Archive for 'werewolf'
Thursday, June 25th, 2020
Setting, for me, is where every book begins.
Yes, I love getting to know the characters that slip out of the shadows at the back of mind where they’ve been living, sometimes for decades without my being aware of them. I enjoy the plotting process which consists of waking up in the middle of the night to mull over possibilities, running down roads both promising and dead-end, and throwing possibilities into a Word program called “Notes”, but I have to have a strong picture in my mind of where everything happens before I can write the first word.
I love going for solitary drives accompanied by Neil Diamond going full blast while the world around me becomes part of me. I’m a mountain gal born and bred. I don’t understand cities. They don’t speak to me. But give me the wilderness and I come alive.
That’s true even when I’m writing erotica.
Case in point, I’m in the process of releasing two self-published books. Cry of the Wolves will hit the virtual shelves on the 29th. I haven’t set on a release date for the companion novella Call of the Wolves, sometime in July.
The two connected stories came to me unbidden. I had no idea that’s what would happen when I went for a hike near Crater Lake at a place known as The Gorge. The Rogue River of southern Oregon flows through The Gorge, or rather it fights to. As I explain in the forward for the two Wolves stories, an ancient volcanic eruption sent molten lava to the Rogue. At one spot, the river was squeezed into a narrow channel. Every spring during snow runoff, the river screams and boils as it struggles through the lava.
That’s where I found my characters. Each in their own way, they listened to and watched the ageless battle between rock and water. That wild place impacted them as deeply as it did me and gave rise to the ghost wolves. I’m including a couple of pictures I took. I just wish readers could feel the spray and sense the ground shivering.
A big part of the writing business consists of getting the word out, which is what I’m doing right now via a couple of projects designed to try to garner reviews.
In case you’re interested in getting your hands on some free ARC (advanced reader copies) in exchange for a voluntary review, I recommend becoming a member of Book Sirens, https://booksirens.com/advanced-reader-copies, and/or The Hidden Gems, https://www.hiddengemsbooks.com/.
Friday, June 12th, 2020
UPDATE: The winners are…gift cards: Colleen C and Mary Preston; and anthology: Debra Guyette and Becky Parsons!
Hi! My name is Megan Ryder, and thank you for having me back on the blog for another chance to talk about my books. Today, I’m thrilled to talk a little bit about making the transition between contemporary and paranormal romance.
I’ve been writing for a long time (longer than I care to admit) and I’ve been writing contemporary romance for most of that time. I’m published with a few books including sexy baseball heroes, a matchmaking bride and her bridesmaids, and lately, cowboys. While I love all of those, my first love has always been paranormal romances, especially shifters, but I was always hesitant to make the shift (pun intended) to a new genre. When I heard about this anthology, my short story popped into my head completely formed as a prequel to my series and the perfect way to test my skills.
My story centers around a female shifter who is trapped into running from a group of alpha males who want to forcibly claim her as a mate, only to run into another alpha who offers to save her. The only problem is – he really IS her mate and she doesn’t want a mate at all.
In paranormal romance, I wanted to deal with the concept of consent, because “fated mates” being a trope in the genre often blurs the lines for consent. In this story, I wanted her to be a strong alpha female and her mate to be willing to see her that way and accept her and look for her consent, even as their natures want them to mate.
It was fun playing with the paranormal world, setting up the shifter structure and society, and dealing with the biology, too. And I slipped in something I thought was relevant to our current times.
Check out the snippet below and let me know what you think.
For my giveaway, let me know if you like the “fated mates” trope, where characters have one and only one mate for them (and often they know it and can’t fight it for long). I’m giving away 2 electronic copies of the anthology – First Response (given on release day) – and 2 $10 gift cards to Amazon.
Excerpt from “Claiming Lyla”
A she-wolf being hunted by pack males during a claiming rite is rescued by a rogue alpha determined to make her his own, despite her desire to be independent…
Lyla folded her arms in front of her, a defensive gesture, closing herself off from him, while plumping up her full breasts so they strained against the lace. “What do you want?”
He cocked his head at the howls growing closer. “You don’t have much time, or much of a choice, sweetheart. You either deal with me or them. And trust me, I’m the lesser of your evils.”
A laugh broke from her throat, a raw, harsh sound that held no humor. “I’d prefer none of you. Why can’t you leave me alone, you bastards? You want me to just roll over and spread my legs like a good little bitch. Well, fuck that.”
He winced at her harsh tone and steeled himself. A breeze picked up her scent and tickled his senses with it, and his cock hardened further, painfully. His wrists burned hotter under the skin, prickling like a thousand fine needles that made him want to scratch an itch. Nothing would appease the sensation, he feared. He cursed under his breath. Fuck. Not the best time to find his mate. Not here. Not in this goddamn situation. This night had just gone to shit, and now the bonds were pulling him in even tighter.
Thursday, January 9th, 2020
First, let me say how happy I am to be releasing this novel, Where the Howl Are You?
It was just published as the final book in the Be Careful What You Summon series. The first book, Vampire Vintage, came out a while ago, but the second and third books were long overdue. It was hard to get to my Indies when I had traditional contracts with deadlines, then first, second, and, sometimes, third edits, plus marketing, etc., demanding my time.
