After observing the mistakes made by his fellow Huntsmen, Arcas, the Bear, refuses to follow their example. He immediately claims his mate, a descendant of the cat goddess Bastet. Their pairing will be powerful and his mate is courageous, wise, and sexy as hell. Too bad they have to bring down the remnants of a murderous cult and stop a demonic disaster from being let loose on the world.
Marshal is no fool. From the moment they met, he has been drawn to the red-haired Bear. He didn’t think world ending events would ensue to make their developing relationship a bit more difficult to navigate. But now The Hunt was on the move and nothing would stop them from achieving their goals: rescue Kern’s mate and save the world.
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2020 Stephanie Burke
“Fuck.” Arcas paced in his room, fighting the urge to heal the many bites, bumps, and bruises he’d received as he kept trying to purge the insidious drugs from his system. That those bites and bruises had come from one he considered his sister just made him… What was he feeling? Angst? Frustration? Anger? Well, yes, there was anger. A whole lot of anger, but there were more underlying emotions that refused to process.
He was angry. That he was sure of. In fact, one could say he was way beyond incensed and approaching furious at a rapid pace and there was nothing he could do to stem the tide of righteous anger that filled him to overflowing.
He remembered each one. He remembered their faces, their nasty little comments, how they treated him as a beast, something less that human… less than the animals they had gathered for this modern-day travesty of a gladiator sport. They had treated him like he was an object. Brave in the face of the drugs they had constantly injected into his veins and blew in his face. He remembered them, each and every one of them from the time he opened his eyes in that piece of shit van after they dosed him the first time to the time when they applied electric cattle prods to his back in an effort to make him shift… because there was no way he would ever forget that no matter how hard he tried.
So now he paced as he tried to process what it felt like to be knocked completely off the food chain. They didn’t even want to steal his life energy, they just wanted him dead as if he didn’t matter, as if he didn’t live and breathe and think. They just wanted him dead, almost as an afterthought. And what was worse, they’d made him attack his sister.
He remembered her wolf form screaming at him as he lunged at her, unable to stop the cursed animal within him from acting on instinct and trying to obliterate any threat that would do him more harm. He was grateful that he was incapacitated enough not to clearly think or he surely would have done more harm to his sister than he had actually managed. He shuddered as he remembered the feel of not being in control of his own body, of being a visitor in his own mind, screaming in futility, as the world turned into madness around him.
And he remembered his taste…
It was the taste of him, of his blood that gave Arcas the final push to take control of his own body and its actions once more. By then, it had almost been too late. He had been moving in for the kill and Caille, no matter how powerful she was, would not have been able to fight off the power of a god who was still being actively worshiped every time someone looked into the night sky. He would have snuffed her back to her component parts. It would have taken her centuries to re-form and it would have all been his fault.
So, yeah, add guilt to the pile of emotions threatening to drive him insane now, thank you. Guilt for not being fast enough, for not being strong enough, for not being wise enough… just for not being enough. Because of him Kern’s mate had been taken to parts unknown because when he opened his eyes in that rocking van, Thomas hadn’t been there. He could add nothing to the hunt for Kern’s mate, but he did remember each and every face that had hovered over him, had lorded over him, that had spit in his face and applied their boots and shoes to his body. He remembered each and every one and they would pay.
And there was him… How could he ever be good enough for Marshal? He himself was weak and useless… and… and… his blood.
Gods above, Arcas had never tasted anything as sweet… Marshal tasted of sunshine, of desert sands and of lotus petals. He had tasted of his forever and that was such a travesty that it almost brought tears to Arcas’ eyes because he had almost killed the man.
Caille, a goddess in her own right, would have survived. But The Cat… he was not being worshipped, had never been worshiped because Arcas could taste that in his blood. He was immortal but not invulnerable, and if he hadn’t acted when he did, Arcas would have been responsible for the destruction of his own mate.
That was something that Arcas could not abide. So he paced in his room, withheld the healing he could have so easily done to his human form, and he did his best to stick to the story that The Raven and The Wolf, along with help from his mate, had constructed. It was laughably easy how eager the police were to accept their convoluted tale. The story had all the hallmarks of a movie of the week. There were rich assholes to blame, an insane group of homophobic cultists who had access to poor, abused animals, and there were guns and drugs, lots of drugs. Hell, in this world where people cared more about animals than their own brethren, it was so easy to play the sympathy card. To add to the human interest angle, there was an obvious blended family, a person of color, and the sexual orientation of the one still missing man that guaranteed that in the right reporter’s hands they were looking at a Pulitzer. Exotic animals were just the icing on a journalistic cake that was going to be served up on all media platforms, and with today’s sentiment about eating the rich… well, companies and stocks were going to be dropping like flies after a judicious application of bug killer.
Yet now, here he was, pacing ineffectually in his room, feeling his blood pressure rise as he sought to find some outlet for his wrath.
Yes, wrath was the perfect word for the emotions that he was now feeling. Wrath and rage were coursing through his body, heating his blood, and making him want to explode.
But it was an impotent wrath for the moment for there was no clear target to aim his ire at, no one single person to blame… but himself.
And fuck, he had never been so angry in his long, never-ending life.
A knock at the door drew him away from his mounting self-anger, and as he spun around, a snarl on his lips, ready to tell whatever well-meaning sycophant disturbing his solitude to fuck off, he froze as a familiar scent suddenly filled the room.
It was — it was The Cat… his mate… and he smelled concerned.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Stephanie is a USA Today Best Selling, multi published, multi award-winning author, Master Costumer, handicapped, wife and mother of two.
From sex-shifting, shape-shifting dragons to undersea worlds, sexually confused elemental Fey and homo-erotic mysteries, all the way to pastel-challenged urban sprites, Stephanie has done it all, and hopes to do more.
Stephanie is an orator on her favorite subjects of writing and world-building, a sometime teacher when you feed her enough tea and donuts, an anime nut, a costumer, and a frequent guest of various sci-fi and writing cons where she can be found leading panel discussions or researching varied legends and theories to improve her writing skills.
Stephanie is known for her love of the outrageous, strong female characters, believable worlds, male characters filled with depth, and multi-cultural stories that make the reader sit up and take notice.