Wednesday, April 30, 2014

I fell in love with this werewolf...

... His name is Jamie McQueen and he jumped out of a derigabele because a vampyre stole his lady. But I digress. That doesn't happen until the third installment of this serial steampunk romance. 

I should honestly tell you that I don't read very many steampunk novels. Don't get me wrong, I like the idea of them. I just don't like how gothic most of them are. This series is not at all gloomy and gothic. It's actually a roliking good time, and at $.99 an installment, it's an affordable one.

There are three outso far with another two planned. They are coming out every two weeks. Book three came out yesterday (4/29) so the next one's due Tuesday, 5/6, and the last one's due on 5/20. They are also self published, so you can't pre-order them. Jennifer Harlow, on the other hand, has several traditionally published urban fantasy series's. If you haven't checked her out yet, give "Varety Vs. the Vampyres" a try.

So anyway. On with the snipet from "Witch's Moon," which also involves a slightly reckless but good hearted werewolf. Enjoy!

~ Rebecca

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who dreamed of not being cold, wet and hungry. Then one day, a strange little bald man came to take her away. He didn't say he would take away all her problems, but he had made sure she didn't go to bed cold, wet, or hungry that night. In fact, it was a very long time before she found herself overly cold again. Specifically, not until the possibility of finding the long lost grimoire of an Egyptian god caused the little bald man to drag the now grown girl to Montana.

I haven't been warm since.

Tonight, I was not only cold, but also wet and hungry. And tired. I was taking a long walk in the snow, listening to a braggart werewolf tell me more than I ever wanted to know about how his pack came to be named after a bear. All this after working a full shift at the coffee shop. Just shoot me now, at least it will be warm in hell.

"So basically, McMahon means 'of the bear' in gaelic and your grandfather took the name when he emigrated to this country from Ireland?" I asked with a lack of enthusiasm. I knew I was supposed to be playing Mooney's girlfriend in this farce, but I could not bring myself to enjoy it. Much. He did have his arm around me, sharing his body heat. Wolves generated a lot of extra body heat and he did smell nice, like vanilla and cinnamon and warm man. I still wasn't exactly comfortable but since I had to be out "strolling" at nine o'clock at night four days before Christmas, at least I had a source of warmth with me.

"Yep," Mooney agreed affably. "Our original family name was Moran, but thanks to the Irish Mob, that name kept getting him into trouble."

"I'm sure it was only his family name getting him in trouble." I asked sarcastically. That, I did not believe.

"Well," Mooney hedged. "It might have also had something to do with his tendency to woo ladies who were not available."

"So why did he pick a name that meant 'of the bear?' Why not Smith or Jones or something equally forgettable and generic?" I asked. Surprisingly, I found myself being drawn into the story. Mooney was pretty funny when there wasn't any pressure to be all manly in front of an audience. He only had me to perform for and apparently, I didn't warrant the extra effort. Besides, I still hadn't forgiven him for that poisoned coffee remark earlier. He wasn't nearly as funny as he thought he was, I grumped.

"Because the last young lady he tried to step out with was the sister of the McLaughlin brothers. Being as they were wolves themselves, they knew he was a wolf. But they weren't overly clever. Back then, no wolf would ever dream of letting himself be called by a name that meant bear. Or rabbit or horse or any other animal, for that matter. So Granddaddy took the name McMahon and moved west. His troubles stayed behind in New York and the rest is history."

"And that's why there's a wolf pack named McMahon in Montana," I added in my best storyteller voice.

"Oh, no," Mooney corrected. "Granddaddy went to Michigan. Dad was the one to settle in Montana during the oil boom in the early '70s. When Nick was old enough to be the head of the household, Dad took off back to the Great Lakes area. It's just me and Nick in Montana at the moment."

"That's not exactly a pack," I commented dryly.

"Sure it is. See, wolves tend to adopt strays. Nick and I are they only McMahons in our pack, but there's four other wolves under Nick. Ziva's got her own pack, which is only her blood relatives, but once she and Nick quit playing coy and mate up, we'll probably absorb the Wilks, which will give us ten adult wolves."

"You sound pretty sure Ziva's just going to meekly let her pack get absorbed," I said.

"Of course she will," Mooney replied dismissively. "We're the bigger pack and we are an all-male pack. The Wilks are all female. It's normal for the males to lead."

And with that, I was brought back to reality. Mooney the Story Teller had left the building and Mooney the Egotistical Asshat had taken up residence. This wasn't a real date, I reminded myself. And Mooney McMahon wasn't the kind of guy I'd want to go out with anyway. We had a job to do or I wouldn't even be outside in zero degree cold.

"So about the job," I said, bringing the conversation back on track.

"Right. Lex said you had identified several places that need to be checked out."

Note: This picture has nothing to do with either the steampunk books or my own snipet. I just really like it and wish I could have been the gal who walking in on Dean in the shower. ;)

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Bear and Lonely

End of April howls and yowls, shapeshifter lovers.

The year is speeding by like a runaway train. Who can keep up?

Anyhoo, riding on Serena, Solara and Pat's flash-scene coattails, and Mayor Gil's rise to Elvis-impersonating stardom, here's how our favorite were-squirrel's impromptu performance affects one lonely bear shifter.


Bear and Lonely

The moment his eyes popped open from a deep slumber that began with a pattering rainshower, Drolun barked a roar. In his Grizzly Bear form, he rolled off the makeshift waterbed, gained his paws, then shook the sleep from his body. In a satisfying manner his thick fur moved in great waves from his neck to his short tail.

With another shake of his massive head, Drolun snorted a small roar, then lumbered toward the pail he kept just outside the comfy dry cave. After a long, thirst-quenching drink, he noticed the plastic baggy with a thumbdrive inside, and a note in Ralph's distinctive scrawl.

