NOTE: Please help us welcome talented Ellora's Cave author, Kathy Kulig whose new book Damned and Desired released yesterday!
Thanks so much, Regina, Anne and Kelley for having me as a guest on your blog.
Shapeshifters in Paranormal Romances are Hot.
Shapeshifters continue to be hot sellers in the paranormal romance genre and there are quite a variety of them: Werewolves, leopards, tigers, bears, jaguars, coyote, various birds, reptiles and dragons. There are also shapeshifers who can change into anything they can touch: a person, animal or object.
I think predatory animals, both real and fantasy, make the best shapeshifters for romance novels because the hero/heroine take on the persona of that animal. Predatory animals show strength, power, intelligence and control—all characteristics typical of an Alpha hero. Even though the Hare is a shapeshifter in the Native American folklore, I wouldn’t use that myth in my story because a rabbit for a hero doesn’t seem very heroic or Alpha-male material to me.
A number of my stories involve shapeshifters or a twist on an ancient myth. In my series Demons in Exile, the shapeshifting trait comes from an ancient Norwegian shapeshifting ability called Eigi Einhamr (not one-skinned) where a person can shift into any animal by putting on the animal skin and willing to become that animal.
I also incorporate Native American mysticism. Several years ago I read books by Lynn V. Andrews: MEDICINE WOMAN and JAQUAR WOMAN and have been fascinated by the Native American myths and traditions ever since. I once met a shaman because of a published article I wrote on lucid dreams. The shaman called me a Rainbow Warrior. Not quite sure what he meant but I think it was a compliment.
DAMNED AND DESIRED by Kathy Kulig
Release date: 01/06/10 at Ellora’s Cave
ISBN: 978 14199 24699
Blurb: She’s a demon, he’s a shapeshifting leopard. From their first meeting in the Arizona desert, passion ignites and trouble begins. As a demon, Sakari Lock must harvest lifeforce energy through sexual seductions to sustain her exiled world. But when Sakari meets Brad, she breaks the number one rule of Anartia—Don’t get personal with your quarry.
Physician’s assistant Brad Montag is drawn to Sakari’s lustful advances with a blazing desire he can’t explain, unaware of how dangerous she is. No matter how enticing, she’s a complication he doesn’t need until he can conquer his past and regain control of his shapeshifting abilities. Sex this wicked and good can only lead to disaster.
When immortals from an alternate dimension try to free their exiled world, Brad is caught in the middle of a battle that could destroy not only him, but the land he loves.
Footsteps approached in his direction and he estimated they stopped only a few yards behind him. And there he was with his bare ass hanging out for all the world to see.
A woman laughed.
Slowly, Brad turned around pulling a corner of the fur diagonally across him to cover his engorged penis. The adrenaline pumping through his veins had the added affect of giving him a hard on.
“Do I dare ask?” A woman stood there smiling at him, her hands propped on her hips, giving him a mocking grin.
She was stunning. The one-shouldered white dress clung to all her luscious curves and a gold braided belt crisscrossed the bodice accentuating her breasts. Her outfit, her sleek black hair and exotic eyes gave him the impression that she’d stepped out of a Cleopatra movie where she was playing the starring role. He nodded in her direction and answered with an equally smart ass retort. “Toga party, right?” What else could it be?
“No,” she said irritated.
“What are you doing out here?” he asked.
Maybe she was one of those New Agers meditating or something. What was she doing out there all alone surrounded by the vast expanse of flat desert and dusty sage brush? And why would she approach a naked stranger in the middle of the night? Either she had a lot of nerve or was completely mad.
She appeared to think for a minute. “Taking a walk but now I’m late for work,” she said.
He gave a short laugh. “Work? Where do you work?”
She didn’t answer. Something in her eyes made his need for sex even worse, despite the urge to shift.
She shot him a mischievous look. A flicker of something passed through her eyes and his balls drew up tight. Moving closer, she reached out a hand and touched the fur. “What kind of animal was it?”
“Did you kill it?” Her nails caressed the fur and he thought about her doing the same to his balls and he shivered with desire.
“No, it was passed down in my family.”
She nodded. “Then it must be special.” She regarded his bare shoulder and ran her delicate fingers over a twisted scar. “How were you injured?”
“In the service.”
Nodding again, she continued to glide her hand over his chest. Sure she was turning him on but who the hell was she? He backed up a step, giving her the hint to stop.
She crossed her arms over her chest, the position accentuating her cleavage. An unusual stone pendant hung at the cleft of her breasts. She fingered the pendant and smiled. Obviously, she didn’t mind him looking at her.
Beneath his fur his libido was kicking into gear. His penis was hard and fully erect, partly because of the adrenaline pumping through his veins but also because of the lascivious fantasies coming unleashed concerning the woman. His aroused state was her fault. She had interrupted him in the middle of a transformation.
Holy smokes. He could smell her too. He’d been close to shifting so his senses were acute. The delicate scents of earthy soaps, female musk and desert breezes made her even harder to resist. He was overly aware of his nakedness and had a sudden urge to toss the fur on the ground and draw her down. Oh, yeah, that would be hot and insane.
Images of the two of them naked on the leopard pelt formed in his mind. Flesh against flesh, his hand slipping between her thighs and feeling her warm, slick pussy ready for his aroused cock. Yes, he would opt for hot sex with this beauty instead of a wild romp as an animal. Tarzan and Jane in the desert.
She smiled and looked at him quizzically, then cocked her head, nodding toward the fur that was covering his groin area. “What’s that all about?”
“The fur?” How did he explain the fur? Screw it. He wasn’t going to explain anything. “Why are you out here alone?”
She didn’t seem at all intimidated by his directness. “I was going to ask you the same question.”
Neither of them offered an explanation.
She frowned and broke the uneasy silence. “I’ve heard of people who have a fetish to dress in animal furs. They’re called furries.”
“Ah, no. This is nothing like that. It’s not a fetish.” He wrapped the fur around his waist and secured it so his hands were free.
“Okay. Tarzan and Jane?”
He shook his head in disbelief. Was she on the same wavelength? “It’s a bit difficult to explain.”
She took a step closer. “I don’t have time for an explanation. I’m late for work.”
“So you said.”
“Goodbye.” She turned and started walking away.
“Wait! Can I give you a ride?” He stepped forward and nearly lost his fur.
She smiled as he quickly covered himself. “No, thanks. I have transportation.”
“A car? Where?”
“Have to go.”
“Will you be back?” he asked.
“Can I see you again?”
She frowned, looking around. “Not safe.”
Now we’re getting somewhere. “Not safe for you?”
“No, for you.”
“Tell me why.”
“See you.” An amused expression flitted over her face. She turned away from him and jogged into the darkness.
Brad wondered if he’d ever see her again. When he didn’t hear the sound of a car after several minutes, he stepped into his boots and started off in her direction. After walking around for quite some time, moonlight reflected on a patch of white cloth beneath a tree. His heart leapt to his throat. No!
He investigated and found her dress neatly folded with the gold braided belt and her gold sandals. What the hell? Disappeared like down the rabbit hole.