Her plans to take care of the issue and return home quickly are ruined in short order. There’s a war brewing between the Lion and her old friend Derek over the love of Kai. One that has to be resolved just as fast as John needs saved.
Worse, the Raven has his sights set on Velli in hopes of her assistance. She doesn’t know what an ancient Spirit wants from her, but her mistrust of the bird means she wants to avoid him. Circumstance throws her right in his path, and she is intrigued by the mystery she finds.
Velli has to face too many battles that aren’t hers—until an attack on her children. As her world crumbles around her, she and Kane fight to save all the lives hanging in the balance.
It didn’t surprise her that Kane wasn’t swimming—the man hated water. Actually, he was terrified of it. Whether the fear came from the man or the Wolf, she didn’t know, but she found it ironic that he’d ended up mated with a woman strong in water magic.
Of course, he also had a daughter strong in it as well, as she kept proving with directed splashes right at her father. Velli almost called out to them, but right before the words left her mouth she noticed the Raven perched in a tree across the yard.
Rather than call attention to herself, even if she suspected Kane knew she was near, Velli backed away from the railing. She took a seat by the table and waited. Last thing she’d do was let the Raven have the upper hand by asking him to join her. She’d never been the best with patience, but she’d gotten better the past few years.
In time her patience was rewarded when the large black bird launched into the air. It swooped up until it almost disappeared into the clouds. Instead, it simply disappeared. She wasn’t fooled for one second, so he didn’t get the pleasure of her startling at his arrival perched on the chair beside her.
This time when the Raven spoke it didn’t encompass every molecule. The voice he used was quiet, personal, directed for her ears only. “I knew you would come.”
“Of course you did.” Unwilling to give him too much leeway or any hint of an upper hand, she plowed forward. “I came for John. Not you.”
“I know. The doctor-man is a good human.”
“Yes he is.” A conversation with the air was uncomfortable, but she didn’t know if she dared to face the Raven. She’d always fought against weakness, so she turned to face the bird. “Therefore if you harmed him intentionally for the purpose of drawing me here, I will not make your eternity easy.”
“I have done much in my time. Not all good, but not all bad. Harming the doctor-man is not something I have done. My magic was sound.” The Raven lifted his head. His wings fluttered and his beak clicked in a clear display of indignance. “There are humans that deserve such treatment. He is not one.”
“Am I?” The question was made in half-jest. A test to see where the bird lay on the judgmental scale. Once the question hung in the air she realized some sick part of her was truly curious what he thought. She kept her features still to fight against the wince. Sometimes her old wounds exerted themselves at the most random of times.
His head twisted as only a bird’s could until one cold black beady eye stared her down. “Curious that you would think so.”
“I didn’t think so. I don’t. I was just wondering if you would.”
“Hmmm.” His head twisted the other way. Once again his beak clicked several times before he shook out his feathers. In the midst of the sea of black, Velli could have sworn she caught a glimpse of gray but the Raven turned when he caught her staring. “You need me. I need you.”
“I am not making any sort of bargain with you, Raven.” She met the bird’s gaze levelly. In their whole conversation, this felt the most crucial to stick to her guns. “You say John is a good man. If you mean that you help him without recourse.”
“I will help the doctor-man.” He hopped from the back of the chair to the seat and inched closer. “You are not the least bit curious as to why an ancient creature such as myself would say they need you?”
“If I were, you’d never know.” Truthfully she was flat out dying of curiosity. None of it made much sense to her. The last thing she’d dare to do is tip her hat this early in the game. First she needed to make sure he helped John.
“Will you come speak to me again?”
“As I need to for my work.”
“No. Creature to creature. Once a day. No tricks. If there are tricks, you have permission to pluck my tail feathers.”
“It’s no fun with permission.”
If birds could grin, the raven was. His eyes gleamed with amusement and a low chuckle carried between them. “I promise to fight and peck.”
So the damn thing had a sense of humor, a wicked one at that. Speaking to him more often could be dangerous. She ran the risk of liking him. “We’ll see. Will you tell me what you’ve done now?”
“I can show you.” He spread his wing out toward her. “It will not harm you, but I will give you a taste of the magic used. This will show you what was done to him.”
“Nice try. What if the magic was unintentionally faulty? You could harm me.”
“I hadn’t considered that. I am certain my magic is sound.” He turned his head to stare at the clouds. “Return here tomorrow at the same time. I will have another way to show you.”
The Raven tipped his head toward her before he took off into the sky. Before he’d cleared the roof he completely disappeared.
“I heard that.”
An ADD tendency leaves her with a variety of interests that include singing, dancing, crafting, cooking, and being a photographer. She fights through the struggles of the day, knowing the battles are her crucible; she may emerge scarred, but always stronger. The rhythms to her activities drive her words forward, pushing her through the labyrinths of the heart and the nightmares of the mind, driving her to find resolutions to her characters' problems.
While busy creating worlds and characters as real to her as her own family, she leads an active online life with her blog, Redefining Perfect, which gives a real and sometimes raw glimpse into her life and art. You can most often find her popping out her 140 characters in Twitter speak, and on Facebook.