Thank you so much for visiting Written Butterfly with me today! It’s such a pleasure to chat with you. So tell me…
Q) Is your book part of a series? If so, can you tell us about it?
My Two Front Fangs is Book 6 in the A Pack of His Own series, following the antics of a pack of werewolves who live near Buffalo, New York.
Q) How do you select the names of your characters?
Oo! This is fun. Usually I roll a mental die and the first letter to occur to me is often the first letter of their surname. Then I try to figure out a first name that sounds good with the surname.
Q) What was the hardest (or easiest) scene to write?
The hardest scene is always the last scene, not because it’s not all there for me to write already but because I dread the end of a trilogy or even a sextet like A Pack of His Own. I guess there could always be more books, but saying goodbye to characters I love is always difficult.
Q) Do you have a favorite line in this book?
“All I want for Solstice is my two front fangs… so I can bite you on the ass.”
Q) What type of research did you do for your book?
This is one of my favorite parts of writing fantasy: I only have to do research in my own books. I hate research actually. That’s why I didn’t become an English professor like I was planning ten years ago.
Q) Do you write in a linear fashion or do you jump from scene to scene and then go back and “fill in the blanks”?
My outlines are very linear. Here’s what one looks like:
Chapter, scene, POV
Q) Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
I absolutely do both. My newest ARC reader had read the first book in A Pack of His Own but not the interveneing books. I asked her to just read Book 6 and see if it stood alone. When she told me it did, I was thrilled. Although the SearchLight universe is a bunch of interconnected storiesI want any book to be a stand-alone. The exception ispicking up a book out of the trilogy “Wolf Schooled” because, in the first book, a dramatic event happens that needs to be understood to fully understand the second two books.
Q) What are your upcoming projects?
Oo! Favorite subject. I’ve just finished rewriting, for the tenth time, a novel I started in high school. It’s called “The Prince and the Painter” and it’s about two men who survive being stalked, attacked, and injured. It’s an HEA romance, but it is very dark.
My other project is still in the outline stage. It’s the third book in a contemporary romance about two gay men in a small town, one who’s blind and one who was molested by a pillar of the community when he was young. The first two stories take place when the men, Mike and Aidan, are twenty. The third installment, Heartwood 3: Yew and Thorn, takes place ten years later after they’ve been married for a decade and have started their own family.
As the holidays approach, Luis and Charlie are looking forward to spending time together. But after Charlie’s mother commits suicide, a whole host of problems arise to threaten Charlie and Luis’s marriage. Can the healing promise of Christmas save them?
“All I want for Solstice is my two front fangs… so I can bite you on the ass.”
Luis was singing under his breath but some of the other trackers probably heard him. Ethan would; he was a werewolf. Wind Child might; he was an elemental and who knew what kind of powers he did or didn’t have? Garrett didn’t have sharp ears, although his eyes were keen as a hawk’s so maybe he saw Luis’s mouth moving and could read his lips. As for Pierce, he probably missed everything, human that he was.
Except it was Pierce who said, “Whatever you’re muttering over there, Delgado, keep it to yourself, would you?”
“If you can’t tell what it is, why does it bother you?”
“Because everyone else is snickering and I hate being left out of the joke.”
“I’ll share,” Pierce’s tracker partner, Garrett, said. “Although it’s nothing to write home about, just kindergarten humor.” And he repeated Luis’s song, his voice rich and melodious.
Under the cover of Garrett’s singing, Ethan muttered, “I thought you’d be singing ‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas.’”
“Only if I actually knew my Life Dancer was going to be home. ‘Home in my dreams’ is not my idea of a happy ending to all this waiting.” His beloved, Charlie, alpha above all alphas, had been gone more often than he was home lately. “Putting out fires” was how Charlie said it.
In addition to playing negotiator/firefighter, Charlie had been seeking… well, permission wasn’t the right word. Neither was approval. He wanted to practice shifting from human to wolf. Being a half werewolf, he’d been under the impression, as all the wolves in North America were, that only full-blooded werewolves could change to four-legged guise. And then the research came down: half wolves weren’t subject to the call of the moon, required to change when that heavenly orb was full, but they could still change at will.
The alphas below Charlie, although they had no true say over what he did or didn’t do, had kicked up a mighty stink about their leader risking his life. Because while the change was possible, no one knew exactly how dangerous it would be.
Luis was confident that Charlie would be okay. Wasn’t shifting only dangerous for pups who weren’t strong enough because of their age or constitution?
His cell phone buzzed. Luis tended to keep it in the top drawer of his desk because the buzzing seemed loud to his psychic vampire ears. Now he drew it out and glanced at the screen casually, most of his attention still on Ethan, who was looking at him sympathetically.
Tilthos Charles: Be there in ten minutes. Meet you upstairs.
Luis almost dropped the phone.
“What is it?” asked Pierce, the nosy bastard.
Luis saw by Ethan’s face that he didn’t need to ask; Luis’s tracker partner was sharp, particularly when it came to reading those closest to him.
Luis got up, set his cell on the desk, and headed for the door.
“Trouble?” Pierce asked, getting to his feet.
“Doesn’t look like it,” Garrett said. “Let him go.”
Luis started for the stairs at a brisk walk. One did not run in SearchLight headquarters, even if said headquarters was small and considered a “backwater” by the rest of the organization.
He grinned. His Life Dancer was here, in this building, or very nearly.
Luis strode out of the stairwell and into the antechamber of the director’s office. He smiled at the secretary, the mother of one of the Tilthos Pack’s members. He addressed her in Spanish, his native language and hers. “Good morning,” he said in his mother tongue. “How are you this morning?”
