Turning Leaf

Paranormal Erotic Romance

Novel Length

M/F (/w some F/F/M)



Coming March 28th, 2017




Available Now!







As a little girl, all Leaf Hatathli dreamed of was growing up and having a family of her own, but fate had something else in mind for her. Instead, she’s spent her life as a mercenary working for the Goddess, acting as her hand of justice in a world torn apart by the reappearance of magic. It’s a lonely business, and Leaf had given up on the idea of ever being someone’s beloved. After all, who could love a woman who’s possessed by a sex demon?

  When Mir DePaul, Alpha of the Shiraz Pride, is captured by slavers he never expected rescue to come in the form of his true mate. And he certainly never expected his mate to be a Shadow, a human sharing a body with the spirit of a demon. He shares his body with his tiger spirit, and they both know their mate when they see her. Even if she refuses to believe it. They’ll do everything they can to convince Leaf and her demon that their love is real…as soon as they escape the contingent of death wizards hunting them down.

  Everything has a price, and Mir will do anything to keep his mate safe while she tries to save the world from an ancient evil that threatens them all.

 In a world full of sex witches and lust demons there is a lot of hanky panky going on, so fair warning you may have some clutch your pearls, or vibrator, moments.

Chapter 1

Leaf Hatathli wandered around the dusty fringes of the packed country fairgrounds, trying to hide her disgust as she listened to the slaver extolling the virtues of the young man caged in the center of the auction ring. It took some effort to keep her real feelings hidden, but she managed to maintain a smooth expression, as if she attended Manimal auctions all the time. Manimals. She hated that derogatory term. These idiots thought they were funny, with their oh-so clever insult. Leaf knew the sack of shit Manimal slavers here today wouldn’t stand a chance against a mature, unchained Twin Soul, a human sharing their body with the spirit of an animal. Unfortunately for the poor people trapped in the cages on the auction floor, in this part of the world Twin Souls were considered less than human, chattel to be bought and sold as slaves.

The need to free them all tore at her sense of justice, but she was on a mission from the Dark Goddess to rescue one very important Twin Soul. She had to focus on the task at hand.

But it was hard, so fucking hard, to ignore the hopeless cries and whispered prayers of the enslaved.

If she had her way, she’d take them all to Canada, to the land the Twin Souls had claimed after the Awakening, when the Goddess returned magic to the world. Eighty-nine years ago, society had gone to shit after the Goddess woke from her long sleep and came back into the lives of the people of earth. In a world where witches, dragons, goblins and banshees were suddenly as real as supermarkets and airplanes, there had been a steep adjustment period.
Historians estimated fifteen million people were killed over the next five years as the Goddess vented her anger on civilization before her wrath faded. Luckily most humanity had somehow managed to survive her wrath, and civilization rebuilt itself, but things were quite different and pure humans were no longer the apex predators on the planet. Governments and dictators were threatened by the new, post Awakening generation that were beginning to show signs of possessing frighteningly strong powers. A small percentage of kids were born whatever mystery DNA allowed them to manipulate and harness magical energy, and they soon found themselves being hunted, killed on sight out of fear and ignorance. But none were hated more in the Reformed United States than the Twin Souls.

It was no wonder the magic users had banded together and claimed land of their own where they could live without fear of being hunted. There were rumors the Twin Souls had hidden strongholds in Russia, Norway, Denmark, Zimbabwe, Libya, Egypt, Greenland and New Zealand. Not surprising, considering all those countries granted sanctuary to any supernatural who needed it. The Tribal Lands of the West and the Covens had a strong truce with the Twin Souls—kind of a live and let live, but also a I’ll fucking kill you if you try to take my territory, sorta thing.

Sweet and slightly nauseating, the overly sweet sugary scent of cotton candy and the grease of cooking meat from the food trucks mingled together as she walked past. She tried to keep from gagging as she moved further away from the common area, and onto the packed dirt fairgrounds. Keeping her eyes on the ground like a properly cowed and submissive woman, she shuffled closer to the auction pit, careful not to attract any attention. So far her enchantments had held, and people just didn’t pay her any notice as she edged around the crowd, constantly scanning her surroundings for any potential threats.

