Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Just Out from J. J. Collins




Sometimes love comes at you fast. Answering an old friend’s call for help, hunter Dillon Royce comes to Arizona to stop a shapeshifter who’s targeting gay men. He finds himself falling for the prime suspect, cheetah shifter Kaz Genovese. Kaz insists they’re fated mates. Or is he just trying to get close to his latest victim? Dillon needs to solve this one fast, before he totally loses his heart … or his life.

EXCERPT

“Sorry, speedy. I can’t take any chances. You’re going into a holding cell until we get this resolved. If you want to call a lawyer—”
“That won’t be necessary.” Kaz shifted. The bonds meant to restrain a human fell loose on the cheetah’s form. He slid his paws free and bit through what he couldn’t slip out of.
Then he leaped at Dillon.
They fell backward, onto the narrow bed. Kaz shifted back. His teeth grazed Dillon’s throat, just a tease, before he crashed his mouth against Dillon’s in another of those soul-blasting kisses.
Dillon had his knife. One thrust and it would be over.
Instead, he accepted the kiss. How had he gone his entire life without being kissed like this? Like Kaz intended to swallow his soul. As if he already had.
His hands moved as if with minds of their own, exploring, groping Kaz. Not an inch of him was still. Every speck of Kaz’s naked body seemed in constant frantic motion. Holding him was like holding on to a primal life force. His body was the desert, spare and barren at first glance but harboring unexpected bursts of color and flavor and life. An entire ecosystem of fiery desire, all of it focused on Dillon.
So long. Too long since he’d had any relief, or so desperately wanted it.
Only when he realized Kaz was tearing at his fly did Dillon come back to his senses. This was all happening too fast.
Somehow, he got his eyes to focus. “Don’t I even get dinner first?”
“What? Oh.” Kaz slumped, all over. Even then his body still vibrated with speed. “You humans and your stupid rituals. What a waste of time. You’re my mate. We were born for each other. Isn’t that enough for you?”
“Sorry, no. I don’t have the luxury of instinct. Right now, I’ve got a set of murders to solve. That’s my first priority. You and your mating urges—” Our mating urges, he couldn’t help thinking. “—Are going to have to wait.”
“Go slow?” Kaz tested the concept and, from the lift of his lip, clearly found it distasteful. “I don’t know if I can do that. Though it would be an interesting test.”
“You’re going to have to. And you’re going to have to sit in a cell for a while. You’re the prime suspect. Can’t be helped.”
“That’s not going to happen,” Kaz said firmly. “Tell you what. I’ll go do some investigating on my own. I’ll catch up with you tomorrow night and we’ll have that dinner. And then I’m claiming you. That’s as slow as I can go.” He palmed Dillon’s cheek. “We’re going to be spending our lives together. I suppose I should ask you your name.”
“It’s Dillon. Dillon Royce.”
“Dillon.” His name sighed off Kaz’s tongue. “Until tomorrow night, my love.” He captured Dillon’s mouth again and sent his senses spinning. When Dillon opened his eyes, those delightful lips were gone, the hand at the back of his neck was gone, the scent of cat was a fading memory, and the door to his room stood open.
He went to the open doorway, although he knew it was pointless. Of course, Kaz was nowhere in sight. The ache in his groin was now joined by a more poignant ache in his soul, its one true mate discovered and abruptly torn away. Maybe there was something to the mate bond after all, even where humans were concerned.
Or maybe that was guilt he felt, that in spite of everything he was falling hard for his number-one suspect. That he’d let a possible killer go free.





Thursday, January 26, 2017

Comic Relief

I'm in the middle of a massive block right now, but rather than leave this blank, I'm going to post some eye candy, comic book style. Enjoy.



A bare-chested Batman, courtesy of artist Neal Adams. Tell me, Bruce, have you considered manscaping?


The Dark Knight rises: Bats indulges in some cat scratch fever.  Let's see the Joker top this!


Live action Wolverine. Thank you, God, for creating Hugh Jackman. Women the world over are grateful.


WWE's Kane shows off his stuff. Pro wrestlers are the reason Spandex was invented.


Sam Winchester, the way we'd all like to see him. All of a sudden I feel like, um, writing. See you next week!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Communication Breakdown


The long, hopeful howls of a hunting pack rose above the forest surrounding Talbot’s Peak. Augustus Hancock nudged his brother Drew. “Go ahead. Call her. I dare you.”

