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Thursday, October 17, 2019

Faith Hunter Shatter Bonds Tour: Of Cats and Cars PART 2 + giveaway

Of Cats and Cars—a story of Beast, copyright Faith Hunter: Part Two

Author’s Note: This is a short story that fits nowhere. The timeline isn’t perfect but the fans won this story by pushing Beast’s FaceBook page and getting us to three thousand Likes. It was seen online for 30 hours. It will eventually be placed in the timeline, edited, altered, and expanded. Enjoy!


Read Part 1 Here
Edmund went preternaturally still. 

Jane wasn’t stupid. Or unfair. He had a brilliant idea. He hoped. “One cow?” he asked, meeting the golden eyes, drawing on his mesmeric abilities. He had no idea if they would even work on the cat since they didn’t work on Jane, but when his Maserati was in danger, he would use all his wiles. “I have a … counter proposal,” he said, as if musing. “In return for not using my car, I offer this. The hunt shall be for two bovines with … with trees their heads, or bison, or even wildebeest, whichever Alex can locate to the west of us in Texas. This proposed hunt will take place in wild country, far from humans. And, should you agree to my terms, it will occur from the back of a Hummer—a large, tall vehicle set high off the ground used for hunting.” 

The Cat pricked her ears. Her purring stopped. She stared back at him with a predator’s hungry intensity. She didn’t try to tear off his face so he continued.

“I propose a luxury Hummer, with no top. A Hummer that can go overland at speeds that will rival the longhorn or the bison. Forty-eight hours on the ranch. Forty-eight hours to hunt, though only the animals agreed upon. No horses, no pets, no humans, no prey accept the two bovines. In a Hummer.” 

The cat chuffed softly. She was watching him from two inches away, her whispers barely moving on his cheeks. 

“All this will be in return for removing my car from ever being considered again. And … we will also fly there and back in the Lear jet,” he added.

The cat blinked, considering, her golden eyes on him as if he were a squirrel she might chase for fun. She chuffed again, harder, blowing her blood-stench breath in his face.

“That means she’s interested,” Eli said helpfully.

“Her interest is not enough,” Ed said. “This will be a rock-solid deal. A trip to Texas in the Lear, a hunt for two bovines, preferably wild, from a luxury model, modified hunting Hummer, over the course of forty-eight hours. And my car forever removed from the bargaining table.”

The cat released the pinprick of her claws and tapped his neck three times.

“Three bovines? No. We don’t have enough space even in the Council Chamber’s freezers for that much meat and we will not be hunting simply for hunting sake. We eat what we hunt or I will remove the offer from the table.”

The cat looked at him with adoration. She liked that statement. Interesting. But then, predators were carful to protect their meat and food sources. Historically, vampires knew that problem quite well. His kind had decimated hunting ranges before, leaving human carcasses and no food sources for miles around.

The cat tapped his neck three times, insistent, pushing. As cats are wont to do.

“No. The butchering and shipping of three massive longhorns or bison would be problematic. Two bovines. That is my offer. From the back of a Hummer. An all-night hunt with me, and then if you have not brought enough prey, an all-day hunt guided by Eli and Alex.”

“Hey! I’m not spending all day in the hot sun in a Hummer for your hunt,” Alex said.

Breast growled low, the vibration moving through Ed and the air in clear threat.

Eli chuckled. “I’m in. I’d like to bring down a meat animal or two, if we can find something interesting. I understand that some ranches in Texas cater to hunters. Maybe red stag or Scimitar Horned Oryx.”

“What if Beast misses and doesn’t get a cow?” Alex asked, taunting, laughing, watching them beneath his springy curls. He might be technically an adult but he was still annoyingly childishly human at times. “I mean, do you have to keep hunting to find another wild cow? She might miss and then we’d be back to your car.”

The cat turned her head to Alex and snarled silently.

“Sorry,” Alex said quickly. “Right. You don’t miss. My bad.”

The cat tapped twice with her right paw, agreeing to the hunt, or that was Ed’s interpretation.

“I think you got a deal,” Eli said.

She removed her claws, paws, and forelegs from Ed’s neck and dropped slowly to the floor. She stretched, in one of those positions used in yoga by humans. Casually, the Puma concolor strolled to Alex’s table-desk where his various tablets, laptops, and paraphernalia were piled. Fast as a vampire she struck. Knocked a stack of tablets to the floor with a clatter of breaking plastic. 

