Sunday, March 31, 2013

TWIST Anthology

TWIST Anthology
So, it's Easter, and I feel that I should do or say something celebrating the holiday but...I draw a blank. Easter was never a huge deal to my family, so growing up we didn't go all out for Easter. The only reason we did anything was for the children and even then we just gave candy. So I'm sorry that I was chosen to post here on Easter Sunday, because I don't really know how to commemorate the holiday of the bunny.
BUT! Before you start grumbling and cursing my name, I do have something you all will definitely enjoy! Your Uncle Michael won't let you down!
(That's my new nickname...Uncle it sticking? No? Dang...)
Recently, a new anthology was released on Amazon that involves 11 different writers (some previously published and others not) and 11 different stories. One of those stories was written by yours truly!
Here is the summary (taken from Amazon):
What began as an idea soon set into motion a chain of events that would lead to heart-stopping action, amazing suspense, and stories that will stick with you way after you are done.

Unique, unexpected, beyond imagining…shocking TWISTS that will have you frantically turning back the pages to see what clues you overlooked to have missed what was coming.

Paranormal stories that span across the genre and will wow you, shock you, and leave you gasping for more.

11 different authors, one main idea, and worlds that will TWIST your imagination…

Featured Stories:

"Voices of the Soul" by Rene Folsom
"Number 18" by Michael Loring
"Sweet Lenora" by Bart Hopkins
"Truth or Dare" by Jon Messenger
"Suburban Zombie" by Anthony Lance
"All I Want for Christmas" by Jason Brant
"In the Eyes of the Beholder" by Penelope Anne Bartotto
"Little Tchotchkes" by Nicki Scalise
"I am Serna" by Magen McMinimy
"Bloodlines" by S. L. Dearing
"Metronome" by Eaton Thomas Palmer

Edited and Compiled by Cynthia Shepp & Rene Folsom
Seem interesting? Well, it definitely is! I personally recommend this because all the stories are absolutely amazing! (I'm not speaking for myself, because it's up to you guys to decide if my short story is any good or not!)
If you're interested, which you know you are, check out the Amazon link here!
Happy Easter everyone! Hope it was a good one, whether you celebrate it or not!
-Michael L.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Interview with Jack Barrow

Hello all you readers and writers!
Emma Michaels here to introduce our guest author of the day
Jack Barrow
Hello Jack and welcome to The Writers Voice!
Are the traits of anyone close to you apparent in your characters?
Very much so; Clint, Nigel and Wayne, and their friend Geoff in Blackpool are all real people, they do get up to the sorts of things described in the story, the only difference is that they don't necessarily save the universe at weekends. They do, however, go away at the weekends, practice magic, drink, and fall over.

If you could have any extraordinary gift or super power what would it be and why?
After Batman apparently handed a criminal over to the police recently there was an expert on Marvel super heroes being interviewed on Radio 4. He said that he would like to his super power to be able to finish projects on time and meet his deadlines. I don't like to use someone else's ideas without attributing them as best I can so I'd like that too.

What would you like for readers to take away from your novel/novels?
I'd like them to have a smile of their face but that feels just a little bit presumptuous. Writing comedy is seen as such a rare skill that, even now, I wonder if I've really got it.

Was there ever a moment when you wouldn’t trade what you do as an author for the world? What was that moment for you?
I get that moment every time a reader contacts me or writes a review, and I'm constantly surprised at the different things they say, no two are the same. You can keep all the lifestyle fantasies of writing; knowing that people are interested enough to give you their time and energy, that's the best thing in the world.

What’s your favorite way to procrastinate?
I usually find all sorts of important jobs that are part of my writing plans, just they are not the actual writing. Promotion is the biggest distraction, but it has to be done and as a result it's the perfect excuse not to write. I've just spent a little over three years creating a promotional video for The Hidden Masters and the Unspeakable Evil when I should really have been writing the second, third and fourth in the series.

