Author Stephani Hecht
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The Sensual World of Stephani Hecht
|Posted on July 17, 2011 at 5:11 PM|
Exiled from his childhood pack and hated by his family, Wolf shifter, Ranger vowed that he'd always protect others from sharing his same heartbreak. He fulfilled his promise, first by taking in stray shifters and then later on becoming a soldier for a feline coalition. So when he finds a strange Eagle shifter stalking one of his friends, it's only natural that Ranger becomes protective. Especially when said Eagle is in the company of two Ravens--the most evil of all shifters.
Eagle shifter, Xavier lost everything dear to him when tragedy struck his family years ago. Taken in and raised in extreme seclusion by a family of Ravens, he's always felt as if a piece of himself was missing. When he finds that his twin is alive and living with feline shifters, Xavier can't resist his curiosity.
Fighting their mutual distrust, Xavier and Ranger also find themselves becoming drawn to each other. In a world that's not always so black and white, can they get beyond prejudices and the taboo, or will their love be lost to hate?
Emboldened, Ranger took the last few steps that separated them. Once he got in close enough, he reached out and flicked the bill of the hat up.
Startled green eyes blinked up at him as the kid’s face was finally revealed. And there was no question about it—this punk was a kid in almost every sense of the word. While he appeared to be in his early twenties, his gaze held an innocent, vulnerable quality to it.
Ranger leaned in, buried his nose in the crook of the kid’s neck and breathed in deep. What he found made his heart hammer in shock. He even took another sniff, just to make sure his nose hadn’t been fooling him.
“Well, fuck a duck. You’re an Eagle, just like Riley.”
For some reason that seemed to piss the kid off. He pulled back with a snarl. “I’m nothing like Riley.”
The familiarity in which that name rolled off the supposed stranger’s lips sparked Ranger’s curiosity further. He reached up and tore the hat all the way off, not too surprised when he found blond hair underneath.
Studying the kid’s face, Ranger did a quick inventory. While the eye coloring may be different, there were other things that were damningly similar to Riley—the slightly upturned nose, the high cheekbones, full lips, even the thin bone structure.
“You’re more than just an Eagle, you’re Xavier,” Ranger declared with certainty.
They’d only learned recently that Riley’s twin brother Xavier had survived a tragedy that’d killed off the rest of their family. They’d both been young at that time and completely defenseless. While Riley had been taken in and raised by a human female, the whereabouts of Xavier had remained a mystery.
Xavier gave a jerky shake of his head. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m just a nobody who happened to get lost in the woods and ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
“Okay then, tell me what your name is,” Ranger challenged, calling his bluff.
Xavier stiffened, his breath hitching slightly. After a moment’s reflection, he answered in a halting voice, “Bob?”
“You want to try that again? And this time, I suggest you don’t end it with a question mark.”
“What’s wrong with Bob? It’s a perfectly acceptable name.”
Ranger planted his hand on either side of Xavier’s head, trapping the Eagle in. “I never said there was anything wrong with that name, but we both know that it’s not what you’re called.”
A moment of silence stretched between them before Xavier slightly tilted his head to the side in a thoughtful manner. “I don’t think I’ll tell you my name. After all, you haven’t even bothered to introduce yourself, so why should I bother with niceties?”
“My name is Ranger.”
For some reason that brought out a soft laugh from Xavier.
“As in Yogi, the Ranger isn’t going to like that?” Xavier asked, doing a dead-on impersonation of Boo-Boo.
“You seem awfully cheerful for somebody who’s trapped.” Ranger leaned in until their noses were inches apart and growled.