Behind the Eight Ball by M.A. Church
Series: Fur, Fangs, and Felines Book Two
(Can be read as a standalone, but book one does give information about one of the MCs.)
Release Date: October 30, 2015
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond
Pages or Words: 76,000 words
Categories: Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Paranormal, Romance
A cool morning, a yard full of birds, and a kitty on a mission. What more could a werecat want? Beta Heller Wirth has it all, except a mate—a shifter mate, that is. The last thing he wants is one of those dangerous humans who kill without remorse. Heller knows about that firsthand. So what does the goddess Bast do? She gives Heller exactly what he does not want—a human: business owner Lawson Dupre.
Lawson hasn’t a clue what just happened in his car detail shop. One minute a cute client is about to pass out, then he perks up and starts flirting. Next thing, he runs out the door like the hounds of hell are after him. Learning that Heller is a werecat doesn’t freak out Lawson. He happens to be one of those rare humans who knows paranormals exists. He even lives with one. Watch the fur fly as Heller and Lawson battle hurt feelings, misguided beliefs, and a power shift in Heller’s clowder.
A Three Chicks After Dark-exclusive excerpt:
It took forever to get home—and man, how much did I like thinking that? Home. I was going home to my partner. My mate. I parked in the drive and stared at the house for a moment. It was a lot like Heller. Beautiful on the outside. Perfect actually. But the inside was warm. Softly done and comfortable. Still there were areas that needed attention, just like the man. Hidden areas that cried out for love and attention. I was going to fill those areas up.
I walked in and set the wine on the counter and Heller turned from the stove. His apron loudly proclaimed he would cook for sex. Well now, wasn’t that just perfect? Heller glanced at the wine, then at me.
“Um, wine?” Heller squinted at the label. “A nice one too. Did I forget something? What are we celebrating?”
“I’m all for it, but…. Can you clue me in a little here? I’m kind of lost.”
I nodded at the apron. “I’m taking you up on that.”
“Huh?” Heller looked down at the words on this apron.
The scent of coconut washed over me. Oh, someone liked that, but I didn’t think he actually understood what it was I was saying.
“Aw man.” Heller groaned, palming his cock. “Lawson, that’s just mean. I told you I can’t…. We can’t have sex…. I might bite you and that would not be good, considering…. Shit. I’ll be right back. Watch dinner for me.”
I stepped in his way. “I don’t think you get it. I want sex, yes. I want you. I want the whole thing. You, the mating, being part of your clowder… everything. I want you as my mate. What do you want?”
Heller reeled back. “W-W-What? You want to mate with me? Mate? Holy fucking cow, yes!” Heller shut off the stove, grabbed me by my shirt, and hauled me closer to him. “Yes, yes, yes! Are you freaking kidding me? Yes! There’s nothing more I want than you as my mate too.”
My pleased grin lit up the room, and I leaned closer, our lips almost touching. “Excellent. I’m going to love you so good. Going to make you yell when I fuck that ass of yours.”
Heller’s eyes widened and he gulped.
Seeing Heller’s reaction, I swore softly. “Oh man, please don’t tell me you have a problem with bottoming. Heller, I like to top. Most of the time I do top.”
The rustling of dead leaves caught my attention, and I froze with one paw still in the air. Not moving and barely daring to breathe, I waited. My whiskers twitched as a cool October breeze disturbed the scent of decaying leaves and rich soil. The foliage trembled again as something rooted around.
I slowly lowered my paw. The disturbance wasn’t very noticeable except to my predatory gaze. The movement continued. Gradually, bit by bit, I crept forward, making sure my long fur didn’t disturb the surrounding mounds of dying leaves. It was times like these I wished my coat were short like Dolf’s. One thing was for sure—whatever was below those leaves was going to be mine shortly. All I needed was to cover a little more distance and I’d be close enough.
Heart thumping, I watched as the movement continued. My muscles tightened and my bottom started wiggling. Unable to wait, I sprang forward, claws extended. Leaves flew into the air as I landed on my target. Bugs scattered. Eyes narrowed, I searched for…. There! There was the little bugger. I growled at the big black beetle and trapped it with my paw.
Seconds passed. The bug wiggled under my paw, tickling me. Hunched down, I carefully lifted my paw and peeked. Dammit, can’t see. Unable to get a good look, I lifted my paw a little higher… and there it went, scuttling across the ground. Gleefully I slammed a paw down, trying to trap it. Slap. Slap. Slap. Arrgh! What’s the deal? I keep missing.
Looked like I’d found myself in a game of whack-a-mole, except with a beetle. And off we went. The bug scurried away with me hot on its trail. Every time I thought I had a paw on it, I ended up missing. Stupid critter was fast. I bounded along behind as it raced across the ground. Then it suddenly cut back and ran straight under me.
