As promised about a week ago, I was going to make a post about Blue Moon, a paranormal romance I’ve been so diligently working to finish. So after doing some editing and then post editing my edits (what a mouthful!), I think I have roughly one-fourth of the book completed. (I would say half of it, but I’m not rushing this!)
So it’s high time I gave this story some more “exposure”, which includes a longer excerpt and a not-so-short synopsis. I was going to post a small version of the book cover along with it, but I decided to wait just a bit longer on that. So without further ado…
Blue Moon is the first book in a series of paranormal romances I’m writing called The Crucible. It introduces Lupines, one of many supernatural races that humans are oblivious to. Considered to be “the mortal cousins of Werewolves”, Lupines have the ability to change into wolves, keen senses, and physical resilience. They can also turn humans into their kind by biting them as a wolf.
Lupines dwell in packs that reside in various human cities throughout the world, which they think of as their territories. Each pack has an Alpha, who leads them and enforces laws set to keep their kind safe, and their existence a secret.
Cade Hodgins becomes the Alpha of Arkin City, Georgia after his father is murdered for trying to uncover the truth about an illegal practice which involves turning humans without their permission. This act is frowned upon in the Lupine community due to the risk of exposure to humankind, and is punishable by death.
In his bid to stop this activity and gain retribution, he meets a former human named Ashley Passmore who he suspects is the product of this illegal practice. Ashley was attacked by wolves and turned with no prior knowledge of their race’s existence, then abused for over a week before she managed to escape.
She knows little about the wolves who turned her however, having too many gaps in her memory to clearly recall her unfortunate experiences.
Cade takes her in, hoping she’ll eventually remember more information to give him, and over time, finds his primal nature bonding with hers, recognizing her as his lifelong mate. But whether Ashley will accept her nature as a wolf and the growing connection between them is uncertain.
Excerpt of Chapter 8:
There was a missing persons case on Ashley Passmore.
Cade learned that a Lupine working at the police station told Leo someone in North Carolina opened a case on Ashley when she never made it to Atlanta for work. Leo informed the officer that she’d turned up in Arkin City as a stray newborn, so things were being taken care of discreetly.
Cade hung up the phone by the time Ashley walked back in from throwing away her stolen clothing. She looked a lot better in the garments she had on now, and while he tried not to stare at her more visible curves, he realized she was fidgeting, getting his mind off of what he’d been about to tell her.
She acted unsure, prompting him to ask, “What’s wrong?”
“I,” she paused, “kind of need your help. It’d probably be better if I showed you, but I also don’t wanna.”
Cade wasn’t exactly sure what it could be, and headed upstairs with her to find out. As they entered the bathroom where he saw the medical kit, he realized she probably had a wound he didn’t know about, especially when she turned to lift her shirt up over her lower back.
“It’s a little infected I think,” she started, trying to make it sound as if it weren’t as bad as it looked. “I just need to put some medicine on it.”
“Christ,” Cade drew out, moving in more closely to inspect it.
It looked as if a wolf had gotten hold of her fur in its maul and ripped it out along with the skin—definitely not pleasant, which he knew from personal experience—and it was unquestionably infected. No wonder she cringed when she hopped out of my truck.
“Only a little infected my ass,” he muttered. “If it were much worse, I’d take you to see a doctor.”
He reached over for the supplies, hearing her sigh as if she were either irritated, or maybe worried. But she said nothing and leaned against the counter with one hand, holding her shirt up with the other.
“What the hell would we tell them about what happened?”
“I’d take you to a pack doctor,” Cade replied. “We have a few around because we tend to get hurt on a regular basis, and can’t always explain things to a human without stirring up trouble.”
As he began to apply the peroxide, she stiffened suddenly, gripping the counter more tightly, and her shirt. Cade hated that it hurt so much, but it had to be done.
“Fuck!” Ashley cussed. “It’s throbbing like hell now.”
“Means it’s working.”
“It’s working really bad.”
She leaned forward as if holding herself up was becoming difficult to do with the pain she was in. When Cade went to pour more over it, she sucked in another breath and let out a line of swears.
“Sorry, Ashley,” he said gently, lightly dabbing the peroxide up after letting it work for a few minutes.
On a groan, she whimpered out sarcastically, “Oh no, please do it a few more times. It feels wonderful.”
Cade grinned while spreading some ointment over a gauze. “I bet.”
