On the eve of her eighteenth birthday, Aurora Valente goes through 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 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, shaken to the depths of her soul.
Targeted Age Group:: 15-80
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I'm fascinated by shapeshifting and was intrigued by the idea of a young woman trembling on the verge of being an adult changing.
Mesmerized, I stared out the living room window at the froth-tipped waves of Lake Superior. I’d never heard the swells slap against the jagged rocks from inside the house before.
But I heard them now.
The phone rang and broke my concentration. I clapped my hands over my ears. The sound, unusually shrill, hurt my eardrums. Fumbling with the clip at my waist, I flipped open my cell, relieved to have the high-pitched tones cut off.
“Hello.” I glanced at the clean line of the walls, so close in color to the water, and tried to relax.
My name’s Aurora, but everyone calls me Rora.
“How was your date last night with James?” my best friend asked.
Cathy and I live in Bayforks, Wisconsin. Well, close enough. My aunt and I live a couple of miles out on a craggy outcrop that overlooks the water. Cathy’s a townie.
Even though Bayforks is small, it does a brisk tourist trade during peak seasons. Its claim to fame: the sea caves. Unfortunately, a natural gas inside gives off such a noxious odor, no one explores them. But they’re pretty to look at from the water.
“Well?” she asked impatiently. I paused. She continued to prattle. “He’s soooo cute. I’m jealous.”
“You had a date with Mike,” I reminded her, while I reached out with my other hand to finger the dove-gray drapes. I rubbed my cheek against them. Oh, that feels good. Velvet is such a sensuous material. It feels so decadent.
My voice box rumbled. A noise that sounded like a purr came out of my throat. My fingers tightened over the phone. I pressed my hand over my mouth. What the…?
“What did you say, Rora?” Cathy asked.
“Nothing.” I gulped and tried to get my bearings. “Tell me about your date with Mike.”
“Oh, Mike Schmike. Predictable. Dull. Boring. Tell me about your date.”
“It was strange.” My gaze centered on the restless ebb and flow of the waves as they hit against the rocks.
I should have just let it go. My best friend’s insatiably curious. We’ve shared everything since the first grade, but I wasn’t ready to share this. My date’s aftershave smelled so strong it made my eyes water and my throat burn. But weirdest of all—I had the strangest compulsion to lick it off his neck. Eww.
I’ve felt peculiar ever since yesterday. For one thing, my senses are heightened. I can see farther and clearer than before, especially in the dark. At least if last night’s anything to go by.
My sense of smell’s unbelievable, though not as good as my eyesight. At the moment, I possess a grace completely alien to me. Not that I’m a klutz mind you, but if there’s a crack in the sidewalk, my size nines will find it.
“How so?” Cathy repeated.
“I didn’t like his aftershave,” I said lamely.
“Hmm, you never mentioned that when we met him.”
“I didn’t notice it then. Listen, Cath, I need to go.” I really don’t want to talk about this. My body hurt. I felt odd, like my bones were ready to break through my skin. I think I’m running a fever.
“So you aren’t interested?”
“No.” Just thinking of his aftershave made me wrinkle my nose.
“Mind if I have a go at him?”
“Have at him.” I gave her his number.
She hung up, no doubt eager to give him a call.
I didn’t tell Cathy everything.
When my date came on to me last night, I hissed at him, bared my teeth, and extended my pink manicured nails like they were claws. How weird is that? I don’t think I’ll have to worry about him calling back.
A movement along the edge of the cliff caught my attention. A small rabbit nibbled at a tuft of clover growing between the rocks. I came to attention like a pointer. My nose quivered, my mouth watered. I twitched my butt.
Without thought, I bolted out of the house after the rabbit. My blood raced. I breathed in short, sharp pants. I could hear the creature’s heart pound and smell his warm vibrant flesh.
He took three frightened leaps and disappeared into the forest. I skidded to a stop, trembling so hard my teeth rattled. What’s wrong with me? I wanted to take a bite out of a poor, defenseless little bunny. I pursed my lips and screwed up my face. Gross didn’t begin to cover it.
This is way past PMSing. Tears welled up and spilled down my cheeks.
I turn eighteen tomorrow. Surely, there’s no connection.
A sharp wind blew off the water. My eyes closed. I stood perfectly still, except for shudders that racked my achy body as fear and revulsion washed over me like the loud pounding waves below.
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Sandra Cox lives in sunny North Carolina with her husband and numerous pets. Besides All Things Western she writes in several different genres including Paranormal YA. She is a vegetarian, animal lover, gardening and Muay Thai enthusiast.