Anyway, I rewrote and rereleased Vampire Vintage first. Tiger’s Night Out, book 2, was released a year ago—January 2019. And now, finally, with the release of Where the Howl Are You?, the series is complete!
Pushing forty, Ronda Calhoun did a summoning spell with her single friends to find immortal mates, figuring they might appreciate women with a little more maturity and experience. For all the others, it worked! So why isn’t her immortal showing up?
Private investigator Nate Smith didn’t know what he had back when he and Ronda dated in High School. Now he knows she’s the one he wants to spend his long life with. Arranging to run into her isn’t a problem, but confessing he’s a werewolf could ruin everything!
Get your copy:
But this article is about how readers helped me with all of this…
First of all, book 1, Vampire Vintage, needed a new professional cover. It was previously published by Ellora’s Cave and I had to update it. Amanda Walker did an awesome job, and even made bookmarks to go with it. (Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you want a couple! I’d be happy to send them. 🙂 )
One of my readers loved the first book so much, she became, not only a fan, but a friend. Knowing she was hoping for the other women’s stories to be told spurred me on.
Book 2 needed a cr*pload of editing, beta reading, and proofreading. Half the book took place in India, so certain words and phrases were checked with a West Bengal local. Most importantly I needed encouragement. My beta reader provided that with an enthusiastic, “It’s ready! Publish it!” So I had the cover made by the fabulous Syneca Featherstone of Original Syn and after a professional proofreading, that’s just what I did.
On to book 3. It had been previously published looong ago by another epublisher under a different title. I dusted it off, rewrote it completely and figured the five or ten people who bought the original version probably wouldn’t remember it anyway.
Then I needed a new title. I ran a few past my street team and one of my long-time members came up with a suggestion I hadn’t even thought of! Where the Howl Are You? was the PERFECT title, since our heroine, Ronda, had to wait so long to have her HEA, too.
Part of the fun (at least for me) is getting feedback from readers. A reader taking the time to express their thoughts in a review or word-of-mouth social media post is awesome! I take the good with the bad, and sometimes I’m able to improve a book if it gets a “second time around” publishing opportunity. Like Death by Delilah—a novella from my Ellora’s Cave days. There was a scene that awoke a reader’s “Ick factor.” That sometimes happens with erotica. The novella itself garnered a lot of contest wins and nominations, so when I had the opportunity to rewrite it, I changed that scene. It’s now part of an anthology with two other related novellas called Immortally Yours.
Sometimes, I get that feedback well before reviews. My proofreader Dianne Donovan is fabulous at catching every last pesky typo…and she doesn’t hesitate to give me her honest opinion of the book itself. I’m delighted to tell you she loved this one! However, I just got a “meh” advance review from a reader who didn’t like how the hero never shifted. That was one of the things that tickled me. He was so afraid he’d scare her off, he disappeared rather than let her see him shift. That didn’t mean he didn’t keep an eye on her. Wolves are by nature very protective of their chosen mates. And when she found out what he was, she didn’t get all girly and scared…she was more like; ”Why the hell didn’t you say so?” She had been waiting for her immortal for two years!
So, those are some of the examples right off the top of my head. I can’t tell you how grateful I am for all the support, encouragement, and honesty of my readers. Have you ever wanted to write to an author about their book? What’s stopping you?
Thursday, October 24th, 2019
I love to read about werewolves. I could name all my favorite authors who have created rich worlds full of werewolves, but that would take too much time. They all write fantastic sagas about pack rules and the relationships between the fierce and furry. Consequently, whenever I considered writing about werewolves, I’d lose my nerve. I wrote cat shifters and science fiction, demons and elves, but I always lost my nerve when I considered penning the tale of a werewolf.
Then I finally decided to take the plunge. It wasn’t easy. (It never is!) First, I had to figure out the mechanics of a werewolf universe. How did the characters shift from human to wolf form? Would it be a bone-splitting painful wrench or just a beautiful shimmer of magic? Were new werewolves made or born as shifters, or both. If they were made, how did that happen? The always popular bite? Or something else? And of course, why would my world be different from those of the afore-mentioned great authors?
One big difference came to mind right at the start. The Northern Rocky pack in situated where I currently live, making it easy for me to describe background features. I have never read of another author creating a werewolf pack with its headquarters up here in the Rockies, so I wasn’t infringing on an existing series. You know how territorial a wolf pack can be!
Since I lived a good part of my life in Northern Ontario, I am well acquainted with how wolves look and sound. Packs of wolves carve out their territory there and hold it against invading newcomers. The sight of a dark shadow loping across a snowy field, or the sound of an eerie howl echoing in the chill of a fall morning is commonplace. A rock cave in the bush across from our home hosted a new litter of wolf cubs each year, and if we were very quiet and very lucky, we could perch on a hill above them and watch the young ones through binoculars as they tumbled and played in the spring sunshine. So describing wolf behavior wasn’t a problem for me.
There are distinctive differences between wolves and dogs. The way they walk, how they hold their heads, even their reactions to people and other animals differ greatly from our domestic friends. I hope I’ve been able to convey some of those in the descriptive passages of the two stories in this duet.
