Cover Artist: Sour Cherry Designs
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This is a work of fiction. All names, characters,
and places are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual events, locales,
organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
To my sister-in-law, Elizabeth Jacobson.
You’ve helped me so much with my career, supporting me by setting up my FB page
pack, promoting it, and offering your
invaluable help in medicine. You’re a knowledge bank I truly rely on and am
And she wants me to tell her ‘bestie’ “I love
you” for her.
THE VAMPIRE’S BAT
Doctor Seamus Rossi leaned over and peered into the
lenses of the microscope in front of him. Usually he had his alpha’s youngest
brother, Reese, next to him eagerly learning whatever Seamus was willing to
teach, but today Reese was using his near boundless energies helping to set up
for the pack’s first get-together being held tomorrow. Not even Seamus’s nurse
Katie, was here to help.
Seamus rolled the knob to bring the sample under the
scope into clearer focus. He was trying to find the compounds used in the drug
that had knocked out the alpha’s sister, Havana. His thoughts were interrupted
by the sound of flapping wings. Looking up, he saw Nix, in his falcon form,
landing on the perch he’d set up next to the window. Seamus put on a smile. “How
was the flight?”
The bones and ligaments popped and snapped while he
was watching the falcon’s feathers recede as Nix took on his human form. Nix
grabbed the sweats that were sitting nearby. “Rough,” he answered. “The muscles
are still sore. The wound burned when I exerted myself, and I had to take
frequent stops. Luckily we have plenty of trees.”
“I’m not surprised. Avian shifters use their muscles
differently than land based breeds. It’s easier to limp than it is to stay
“That brings me to something else I think I might
have figured out.” Now donning a shirt to go with his
Nix leaned a hip against the counter Seamus was working at. “I think I know why
no one can follow that scent you’ve been so obsessed about. I can’t make out
what breed, but I believe she’s avian. Her scent reaches up higher than the
trees most of the time. But because of wind currents and thermals…”
“…it makes her trail inconsistent,” Seamus finished.
“And it would also explain why we were able to get spotted hints of her scent
closer to the ground.”
“Well, at least you can shoot
warping alien theory down.” Nix faced lighted into a smiled as he chuckled a
little before he got serious again. “I tried to follow it, but my avian breed’s
strong suit is sight, not smell.”
“Huh, I know.” Seamus rubbed the ache in his neck. He
hadn’t gotten much sleep since he first got a whiff of the honeydew and jasmine
scent that sporadically drifted around the clearing.
Nix crossed his arms and looked out the windows from
across the room. “She seems to only come around at night, which could mean owl
or bat. I couldn’t track any specific place she could be staying. The only
consistency is her visits here. I think she can scent you are her mate. ”
“But why not show
I am her
, the pull should entice her
to approach me.”
“Maybe she’s scared.”
“She should also know that, as her beloved, I would
never let any harm come to her.”
“Maybe she doesn’t know or understand it. After my
family’s murder, I would have stayed in my shifted form and lived off hunting,
if it weren’t for Enzo’s family taking me in. Maybe something has happened and
for some reason she doesn’t know about mates.”
Seamus shrugged one shoulder. “Plausible. That only
reaffirms the importance of capturing her. So if she’s a flyer, and only comes
around at night…” Seamus drifted off into his thoughts. He had to think of a
way to communicate with this shifter and find out once and for all if she was
in fact his beloved, or if she was one of those rare cases of just strong
allure. And more importantly, how could he help her?
Feeling Nix’s hand on his shoulder, he looked up at
his avian friend.
“You’re not alone. We’ll figure it out,” said Nix.
Seamus nodded, but his shoulders slouched. A sick
worry churned in his gut. What could possibly have happened to make his
possible beloved so afraid to approach him? He couldn’t think of any answer
that wasn’t heartbreaking. If this was his beloved, or even if she wasn’t, she
needed help and a healing of the heart.
“With your permission, I’d like to run this info by
and ask if we can get a flying group together to try
and spot her tonight. Tyler might even help,” Nix suggested.
Seamus contemplated his friend’s request. He hated
revealing personal difficulties because they made him feel weak, and
embarrassed. But the myth that vampires could turn into bats were only just
that, a myth. He had no way of tracking this shifter in flight. Seamus sighed
and nodded his head.
I’d better go with
you. Let me put these samples away first.” As he gathered the samples and
stored them, he decided to change the subject. “How is it going with
? She’s out with her dad in the field taking
measurements, is that right?”
Nix brightened at the subject of his mate. A twinge of
envy pulled at Seamus’s chest, but he kept it buried. He was happy for his
friends who had recently found and mated their destined mates.
“Actually her father is doing all the airfield
measurements while she and her mother are determining which group of trees to
put the treehouse in. Mate or not, that kind of cackle is something I was happy
to steer clear of. They want to make sure everything is ready for that
specialist who’s arriving Sunday.”
After finishing up, Seamus took some sterile wipes and
wiped down the microscope and then the counter before throwing the wipes away.
Grabbing his bag, he motioned for Nix to lead the way.
“You’re taking a medical bag?” Nix gave him a dubious
“We seem to have a medical emergency on average every
other day. My calculations say we are overdue, and I’m just keeping ready.”
Nix laughed, and Seamus allowed himself to chuckle
along with him. “Seriously though,” Nix said, “I think you’re right. And
complains that you are overdoing it.”