“No.”

“Why not? You like her, right?”

“Dog, she’s with her family.”

“All the better,” Augie said. “If you call her now, it shows you’re Alpha. You know what you want and you go for it. You’re not afraid of her dad.”

“Aug, I am afraid of her dad.”

“You keep thinking like that and you’ll never get a date for the dance. Or you’ll end up going with … ” Augie shuddered theatrically. “Some herbivore.”

“That wouldn’t be so bad,” Drew said. “Their dads won’t rip your throat out.”

“No, they’ll just gore you or stomp you or kick you or chew off your—”

“Okay, okay. Point taken.” Drew hauled in a mighty breath and let it go again. “I’m calling her.”

Minutes passed. Augie huffed. “Chicken.”

“I am. I really am.”

“Bwawk buck buck buck.”

“Knock it off.” Drew ditched his clothes, shifted to his wolf form, and let out an echoing howl. Other than the crack at the end—both his voices were still adjusting to puberty—it sounded rather impressive.

The howls in the distance broke off. The air grew dangerously still.

Then they got an answer. Robust, eager, and alto enough to indicate it was a she-wolf.

“Holy scat!” Augie said, impressed. “Is that her?”

Drew shifted back, his wrinkled muzzle transforming into a human frown. “Heck no. That’s her sister, Mimi. Betsy’s voice has more of a rumble to it.”

“Betsy, Mimi, what’s the difference? A date’s a date.”

“No way. Mimi’s gamma. She’s in heat, like, 24/7. She’s the only she-wolf I know who humps legs. Betsy is … I dunno, she’s got this confidence about her. And her fur’s all golden, with these four white paws, and her tail is like a—”

“I get the picture,” Augie said. “Tell me more about the horny one.”

Just then another howl rolled out of the forest, this one a rich soprano. “That’s her! That’s her!” Drew wriggled like a puppy. “Did she say yes? Does she sound like she’s saying yes?”

“Ask her again. Find out.” Drew shifted and howled back. Then he waited.

The reply took a moment to reach them. This howl was not soprano. This howl was bass, sharp enough to rip air, and had a growl at the end of it. And it was headed their way.

Drew switched back to human so fast he lost his balance and landed ass-first on the frozen ground. “Ohmydogohmydogohmydog that’s her dad! He’s gonna kill us! Augie, what’re we gonna dooooooooo?” His last word rose up in a panicked howl as he switched back to four legs—the better to run with—and took off for Talbot’s Peak.

Augie shrugged and gathered up his brother’s clothes. Then he reached into his own pocket and pulled out a small vial of elk urine (always be prepared for the worst, their coyote aunt had taught them) and sprinkled it on the ground to camouflage their scent. Then he found himself a hiding place behind a deadfall and waited.

Not long afterwards the pack arrived. The big slate-gray Alpha looked ready—and able—to rip alligators apart. Drew had been right to be nervous. Two lighter gray females and a golden she stood by with impatient looks on their snouts while the male scoured the ground for a trail. The elk piss finally defeated him and he stalked off, followed by the eye-rolls and heavy sighs of his womenfolk, who exchanged long-suffering looks before they finally trotted after him.

The smaller gray she-wolf lingered, just for a moment. She sniffed with evident interest where Drew’s clothes had lain.

Augie stood up. They stared at each other. He winked at her. She winked back.

# # #

Augie eventually found his brother in Java Joe’s, huddled at a table and working on his third cup of coffee. The proprietor, who was used to shifter customers, had provided him with a robe. Augie dumped his clothes on the table. “I hope that’s decaf,” he said, pulling up a chair.

“Where the hell were you?”

“Getting a date. I don’t know why you’re so down on Mimi. She seems friendly enough to me. Oh, and you’re too late about Betsy. She’s already going to the dance with some other wolf. I did try to put in a good word for you.”

“Thanks a helluva lot.”

“You’re welcome. Remember what Aunt Lucia always told us. You gotta be sure and you gotta be smart, but above all you gotta be quick.” He slapped his brother on the shoulder. “See you at the dance.”

Friday, January 6, 2017

The Fury...


