Thursday, April 28, 2016
He prowled around the cabin twice, drawing ever closer. He found no wolf-sign in evidence. Warner Hancock wasn’t about to announce his presence until he was ready. Would the current crop of Hancocks even know his scent? Doubtful. They wouldn’t see much threat in an aged Alpha, his child bride and an infant. Only a Ghan would hear a challenge in a newborn’s cry.
A thin curl of smoke ghosted out of the chimney. From within he heard the chime of a girl’s laugh.
The front door, when he gingerly tested it, was locked. The back door off the kitchen was not.
One of his targets, the infant’s mother, was standing at the sink. Her laughter cut off on a squeak when Sergei threw open the kitchen door and stepped into the cabin. Her eyes grew wide and her mouth formed a perfect O. Soapy water dripped from her fingers. She stared at him in shock for only a moment, then grabbed a saucepan that still smelled of beef gravy and swung it at his head.
A poor weapon, poorly handled. The girl was no fighter. The saucepan missed his chin by a wide margin. He caught her arm easily and squeezed until she dropped the pan. She struck out with her free hand, fingers aimed at his eyes. He caught that arm as well. She snarled and snapped at air with her human teeth and kicked his legs. She might as well have been striking at a redwood.
From the little room just off the kitchen he heard a baby cry.
And a roar. Warner Hancock charged out of the bedroom and launched himself at Sergei. He’d grown too old to shift; he was forced to defend his family in his human form. Sergei shoved the girl away and grabbed him by the neck. A simple thrust through the open doorway sent him tumbling into the back yard. One threat disposed of.
He turned toward the other and was hit by wiry muscle and leaping fur. The girl had gone wolf. He caught her by the scruff of the neck, like a cub, and tossed her outside after her husband. Then he shut and bolted the door.
The infant continued to wail. He followed the sound into the little bedroom.
# # #
Ilsa hit the ground, rolled, scrambled upright and threw herself at the door. She clawed at it frantically while Warner first tried the latch, then slammed his shoulder and then his foot against it. Neither helped. “The axe,” he panted. “Where the hell’d I leave the axe?”
She forced herself still, nose working and ears pricked. Her own panic, more than the reek of tiger musk, nearly choked her.
She couldn’t hear her baby any more.
Both doors were locked. The axe would take too long. She had to get in there now.
The window. She’d been cooking. She’d left the kitchen window open.
She dashed around the corner of the cabin and leaped for the window. Her paws scrabbled at the sill before they found purchase. Ilsa hoisted herself up and shoved her wolf body through the opening. She landed with her paws in the sink, slipped, and tumbled onto the rough wood floor. The impact jolted her back into her human form. Warner was right behind her, levering his aged body over the sill.
Ilsa didn’t wait for him. She dashed into the silent bedroom and skidded to a halt.
Sergei stood beside the bed with Anitra cradled in his arms, crooning a lullaby in Russian. The infant sighed and snuggled more firmly into his huge arms.
“So tiny,” he said. He did not even look at Ilsa. “I have not held baby in long, long time. Such a little bit, to cause so much trouble.”
Shaking, Ilsa took a step forward. She held out her arms to him, silent, pleading. He handed the baby to her. She all but snatched Anitra from him. The baby squirmed and growled a little, but didn’t wake.
Warner charged in with the axe raised. He stared with mouth agape at the tableau.
“You must leave here,” Sergei said. “Is not safe.”
“No shit,” Warner snarled. “Where the hell’d Damien dredge you up?”
“Not Hancock. Zhere Ghan. The tiger lord has plans, and you are in his way. You need to go.”
“Go where? We go into town and the wolves’ll get us, just as soon as they figure out who we are.”
Sergei looked at the wall above their heads. “West of here, on other side of mountain, is farm owned by lion and wife. They will shield you. They owe me favor.”
Ilsa eyed him doubtfully. “Lions?”
“With no love for either Hancock or Ghan. His wife is young and looking to start family. She will welcome chance to practice.” He smiled down at her and her baby. “Husband does as she tells him. He is well-trained American male.”
“Ain’t that the truth,” Warner said with a snort. He lowered the axe. “West of here, over the mountain? There’s nothing that way except—”
“Armed turkeys. You will be careful, yes?”
“So Abram Turkle’s still around? Why didn’t you say so?” Warner cackled. “That old son of a buzzard. Maybe we can strike a deal. I wouldn’t mind having him at my back. At least he and his clan can shoot straight.”
