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Posted by Book Loving Pixies
She was no damsel but he rescued her anyway.
You can never go home again…
Viviane Veracruz is on her way home from university with a degree in one hand…and a baby in her belly. Desperate to escape the judgement of her family, she accepts a sexy stranger’s offer to pose as the father for a few days.
The plan is for him to run off leaving her family none the wiser. But the longer Pierce Alcede stays, the more she can’t let him go.
Home is where the heart is…
Pierce Alcede has finally come to terms with the fact that he is a lone wolf, prone to roam the wilderness alone and never settle down with a family of his own. When he meets a pregnant woman in need, he thinks nothing of stepping in to take the brunt of her family’s ire. But somewhere between working on the Veracruz Ranch by day and climbing into Viviane’s bed at night, Pierce forgets to run away.
Can a woman searching for a place to belong find a home with a man who lives to roam?
Moonlight is the second in a paranormal romance series full of alpha men and the strong, capable women that bend them to their knees. If you like a touch of magic in your romance novels, then you’ll love the witches, fairies, and wolves in the dystopian world of the moonkind.
“Is this seat taken?”
The husky feminine voice called Pierce’s attention away from the window and up long legs, down dangerously curved hips, around high, pert breasts to end at a heart-shaped face engulfed in a halo of dark curls. The dark curls and lush curves marked her as a wolf.
Pierce cleared his throat and shifted in his seat. He motioned with his hands for the she-wolf to take the place across from him. She struggled to lift her luggage into the overhead compartment. Pierce stood to offer assistance.
“I’ve got it,” she insisted and hefted the bulk over her head with a grunt.
Pierce stepped back. He was used to strong, independent women. He’d been surrounded by them his whole life. He took no offense that this woman didn’t want his assistance. That didn’t mean he wasn’t a gentleman. He waited to be sure she’d secured the case. Then he waited some more until she was seated.
When she’d finished with her case and stepped into the booth, she stopped in front of her seat and blinked at him. Confusion and then irritation played across the angles of her beautiful face. Her brows rose to her hairline. She tilted her head towards his seat. When he failed to sit down, she motioned with her hand.
Pierce flustered down into his seat, averting his gaze. Had he made a mistake? Perhaps she wasn’t a wolf? Perhaps she was a witch?
It wouldn’t be the first time he’d mistaken a witch for a wolf. His last encounter with a witch -on a train no less- had led to a wedding. It had nearly been his wedding. Until his older brother, Jackson, had stepped in and claimed Lucia as the mate to his soul. The wolf and witch lived happily in a quaint little cottage in the woods.
With Pierce now in his seat, the woman sat. She crossed those mile long legs. Then she cleared her throat.
Pierce blinked. Then he realized; he’d been staring. That’s when he knew she wasn’t a witch. Had she been one he’d have been under a spell by now.
He looked up to offer a sheepish apology. When his eyes met hers, his breath caught in his throat. Beneath the halo of dark, thick hair she had eyes of the lightest blue. Pierce had seen the ocean of the Arctic. That body of water was a dark, murky swamp compared to the crystals set deep in this woman’s face.
He was a lone wolf, prone to roam. He was also a man with needs. Both man and wolf salivated at this woman before him. He was certain his interest was plain. He heard himself panting. His mouth watered. He brushed his thumb at the corner of his lip to capture the drop of evidence.
In response, the she-wolf closed her eyes and sighed. Her foot tapped an irritated song on the floorboards. She turned her head and focused her attention outside at the scenery.
“This is beautiful countryside,” he tried.
They were now far from Sequoia and nearer to the Mexican border.
“Yes,” she said. She turned her head from the window and produced a book from the bag in her lap. She held the book up in front of her face, blocking him from her beauty.
The terse response indicated that she wasn’t interested in him. It should’ve turned Pierce off. It didn’t. The last thing he wanted was an entanglement. Her disinterest in him would serve him well. If he could flip that disinterest, and by extension her, on its back for the morning.
Pierce rarely went for she-wolves. The hot-blooded females could form attachments with males who were not their mates. It was in their natures.
He saw no bite marks on her collarbone. He scented no other wolf on her skin. Though he noted a male scent; probably human. Wolves played with humans, but they didn’t mate for life. Which meant she likely wasn’t looking for any entanglements herself. If he could just capture her attention, he might spark her interest.
“I hope you don’t mind my saying,” he began, a wolfish smile on his face. “But you have the most beautiful-”
“You know, I’m perfectly fine if we dispense with all the niceties and sit here in companionable silence.” She said it with the most polite, most beatific smile.
That smile made Pierce’s blood pump and his cock harden. He’d give her anything to keep her smiling at him like that. “If that’s what you wish.”