This first book consists of two stories which is a great way to meet the wolves of the Northern Rockies Pack. I hope you enjoy Seducing Destiny and Dark Kisses. The next book in the series will be released in January of 2020, and I will provide some tidbits between now and then. In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek!
Jack, the alpha of the North Rockies pack, knows Destiny needs some time to come to grips with her werewolf heritage before he springs the whole mated for life thing on her.
Destiny has no intention of buying into the whole pack mentality, howl at the full moon thing. Sure, she practically drools at the sight of red meat, but that’s no reason to give up her comfortable life. Besides, she already has a boyfriend, a slick up-and-coming lawyer.
But when a band of rogue werewolves move into the area, Jack can’t afford to have his attention divided. He needs to convince Destiny that she belongs both in his pack and in his bed so he can concentrate on the new threat.
Destiny stared in dismay at the box in the middle of her kitchen table. Her stomach lurched, a ball of anxiety settling in the very middle of it. Small by most standards, gold gilt covered the entire box, giving it an exotic look. An artfully tied crimson bow surrounded by curls of white lace sat cheerfully atop it, adding to the air of decadent luxury.
She knew who’d put it there, and she knew why. Jack. The Alpha of the Northern Rockies werewolf pack. The man who made her knees feel weak whenever she glimpsed him walking down the main street, or lounging at a local coffee shop. The man who’d made it plain that he intended to be her mate.
The absolute last man on the face of the planet that she intended to get serious about.
She had a boyfriend, one carefully picked with the future in mind. A trial attorney she’d met when she attended a convention in Calgary, Quentin Karnes had everything she wanted in a mate. On the fast track to a partnership in his prestigious law firm, he was cultured, rich, and moved in the highest social circles. Their children would grow up attending private schools, vacationing at the most prestigious resorts, dressing in the latest fashions. They’d want for nothing.
She’d worked hard to carve out a niche for herself in Riverton. Her accounting office catered to farmers and small businessmen, and she’d slowly managed to gain a reputation of being the person you wanted on your side when the government called to audit your tax returns.
She steeled herself and reached for the box. It wasn’t much bigger than a deck of cards, and she held it in her hand, somehow hoping that wishing would make it go away. When she’d moved here two years ago, she’d made it clear to Jack and every other member of the pack that she didn’t intend to join their little social group. She preferred to run alone. She hadn’t grown up in a pack, and if she could, she’d ignore her inner wolf entirely. So what if the sight of a full moon awakened an overpowering urge for a steak with the blood oozing out the sides? A girl needed to curb her baser instincts and make plans for the future.
No point in putting this off. Her sensitive nose could smell Jack all over the damn thing. She caught the trailing lace between a thumb and forefinger and gently undid the bow, dropping the cheerful piece of ribbon on the table. Taking a deep breath, she plucked the lid off.
Her breath caught in her throat. An exquisitely detailed chocolate wolf nestled in a cushion of crushed white velvet. Every detail from the tip of its muzzle to the dominant curve of its tail was perfect. Jack had reproduced himself exactly. She knew if she turned the little wolf over, she’d find a jagged scar running along its left flank.
“I suppose I could always bite your head off.” Destiny felt a wry smile tug the sides of her mouth. Although she didn’t like the idea, being the Alpha meant Jack had complete authority over all the werewolves in the Northern Rockies. Even those that didn’t want to accept him. The fact he’d chosen not to force her to take him for her mate didn’t mean he’d agreed to let her leave the pack. He’d said he’d give her some time to settle in. She’d hoped he’d forgotten about her and settled down with some other female. One who liked her inner beast.
She sighed and looked at the dark chocolate confection. The full moon was less than a week away. She’d been ignoring her darker side for a long time now, and she knew she wouldn’t be able to avoid going into heat this month. What were the chances Jack’s timing was coincidental?
She jumped, startled by the sound of a loud knock on her front door. Quentin must have gotten out of court early. She hadn’t expected him to show up for at least another four hours. She quickly put the lid back on the box. Sweeping the ribbon up off the table, she stuffed the box and ribbon into a drawer and slammed it shut.
“Come on in, the door’s open.” She hoped Quentin couldn’t hear the guilt in her voice. Not that she had anything to feel guilty about. Damn Jack and his fancy little chocolate creatures! She smoothed her hands down her skirt and tried to look calm.
“I know, I was just being polite.” Jack strode into the room, a crooked smile on his rugged face. “You’re not usually this happy to see me.”
Destiny’s heart did a little flip-flop. Taller than her five-foot eleven, Jack’s dark hair was tied at the nape of his neck with a strip of leather, and his sapphire blue eyes sparkled with mischief. Thickly roped muscles stretched the tight shirt and rippled with every step he took. He looked every bit as yummy as the chocolate creations he sold in his trendy boutique.
“I thought you were my boyfriend.” She looked pointedly behind him as if she expected Quentin to materialize any second. “I’m expecting him to drop in after court today.”
Jack ignored her reference to Quentin and gave her a toothy grin. “I intend to be a lot more than a friend, and it’s been a long time since anyone referred to me as a boy.” He advanced, his eyes sparkling. “Glad to hear you finally think of me that way, though, because unless my nose is deceiving me, you’re going to be begging for my attention shortly.”
