By Amber Polo
(The Shapeshifters' Library: Book 1)
“Retrieved” has Valentine’s Day, a St. Patrick’s Day Parade, and a magical ending at the Summer Solstice.
“Released” has Halloween, St. Nicholas, and a magical ending on the Winter Solstice Eve.
Excerpt from “Released”
Liberty waltzed with Gregory, reeled with Tara and Teague, syrtosed with Thaddeus, and salsaed with Pacifico. Even Marishka pulled her into a troika with Jean-Paul. She silently thanked her aunts for sending her to dance classes when all she’d wanted was to read books. In the sparkling candlelight, surrounded by library and shifter friends, she felt completely at home. She even was comfortable wearing a golden ball gown identical to the ruined red St. Nicholas dress.
The library reopened in a few days and was now transformed for the Solstice. Furniture, shelving, and circulation desk under the dome had been pushed back to reveal gleaming marble floors. Liberty had never noticed how the pattern in the floor’s intricate mosaic created a circle with twelve evenly spaced stars. An intricate compass rose in gold and glass marked the center.
Liberty passed the gold plaque, polished like new and now back in its rightful place. She followed the scent of vanilla and spices to the Reading Room to sample another solstice cake. Spicier than St. Nicholas gingerkuchen, these white frosted cakes were shaped into sunbursts and decorated with tiny gold balls.
Godiva, festive in a bronze-colored English governess silk, poured a cup of potent solstice wassail for Liberty.
Liberty took a sip. “This wassail is so powerful. I’m getting a bit dizzy.”
“Don’t worry, our wassail only brings good effects.”
Bliss, dressed in her white princess outfit, nibbled a cake. “I think Gregory has set you atwirl.” The children’s librarian’s tone turned serious. “Here, with so many shifters, it’s clear the Solstice is more than a symbol of the duality of light and dark. Some say the sun represents our human side and the moon our animal nature.”
Liberty giggled. “Perhaps we all have our wild sides.”
As midnight approached, the lights dimmed and the music faded. Academy staff, teachers, and guests walked solemnly to stand around the edges of the central room. Gregory conferred with Cynerik. The two, dressed as English courtiers, were clearly the most strikingly handsome men in the room. Gregory with his classic good looks and Cyn, who tonight more than ever resembled a romance cover model with long curls and bulging muscles.
Gregory took Liberty’s hand and whispered, “Come,” and led her to the center. Liberty had expected a festive midnight celebration, but this was somber, without silly hats or streamers.
All present watched Gregory turn in the four directions, making eye contact with each guest. “Friends, colleagues, students, and,” he looked down at Liberty, “loved ones. Tonight we celebrate our liberation. I am confident we who have been imprisoned will be set free. We owe this to our new friends. From the moment the librarians moved in, change began for us and our power grew.”
“On St. Nicholas Eve, guests from the town and distant Families entered the Academy for the first time in over twenty-five years. Since then the keys to our freedom have been revealed in ancient texts. We have regained our vitality. And the lost Families have been reclaimed. Now Shifters! Come to the stars and represent your families!”
Tired of cookies, candy and cake? Here’s a pie crust recipe that’s so easy you don’t need a rolling pin. It’s especially yummy with fruit pie fillings.
MÜrbe Teig Pie Crust
1 cup sifted flour
1 T. sugar
1 egg yolk, slightly beaten
1/8 t. salt
1/4 cup butter
1 T. lemon juice
Combine flour, salt, and sugar. Cut in butter with two knives or a pastry blender. Add egg yolk and mix thoroughly until crumbly. Cool in refrigerator. Press into pie pan or backing dish to ¼ inch thickness. Fill with tart fruit pie filling. Bake in 425 degree oven for 10 minutes, reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake until fruit is cooked. Makes 9 inch pie shell. My favorite filling for this crust is strawberry rhubarb.
Amber Polo has had a lifelong love of libraries. A fascination with ancient libraries and curiosity about why werewolves outnumbered dog-shifters in literature inspired her new cozy urban fantasy series The Shapeshifters' Library filled with librarian dog-shifters. She’s not sure she loves all holidays, but she loves writing about them.
If you love dogs and books and shifter romance, “Released” and “Retrieved” will warm your reader’s heart.
Find Amber online at:
Amazon“Released” is free today on Kindle