Identity Shift by Mel Teshco

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Update: The winner for this Giveaway is Kathryn Anne Merkel. You will be contacted privately by the author, and thanks to everyone for participating!

Hi everyone, today I have guest blogger Mel Tescho speaking about Australia and her release, Identity Shift:

What do most people imagine when they think of Australia? The Opera House? The Great Barrier Reef? Or maybe suntans and the great open spaces of the Outback? Then there’s the cutesy image of a koala or kangaroo—until the image of the many deadly snakes and spiders came to mind.

Yes, I love my country with its age-old beauty and many different facets. Desert and snow, beaches and rolling green valleys, drought and floods. I love it all, along with the inherent danger of its fascinating creatures.

The box jellyfish (Chironex fleckeri) with up to 15 tentacles at around 3 meters in length on each of its four bell/cube shaped corners, it is a silent and deadly creature living in the warmer ocean waters of Australia. Light blue in colour and totally transparent, the victim rarely knows of the jellyfish’s presence until the unbearable pain of its sting. To date the box jellyfish has killed at least 63 people.

Crocodiles live in the Australian tropics. Freshwater crocodiles are much smaller than their salt water contemporaries, and considered harmless to humans. Saltwater crocodiles grow to 7 meters in length (males) and weigh over 1000kgs. Capable of ambushing and eating large prey such as cattle and horses, humans are attacked each year—mostly from people not following simple precautions.

Taipan this snake boast 12mm fangs which can inject an extremely nasty venom. In a single strike, this snake can inject 60mg of venom—enough to wipe out several human adults. Its neurotoxin immobilizes by paralysis. This also contains myotoxin, which eats away muscle tissue (the urine of a bite victim is often reddish-brown as muscles break down and passed through kidneys. The kidneys themselves are so overloaded that often kidney failure results). Internal bleeding is another complication, with the taipan’s second main toxin a procoagulant which prevents blood clotting.

The Funnel Web Spider is a large, black spider with powerful fangs and often aggressive behaviour. The male of this species if more dangerous, though thankfully, even before the introduction of anti-venom, few people have died from its bite.

You can probably understand my fascination with this country—and why I love setting my stories here. Add the black big cats (panthers/pumas) that have reportedly been sighted in certain areas of Australia, and my story big cat, shape-shifter story, Identity Shift had to be told.

Identity Shift: Amazon Smashwords  AllRomance

BLURB:

Alexia Leigh is determined to prove big-cat shape-shifters exist. But she never expected Blake Powell, the key to the shifter race, to rescue and seduce her—never expected to want him like he’s her last damned breath! She’s never experienced such raw pleasure, has forgotten what it is to truly feel alive. And now she is torn between him and the proof she needs.

EXCERPT:

Guns ‘N’ Roses blared from inside nondescript apartment fourteen. She took a deep, calming breath as adrenaline surged within. She had him. At last her quarry was within reach. She raised a fist and hammered on the flimsy, peeling wooden door.

The music shut down. A baby wailed a few apartments down, a small dog yapping into life inside another. Heavy footsteps approached from the other side of the door.

“Yes.”

One word. One deep, masculine, primal intonation.

Her pulses jerked in response, her nipples beading tight beneath her black leather jacket and tight burgundy singlet.

If this is what he could do to a woman with one monosyllable behind a closed door, she could only imagine what he could do with a whole sentence, and up close and personal.

She cursed under her breath. She’d clearly been too long without a man, someone to ease the heavy ache of her breasts, the deep throb between her thighs. Just as well she wanted nothing more from him than answers.

Hesitating for a beat, she asked, “Mr. Powell?”

She closed her eyes at his long, drawn out silence. Then she heard him release a heavy sigh before returning wearily, “Who wants to know?”

Impatience drummed a loud tattoo behind her skull. A migraine was all she needed right now.

