The Raven’s Kill: Chapter One

Chapter One
It had taken some maneuvering, but the raven eventually found a spot on the side of the building—a church decorated by gargoyles around the towers—where he could see her. He made it a habit to study his targets.
The beautiful blonde-haired woman brought a piece of strawberry to her lips and bit into it, a laugh escaping her as juice dripped down her chin. A man sitting at the same table watched her with rapt attention. He wished he were the one across from her, maybe tasting the juice dripping from her lips. The feeling took him by surprise, the need to do anything, but the task he’d been hired to do. She brought a napkin to her chin, dabbing at the red liquid and he caught the hint of a blush. There was something about her, the mass of curls and her lilac eyes gave her the look of a startled wood nymph.
Why would anyone want her dead? Why am I even questioning it? The stray thoughts threatened to break his usual ironclad resolve. Her smile was shy and small, maybe embarrassed by her blunder. There was no way she knew Raven watched her, contemplating her death. Her life ticked down like the sands in an hourglass. Raven pulled his attention away from her and spread his wings to aid his descent to a lower perch on the building. The need for her to see him as a man, not as a bird, guided his steps. As soon as he was close enough to the top of the alleyway separating the church from a Chinese restaurant, he dropped the rest of the way down, his wings spread. Magic swept over him, a tingle travelled to every nerve ending, and instead of his claws, he landed on the soles of his boots. The black feathers made up a black T-shirt with matching jeans, and a leather jacket completed
the look. His feathers could take the shape and feel of any piece of clothing he could imagine, but he took in mind his surroundings. He needed to blend into the background, but still catch her attention.
As he stepped out of the alleyway, he shielded his eyes from the glare of the sun. He blinked a few times and settled his gaze on her, travelling the line of her neck, noting her full lips. As if she felt his intense gaze, she glanced up. The second their eyes met, his heart flipped in his chest. A connection bound them together,
almost tangible and one he didn’t want to ignore. Her lilac stare pinned him to the spot. She paused in mid-motion, another strawberry halfway to her lips. The man moved in his chair, until his eyes connected with Raven. There was fear in his eyes and blackness, before he quickly spun around, breaking the connection before it could fully form. Raven didn’t pay the odd man any attention, after all he wasn’t the focus of his curiosity, she was. The man reached out and touched her arm, bringing her focus back to him. A few whispered words and they both stood. Raven wanted to follow them; to stop her, but common sense glued him to the floor. There would be time to meet her later. He smiled as she darted another look at him. The blush never left her cheeks and his smile widened; she was intrigued as much as he was. He let his eyes travel over her body taking in every detail, committing it to memory. Her simple blue dress was a picture of innocence. There was no darkness in her eyes. There wasn’t any black mark that hinted at a terrible secret. The ability to gaze into someone else and know his or her darkest secret made him a talented assassin. If she was an innocent, why did someone want her dead?

