Gathering Darkness Boxed Set Available Now!
I’m thrilled that the Gathering Darkness boxed set is available now! The opportunity to be in a boxed set with some of my favorite authors was too good of a chance to pass up. I wanted to start a new series just for the boxed set, and something that has always appealed to me is the idea of a zoo where shifters live and work. While Zane’s story is the first in the series and will be released on it’s own next year, I do plan to publish other books in this series next year, including some of Zane’s friends and fellow gorilla shifters, as well as the lions, bears, elephants, and wolves who live and work at Amazing Adventures Safari Park. Read on below for an excerpt from Zane’s story and go pick up your copy today!
Zane (Were-Zoo One)
Gorilla shifter Zane Keeton has spent the last twenty-seven years of his life at Amazing Adventures Safari Park, where shifters live in secret away from humans. The enjoyment he gets from tuning up safari vehicles and hanging out in his shifted form for the park visitors has slowly ebbed, and now his thoughts are consumed with finding a mate of his own.
When human Adriana and her best friend, Celeste, receive free tickets for a VIP tour of the safari, they decide that it’s just the sort of exciting adventure that they’ve been waiting for. But when their vehicles are separated, Adriana finds herself on the receiving end of unwanted attention from a creepy tour guide. As the tour guide suddenly attacks her in front of the gorilla paddock, she’s rescued by an unlikely hero – one of the gorillas.
Adriana quickly discovers that her rescuer is no ordinary gorilla. Not only are shifters real, but the gorilla who saved her life claims that she’s his soulmate. Is she willing to let go of everything she knows and embrace being Zane’s mate?
Zane Keeton walked next to his dad, Atticus, alpha of the gorilla shifters, as they left the meeting hall. The alphas of the other were-groups had met to discuss their unmated males and females, and the lack of suitable mates for either. Zane, as the second-in-command of the gorilla band, had been along to offer feedback.
For years, the Amazing Adventures Safari Park, where the shifter groups worked and lived, had remained open to the public, allowing humans to ride large vehicles safely through the various animal areas. An unmated male or female would inevitably be in one of the vehicles at some point, and would be the soulmate of one the shifters. But over the last twenty years, there had been fewer and fewer unmated males and females coming through the park. Families and couples came now, but single people were few and far between.
Something had to be done. It wasn’t fair to the unmated shifters to spend their lives alone. Joss, the wolf alpha, wanted their kind to go public with the humans, but the other alphas agreed that it was still too dangerous. Humans tended to kill what they feared or didn’t understand, and they would surely fear humans who could turn into dangerous animals.
The elephants floated the idea of sending out VIP tour coupons to unmated males and females in the surrounding area; the other alphas had voted and approved the measure. The lions, in charge of park security, were going to purchase a commercial mailing list with the needed information and mail out the coupons. Hopefully, by the first weekend in May, the VIP tours would be scheduled, and the shifters would begin to find mates.
There were many other were-zoos around the world. All shifters lived in secrecy, and an animal park was an effective cover. Some of the zoos were mostly normal animals, with only one shifter group living and working there. Others were like Amazing Adventures, where many groups lived and worked together. However, the lack of males and females finding mates, and the fact that the majority of shifters being born were males, meant that the lack of female shifters was a world-wide problem. Unmated female shifters were precious and rare. There were only a handful of unmated females at Amazing Adventures: three wolves and one lioness. It would have been easier if the four unmated females had found soulmates within the park, but they didn’t. Sometimes males and females would visit other were-zoos in hopes of finding their mates. Zane and his band had visited other were-zoos themselves, but without success.
Proceeding down a long hallway to their band’s section, Zane unlocked the security door with a code and entered a cleared area where seven homes sat on fake trees, several feet in the air. The small tree-city helped him and his people to feel at home underground. The fake trees were made of concrete and steel, but they were covered with a bark-like material that felt real; the sturdy branches were covered with thick silk leaves.
He could hear his people talking and followed the sound to the home of Neo, who was a year younger than him. Leaping up, Zane caught the lowest branch and swung himself up into the canopy, landing safely and silently on the front porch. His father followed, landing alongside him. Opening the front door, he found Neo and the four other males that made up their band sprawled out on the comfortable furniture in the family room.
The rowdy group of males quieted immediately.
“The meeting went well?” Neo asked.
“It did.” Zane’s dad outlined the new effort to bring unmated males and females through the park. There weren’t any female gorilla shifters in North America; they were one of the smallest were-groups outside of the elephants. Atticus had been the alpha of the New Jersey band since Zane was a toddler, but he had never mated. He’d been in Europe looking for a mate, when he’d had an affair with the daughter of another alpha. When Zane was born, she gave him to Atticus to raise so she could mate with a male of her father’s choosing, and Atticus and Zane had come to New Jersey.
“This means that whenever there’s a tour, all of us have to be in our section in our shifted form so we’ll have a better chance of scenting our mates. The tours will be scheduled in advance, and the mated or uninterested amongst the other shifter groups will take over any duties that need to be handled during the tour times,” Zane said.
“You too, Atticus?” August asked.
Atticus shrugged. “I’m not looking for a mate, but if one should happen to fall off the back of a truck, I won’t turn her away.” He smiled. “This is for you guys. Our were-group is slowly dying, and you need to get busy and produce some babies.”
Neo grinned. “I can’t wait. When will they start showing up?”
“The first weekend in June, so we have time to get ready.”
“Good luck to you guys,” Patton said.
“What about you?” Zane asked.
“I don’t need luck. I’m awesome,” Patton answered.
August threw a pillow at his head, and as his dad muttered something about idiot males, they attacked each other, attempting to prove who was the greatest in the group. Zane knew they should be talking about the changes coming with the VIP tours, but for now he figured they could goof off. Tomorrow they could get serious. In a few short weeks, the first unmated humans would be taking private tours, and perhaps among those people they would find their soulmates.
He certainly hoped his soulmate would be getting a coupon and come visit him soon.
**Don’t forget that I have to other books out for pre-order – Daeton’s Journey and A Very Alpha Christmas!**
A Very Alpha Christmas is releasing on November 17th.
Lock in the low pre-order price of 99 cents USD.
Releases November 15th – Available NOW for Pre-Order for 99 cents USD!~