☆ Please join me in welcoming author Kay Doherty to Stories That Make You Smile! Kay is here today celebrating the recent release of book 2 in her fabulous Chevalier series, Hearts of Blood. She’s brought along a generous giveaway and excerpt. Pull up a chair and join the conversation as Kay talks with us about her writing routine. ☆
Omega wolf shifter, Vance, and the rest of his small pack have finally found an Alpha willing to take them on and were still trying to regain their footing when the McBane Pack attacked them. When a vampire appears in front of him, Vance realizes he’s looking into the ice-blue eyes of his mate, and the fact that his mate is something other than wolf scares him.
Sakima knew the wolf shifter was his destined companion the moment he scented him at Elysium, but claiming the gorgeous young Omega wolf is a dangerous proposition. Vance and his unconventional pack have attracted the attention of the vampire coven. As the owner of Elysium, Sakima has been asked to use the club to gather information on the powerful interspecies pack and its Alpha.
Unfortunately for Vance and Sakima, the vampire coven and the continued attacks by the McBane Pack are only a portion of their problems. Amidst concerns over Alpha Tanner’s abilities growing with Sakima’s addition to the pack, a spurned ex targets Vance in an attempt to remove him from Sakima’s life, and Elysium becomes a hot bed for interspecies mingling where anyone could be an enemy.
Sakima glanced around the yard at the wolf shifters, both in human and wolf form, before settling his gaze on the one he’d come for—his destined companion. He had waited hundreds of years for this creature to arrive. The beautiful golden-brown wolf whined and took a small step back, crouched in wariness, tail tucked.
“What do you want, vampire?” the Alpha asked.
“My name is Sakima Hawke, and I want him,” Sakima answered as he took in the tawny wolf.
The wolf began to shake, making Sakima’s skin itch. This creature was his destined companion; he should never be fearful of him. Sakima squatted so he was eye level with his wolf, his gaze never straying from him, in an attempt to show through action he was not a threat. He’d known the moment the tawny-haired man had brushed against him at Elysium they were meant to be together, but the place had been packed that night and the wolf shifter had quickly melted away into the throng. Sakima had searched the club, attempting to pick the man out from the crowd, but the wolf shifter had turned out to be quite elusive. He’d lost the wolf’s scent for weeks before finding it again quite suddenly moments ago while on his way home.
It was an act of the fates Sakima had decided on a leisurely stroll rather than traveling home at hyperspeed after visiting one of his oldest friends: a human donor who was declining in health. Excitement he’d not felt in decades thrummed through his veins at the sight of the wolf now crouched before him. The sharp tang of fear wafting from him increased Sakima’s discomfort. Perhaps the wolf wasn’t aware of what they were to each other yet, though it was more likely he was simply uneducated about vampires. Sakima was well aware of the fear his kind generated. Too many rumors, myths, and misunderstandings circulated about vampires.
Many believed they were the walking dead, that anyone they fed from would become a vampire as well, but that was all fallacy. Sakima was no more dead than anyone else present, though he knew he appeared to be with his pale skin, long white hair, and ice-blue eyes. He could love, mate, and feed from his partner without changing the beautiful creature. Sakima would take great care in helping his destined understand he was no more of a threat than the Elemental, dragon, or Alpha he kept company with, each of whom had their own myths and rumors.
Desire to touch the gorgeous animal before him had Sakima extending a hand. He did so with extreme caution, so as not to frighten the wolf further, but was unsuccessful. The wolf curled into himself, becoming as small as his bulk would allow, crouching lower to the ground on shaky legs, ears flattened to his skull. Sakima lowered his hand to the grass but otherwise remained still. Instilling trust with a shifter while they were in animal form being ruled a great deal by their animal instincts was difficult. This would be far easier if the young man would shift back to human, though Sakima understood why he wouldn’t do so at this moment. When the man shifted, he would be naked, which the shifter may view as a vulnerability in his human form.
“You must know I won’t hurt you,” Sakima said softly. “We are destined companions.”
The wolf whined and turned to the pack leader. If Sakima understood wolf shifters well, there was a bond between his wolf and the Alpha that allowed them to speak telepathically. He’d never been jealous of such a thing before, but he didn’t like his fated companion being able to communicate telepathically with anyone other than him. Unfortunately, the telepathic bond was an inevitable part of being in a wolf pack. And if he wanted to claim this wolf shifter, he would have to accept the pack as a whole because there would be no removing his companion from them. Not safely. Sakima rose to his feet, his heart sinking a bit when his wolf scurried away to hide within the house. He gave no reaction outwardly, but he gave a mental sigh as he turned to face the Alpha.
“My apologies,” the Alpha said. “I asked him to go inside for a moment. He’s a bit overwhelmed.”
“Frightened, you mean,” Sakima corrected.
The Alpha wasn’t concerned with semantics. “We’ve all been through quite a lot recently, and this is a bit of a surprise. I’m sure you understand…Sakima? May I call you that?”
Sakima inclined his head in acceptance. “And you would be?”
“Tanner McBane. I’m the Alpha, and Vance is a member of my pack.”
Vance. A unique name for a uniquely beautiful wolf. Sakima scanned the “pack,” his gaze drifting from a gray wolf to a gray-and-brown wolf to a dragon to a white wolf with wild eyes to an Elemental, finally coming to rest once again on the Alpha.