The only thing Cassandra Stirling could hear was the beat of her heart. Patrick might have said something, but she couldn’t hear him over the heavy thudding in her chest. Fear welled up inside of her, tainted with desire. The way the man looked at her, a smile that made her body tight with need. It had been instant and it vibrated in every part of her. The more unpleasant feelings threatened to overwhelm her, hinted at the beginning of an attack. They’d become more regular since her parent’s death. Patrick’s cold hand on her arm brought her out of the impending spiral into helplessness. He guided her away from the coffee table, their lunch forgotten. She cast one more look over her shoulder at the strange man. He watched her with dark eyes, ones that were full
of secrets. Desire spiked through her, leaving her breathless at their intensity, her reaction absolute and undeniable.He inspired darkness and passion in an otherworldly package. Dark hair, rough and unkempt looked like he’d brushed his fingers through it. That lazy grin of his made parts of her ache. The heat between her legs spread like wildfire all over her body and her face warmed. He was mesmerizing and it definitely wasn’t easy to pull her gaze away from him. She wanted to touch him, he couldn’t be real, nobody like him existed anywhere, but
in someone’s dark dreams. “Cassandra, I better take you home.” Her fiancé’s voice managed to break through her fantasy and guilt hit her hard.
“Thanks, I don’t know what came over me.”
He smiled, as he gently rubbed her lower back. Usually the touch would have calmed her, but today it didn’t. Cassandra couldn’t pull her thoughts away from the man who stepped out of the shadows.
“It’s okay. I know these spells come over you without warning. It’ll be best if I drop you back off home, do you want me to call the doctor?”
They hadn’t had a long engagement, they met at her parent’s funeral, but Patrick had become a part of her life, offering a stability she needed. She shook her head. “I’m fine, I just need to rest.”
They drove to hers mostly in silence. Patrick had tried to talk to her, but Cassandra glanced out of the window, watching the world pass by in a whirl. Had it been the mysterious man who’d triggered the attack? She might have suffered from them her entire life, but it was only after her parent’s death that the attacks started to become more terrifying. She’d never mentioned one particular thing to the doctors, the one thing that would end with
her being strapped in a straitjacket. Bad things happened after them. It took a while for her to make the connection. In the beginning, it had been small things, the boiler packing up, and her friend falling out of a tree and breaking her arm, until her parents died in a car crash. Patrick turned the corner and drove up the road leading to Ravenwood. The mansion where she’d grown up had been in the family for years. Originally built by Lord Ravenwood; it resembled something out of a gothic novel. There were even catacombs under it. The history of the building was amazing, but Cassandra hadn’t been allowed to explore them when she’d been little. Even
now, since she’d moved back into the mansion it hadn’t been high on her list of priorities. It was all hers now, not that she wanted it. The place held too many memories and it was too big for her and Patrick, though he seemed keen on keeping it. Patrick dropped her off near the front door and brushed a kiss against her cheek.
“Would you like me to come in?”
She smiled at him, tired. “No, I’ll be fine, honest. I just want to get some sleep. The rehearsal is the day after tomorrow so, I’ll meet you at the church?”
“I’ll be there at six, as soon as I’m finished at work.” She opened the car door and stepped out, waving as Patrick’s car disappeared down the driveway. Her body felt heavy as exhaustion seeped into her bones. The doctors she’d seen had no explanation for the attacks and she stopped talking about them. She had no desire to end up locked up in a padded cell. As soon as she unlocked the door, Jasper, a beautiful Labrador her parents bought when she was a little girl, ran up to her, nearly knocking her over. She ran her hands over his soft fur and buried her face into it. After a moment, she pulled away and smiled. At least with him there, the mansion didn’t feel as empty.
“Hey boy, let’s go get you some food.”

Raven would never understand how people survived walking on two feet or driving in a steel box. He spent the majority of his time in his bird form, the wind currents under his wings as they carried him in their wake. There was something incredibly natural about flying as simple as breathing for humans. He kept a reasonable distance from the car, caught up in an air pocket. Even if they caught sight of him in the rear-view mirror, they wouldn’t be able to guess a more calculated mind worked inside the fragile body of a bird, underneath the feathers.
He’d seen civilization rise and fall. In all that time, he’d never laid eyes on someone like Cassandra, someone who shook his resolve. Raven perched on one of the trees surrounding the estate. Cassandra stood on the doorstep for a few seconds; the wind caught her hair as she dug into her purse for a key, unlocked the door and vanished inside. According to the information Nicolai had gathered, she lived alone. Her life was completely isolated,
the thought of her so utterly alone called to him on a primal level. Another connection forged between them. Neither of them had someone close like family. Originally, she’d lived in the city but after the crash killed her parents, she’d moved back into the family home, probably to sort out the things her parents left behind.
There were memories in there she handled by herself, a strength under all that purity. As she entered the house, he moved from his perch and flew to the top of the mansion. The sky was already turning dark and there were plenty of hiding places on the roof. He shifted back into his human form. Scanning out the area, he noted several
skylights; he made his way across the flat surface. They certainly didn’t make places like this anymore; a metal grate enclosed the space. Near the center was a door, allowing access from the house. He brushed his fingers against the handle, but it didn’t turn under his hand. Well, that would have been too easy, he thought
wryly. He glanced back at the skylights; it would be simple enough to pop one of them open and slip in, complete the job and get out again. He crept closer and peered down, about a twelve foot drop, he estimated. Easy for someone who could shift into a bird. If anyone human tried to attempt it, they’d break a leg. It would be so easy to drop through now, track her through the dark hallways and break her neck. Sickness welled in the pit of
his stomach; the reaction stayed his hand in shock. He couldn’t do it. Somehow, she’d already gotten under his skin. Her lilac stare haunted him whenever he closed his eyes. Could he really kill her when she’d had such an immediate effect on him? He half collapsed onto the roof, his back against the door leading down. He dropped his head into his hands. If he didn’t follow through on his assignment, there would be repercussions. Thankfully, he had time, a few hours at least to figure out his next move.

