RAOK Release Party: Reni Kieffer + Exclusive Prequel!

February 16, 2015

RandomActsOfKindness_headerbanner

To celebrate the release of the Random Acts of Kindness anthology today, some of the authors will be sharing with you a little glimpse behind each of their stories.

 

Steve and Alec appeared to me one night without warning to tell me about kindness. They showed up nameless and insisted on staying that way for a long while. Because names are not the important piece of information in The Blue Arrow. Steve and Alec could be anyone, and who knows what might happen, if we reach out a hand and show some compassion to a stranger, without expecting anything in return. Be kind once in a while. Be selfless. There is beauty in altruism, and if, by chance, you find a friend, a lover, or even a spouse in the process, there is magic in it, too.

 

Here’s an exclusive prequel to The Blue Arrow:

 

“I used to see him everywhere. The boy with the ruffled hair, the lanky posture of youth and the hat askew on his head. He seemed to follow me. I saw him at the airport as I left home, at the side of the road, next to me on the train, when I still could afford to travel.

I haven’t been able to do that in a while. My current means of transport are my own two feet. I walk a lot. Sometimes, I just wander the streets all day, trying to find something, a solution, maybe, or maybe just inspiration, I don’t know. Some days I don’t even bother to get up. I just lie there in my tiny corner and stare past the bricks and the concrete at the sky, watch the clouds drift by like my own tattered thoughts. And I wonder. What to do. How to change again. Why. Sometimes, the cold is so exhausting that I imagine my bones freezing inside my body, and I don’t dare move for fear they might break.

The cold is the worst.

I can deal with hunger and thirst and the lack of hygiene. I can deal with the violence and the social shabbiness, the looks and the ignorance of the lucky ones who are better off than us. But the cold wears me down. No matter how many clothes you manage to pull on (and I don’t own a whole lot of clothes anymore), no matter who grants you shelter for the night, and no matter how many blankets and how much soup they offer, the cold is insistent. Once it has its teeth dug into your bones, there’s no way to get rid of it again.

It even drove the boy away. He, who has formed my fate before and has led me here of all places with his blue arrow, was driven away by the bitterness of this winter. And even though the loss of him feels like a missing limb, I understand him perfectly.

That morning, I saw him again. He was leaning against the wall outside the place I never walk into. I can’t afford the food, no matter how cheap their daily offer, and the tables are too polished, and the girl behind the counter looks like someone who would regard me with pity. I cannot stand someone this beautiful feeling sorry for me. But the boy insisted and with some trepidation I crossed the street and entered the place. And then his blue arrow hit me right in the back. Again.”

 

Reni Kieffer Author Page Here.

Check out Random Acts of Kindness here!

Random Acts of Kindness Release Party: Fil Preis

February 16, 2015

RandomActsOfKindness_headerbanner

To celebrate the release of the Random Acts of Kindness anthology today, some of the authors will be sharing with you a little glimpse behind each of their stories.

 

Hi, this is Fil Preis, and for “Random Acts of Kindness” I’m excited to present my first fantasy romance, “The Cambion’s Servant.” I’ve long been a fan of fantastic fiction but my first few romances have all been set in the contemporary world. With “The Cambion’s Servant” I went back to my fantasy roots just far enough to turn some tropes upside down!

A lot of fantasy stories are about a youth finding his way in a magical world, often with the assistance of an older and wiser mentor. And in romance, you don’t have to look too far to find stories about virgins being initiated by sexually experienced partners, or innocents being seduced by darkly sexy rogues. The call for “Random Acts of Kindness” gave me a chance to play with some characters who have a somewhat different dynamic.

Tomas is an orphan only just come of age, thrown out of the hermitage where he was raised after refusing to become a priest under the dour, strict Father Denego. Gavin is a cambion—half man, half demon—and as such, an outcast who makes his living as a mercenary. Dangerous and fierce, anyone would expect Gavin to be the one with dark designs on an innocent like Tomas.

Instead, Gavin is the one who goes out of his way to defend Tomas when his employer tries to take advantage of him. And Tomas, very quickly, warms to his strange defender. What Tomas doesn’t know is that there’s an unspoken reason why Gavin intervened on his behalf. And if Tomas wants to experience love firsthand, it’s up to him to make the first move…and the second.

