Thursday, May 2, 2013

Susannah Sandlin

Guest Post and Excerpt by Susannah Sandlin

An Army Ranger versus Shapeshifter Throwdown

I realize this is a risky business, throwing a human Army Ranger in a head-to-head matchup with a powerful shapeshifter, yet this is the task my human hero Jack Kellison, aka Kell, has in Storm Force. He heads up a combined Ranger-shapeshifter antiterrorism team, and when he’s not head-over-heels in lust with his terrorist suspect, he’s getting beat up on by the real bad guy/shifter.

But I have faith in Kell, and you’ve gotta take risks in life, boldly take a stand, and go where no Ranger has gone before.

The Official Guide to Paranormal Throwdowns (yeah, I made that up) says that four categories should be considered: Strength; Intelligence; Sex Appeal; and Longevity.

Shall we begin?


Physical strength has to go to the shapeshifters, of course, but I’ll give mental toughness to the human Army Ranger. Kell is one stubborn guy, he’s used to making split-second decisions, knows how to shove aside his own self-doubts, and keep going without emotion. The shifters tend to be hot-headed and can make unwise decisions on the fly. ADVANTAGE: I’m calling this one a tie.


Shifters are smarter than your average bear (unless they are bear-shifters), but, again, they tend to act on emotion first and brains as a last resort. Great at tracking and killing, but not so great at tactical maneuvering. They also get hung up on shifter politics and pecking order, whereas an Army Ranger is trained to follow his gut, within reason. ADVANTAGE: Rangers.


Well, shifters are sexy. They tend to be muscular and brawny and kind of bad boys just on principle. Rangers are tough, agile, and focused. So it might depend on whether you’re in the mood for hero material or bad boy material. ADVANTAGE: Calling this one a tie, too.


Shifters are hard to kill. They can heal quickly from almost anything other than a beheading, the removal of a heart, or whatever substance (silver, mercury, or whatever) is their species’ particular Achilles’ heel. Humans—even strong humans—are fragile by comparison. ADVANTAGE: Shifters.


And so we end up with a tie—based on primarily our Ranger’s ability to shut off his emotions and think clearly in a crisis. Admittedly, Kell has to remind himself of his training a couple of times in Storm Force because he really cares about Mori. It’s hard for him to see her as a “mission” or a “task.”

In the end, it’s going to come down to one epic battle between the Ranger and the Shifter. Which side would you bet on?

Kell spotted the bird as soon as its wingtips cleared the edge of the cypress stand at the eastern rim of Bayou Cote Blanche. For a moment, he indulged a hope it might be a hawk in search of fish, or a pelican, or a cormorant, or a fucking giant mutant hummingbird.

Anything but an eagle.

“It’s her.” At the sound of his voice, Gator raised his spotted head and focused sharp, mismatched eyes on the horizon, barking furiously in his Catahoula big-dog voice, usually reserved for alligators and swamp rats.

Kell had been sitting on the porch of his cabin at Cote Blanche since Nik’s phone call from New Orleans two hours ago, waiting to see who’d arrive first—the man or the bird.

Should’ve known it would be the freakazoid eagle with the deceptively sweet name of Robin. He’d come to think of her as Razorblade Robin. Nik would have to rent a boat in Jeanerette and navigate the serpentine waterways of Louisiana’s Atchafalaya Swamp to get here. Razorblade Robin could just sprout feathers and soar.

The midday sun glinted off the glossy reddish-brown wings of the golden eagle as it swooped over the smooth, murky water of the bayou and landed with a harsh caw at the end of his dock. Gator rose to his feet and looked up at Kell, asking permission to chase.

“Sorry, buddy. You don’t want to mess with that one. She can take you.” Hell, she could take both of them.

Kell took a final look at the pile of papers he’d been reading—notes about his team’s new assignment. Mostly, he’d been studying the photo on top of the stack. The woman, Emory Chastaine, an environmental activist well known in tree-hugger circles, had been photographed from a distance with a telephoto lens that gave the image a grainy feel, made worse by his generator-powered printer. But he could tell she was tall, athletic-looking in a t-shirt and jeans, shoulder-length blond hair, pretty in an all-American kind of way.

Not his image of a terrorist. Which made her even more dangerous.

Gator sprang off the porch as the eagle strutted down the dock toward them. He approached the bird in a crouch, his growls echoing off the still water. Damn dog never did listen worth a flip. Kell leaned back in his chair to watch the show. With a screech and a blur of feathers seconds before Gator reached her, the eagle morphed into a petite, waifish brunette.

