Monday, October 12, 2015
Now this is new. Even for the Peak, Marissa thought as she approached the town library. All week she’d been looking forward to the library’s annual book sale. Because of their eclectic population, all sorts of odds books tended to turn up in the Donations bin. You never knew what you were going to find, but you were always sure to find something.
Like last year, when she’d uncovered the dog-eared paperback copy of Twilight with the snarky comments scribbled in the margins, and a neatly-typed extra chapter tucked into the back, describing how Bella got fed up with moody Edward, staked him, and ran off to the woods with hot-blooded, much-hunkier Jacob. Clearly the copy had originally belonged to a teenage she-wolf. Marissa, Ziva and Reetha had spent a giggle-filled evening sipping Irish coffee and taking turns reading aloud. Marissa didn’t expect to find another such happy treasure, but one never knew.
If nothing else, she should be able to pick up some used romance paperbacks for Gloria, who wanted them for some reason but was working and couldn’t make it to the library herself. A few used bodice-rippers never hurt anybody, Marissa decided with a mental shrug.
The sight of the library derailed her from these thoughts. Rather than all lit up and bustling with readers, the building was black as the surrounding night inside. Even the floodlight over the door was dark.
Although the inside was still bustling.
Marissa slowed her steps and cautiously approached. Now she could hear voices, hushed and giggly, and the tentative scuff of feet over the unseen linoleum floor. Flashes of light appeared like giant fireflies in the gloom, revealing the silhouettes of bodies moving between the tables. Marissa paused just outside the door to let her eyes adjust.
A squat form bustled up to her out of the dark. Marissa squinted against the flashlight practically thrust at her face. “Mrs. McMahon. Can I help you, dear?”
Marissa blinked rapidly. “Mrs. Geaufeur?”
“That’s right. I’m volunteering tonight. Are you here for the sale?”
“It’s going on? You’re having the book sale in the dark?”
For answer, Mrs. Geaufeur turned the flashlight to the wall. As her vision cleared, Marissa read the poster taped there: Halloween Book Sale Benefits Talbot’s Peak Public Library. Beside the poster a smaller sheet, decorated with pumpkin stickers, listed prices.
Deeper in the interior, Marissa could now make out the customers edging their way around the book-laden tables. Some had flashlights. Some navigated by cell phone screens. A few used the light from tablets and e-readers. Those whose animal form was nocturnal strolled smugly through the crowd as if in broad daylight. Marissa heard a few high-pitched squeaks and guessed at least one bat must have come up from the Fledermaus spread.
Come hell or high water, Talbot’s Peak’s resident bibliophiles were going to get their fix.
“An after-dark book sale for Halloween,” she marveled. “What a wonderful idea!”
Mrs. Geaufeur cleared her throat. “To tell you the truth, it wasn’t planned,” she confessed. “We’d just finished setting up when the power went out. When it started getting dark, Mrs. Donato whipped up that poster and we just went ahead anyway. It’s going over swimmingly. Wouldn’t you agree?”
Marissa inhaled. “I smell mulled cider. And coffee. Are those peanut-butter cookies?”
“There’s a refreshment table about halfway in, on the left. If the moles haven’t swiped all the cookies, that is.” She extended her flashlight toward Marissa. “Would you like this, dear? I’m good.”
Marissa grinned and raised her hand. Her palm glowed with yellow witchlight. “Got it covered. Just point me toward the romances.”
“This way, dear.” Mrs. Geaufeur guided her into the library, her flashlight’s beam leading the way. “I think this is going to turn out to be our best sale ever. Jeffrey Barlow, you get away from those sex books before I tell your mother.”
Saturday, October 10, 2015
I had to give up on something this week. It turned out to be the blog. Sorry to do this again. I'm attending a local reader and bloggers luncheon today. I've got time tied up in that as well as home things.
I'll be back with you next week for sure. Keep sharing those books and reading good books with your loves and spice.
Until Next Week,
Friday, October 9, 2015
Posted by Serena Shay
With a quick glance towards his mate, straining to reach out to him, Nick let loose with a soulful howl and prepared to meet the Lupa snout-to-snout. A sharp stab to the ribs took him by surprise. He’d hoped death by this kind of impaling would have been fast and less painful. The even bigger shock came when he was suddenly flying upwards into the sky. Nick had always hoped to join the great pack upon his death, but secretly suspected it would be the lone burning wolf for him.
“Be careful, Erol. Don’t break him.”
“Are you really telling me what to do with the wolf you ordered me to save, Fair One?”
