Fantasy/Paranormal/New Adult Romance
Date Published: 11/15/2013
To complicate matters, Cassie owes Evan her life, making it difficult for her to deny him anything he really wants. And he wants her. Sparks fly when they team up to find two girls missing from summer camp, but long-buried secrets may ruin their hopes for happiness.
“I smell trouble.“
Evan Blackwood had been staring blankly at a news report about a hunt for a man who had robbed a local bank earlier in the week. Now, he stared blankly at his best friend and cousin, Scott Lee. Evan had hoped Scott would help take his mind off the woman he loved – the woman who had flatly rejected him. Instead, Scott was making things worse with dire predictions… predictions Evan had no choice but to take seriously. Scott was, after all, a powerful intuitive, whose gift had only seemed to improve after his unfortunate run-in with a werewolf ten years earlier.
“What do you expect me to do?“ Evan asked. “Hit her over the head with a club and drag her by the hair back to my cave?“
Scott snorted. “You never had to do any of that. You had her right here, in your cave, and you let her walk out. You could order her back, but you won’t.“
Evan didn’t dignify the comment with a response. Scott’s instincts had always served him better when it came to physical threats rather than emotional ones, and Scott didn’t want to hear that Cassie would hate Evan for forcing her to stay with him. In Scott’s world, after she was safe, gratitude would soften her heart. Or if not that, then at least time. If Evan had ever thought anything of the sort, her reaction to his saving her life, and the life debt she now owed him, set him straight.
He had to admit, his initial marriage proposal hadn’t been at all well done. Nerves he barely acknowledged had fumbled the question into a near-command, Marry me, and she had freaked out. Still, he had hoped she would want to marry him. Now, he wasn’t even sure how he could try to convince her without inadvertently coercing her. The life debt made it difficult for her to refuse anything she knew he wanted, and impossible for her to refuse anything he directly commanded.
Scott wasn’t the first one to suggest he just claim her, either. Evan’s father, Victor Blackwood, had said much the same thing, adding: I want to see you steal that girl right out from under her father’s nose. At least Scott’s motives were better.
“I spotted one of the Travises in town today,“ Scott said.
Evan nearly growled. “One of these days, we really need to run that family out of town.“
“Hey, you know I’d help you with that if it came to it, but it isn’t going to happen anytime soon.“
“They wouldn’t go after Cassie.“
“I wouldn’t put anything past them.“
He had a point, Evan grudgingly admitted. The Travises had always lived just outside of civilized behavior, and they seemed to make their own rules.
“And I told you about the Blairs asking questions,“ Scott added.
“You also said they were probably just trying to stir up trouble.“ The Blairs were mind mages, adept at manipulating people’s behaviors with a few well-chosen, well-timed words.
“They may be succeeding.“
“Or they may be hoping to goad me into acting too soon, pushing her away.“
Scott didn’t have an answer to that. Perhaps it was just as well that he didn’t understand matters of the heart, since he was too dangerous by half, the beast within him prone to violence. Scott was, perhaps, the only man in town Evan didn’t know if he could beat in a fight. He only hoped he never had to find out for sure.
“Come on.“ Evan shut off the TV with a flicker of will, not even bothering with the remote, resting within easy arm’s reach on the end table next to him. “I can’t stay here anymore tonight. We’ll find her, make sure she’s safe, and if not, send a message to anyone stupid enough to try anything.“
* * *
How I met Cassie
Cassie came to me, I didn’t go to her.
I finished The Immortality Virus late in the fall of 2008, and though I took pride in my second novel, I felt worn out (creatively). When the new year came, bringing with it the opportunity for all kinds of writerly resolutions, I decided I needed to take the year off. I would read, blog, journal, but otherwise give my muse time to heal.
I didn’t make it a year. It turns out, I really am a writer. Writers write. We can’t not write. Taking the pressure off my muse did turn out to have been a great idea, but putting a time frame on it was a bit naive.
Cassie came to me in mid-February, as I played on the floor with me (then) 9-month-old daughter. I won’t go so far as to say she popped into my head fully formed, but it was close. I sat bolt upright, my eyes probably doing that cartoon bulge, as a light bulb appeared over my head.
What if… What if the hero of a fantasy story was the only one in it without magic?
I wrote the first line of the story as soon as my daughter went down for a nap. It read: “My parents think the longer the name, the more powerful the sorcerer, so they named me Nicolas Merlin Apollonius Roger Scot. You can call me Nick.”
Okay, so it needed work. It didn’t take me long to realize I wanted a female heroine. Nicolas (who does not go by Nick and might set you on fire if you tried) became the oldest of Cassie’s siblings.
After that, Cassie told me new things about herself every day. I had a rough draft by the end of June.
a Rafflecopter giveaway