Friday, February 12, 2010

Shifter's Coven: Alpha by Marteeka Karland

Shifter's Coven: Alpha
by Marteeka Karland
cover art by Marteeka Karland
ISBN: 978-1-60521-408-5
Genre(s): Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Theme(s): Werewolves, Shapeshifters, Magic and Mayhem
Series: Shifter's Coven
Length: Novella

The last thing Gennive expects is to witness a horrible crash involving a mysterious man and a lion cub. The crash isn't the only thing she didn't count on. Wade Monroe is a telepath -- and a shape-shifting wolf. The lion cub is his daughter, Sasha, who's shifted to her cat form out of fear.
Calling on powers she's suppressed all her life, Gennive helps Wade and Sasha. Wade's heart calls to Gennive as the vivacious woman awakens feelings he'd thought long dead.
Unfortunately, one "accident" isn't all that's in store for Wade and Gennive. The Dark Witches' Coven has declared war on Wade, jockeying for leadership of his pack. Magic and mayhem follow the couple, and there seems to be little the wolf in Wade can do to stop it.
This e-book file contains sexually explicit scenes and adult language which some may find offensive and which is not appropriate for a young audience. Changeling Press E-Books are for sale to adults, only, as defined by the laws of the country in which you made your purchase. Please store your files wisely, where they cannot be accessed by under-aged readers.

Gennive sucked in a breath. A semi in the oncoming lane swerved across the median and hit the Navigator two cars in front of her head-on. She swerved around the flying debris, pulled her car off the road, and stopped. The carnage, now behind her, still played out, collecting several more vehicles in the process. Her 911 call took only seconds, then she got out of the car and jogged down the shoulder of the highway, back toward the big, black SUV.

Rain pelted down in great sheets, and heavy drops stung her skin with their intensity and cold. Lightning streaked through the sky followed closely by a loud clap of thunder in the late winter storm, and she winced under nature's onslaught. Being out in this wasn't the smartest thing she'd ever done, but she had to see if anyone was hurt.

No, it was more than that. She was compelled to make her way to that SUV. She recognized the pull on her mind but, given the circumstances, allowed it. She'd be careful. Whoever was in that vehicle wasn't human.

Cars still motored down the road as if nothing had happened. They simply avoided the wreckage and kept going. Gennive could never have done that. Which was why she was here, in the pouring down rain, dodging traffic in near-dark conditions in order to get to someone who was using mind control to bring her to them.

She had to be completely nuts.

The SUV was on its side, the front driver's side smashed so badly the front seat was now in the back seat. Acrid, electrical burning stench emanated from the thing, and Gennive had to remind herself it was likely from the air bags. The driver, a man, was motionless in the seat. Blood covered his face and neck. His shirt was soaked in it. A faint aura of impending danger surrounded him. The closer she got to him, the more the aura faded.

Gennive immediately looked to his chest to gauge the rise and fall that indicated breathing. Satisfied, she checked for a pulse. It was thready but strong. At least he was alive. However, in this weather, he wouldn't stay that way unless she could keep him warm. She frantically looked around the vehicle for something to cover him up with. She didn't dare move him, but she needed to keep him warm and dry if at all possible.

In her search for a blanket or coat or anything she could use as a cover, she heard a high-pitched whine. On the back seat passenger side floorboard, partially hidden under the front seat, was a lion cub. The animal had a grim aura around it, as well, which was odd considering she rarely ever caught auras around animals.

The poor thing shivered and looked at her as if to say, "Help me, I'm scared."

"Take her."

The man was trying to speak, but his voice was weak, and had he not been speaking both in her mind and out loud, Gennive probably wouldn't have heard him at all.

The cub? Gennive deliberately used the mental thread he had created when he'd made his desperate cry for help. There was no need for him to use strength he didn't have if it wasn't necessary. Along with his all-consuming need to protect the little cub, Gennive also felt his surprise. Still, he didn't waste time questioning her abilities.

Take her. Keep her safe.

Will she allow it? The last thing Gennive wanted was to be mauled by a baby lion.

She will. Keep her safe.

After that, the thread slipped away as the man fell into unconsciousness.

"Come on, little girl." She tried to keep her voice calm and friendly, extending her hand to the frightened animal. Surprisingly, the cub approached her and allowed Gennive to pick her up. When she did, the aura disappeared, just as the aura around the man lessened when Gennive was near. The cub trembled, but allowed the contact. Gennive could hear sirens in the distance and knew help was on the way, but she didn't want the cub to be seen.

Making a mad dash back to her car, she tucked the cub into her coat and put her in the back passenger side floorboard. She grabbed the blanket she kept in the trunk for emergencies and ran back to the SUV just as EMS crews arrived.

"Did you move him, ma'am?"

"No. I checked for a pulse then went to get something to cover him." Rain pounded her, and she shivered almost uncontrollably. "Where will you take him?"

"County, ma'am. Do you know who he is?" The EMT didn't stop his assessment or his swift extraction and immobilization of his patient.

She started to tell him no. That she'd watched him get clobbered by that semi and stopped to help, but she was afraid she might never see him again otherwise.

"Yes. He's my fiancé. Please help him." Gennive tried to sound appropriately distressed, which wasn't far from the truth. He was the first person she'd touched with her mind since she was a little girl. There was a bond between them she couldn't simply ignore.

"What's his name, ma'am?"

Gennive froze. Of course they'd want to know his name.

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