“That’s not just a wolf, you silly goose…”
“I AM DRAGON!” Erol roared.
“Fine, fine, fine…but listen that is not an ordinary wolf, Oh Mighty Dragon.”
“Really?” Clearly Greely thought he was stupid and that he wouldn’t recognize a fellow shifter. She still had much to learn about dragons. He did, however, like the affectionate name she’d just given him, even if she’d said it with a huff in her voice.
“Nope, that’s Nick McMahon…”
The reverence in her voice ruffled his feathers…or would have if he’d had any. It also made him wonder if he should drop the infidel he currently held in his claws. “The way you speak of this man makes me wonder if I should drop him.”
“WHAT? Don’t you dare, Erol!”
Greely’s sudden movement across his back required Erol to slow and descend sooner than he’d intended. Instead of a graceful landing as was usual, he’d had to claw onto the jagged rocks along the side of the gorge…digging in with his hind legs and using his wings to slowly make his way down. Once at the bottom, he set the wolf on his feet and allowed Greely to dismount. “Never risk yourself like that again, Greely,” he huffed, sending her hair out behind her. “I will resort to carrying you in my mouth if you repeat that action.”
“I promise to always do as you say, Oh Mighty Dragon,” Erol rumbled, still in his dragon form. “By the way, I like your new pet name for me…you may call me that from now on.”
“Oh Mighty Dragon, I like that…you may continue to use it.” He watched her vibrate with indignation, eager to see what she would do with his demand.
“Grrr…arggg, you, you—humph.”
Greely turned way from him with a stomp of her tiny foot and he was juiced. Impatient to continue to their intended destination and lay her on the soft bed he’d bought just for her, in the castle of rock, hidden in these hills.
Her gasp brought him back to reality and a picture that brought fire to his nostrils. Nick, the shapeshifting wolf, was now a man racing to his woman, naked. Damn wolves and their penchant for nudity. What was worse was that he was swinging all over the place in his dash to get to the naked woman on the ground.
“Avert your eyes, Fair One!”
“Oh, Karma is going to just die that she missed this. The rumor mill in Talbot’s Peak was so wrong…they must have been short by at least four inch…ahhhhhh.”
Erol felt his blood boil, the fire barely restrained. Someone was going to get hurt if Greely didn’t stop. That would be his defense, he thought as he reached out and scooped her up, quickly placing her into his mouth.
Her scream was muffled, but could still be heard as witnessed by the sudden quiet around him and the words of two little wolf boys.
“Cool…He ate her!”
Have a wonderful weekend!
Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Posted by Savanna Kougar
October-spooky howls and yowls, shapeshifter lovers.
Yes, Kitty is on a rare rampage. Normally a well-mannered librarian and Dante's loving mate, Kitty has come a long way, baby... that is, since the time she was considered roadkill by Damien, the werewolf leader who is Dante's sire, the werewolf who originally took over the town of Talbot's Peak. Now look at her...
Kitty Hands Out the Big Bucks
Kitty sighed with deep frustration, which turned into an exasperated huff. Her inner cat tail slashed back and forth as she stared at the fat brown envelope on her office desk. Dante, her mate and the alpha werewolf owner of the Pleasure Club, had stuffed it with money, and with the town's currency, Talbies.
Hoping to soothe herself, Kitty took a sip of her brewing tea, a lavender blend she found particularly lovely to inhale, as well as to drink. After wriggling into a more comfortable position, she cradled her pleasantly warm mug.
Intentionally, Kitty blanked her mind. For now...phssssst. Bast, before she had a hissing fit, and morphed into her feline form.
She'd so wanted to spend the day training her new assistant, Kailla, on the library's computer system. She'd painstakingly prepared, and now... well, large dollar figures did strange and wicked things to people, including shifters. Evidently.
Kitty indulged in a long sip of her tea while wondering when folks were going to care more about loving each other, and creating a good life together... that is, more than the enticement of getting the big bucks, especially from a source that could not be trusted.
She shook her blonde curls while images of the big buck shifters in Talbot's Peak came to mind. Kitty smiled. Like any feline predator worth her catch, she loved fastening her gaze on the powerful bucks as they trotted, as they galloped through the forested areas, and over the meadows.
But those were definitely not the big bucks Mayor Gil, Vernon, and Louie were gluing their gazes on, or had glued their eyeballs on. Kitty well understood their desire to fund a Talbot's Peak Fall Festival. It was good for business. Plus, family fun for one and all.
Kitty intended to enjoy the events, the sales, the food as advertized by flyers, and in the G&B Gazette. She planned on using her shifter claws to carve a pumpkin for the contest, simply to see if she could do it.
