Hi everyone – Francesca Hawley here!
My latest release is Cupid Rocks and it takes place in my shapeshifter universe at Valentine’s Day.
My hero, Joe Blackwolf, is a lead singer/lead guitarist in a rock band. The story opens on his fortieth birthday where he’s wondering what he’s got to show for his life. Years of touring, but no home and no pups. Complications arise when he meets his True Mate, Mandy Goldwolf. He discovers she is the only daughter of two True Mated musicians in his new band, The Pack. Even worse in Joe’s eyes, he thinks Mandy is a cheater and he has some negative experiences of that.
Mandy isn’t mated, but she told her mother she was in order to get some breathing room on the ever present topic of “when am I going to get some grandpups?” Well, Mandy has some ‘splaining to do because she doesn’t tell Joe the truth right away. Instead, they do the wild thing in an empty office between sets. Now she has to straighten out the mess she created by lying to her mother and not telling Joe the truth before he found out in a very public way.
Music always has a really important role when I’m writing. I use it to get myself into the right frame of mind, to help me deal with rough patches, and the get those pesky love scenes just right. So what do I listen to in order to get in the mood to write this story? Well, I’ve created a playlist of songs that I might expect to hear The Pack play during a concert. Here are some of the songs I used for inspiration and why. I’ve collected a number of these into a playlist on YouTube. Click here to see the video playlist!
Sweet Child O’Mine – Guns and Roses
This one opens the concert at the opening of the book. One of the most recognizable opening guitar riffs ever. I can see Joe playing this clear as day. He hasn’t met Mandy, but this is who she’ll come to represent to him. (No, not his child – find the lyrics and you’ll know what I mean).
Joe Fabulous – Bad Company
This one should be pretty self-explanatory. Joe Blackwolf is fabulous. At least Mandy thinks so and this song is a great showcase for Joe’s guitar playing.
Wanted Dead or Alive – Bon Jovi
Great guitar riffs at the opening and it describes life on the road really well. It fits Joe’s mindset at the opening of my story. Tired, jaded, but loving the life he’s led for the last twenty years. Like Bon Jovi – Joe’s “seen a million faces and he’s rocked them all.”
Turn The Page – Bob Seger
Another song about life on the road. The mood of this song is mournful. I love the sense of “other” Seger sings about when going into restaurants. “Is that a woman or a man?” Joe’s always had long hair so this is part of his background. Sometimes listening to the right songs, gets me inside the core of a character faster than anything else, and when he sings it, his parents get a sense of who he is.
Bouree (J.S. Bach) – performed by Yngwie Malmsteen
When I first started writing this story, I didn’t know who Yngwie Malmsteen was. I’d heard of Hendrix, Beck, Clapton and Van Halen. I sat down with musician/guitarist Dorian Michael and shared info about my guitar player and picked his brain for ideas. Little things that would be useful to know. As I described Joe, Dorian mentioned Malmsteen and how the Swedish artist was a heavy metal guitarist and shredder to the nth degree who had a classical background. It was almost like he was describing Joe to me and I knew that Malmsteen would have been a huge influence on Joe when he was starting out as a musician. So when The Pack plays, they always include at least one Malmsteen cover so Joe can rock out.
My Father’s Eyes – Eric Clapton
Since Joe joined The Pack, the band has always opened the second set with two songs about fathers. Joe sings these songs in tribute to his own father but he never expected his father to hear him sing because of Leopold’s disapproval for rock music.
Leader of the Band – Dan Fogelberg
At the concert that his parents attend, the band begins the second set the way they always do, despite Joe’s uncertainty. Joe loves his dad a lot but he’s never been able to tell him. This song allows him and his brothers, who join him on stage, to tell Leopold how they feel.
Malaguena – Steven Pasero
Originally the sixth movement of the Suite Andalucia by Ernesto Lecuona. I heard a live version played by Steven Pasero and it evoked Joe in classical mode. I knew the passion and intensity of this performance was in Joe’s soul and it would inspire and arouse Mandy when she heard him perform it. She’s a guitar chick, after all.
Rockstar – Nickelback
This is just tongue in cheek funny. Joe’s a working rock musician, not a rock star. He almost can’t imagine the “Rock Star” life. He’s good enough to have made it but wasn’t really willing (as he feels ) to lose a piece of himself to make it. So he makes fun of the life by singing a cover of this song. Most of his band mates are influenced by the sixties and seventies greats. Joe is more eighties and nineties because he’s always been the oldest member of a band in the past.
BTW, if you’ve never seen the video for this song, seek it out. It is hilarious. You’ll see one of the guys from ZZ Top, Ted Nugent, Gene Simmons, Wayne Gretzky, blond Playboy bunnies and many more in cameo appearances. Nickelback doesn’t even appear in this video until the last couple of bars of the song. It is a killer video. (You can’t tell I’m a Nickelback fan, can you?)