Motivated by his buddy, movie critic for the G & B Gazette, Drolun shifted fast. Cool drafts of morning air slapped against his bare human skin. He retrieved the baggy quick, and retreated inside the cave's natural warmth.

Still sluggish, Drolun set the coffee on to brew... thank the Bear Goddess, Ursula, he'd been able to set up one helluva of a solar system. He'd camouflaged the panels hiding the extensive system from prying eyes, but not from the sun's rays. 

After donning jeans and a logger's plaid shirt, Drolun poured the thick joe in his overlarge mug, took a bracing gulp, and headed for his laptop. Several years ago, he and Ralph had connected on a movie set where Drolun had managed to be both bear trainer and trained bear.

Thumbdrive and Ralph's note in hand, Drolun moved into an area he kept extra dry. He plugged in, and slipped in the device.  On good days he could intercept wi-fi or satellite broadcasts. But that didn't matter now.

Again, his eyes popped wide and his mouth stretched into a wide grin as he watched Mayor Gil -- obviously drunk as a skunk, although he was a were-squirrel -- gyrate with abandon while singing the Elvis Presley tune, "Heartbreak Hotel".

"Damn good," Drolun growly muttered. Once upon a time, for a short while, he'd worked Vegas as a Tom Jones impersonator... the undies thrown at him from appreciate ladies had been a definite bonus, especially with his heightened olfactory senses.

But Vegas hadn't been to his liking, and a few mob run-ins had Drolun departing the neon-ostentatious city like a double-barrel shotgun rode his ass. Hell-grrrrs, he could have turned Grizzly and clawed the bastards into ground meat, then sold it to the mob-run restaurants. That wouldn't have solved the real problem though. Because corruption and crime ruled.

Watching the Taltube vid again, Drolun grunted a laugh. "Squirrel shifter and Elvis Impersonator. That'd sell Louie's joint bigtime."

On memory lane, Drolun recalled the enticing female smells when he'd performed, sweat rolling down his hip-gyrating body. Scat, now all he inhaled was coffee vapors. No mate to share his off-the-grid cave. "Yeah, you'll be so lonely you could die," he repeated.

Drolun felt his heart drop, then heard the lonely organ thump on the cave floor... okay, actually hit the thick wool rug he'd found in an abandoned house. Still, the pain felt like a swallowed fish hook.... the one he'd accidently swallowed as a cub when feasting on salmon.

He grimaced at the excruciating remembrance. Only quick action by his uncle, who'd learned the basics of surgery had saved him. That, and his uncle's shamanic healing potions.

With the caffeine kicking in, Drolun figured he'd decipher Ralph's scrawl. After a shake of his uncombed mop, and a swipe at his unshaven jaw, he set the mug down and picked up the note.

"Bud Grizz, this here King of Rock performance by our own esteemable mayor is burnin' like a fever virus through the Peak. How about doin' your celeb impersonations for that there Pleasure Club or a club in town? You could pay for trout dinners like a civilized mug, get some female company, instead of catchin' fish in that ice-cube stream. Got me? 'N you know I'd give you a good mention in the G&B. ~Da Bear, Ralph"

Visions of his Tom Jones' costumes, packed away in several trunks, flashed through Drolun's head. Something inside him immediately asked 'why not?' Although, he knew little about the Pleasure Club or Talbot's Peak for that matter. Of late -- the past year, in fact -- he'd been focused on survival, on building a livable environment for both man and beast.

Growls-maybe, it was time to do a sniff-about in the Peak, enjoy the liquid refreshments at Louie's, then make a foray to Dante's biker bar. Oh scat yeah, he could handle his fists with the best of them.

Inspiration struck, and Drolun seized his mug like a mike whipping out of his office chair. He spun around once, then swaggered to the center of his cave home imitating he way Tom Jones strode onto stage.

"It's not unusual to be loved by anyone," he belted out. Pausing, Drolun announced. "Still got the voice. Let's see if I still got the lung power."

Imagining throngs of panting women, Drolun sang...

"It's not unusual to have fun with anyone
but when I see you hanging about with anyone
It's not unusual to see me cry, oh I wanna' die..."


Wishing you love and passion on the wild side ...


Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance ~

Monday, April 28, 2014

Hail to the King

Nick was getting better at sensing when his privacy was about to be violated. He hastily dumped the ruler in his desk drawer and actually looked busy when Ziva burst in. That look on her face got his figurative tail wagging. “Something I can do for you, honey? Preferably on top of this desk?”

“Oh my dog, oh my dog, Nick, you have got to log onto TalTube right now!”

Instantly Nick groaned. “What’s Penny done now?”

“It’s not her this time, it’s—oh, never mind.” Ziva commandeered Nick’s laptop and logged on to the Talbot’s Peak video site. “Just watch.”

The video took its time loading. Nick didn’t find it worth the wait. A bunch of guys in Rattigan’s, drinking beer after hours. Louie was going to roast their asses. No, probably not, because that was him off to the right. Nick recognized the rat by his full belly and chef’s hat. Somebody was recording them on a cell phone. Nick heard a woman giggle, but there were no females in sight. She must be the one with the phone.

Suddenly the picture swung to the left—a bit shakily, with an “Oooooo!” from the woman and a "Steady as she goes there, Bets,” from Louie. The picture came into focus again, on—

Nick sat up. “Is that Hizzonor the Mayor?”

Ziva tittered. “Keep watching.”

That was indeed Mayor Gil. He had a mop in one hand and a beer stein in the other. The mop must be for cleaning up all the product he, Louie, and their buddies had sloshed on the floor. Gil raised his glass to the males off-camera.

“Ladeez an’ gennulmin!” Louie’s voice bellowed. “The King o’ Rock an’ Roll!”

Gil dumped his stein on the bar—fortunately, it was empty—and took the mop handle in both hands like it was a mic on a stand. He held the end of the mop to his mouth.