 

Here’s an excerpt:

Tomas leaned over to take a look at his new Master in the light of day.
Those eagle eyes were closed in sleep, but the man’s lip had curled back, revealing a hint of fang. The feathers in his hair were not decorations. They actually grew right out of his scalp.
Cambion. Half man, half demon.
He was handsome, yet terrifying. Or…he would be frightening, if he wasn’t asleep.
Slowly, Tomas’s panic subsided. Gavin had had all night to hurt Tomas if he’d wished to. Maybe Tomas had no reason to be afraid.
Still, Tomas thought it would be wise for him to be a good servant. He rose from the blankets and set about making a fire. He found a pan, a cup, a full water-skin and some dried sacks of tea in Gavin’s pack. By the time the cambion finally stirred, Tomas was waiting to press the cup, filled with hot tea, into his gloved hands.
Gavin accepted the drink and sipped from it. “You’re still here,” the cambion remarked, his voice low and gravelly.
“Why are you surprised? You saved me. Rulio would have taken my virtue and perhaps also my life. I swore to serve you, and I…I stand by my word.”
“Heed me well. I no longer believe in serving or keeping servants. It is too easy for one who owns another’s labour to believe he owns that person’s body and soul as well.” Gavin stretched out a gloved finger and pointed it at Tomas. “Remember this always—your will is your own.”
“And if my will is to go with you?”
The cambion’s lips curved in an expression that, though stern, was definitely a smile.
“Then make some of that tea for your own, and fortify yourself. This morning we hunt, and this afternoon we travel north.”

 

I hope you enjoy “The Cambion’s Servant” and discover the magic than can result from a random act of kindness.

 

Fil Preis Author Page Here.

Fil Preis on Facebook Here.

 

Check out Random Acts of Kindness here!

Illusions – My inspiration for the Book

February 13, 2015

Hi, it’s S.A. again. I’ll be on the DSP blog until noon today and back again around 5pm EST until Midnight.

Illusions_bookmarkH_DSP

Today is the release day for my very first novel, Illusions and I wanted to share with you my start in writing. In February 2013, I was laid off from my job of twenty-two years. After getting over the initial panic, I started the endless chore of trying to find a job. My day consisted of filling out online resumes and eating. Can you say, “stress eater”?

I was watching a few You Tube videos during my down time and I saw a fan video made with The Kill – by 30 Seconds to Mars. It featured one of my favorite actors and my crush, Sebastian Stan, from his old television show, “Kings”. I remembered how much I love the show and how angry it made me that the Prince (Sebastian’s character) hadn’t been able to be with his boyfriend (a non-noble) due to his title and his father saying he could never be gay and be the King.

I had wanted to write a m/m love story for a long time and this video gave the idea for Illusions. I needed someone unattainable so I went with what I know – Hollywood. Since we’ve all have had out celebrity crushes, I thought that maybe it would be fun to write a love story between a Hollywood celebrity and a non-celeb type person. I chose a firefighter because I think they are heroic and all kinds of amazing.

Below is the You Tube video that started it all for me..well for Illusions. But first, tell me, have you ever had a crush on a celebrity? If so, who and why?

Link: e-book  http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6041

Link: paperback http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6042

That’s a wrap!

February 12, 2015

Well everyone, this will be my last post. Thank you for joining me! It was great fun, and I appreciate your enthusiasm for my latest release. I shall be back on the DSP blog in March for “The Serpent and the Angel” release party.

 

As a farewell / Valentine’s Day gift, here’s another excerpt!

 

When he finally managed to reach the cashier after loading two fucking carts full of food, he noticed a tall, broad man whom he recognized. He smiled. The man’s girth might be intimidating, but he was a self-proclaimed teddy bear, despite the fact he was a cougar shifter.

“Morning, Travis.”

Travis, who was also Sheriff Jack’s mate, turned and smiled back. His dark blond hair was neatly trimmed just below his ears, and his eyes were a pretty light blue framed by wire-rimmed glasses that actually didn’t look too bad on him.

Travis eyed Xavier’s carts and looked amused. “Expecting a nuclear attack?”

Xavier snorted. “You’d think so, right? No. Apparently, the workers and patients expect us to feed them.”

“The nerve of them.”

They both chuckled.

“So, are you ready for Valentine’s Day?” Travis asked as he finished his purchase and moved out of line. Xavier pushed his carts up and started handing things to the cashier, a young teen girl who looked bored as she chewed gum.

“Huh? Valentine’s Day?”

“Yeah, the day after tomorrow.”