The Load Out/Stay – Jackson Browne
Encore time. More life on the road, but this is dedicated to the audience. Kind of a “thank you” for coming. I’ve always loved this song, and I’m sure a lot of bands have covered this tun through the years. Mandy’s mom plays the keyboards, but Joe sings it. I love the way The Load Out just segues into Stay. It’s a great encore tune.
Faithfully – Journey
Mandy has never liked life on the road, but Joe is a musician. He can’t stop or he’ll stop being who he is. In his past, long distance relationships have crashed and burned. But with Mandy, he’s willing to try…Faithfully. Mandy is willing to give up some of her security to travel with him at times, while she provides him a home base to come back to. The love and passion between them
Angel Eyes – The Jeff Healey Band
Joe’s view of Mandy. He can’t believe she could or should want him. I’ve loved this song ever since Jeff Healey was featured in RoadHouse. This song has a real blues flavor mixed with the rock and Healey’s rough voice makes this song a must hear. It fits Joe’s view of Mandy – untouchable – yet there’s nothing he wants more than to touch her. Love her. sigh… Yeah, I love this one.
Angel – Aerosmith
Angel is Joe’s nickname for Mandy. Great love song with good guitar riffs. He’s crying and aching for her. He wants her to come and save him. Totally fits the story and the characters. I love Aerosmith. Between Steven Tyler’s vocals and Joe Perry’s guitar, they’re gold practically every time they perform.
Wonderful Tonight – Eric Clapton
This song is bittersweet for Mandy and Joe because of the context of its appearance in the story. I’ve made up my mind to have it make a reappearance late in the story. This kind of becomes “their song.”
Hope you enjoyed my playlist. When you are writing what do you listen to? Do you create a playlist? Do your songs have words or are they classical so they don’t distract you?
If you’re a reader, do you turn on background music when you’re reading or do you prefer silence so you can immerse yourself in the story?
Here’s the story blurb:
When her parents’ rock band, The Pack, performs at Zach’s bar, Mandy discovers her True Mate, Joe Blackwolf, the band’s lead singer and guitarist. All she has to do now is convince Joe that she told a little white lie to make her mom happy, her father that rock musicians aren’t all alike, and her new mate’s family that rockers aren’t all that different from classical musicians.
Joe Blackwolf is celebrating his 40th birthday. And what he wishes for when he blows out the candles is to find his True Mate. He succeeds when he meets Mandy Goldwolf. Problem is…she belongs to someone else. Finding out the truth leaves him free to explore every inch of her smokin’ hot curves, but now, Joe and Mandy are neck deep in overbearing relatives and everyone is in for a rockin’ Valentine’s Day!
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The winner of Alpha vs. Alpha (or one of my back list books – readers choice) is Quilt Lady. I’ve sent you an email. When I hear from you, I’ll send you an electronic copy. Thanks so much for commenting!
This is Francesca Hawley and I’m thrilled to announce that on December 21, I will have a new release available from Ellora’s Cave Publishing. My new book is titled Leader of the Pack. It will be my first new book in over a year. It’s a follow-up to Alpha vs. Alpha, but both can stand alone.
I’ve written many stories with male pack leaders, but in Protect and Defend, I indicated that females could be pack leaders. It just wasn’t typical. So in the back of my mind, I considered the idea of a female pack leader. How would that work? Especially if her True Mate was an alpha male? That’s where Leader of the Pack came from and I’m really happy with how it turned out.
Yohana is a kickass female who knows how to leader her pack and is willing to make sacrifices. Per (pronounced like the fruit – pear) is a healer who cares for people, but he’s also an alpha male. He loves Yohana’s strength, yet there’s conflict between them as they work out who holds the top position at any given time. I had fun reintroducing Predator-Match.com to my shapeshifter world as both Yohana and Per utilize the services of the matchmaking agency to find a Mate. I loved including Serena in this story, too. It was fun to revisit her and her relationship with Damien – if only briefly.
Here’s the blurb:
Surgeon Dr. Per Goldwolf needs a mate to make partner in a prestigious practice. Predator-Match.com—a matchmaking service for shapeshifters—not only finds him a mate, they match him with his True Mate. Yohana’s long legs and fair flesh make him lick his lips and her scent makes him rock-hard.
New packleader Yohana Whitewolf’s life goal is to follow in her sire’s pawprints and lead her pack. Leadership demands sacrifices. To calm her people, Yohana needs a mate. But finding an Alpha male who won’t take over is a tall order. Yohana doesn’t want the complication of a True Mate, but Per is a sexy, intelligent Alpha male and she wants to shred his clothes every time she touches him.