“I’m here on behalf of my father. He is—“ she swallowed back a wave of bitter loss and grief was an archaeologist. You may have heard of him? Professor Thomas Leigh.” At the thick, almost suffocating silence that followed she continued more loudly, “He believed in the existence of human-panther shape-shifters—”

Her sentence ended on a startled gasp as the door flung open and she was jerked unceremoniously inside.

“Enough already,” Blake growled.

She hissed out a breath at the current of electricity sizzling through her arm’s every nerve ending; at the cheek of him dragging her inside. She tugged free, and looked up…and up.

Beneath scruffy dark blue jeans and a white t-shirt the man was a mountain of fluid muscle and sinew, repressed energy that vibrated with emotion and patently raw sex appeal.

“Are you mad?” she said through gritted teeth. “All I wanted was a civilized discussion, not to be dragged inside like I’m nothing more than…than a cave woman!”

He slammed the door shut behind her and pushed home a large bolt. When he peeled off his dark sunglasses—ludicrous inside the near dark room lit only by a naked bulb—she took an involuntary step back. His eyes were an unnatural gold-yellow. Beautiful, but deadly.

She sucked in some oxygen, forcing a calm she didn’t feel. Damn it all to hell, he really was sinfully delicious, with more vague hints of darkness beneath his honey-warm skin that tantalized and teased even as it repelled.

“I know who you are,” he said.

“You do?”

“Yes.” He sighed, tunneling a hand through his thick, dark hair that was an inch away from scruffy. “I’m sorry.”

“Wh…what?”

“About your father.”

“Why?” Her voice rose an octave, “Because like everyone else you think the world is better off without another crackpot and his loony beliefs?”

“No. I’m sorry because he was a great man who thought above and beyond the restrictions of science.”

Hostility fled her body, leaving her oddly drained and a little disorientated. How long had it been since someone had said something good about her father? Too long, clearly, for her to appreciate even a scrap of praise. Snide remarks and innuendos had become part and parcel of their life for the three long months since her father’s discovery.

“You look about ready to collapse.” Somehow his silky rich voice stroked her senses, hummed along the nerve-endings behind her eyeballs and soothed away her stress. Turning it into another tension entirely. Sexual tension. “Please. Take a seat,” he murmured.

She managed the couple of steps needed before all but flopping into a ripped, vinyl two-seater lounge. “You knew my dad?”

“No, not personally. But I read all his articles. He was ahead of his time. A brilliant and ethical man.”

And look where that had got him. Mocked and ridiculed until he’d been stripped of all his dignity, his beliefs. His life.

A wedge of hair dropped over her eyes from her scraped back pony tail. She abstractedly pushed the dark blonde length behind one ear. “Then you know why I’m here.”

He moved into the tiny kitchen, where a half-empty bottle of scotch resided on the counter. He poured them each a glass. She gulped hers down like it was a tonic for all the ills in the world.

He smiled and took a mouthful before giving a nod. “I gather since your father uncovered the bones, he also found the journal and deciphered the names on the list?”

“Only yours,” she conceded. Her father’s long held view of honesty being the best policy had burrowed deep into her psyche, despite its obvious pitfalls. “What else have you concluded?” she pressed.

He raised a dark brow. “That now you’re hoping to track down the Illawatti tribe.”

She released another long, slow breath. “Let me guess. You think I’m a raving lunatic?”

Just like my dad.

Blake stalked over to the window and peered between the moldy, almost transparent curtains. “No. Actually, I don’t.”

Wow. Was he serious? She snorted disbelief. “So you agree there’s a possibility the Illawatti tribe exist—”

“We need to leave,” he growled.

She frowned. “No. Not until I get some answers—”

The breath whooshed hard from her throat as he threw himself at her. His weight knocked her to the ground simultaneously to the window shattering, glass raining down like blades of ice.

The dog a few doors down once again took up its relentless yapping. She closed her eyes, aware the muscled bulk of Blake’s body sheltered her. But she was even more aware of the ping of a bullet that had torn a hole through the opposite wall.