In kinder, gentler days, horses and cattle had probably been sold here, and she could smell the lingering musk of livestock seeped into the wood. She’d grown up in a similar region, on the western edges of where the United States of America once stood, in the heart of the Navajo Tribal Lands that had once been part of Idaho. It had been a rural community like this, but with a very different, very welcoming feel. Being here reminded her of the local horse auctions she’d attended growing up, except people had been buying animals instead of other human beings.
This whole place made her skin crawl.

The next lot of slaves were brought out onto the auction floor, but none of them were the man she was waiting for, so she continued to wander around and double check her escape routes. The sight of all these poor Twin Souls in cages broke her heart and threatened to weaken her focus. She knew what it was like to be held prisoner, could empathize with their desperation for any chance at escape. Her demon wanted to free them all, but she couldn’t draw attention to herself like that.

How anyone could look at them being sold off and ignore their obvious misery was beyond her.

Leaf understood why people feared the Twin Souls, why it had been easy to turn them into ruthless monsters in the eyes of the public. During the initial burst of magic accompanying the Awakening, there had been a massive slaughter as some humans, overcome by the new animal spirit dwelling in their bodies, had gone insane and killed anyone in their reach. Things soon calmed down, but the damage had been done. Civil wars broke out all over the globe and nations were torn asunder, humanity dividing itself not into countries drawn up by political lines on the map, but by magic. What was the United States of America became the Tribal Lands to the west, led by shamans. The Reformed States were to the east, led by the old world’s politicians and their wizards. Various smaller groups comprised the middle, some living in hiding on the Reformed side, others living in open sight among the Tribes. These small, autonomous communities were made up of societies like the Earth and Sex Witches, Druids, Priests, and Voodoo Kings and Queens.
In a blind panic to hold onto what power they could, those in command in Washington, D.C. made a mandate that all ‘Manimals’ were to either be put to death, or enslaved in work camps so terrible many would rather die than enter them. Every Twin Soul captured by the Reformed United States was forced to wear a magical collar that slowly killed the animal spirit, sucking up its vitality until the poor Twin Soul’s inner beast perished, and the human host was left as nothing more than a broken meat puppet. Rumor had it, the deaths of the Twin Soul’s animal spirit fueled the magic used by the Reformed government’s wizards, but no one had been able to prove it.

If she lowered her shields, she’d feel the soul killing pulse of those collars somewhere in the auction arena, waiting to be clasped around the throat of a Twin Soul. Leaf wished she could rescue every one of them, but she couldn’t. Not all of the Twin Souls were strong or sane. There were rogues who had fallen so deeply into their animal state they couldn’t control the need for blood.

The need to kill.

The hair on the back of her arms stood up as her carefully layered spells began to fall into place. Thankfully, this public sale was being held in the middle of bumfuck nowhere Kansas, at a low-end Manimal auction close to the border of the Tribal Lands. The Twin Souls for sale here were either very young, lame, or dying. The bottom of the slaver’s barrel, so to speak. Her skin tightened and the familiar stirring of another soul in the fragile shell of her body had her taking a deep breath to try and calm her demon.

The Twin Souls weren’t the only humans that had gained an extra spiritual passenger after the Awakening.

There were those, like herself, that suddenly found themselves sharing a body with a demon.

Not the evil kind that popular Christian tales had guarding hell, but a creature of pure spirit, pure energy, who served the will of the Goddess.
In her case, a demon that absorbed the power generated during sex to feed itself.

Already, the tendrils of seduction rolled through her stomach. She fisted a hand against her gut, trying to quiet her inner demon as it became hungry and restless. Standing around this long had drained her magic, and her demon didn’t like her being vulnerable. Her senses expanded for a moment as her demon looked through her eyes, and she wrestled back control of her body from him while mentally yelling at him to stop being a pain in her ass.
She’d been on hundreds of dangerous missions before, had infiltrated deep into the Reformed United States dozens of times and lived to tell the tale, but something about her current rescue mission had her demon, her inner Shadow, on edge. Though she wasn’t on the best terms with her Shadow, she respected his power and knew he could sense things that she couldn’t. Maybe it was because they were there to free a very important and influential Twin Soul, but she didn’t think that was it. Demons had little care for human or supernatural politics—they lived to serve the will of the Dark Goddess, and they served her well.

