Read Tiger's Voyage Online

Authors: Colleen Houck

Tags: #Adventure, #Fantasy, #Young Adult, #Romance, #Paranormal, #Magic, #Urban Fantasy, #Mythology

Tiger's Voyage (66 page)

BOOK: Tiger's Voyage
6.97Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

By mutual decision, they pulled off the road and parked their motorcycles in the brush, far enough away that passersby wouldn’t see them. Ren pulled bread from a knapsack, tore the loaf in half, and threw a section to his brother. They chewed in silence, and it wasn’t long before they both reached for their cell phones, looking for the
dot that was all they had left of Kelsey.

“He’s moving her again,” Kishan said. “She’s traveling fast. Maybe by plane.”

Ren grunted in agreement. “Can you see Kadam?”

“No. Still nothing on him.”

With a sigh Ren slipped his cell phone into his bag and shrugged out of his racing jacket. His brother secured his helmet to the bike and kicked off his heavy boots. With his clothing neatly folded and placed in the motorcycle’s leather satchel, Ren finally allowed the tiger to take over his body.

The burning started in the pit of his stomach and spread to his limbs. Tremors shot down his arms. As his center of gravity shifted, his upper torso fell heavily to the ground. At the same time, his fingers curled up into his palms. Fur covered his body, and his whiskers emerged. The feeling always made him want to sneeze.

His claws were always the hardest change. They emerged like daggers from the skin between his knuckles—a weapon that was always a part of him, embedded in his tissue. Though he’d used and trained with weapons all of his life, Ren didn’t relish war or fighting like Kishan. He’d rather wage war verbally, around a table of advisers. He enjoyed games of strategy and clever battle tactics, but in his heart he craved peace. He longed for the life his parents had had before Lokesh. He wanted to make a home with the woman he loved and finally raise a family.

Ren circled the ground, pacing, as his restless mind worried about his lost woman. For the white tiger, it was simple. She was his mate. She belonged to him, and he wouldn’t rest until he found her and destroyed the threat that had taken her from him. For the man, the situation was more complicated. Despite her admitted love for him, she had decided to be with another. He couldn’t wrap his head around it, and it wearied him.

With a sigh he dropped to the ground and rested his head on his paws. He thought back to the time when they were together in Oregon. It seemed so long ago. She loved him then without reserve, without complication. So much had happened to them since. Ren closed his eyes and let his thoughts drift to her. He could still feel her though she was far away. The connection to her heart called to him as it always did across the long, lonely miles.

If only he could somehow reach through the wide expanse and pull her close into the safety of his arms. As he drifted off into a restless sleep, Ren thought he smelled her sweet scent surround him and felt the ghost of her touch as she kissed his nose and pillowed her head on his paws. Her beloved voice whispered softly on the breeze, “
tumse pyarhai
, Ren.” He caught the wisp of the thought, clung to it, and slept at last.


I would be greatly remiss if I did not thank my mother, Kathleen, and my sister, Tonnie, for their hard work in promoting my books. Mom started her own fan club at work, hung posters, learned how to e-mail and Facebook, and sold earrings, bookmarks, T-shirts, and books to everyone she met. She’s even come up with crazy ideas such as belly dancing at my events or selling the books on the sidewalk on Saturdays. If we would let her do it, she would be out there every weekend.

I don’t think there is one person in, or near, Forest Grove, Oregon, who has met my sister and not heard about the books. This includes the mail carrier, the bus driver, her kid’s teachers, the checkout lady at Safeway, her clogging group, people at church, and every soccer mom in the neighborhood. Together, my mom and my sister are personally responsible for the sale of more than four hundred books, which is quite an accomplishment.

I’m also grateful for my husband, who still loves me even after all of our editing arguments, and I still love
, even though he likes to try to sneak in drastic changes on copy edits. He is tirelessly supportive, and he’s always willing to take a leap into the unknown with me.

Thanks to my fabulous editor, Cindy Loh, who has been constantly at my side for months as we’ve worked on the nearly insurmountable task of getting three books out in one year. I have learned a lot from her and am a better writer because of her influence.

I want to especially acknowledge my agent, Alex Glass, who scooped me up a week before I self-published
Tiger’s Voyage
, much to the dismay of my early fans. Though he was called the devil in disguise by some, I still think of him as my personal guardian angel and am always grateful for his wisdom, expertise, and patience.

Hurrahs for Jared and Suki, my brother and his wife, for their tremendous efforts on my behalf. They work for a pittance and spend much of their free time trying to answer my questions and talk me through my technology emergencies. They are part of my early-reading group, and all of their comments keep me laughing.

Most of all, I’d like to express my appreciation for my fans. It’s finally here! In the past few years, I’ve received hundreds of letters filled with encouragement, support, and desperate pleading for any details that I’m willing to share.
Tiger’s Voyage
would not have been published this quickly or perhaps at all, without their support. They’ve opened their hearts to my tigers and to me, promoted the series, and embraced their inner radishes.

Thank you. Thank you.
Thank you.

BOOK: Tiger's Voyage
6.97Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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