Devil in a Kilt - A Different Kind of Shapeshifter

Check it out! I've just received the cover for Secrets Volume 27 Untamed Pleasures! This guy definitely looks devilish, don't you think? ;)

Since this is paranormal week here at Fierce Romance, I wanted to talk about Gavin MacTavish, the shapeshifter hero of my novella Devil in a Kilt, in Red Sage Secrets Volume 27, Untamed Pleasures, to be released in July. The main part of the story takes place in 1621 in the Scottish Highlands. For the past year, Gavin has been under a witch's curse which causes him to shapeshift into a hawk at dawn and back into a man at sunset. He can't control this shifting and, to put it mildly, he hates it. When you think about it, though, it might be pretty cool to be able to shift into such a majestic bird as a hawk and fly around under your own power during the daytime. I'd like to try it at least once. LOL Writing from the point of view of a man who is also a hawk was an interesting experience, to say the least. In bird form, he's aware of his own vulneratilities, and he's aware that the humans around him fear him because of his wicked talons.

Gavin is a Highland Chief, but because of his shifting, his clan believes he's possessed by the devil and most of them have fled. This is devastating to Gavin. He just wants the curse broken and the clan to return. He takes his leadership role very seriously.

As part of my research into hawks, falcons and other birds of prey, I attended a falconry display at Dunrobin Castle in Scotland. These birds are amazing in their intelligence, strength and speed. Some are worth a fortune. I think they could even have a sense of humor--they seemed to enjoy flying low over the heads of the people in the audience and startling them. :)

Here is an excerpt from Devil in a Kilt of the first time we see Gavin shapeshift:

He glanced out the window at the Highlands and the first faint trace of dawn peeking over the eastern mountains.
It won’t be long.
A yell echoed from down the corridor, the ravings of a madman. His father. One day that would be Gavin, talking to ghosts and shadows. But likely when he sank to that level, he would have no roof over his head. Or else his sparse clan would lock him in the dungeon to die alone. Since he had no heir, his greedy, grasping cousin would become laird. His clan would rejoice when their devil laird was dead.
"Damnation! Alpin willna unseat me. The craven whoreson." Draping his plaid around his waist and holding it in place, Gavin strode from the bedchamber and down the corridor toward his father’s room.
"There ye are, lad," Crocker said, his sparse gray hair sticking out in all directions. "Thanks be to God. He’s a right lunatic this morn. Asking for ye, he is."
"What the devil is wrong with him?" Gavin stepped inside the chamber.
"I dinna ken."
"Gavin! Gavin!" his father screeched from the four-poster bed as his body writhed, his long gray hair tangled. "The lass. Ye must look for the lass. Ye must marry. For the sake of the clan. For the sake of yer very soul."
"What lass?" No lass for miles around would so much as glance in his direction. He used to have to drag them from his bed and send them on their way. Now, he couldn’t pay one to give him an hour’s pleasure.
He would like as not turn them to stone, or they would end up possessed by the devil, as he was thought to be.
Gavin waited for his father to tell him which lass he referred to, but the older man now lay still with his eyes closed, apparently asleep. Mayhap he’d meant the lass from Gavin’s arousing dreams. But she wasn’t real, and he’d never seen her face.
Fingers of dawn light gleamed over the mountains and Gavin’s animal nature surged forth, beyond his control.
"Damnation! When will it end?"
He moved toward the open window, helpless to resist the call. Just as he reached it, a moment of pain sliced through him. His body transformed, and great glossy-black wings appeared where once he had arms, and talons on his feet. Taking flight from the window, he became one with the wind, the Highlands and the bright colors of dawn.
Devil in a Kilt, Red Sage Secrets Volume 27 Untamed Pleasures July '09

What is your favorite type of shapeshifter and why? What is the most unusual shifter you have read (or written) about?

PS There is still time to enter our CONTEST for a basket of goodies. Just become a "follower" and you're entered. :)


Carly Carson said...

Hi Nicole,

I love that twist about the devil. That's perfect for a shapeshifter novel. It's not really my genre, but I can see how it works perfectly in your story. So I guess I'd have to say the hawk will be my favorite, lol, as I am so intrigued by poor Gavin.


Kristin said...

Hi Nicole! Your story sounds great, I love shifters. I don't really have a favorite, but I do love any that Sherilyn Kenyon writes about in her series. Yummo.

Anonymous said...

Hawk sounds like a interesting shapeshifter.

I did enjoy the griffin shapeshifter Candace Sams did.

Riley Quinn said...

Sounds interesting, Nicole. Can't wait for it to come out.

I'm a bit enamored with the wolf shifter. There is just something primal about an alpha wolf to me.

I don't think I've read too many stories with a bird shifter. Cool twist.

Julie Robinson said...

I love the idea of a hawk shifter. I always liked hawks, but I think I really fell in love with hawks after reading Laird of the Wind by Susan King. So I will be VERY interested in reading about a hawk shifter.

I haven't read too many varieties of shifters, except for the usual wolf ad big cat. But out of the ones I have read, I think that Terry Spear does a fantastic job in Heart of the Wolf of combining the human element with that of the beast in her characterization.


Julie Robinson said...


