How Troy got his own book.
When I started writing my first Mpreg novel (The Cub Club) I hadn’t plotted out most of the residents of Lone Wolves Ranch. That is the joy and curse of writing by the seat of my pants: the book succeeds or fails based on whether I can imagine what happens next.
As far as secondary characters go, I doubt I could have planned an omega romance writer named Troy. He just popped into my head as a way to draw out the main hero’s back story. What better way to find out things about a character than have a busybody taking him under his wing?
Over the next two books of the Lone Wolves Ranch series (The Shifter’s Shotgun Mating and The Slightly Supernatural Sheriff) Troy would pop up more often. He was either solving problems or creating them, while chattering on about his latest roman à clef with ridiculous titles like The Baron’s Barren, Barefoot Omega or The Bastard Billionaire’s Beastly Bargain.
Not only did he turn out to be a fun character to write, but a lot of reader reviews began mentioning his name…something unusual for supporting characters. And they all wanted to read his story.
And so, Troy’s Happy Ending is the result.
This is a different book from the others in the series, since much of the action happens before Troy ever gets to Lone Wolves Ranch. It is part coming-out story, part coming-of-age story, part run-away pregnant teen, and part second chance at love.
Despite themes that can become heavy, I tried to use Troy’s wit and positive attitude to keep the book from getting too angsty. I don’t mind if my characters are confronted with hurdles but I take no joy in torturing the poor souls! My writing is more along the lines of paranormal rom-coms.
Despite having an intimate knowledge of my main character, the book turned out to be the hardest in the series to write.
The first problem was the pandemic. Much as I love to isolate when I write, I don’t like it as much when I have to isolate. I find it hard to concentrate when I’m suffering from cabin fever. The year it normally takes me to write a novel turned into two years for Troy’s story.
The second problem was how to take an already developed character and show how he became the man he is today. How much of Troy’s character was naturally him, and how many of his quirks and habits would be the result of his life experiences? Nature versus nurture versus adventure.
The third problem (don’t problems always come in threes?) was remembering all the backstory I gave him and incorporating that into the new book. In The Slightly Supernatural Sheriff Troy gives an offhand comment that the backseat of a police car isn’t as roomy as he remembers from his youth…so I had to make sure Troy got arrested. In The Shifter’s Shotgun Mating, Troy gives Ricky a lesson in seducing an alpha, so I had to make sure someone taught the techniques to Troy.
And let’s not forget his mate Ryan. Readers had snippets of the alpha in the previous books, but now I had to flush out his whole personality.
I think my favorite scene came about because of a throwaway line in The Slightly Supernatural Sheriff: “If I waited for people to tell their own stories I’d still be writing Harry Styles fan fiction.” Naturally I had to create a fictional One Direction tale in Troy’s distinctive voice. It was fun writing an over-the-top, purposely bad six-hundred-word short story.
Of course, just because Troy has his own book doesn’t mean he won’t be popping up in the next novel. He is Lone Wolves Ranch’s cupid…and busybody.
I hope readers enjoy this slight detour in the Lone Wolves series. Being a prequel, it doesn’t require having read the other books.
I’ll be back on the ranch with Luke’s story hopefully in 2023.
Series: Lone Wolves Ranch (Book 4) – It’s not necessary to have read the previous books, and this book predates the others in the series’ timeline.
Length: Novel / 78,000 Words / 312 Pages
Pairing/Genres: M/M Gay Shifter MPreg
Tropes: Separated Fated Mates
Keywords/Categories: Wolf Shifters, MPreg, Male Pregnancy, Omegaverse, Fated Mates, Paranormal, Shifters, M/M Romance, Gay Romance, Gay, Romance, M/M, New Release, Announcement, Giveaway
“When life gives me lemons, I use them as ammunition. I’ve had to fight for my happy ending.”
Once upon a time, an outcast boy met the love of his life…which was quite a surprise considering he didn’t know he was gay.
Troy Merton wasn’t always Lone Wolves Ranch’s resident author and busybody. He was once a pregnant runaway teen battling pack alphas, kidnappers, and snotty rich omegas.
This is his story, from coming of age in the Black Hills of South Dakota to a happy ending with his fated mate, Ryan.
It’s the kind of tale TJ Macks would write…if it happened to someone else!
Lone Wolves Ranch has been a supernatural hideaway for decades. Tucked in the mountains near Yosemite, it’s a safe haven for any shifter looking for a home. And with plenty of single alphas, it’s attracting lonely omegas like flies to a picnic.
Each book in the Lone Wolves Ranch series is a low-angst, Mpreg rom-com that puts the HEA in heat.
A few dips in the dirt road woke Julian. He rubbed his eyes and peered out the RV window. “Turn right at the end of the fence.”
Ryan pulled up to a gate. A large man stepped out of the guard house at the side.
Julian rolled down his window. “Hey, Eddy.”
Eddy pulled out his clipboard. “You aren’t supposed to be back until tomorrow.”
“We had car trouble.” Julian gestured to the burnt-out vehicle being towed behind. “Ryan and Troy gave us a ride back.”
Eddy narrowed his eyes. “And who are Ryan and Troy?”