The Dark Goddess wasn’t malevolent, just the part of the dual nature of the Goddess. Like two sides of the same coin, joined but different. On one, the Mother Goddess who brought life into the world, on the other the Dark Goddess who brought death. One couldn’t exist without the other, and both served the same purpose—to protect and care for humanity, no matter how unworthy they were of her love.

A man’s raspy voice broke through her musings as she slowly scanned the dirt floor of the animal auction pit. “You okay there, missy?”

She looked to her left and found a kindly looking old man tipping his cream cowboy hat up his sweaty red brow and giving her a concerned look.

Not wanting to attract any attention, but needing him for her cover, she nodded and purposely looked away from the ring. Earlier, she’d marked the older man as a person who was known by the crowd, but generally stayed to himself. A quiet man who was here alone and who would be easy to manipulate. She let loose the faintest wisps of seduction towards him, willing him to see his heart’s desire when he looked at her. When she touched the evil in his soul, she had to take a calming breath before she lashed out and slit his throat.

Despite his kindly appearances, he was more monster than man. But he would give her the cover she needed. In this part of the Reformed States, an unaccompanied woman drew attention. Females were supposed to be chaperoned at all times by a man, and weren’t supposed to do business without a male relative at their side. They were basically chattel, breeders whose only job was to serve their family.

Her voice came out breathy as she said, “Yes, sorry. I’ve just never seen so many Manimals in one place. It’s disturbing.”

His dark eyes softened, and he patted his ample belly. “You got nothing to worry about. That cage they’re in is as strong as can be. Blessed by the Prophets, to keep the souls of the damned chained tight to this earth so they can’t escape and hurt us God fearing folks.”

Prophets, the name the people of the Reformed States that held to the Purist beliefs gave to their wizards. Humans without any natural magic ability who used death to power their spells, who harnessed the energy of pain and suffering to fuel their incantations. Unfortunately, the Reformed States relied on the wizards to keep them safe from magical attack and turned a blind eye to the suffering of the wizard’s victims. It wasn’t a big secret that the wizards ruled the government run work camps and used them as their personal stockade for victims.

The rapist standing before her would have been a perfect choice as one of the guards. Her demon showed her the man’s memories— his long list of victims, all blonde and blue eyed like how he saw her thanks to her spell. As far as he was concerned, Leaf appeared eerily similar to his long dead sister, the one that he’d raped and murdered as a teenager. Bile churned in her stomach and righteous anger filled her, the need to avenge firing her blood, fed by her demon’s wrath.

Her lower lip trembled as she fought back the urge to scrape the evil piece of shit’s eyes out and smash them to the ground before grinding them into the dust beneath her cute black and silver cowboy boots. As she imagined the beauty of his screams, she regained control of her demon and shoved him back into his mental box. When he had too much free reign, all she wanted to do was seduce and act as the Dark Goddess’ hand of vengeance on the world, to seek justice for those that couldn’t defend themselves. The man standing before her had a multitude of sins, and she’d be doing the world a favor by slitting his throat.

She sent a strong mental shout to her inner demon. I know he’s a bastard, and I know he deserves death, but we must focus on our mission.

Immediately, the dark presence in her head calmed with a sullen growl, and she gave her demon a mental warning snarl before returning her attention to the sweaty cowboy before her. His mind was as easy to read as an open kettle, and just as empty. While he was trying to tell himself that he was concerned about the fragile, almost angelic blonde woman that looked so out of place with her obvious innocence, he was also imagining forcing her to give him a blow job while he choked her to death.


Adding just a little extra shading of blue to the illusion of her eyes, she blinked at him and gave him a hesitant smile. “Thank you for explaining it to me. I’m glad they can’t hurt us up here.”

He sucked on his lower lip, his gaze devouring her. “What’s a little thing like you doing in a place like this?”