Silhouette Nocturne has some good shifter stories. Karen Whiddon's Cry of the Wolf is wonderful! I also liked her wolf shifter stories in the Silhouette Intimate Moments, as well as Suzanne McMinn's The Beast Within. My favorite cat shifter story would be Lora Leigh's A Jaguar's Kiss.


Nicole North said...

Carly, thanks so much! Glad you like the idea of a hawk shapeshifter hero. :)

Kristin, thanks lady! Yes, Sherrilyn Kenyon is awesome!

Chris R, thanks!! Glad you find it interesting. A griffin does indeed sound cool!

Riley, thanks tons!! I love those wolf shifters too! Each of my three "in a Kilt" novellas has a different kind of unusual shifter. More about the other two later. :)

Julie, thanks so much!! I haven't heard about that King book. I'll have to look for it! Indeed Terry Spear's wolfies are the best!! I'm definitely a fan! I'll have to check out those Nocturne books too!

Thanks everyone for stopping by!

Anonymous said...

I love shifter stories. I think I like the cat ones the best. Something so sensual about a sleek, prowling panther or jaguar.

Terry Spear/Terry Lee Wilde said...

I loved your story, Nicole!!! It's hot and sexy! Can't wait for your next installment!

Thanks so much, Julie! If you haven't had a chance to read Destiny, I'm giving a couple away on Lori Devoti's blog...don't have the addy here. Also, I'm waiting to find my very own hottie on an Oregon beach like I dreamed up in To Tempt the Wolf, coming Sep 1. :)

Julie Robinson said...

Thanks Terry! I'm going there now.

Julie Robinson said...

Oh, I didn't realize Lori wrote for Silhouette Nocturne!
Thanks, Terry.

Kristi Ahlers said...

This sounds like a great story, very creative as I've only read one other shifter story like this and that was Jacquline Frank, one of her heroines shifted to a bird of prey. Anyhow, it sounds like you have a winner and I can't wait to read it all!

Nicole North said...

Jill, yes, I love those cat shifters too. I read a cute funny one one time where the hero shifted into a black house cat. A familiar. It was great! :)

Wow, Terry, thanks!!! You were so sweet to be one of the first to read it!!

Kristi, thanks so much!!! If you read it, I hope you enjoy!! You'll have to let me know the final word. :) I'll have to check out Jacquline Frank's books too.

Carol Ericson said...

Nicole, loved the excerpt! When we were in Scotland several years ago, we stayed in a castle that had been turned into a hotel. We watched a falconry demonstration there. I don't normally read paranormals (except when they appear in Secrets volumes!), but I like the guy on True Blood who shifts into a dog. Do you remember the movie, Ladyhawke, with Michelle Pfeiffer and Mel Gibson, I think? Didn't one of them turn into a bird and the other was something else? Now I'll have to look that up on IMDB!

Carol Ericson said...

Oh, OK, just looked it up. It was Rutger Hauer, not Mel. He turns into a wolf by night and his lover, Michelle Pfeiffer, turns into a hawk by day. It's a curse and they're never allowed to see each other when they're both human. Great movie!

Nicole North said...

LOL! Great minds!
Thanks, Carol!! Yeah I loved Ladyhawke! I caught the ending of that a few weeks ago but it's been years since I saw the whole movie. Which castle did you stay at in Scotland? Sounds awesome!

Jeanmarie Hamilton said...

Hi Nicole,
Love shapesfifter stories. As a writer, I also have fun writing shapeshifter characters. I'll be looking for your story. The bird of prey sounds intriguing. :-)

Natasha said...

Can't wait to read that story, Nicole. I usually like the cat shifters the best, but I'm taking a liking to your hawk :)

And, yeah, I thought of Ladyhawk when I read your post. Haven't watched that in years.

Great post.

ShawnaMoore said...

Wonderful excerpt, Nicole! You know I eagerly anticipate reading all your stories :)

When it comes to shapeshifters, I love them all! Each author creates her own unique otherworldly character and universe so I'm taken along on quite a fantastic ride :) Keep writing more shapeshifters :)

Happy week wishes,


Helen Scott Taylor said...

Hi Nicole,
Interesting blog. I like the sound of a shapeshifter who turns into a hawk. There is someting majestic and magical about birds of prey. Although many are small compared to us, even the small ones have an innate power. Combined with the Scottish setting, your story sounds wonderful. I love the excerpt!

Nicole North said...

Jeanmarie, thanks!! They are indeed fun to write!

Natasha, thanks!! Cat shifters are great too. I haven't written one of those yet, but would love to one day.

Shawna, thanks so much!! Yes, I plan to create more shapeshifters. I can't resist them. LOL

Helen, thanks for dropping in and for the compliment on my excerpt!! Birds of prey have always fascinated me. :)

Susan Macatee said...

Beautiful cover, Nicole! And the story sound great too.

Lexi said...

Sounds like a great read, Nicole!

Julie Robinson said...


Awesome cover!! That devilish come-hither look has me saying, "I'm here, I'm here! Do with me what you will."

Nicole North said...

Susan, thanks so much! I'm glad you like it!!

Lexi, thanks! I sure hope everyone thinks so. :) (eeek I'm not biting my nails at all. haha)

Julie, LOL!! Thanks! That's the response he was hoping for. ;)

Cynthia Eden said...

Great cover and great excerpt! Congrats!!!

Nicole North said...

Thanks Cynthia!!! :)