Bait This! is almost ready for you!
I've been thinking about the 300 Moons series for a long time.
When I finally holed myself up to write the first book, the characters and plot absolutely exploded, and it all flew out faster than expected!
I can't wait to share Bait This! with you - and if the editing and proofreading phases go as planned, the book will be ready for you before Valentine's Day!
To celebrate, I thought I'd share an excerpt with you! Here's the set-up:
Derek Harkness is a billionaire who plays by his own set of rules. By repressing his inner bear, Derek keeps every aspect of his life under his iron control.
Hedda Lane is a strong, independent woman, but a single mistake in her past has put her whole life on hold.
This scene begins with Derek worried about how Hedda will react when she discovers that he is a shifter...
Derek couldn’t distract her.
She was going to see that he had already healed, impossibly quickly.
It was already too late, she was up on her knees, her hands reaching for his hair.
He would have to submit.
She was close enough that he could hear her heartbeat, scent the sweetness of her. The bear moaned, but Derek held him in with all he had, the mark burning his hip like a hot coal beneath his skin, his whole body teeming with energy that he held in by a thread.
He moved fully into the shelter, hunkering down to her level, and the feeling eased a bit.
Whatever was going on with him, it seemed to be worse in the moonlight.
He stilled as her fingers touched his hair.
Her hands were so gentle. It could have been her feather touch, but he felt a light prickle of electricity between them.
“It’s fine,” she breathed at last, sitting back on her heels.
He was drawn between the agony of aching for her touch and the relief of having passed the test of having her touch him without incident.
Her silence roused him.
He didn’t know what to say. He had been found out.
“You’re one of them, then,” she said.
“What do you mean?” he asked, not turning, afraid to look her in the eye.
“You’re a wolf,” she said.
The bear tossed his snout in the air indignantly at being confused with a canine. Darcy would have howled with laughter at the thought.
Derek turned to examine the woman’s expression.
She stared back at him, her green eyes clear and frank.
She knew about shifters.
He had never told a human he was a shifter before. But this was a different situation than he’d ever been in.
He considered his options and made a calculated decision within the time it took to blink.
He nodded and made a noncommittal grunt.
Willing to admit to being a shifter, but not exactly wanting to tell her he was a bear.
The way Derek saw it, women fantasized about guys who turned into wolves, he’d seen it in those sparkly vampire movies.
But most people were white-knuckled in terror at the grainy internet home videos of lumbering bears running rampant. They were forever vandalizing suburban backyards and killing deer, never standing confidently on the edge of a cliff or something, giving a poignant howl.
If you were going to be a shifter, the writing was on the wall. Wolves were the sexy, sympathetic kings.
And bears were… well, bumbling and brutish.
Hedda nodded matter-of-factly at his admission, not seeming to question his status as a wolf.
“I knew you were a shifter,” she said.
He let out a breath he hadn’t realized he was holding. “How did you know?”
“The town where I used to live was all shifters - wolves,” she said.
“Not you,” he corrected her.
“You’re right, not me,” she smiled.
“But the whole town was shifters?” he asked.
She nodded again.
Derek thought about that.
“You grew up around people, I take it,” she said.
“Yeah. Well… not exactly, but yes,” he replied.
“Family of shifters, but out in the human world,” she nodded.
“Nope, I don’t know anything about my shifter family. I grew up in a home for shifters who were… early bloomers. We lived in a mostly human town,” he told her.
“Like an orphanage?” she asked.
Derek shifted uncomfortably. He didn’t like anyone talking about Harkness Farms like that. And he certainly did not consider himself an orphan. He had a mom. That she hadn’t given birth to him, and that she had twenty-six or so other kids didn’t change how he felt. Kate Harkness was his mom, plain and simple.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to make you talk about something uncomfortable,” she looked down, chastened.
“No, it’s not that at all,” he told her. “As a matter of fact, that’s where I was headed before the plane crash - back home.”
“So you still visit?” she asked, her head tilted slightly, dark hair slipping forward again.
“Oh yeah, I go back every year, more often if Mom needs me. Though she’s pretty self-sufficient.”
“She’s older?” Hedda asked sympathetically.
Derek threw his head back and laughed.
“Maybe, but you’d never know it. She runs a farm, the kids help her. But if she’s got too many new kids and not enough older ones then harvest-time can get difficult. We get a lot of tourists from Halloween to Thanksgiving,” he explained. “I like being back there though, the farm will always be home. And the little guys are hysterical.”
“Wow,” she said. “You’re right, that’s not what I pictured.”
“So if you’re not a shifter, what were you doing out in the middle of nowhere before a storm? It seems like we’re pretty far from civilization.”
Suddenly, her heart-shaped face went pale and she looked away from him, into the fire.
“It’s a long story. But basically my sisters and I were living here to protect the town on the other side of this mountain.”
“What town?” he asked. Hadn’t they just come from over there? Was she leading him purposely away from town after all?
“There is no town anymore,” she said to the crackling fire, her voice steady but her shoulder drooping.
Derek stared at her, thunderstruck.
He took a deep breath through his nose.
There it was.
The other scent that had been bothering him all night. Fire. But different than the smoke from the plane. Had the town burned down somehow?
Was he smelling the remains?
The bear in his head prodded him unsubtly to think of how to help the woman.
Derek studied her small form. This human and her sisters were supposed to protect a mountain of wolves? That didn’t make sense. And now the town was gone. Something had gone very wrong. But he didn’t want to ask the wrong question.
“Where are your sisters?”
It seemed a good place to start.
She looked down at the blanket, trailing her fingers over the frayed edge.
“I messed up. I messed up so badly,” she shook her head. “The whole town was uprooted, the coal mine is still burning. Everyone left.”
That explained the smell. He remembered reading about the the cave-in and the failed rescue effort that set the mine ablaze. He had no idea the mine was still burning.
“They left you?” Derek asked incredulously. He couldn’t imagine turning his back on any of his brothers or sisters.
“Someone had to stay…” she trailed off.
He looked up at her again and was surprised to find her usually steadfast expression had folded into a mask of sadness. Tears streamed down her cheeks.
All his concerns and calculations went out the window, and Derek Harkness pulled the woman into his arms and held her close.
As soon as she was against his chest, he heard her heartbeat thrumming. She smelled like a wood fire, and chamomile tea. She was warm in his arms, and so soft.
Derek thought suddenly of his childhood blankie - a feather filled duvet of monstrous proportion that he had taken a liking to. Mom had cut it down and sewed it into manageable squares for little Derek to snuggle and carry around the farm.
The train of thought was gone as fleetingly as it hard arrived when she wound her arms around his neck and nuzzled into his chest.
Derek’s hip burned like it was on fire.
And her nearness took on a new meaning.
Her breasts were crushed against his chest, his hands tightened on the curve of her hip.
The air was suddenly charged with energy.
Did she feel it too?
He reached out with his senses and the bear roared with approval in his chest.
The woman’s breath was shallow and faster than before. A haze of desire haloed her. The small room was filled with the enchanting scent of her arousal.
Derek felt himself harden to the point of pain.
She wiggled on his lap, seemingly to find a more comfortable position.
But to Derek, it felt as if her every move was meant only to tantalize him.
You can pre-order Bait This! on Amazon here!
Sound off in the comments to let me know what you think! In this scene, the characters have met only a few hours before, yet they feel a strong connection. They share some secrets and keep others. How long do YOU have to know someone before sharing your secrets?