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A Novel by Sandra Cox
Genre: YA Paranormal
Tags: shafeshifter, paranormal, crossover YA, young adult, butterflies, wolves, monster, protector, panther, black panther, sea caves, Wisconsin, new adult, puma
Release: May 25, 2012
Editor: Julie Hayes
Line Editor: Greta Gunselman
Cover Designer: Charlotte Volnek
Ratings: L= 1 S= 1 V= 1
On the eve of her eighteenth birthday, Aurora Valente goes through some disturbing changes. She purrs and craves raw meat. Most alarming of all, she’s taken to chasing wildlife.
Her aunt gives her a beautiful, antique choker and tells her a story about a shapeshifting Minder princess, and the beast that hunts the Minder’s descendants.
To Aurora it’s only a story...till later that night when her whole world takes a turn into terror. A horrific beast chases her through the woods, where a puma with the eyes of a stranger comes to her rescue.
While the beast and puma fight, she feels her bones break and reform. Her scream comes out a snarl. She lands on all fours, a beautiful panther.
At the cliff’s edge, I stopped and listened to the steady lap of the waves against the rocks. I sucked cold air deep into my lungs. Night sounds surrounded me. A purr of contentment rose in my throat. I was getting used to the purr. It’s a great way to express pleasure.
I pivoted toward the house and saw my aunt silhouetted in the window. I lifted my hand. She waved back.
The wind shifted. I smelled a rabbit. My butt twitched. The perfume of warm flesh filled my nostrils. His rapid heartbeat pulsed through my ears. I forgot about Aunt and went bounding into the forest.
The rabbit saw me. With a frightened squeak, he hopped away, his little powder-puff tail white in the dark. I leapt after him and laughed with exuberance from the sheer joy of being alive.
The rabbit ran deep into the woods. I followed. Fear gave the bunny speed. He stayed just out of my grasp.
It happened gradually. My joints stiffened. The hair on the nape of my neck rose. A horrific scent filled my nostrils. My stomach flopped. No longer the hunter, at some point, I’d become the prey.
A heavy body crashed through the underbrush not far behind me.
My legs pumped. My heart pounded. Panicked, I pulled a can of mace out of my pocket.
Try though I might, I couldn’t outrace whatever chased me. I swear I could feel hot breath on my back. Whatever pursued me squealed in pleasure when the distance between us narrowed.
Sweat poured out my pores. My legs cramped. My sides on fire, I pushed myself harder.
A growl sounded behind me. It echoed and re-echoed off the trees. Goose bumps roughened my skin. I glanced back and saw the outline of some huge animal. My heart moved up to my throat. My joints locked and made it almost impossible to run.
Still looking over my shoulder, I tumbled head first over a log. Rough bark scraped my shins. The can of mace rolled out of my hand. The scent of rotting wood and insects filled my nostrils as I landed on my elbow, my knees cocked at an awkward angle over the log.
I started to pull my legs back and scramble to my feet but I wasn’t fast enough. The beast’s hot breath penetrated my sweats, moments before fangs pierced my thigh to the bone.
A scream filled the night. It took me a moment to realize it was mine.
Fire swirled through my blood. I swear I felt it bubble. My bones pushed hard against my skin. My vision blurred while muscle and tendon shifted beneath my skin.
The beast lumbered over the log after me.
A wildcat shrieked nearby, his high-pitched snarl as terrifying as the monster that ripped my flesh.
The beast paused. His massive head swung in the direction of the feral sound. My heart pounded and stretched while my vision cleared. What I saw filled me with abject terror. It was the stuff children’s nightmares were made of. The thing attacking me was a black bear, no a huge wolf, with glowing crimson eyes.
A leonine scream of challenge echoed through the pines, bounced off rock and echoed in my ears. Fighting the pain coursing through my vibrating body, I forced my aching neck to turn.
The moon shown full on a beautiful puma, his lips drawn back, his tail lashing. He tilted his head and snarled. And the hits keep on a coming. Would I become beast fodder or puma silage? At the moment, I wasn’t in any condition to fight off either.
For one brief moment, the cat looked directly at me. My breath caught in my throat. Those eyes were eerily reminiscent of the stranger in the restaurant. The man called Kylar. Then the puma turned his attention to the beast. His ears back, he roared another challenge.
The beast threw back his head and responded; his mouth open, he howled at the moon. The sound sent chills down my spine. A spine that felt like it was breaking and re-forming.
