A Griffin Scorned
Are you ready for author Veronica R. Calisto‘s upcoming urban fantasy, A Griffin Scorned? The first in her Extranormal series, the story unfolds around the clandestine world of griffins that even the other extranormal creatures believe are myth. How will they react, especially when they discover they can’t deceive her?
No one can lie around a griffin.
Victoria—never Vikki—Drayton walked in on her boyfriend with another woman. In her house. In her bed. Rather than eviscerate the fetid maggot spit as she so wanted, she kept it classy. After kicking him out with a warning to never return, she thrashed whatever he deigned to leave behind, and flew off in search of something a tad less cannibalistic to sink her beak into.
Instead of the brown bear she was hoping for, she found some men escorting a chained man none-so-gently toward the nearest cliff. Sweeping in to beat up the louts channeled some of her anger. Saving Mallory Stone—tall, rich, dragon, and so gorgeous he had to be gay—was a bonus, even if she had to reveal the existence of griffins and some of their idiosyncrasies in the process. Mal showed up on her doorstep a few days later begging a favor; his brother has disappeared and he needs her help. Who better than a griffin to claw to the truth of the matter?
Veronica R. Calisto is the author of many books, some of which she is willing to let others read. When she isn’t writing, she is thinking about writing, a.k.a. plugging away at her day jobs, whose mundanities makes her name plants things like Cleoplantra and forces her mind to squeak out words like mundanities. Most of the time she can be found in Colorado lavishing on a nest built of books while she listens and sings (loudly) to music which may or may not be playing outside her own head.
Veronica can be found around the web at the following links:
It didn’t really matter what the other men were doing, the chains linking his ankles, wrists, and ring around his neck said the red-haired man was less than excited to be involved. He seemed too clean-cut for his walk in shackles up a skinny mountain path in the middle of the night to be a common occurrence.
The softness of his palms was noticeable even as I dodged from one tree to the next. It gave away as much as the rest of him did. The fear in the man’s eyes spoke volumes. His jeans worshipped his legs without vacuum sealing and leaving nothing to the imagination, like the ridiculous skinny-jeans did. The satiny blue shirt may have been clean before his captors got their grubby hands on it.
The men around him apparently didn’t care. They didn’t speak to him. Didn’t even look at him much, except to prod him with an elbow or well-placed foot when he wasn’t moving fast enough for them. When he tripped, the barrels of several guns pointed his way motivated him to crawl back to his feet. The sight nearly pulled a soft growl from Victoria. She clamped down on her reaction before the sound escaped. It wouldn’t do to spook these wannabe mercenaries. Not before she knew exactly what was going on.
Despite their pockets-a-plenty outfits, the eight men were obviously not well-suited for this minor tip-toe into the mountains. Their black hiking boots smelled all but new, same as their matching black uniforms. Something in the clunky way they moved hinted that they had Kevlar vests on underneath their shirts–black ones, more than likely. Wheezing, gasping breaths signaled their vulnerability to every living creature in the trees around them. Even the students in the college on the other side of the mountain’s peak would scoff at the display of unfitness, then offer to spark up a communal bowl. Boulder, Colorado, where hippies abounded.
If they weren’t in such a large, armed group, every single one of them would have been picked off by something. And quickly. That was the problem, though. The group and the guns. The chained man was taller than the lot of them. He could break free if he only had one escort. One unarmed escort. And he had no chains binding him.
Victoria itched to pounce on the lot of them, but she held back. He may have done something worthy of this kind of treatment. A court of law was the right way to deal with disputes, even when it involved extranormals. The courts weren’t always the best or fastest method, granted. That didn’t mean one could hop up and make their own justice.
Though, after what she walked in on tonight, she understood how someone could snap. She barely managed to keep her anger from overtaking her senses. How lucky for this captive man that she had controlled herself and tore out of her home instead. His predicament could have gone unwitnessed while she basked in squishing the squirming, sniveling sack of louse manure also known as her ex-boyfriend, instead of simply kicking him out.
The beautiful seed of anger warmed her to the tips of her bare toes, propelling her from tree to tree along the path as she mirrored their progress. Where did the men think they were going, anyway? An ATV couldn’t negotiate the tiny trail, but this was an awful lot of effort to move away from civilization.
A scramble up an aspen revealed one of the scenic overlooks the Flatiron Range was known for. None of the men looked her way when she dropped back to the ground, knocking a few branches down in the process. Of course they wouldn’t. She was as quiet as could be. Spying on men who had clearly gone out of their way to hide in the mountains required silence and camouflage, but their inexperience meant she didn’t need to over exert her ability. With all the noise they made, even on the well-trodden path, she didn’t need to do much extra to hide herself. They didn’t exactly have her senses, and the idiots weren’t looking for potential observers. Still, directing energy to remaining silent kept her from losing hold of her temper. She wanted to be absolutely certain attacking the man’s captors was a good idea.
One of the eight men tripped their captive and laughed as he tried to catch himself. Another one of them kicked him in the backside when he struggled to get up. Victoria bit her lower lip before a growl escaped. Good people didn’t kick others when they’re down. Not unless they had a good reason.
“You guys have the money he owed you. I don’t even want to know the details of why he owed it.” The chained man pulled himself halfway upright. One of the black-clad men pressing a gun barrel to his shoulder pushed the chained man the rest of the way up. “Can’t we just call it even?”
That sparked it. Those were not the words of someone who deserved this kind of treatment.
With a breath, Victoria dashed from the trees and tackled the last two people in the group. She didn’t bother keeping them quiet. Dodging in and out of their attempts to hit or grab her took most of her concentration. Her camouflage commandeered the remainder. The shadows of the trees did most of the work; she used what was already available.
She made sure to shift constantly. Not sticking to one pattern. Moving in ways a normal person shouldn’t be able to do. Always, always, punching and kicking the captors in their most sensitive places.
A shot to the groin was predictable, especially when coming from a woman. These men didn’t know what they fought, but men tended to guard their privates dearly. And their uniforms may have come complete with cups. No one ever thought to cover the fragile sides of their knees, or protect their skinny clavicles. Their skinny, breakable clavicles. A simple peck to the collar bone with her pinched fingers brought the tallest attacker to a knee.
One punch to a man’s kidney confirmed they wore bullet-proof vests. It would make her work a little harder to hurt them, but she would manage. Unfortunately for them, the vest’s specifications didn’t cover the wrath of an angry woman, let alone an angry griffin. Kevlar was virtually useless against knives and blunt forces. Who needed knives when belligerence bubbled over? And these men had offered themselves up to help her work through some of her aggression. So obliging. She would have to make sure to thank them. Possibly with a jab to the throat.
A smile curved her lips as she dropped one man—the one who had kicked the captive—with a solid kick to the stomach. Victoria was too busy punching the next two attackers to make certain he stayed down. Someone caught her left thigh with a lucky fist. She caught it, mashed it into his own face, then rode him down with a kick in the gut. His groans of pain were so tasty. Such a feast here.
The man who grabbed her hair received a head-butt.
The click of a trigger sounded just before the first rapport. Victoria dropped, kicked a couple of knees in, and then danced out of the circle. It didn’t matter if they aimed to scare her or catch her with a lucky shot. She certainly couldn’t count on fortune to keep her unscathed. They would hit her eventually, or wise up and threaten the man she was kind-of-sort-of trying to protect. Then there was the whole issue of the fired shots drawing more men from wherever these scumbags had oozed. Her anger could only handle so much before things got really ugly.
A Griffin Scorned releases TODAY. Grab your copy now!