Surprised, I leaped in the air, all four paws coming off the ground. Whoa! Zigged when I should have zagged. I landed and nonchalantly licked a paw. Hope no one saw that. I had to give the bug credit. That was a smart move. The shrill cry of a mockingbird caught my attention. I lifted my head, searching for the little tattletale.
Up in a tree it sat, its warning cries echoing around the yard. I eyed the tree. Hmm, I could climb it, but the stupid bird will probably just take off. Still, might be fun. Maybe after I finished playing with the bug… and damn. The bug.
My attention returned to where it had been, my tail slashing. Great. Lost it. Stupid bird. I sat up and threw a glare over my shoulder at the bird. Standing, I turned my back to the little menace, tail held high. That’s what I think of you, buddy. I prowled around for a while, sniffing, enjoying the coolness of the morning.
In the early morning sunlight, the dew on the grass sparkled like diamonds. Maybe it was pretty, but the stuff was also cold and wet against my paws. I was glad for my fur. As I wandered back toward the house, my stomach growled. I was hungry and… I sniffed. Oh, was that a blue jay I smelled? Oh, oh, a blue jay. Yum.
The human side of me groaned, but the kitty part wanted to jump with joy. The noisy little shits were actually quite intelligent. Catching one was always a feat. Quick as I could, I hid in the bright fall foliage by the back porch. I stayed very, very still so the stupid bird three feet from me didn’t fly off in a panic.
I licked my lips, my whiskers twitching as I watched the little rascal across from me raise its head. Shit, shit, shit. What caught its attention? Come on already. It’s all fine, nothing to worry about here. No cat hanging around. Just go back to pecking around on the ground. Everything’s good. See? I’m not moving, not even breathing.
Crouched low, I waited while my breakfast relaxed and returned to looking for acorns. Other birds came and went, but I refused to get distracted. I knew the one I wanted. Inch by agonizing inch, I crept closer to my prey. My mouth watered and my heart thumped.
The chatter of the birds around me was easy and relaxed, no distress calls sounding. That’s right. Just keep on eating. Soon I’m going to be eating you. My body tensed, back legs ready to spring me into action….
And the phone in the house rang.
Buy the book:
Dreamspinner eBook: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7022
Meet the author:
M.A. Church is a true Southern belle who spent many years in the elementary education sector. Now she spends her days lost in fantasy worlds, arguing with hardheaded aliens on far-off planets, herding her numerous shifters, or trying to tempt her country boys away from their fishing poles. It’s a full time job, but hey, someone’s gotta do it!
When not writing, she’s exploring the latest M/M novel to hit the market, watching her beloved Steelers, or sitting glued to HGTV. That’s if she’s not on the back porch tending to the demanding wildlife around the pond in the backyard. The ducks are very outspoken. She’s married to her high school sweetheart, and they have two children.
She was a finalist in the Rainbow awards for 2013 and is a member of Romance Writers of America, Rainbow Romance Writers, and Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.
Where to find the author:
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/MA-Church/173797619379487
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B007A8JA4C
WARNING! Possible spoilers from book one of series.
The series continues! It was nice to be immersed in the West Falls clowder once again. In the first installment, Dolf and Tal took in Kirk as their second mate. Unique enough but even more so since he was a human. This action forced the clowder to abandon some of its primitive thinking towards humans and their contact with them. It seems the clowder struggles with outdated and basically bigoted practices.
Kirk was accepted but the clowder is still learning. The most outspoken of the clowder allowing a human to mate into their clowder, was Heller. He loathes humans and lets his feeling be known. Even though he has a deep hatred, he still ultimately saves Kirk’s life.
Now, Heller finds himself in a vicarious position when he catches the scent of his destined mate. At first he thinks it’s a woman and is about to be sick over it. That’s nothing compared to what he discovers. His mate is male (Yay!) after all but he’s also human. What? Yes, human. This is more than Heller can take, so he runs. He literally turns tale and walks away. He needs time to process and think it through.
Heller has a good reason for being leery of humans but when his mate, Lawson, is threatened, Heller discovers that nothing will come between his heart and his mate. Not even a lack of a shifter gene.
There were many surprises in Heller and Lawson’s story. One being that Heller likes to give up control in the bedroom. His outward appearance and his true self are almost polar opposites. Pleasant surprise there. He can also be very sweet and caring. Heller really wants the normal, domestic life with a mate.
Lawson had a great attitude. He’s lived with shifter siblings for about 10 years so the paranormal thing wasn’t something he had to be introduced to. Lawson was strong, funny and a take charge kind of guy. He needs to be, to deal with and break through the whole ‘I hate humans’ attitude from Heller.
This series is entertaining, witty and packed with interesting characters. The next mating couple was introduced towards the end of the story so I’m anxious to see how they make things work. Behind the Eight Ball was packed with cameos from the first book. It’s always nice to be able to revisit favorite personalities from the first book. Book three should be a hoot!
RATING: BAD ASS BOOTS!!
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