Make that a naked, waifish brunette with a snark-tastic attitude who arched an eyebrow when Kell’s vicious watchdog turn into a slobbering, tail-wagging fool, jumping up and down so vigorously his black and white spots seemed to blur. You’d think the hound saw birds turn into people every day.

If Gator went the crotch-sniffing route, Kell might have to die of pure humiliation.

Not like the naked bird-woman came as any big surprise. He reached for the t-shirt he’d thrown across the other porch chair and tossed it to her as she approached, Gator dancing around her legs. “Put this on.”

Robin Ashton, five-foot-nothing of shapeshifter and the tracker for Kell’s new Omega Force team, caught the shirt and used it to wipe the sweat off her face. “It’s like a sauna out here. Pretty, though, if you’re into the primordial.”

She turned to study the bayou, a minor niche in the massive Atchafalaya basin, and Kell made it a point to keep his eyes away from her ass. It wasn’t that he wanted to look at it, exactly, but he was a guy, and it was right in front of him.

Storm Force 
Omega Force #1 
Susannah Sandlin 

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Montlake Romance

Date of Publication: March 19, 2013, in serial form for Kindle; July 9, 2013, in print, digital, and audio.

ISBN: 978-1477807576


Book Description:

As leader of the elite counter-terrorism team Omega Force, former army ranger Jack “Kell” Kellison is always focused on getting the job done. So when a Houston high-rise is bombed and the governor killed or missing, Kell’s mission is clear: infiltrate the group suspected of the bombing and neutralize the threat by any means necessary. But once Kell meets beautiful chief suspect Mori Chastaine, he realizes there’s more to this case than meets the eye. And more to Mori than any man—any human man—could imagine.

Mori Chastaine is running out of options. Suspected for a crime she didn’t commit, forced into a marriage she doesn’t want, she sees no escape—until Kell walks through her door. A lifetime hiding her true nature warns her Kell might not be who he seems. But he could be the only one able to help save more innocent humans from becoming pawns in an ancient paranormal power play. If Mori reveals her secret, will Kell join her fight? Or will she become his next target?

About the Author:

Susannah Sandlin is the author of paranormal romance set in the Deep South, where there are always things that go bump in the night. A journalist by day, Susannah grew up in Alabama reading the gothic novels of Susan Howatch and the horror fantasy of Stephen King. (Um…it is fantasy, right?) The combination of Howatch and King probably explains a lot. Currently a resident of Auburn, Alabama, Susannah has also lived in Illinois, Texas, California, and Louisiana.





Indie Bound: 

More of the tour...

Episode 5: May 14

May 14 Spotlight
Happy tails and tales

May 14 Spotlight
My Guilty Obsession

May 15 Interview and review
Manga Maniac Cafe

May 15 Spotlight
Fae Books

Episode 6: May 28

May 27 Interview
Simply Infatuated

May 28 Spotlight
Paranormal Romance and Beyond.

May 28 Spotlight
Happy tails and tales

May 29 Spotlight
Fae Books

Episode 7: June 11

June 10 Guest blog
Musings of Mistress of the Dark Path

June 10 Spotlight
Fae Books

June 11 Spotlight
My Guilty Obsession

June 11 Spotlight
Happy tails and tales

Episode 8: June 25

June 25 Interview

June 25 Spotlight
Happy tails and tales

June 26 Spotlight
Fae Books

Episode 9 and the release of full novel in all formats: July 9

July 8 Interview and review
Tynga's Reviews

July 8 Spotlight and review
Faerie Tale Books

July 9 Guest blog
Paranormal Romance Fans for Life

July 9 Spotlight
Cover Reveals

July 9 Spotlight
Happy tails and tales

July 10 Guest blog
Grave Tells

July 10 Spotlight
Fae Books


  1. I would bet on the Ranger. Have been reading the serial novel and just finished episode seven. Quite a cliffhanger at the end of this episode, now we wait until next Tuesday. Enjoying this book a lot. The shifter is a really, really bad guy. Two more episodes to go. Great fun, very exciting. Highly recommend.

  2. in general i would be for the shifeter because they have a better survival instinct... something following order is too risky for Ranger and they have difficulty to think outside the duty rules

    in this case kell versus michael i'm all for kell of course^^ the good guy be it shifter or human has my vote

  3. Human ingenuity has been a great asset over physical strength. But I love my shifters too!