Destiny felt a surge of color flood her cheeks and she turned away so he couldn’t see her face. It mortified her to know he could smell her eagerness. “You wish.” Now that was lame!
He took her by the shoulders and turned her around to face him, his touch surprisingly gentle for such a large man. “No, I know. The full moon is on Saturday. You haven’t slept with that wimpy boyfriend of yours, and you’re not going to if you want him to live to see Monday. A human male can’t begin to satisfy your needs. I wouldn’t have to lift a paw; you’d tear him apart yourself. Your frustration level is about to escalate to hellish proportions.” A devilishly wicked smile curved the corner of his mouth. “Fortunately, I can help you deal with that.”
Barnes and Noble https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/seducing-destiny-dark-kisses-duet-anne-kane/1134087712
Sunday, October 6th, 2019
Disclaimer: There are some great guides out there as to how to write paranormal romances. This is by no means meant to replace the advice or experience of authors in the genre. This is just how I write a paranormal romance.
1: First, decide on your shifters. Honestly, that’s the best part of the process as far as I’m concerned. I’m a biologist, so I love putting my knowledge of different animals to use when selecting shifters for my characters. To a certain extent, the choice I make becomes incorporated into the character’s personality and physique as well. A bear shifter might be a big burly guy, or a cheetah shifter may also be a runner in human form.
Because opposites attract is so much fun, I enjoy making my pairings different shifter species as well. A panther and a dragon, or a hawk and a raccoon. The dichotomy between the animal shifters and the human personalities is meat and drink to me.
2: Decide if your shifters are comfortable with their inner beast. There’s SO much scope for storytelling if one of your characters is on the outs with his or her shifter. I love stories about self-acceptance and empowerment, so this is a big one for me.
3: Pick your setting. Location can be almost as much as a character as anyone else, particularly when it comes to shifters. Are your characters able to shift whenever they want or are they constrained by society to stay in hiding and only shift when they are alone in the woods? In the Redclaw Universe, shifters keep their identities secret because of public hostility and fear toward shifters, which means many long for a private, safe place they can truly be themselves. There’s a lot of built-in tension and potential plot material right there!
4: Figure out what the heck you’re going to do about clothing. Because while having to strip down before shifting can lead to some fun, sexy times, it can also be a big pain in the storytelling patootie. Where did they leave their clothes? Can they get back to them? Are they just going to walk around naked now? *sigh* That’s why I invented the very rare, much-prized shifter clothing—made by special tailors out of cloth only dragons can produce, it has the ability to shift with the shifter. Ergo, no more inconveniently naked people when you’ve had your Redclaw agent shift into a tiger to chase down a bad guy. *buffs nails against shirt in fake humility*
5: Liberally add tropes to the mix. Fated mates? That’s always a good one. Snowed-in at a remote location? Love it! Duking it out for a joint inheritance? Sign me up! Pretend relationship while undercover? Yes, please! You don’t have to stick with just one, either. Mix and match!
6: Turn those tropes on their heads. Say what? You heard me. Have one character scoff at the idea of fated mates. Make the heroine the more powerful shifter. Have a real boyfriend/husband waiting in the background. Make one of your characters ignorant of their shifter background. Offer the formula but change it up just enough that your reader is breathless trying to race to the end to find out what happens.
7: Give them a common/enemy to face together. Someone trying to kill them is always good. Someone trying to stop a witness from testifying, or an heiress from coming forward. Create a dangerous situation and throw them in the middle of it. I like putting my characters in hot water to see how strong they are. Like tea bags, only sexier.
8: Speaking of which—sexy times! That fated mate thing can come in handy here. So can surviving something terrible together. MAKE THEM KISS. And whatever else they feel like doing.
9: Make them fall in love. Passionately, fiercely. Willing-to-die-for-each-other love. This is above and beyond the sexy times. This is TRUE LOVE. It can come before the sexy times, during the sexy times, or after—it can come after much trials, tribulations, and misunderstandings but it must come!
10: Figure out how you can turn the whole thing into a series and start all over again with the next installment. Because by this point, you’re invested in this universe, and you want to see more of it yourself.
Bishop Takes Knight
Destitute after her father gambles away the family fortune and commits suicide, former socialite Henrietta (“Rhett”) Bishop takes a job at Redclaw Security in NYC in the spring of 1955. It’s not long before she realizes there is something very odd about the place: Redclaw is an agency that investigates matters concerning an emerging world of shifters and some strange alien artifacts that have appeared since the advent of global nuclear technology.
Peter Knight is a nuclear scientist shattered by the murder of his wife. Blacklisted by the government and scientific organizations, he drowns his sorrows while searching for the people behind his wife’s death.
When Rhett is assigned to recruit Knight to work for Redclaw, their meeting is more than they bargained for. Someone out there doesn’t want Knight to work for anyone—and a missing cache of alien technology has all parties scrambling to be the first to secure it. Investigating a hunch throws Rhett back into her former life, with Knight as a pretend boyfriend. But when someone from the past turns up to start a bidding war on the artifacts, Bishop and Knight wind up in a fight for their lives.