Where do you do your best writing? Do you like to have certain surroundings?
I always write at home, in my tiny office which used to be a store cupboard. It's got no windows but I like that. I have an ambition to go hill walking with a tablet and really get going on the next novel writing beside my tent in the middle of nowhere. I don't know if that will work as the two situations couldn't be more different.

If you could live in one book for a day, what would it be?
The most fantastic place is the past so probably The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England. The book gives such a sense and flavor of the past that it doesn't seem that far removed from actually being there. I've got a vague ambition to write a fantasy novel set in medieval England amid genuine historical events. (Don't tell anybody I said this, it's still a secret.)
Thank you for stopping by
The Writers Voice!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Interview with Mark Mackey

Hello all you readers and writers!
Emma Michaels here to introduce our guest author of the day:
Mark Mackey
Hello Mark and welcome to The Writers Voice!

Who do you feel is your most unique character?
There’s so many, but Gabrielle Milton from Love Letters From Hell, and Gabrielle’s Gift part 1 and 2

If you could have any extraordinary gift or super power what would it be and why?

What do you feel is your biggest writerly fault and how do you deal with it?
Putting in too many characters.

What is your biggest pet peeve in fiction writing?
Reading a book written in first person. I’ve tried writing this way several times, and it just doesn’t really work.

Where do you do your best writing? Do you like to have certain surroundings?
Wherever I am, and usually no, just as long as it’s not a place raining or snowing.

Besides writing, what do you like to do in your free time?
Reading, walking, television.

Tell us something about your book that we wouldn’t know just by reading the blurb.
I came up with the idea of Curse Girl in December of 2006 while lying in a hospital bed for a screenwriting class I was about to take.

Which came first for you--the characters, the idea for the setting, or the plot?
The plot

Is there anything you’d like to go back one year and tell yourself?

Thank you for stopping by
The Writers Voice!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Getting it right

You know what? A lot of times I really like revising a lot more than writing. I think this is because while I'm writing a first draft, I often have absolutely no idea where the story is going and I sometimes feel like I'm just stumbling through, trying to find a way to the end that might not even really work. In revision, I can make everything work. I know where the story is supposed to go and now can fix the things I messed up the first time.

I have a pretty set process I follow while revising.
  1. First, I read through the book on my computer and check anything glaring, move scenes around, figure out where new things need to be added in.
  2. I fix the things I saw in step one and read through again, fixing spelling and grammar and any missing words. I also delete as many cases of my kill list words as I can see.
  3. I send the book to my beta readers for feedback.
  4. Then I print everything out. This is my favorite part! I love getting the book on paper because I can revise deeper than I can on the computer. I don't know why, but seeing the manuscript printed out helps me to really see it. At this point, I read through the book at a slower pace, often reading things out loud, and I mark it all up. The pages become covered with red ink, adding in new scenes, deleting others, moving them around. I also read my beta readers' feedback and work on issues they found.
  5. Then I format the manuscript into .mobi format and import it into my Kindle. I read one final time, marking notes for things that need to be corrected, highlighting things that need to be deleted. I view the notes and highlights option on my Kindle when I go back to my computer later to type in these final changes.
  6. One last spelling check and a search for anymore kill list words. And it is done!
It is a much more involved process than first draft writing, and I have to admit that after the third time of reading the book I'm getting really tired of it. But I've done this process with several books now, and it seems to be the way that works best for me.

Do you have a revision process? If so, what is it?

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Interview with Carlyle Labuschagne

Hey all you readers and writers!
Emma Michaels here to introduce our guest author of the day
Carlyle Labuschagne! 
Hello Carlyle and welcome to The Writers Voice.
 Are the traits of anyone close to you apparent in your characters?
Ummm I am not a liberty to say – this might or might not land me in the hot seat.

Who do you feel is your most unique character?
Its so difficult to answer that as I am very emotionally attached to most my characters, but Id have to say Maya, the girl who was adopted by the Minoans and has lived among their people, she is not of their race, so the the unique combination is quite delightful and very colorful indeed.

