Book Title: The Bear Goddess
Author: Kelley Heckart
Genre: Greek myths/fantasy/shapeshifters/romance
Release date: 11/9/14
Page Count: 284 in print
Kindle Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00P74X0WY
Trade Paperback Buy Link on amazon.com:
Forbidden love… Broken vows… Betrayal…
Callisto, daughter of the great Arcadian King Lycaon and the nymph Maia, has studied all her life to attain the high position of Bear Goddess among the nymphs of Artemis, taking a sacred vow of purity. But when she meets a mysterious man, her life changes forever.
Kasin is a prince among the fierce centaurs and one of few who can take human shape. A follower of Zeus, he is mystified to save a nymph’s life and even worse, to fall in love with an enemy of the centaurs. He is torn between his duty to his people and his love for Callisto.
When the nymphs capture Kasin for their next sacrifice, Callisto cannot allow him to die, but before she can help him escape, they are caught together and their secret connection exposed. Surrounded by armed guards, they manage a daring escape. On the run from the nymphs, danger and betrayal follow Kasin and Callisto. To survive, they must evade a god obsessed with having Callisto for himself as well as others who also want to keep them apart. Will their love for each other be enough to save them?
In a flashing blur of altering limbs, Kasin stood before her, naked from the waist down in his human shape. He pulled on the rest of his clothes.
She held out her bound hands so he could free them.
He studied the chain for a moment, searching for the clasp. “Hmm.” He unbound her hands, inspecting the silver chain. “I have never seen anything like it.”
She frowned. “I am grateful for that,” she said, watching him in wide-eyed wonder.
Raising one eyebrow, he asked, “Why are you giving me that questioning look?”
She raised both of her eyebrows. “When were you going to tell me you are a centaur?”
He crossed his arms over his wide chest. “Never.”
Tightening the blanket around her shoulders, she gave him a hard look. “I do not think I heard you correctly because it sounded like you said you were not planning to tell me your true nature.”
“I knew you would be displeased. You speak so harshly of my people,” he said in a defensive tone.
“And I have good reason to speak thus of your people.” Even if he was different, there were too many stories about the savagery of the centaurs for them all not to be true.
He unfolded his arms. Looking weary, he grasped her shoulders. “I do not want to have a battle with you now. We should rest. Tomorrow we must start before daybreak.”
“Where are we going to go? I have no clothes.” She looked down at the blanket covering her naked body. All she had was her moonstone choker, the only item that remained on her when she shapechanged into animals.
“Yes.” He rubbed the dark stubble on his chin. “I cannot bring you unclothed into a village full of lusty centaurs.”
She glared at him for his arrogant assumption that she would want to go to a centaur village, but she held her tongue, realizing he was only trying to save her life. And she had no desire to start another argument. The events of the night began to weigh on her. She suppressed a yawn.
He pulled off his tunic and then took the blanket from her shoulders. Gently, he dressed her in his tunic.
His baggy tunic hung just below her knees. The short sleeves of his tunic reached to her forearms. Accustomed to her clothing that hugged and flattered her female curves, she wrinkled her brow in disapproval. She stared at him, at his taller, more muscular body that made her seem small even though she was considered tall for a female. “It looks like a lumpy grain sack.”
Tearing a long strip from the blanket, he said, “I am not finished, love.” He fastened the belt around her waist.
His expression of affection left her with a tender sensation beneath her breast. She watched him, her lips forming a pensive smile, enjoying the feel of his hands lightly brushing her as he dressed her and, at the same time, troubled about their dangerous situation. She couldn’t fully comprehend what had happened yet or the consequences of being discovered breaking her vow and then running off with a centaur. This night seemed like a strange dream to her. She wanted to pinch herself to see if she would wake up.
Multi-published author Kelley Heckart lives in Arizona with her musician husband, dog and a number of backyard “pets,” including Godzilla the desert iguana. Her stories reflect her passion for ancient and medieval time periods, storytelling and the supernatural. Inspired by the ancient Celts, her tales are filled with fierce warriors, bold women, otherworldly creatures, magic and romance. When not writing, she works as an editor/proofreader and practices target archery. She can be found online at http://www.kelleyheckart.com/
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Kelley Heckart, Historical fantasy romance author