Get your copy here!
I couldn’t decide if he’d insulted or flattered me, so I said nothing, but took two bowls down from the cabinet. Regardless of my earlier snack, the soup smelled good as he ladled it into the bowls.
He just shook his head when I added crumbled saltine crackers to my portion as we sat at the table. “Why don’t you just open the shaker and pour salt directly into your mouth?”
“I like crackers with my soup.”
He stabbed at my bowl with his spoon. “That’s more like you enjoy a little soup with your crackers. It looks revolting. Like chicken-flavored porridge.”
Put that way, it did sound disgusting. As I eyed the sodden mess, I changed the subject. “You never said how it is you’re able to leave Redclaw with no one being the wiser.”
Especially in view of the added security.
He must not have been all that hungry, for he pushed the bowl of soup aside and fished something out of one of his pockets. After placing it on the table in front of him, he gave it a gentle push in my direction.
I didn’t reach for it. Much like the previous devices I’d seen, this one had that same dull metallic casing, with odd markings carved on the sides. Unlike anything else I’d seen before, however, it had a raised ring in the center that cast a warm yellow glow. “What’s that?”
An infectious grin lit up his face. “I call it an image-projector. I think about what I want to look like in great detail, and it projects that image over me. I’m still wearing the same clothes and everything, but if I can imagine it, I can look like it.” He swept the device back toward him when I would have picked it up. “Few people question the boss when he’s leaving the building.”
“What if you run into the boss? That could be awkward.”
He didn’t seem concerned. “The odds are low. Besides, I can just as easily be an anonymous lab tech. Have you been downstairs? There’s a lot going on, and as I said the other day, they’re more worried about unauthorized people getting in than paying attention to who’s getting out.”
“But to what purpose?” His attitude made little sense. “You’re safer inside Redclaw. Why leave?”
“Boredom.” He shrugged when I raised a disbelieving eyebrow. “Okay, then. The desire for decent food.”
My eyebrow went even higher as I stared pointedly at the cooling soup in front of him.
“Fine. I don’t like being caged. Is that answer enough for you?”
I could see his point. And since I had him here, I asked about something that had been on my mind since the day of the mechanical spider. “What do you think is the purpose behind these artifacts?”
He leaned back in his chair to the point he risked toppling it over backward. The front legs lifted until he settled the chair back in place with a thump. “That’s the sixty-four-thousand-dollar question, isn’t it?” His raised eyebrow implied both curiosity and concern. The combination was frankly compelling. “Where do they come from? Who or what is behind the technology? It’s beyond anything I’ve ever seen, and I’ve worked on some top-secret projects. My guess? It’s not from this planet.”
My mouth dropped open. “You mean… alien?” I sputtered.
He nodded in all seriousness.
“You seriously believe Martians or Moon Men or something like that is seeding our plant with their gizmos?” The shock of his statement having worn off, scorn now laced my voice.
His shrug was eloquent. “Maybe. I think it more likely an advanced race implanted these devices millennia ago, knowing at some point we’d develop nuclear technology, hence the activation of said devices now.”
He shook his head. “A test? A trap? Who knows? Maybe the awakening tech triggered some kind of signal to the developers and even now, they’re on their way to greet us.”
I wondered if we would disappoint them. It was a distinctly disturbing thought. “Is this a working theory or are you just blowing smoke?”
His devilish smile made an appearance. The way it peeped out of hiding, combined with the fall of that rebellious lock of hair over his intense eyes when he leaned forward, would have charmed the pants off most women I know.
I don’t charm that easily.
“My dear, I just tinker with the gizmos.” He leaned back in his seat once more, his clever fingers toying with his spoon as he spoke. “I’ll leave winkling out the motives of the artifact-builders to the scary people, like you and Ryker.”
I straightened. “Me? Scary? What on earth have I done to give you that impression?” Ryker, I could understand. We knew so little about the shifters, how they lived, and what they could do. The way Ryker had tossed Billy around that day in the office was a fair indication he was stronger than most men, and of course, there was the rapid healing thing as well. More than that, I didn’t know.
I wrinkled my nose. “Am I supposed to thank you? That makes me sound like every other woman in the workplace. Standing behind the boss and making him look good.”
His laugh caught me off guard. “No, you have it all wrong. The smart man stands behind the girl with the ray gun.”
Okay. Perhaps I could be charmed a little.
About the Author
McKenna Dean has been an actress, a vet tech, a singer, a teacher, a biologist, and a dog trainer. She’s worked in a genetics lab, at the stockyard, behind the scenes as a props manager, and at a pizza parlor slinging dough. Finally she realized all these jobs were just a preparation for what she really wanted to be: a writer.
She lives on a small farm in North Carolina with her family, as well as the assorted dogs, cats, and various livestock.
She likes putting her characters in hot water to see how strong they are. Like tea bags, only sexier.
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/McKenna-Dean-Author-262328784224302/
Tuesday, July 2nd, 2019
UPDATE: The winners is…Booklady!
Click on the covers to learn more about these stories!
