✨ GUEST POST ✨
Hello, everyone! Thank you, lovely Addison, for allowing me back on the blog 🥰 I don’t know if you know, but JMS Books is turning thirteen this year, and to celebrate, we had an in-house call named Lucky 13. We got to write any subgenre and any pairing, and so on, but it had to have something to do with Lucky 13, and the title was to have some form of Lucky in it. My story is called Panther’s Luck 😊
It’s a story set in a world where shifters and vampires rule. They grew tired of humans and their ways, so they wiped out most of the population but for a few settlements. They don’t care what the humans do as long as they stay in their settlements. Anyone who travels off the paved road is considered food, and shifters and vampires are a hungry lot 😆
The problem is that Romeo, who is a human and lives in a settlement, is surprise, surprise gay, and the people in his settlement aren’t accepting, so he is forced to leave. When his uncle passed away, he left behind a wilderness resort, The Moonlight Ranch. No one has been there for over thirty years, but it’s where Romeo is heading. The problem is that it’s off the paved road.
If you’ve read any of my books, you know that I like writing stories with interspecies couples. I like when the characters are different from each other, and when there are cultural differences. Since supernaturals and humans are living apart, this story has more cultural differences than most of my stories.
Romeo is, as established, human, and Ciar is a panther shifter. He has never been interested in humans, but when Romeo arrives, he stalks around his house, watching him. And when Romeo befriends one of the bear cubs, Ciar figures he can talk to him too.
The lucky part of this story is that Romeo (or it’s actually the bear cub) finds thirteen boxes of books. When society as you know has been destroyed, books are a treasure. And what makes the shifters and vampires at the resort extra lucky is that Romeo can read.
And who doesn’t like stories?
Before Romeo knows it, he’s having reading nights for supes, and half of them are still considering eating him.
I had so much fun writing this one, and as you might have figured out, surviving is a big part of the plot. For Romeo, that is. Ciar has few cares. If he’s hungry, he goes hunting. Romeo on the other hand hardly has any food, and while he figures out how to get food, he needs to avoid turning into food. It’s a challenge 😄
It’s a slow-burn story with a little found family, survival, and interspecies couple, and I guess it’s a bit dystopic considering the supes decide if the humans get to live or not. I’m pretty sure I’ll revisit this world at some point in the future, I don’t feel done with The Moonlight Ranch yet.
Panther’s Luck by Holly Day
Humans off the paved road are nothing but shifter food.
Romeo Gallo has to flee town. The problem is that the only place he can think of going is an old ranch he’s inherited from his uncle, and it’s off the paved road. Humans are fair game if they’re off the paved road, and being eaten by shifters has never been on the list of things Romeo wants to experience.
Ciar Moonlight is a panther shifter, perfectly happy living a laidback life on the ranch. He wants nothing to do with humans. But one night, one moves into the house, and Ciar finds it hard to stay away.
Romeo soon learns he isn’t the only one living on the ranch. Shifters and vampires keep popping up, and since no one has eaten him yet, he’d go as far as to call a few of them his friends. And there is a panther reluctant to leave his bedroom, so maybe one is even more than a friend. Ciar might not have wanted to get to know a human, but now when Romeo is living in his territory, he’s Ciar’s to keep, right? So if someone tries to get rid of Romeo, it’s Ciar’s right to defend him. Right?
Ciar walked into the human den, showing off teeth as he did. Humbert and the human were standing close together, looking into a hole in the floor. Was he planning on trapping Humbert? He growled, and Humbert slumped his shoulders.
“Ciar.” It sounded far too much like a whine. Stupid bear.
“Hi.” The human waved a hand and stepped in behind Humbert as if he would protect him. Stupid human.
“No one is to interact with the human.”
“Oh, it’s okay. I don’t mind talking—”
Ciar cut him off with a snarl, which made the human jump.
“We were going into the basement, but Romeo is afraid of monsters.”
“No, I… A little.” The human shrugged.
