Raven Cursed

(The fourth book in the Jane Yellowrock series)

A novel by Faith Hunter

To my Renaissance Man,

who takes the Class IVs, lets me cry on his shoulder, and

brings me chocolate


My deepest thanks (in no order whatsoever) to:

Mike Pruette, Web guru at www.faithhunter.net and fan.

The wonderful speakers at www.irishgaelictranslator.com for the spelling translations.

The Hubby, for the right word when my tired brain was stymied. And for the chocolate.

Joyce Wright, for reading everything I write, no matter how “weird.”

Adonna at the authorpro.com for all the help with PR! Love you guys!

Dave Crawford of rapidexpeditions.com, Mike Kohlenberger at Wildwater, and Itty Bitty, for allowing me to use their names, monikers, and/or likenesses in the book. The realism you brought to the project was a huge help! Also to Mindy Mymudes for the biology realism.

Misty Massey, David B. Coe, A. J. Hartley, Edmund Schubert, Stuart Jaffe, C. E. Murphy, Lucienne Diver, and Kalayna Price of www.magicalwords.net, my dear pals, for making this journey so much easier than it used to be. It’s wonderful to have you as my friends!

Kim Harrison (fan girl squeal)—thank you for the wonderful blurb.

My facebook fans at www.facebook.com/official.faith.hunter.

Jane’s facebook fans at www.facebook.com/janeyellowrock.

Beast’s facebook fans at www.facebook.com/pages/Beast/135860763157310.

Lucienne Diver, for doing what an agent does best, with grace, kindness, wisdom, and forgiveness.

Rosanne Romanello and Brady McReynolds at Roc for excellent PR support (waves).

Last, but never least—my editorial team at Roc: Thanks to Jessica Wade, who loves the multisouled Beast in Jane, and who worked hard to bring the plot and conflict into a darker intensity. To copyeditor Karen Haywood, production editor Kathleen Cook, and Jesse Feldman (who came in at the end)—this book is far better for all of you.

Y’all ROCK!


A lot of research went into this book, both to keep it factual, and to protect others. All mistakes herein are mine, and were not made by the kind people who helped me.

The factual parts I worked so hard on were the kayaking and the scenes set in the Appalachian Mountains. The scenes in Hartford, Tennessee, were as perfect as I could make them, and if you drop by, be sure to say hi to Dave Crawford and Jedi Mike Kohlenberger. Yeah, they are real people, the bigger-than-life kind who simply have to go into a book to keep it real too. Itty Bitty (not her real name) has moved away, or you could meet her too. While you are in Hartford, go rafting, or take a kayak lesson at Rapid Expeditions. Take a zip-line trip through the trees at Wildwater. It’s a rush! Take a backcountry jeep tour. Hike up the mountain to the top. Go hungry, and eat in the Bean Trees Café. Have a day or three of fun! There is a lot to do for such a small place.

To protect others—for instance, law enforcement officials—I deliberately changed facts or left them out. A case in point—the law enforcement center in Asheville looks nothing like it is portrayed here, to help, in a small way, to keep our cops safe.

A scene involving a real search-and-rescue team, with K-9 and search dogs, was cut because the book was simply too long with it left in, but I’ll post it someday on the Web site.

My thanks to all my fans, who are keeping this series in print. You have my everlasting gratitude.



Lots of Things That Go Boom and Kill Bad Guys

I rode into Asheville, North Carolina, for all the wrong reasons, from the wrong direction, on a borrowed bike, with no weapons, ready to work for the vamps again. It was stupid all around, but it was the gig I signed up for, and I was all about satisfying the client, keeping him safe, eliminating the danger, and finishing the job. Or staking the vamp, depending on the job description. “Finish the job” had become my second mantra, right behind “Have stakes, will travel.”

I was not at all happy that I’d taken this gig, once again working for the Blood Master of the City of New Orleans, Leo Pellissier, though this time was different. Of course, that’s what I always think—that there’s a new and better reason to keep up a business relationship with the chief fanghead. Money counts, of course, and the MOC pays extremely well, but I’ve begun to think it’s also because I’m a masochist and curious—as in, curiosity killed the cat.

At the thought, my Beast chuffed with amusement. Not dead. Am good hunter. Smell cooked meat and running deer and mountains. Free flowing water. We are home.

Yeah, we are. And that thought put a smile on my face, despite my misgivings. I’m Jane Yellowrock. I’m licensed and experienced in the security business but I made my street cred as a rogue-vamp hunter. I am, according to most, the best in the business. I am also a Cherokee skinwalker living with the soul of a mountain lion inside me, the one I call Beast. I may well be the last of my kind, since I killed the only other skinwalker I ever met when he went nutso and started killing and eating people. My occupation has a definite ick factor.

The job at hand was to set up and provide security for the vamp parley taking place in Asheville, and it wasn’t likely that the location was accident or coincidence. Lincoln Shaddock, the most powerful fanghead in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee, had been applying to Leo for sixty years for the right to become a master of the city. Leo—who was a lot more powerful, territory-wise, than I ever guessed—had turned him down, until now. Leo always turned down vamps who thought they deserved to be the master of a city, because he was power hungry and had a god complex—that was nothing new. Now the chief bloodsucker of the South was willing to discuss a change in status for a vamp who wanted my hometown? No way was that a total fluke.

One factor that could have influenced the MOC was that a young vamp in Shaddock’s scion-lair found her sanity in just two years. That was a record. That was huge. Vamps had been trying to find a way to shorten or defeat the devoveo for two thousand years. But was it huge enough for Leo to reverse course? I had my doubts. No, there was something else. I just didn’t know what. Yet.

Leo never had just one motivation for anything, but layered motives, some focused on his political organization in the world of vamps—like the parley with the witches in New Orleans, which was not going so well, last I heard. Some focused on ancient history. And because the chief MOC of the South was intensely curious about me, maybe some focused on me. Vamps, politics, blood, and sex were all parts of a single whole, and since I was on retainer to Leo, I was now a part of that political maneuvering. Lucky me. My own curiosity was sending

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