Xavier gave him a blank look. Travis shrugged. “Just thought you and Josh would want to celebrate since it’s your first. But that’s fine if you don’t; not everyone does. Jack personally hates it. He says it’s ‘commercial love.’”

“So, you don’t celebrate it?”

“In our own way we do.”

“What do you do?”

“We go out to Sanctuary, get furry, and run around like children.” Travis’s grin widened. “Then we fuck like animals. Works for us.”

Xavier smiled at the anticipation in Travis’s eyes. It was nice to see how someone who’d been a victim of the Knights himself could move past it and find joy in life. Travis had been captured as a teen along with his entire family. He’d been the only one to survive but had been blinded by the experiments the Knights had subjected him to. With the help of an operative from the Agency, he’d managed to regain partial sight, which was helped along with a pair of glasses.

He also knew a little of what Travis had gone through to become mates with Jack. Jack was part of the largest pack in Haven, but not its leader. That would be Jack’s father, Jeffrey. There had been considerable resistance to Jack mating with a cougar shifter, and it reminded Xavier of his own pack. They considered wolf shifters far superior to any other shifter, and it had been one of the reasons he’d left. He was glad to know not all wolf packs were willing to lose one of their own simply because of who he was in love with.

“You think I should celebrate it? I never have before.” Xavier winced at the price that showed on the monitor, despite the fact the Agency was paying for everything. He handed the cashier the Agency’s credit card.

“Like I said, up to you. It just seems to me that Josh’s one who might want to celebrate.”

Xavier frowned, considering. Travis was right. Dammit. Xavier loaded the bags into the carts, and Travis walked with him out of the store.

“I really don’t know if we could carve out the time,” Xavier said. “We’re busy from sun up to sun down and barely do more than sleep when night hits.”

“Well, that’s all the more reason to find the time, don’t you think?”

Xavier shrugged. “I suppose.”

Travis helped Xavier load the truck before giving him a firm pat on the back. Travis smiled again, nothing but friendly and open.

“Even if it wasn’t Valentine’s Day, I think a night off is just what you guys need. Like you said, you’ve been working hard ever since you arrived. You didn’t even get any sort of honeymoon, did you?”

Xavier smirked. “Not really. We just sort of dove into this whole counseling clinic thing.”

“What better reason do you need to plan something?” Travis nodded as if the matter was settled. “Trust me, Xavier, time has a way of getting away from you. Jack and I have been together nearly two years now, and I don’t know where the time went.”

“Thought you two were friends before you were mates.”

“We were. That time went pretty fast as well.” Travis’s eyes glazed slightly, and Xavier knew Travis was seeing something he couldn’t.

Travis shook himself, looking a little embarrassed. “Besides, Haven likes to take advantage of any sort of holiday. Not many stores will be open, and the ones that will, they’ll be closed probably half the day. Any excuse not to work, right? You should take advantage of that; I do.”

“What are you talking about? You’re a writer. That’s not actual work.”

Travis snorted. “Hey, watch it. Writing’s hard. It’s a job just like any other.”

Xavier raised an eyebrow. “I’m not convinced. You can do it at home in nothing but your underwear. Hell, you can do it naked.”

Travis laughed. It was a full-bellied laugh that caused Xavier’s mouth to twitch.

“You know, I think Jack might enjoy that. But then he’d probably jump me, and I’d get no work done. See how hard it is?”

“Oh yeah, so hard.” Xavier rolled his eyes.

Travis took slow breaths, calming. “Anyway, if you need any help, or suggestions, just let me know.”

“Thanks.”

 

Thank you my lovelies and…

May dragons guard your dreams,

M.D. Grimm

 

Remember – to learn more about my series and where it’s going, check out my blog at: http://www.mdgrimmwrites.com/#!Shifters-explained/c1o5e/3AB7F857-F8F4-4032-829D-A151576ED328

 

And please check out my website in general, it’s gorgeous, I swear!

Music and books

February 12, 2015

Here’s the link to my The Shifters part 1 book trailer – check it out! I had a lot of fun making it and it is office appropriate.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDh7v193dFE&feature=youtu.be

 

Let me know what you think! Good, bad, meh? Be honest!

I plan to do another trailer when all of Part 2 is published.

 

I often listen to music when I write and it’s often instrumental – but not just any instrumental. I love EPIC music!

 

I listened to the following groups a lot when I wrote “Hearts and Minds” and they are very inspiring, and I don’t have to focus on them, like I do if there are lyrics. They fade into the background but not all the way.