So, through the creative writing classes I've taken over the last few semesters in school, I've been fleshing out a story that does have a shapeshifter, just not your typical one.  Kass Andrea Nix is a Fury.  She's unassuming until you piss her off...

Check out the beginning of her story:

Kass Andréa Nyx bristled as she waited on the cracked sidewalk to meet her contact.  Where was he?  “Freaking Kreios,” she grumbled at the pavement, “anytime now!”

She tensed as a cop patrolling the area stopped.  He stroked his weapon of choice, the nightstick, and gave her the eye.  “Everything ok, ma’am?”

Great, someone’s tax dollars hard at work.  “Yes, officer, just waiting on a friend who’s late.”

The flatfoot nodded, “Okay, be careful out here.”

Kass swallowed back a foul word and spit out the obligatory, “Yes Sir.”

Thank Dionysos the copper moved on without incident.  Thanking Zeus, with his overinflated ego, not a good idea.  Hades?  Nope, never going to thank him, that hell-beast wanted to make her his whore.  Her refusal and subsequent flight sealed the deal on her banishment. It also meant a torturous eternity here on earth collecting the dead. 

Dionysos, on the other hand, extolled the virtues of wine and revelry.  Yep, there’s something to get behind.  Even if she had never reveled in her exceedingly long life.
Where the heck was Kreios?  You’d think after working together for centuries he’d attempt to be on time. How hard could this professional relationship be?  She would bring Kreios the freshly dead, those destined for the netherworld, a place lost to her, and he would take them there.  Not a difficult task.  Why, then, did he screw it up every time?  

A fury’s aggressive personality made time spent in the company of sinners about as much fun as a visit to the proctologist.

These reprobates provoked her in ways they always regretted.  Kass longed to torment criminals, especially the dead ones.  However, in the last hundred years or so she’d forced herself to garner some semblance of control.  Without the protection of Erebus, home of the Furies, unrestrained vengeance could cause her all kinds of trouble.  Torture and murder were frowned upon here topside, and if she was caught and sentenced to death how did she explain her immunity to all forms of capital punishment?

Now, she could, for short amounts of time, retrieve the newly dead, those not bound for the Elysian Fields, and deliver them to Kreios—the ass—without going postal.  If, of course, he bothered to show up. 

Kass sensed her composure wearing thin as the calm leaked away and the rage seeped in.
Behind her dead sinner guy spoke.

“Hey!”

She never asked their names. 

“Yo, honey, back here.” 

She didn’t want to know anything about them.  These people did despicable things and rarely paid for their crimes—at least while they lived.  Their afterlife, though, would be rife with anguish and beautiful cruelty…

“What the hell is going on?”  

She didn’t want to personalize them. 

Her composed demeanor slipped further from her grasp.  The wrath reached for her, skittering up her spine.  If only this guy would stop talking… 

“Bitch, I’m talking to you.” 

Gah, whipping around to face him she hollered, “SHUT UP.”

The wide eyes and the ashen color on his dead face spoke volumes.  No longer did he see a plain young woman. 

To the dead, she looked like a fiery demon and a hungry one at that—an apt assessment considering her soul-deep hunger.  Hell, ravenous would better describe her need. 

In a lightning-fast move Kass got nose to, yuck, open mouth with the dead guy “Listen up, worm food, I would strongly encourage you to close your sinning mouth and give me some peace or I will make you beg to suffer the burning agony of your recent gut wound once more.”
Dead Guy promptly snapped his mouth closed and nodded appropriately. 

Beside them stood an old woman with a small girl peeking out from behind her skirt.  Both gaped at her like she had recently escaped from the booby hatch.  Of course, to be fair that’s probably exactly how she appeared.  To the living, she would seem to be talking to an “invisible” person.

“All right, move along,” she said, “Crazy lady is done, next show starts in five, tell your friends.”  

As the old crone clutched the little girl and ran, Kass heard a deep baritone voice say, “Boy, Grandma sure can move.”

Kass turned on her heel, looked at the incredible man standing before her and said, “Kreios, you son of a…”
~~~

Keep warm and have a wonderful weekend!

Serena

Friday, December 30, 2016

Happy New Year!


Yep, this is early, but I didn't want to miss out and sharing these new year wishes.

 May your 2017 be simply salacious and delightfully decedent! 

~~~


Serena