Second Nature

Second Nature by Jae

Book: Second Nature by Jae Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jae
Tags: Fantasy
for. Jorie's story world wouldn't be inhabited by creatures that were howling at the moon once a month. "So your character is a tiger-shifter, not a weretiger? They're a different species, not turned humans?" she asked, just to make sure.
    Jorie nodded. "Exactly. They might look human, but they're not," she said but didn't offer more information than that.
    "Why a tiger? Why not a wolf?" Griffin asked. "Wolves seem to be more popular in fiction." She had never understood the human fascination with wolves and dogs when cats were so much more interesting. Not that I'm biased or anything, she thought with a secret grin.
    "I don't know." Jorie shrugged. One corner of her mouth lifted up to form a disarming half smile. "I know most readers find an alpha wolf irresistible, but I've always had a soft spot for cats."
    Is she flirting? Griffin thought but then shook her head at herself. She doesn't even know you're a cat... hopefully. And she writes boy-meets-girl romances. Jorie's smile wasn't really directed at her. She was probably thinking about the three cats she had at home. "So that shifter thing," Griffin began, making it sound as if the mere idea was absurd to her, "was that why the weight of a tiger seemed to be a problem for you?"
    Reluctantly, Jorie's head tipped up and down. "It's hard to find a scientific explanation for how a slender human can turn into a 250-pound cat," she said.
    "Hard? Impossible," Griffin said truthfully. Wrasa weighed the same in their animal form as they did in their human form. With her four hundred pounds, Griffin had to avoid scales and cheap furniture. She also couldn't let a human physician take too close a look at her since an expert would immediately notice that her bones and muscles were much too dense to be human. "No living being can gain mass from nothing. You would be better off sticking to wolves." Not that Jennings or the council would be happier about that. "They weigh about as much as a human. Even better, use magic. A magical creature could weigh whatever you want it to."
    Jorie's fingers tightened around the pen in her hand, but she didn't write down what Griffin had said, as if she didn't want to use that information anyway. "I want this story based on science, not magic," Jorie said.
    Great Hunter, she's stubborn. With the patience of a cat, Griffin grinned down at her anyway. "That's why you're having coffee with a zoologist, not a magician, right?"
    Jorie threw back her head and laughed.
    The sound was a surprise. Instead of grating on her nerves as some humans' laughter did, it pleasantly tickled her ears like the twittering of birds on that sunny spring day in the forest.
    After just a few seconds, Jorie stopped laughing and was back to asking businesslike questions.
    Finally, before Griffin could even finish her horrible-tasting tea, Jorie put her notebook back into her backpack and laid some money on the table.
    "Let me pay this time," Griffin said. She had lived among humans long enough to know it was considered the polite thing to do. Had she been here with a Wrasa, there would have been no fighting over the check. The higher-ranking Wrasa always took care of the check. Just the parwese, the Kasari's high king, was never expected to pay for anything — he took the lion's share without asking and let his people work for him while he was busy ruling the Allied Prides.
    "No, I have it," Jorie said. It was clear that she didn't want to owe Griffin anything. "I can't thank you enough for helping me with my research again, so at least let me pay for your tea."
    Griffin gave in. "Then I'll pay next time should you have any more questions."
    Jorie tilted her head in a vague nod.
    "Oh, before I forget, I have one of your books in my car. Would you mind signing it for me?" Griffin asked as they stood.
    For once, Jorie's iron self-control slipped a little. One of her eyebrows arched up until it brushed her shaggy bangs.
    What? Griffin thought, suppressing a grin. I don't look like

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