’m just going to do a little shopping. I’d charge the Ministry, if I were you.”
The shopkeeper nodded, appearing as though he might spill his eyeballs from his face.
Cool as a Pygrian winter night, Kade took up his shopping basket and roamed the rows of products, picking out at his leisure what entertained his eye. Willa caught the man pinned beneath them spying upon Kade, and she and the wolf corrected the Ministry cop’s line of sight with a growl.
The man’s sight shot back to their lethal fangs.
“Good dog,” Kade coached, as he wandered over to the ladies’ side of the shop, thumbed through dresses for sale.
Dog. Please. I'll get him for that smart-ass remark.
He picked out a frock she could not take a moment to notice much of, considering the Ministry officer at the end of their sniffer. She did catch the high commander nodding appreciatively, then tossing his preference into his basket.
Piling equipment on the shopkeeper’s counter, the high commander allowed the man to scan his purchases for an accurate accounting. Kade winked at them and smiled devilishly. For a law enforcement officer on his own world, he sure liked to do bad.
Finished with the charge, the shopkeeper put himself back against the wall where he felt safest.
The high commander casually wagged his gun down at the officer lying unconscious on the boardwalk shop floor. To the Ministry officer held beneath Willa and her companion-spirit’s wet black nose, Kade said, “Your friend will awaken with the worst headache of his life. The pain will go away, but not before it makes him bawl like a little girl. It’s a good moment to shoot video.”