Hi! Thank you, Addison, for letting me drop by today. [Hello! 👋 I’m thrilled to have you here today!] A few days ago, my latest story, The Bear Claw, was released, so I thought I’d talk a little about it.
If you haven’t met me, I’m Holly Day, and I write holiday stories. That does not mean I write Christmas stories year-round, though right now… 😂
I’m sure you’re aware of all the crazy holidays out there. Today, for example, it’s Iconic American Restaurants Day. Since I’m Swedish and have never been to the US, that doesn’t spark much inspiration in me, to be honest, but you get the idea.
The Bear Claw is an M/M paranormal alternate universe story where every supernatural being either is dominant or submissive – not in a BDSM kind of way, but in a pack-structure kind of way – and I wrote it for Be an Angel Day, which was on the 22nd of August. There are no angels in the story, only an alpha werewolf who thinks he acts like an angel.
One of the main characters in this story is Pitch Rhys, the alpha werewolf mentioned above. He’s looking for a mate but won’t settle for anything less than a true mate.
Shiro Amano is our other main character. He’s not a shifter, but he’s supernatural in the way that he can put emotions in cakes and cookies. It comes in handy since he owns a bakery.
Shiro does not, under any circumstances, want a mate. He’s been mated before, and the day his ex-mate died was the best day of his life. So when Pitch shows up in the bakery, he does his best to ignore the pull of being close to his true mate.
Shiro’s co-worker and best friend is a submissive woman with the ability to make the coffee either be the best you’ve ever had, bland, or taste like rat poison. The thing with Astra is that she was not meant to be called Astra at all.
I had her named Aster. I don’t remember why I wanted her to be named Aster. I often have a plan, and Aster means star, so I guess I had some idea where that would be important, but it fell away in the process 😆. Sadly, I do that a lot. I find names with meaning, and I forget why I wanted the character to have a name with that meaning.
But, as I was writing, I kept misspelling her name. I wrote a paragraph and had to go back and fix it until I finally gave up. She was obviously meant to be Astra and not Aster.
Aster means star in Greek, Astra means star in Latin, and if you want the Norse meaning, it’s divine strength.
One day, when I was in the garden, one of the chickens kept following my oldest daughter around, sitting on her lap, shoulder, head, standing on her feet and so on. I said we have to name her – we’ve hatched around 20 baby chicks this year, and almost every one of them has names. The girls told me she already had a name. Her name is Astra.
I chuckled and said: Oh, like the vaccine.
The girls stared at me as if I was insane, and I told hubby, it must be a subconscious thing. They must have heard it on the news, and then when naming the birds, they thought it was a good name.
All fine and dandy. I grabbed a cup of coffee and went back to my story and stared at the name of Shiro’s best friend… 😳😂
Pitch kept his face blank despite wanting to frown. All he’d said was that Shiro needed someone to take care of him—all submissives needed someone to take care of them. He and Bernard were proof of it… or Bernard more than him.
Bernard came here after finishing his shift at the bar every day to walk Shiro and Astra to work. It should be enough for Shiro to understand he needed a dominant. He gave Shiro one last look before heading for the table where Astra had put two cups of coffee.
Bernard sat, took a sip, and smiled at Astra.
Pitch sat, took a sip, and almost spit it out. “Fecking shit!” He hadn’t meant to growl, and when Astra raised an eyebrow at him, he took a calming breath. “There is something wrong with my coffee, Astra.”
“No, I don’t think so. I told you it would taste like rat poison.”
“Unless I…” Left Shiro alone. He shook his head and set the cup aside. “I see.”
She straightened her back. “I know your kind.”
She rolled her eyes. “The kind who thinks that because you can order someone around, you have the right to. Shiro works ten times as hard as you do, and yet you think you have the right to harass him.”
“I wasn’t harassing him.”
Bernard’s gaze jumped between them.
“No? What did you say to make him panic so hard I could smell it?”
Pitch gritted his teeth. “Only that he needed someone to take care of him.”
