The Chimera are a race so old, the humans relegated them as a myth. The Gods feared the Chimeras' powers, believing they were a deadly race with physical abilities beyond belief. So they split their race in half, condemning them to wander the earth searching for their other half to be complete. Without their sodalis,
each is destined to live life without dreams, without love, without hope. The future rests on fi nding their one true mate for life.
SHELBY O'NEIL has led a solitary life with her parents. So when she goes to college,
she believes her life has just begun. Now in her second year, the dreams begin. She dreams with the same man, night after night for months. When her dream world becomes her reality, and her life becomes a danger zone, she quickly learns to trust the one man who has thrown her into this new and dangerous world.
DEVELON COLE is Chimera and his race has been on earth as long as humans. His people are desperate to fi nd their one true mate for life, and Develon has just found his, in the small college town of Pullman, Washington. His duty is to protect her against the Chimera hunters and guide her to who she was always meant to be, his sodalis, his mate.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.58(d)|
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TRANSITIONTHE CHIMERA HUNTERS SERIES
By MEGAN S. JOHNSTON
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2012 Megan S. Johnston
All right reserved.
Chapter OnePerched in his ghost owl form on the window ledge, Develon Cole watched the woman asleep on her twin-size bed.
Long, golden caramel hair tangled around her sensual face. Inky lashes rested gently on her high cheekbones. Her nose was small and pert and perfectly shaped, her lips petite and kissable. Lying on her side with one hand resting gently by her face, she seemed so tranquil in sleep.
She was one of the most stunning women he had ever seen. His gaze searched her face and he knew she was the one, his sodalis, his mate. They had been sharing dreams together for several months, ever since he had arrived in the small college town of Pullman, Washington.
He was Chimera and his race had been on Earth as long as humans. His people were desperate to find their one true mate for life.
The theory was that the Gods had feared the Chimeras' power and had split their race in half. The Chimera people were condemned to wander the earth, searching for their other half to be complete. Without their sodalis, each was destined to live life without dreams, without love, without hope. The future rested on finding their sodalis. And Develon had just found his, lying on her side, one hand resting gently by her face.
* * *
Shelby O'Neil had been dreaming of the same gorgeous guy for the past several months, though she couldn't remember exactly when it had started. He was very tall—she estimated about six foot six—and muscular. Not an inch of fat on him anywhere, he was ripped, six pack and all. His long, thick black hair, which was pulled back from a flawless face, was tied at the nape of his neck with a dark brown leather strap. He had a decidedly Greek nose, a straight line from top to bottom; his cheekbones were high and prominent; and a small dimple sat squarely in the center of his proud chin. All she could think about was nibbling on the edges of his plump, sensuous lips and gazing into his piercing green eyes, which blazed beneath their dark lashes with a savage fire. She knew if she looked into them long enough she wouldn't be scorched, but simply drown in their depths.
His skin was darker than hers, very smooth, with a hint of chocolate and a healthy glow. His arms, shoulders, and much of his back were covered with a large tattoo of a white Siberian tiger; one of its sharp-clawed paws gripped the inside of his left wrist, its leg wrapped up and around his arm and across his large bicep and muscular shoulder. The rest of its sleek white body cascaded over and across the back of his neck, then down the right side of his back where its striped tail disappeared inside the top of his black denim jeans. The tiger appeared to be in 3D, nearly jumping off his skin with vibrancy and textures, making it appear alive.
Her dreams were becoming lucid; so vivid, so real. And, last night's was no different.
In her dream, he relaxed against the side of a giant oak, one ankle resting over the other. The trunk of the tree was about fifteen feet in diameter. She looked up. The top of the branches disappeared magically into the hazy clouds above. The leaves were in full abundance; it must be spring.
The soft fragrance of lavender drifted in the air, and she looked around for the hidden flowers. Where was she? She couldn't remember being here before, and she knew she had never seen this tree.
Shelby looked down at her hands. She held a brown vintage wicker picnic basket with woven slats. She glanced up at the handsome man. He held a red-and-white checkered blanket, and he was grinning at her. She smiled back and continued to take in her surroundings.
Two horses stood not far away drinking from a pristine lake, their tails swishing tirelessly at the flies on their backs. Had they ridden to this beautiful place?
She watched as he unfolded the blanket and laid it beneath the branches of the towering oak.