“It is.” She aimed the smile pointedly at him.
From his peripheral view, he caught a look at the stupid grin on his face in the glass window. “Then that’s what you’ll have.”
“Thank you.” She pulled the book up, hiding her smile and those eyes, breaking the spell. With her smile gone, Pierce’s grin turned into a frown. He read the cover of the thick book in her hands; Sheep Health, Husbandry, and Disease. He doubted it was for pleasure reading. Perhaps it was a textbook? Maybe she was a student? Sequoia University was near the train station.
“Are you a student?”
She lowered the book and arrowed those light-colored eyes at him. “I thought we agreed to dispense with the niceties?” She smiled, but the facial expression was tight and full of annoyed patience.
His wolf wanted to poke it with his paw. “I can’t help it. I’m always nice. My mother raised a gentleman.”
Her false facade dropped at the word gentleman. “The only time males are gentlemen,” she practically spat the word, “is when they want to get up a female’s skirt.”
Pierce’s eyes darted to those long legs and the hem of her skirt. By the time he made it back to her face, he knew he was caught. He put on his most winning smile. This smile had gotten him an A in Ms. Peckham’s Chemistry class even after he failed both the midterm and final exams. Fairies fell to their knees at this smile. Hell, even a witch had fallen under the spell of this smile. Pierce launched it at the wolf across from him.
Before he could put forth words, she opened her mouth to speak. Then she swallowed. She rubbed her hand over her flat abdomen. Finally, she lurched forward, vomiting in his lap. So much for his A game.
Moonrise ~ Book 1 in the series
Sometimes love at first sight needs a second glance.
It’s love at first sight when Lucia rescues a charming wolf shifter from certain death. She’s sure he feels the same way and will tell her so—just as soon as he wakes up from his coma. To remain by his side at the emergency room, she pretends she’s his mate. But her resolve is tested when she gets a glimpse of her fake-mate’s brother.
For months, Jackson has sensed that his fated mate was near. When he enters his unconscious brother’s hospital room, he instantly pounces on the beautiful, curvaceous woman he finds there, ready to mark her as his. Until he learns his brother got there first. Jackson’s skepticism about their mating grows the more he gets to know Lucia. She has nothing in common with his wayward brother, but she checks everyone of Jackson’s boxes.
As Jackson and Lucia fight their attraction, the rest of the family embraces Lucia as one of their own. But what will happen when his brother, her fake-mate, wakes up?
You can purchase this book now.
The ride across town was a blur. On the streets, Jackson defied the sped limit, sirens blaring.
Once he reached the hospital, he tore through the doors, startling the woman behind the desk. “PPU,” he flashed his badge. “Pierce Alcede’s room.”
The woman scrambled and gave him the room number.
As Jackson stalked down the hall, he caught another whiff of that tantalizing scent. It nearly knocked him off his course, but his mind deftly shifted to his brother.
Inside the room his brother lay limp on the hospital bed. Pierce had grown smaller since the last time Jackson had seen him. Or perhaps it was because he lay prone and helpless in a bed. The sharp angles of his cheeks appeared gaunt. He needed a shave. The fuzz on his chin and cheeks were overgrowing as it tended to do with wolves in general, but the Alcede men in particular. It also looked as though it had been a while since Pierce had had his haircut. Pierce never groomed as much as Jackson, because unlike Jackson, Pierce rarely had to make himself presentable doing a job he didn’t find fulfilling. No, Pierce got to traipse around the world and get into fights with humans over protecting a witch.
Before Jackson’s irritation at his brother could take hold of him, Pierce pulled in a struggling breath and then settled once more. Jackson sighed and released his anger at his wounded baby brother.
He took a deep breath and the tantalizing scent from the train station reached his nose and diverted his attention. The scent was a light layer on his brother’s skin, beneath the antiseptic and other chemical smells the doctors used on him. What the hell was that?
It appeared to grow closer and denser in his nose as though it were enveloping him in a balloon; expanding wider, a wave growing larger. The door to the hospital room opened, and the wave crashed into him.
Standing just inside the door was the most beautiful woman Jackson had ever seen. She had a mane of thick hair. Her skin was a cross between raw honey and an almond, perhaps honeyed almonds because that’s exactly what she smelled like.
She had her back to him and he caught the shapely hourglass figure that could only belong to a wolf woman. Fairies were tall, thin waifs. Witches, what few he’d encountered in person, were strong and muscular. Human women ran the gamut, but none had the curves of a wolf.
And then she turned.
Her face was perfection. Heart-shaped with a full set of lips that parted as she saw him standing there. Her dark eyes widened. She opened her mouth and said something, but the scent of her fogged Jackson’s brain and the single word didn’t translate.
