I liked the hero, Xypher, this time around much better than I have the last couple of guys. But since my favorites include Zarek, Fury, Wren…yep guess I like them seriously screwed up. Bring on the borderline-sociopaths with a soft spot. But hide it deep. Odd since if you asked me my absolute fav. Kenyon guy I’d go hands down for Vane. Any guy who looks at a size 18 woman with serious drooling, ‘gotta have me that lust’ gets my vote.
After basking in the good story afterglow for a bit, I started trying to figure out the twists and turns she’s given us. Kenyon doesn’t seem to do anything incidentally or accidentally. I admit it. I’m friggin’ dying to know how Kyle Peltier, a young Katagari (Were), is walking around in broad daylight when he should barely be able to hold a human form at his age in the daylight. Just a couple of books ago he was still shifting back to animal form when his brother threw meat at him because he couldn’t control it. Is she pulling a Vane/Fury on us?
But now that I’ve done the basking and the wondering I’m going to do what was recommended in a recent workshop. I’m going to dissect this and figure out how she does it. Or that’s the theory anyway. How does she create pacing that keeps you turning the pages at 2am? How does she create her characters so realistically and yet perfectly that you want to knock down the heroine and take him for yourself? (I’m telling you, Vane’s mate would be in serious trouble if he was corporeal. Zarek’s is a goddess and even I’m not that stupid.) How does she manipulate the plot so as to keep you hooked and sucked in for book after book after book?
If I figure it out, I’ll let ya know.
Now an excerpt from my little Were story. Measure of Healing is available through Cerridwen Press.
“Now,” [Brie] turned from him, walked up to the wall just outside the boy’s room and placed her hand on it. “If you’re here to help, here’s the first thing you can do for me.” She turned to look at him.
“What?” she seemed to have completely abandoned the antagonistic posture of just moments ago. Her mouth was actually turned up at one corner in what was almost a grin. He moved over to where she stood. He saw a rectangular shape drawn on the wall in pencil.
“I need a two way mirror here,” she pointed to the drawing.
“I don’t have my tools with me,” he shook his head puzzled, “I left everything in my father’s workshop.”
It was her turn to look confused. He explained. “Unless you have the equipment we’re stuck. Besides, I’m not sure the kid would appreciate us remodeling around him.”
She laughed. “Cougar, I wasn’t asking you to install a two way mirror, I was asking you to create one. You know? Magic?”
So she knew about the magic. Very few of the gifted humans knew that any of the Weres could wield magic. It was one of the rules of the council. They weren’t to perform magic before humans. Rules were broken all the time but this was one the Cougars were hesitant to break. In the back of his people’s minds lived the fear that some day the council would find a way and a reason to take the magic away from those Weres who had refused to relinquish it. It would lead to war as the Cougars would not let it go easily. So far their Domini had clung to the right for all Weres, insisting that those who turned their backs on the magic were fools. The current Dominus had told the council to go to hell when they suggested the Cougars cut back on the reliance of their people on the powers they had brought with them into the human world.
“Right.” Alejandro ran his hand through his hair and shook his head He pressed his hand to the wall and focused. Slowly he drew the outline of the area with one finger. As his hand moved a trail of silver lay in its wake. Once the outline was completed, he placed his hand in the center of the box and the interior changed. It was now transparent and he could see the room on the other side. The boy slept quietly in his box.
“Thank you,” Brie gave him a soft smile. “This will make it easier.” She turned away from him and walked to the end of the hall. “Why don’t I show you were you’ll sleep, then we can find you something to eat.”
He nodded. He was starving and exhausted. He’d had little time before her arrival that evening. Just enough to throw some things in a bag, gulp down a bit of dinner and be ready. He’d had to spend most of the day at his father’s office dealing with one of the more unsavory construction companies his father was forced to sub-contract with by the economic conditions.
