Fox’s Folly is a first in a couple of ways. It’s my first male-male book, though I’ve written a few m/m short stories, including one that was published as standalone ebook. It’s my first prequel. It’s the prequel Foxes’ Den (Duals and Donovans: the Different 2), which is why, though Fox’s Folly is a Duals and Donovans book, it doesn’t have a series number. And it’s the first book an editor specifically sparked me to write.
At the time my Samhain editor, the fabulous Linda Ingmanson, accepted Foxes’ Den, which is a menage involving a married male couple—witch Paul and fox shape-shifter Tag—and the kitsune they both come to love, she said she’d love to see a book about how Paul and Tag met. At the time, I wasn’t sure how they’d met, only that it had involved some element of danger and, given Tag’s character and his connection to the god Trickster, probably some element of oddness. I let the idea stew in the back of my mind for a while and then it came to me. Las Vegas! They meet in Las Vegas, where they’re both fish out of water. Donovan witches are very connected to nature and not very connected to the more materialistic aspects of mainstream human culture. Duals (my take on shape-shifters) simply don’t like cities, where their animalsides feel confined and they’re more likely to have trouble from the repressive Agency. But what if Paul and Tag had to be in Las Vegas for some good reason? Say, to catch a magical serial killer?
And so the book was born.
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What happens in Vegas lasts forever…if you’re lucky.
A Duals and Donavans story
Las Vegas is the wrong place for an inexperienced witch like Paul Donavan. But he has no choice; his family owes a debt of honor to a half-fae casino owner, whose guests have been dying under mysterious circumstances. The normy police haven’t connected the dots between the deaths, and the owner has called in his marker.
When Paul literally runs into fox dual Taggart Ross, the instant, powerful attraction between them bristles with red flags. Not only should there be no sparks between him and this “hillbilly with a tail,” the fact is a dual couldn’t have committed murder-by-magic. But until he’s got proof, caution rules.
Tag’s own suspicions are on high alert. Magic killed his favorite uncle, and Paul, who senses Tag’s dual nature way too easily, should be a prime suspect. Except Tag’s libido responds to the witch in a way that shouldn’t happen.
Whatever this thing is between them, the raw sexual energy feeds a power that becomes their best hope of drawing out the killer before he, she, or it strikes again. Until love gets involved, and things get real complicated, real fast…
“I think we’re here for the same reason. Does the name Randolph-Macon McNeil mean anything to you?”
“One of the five people who’ve died under mysterious circumstances lately at the Excalibur. Sixty-two, professional gambler, fox dual…” He spoke dispassionately, as if reciting facts from a report. Then he paused, and a look of horror crossed his face “Was he family, Tag? I’m so sorry…”
“My uncle. I’m here to find out who the fuck killed him and take him down hard.”
“No, you won’t. We will.” Paul’s voice was soft and professorial, but something in his tone made the words ring in the air with the force of an oath before the gods.
“Really? Do you mean that?” Tag tried to keep the emotion out of his voice, but that wasn’t the fox way. He was tough, tougher than most, but he’d loved his uncle.
And he hated to admit it, but he needed all the help he could get. He’d gotten into this figuring he’d find the killer and then call in reinforcements, but if Uncle Randolph was the fifth victim, and a fae had asked for help dealing with it, Tag needed magic, not just muscle. “Really?” he repeated, feebly aware he should be saying something wittier but unable to make his brain work at proper speed.
“Really. I got drafted to do this. For you, it’s personal. Hearth, heart and home fuel magic. We’ll be stronger together than we are alone. And you look like you shouldn’t be alone.”
The next thing Tag knew, Paul’s arms were around him.
Damn, Paul could kiss, and his hands, even when they weren’t touching anywhere Tag would normally consider an erogenous zone, sent heat through Tag’s body. Maybe it was magic, or maybe the guy was just that talented. At this point, Tag didn’t care. All he really cared about was seeing how long they could go without thinking about dead people and just focusing on sex, or at least the yummy preliminaries to sex.
Tag was fumbling with the buttons on Paul’s dress shirt—too formal by comparison to what everyone else seemed to wear in Las Vegas, almost silky under his hands although it was cotton—when someone knocked at the door. “Housekeeping always shows up at the worst times,” Paul muttered before throwing himself into kissing Tag so thoroughly that Tag forgot not only the persistent knock on the door but the day of the week and the reason he was in Las Vegas. He was working up to forgetting his name when the door opened, and a man walked into the room.