Welcome to the Weird, the Wild, & the Wicked for a new year of Mid Week Tease hosted by Sandra Bunino.
Authors: this is a great opportunity to spotlight a few lines or even a paragraph or two from a new release or backlisted title. Readers: you get to sample some delicious snippets! We’ll do our best to tease, titillate and tantalize you into the weekend.
Today I'm offering snippets from Queen Bitch of the Callowwood Pack, a paranormal romantic suspense. Julianna Morris has been chosen as a Luna candidate, the Alpha female hopeful, and Sabrina is helping her understand her Sister self, the wolf half of her. This is Julianna's first controlled shift.
The world had changed significantly. Every detail was sharper. Honeybees buzzed around the few flowers in the clearing wearing sharp jackets of gold and black while the rocks cast knife-edged shadows on individual blades of grass, waving gently in the breeze like green bristly hair. Everything seemed bigger or taller than she remembered. Even Sebrina looked down on her, though her face showed a satisfied smile.
“Very good, my daughter.” Her whisper carried like a normal voice to Julianna’s ears.
Sounds she’d been ignoring, such as the woodpecker pounding on a tree somewhere nearby or the patter of little rodent feet through the under growth, were as clear as if she’d put on headphones. She inhaled deeply and smelled the rodents and flowers and bees and the deer that had passed through this clearing earlier that morning. Sebrina’s scent wove its way into her awareness, a mixture of satisfaction, wolf, and pride. Before Julianna could savor the sights and scents, sharp surprise, sorrow, and regret tainted the air around the Paiute woman, and her smile disappeared.
Quick as lightning, the woman grabbed Julianna’s muzzle and turned her head sharply to the right, staring at her intently. Julianna had never seen herself in her wolf form so she had no idea what Sebrina was looking at, but whatever it was, the woman paled, and her hand shook where it touched Julianna’s muzzle.
Julianna whined uncertainly and thought, “What, Sebrina?”
The woman jerked as if she’d been slapped and stared at Julianna’s eyes with surprise and disbelief.
“It cannot be,” she whispered then, shaking her head in denial without letting Julianna free of her grip. “It cannot be.”
Julianna whined again. “What can’t be? I don’t understand.”
“Great Mother Moon, I never thought…to see…”
Julianna’s Sister didn’t like the scents coming from Sebrina and tucked her tail between her hind legs, trying to back away from the agonized Paiute woman. A whine full of fearful confusion escaped from Julianna’s chest, and she quailed at the loss of confidence in her inner wolf.
You must be your Sister’s leader, her protector. You must lead in your transformation from now on. It will keep you and your Sister safe. Sebrina’s instructions shot through Julianna’s awareness, and she pushed forward, taking the lead from her Sister.
Julianna tugged her head in Sebrina’s hand, pulling her lips back to bare her teeth, but the woman held fast for a few more moments. Sebrina appeared to be lost in whatever showed on Julianna’s face and the sorrow radiating from her overwhelmed her scent. Julianna’s Sister started to panic, and when Julianna growled like an animal cornered at the edge of fight or flight, Sebrina released her, dropping to her knees in the grass.
“I’m sorry, daughter, so sorry!” Sebrina wailed as she flattened her hands in the grass and placed her head between her arms until her forehead touch the ground. “I didn’t understand all those years ago, and I was afraid. Please forgive me.”
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