“Hey! What’s that for?” Alex demanded as she dropped her paw and strolled back to the kitchen. Her tail swished in satisfaction.

“I believe it was in response to impugning her valor and her skill as a hunter,” Ed said.

“Not the smartest thing you ever said, my brother,” Eli agreed.

“Dang cat,” Alex grumbled under his breath as he dropped to the floor in a squat and picked through the broken electronics. But Ed heard the irritation and so did the cat. She looked entirely too pleased with herself.

“Alex, would you be so kind as to search your databases for a ranch I might lease or rent for two days? One with wild longhorn cattle, bison or wildebeest?”

Alex looked up from his position on the floor and grimaced. “And I guess you want me to make the reservations and find you a Hummer she can jump out of to hunt? And then make sure the Lear is ready to flay and get you a pilot and a flight crew? What am I? Your personal tour reservations staff?”

“No,” Ed said, hiding his amusement. “You pointed out that the cat creature is the Dark Queen. You are the business partner to the Dark Queen. And she wants to go hunting.”

Alex muttered again, cursing under his breath. Edmund smiled, the motion barely there, and pulled his cell phone to finalize shipping his Maserati to France. He had just successfully negotiated a contract with a predator who could kill a vampire. How much harder could it be to negotiate with the warring Masters of the Cities of Europe as their Emperor? 

Then he looked down. His hand-made suit was covered in cougar fur. 

Scowling, Ed and rose to climbed the stairs to his rooms to shower and dress in clean clothing. He stank of cat.

***

Beast breathed out. Chuffed. Had left much hair and scent on Edmund. Had claimed Edmund. Watched as Ed walked up stairs. Loved Ed. Loved Ed more-than-five. Wanted Ed as mate. Ed and Bruiser and Gregoire. 

Jane would be mad.

*** 

Beast did not want to fly. Did not like to fly with wings. Did not like to fly in belly of plane. Wanted to be on ground with paws in dirt. But had only two days to hunt. Wanted to hunt in Texas. Had to fly.

Beast did not climb steps up to Lear, one-two-three and more-than-five, but leaped from ground up high, inside plane-door, to plane-floor. Human male at plane-door made mouse-squeak as Beast landed beside him. Smelled of fear and sweat and a little of urine. Beast chuffed. Walked inside belly of plane. Lapped at large water bowl. Smelled at small refrigerator. Ed’s and Jane’s plane smelled of Jane and dead cow and fresh cow roast. Decided was good plane. Beast padded to big chairs and climbed into dead-cow-skin-chair smelling of Jane. Put head down. Closed eyes. Yawned. Smelled Edmund and Eli and Alex come into plane. Went to sleep.

***
Their hunting group landed at the San Antonio International Airport after dark had fallen. They were escorted through back hallways so no one would panic seeing a cougar lose and free and, “Start a stampede.” Those were the words used by the chief of security when Edmund greased the way forward with a single large bill. He had brought a goodly number of them for just such reasons.

The driver of the luxury, topless Hummer with its elevated rows of seats had been less sanguine at the sight of Beast’s fangs, and had nearly swallowed his tobacco. It had taken a much smaller bill and only a slight pull with his vampire abilities to calm the man and implant a suggestion that the Puma was actually a large dog, for him to become agreeable. And talkative. Sam was a grizzled older cowboy who walked with a limp from an injury, and who was likely hired for his good-ol-boy attitude, his Western cowboy attire, the “chaw,” as Alex called it, and his stories. They secured their luggage to the back of the flat bed of the Hummer and took places inside.

Chattering at the top of his lungs to be heard over the engine and the wind noise, Sam drove them out of town, into the countryside. Edmund had forgotten how stunning the night sky was when city lights fell behind them, the stars a wash of brilliance above them, the moon a waning orb on the horizon. He breathed in the night air of desert country. It was spicy with trees and plants he couldn’t identify and rich with the scent of life—rattlesnake, rat, lizards by the hundreds, insects, rabbits, and father away, the scent of larger prey, animals he had no name for except bovine, goat, and predator cat, perhaps bobcat or lynx. Though he had traveled well, he never been to this part of the states, preferring the cities and their well-stocked hunting grounds, human culture, museums and music and theater.

Bu this … this was a sensory overload of a different sort. He felt his body relaxing as all the tension of war plans, travel plans to Europe, the pressure of schedules and conflict and meetings and duels began to slip away. He lounged back in his seat, and he didn’t even worry when the cat leaned against him, getting cat hair all over him.