“Quite the unconventional pack, if I may say.”
“Yes, I know.”
“Word has spread through the paranormal ranks of a pack of outcasts who have gained more power than is considered safe or wise. I feel I should be concerned for the welfare of my destined companion being bonded to such a pack.”
The statement was met with several growls and a strong wind that only affected Sakima, whipping his long hair in every direction. Sakima smiled. Vance was clearly cared for and protected. Tanner glanced at the dragon on his left.
“Have you ever heard of a wolf mating a vampire? Chevaliers aside.”
“No,” the dragon answered. “But I’d never before heard of a wolf mating an Elemental either. Or a dragon.”
The expression that passed between dragon and Alpha was not missed by Sakima. The name Chevalier shook him, but he pushed the memory aside—a centuries-old mistake best left to the dust of time.
“So, the rumors are true,” Sakima said.
“What rumors?” the Elemental asked.
“Of same-sex, interspecies matings taking place openly. I had hoped, given what I now know of my own destined companion, but had remained skeptical,” Sakima answered.
By way of introduction, Tanner said, “The dragon shifter is Luca. He’s my mate. The Elemental is Deacon and his mate is the white wolf, Ross. The gray wolf is Ean, and the grayish brown wolf is Theran. If you truly plan to claim Vance as your mate, you, too, will be an openly mated interspecies couple. You need to be comfortable with that if you’re going to become part of the pack.”
Sakima showed plenty of fang when he spoke. “Oh, I have every intention of claiming my fated mate, Alpha, but I said nothing of joining your pack.”
Movement at the patio doors drew Sakima’s attention. Vance in human form was as handsome as his wolf was beautiful; golden-brown hair and the lithe, toned physique all wolf shifters possessed. Those hazel eyes showed fear and hesitation, but also recognition, making Sakima believe Vance knew they were destined companions. Vance simply wasn’t accepting it, yet.
“You would risk his safety and sanity by taking him from his pack, severing his pack bond? What kind of mate would do such a thing?” Deacon asked through clenched teeth.
Sakima was surprised by the vehemence and animosity coming from the Elemental. He’d made the simple suggestion that claiming his wolf did not necessarily equate to him joining the pack. Nothing more. Though perhaps removing his destined companion was something to consider, given the volatile nature the pack exuded.
“I won’t leave my pack,” Vance said softly.
His voice was melodic to Sakima’s ears. Despite the fear and uncertainty, Vance’s words didn’t waver. They were strong and decisive, despite the fact the wolf was still hiding behind the pack. Vance had donned a pair of shorts and a tank top, leaving his toned arms, legs, and feet bared to Sakima’s perusal, and he soaked in the sight.
“I know what I’m about to suggest will be difficult for you,” Tanner said. “But I think you should leave. Perhaps stay away for a few days to give Vance time to acclimate to the idea of having a vampire for a mate.”
“Not as difficult as you might think,” Sakima said.
He’d been living a solitary life for nearly forty years, and he planned to use the time apart from Vance to prepare for the wolf to join him. He moved with vampiric speed past the pack to stand before Vance. While he was willing to leave for a short time, he wouldn’t allow his companion to put the pack between them. When he stopped, he stood face-to-face with his beautiful man. Vance yelped and jumped back, but Sakima caught him with an arm around his waist, aborting any attempt at escape. Heat immediately seeped through the cloth of his shirt, warming his skin.
“Until next time, pet.”
Sakima placed a chaste kiss on Vance’s lips so as not to cut him with his fangs. Not yet. He would draw blood from Vance only after they became lovers, and Vance demonstrated his willingness. As quickly as he had appeared before Vance, he disappeared, leaving the outcast pack and his destined mate behind. It was a temporary situation, after all. Now that he knew where his wolf companion was, he felt far more relaxed and willing to let things progress at a pace comfortable for Vance.
I’ve recently heard a lot of talk around writing traditions and rituals, and noticed that I have a few things I do regularly before opening a document and vomiting words I pray will become a riveting manuscript.
First is a giant mug of coffee. The one I have holds 4-5 cups and will last just about half that many hours. Occasionally, a refill will become necessary if I’ve committed to a full 10 hours of writing.
I have all my reference material and notes within reach and my desk is surrounded by colorful, inspirational images. One one side of my desk are three metaphysical candles that I light when I feel blocked or just want an extra boost. One is creativity, one is productivity, and one is money. If I find I’m just in the mood for a lovely scent, I will light rose or lavender scented incense.
Another must is my space heater because my office is in the lower level of the house and is much colder than the upper levels. I’ll put Pandora on to Two Steps from Hell and get my mojo flowing.
Of course, I can and do write without these things, but when I do some or all of the above, I’m far more productive.
Kay Doherty is an omnisexual/polysexual who lives in Colorado with her poly-family, Mike, Keri, and Tigz. Her house is overrun with cats and dogs. Family is important to her so there are daily texts, frequent visits to her parents, and constant banter with her brothers. She happily suffers a severe addiction to coffee and Mexican food. She loves to read and write and can easily become consumed by it for hours, much to the dismay of Mike and Keri (Tigz is an enabler). On occasion she can be convinced to venture out into the world of the living despite being annoyed by the sun shining in her face.