to tell you Foxes' Den
has a new and improved release date of August 3, 2010.
The sooner the better, I say!
And to celebrate, here's an excerpt:
The being who currently called herself Akane Moritomo froze.
The hair on the back of her neck prickled, not entirely unpleasantly.
Someone recognized her for what she was. The curse had left her with that pathetically small power, to know such things.
No one had recognized her in decades. Even trapped in this form, she’d occasionally be spotted in Japan. But never in America.
This time, she had been.
Cautiously, pretending she was retying her boot, she scanned the people around her, looking for someone who was not the ordinary human he or she appeared to be.
Her heart raced, though once she would have scoffed at mortals trying to capture her. If the Agency discovered she was a non-human Different passing for human, even though she’d taken care to do no harm in this form, she might be deported back to Japan. The shame of that would be unendurable. The confinement beforehand would be worse.
She’d die inside. But trapped in human form, she couldn’t even will her own fading as a kitsune should when her heart was broken.
Something caught the sharper senses that still simmered below the dull human form. Someone in the outdoor café was not what they appeared. Might be Agency. Might be a potential ally. In either case, it was worth checking out. These days she might not be able to perceive more than, say, a half-trained mortal witch, but any information was better than operating blind.
It wasn’t the dreadlocked student bent over her books or the old couple sharing a piece of cake. She turned her attention to the two young men holding hands at a table off to the side.
For a second, she studied them with her merely human senses, appreciating the view. One was tall and elegantly lean and so blue-eyed she could make it out from across the street, his dark hair worn long and loose, waving past his shoulders in a sweep most women would envy. The other was shorter and solidly built, broad shouldered, with a collar-length, red ponytail and a warm smile. Not for her, not from the way they seemed to shut out the street and its noise to be together in their own world. She knew better now. But their sheer beauty made her shiver.
Beauty didn’t prove a thing. Masao and Hiro had been beautiful too, and look where that had gotten her.
She turned her other senses, hampered though they were, on the handsome couple.
Maybe it was a good thing they didn’t work as well as they ought to. After so long in the human world, using human senses, she had to blink, protecting her eyes against the blinding glare of power from the dark-haired one. It poured off him in streams of healing white, herbalist green, psychic blue and the vivid crimson of sex magic.
Nothing dark, though. No demon taint or hint of blood magic on that one. Just strong, well-trained, positive power. The few times she’d met a witch in America, their magic was weak, wild, disordered, or tainted with impure practices. She’d known there were powerful witch families in America, but, as in Japan, they kept to themselves and came forward only when they felt there was need.
Had her need for release finally called out to one of them?
His power certainly called to her. He might have the knowledge to free her after two hundred years of suffering. It was unlikely—after all, the conditions of her curse were stringent and specific—but if anyone would know how to get around them, it would be a strong, well-trained witch with powerful red magic.
And if he didn’t have a clue? At this point in her unwanted mortal life, Akane would take what fun she could get, and chatting with a handsome man would brighten her day.
Even if he was holding hands with another handsome man, which meant he was off-limits.
She crossed the street without looking, shrugging off the squeal of brakes and the “Hey, watch it!” from a bike messenger who barely missed her.
It was only when she got closer that she sensed what his partner was.
Not like her. He had the sweet, hot, alluring smell of mortality on him as much as any human, and besides, there were no males of her kind. A dual-natured one, with a fox who walked inside his human appearance, waiting to come out to play.