She let another sigh escape. Placing her mug on the electric warmer, she huntress-eyed the plump brown envelope. Once Mayor Gil was in his office...
Last night she and Dante had cuddled together, as they often did, while discussing how best to handle the latest emergency situation in town politics. Like they needed state government involved, infiltrating Talbot's Peak again. Kitty rolled her eyes. Her inner claws flexed.
Yet, even with this aggravation, she'd arrived early, determined to personally focus on initiating Kailla in the library's inner workings and protocols. Just as vital, she wanted to learn more about the human woman. Yowls, as cat-jumping quick as possible.
Given Kailla remained blissfully ignorant about shifters and the town's supernatural population, Kitty intended to earn her trust. For several good reasons. Not the least of which was Thundercloud, the god-wolf shifter who had decided Kailla belonged to him as his mate.
The hot-trend scuttlebutt at Java Joe's yesterday afternoon had been all about Thundercloud's courtship-pursuit of the innocent human. Since Kailla hadn't picked up and left town, the tires squealing, Kitty figured she remained unaware of his shifter side.
Thinking of... Kitty intuitively knew moments before there was a rap on her office door. "Come in," she called out pleasantly.
Kailla entered and closed the door, her demeanor confident yet respectful. "Finally, we meet in person." Smiling, she approached, then politely extended her hand.
Kitty stood, and shook the lovely woman's hand, far more lovely in person than on Skype. No wonder Thundercloud was besotted, mating-bewitched, as Dante would say.
"You'll forgive me, Kailla." Kitty plucked up the brown envelope. "I'd planned to devote today to working with you. But I have an unexpected errand to run. Why don't you walk around, familiarize yourself with our library. It shouldn't take me long." Kitty smiled, and gazed deep into the woman's soul.
What she found impressed her, pleased her.
"Of course, I'd love to just wander about and familiarize myself."
"Good." Kitty moved toward the door. "Make a stop in our break area, Kailla. You'll find all sorts of goodies. Organic and non-GMO, I promise." That had been one selling point in hiring Kailla, and Kitty had exploited it for all it was worth. The woman's educational background was extraordinary. Plus, she'd come highly recommended from her former employer.
"Be right back," Kitty added, then headed for the door. Meow, burnt fishsticks and 'plans were for fools'! She grabbed her jacket, and shrugged into it, forcing the envelope through the sleeve.
With each step toward the mayor's mansion, her dander rose along with her inner-cat hackles. Okay meow, maybe she should be more forgiving. But gosh, gee willickers and twitching whiskers, did big sums of money mean that much? Certainly, if starvation and poverty reigned, of course. But Talbot's Peak, even in these economically challenging times, still thrived. And assistance remained available to all.
Kitty practically burst through the mansion's front doors. "The Mayor is expecting me," she tossed at his assistant. "And if he's not, he should be. Rwwwrrr," she threw at the woman's stunned expression.
She didn't slow her footsteps one iota, and not bothering with any kind of knock, she thrust the door open. "Oh good. You're all here," she addressed Vernon and Louie. "That saves me a lot of trouble."
"Kitty," Gil began, rising from behind his desk. Confusion clouded his eyes. "What can..."
"Oh, snap it shut, squirrel boy." Kitty slammed the envelope on his desk. "Why didn't you contact Delvezio if you needed extra funds for the Fall Fair? To make improvements? Didn't you agree to that during the last state-agent fiasco we had?"
"What? Cat got your tongue," Kitty chided in the following silence.
"Hey there," Louie began, "we don't need no babysittin' here."
"Well, I beg to disagree, rat belly boy." Kitty snarled, whirling toward him. "You're not the one protecting the Peak from infiltrators, from black ops attacks day and night... are you?!" Kitty jabbed her finger into his prominent belly. "You wanna get your meat cleaver and meet me at high noon. We'll see who draws blood first."
"Kitty, calm down. It was a mistake, an honest mistake," Vernon intervened. "We didn't want to burden Dante. That's all."
"Well, thanks so much for the concern, wolf for dummies," Kitty sarcastically responded, her tone sharp as her claws. "Your actions in accepting that state money caused Dante's cyber team to work like fiends cleaning up 'your' mess... erasing it out of the worldwide computer system. And I might add there were far more pressing 'concerns' happening. Like protecting the Pleasure Club from a super hack-attack that would have compromised every shifter and supernatural being here. Put that in your non-existent pipes and smoke it!"
