By Nancy Gideon
When I think of werewolves, I instantly have preconceived ideas: infected by bite or curse, change brought on by full moon, out of control when in beast form, waking with no memory of actions. I imagine huge, slobbering, brutish creatures driven totally by instinct, not rational thought. When I think shape-shifter, the impression is one of purposeful cunning and stealth. They are creatures who control their change, form, and actions. They offer infinitely more creative opportunities. Both are dangerous. Both can be sexy.
When I began populating my By Moonlight dark paranormal world, I wanted a bit of both: the fierce power of the werewolf with the intellect and sleekness of the shape-shifter. They roam the streets of New Orleans, able to blend, but preferring to stick to their own kind, always afraid of being exposed for what they are. I built a hierarchy for them: The Chosen, who are elegant, mentally superior, able to manipulate the mind, but not change form, and the Shifters, base, physical beings who are powerful, but leashed by Chosen control. Within the Shifter clans, they also have their own caste system, with Pure Bloods being the top, then status and power lessening as generations mingled with humankind.
And then I mixed the two together to create Max, the hero in the first four books, a Shifter who was MORE. While he struggled to discover who and what he was, my By Moonlight world expanded in delightfully complex ways.
HUNTER OF SHADOWS (Pocket/11-29-11), introduces a new complication, another side to Chosen/Shifter coin to make it into an interesting trifecta that’s explored through the relationship between Silas MacCreedy, a Shifter NOPD detective and Nica Fraser, an assassin for the Chosen. Here’s a sneak peek:
The secrets he knows about her could get him killed.
Transferring to the New Orleans Police Department, Detective Silas MacCreedy has a hidden agenda: to secure his clan’s place once again in the Shifter hierarchy. What he didn’t count on was stumbling upon a sexy assassin who could shred his best intentions and lead him into a dangerous dance that threatens to engage his heart.
But the ones he doesn’t know . . .
Monica Fraser knows just how to make a man beg—for his life. But she has no clue how to fight her attraction to the fiercely intense detective who seems determined to get in her way, both professionally and intimately.
. . . could kill them both.
When emotional attachments to the past and an unexpected glimpse of a different future have her questioning her deadly purpose, Nica must discover the truth about her secret abilities in order to free herself from the forces that control her. But that freedom comes with a price—trusting those she’s been ordered to eliminate.
“Gideon introduces complex new characters. Sparks fly immediately. Vivid writing, intriguing plot twists, and a satisfying ending will keep readers coming back to Gideon’s magical NOLA.”
Enjoy an Excerpt from HUNTER OF SHADOWS available 11-29-11:
Nica’s feet and shoulders ached from the busy night at Cheveux du Chien, and she was looking forward to a long, steamy shower. Then she saw Silas MacCreedy waiting at her door and her priorities changed.
He sat on the cold air register against the wall of windows that overlook the central courtyard below. He was wearing jeans, tennis shoes and an olive green T-shirt that temptingly accentuated his powerful chest and arms. The need to run her palms over that masculine terrain had her greeting rather breathless.
“MacCreedy. This is a surprise.”
He rose smoothly to his feet as her hungry gaze followed. She was wondering how long it would take to get him undressed and horizontal, until she focused on his expression. He was unsmiling, his mouth and eyes narrowed. No trace of her fiery lover from the night before warmed his posture or tone when he said, “Let’s talk inside.”
She ran her key card across the lock, a wary caution building. She was very aware of him, big and bold and potentially trouble at her back. He clearly wasn’t here for let’s-get-better-acquainted sex. Too bad for them both.
“I had to close out for Amber. Her little girl was sick,” she chatted as she moved down the hall in front of him, all of her muscles tight and her senses alert. “I hope you haven’t been waiting long.”
“No. Not long.”
Something in his voice had her nerves taut and tingling.
Don’t start something I’ll have to finish, MacCreedy. I really like you.
She placed her backpack on the coffee table and pulled off the white shirt she wore over a snug black tank top. “Can I get you something? I think I have more of that wine--“
“No. This isn’t a social visit.”
“So, why are you here?” She gestured toward the couch, hoping to maneuver him from his squared and readied stance.
“I think I’ll stand.”
So, that’s how it’s going to be. What a waste. She sighed. “What’s on your mind, MacCreedy?”
“I found those two men.”
Her attention targeted like a gun site. “Where?”
“I have them on ice. They’re part of my ongoing investigation.”