“Well, since my baby left me
I found a new place to dwell
Well, it's down at the end of Lonely Street
At Heartbreak Hotel—”

Nick shot off his chair. Papers and a stray ruler scattered. “Holy mother of dog. Are you kidding me?”

“Good, isn’t he?”

“Lupa scratch my fleas, he sounds just like him! Y’know, if he puffed up his hair—”

“He’s doing the dance! He’s doing the dance!”

“Willya look at him grind those hips! That is one limber squirrel.”

Gil gyrated across the floor to the gang by the register. He threw one arm around Louie’s shoulders and sang into the mop,

“Well, if your baby leaves you
You got a tale to tell
Well, just take a walk down Lonely Street
To Heartbreak Hotel
Where you will be
You'll be so lonely, baby
Well you'll be lonely
You'll be so lonely you could die.”

“Thank yuh,” Gil said to the camera while his audience applauded. “Thank yuh vurrah much.” Then he slid the length of the mop handle down to the floor. Louie made a grab for him and missed. “Oops,” the rat said. He didn’t sound all that sorry about it.

The picture was shaking, probably from the laughter of the woman holding the camera. “You boys are too much. Now where’s Tom Jones?”

One of the other men got up. He sang into his mug, “It’s not unusual—”

The video ended abruptly. By the sudden tilt of the picture, Nick surmised the woman must have dropped the phone. Not hard enough to break it, obviously. Or to save Gil’s reputation.

Ziva held her stomach. “Oh. Oh. Oh. I’m gonna hurl.”

“Not on my desk. Trash can.” He grabbed one and held it out to her until the crisis passed.

Ziva recovered swiftly. “Poor Gil. If this ever got around … ”

“Yeah.” Nick grinned viciously. “It’d be a crime.” He called up his extensive mailing list and, with absolutely no remorse at all, hit “Share."

# # #

Some hours later, people passing by City Hall heard a full-blooded scream from the Mayor’s office, followed by a semi-strangled, “Louie, you son of a rat!” Other words were forthcoming, but these are best left unrecorded.

Saturday, April 26, 2014


Gill groaned, opened one eye.  The room spun and blurred out of focus.  Who or what had he done last night?  He slowly opened his other eye.  He blinked, trying to bring the room in to view.

A snore sounded beside him.  Turning his head, his bed companion came into sight.  Louie!  Next to him lay Hadley and Ranger.  All four snored as if in unison.  The onerous sound slammed into him, bouncing around his mind and brain before leaving out the other side with several more echoes off the walls beside him.  Waves of pain rushed down his neck, warping through his throat before splashing like a huge boulder in the pit of his churning gut.   Not wanting to shame himself in front of the board of Rattigan’s Microbrewery, Gill bolted upright, clapping his hand over his mouth.  His volcanic stomach spewed his molten contents upward, scorching his throat as his eyes watered.  Swaying like the room before Gill rushed for the cool porcelain awaiting him in the mayoral bedroom’s bath suite.  

The celebratory party and sampling of the first batches of Acorn Ale, Brazil Nut Dark, and Mixed Nut Chocolate Beer might not be the resounding success they initially thought. 

Meanwhile across town, Bettina downed two human aspirin while eying the blond haired male leaning against the bar.  Her tongue and mouth felt like a Mac truck fully loaded and its mud flaps full of obnoxious gritting mud passed through leaving half of its load behind.  On the bar sat a half empty glass of vilest brew she consumed.  No one said consuming the hair of the dog that bit you the night before was going to be savory.  What had Tyburn called the concoction?    She pointed to the glass and spoke, “What the frig is that stuff?”

Tyburn picked up glass, sniffed, and sat it down.  “This is one hundred year old Phoenix Ambrosia.  Same thing you drank last night.”

“That shit is potent,” Bettina groaned sliding off the bar stool she’d been semi-sitting on.  “There’s no way we can serve that to shifters, much less humans.”

Tyburn chuckled.  “Well the recipe I provided you and Louie is modified to allow human consumption.  Rachel would pluck all my feathers out if I provided you the original instructions.  Though I doubt you could find the key ingredient anywhere in this realm.”

Bettina tried to nod.  She should have known better.  Her stomach voiced its protest and voted to mark the ballot too.  She lurched forward, her hand over her mouth as she raced toward the area marked restrooms at the back of the bar.

Tyburn sauntered back into Rattigan’s kitchen wondering if his new business partners knew much about drinking and sampling their product.  Some of his best recipes were fermenting as others processed.  Rachel’s idea of finding something useful to engage in appeared to be paying off. 


Happpy Weekend Gang!

Spring appears to be taking the Peak by something.  First Karaoke at the Gazette and now the Microbrewry is adding to their production.
Who knows what a karaoke night and the new brews will do for business at Rattagin's?  There might be a week's worth of flashes on that alone brewing.  LOL!!  Of course Tyburn sharing his recipes might not be what Rachel had in mind when she mentioned community involvement!

I'm working on a few more stores and ideas in between bouts of work at my day job.  The Spice Homestead is celebrating a few things ourselves this weekend.  As we relax together, we'll share a few good books or two with our spice and loves.  Remember to do the same with yours.

Until next week,


Friday, April 25, 2014

It's a Playlist Party at the Gazette!

Nick loved the early mornings at the gazette for the quiet, non-judgmental space where he could indulge in the less macho songs on his playlist without anyone being the wiser.  Ziva was good with his wide and somewhat irregular musical preferences, but with her pregnancy, the rest of his family and hers had begun to “pop in” whenever they damn well pleased.  Their surprise visits made it impossible for him to move and groove like he wanted too.

That left him with his office, early enough so his staff would couldn’t read him the riot act if they caught him singing into one of the many rulers from his drawer like he was now.

“Hoooot August nights…” Nick jumped to his desk, crooning the whole time. “Pack up the baby’s, grab the old lady’s…” Squatting, he reached out a hand to his invisible audience, attempting to improve on the last time he’d sung the song some three minutes ago. “Everyone knows Bother Love’s show.”


