Visions of Shadows – Shifter Force #2

A child’s cry shall lead them.

Connor McGriffin, psychic cougar shifter, can’t resist when he’s called to Phoenix to help find two missing boys. With his team at his side, he follows his visions and a hot trail through the desert and across the border. But there are more obstacles than ever before as he fights to interpret the images his psychic gift provides.

Danny Lupan is trying to adjust to his new role in life, Connor’s partner and member of Shifter Force. When the system he’s spent years in the middle of starts blocking them, he’s got choices to make, some of them harder than he expected. Even as their team is on the cusp of earning their wings, tension from inside and out might pull them apart.

Emotions run high when the lives of children are on the line as Shifter Force races across the desert southwest, facing more danger than they could imagine, while they struggle to keep the cries Connor hears from becoming more graves.

Book 2 of the amazing new urban fantasy series, Shifter Force, is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat until the last incredible page.

***

Connor stood fully dressed, steaming coffee cup in hand, staring out the window.

Slipping out of the bed, and Danny took a couple of stumbling, sleepy steps to stand beside him. Camelback Mountain dominated the landscape outside the window. At least he thought that’s what it was called. He’d been to Phoenix once before on a high school field trip. That time, he hadn’t paid tons of attention to the local landscape; he’d just been happy to be off pack lands and acting like a normal teenager for a little while.

“What are you looking at?” Danny leaned against Connor’s broad shoulder.

Slowly, almost robotically draping an arm over Danny’s shoulder, Connor kissed Danny. “Sometimes I hate this whatever-you-call-it I have. My grandmother called it a gift, but I often think of it as a curse.” His soft voice sounded far away. “I hate these visions. I really do.”

The tones and jerky movements were enough to tell Danny that Connor fought outside the mortal realm. They’d only been together a short time, but he’d seen enough to know that whatever Connor was seeing, it wasn’t outside the window. He wrapped an arm around Connor’s waist and kissed his neck. “What do you see?”

“Little boys. About a dozen of them ranging from about seven to ten.” Connor took a sip of his coffee, but the movement was somnambulistic. It was the way he often got when he was trying to see everything he could but still needed a drink, a touch of the real world to keep him from getting totally lost in the visions.

“Where are they?” Danny prompted the way Connor had told him to. Apparently, questions could help him see more, or recall things he might otherwise forget. His visions weren’t always simple and direct, like memories or experiencing real life. They didn’t follow any rules of time or order.

“Not sure.” Connor frowned and shook his head, causing a lock of tawny hair to fall onto his forehead. “They’re all in a room. Looks like a hotel with a bunch of mattresses on the floor. So many mattresses you can barely walk between them. Some of the boys are crying.”

Danny brushed the lock of hair back to where it belonged. “Are they hurt?”

“Not yet. Mostly just scared and crying for their mothers.” Connor bit his quivering lip.

“Why are you just now seeing this?” It was easy to see the vision was hitting Connor hard. He’d told Danny about the visions of the boys the priest in Santa Fe had molested and killed. The visions of children were always the hardest. “Surely it’s been going on for a while for there to be so many.” He wanted to help end the vision before it hurt Connor too much.

Shuddering, Connor set his coffee cup on the table, stepped behind Danny, and put his arms around him. His reaction was a sure sign the vision had ended. “Look out there at this city and think about it. Last night in Phoenix alone, there were probably at least a dozen women raped and/or beaten. Some by their husbands, boyfriends, or even their fathers. Children were beaten and abused by their parents or caregivers. Maybe a child was accidentally shot by an ‘unloaded’ gun. If I opened myself to all of that, I’d have to be locked up in a padded cage in a mental institution somewhere. I only see things when I have a reason to look. Or when there is something I can do about them. I had to learn the hard way that I can’t see everything. I can’t help everyone. There’s also a proximity to things, otherwise I’d be going back and forth across the world like a frantic fool.” He turned Danny around and kissed him again, with more life and urgency than before. “I’ve had my shower. Take yours and get dressed while I go down to the lobby and grab us a couple of doughnuts or pastries. The sooner we talk to the police, the sooner we can find the boys.” He paused. “If we don’t find them soon, it might be too late.”

Although he didn’t want to let go of Connor, Danny kissed him again and turned toward the small bathroom. “See if there’s any fresh fruit like a banana or melon or something.”

Connor chuckled.

It was a sound Danny was really starting to enjoy.

“You know, for a carnivore, you sure eat a lot of fruit and vegetables.”

Not bothering to turn around, Danny turned on the bathroom light. “You just eat your fungi-burger and don’t bother me about my fruit and vegetables.” He wrinkled his nose, wishing they’d had time to find a better hotel, but sometimes being close to the police station didn’t always mean the best accommodations.

 

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