As you might have noticed, I've been on a shapeshifter kick lately and after watching this great documentary on Netflix called Circus (seriously, check it out) I was inspired to combine the two. Thus, the idea for the Menagerie Circus was born! The first book, Trick Rider, follows tiger-shifter Lucas. He falls hard for his new partner, Morgan, but the horse-shifter has some secrets in his past. Here's a sneak peek:
“Lucas! Boss wants to see you!” The high-pitched voice of Bethany, a peacock shifter and high-wire walker, shattered Lucas’ concentration.
“Kinda busy,” Lucas called through gritted teeth. He had to yell to be heard over the sound of pounding hooves. The tiger shifter was currently perched precariously on the back of a white mare, balancing on one leg as she galloped tirelessly around the practice ring. Lucas was a trick rider, and specialized in acrobatics on the back of a moving horse.
Bethany was undeterred. “He says now!”
For fuck’s sake. Lucas growled inwardly, leaping off the mare’s back and landing on his feet with a thud. The horse stopped obediently, and one of the other riders grabbed her halter.
“Ok, ok, I’m coming,” he grumbled. “Keep your feathers on.” Bethany rolled her eyes as Lucas climbed out of the ring. He wondered what was so important that Bill would interrupt rehearsal; it was important for all performers to constantly hone their act. Lucas wiped his sweaty face on his t-shirt before following Bethany out of the tent.
It wasn’t a coincidence that he and Beth were both shifters. The Menagerie Circus was actually completely staffed with were-creatures of all types, and they dazzled the unsuspecting public with their elaborate animal acts. They also performed traditional circus acts, like the trapeze, in human form. Lucas occasionally played the part of a trained tiger, but he loved riding best of all. And he should be practicing now, dammit.
“This better be good,” Lucas began as he pushed open the door to Bill’s trailer. He stopped short when he noticed that his boss wasn’t alone.
“Lucas, this is Morgan. Morgan, Lucas, our star trick rider.” Bill was both the owner and the ringmaster of the Menagerie Circus, and everything he said in his booming voice sounded like a performance announcement. But Lucas barely heard him.
Standing next to Bill was the most gorgeous man Lucas had ever seen. He had the graceful long limbs of a dancer, high cheekbones, and tousled chestnut hair. His dark brown eyes looked up at Lucas, and the tiger-shifter was surprised to see a flicker of fear on his handsome face. Why would he be afraid? He was imagining things.
“Nice to meet you,” Lucas purred in his most charming voice, holding out his hand to shake. As he drew closer, he caught a whiff of Morgan’s scent: it was like fresh hay under the summer sun. Very interesting.
Morgan shook Lucas’ hand hesitantly, as if he were afraid the tiger-shifter would bite him. Bill grinned, oblivious to the tension on the room.
“You wanted a horse-shifter for your act, Lucas?” boomed his boss. “Well you’re in luck, Morgan here just quit the Star Brothers’ Circus and he wants to sign on with us. Say hello to your new partner!”
Lucas could swear he heard a heavenly choir start up. Someone up there must love him to send him this guy. He grinned down at Morgan. “Well, welcome to the Menagerie Circus. I think you’ll like it here.”
Morgan frowned, which was not the reaction Lucas was hoping for. “Are you a tiger?” he asked.
Lucas was a little taken aback, but nodded. “Stripes and all.”
“Is that going to be a problem, Morgan?” Bill asked, a hint of confusion on his good-natured face. Lucas was glad he wasn’t the only one who could sense Morgan’s strange attitude.
“No, not really. I just think it’s a little weird that you let a predator shifter ride the horses,” Morgan mumbled, dropping his gaze to the ground.
Lucas snorted. “Well, I haven’t eaten any of them yet,” he said, unable to stop the sarcasm creeping into his voice. His pride was a little stung, but he managed to maintain his smile.
Bill laughed. “I’m sure you two can work things out. Now, I’ve got some things to do before the matinee. Lucas, why don’t you take Morgan to Sarah for costume fitting?”
“Sure thing, boss,” Lucas drawled. He pushed open the trailer door, gesturing for Morgan to exit. As he went down the steps in front of him, Lucas couldn’t resist sneaking a peek. Cranky or not, Morgan had a fantastic ass.Can Morgan and Lucas work past their differences? Find out at the following e-book retailers: