About OF CLAWS AND FANGS:
New York Times bestselling author Faith Hunter presents a stunning collection of stories from the world of shape-shifting vampire hunter Jane Yellowrock and beyond.
Collected together for the first time, this volume contains shorter works featuring heroines Jane Yellowrock and Nell Ingram, as well as a host of other characters from the Jane Yellowrock and Soulwood series. Faith Hunter is “an expert at creating worlds filled with intriguing supernatural elements and exciting scenarios”* and her skills are on full display in this collection. From a vampire-filled Halloween evening in New Orleans to the searing tale of how a certain were-leopard first got his spots, this collection has something for everyone, and each story is sure to put the super in supernatural.
With eighteen stories in all, Of Claws and Fangs will enrich and entertain—it’s a must-have for Faith Hunter’s readers and all lovers of fantasy.
Shiloh and the Brick
First appeared as a serial short in 2016 for the release of Blood in Her Veins. In the timeline, Jane is an Enforcer for Leo Pellissier.
“Yes. You are going, Shiloh Everhart Stone,” Molly said, enunciating every word with pitiless determination. “You and your blood-servants. You do not have the control you need, as evidenced by your reaction yesterday.”
A man had pinched Shiloh at a bar-and-grill near dawn, and she had come within a hairsbreadth of biting him. Unasked. And when her blood-servant stopped her, she nearly set the woman’s hair on fair with an inflammatur witch working. Shiloh was a major incident waiting to happen. The girl whirled to me. “Are you going to let her do this to me, Enforcer?” Shiloh demanded.
Ohhh. Nice move with the Enforcer title. Too bad I’d seen it coming. And too bad she used it. Making me choose between witches and vamps sounded good on the surface, but calling me Enforcer decreased her possible avenues of argument and backed her into a corner she hadn’t seen yet.
I shrugged. “You’re a witch, as powerful as anything I’ve ever seen.” I crossed the fingers hidden behind me. I had seen Angie Baby. So . . . liar, liar, pants on fire. “And a vamp. And you lost control. Therefore, yeah. I’m letting your aunt and uncle send you to witch training camp.”
“This is so not fair,” Shiloh spat.
“Thanks, Jane,” Molly said, her tone nowhere near calm and reasonable. Behind her, Big Evan smiled, the expression barely visible behind his full red beard. Molly shoved her own bouncy red curls out of her face and scowled at her niece, her words still strident. “You need formal schooling. It’s not an option. No witch in New Orleans can take you on to train, not with the work taking place putting together the Witch Conclave. The Charlotte coven accepted you as a student for six weeks and assured us of your safety. You. Need. Training.”
“I’m not going.” Shiloh stamped her foot.
I curled my lips under to keep from laughing aloud. I had never seen a vamp stamp their foot.
“And you can’t make me. Right, Enforcer?”
That’s what happened when you got three redheaded people, two of them witches, and one a witch-vamp, all in the same room with a Cherokee skinwalker. Trying to get them to work together to solve our problem had been difficult. Actually, impossible, so far.
I’m Jane Yellowrock. I was on my own, hunting and staking rogue vamps when I was Shiloh’s age. Now I’m the Enforcer to the MOC of NOLA and, with my partners, I run Yellowrock Securities, Inc., chasing and fighting “things that go bump in the night.” I can do tough. But I’d rather fight a ten-foot alligator with my bare human hands—buck naked—than deal with a teenager.
“No. They can’t,” I said, and I thought poisoned darts would shoot from Molly’s eyes. I grinned and stood, pulling my cell. “And I can’t.” On the cell’s face, I tapped the name Leo Pellissier, my boss and the Master of the City of New Orleans. I handed the girl the cell. “But he can.”
“I’m not talking to him,” Shiloh said, her eyes bleeding scarlet, her pupils dilating vamp-black.
I just laughed, the sound a little catty, a little mean, and shook my head. “Take the phone before he answers or I’ll stick you under my arm and carry you to vamp HQ and watch him convince you. It won’t be pretty.”
Shiloh ripped the cell out of my hand and said, “What?” A moment later she scowled and added, “Sir. What, sir? It’s Shiloh, sir.” She turned away and hunched her shoulders. I smiled at Molly and her husband Evan. It was a fake smile but it was all I had left, and it was nicer than the one I had shown Shiloh.
Molly’s niece had disappeared at age fifteen, a runaway. That same year, she had reappeared in New Orleans, in a teen shelter, just in time to be swept up by the Damours, witch-vampires who were looking for witch children to use in black-magic, blood-magic sacrifices for a big-ass spell to . . . never mind. It’s convoluted. But I could still feel the chill in my bones from the day I discovered she had been taken. Soon after, Shiloh had been turned and used by vamps to accomplish their own ends.
Except for running away to New Orleans—and look how badly that gone—Shiloh had never made a single decision in her own life. She had lived every moment at the behest of others, and she had suffered trauma. Her mother had commited murder and killed her father. Witches had abandoned the girl. Vamps had used and abused her. Her remaining family hadn’t known what to do with a witch-vamp.
All that made me want to let her go, let her make this decision with her own life, let her face the consequences on her own. If she was the only one to face repercussions, I’d likely let her go. But that wasn’t going to happen. If Shiloh Everhart Stone let a witch working explode, or bit a tourist, or, God help us, both, it would create major reverberations throughout the witch and vamp worlds. The whole country might face the results with her. And there wasn’t enough of me to protect everyone.
She sold her first book in 1989 and hasn’t stopped writing since.
Faith collects orchids and animal skulls, loves thunder storms, and writes. She drinks a lot of tea. She likes to kayak Class II & III whitewater rivers. Some days she’s a lady. Some days she ain't.
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