Shock pushed her heart rate into high gear. “Someone is shooting at you!”

He effortlessly scooped her up and half-ran into what had to be the only bedroom. “No,” he corrected grimly. “They’re shooting at us.”

Her blood pressure spiking, she looked up. The pool of light leaking into the bedroom allowed her to note his composed expression, his strange-colored eyes that scanned the room, seemingly considering every possible option before he acted. “What the hell are you saying?” she hissed.

She was a target?

He glanced down at her. “I apologize in advance. Your hellish day isn’t about to improve any time soon.”

Mel has graciously agreed to give all three of the books in her gargoyle series: Winged & Dangerous (Stone-Cold Lover, Ice-Cold Lover & Red-Hot Lover) for anyone that ‘follows’ her on her blog and answers the question “Which Australian creature fascinates you and why”? (Winner will be announced on Friday, 10/28, as an update to this post.)

 

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33 thoughts on “Identity Shift by Mel Teshco

    Denise Z said:
    October 26, 2011 at 12:51 am

    Wow, I hopped over to Mel’s blog and have signed up to follow and what an awesome blog it is. They have a wonderful Halloween party going on at Dark Side Downunder that sounds like a hoot. I am not sure which blog I am supposed to comment on, but what the hey I will say hello at both 🙂 I have always been curious about the Wombat, which as I understand it is unique to Australia. I think they look like like little furry baby pigs, but believe they are marsupials that carry their young in a pouch much like a kangaroo. I always thought a wombat would be in the bat family and thoughts of vamps and so on came to mind, but they certainly have no resemblance to a bat and I wonder where the name came from. Can you imagine a were wombat LOL long fingernails, hairy with supper sniffers 🙂 I think that Identity shift sounds awesome. I would also love to read the Winged and Dangerous books, who doesn’t love a gargoyle they are awesome. Thank you for sharing the excerpt with us today and for the awesome giveaway opportunity.

    dz59001[at]gmail[dot]com

    Mel Teshco said:
    October 26, 2011 at 2:21 am

    Hi Denise!

    Thanks for dropping in and ‘following’ my blog – so glad you like it =))

    I love wombats, though haven’t seen all that many of them. They’re marsupials and are pretty reclusive (live in burrows). I think the name ‘wombat’ came from the aborigines and yes they have a pouch (backward facing.)
    Hmm, a wombat shifter – the mind boggles!

    Rosalie Lario responded:
    October 26, 2011 at 7:50 am

    Mel, thanks so much for agreeing to drop in today! I love me some paranormal romance, and your gargoyles sound hot!

    Cynthia Woolf said:
    October 26, 2011 at 7:57 am

    Loved the excerpt so much I had to go buy the book! Couldn’t wait to see if I won a copy. 😉

    Cynthia Woolf said:
    October 26, 2011 at 8:00 am

    Which Australian creature facinates me? The Funnel Web spider because spider scare the hell out of me in general. One that is big black and agressive on top of that would give me heart failure!!

    Runere McLain said:
    October 26, 2011 at 9:16 am

    Thanks for sharing all the interesting tidbits about Australia! My son spent time there in the military, and says it’s one of only two countries he wants to revisit, so it must be special indeed.

    Love the excerp for IDENTITY SHIFT; took me straight into the story enough to track a list of your books down for my TBR list, pile and file.

    Please keep writing! We’ll keep reading!

    Regina Mize w/a Rechelle Owens said:
    October 26, 2011 at 9:46 am

    Wow, Mel! Great excerpt! I really enjoyed the suspense edged with lots of chemistry! I also enjoyed the factoids about some of the dangerous creatures down under. I sense a story brewing there! Thanks.