Jackson’s canines watered. His claws pierced the tips of his fingers. The pain distracted him, and his wolf slipped its leash. He was on her before he could stop himself.
She gasped in surprise as he pinned her to the door. His body flush with hers, but not quite touching. Only a half an inch between his chest and hers. His legs boxed her in below. His arms caged her in. They were nose to nose. The taste of her breath on his tongue was nearly enough to make him raise up the thin dress she wore.
But he couldn’t do that. He didn’t even know her name.
“Tell me your name.” It wasn’t his voice. It came from within. It was the wolf’s deep growl.
The woman—no, not the woman—his woman. His woman flinched. She gasped in a breath, taking away a tendril of the scent. The loss felt like an ocean going down a drain.
From within, Jackson grabbed at his wolf. But the beast swatted his attempt away. It was in full control. The honey-brown tint of her skin was slowly changing to shades of silver.
“Please,” the word came out a grumbled plea. It was the best the wolf could do being this close to the woman he knew was his mate. Jackson’s upper lip grazed her nose as he said the word. She shivered in the cage of his arms. It took all of Jackson’s inner strength to hold the wolf back that half of an inch between his body and hers. “I want to know what to call you, besides mine.”
She tilted her head up at him. Her dark eyes widened even more. “Yours?”
Jackson’s lips curled up in a possessive smile. He knew he must look possessed. But she didn’t run. She didn’t flinch. She stared at him, caught in this trap.
She was a wolf. She knew she could reject him. She also knew it wouldn’t mean he wouldn’t let her go so easily. He would pursue her until she gave in or she accepted another’s suite. Even then, his feelings would never likely die. That was the way of male wolves.
But she didn’t run. She kept perfectly still.
Of course she knew if she ran, he would chase. He would track her and when he finally caught her, he would pin her down and lick, nip, and stroke her into submission.
By the Goddess, he wanted her to run. Jackson’s hand slipped to the door handle, prepared to turn it to give her a head start.
And then she spoke. “My name is Lucia.”
Over this man’s broad shoulder she spied Pierce lying prone on the bed. In an instant, the man she’d planned to spend the rest of her life with was blocked from her view, and all she saw was the beast of a man who held her captive in his churning gaze.
His eyes bored into hers. There wasn’t a thought of fear in the layers of brown and bronze and gold. There was only hunger. With every flick and twitch of his irises Lucia felt herself being devoured.
He held her there. She was free to move, but her body was entirely immobilized, captivated by his gaze.
A wave a panic hit Lucia. Was she under a spell? Could this be a warlock weaving his magic into her brain to leave her a spineless, whimpering damsel in distress? Would he put a gold ring on her finger and rob her of her will and her shoes to become barefoot and pregnant for the rest of her days?
A low growl escaped the man. Not a growl, more like a purr. There wasn’t any menace in the sound. It wasn’t the dominant sound a predator made when it spotted easy prey. The sound that emanated from the chest of this large man with soul-brown eyes reminded Lucia of evening prayers. The sound was reverent, humble, grateful.
Any ounce of fear, any thought of flight, fled Lucia’s very being.
The cauldron of his eyes traced each of her brows, every lash on her left then her right eyelid. They burned a path down her nose, hanging on the tip. When the corner of his mouth hitched up in a grin, she pressed her thighs together, certain her undergarments were about to slip off her hips.
“Tell me your name,” he said in a voice that was barely human. “Please? I want to know what to call you, besides mine.”
“Yours?” she asked.
Lucia’s heart pounded in her ears, drowning out any sense. This man—no, this wolf had called her his. He was claiming her. A wave of pleasure rolled down her shoulders and settled low in her abdomen when he’d called her ‘mine.’ She wanted him to say that word again, and then again.
It had been so long since she’d felt like she belonged. For the past ten years since her mother’s passing, she’d felt like a burden to Mother Sage. She’d felt like an outsider in her coven. She’d felt so alone since her mother had returned to the Goddess. But this wolf wanted her name.
The myths and lore about there being power in names held a fair amount of truth. When you called out someone’s name, you captured their attention. When someone affixed their name to a piece of paper it transferred power. When a woman took a man’s name, it consolidated power. There was an awesome amount of power in names.
She gave him hers.
These stories are based on my favorite holiday movies. Starting around November, cable channels start to run romantic comedies like While You Were Sleeping and Moonstruck. I will stop what I’m doing and watch these films, even if I catch them in the middle. What gets me each time is that love comes to the characters unexpectedly and they’re helpless to do anything about it.
