What is the paranormal? Some metaphysical philosophers (yes, those exist), posit that when we see shadow people or white ladies or lake monsters, we’re actually glimpsing the true nature of reality, hidden beneath.
I like this idea, even though it sometimes weirds me out. But when I started thinking about what makes a shifter for my Shifters and Shamans series for Ellora’s Cave, I came up with a different concept. What if what made a shifter was the spirit inside? What if werewolves have wolf spirits inside, demons are simply another form of were with a demon spirit inside, and vampires are shifters with demonic, bat-like spirits inside?
And once I started thinking of animal spirits, my mind went to shamans. Shamans work heavily with animal spirits, often having totem animals. And when they journey to Lower World (not to be confused with Hell), they work with the animal spirits there to cure ailments and understand happenings in “our” world.
In Spirit on Fire, the first novella in the Shifters and Shamans series, an unwilling shaman, Samantha, is forced to work with the fire-demon were, Marek, against a mutual enemy. Hint: there are vampires! Along the way, she discovers the wild delights of being a shaman and finding passion with a man she loves.
Spirit on Fire
By: Katlyn Conrad
Book Length: Novella
Publisher: Ellora's Cave Publishing Inc., Imprint: Romantica®, Line: Twilight
About Spirit on Fire: Shamans and Shifters, Book One
Samantha wants a normal life but the were world won’t leave the sexy new shaman alone. An outcast, she has the potential to control were spirits of all kinds—if only she can figure out how. When she encounters a red-hot demon were, everything she never wanted to know about the supernatural gets turned on its head.
The fire demon Marek claims he’s been ordered to kill Samantha but he’s disobeying the command. He’s come to save her instead, so they can work together against his sadistic vampire master. Demons are notorious liars, so Samantha has her doubts but no choice. A common cause—survival—draws them together and cool suspicion turns to sexual heat.
A Romantica® paranormal erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave
The werewolf paid cash, sliding the change into the hip pocket of his jeans.
At the other end of the counter Samantha pretended to study the flyers on the cork bulletin board—a high school production of The Tempest, a ten percent discount on acupuncture, a tai chi class at the local Y. The scent of coffee and the whir of an espresso machine filled the air, suddenly stifling.
Samantha had time to grab coffee but not for a were encounter. And if she was late for work again tonight she’d lose this job, just like she had all the others.
Don’t see me. Don’t see what I am. I am normal. I am invisible. I am shielded by a protective light…
Too late. Her heart roller coastered downward. He was striding toward her.
She met his eyes, determined to show no fear. The werewolf almost looked human. His plain white tee stretched tight against washboard abs. There was a hint of a shadow about his chiseled jaw and in her mind’s eye she caught a flash of rumpled sheets and sex. Like a photographic overlay, the spirit of the wolf shifted inside and around him. It snarled at her and her spine stiffened, the skin on her arms tingling. There was no call for the were to be rude, she thought.
He stopped in front of her and leaned against the counter. His gaze took a leisurely stroll from her low-heeled boots to her mahogany hair and corkscrew curls. Petite and curvy, she was a twenty-something morsel in a lipstick-pink trench coat.
“What’s a girl like you doing in a place like this?” His voice was a husky growl.
“I think you’re supposed to say, ‘nice girl like you’.”
“No.” He grinned. “I meant what I said.”
Dammit. He did know what she was. And worse, she was responding. Her pulse rose, warmth flooding her cheeks.
She hated this because a part of her wanted to smile, to flirt. Sam was lonely and not proud of the fact. But once the were and his clan discovered she was broken things would go bad. Fast. The weres were all about survival of the fittest, and the broken were a danger to the pack. She’d be driven out at best and at worst… She pushed that memory aside, the beating from a pack of female weres who had left her for dead. The surgeries that had followed. The drugs. The confusion. She’d wanted to die then, had expected death.
God, how she wanted to be normal.
“Sam?” The barista slid a white paper cup across the counter.
Samantha snatched the coffee, heedless of the heat burning the ridge of the cup into her palm. She turned to leave.
The were moved to block her and pressed a broad hand to his chest. “Sam? That’s my favorite name. Now I know it’s love.”
She rolled her eyes and stepped around him.
He bent his head as she passed. “Don’t leave, wolf shaman.”
“Excuse me.” She wove through the coffee shop and he followed her into the drizzly San Francisco night.
“Have dinner with me.”
He grinned. “Breakfast then.”
She shot him a black-layered look. “No.”
“Why not? I’m charming, good-natured and I don’t bite. Much.”
“I’m sure. But trust me, it will only end in tears.” Her own.
He stopped beneath a streetlamp, the cone of light illuminating swirling droplets of fog. It sparkled in his hair like shards of glass. “What’s life without a little risk? Take a chance.”
She shook her head and hurried down the slick street, the noise from the coffee shop fading behind her. He was wrong.
Katlyn Conrad has never met a chocolate dessert she didn't like, and her guilty pleasures are watching True Blood reruns and drinking old vine Zinfandels. She has a deep and abiding love of magic, myth, and mayhem.
You can find her on Goodreads at: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9063937.Katlyn_Conrad and on Google + at: https://plus.google.com/100968811285631238907/posts