For the first time in nearly seventy years, wolf song can be heard throughout the great valley of Yellowstone. But as the chill December winds gather, something dark, powerful, and mystical stalks the valley, and Toren Crushing has become its prey.
Renee Faroque is a shaman’s granddaughter—a child of the great Crow Indians. She has learned great knowledge from her dream walks with her ancestors. But has she learned enough to save herself and the beautiful stranger from the ancient evil that abides within?
Kin to the wolf & brother to man,
Inside ~ Every man holds a darkness
~ Rational Animals ~
Price: $ 1.99
Author: K.A. M'Lady
Length: Short, 53 pages
Genre: Paranormal Romance Shifter Erotica
Rating: 3 - Hot
Editor: Mike Gasporovic
Artist: Patricia Dittman
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Toren Crushing has spent his winters in the remote back country of Montana’s Yellowstone National Forest studying the predators known ascanis lupus—the great gray wolves. And for the first time in nearly seventy years, their song echoes throughout the great valley. As with any other winter, he follows the wolf trail deep into the timber—watching and recording their behavior as they hunt, play, and gather beneath the looming light of winter’s chill December moon.
But this winter is different—this winter, something dark and powerful stalks the valley. A creature as old and mythical as time itself—and Toren Crushing has become its prey.
Renee Faroque knows what it is to be different—what it means to dream-walk with her ancestors. All her life, she has had this gift, but one vision will change her life forever. With only her skills as a shaman’s granddaughter to guide her, she will walk the dark forest with the great Gray Wolf. It is a journey that only she, a Metis, a Landless One, a half-breed and relic of the great Crow Indians, could possibly understand, or hope to survive.
She can only pray that the handsome stranger she has rescued from the edges of death can hear her spirit guide the way—before the dark beast dwelling within the forest’s shadows returns and he no longer understands her call.
When I was a little girl, my grandfather called me She-lish-ga or Chick-a-de for the morning chick that sings after a night of long dreams. He would always ask me of my journeys and tell me to sing for him. Sing of our ancestors and the Spirits in the Sky.
Tonight I smelled the lingering sweetness of honeysuckle and the rich pungent aroma of pine smoke clinging to every breath I inhaled as it swirled through my mind, loitering like a childhood secret that only my grandfather and I shared. I knew in the dusty wasteland between sleep and dreams that I’d left the warmth of my bed and the peace of my dreams far behind.
My sight was soon filled with the morning mist and the smoke of my grandfather’s pipe—peppermint and tobacco enveloped me as I opened my eyes to the world beyond. I waited for what he had to show me.
“Wake, child,” I heard him say in the voice that reminded me of water upon rocks and dark earth, rich like red clay.
“I am here, Grandfather,” I’d tell him. Then I’d take his proffered hand and we’d begin a journey deep into the forest. I’d have no idea where he was taking me, but then I was never afraid—for I’d been here before. Not to this place in the forest, but here to the spirit realm, on another journey, with the honor of having my grandfather as my guide.
Since the time I was but a small child, I had had these visions. I’d wake in the night at the hand of an ancestor, and we’d walk the great valley. Sometimes they’d tell me our history as the sun burned away the night and the earth came alive. Other times we simply walked through the foliage, the moon as our guide. Whatever the case, they always had something to show me, and I’d leave their realm much wiser than when I’d entered.
I’d learned many things on my journeys—the proper herbs for festering wounds, or the leaves for a sour stomach, what a person’s spirit animal was, and how to call a guardian. I learned the proper way to hunt a deer and how to track a bear. There was much my ancestors taught me and still so much I had to learn.
Unless the vision was of great importance, I had walked little in this realm with my grandfather. Tonight I was filled with uncertainty, unsure of what would follow.
“Here is where the Dark Spirit runs like a freed beast with devilry in his heart.” My grandfather spread his arm before him to show the white earth beyond. “He is old like the mountains and wise like the Great Mother Earth. But too long has his darkness ruled this valley. Too long has he fed on the innocence of man.”
“There was a time, long ago,” he stated as he brought me to a downed tree trunk overlooking the snow-covered valley below, “when he came and claimed our brother. Turned him, maddened him. Made him Yellow Wolf. Among the Crow he was called Hemene Moxmox, and he warred with the white man, and warred with himself—and still the Yellow Wolf died.”
“We thought that the Dark One died with him, but now, now we know it is the land that holds the Wyakin Powers and that the Dark Wolf has returned. He comes like a thief in the night—he is Heinmot Hihhih—White Lightning, and he seeks another to carry his pack. He seeks another to rule and bring suffering to the Nez Perce.”
“But I say no!” My grandfather fiercely pounded his fist in his hand. “No more will we be the Metis—the Landless Ones. No more will our lands bleed and our people suffer. To fight the beast and win you must first run with the beast. You Renee, my Chick-a-de, you have the power to stop this. You have the visions of your forefathers to guide you through this darkness. You hold the power to tame the Dark One. He was the first, and you have the power to make sure that he is the last.”
Rational AnimalsRational Animals is beautifully written with wonderful world building and great memorable characters. Definitely recommend this read for those who enjoy Indian lore and a taste of the supernatural .
Denise – Goodreads – 5 Stars