Breathless Press: http://www.breathlesspress.com/index.php?main_page=product_free_shipping_info&cPath=13&products_id=530&zenid=5ee203937f08760d65ed0673efa2fc93
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Available for PreOrder.

My first solo story for Breathless Press in out on the 31st. This story has a lot of first, new publisher is a big one, but its also my first bird shifter. It’s up for preorder on the publishers website. http://www.breathlesspress.com/index.php?main_page=product_free_shipping_info&cPath=13&products_id=530&zenid=5a2598b0c32f03942bff061007cbfd1b

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What’s Raven going to do when his targeted kill turns out to be his mate?

Raven is a shifter with the ability to see the darkness in a person’s soul. He has never strayed off his path or let a target live before, until he meets Cassandra for the first time. She’s an innocent, so why does someone want her dead?

As soon as Cassandra laid eyes on the mysterious man, she wants him with an intensity that scares her. When he appears in her room one night with an impossible story, she has two choices—believe him or die.

It’s a fight against time and with an attraction that scares them both, no-one knows what the future holds.


Her moans had echoed all over the mansion. Raven had even heard them from his place on the roof; he’d shifted long enough to enter from the skylight before taking his human form again and went to investigate. The corridors were dark, but it wasn’t a problem. The dog he’d spotted earlier remained silent in the kitchen, a terrible guard but Raven was thankful he didn’t have to silence him.

The moans made him rock hard, she was the only one in the house, which left one very interesting possibility of what she was up to.

It didn’t take long to find her room, the door slightly ajar and he pushed it open a little more. Cassandra writhed on the bed, one hand between her legs and the other on her chest. He watched her come undone and knew he could do it better. He wanted her to fall apart with his tongue lapping at her juices, sucking and teasing her until she called out his name. He quite liked the fantasy and missed her eyes opening, resting on him. Her scream ripped through the air.

Well, what did you expect? That she’d pull you into her arms and you could finally find out what her lips taste like?


Ravaged, Volume 2

To celebrate the release of Ravaged, Volume 2, I’ve put together a list of the most unusual shifters I could find. I haven’t included some of the more weirder ones. These are stories I wouldn’t mind reading myself, so I hope you take a chance on them and on our little collection.


7 Unique Shifters

1. Hedging His Bets by Mina Carter and Celia Kyle (Hedgehog)

Honey loves running her bar and grill, catering to humans and shifters alike. But there are two things that dim her love of the place: cocky assholes who think they own the world, and cocky assholes who think they can flex their muscles and wreck her bar when throwing a temper tantrum. Unfortunately, the drop-dead gorgeous, hotter than hot, shifter man she secretly loves is both.

Blake wants the curvaceous, gorgeous Honey in his bed. Now. He’s lusted (but not loved, let’s get that straight) after the luscious woman for months. True, he looks like a bad-boy biker mixed with a player and, yeah, he’s broken a few things in her bar… But only because the guys were hitting on his girl. With no hope of winning her over in sight, he does what any red-blooded werehedgehog would do in his position. He lies.


2. Seal the Deal by JoAnne Kenrick (Selkie)

Isle of myth and magic. Destined Mates. One extraordinary date…

After being ditched at the altar, Finn Kneale isolates himself at Port St. Mary’s magnificent lighthouse. A violent storm ravishes the coastline, pitching the maritime tower into the Irish sea and transforming Finn into a seal. Carefree at first, he soon longs to walk as a man again. When leap year arrives, bathing land and sea in magic, Finn temporarily regains his human form. If he can’t find his soul mate in twenty-four hours, he’ll be back to cavorting among the waves.

Anne Ward–resident midwife and newcomer to Port St. Mary, Isle of Man–guards some wild secrets of her own while avoiding entanglements with married doctors. A believer in fate, she seeks out Madame Eve’s exclusive agency to help find her destined mate.

1Night Stand matches these two lonely souls. But will their extraordinary date allow Finn and Anne to open their hearts to magical possibilities and Seal the Deal?


3. The Last of His Kind by Doris O’Connor (Loch Ness)

What do you do when you stumble upon a naked, injured Adonis on your morning jog? You take him home and nurse him back to health, of course. If that involves the hottest sex a girl ever had, than so much the better, right?

Penelope Jefferson has returned to her childhood vacation spot at Loch Ness for peace, solitude, and inspiration. When she stumbles upon Doric she is floored by her body’s instantaneous reaction to the stranger who washed up from the Loch.

