Authors: Zenina Masters
Tags: #Adult, #Erotic Romance, #Fey, #Fantasy, #Magic, #Paranormal, #Shapeshifter
Saving shifters has been her life, but locking eyes with a fey in a crowded room wakes her beast in all the best ways.
Yval has been living to save other shifters from the clutches of the fey. She has had her body modified to make her job easier, but the magic used cut her off from her beast.
Fatigued and frustrated, she is ordered to take two months off, and it is suggested that she take the time at the Crossroads.
Drorik is a fey with a mission to save the future of his people and family by taking a shifter bride. The woman he meets is full of attitude and is bristling with defensiveness, but there is something inside her that calls to him, and her curves are sending their own message.
The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.
Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage the electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Half a Dose of Fury
Copyright © 2015 Zenina Masters
Cover art by Carmen Waters
All rights reserved. Except for use in any review, the reproduction or utilization of this work in whole or in part in any form by any electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented, is forbidden without the written permission of the publisher.
Published by eXtasy Books Inc or
Devine Destinies, an imprint of eXtasy Books Inc
Look for us online at:
www.eXtasybooks.com or www.devinedestinies.com
Half a Dose of Fury
Shifting Crossroads Book 26
Yval crept silently through the compound; her dark fur kept her from standing out in the shadows as she moved into position.
The orgy inside the main building was putting scents in the air that she was going to have to flush out of her nose. The fey that had joined her team were producing a barrier around the party room. Yval wasn’t sure how she felt about hunting fey with elves watching her back.
When the barrier was set, she got a signal and the shifters moved in with the fey at their sides.
Yval crept into the room and watched shifters in collars flinching away from the attentions of their fey lovers. She did her party trick and kept her body shifted while her head went human.
“Enough! All shifters move to one side, and all fey put your hands in the air.”
The master of the party was reclining with a woman who rolled to the side as rapidly as she could. He scowled at her. “Who are you, what are you and why are you at this party? You were definitely not invited, all fur.”
“Nice. This isn’t even the ninth time I have heard that. Get up, Stealik. Do not make me tell you again.”
He moved suddenly, and Yval was ready for it. She ran her clawed hand up his naked abdomen, shifted her head into her half-form and put her teeth around his throat. He froze in her grip as her teeth dug in; she leaned forward and took him to the ground.
“Hunter Maddox, you can let him go. I believe he has learned his lesson.” Fey Hunter Arrowheart put his hand on her shoulder.
She snarled and released her target, shifting to human and spitting out the fey blood. “I hope so. Next time, I go into the gut and I make a wish.”
The ancient noble looked into her eyes, and she smiled. It was not a nice smile.
Stealik held his hand to his bleeding throat. “I surrender to my people and their laws.”
Arrowheart flipped him over to his stomach and cuffed him with wide silver bands. “That is too bad. The Shifter Guild has jurisdiction over this. By the treaty signed at the Crossroads, you are under arrest for the unlawful confinement and restriction of shifters for sexual or entertainment purposes.”
Yval looked down at him and his shocked expression. “Asshole.”
Arrowheart hauled him to his feet and pushed him toward the door where the six other fey were lining up.
Yval went to the shifters and unclasped their cuffs and collars. She found them fabric to drape around their nakedness, and they left the building before the fey were allowed to move.
Yval half shifted and guarded the prisoners as the survivors were escorted to a medical facility for treatment and assessment.
Stealik’s bleeding had gotten sluggish, and if he didn’t get proper healing, he would bear those marks until he died. She felt her lips curve in a pleased snarl as she imagined how he would feel about that.
It had been painful to have magic bonded into her bite, and it had also cut her off from her beast. She could wear her devil on the outside of her skin, but the bitchy little critter wasn’t speaking to her; the magic had ticked her off.
When she had gotten the magic embedded in her body, it had been a decision made in fury and loss. Her cousin Nara had been one of the victims of the lion shifters using other shifters as fuel for spell supplies. She had not been thinking of a future when she had gone to the purveyor of dark magic. She had wanted the power to leave her mark, and he gave it to her. The loss of full use of her beast was the price.
Three years later and she was still getting used to it.
Outside, the transporters were plying their trade, and when the final victim was safe, the fey were herded outside for their movement to the guildhall for processing.
“Hunter Maddox, are you ready to leave?”
Arrowheart was as graceful as the rest of his species and very handsome. If she was something else, or someone else, she would definitely make a play for him. As it was, he was a co-worker, an elf who had her back. It was a strange-enough idea, but she was getting used to it.
She shifted to human again, her vest covered what it needed to, and the tight fit of her leggings meant that only the pale shapes of her feet were visible.
“I need to do a complete search of the compound. There might be others that were not at the party. A transporter always stays until we leave.”
Arrowheart nodded. “Very well; I will go where you lead.”
“Good. If I signal, follow my lead.” She was at the edge of her transformation limit. She shifted back into her more bitey form and went hunting.
She lifted her nose to the night and inhaled, seeking the scent of other shifters. She beckoned Arrowheart to follow her as she ran through the compound, looking for anyone left behind.
The cages where the shifters had been kept were clean, and there were ten of them. The flat panel on the floor was the first place that Yval looked. She hauled it up with her claws and yowled and snarled into the hole.
Yips, chirps and growls greeted her. She drew her head back at the scent of all the shifters kept below. She looked to Arrowheart and flexed her hands twice before pointing at the door.
“Right. Tell them that we have twenty more victims. I will be right back.” He turned and left the room while she lowered herself into the hole. Her vest had the icon of the Shifter Guild on it, and she kept her half-form in place while she went to the healthy ones and set them loose so they could transform and heal.
Soothing noises did not come naturally to her, so she made small chirps and growls that tried to be relaxing and cheerful.
A few of the shifters changed to human when she freed them, and they soothed the others.
Footsteps above made everyone freeze. Those who could put themselves between those still trapped and the entrance did so. Yval waved them back with short growls, and she went to the steps, waiting at the bottom.
Arrowheart came down, and the survivors cried out. Yval let out a sharp bark and reached up, tapping the Shifter Guild icon on Arrowheart’s shoulder.
Other hunters came down, and together, they worked to get those that could walk up the stairs, and those that had to be carried were held as gently as possible and taken to the healers who were still waiting above.
She made her way to the darkest corners of the cells, confirming that they were clear. There were three other buildings to check, and Yval hoped that they were empty.
Arrowheart followed her, and when she found three more shifters in the last structure, he helped her get them safe.
The hunters were elated and depressed at the same time. With the looks that the fey were giving each other, they thought that the treaty had ended the trade in shifters. It was an adorably naïve way to think. It ignored the urge to collect that many of the older fey had fostered during their lifetimes. They had focused on the next acquisition to get them through the ages.
When the last of the victims had been transported, Yval threw her head back and let out a warbling yowl. The tone was deeper and louder than her beast voice could have managed, and it had the desired effect. The sound echoed through the compound, into every nook and cranny. She called out again and waited.
Yval’s shoulders slumped in relief as her call went unanswered. The magic was specific. She could call shifters, and they would respond, no matter their condition. If they were gagged, she would hear them clawing. If there was no sound at all, they had all been found.
She let out two short, sharp barks and headed for the transport space. Arrowheart and the other members of their team formed up around her.
The hunters were heading home.
As the light grew and the chant droned on, Yval returned to her human form for the debriefing. A flash of brightness and they were on the group transport pad in the basement of the guildhall.
She stretched her jaw a few times.
Arrowheart muttered, “You still have blood on your jaw and cheeks.”
“In that case, I had better get to the ladies room. Please excuse me. I will rejoin you for the debriefing.”
She made her way down the hall and to the ladies room to wash her face. Her jaw, neck and cheeks were streaked with blood. Yval opened her vest and grimaced at the blood in her cleavage.
Wet paper towels took care of the worst of it, but the rest would have to wait for a proper shower. The half-form gave her an inability to clean herself properly, and it was really annoying. Her mouth didn’t produce enough saliva to have it cling to her fur and it made grooming impossible.
When she was presentable, Yval headed to the debriefing room where her team was already working through their impressions of the evening’s events.
Yval sat back with a cup of coffee and listened to the description of her attack on Stealik.
The recorder looked up from her notes. “Hunter Yval, do you have any new information to add to this?”
“Yes, I could have gutted him completely; he got off lucky. I let him keep all his body parts.” She sipped at her coffee and smiled brightly.
The group of hunters chuckled and the recorder kept working. When Yval got to her portion of the events, she explained scenting the hidden folk and working to sooth them. Assessment of the situation and those that couldn’t be moved was described and duly recorded.
“Hunter Yval, was there a reason for your remaining in a form that made communicating with your team difficult?” Hunter Veeran raised one eyebrow.
“Yes, I ran out of shifts. I had been flicking back and forth frequently, and I could feel that I only had one shift left. I had to save it for this meeting and final communication. Until I was sure that the site was clear, I could not be in a position where I was unable to defend myself or those in my charge.”
“Hunter Yval, please meet with me after this debriefing.” Hunter Veeran smiled.
They continued through until all details had been recorded for the archives. The fey witness to the debriefing nodded in agreement to the printed statement.
It was all over and Yval wanted a shower, but first, her meeting.
“Yval, the fey observer here today wasn’t just here to sign off on the joint taskforce.”
Yval yawned and burrowed back into her coffee cup. The cartoon Tasmanian devil on the side marked it as unmistakably hers. “Do tell.”
“First, I need to tell you that you have been working yourself to the fine edge of control. On two different operations, you got wedged into your own body and could not shift to defend yourself or others.”
Yval nodded. “I know, but I did manage to get a weapon and defend myself and those with me.”
“Understood, but we feel that you have been burning the candle at both ends. You need to take some time off, and the fey have an offer for you.”
She was so taken aback by the first part of his sentence that she nearly missed the second. “Wait...what?”