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?
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Devil in a Kilt - A Different Kind of Shapeshifter
Nicole North writes hot erotic romance for Red Sage, Carina Press/Harlequin and Ellora's Cave. Books include: DEVIL IN A KILT in SECRETS VOLUME 27 UNTAMED PLEASURES,KILTED LOVER, BEAST IN A KILT (the second in the kilted shapeshifter series) SECRETS VOLUME 29 INDULGE YOUR FANTASIES anthology. SCOUNDREL IN A KILT in SECRETS VOLUME 30 DESIRES UNLEASHED anthology, LAIRD OF DARKNESS, STORM OF PASSION, and BLADE OF THE WOLF. To learn more please visit www.nicolenorth.com