    Kathryn Anne Merkel said:
    October 26, 2011 at 11:04 am

    I would have to say that I find croc’s the most fascinating of Australia’s dangerous creatures. I loved learning about them thru Steve Irwin’s interactions with them on the Crocodile Hunter. Well, I also loved just listening to him talk. 🙂

    You’ve been on my list of need to buy authors since I read Discovering Sophia, Mel. I haven’t gotten any of the “Winged & Dangerous” titles yet, so it would be really cool to win them. Thanks for the opportunity.

    drainbamaged.gyzmo at gmail.com

    Lynne said:
    October 26, 2011 at 11:23 am

    How about Drop Bears! They sorta resemble Koalas. They could be a right nasty shape shifter!

    Viki S. said:
    October 26, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    I always loved watching Animal Planet and Discovery to see all the dangerous critters in Australia. It’s amazing! This sounds like a really good book. The excerpt is gripping.
    vsloboda(at)gmail(dot)com

    desitheblonde said:
    October 26, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    we have dangerous spider here the brown recluse and black widow which i have been bitten by them and then snake we have moccasins they are dangerous in water and then the rattler and copperhead which i have gotten bitten by bought that ws in the country living i would love to read any of the book and blog on them for you the way describe the place you can come up with some great idea for books good luck on then and i be happy to read it
    desitheblodne@msn.com

    Roni Lynne said:
    October 26, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    Hi Mel!
    I’m not saying this my favorite creature, but (if I remember the name correctly), it is my favorite name of an Australian creature: the Yowee (referring to the Aussie Bigfoot)! I watched a program recently about supernatural creatures around the world & Yowee hunters were featured. (Hopefully I got the name right, it’s been a few weeks since the program aired). There was another animal featured–a something-tiger—that lived in NZ & AU.
    So, is the Yowee as well known there as Bigfoot is in the US?

    BTW: I’m also writing a story that features Aussie big-cat shifters~LOL!

    ~Roni Lynne
    YA Adventures in the Paranormal…and Beyond!
    perisquire30@comcast.net

    Shelley Munro said:
    October 26, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    Mel, loved the excerpt. I’m actually glad I live in NZ since we don’t have all those nasties!

    Mel Teshco said:
    October 26, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    HI Rosalie, thanks for having me,
    I love my gargoyles, so thank you for saying so =)

    Mel Teshco said:
    October 26, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    Hi Cynthia!

    Thanks for buying a copy of Identity Shift =)

    And you’re still definitely in the draw – the freebies are for my three gargoyle books.

    Mel Teshco said:
    October 26, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    Oops, sorry, didn’t see your spider reply until now – Funnel Webs are scary, and not just found in Sydney. We had a spate of them in our are (QLD) – I picked up some of my washing in the bathroom, and one fell onto my hand and on the floor. It was built like an army tank. (and yes, I screamed!)

    Mel Teshco said:
    October 26, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    Hi Runere,

    so glad your son loved it here – it’s certainly a diverse country =)

    So glad you liked the excerpt for Identity Shift – hope you enjoy my other reads too!

    Mel Teshco said:
    October 26, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    Thanks Regina,

    makes my day to know you ladies enjoyed the excerpt =)

    And yes, lots of stories brewing – I’ve set all my stories (so far) In Australia.

    Mel Teshco said:
    October 26, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    Hi Kathryn,

    Steve Irwin had that something extra special, didn’t he? The Aussie Zoo which he owns is not too far down the road from me – I think he (even in death) and his family have gone a long way into wildlife awareness and conservation.

    And you get an extra brownie point for “following” my blog and reading Discovering Sofia!! *wink* That free read had a very mixed reaction from readers – they either loved or hated it =)

    Mel Teshco said:
    October 26, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    Lynne – drop bears!! Now there’s an interesting idea!! LOL

    Mel Teshco said:
    October 26, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    Viki, I love watching docos on animals, we live in a fascinating world. Thanks for enjoying the excerpt =)

    Mel Teshco said:
    October 26, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    Hi Desi!

    *shudder* on all the bites you’ve had!!