Everything should be perfect—except she’s a packleader, and the Whitewolf pack is nervous.
Read the excerpt – visit the Ellora’s Cave web site. Here’s the link…
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To start new readers off right, I’d like to run a contest. If you comment today or tomorrow, you win an electronic copy of Alpha vs. Alpha for your reading pleasure. If you already own AvA, you can choose one of the other books from my backlist. I’ll announce the winners on Wednesday!
Last week I finally finished and submitted a new story to Ellora’s Cave. I wrote a follow-up to Alpha vs. Alpha using the Predator-Match.com matchmaking service as the device to get my hero and heroine together. I’m very pleased with this story and I really like my hero and heroine. What’s so important about this story is that it’s been over a year since I had a release out. With my health issues last year, my production went to nil. This year I have come back from it and feel kind of phoenix-like with regards to my writing.
My only worry is that my previous editor at EC left and I’ve been reassigned. Now, I have heard from my crit partner (and others) that my new editors at EC are awesome, but I’m really kind of nervous about what their response will be to the story. Changing editors is just a part of this business and I know this…intellectually. But emotionally…not so much. My previous editor was the one who pulled me out of the slush pile and offered me my first contract. Mary was great to work with and I wish her well, but I am kind of nervous about my reception. I really hope my new editors love it! Keep your fingers crossed for me!
One thing that’s very good is that I’m confident in this story. I like my characters. The sex is hot. The conflict works, the end makes sense and it’s emotional. That makes me very happy. I’m proud of myself and very pleased that my characters decided to cooperate with me this time. So what’s the story about? Let me give you a taste. I hope you like it.
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Leader of the Pack
Surgeon Dr. Per Goldwolf needs a mate to make partner in a prestigious practice. Predator-Match.com—a matchmaking service for shapeshifters—not only finds him a mate, they match him with his True Mate. Yohana’s long legs and fair flesh make him lick his lips and her scent makes him rock hard.
New packleader Yohana Whitewolf’s life goal is to follow in her sire’s pawprints and lead her pack. Leadership demands sacrifices. To calm her people, Yohana needs a mate. But finding an Alpha male who won’t take over is a tall order. Yohana didn’t want the complication of a True Mate, but Per is a sexy, intelligent Alpha male and she wants to shred his clothes every time she touches him.
Everything should be perfect—except she’s a packleader— and the Whitewolf pack is nervous.
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By reading any further, you are stating that you are at least 18 years of age. If you are under the age of 18, it is necessary to exit this site.
An Excerpt From: Leader of the Pack
Copyright © FRANCESCA HAWLEY, 2012
Leader of the Pack
Yohana Whitewolf paced Serena Goldwolf’s office barely containing her irritation and impatience. Between the flu plague sweeping through most of Denver, and her pack’s pressure to provide an heir, Yohana was ready to kill something.
Yohana knew the only way to prevent the pack from splintering was to find a Mate and soon, so she stayed in the deserted office. Her sire had died only six months ago, so she needed a firmer grasp on the job of packleader. A Mate and a pup were distraction to the vital work she must do. She sighed. Still, she needed to placate them in order to keep her place or the pack would disintegrate. She couldn’t allow it. She had a duty to prevent it, and she’d made a promise to Jeremiah—her father.
Yo restrained her annoyance because most of Serena’s staff at the shapeshifter match service Predator-Match.com was out with the flu, leaving them short-handed. The flu was sweeping through the Whitewolf pack too, so she could relate. Serena rushed into the room, flopping into her chair with a sigh. Yohana smiled reluctantly at her long-time friend.
“I think I need roller skates today, Yo. I am so sorry I’ve kept you waiting. There are just two of us in the office and of course we couldn’t reach people to cancel.” Serena groaned.
“I don’t think your Mate would approve of a female in your condition on roller skates.” Yohana’s dry response elicited a laugh from Serena. Serena patted her rounded belly.
“Maybe not, but I still could use some skates.”
Yohana sat down, a faint smile on her face. She remembered fondly pupsitting Serena years ago. They had remained friends and were like sisters in many ways because they were both only children and daughters of pack leaders.
The biggest difference between them, other than height, was that Serena had no interest in following her father as pack leader. She was happy being the Alpha female allowing her Alpha Male True Mate, Damien, to lead their burgeoning family. Leading the Whitewolf pack was all Yohana had ever wanted. She felt a deep commitment to guide and serve the members of her pack so they could all prosper. She couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
“You aren’t here for lunch, Yo.”
“How do you know?”
“Because you made an appointment with me. Are you finally going to let me put your profile together to help you hunt for a Mate?”
“I don’t want to hunt for a Mate. I need to find one.” Yo couldn’t stay in the chair any longer, so she rose to pace again.
