A murderer haunts the city, turning the unwary to stone. Between hunting this evil and corralling new arrivals, Flax struggles to guard both his life and his heart.
Quinn and Valerian have come through the trials of facing an undead lich queen and the perils of falling in love. Now they work to restore AURA to its previous strength and efficiency while navigating their new life with each other. Fortunately, they’re not in this alone.
Kai Hiltas has taken over as the head of the research department at AURA and has become everyone’s favourite workaholic, everyone except his lover Tenzin, who has had enough of his late nights and broken promises. As Kai tries to salvage his relationship, he finds a teacher for Quinn, who also happens to be one of Valerian’s new officers, Flax Wolfheart, a sexy elf with trouble written all over him.
Flax has motives beyond simply teaching Quinn to control his magic. He’s trying to recover from his own losses and failures, but he has a plan. The two newest elvish crossovers, Ash and Sage, are sizzling hot and might even like him. With them as backup as he tracks a deadly stone mage and figures out how to teach Quinn, Flax sees his chance to impress Val and snag a place by his captain’s side. On the hunt for both danger and redemption, Flax’s pursuit leads him ultimately down trails he never expected.
“Here kitty kitty. Here kitty kitty.”
The old woman called softly, gently coaxing the tomcat with the matted coat. It had rained earlier and the puddles in the alley glistened from the streetlights, sheened with oil rainbows the old woman thought were pretty, despite their source and toxicity. Many things in this city were covered in grime and graffiti and considered by most to be just another sign of squalor and decay, but she had lived within this concrete and asphalt sprawl her entire life. She found beauty where she could.
The tomcat crept slowly from the deeper shadows cast by the dumpster and heaped up piles of cardboard and other debris, lured less by the coaxing call than by the smell of food.
“That’s it. There’s a good boy,” the woman cooed, setting down the can of cat food and backing off a couple of steps. Feeling the back of her neck prickle, she glanced around quickly. Living on these streets did not grant immunity from attack, no matter how well honed her sense of preservation. It was even less safe since the world had started randomly spawning creatures and beasts that should be found by rights only in fairy tales and fantasy books.
Even so, she was less afraid of muggers or goblins than she was of angry landlords and restaurant owners who would chase her away. Or worse, animal control officers who would get her in trouble. If it came down to a choice, she would rather meet up with a goblin in a dark alley than an animal control officer. A goblin might make sport of her, bully and try to intimidate, but a goblin would have no interest in taking away her babies.
She looked around once more, but all was still and quiet beyond the low rumble of traffic on the street. She looked down and the orange tom she had been hoping to tame enough for her to pet tonight was almost finished gobbling the can of food.
Slowly and carefully, she crouched down, trying to keep her long skirt from getting too wet. Nights were growing colder. It was nearly Halloween. Keeping dry and warm were never far from her mind. Hesitantly she reached out a hand to pet the slat-sided feline, noting as she did that he was scarred and his left ear was nearly split in two.
“Oh, that looks like it hurt! Tch tch, who have you been scrapping with, hmm? You shouldn’t fight with others, deary. Forgive and forget, I always say. Well, all except Officer Perell. Him? Doesn’t deserve forgiveness, not ever.” She sniffed. “Not any of them that took my babies away, but especially not him. You could scratch and bite him all you wanted, but you be nice to Momma Cats, hear? She bring you some nice food and is gonna give you a nice warm place to stay just as soon as we can find somewhere.”
Her fingers brushed fur and for just a moment, the cat looked like he might accept this and possibly seal his fate, but then he bristled, his tail fluffing like a bottle brush and a low growl in his throat.
“Oh, now, what’s all this? Be nice!” Momma Cats scolded. “Be a nice kitty.” But the orange tabby was not growling at her, was not even looking at her, but behind her. She tried to turn quickly, but she was crouched down and her reflexes were not what they once were.
She never saw who or what the notched-eared tom growled at. She only felt the touch on her shoulder and the pain that spread down her arm. She gasped and cried out, the pain rapidly moving to her chest and up her neck and the side of her face.
“Help! Help me… Oh, kitty, run!”
Those were her last words, but they were spoken to an empty alley. The notched-eared tom had much faster reflexes than Momma Cats and had already disappeared into his kingdom of trash, leaving the old woman to die a horrible—if mercifully swift—death alone.
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Originally hailing from Detroit Michigan Bellora now resides on the sunny Gulf Coast of Florida where a herd of Dachshunds keep her entertained. She got her start in writing at the dawn of the internet when she discovered PbEMs (Play by email) and found a passion for collaborative writing and steamy hot erotica. Soap Opera like blogs soon followed and eventually full novels.
The majority of her stories are in the M/M genre with urban fantasy or paranormal settings and many with a strong BDSM flavor. Bellora’s first published novel, co-authored with Angel, is scheduled for release at Totally Bound in March 2015.
For more info on Bellora’s work and current projects:
Despite a wildly misspent youth, Angel snagged a degree in English Lit, married once and did it right the first time, (same husband for over twenty-five years) has one amazing son, (now in college) and realized at some point that she could get paid for writing.
She currently lives in Delaware in a drinking town with a college problem and writes Science Fiction and Fantasy centered around gay heroes. Published since 2006, Angel’s work has placed in Readers’ Choice Awards and in the annual Rainbow Awards consistently, with Rarely Pure and Never Simpletaking Best Scifi/Futuristic for the 2014 Rainbow Awards.
Angel Martinez: http://angelmartinezauthor.weebly.com/