“Brother’s” He sang out, only vaguely aware the previous hallelujah wasn’t coming from the iPod or his head.


This time the ruckus sunk into his brain and he could feel his phone vibrating madly in his pocket.  A sick feeling built in his chest making him certain he didn’t want to look at the offensive bit of tech or open his office door, but he manned up and pulled the phone anyway.  The text warned him this day was about to go downhill fast.


He had.


Thank Lupa.


He really didn’t want too.

Nick jumped down from the desk, not at all ready to face the embarrassment beyond his door, but knowing that ripping off the band aid quick was preferable to a slow burn and continual jabs.  With his hand on the knob and a deep breath he flung the door wide and was mortified to find every employee he had smiling at him.  When Penny stepped forward he knew it was going to get rough.

“So…Brother Love, we have a little something for you.” She handed him a sparkly new 12 inch microphone.  When the sea of employees parted, there sat a high tech karaoke machine and Neil Diamond’s greatest hits on top. “This is from all of us, Chief. Use it with good health.  And if you keep it in the bull pen, then the rest of us can, perhaps, join you in a chorus or two?”

“Yeah,” Ralph, who was finally waking up and less grumpy, called out.  “We’re getting real good with the Hallelujah’s out here.”

A round of the joyous shouts went out, followed by whoops and hollers.  He’d misjudged his crew and was determined to make amends.  The karaoke machine had a slot for a USB so he could get a new iPod and attach it.  Link it to iTunes and let the entire group pick out their own songs to download and sing.  They were family after all and he could easily afford it.

“Jamie, go lock the front doors,” he called out to the little red wolf. “Then come back and we’ll all give this awesome gift a go.  Work can wait for an hour of so.”

Eight hours later, everyone was leaving for the day, no work down, but they were all both wiped out and jazzed from a day of robust enjoyment.

Nick’s Top Ten Playlist
10. Rock’N Roll Train by AC/DC
 9. Suck My Kiss by Red Hot Chili Peppers
 8. Poker Face by Lady Gaga
 7. The Futures so Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades by Timbuk 3
 6. Draw the Line by Aerosmith
 5. Squealer by AC/DC
 4. Holly Holy by Neil Diamond
 3. Give It Away by Red Hot Chili Peppers
 2. Dirty Deed’s Done Dirt Cheap by AC/DC
 1. Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show by Neil Diamond

 So here's Nick's playlist...maybe Ziva's will show up next week.  :)  If you'd like to know about anyone else's in Talbot's Peak, leave us a comment and we'll get them to divulge the info...somehow.  

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Thursday Extra: Read the Label

(This is another little idea that, ahem, came to me. I’m posting before I think better of it.)

Up and down and all around, the rainbow fairies danced. They flickered and flashed like gyrating prisms in a host of colors—red and blue, green and yellow and something close to cream. No purple. No black. Those colors were reserved for the males, something sorely lacking in this particular sororial swarm.

The girls were getting twitchy. Time for a summoning.

Carmen, reddest of the red fairies and a total rhymes-with-witch without a man around, took command. “Who’s got the fairy dust?”

“Um,” said Velusia. She was one of the maybe-creams, actually a pale yellow. Not so pale in the face just now. That blushed an ugly pink. Only Velusia could make pink look ugly, Carmen thought uncharitably. “It’s not dust yet.”

“Are you kidding me? How long does it take to dry spunk?”

Shelby, she of the sparkly turquoise wings, tittered. “If mortals only knew what fairy dust is made of … ”

“Will it even work?” Velusia said. “I mean, a spell that attracts men with the scent of dried cum? Really? Do we even want a male who’d find that irresistible?”

“It’s sympathetic magic,” Carmen explained patiently. “If you want a man who’ll c—I mean, if you want a man to c—to show up, you use something that’s uniquely male as the core ingredient in the spell.”

“Wait a minute,” Shelby said to Velusia. “If there aren’t any men around, where’d you get the jizz?”

“I had some stashed.” Velusia’s face flared like a nova. “It’s human, okay? Well, male fairies are rare. I had to make do.”

“Do not tell us where you found mortal jizz,” Carmen said. “Please don’t.”

“You know,” Shelby said thoughtfully, “We could be going about this the wrong way. Screw spells. Let’s just hit the bars. Beer works so much faster than magic. You can even get them to buy.” The swarm buzzed in accord.

Carmen fluttered away. She looked at her hand and heaved a sigh. “Looks like it’s just us again, sweetie.”

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Witch's Moon, More Sneak Peeks!

Happy Wednesday, everyone! My muse has been a busy bee, but she's not wanting to work on what I want to work on. On the other hand, I do need to try and finish Witch's Moon, so I guess it's not a bad thing that she wants to work on that story! Today's offering is the first little bit of chapter 2. I hope you like it.

~ Rebecca

Guts & Butts Gazette

Maggie Dishes the Dirt

Bon jour, pups and kitties, Maggie’s back with the latest scat on all the shifter doings. Which pack leads the pack? Which mutt is sniffing around someone else’s tree? It’s all here and it’s all true. Well, most of it’s true. I just put it out there. Your decision, darlings.

This week has been a busy one! A little birdie told yours truly that all is not well in Casa [REDACTED]. It seems that a member of that family is having a rather expensive problem with bowel incontinence. Or vowel incontinence, you decide which is which. (Wink, wink)

Also of note, Java Joe's has a new Talbot's Peak teamed menu. Yours truly suspects that the coffee monkey that brainstormed it had a hidden agenda. While the old menu poked fun at compassionate doctors and the complexions of the young and fabulous of Hollywood, this new one seems to be poking fun at the scions of powerful local families. Honey, you do realize that these people eat meat, don't you?