She fluttered her lashes and leaned forward, pretending she had to whisper to him. “It’s my daddy’s sixty-eighth birthday soon, and he needs someone to do the hard labor on the farm. ‘Bout ten years ago, his back gave out on him. He’s just working himself to death. I hope maybe if I can buy one of those Manimals, my daddy can enjoy the rest he’s earned.”

The old man’s eyes teared up, and he patted her shoulder. “Young lady, that is the sweetest thing I’ve ever heard. You stick next to me, and I’ll help you find a good one. You’ll need a younger man, one who hasn’t had his first rut.”

Remembering her role as a sheltered farm girl, she said, “What’s a rut?”

“Er—let’s just say that you don’t want a Manimal over the age of sixty.”

“That’s so old!”

“Hey, now.”

She giggled and thought about following him home so she could kill him in the room where he’d once killed his neighbor’s little girl and planned on slaying Leaf, if he could.  Anger simmered inside of her, and she promised her demon that she would call in a hit on this man as soon as they had their objective safely contained. With that in mind, she ‘accidentally’ brushed the bastard and set a mark on him that would make him easy to track. Any Shadow that ran across this man would see that he’d been targeted for death. Even if she wasn’t the one to kill him, she knew someone would collect the bounty she just set.

While her demon fed on sex, there were those that fed on violence, and they loved any excuse they could get to slaughter evil doers and feed their Shadow.

It made her demon happy to know the man’s days were now numbered.

The Twin Soul she'd been hired to rescue came into sight as his cage was rolled out into the arena, so it was time to put her plan in motion. The world around her clarified, and she took a deep breath then slowly let it out. This would work. She was not only very careful, she was the best at extractions. Just the fact that she’d managed, through bribes and magic, to get her quarry there was a miracle.

The old cowboy had pushed their way through the crowd, and they soon reached the rust speckled metal rail of the auction pit where a couple men made room for them. They gave her a quick once over—she was a stranger in this area, but the appearance of the older man hovering protectively at her side had them quickly dismissing her from their thoughts. She peered over the side and her entire world stilled as she caught sight of her target for the first time. Every inch of her body tingled and her heart raced. Not from fear, but from lust. Impossible, mind numbing, soul crushing lust. Despite the glamour he wore to make himself appear as a harmless, skinny and awkward teenage Twin Soul boy, she could see the real man beneath. And he was magnificent.

There, in the center of the ring, slightly crouching in sawdust and surrounded by a wizard-built cage, was Mir DePaul. Six feet of pure feline muscle housed in a delicious male body built for fighting and sex. He was gorgeous, if you liked your men having skin the color of a white tiger. While Twin Souls didn’t have fur in the traditional sense, they did have an ultra-fine layer of downy fur which took on the characteristics of whatever animal shared their body. Mir’s white and black striped pelt alone made him worth millions as a rarity, but throw in who he was, how much power and wealth he had, and the figure became astronomical.

Not that she would betray him for all the money in the world.

He was…magnificent.

He was hers.

The thought startled Leaf, but she brushed it off as merely her commitment to her chosen profession. Yeah, she was only reacting in a crazy possessive way because he was her target, the man she needed to rescue and return to his Pride Lands in Canada. It was just her need for justice that had her so focused on him. Mir paced with a restless energy, anger rolling off him as he growled with rage under the stares of the crowd. She could feel his animosity biting along her skin like sparks from a fire, not that she could blame him for his rage. He was the leader of a huge Pride, a businessman worth millions, an Alpha through and through.

And his power tasted like peppermint candy on her tongue.

His fascinating turquoise blue and gold eyes traced over the stands, as inhuman as the gaze of a white Bengal tiger. The pale, almost creamy tone of his skin striped with black made the heavy muscles sectioning every inch of his body stand out in a mouthwatering display. Add to that his mass of black hair hanging to his shoulders, and he was everything she’d never known she wanted in a man.

While she’d been prepared for his physical appearance—she’d seen enough pictures and video of Mir to recognize him on sight—she hadn’t been ready for the soul deep need for his touch to punch her square in the gut. Or, more appropriately, square in the sensitive junction between her thighs. Her body tried to flare to life, to go into a sexually aggressive state where she became a walking aphrodisiac to the male species, but she tamped her reaction down. This was not the time or the place for that bullshit.

