Shifter Woods: Snarl (Esposito County Shifters #3)
It’s been forever, but I’ve got a fantastic paranormal romance to tell you all about! It’s sexy, fun, and part of a fantastic series by the ever-scintillating Nicola M. Cameron. You can read Shifter Woods: Snarl as a standalone, but why would you when there are three (with more to come!) juicy titles in the Esposito County Shifters series for you to dive into?
But why don’t I let Nicola, herself, tell you all about it…
Hello, and thanks so much for having me on today! Shifter Woods: Snarl is the third entry in my Esposito County Shifters series and takes place a few weeks after the events of Shifter Woods: Howl and Shifter Woods: Roar. In this story, we meet disgraced wolf Alpha and ex-SEAL Jack Hawthorne, who shows up in Esposito County hoping to get a job with a former commanding officer. The last thing he expects to find is his mate … or to learn that Kate Chandler is the daughter of his former commander, has no sense of smell, and isn’t interested in being mated. Jack will need all of his SEAL endurance skills to woo and win his mate—assuming that the Alpha of Esposito County’s wolf pack lets him stay at all.
The fourth entry, Shifter Woods: Scream, will come out in late October, with plans to combine all four novellas into a box set and print version in January 2019. I also plan on doing a full-length novel set in Esposito County – not sure which couple is going to star in it yet, but I promise that everyone from the Shifter Woods novellas will make an appearance.
Shifter Woods: Snarl (Esposito County Shifters #3) by Nicola M. Cameron
Available: September 4, 2018
Publisher: Belaurient Press
Can a lone wolf woo and win his very own kitty girl, or will he get turned into cougar chow?
Jack Hawthorne is an Alpha wolf shifter and former SEAL who lost the leadership of his pack while serving his country. Kate Chandler is a cougar shifter with no sense of smell and a deep-seated distrust of fated mates. When these two are thrown together at the Cougar Ridge Ski Resort in Esposito County, NM, Jack realizes that the sharp-witted, beautiful female is his heart’s mate. But her injury means she can’t smell the truth, and her father (and Jack’s former commanding officer) has made it clear that Kate is off limits.
Now, Jack has to convince Kate that they’re meant for each other, win her father’s approval, and convince the local wolf pack to accept him. But as every SEAL knows, the only easy day was yesterday.
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Jack leaned closer to the bathroom mirror, wiping the condensation from it. A stranger peered back, eyes weary and hard over a thick growth of facial hair. Helluva beard, guy. You look like the Abominable Snowman.
Not that he’d had a reason to do much personal grooming since his discharge. He’d hacked off his hair with his knife when it got too long, but the beard kept his face warm when he slept outside. It was easier to find a safe place to crash in the woods or other outdoor locations, easier to find food and clean water in the towns. He shifted back and forth between the two as he slowly headed westward, remembering the promise his former commanding officer had made and praying that Chandler would made good on it.
And if he didn’t, or couldn’t…
Jack grimaced and picked up the trimmer Chandler’s daughter had left for him in the bathroom. A disposable razor and a can of shaving cream had been placed next to it. Then I’ll leave. Simple as that.
The empty spot in his soul ached at the thought. He couldn’t help prodding it, the emotional equivalent of tonguing a gap where a tooth had been extracted. It was the place where he should have felt the connection to his pack, the solid link that an Alpha always maintained with the shifters he led.
But he didn’t lead a pack anymore. He could still hear his brother Ed’s words as they stood at the edge of their father’s grave the day he’d returned, three weeks too late to say goodbye. You wanted to go off and be a hero, Jack. I stayed behind and took care of the pack, like Pa wanted. You can’t blame the pack for making me Alpha.
Grimacing, Jack switched on the trimmer and started paring down the beard, bits of dark brown and grey hair pattering into the sink with each buzzing pass. Slowly his face began to emerge, and he remembered why he’d grown the beard in the first place—to hide the painful resemblance to his brother. Alphas were usually born, not made, but a shifter with enough strength of character could step into the role if the pack supported him. And the wolf shifters of the Rugged Pines had made their decision clear. With the death of Albert Hawthorne and his designated heir off fighting terrorists at some remote location halfway around the world, they would take Ed and be happy for it.
Jack could have challenged Ed for leadership—and he would have won, they both knew it. But Ed had been Pa’s trusted beta while Jack was off serving with the SEALs and had become a competent Alpha after Pa’s death, judging by the way the pack had closed ranks around him. The clincher was that Ed had already found his mate and had a pup on the way. Even if the pack wouldn’t reject him for it, there was no way in hell Jack would fight his own brother and risk orphaning his niece/nephew.
With no room for him in the pack he’d once called home, he left North Carolina and went west, keeping to himself as he headed towards Chandler’s last known address. His retirement pay was deposited into his account regularly; that and his savings were more than enough to buy a car or RV and travel in comfort. But he didn’t want comfort. Traveling on foot to New Mexico gave him a chance to atone for not being there when Pa died.
Was Ed right? Did I want to be a hero? He hadn’t thought so. When the military team of shifters had shown up in town all those years ago, looking sharp in their uniforms and talking up the benefits of serving his country as a SEAL, it had resonated with something deep inside him. He’d been raised knowing that he would take over the pack once Pa was gone, but at the same time he’d always chafed at being locked into a small patch of land in North Carolina. Joining the Navy and going through the arduous training required for shifter SEALs had seemed like a perfect way of scratching that itch. Go out, be a soldier, see the world, then come back and take up the mantle of Pa’s beta again.
Except it hadn’t worked that way. Scratching his itch had somehow turned into a wound that cut him off from his family.
The only thing that kept him going was Chandler’s promise of help. And then he’d finally made it to Esposito County only to be picked up for vagrancy. He knew he’d been lucky that the sheriff was willing to listen to him, even agreeing to take him to the commander’s house instead of throwing him in a cell for a couple of days. But the thought of being brought in front of Chandler as a prisoner was humiliating as hell. He hadn’t even been able to look up, guilt and shame gnawing at his belly, when Lynch ordered him out of the truck.
And then the scent hit him, notes of rosemary and sandalwood combined with pure female that was absolutely irresistible. It made his mouth water and his cock stir at the same time. When he looked up into a pair of celadon green eyes, it had taken every ounce of his will to stay in place and not pull the lithe blonde female who smelled like the other half of his soul into his arms.
She’s my mate. He put down the trimmer and picked up the shaving cream, decanting a foamy blob into one hand and smoothing it over his newly trimmed stubble. Except she’s a cougar shifter. And Commander Chandler’s daughter. And she can’t smell me. Fuck my life.
About the Author:
Nicola Cameron is a married woman of a certain age who really likes writing about science fiction, fantasy, and sex. When not writing about those things, she likes to make Stuff™. And she may be rather fond of absinthe.
While possessing a healthy interest in romance since puberty, it wasn’t until 2012 that she decided to write about it. The skills picked up during her SF writing career transferred quite nicely to speculative romance. Her To Be Written work queue currently stands at around nineteen books, and her mojito-sodden Muse swans in from Bali every so often to add to the list, cackling to herself all the while.
Nicola plans to continue writing until she drops dead over her keyboard or makes enough money to buy a private island and hire Rory McCann as her personal trainer/masseur, whichever comes first.