The puma screamed in response.
The beast turned from me and lumbered toward the puma. Even though the cat was large, it was still half the size of the beast. They ran toward each other. The earth trembled as they clashed like titans, their challenges ringing in the night.
I couldn’t concentrate on them any longer. My bones were stretching like rubber bands. It hurt like hell. Tears streamed down my cheeks. I bit my lips until they bled, trying to keep from shrieking. Not wanting to draw the attention of the two wild animals fighting only yards away.
I crawled to the log and somehow got to my feet. Everything swirled around me. When my clothes fell off my pencil thin form, I stopped worrying about drawing attention to myself and screeched, “What’s happening to me?”
Every inch of my body felt on fire. My joints exploded and my bones reformed. My cries turned to snarls. Sleek black fur sprouted through my skin.
“Oh my God. Oh my God,” I tried to say, but only a cat’s cry escaped my lips. Warm blood, from the monster’s bite, coated my hind leg. A minor concern compared to what was happening to me. No legend. Aunt Gin knew.The pain disappeared. A dull ache persisted where the monster had bit me. Otherwise I felt glorious. I threw back my head and roared.
About the Author:
Multi-published author Sandra Cox writes Crossover YA, YA Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Time Travel Romance and Metaphysical Nonfiction. She lives in sunny North Carolina with her husband, a brood of critters and an occasional foster cat.
Author's Other Works:
The Crystal, a paranormal romance, Blush-Ellora’s Cave
Boji Stones, a paranormal romance, Blush-Ellora’s Cave
Shardai, a YA fantasy, Smashwords
Silverhills, a western romance, Blush-Ellora’s Cave
Rose Quartz, a paranormal romance, Blush-Ellora’s Cave
Black Opal, a paranormal romance, Blush-Ellora’s Cave
Akasha, a YA fantasy, Smashwords
Power Stones to Go, a metaphysical nonfiction, Smashwords
Matika, a YA fantasy, Smashwords
Odin Cats, a YA fantasy, Whiskey Creek Press
Flower Power, a metaphysical nonfiction, Jupiter Garden
Vampire Island, a crossover YA paranormal, Class Act Books
Grounded, a crossover YA paranormal, Class Act Books
Sundial, a time travel romance, Class Act BooksMoon Watchers, a crossover YA paranormal, Class Act Books
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Elixir is fantasy at its best. Katie Caroll draws us into her world with ease, her well-polished writing style and flow holding us captive until the end. I especially liked the relationship between Katora and her sister Kylene, obviously drawn from real life. I can't wait to read the sequel.
I was pleasantly surprised when I opened this very charming and witty book to read on the skytrain. But I have to say it was kind of embarrassing. I couldn't stop giggling out loud at Maggie Lyon's humour. People kept looking at me, and I tried my hardest to hold in the laughter, but it was impossible. What a delightful story! What child wouldn't love this. It's a story for 6-10 year olds. It's a great book to read to your children when they're young or by themselves when they're older. If your child likes Geronimo Stilton, they'll fall in love with Dewie the little dragon and his friend Jones the toad. I hope Maggie Lyons will turn this into a series.
Joy Smith pulled me into the story on the very first pages. Fast moving, first I hated Victor, than I love him, than I hated until I loved him. And Marisol with her guarded heart had me hoping throughout that she'd open it again to love.
I loved her descriptions. They created such visuals, I felt I was traveling and discovering Colombia with Victor.
Ms. Smith writes believable, flawed characters that I wound up cheering and caring for on each page. I can't wait to read her next book. Goodreads Reader Review - Five Stars
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I really enjoyed the twists and turns of the plot of this novel. From Annabelle putting her life in danger when running away from Boarding School where she has lived since the age of five to her tenacious pursuit in finding clues as to her origins.
She is rescued by Roland, who is too much of a gentleman not to help the intriguing young lady. I relished the suspense of the reciprocal desire between Roland and Belle which is thwarted by misunderstanding after misunderstanding and prevents them achieving mutual fulfilment. The reader yearns for the truth to replace the false pretences and for Roland and Belle to overcome each other's prejudices.
Rosemary Morris' major and minor characters spring to life. I sympathised with Annabelle and found Roland charming. Apart from this, Rosemary's great attention to every aspect of the Regency era is impressive.
False Pretences is a ripping read and I look forward to reading this author's next novel. - F.Way- Amazon Review