The Twin Soul shifted beneath the lights, and she became lost in the perfection of his profile. Mir—even his name was sexy—had the kind of lips that were made for kissing, soft and full, and they would move like silk over her own. In reality, his skin would feel similar to velvet, a result of the ultra-fine downy fur that covered his body. It had been described in one of those magazines devoted to the Twin Souls as ‘stroking a rose petal.’

Energy, bright and fierce, poured out of him, raising the hair on her arms. Turning her gaze inward, she focused on him with her third eye, wishing he would look at her, but hoping she could hide her presence for a few more moments so she could observe him. She needed to get a grasp of the situation as quickly as she could, because she wouldn’t have a second chance. Once they collared him, his inner beast would be slowly drained of power by the cursed metal. When the animal spirit was totally absorbed, the collar would be removed, leaving behind an empty shell of a man. The essence of his animal would then be used as a sort of magical battery, enabling what remained of the United States to continue its rigid control over its citizens. The thought of such a blasphemous act being committed on such an obvious blessing from the Goddess angered her.


The cowboy cleared his throat. “Which one you thinkin’ ‘bout buyin’?”

Swallowing her rage at the idea of anything happening to Mir, she snapped her head up and smiled at the old cowboy. “That boy in the middle. He looks like he’d be strong enough to hook up to a plow, but not strong enough to hurt me. And he looks young, so I wouldn’t have to worry about him going into a rut anytime soon.”

The man blinked, her compulsion spell settling into his mind, softening his will like a marshmallow roasting over a bonfire. “That’s right.”

Adding as much power to her voice as she dared, she whispered to him, “Good. Now tell me what I need to do to win him, but I don’t want us overheard.”

She listened as the man leaned close to quickly whisper a set of instructions about how to bid. The back of her neck tingled, warning her that a spell was searching the audience for the small amount of magic she’d used. Looking about, she made note of each prayer stone that was used to deaden magic driven into the pillars supporting the roof. Well, at least the prayer stones that weren’t fakes. This shithole had bad replicas in all sections of the arena but one. She’d have to be sure to not trigger it and still win the auction with old fashioned bartering skills. Not that she’d have much competition. The crowd appeared uninterested in bidding on Mir because of the powerful glamour he wore, disguising his true nature.


Invisible to the naked eye, enchanted mithril ink shone like liquid mercury on his shoulders and chest. One of the enchantments etched into his beautiful skin made him appear weak, young, and untried if activated—which it was. Right then, he looked like a maybe late teens Twin Soul, weak, scrawny, and more of a liability to most farmers than an asset. True, people bought Twin Souls for domestic slavery, but that was usually the females, not unattractive boys.

If only they could see how magnificent he really was.

When she blinked to dispel the magical illusion surrounding him, she was once again overwhelmed by the need to rip off her clothes and leap into the cage with Mir. Then she’d throw him to the floor and lick him over every inch of his thick, powerful body. She wanted to trace the elegant flow of the black stripes with her tongue, and to see the patterns they made where they disappeared beneath his dirty clothes.

Utterly magnificent, a male animal in his prime. If it wasn’t for his coloring, Mir would be gracing the cover of every fitness magazine in the world. Arousal hummed through her, and she desperately tried to tamp it down, to control her unusually intense desire. She never got carried away over a man like this, and she gave herself a mental smack to pay attention.

His nostrils flared and his shoulders flexed as he crouched slightly. When he turned to look at her with those oh so pretty blue and gold kitty cat eyes of his, a full body shiver raced from the top of her scalp down to her toes, leaving her burning with desire in its wake. Something…resonated in her human soul. In the depths of her mind, her demon was still, but hyper focused on Mir as the Alpha male openly stared back at her. He consumed her with his gaze and for one moment, a fierce triumph mixed with some darker emotion she couldn’t place flashed over his face before he turned away from her.
From the tinny speakers, there came a small squall of feedback as her timed spell began to work on the slaver’s auctioneer in a booth somewhere off to the left up by the lights. A moment later, his twangy voice rang out, announcing that the boy in the cage was easily frightened and prone to fainting. He would also need to be nursed back to health, as he had a lame foot from where he’d been shot by a hunter. In other words, this guy sucked.