Have you read the books in my Beaux Rêve Coven series? The covers are gorgeous, aren’t they? (Thanks, sis!) If you love witches and trolls and werewolves and vampires, and…well, all those lovely beings who inhabit paranormal worlds, you won’t want to miss these stories. I have two more books planned in the series, and hope to get them both out before the end of the year. In the meantime, enjoy an excerpt from Wolf Moon Rising, and comment below for a chance to win a copy of one of the BRC books!
Wolf Moon Rising
In Jefferson Parish, deep in the bayou, is a place called Bonne Nuit. Off the beaten path, isolated by swamp and connected to the sea, there the Beaux Rêve Coven thrives.
Five witches…Too many demons to count…
Aoife is the flightiest of the sister witches, and she has a secret, one her mother warned her to keep close to her heart. Her father was a fairy—which explains her quirkiness and her affinity for flowers. She lives in a cabin on stilts that juts into the bayou, and one of her demon guardians is a werewolf. She’s attracted, but how would he feel if he married her, fathered a child, and that child disappeared into the land of the fae? Desperate to find a solution to her dilemma, she flees her guardian’s protection. Her last hope is to enlist her father’s help. Plead her case. Her happiness, and that of her one true love, Sigurd, depends on whether she can escape this fairy curse.
For Sigurd, acting as guardian to the witch, Aoife, was both a blessing and curse. A blessing, because he’d never known anyone as innocent and pure, and a woman who truly didn’t know her own allure. A curse, because he had to guard her against his own lustful nature.
And again, he was thankful two other demons were assigned the protection detail, because more than anything, he wanted her kept safe. However, he was equally annoyed at having two competitors for her affection.
Of course, many more among the demons living around Bonne Nuit aspired to hear the “echo” of their bonding with a witch. Such a bonding brought power to the lucky demon—and demons were greedy about that sort of thing. They frequented Aoife’s small cabin poised on long stilts above the bayou on the flimsiest of excuses. One needed a fragrant oil to help him sleep. Another needed a healing balm to soothe a bruise. And they were constantly underfoot in her garden and her workshop, interfering more than helping—at least, to his mind.
However, Aoife appeared blissfully unaware of the males’ attempts at garnering her exclusive attention. Her radiant smile flashed indiscriminately upon her pursuers, never mind their unsuitability as possible mates. And despite the fact they’d done nothing to earn the right to call her wife.
Unlike Sigurd, who suffered her proximity and who stood ready to serve her in any way she pleased. Who quietly stood guard over her while she slept, losing his sleep and his pride because she slumbered so soundly, completely unaware of his constant state of arousal.
Sigurd wasn’t naturally a patient man, but he had withstood the torture of being close day in and out for seven months. He was nearing his breaking point. If something didn’t happen soon, he would press their leader, Ethan, to ask his pretty wife for help. Bryn liked him well enough, always turning to give him a wink when “family” dinners took place, and one of Aoife’s admirers fought for the privilege of sitting at her side. Sigurd preferred to sit across from her at the table anyway—the better to glower at his competition. And perhaps raise a lip in a menacing snarl.
Bryn seemed to be in his corner. Perhaps she would be eager to see her sister witch settled. If something didn’t change soon, he’d speak with her.
On this evening, Sigurd wore his wolfskin and lay curled on the wooden floor beside Aoife’s bed. Just before she’d begun softly snoring, she’d reached down and scratched behind his ears. Probably not an act she was even aware of doing. She was kind to all creatures and seemed especially fond of his wolf form, sometimes taking a brush to his fur or giving him a bath in the large metal tub on the porch. He lived for those moments.
He shook his head in disgust. What a sorry excuse for a wolf he was. Wolves weren’t pets. They were pack animals who needed to belong to a family and a mate. A male needed to dominate his bitch, but he didn’t think Aoife would ever agree to be his bitch.
However, the thought did stretch his wolf’s mouth into a feral grin. He laid his head atop his paws and settled with a disgruntled whine.
Minutes passed, and he was nearly drifting off to sleep when the bed creaked and feet softly lowered to the floor. He perked his ears and pushed up to peer over the mattress, just in time to see Aoife slip through her bedroom door.
He followed, freezing when her steps paused, ducking behind corners when she glanced around. Something was afoot, and his hackles rose when she reached for her cloak and a small bag from the hook beside the front door.
Was she meeting a lover? Or were the witches gathering in secret? Somehow, he doubted the latter because Bryn was very pregnant and couldn’t slide gracefully from Ethan’s bed. And Miren would have to escape three mates, and that could never happen. Which reminded him, where the hell were the other two guards?
When Aoife opened the door and crept outside, closing it behind her, he drew up short. He hadn’t considered how he would exit the house, so he quickly shook free of his wolfskin and strode onto the porch. His glance went to the steps at the side of the porch, but then a sound, a soft splash, pulled his gaze to the canal flowing past her porch. She’d taken a boat. The fact she was already on the water meant she’d been in a hurry.
What the fuck?
Footsteps sounded from inside the house. A door creaked open then slammed shut. So much for stealth. Hamdir, also a wolf, walked to his side, scratching his chest. “Where’s the witch? I was sleeping on the couch. Thought you were watching her.”
