by Kate Hill
Maybe because I grew up watching old horror movies like The Wolfman, when I hear the word shapeshifter, the first creature I think of is the werewolf. While I'm certainly a fan of werewolf movies and I love those hairy beasts in paranormal romance, they're not the only type of shifter that works as a romance hero.
With so many animals that would make interesting alter egos for book characters, it's not surprising to find sexy cat shifters, horse shifters, and even shifters with aquatic qualities.
Shifters aren't limited to animals. Some can change into just about anything. Shifters beyond werewolves have been around for ages. Examples include the shapeshifter Loki from Viking mythology and skin walkers from Native American legends. Shapeshifters also appear in several fairytales, such as Beauty and the Beast, The Frog Prince and The Little Mermaid.
Some shifters are able to change shape by choice, whether through magic or because it's natural to their species. Others are forced into shifting because of a curse. Whatever their reason for shifting, they make fascinating, sexy characters. Paranormal romance is about fantasy and few creatures are more fantastic than shifters.
What kind of shifters are your favorite?
About Kate Hill
Always a fan of romance and the paranormal, Kate Hill started writing over twenty years ago for pleasure. Her first story, a short erotic vampire tale, was accepted for publication in 1996. Since then she has sold over one hundred short stories, novellas and novels.
When she's not working on her books, Kate enjoys reading, working out and spending time with her family and pets. She also writes as Saloni Quinby. Visit her online at http://www.kate-hill.com.
Excerpt from Tiger Fork (Writing as Saloni Quinby)
by Saloni Quinby
A man-tiger stalks the forest near a village living in fear. To destroy the beast, they send the warrior Han, who wields the tiger fork, a weapon from ancient Earth.
He finds Bo, a gorgeous beast out to protect his species from extinction. When their intended battle to the death ends in sex instead, they risk their lives to bring peace to their two warring worlds. Will they succeed, or will the lovers be forced to destroy each other?
The beast attacked first and Han maneuvered his weapon, jabbing and feinting, manipulating the man-tiger into his desired position. Then he drove the creature back and with a roar of surprise and rage it dropped into the deadly trap Han had prepared days ago.
To Han's dismay, the man-tiger caught hold of several twisted vines attached to a nearby tree. He clung to them, trying to pull himself out of the hole in the ground before he fell onto the dozens of spikes below. Han had concealed the trap well, covering it with branches and leaves. Just as he'd hoped, in the heat of battle, the man-tiger hadn't noticed it. It should have ensured his death--a grotesque and painful one for such a majestic rival, but Han's demise would have been no less horrible if the man-tiger had won the fight.
Now all Han had to do was finish it.
Still clinging to his tiger fork, he walked toward the beast who struggled, weakened by his wounds and loss of blood. The vines started to snap beneath his weight and he sank a little deeper into the hole. He paused, panting, and lifted his gaze toward Han.
They stared at each other for several heartbeats. Then the man-tiger did something unexpected. His face and form shifted and changed until, within seconds, Han faced a man who looked every bit as human as Han himself.
Stunned, Han almost dropped his weapon. He had no idea the man-tiger had the power to change. His heart pounding, he stared at the man.
Damp tendrils of long blond hair clung to his thick neck and shoulders. Muscles strained in his big arms as he struggled to pull himself out of the hole. If he had been at full strength, Han knew the beast would have already escaped and probably killed him.
Why did Han hesitate to destroy him? He thought of the slain hunters--human hunters--and tried to muster the courage to stab the beast with his tiger fork and send him to a well deserved death.
Yet it was no longer a beast he faced, but a man--one who was obviously desperate to survive, but his expression didn't beg. He regarded Han with the quiet dignity of a worthy foe who now accepted defeat.
At that moment, Han realized he couldn't let the fight end like this. The man-tiger was no longer just a beast to him, but an equal.
With a final tremendous effort, the man-tiger pulled himself upward until, just as the last vine snapped, he sank his fingers into the ground.
On impulse, Han curled his hands around the man-tiger's thick wrists and pulled with his remaining strength.
Together they managed to haul him out of the pit.
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