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ResolutionResplendence Publishing
ISBN eBook: N/A
Genre: Paranormal, Shifters, M/M
Series: Book four in the Refuge Shifters Series.
Book Length: Novel
Release Date: January 26, 2010

Read an Excerpt | Order eBook at Resplendence Publishing

After an attempt on their lives by an unknown group, the bird shifters are forced to seek shelter at Refuge. Having spent years in their bird-skin, the adjustment for some isn’t easy.

Bird shifters Takoda and Enapay have been best friends for years. Enapay knows Takoda is his chosen mate, but Takoda refuses to consider a life living in his man-skin. When Enapay starts to work closely with Dr. Gray Whitmore, he can’t understand his overwhelming attraction to the human.

With Takoda’s continued rebuffs, Enapay finally gives into his desire for Gray. It is soon apparent, Gray was meant to be Enapay’s mate. But when Takoda’s health takes a turn for the worse, old feelings resurface. Enapay is left wondering why Father Sky gifted him with two mates, especially when one of them still refuses to live as a man.


Note for Readers: You must be over eighteen to read this excerpt.

Two months after getting the first of the bird shifters into their new homes, Enapay was still unsettled. Although he had a new home he loved, he couldn’t rest easy until Takoda was out of the clinic.

Lately, it seemed Takoda had more bad days than good. Takoda wasn’t the only shifter still suffering the effects of the poisonous gas, but the others appeared to be getting stronger every day.

Enapay put on his soft buckskin pants and laced up the waist. He’d received word that Dr. Gray Whitmore wanted to talk to him about Takoda’s condition, but Enapay wanted to go by the clinic first to check on the man he’d always loved.

He climbed down the ladder of his tree house and headed toward the overcrowded clinic. Construction had begun on a bigger and better hospital, but until recently, houses for the shifters had been the number one priority.

It wasn’t yet clear to Enapay whether or not Gray would stay at Refuge once his research was complete, but the visiting researcher had settled in nicely. When not in his lab, Gray had worked right alongside the shifters to build hundreds upon hundreds of tree houses.

Enapay had spent a great deal of time with the handsome doctor, which had prompted even more visits to Takoda’s bedside. There was just something about Gray that made Enapay feel guilty whenever they were around each other. On several occasions, he’d had to remind himself that he wasn’t a free man. The overwhelming desire to touch the human doctor was strong, and it scared and shamed Enapay.

Stepping into the clinic, Enapay waived to his favorite nurse, Nancy. “Good morning.”

“Morning, handsome,” Nancy replied with a grin.

He strode into the small private room they’d given Takoda and stopped. The curtain had been drawn around Takoda’s bed, which usually meant his doctor, Refuge’s newest physician, Sam Sparrol, was examining him.

Enapay crossed his arms and leaned against the wall. Sam was a good guy. He’d been brought in five weeks earlier to replace one of the other doctors who’d had a family emergency. The curtain opened and Enapay got his first look at Takoda that day. The man he loved appeared pale, but awake.

Enapay kept his position. “How’s the patient today?”

After opening the window blinds, Sam approached Enapay. “Weak.” Sam shook his head. “Maybe you can get him to eat something.”

Enapay glanced over Sam’s shoulder to Takoda. “Has he had anything yet?”

Sam shook his head. “He sent his breakfast back. I told him if he didn’t start eating, I’d be forced to hook up a feeding tube.”

“Would you please ask someone to bring me some grits or oatmeal?” Enapay asked.

Sam nodded before leaving the room.

Enapay approached Takoda and took his customary spot in the chair next to the bed. He knew Takoda’s lack of appetite was a reflection on his inability to shift. So far, they hadn’t been able to figure out why his crow refused to come out, but that was what Gray was researching.

Enapay reached through the bedrails and took Takoda’s hand. “You need to eat.”

Takoda shook his head. “I’ve no taste for human food.”

“You’re in human form. You need to eat the right kind of food to get your strength back,” Enapay tried to explain.

Takoda gazed at Enapay with tears in his eyes. “Why do I have to stay here?”

“Because you’re still sick.” Enapay concentrated on rubbing the skin between Takoda’s thumb and forefinger. How many days had he sat wanting nothing more than to pull the man into his lap to protect him from the world?

“But I don’t feel sick, just tired.” Takoda ignored Enapay’s touch like he had every day.

“Maybe if you’d eat, that would go away,” Enapay argued.

