All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost; the old that is strong does not wither, deep roots are not reached by the frost. From the ashes a fire shall be woken, a light from the shadows shall spring; renewed shall be blade that was broken, the crownless again shall be king.
― J.R.R. Tolkien
Now ask yourself this: What if the Native American history we learned as children isn’t precisely right? Is it possible the history books—books written by the White Man—are nothing more than a combination of a few correct facts and many inaccuracies? Could there be more than what we were taught about this proud group of people?
Jason would tell you that long ago The Great Spirit, who they called Wha-tay, created Mother Earth, an untouched land filled with beauty and life. Then her children, The People, were allowed to inhabit the land. The People settled at The Tree of Life—the soul of Mother Earth. The People believed the universe was bound together by the spirits within all natural life—from plants, animals, humans, water, and even the earth itself.
When a child was born to The People, that child was joined with a spirit, a totem. Could be a land spirit, a water spirit, a plant spirit, or an animal spirit. And once bound, that person had the ability to use the gifts the spirit had.
But Time didn’t stand still and, as it moved forward, it brought with it the White Man, who left in his wake a trail of tears and destruction. Very few of the original People survived—and those who did retained the ability to shift, or use whatever ability their totem spirit had gifted them with.
*grin* And welcome to my world of shifters, lol. ^_^
Shadows in the Night
~A Leap of Faith Novel
Blurb:When Chip Riley's beloved granny passes away, she leaves him all her money, her land, and a house that needs some tender love and care. She never mentioned the legacy comes with a Native American shifter who intends to claim Chip as his mate.
Jason Sky has lived since buffalo roamed the land. When his totem spirit, a black cougar, saves a little girl, he doesn’t realize that generations later, her grandson will become his mate, leaving him to take on a modern man with modern ideas. But that’s the least of his problems.
Garon, another shifter with a long-held hatred for Jason, plots to kidnap Chip and lure Jason to his death. Soon Chip finds himself in an untenable position between a rock and a hard place. A leap of faith may be the only way to save himself and the man he’s learned to love.
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase
Chip scowled at the phone as he sipped his warm, forgotten beer. Well now, that was just plain gross. “Tonight’s not good. I think I’m just going to hang out here.”
“On a Friday night? Have you lost your mind?”
Chip leaned back, feet on the coffee table, and turned the volume down on the TV. “I’ve lost something, but it’s not my mind.”
After a short, intense conversation, he hung up. Once he’d explained what had happened, Simon tried nicely to talk him into coming on to the bar. When that hadn’t worked, Simon threatened to show up at his apartment with all their friends in tow. Knowing Simon meant it, Chip promised to come to the bar. The last thing he needed was for all of them to show up at his home. He’d been friends with the blond-haired, brown-eyed man since college. Simon was what Chip called a twink. He was a little on the short side, skinny, and young-looking, even though they were both twenty-three.
Chip showered quickly and dressed in an old, ripped-up, faded pair of black Levi’s and a black, short-sleeved knit shirt. He slipped his feet into his cowboy boots and grabbed his keys. Thirty minutes later, he was seated at the table with his friends. The bar was nothing fancy, but it had an open and relaxed atmosphere. It was clean, the food was cheap but good, and the drinks weren’t watered down. Apparently, Simon had passed the word about him losing his job, because no sooner did he sit down than the owner, Gus Hawkins, placed a beer in front of him.
“I heard what happened. Sorry, man, it sucks all the way around. This one, and the next if you want it, is on the house.”
Chip didn’t know the owner well, but they had spoken a few times. Most everyone called Gus “Hawk.” He liked the guy, and his friend Simon was in lust with him. “Thanks, Hawk. I guess bad news travels fast, huh?”
“Yeah, it does. Simon told me.” Hawk shrugged as he glanced back at someone sitting at the main bar. “But things have a way of working out.”
“Hope they work out in the next few weeks.” Chip raised the glass and nodded at Hawk. “Thanks, again.”
“No problem.” Hawk left after quickly running his eyes over Simon.
“Oh my God, he’s so damn sexy,” Simon breathed to Chip. “I swear, I don’t know what kind of aftershave or whatever he uses, but the scent drives me nuts. Makes me what to climb in his lap and lick him all over.”
“Down, boy.” Chip took a sip of his beer. Funny, he hadn’t smelled anything. Hawk was a big man, tall and well defined with muscular arms. He had short dark-brown hair with natural red highlights and hazel eyes. There was a tattoo on his right bicep of a bird. “Why not make a play for him? For the past two weekends you’ve sat in here and made googly eyes at the man, but done nothing.”
Simon looked down at his glass, and for a moment the carefree, happy attitude that was so him, slipped. “I’ve seen the guys he talks to, Chip. All big guys, just like him. And older too. See that one he’s talking to now—the one with the long black hair?”
Chip turned to the bar. Oh yeah, he’d seen the guy earlier. He had his back to them, though, so Chip couldn’t get a good look at him. “So?”