Gently, he pressed the gauze over the wound, then went for the tape. The whole time, he kept thinking about his anger, wanting to find and hurt the jackasses who’d done this to her.
He forgot the thoughts when he caught sight of the uncomfortable expression on Ashley’s face in the mirror, but she wasn’t crying, merely gritting her teeth against the ache she was enduring. That was when it hit him—Ashley was tough.
She had every reason in the world to curl up on the bed he’d offered her and cry herself to sleep. But she’d only shed a handful of tears since he’d met her, trying to deal with everything as best as she possibly could.
Ashley was stronger than she looked, and Cade was more convinced now that she’d been used as a game animal than before.
And yet again, he noticed her scent. It was much stronger after her bath, making it more appealing. No matter how much he tried to deny it, she had a scent he felt like he could breath in deep and still not get enough. That’s a bad sign.
As he finished his tasks, his instinct was nagging at him to get better acquainted with her, and it was annoying. He pushed it away while Ashley tugged her shirt back down, then turned to face him.
She looked as if the cleaning still had her in pain, muttering, “Thanks. Hopefully it won’t be so bad next time.”
“Nah, it won’t be. I have some painkillers in the cabinet if you need them.”
She turned to look, and when she found them, Cade recommended taking more than two because most Lupines had a high tolerance to drugs—Ashley took four.
Once the bottle was closed, he asked, “You don’t have any memory about where you were before?”
“No, I can’t even remember faces very clearly.” When Cade gave her an unhappy look, Ashley asked, “Why? Do you wanna confront them?”
He nodded wordlessly.
Ashley pursed her lips as if trying to drudge up anything she could, but then she shook her head with a soft sigh. “I can’t remember anything except for that basement. But if I do, I’ll let you know right away, okay?”
“Okay,” Cade replied, and just when he was about to suggest she go ahead and get some rest, she suddenly slapped a hand over her mouth.
She was staring at him with wide eyes, then spoke as if relating a terrible secret, “Sometimes, I woke up with the taste of blood in my mouth, Cade. Now that I know I was turning into a wolf, do you think I might have been . . . killing people?”
She sounded absolutely horrified by the notion of it, and likewise, Cade didn’t want her to get too unsettled. So he took her upper arms in a gentle hold and shook his head.
“No, I really doubt that.”
Yet even as he spoke, he couldn’t convince himself that she hadn’t done something very similar, only, killing other wolves that were being used like herself. So he added to make it more convincing, “We kill animals when we’re wolves. If anything, it’s probably that.”
Ashley started nodding, but the motion was made as if she desperately wanted to believe him simply because she needed to, not because she actually did. Her next question pointed to that being the case as well.
“Still, you wouldn’t have any toothbrushes I could use, would you? Some mouthwash at least?”
Cade could only imagine how badly she would want to clean her mouth out, so he turned to check under the sink and then above it, locating a toothbrush still in the wrapper.
Ashley grabbed the mouthwash on the counter, thanking him for the toothbrush after spitting into the sink, then began to scrub away at her teeth twice in a row, followed by downing the aspirin she’d gotten out of the cabinet.
Cade couldn’t help feeling bad for her, and knew now that telling her the truth about what she’d likely been used for would be upsetting enough to make her snap. He had no idea how many fights she’d been in, but he did know she’d been used long enough to kill a good handful of wolves.
Or doom by defeat in the very least.
When she was done brushing, he asked, “You gonna be okay?”
“Yeah,” she whispered softly, looking back up at him. “I think I’m gonna head off to bed though. I’m really, really tired.”
Bidding him goodnight, she walked to the door. Once there, he spoke her name, then waited until she’d looked back at him.
“Don’t hesitate to come get me if you need me.”
Ashley didn’t smile, but her expression was appreciative, and she nodded before going to her room. He watched until she disappeared from sight, wondering how things were going to work out while hoping they went well.
Cade wanted her to get back on her feet after what she’d been through.
It wasn’t long before he went to lay down across his couch to get some sleep after he’d cleaned up and donned a pair of cotton pants and a tank top. He tried not to think about Ashley’s situation, but it popped back into his head again and again.
In a year, Cade had never found the Lupine who’d led his father up to Braddock’s Field to be killed, and none of the people they’d stopped had his scent.
But maybe one of the ones that turned and hurt Ashley did.
If that were the case, things were going to get complicated, and they were probably going to get there fast. Cade wanted his revenge. Killing Brady was one thing, but the Lupine that led Henry to his death was still getting away with murder.
This could be his chance.