She’d called in a massive favor, the kind where she contacted someone and told them she’d no longer kill them if they helped her, to get Mir sent to this craphole auction instead of straight to Washington, D.C. where he’d be publicly executed. To add insult to injury, after they killed Mir his body would be stuffed and mounted in the Smithsonian because of his historical importance. After all, he was one of the very first Twin Souls to receive an animal spirit all those years ago and live. She looked away from Mir and focused on the crowd, scrambling to get herself under control as she scanned for any potential threats.

“Let’s start at a hundred and twenty dollars.”

The bidding went quick, but she waited until it had warmed up before jumping in. She pretended to hem and haw each bid while her buddy by her side coached her. It would appear as if she was having help from an older man, something that would set other people’s minds at ease. For all they knew, he was her dad, training her to take over the family Manimal business. Single women were forbidden from the auctions, only those with male chaperones could attend. Evidently, the ignorant bastards didn’t want their women tempted by the vile and depraved pleasures of a Manimal.

They had a good reason to fear this happening. Most Twin Souls naturally gave off a pheromone that assured a woman they would rock her world between the sheets, in addition to the fact that a human could extend their natural lives to match their supernatural mate’s lifespan. It wasn’t unusual for a human mate to grow physically younger after the spiritual bond had been established with their Twin Soul. After all, the Twin Soul could be two hundred and look in his late thirties, while a human would have long ago turned to dust. Because of this, Twin Souls were considered a hot commodity in the dating world, and they had their own legions of groupies.

And she could see why Mir had more websites devoted to him being shirtless than your average rock star.

Though the slavers kept Mir in shabby jeans and shirtless for the auction, there was no mistaking the bulge in his pants as anything but a rather big dick. He was a very well-endowed man, and she’d heard things about the feline Twin Soul’s cocks that had her curious. Well, a little more than curious. Damn fascinated, if one came right down to it.

The gavel slammed down, and she tried to hide her anticipation beneath a silly grin as she won Mir. The old cowboy at her side led her down the steps and helped her fill out the paperwork. He was just the cover she needed, and she thanked the Goddess that he’d been put in her path. Once they were outside, the men working the auction helped load Mir onto the bed of her truck. He’d been bound with vines of dark sadness, a plant that had appeared after the Goddesses’ return. It had proven to be the only thing that could hold Twin Soul’s, aside from the much more expensive silver, or the terrible death magic collars.

Trying to keep her cover intact, she nervously eyed the guns at the men’s sides. “Do you think I’ll need to get one of those to protect myself?”

The two men laughed, and the younger one preened beneath her attention. Hiking his rifle up on his shoulder, he shook his head and gave her a smile filled with dip-stained teeth. “Nawh. That little kitty won’t give you no trouble. It’s not in his nature. He’s a submitter. You know, one of them types that likes to be ordered around and stuff.”

“’Sides,” the other man in a stained baseball cap drawled, “Weak as he is, you could take him down easier than beat’n a three-year-old.”

Clenching her teeth and praying it looked like fear instead of disgust, she nodded. “All right. Thank you so much. You have no idea how much this is going to help. May the Prophets bless you.”

She injected enough magic into her words to make them forget her as soon as she left. Turning the key in the ignition of her old, but well cared for white Ford truck, she slowly pulled out of the parking lot, leaving the auction behind them and starting the long journey to get Mir safely back to his Pride.
She wasn’t the only mercenary hired to find him, though she was the best, and she’d gotten here first. Once she had him back to the cabin she was renting in northern Kansas, she could cut him free of the vines that had drugged him into unconsciousness. She’d have to do it carefully and outdoors, because if he tried to kill her, she wasn’t sure who would win in a fight to the death. Hopefully, he’d give her a chance to show him the sigil of his Pride before attempting to gut her.

The quicker they were on the road back to his Pride Lands in Canada, the better, and she couldn’t help but feel like their time may be running out.

Copyright Ann Mayburn. All rights reserved. No part of these publications may be reproduce, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission of the author.