Serena frowned. “Find one?” She pulled a pad of paper to her. “Okay, what’s going on and what do you want in a Mate?”
“My pack is what’s going on. They want a packleader with a stable Mate and me pregnant as soon as possible.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, they’ve been rumbling about my cousin, Dan, taking over if I can’t do what’s necessary. I’m looking for a male wolf who won’t fight me for my pack.”
“Oh, Yo, I’m sorry.” Serena started to get up but Yohana waved her back.
If someone hugged her, she’d break down and start crying. Yo just didn’t have time to let her emotions overwhelm her right now. “I know. I appreciate your concern.”
“You want a Beta then?” Serena blinked tears from her eyes starting to type into her computer database.
“I do, but every pack member I’ve asked about this doesn’t. They want me Mated to an Alpha.” Serena’s raised her gaze and her mouth dropped open, prompting a wry laugh from Yohana. “Yes, I know. Finding an Alpha not interested in running a pack is as likely as finding a needle in a haystack, but find him we must. I want a male who has a commitment elsewhere.”
“I don’t mean another female.” Yo shuddered. “Worried or not, the pack would never accept a male with another relationship. I mean an obsession with his career or a hobby. Something other than my pack.”
“You aren’t making this easy.”
“Life is hard. Even harder than finding a Mate obsessed with something other than dominating a pack, I want a male who is tall enough to look me in the eyes, not the tits. I’m 6’ tall, so I don’t want a short wolf. I’ve known some wonderful males who are short, but it won’t work for me to take one as a Mate. The Whitewolf pack will expect my Mate to be able to act as my enforcer if the need arises.”
“Some short males are extremely muscular and physical.”
“True. But when I date males who aren’t as tall as me, I seem to pick the ones who feel they need to prove something. I don’t choose well, which is why I’m here. I want a male with interests elsewhere and nothing to prove to anybody.”
“Every stipulation you add limits the pool.”
“I know, but I need to be Mated soon.”
“I’ll go into heat Friday or Saturday, and I want to get pregnant right away. It will ease the pressure if they know there is a new generation on the way.”
Serena shook her head. “Okay. What else? Let’s get everything out on the table.”
Yohana sighed as she paused by the window, crossing her arms over her ample bosom. Some females with her height looked like movie stars or fashion models, but Yo was built more along the lines of a linebacker. She was definitely her sire’s daughter. She glanced down, sighing. Correction, her sire’s daughter with her mother’s udders.
“He’s got to be able to Mate me. If I leave him cold, he won’t be able to impregnate me.” Yohana glanced at Serena, a wry smile on her face. “I know I’m no beauty queen. My features are too strong to be considered pretty or beautiful, and I’m not built like a model. Don’t match me up with a male who wants a gorgeous female to grace his bed.”
“Someone who’ll lie back and think of Whitewolf?” Serena teased.
“Something like that. In fact, if he wants a limited Mating, I’d accept it. My pack will be happy if I make the effort and produce a pup. Once those criteria are complete, any male I Mate can be free.”
“Yo, you are a good person and you deserve more than that.”
“Maybe, but not now. Later.”
“What about a True Mate?”
“Lord, no! I’m not looking for a True Mate. My attention will be on the pack and my pup. I’m not going to have time for some male who wants to bond and share with me,” she shivered.
“I used to think it would be awful, but I was wrong. You might be wrong too.”
“Unlikely. Right now I don’t have time to hold out for the ideal. I need Mr. Right-Now. Not Mr. Right.”
“I’ll see if I can find him for you. Any clan preferences?”
“Whitewolf or Goldwolf…Redwolf at the outside since a Redwolf pack lives near us too,” she frowned. “Our entire pack is fair. It would disturb them to have a dark haired heir. Still, I’ll take what I can get.”
“Noted. Do you want your Mate to live in Whitewolf or here in the city?”
“He can maintain an apartment here in Denver if needed, and just come home at the weekend after he’s planted a pup.”
Serena opened her mouth to say something more, she stopped and slowly nodded.
Yohana could tell her friend disapproved but was restraining herself because of the situation. She walked over to Serena, setting a hand on her wrist. “Serena, I know this is unpleasant, but I don’t have any options right now. My pack needs this from me.”
“They expect a horrible sacrifice and it isn’t fair.”
“Being a pack leader demands sacrifices, and since when has life been fair?” Yohana sat down in the chair.
Serena shook her head, finally lifting her blazing green eyes. “You are a special female and you should be appreciated, not pressured.”
Yo smiled sadly. “Is that what you think they’re doing?”
“You are judging them by your view of your own father, Drew. But, Serena, all they really want is stability and safety. If having a pup will give them that, I can’t deny them.”
Serena shook her head.
“I need them to relax so I can… With Father so recently gone…” Her throat closed and she covered her eyes, fighting tears. She shook her head looking up at her friend. “Find me a Mate. Please.”
