If you need to download the Cats & Conjure recap, you’ll find that on my blog on Friday morning!
I haven’t posted an excerpt in quite a while. With Stray Cat Strut just days away, I thought it might be time for a snippet! It’s PG13 and just for Addie/Erik fans.
Adelaide Deveraux has escaped her enemy’s compound along with her tiger-shifter lover, Erik Wells, but the home that had once been her sanctuary is now gone, burned to the ground and leaving them with no choice but to go on the run.
At least Erik knows a thing or two about running; he’s been doing it for most of his life, and he’s determined to keep Addie safe. Between their handful of allies and Addie’s growing magic, he thinks they just might have enough resources to survive, and, for the first time in his life, sees a future for himself and the woman he loves.
But the powerful sorcerer on their tail has more than owning Addie in his sights. Now he’s also out for revenge and not everyone will make it out alive…
Erik could barely meet Addie’s eyes as they covered the rest of the distance to the motel. He wasn’t happy with everything she’d witnessed him do in the past few days. He’d slaughtered guards left and right at Lincoln’s compound, now tracked down a campsite and stolen a set of clothes and cash. A killer and thief, that’s what she’d tied herself to.
Worst still, he’d brought Lincoln to her door. Had her kidnapped, tormented. Had her home destroyed and friends either killed or put in danger.
How could she still stand to be around him at all? Shame burned hotly in him and he kept his head down as they crossed the parking lot.
“They’ll be looking for an interracial couple, if they’re checking around,” Addie spoke up. “And I look like I’ve been running through the woods all day.”
“I’ll get the key and meet you.” His hand brushed her arm for a moment and then they parted, Addie heading down the long row of motel rooms while Erik went for the manager’s office. The parking lot was partially full, enough so that he didn’t think he’d be remembered if asked, but thankfully no witnesses were around who could be questioned later about his presence.
The manager was still seated at the desk reading an old copy of Hustler as he had been when Erik scoped the place out earlier. A prominent sign listed the price per day and per week, as well as a notice that said “No ID Required; Cash Upfront”.
The man barely glanced up when Erik walked in, simply turned the guestbook his way for Erik to sign, took the money, dropped the key to room fourteen, and went back to his magazine.
Paying for the room for one night left them with twenty-three dollars. It wouldn’t get them far, but he grabbed a couple of delivery menus from the rack beside the manager’s desk and continued on to meet Addie.
Despite everything she’d been through, she remained beautiful. Disheveled and exhausted, true, and his heart ached thinking of all she’d endured, but there was still a strength to the way she stood, the way her big brown eyes met his, that warmed his body with need.
As he reached her, he gently pressed his palm to her lower back and led her toward the fourteenth room. He passed her the menus for local pizza and Chinese joints, and unlocked the door.
The room was nothing exceptional—he’d be happy if it turned out to at least have clean sheets—and a far cry from Addie’s comfortable home, but for now it was at least safe.
He shut the door behind them, locked it, and closed the ratty dark curtains before turning on the light.
Addie stood in the center of the room, staring at the menus without seeming to see them.
“If you’re not hungry…” he started.
“I am…but I’m not.” She glanced over her shoulder at him. “You know what I mean?”
“We can order later.”
“You can pick something if you want.” She dropped the menus on the bed and walked unsteadily toward the dark bathroom across the room. “I’ll take a bath.” She slipped off the running shoes she’d taken from the compound and turned on the bathroom light. A bare bulb in the ceiling flickered to life, revealing formerly-white tile.
Erik took off his own stolen shoes and stretched his arms, rubbed his shoulders. The bed at least seemed clean, sheets smelling of fresh laundry, even if the carpet was stained and burned by cigarette butts in various spots and everything else left much to be desired. Although he knew there was nothing they could do for the next few hours while Addie rested, he couldn’t shut his brain off, couldn’t stop trying to decide what to do next.
The plan originally had been to regroup with the others at Addie’s house. Once their allies found her place in ruins, where would they go? Hell, Erik didn’t even know for sure who survived. Even those who made it from Lincoln’s compound could be hunted and killed. And if something happened to Naliah, her people would scatter.
The faucets roared to life in the other room, water striking the porcelain as the tub filled. He walked to the bathroom doorway and leaned against the frame, watching Addie. Her back was to the rapidly-filling tub, instead facing the sink. She’d wound her long wavy dark hair up into a knot at the base of her skull and her clothes seemed to hang on her; despite the fact that it had only been a few days that she’d been captive by Lincoln, she likely hadn’t eaten and the previous glow to her medium-brown skin and vibrancy had faded a little. Her shoulders were slumped and dark half-circles hung under her eyes.
Words hovered on his lips for a moment before he could finally force them out. “Addie…”
Her eyes closed and head tipped down. “Don’t,” she whispered.
He braced, ready for her to tell him she didn’t want him there anymore, to condemn him for everything he’d put her through. “Whatever you want, Adelaide. I’ll leave, I’ll stay. I’ll fight for you, I’ll kill for you. I’ll die for you. I brought this into your life and I’m sorry for that. Whatever you want me to do, I’ll do it.”
At last she met his gaze in the mirror, tears rolling down her cheeks. Her voice came out more forceful this time. “I said, don’t. I don’t want your apologies. I don’t want your guilt. I’ve only ever wanted you.” The tears fell faster, her shoulders quivering, and the sight broke his heart. “You’re safe and that’s all that matters to me, Erik.”
Release Date: September 18, 2015Genre: IR (bwwm) paranormal romanceLength: 32 000 words (or 100 pages)Series: Cats & Conjure #3Format: ebookEbook Price: $2.99