He placed his hand over the top of hers, and she shivered at the sensation of warmth that started deep inside and spiraled up through her body. They shared a bond, and it opened wide between them. She relaxed and felt the warmth tingle across her skin. She lifted her chin, looked into his eyes, and felt a blast of heat. Her body felt hot as the sensation vibrated off her skin. How could one touch from this man bring her such pleasure?
He took the basket from her hands and placed it in the center of the blanket. She watched him remove the contents: roast chicken, potato salad, plump red and green grapes, soft rolls with honey, and a bottle of sparkling cider. Her mouth watered not only from the aroma that emanated from the chicken, but also for the man himself.
Shelby watched intently, admiring the way he moved. Such precision in his motions, he was nature itself.
The landscape was breathtakingly beautiful, and she glanced once again toward the lake. The light from the sun shimmered on the water, reflecting the shapes of the birds passing overhead. The blaze from the sun was warm and brought a hint of moisture to her skin. She wiped the back of her hand across her forehead and wondered again how this could be just a dream. It seemed so real.
Her childhood had included family vacations to places just like this. It felt like home. Shelby pictured her mother and father standing by the lake laughing, which brought joy to her soul.
"Is this someplace you've been before?" she asked him. Then she sat on the blanket, her back against the tree.
He sat down next to her, slowly unfolding his long, graceful body. He held a piece of straw between clenched teeth. It was endearing. Shelby reached over and plucked the straw from his mouth and smiled.
Yes, the whisper of his voice entered her mind. Part of my life was here. My parents owned this ranch. It was a place for us to get away and relax. My father and I used to ride here for hours.
She knew this was a dream because he spoke directly into her mind, his lips not moving. They ate and talked for some time. His eyes never left her face.
You are so beautiful, anima vita. You are my soul, my life. He captured her hands with his, bringing them up against his lips, kissing each finger slowly. His hands engulfed hers. Then, he turned one hand over, pressing a kiss into the center of her palm.
Incredible warmth spiraled its way up her spine; this was something she had never felt before. She felt detached, but knew she was fully living in his emotions. They were his feelings, but now, somehow, hers too. She stroked her fingers over the back of his hand, closed her eyes, and inhaled. She leaned back against the giant oak and reveled in his feelings.
This is the first time I have been back since my parents' death. My fondest memories of them were here. After that, I saw no reason to come back. Until now. It was a long time ago. Shelby, I need to leave. It will not be long until we are together. Soon, I promise.
Shelby felt his lips gently graze across hers. Oh God, she didn't want him to leave. She wanted this dream to continue. "Wait ...," she said. "Please, don't go. There are so many things I want to ask you. So many things I don't understand." What did he mean, 'Until we are together'? It seemed every dream they shared ended the same way, his corporeal body disappearing into a cloudy haze ...
Beep! beep! beep! Her alarm began its annoying reminder, summoning her into wakefulness. Her sense of hearing had always been sensitive, so even the low chime grated on her nerves.
Shelby groaned and opened one bleary eye. She tried focusing on the face of her clock. Was it already six o'clock in the morning?
It was time to get out of bed and get ready for school. She hit the snooze button, placing her hand over the top, resting it there. When it sounded again, she wanted to pick up the blasted thing and toss it out her loft window, a window that showcased her first attempt at making curtains. They were blue and white, horizontally striped, and lopsided. If she tilted her head just right, the stripes would straighten out. Her bedroom was on the second floor, so she knew no one would ever see them, and that was fine with her. As her mother could attest, her talents did not rest in her homemaking abilities.
Her loft was small, and she only had room for her twin-size bed and a small nightstand in her bedroom. She kept her clothes in plastic containers, which she stacked neatly against the wall.
What she truly wanted at this moment was a few more minutes alone with her dream guy. His voice was still a hushed whisper inside her mind. He used a word for "mate for life" that sounded like another language, but somehow she had understood the meaning.
Shelby stretched her long arms over her head and luxuriated in the feel of her taut, tired muscles, which still tingled with awareness. Her fingers brushed against the smooth plaster of the wall behind her bed, and she yawned again. Good Lord, why was she still so tired? It felt as if she hadn't slept at all. She pushed a few wayward strands of hair away from her face, and rubbed the pads of her fingers in a gentle circular motion around her eyes. She turned her face into her pillow and sighed. She couldn't lie in bed all day dreaming about this guy, she had a final exam in her first period class. She had spent the last few weeks cramming for this political science test—maybe that was why she was so tired lately.
