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The Wildest Place

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After the brutal murder of her animal bondmates, Sala reunites with her ex-partner to find justice...or maybe vengeance
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Author: Kyla Phillips
Description

Genre: Fantasy

Release: May 4, 2012

Editor: Deb McIntyre

Line editor: Penny Ehrenkranz

Cover Designer: Suzannah Safi

Words: 13350

ISBN: 978-1-77127-041-0

Price: $2.50


Back Cover:

Sala is bonded with three animals a lion, an orca, and a dolphin. When they are murdered, she reconnects with her old partner, Derulo, to figure out who from their past is responsible.

With Derulo’s help and those of his bondmates, Fay & Whalen (wolves), and Tor (bald eagle) she discovers the culprits and brings them to justice.


Excerpt:

Sala let Derulo lead her down the path in the sand. He sat her in a chair up front as a guest of honor at the memorial. In the center of the sectioned-off stretch of beach lay a raised dais with pictures of each of her fallen partners, their urns resting on the long table. Her gaze slid down, the sand beneath her toes as important as anything else. Fay curled up against her feet. Sala heard people and animals alike taking up positions behind her. The ocean breeze felt harsh against her sensitive skin, the saltiness choked her parched throat. She blinked rapidly against the bright sunlight. Why did Derulo bring her here?

“Mya, please, sit here,” she heard him say. The name inexplicably made her wince. Sala lost herself in the mottled fur of the wolf at her feet. The movement settled, and the voices hushed, but she did not care. Derulo took his position on the platform. She could barely hear him, his words as insignificant as sunshine in the arctic. It was time to say goodbye to their friends, to return them to the sea.

A mournful cry filled the air as the urns were placed in a raft and set afloat, flames eating the wood. The realization that her dead friends were burning was too much for Sala to handle. You killed them, the man said. She killed them. Sala looked down at her hands, expecting blood. Ruuk, Cai, and Nayla, all dead because of her. Why was she still here?

“It’s not your fault,” Derulo said. She looked up; surprised to see him crouched before her, his eyes wet with unshed tears. His arms gripped her shoulders tightly.

She heard herself repeating over and over, “I killed them, I killed them,” as if possessed.

“Sala, don’t do this to yourself.”

“That’s what he said, Derulo. Their deaths are on my head.”

“They died for her, and now she is this sniveling wreck. What was the point of their sacrifice?” Mya asked, her rage barely contained.

Sala felt the heat of anger stir in her for the first time since lying on the beach, Ruuk bleeding in her hands. “Your mate was stupid and bullheaded just like you! And to think I saddled myself with the likes of you. I should have known better,” Sala shouted.

That was too much for what little shreds of restraint Mya had. An angry growl exploded from deep inside her belly. She leaped high in the air, the cubs scattered. Derulo’s quick reflexes kept Sala from being trampled. He grabbed her, spinning her out of the way. Mya’s claws caught her across the back in white-hot rays of pain. Sala screamed and collapsed to her knees.

Waylen and Derulo merged into one solid form, more wolf than man, outmatching the weight of the lioness. Sala twisted around to see them tackle Mya, toppling her over. A three hundred-pound gorilla, one of her students’ bondmates, joined the pile, pining the lioness—her growls and struggles useless. Sala heard Derulo/Waylen whispering in Mya’s ear trying to soothe her. Fay tucked up under Sala keeping her propped up. The pain in her back and the tears building in her eyes caused her vision to blur. Sala felt hands lower her gently to her side.

“I’m fine,” she said.

“You’re bleeding.”

Sala didn’t care. The pain was reassuring. It felt good to be able to feel again.

About the Author:

Lives in northeastern Ohio. Spends too much time in Second Life. A sci-fi and fantasy geek since birth. Member of the critique group critters.org. An animal lover through and through. Has an aspiration to be a rocket scientist if I can make enough money to go back to school.

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