"We had no idea." Gil cautiously spoke, his wary gaze sweeping over her.
Kitty inhaled a huge breath, mentally calling back the fevered words that wanted to explode from her. Instead she slapped her hand on the brown envelope. "If this isn't enough to fund the Fall Fair, to make your improvements, let me or Delvezio know. And if you have a complaint about Delvezio, if he isn't helping you, let me know."
"No complaints." Gil nervously swallowed.
"Delvezio, no, no complaints about his working with us."
Vernon's 'calm the waters' tone did nothing for Kitty's temper. She jerked another breath in and out.
"This isn't a game, boys. The welfare of everyone in Talbot's Peak territory is at stake. Dante, I, and many others, want to keep this a haven for our kind... and for the humans we love." She paused, searching their faces. "Got it?!"
Not waiting for an answer, Kitty spun around marching for the door. Normally, she didn't throw her weight around, or get her fur-ruff in this big of a huff. But when it came to saving everyone and everything she and Dante loved, that was whole other kettle of flying damn fish. And she wasn't backing down. Not ever.
Especially not before a rat, no matter how many meat cleavers he had.
Wishing you love and passion on the wild side ~
Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance
Monday, October 5, 2015
At first Ginny Goslin didn’t think anything of it. People hung out in the town square all the time, at all hours of the day and night. However, as a goose-shifter, she was especially sensitive to the signs of flocking behavior. When the same faces kept drifting past Java Joe’s front window, she started to notice.
She noticed also how others appeared, so that what had been pairs quickly grew to small groups. That the groups consisted primarily of carnivore shifters didn’t do any good for her already-jittery nerves.
She continued to watch, growing more nervous by the minute. No doubt about it. There were predators in the town square, and they were congregating.
Naturally, once she reached this conclusion she immediately ran to Marissa. The coffee shop’s owner took the news with remarkable calm. But then, she could afford to be calm. Besides being a witch, Marissa was married to a wolf-shifter. Both kept her off the prey roster.
Marissa and Ginny kept an eye on the gathering by pretending to wipe down the tables near the front window. “You see what I mean?” Ginny hissed. “That bunch by the fountain. There were only three of them twenty minutes ago. Now there’s eight. At least five of them are wolves.”
“And all of them are teenagers,” Marissa said. “Maybe it’s a school thing. Does the football team have a home game this Friday?”
“That group by City Hall isn’t high schoolers. They’ve been circling the square for half an hour.”
“That is odd,” Marissa agreed. She squinted through the window. “Two of them are cats for sure, and … a porcupine? Now it’s getting weird.”
“And maybe dangerous,” Ginny put in. She nodded toward several older Peakites headed for the coffee shop at a brisk clip. Other folks were quietly getting off the streets. Every one of those in flight were herbivores. Ginny swallowed a nervous honk.
Surveillance had to go on hold while she and Marissa saw to their customers. Ginny nonchalantly asked if anything was happening in the square. “We just came in for coffee,” was the standard response. “It’s getting chilly out.” But no one took any of the window seats.
Once everyone was served Marissa drifted back toward the window. Ginny followed closely. If scat was about to hit the fan, she figured the safest place would be next to Marissa. Even big cats left the witch alone.
And speaking of which …
“Omigod.” Ginny’s hand flew to her mouth. “Is that Guri Ghan?”
“And Sanjay,” Marissa confirmed. She visibly relaxed. “I think it’s safe to say we’re not under attack. Those two are the good brothers.”
“But some of the stuff they’ve come up with … ”
Marissa tensed up again. “True.”
“Should we call somebody?”
“Who? And why? They haven’t done anything. There’s no law against peaceful public gathering, even for predators. Anyway, I’ll bet Vern’s watching from the Grease ‘N’ Grill. He’s probably notified Gil already.”
“Uh-oh.” In spite of her worries, Ginny leaned toward the window. “That leopard’s got something.”
“I see it. It looks like … ” Marissa squinted. “A boom box?”
The leopard set the boom box beside the square’s central fountain. All over the square, pedestrians suddenly consulted their cell phones. As if at a prearranged signal, they converged on the street.
And started dancing.
Ginny honked in astonishment. “What the flock?”
Marissa caught on first. “It’s not an attack. It’s a flash mob.”
She cracked open the coffee shop door. Immediately the unmistakable strains of Michael Jackson’s Thriller blasted at them. At least three dozen “zombies,” with Sanjay in a red leather jacket at their head, lined up in the street to perform a surprisingly well-choreographed recreation of the famous video.