-We regret to inform you that, due to your recent legal troubles and the repercussions thereunto, we must release you from your position as a freelance columnist. Well, that jus bites!- Mooney groused. -My own brother. My own fur and blood! So much for pack loyalty and talk about the paper making sure everyone in the pack had a job. Now, how am I going to pay that stupid fine?-

I smirked as I listened in to the beta wolf's thoughts. It had been only twenty-four hours since Mooney's court appearance, and it sounded like Nick hadn't let any moss grow under his feet about mitigating the damage it had caused to the paper. I'd have to remember to take a peek at the gossip column to see if Maggie managed to talk Nick into including Mooney there, too.

Telepamancy wasn't usually quite so useful a spell since it only picked up clearly defined, unguarded thoughts from someone I targeted when I cast it. It wasn't like true telepathy. I couldn't use it to pick thoughts out of thin air. Most people just don't sit around thinking in full dialogue and few of the supernatural set would do it around a witch. My kind is sort of known for being able to harvest unguarded thoughts, after all. Mooney McMahon not only thought in complete sentences, he broadcast those thoughts so freely that any adept could sense them almost without needing to cast the spell. I tried to peek at the screen of his laptop but he noticed and slammed it shut.

"You gonna order anything?" I asked with a smile. I promptly bit my lip when he continued with the mental griping.

-This is the downside of using the free wifi at the coffee shop, they expect you to buy something,- he groused. -Why do they call it free wifi when it's not actually free?-

"Sure, ah, Marissa," he said out loud, nervously glancing at my name tag. -Nice tits- he added silently before turning his gaze to the menu board. I slammed my spell down. I really didn't want to hear him sexually assault me in his mind's eye, thanks.

"A... macchiato," he said after a moment.

"Macchiatos are chick drinks," I told him. Normally, I don't interfere with a customer's choice, but, well. He was kind of cute. In an asshole sort of way. And he'd been kicked around a few times already this week, even if he'd had it coming. "How about a mocha?" I suggested.

"Ack! No, I can't stand chocolate," he shot back.

"Dude, that sucks. Well, how about a cup of house blend, then?"

"House blend? That'll work," he said with a relieved smile. A real smile, without any hint of his usual smarmy charm. Oh, sweet Mother Goddess, Mooney McMahon was smiling at me. Not one of his fake lady killer smiles that made it clear he wasn't actually looking at me, a mere human. A real one that included eye contact.

"One cup of Kona Joe coming right up," I said as I tried to convince my stupid stomach there were no butterflies in it and that he most defiantly had not meant anything by it. He probably didn't consider me worth flirting with. Yeah, he may have admired my--crap, not helping. I smiled nervously at him before scurrying into the back room to retrieve my stash of special Kona blend. Double crap, did I really offer him a cup of my private stash? Yes. Yes, I did. Ah, well. He did smile at me.

"Well?" Lex asked the moment I stepped into the back to grab the tin of Kona Joe, the specialty roast I ordered in from a little house roaster in Kailua, Hawaii. I snatched the tin out of my locker before turning around and giving him the stink eye.

"Don't give me that look, monkey-child. He's perfect for my purposes. I need an investigator who won't raise any suspicions."

"Lex, we've been trying to crack the Yakooza stronghold for months. It's impregnable. What do you thing Mooney McMahon can do that we haven't tried already?" I asked incredulously.

"Have you no vision, girl? He's a well known face in Talbot's Peak."

"Yeah, well known as a bumbling idiot," I grouse, ignoring the fact I was about to make him a cup of my special brew.

"Exactly!" Lex exclaimed. "He'll blunder in to situations you have been too cautious to venture into."

"Because I'd like to live to see my next birthday!" I retorted. "Zere Ghan is not exactly forgiving. If he or one of his sons detects me, I won't."

"That is my point, child. The wolf, who is well known for blundering into situations, will not hesitate to blunder into this investigation, as well. And you will stay close to him to see what shakes loose."

"I will?" I asked doubtfully.

"Yes, you will," Lex confirmed. "You will play ball with him, or what ever metaphor you prefer, so that he opens up to you. So that he keeps you fully appraised of what he does and where he goes, perhaps even take you along."

"And what will you be doing whilst I whore myself to your pet wolf?" I asked darkly, feeling dirtier and dirtier by the second.

"I'm not telling you to sleep with him, child. Just keep him company. Flatter his ego. Listen to him when he talks about unimportant things and he will open up to you about other things, as well,"

"And if he's too principled to tell me sensitive things about your case?" I asked. I'm not sure why I felt compelled to defend Mooney at this point. To be honest, I kind of thought it would be easy to coax the braggart to spill his guts to me. But compelled I was. Apparently, I was just as susceptible to Mooney's smiles as Lex thought he would be to mine.

"Oh, he'll know you are a safe person to open up to, child. I intend to send him out with you on your planned excursion to that warehouse you found."

"Wait," I said sharply. "I thought you were backing me up on it."

"I was planning to do so. But now Mooney can do it. If the two of you are discovered, you can play it off like a date gone wrong. Considering he spent last night getting hammered and trying to vandalize the house of an elderly lady with toiletries, it wouldn't be a stretch for Ghan's men to think he'd taken a date out to an abandoned warehouse."

"True," I relented. I glanced down at the tin of black sin in my hands and signed. It would have been nice to have had a little harmless flirtation, even if it was with a goof like Mooney McMahon. But true to the story of my life, even this had become just a little sordid. I shrugged and began brewing him a cup of my favorite roast anyway. I couldn't keep Lex from making things sordid, but that didn't mean I couldn't find some enjoyment in it.

When I took his coffee out, Mooney was hunched over the keyboard of his laptop, smiling with suppressed glee and two-finger typing like a madman. He looked up at me as I set his coffee down and shot me another butt-head free smile of thanks and I smiled back. I then turned my back without a word to him and found something far away from him to keep my hands busy and off him. Holy shit! Did the wolf really not realize how hot he was when he wasn't being a prick?