Investigation? It came together with an unpleasant click, like a well-hidden trap.
MacCreedy hadn’t been in that alley by chance. He hadn’t stepped in with no ulterior motives just to save her life. His plan all along was to save the two who could destroy her.
“I don’t care about your investigation,” she told him. His cop business wasn’t a blip on her radar, unlike their personal business had been. Few moments had passed throughout the day where intimate thoughts of him hadn’t hovered.
And he’d been using her. How very...disappointing.
“I don’t suspect you do,” he continued. “But I have to keep those two alive long enough to give statements.”
How much did he know about her? How much had he guessed? Why was he here, alone, to confront her?
Nica stepped closer, her movements deceivingly relaxed, until they were toe-to-toe. She placed her palm on his chest. His heartbeat was strong and steady. If he knew anything, he had nerves of wrought iron to stand there so cool and composed.
“What have they told you?” Her gaze held his while her hand eased upward to distractedly stroke his neck and the side of his face. Not a muscle moved beneath her light touch.
“All sorts of interesting things.” His tongue grazed her fingertips as they glided over his mouth, but his stare remained unblinking.
She stretched up to nuzzle his warm throat, to breathe in his scent and taste the heat of his skin with her lips. As she rubbed her cheek against his, she whispered, “What sort of things, lover?” She glanced up to find his stropped steel gaze upon her.
“Impossible things,” he replied as his hands settled lightly at her waist. “Things I never would have believed if you hadn’t left your fang prints behind.”
“You know Shifter females can’t change shape,” she reasoned quietly. Her pulse pounded wildly. He knew. She couldn’t let him leave this room with that knowledge, couldn’t let him tell anyone what he’d discovered. Everything she worked for, every sacrifice she’d made would be for nothing.
Primal self-preservation kicked in, and she backed away.
“So,” Silas asked, watching her closely, “if you’re not one of our females, what does that make you?”
“More dangerous than you could ever imagine. Tell me where they are, MacCreedy. I’d rather take you back into the bedroom for a nice long tumble than scoop your remains into a plastic bag.”
Silas laughed. “Having sex with you is about the last thing on my mind.” Not exactly true. “Don’t get out the plastic yet. You need me alive to find them.”
Nica laughed, too, a low throaty sound completely without amusement. “You’re wrong, hero. I can scent out those cowards without your help. So I guess that makes you . . . unnecessary.”
Even ready for her, Silas hadn’t anticipated her speed. She was on him before he could blink, and he was barely able to keep her snapping teeth from his neck.
She was everything he feared . . . and more.
There’s nothing more fun than taking an established legend and twisting it into something familiar, yet totally new. Start with a slathering beast, take away the control of the moon, add the ability to choose and manipulate at will, then throw in a little something extra, a little lagniappe, as they say in New Orleans, to cook up a sexy, powerful hero that’s far MORE than just fur and fangs. Look for him in my By Moonlight world with HUNTER OF SHADOWS on November 29, 2011.
For more on HUNTER OF SHADOWS and my other By Moonlight books, visit http://nancygideon.com or http://nancygideon.blogspot.com Also, join the fun at my virtual Haunted Open House, now open from October 24th until October 28th, for fun, games, drinks (I’m the designated driver!), special guest chatter, a costume contest, and lots of prizes! Stop by for a spooktacular time at: http://hauntedopenhouse.blogspot.com
Award-winning bestseller, Nancy Gideon is the author of over 50 novels, from historicals and contemporary suspense to paranormal and now, non-fiction how-tos on PR and Social Media for writers. She’s also co-written the screenplays for two Indie horror films now available on DVD! Her By Moonlight dark paranormal series for Pocket Books and Getting It Out There: PR and Social Media for Writers series through Wise Words Publishing are both ongoing and currently available. Nancy works full time as a legal assistant and is an admitted Netflix addict.
For a nice treat to celebrate Halloween, I’m offering one commenter chosen at random an advance copy of HUNTER OF SHADOWS! USA and Canada only, please. Comment below for a chance to win!
Werewolf or Shifter? Which is your favorite and why? What element of werewolf of Shifter lore most intrigues you?
To enter Nancy's contest for an ARC of Hunter of Shadows, answer her question above: Werewolf or Shifter? Which is your favorite and why? What element of werewolf of Shifter lore most intrigues you? Or comment on her post in some other way. The contest will close at midnight tonight and the winner will be announced tomorrow on this thread.