The Guardian of Bastet By Jacqueline Battisti
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Date of Publication: 8/20/2012
Cat-shifter Trinity Morrigan-Caine has discovered a demon is killing supernaturals. Magically challenged, she has every intention of letting handsome Alpha werewolf Gordon Barnes handle it. But after a dying vampire gifts Trinity a mystical amulet, she is drawn into the fray as the legendary Guardian of Bastet, a warrior born when the need arises.Though Trinity initially rejects the role, she warms to the idea when Gordon agrees to train her—and their passion for each other grows as he teaches her to embrace her animal instincts.As she begins to accept her destiny and believe in her growing powers, Trinity realizes the danger is even closer to home than she ever imagined—and she and Gordon are going to have to face the demon in a fight to the death…
Like a good girl, I try to say my prayers every morning. This morning was no exception. “Goddess, it’s me, Trinity Morrigan-Caine. Could you please let me get through today without pissing off too many people or wanting to kill anyone? And would you please grant me patience for the idiots I meet and guidance to keep my mouth shut when they say something really freakin’ stupid? Thank you.” Afterward, I felt better. Today was just one of those days. I slept through the alarm. My familiar, a longhaired Birman feline named Bronwyn, had to wake me up and there is nothing like being swatted in the face with a clawed paw first thing in the morning. I showered and then realized I had no clean work scrubs. Crap. I put on already worn scrubs which didn’t smell too bad. The only brightness of the morning was my cousin and roommate, Lily, had made a pot of coffee and saved me some before she left for work—and probably on time, of course. Once again, I was late and I knew my boss was going to have kittens because of it. Okay, not literally, although the thought of that made me giggle aloud. No, I was the one who turned into a furry feline once a month. She was just a human pain in my ass. I grabbed the travel mug and took a swig of the coffee I had heated up before leaving. I didn’t even care I burned my lips on the brew. I let out a deep sigh. Ah coffee, the elixir of gods and humans. There was just nothing better than the jolt of caffeine to wake up to. I drove to work whistling. Dr. Ginean Meyers, the Senior Veterinarian and an all-around bitch, glared at me as I walked in the door. She was standing behind our reception desk with Alice, our administrative assistant. Alice gave me a small welcoming smile, but Meyers’s look could have frozen hell. I took a step toward my two coworkers and stopped. The smell of our animal disinfectant was strong there, however it couldn’t compete with Meyers’s rancid perfume. I’d rather have smelled a wet dog. My nose twitched in revulsion and my smile slipped from my face as I took two instinctive steps back. I sighed and greeted them both, waiting for the ax to fall. “Good Morning, Dr. Caine,” Alice said politely. “Did we oversleep, again, this morning?” sneered Meyers. And there it was. “Yes, well…” “Your first client has been waiting for you in the exam room for the last twenty minutes. Perhaps the office should collect some funds and purchase a working alarm clock for you, hmm? Do you think it would help?” Meyers said with such saccharine sweetness, I wanted to smack the icicles off her face. So much for playing nice. It was lucky for her I didn’t want to get closer and endure more of her perfume. To slap a woman properly you had to be nearer than I was willing to get. Not to mention, my common sense told me not to physically assault a senior vet if I wanted to continue in my line of work. “Yeah, well.” I glared back but tried to keep the words civil. “I think I can manage on my own, thanks.” Ah. Good. Then I heard myself say, “Nice perfume. My grandmother’s birthday is coming up. What scent are you wearing?” Damn. Did that just come out of my mouth? All right, maybe not so civilized; I was still a work in progress. Meyers gave a sniff and ignored my comment. Instead, she turned her attention back to Alice, whose face was becoming pinched with frustration. “Make sure you include the extra lab expenses to Mr. Pender’s bill. He wanted the works, so we can charge him for the works.” “Already done, Dr. Meyers. Anything else?” Alice sighed with resignation. Meyers tapped a pencil against her thinned lips as she continued to stare at me and ignored Alice’s question. Her eyes zeroed in on my dancing clowns and puppies lab coat. Then she smiled, a feral gleam in her eye. “Don’t you have any more…appropriate lab coats? You look like you belong in a pediatric ward instead of a professional veterinarian’s office. What kind of impression are you expecting to make to our clients?” I noticed she stressed “professional” and it reminded me once again hiring me wasn’t her idea. She thought I was too young and flippant to work here and I should have started out in some low-end clinic and worked my way up. But, I had graduated top of my class, and the head of the Group Vet Associates, which owned this place, had snapped me up after graduation. This miffed Meyers to no end and there wasn’t much she could do about it. Brass had to be the one to give you the boot in order to be fired around here. She might run this particular clinic, except it was only one fish in the pond of clinics in our area. It also didn’t hurt I had doubled our client base since I was hired two years ago. Once the potential clientele heard of my almost “abnormal” (Ha! If they only knew!) abilities as a vet and animal behaviorist, they tried us. Afterward, they kept coming back for more. It just didn’t stop Meyers from needling me from time to time whenever she got the chance, especially when it came to my looks. The thought, bite me, woman, came out as, “I’ll work on that.” I stopped trying to play nice and went over to the computer console, which listed our daily appointments. I couldn’t stop the growl erupting from my throat after reading the name of my first client. “Great.” I ran my hand through my unruly raven hair, making it look even wilder than usual. I heard a snicker escape Meyers’s pursed lips. “You’re beginning to sound like your client, Caine. Have fun with him.” Meyers was still chuckling as she strutted toward her office. I rolled my eyes, retrieved the file I needed and lumbered to the exam room. Meyers had it all wrong. She thought I didn’t like Chance because he was a big “bad” dog and he liked to make himself look and sound intimidating. Most vets and assistants didn’t like working with him because of his love of aggression. That wasn’t what bothered me. What had me groaning was the fact he complained so much it gave me a headache. I tried not to listen much because it attracted too much attention to my special gift, but he was hard to ignore. The bastard knew I could hear him and took full advantage of it. And yes, by hear I mean understand. I could decipher his barks and growls as if they were normal speech, not to mention picking up his whiney-ass thoughts through some quirky psychic link. See, my mom’s a full-blooded witch. Dad’s a werepuma. Put them together and you get me, a half-witch who can’t cast worth a crap and turns into a werekitty once a month during the full moon. And no, nothing as spectacular as Dad’s two-hundred-fifty-pound puma form. Instead, I’m a shorthaired black tabby cat. Go me. I reached the exam room and walked through the doorway to see Chance, the ferocious-looking Rottweiler, and his female owner, a cute, peppy little bottle-blonde-haired woman who got the dog in her divorce settlement…just to be a bitch to her ex. “Good morning. So what seems to be the problem with Chance today?” Chance was sitting on the floor next to the steel examination table looking pathetic. When the owner saw me, she went right into her complaint before I had a chance to put the clipboard down. “Well…Chance has started back-sliding on his potty training.” She turned to glare at the dog and then looked back at me. “He’s been tinkling all over my house! He’s never done this before. When I was married, my husband did all Chance’s training and he NEVER did it then. Is it me? Am I doing something wrong?” Good Lord. “Let’s just take a look and make sure it’s not anything medical first, shall we?” I looked at Chance and started the examination. “How’s Chancy boy today, hmm?” I petted his scruff around his massive neck. No owner ever expected a response when we asked, however I knew better when it came to this particular mutt. I tried not to act surprised when he started his usual barking and growling routine while also broadcasting in my head. Chance was a Rottweiler the size of a small pony. You would think an animal, who looked as intimidating and powerful as him, wouldn’t be such a freaking crybaby. If the ditz thinks I’m gonna put up with those gigolos in my house, she’s got another thing coming. With all the traffic in and out of there, I gotta mark my territory or they’ll try to take it over! I kept smiling while Chance continued his rant. I seemed, to others, to be indifferent to the dog barking and growling at me, but I was truly just trying not to wince at his yelling in my head. Chance moved his head around and took a nip at my hand. Hey, are you listening to me? I know you can hear me, Doc! Tell her to keep those other Alpha wannabe’s out of my damn house! And the drama continued throughout the entire exam. By the end, I had Chance calmed down and agreeing not to mark up the house in exchange for getting his owner to agree to keep the “strangers” at a minimum for a little bit while Chance re-mastered housebreaking. The rest of my day was the same as any other. I looked at pets while talking to the owners. I pretended not to hear most of the pets’ conversational yapping when I performed the examinations. I tried not to advertise my talents to most of our clientele whether they were human or animal. Chance was one of the few who had caught on to my ability (I had made the mistake of responding to one of his rants) and now he took full advantage of it. He also purposely ignored the internal link and barked his complaints for everyone to hear. Drama queen…err…king. Why did I pick veterinary science? I ask myself every day and the answer is always the same. I’m a softhearted schmuck, that’s why. By the end of the day, I was completely worn out, a double whammy effect from my hard day’s work combined with my kitty escapades during last night’s full moon. Thank goodness, it was Friday night and I had the next couple of days to relax. I was ready to go home and kick back with some chocolate-covered potato chips and a horror flick with my friend, Brandon. We did movie nights occasionally and vented about the latest relationship failures in our lives. He was leaving for a business trip in less than a week, so I thought a little bonding time wouldn’t hurt. The poor boy has more relationship failures than I do, and that’s saying something. I walked by Meyers and gave her a little wave as I blew past her. “Have a nice weekend,” I said as I grabbed my coat to leave. She glowered at me as she watched me leave on time. I could almost feel the daggers in my back, but hey, I was on salary and I had a large client base. It’s not my fault she’s a workaholic. She could have left anytime if she actually had plans worth going home for. Unfortunately, if I had known what awaited me that evening, maybe I would have stayed later at work as well.
Jacqueline Battisti was raised in Little Falls, New York where she met and married her high school sweetheart. They have two children and live near Rochester, New York where she is a stay at home mom and writer of the paranormal and urban fantasy of her vivid imagination.
Her first novel, The Guardian of Bastet, is being published by Carina Press August 20, 2012. She is currently working on a sequel as well as a dystopian paranormal.
Her life has taken her from the trials and tribulations of working as an administrative assistant at various companies, back to college as an adult student, and then into the adventurous world of motherhood.
Jacqueline began writing seriously in 2007 after attempting NaNoWriMo for the first time. It was the first time she had disciplined herself to finish a novel. From there, her supportive critique group was formed and attended, and then she attended RT Booklovers Convention in 2009. Jacqueline attended their aspiring authors workshops and met with many talented writers who inspired her to continue writing.
Flash forward to today: Jacqueline has two children who are very outgoing and keep her on her toes. Cub Scouts, Daisy Scouts, play dates, school activities for the kids…then writing, reading current authors, following blogs, facebook, household chores, gardening and exhaustion for mom. Add in a new puppy, two furry feline children and fish and you have the craziness that is the Battisti household.
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