He scoffed at the mention of their friend. “Yes, well,
one day he will be glad I was ready, because I’m sure he’ll need it someday.”
“Yeah, probably when he finds his mate and she kicks
They both shared a good laugh as they walked out into
the warm sun. The day was warm with white
fluffy clouds slowly
sailing along in the slight winds. The air was sweet with fresh mowed grass as
it was being cut for the big event. Other pack members were weeding and setting
up tables, and the barbeque pit was being washed down.
The duo stepped inside the main house. The cooler air
washed over them as they made their way to the office.
stood over a desk with Enzo discussing a route to take on the run tomorrow
night. The two waited patiently, watching the alpha and
the careful planning. They were putting a lot of thought into it
since there were going to be several different animals on the run, and they
were including the human mates and vampires.
greeted them cheerfully.
“Seamus, Nix, glad you two are here
e were thinking of a hayride for the non-shifting
members, which includes
the kids. That way we all can
go on the run. What do you think?”
Seamus raised his eyebrows and gave a thoughtful look.
“I think that sounds like a great idea. Are you going to use a tractor, or go
the old fashioned way and use horses?”
“We don’t have time to purchase horses and train them
to be calm around our shifted forms,”
“And I don’t think anyone would lend us their horses without accompanying them.
So we found this great tractor and trailer setup for sale and purchased it.”
“Sounds like fun. Who’s going to be driving it?” Nix
“Well actually,” said
“Tyler said he could get one of his guards to drive. And since we plan on
everyone being on the run, while one of them is driving the tractor, the other
will be staying at the house to ensure it is safe to return to.”
Enzo added, “I told
thought it would be a great way to let the kids feel like they were a part of
the pack, and it will allow the parents to join. Especially the human ones who
have never been, and otherwise will never
, on a
“Sounds like a great plan. It keeps the cubs in one
place, easy to watch, and for the shifters with non-shifter mates, it allows
them to keep their mate close and enjoy the experience with us,” Nix added.
Seamus saw the look of excitement on Nix’s face that
. They both had human mates, and it
sounded like a great plan to involve them. Seamus smiled at the group. “This is
a great way to get everyone on some equal level so there’s no feeling of more
or less. I like it.”
“That is the plan,”
said as he rubbed his chin. “I’ve had to deal with a couple of squabbles
already, due to breed differences. Most things, in any pack or coven or
whatever, are run basically the same, but sometimes there are small or even
subtle differences that they have grown accustomed to that they expect to be
the same here. I didn’t want any pack member to feel segregated.”
“And running together will bond them,” Enzo added.
“Are you going to serve hot apple cider or hot
chocolate on the ride?” Nix asked.
and Enzo straightened up and looked at each other. “That’s a really good idea,”
“Yeah, it is.”
at Seamus and Nix as if just realizing there might be some other reason why
they were there. “So did you two need something?”
Seamus motioned for Nix to do the talking. Nix didn’t
argue. He turned to the alpha and beta. “I stretched out my wings today, and I
believe I figured out some of the mystery of the elusive scent. I believe she’s
a flyer, possibly an owl or bat shifter. She comes out only at night. The scent
is more solid up in the air, but I couldn’t follow it anywhere specific because
the day had already broken it up too much. She seems to visit frequently around
Seamus’s place. We think she may sense Seamus is her mate, but for some reason
or other is too afraid to come near. We wanted to ask permission for help to
set something up tonight to spot her, maybe even to try and make contact.”
“Wow. That makes sense about her fickle scent trail.
No wonder we couldn’t seem to get a good lock on it.”
huffed out an amused snort. “That’ll be fun to tell
that his morphing alien idea was wrong.”
“That’s what I told Sea.”
chuckled then looked thoughtful. “What did you two have in mind?”
Again, Seamus indicated that Nix ask. He seemed to be
the one who had the idea, and Seamus really didn’t know what to do about it.
“I wanted to ask Tyler and the gargoyles to help since
they are all flyers. I was hoping to set up something tonight, around the
took a while to think it out. “Something has her scared enough not to come
forward. You’ll need to be careful that you don’t spook her. It could be more
harmful to her if she felt she was threatened. Seamus, I leave it up to you,
but I would say you should try to communicate with her. Try to find a way to
convince her to come to you on her own. If it is your beloved, I know you’ll
want to rush the process, but you’ll want to do it right. I’ll let you talk to
the gargoyles when they wake from roost. We can at least get eyes on her.”
“I understand.” Seamus hid his uncertainty, but
was right. If this was his beloved, he couldn’t
afford to make a mistake with her. Seamus excused himself and made his way
outside. Sitting on the porch, he tried to think of ways to communicate with
his reclusive beloved.
Nix slowly stepped out onto the porch and sat next to
him. “You don’t have to do this alone. Whatever you need, just ask.”
“I know that. Thanks, Nix.” Seamus didn’t want to turn
friends away. He suspected that maybe the falcon wanted to make sure the
elusive shifter had a home just like he had needed when he was younger. How
much of his past was driving Nix to help him? Seamus wasn’t going to ask.
Does it really matter?
The girl needs us no matter what. And if she really is a flyer, I
would need someone else who could fly to help.
“So do you have a plan?” Nix asked.
If you really want to help, go grab the keys and you can head into town with