“Is best you go now, before others come. I will show you trail.”
# # #
The two wolves gathered up their belongings—mostly things for the baby—and set out along the path Sergei pointed out. He gave them a long head start, then followed at a discrete distance. Warner must have known this mountain once, because he never once wavered from the trail. They crested the mountain and found the farm with no trouble. Sergei watched from concealment as the lion and his tiger wife opened the door. The wife had Ilsa and her infant inside before the lion could even get his rifle up. He held a brief and bemused conversation with Warner before the elder wolf was also ushered in. Only then did Sergei turn back.
His arms still felt the slight weight of the baby. So little, so helpless. Undeserving of death.
A grown tiger, on the other hand, one who would order such an atrocity—that was another matter entirely.
With purposeful strides he retraced his steps across the mountain, aimed for the Ghan compound.
Saturday, April 23, 2016
Now the fine turning of editing begins, readers and fans! I’m working on polishing Tim and Susan’s story with help from my editor. The content round of edits are hard from the view of “What do you mean change my wonderful story?” They really make the story stronger, richer, and fuller. So I’m diving in! Have a great weekend everyone!
Thursday, April 21, 2016
(Taking a break today. The serial story will continue next week.)
“We’re almost there,” Whit said. “Keep your eyes closed. No peeking.”
“I’m not peeking,” Penelope lied. Not that she could see a thing with his hand clamped over her eyes. “Is this a good surprise or a bad surprise?”
“It’s the best. Oops. Stop right here.” He kept his palm over her face. She heard the scrape of a chair being pulled back and guessed he’d brought her to one of Haven’s intimate private cubbies . “I suppose you’d better look now. If you fall on your ass, you’ll kick mine.”
“Damn right I will.” Penelope opened her eyes, which immediately widened when she saw what awaited her.
Sitting on the table before her was a banana split, in all its sweet, chocolate and caramel, calorie-laden goodness. The two mounds of vanilla ice cream had been carefully sculpted to resemble giant boobs. The cherries that topped the mounds wore nipple clamps.
“Happy opening night,” Whit said. He handed her a spoon. “Happy successful opening night. Dig in.”
Penelope seated herself at the table and accepted the spoon. “This is not at all what I was expecting to wrap my lips around after a long night at work. This is better.” She scooped up banana and ice cream and thrust it into her mouth, then shut her eyes to savor the sugar meltdown on her tongue. “Whole worlds of better. Did you make this?”
“Not on my best day. I’m better with fruit. Rupert outdid himself. From my specifications, of course.”
She inspected one of the clamps with a tentative finger. “Are these … pretzels?”
“They are indeed. When the salt hits the sugar—”
But Penelope had already snapped off the end of a “clamp” and dipped it into a vanilla boob to see for herself. She moaned. “Absolute heaven. You naughty boy. How did you ever come up with this?”
Whit took a seat. “I wish I could lie and tell you it was all my idea. Alas, no. While traveling this marvelous country of yours, I made an extended stop in New Jersey. I fell in with a flock of seagulls with, shall we say, sophisticated tastes. One of their number ran an ice cream and candy shop on the boardwalk. He had quite the sense of humor.”
“And quite the dirty mind, I see.”
“Not in the shop, of course. The Jersey Shore is far too family-oriented. He had a side business on the internet. He was always in demand for the better birthday parties.”
“I’ll just bet.” Having demolished the pretzel clamps, Penelope attacked the banana portion. “I can’t believe you talked Rupert into this. I had him pegged as vanilla.”
“Shows what you know. A little gingerbread and powdered sugar and he turns into a wild man.”
“I’ll keep that in mind. Did this gull friend of yours have any other goodies?”
“He managed to make a flogger with a chocolate handle and tails made from salt water taffy.” Whit made a face. “I suppose that’s all the taffy’s good for. I don’t imagine anyone actually eats it.”
“Not that I’ve ever heard of.” Penelope lapped whipped cream off her spoon. “I like the idea, though. If we could make the tails out of caramel … ”
“And stud the handle with chopped-up nuts … ”
“With a peanut-butter center … ”
“Oh Gawd.” Whit fanned himself with his hand. “If Rupert can create something like that, I’ll marry him.”
“Get in line. We may have to consider adding a dessert cart. Let’s see how shakedown week pans out.”