The Ramirez family was in demand for their work on hardwood flooring and custom cabinetry. Given the nocturnal nature of his animal side, he usually spent the bulk of his days sleeping and late afternoons and nights in the workshop making the cabinets, railings and scrollwork that was ordered. He still worried that his brothers would have trouble keeping up with the orders. Eddie had promised to help but he had a job now that took him away from the family and the last thing Alejandro wanted was for his father, at seventy-two, to have to try and pick up the slack. His two oldest nephews were showing an interest in the business and were earning money for the college years that were fast approaching by working part-time but the family agreed their schoolwork came first.
He followed her down the hall. She entered a large room with a king sized bed, a dresser, night stand and large wardrobe. The furniture was a dark mahogany that matched the wooden trim running along the ceiling and floor. A wooden chair rail circled the room separating a plum striped wallpaper on the bottom and a pale mauve paint above. The wood had been laid in alternating strips of mahogany and cherry. He ran the palm of his hand over the door jam and the nearest section of the chair rail. Someone had known what they were doing. She crossed to the wardrobe and pulled out a small stack of clothes from a drawer that she left open. He half watched her as she moved to the closet and pulled out a blanket and pillow. He walked further into the room, running his hand along the wall. Then he moved toward the bed and his palm stroked the wood.
“Stop that!” she said sharply.
Alejandro’s eyes widened in surprise. She was glaring at him with a peeved expression. “What?” he demanded.
“Stop scent marking my house. You rubbed against the wall in the boy’s room, now you’re marking this one. I swear if you spray something I’ll neuter you myself.” She stomped out of the room.
He looked up at his hand where it still lay against the wooden post of the bed. And he laughed. He hadn’t realized he’d been doing it. He’d rubbed his back on the wall in the boy’s room on purpose. He wanted Tomás to know he was there. But he’d been rubbing his palm along the surfaces of this room, her room, absently. The palm of his hand where, like the pads of the cougar’s feet and along his spine, he had oil glands that left his mark upon what he touched. His amusement faded slightly as he began to wonder at just how much about him and his kind his little doctor seemed to know. He left the room and followed his nose to find her. She was making up a bed in a smaller room. It was so small it fit only the single bed and a narrow dresser.
She looked up at him, still irritated. “What have you got in that thing?”
He frowned, “What thing?”
She stood up from smoothing the blanket and pointed at his bag where it hung from his shoulder. “What, you keep all your cash in there? The secret map to a treasure chest heaping with gold? Why are you still carrying it? What’s in there that’s so special?”
He lifted an eyebrow at the sudden return of animosity and sat it down on the floor inside the door. “Nothing special, just your basics.”
She walked passed him, picked up the bag and headed down the hall. “Hey,” he went after her, “that is mine you know.”
“Cats,” she muttered under her breath. Reaching the larger room she placed it on the bed. “Then you’ll probably want it in your room.”
Realizing what was happening, he shook his head. “No, thanks little doctor but I’m fine in the other room.”
She smiled at him with a wicked light in her eyes that set him on edge. “You don’t think I’m sacrificing a good night’s sleep for you, do you?”
“No. Now why would I think that? You’re only trying to give me the bigger room, your room.” Alejandro gestured with his hand. “You’re sleeping in here. I’ll take the other room.”
Her eyes narrowed. Brie was well aware it wasn’t exactly nice of her to deliberately confuse the poor man but all things considered it was damned satisfying. “I thought you said you were going to cooperate with me?”
“I said I wouldn’t interfere in your treatment of Tomás.”
“Well, that’s exactly what you’re doing.” Her hands rested on her hips. “I need to be in that other room. It’s closer to him, it has a vent between the two rooms that will allow me to hear him, allow him to hear me and allow my scent to reach him even when I’m not in the room.” She moved to the door. “So be a good boy and sleep where you’re told. I’ll get the rest of my things moved in the morning.” Pausing she looked back over her shoulder. “Meet me in the kitchen when you’re done. I’m going to put something on for dinner. Hope you don’t mind but I’m a strict vegetarian.” She flashed him a wicked “you’re so screwed,” grin and left.