“Why can’t I shift?” Takoda asked the same question every time Enapay visited.

“I don’t know, but I’ve got a meeting with Gray after I leave here.”

“He’s nice.”

“Yeah, he is.” Although Enapay agreed, he found the observation strange. Takoda didn’t take well to humans, at least the full-blooded variety. To know Takoda liked Gray was unsettling.

Takoda’s eyes had started to drift shut when Kelly brought in a bowl of grits.

“Thanks,” Enapay said, taking the bowl.

Takoda tried to turn his head away when Enapay lifted a spoon toward his mouth. “I’m not hungry.”

“Please. Just a few bites,” Enapay begged.

“Two and then you have to leave me alone about it,” Takoda offered.

“Three and I’ll leave you alone until this evening,” Enapay countered.

Takoda rolled his eyes. “Why do you care so much? If I don’t want to eat, I don’t want to eat.”

“Three,” Enapay repeated. He thought about once again telling the small shifter how much he loved him, but those words always seemed to make Takoda uncomfortable.

In the end, Takoda managed to get down two and a half spoonfuls of grits. Enapay had no doubt Takoda could have eaten more, but the shifter refused to fully do as asked. Enapay eventually set the bowl down and held out a glass of water.

Takoda took several sips out of the straw before rolling to his side, his back to Enapay. “You can go now.”

Enapay took a deep breath. There were times Takoda was damn infuriating to deal with. He could tell Takoda was in one of his moods, so he knew there was no sense staying any longer. Enapay got to his feet and readjusted Takoda’s blankets. “I’ll be back later.”

“No need to hurry,” Takoda mumbled.

With a shake of his head, Enapay left the room.

* * * *

Enapay knocked on Gray’s door. Because the clinic was still full of healing bird shifters, the doctor had turned the living room in his small cottage into his office. Enapay hated to admit it, but he’d actually made it a point to run by his house and ready himself for the meeting.

The door opened and the gorgeous, somber-looking doctor attempted a smile. “Come in.”

Enapay followed Gray into the house. Instead of heading toward his desk, Gray gestured to the sofa that had been shoved to one side of the room. “Have a seat.”

Suddenly uneasy by the doctor’s demeanor, Enapay stayed where he was. “What’s wrong?”

Gray grabbed a folder off the coffee table and sat at one end of the sofa. “I think you need to sit down for this.”

Enapay wanted to argue, but the expression on Gray’s face was grim. With his knees growing weaker by the second, Enapay eventually joined Gray on the couch, sitting as far away from the tall, lean doctor as he could. “What’s wrong with Takoda?”

“I don’t know, which has me really concerned.”

Enapay’s eyes immediately began to burn. “Why?”

Gray shook his head. “Because Dr. Sparrol can’t find anything wrong with him, yet he continues to have these periods of weakness. And we still don’t know why he can’t shift.”

“Maybe he just needs to regain his strength,” Enapay offered.

“Maybe. But that doesn’t solve the problem as to why he’s been so up and down lately. Dr. Sparrol says there’s no explanation for it.”

“Why don’t you try?” Enapay asked.

Gray ran his fingers through his short blond hair. “I’m a geneticist, not a medical doctor, and Dr. Sparrol’s one of the best at treating the human side of shifters. I was brought in because I’ve been studying shifters for years, but in their shifted state.”

Enapay could tell by Gray’s expression that there was something else. “There’s more, isn’t there?”

Gray nodded. “It’s possible the gas Takoda breathed has done irreparable damage to his crow. It’s completely possible he may never regain the power to shift.”

Enapay shook his head and stood. “No. I won’t believe that. Takoda’s crow means everything to him.”

Gray stood and reached out to place a hand on Enapay’s shoulder. “I’m sorry.”

Enapay’s breathing started to increase from the simple touch. He pushed his desires away. “You can’t tell Takoda he may never shift again.”

“Someone has to.”

“Why? He’s not strong enough. The news will kill him,” Enapay tried to argue.

“He’s weak, but he’s no longer knocking on death’s door,” Gray tried to reason.

Enapay shook his head. “You don’t understand. Takoda would rather die than live without his crow. He hated life as a man.”

Gray’s eyebrows drew together. “He’ll figure it out eventually, and then he’ll be pissed no one prepared him.”

Enapay held his hands out, palm up. “Please. Just give it some time. If anyone tells him, it needs to be me, but I need to put a few things into motion before then. If he’s told now, I guarantee you he won’t last the week.”