My reprieve didn't last long. About ten minutes later, as I was wiping down tables that didn't need cleaning, a whole gaggle of seventeen year old girls came into the shop, bickering amongst themselves. The Goslin girls were identical quintuplets and some of my best customers. They were also geese and therefore a bit flighty yet vicious when they felt someone who belonged to them was threatened. As the enabler of their caffeine addictions, they had long since ago decided I fell into that category. Lucky me.

Judging by the way they kept shooting me furtive glances between bouts of tugging a newspaper out of each other's hands, I assumed I had managed to get myself mentioned. This was not usually a good thing for people like me. Shifters were an open secret in Talbot's Peak and were pretty much the main power in town. The only time a human managed to make the paper was when a shifter wanted to make their life hell. I'll give you two guesses how I made it into the Gutts & Butts Gazette, but I bet you'll only need one.

"Hi, Marissa," Gloria Goslin finally said. She was the spokeswoman of the group, so I wasn't overly surprised when it was her who finally chose to speak up.

"Hey, Glo," I replied in an airy, off-handed tone. "What are you guys in the mood for today? I just added a few things to the menu." A burst of nervous giggling followed my words. Yep, Maggie had ripped me in the gossip column, all right.

"Yeah, we heard!" she shot back in a high pitched cutsy-annoying whine, the teen standard for I'm so sorry but people are talking about you. Not me, but other people are. I had lots of experience with people talking about me, by the way. Lex had made sure I went to actual public schools growing up. As he'd never stayed long in any one place, a natural freak like me never had time to make real friends. Freaky little witches who live with freaky little bald men who were clearly not blood related to them tend to get teased, bullied, and generally made fun of when they have no friend base to watch their backs.

"Yeah, we heard all about it," Gracie Goslin joined in.

"We want you to know that we have your back," Georgia Goslin added as she glared at Mooney like she thought he was going to jump up from his spot at the counter and try to eat me now that he had an audience. Mooney, for his part, was looking at the screen of his laptop with one eyebrow raised. He glanced up at the menu board, then went back to reading his computer screen.

"I'm good," I said with a sigh. "Let me guess, Maggie ripped me in the gossip column again?"

"Yeah," all five girls said, their heads bobbing in a very goose-like motion. I chuckled, partially at them and partially at the situation.

"And I'm going to have to thank her for that the next time I see her," I said, shaking my head. "Gotta love free advertisement."

"You aren't worried about--" Gloria began.

"Being eaten by angry werewolves?" Georgia finished with a loud stage whisper that sounded more like a hiss.

"Is that Wolf's Tale thing about me?" Mooney cut in loudly. I glanced back at him, trying to decide how I was going to handle that conversation, when none other than Leona Lane, star reporter, walked in with Brand Fliddermous, the local cattle baron and brother of Joker. Oh, this was going to be interesting.

"Good morning!" I said with forced cheerfulness as I quickly made my way behind the order counter, leaving the gaggle of hissing goose girls behind. Leona looked hard at me, as if sizing me up for either a story or a body bag. Mooney scowled resentfully at her as if he thought she was there to rub it into his face that he no longer had a job at the paper like she did. Brand was gazing at the menu board with a bemused smirk.

"Joker's Wild?" Brand asked, finally looking at me. I smiled brighter and swallowed my nervous stomach, which was trying to climb my esophagus to escape it's doomed body.

"Yep," I said. "I've had several requests for a Talbot's Peak themed menu. I decided to honor several of the leading families by coming up with a drink for each."

"And what flavor, pray tell, is my family's coffee?" he asked, his smirk growing very brittle looking. I gulped hard.

"Caramel and Creme de Cocoa in a latte made with a rich Bavarian roast espresso," I squeaked.

"That sounds really... Good, actually," he said thoughtfully. I realized that he had been expecting an insult to his family, probably because of how Maggie had phrased the mention in her column. When things slowed down a bit, I needed to take a quick look to see exactly what she'd written.

"Want to give it a try?" I asked carefully.

"Sure, why not."

"And I'll have the Wolf's Tale," Leona said, openly grinning. "I assume that one is in honor of the Moon-Dog, right?"

In case you were wondering, having a leopardess grin at you like that is terrifying. It's like there's a little area in the back of a human's vestigial lizard brain that recognizes it as, "DANGER DANGER DANGER!" I responded to this danger signal the way I usually do, by being a smart ass.

"Oh, no," I said, shaking my head and made my eyes as wide and vapid-looking as I could. "It's in honor of all the news reporters in town. I named it the Wolf's Tale because the local paper is run by wolves. And so is the town's only investigator." I smiled at her then, a clear, guileless one to make sure she realized I was being very sarcastic, and hoped I read her right.

I had. Her feline grin morphed from a threatening one to a very amused one.

"We have a werewolf investigator now?" Gloria squawked excitedly. "Who?"

"Mooney, of course," I said as I shot a nervous glance his way. He was watching me, a peculiar look in his eye. "Was I not supposed to tell anyone?" I asked him nervously.

I was right to be nervous. I only knew that Lex wanted to hire him as an investigator because I was in on it. Mooney may or may not have known that. He certainly had not confided in me that he had a PI background or a job offer from my boss. I had no idea how he was going to react to this. It had been blind dumb luck that I had been managing the potential fallout of Maggie's revenge so well. How Mooney reacted could be the nail that held it together or it could be the puff of wind that blow my house down.

He shrugged and went back to starring at his computer and sipping his coffee. "It's no big deal, babe," he said with a partially hidden smile. "People can't hire me if they don't know I'm going back into that line of work."

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Rising Sun's Invitation

Sun in Taurus howls and yowls, shapeshifter lovers. And Happy Earth Day!

With that in mind, I hope you enjoy today's flash scene.