 

A couple of my favorites are: Two Steps from Hell, E.S. Posthumus, and Mary McLaughlin (piano, Irish).

Here are some links to my favorite albums on YouTube. (all work appropriate – you’re welcome)

Two Steps from Hell: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL7B16C924C1FAD7BD

E.S. Posthumus: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmbuwZXtsS0

 

My question to you is – What music do you listen to: to write, read, clean the bathroom, whatever? Fav artists, music groups, musicians…? I want to know!

 

-M.D.

Future books in The Shifters series

February 12, 2015

Hello! I’m still here promoting my newest release “Hearts and Minds” – the sequel to “Healing Minds” book 5 of my The Shifters series. http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6031

 

Hearts and Mind-seqel

 

And also, don’t forget to check out my other books in the series here: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/AuthorArcade/md-grimm

 

Since the books are all dependent upon each other and grow more so as the series progresses, I’d suggest reading from book #1 if you haven’t already.

 

To wet your anticipation for the future: “The Serpent and the Angel” (book 8) will be released on March 27th (I have another DSP blog scheduled that day), “Ghosts of Halloween Past” (sequel to “Blind Devotion”) will be released in October, and I’m working on book 9 “Predator and Prey” (who likes sharks?). Then I will swing out of the “past” and be firmly in the present for later books.

 

“Ghost of Halloween Past” will focus around Halloween and I think you’ll be surprised by the secret Travis has been keeping from Jack about what happened to them years before the events in “Blind Devotion” (book 3).

 

“Predator and Prey” (book 9) is only half done and currently frustrating the hell out me. But, it’s all worth it. I know I will love this story when it’s finished. The greatest challenge was the research I had to do for it. I predict I will soon become an expert when it comes to the skill of research. J

 

And for those curious, the strong Agent Poe will return. He’s scheduled for book #12, I believe.

 

Just a reminder, if you want to know more of my plans for this series, check out my blog here: http://www.mdgrimmwrites.com/#!Shifters-explained/c1o5e/3AB7F857-F8F4-4032-829D-A151576ED328

 

That’s where I put all the info you could ever want to know about The Shifters series.

 

What is your idea of a romantic night with your significant other?

 

-M.D.

Xavier and Josh – so in love!

February 12, 2015

Hello and welcome to my release day party! I’m here promoting my newest release: “Hearts and Minds.”

Xavier is so in love with Josh and the intensity is indescribable. He truly sees Josh as his savior and in some respects he is. But because of that he might get a wee bit overprotective, which can lead to some interesting moments… some of which are in “Hearts and Minds.” See what I did there?

 

I’m very proud of this book and where I leave my guys at the end. But another reason I really enjoyed this book is that it takes place in my favorite place of all time: Haven, Montana. A town founded by shifters for shifters. Who wouldn’t want to live in a town where someone could shift into a wolf or fox or cat anytime they wanted to right in front of your eyes? Because it’s in Haven, Sheriff Jack and his mate Travis (“Blind Devotion” book 3) make cameos. It was fun running into them again.

 

For those of you wondering, Haven will be a vital location in later books. I’m sure some of you smarties already guessed that.

 

Also, for those curious, I do plan on 20ish books in this series, and I hope you all join me for the ride! I will have 5 parts with 3-5 books in each. I have a climactic battle planned in the last one (of course) that I hope you all will enjoy! It’s very possible that Xavier and Josh will pop up again in later books. I love having cameos of previous characters.

 

And now another excerpt!

 

 

“I should take a shower,” Xavier murmured even as he tugged Josh against him, his hands cupping Josh’s butt.

“No, I want to smell you,” Josh said. He then literally jumped into Xavier’s arms and wrapped his arms and legs around him. Xavier staggered backward in surprise but recovered quickly. Josh smashed his mouth against Xavier’s, and Xavier thrust his tongue into his mouth. Groaning, Josh yanked the tie out of Xavier’s hair and drove his fingers through the black locks as Xavier squeezed Josh’s ass. Josh rubbed his encased erection against Xavier’s stomach.

“Hell yes,” Xavier growled as he carried Josh to the bed and laid him down. Josh yanked off Xavier’s tank, needing to feel hot flesh. His fingers dug into Xavier’s back, feeling the muscles, the strong bones. Xavier was so strong and ruthless, but also so loving. Josh kissed Xavier’s corded neck, moving lower, licking his sweat and sucking the skin lightly.