At that moment Rupert himself appeared. He kept his hands behind his back. “Sir. Mistress. Was dessert to your liking?”
“Very much so, Rupert, thank you. You’re talented in ways I never expected. Keep up the good work.”
Rupert blushed. “Thank you, Mistress.” He brought out the plate he’d been concealing. “Your dessert, Sir. As specified.”
Penelope hadn’t thought her eyes could get any wider. Whit’s banana split was mostly banana, planted upright in a sea of fudge, with a head of cream at its tip and two small scoops of ice cream at its base. It looked exactly like a—
Whit accepted the plate with a beaming smile. “Perfect. Thank you, Rupert.” Rupert flushed a darker red and hastily withdrew.
Penelope stared in fascination at Whit’s dessert. Her mouth watered. “Want to switch?”
“Sweetie, I’ll never switch. But if you’re a good girl, I’ll let you lick the spoon.”
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Short post today because I feel horrible. Sorry, next week's will be longer.
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The door to his master’s quarters cracked open. Jarod lost interest in getting through the wall of magic so he could get to his master’s side, focusing instead on who was entering without permission. Whoever it was should have at least knocked.
He silently slunk into a deep shadow within easy lunging distance of the door as it slowly opened wider. Behind him, he sensed stillness from his master and panic from his mistress. She clearly did not understand what the real threat was, but the master did, he was glad to note. A flurry of movement was preceded by the magic barrier being dropped. The door stopped moving, not quite open far enough for whoever was behind it to get into the room.
“What is it, Albie?” The master strode over to the fire and settled into the chair beside it. Jarod didn’t move, though. That man, Albie, had not asked permission to enter the master’s den. Jarod’s instincts, both the knight’s and the beast’s, were screaming that that was suspicious behaviour.
“You, ah, your dinner is getting cold, my lord,” the old man stuttered. “I was worried that something had happened when you didn’t come down to eat.” The old man sounded nervous now that he was caught. Jarod didn’t buy the act, though. This Albie hadn’t been acting nervous a moment ago.
“And you didn’t think to ask through the door, why?”
“I’m sorry if I over stepped myself, my lord.” The door opened a little further and the old man stepped through, again without being bidden to do so, his eyes moving rapidly around the room before stopping on the mistress. The mistress belonged to him and his master. This dishonest person had no right to look at her so disrespectfully. Jarod growled softly, deeply offended.
Everyone froze, then. The intruder’s fake posture of contrition fell away.
“Look down and to your right, Albie,” the master said, calmly. The old man did so. The scent of genuine terror filled the room when he saw the giant cat crouching five meters away. “I suspect my new pet dislikes your entering my chambers without permission more than I do,” the master continued, his deep voice becoming more foreboding with every word.
Posted by Rebecca Gillan
Saturday, April 16, 2016
I love the cover of my latest book from Sirenbookstrand: Together Again. First book in the Pacific Cay Trilogy. Three couples find their second chance at love in the northern California coastal town of Pacific Cay. Here's the cover blurb:
Tim Smith wants a second chance with his first love, Susan Nealson. Convincing Susan he’s worth a second chance isn’t going to be easy. Given his on-again-off-again ex-boyfriend past with her, he isn’t sure how to proceed due to the apology he believes he owes her, and his divorce.
When Susan agrees to be a mutual friend’s maid of honor, Tim might have the incentive he’s looking for. Susan isn’t anticipating being paired up with the dateless best man, Tim--her ex-boyfriend. She wouldn’t turn down a chance to revisit their past sexual chemistry. Beyond that, she’s unsure taking a risk on Tim is in her best interest.
Giving first loves a second chance requires letting go of the past and embracing what today offers. When their chemistry ignites more than sex, can they move past their botched history and embrace their second chance at love? Or will they remain stuck in the past trying to correct it?
I'm waiting for edits to roll in so I can get Tim and Susan's story to you. Projected release date is May 17th.
Friday, April 15, 2016
Today I went back and found the sign above stuck to the door. I'm taking that as a good sign, even though she'd stuck it to said door with a really sharp athame.
That's her way.
The soon, I'm hoping, refers to the fact that I'm about two weeks from the end of my semester at school. So long math and let me at the creative classes I've longed to take! Mz. Muse found the math portion of my schooling a personal assault to her sanity...I can't disagree.
Here's to seeing y'all on the flip side of this semester. Have a wonderful weekend!