Wednesday, June 11, 2014



House of the Cat Series

A shapeshifter and a wizard slugging it out, an alien world and a hell-horse...

Jockey Camryn O’Sullivan is an alcoholic on a downward spiral after the death of her husband. When aliens kidnap her, she’s both terrified and reluctantly fascinated by Ryman Coppersmith. She’s positive the weird attraction to her abductor is an anomaly. Something to ignore. She’ll train the aliens’ horse and they’ll return her home. Simple. There’s no need for sex or a stubborn male kitty-cat to replace the precious memories of her husband.

Murder. Betrayal. Banishment.

Feline shapeshifter Ry has experienced treachery of the worst kind. When his foster brother—the man who betrayed him—proposes a wager on a hell-horse race, the lure to clear his name is irresistible.

Camryn’s arrival triggers a jump in his already overactive sex drive. It’s a struggle to keep his hands off his beautiful captive. Something in his mysterious feline background compels him to chase her and the passion firing between them soars out of control. Ry doesn’t understand the mechanics of their attraction but knows he can’t afford to lose Camryn…despite his promise to return her home.



“This plan will work.” Yep pulled on his jacket and fastened it securely against the cold. “I feel it in ma bones.”

Kaya smirked at her crewmate, her chin-length blue hair swinging against high cheekbones. She tugged Yep’s ponytail. “Your bones are sometimes wrong. My research is, however, correct.”

Ryman Coppersmith, captain of the Indefatigable, ignored them both. He’d already made his decision. He intended to win the hell-horse race on Ornum or at least beat his brother Talor and win their private bet. By the time the race ended, Ry hoped he’d be on the way to clearing his name of murder charges. Talor knew the identity of the murderer, but for some reason had never spoken out, preferring to see Ry exiled instead. Ry scowled. He wanted to go home. He wanted to stride through the streets without fear of capture. He wanted to embrace his sisters and visit his mother’s grave.

It was time.

After research on Kaya’s part, they’d found the stud farm easily enough. They landed the tender in an empty paddock and emerged to the bite of an icy-cool wind and full darkness.

Ry sniffed the air before striding in the direction of the stud farm. Trees. Grass. Mud. Animals. Every breath he took contained a new scent. The needs of the cat jumped to the fore and a low rumble eased from him.

“Go ahead,” he muttered to his crew. “I will shift.”

He knew he sounded curt, but the urgent need to run thrummed through him, even greater than his desire for a woman, and that was bad enough. Blood surged to his cock, the sharp sensation painful and frustrating. No available woman and he refused to fukk any of his crew.

Kaya and Yep melted into the darkness while Mogens, who attracted attention because of his changeable skin color, stayed with the tender. Nanu and Jannike presently orbited Earth in the Indefatigable, hopefully remaining undetected.

After a deep inhalation, Ry ripped off his jacket and shirt and let the feline claim him. Trews and boots melted into his body, replaced by black fur. His bones lengthened and shifted, tendons and muscles reforming to the cat. His color vision faded, his surroundings turning to shades of black and white. Ry dropped to all fours and padded across the moist grass, long tail swishing.

As always, a sense of aggravation followed him. Ry knew nothing of his feline background, had never met another of his species. In one pain-filled evening, when he’d thought he might die, he’d turned into a black feline without warning. He’d yowled his panic so loud his shipmates had come running. Ry grinned at the memory. He’d scared them half to death. Although funny now, his unexpected shift into a powerful black cat had been bloody terrifying.

For all of them.

With help from Mogens, the man who’d become their seer and part of the crew, Ry had finally transformed back, bearing a new cat tattoo on his biceps as a souvenir and his shirt in tatters. Weirdly, his trews had survived the transformation. Talk about a learning experience. And he was still learning the foibles of his species. The not knowing scared him. It made him wonder if there had been something else inside the bag they’d found with him as a baby. As a child he’d asked, but his foster father had told him the bag contained clothes.

The low voices and footsteps of his crew were clearly audible. Ry twitched his nose and prowled after them, annoyed with their casual approach. A sharp feline bark reminded them to reduce the noise. Ry broke into a lope, savoring the play of muscles long confined in humanoid form. The wind ruffled his fur while mud splashed his legs and belly.

When he neared the center of the farm where the owners lived, white post and rail fences carved the land into paddocks. Ry leaped over the nearest, his heart pumping with the physical exertion. An animal snorted, springing into action and galloping from the spot where Ry had frozen in place.

A horse. The Earth counterpart of a hell-horse.

Ry crept along the fence line not wanting to alarm more animals or attract attention. Once clear, he sped up, muscles moving powerfully, every sense alert. Ry caught the rustle of a small creature in a hedgerow, the tentative neighs of two horses at the far end of a paddock. The chill wind continued to ruffle his fur, the heavy moisture in the air indicating impending rain. Great. Ry hated to get wet. His pace increased to a gallop as he followed the track running between the paddocks.

Ahead, light bled from behind screened windows. According to the information Yep and Kaya had uncovered, the trainer lived with his wife and child. Ry regretted any anguish the trainer’s departure would cause and had penned a note, explaining the situation to his family. Hopefully the Earthlings could decipher the universal language. Ry slipped into the shadows and stalked closer, every sense alert for danger.

A cough over to his left grabbed his attention. Ry stilled, whiskers twitching. The sharp tang of sweat and unwashed body caught the back of his throat. The cough sounded again. A figure staggered from a dim-lit porch and wove to the rails of the nearest paddock. Ry’s tension eased. The trainer. He recognized the coat the man wore since it appeared in the photo Yep and Kaya had found during their research on the flight to Earth. A lucky break.

Ry padded closer, placing himself near enough to watch without giving away his presence. He needed to wait for the crew to move into position for the snatch to go smoothly. The man appeared short, about Kaya’s height, but solid. His reek said he didn’t care much for personal hygiene. His stench didn’t bother the horses. Two plodded over to him and one nuzzled his shoulder. The man smoothed his hand over the glossy neck. The other horse nickered. The man stroked it and the creatures moved away. Soft footsteps dragged his attention from the man.

Yep indicated the man with a jerk of his head. “He waits for us to extract him and take him on the adventure of his life.”

Ry stared, unable to see much despite his superior eyesight. The man wore a cover over his head, obscuring his features from sight. Ry’s nose twitched at the objectionable odor coming from the man, the air thick with liquor fumes.

Yep seemed to sense Ry’s doubts and sought to reassure. “The man’s a champion trainer,” he whispered. “Nanu and I attended the races two cycles ago. This man trained five of the twelve winners. Several place getters. Man’s natural with the four-legged creatures. Hell-horses should respond to him in the way same.”

And if they didn’t? Fukk, he hated this planet.

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