The Fun in Being Eclectic by Terry Spear
As I began to write my stories, I heard—you HAVE to brand yourself, write in one area, develop a following, be like McDonalds with the Golden Arches, Pizza Hut with the red roof, or well, a genre that readers will see and say—oh, I know an author that writes that, and to stick to it.
But I love to write about a variety of different kinds of worlds from contemporary romantic suspense to fantasy, to urban fantasy romance to contemporary romance to historical romance to time travel romance to…even true stories.
I love to diversify, because I’m an eclectic reader. I read everything.
True, I’ve branded myself with paranormal romance, specifically werewolf romance. I have 15 contracted wolf books, nine out, four more either written, turned in, still being edited, or being written. With having so many wolf books out in the same series, I finally made USA TODAY bestseller with A SEAL in Wolf’s Clothing. I truly believe it had some to do with branding. Not quitting at writing three or four wolf stories, but writing several with more to come so that if readers like your world, you develop a following. I’ve had fans who say that they see a picture of a wolf, read about a wolf, they think of me. Fans send me pictures of wolves and articles about them. One sent a picture of her family dressed as Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf, which I featured on my blog. That’s branding.
So yes, it’s important.
But I love to write about a variety of different kinds of worlds. It helps me to keep my longer series works fresh. I’ve just started a jaguar series with Sourcebooks also. I’m working on book two with book one, Savage Hunger, coming out in October. It’s new, the jaguars much different than wolves in personality, yet they are shifters like wolves and I’ve begun to make connections between the two worlds for fun. I hadn’t ever intended that, but…that’s the way I write. I don’t plot out whole worlds and a whole series, or…even a whole book at once.
The characters create the story.
That’s some of why I create different worlds. I get an idea, and take off running. When I wrote The Dark Fae, all I thought of was I wanted to write about a world where the fae coexist with us and where they are the reason for some of our missteps in life. The series took off. I had never planned to write more than one book. I did it for fun. But I had so much success with it, I wrote three more in the series with another one on the way. So some of the reason for writing eclectic is that I can enjoy writing something different, and find that readers love the new world, too. Or some that wouldn’t touch one kind of book that I write, might like something else I write. Others read everything I write, so for me it’s a win-win situation.
I also write a Highland historical series. I have two out with readers clamoring for more, but haven’t had time to write them. I am in the process, and have three books started. Winning the Highlander’s Heart began the series. I love to read historical romance and I love to write about Medieval times. I have a lot of Scottish roots, so write mostly about Highlanders, but I’ve written others also.
I’m just editing a book written some years ago—a third marriage comedy kind of book. It’s a contemporary, Marriage under Duress, in the line of Marriage, Las Vegas Style, and Exchanging Grooms. I wrote them for Flipside, but my stories have humor and a serious side to them so they didn’t work for the line. Again, they were a fun diversion from other works I was writing.
For me diversifying is the key to keeping my writing fresh. Branding is great, but for some of us, we need to try something different to keep the creative juices flowing.
The voice is what makes the work ours. With mine, I have mystery, adventure, romance, and humor. It can be set in the 12th Century Highlands, or in contemporary world America. It can be our world with a paranormal twist with vampires or werewolves or jaguar shifters living among us. It can be pure fantastical worlds or futuristic even. Or we can drop everything and travel to the past like in A Ghost of a Chance at Love, a time travel western ghostly romance.
That’s because I’m an eclectic reader and love to read everything!
Thanks so much for having me here today!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
USA Today bestselling author, Terry Spear has written over three dozen paranormal romance novels and two medieval Highland historical romances. An award-winning author, Terry’s Heart of the Wolf was named a Publishers Weekly’s Best Book of the Year in 2008. A retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves, Terry Spear works in a library by day and spends every spare moment writing paranormal romance as well as historical and true life stories for both teen and adult audiences. Spear lives in Crawford, Texas, where she is working on three wolf books, another jaguar book, and has a variety of other eclectic works in progress! For more information, please visit http://www.terryspear.com/.
Anyone who met Damien Blackwolf would know he’s an alpha wolf, even if they didn’t know that he was a shapeshifter. He’s the kind of male who looks like a hunter even in an Italian suit, which is what he wears most of the time. I had fun writing about a male shapeshifter who’s part metrosexual, and mostly alpha wolf. Hot and intense. That’s what attracts Serena Goldwolf to him, too. But as attracted as she is, she’s not ready to meet her True Mate. She can’t imagine giving up her autonomy to gain her True Mate but Damien has other plans.
Alpha female Serena Goldwolf has spent a lifetime vowing never to be a submissive mate to any Alpha male. But all it takes is one surprisingly sexual meeting with Damien Blackwolf, a dissatisfied client of her shapeshifter dating site Predator-Match.com, and she’s down on all fours, wanting to be mounted by the hottest male on two legs—or four—whom she’s ever met.