“I was.” I watched her escape. “Go back to bed. I have this handled.”
“Sure about that?” Hamdir yawned. “Don’t know how you aren’t dead on your feet. You really ought to let us have turns inside her bedroom.” His large hand patted Sigurd’s shoulder. “Driving to New Orleans in the mornin’, or I’d join you on this hunt,” he said with a waggle of his eyebrows.
His gaze followed Hamdir as he stepped back inside. Their group had grown complacent since Ethan defeated the council’s champion in battle and no retribution had been settled upon their unbanded group. Most presumed the mere presence of so many demons, concentrated in their small town, was deterrent enough to rogue demons seeking to steal a witch for a mate.
Sigurd was reminded he’d have to enlist another guard from among the bachelor demons during Hamdir’s absence.
A cool wind wafted against his skin, raising chill bumps. Early Winter in the bayou was mild, but he couldn’t easily follow Aoife on foot. Instead, Sigurd shifted again and fell to his paws. With a single quick yelp, he leapt past the stairs to the bank. Lifting his nose to the breeze, he followed Aoife’s delicious witch’s scent through the murky, shadowed bayou. If he startled a gator, the bastard better move out of his way.
Aoife drew her paddle into the pirogue and stepped out onto the bank. She hadn’t rowed far, but she worried that her guardians would notice she’d eluded their watch. And that couldn’t happen. Tonight, she needed privacy to commune with the moon, and perhaps, coax a stubborn door to open.
As she stepped into the thick forest, she drew deep, calming breaths. She crushed the carnation she’d secreted into the bag inside the pocket of her cloak and whispered a quick, ineloquent spell.
“Goddess, though I walk alone,
your moon’s rays light my way.
Let nature’s bounty, your gift to us but still your own,
do no harm or deter me along my way.”
Despite her prayer, she glanced around the deepening darkness and hoped she’d recognize the tree when she saw it. The canopy above her allowed only dapples of moonlight through to the forest floor. She’d found the oak only days ago when she’d been searching for moss for a fairy house she was constructing to sell online. No one else would have noted it. The tree was old. Its bark thick and rugged. Although shorter and squatter than the lovely old oak in the open field the witches used for their rituals, this one appeared ancient—much more suited to her task. When she’d rapped on its bark to awaken its spirit, she’d felt the old oak shiver its branches and sensed its anger at her intrusion. Only a grouchy old oak would serve her purpose.
With the picture of the squat oak in her mind, she reached into her right pocket and crushed the dried honeysuckle there, letting its sweet aroma rise around her, and sought the oak with her other sight.
When she again opened her eyes, moonlight gleamed brighter straight ahead. She plunged forward but didn’t note the vine on the forest floor. Her foot snagged and sent her toppling to the ground. As she pushed upright, she thought she heard something rustling in the bushes. Not a small animal. Suspicious, she narrowed her gaze and stared in the direction of the sound, sure a certain wolf with better night vision than she had stared right back.
She waited, listening, but when no other sounds intruded, other than the rustling of dried leaves above, she continued her way. If Sigurd were trailing her, he would already have made his presence known. He was forever standing in her path, forcing her to raise her gaze to his. In those moments, she felt as though her lungs constricted, and her voice got very small. She wasn’t exactly intimidated, because she knew he’d never harm her, but his size and steady, all-seeing gaze looked right through her. Like he could read her mind. Which was impossible. Still, she found deceiving him very hard, which was why she’d decided to sneak away in the dead of night. As soon as he’d fallen asleep, she’d crept from the house. Yes, she’d heard the slam of a door in the distance, but she’d been well around the bend in the canal. No, he couldn’t have tracked her so quickly to this part of the woods. If she was successful, he wouldn’t arrive at her destination until it was already too late.
It was well past time she should have had this conversation, and secrecy was of the utmost importance. This situation wasn’t something she could talk to her sisters about. They’d be hurt, because she’d never divulged the truth in all their long acquaintance, despite their shared travails. This secret burned a hole in her belly and made her lose sleep. Worse, it kept her from Sigurd. She could never agree to be his mate—and she knew he wanted that—not until her problem was resolved. Inside her pocket, she crossed her fingers and hoped she’d found the right tree.
The golden light beckoned, growing stronger the deeper into the woods she went, until she entered a clearing. Light from a golden gibbous moon gleamed through the branches of the canopy above. Fireflies, out of season, hovered around the trunk, blinking out and on. Something about the air had changed. It smelled sweeter, and felt…thinner…warmer.
This was the place. It had to be. She’d felt this same trembling excitement the one time her mother led her into the woods to greet an ancient oak and attempted what Aoife had to accomplish tonight.
Closing her eyes, she reached out and laid a hand against the rugged trunk.
“Come fae and fair,
No need beware,
A daughter comes to greet you.
One knock you hear,
Two draws you near,
The third opens the door to meet you.”
Taking a deep breath, she rapped three times. Then she waited.
The wind picked up, dragging back her hood. Light gleamed between the edges of the bark, up and down the tree.
She stepped backward. Her breaths came faster, and then the glowing edges formed a rectangle, wider than an arm span. The dark bark at its center melted away.
