Snarling at the Moon

By: Zenina Masters

(Shifting Crossroads Book 25)

Chapter One

Serapha glided through the snow on her skis, one step after another took her further and further from her home. When she had made her trail into the forest clearing that would glow with green during the summer, she removed her skis, stripped off her clothing, stood in the centre under the wide and all-encompassing moon and she screamed.

When her voice was raw, she transformed to her beast and snarled and thrashed her body in the snow.

The release of sound was all she was allowed since her return to her family, but since they chose to put her out because of her exposure to the enemy, she only had the wilderness to hide in.

All local predators were gone. She had scared them off weeks ago. With care, she marked the interior of the clearing with her claws and was getting ready to return to human when there was a blast of light in the centre of her territory.

Magic. It was strange, it tasted nearly fey, but it was also shifter. With a snarl, Serapha began to run toward the woman standing in the middle of the snowy glade.

“Holy shit!” The woman yelped and magic propelled her up and into a tree.

“Serapha Deemar? I am here with a message from the Crossroads, and it would be really great if I could talk to you, human to human.”

Serapha snorted and crouched for a moment before shifting into her normal form. She put her hands on her hips and cocked her head. “What is it?”

“Uh, aren’t you cold?”

Serapha chuckled. “No. You can come down now. Despite the teeth, I don’t bite.”

“Right. Well, my name is Pansy, and I have been sent with an invitation for you?”

Serapha headed to her neat pile of clothing and started getting dressed. “You seem unsure.”

“I am not sure that I have the right person. I mean, you have the marks of a bladed collar around your neck.”

“I was held in a menagerie, yes. Why, is that a problem?”

Pansy rubbed the back of her neck. “I was told you have been declared unmatchable by the Crossroads for a shifter mate.”

“Right. What other options are there?”

“That is where this gets a little weird. Certain fey who are amenable to a shifter mate have been invited to the Crossroads. We are inviting the males first...just in case.”

Serapha chuckled. “Interesting concept, but I have neither the funds nor the family resources to donate to a trip to the Crossroads. My clan has kicked me out for being weak enough to be captured and being stuck with my teeth pointed and visible in my human form.”

Pansy nodded and swallowed. “None of that is necessary. You have been called up because you have been deemed a good match for someone with non-human magic that isn’t a shifter.”

“So a fey.”

“Yes, do you hate the male fey very much for what they did to you?”

Serapha chuckled softly. “Not hardly. It was a male fey who leaked the information to the Guild that allowed us to be rescued. I was being held in the menagerie of one of their females.”

She finished putting on her clothes and turned to her ski boots. “Can you meet me at my cabin? It is five kilometres that way.” She pointed.

“Uh, I suppose. How are you getting there?”

“The same way I got out here. I am going to ski.” With a grimace, Sera snapped her skis into place, gripped her poles and glided silently into the forest.

She used the time to mull over the offer as she shifted her weight and propelled herself until the trees were a familiar blur. A fey. One of the fair folk. She remembered the woman with the scarlet hair and powder-blue skin with the dark blue eyes. That woman was very fair, and if Serapha ever saw her outside in the human world, she was going to pull her tongue out through her jaw. Lady Norviss escaped the raid that freed her menagerie but that wasn’t going to last for long.

There were hunters seeking out the cruel bitch, and when they found her, they were going to call Serapha, or she would know why. She needed to be there when they brought that bitch down.

A mate. Huh. She had given up on the idea of a mate when she hadn’t even been able to make an appointment for the Crossroads the first time. She hadn’t even had the fangs at that time. Her temperament had been enough to keep all thought of her being a good companion and proper partner from being considered a viable outcome. They had emotionally profiled her.