“What are you?” the female asked.
He glanced over his shoulder to make sure she was speaking to him. “I—I’m a wolf shifter, alpha of the Apisi.” Taking a slow step forward, he sniffed close to her body. “What in creation are you?” Now that he stood only a few inches from her, he could see her un-callused hands, as if she’d never seen a single day’s hard work. No scars on the exposed skin of her neck and face. Apparently, she’d never fought for dominance either. Even her fine, tailored clothes appeared too rich for the area.
She struggled to free her arms but only made things worse. “What?” Cocking her head to the side, she stared at him. “I’m human.”
“Stay still.” He snapped the order. Sorin released his retractable claws on one hand, sliced the vines, and freed her arms. “I’ve never heard of hu-man. You must live farther south from the vampires.” So he’d been following the scent of a human.
She clutched her neck with shaky hands. “Vampires?” Her gaze never left his claws as he slowly sliced her legs free.
Once done, he gave her space. Her fear scent excited his beast since fright usually accompanied prey. He tapped his foot, his claws clicking against the stone floor. “What are you doing on Temple lands?”
“I’m lost.” The human spoke so softly he had to strain to hear. She kept glancing between him and golden-furred Peder as if waiting for one of them to pounce.
He tried not to stare so hard. Soft creatures didn’t survive in the wild long, and this female was filled with all different kinds of softness. He sighed. “Did you see the blue light?” All he had wanted was a few moments of peace. Instead, he found…her.
“No, where was it?” She sidestepped toward the Temple exit.
“Right above our heads, not long ago.” His eyes narrowed. “I don’t know how you missed it.” Since she fell out of it. He’d seen her limp form tumbling in the air from the light just before it winked out.
She trembled, and her scent changed. “I—I—oh yeah, the blue light. Weird phenomenon. Scared the shit out of me.” She quickened her steps to the exit. “I should be heading home.”
“How?” The scent of her untruths grew stronger. Everyone knew you couldn’t lie to shifters. Why was she trying? “You just said you were lost. Will you wander unaccompanied through our forests until someone worse than me finds you?”
Peder quietly stepped behind her to block the exit. He might be submissive for a male, but he was smarter than most and could work without guidance. Sorin would make a hunter of him if it was the last thing he did.
The human blinked her large brown eyes, such an unusual color. Everyone he knew had amber, blue or green eyes, never the rich darkness of mother earth. Life came from the earth, which was why they returned their dead to it. Did this human bring life with her?
“Maybe the Goddess sent her?” Peder’s softly spoken question quieted Sorin’s doubts.
Fanning his ears, Sorin stepped closer to her. “Did she send you?” What little hope he’d sheltered for his people had vanished this morning when he’d spoken the burial rites over the graves. This stranger shed some light through his despair.
She shook her head. “N-no.”
“You will return with me.” Sent from the Goddess or not, he couldn’t afford to take any chances by letting her go. So much for not dragging an unmarked female to his den. It would make hunting and defense that much harder since his healthy hunters would strut through their canyon home and beat each other senseless over a stray.
Her gaze darted to the doorway just before she slipped under his arm and past Peder’s reach. Swift as a jackrabbit, she scrambled down the stairs and squeezed into the thick brush surrounding the Temple.
As he watched her escape, Sorin shook his head. He really was tired. Too many sleepless nights in a row were affecting his reflexes. The odd blue light, her sudden appearance and his need for a miracle were too coincidental.
He pointed at Peder. “Go get the flowers and bring them to Lailanie. I’ll take care of the female.”
“Chasing will only frighten her more, Alpha.” Peder still stared at the floor, but at least he offered his advice without being coerced.
“What would you have me do? Let some other pack have her?”
“No, just don’t be so…intimidating.” He pointed to his exposed teeth with his claws. “Try not thinking she’s prey.”
“Go get the fucking flowers, Peder. I promise not to eat her.” He leapt from the stone steps and skirted brush too dense for him to enter. The sly female wedged easily into the smaller spaces where he couldn’t pursue with his bulk, but the brush didn’t lead anywhere. It only surrounded the Temple foundation. She was trapped.
Crouching low to the ground, he moved along the thick wall of plants. His little prey made enough noise that even the youngest of pups could track her. With ears fanned open, he followed her progress. The birds started their songs again as he got to the far end of the area.
By the Dark Moon, she moved slowly. He could have taken a nap while waiting. He watched Peder head toward their home with a small sack of flowers. The rustling in the bushes drew closer, and Sorin gathered his energy to pounce.
From out of the brush snapped a young sapling, which whipped the sensitive tip of his nose. With a yelp, Sorin fell back, clamping his hands over his muzzle. Through pain-filled eyes, he watched the female tear across the open ground.
