I mentioned a while back that I'm working on an anthology of short stories for the Clans of Kalquor series. This is a little peek into the lives of the clans we've already met, just to catch up on the latest.
First up is Amelia Ryan, the heroine of the first book, Alien Embrace. Though one would think she's safe and secure with her men on Kalquor now, painting her pictures and mothering the twins, something has gone awry:
She’d walked these Kalquorian woods innumerable times with her three mates and their twins. She loved the patchwork quilt of jewel-toned leaves of the trees overhead. But today she was on her own and running from a cunning and ruthless hunter, one of Kalquor’s best. She knew his savagery, knew him for the predator he was. She’d seen one of his victims, his throat torn out from the brute’s fangs.
Her Imdiko mate Flencik, as big as he was gentle, had warned her only this morning, “Nobeks are set off by prey in flight. Never let one see you running from them. It brings all their primal instincts to the fore. Stand your ground. Fight back. Believe it or not, you’re less likely to get hurt that way.”
And the leader of their clan Rajhir had added, not very usefully, “Swinging big sticks or throwing heavy rocks would help. Or maybe it will just make him mad.”
Amelia heard the rushing water of the stream ahead and felt a rush of triumph. Almost there. The next moment she saw it, glittering like a ribbon through the leaf-strewn ground as it wound from the distant mountains.
She pulled off her slippers and waded in. The water was bitingly cold, but it would mask her scent too. The man on her trail had a remarkable sense of smell, as good as if not better than an Earth bloodhound.
How far ahead of him was she? Kalquorians were incredibly fast. At a full run, they turned into a blur, too fast for human eyes to follow. What took her two hours to traverse, he’d easily cover in minutes. The only thing slowing him down was looking for the clues of her passage, clues she’d trained hard to eliminate.