Damien Blackwolf doesn’t understand why the voluptuous Serena won’t admit they’re True Mates. To convince her, he decides to bring out her baser desires by dragging her off to someplace private to get to know her…intimately. But how can he convince her of their destiny when she runs away from him? Guess he’ll just have to hunt her down and persuade her.
In a passionate battle of wills, there most definitely can be two winners.
Publisher’s Note: Previously published elsewhere but has been revised and expanded for Ellora’s Cave.
By reading any further, you are stating that you are at least 18 years of age. If you are under the age of 18, it is necessary to exit this site.
An Excerpt From: ALPHA VS. ALPHA
Copyright © FRANCESCA HAWLEY, 2011
All Rights Reserved, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.
“What the hell kind of outfit is this?”
Serena Goldwolf’s head shot up at the irate shout coming from the outer office of her shapeshifter matchmaking business, Predator-Match.com. She brushed her bangs off her forehead with a sigh. Damn it, couldn’t anyone in this office take care of stuff without her intervention?
The male voice continued to roar out there, and she knew her secretary wouldn’t be able to handle him because Kara was such an omega even omega males dominated her. Serena sighed again, saved her database update and headed out to confront the wolf male jerk. Serena took in the male outrage with a shake of her head. Asshole. He shook his head as if he’d heard her. Yeah right. She wished.
“I’m sorry, sir. Really.” Kara huddled in her chair, her head dipped and her eyes on her desktop. Submission in her posture and her voice.
“You people set me up with some stalker bitch! I want to talk to one of the owners, now.” A tall black-haired man with dark-brown eyes leaned on the desk, his large hands flat on the wood.
Serena took him in, her body responding immediately. Damn it. She didn’t need this shit, but she couldn’t take her eyes off him. He wore a very expensive, black Italian suit, Italian black leather loafers, a crisp white shirt and red tie. The ultimate in power wear for the busy executive. And he was so good-looking he resembled an escapee from Fashion Week. She shook her head to remind herself that he wasn’t all that…he was just a wolf like any other.
Heads hung out of office doors, watching the confrontation with enjoyment, yet no one came to Kara’s rescue. Probably glad to be out of firing range themselves…that’s what she got for hiring betas. The females all wanted him and the males would jump to follow his orders.
Female musk clogged the air. Especially from Lea Redcat, one of her business partners. Predator-Match.com was damn successful. To the outside world, their site looked like a zoo animal match service. To the shapeshifter community, it was a way to find a lover or a life partner. Since Lea was allowing this thing to escalate, it looked like Serena to the rescue. Again.
“I’m really sorry, sir. We do our best to match our clients up with the best fit for them.” Kara cringed lower behind her desk and wouldn’t meet the man’s eyes. Typical omega posture. The male frowned.
“Are you saying you think I deserve a psycho bitch as my Mate?” His quiet voice seemed to scare Kara more than his shouting had because she backed up. It wouldn’t be long before she crawled under her desk.
“No s-s-sir,” Kara stammered.
Damn that bastard. He was done scaring Kara. Unable to suppress her temper, Serena growled. His gaze flashed to her and she felt it all the way to her womb. Damn but he was hot. Life was just not fair.
She challenged him—head up, shoulders back—inspecting him from top to bottom and allowing her gaze to linger, as if she were checking for fleas. His shoulders were broad and filled his Italian suit to perfection. His broad chest narrowed to athletic hips, and she would bet money that his belly sported a six-pack, and not of the beer variety. He had the kind of face that artists wanted to sculpt and women wanted to sit on. His eyes were the piece de resistance—large, dark brown and thick-lashed beneath perfectly arched brows.
In short, he was a god—or a male model. This was the kind of male who never looked twice at Serena because she wasn’t tall and thin, or tiny and doll-like. She had yet to meet a male wolf who wanted a woman with curves, but this kind of wolf was the worst. These wolves wanted trophy bitches.
“Who are you?” His voice cut the air like a knife.
She lifted her chin when the bastard stared her down. How dare he try to intimidate her? She was an alpha female, damn it!
“I’m Serena Goldwolf and one of the co-owners of Predator-Match.com. Who are you?” No way would she back down from this one. The man needed to be taken down a peg.
He scowled at her and his eyes narrowed at her temerity in confronting him. The bastard was an Alpha from the tips of his perfect black hair to the bottom of his highly polished Italian loafers.
“Damien Blackwolf. A fucking unhappy customer.”