Xavier shivered and groaned. “Jesus Christ, Josh. I’ve missed you.”

Josh had never felt such need in his life, this sense of urgency. Perhaps it was the fact that they could be interrupted at any moment, or perhaps the knowledge that Xavier hadn’t been inside Josh for far so long. Josh suddenly needed him, right then. He needed to feel his strength, to feel that connection again. Xavier was Josh’s first and only, and Josh craved him like a dying man does water.

Xavier pulled off Josh’s shirt before unzipping Josh’s pants. Rearing up, Josh began kissing Xavier’s arms, and the muscles quivered under his touch, the skin heated under his palms. Josh had to taste all of him; he had to love all of him.

When Xavier gripped Josh’s exposed erection, Josh fell back on the bed with a gasp. Xavier stroked him with one hand as his other continued to push Josh’s pants down his legs. Josh stared and groaned at Xavier, whose eyes were bright gold, lust and need naked within them. He really, really loved Xavier’s eyes.

Xavier lowered his head—

“Xavier, Josh! Come quick!” The voice sounded distant, as if down the hall or stairs, but they both heard it clearly.

They both froze for half a second before Xavier pushed off the bed, his eyes now flashing a dark green, his skin rippling as if he was fighting the urge to shift.

Josh felt just as pissed as Xavier and actually growled. “What the fuck is going on?” he demanded.

“They better have a fucking good reason,” Xavier growled, sounding more like a wolf than Josh ever could.

“Xavier, Josh!” The voice became louder, and then someone pounded frantically on their door.

Xavier yanked it open even as Josh got out of the line of sight and tugged his pants back on.

“What is it, Misty?” Xavier demanded.

“I’m so sorry, but it’s Allen, he’s—”

“Allen?” Josh grabbed his shirt from where Xavier had tossed it on the floor and ran to the doorway. He saw the panic and fear in Misty’s eyes, and the last of his raging lust died. His own fear rose up to replace it.

“What happened?” Xavier asked.

 

 

What will happen next? You’ll have to purchase the book to find out… http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6031

 

Don’t forget to post comments and give me some of your own questions! I’m ready!

 

-M.D. Grimm

Shifters are fun

February 12, 2015

I don’t re-read my published stories as a rule since there is always something I want to fix, and I can’t. But “Healing Minds” is one of the rare exceptions. I just like the “getting-to-know-you” portion of the book which is literally all of it. I enjoy the journey they took and the way they began to depend on each other. But I felt as though they needed another chance in the limelight, which is why I picked them for a sequel. Some couples I can step away from and feel satisfied that their stories are completely told, but others I have to return to. I find it amusing that “Healing Minds” was the book I least wanted to write, but ended up becoming one of my favorites. Typical, right?

 

“Hearts and Minds” http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6031

was longer than I expected it to be, but that’s never a bad thing in my opinion. It simply means I had a full story to tell.

 

If you wish to know more about The Shifters series and my future plans for it, check out my blog at: http://www.mdgrimmwrites.com/#!Shifters-explained/c1o5e/3AB7F857-F8F4-4032-829D-A151576ED328

 

I explain everything you could ever want to know about my direction for the series (without spoiling too many of the surprises).

 

Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? If so, how?

 

-M.D.

Valentine’s Day sequel – why?

February 12, 2015

(A few SPOILER ALERTS for those who haven’t read “Healing Minds” – proceed at your own risk)

 

I chose Valentine’s Day for these two because it’s one of the romance-mushiest holidays out there, and I liked the pairing of the holiday with Xavier’s badass image. He had a rough past, what with being a (SPOILER ALERT) criminal, and being trained by a para-military wolf pack in Australia. Josh does feel like a romantic to me, despite his inexperience with it, and I wanted him to flip back and forth whether to attempt to celebrate the holiday or not.

 

Since this is a direct sequel to “Healing Minds,” I don’t have much furthering of the overall plot of my series, i.e. the conflict between the Knights and the Agency, introducing new characters (though a new character does make a brief appearance at the end—watch for him, he returns later in the series!), new couples, etc. I also decided early on that it would be fun to make all the sequels center around holidays. I started the trend with “Celtic Warrior and Wolf Spirit,” the sequel to “Psychic Moon.”