    Thankfully I’ve managed to avoid all bites, though I’ve had some very close calls a couple of times (in my first year living in this house, I had 4 snakes come inside – one of them was a brown snake that tried to strike me cause I was stupid enough to see where it’d gone behind the couch – you don’t go near a cornered snake lol!)

    Mel Teshco said:
    October 26, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    Hi Roni,

    the Yowie is very well known here – you hear of sightings occasionally. I wouldn’t like to meet one, put it that way!! LOL.

    And good luck with your Aussie shape-shifter characters – is this story YA?

      Roni Lynne said:
      October 26, 2011 at 6:06 pm

      Yep, it’s upper-range YA—about 2/3 completed. Since it’s upper-range, we’ll see how difficult it is to query once I’m at that stage~LOL! My CPs tell me it’s a great story, so I’m hoping to find an agent or editor who feels the same way.

      Thanks for asking!

      ~Roni Lynne
      YA Adventures in the Paranormal…and Beyond!
      perisquire 30@comcast.net

    Mel Teshco said:
    October 26, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    Hi Shelley,

    lovely to see you here – every time I see your name I have a visual of your cover from Talking Dogs, Aliens and Purple People Eaters (it’s on my TBR list) – sounds like a seriously funny read =)

    And NZ is really safe from the nasty critters, it’s one place I really want to visit soon!

      Roni Lynne said:
      October 26, 2011 at 6:08 pm

      Just had to say Talking Dogs, Aliens, and Purple People Eaters is an awesome title & I’m going to have to add it to my own TBR!

      ~Roni Lynne
      YA Adventures in the Paranormal…and Beyond!
      perisquire30@comcast.net

    Janice Seagraves said:
    October 26, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    Ooh, your excerpt sounds really good.

    My first published book is about an Aussie man and a American woman stranded on a deserted island in the Bahamas. Since them I’ve been doing research on Sydney for book two and learned about the box jelly fish. Dangerous and painful. Also the parks where you can feed the cockatoos, and the very noisy but friendly loriakeets. The last I have in my second story.

    Janice~

    Renee Bennett said:
    October 26, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    Hi Mel.
    I liked the article about the dangerous critters down under. I really liked the excerpt and want to get all 3 books. If I don’t win them I’m gonna buy them. I’ve watched the Discovery channel to get info on Australia. I like to see and hear about all of the wildlife there. They are so different from those here in the states. It makes them intriguing to me.

    Thank you for the chance to win.

    reneebennett35 at yahoo dot com

    Mel Teshco said:
    October 26, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    Thanks Janice!

    What’s the name of your book so I can have a squiz? =)

    And I have to say – cockatoos are *very* noisy. They have the most raucous (spelling? LOL) sounding squawk – seriously the opposite of most beautiful sounding birds (like the bell bird)

    Debra Wright said:
    October 26, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    Hmmm, even though I do not like snakes, the Taipan snake sounds very interesting so I think that would be my pick. Thank you for sharing the info about Austrailia.
    terrndeb@yahoo.com

    Mel Teshco said:
    October 26, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    Hi Debra

    I get shivers whenever I think of the Taipan. (lots of close calls) When I was teenager we lived in the country, surrounded by cane fields. We’d see a snake almost every day there (not kidding) and I have a photo of my dad holding a dead Taipan. He has his arm outstretched above his head and the head and some of the snake’s body was on the ground. My dad is close to 6ft, so it was BIG for a Tapian.

    Marianne Stephens said:
    October 27, 2011 at 2:13 am

    Can’t say the animals you named at first would be ones I’d like to meet!

    The story sounds scary – I’m wondering if the heroine’s a target because she’s trying to prove her point about shifters or if she’s one herself. Nice excerpt – left me wondering.

    Mel Teshco said:
    October 27, 2011 at 4:52 am

    Hi Marianne,

    I wouldn’t like to meet any of them in a hurry either – esp the box jellyfish!

    The heroine is all human, but she has a point to prove – that her father was right and shape shifters do exist.

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