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So, I’ve been pretty “non-bloggy” these days, but I’ve had an excellent reason. I’ve been finishing up my latest novel, Primrose & The Wolf: A Huxley Sisters Paranormal Romance. As the title blatantly implies, it’s a paranormal romance. The story is a little over 300 pages and it offers magic, a little humor and adventure, and it falls into that wonderful, creative land known as YA fiction.

The book started as a NaNoWriMo2015 project that blossomed into, well, a novel. I’ve had a blast obsessing, writing, editing, and obsessing even more over the past four months.

I also happen to enjoy reading aloud, and most people tell me I’m not awful at it. What you will hear here (no pun intended) is roughly the first five pages, in 5 min 22 sec. As I speak softly on occasion, I have also included the transcript below.

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*Note: Contents of written and spoken excerpt ©2015 by J. A. Fales/Jennifer Fales*

C H A P T E R   O N E

THE WOLF

 

 

“Hello, Little Flower.”

A husky voice she hadn’t heard in centuries nearly sent Primrose Huxley tumbling in a whirlwind of arms, legs, and golden hair from the top of a ladder in Volumes & Vagaries. She closed her eyes and sucked in a deep breath, willing the energy that shuddered and awakened inside of her to halt. The scents of old and new books, with just the slightest hint of magic in the dust from the tallest shelves, enveloped her.

Meditation had taught her that breathing was much more than just a function or an instinct. It was a bridge between body and mind. Those smells—books, dust, and the soft citrus and jasmine of her favorite perfume—served as a reminder of what world she was in, and that she was still the one in control. Never again would she allow another being to take that control away from her. Not even him.

Mason Géroux.

The wolf shifter’s voice was an engraved invitation to wickedness. From just the sound of it, she remembered the muscles and hard lines of his body all too well. Their time together had been brief, but Mason had stamped her with an indelible memory of his carnal capabilities. If the man had any motto, it was bound to be “satisfaction guaranteed.”

If the Universe were fair, men like that—men who lied, and betrayed so routinely, and could melt the knickers off of any given nun—would come with a warning label.

“Goodbye, Big Bad Wolf,” she backed down the rungs of the ladder without so much as a twist of her head. Why bother looking? She knew what she was going to see—a flimflammer with a ridiculously handsome face and silver-streaked black hair.

Prim stood there, wishing that she’d worn a potato sack, or maybe a nice Technicolor MuMu—anything other than her ripped up, second-skin, skinny jeans. She clutched the book her favorite Paradox resident and paying customer had been looking for tightly against her chest. Its weight rose and fell with the defiant beating of a broken heart.

“Is that any way to greet an old friend, Rose?”

“Friend?” she spat the word as he grabbed her wrist, pulling her around to face him. “Try enemy.”

“Those are fine words, coming from a thief.”

“Moral superiority from you. Really?” She yanked her arm back, ignoring the surge of electricity from his touch. It still took effort, turning from the square- jawed, arrogant face of the man she once thought hung the moon in the sky. “We both know that locket belonged to my family, Mason.”

“More than enough time has passed—let bygones be bygones, Rose,” he was insistent, weaving through the tall shelves behind her, on the carefully chosen magical tiles—ones handpicked to ward against evil and negative energies other than her own—that resembled rough cobblestone.

“The name is Primrose.”

“It doesn’t fit,” he wanted, so badly, to tempt her again. “You certainly weren’t prim or proper with me.”

“How dare you!” She spun on her heel in the aisle, tremendous power radiating from the palm she slammed against his chest.

“Rose, no! Please, don’t do this.”

Shifting in public was forbidden and the repercussions, dire. No need for him to know nobody in the town of Paradox cared; the bastard deserved fear. Panic and pain were apparent in his eyes as they unwillingly bled from brown into bright gold.

“Do you know what’s worse than being a disgraced nun, Mason?” she ignored his plea. “One imprisoned for years after being caught with a pretend knight-errant?”

“No,” he gritted the response through his teeth.

“What’s worse is being a witch posing as that nun, terrified of being dragged from the dungeon and burned for what she was.”

“Listen,” he begged her, fighting hard to keep control.

“No, Wolf,” she flexed her fingers, just a bit, so they could both feel the emotionless organ beneath all that skin and bone heighten its pace, “it’s your turn to listen. It took me forever to escape that place. The coven we called home abandoned my sisters and me, because of my brush with the authorities. They threatened to out us. We were forced to flee; we had to start our lives all over again.”

“I’m sorry,” Mason shook. His ears began to lengthen, and telltale strands of gray and black fur emerged on the back of his hands. “A life depended on that locket, and I had no idea it would be that bad for you.”

“Yes,” Primrose finished the torment just as suddenly as she had begun it. Once a con man, always a con man, but it was her fault, too, for trusting him. “Neither did I—that doesn’t change the fact that it was.”

Her hands trembled from the exertion of reeling in what her anger had unleashed. She played it off, smoothing a lock of long hair behind one ear. He still had no idea, not about the worst of it, and she had no intention of reliving it all again to enlighten a man who meant nothing to her.