Revealed inside the doorway was a tunnel formed by intertwining gold and green vines. She swept up the edges of her cloak and bent to step inside the door. As soon as her feet touched soft moss on the other side, she heard a crackling sound from behind and a long, lonely howl.
Saturday, June 29th, 2019
Five Vampire Myths Busted:
- Vampires can’t enter unless invited.
Lock your doors and windows, quick.
- Vampires don’t have reflections.
I get that mirrors supposedly reflect the soul. But shouldn’t their clothes show?
- Vampires can be killed by a stake through the heart.
- Vampires can’t stand sunlight.
This is a modern myth that started in the film Nosferatu. Before then, they could walk in daylight. Ha! And you thought you were safe when you were sunbathing.
- Vampires can be repelled by garlic.
There’s nothing worse than garlic breath before you bite your dinner. Besides, it alerts the victim to the vampire’s presence. They’d run and the vampire would still be hungry.
Since my latest release, Taken as Theirs, features twin werewolves, why am I blathering on about vampires?
Well…guess who the bad guys are…? There’s kudos in being bad. Think about Jessie James or Butch Cassidy. They are the true anti-heroes. I can’t name any of Cowboy heroes, but do know the villains.
Taken as Theirs
As a fertile woman in an infertile world,
no wonder she was TAKEN AS THEIRS.
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Or READ FOR FREE ON KINDLE UNLIMITED
As a breeder–one of the few fertile women left in a ruined, plague-ravaged world–Cassie would fetch a handsome price at auction, and selling her to the highest bidder was exactly what her captors had in mind… until two fearsome beasts decided to take her for themselves.
Eli and Dane have chosen Cassie for their mate, and when she makes a foolish attempt at escape she quickly ends up tearfully promising obedience as her bare bottom is soundly and shamefully punished. Her body’s response to their stern dominance cannot be denied, however, and it isn’t long before she is screaming out her intense, helpless pleasure as she is roughly and thoroughly claimed. But will Eli and Dane’s pack accept a human girl or will Cassie be an outsider forever?
Publisher’s Note: Taken as Theirs includes spankings and sexual scenes. If such material offends you, please don’t buy this book.
Goosebumps covered Cassie’s flesh. Tingles raced between her legs, tiny electric sparks that warmed her blood. One kind word and her good intentions would crumble—just like her sisters’ chance of freedom if she told this drop-dead gorgeous pair about them.
What with the vampire auction and that nightmare descent of the cliff, she couldn’t take much more. Cassie had been a fool to think she could escape. Completely drained, she was at the werewolves’ mercy
Her imagination worked overtime. Wolves were pack animals. Suppose they decided to share her around the crew? The vampires certainly would have, and she didn’t expect werewolves to behave any better.
She cowered when Eli pulled a knife, but he sawed through the wet rope binding her to his brother. Her legs folded, and only Dane’s strong grip kept her upright. Sheaving his knife, Eli swept her into his arms.
He gave her his best Pepsodent-white smile. “Foolish little princess, so eager to return to the vampires who will abuse you. You’re safe here, despite the unconventional start to our friendship.”
Like a half-drowned kitten, she dripped water onto his trousers. He smelled of summer breezes and crops ripening in the fields. So cold her teeth had stopped chattering, she let go of her fears and let Eli take charge. Heat flowed from his chest to hers, but it wasn’t enough. She felt like an ice cube lost at the back of a freezer.
He carried her through a narrow galley, and into the captain’s cabin. She’d expected twin bunks and a tiny space. Instead, this room reminded her of Nelson’s cabin on the HMS Victory. The back wall consisted of window panes, giving her a view of the distant cliffs. The view fascinated and delighted her but the cabin’s four-poster bed terrified her. It covered more than half the room and had enough room for three if not four.
Dane pulled towels from a trunk then tossed her one of his brother’s jumpers. “Get dry, princess then get into bed and warm up. We’re going to lock you in while we get underway in earnest, but we’ll be back with hot stew and a hot coffee soon.”
After living on half rations for a week, her mouth watered at the thought of a decent meal. That these dominant werewolves cared for her welfare stunned her. Then they offered her a coffee. Utter luxury.
Emotions set in, and tears filled her eyes. She broke into a cold sweat that turned her forehead clammy. She’d never felt so weary in her life—not even when she’d swum marathons.
Dane lifted her chin and gazed into her eyes. “Don’t cry, little human. You’re safe now.”
The intensity in his gaze felt like a shot of energy for her soul. It made her feel hot and tingly inside. She craved his touch, and maybe his kiss. A fresh set of shivers beset her. This time, they were more about her forbidden attraction for the werewolves than the cold.
About Kryssie Fortune
Kryssie lives by the beach and loses track of time when she writes. Her days are full of dashing regency rakes, former soldiers so handsome they make her drool, and the sexiest werewolves ever. The odd vampire makes it in there too, but when he does, he’s drop dead gorgeous.
Her pet hates are unhappy endings and cliff hangers. She guarantees you won’t find either in her books. Her books sizzle with sensual heat, but story always comes before sex. Even when part of a series, her books can be read as stand-alone romance.
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Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/2hA0ZVO