Beast leaned against Edmund. Scent of Ed was all over Beast. Scent of Beast was all over Ed. Beast loved Ed. Beast did not love Sam. Sam talked. Sam talked all time. Beast was not sure that Sam took breaths between words. Sam was stringy and hard and smelled of chemicals and tobacco and alcohol that Eli called whisky. Sam would not taste good, but Beast might hunt Sam anyway to make Sam stop talking.


Shattered Bonds (Jane Yellowrock Book 13) 
by Faith Hunter
Oct. 29, 2019
400 pages
Published by Ace

ISBN 9780399587986
Jane Yellowrock must dig deep and find strength within herself if she is to survive in the latest novel in this New York Times bestselling series.

Jane Yellowrock is vampire-killer-for-hire, but her last battle with an ancient arcane enemy has brought her low. She seeks retreat in the Appalachian Mountains to grieve the loss of her friends, and to heal—or to die—from the disease brought on by her magic.

But malevolent elements in the paranormal community still seek to destroy Jane, and a terrifying foe stalks her, even into the safety of the hills. With nowhere to run and her body failing, the rogue-vampire hunter and her inner Beast must discover a way to defeat this new threat, and find a form that gives her a chance to fight another day.


About the Author:
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Faith Hunter is the New York Times and USAToday bestselling author of the Jane Yellowrock series, the Soulwood series, and the Rogue Mage series, as well as the author of 16 thrillers under pen the names Gary Hunter and Gwen Hunter. She has 40+ books in print.

Faith collects orchids and animal skulls, loves thunder storms, and writes. She likes to cook soup, bake homemade bread, garden, and run Class III whitewater rivers. She edits the occasional anthology and drinks a lot of tea. Some days she’s a lady. Some days she ain't.



TOUR STOPS
Oct. 14 | Slippery Words (review, excerpt #1) | Romance Junkies (Of Cats and Cars #1)
Oct. 15 | Books of My Heart (review, excerpt #2)
Oct. 16 | Urban Fantasy Magazine (review, Bruiser interview)
Oct. 17 | I Smell Sheep (Of Cats and Cars #2)
Oct. 18 | Urban Fantasy Investigations (Of Cats and Cars #3)
Oct. 19 | Tillyevanjones (review) | Angel’s Guilty Pleasures (excerpt #3)
Oct. 21 | Janet Walden-West (excerpt #4)
Oct. 22 | Quirky Cat’s Fat Stacks (review, excerpt #5) | Drops of Ink
Oct. 23 | Words I Write Crazy (review)
Oct. 24 | Welcome to My Dungeon (review, Beast interview)
Oct. 25 | Scorching Book Reviews (review, excerpt #6) | Gizmo’s Reviews (review, Of Cats and Cars #4)
Oct. 27 | www.Ken-Schrader.com (excerpt #7)
Oct. 28 | drey’s library (review, excerpt #8)
Oct. 29 | Romance Junkies (review) | Book Junkiez (Of Cats and Cars #5) | The Irresponsible Reader (review, excerpt #9)
Oct. 30 | Urban Fantasy Investigations (review) | The Genre Minx Book Reviews (review, excerpt #10)
Oct. 31 | The Reading Addict (review, excerpt #11)
Nov. 1 | Diane’s Book Blog (review, excerpt #12)



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15 comments:

  1. I've read all the paper books in the series to date. I really liked the earlier ones for their grittiness and her wit while fixing her VW and cleaning the clocks of all the moron's that annoyed her.

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  2. "Have you read the entire series? Which book is your favorite so far?" I, alas, have not read the entire series!

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  3. I am on book 4 I believe and loving it so far. Can't wait to read more adventures with Jane and Beast

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  4. I'm working my way through the series. Lots of books to read, but I do love Jane and Beast.

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  5. I haven't read any of the series yet but it sounds great and I'm looking forward to checking it out :)

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  6. Loving Of Cats and Cars, Beast is Best Hunter! Look out Ed.

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  7. This is a great series and I am loving this short story!

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  8. I've only read the first 3 so far. The rest of the series is in my Mount TBR!

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  9. I've read all the paper books in the series to date.

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  10. I've read the first three books. Of those, Blood Cross was my favorite.

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  11. I haven't read any yet! Looking forward to. Thank you

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