When Khail lays his fatal touch on his next victim and she doesn't die, he's faced with a human immune to his deadly power who has seen him shift form--and he's able to have physical contact with a woman for the first time in centuries.
Falling for a shapeshifting messenger of Death wasn't on Bridget Sawyer's agenda, but things are about to get even more complicated. The Unkind is determined to claim her.
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October 02, 2006
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Excerpt from Talons by Shannon Stacey
Twice more she tried moving around the room, but each time she neared the front door, the raven chased her back. Bridget was beginning to feel uneasy. The consistency of its actions and the eerie way it looked at her gave her the impression it was actually intelligent. She wasn't up to dealing with a bird capable of critical thinking.
It was definitely time for a Plan B. For the first time she wished she hadn't hidden herself so far away from civilization. The only people she could really call for help would be the police or fire departments--assuming anybody was available. It was after midnight. It would take somebody at least a half-hour to reach the cabin, and the long, winding dirt path that passed as her driveway could be treacherous in the dark, especially now in the spring. She wasn't going to ask that of anybody just because she had a bird in her house.
Another option was retreat. She could return to her bedroom, close the door and deal with the problem in the morning. But Bridget knew herself well enough to know she'd never go to sleep with a raven loose in the house. She'd be listening for it, waiting for the rustle of wings. Wondering if it would damage anything. It had to go now.
"Look, buddy," she said quietly. "I want to go back to bed. You need to go fly around outside and do whatever it is birds like you do at this time of night. So I'm going to open that door and you're going to fly through it, okay?"
Hey, talking to it had worked getting it out of the bedroom. Now, though, it only stared at her without so much as twitching. Hoping they'd come to some kind of understanding, Bridget started once again for the door. The raven reneged on the deal, however, and took flight, once again trying to drive her back.
This time she was ready for it. Holding the two corners of one end of the pillow, she swung it like a plank, knocking the damn bird clear across the room. She felt a spasm of guilt--but it wouldn't let her open the door, dammit--as it tumbled through the air.
Then things got a little crazy. Bridget's vision blurred and a split second later a very large, very naked man bounced off her pine paneling and hit the floor with a thud.
Oh shit. That did not just happen. There was no such as thing as...whatever the hell that was. Like a werewolf, only a bird. A werebird?
He lifted his head and blinked at her with those same dark eyes.
Ohshitohshitohshit. What the hell was going on? She had to be dreaming. But on the off chance she wasn't, Bridget dropped the pillow and ran for the door.
"No," the man called in a husky, cracking voice. "Do not...open the...door."
Yeah, sure buddy. Like she was going to listen to a naked man who'd just been a bird flying around her house. Bridget turned the knob and yanked open the door.
The shadows of the cabin's deep porch erupted in a whirlwind of black wings and hoarse raven calls. Oh my God. There had to be hundreds of them. Her mind blanked, instinct took over and she slammed the door closed. Just in time, judging by the thuds against the heavy wood.
What the hell is going on here?
She'd landed in a horror novel. Shit like this did not happen. Bridget whirled, relieved to find the naked man still on the floor. God, he was tall. And writhing in pain, clutching his head. She thought about conking him a good one with a frying pan, knocking him unconscious long enough to tie him up, but then she heard a sound that made her blood run cold.
Tap. Tap. Tap. Hard beaks on glass.