Lee, thanks so much for inviting me to blog with you—I’m thankful to have something to take my mind off the fact that Dark Wolf is releasing in just thirty days. I’ve been so anxious for this story to come out, and it’s like waiting for Christmas when you’re a kid. The closer it gets, the longer the days seem to be!
For those who’ve not heard about my new Kensington Aphrodisia series, Spirit Wild, the first book, Dark Wolf, is set in the same Chanku world as Wolf Tales and Sexy Beast. When the series opens, the children of the original packmates are grown and living in a world that knows shapeshifters exist, but the offspring are dealing with a certain amount of discrimination and xenophobia—they’re smart, beautiful, and they don’t appear to age, something the rest of the population is beginning to take note of, and resent.
Lily Cheval is running her father’s company, Cheval International, in San Francisco. Most of the older generation from the original pack live in Montana on the original Cheval property. They’ve got independent nation status and get along well with their neighbors in the community of Kalispell—until a series of gruesome attacks on young women occur in both the Kalispell area and the San Francisco Bay Area. Each of the attacks is the same—a young woman brutally raped and then torn apart by wild beasts. All clues point to wolves and men working together, or, as many suspect, a rogue Chanku shapeshifter.
As tensions between Chanku and humans grow, Lily meets a fascinating young man, the son of a wizard suspected of practicing dark magic. Sebastian is nothing like his father, though he is also a powerful magician, able to shift to wolf form by magic means, not genetics. Suspicion over the attacks falls on Sebastian—he’s been in Montana and the San Francisco Bay Area whenever a murder has occurred, and he can take on both wolf and human form, but Lily senses the good in him, even when things happen that make her wonder if perhaps she’s wrong about the man she has quickly begun to care about.
Dark Wolf is a totally new series using the Chanku world from the previous books, but this series stands alone. Here’s the scene where Sebastian first sees Lily—he’s heard of her, but she is so much more than he’s imagined—the setting is a ballroom where Lily is covering for her father who was the intended guest of honor:
If anything, he’d been aware of a growing sense of expectation. It wasn’t just him. Those around him kept glancing toward the entrance to the room, as if awaiting royalty. He knew the honoree wasn’t expected to attend. Had he missed something? The mayor was already here. Was the governor coming?
He decided to relax and see what happened. Whoever was keeping everyone busy casting surreptitious glances toward the door would eventually arrive and the mystery would be solved.
A soft sigh spread across the huge room, as if everyone exhaled at once. Sebastian realized that he turned in absolute synchronization with every other person in the room.
Silence fell, a few people pushed to get a better look. At times like this, he appreciated his above average height, because it was a simple thing merely to peer over the heads of those between him and the entry.
There was a small cluster of people blocking the wide doorway into the ballroom, but they moved aside as if clearing way for royalty. Sebastian realized he’d lifted a bit to his toes in order to see who or what everyone was looking at.
The final person moved out of his line of vision.
Sebastian’s breath caught in his throat.
She was taller than average, as slim and graceful as any woodland creature, and yet when she turned and gazed in his direction, he sensed pure predator beneath the tawny curls that cascaded in wild disarray over her shoulders and waving around her slim hips.
Without a doubt, he’d never seen anyone as lovely or as mesmerizing in his entire life. The woman smiling and greeting those who met her like subjects bowing to a queen, moved within an aura of light and color that jolted his psychic senses on a level never before touched.
He’d always seen auras—they were a normal part of his vision and he rarely thought much of them. They were a part of the whole, just as important in his perception of each individual as the color of their hair or the shade of their eyes.
He’d never seen anyone like this woman. She moved in a shimmer of russet and gold, but the brilliance of her aura actually reflected in the physical plane, shimmering over her gown in a scarlet wave of light and life. So many shades of red, from the deepest blood red to a shade bordering on orange.
She wore her will, her power and her energy like a crimson cloak, radiating life and courage, and enough blatant sensuality that he felt the connection clear across the room.
His body reacted on a level totally separate from his brain, though he wondered how many other men in the room were suddenly as aroused as he was. He sensed a thread of desire drawing all of them closer, but he fought the pull. Fought the need that pulsed deep and steady on a level he’d never once experienced.
He planted his feet, even though they wanted to move. He felt his wolf rise and forced that creature back as well.
Who was she?
What was she?
He stared at her as she raised her eyes and glanced in his direction. Then she quickly turned away, and once again appeared to focus on the small crowd that pushed closer. He recognized the mayor and a few city officials, but they were nothing. No one of interest. Only the woman.
His heart thundered in his chest with the certainty that she was every bit as aware of him as he was of her. He pushed, sending a soft yet powerful mental command, calling her to him.
She fought him. Smiling, shaking hands, sharing air kisses with one person after another, she slowly worked her way across the room. Her aura spiked, the red growing brighter, stronger, and he knew she drew on her own psychic power as she continued to ignore him.
Look at me. Now. Raise your head and look at me.
I think not. You’re much too pushy.
Stunned, Sebastian took a step backward. She’d heard him. Heard him and answered him telepathically. She’d not raised her head, not looked his way, but she’d still managed to put him in his place.
Damn. She was absolutely magnificent.
He started slowly across the room, working his way through the throng that continued moving in her direction, as if they merely needed a chance to be close, to touch her hand, to speak to her.
The same way he did. He might have felt like a fool, except she was so obviously enjoying herself, so entirely involved in the people pressing all around that he couldn’t deny the joy he felt in her pleasure.
It was as if she took the good will of those around her and sent it back tenfold. His father had charisma, but he couldn’t touch this young woman. She was charisma personified, a veritable magnet, drawing everyone to her. Who in the hell was she?
He turned to a matronly woman standing beside him. She, too, was trying to get close. “I don’t know who she is? That woman who just came in. Do you?”
She looked at him as if he’d just stepped out of a cave. “Why, that’s Lily Cheval. Her father is the one being honored tonight. He couldn’t be here, so Lily’s attending in his place.”
Lily Cheval. He should have known. “Thank you,” he said, but the woman had managed to move a few steps ahead and wasn’t paying him any attention at all. Her focus, hell, the focus of every person in the room, was entirely on Ms. Cheval.
Sebastian turned his head and studied her again. His father had lied. She wasn’t merely attractive, she was absolutely breathtaking. From her waist-length tawny curls to the dark caramel skin barely covered in some sort of fabric that flashed like dark fire.
With the crimson flame of her aura all around, she was a burning torch of pure sensual energy. The crowd had moved closer now, and Sebastian was no more than ten or twelve feet from her.
She raised her head, and he was drowning. Drowning in eyes of deepest amber, eyes so pure, yet filled with so many secrets, he didn’t care if he never found the surface again.
A sharp pain pierced his skull, a sense of intrusion, of foul air and darkness.
Sebastian blinked. Lily stared at him for a brief moment. Her aura spiked a brilliant lavender, then faded to a muddy brown. Her eyes went wide, her hand went to her throat. Slowly, gracefully, she crumpled to the floor.
I hope that gives you something to think about until the book comes out on April 30! And while I don’t have copies to give away as prizes, yet, I do have copies of some of the original Wolf Tales books, including some of the older titles. I’ll choose one winner, and we’ll see if I have any of the ones you might be missing to send as your prize.
***Kate's winner is Cheryl Lemon! Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your mailing information. Thanks!***