Symbiotic Mates: 3
Coming July 23, 2011
Ben, a Lycan falconer, lives on the outskirts of Arcadia, an oddball in the eyes of Lycan society. The wolves abide by a pack mentality and don't understand Ben's affinity for birds, especially in light of the ongoing feud between Lycans and the Kindred, vampires who can shift into hawks.
Talon, one of the Kindred, is shot down over Lycan territory and Ben rescues him. When Ben is injured, Talon returns the favor. Neither man realizes they've forged a connection that can never be broken, and their only hope for survival is to be together.
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Ben zeroed in on the ducks and moved closer to the river, the peregrine falcon perched on his leather glove. At just the right moment, he gave the signal and Majestic launched her attack. Suddenly, the tranquil scene exploded into a flurry of motion as the ducks, quacking furiously, flew off. Jess, wings flapping, took off after them like a torpedo locked on a target.
The small falcon swooped down on her quarry, striking it with a clenched foot, then circling back to catch the duck with hook-like talons. She hung on for dear life as the stunned mallard plunged back in the water, dragging her under until only her head remained visible. Ben debated diving into the chilly river after them, and was relieved when Jess hauled her prize out of the water.
The sharp crack of gunfire sent a bolt of fear through Ben's heart. His first thought was for Jess's safety and he studied the falcon, watching for signs of injury. Jess, clearly agitated but otherwise unharmed, dropped the hapless duck on the river bank and streaked back, screeching in protest. Relief turned to anxiety. Everyone in Arcadia knew Ben was a falconer and no one in the Lycan community would raise a weapon to his duck hawk. If Jess isn't the target, then who?
Another shot pulled his attention to the darkening sky. A black dot appeared in his vision and turned into a huge, threatening, prehistoric bird as it plummeted from the heavens.
The duck forgotten, Jess hovered in front of his face fluttering her wings, a sure sign that she wanted him to follow. Not that he needed convincing. If someone had bagged a vampire-hawk, he damn well wanted to see it; it might be his only chance. Vampires and the Lycans rarely interacted. They'd been enemies for more years than anyone could count, but an ancient treaty kept both groups in line—until recently.
The murder of two Lycans had been blamed on vampires, and even though no solid evidence had been found, emotions were running high. If one of the bloodsuckers had been caught in the act, Lycan justice would have demanded immediate retribution. But sometimes the difference between right and wrong isn't so clear-cut. Raptors were hunters of the sky, natural predators doing what nature programmed them to do. Surely such a unique creature, and one possessing human capabilities, deserved to live. Vampire or no, the image of such a beautiful animal lying lifeless in the dirt made Ben sick to his stomach. Even the worst criminal deserved a day in court, but then his opinions often differed from the pack. They perceived issues as black or white, while he saw shades of gray. Overcome with curiosity and just a little dread, he gave Jess a signal to lead the way. After a half-mile trek he found Kade standing over an immense pile of black feathers. The Lycan enforcer flashed a huge grin. "Good timing. I can use a hand with this buzzard."