“He’s as far away from being a twink as you can get.” Simon frowned at the dark-headed man. “If that’s what interests Hawk, then I don’t have a chance. That guy’s tall, built, and I swear, there’s this air of danger about him. Just like Hawk.”
“Yeah, Hawk does have this… I don’t know what to call it. Edge might be a good word.” Chip glanced back at the bar. The guy talking to Hawk had caught his attention from the moment he’d entered the bar. That hair alone had Chip itching to run his fingers through it—it reminded him of a black silken waterfall. No one he knew had hair that long, and this man had hair down to the middle of his back. From what he could see, the stranger had nicely tanned arms. He wished the guy would turn around so he could see his face.
“That’s as good a word as any.” Simon sighed. “However you want to put it, the fact is Hawk intimidates me. I want to talk to him, but….”
Chip dragged his attention away from the guy at the bar. “Yeah, well, don’t go giving up just yet. I saw that look he gave you before he walked away.”
Simon perked up. “He did, didn’t he? Wonder if….”
Chip picked up the menu and ordered a couple of appetizers. If he was going to have a beer or two, then they needed food. He split his time between trying to catch a glance of the guy at the bar, talking to his friends, watching the big screen TVs, and listening to Simon plot and plan how to catch Hawk’s attention—and if Hawk was gay or bi. There were times he wanted to beat Simon’s head on the table, then maybe his own. Hell, at this point, maybe even Hawk’s. This game these two played was getting old, and Simon just wasn’t brave enough to make the first move. No straight man looked at another man the way Hawk’s eyes seared into Simon—that’s a fact.
By midnight, Chip was tired and ready to go home. Simon and the rest of their little gang tried to talk him into staying longer, but he’d had enough. As he was leaving, he glanced back at the main bar. The man he’d been eyeing all night had left at some point when he wasn’t looking. Disappointed, Chip made his good-byes, thanked Hawk again, and left.
He drove home, paying careful attention to the speed limit. He’d had maybe a beer and a half and plenty to eat, but still… the last thing he needed was a damn ticket. When he arrived at the apartment building, he parked in his usual spot. Immediately he noticed the antique truck several vehicles down from him.
“Huh, wonder who this beauty belongs to?” The damn thing looked as good as the day it was built. “Never seen it here before.”
Chip admired the truck a few minutes before heading down the breezeway to the back of the complex where his apartment was located. As his luck would have it, the light was out.
“Well, great, isn’t this just nice and dark?” Chip made a mental note to call the manager in the morning and report it.
This part of the apartment building was isolated, and having no light back here was not a good idea. It was already dark enough with the light on. He’d wanted an apartment in the back because there was a small ravine with woods close by. He’d actually seen a fair amount of wildlife back there, which brought back nice memories. It reminded him of his granny’s home where he’d spent most of his summers. Of course, that meant he didn’t get light from the street.
“Whew. Smells like we got ourselves a tomcat around here.” Chip wrinkled his nose as he opened his door. The smell of ammonia was heavy. “I think it’s taken a shine to my little patio area. Wow, that’s strong. God, I hope someone around here isn’t feeding it.”
Chip made a mental note to ask the manager if they could do something about the smell. He locked the door and threw his keys on the bar. He cleaned up his little living area and turned out the lights. With nothing else to do, he got ready for bed.
THE outline of something big and dark moved out of the ravine and crept up the small bank to the back of the apartment buildings. After sniffing the air for danger, it approached Chip’s apartment. He knew what a chance it was taking, but the need to check on the one he wanted drove him to take the risk. Chip hadn’t drunk much that night, but still….
Tomcat… really? The creature shook his massive head. At least you didn’t drink yourself silly tonight over losing your job, then get behind the wheel.
The animal knew where Chip lived, thanks to his granny. For years, he’d kept a check on the human. He was tired of waiting, dammit, but he had promised Chip’s granny he’d give the human time. Little did Chip know the time limit on that promise was about to run out. Death stalked the land; he sensed it. And when death struck, Chip would grieve—for that matter, so would he—but the time was approaching.
He peeked through the blinds of Chip’s bedroom window. Chip was a sheet-covered lump in the middle of the bed, hugging a pillow. The big cat’s heart ached. He could feel Chip’s desperation from where he stood.
Hang in there. It won’t be much longer now. Unfortunately, things are going to get worse before they get better.
M.A. Church lives in the southern United States and spent many years in the elementary education sector. She is married to her high school sweetheart and they have two children. Her hobbies are gardening, walking, attending flea markets, watching professional football, racing, and spending time with her family on the lake.
But her most beloved hobby is reading. From an early age, she can remember hunting for books at the library. Later nonhuman and science fiction genres captured her attention and drew her into the worlds the authors had created. But always at the back of her mind was the thought that one day, when the kids were older and she had more time, she would write a book.
By sheer chance she stumbled across a gay male romance story on the web and was hooked. A new world opened up and she fell in love. Thus the journey started. When not writing or researching, she enjoys reading the latest erotic and mainstream romance novels.
Facebook: M.A. Church http://www.facebook.com/pages/MA-Chur...