After dressing, Shelby shuffled slowly down her carpeted stairs, holding firmly onto the banister, her eyelids still at half-mast. In her cramped bathroom she washed the remaining sleep from her eyes.
Shelby glanced up at her reflection. She had never considered herself a real beauty, but she didn't think she was unattractive either. Her best feature was her hair—a sandy blonde with golden highlights, maybe getting a little too long. It was just past her bottom, like it had been when she was a child. She appreciated the length of it; all she had to do was pull it back into a ponytail and go. Her eyes were an unusual shade of blue, an aqua marine, with a yellow ring that circled her pupil. She used to stare at them in the mirror for hours at a time when she was a child. She used to think they were entirely unique, but now she didn't notice them.
After she finished in the bathroom, she walked into her small kitchen. As she reached for the coffee that had already brewed, her hand stopped in mid-reach. A hushed sensual whisper wound its way through her mind. Alarmed, she glanced quickly around. She was alone. How was it she could still hear him? For that matter, why could she smell his earthy pine scent lingering in the air ... "Stop it," she demanded aloud. "Stop thinking about him, he's just a dream. You're awake, you're alone." She tilted her head slightly forward, her hair hanging in rivulets down her face, her hands resting lightly on the edge of the counter.
These dreams she created in her subconscious were intoxicating, and she shivered at their reality. It felt as though he still stroked his fingers down her neck; a tingling sensation ran slowly up and down her body. Shelby shook her head and groaned.
She stood in her kitchen not moving a muscle. The robust smell of freshly brewed coffee hung in the air. She knew all she needed was a cup to feel rejuvenated. She shook off the sensation, grabbed a red mug with white polka dots, and poured her first cup of the morning. Leaning back against the counter, she sipped the strong black brew. What she should be doing at this moment was concentrating on school, not some made-up fantasy guy.
Shelby knew it wasn't normal to hear voices. In fact, before now, she had never understood what they were saying. She learned at a young age how to tune them out. The older she got the better she became at ignoring the mutterings, and in the last few years she almost never heard them. Well, at least not until the last few months. His voice and these dreams she could deal with; when she was dreaming with her guy, she felt complete contentment. If she did visit a therapist, she wondered if it would be like when she was a child. Would they give her something to make the dreams stop? That, she didn't want.
These nightly dreams were nothing like the nightmares she used to have as a child. They were always with the same man, who was romantic and intriguing. Not only did he take her breath away, but with every dream they shared she learned a little more about him, except his name.
In her dreams, they talked about their hopes and what they wanted in the future. She told him how important college was to her and about her love for photography. The desire, the passion in expressing herself through the arts, was always inside her. That's where her heart truly was. To shine a little light into a seemingly dark world was what she wanted. Her dream man encouraged her to follow her passions.
As Shelby stood in her kitchen, her thoughts went back to last night and her phone conversation with Jen, her closest and perhaps only friend. She had been telling Jen about her dreams ever since they started a couple of months ago.
"I know he exists only in my dreams, but he seems so real. When I wake up in the morning, I can still smell his musky scent lingering in my bedroom. Do you think I'm crazy?"
"Wow," Jen giggled. "I wish I had dreams like yours. And no, I don't think you're crazy. But if you got out more and dated a real guy, you wouldn't be so hung up on Mr. Fantastic from your dreams. You know, someone you could take home to meet your parents, someone to have fun with."
"I know he's just a dream, but he seems so real."
Jen was silent for a minute. "Look Shelby, I know you have issues."
"I wouldn't call them issues, Jen, I just never had time to make friends, let alone have a boyfriend. It was always just my parents and me."
"I can't imagine what that was like," Jen said. "I mean, growing up without friends. But, you're in college now, and there are tons of guys on campus who would love to go out with you. Some of them are not so bad. You just have to give them a chance."
"Maybe you're right."
"Of course I'm right. What about Jared? He's cute, and he's made it very clear that he'd like to go out with you. You need to say yes one of these times and just go out with him."
Shelby had to agree with her friend; having intimate dreams with the hottest guy she had ever dreamt up didn't count. "Jared's cute, but he isn't my dream guy. Why go out with him if I don't feel a connection?"
"Because, you just might have a good time. A real good time."