The Rising Sun's Invitation

"The rising sun's invitation," Selauni murmured to herself. Bathing in the bright sunbeams she luxuriously stretched, then moved through the arch-like opening at the base of her tree trunk home. Somehow, the enormous oak had survived among the pine and fir.

Drawn to what was now called Talbot's Peak territory in supernatural circles, Selauni had discovered the old wise tree on a walkabout, and asked permission to live within. So far, the arrangement was one of harmony and friendship.

She gave the big oak a loving pat, then hopped onto an emerging patch of green, the first leaves of wild violets. Her bare feet thanked Selauni. With joy singing through her, she jumped onto the next small clump of emerald green, made more brilliant by the morning sun.

Smiling, Selauni made a fun game out of jumping from patch to patch of new green life with the minimal use of her wings -- already fluttering to catch rays of sunlight. Although, her fun wasn't merely a game.

Selauni learned the sacred matrix of each plant, their frequencies musical notes inside her as she hopscotched through open areas of the forest. Later she would prepare her healing elixirs for the fae community, and whoever needed them.  

A family of squirrels interrupted their search for breakfast to scamper around her, then playfully dash and dart in front of Selauni as she leaped, then hovered above wild iris blooms. Tinkling laughter at their antics, Selauni sent them her vibes of happiness.

When the fragrance of rushing water captured her senses, Selauni hopped in a direction she hadn't explored yet. The breezes carrying the scent of snow-melt and spring growth gently flapped the filmy dress she wore. A gift from her spider friends, the frock shimmered like pearls held in firelight.

Wanting to find out about the stream -- if it was pure enough for bathing and for her elixirs -- Selauni silently picked her way over the slick rocky surface that overlooked the water. Already tiny bits of moss had appeared, and spikes of green broke through the thin layer of soil.

Another smell caught Selauni's nostrils even as she halted and raised her gaze. A naked man bathed in the deep wide stream. Startled, with her heart thumping swiftly,  she slipped behind an outcropping of rock, and almost stepped on a scurrying lizard.

Peeking above the rock, Selauni could barely believe her eyes. Whoever he was, the large man was magnificently formed. At least what she could see of him. His back was to her, and the dark-hued, sparkling water covered most of his ass.

Unable to move, Selauni watched sculpted muscles flex beneath tan golden skin. The man leisurely washed his torso, and when he raised his arms, Selauni panted with unexpected and unbound desire.

Could a woman fall in love with a man's arms? Lust, she quickly amended. Nothing but lust, a rare condition for her. Yet, his arms were so bold, so beautifully shaped and muscled ... "Dangerously irresistible," she breathed out.

As if the swirling breeze carried her words to his ear, the man twisted at the waist casting his gaze in her direction. He couldn't be merely human if he'd heard her, or even sensed her presence. Protected by the natural cloaking energy of her kind, she could only reveal herself by will.

Latent power in every line of his body, the man slowly spun toward her. Selauni ducked down, the image of his broad gorgeous chest filling her mind's eye. She mentally groaned with need. 

Even as her breathing quickened, a sudden warning sliced through Selauni. Yet the man's low melodic song had begun. Oh-frick-no!

With her wings already beating furiously, Selauni whipped around to flee. Too late, the song's ancient tones trapped her. Invisible tendrils held her tight. Before darkness fully claimed her, Selauni dropped to her knees.

How strange, she thought, there'd been no hint in the man's physique about his true heritage as a Gradjinn, an offshoot race of Djinn. Frick-frack!

Snapping back to consciousness, Selauni stared into commanding eyes ignited by green fire. Brawny arms enfolded her, while the stream's cold waters swirled around her dangling legs.

"Who knew when I awoke today that luck would so favor me?" The man wove his baritone voice around her, increasing his magickal hold.

Selauni fought to merely think instead of being swept away by his supernatural force.  And good frick! The lustful sensations swamping her. Even her eyelids had lowered to half-mast. "Luck," she mumbled through lips that felt like plumped up pillows.

"I am in need of a pleasure consort." His unblinking gaze roamed over her face, and approval lit his eyes, making them appear like emeralds blasted by sunlight.

Selauni did her own staring at the strong carved planes of his face. Only the slightly odd shape of his eyes gave away his Gradjinn heritage.

"If I am to be of service to Dante, my long lost cousin," he continued. His thumbs glided over her skin, caresses that inflamed her passions. "I need a woman who is able to match my power and my carnal desires."

Selauni felt herself frown but wondered if her brow had actually wrinkled.

"As you must know I am only part Gradjinn, beautiful fae. Most of my ancestry is human and werewolf."

If his words were true, then Selauni knew exactly how to escape his magick. But did she want to?


Btw, romance readers, this offer is at ALLROMANCEEBOOKS...


Wishing you full moon shapeshifting on the wild side…


Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance ~

Monday, April 21, 2014

Kindred Spirits

Meanwhile, on the road to Talbot’s Peak, Cochrane had finally cooled down enough to realize he’d need more than a single gun and a couple grenades to take down a town full of shapeshifters. He needed more weapons. Also a plan. Also clothes. Otherwise he was just setting himself up for another dunk in purple paint, or another threat of butt probes. Or worse. Who knew what tortures the twisted minds of shifters could come up with?

He slowed and started watching the side of the road for signs of habitation. Talbot’s Peak was an aberration. Most shifters preferred to live solitary lives away from humans and even their own kind. Somewhere out here in No Human’s Land some lone shifter had a house, clothing, weapons and information Cochrane could use to carry out his assault.

Sure enough, that wide cut through the trees had to be an access road. He rolled the Chevy up it at a cautious creep. His guess was proven correct when he was stopped by a chain across the road. The sign dangling from its center read Private Road Keep Out Tresspassers Will Be Shot This Means You Asshole. The sign was only moderate size, the printing small but in blood-red letters.

