I suppose I should save this for next Tuesday, but I’m in the mood to celebrate and share my joy. I sent Wolf’s Prize to the publisher tonight. So I’m free to work on the collection of short stories I’ll be outing out in early 2014. The first of these will be about Connie Mondale, the crashed plane’s co-pilot, and Des, Taye’s Beta. This takes place at the Plane Women’s House.
Des walked down the dim hallway on silent feet. A sound caught his attention, and something perilously close to panic surged through him. Crying. Almost soundless crying, coming from the apartment Miss Connie shared with two other women. Panic was followed swiftly by rage. Without hesitation he opened the door and flung himself inside, gaze sweeping the room to find whatever had reduced his strong, unclaimed mate to tears. There was nothing to see but Connie, sitting at a table, her pale blond hair untidy as if she had raked her hands through it. She jerked her head up from the cradle of her hands to stare at him.
“What the hell?” she began.
“Who hurt you?” he snarled.
She rose from the chair to face him, chin up and mouth firm. “I’m not hurt.”
“Then what made you cry?”
Red bloomed over her pale face. “I’m not crying.”
Tenderness, a feeling utterly alien to his nature before he’d seen this brave woman, swamped him. “Okay,” he said, attempting to sound calmly reasonable. ”I can pretend there’s no tears on your cheeks if you want. Tell me what upset you.”
She folded her arms with a glare that aroused him. Instead of answering his question, she attacked. “What are you doing upstairs? Men aren’t allowed up here.”
Did she have any idea what her strength did to him?
I’m working hard on Quill and Ellie, and plan to have the rough draft done by April 20. But while I was washing dishes, a scene and a bit of dialogue between Rose and Sky came to me so I snuck an hour in on Wolf’s Princess. Here is a snip. Rose and Sky are at his place in Omaha.
Rose stamped her way up the stairs and into their room, wheeling on Sky when he slammed the door closed behind them. “Why did you do that?” she seethed.
His voice was almost frighteningly gentle. “Because he hurt you.”
“Barely. And so what?” She forced her fists onto her hips to better resist the urge to punch him. “I can take care of myself.”
His voice lost a fraction of the gentleness. “That’s my job. You belong to me.”
“Since when?” Kicking him was too tempting, so she flung herself to the other side of the room and spoke between clenched teeth. “I’m here for two months so you can court me. I don’t recall Taye giving you a bill of sale for me!”
I am currently engaged in edits for Eddie’s Prize. They are pretty intense but I think it’s going very well. I am sometimes swamped in embarrassment when my editor gently points out the third (or tenth) time I have made the same poor word choice. Thank goodness for editors! Any author who thinks they don’t need one is an idiot.
To celebrate, here is another short teaser from Eddie’s Prize:
Eddie woke suddenly, shocked it was broad daylight. He flung the covers back and lunged up in bed. A voice said “Oof!” as his elbow landed in a soft stomach. What—? Lisa! He had been well and thoroughly loved last night by his bride. He had loved her thoroughly, too. Their first time together had been a blur of desperate urgency. The second time …What a delight it was to be married to such a beautiful and creative woman. This was their honeymoon. They had no chores to get up for, nothing to do but get to know each other. He grinned down at her startled expression and watched it melt into a satisfied smile. They could stay in bed all day with no one to complain over their laziness. The thought had its appeal. He kissed her flat tummy in apology, and let his lips travel gradually north.
“Good morning, Mrs. Edward Madison,” he murmured against her throat. “Can you think of any reason we need to get out of bed today?”
Lisa stretched and rubbed against him. “Why?” she teased. “Was there something you needed to do in bed today? Catch up on your sleep? Or—” She dissolved in giggles when he fluttered his fingertips over her ribs. “Hey! Stop! I’m ticklish!”
Welcome to Maddy Barone’s stop on the Naughty New Years blog hop! If you fall off, you can Click Here to jump back on.
My current series is a futuristic paranormal with werewolves, but there are no cool futuristic weapons or technology. Nuclear war decimated the population and sent people back to living like it’s the American frontier all over again, and the only government is run by strong, ruthless men.
I decided to give you a teaser about Sky and Quill, two minor characters in a previous book who leave the werewolf den to live in Omaha since their chosen mates have been denied to them.
Good luck in the prize drawings. I will be drawing a name from those who leave a comment on my blog for a $10 gift card to Amazon. Members of my newsletter are automatically entered twice. That is in addition to the drawings for ebooks by the Just Romance Me folks. So, Enjoy and good luck!
The new year was only fifteen minutes away when the mayor of Omaha was admitted to Ms. Julia’s House of Joy. As host, Sky went to the entry to greet the latecomer to the New Year’s Eve party.
