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Meet the Winged Guardians! Part 1

This is going to be a new series of posts for me, interviewing my characters and giving you all insights into who they are and how they fit into the world.

First up, of course, is the heroine of A Killing Moon, Cora.

My name is Cora Westgate, and I used to be a spy. Yes, I stole that from Michael

Westen, but it’s still accurate.

My given name is Coretta Ashai LeStrange Westgate. Yes, as in Therantian Minister of

the Interior Marius LeStrange. I would call him ‘Dad’, but that is greatly overstating our

relationship. Most everyone calls me Cora.

I am a de facto member of House Corvid, specifically the raven shifters who have been

advising the King for centuries. My family and the royal family are forever inextricably

intertwined. Hell, I was raised in the diplomatic wing (no pun intended) of the palace, and

educated alongside the princes because our fathers were best friends. I should have a title,

myself, because my father is technically the Marquise of Ravenscroft, but the strains on

our relationship have made that impossible.

I was supposed to go into the family business after graduating from Columbia Law

School graduate (go Lions!). Essentially I’d been training to work in the Interior Ministry

or the Diplomatic Corps my whole life, which is why I wanted something new. Those

were never my dreams, but I’d never been away from the iron grip of my family to

realize what my dreams might have been.

After graduating I was briefly and unspectacularly married to a non-shifter and divorced

thereafter (to the everlasting shame of my family, though I couldn’t tell you which

bothered them more, the marriage or the divorce) before going off to the join the service.

On paper I’m an honorably discharged Commander of the Therantian Guard, as a cover

for my work as a member of the Therantian Guard Special Protectorate Division. Yes, the

same Interior Ministry my father runs and the agency my estranged brother Nicodemos

oversees. It’s been messy.

I was in the clandestine services for several years and picked up several tricks that have

served me well since getting out and going freelance. I’m not a gun for hire, so much as

someone you can come to for unconventional solutions to complicated problems. My

team consists of my assistant Venus, and my two associates Sam and Mookie. They’re

the closest thing I have to actual family, and I would kill for them with no questions


I’m a bit of a workaholic. Okay, maybe a little more than a bit. I come from money and

privilege, but I’m not soft by any means. I’ve worked hard for what I have and I’m not

ashamed of that at all.

When I’m not guarding Prince Finn against regicidal conspiracies, you can find me

reading Michael Crichton novels or doing crosswords or Sudoku. I love to practice

martial arts and take great joy in practicing at the range.

The Prince and I go back a long ways. He was my childhood crush, back when I was

going through my Awkward Raven phase. It’s like being and Ugly Duckling but angrier

and more goth. He’s always been beautiful to me, the kindness in his heart outstripping

his looks by miles, and he’s physically damn near perfect. Okay, so maybe I’m still a

little stuck on him, but can ya blame me? He’s pretty.

Since leaving the service, I’ve kept to myself. I’ve lived a life of secrets, lies, and half-

truths, and as such, being circumspect is as much a life choice as an effort in self-

preservation. Enemies can pop up at the most inconvenient times. Not to mention

wanting to stay off my family’s radar. My father has his finger in a lot of pies, and he

wouldn’t hesitate to burn me if it served his purpose. He’s a peach (insert sarcastic

eyeroll here).

I live in a three-story brownstone in Back Bay with purple flowers in my window boxes

and walls reinforced with Kevlar. My decorating style runs to a little more baroque than

not, keeping with the Victorian architectural style. I love to cook, but I never have the

time, so my cupboard is usually filled with coffee, spices of dubious quality and age, and

dust bunnies large enough to fight for king and country.

Likes: Finn, couture fashion, gardening, helping people, cheese snobbery (because really,

why not, cheese is amazing), black coffee, chess, backgammon, cutthroat games of strategy, fried foods, looking after her family and collecting more people as she goes along

Dislikes: the majority of my blood family, slowing down for any reason, people who

think they can get away with something just because they have money, being treated as

fragile or delicate

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