Doric is the last of his kind. Cursed into the Loch by a witches spell, he needs acceptance from the very species he detests. When his little human is abducted after their night of bliss, will it spell the end for them both, or will they get to live the fairy tale?

4. Lion and the Falcon by Eve Langlais (Lion and the Falcon)

Given the choice between dealing with a psycho killer, a meddling mother, and an all too sexy falcon, this poor doctor does what any sane lion would do–he takes a nice, long nap.

Avian Soaring Security has transferred Clarice to the Furry United Coalition so she can help track some escaped psycho patients. As if that weren’t bad enough, they partnered her with the very pampered Dr. Manners. Everything about the attractive feline annoys her, except for his flaming hot kisses. But is passion enough to keep a usually sparring species together?

Nolan’s pedigree isn’t the only thing preventing him from falling for his sexy partner. She’s bossy, violent, rude and oh so intriguing to this curious cat, but his meddlesome mother will never allow him to get involved with a bird. But before he can decide if love is worth bucking pride tradition, he needs to stay out of the clutches of a demented ex-patient.

5. Ravaged Vol 1 by Multiple Authors (Multiple)
Join ten authors as they reveal that things are not always as they seem. Don’t worry, they guarantee the sexy shifters in their stories will bite…And that you’ll like it. From lions to bears, dolphins to gargoyles; we’re sure you’ll find a juicy story to sink your teeth into.

Tamed by K.R.R. Bridgstreet
On A Full Moon by Silvia Violet
Pleasure Bound by SJ Thomas
Sheep Shifter by Erin O’Riordan
The Arcadian Cure by Annabeth Leong
Her Pride, My Joy by D. F. Krieger
Heart of Stone by Persephone Jones
Barely There by Leona Bushman
Internal Savagery by Mickey J Corrigan
Encantado by Heather Whittington


6. His Prey by Deadra Krieger (Deer and Wolf)

Nyna is willing to be a sacrifice, but is she willing to make a sacrifice to keep his love?

Given as sacrifice to the Wahya to ensure the safety of her tribe, Nyna must prove that despite being prey, she is worthy of being the mate of a hunter. When a great threat shadows the Wahya and Awahi, Nyna has to choose between her courage to fight for what she loves, or her place in her husband’s eyes.


7. Onyx Nights by Autumn Jones Lake (Domestic Cat)

When her parents are taken from her too soon, Onyx Night is thrust into a secret world and discovers something about herself she could never have imagined.

Onyx Knight has yearned to leave her tiny hometown behind for years. With her parents’ support she attends the local university where she has developed a not-so-innocent crush on her Medieval History professor, Cole Radcliffe. A family tragedy thrusts Onyx into a secret world she never knew existed and she discovers something about herself she could never have imagined.

Family friends promise to help Onyx through this transition, but they demand certain things in return. Things she can’t—and will not—give. When it becomes clear they are willing to get what they want from her by force, Onyx goes on the run.

Cole Radcliffe has his own secrets. When he finds Onyx in need of help, he takes her in, against his better judgment. He plans to keep her safe, but how can he keep her safe if he can’t even protect her from himself?


Tell me your favorite shifter and an example to be in for a chance to win an ecopy of Ravaged Vol 2


Ravaged Anthology

Ella grey- Lissa

I really love the opportunity to write for anthologies as it gives my muse/brain a bit of leeway. You want a shifter story, up to 10k? Why yes I think I can manage that (spoken in a refined English accent…because I can). Then it comes down to a much more fun question, what kind of shifter? I’ve only ever really written wolves before, so that ruled that out pretty immediately. In the end you’re looking for a challenge, something a little different.
I settled on leopards. Okay it isn’t a particular unique idea, I’ve seen writers do leopards before. So what made it unique was the story itself. I didn’t want to write a normal love story and hopefully in A Fine Line Between Love and Hate, I achieved that but I’ll leave that up to you to decide.
All the contributors to the anthology will be posting something on over the next week or so. Some are offering prizes. Some are offering insight, me? I’m not overly sure yet. How does the top five unlikely shifters sound to you? Come back on the 8th to learn more, I’m also going to be suggesting a few writers who use very unique creatures in their stories.

Ravaged releases tomorrow, but it’s still available to preorder at Bookstrand. There really is something for everyone in this collection of stories, dragons, bees, wolves and leopards.