The first full manuscript I ever wrote was a fantasy that I submitted to a writing contest sponsored by one of my favorite authors. I’d been reading fantasy and science fiction since I was 13 years old, and knew that’s what I wanted to write. I didn’t win the contest, but I received some very nice comments from a woman I greatly admired. I was thrilled.
I never lost my love for fantasy and science fiction. It opens the universe to a writer. If you can dream it, it can exist in your stories, no matter the subject. Which is why I always chose what my teachers called “alternative reality” as the setting for my writing assignments through high school. A chance to combine what I loved with something I had to do.
When I set out to write Shifter Planet, I did something similar. I wanted to mix genres—to combine the paranormal world of my successful Vampires in America series with my first love of science fiction. And Shifter Planet was born—shifters in space. I absolutely love this world, and I’m so grateful to Entangled for letting me share these stories with my readers.
Stopping ten feet above the woman, Aidan glided out onto a wide branch overlooking the section of forest where she was working and stopped. His plan involved letting her see him in all his ferocious glory, with the intention of scaring her back into the safety of her ship. But he was so taken by her serenity as she scribbled notes and took pictures of everything around her, that he crouched low and simply watched.
She was even lovelier up close, with beautiful, golden brown skin and hazel eyes that seemed to reflect the sunlight shining through the trees. She was taller than he’d first thought. Not anywhere near his own six feet, four inches, but still tall for a woman. Her hair was black with red highlights when the sun hit it, and full of curls. Her movements were confident and graceful and, despite her obvious interest in the trees and wildlife, he saw now that she wasn’t foolish enough to touch anything with her bare hands. She was wearing gloves, tightfitting enough that he hadn’t noticed them until he’d drawn closer.
She stiffened abruptly, her hand freezing in midair as she reached toward what she probably thought was a harmless insect. But nothing was harmless in Harp’s forest. The pseudo-mole couldn’t kill a human, but it would still attack, leaving a painful, stinging welt that would take days to heal.
But Aidan didn’t think it was a realization of the pseudo-mole’s presence that had her stopping mid-reach. She twisted around to stare almost directly up into the tree where he crouched, and then slowly stood to turn and face him. Her gorgeous eyes grew wide, and he could hear the sudden, rapid pounding of her heart, could see her muscles flexing almost involuntarily as her brain made a lightning-quick fight-or-flight calculation. If he’d been hunting her, her worst choice would have been to run. Staying put wouldn’t have saved her life, either, but she might have lived a few minutes longer.
Fortunately for her, she wasn’t on the menu today. He only wanted her to retreat to the safety of her ship, so that he could waste his energy running after her shipmates. But she wasn’t retreating.
“Hey there, big guy,” she said calmly, even as she placed a hand on the tranq gun which hung on a strap at her waist.
Big guy? What the fuck did she think he was, a giant domesticated house cat?
She took a careful step back and paused, studying him. Her heartbeat had slowed, and she smiled. “You’re a pretty one, aren’t you?”
He blinked slowly. Pretty? Okay, that was one insult too many. He growled low in his throat, a rumbling noise that rose from his chest as his lips drew back to reveal his very unpretty fangs.
Her heart sped into triple time, and she seemed finally to understand her danger. “Okay,” she whispered, as if expecting him to understand at least the intent of her words. “I get it. This is your territory, and you want me gone.” She kept backing up slowly as she spoke, one hand behind her checking for obstacles, the other held low in front of her in a placating gesture. “I’m going, see?”
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