The back door popped open so fast, Eddy reached for his gun.
“I’m Troy. Ryan is behind the wheel. He’s alpha of the Black Hills pack, in case that gets us a discount on RV parking. We also have Triple A.”
“Anybody else inside?” Eddy asked.
Julian yawned. “Just my sisters.”
“I’ll have to check the vehicle.” Eddy drew his revolver and climbed the steps into the back.
“Well, aren’t you a unique welcome committee,” Troy mumbled.
Eddy scanned the interior. “Any weapons?”
“Just my sharp tongue,” Troy said. When Eddy growled, he added, “Let me guess. No sense of humor.”
“Well, they say there’s someone for everybody, but you might just be the exception.”
Ryan put his hand on his mate’s shoulder. “Troy,” he warned.
“He pulled a gun on me,” Troy replied. “I’m allowed to be peevish.”
“He’s TJ Macks,” Sarah said, jumping to Troy’s defense. “The famous author.”
“I wouldn’t say famous,” Troy replied. “But I’m glad you did. Though I bet my next book will be even better. In fact, I think I’ve found my new villain.”
Eddy holstered his gun. “I’m going to have to call in before I can open the gate.” He went back to the guard house, but kept an eye on the RV while speaking into a walkie-talkie.
In a few minutes, a wolf ran to the gate. He shifted into his naked human form at the door of the RV. “Hi. I’m Mack. I’m pack leader for Lone Wolves Ranch.”
“What a pleasant surprise,” Troy said, staring at the newcomer.
“Not so peevish now?” Ryan whispered, before stepping in front of his mate to block the view. “I’m Ryan, pack leader of the Black Hills wolves.”
Ryan repeated their story, but before he could finish, a spry older woman pushed Mack out of the way and jumped inside the RV. She scanned the room before stalking toward Troy. Pulling his shirt up, she studied his belly. “You’re an omega. And you’ve had a cub.”
Troy pulled the hem of his shirt down. “Some things are private.”
Grabbing Troy’s hand, she pulled him to the door. “Come with me.”
Mack blocked the way. “Helen, what are you doing?”
“I’ve got an omega going into labor, and I’ve never delivered one before.”
“How many omegas do you have here?” Troy asked.
“Four, counting you,” Helen answered. “Now hurry.”
After watching the two disappear into the night, Mack stuck out his hand to Ryan. “Welcome to Lone Wolves Ranch.”
Troy followed Helen past rows of cottages to the one with lights blazing. She didn’t bother to knock as she pushed Troy inside.
A pregnant omega sat in an easy chair, whimpering softly, while his mate rushed to greet them. “Where have you been?”
“Getting backup,” Helen replied.
“Bill,” the anxious alpha replied, pointing to himself. “And Cory.”
“He’s kicking harder now,” Cory said.
“Or she,” Helen replied. She turned to the expert. “What do we do?”
Troy crossed the room and lifted Cory’s shirt. “He hasn’t sprung a leak yet. But we should get you undressed.”
He struggled to get the omega up out of the chair until Bill lent a hand. Troy put his hands on his hips. “When I gave birth, they had a chair with a motor to help you up. You may want to get one for next time.”
“There’s never going to be a next time,” Cory yelled.
“We’ll need some blankets and towels,” Troy informed Bill. “I suspect it’s going to get messy pretty soon. And you might want to get naked, too.”
Bill nodded. “For the cub?”
“No,” Troy replied. “But it will help me stay awake.”
There was a knock on the door, followed by Ryan’s voice. “Troy, are you in there?”
Troy frowned. “Better yet, keep your clothes on.”
It took fifteen minutes before water sprung from Cory’s birthing line, giving Troy enough time to extract the full story of Bill and Cory’s romance. The rest was quick. Once the cub (a girl) was delivered, they helped Cory shift to his wolf and then back to his healed human self.
“You’re unusually quiet,” Ryan said as the two walked back to their RV. “Are you thinking of having another baby?”
His mate knew him so well. “I don’t think Black Hills is ready to see a pregnant omega. They’re already barely civil to us.”
“Who doesn’t love a baby?”
Troy shrugged. “I was thinking of Cory and Bill’s cub. And Helen. She scared me until I saw her with the baby. There was love there.” Troy turned back to look at the cottage of the new parents. “I don’t think being an omega or the child of an omega is that big a deal here.”
“Maybe we can learn how they did it and bring it back to Black Hills.”
“Maybe. But Black Hills was never our dream. This might be the happiest I’ve been in months. The sad part is I didn’t even know how miserable I was. It felt normal.” He wrapped his arm through Ryan’s. “I’m scared when we go back, it will all feel normal again.”
“We don’t have to decide anything tonight,” Ryan said. “We’ve got a long drive back to figure it out. Let’s get some sleep. I think we earned it.”
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About the Author
Ardy Kelly is my paranormal pen-name. I’m an accountant by day, a Netflix junkie by night, and occasionally a weekend writer of the Lone Wolves Ranch omegaverse series.
When I’m not cursing myself for taking so long to produce a book I write the kind of stories I want to read, with an emphasis on humor, heart, and heat. My favorite characters are the ones who discover they aren’t as ordinary as society has led them to believe.
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