Cochrane grinned. You’ll be shot meant We have guns, which mean soon Cochrane would have guns. He parked the car, palmed a grenade from his glove compartment, stepped over the chain and started up the road.

Damn, it was awfully quiet for dawn in the woods. Too damn quiet. Nothing but the sporadic gobble of wild turkeys. Cochrane climbed at a steady pace, slowed by the need to place his bare feet carefully to avoid jutting stones. Damned butt-probing bunny could’ve let a man keep his shoes. “The bunnies die first,” he muttered.

Something rustled the brush off to his left. Cochrane jerked in that direction. Almost at once he heard the clack of a shotgun. A voice said from his right, “This is as far as you go, mister.”

Cochrane turned slowly. Christ, it was a damn kid. A stupid shifter kid had got the drop on him. The kid was ugly, wiry and knock-kneed, but he held that gun like a pro. Cochrane peered around carefully and spotted another boy with a crossbow closing in from his left, and a girl with a wicked-looking knife edging up beside the boy with the shotgun. Noises from behind him indicated yet another one moving in from deeper in the woods.

Could they be human? Shifters didn’t normally go in for man-made armament.

Cochrane raised his arms, the grenade concealed in his hand. “I’m not here to cause trouble,” he said. “I need clothes and maybe—”

“You need to get your ass off our property.” The voice behind him was hard, no-nonsense and adult. “We don’t take kindly to visitors, especially not humans.”

Okay, that answered that. Must be herbivores. That meant they could be bluffed. Cochrane displayed his hand. “I got a grenade.”

“Big whoop. I got a grenade launcher.”

Cochrane risked a glance over his shoulder. Holy shit. That mother was almost as big as the wizened, ugly hillbilly wielding it. At this range there was no chance he’d miss. Cochrane snapped his jaw shut and froze.

“Good boy,” the man said. “Now toss that pineapple to my girl there. With the pin still intact, if you please.”

He did as ordered. The girl caught the grenade with the ease of an outfielder snagging a pop fly. She examined it while her brothers kept him under guard. “It’s real, Pa.”

“Thought so,” the old guy said. “You’re a hunter, ain’tcha? Thought you’d get the drop on us, eh? How come you’re nekkid?”

“How come you’ve got a grenade launcher?”

“’Cause the government won’t let me keep a bazooka. Goddam federal regulations.”

“Screw the Feds. Ever heard of Dingles Hooper?”

The man’s expression lightened. “Yeah. He’s that Canadian fellah runs the trading post up by the border.”

“You want a bazooka? Let me go and I’ll put in a good word for you. The man has a way of getting things.”

The old guy looked thoughtful. “What’s your name?”

“Abel Cochrane. Yeah, I’m a hunter. I know my weapons, and how to get ‘em.” He nodded toward the grenade launcher. “That is one fine piece of artillery.”

“Should be, for what I hadda pay for it.” He looked toward his daughter, who was casually tossing the grenade from palm to palm. She nodded. So did the boys. “Tell you what. Instead of splattering you all over the trees, we’re gonna take you in. Put in a call to Hooper. If he says you’re on the up-and-up … well, we’ll have to see.” He made an even uglier face. “We need to get you some clothes. That poor puny little thing is wretched.”

He gestured with the grenade launcher. Cochrane started walking, ringed by the males with the girl in the lead. He had no doubt any one of the males wouldn’t hesitate to fire his weapon of choice. The girl would probably hurl the grenade. He imagined her throw would be accurate.

In spite of the situation, he discovered he liked this bunch. They were his kind of people.

The boy with the crossbow sidled up to him. “Can Hooper get us a flamethrower? Our old one gave out.”

“Don’t bother the prisoner, Jimmy,” his dad snapped. “We gotta interrogate him first. You run on ahead and tell your ma to put fresh coffee on. This could take awhile.”

The kid took off. The old guy got the ball rolling by asking, “You get your grenades from Hooper?”

“No, from this guy Elkins in Wyoming. He only handles the little stuff, though. You want to get serious, you call Dingles Hooper.”

“And you say you know Hooper personal?”

“We’re not tight, but we don’t shoot each other on sight. Anything you want … well, I might be persuaded to assist.”

“Yeah,” the old guy said. “You will be.” But he was grinning now. Cochrane took in the first easy breath he’d drawn in a long while. For some reason, he felt like he’d come home.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Our Tale Continues

Satin curled up against her favorite pillow, wiping her eyes.  Two days without Kent and she felt sadder than she ever imagined.  His mark and possession tattooed her with no doubt of who she belonged to.  Not bad she kept telling herself.  Yet, the forlorn feeling threatening to drag her down into the depths of longing and heated need refused to be sated.  New batteries for her toys topped the shopping list she worked on.

Kent claimed her with his bite on their second round of sexual play.  His nipped never drew the blood exchange he whispered of as he brought her to one powerful orgasm after another.  His own release had his head tossed back with his neck exposed.  Her bite drew the blood that flew over her tongue binding them in a way neither suspected.  Now she knew.  Did he?

Kent carefully packed his guitar back into its case.  Two gigs behind them and the band was on the road to their next destination.  Two lonely nights without the woman of his dreams beside him.  Sex paled compared to love making.  He hadn’t known the difference until he gave into her spicy pheromones coating him with her presence and existence.  Love songs came from the heart.  His feelings flowed out across the stage and into the audience pouring out his need and longing for one who now claimed a piece of him.  What did their future hold?


Hey Gang!

Sorry for the short post.  Busy week here at the Spice homestead.  With the weather changing and work needing TLC, I've been busy.  Satin and Kent's story appears to be taking a turn neither expected.  I wonder if this one will be come a serial.  

Enjoy the warm weather and change of seasons finally.  I'm loving it!

Remember to take time to rejuvenate with a good book or two.  Share them with your spice and loves!  I know I am!

Until next week!