I traveled across two continents to guide and protect the shifter clans during the exodus to our new home in the Ximeran system. Though my journey was hard, my ancestors promised me happiness with a mate when I finish my tasks. The ancestors were wrong. My mate doesn’t want me, and I convince myself that fulfilling my duties will be enough. My snow leopard and I both know I’m lying. We want him. And despite his words to the contrary, we know he wants us, too.
Yet there are those who plot against me. Someone is stealing shifters from their homes, and the thief is none other than the brother of the male chosen to be my mate. Can we work together to stop him? And can we find love despite everything that stands against us?
Praise for The Leopard Mage (Shifter's Mates 3)
"Told from both Daiyu and Dakar’s perspectives, you find out more about the plans for the shifters on Ximera, plus just how bad the earth is. We get hints about Soledad and Markon, and catch up to Norkad’s antics too. These characters are all extremely well-rounded out, and the world-building continues to delight. There were no editing or grammatical errors that disrupted my reading, and I was completely caught up in the story. An excellent story, guaranteed to keep your interest. I absolutely recommend it."
-- 4 Stars from Moonflower, Long and Short Reviews
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The Leopard Mage (Shifter's Mates 3)
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2018 Raisa Greywood
Legends say that the snow leopard was a gift from the ancient gods, those ephemeral ancestors of natural spirits who had cared for the tiny, insignificant planet I’d been stolen from. It used to be called blue, but was now the gray and brown of a dying world.
I didn’t know if the failure was because of our inattention. Did the storms come because we insulated ourselves in the Tibetan mountains, ignoring the increasing disquiet of the ground under our feet? Or had it been a completely random occurrence?
When stars die, they take whole solar systems with them like death brides in some ancient cultures. Instead of a pretty virgin, dying stars demand whole civilizations as comfort for their afterlife. Earth’s single sun wasn’t quite dead, yet, but its catastrophic spasm of mortality had doomed all life on Earth.
I wished I could read my ancestor Chen Xifeng’s writings. I’d found them in Canada, stored carefully as if they waited for my arrival. They waited still, tucked carefully in the pack tossed haphazardly in a corner. Her mix of Mandarin and Szechuan confused me, even though I knew she’d written the Chinese script to confuse a casual glance. Her hand-painted texts were a mixture of complicated formulas and speculation. She’d believed the storms to be a test -- one we’d failed in a most spectacular fashion -- and had set a surprisingly accurate time frame for the collapse of the planet.
The door to my cell opened and I steadied my breathing. I didn’t worry about the new creature who had come. His loud, strident voice didn’t concern me, and I didn’t bother to open my eyes to look at him.
He smelled of death and sickness. His steps stuttered, punctuated with loud clicks of a cane or crutch. The first time he’d visited, he’d borne the scent of his own hot blood, along with the unmistakable rangy musk of a strong tigress of breeding age.
The Andreyev Panteris was alive and well, and judging by the smell of blood, very, very angry. I’d had to hide a smile. Xifeng had written she would be the most powerful Panteris ever to exist, and I could smell that she hadn’t yet come into her full ability.
“Has she woken at all?”
I perked my ears to listen to the soft words.
“No, Commander Norkad. We’ve eased up on the meds just in case she’s having a reaction, but there hasn’t been any change to her heart rate or respiration.”
“All right.” The sick male sighed heavily. “It’s probably easier to transport her like this. Just keep an eye on her and hope she doesn’t shift into anything too big to manage. I don’t get paid enough to lose any more body parts over this fiasco.”
I heard footsteps and the door opened. “Are we on course for --”
The door closed, cutting off whatever he’d been about to say. I stifled my growl of disappointment at not learning our destination. I would have to be content that no additional drugs had been injected into our body. It wasn’t difficult to purge them, but the effort left us weakened. Not difficult didn’t mean it wasn’t tiresome, and we often slept many hours afterward.
I closed my eyes and settled my breathing, deciding to spend my time more productively and meditate on the pale gray eyes of my genetic mate. I’d caught a glimpse of his photo before I’d been summarily loaded into my current home. I found it interesting that a male of a different species and not from Earth would share eye coloration with my leopard.
I’d often tried to reach him through my meditation, but I’d never been successful. It was a skill that required many years of study, and I wasn’t old enough to have developed it with any facility. Even so, I sometimes thought I could smell him. Dakar’s scent was an enticing mixture of ice and pine mixed with musk. My leopard wanted to bury her face in the enticing perfume and roll. I had to agree with her.
I let myself drift. Maybe I’d get lucky today.
* * *
I smiled faintly and lowered my head toward the female wearing blue Council robes. She didn’t look like she cared for them much and scowled as the sleeves trailed into the plate of steamed mara in front of her. The scent of grakon tickled my nose. I’d always liked it, and War Mate Renata appeared to enjoy the spicy root as well.
“Commander Dakar, why haven’t you found Chen Daiyu yet?” she asked. A hint of irritation laced her tone, but it was no greater than my own.
“I’ve been researching snow leopards, Councilor. They are secretive and shy. Daiyu will be hiding if she’s managed to get herself free as Soledad did.”
Neither of us mentioned the trail of bodies the jaguar had left behind. She’d taken matters into her own paws and had begun to mete out justice to anyone who had been a known associate of Norkad’s. Worse, none of us could figure out how she’d managed to stay hidden so long.
I wasn’t really even sure why I was here. I’d submitted my sample to quiet my science officer’s nagging. He’d been on the original team that had determined the possibility of matches with the Earth females. I’d thought nothing would come of it and forgot all about it until I received notice that a mate had been found.
I had no idea what I was going to do with a mate. My duties kept me too busy to cater to the whims of a female, no matter how enticing. I hadn’t been a monk, of course. There were pleasures to be had in the Mendaran brothels for anyone with the right price. Courtesans knew better than to demand more attention than I would give.
I also chose not to mention the strange dreams I’d been having. Daiyu was a beautiful woman, fine-boned and delicate with the most amazing brown eyes I’d ever seen. Her hair fell past her hips in a streaming platinum wave, the gray incongruous with her youthful face. It would not have been surprising to have erotic dreams of my genetic mate, yet that wasn’t the case at all.
It was almost as if she tried to speak, but she was too far away for me to hear. When I tried to touch her, she vanished, and I would have to wait another night or two to see her again. I shook my head. Renata had been speaking, and I hadn’t been paying attention.
“I’m sorry, could you repeat that?”