There was a thud on the terrace and seconds later, Draven walked into the kitchen, naked after having shifted from bird form. The human swallowed audibly, his gaze sliding up and down Draven’s body, which had Ciar growling again. He hadn’t looked at him that way. Maybe it was because Draven wasn’t dressed. Humans were weird about clothes.
“What’s going on? I thought we were going to observe, not interact.” Draven frowned at Ciar.
“I heard Humbert talking.”
Draven looked at Humbert. “You’re not allowed to be here.”
“It’s okay.” The human took a step forward, his hands raised in a placating manner. “I don’t mind. Humbert was showing me the basement, and I appreciate his help.”
Ciar narrowed his eyes. “You couldn’t find the basement?”
The human looked like cornered prey, smelled like it too. As fearful as a quivering rabbit. “No, I couldn’t.”
“And now he doesn’t dare go inside because he thinks someone will slit his throat.” Humbert drew a finger over his exposed throat.
Were all humans irrational? Ciar walked forward, making the human scurry out of his way—prey—and looked down the steps into the dark floor below. He inhaled the stale air. “I can’t smell anyone, not so much as a mouse.” And there wouldn’t be. Raven looked after the house, and many birds lingered outside.
“Thank you.” The human dipped his head. “I’m Romeo Gallo, Leo’s nephew.”
Romeo stared. “You’re brothers?” He gestured at all of them.
“No.” Humbert laughed. “Ciar is a panther, and Draven is an eagle-owl.”
Romeo’s mouth dropped open as he looked between them, his gaze landing on Ciar more often than the others. “A panther, as in…” He snapped his mouth shut and nodded. “Cool.”
Humans were weird.
Draven pushed forward. “What are you looking for in the basement?” He neared the hole in the floor and stepped into it. Romeo glanced at Ciar before walking closer.
“Somewhere cool to keep my food. There is no electricity, so the refrigerator isn’t working, and the food will spoil soon.”
Draven disappeared into the hole, and Romeo hesitated for a second before following with a candle in his hand. Humbert wrestled with Ciar to get down the steps before he did, and Ciar allowed him to win.
“Holy shit! What’s this?” Romeo’s voice filled the air, and Ciar hurried down into the cool dimness. Romeo was gawking at the terrible-weather box. Ciar wasn’t sure how it worked, but he’d heard Thano and Raven talk about it.
“The lion used it when there was a storm or heavy snowfall.”
Romeo met his gaze and nodded slowly. “Is it a generator? It looks like a generator.” The way his voice quivered made Ciar believe it was important.
“He plugged it in to heat the house and be able to cook and…” He motioned at the pipes running above his head. “Use the bathroom.”
Romeo made a loud sound, which had all three staring at him.
“Can we get it to work?” He was practically vibrating with excitement, which of course made Humbert vibrate with excitement too.
“We should ask Thano.”
Romeo deflated. “I’m not allowed to use it?”
Ciar believed he was. “He knows how it works.”
Romeo’s mouth formed a round hole. He had so many expressions going on, it would take a moon cycle for Ciar to figure out what they meant.
“Could we? You have no idea how happy it would make me if I could cook and have a shower… and use the bathroom, heck, being able to light a lamp would be amazing.”
Humans were strange.
“I’ll fly and get him.” Draven turned toward the stairs. “He’s probably still in the clearing.”
“Thank you, Draven. I owe you one.”
Draven turned again. “One what?” Romeo grinned. “A favor or something. You help me, and I’ll help you.”
Draven nodded, a smug expression forming as he headed for the stairs again. Ciar would ask what favor he’d ask for later.
It didn’t take long before Thano appeared. He spoke in a crisp tone, letting them all know he didn’t approve of them being in Romeo’s den, but explained how the terrible-weather box worked, how it could have the house running for about a week, but Romeo needed to get the electricity turned on in Last Hope if he wanted to use it all the time.
Romeo stared at Thano as if he was a walking miracle, and it made Ciar want to snarl. First he’d looked at Draven with wonder, and then at Thano, but when Ciar had entered the house, he’d hidden behind a cub.
About Holly Day
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.