THE SHEPHERD OF FIRE by Taylen Carver
Harley Firebird 3.0
Urban Fantasy Novelette
Harley knows Campbell von Havre is hiding something she won’t like.
Harley von Canmore is a firebird, one of the old races who are emerging across the globe. She is also the Police Chief of the tiny town of Falconer, in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies. Harley’s town is nearly all old race people, which creates challenges that she never faced as a Royal Canadian Mounted Police Officer. That includes dealing with Campbell von Havre, who works tirelessly to support the townsfolk. He is a dragon, and her element’s superior to whom she, as a firebird, must obey.
When the grandson of the town’s doyen, Moira Falconer, is found in a hot tub and Campbell is connected to the death, Harley investigates the mystery surrounding Campbell. But not everyone in Falconer wants Harley digging that deep and the reaction to her investigation is violent…
The Shepherd of Fire is part of the Harley Firebird urban fantasy series of novelettes, which is set in the same world as Taylen Carver’s Magorian & Jones series.
The Harley Firebird series:
1.0: The Dragon of Falconer
2.0: The Orc Who Cried
3.0: The Shepherd of Fire
4.0: The Mad Folk of Falconer
5.0: The Badge of Our Tribe
5.5: Harley Firebird Files
6.0: The Firebird’s Regret
…and more to come.
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Book 3 In this great world-building series finds the Sheriff of Falconer working another murder and during the investigation discovers she has a very unique power. Unfortunately, she also learns that a man she tried to believe might have some good in him, is worse than she thought. Seems this small town of "old ones" has enough action in it to keep the Firebird Sheriff quite busy. The author packs this novella with plenty of action and suspense. Do yourself a big favor and be sure to read the entire series.
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EXCERPT FROM THE SHEPHERD OF FIRE
COPYRIGHT © TAYLEN CARVER 2021
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Her phone buzzed, on the desk behind her.
Harley snatched it up. “Excuse me a second,” she told Noel. She put her spare hand into the deep side pocket of the coat—there was room for gloves in there, and other stuff, too. She was grinning as she answered the phone. “Bohdan, what’s up?”
“Umm…boss, we got another body,” Bohdan said, his tone apologetic.
Harley’s attention snapped away from the marvels of her new coat. “Accident?”
“Um, looks like, yeah.”
“Then you know the drill,” she told him. Death was common in Falconer. Suicides were triple the national average, because a lot of townsfolk couldn’t cope with their new life as an old one, or couldn’t stand waiting to phase into an old one. Lack of decent food and shelter added to the stats. Bohdan and Mojag had learned how to process bodies in the last few weeks. “If it’s an old one, take them to Doctor Pranee. If it’s someone who is still human, call Staff Sergeant Hopson at Sundre and he’ll have someone come and pick it up.”
“It’s not that simple, boss.” Bohdan sighed. “It’s Sexton Audley…used to be Audley, I mean. Sexton of Falconer.”
An old one of the Earth element, Harley interpreted. “I don’t know the name,” she told Bohdan, for he had pronounced it as though she should know who that was.
“Sexton is married to Moira Falconer’s granddaughter, Claire,” Bohdan said. “Was married,” he amended.
“Need you here, boss,” Bohdan added.
“Yeah,” Harley said heavily. “Send me the coordinates. I’ll be right there.”
“It’s outside the town limits,” Bohdan warned. “Bit of a walk. Want Mojag to come and pick you up?”
“Nope, I got this.”
Bohdan hung up and Harley’s phone blipped with a text message. The message held a Google Maps link. She clicked on it and studied the map that displayed. “I gotta run,” she told Noel.
“Don’t you mean you gotta fly, Chief?” Noel asked. “You can do that now.”
Harley looked down at the coat, astonishment rippling through her. “I can, can’t I?” She shoved the phone into the pocket of the coat, and moved over to the hat rack and grabbed her hat, scarf and gloves and turned back to Noel ap Tailor. “Can I talk to you later? I need to settle up for the coat, at the very least.”
“Nah, that’s on the house,” Noel said, putting her own hat back on and winding the scarf around her face. “Next time, you can pay me. I take vegetables, favors, and old, unwanted clothes, if you don’t have folding cash.”
Vegetables and favors were the common currency of Falconer. The old clothes made sense, given that Noel was cutting up two old garments to make one new outfit an old one could use.
“I really do have to go, sorry,” Harley said.
“Of course.” Noel fumbled for her gloves, patting pockets and peering in the bag at her feet.
“Throw the door latch over when you leave, huh?” Harley said over her shoulder and stepped out onto the pavement. She paused for a beat, as the cold registered on her face…and nowhere else. She looked up at the cloudless pale blue sky, grinning, and spread her wings. They snapped out, and she brought them down in a powerful stroke and lifted off her feet.
Even though the Audley house was outside the town limits, Harley got there in three minutes flat.
She stayed warm the whole way.