“Welcome,” he said with a cordial smile which hid dark and bitter things. Did McGrath have any idea Sky considered him his greatest enemy? Mayor McGrath handed his luxuriously warm overcoat to a fifteen-year-old girl who, until a month ago, had been picking up johns on the icy streets of Omaha. Mayor McGrath gave her a patronizing smile and a pinch on the ass as she took his coat. Though his wolf yearned to tear out the mayor’s throat, Sky maintained his friendly expression through years of practice.
“Tim, I’m glad you could stop in.” Sky shook the mayor’s hand and drew him into the reception room. “I’m sure you have several stops to make tonight.”
The mayor accepted a glass of champagne from a server. “Naturally, I want celebrate with as many of my people as possible, but I wouldn’t miss your party. Where better to ring in the New Year than at one of the fastest growing businesses in town? You’ve done a lot with the place in the past few years.”
Sky smoothed his sapphire blue silk tie with a self-satisfied smirk. At least, he hoped it looked self-satisfied. “Thanks, Tim. We’re managing to turn a nice profit, as I’m sure you’ve noticed by our taxes.”
Tim McGrath’s tone was distracted. His gaze was fixed on LaToya, the newest lady in the house. He waved her eagerly over. LaToya shot a pleading look at Sky. He nodded at her and she came over, reluctance showing in her stiff steps. Sky looped an arm over her shoulders and pulled her close to his side.
“This is LaToya James,” he said. “LaToya, say hello to Mayor McGrath.”
“H-h-hello,” she whispered.
“Hello, young lady. Aren’t you a pretty little thing. I want you to join me after midnight.”
Sky produced a smile intended to convey regret. “LaToya is new. She just turned eighteen on Christmas Eve. I’m not ready to share her yet.” Without giving the mayor a chance to respond, he brushed his lips over LaToya’s hair. “Help Patricia in the kitchen, baby, and send Aimee over to us.”
The mayor chuckled while he watched LaToya hurry away. “One of the perks of being the owner of a whorehouse is sampling the employees?”
Sky shrugged enigmatically.
“I heard you’re engaged to a girl back home.” McGrath sipped his champagne with a raised brow.
And you’ve been married to a good woman for nearly thirty years, Sky inwardly sneered. Doesn’t stop you from humping any girl you can get your hands on. He nodded at Aimee as she joined them. She was beautiful and young enough to interest McGrath, and fully aware what she could expect from the mayor. “Tim, this is Aimee Chambord. I don’t think you’ve met her before?”
The mayor smiled widely at Aimee’s gaping décolletage. “Why no, I don’t believe I’ve met Ms. Chambord. Can I get you a glass of champagne, my dear? Will you excuse us, Sky?”
Sky waved them off with hidden relief. He circulated through the large set of reception rooms, checking to see that the bouncers were alert and none of his ladies was being mistreated. He was an Alpha wolf, and the men and women who worked in this house were his Pack, to protect and provide for. And —his eyes went cold when they found McGrath— kill for.
He glanced at his reflection as he passed a mirror on the landing of the main staircase. His black hair was neatly cut, his black silk suit was expensively elegant, his tie the same vivid blue as his eyes. A wave of weary disgust passed over him. No one in the Clan would recognize him. Even he didn’t recognize himself some days. There were times he doubted his wolf approved of him.
Quill, his cousin and beta, joined him, handing him a glass of champagne. Ms. Julia, the lady who had saved them when they’d first come to Omaha years ago, came with him and stood between them at the fancy carved railing. The three of them looked down over the dozens of people coming together to watch the clock count down the last few minutes of the year 2069.
“I’m leaving in the spring,” Quill said quietly.
Sky knew the day was coming when Quill wouldn’t be able to bear the vice and intrigue of Omaha, but he flinched anyway. “I understand, but I’m going to miss you.”
“Come with me,” Quill urged.
Sky watched McGrath as the man sipped champagne from Aimee’s cleavage. “I can’t. I have to finish what I’ve started.”
Ms. Julia, aging but not stupid, patted his arm. “What about your fiancée, honey? You let everyone think the wrong thing, but you can’t fool me. You love that girl. Go get her and bring her home.”
Rose. The mate his wolf had chosen for him five years ago. Longing so deep and sharp it was painful cramped Sky’s belly. He wrapped one hand over the bannister to brace himself. He could almost feel her blond hair under his fingers, the trembling warmth of her mouth under his. “I can‘t bring her here.”
Ms. Julia pursed her lips. “No girl is going to wait forever, you know, not even for a handsome young devil like you.”
“She’ll wait.” Grim certainty rang in Sky’s voice. Taye would see to it. But, oh, God, how he wanted to see her.
Quill met his eyes over the top of Ms. Julia’s silvering head and Sky knew that Quill understood. The two of them, deprived of their mates for over five years, understood each other’s pain all too well.
“Five!” shouted the crowd. “Four! Three! Two! ONE! Happy New Year!”
As horns blared and confetti swirled, Sky lifted his glass. “To Rose,” he whispered, and drank.