So, as most of you know, I got the ARCs for DECEIVED BY THE OTHERS (book 3 in the H&W Investigations series, coming July 5, 2011).
They’re here, and they’re real…werewolves, vampires, mages, and other creatures of the night. For New York P.I. Shiarra Waynest, taking care of Others business started out as a way to stay solvent. But now business is getting very, very complicated…
Shiarra’s relationship with sexy werewolf Chaz may be somewhat unconventional. Still, after a few bumps, Shia is finally ready to get serious. That means meeting family–or in this case, bringing Chaz’s entire werewolf pack along for a rollicking full-moon weekend in the Catskills.
Soon after they arrive, threatening notes appear, warning Chaz to go home. Then their cabin is ransacked. Shia starts digging to find out whether it’s the work of upstart teenaged werewolves or something more sinister. Yet as rumors about her vampire connections arouse the pack’s hostility, Shia has to contend with other dangers. Not just from an adversary about to make his fatal intentions known, but from a threat that’s even closer than she knows…
In reading the book over again, I’m reminded of just how much I absolutely CAN NOT talk about what’s coming because so much goes on in this story, I can barely touch on a single part without treading into Spoilerville.
I don’t think it’s too out of line for me to share a little snippet. Since one of my Twitter followers requested something hot, I figure this is as good a piece to share as any. Does that make me a horrible tease? You betcha. Do I care how horrible a tease I am? Ask the Wicked Little Pixie. Hehe.
This snippet contains spoilers for something that occurs late in book two, TAKEN BY THE OTHERS–so don’t read this if you haven’t read TAKEN yet! You’ve been warned!
“I want a future with you, Chaz. I can’t imagine being without you. You’ve saved my life, more than once, and stood by me during some of the toughest trials I’ve ever endured.” I lifted a hand up to his cheek, making him look at me. The hurt so raw in his expression cut me deeper than I would have expected, made it hard to say my next words. “When I was bound to Royce, I loved him.”
Chaz started to pull away, withdrawing his arm around me. My hand fell to his shoulder, holding him there while I straddled his waist, preventing him from rising. He glared up at me, brows furrowed and teeth suddenly bared in an angry sneer.
“Don’t,” he growled. “You’ve said enough.”
“Chaz, shut the fuck up and let me finish,” I snarled back. Startled, he settled down, anger still glinting in his icy blue eyes but some of the tension trickling out of him as he settled down beneath me. “I loved him because I had to. I had no choice. Do you understand? It wasn’t real. His blood made me want to be with him and do what he said. Hell, I couldn’t have said no if he’d really pushed me to let him touch me or drink my blood. He never asked, but I wouldn’t have been able to say no if he did. That’s nothing like what we have. I’m with you because I have a choice, and because I care about you. I won’t blindly do what you say – but if I did, is that how you’d want me?”
He stared up at me, anger and confusion and hurt warring with a sudden understanding. He knew now, knew what neither of us had the courage to say since I ran on bloodied feet from the divided loyalties that waited for me in Royce’s shadow.
When he answered, his voice was low, hardly a whisper.
Not satisfied, I bunched up his shirt in my fists, anger getting the better of me the more I thought about it. Chaz couldn’t possibly understand what it had been like for me. How hard it had been to stay sane, stay me, and walk away when it was over. Worse, wrong or not, he still felt jealous of the vampire for having some part of me he’d never touched.
“I craved his blood, Chaz. He could have kept me there, given me more when I begged for it, and made me his. He didn’t. He let me go. Don’t blame him for doing what he thought he had to do to keep me safe.”
“Why not, Shia?” Chaz grabbed me by the shoulders, startling me when he reversed our positions, his legs on either side of my hips. Cold water from the pool bit at my toes and seeped into my shirt from the grass under my back. His weight on my legs was light, but I couldn’t sit up. “Why shouldn’t I blame him? Hell, we’ve slept together, but you two were more intimate than we’ve ever been. You’re bound to him by blood and by contract. Do you want the leech instead? Should I let you go?”
If not for the tears in his eyes, I would’ve been offended. I hadn’t realized the depth of his hurt until now. He was angry, so angry, but that anger was built upon something neither of us had any control over.
With a low growl, I answered him the only way I could think of that wouldn’t hurt him more. I threw my arms around his neck and pulled myself up to kiss him, not letting him draw away when he jerked back. Digging my nails into his shoulders, I poured every ounce of anger and frustration and need into that moment, hungrily slanting my mouth over his. Before long, his hands were crushing me to him, an equal passion driving him to devour my kiss like he was starving for the taste of me.
We tugged and pulled at each others’ clothing, the wet grass sliding under my back and legs as my shirt and pants disappeared. One of the buttons on Chaz’s shirt popped off and plunked into the water, forgotten as skin met skin, the heat generated between us making it easy to forget the cold and the mud. His teeth grazed my skin as he kissed and licked his way from my cheek, down my neck, and settled to a light suckling on my nipple through the thin material of my bra.
My breath caught as his fingers, rough and calloused, brushed along my stomach and down between my legs. We’d done far more than this without a contract, but that was before I knew what he was. We shouldn’t have been doing this. He’d never hurt me – I knew he wouldn’t – but there were so many things that could go wrong if we ignored the law.
Sensing my hesitation, Chaz paused, regarding me with a mixture of lust and anger so intense a shiver of fear trickled down my spine.
“Do you want me to stop?”
His question meant more than what he was asking. If he stopped now, it would be the end of everything between us.
You know, I love this part. I love it a lot. I especially love that I can’t tell you how Shia answers Chaz…
Want to know what happens next–before all your other reader-friends? Enter to win an advance reader copy now! You have until midnight tomorrow to amuse me more than Voodoo Bride, who is currently in the lead in the LOL department with this entry. Or, ya know, pre-order from Amazon or Barnes & Noble or the Book Depository or something so I make some money off this writerly business. *g*
Whatcha think, eh? Want more?