She smiled. She’d been treating him like a son since moving to the United States to be closer to her daughter. “Good morning, Luis, my son. Do you need to see Agent Shalling?”
“Nope. Tilthos Charles is back.” He was careful to call his Charlie “Tilthos Charles” whenever he spoke of him, and his cell phone said his mate’s title and full name. Nicknames were verboten among the werewolves. The only reason Charlie was “Charlie” to Luis was because he’d been cursed with the nickname when he was young, as a sign of disrespect, and he’d claimed it as a name of power. He was Charlie to himself and always would be. And he was Charlie to his nearest and dearest, at least the wolves who could get over themselves and their sense of propriety enough to recognize that calling him Charlie wasn’t a slur. At least not in their alpha’s mind.
“He’s not here yet,” Luis was told.
He nodded. “I know. I just wanted to be waiting when he finally arrives.”
The door to the director’s office opened and Agent Andrea Shalling stepped out. As always when she saw Luis, she looked as if she’d been sucking on a lemon. “What is the purpose of all this noise?”
Luis, cognizant of his role as Charlie’s mate and yet his lesser status as a tracker rather than a member of the leadership, asked, “Will you speak with me privately, Agent Shalling?”
She sighed. “All right.” She walked back into the director’s, into Charlie’s, office.
Luis followed. When the door was closed, he approached her and, keeping his voice low, said, “Calling another language ‘noise’ is disrespectful.”
She flushed. “I wasn’t calling Spanish noise but your quite loud voice, Agent Delgado.”
Luis could have cheerfully decked her. Instead, he announced, “Tilthos Charles will be here momentarily.”
Her eyes widened for the briefest instant. Then she said, her voice casual, “I wonder why he didn’t text or call me.”
Luis hid a smirk.
There was the muffled sound of tapping, like hard-soled shoes on tile and conversation outside the door and then the knob turned.
Charlie, looking both tired and exultant, walked in. In his left hand was a briefcase. In his right was his white cane. He smiled at Andrea and walked to Luis. In front of God and everybody, he kissed Luis.
And kissed him.
And kissed him. His tongue was in Luis’s mouth and his arms were around Luis’s waist, drawing him close. He made a very small, contented noise before drawing back.
“I missed you,” he murmured, resting his forehead against Luis’s. “Three weeks is just too damn long.”
Luis grunted his agreement.
Charlie stepped back. “How are things going, Agent Shalling?”
She began laying out all the minutiae of running an office. Luis tuned out and concentrated on the hand Charlie had laid at the small of his back. That touch was possessive and Luis loved it.
Luis heard Charlie’s voice in his mind then and he almost purred with pleasure. I should be home for the next month. Barring emergencies. I’ve settled everything I could.
Charlie spoke after Agent Shalling was finished. “It sounds like you have everything well in hand. I’ll be back in a few minutes to read over the reports you have for me.” Then he guided Luis, with gentle pressure, out of the office, through the antechamber, and to the stairwell.
The look in Charlie’s eyes spoke of long-delayed sex. Luis groaned but felt compelled to say, “We can’t hope for privacy here.”
Charlie dropped his cane; it clacked on the cement floor. “Even the semblance of privacy is helpful right now.” And he pushed Luis back against the wall and claimed his mouth.
Luis’s knees were like water and he braced himself against the painted drywall. He gave back as good as he got, so happy to see Charlie and touch him that he felt like a low electrical current was running through him, making his nerves jump. The hair stood up on the back of his neck and he was stiff below the waist.
Charlie rubbed his crotch against Luis’s, grinding their covered members together.
“I want you so badly,” the alpha wolf whispered. Then he drew back and sighed. “But I can’t have you all to myself until we’re home.”
Luis, heady with pleasure, reached down and rubbed a thumb over Charlie’s obvious erection.
Charlie smirked. Then he untucked his shirt and covered his groin with the fabric. “Enough for now.”
“You started it.” Luis pouted for a moment, mostly to make Charlie laugh.
His Life Dancer, what the werewolves called his mate, did laugh. Then he said, “I have other news. The rest of the alphas have come to a consensus. I have their go-ahead to attempt a shifting.”
Luis could see the excitement in Charlie’s dark brown eyes. His skin, several shades darker brown than Luis’s own Hispanic-born complexion, was flushed with the same.
“At first, they wanted some other half werewolf to try,” Charlie went on. “But I was able to convince them.” He shook his head and a rueful expression played across his features. “Just because I’m visually impaired, they thought I would be weaker. Damn werewolves and their prejudices against people, especially other wolves, with disabilities.”
Luis touched his Life Dancer’s cheek. “But you convinced them.”
“I did.” Charlie crouched, felt about for a moment, and came up with his cane’s grip securely in his hand. “We have another couple of hours here, but then I want to take you home and make passionate love to you.”
Luis kissed him again. “I want you right now, and I don’t want to be separated, even by a single floor, for another two hours. But I’ll manage.”
Charlie closed his eyes for a moment and Luis felt the brush of his thoughts again. I’ll make it as quick as I can. With the telepathic words came an image, fuzzy because of Charlie’s visual impairment, of the two of them laying in bed, naked, together.
Luis captured and sharpened the picture. He showed Charlie his, Luis’s, lips, closing around the dark werewolf’s cock.
Charlie groaned very quietly. Then he said, his voice husky, “Back to work. Much as I don’t want to.”
They parted, Charlie going back toward his office on the third floor and Luis going down the stairs, back to Tracker Central.
“A moment in darkness…an eternity with a lover.”