 

However, there will be a few books that return to earlier couples, but I don’t consider them sequels because they further the overall plot. To name a couple: Derek and Brian from “Psychic Moon,” and (everyone’s favorite) Poe and Nordik from “Master’s Blood.”

 

But back to “Hearts and Minds.”

And another excerpt!

 

 

Josh jerked back to the present. He realized he was standing in the reception area of the counseling wing, and Misty—their efficient secretary, a petite woman with long red-orange hair, bright green eyes, and a narrow, pointy face—was holding out a file folder. They weren’t able to pay their clinic employees yet, but that never stopped people from applying for positions and volunteering their time. They had a chef, two other counselors with degrees in psychology, and an elderly elk shifter who acted as custodian.

Where would they be without these generous Haven citizens?

There was a bunch of red and pink construction paper on Misty’s desk, and she seemed to be cutting them up into hearts of different sizes.

“What’s with the hearts?” Josh asked.

Misty tilted her head slightly and gave him a look that clearly said he was a dummy. “Valentine’s Day is coming up, duh.”

Josh blinked, flipped through the calendar in his head, and said, “Oh, right.”

Misty shook her head and rolled her eyes. “I’m making these for the class my brother’s in. They’re having a little party.”

“They’re looking good.”

“Yes, they are,” Misty said proudly. “But just wait till you see the necklace I had specially made for my girlfriend. She’s going to flip.”

Josh chuckled even as something occurred to him. “Is V-Day the reason you’ve been using pink and red highlighters and pens, lately?”

Misty sighed loudly and rolled her eyes again. “Wow, Josh. You’re Mr. Observant.”

“Hey, I have been a little busy, you know.”

“What? And I haven’t? You think this enterprise of yours runs itself?”

Temper sparked in her eyes, and Josh barely resisted a wince. Then he said, in all seriousness, “No, Misty. We all know how invaluable you are.”

“Damn right, I am.” Misty smiled cannily, her eyes now twinkling with humor as she continued to hold out Allen’s folder. He took it.

“Thanks. Is Allen’s mother with him?”

“Yes.” Her smile warmed, softened. “She’s so sweet and devoted. I really think he has a fair chance at full recovery with such support on his side.”

“I think so, too.” Josh promptly forgot about Valentine’s Day and its implications as he walked into the small counseling room. Allen sat on the couch, hunched over, his hands clasped in front of him. His mother sat right next to him, her hand on his. Allen’s cane was set against the couch, and his left leg was tucked under his right. It was understandable that he was still self-conscious about his severed left foot, but that was one of the things they were working on. He needed to accept what had happened to him and move past it. But, as Allen had only been with them for about a week, Josh knew it was a slow process and might take years. Allen and his mother were bear shifters, and he’d proven nonviolent, but Josh had seen flashes of rage in his eyes when they attempted to discuss his abuse. Josh had Xavier on speed dial if Allen proved too much to handle.

 

 

What is your favorite holiday to celebrate with your significant other?

 

Got anything you wish to ask me about my series? Ask away! I shall answer!

 

-M.D.

First excerpt plus more!

February 12, 2015

And I’m back! M.D. Grimm here promoting “Hearts and Minds,” my Valentine’s Day themed sequel to “Healing Minds” in my The Shifters series. http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6031

 

Josh and Xavier have been working so hard they haven’t really had time for a “honeymoon.” I really like these guys—they are so motivated and duty-oriented. In my humble opinion, they are probably one of the best couples I’ve penned. While I love every single one of my characters and enjoy all the couples, Josh and Xavier probably had the most evolution. The first draft of “Healing Minds” was utter crap, to be honest. I didn’t know where I was heading or what I was trying to say. My beta at the time agreed with me. But then I rewrote it from page one and all the puzzle pieces were finally assembled. I heard their voices, I sensed their struggles, and when I finally got them together, I was over the moon.

 

And now we have “Hearts and Minds” which is centered around Valentine’s Day, but the book is truly about compromise and working together as a team. Because of their busyness, Xavier and Josh haven’t really had much time alone together, to indulge in one another (sad, right?). That has led to a few unsaid conflicts that arise in this story. They both have strong personalities, have been trained in combat (though Xavier’s was far more intense), and both believe they are right all the time (and that never ends well).

 

So for those of you who love Xavier and Josh as much as I do, consider this story a Valentine’s Day present from me to you. J

 

And here’s an excerpt!

