Guest post by Kate Hill
Shapeshifter stories are among the most sexy and exciting in the world of romance fiction. A hero or heroine with qualities of both human and animal offer a fantasy that literally takes you on a walk on the wild side.
Many times in a shapeshifter romance, conflicts arise from the differences between humans and shapeshifters. Sometimes the hero and heroine start out as enemies and end up falling in love. In other stories, they’re working together for a common cause.
As a writer, one of the challenges of writing a shapeshifter romance is uncovering the reason why shapeshifters and humans mingle. Why do the two species need each other?
In my Horsemen series, neither humans nor Horsemen can survive without each other. Horsemen are shapeshifting winged centaurs who are invariably male. Because of this, they need to mate with human women to carry on their race. In their world, there is a plague that spreads among the human population. The only cure is rock blood and it’s found in places surrounded by oceans filled with flesh-eating plants. Only with the help of the winged Horsemen can humans cross the oceans and harvest the cure for the plague.
Establishing a good reason for different species to work together opens up many opportunities for humans to meet the shapeshifters of their dreams. That doesn’t mean there’s no conflict between them. They can still dislike each other at first, argue and ultimately fall in love.
Creating a world that includes shapeshifters is fun in so many ways, but working out a reason for shifters and humans to get together is one of my favorite challenges.
Tell Kate Hill what you like best about shapeshifter romance?
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ebook copy of MYSTERY STALLION by Kate Hill!
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Kate Hill is a vegetarian New Englander who loves writing romantic fantasies. When she’s not working on her books, Kate enjoys reading, working out, and researching vampires and Viking history. You can visit her online at http://www.kate-hill.comand http://www.twitter.com/katehillromance. Also visit Kate’s Halloween page at http://kate-hill.com/halloween/halloween.php.
The following excerpt from MYSTERY STALLION is for readers 18 and over.
Violeta intended to refuse Grigori’s offer. Yes she’d agreed to fly with him in the morning, but only because she’d have the entire night to prepare and think over her decision.
She hadn’t expected to ride him now, but he stood staring at her with those penetrating eyes, waiting for an answer.
The very thought of sitting on his back, feeling his tall, strong body close to hers, almost took her breath away. She wanted to fly with him, not simply as a means of transportation but because she desired contact with him.
“Do you need to rest for a while?” he asked.
“No. Thank you. I’m ready.”
“Then I’ll shift shape and meet you in the great hall.”
Violeta nodded. She left the study and made her way downstairs. While she waited for him, she glanced around the hall. Dark, square-shaped places on the wall above the enormous fireplace hinted that portraits–probably of de Forest ancestors–had recently been removed.
The sound of hooves on stone nabbed Violeta’s attention. She turned to the ramp leading from the second floor. Grigori, in all his Horseman splendor, strode down it and approached Violeta. He had removed his shirt and revealed a torso even more gorgeous than she’d imagined–lean with well-defined muscles. Even from a distance she noticed old scars marking him. His striking black-and-white striped coat covered his tall, sleekly-muscled beast-half. Pure black wings folded against his sides. Unlike a usual Horseman tail, Grigori’s was partially covered in short, striped hair that turned into flowing black tendrils at the tip.
“I apologize, Violeta, but I have neither saddle nor harness. Are you able to ride without tack?”
“Yes I’m an able rider,” she said. “Other than a halter, I never used saddle or bridle on my horse before I sold her.”
“Very well.” He walked to a bench so she could reach him easily. “You may mount.”
Excitement buzzing through her, she stood on the bench and placed a hand on his equine back. He felt warm and hard beneath his short, coarse coat and she longed to stroke him. Though difficult to see among his stripes, scars similar to the ones on his human torso marked his beast-half.
She wondered how, after what he’d suffered in slavery, he could allow a human on his back. She’d heard horrible stories about the abuse of captive Horsemen, how in the mines some were literally ridden to death.
Once astride him, she shifted her weight to a comfortable position–difficult considering her powerful attraction to him. Though she wore a thin loincloth beneath her dress, her bare thighs hugged his equine sides. Her passionate thoughts sobered when she got a close look at his scarred flesh. The marks crisscrossed his broad shoulders and back. Violeta’s fingertips hovered over an especially thick scar, then she curled her hand into a fist. Simply because he offered her a ride didn’t give her leave to touch him any way she wanted to.
“You may hold on to me,” he said. “I know it’s not easy to ride without tack, but once we’re in the sky I’m a fairly smooth flyer.”
“I’m sure you are,” she murmured
Grigori glanced over his shoulder at her, but she found she couldn’t meet his gaze, not while bombarded by sexual thoughts. Thankfully she preferred wearing a loincloth for comfort beneath her rather scratchy dress, otherwise she’d thoroughly embarrass herself. Her wet pussy throbbed and her clit ached just from sitting astride him. She’d traveled by Horseman before but had never felt like this.
He headed for the door and Violeta concentrated on her posture. Her hands settled on his warm, lean sides and she briefly closed her eyes.
Outside the breeze fanned them as he cantered down the walkway toward the private Running Way–a clearing in a populated area used for Horsemen to take off and land. Her knees tightened against him and her fingers gripped his sides as he galloped then ascended, his black wings beating until he reached his desired height, then he soared, letting the wind carry them.
Grigori was far better than a “fairly smooth” flyer. He was absolutely magnificent. She couldn’t keep from smiling, but managed to control the joyful laughter that bubbled in her throat.
Then an even better sensation struck her. The rhythm of his churning legs seemed directly linked to her pussy. Her smile faded, replaced by embarrassment. This wasn’t good, or rather it was too good.
Violeta tried to think of other things but couldn’t while seated atop this paragon of virility.
“Where is your cottage?” he asked.
Was it her imagination or did his voice sound rougher than usual?
“It’s the little white one with the pink rose bushes in front.”
He swooped lower and she instinctively grasped his waist, her open palms pressed against his hard stomach. The muscles tightened and released then tightened again beneath his warm flesh.
All too soon–or perhaps just in time–the flight ended.
When he landed, Violeta reluctantly slid off Grigori’s back. Her heart pounded and her legs weakened. She’d ridden Horsemen before, but never bareback and never one who aroused her like this.
She leaned against him for a moment, intensely aware of his warmth, the softness of his coat and the hardness of his muscles. Her clit still throbbed, though not as badly as during the flight. Unconsciously, she stroked his equine shoulder, staring at the contrast of her small, tanned hand against his striped coat.
He glanced over his shoulder at her and Violeta quickly dropped her hand. A blush rose in her face and she said softly, “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have…I didn’t mean to offend you.”
Stroking a Horseman without permission, as one would a true-horse, was very bad manners. Violeta had never done such a thing before. She couldn’t explain why she’d done it now, except for her powerful attraction to this unusual Horseman.
Grigori didn’t speak, but his gaze bore into her and her belly tightened. The way he looked at her made her feel as if she were naked. Perhaps working for him wasn’t such a wise idea. Even worse, she’d been seriously considering his offer of room and board. Truly without transportation she had little choice.
“No offense taken,” he said. “I’ll come for you in the morning.”
He cantered several steps then spread his black wings and ascended.
Violeta’s heart skipped a beat. She wished she were still astride him, his strong body shielding her against the wind and the vibrations from his churning legs sending little ripples of pleasure–
She needed to stop thinking about him like this, especially if she intended to work for him. How would she sleep tonight knowing tomorrow she would fly with him again? Just thinking about it brought a smile to her lips. She drew a deep breath, twirled around like a frivolous girl then stepped into her cottage. It had been so long since she’d felt this good.
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