Sorin blinked to clear his vision and bounded after his suddenly fast quarry. Her white coat fluttered behind her like a treaty flag, but this female didn’t show any signs of surrender.
She ran full-tilt up the hill toward its summit.
Trailing closer, he could smell the trace of border markings on the wind. If he didn’t hurry, she’d run off the neutral ground of Temple lands and onto some other pack’s territory. He couldn’t follow if she did. “Stop! There’s danger that way.”
She twisted and glanced at him, not watching her step. Something caught her foot at the top of the hill and she fell.
Sorin leaped, reaching with clawed fingers. They pierced the hem of her white jacket. The delicate material tore along the sharp edges of his claws, and the shreds slipped through his fingers. Relief mixed with triumph, pumping through his veins, gave way to dread. He scrambled to grab the tatters and not lose the female, but the momentum of her flight downhill sent her tumbling head-over-heels out of his grasp.
Confessions From Romaholics
This is the first book of Chronicles of Eorthe series and I must say I hardly can wait to read the next book as this one is INCREDIBLE. If I didn’t already know that Annie Nicholas has a great imagination and a wonderful writing style, I would discover this while reading this awesome book.
Science in some instances has a lot to answer for. In Scent of Salvation by Annie Nicholas, Dr. Susan Barlow is now in the position of facing up to the fact that her discovery will be used for more nefarious and military means than she intended. How does she cope with this and how does she even begin to reconcile the fact that what she created will be used in such a way? She was naïve and stupid to believe it would be only used for peaceful exploration.
What she does next is the only thing she can do, but the ramifications for her are frightening and also life changing. She ends up in another dimension and there she has to come to terms with the fact that she is the only human in a world populated by vampires, shifters of all kinds and incubi.
Sorin is the alpha of his pack and it is being decimated by a disease that he doesn’t know how to cure. On a search for rare flowers that ease the pain of the sufferers, he encounters a blue light and Dr. Susan Barlow. Given her sudden arrival and the fact he is in shifter form, it isn’t any wonder she runs and this leads to both of them being captured by a rival clan.
Susan’s first introduction to this new world is frightening and eye opening as well as shocking. Everything she knew is gone and strange beings inhabit this earth and she is so not equipped to deal with any of them. She is the weakest of the lot and somehow she is going to have to work out how to survive and live.
As this story progresses we are introduced to another shifter clan and the daughter of the alpha who has her own issues she needs to deal with. We also meet the vampire Benic who is also following his own agenda which will also have far-reaching ramifications for Susan.
I enjoyed reading about this strange new world with all of its shifters and different species Susan has to come to terms with. She also needs to come to terms with the fact she is the only human and it is more than likely that she won’t get home. Add to this, her attraction to Sorin and learning how to deal with shifters and all of their clan rules and etiquette.
Susan is a strong character, and at times she is out of her depth but she doesn’t whine or complain. She copes and she deals with things as best she can and she also uses her scientific knowledge to try to help Sorin’s clan. The romance was secondary to all of the world building and there wasn’t the sudden overwhelming attraction many other shifter stories seem to focus on. Susan and Sorin take the time to get to know one another first. The main focus was on the arc of the sick clan members and I am also hoping the origins of this disease will be explained at some stage. Can Susan help save the sick members of the clan? What about Benic’s plans for her?
Sorin and the other male characters are also interesting. Sorin has a lot to deal with and the history of his clan is not a nice one. He has the responsibility of trying to save his clan and hold everything together and also deal with his attraction for a complete stranger who isn’t even a shifter. He is strong and he deals with situations and makes the best of things. The skunk scene was quite funny and it was interesting to see how two rival shifters were able to work together. The omega shifter, Peder from Sorin’s clan is also an interesting character and I hope we read more about him and the strong female chasing Ahote from the rival clan.
This was a satisfying story right up until the last few pages and then it stopped with such an abruptness I was left wondering what on earth was going on. Things happen to Susan and there are others involved from the other more powerful shifter clan, and yet there is no conclusion or indication of what happens to these various story arcs or characters. I get that this is more than likely the basis of the next few installments in the series, but the way in which it was done was a complete let down for the reader. I really felt there needed to be some sort of conclusion and an end of sorts to this particular chapter if you will, but all we get is more about Susan and Sorin with the others way out of the picture.
I am going to look for the next installment in the Chronicles of Eorthe series by Ms. Nicholas just because I am now left wondering how all of these stories will end up and I want to know how the author is going to pull all of the loose ends together! A different world and one definitely worth exploring!
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