"Maybe ... But when am I going to have the extra time to go out, with school and working at the restaurant? After a long day, the only time I have for a relationship is in my dreams. Doesn't that count? These dreams are more intense than anything I've ever experienced before. I feel as though I know this guy, deeply—wondrously." The phone was silent. "Jen, are you still there?"
"Yeah ... I'm here," she said. "Look, you study way too much. School's all good and everything, but you need to go out and socialize too."
When Shelby didn't reply, Jen kept talking. "Okay ... so tell me, what's so impressive about this dream guy that you can't find in a real one, right here?"
"Well," Shelby cleared her throat. "For one, he's the sexiest guy I've ever laid eyes on. He has this amazing tattoo that wraps over his shoulder and down his back. I would love to see where its tail leads to," she giggled. "He also seems older, more mature than the guys here at school. We connect with each other. He wants to know about me, what I want to do with my future. It feels like when he's with me I'm all that matters, all he needs. Where am I going to find a guy like that here? At the student union?"
Jen giggled. "I'm sure there's someone real out there for you, Shelb. You just have to keep an open mind and give it a chance."
* * *
Shelby's mind returned to the present, to her tiny kitchen and the steaming cup of coffee in her hands. She knew Jen was probably right, but she just didn't have the time, or the desire.
Both Shelby and Jen attended Washington State University, or WAZZU, as many of the students called it. Shelby's favorite class was photography, but she excelled in all her classes.
Excerpted from TRANSITION by MEGAN S. JOHNSTON Copyright © 2012 by Megan S. Johnston. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
If I had to review Transition with one word-I would use “refreshing.” (But, because I get more than one word, that will be explained later!) Shelby has spent a happy, but sheltered life with her parents, but now she is in college and enjoying her first real friendship with the flirty Jen, who has made it her mission to get Shelby to step outside her comfort zone and live a little. Of course neither of them knew how big of a step it would be when they took off to do some skiing in a remote area at a friend’s cabin. Enter Stephen and Develon, model-hot ”nice” guys who are much more than what they seem! Develon has been the object of Shelby’s rather spicy dreams for several months. So you can imagine Shelby’s shock to come face to face with her fantasy guy who tells her he has been dreaming of her, too! And this isn’t even half the story! Secrets are revealed and life will never be the same for Shelby or her heart! You’re probably wondering the first thing I noticed about Transition by Megan S. Johnston. There is no major angst, no hand wringing, no majorly damaged personalities to contend with! Hence, this was “refreshing” to read! Don’t get me wrong, I like angst, but I like romantic tension and secrets revealed better and Ms. Johnston has provided both in spades for me. Her ability to put together good dialogue and a cast of characters that have real personalities is phenomenal, and she did that while keeping the story moving at a great pace, varying the action and setting up a new world for her Chimera Hunter Series. Sure, maybe some things weren’t completely revealed, but if she didn’t leave a little mystery and a few questions out there, what would I have to look forward to?
I received a free eBook copy from the author in return for an honest review. I was expecting the Chimera to be more similar to the Greek mythological monsters they were named after: part-dragon/snake, part-lion and part-goat. The Chimera in this book undergo up to three transitions: bird of prey, predatory cats, and (for Develon) a wolf. I think "Gryphon" (a part-eagle, part-lion mythical creature) would have been a more appropriate name. The Greek name "Chimera" also did not connect well with the chakra element to the story. The word "chakra" instantly reminds me of East Asian culture. The blend didn't sit well with me. There was no explanation for why these Chimera had no connection to their Greek namesake, although there were tons of explanations about the culture itself (more on that later). A little thing that made my skin itch: "slumbering time" for sleeping. "Slumber" would have worked much better. This book did a lot of dumping. Whenever a new character was introduced (or a new perspective on an already introduced character), there is a paragraph of physical description. Naturally, Develon and Shelby are described as perfect-looking. There was also info-dumping in the form of explaining the Chimera culture. I wish that Shelby had figured some of it out or experienced it more. A lot of it is repeated. Another reviewer compared this dense information to a textbook, and I have to agree. Sometimes, there were enormous paragraphs of one character explaining the culture to Shelby all at once. Several times. This made a lot of the dialogue slow and dragging. Some of the non-expository dialogue could have been more concise. It also contains comma abuse (commas in wrong places and/or no commas where there should be commas). As mentioned in another review of mine, comma abuse is my #1 grammatical pet peeve. A lot happens without actually happening . That is to say, Shelby and Develon say and do a lot of things that do not seem to advance the actual plot. The action also happened in isolated spurts, particularly at the end. The "villain" figure seems to come out of nowhere (as do Shelby's dormant powers). On the romance front, Develon is a sweetie. He's not possessive, but protective. That came off well. He's not violent, but he is not afraid to prevent Shelby from danger. He says all the right words that you'd want to hear from a lover you met in your dreams: "I've been waiting forever just for you. You're beautiful. There's nobody else for me." (Note: not an actual quotation from the book.) I'm not sure if this was meant to targeted as YA or adult romance. If YA, then the age was a bit too old. If adult, then there could have been more passion. For all their sweet words, when they do kiss, it's only vaguely described. I've read YA with more intense kissing and longing. The book does end in a good spot, however. There's no cliffhanger pressure for the sequel, and I was satisfied. I did enjoy the book, and I would continue on in the series. The world has a lot of potential, but it still needs to be fulfilled. I'm sorry I can't give the book four stars.