“It is a school thing,” Marissa guessed. “Has to be. I heard Sanjay volunteers with the theater group. I’ll bet this was his idea.”
“Why is Guri wearing a smoking jacket?”
“He’s probably Vincent Price.”
“Before your time.” Marissa shrugged. “Heck, before everyone’s time. I’ll bet nobody out there was even born when the album came out.”
“What’s an album?”
“Just watch the show.”
Now reassured that no harm was intended, the customers crowded up to the window to watch. The “zombies” danced through the streets while Guri perched on the fountain and lip-synched to Price’s rap. As the Master of Horror’s laughter rang out, the dancers dispersed at a run. Guri snatched up the boom box and hustled after them. The audience, both in the coffee shop and out on the square, burst into relieved applause.
“And that officially opens the Halloween season,” Marissa announced. “We’d better stock up on the pumpkin latte.”
Saturday, October 3, 2015
“Vernon, you wanna run that by me one more time?” Gill looked up from the pad where he’d jotted several lines of notes.
“Sure,” Vernon, ex-deputy mayor, replied. “Instead of chunking pumpkins and making a massive mess all over town, we have a pumpkin carving contest, a bake sale, a pie eating contest, and a town wide sidewalk sale. Merchants put out pre-fall and winter items at discounted rates.”
“Ya know doing the fall festival thing before the snow flies makes sense,” Louie chimed in. “Besides there’s plenty of charcoal left over that could be used for a bond fire that allowed different sections of town to have a story telling night along with block party barbecue too.”
Gill looked from Vernon to Louie and back. Both sat at conference table grinning and nodding. Talk about seeing double. It was like twin Cheshire cats inhabited his two best friends. Gill tossed his pen on his desk. He closed his eyes and inhaled. Halloween, the one night where all chaos broke out all over town. Of course, the last couple of years with more children out trick-n-treating, the revelry makers held off until curfew for the younger citizens came and passed.
“Do you think an organized celebration will keep things to a low roar?” Gill almost laughed at his own pun. Noise levels around the Peak ranged from decibel ear blasting to so quiet that even he wanted to check on everyone. Once the snows came, the partiers turned into hard workers. What could one last hurrah hurt?
“Dante and his gang are ready to spread the word about low level merriment. Since the incident with the boys from the state, quite a few more humans moved closer to town. Don’t blame ‘em.” Vernon leaned forward and picked up his pad. Louie read over Vernon’s shoulder nodding a couple more times.
Louie pointed at the pad. “Moon-Moon is willing to set up the carnival rides free of charge. His carne pack wants to winter here. They know there’s money to be made even if it’s our currency. They can set up housekeeping at the abandoned school out on highway six.”
“Is the building habitable?” Gill picked up his pen. “Last I heard the place reeked from the mammoth attack.”
“Let them clean it up. They got the man and woman power. In turn, we get rent off the place.” Vernon slid his pad across the table. “Number four also makes sense too.”
Gill pulled the pad to him. He trailed his finger down the pad, grinning from time to time, until he reached Vernon’s number four. Gill snorted and looked up. “Community hot tubs and bath houses?”
“Yes!” Louie and Vernon exclaimed together. “Remember last winter when we all ended up at your place.”
“Lord do I! Chloe asked me if that was going to happen again.” Gill slid the pad back to Vernon.
“Rather than running out of hot water, we create our own from the snow. People get to bathe and commune with their neighbors. Also, wash their clothes too. Add a few washers and dryers,” Louie said.
‘How do we pay for all this?” Gill wrote a list of possible figures on his pad.
“Revenue from the state for the repairs their boys visit caused.” Vernon leaned back in his chair.
“From the state?” Gill laid his pen down again.
Louie whistled as he read the figure Vernon wrote on the pad before he slid it back across the table to Gill. Looked like some top notch improvements were coming to the Peak.
Happy Weekend Gang!
My muse has me hard at work on another story that I'm working on the last third of. Once that is done I can pick up with Lilly and the boys. I got an inkling where the next chapter is going with them. Looks like this week's flash may be the intro for that. Perhaps one of my blog mates will take a turn at the Halloween preparations.
I hope you're staying warm and dry. Wet cold weather arrived at the Spice Homestead. We turned the heat on inside. I got out a jacket too. Even tossed a light weight fleece jacket in the car to keep handy for those chilly mornings and afternoons.
Time turns back soon, November 1. Keeping some books handy to read and share with your spice and loves will help as night lengthens. Discussing a passage or two, nude and joined can be very interesting. No, I'm not letting out secrets. Try it you might find your reading perspective changes.
Until next week,