He straightened to face off against her, obviously waiting for his pronouncement to have some effect. He said it as if she were supposed to curtsey to him. Not only was he an alpha, but a Blackwolf Alpha. An alpha was a dominant male, but an Alpha was the heir of a clan, or the leader of one. This male had or definitely would found his own clan group one day.
“What seems to be your problem?”
On the whole, Serena was not fond of Blackwolf males—they were too arrogant by half, and this one seemed to think he was God’s gift. She had to admit he was a beautiful specimen who made her wet just to look at him, but she wasn’t about to admit that to him.
He smiled the smile of the male who knew a female was reacting to him. Shit. Her scent must be broadcasting. He licked his perfect full lips. Males were not supposed to have lips like that. Double shit.
“Your much-acclaimed psychology matching service paired me with the psycho bitch from hell!”
“Well, considering your obnoxious attitude with my secretary, it would seem our ‘much-acclaimed psychological matching service’ did just dandy,” Serena countered with a smile.
He growled and took a step toward her. She tensed but stayed where she was. The worst thing to do when a predator challenged was cringe or run, and this man was definitely a predator. If the bastard thought she was that easily intimated, he was in for a rude awakening.
She raised her brow and crossed her arms over her chest. He paused, dumbfounded, looking as perplexed as a pup trying to figure out why he tripped over his tail. Damn it, that made him adorable. Serena shook her head in disgust at herself. Alpha males were not adorable. They were royal pains, emphasis on both royal and pain.
She might be an alpha female, but she was damned if she was going to take an Alpha male like him as her Mate. When she did date, she dated betas because they were easier to manage. Serena blinked. Why was she using the permanent possessive with this one? A Mate was a partner for life, and a mate was good for a tumble. This male didn’t come close to fulfilling her needs for either role.
“Ms. Goldwolf. I’m not some untried adolescent, Mr. Blackwolf, and I would appreciate if you would acknowledge it.”
“Ms. Goldwolf…” His sarcastic voice was deep and made her nipples harden. She pretended it didn’t affect her, but she knew he realized it did. Why did he show up here today? She didn’t need the aggravation.
He glared down at her. “This is a business, Ms. Goldwolf, and I am a very dissatisfied customer. I have friends who I’ve told about this company who could very easily withdraw their business at my request. I suggest you moderate your tone.”
That was it. Serena saw red. She stalked over to him and poked him in the chest with her finger while she scowled up into his black eyes.
“Listen to me, you arrogant wolf! You come in here, guns blazing, and abuse my secretary then threaten me. Pull your business if you want. Tell your friends to take a hike too. I don’t give a flying fuck! I will not be treated this way by you or anyone!”
Serena felt as if she were outside herself, and she watched herself in horror. She was never like this, even when she was fully in heat. Oh, she snarled and clawed at males, but she’d never attacked anyone before. She sure wanted to attack this one though. He smiled grimly, and only then did Serena realize his last speech had been a deliberate taunt. Damn it to hell. Damn him to hell…
He grabbed her waist and lifted her easily. He took two strides to the nearest wall, pushing her against it while wrapping her thighs around his hips. He pressed his erection against her wet pussy. She moaned and her head dropped back. She heard him snarl and realized she’d closed her eyes—when she opened them she saw triumph in his.
by Nicole North
I love creating sexy, sizzling-hot heroes. A lot of them are Scottish and many are paranormal. What makes a paranormal hero more appealing than a regular man? Most romance heroes are already larger than life, and giving him a paranormal ability amplifies this. It almost turns him into a superhero. Many of the paranormal heroes I create are shapeshifters—they change form from a man to some kind of animal, such as a hawk, a kelpie, selkie or wolf. Often, they also have other abilities, like extra keen senses much like animals have.
Duncan, the hero of my latest release, Laird of Darkness, is half Fae. He can disappear, except for a small red spot, and fly through the air. At this point, he is also far stronger than a regular man and he can toss enemy warriors through the air.
I’ve just sold a book to Ellora’s Cave entitled Blade of the Wolf. Ronan, the hero, is a werewolf. He changes form from a sexy man into a normal-looking wolf. But he also has other abilities in either of his forms. One is super senses, much like a wolf would have. Their vision, hearing and sense of smell are far stronger than a human’s. Also my werewolves have anti-gravity ability. They can walk up walls and on ceilings. This is useful for climbing into high windows or jumping off roofs.
Another cool ability they have is mind-control. For anyone they can see in their immediate vicinity, they can tell them what to see, hear or do. Some authors use this for vampires, but I knew my werewolves would benefit from it. Suppose they shift forms at the wrong moment and someone sees? Erase it from that person’s memory. Of course, they don’t take advantage of humans using this ability because they’re very heroic men who are here to protect humans from evil.