Both she and Bernard snorted which made Pitch glare at Bernard. “He does. He’s working too hard, and you said it yourself, it’s not safe for him to walk the streets at night.”
“Because of stupid alphas.” Astra couldn’t meet his gaze, but she glared at his nose for several seconds. “It’s not Shiro’s fault people like you think they have the right to dictate his life.”
Pitch didn’t respond. He wasn’t dictating Shiro’s life. He could, but he wasn’t.
Bernard finished his coffee, a bit faster than could be considered normal. “I stink. I have to change shirt. Will you be okay without me for a few minutes?”
“Depends on if dickhead here is gonna stay civil or pull some stupid dominant shit.” Astra crossed her arms over her chest and glared at Pitch’s nose again. She had more spunk than he’d given her credit for.
“I’ll guard them with my life.” He’d meant to make his tone mocking, but it came out all serious. He could guard them. Crazy as it was, he didn’t want some drunken dominants to saunter in here and disturb Shiro while he was baking. He’d appeared contented while he was baking.
Bernard got up, and Astra took the coffee cups, both the empty and the full. As soon as Bernard had left, she put a fresh cup in front of him, and he cautiously took a sip. Divine. The best coffee he’d ever had.
He shrugged off his leather jacket and scratched one heavily tattooed arm before taking another sip. “Is it only coffee or can you change the taste of any food.”
“Only liquid.” She wiped away a drop she’d spilled on the table. “Shiro does baked goods.”
“All kinds of baked goods?”
She shrugged. “It’s not the same. My skill is that I can either make it the best you’ve ever had, bland, or terrible. Should Bernard have taken a sip of your coffee before he’d only taste coffee, nothing special. It’s limited to you, or you know the person I’m pouring it for. It’s a good skill when working in a place like this, but it doesn’t have a great impact on the world.”
Pitch frowned. “Don’t say that. You could have this place overflowing with customers. It could bring in a lot of money.”
She narrowed her eyes. “Money you’d take.”
“What?” He was too stunned to get angry. Did she think he’d steal from them?
“I see the way you’re watching Shiro. He doesn’t want a mate.”
“Remember the taste of the coffee.”
Pitch scratched the stubble on his cheek. “He needs someone to take care of him.”
“No, he doesn’t. He needs to be allowed to live his life without dancing to the whims of his puppet master. He runs a business; he doesn’t need a dominant to sweep in and steal it from him.”
Steal it? It was better if dominants owned businesses since they couldn’t be manipulated.
Astra huffed. “You’re still not getting it.” With a shake of her head, she went behind the counter and started organizing the display shelf.
In a world where all supernatural beings are either dominant or submissive, Shiro Amano doesn’t have many choices. As a submissive, any dominant walking into his bakery can order him around. He hates it. All he wants is to live his life in peace and bake pastries he can spike with emotions far away from obnoxious alphas.
Pitch Rhys wants a mate, but he won’t settle for anything but a true mate. As a powerful wolf shifter, he has subs flocking around him, but his true mate is hiding in the kitchen of a bakery and refuses to see him. He can order him to, of course, but since he threatened Pitch with a knife when he allowed his power to leak, he doesn’t think it’s the way to go. Instead, he’s settling to see how many pastries and cups of coffee he can consume in a day.
Two years ago, Shiro escaped an abusive relationship, and he’s not looking for a new one, but when word gets out Shiro is an unmated sub, dominants are invading the bakery. Pitch does his best to scare them off so he can woo Shiro at his own pace, but things escalate too fast. Will Pitch be able to get Shiro to trust him before it’s too late? Can he convince him he wants nothing more than to make him happy and keep him safe?
According to Holly Day, no day should go by uncelebrated and all of them deserve a story. If she’ll have the time to write them remains to be seen. She lives in rural Sweden with a husband, four children, more pets than most, and wouldn’t last a day without coffee.
Holly gets up at the crack of dawn most days of the week to write gay romance stories. She believes in equality in fiction and in real life. Diversity matters. Representation matters. Visibility matters. We can change the world one story at the time.
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