 

 

Xavier had to walk around to the back of the house to find Josh, who was standing with a blueprint, shouting at the workers on the roof. There seemed to be a disagreement happening, and Xavier found it incredibly cute how Josh’s face was becoming as red as his hair and his blue eyes were bright with frustration. He was bundled against the low 40s temperature, and Xavier found it hard to think of anything but keeping Josh nice and warm under their blankets.

Xavier walked over to catch Josh say, “…where you guys are sitting is where the new addition is going to go. I keep telling you that. That’s what the blueprint says.”

“If you put it here, the plumbing’s going to be a disaster,” countered an older man, who Xavier knew to be a fellow wolf shifter. He looked as exasperated as Josh. “That blueprint is wrong, or ya ain’t looking at it right, boy.”

Josh scowled.

“Let me see.” Xavier snatched the blueprint from Josh.

“Xavier—”

Clearing his throat, Xavier saw the problem and turned the blueprint right-side up. He handed it back to Josh and tried not to laugh, but it was a hard struggle. Josh looked down at the paper, his face reddening further. He grumbled something before sucking in a large breath and looking back up at the roof workers.

“Carry on, boys, we found out the problem.”

The workers glanced at each other. The older wolf shifter shook his head and mumbled something Xavier thought sounded like “Pups.”

Xavier turned his attention to Josh. “Morning, love.”

Josh rolled up the blueprint and gave him a smile. “Morning. Guess I still need a few lessons in ‘Building Remodeling 101.’”

Xavier chuckled. Then he cupped Josh’s face and kissed him soundly. Josh attempted to pull back for a split second before he melted against Xavier. Making a growly purr deep in his throat, Xavier wrapped his arms around Josh. He deepened the kiss, his tongue taking possession of Josh’s mouth, one hand curling around the back of Josh’s head. In response, Josh gripped his shoulders, a sweet moan coming from him.

Xavier reluctantly pulled back a moment later and was happy to see that Josh’s eyes were slightly blurry. He didn’t care that they were getting looks and snickers. He craved this man like a drug. Everything between them still felt fresh and new.

“Now it is a very good morning,” Xavier said.

Josh grinned. “Definitely.”

Xavier shifted his mouth close to Josh’s ear. “But it would have been a great morning if you’d stayed in bed.”

“I… well, there’s so much to do. I had to get an early start—”

Xavier kept his arms tightly around Josh’s waist, knowing a ramble about to start when he heard it. His redhead had a tendency to talk and talk… and talk. “You’ve been getting an early start for a couple of weeks now. There will always be so much to do. I need my mate.”

Josh sighed and pulled back slightly. Their eyes met. Xavier enjoyed the look of him, and he had a special adoration for the freckles that spread across his nose and cheeks. Xavier happened to know they covered Josh’s entire body.

“Sorry, X. You need your sleep. I don’t want to disturb you in the morning.”

Xavier raised an eyebrow. It was sweet how naïve Josh was sometimes.

“Josh, I always want you. Wake me up whenever. I’ll just sleep after.”

Josh let out a short laugh, his bright blue eyes sparkling. “Okay, got that.”

He pulled away, and Xavier let him. If he kept holding Josh, he might be tempted to drag him into the house and take him on the floor. His wolf didn’t think that was a bad idea.

Josh lifted the blueprint again. He tilted it one way and then the other, then covered one eye, then just sighed and shook his head. “I give up. I’m no good at this.” He shoved the print into Xavier’s hands. “Could you monitor them for me? I have a patient in ten minutes.”

“You need to stop booking them so early in the morning.”

Josh shrugged, smiling. “I have to book them whenever I can or else I’d never see them. We have to make ourselves available, remember?”

“Yeah, but we also need some time for just us, right?”

“Of course!” Josh jumped up and kissed Xavier quickly. Then he was gone, striding away. “I’ll see you later!”

It was incredibly annoying that Josh seemed so fucking immune to the lust bubbling inside Xavier. Kissing and blowjobs had been the extent of their lovemaking for too long, and Xavier was itching for more. He really wanted to be inside Josh again. More than anything, he wanted intimacy; he wanted time alone with his mate, no interruptions, no pressures, no duties.

Grumbling, he looked at the print and attempted to keep his mind busy by bossing around the workers.

 

 

Who is your favorite couple in “The Shifters” series? I refuse to have a favorite couple because that feels like I’m playing favorites with my children. I love all of them and am mighty proud with how each one turned out.

 

I shall be back!

 

-M.D. Grimm