Alright, for starters, I was bored. Don't get me wrong, I finished the book, but it didn't captivate me like so many others have in this genre. I was looking for something new, something I'd never read before, and the prospect of this world with Chimeras sounded like it would fit the bill. Instead, I felt like there wasn't enough about the world and what was given read like a textbook. There also wasn't a lot of action, which might have kept my attention longer. However, the one saving element, for me, was the idea. I'm leery about "soulmate" stories because they're usually about the two characters saying how much they want to be with each other. At least with this book, the idea is different in that a Chimera is looking for his mate, forced to search for centuries to find the right person. I wasn't a fan of the characters. In my opinion, Shelby and Develon were more robotic than anything, fitting the "too perfect" roles. I wanted Shelby to step up into the heroine role popular in paranormal romances (cliche or not, it's popular for a reason). She came off as bland and uninteresting to read about. Their relationship also reminded me of something from a really cheesy romance. Boy + girl = instant love! And I get it, Develon is "gorgeous" and "ripped" and all that, but it just made me feel like he had all the characteristics of the perfect dream guy for any girl, not just Shelby. I just didn't feel the connection between these two which, I think, would have made it more enjoyable. If you're a fan of paranormal romances and don't mind a fresh cup of insta-love, then you may enjoy this book. Personally, I found the plot lacking, the characters flat, but the world filled with potential. I finished this book only because I felt I had an obligation to, as a reader. This review has not been influenced by any outside force, and contains only my honest opinion of the book.
The foundations of this story, that for each Chimera there is one and only one mate, reminds me of the Greek myths of the androgynes. The myth basically says that once upon a time we were androgynous, and for some reason the gods split us in half. And so that is the origin of romantic love, we seek the other half of our selves in order to feel whole and content once more. Sounds like a romantic yarn, doesn't it? And I must admit, for a Chimera to have to scour the earth for hundreds of years in search of his mate, called sodalis, sounds so tragic and beautiful. So, this book definitely gets credit for an beautiful and reasonably original story concept. It had potential for adventure, romance, and paranormal activity. And it delivered ... somewhat. First, I found the sub plot lacking. To me, the romance wasn't enough to carry the book. The book lacked sexual tension which could have tightened the suspense for me. I thought Shelby fell too hard, too fast for Develon. Some resistance on her part would have seemed more realistic to me. The twist which occurs for Shelby seemed much too predictable. I question the purpose of the Leandro character. If it was to create conflict, that failed for me. His character seemed too flat, and underdeveloped to really seem real for me. Of all the characters Stephen stood out most for me, I could see him in my head, looking like the Sam Merlotte character from True Blood. He had some endearing qualities, like those towering sandwiches he liked to make. Develon seemed a little too saccharine for my tastes. But the writing did conjure up a character image inside my head. Who? Stuart Townsend (imagine the way he looked when he played Lestat in Queen of the Damned.) I couldn't connect with Shelby, though. She seemed a little too simpering for my liking. But I do wish we had spent more time with Jen, but then again, wonder what was the purpose of her character? I mean, I don't see how that advanced the plot. For me, this was one of those books that I ask myself, how many more pages left, as I read. I kept turning the pages because I felt invested. And yes, I did want to how things would resolve. I found the dialogue a little stiff, a little contrived, and as I mentioned, I found the romantic dialogue too saccharine. The writing was ok, passable, but could have been tighter.