Although I’m a fan of romantic comedies on cable, I’m not the hugest reader of that genre. I like a touch of magic with my romance novels. That got me thinking; What if these books were set in a paranormal world? I wrote Moonrise my adaption of While You Were Sleeping in December. Then in January, I penned Moonlight after I caught Keanu Reeves stomping grapes in A Walk in the Clouds. And in February, I adapted the Cher classic Moonstruck into Moonfall with a wolf that is barely on this side of sanity, but he loves hard. Enter my paranormal romance series full of alpha men and the strong, capable women that bend them to their knees. If you like a touch of magic in your romance novels, then you’ll love the witches, fairies, and wolves in the dystopian world of the moonkind.
AUTHOR Q & A
What got you started in writing?
I come from a family of storytellers. My mother would talk your ears off for hours and my father is a songwriter. I began my storytelling career in television, where I still dabble from time to time. A few years ago I’d written a script that I thought would make an excellent book, only I didn’t know how to write a book. So I took a couple of classes and started querying. I never received a single rejection letter. Instead, I got no responses at all in the beginning! But I never gave up and I never stopped writing. Wait, isn’t the definition of insanity?
How do you get your ideas for writing?
I’m a very bad Buddhist. I sit each week in sangha, which is similar to sitting in a church pew on Sunday. In a sangha the teacher, think preacher, will lecture on spiritual teachings and guide the group in mediation. During meditation when I’m supposed to be getting my zen on, my mind always wanders back to the teaching and turns it into a story.
What do you like to read? Perfect heroines are boring and unrealistic to me; they must be flawed in some way. I prefer stories where the heroine’s a strong, bright, and successful in their careers but are clueless and inept in their love lives.
How long did you write before you were published?
I went to school for producing and screenwriting, and worked in the broadcasting industry for over a decade, before trying my hand at novel writing. I wrote my first novel in 2009. It was based off a script that I wrote but couldn’t find the financing for. I was so proud of my work, but readers and critique partners noted that it was evident that I was a screenwriter and didn’t understand the mechanics of novelization. Screenwriting consists of action and dialogue. That’s it. In scripts, there is no internal monologuing and setting is minimal. I had some learning to do. Five years, and a ton of classes later, I’ve got four published novels lush in setting and internal angst.
Generally, how long does it take you to write a book?
The first time I tried to write a book it took me one year to write the first three chapters because I agonized over each word choice. Now, I believe in fast drafting. Vomit the story onto the page without a care for comma placement. All told, it takes me about six months from the first drafted word to the final polished manuscript.
I take three to four weeks for the first draft, which I call The Dirty. I let The Dirty breath for as long as I am able to be parted with it -usually a week or two. Then I come back and Sweep up the grammar and plot holes, which usually takes another three to four weeks.
Next I send The Swept draft out to my trusted critique partners. When it comes back I Clean it up for another three weeks focusing on my weaknesses, which is setting. Finally, I send The Clean manuscript off to the copyeditor for two to three weeks. When it comes back I Polish up all the commas and rethink my overused words. Then I hit publish, and start all over again!
What genres do you write?
I write romantic erotica, paranormal romance, and fairy tale retelling romance novels. Notice the romance in each genre. I began writing YA, but realized my love scenes were too hot for teens!
What is the most you have written in one day?
The most I’ve written in one day is 4551 words. How do I know that? Because I keep a log. I record what plot point I was writing, where I wrote, what time I started writing, how long I wrote, and my word count.
I typically Fast Draft with a friend; a competitive friend. I recommend writing along with competitive people. It forces you to get the words out. I also believe in incentives and I give myself stickers when I meet my word count -a trick I learned stalking Laini Taylor’s blog.
What are you currently reading?
I’m reading a nonfiction book called “Sperm Wars: The Science of Sex” by Robin Baker. The title reveals the subject matter. It’s about what goes on inside a fertile woman’s body. Did you know that less than 1% of sperm is designed for fertilization of the egg? There are Terminator sperm that engage in warfare with enemy sperm from the PartTime Lover. Its fascinating! Its research for my current WIP.
What are your current projects?
There are so many stories in my head begging to get out. I’m drafting the fourth book in my fairytale retellings where all the heroines are single mothers getting a second chance at love. And, waiting in the wings is my new adult, science fiction romance, which is an ode to the sun.
Ines writes books for strong women who suck at love. If you rocked out to the twisted triangle of Jem, Jericha, and Rio as a girl; if you were slayed by vampires with souls alongside Buffy; if you need your scandalous fix from Olivia Pope each week, then you’ll love her books!
Aside from being a writer, professional reader, and teacher, Ines is a very bad Buddhist. She sits in sangha each week, and while others are meditating and getting their zen on, she’s contemplating how to use the teachings to strengthen her plots and character motivations.
Ines lives outside Washington, DC with her two little sidekicks who are growing up way too fast.