There is something highly appealing about heroes with supernatural powers. With these incredible strengths, they become more than men. Quite often these abilities come with a large amount of angst. Perhaps they experienced painful things in their pasts that they still need to heal from. For instance, Ronan lost his wife and two children in a brutal attack hundreds of years ago. He still remembers as if it only happened yesterday, and to an extent he still blames himself for not protecting them. I love exploring the healing power of love in my stories. It is a theme I use often and it works especially well with paranormal heroes because they are often tormented or troubled by past events.
Do you like paranormal heroes and if so, what type and what is your favorite thing about them?
Nicole is holding an ebook giveaway today! Leave a comment by midnight today, 5/17/2011 to get entered for a chance to win!
Welcome to our new ABM author/contributors! It’s wonderful to have you all join us and I’m looking forward to hearing from all of you.
What’s old? What’s new?
Back in 2005, I wrote a shapeshifter novella which was the prequel to Protect and Defend. In that original novella, I laid down the basic rules of the world and created some characters to people it. I had a lot of fun writing the story, but as I changed as an author I went back to that original story and began to pick aspects of it apart. I kept finding places where I could have worded things better. Built tension differently and so on.
Well, the rights for that original novella have reverted to me and I’m excited to delve back into that story with the hope that my editor at Ellora’s Cave will like the finished product enough to offer me a contract. We shall see…I’ll keep you posted. Wink.
In the meantime, clean-up begins. And you know, after five years I’m a different author. I write and think differently. Wading back into this story is a little scary. How do I make my current author voice mesh with the old one? I’m finding that is a bit of a challenge, but you know, it’s a welcome one.
I’m approaching this with the “multiple pass” approach. First pass will involve editing the language. An effort to get the author voices to sync up and sound like I wrote it recently, instead of five years ago. I think the second pass is for plotting issues. There are a couple of places where my crit partner was scratching her head, so fixing those issues will be on the agenda. Then I hope the story will be ready for my editor. Like the gladiator after a fight, I’ll wait for the thumbs up or thumbs down. At least, I won’t be put to death if she votes thumbs down. Grin. And that’s a good thing!
Fellow writers, have you ever taken a previously published work (any length) and started revisions with the intent of reselling it? How did it work out? Did you find edits a challenge or did you know just what to do? Readers, how do you feel about reissues? Do you like it when an author reworks an older story so you get a more satisfying read? Let me know what you think!
Warrior archetype heroes are among the most popular these days, especially in paranormal romance. They’re tough, protective, alpha, and have a take-no-prisoners attitude. They stand up for what they believe in and have an unshakable code of honor. Why do women love them so much? I think it’s because we’d all love to be protected and taken care of by one of these guys. He’s an expert at what he does. He’s fought before and won, and he has the scars to prove it. Add a cursed or dark dimension to his personality (perhaps a touch of the lost soul archetype) and we have a hero who is even more intense, more determined to accomplish what he wants, more driven to get the bad guy and take the lady for himself. If only he can allow himself to have her. Maybe deep down he feels unworthy or like he’d only frighten her away if she knew his true self. If she knew where he’s been or what he’s seen, she might not be so enthusiastic about trying to break down the wall around his heart. She shines a light into the dark night of his existence. She can make him see there is hope. Maybe someone can love him unconditionally, cursed side and all. We love this guy because we see the vulnerability he hides beneath his stone wall- like shell. We know he deserves love more than most and we want to see him acquire it. In my latest release, (a paranormal historical erotic romance) Beast in a Kilt in Secrets Volume 29 Indulge Your Fantasies, Torr is a cursed Highland warrior who believes he isn’t worthy of innocent Lady Catriona. At night he’s a water demon, a kelpie shapeshifter who believes he could never make her happy. But she’s determined to prove him wrong. She’s loved him for a long time and intends to have him… forever, no matter what her mother or clan think. And no matter that she’s been promised to someone else. Do you love the cursed warrior type heroes or some other type? Please share!
Nicole North’s erotic romance novellas have been described by reviewers as “exciting, high octane, captivating, scintillating, sinfully delicious and pure romance.” Her stories contain “heart and heat, killer love scenes, magic and extraordinary characters.” Her latest release from Red Sage, a paranormal historical, Beast in a Kilt, is in the Secrets Volume 29 Indulge Your Fantasies anthology. Her last story, Kilted Lover, is contemporary erotic romance novella with a touch of paranormal. Her first story, Devil in a Kilt is in the anthology Secrets Volume 27 Untamed Pleasures. Her works have finaled in over a dozen writing competitions and won several awards. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and three chapters. She teaches online workshops about various aspects of writing, including sexual tension and how to write great love scenes. Though she has a degree in psychology, writing romance is her first love. She and her husband live in the Southeastern US, but she wishes she lived in the Scottish Highlands at least half the year.
My website: www.nicolenorth.com
My newsletter: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/nicolenorthnewsletter/