If you could have any extraordinary gift or super power what would it be and why?
Anyone who has read The Broken Destiny would know a mind-shifter is a unique thing, a tricky and dangerous power to have, as this ability solely relies on your mental state. But boy your abilities are infinite, not limited at all.

What would you like for readers to take away from your novel/novels?
So much. A sense of self- worth, of self- love, belief in one self and others. To always have faith even if the way you were brought up was to not believe in the un- seeable. That no one defines you, your destiny is of your own making and that choices have consequences. People make mistakes, even heroes and that is the path of growth.

What do you feel is your biggest writerly fault and how do you deal with it?
My inability to be patient. How do I deal with it? I am still learning, but if anything this entire industry is about patience (especially in the editing stage) from the first draft till way after launch day.

Worldbuilding is such an important part of writing. What would your words of encouragement for aspiring authors be when it comes to developing their own worlds?
Just let go, be yourself. Whatever comes in your mind, try it. You will never know till you have tried it right?

Which came first for you--the characters, the idea for the setting, or the plot?
The setting, then the characters, then the plot, more characters, more settings, more plot…

Is there anything you’d like to go back one year and tell yourself?
If you think you researched this properly – think again, ask for other’s help. Most importantly your never done editing!
When you were growing up, what did you want to be?
I wanted to be in a story-world. 
To find out more about Carlyle
Carlyle Labuschagne is a South African Debut Author working her way into the hearts of international readers with her First Novel “The Broken Destiny. She is not only an author but works as PR and Marketing Manager by day. She holds a diploma in creative writing through the writing school at Collage SA. Loves to swim, fights for the trees, food lover who is driven by passion. Carlyle writes for IU e-magazine an inspirational nonprofit magazine that aims at inspiring the world through words. The drive behind her author career is healing through words.

Twitter :!/CarlyleL
Website :
Facebook :!/pages/Carlyle-Labuschagne/189835811074342
Barnes and Nobles:
Book Trailer:

Thank you for stopping by The Writers Voice!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Interview with Marta Acosta


aTWVguest authorMarta-Acosta-banner

Hey all you readers and writers! Emma Michaels here to introduce our guest author of the day

Marta Acosta!

Hello Marta and welcome to The Writers Voice.

Dark-Companion Cover Draft - SmallShe-Hulk Jacket - small

Who do you feel is your most unique character?

I wrote four Casa Dracula novels featuring the irrepressible Milagro De Los Santos, and she’s very special to me. I wanted her to have qualities that I admire in life and in fictional characters. She’s optimistic, but snarky. She’s as happy to delve into serious issues as frivolity. She’s a chronic flirt and also an independent woman. Readers often tell me that they feel like they know her, that she’s like a friend. I feel the same way.

What would you like for readers to take away from your novel/novels?

This is a huge question because I’m not only a writer, but a Latina from a blue-collar background who brings her own perspective on issues of race, class, and gender. My primary goal is to entertain readers, but I’d also like to make them think a little differently about stereotypes and expectations. I don’t write idealized characters, though; my characters are mixed up and flawed, as are we all.

What do you feel is your biggest writerly fault and how do you deal with it?

My biggest writerly flaw is second-guessing myself in my efforts to survive as a writer. Publishing a book is a collaborative effort, but the truth is that I do not play well with others. I’m always changing my mind about how much I’m willing to compromise.

Worldbuilding is such an important part of writing. What would your words of encouragement for aspiring authors be when it comes to developing their own worlds?

I would suggest that aspiring authors spend lots of time daydreaming and really thinking through a fictional world. Don’t come up with some arbitrary concept with no justifications, like “There was a plague and now everyone is a brain-eating zombie!” Why was there a plague? Were there warnings? What kinds of zombies? Isn’t it self-defeating for zombies to eat brains and destroy their only food source? Just spend time thinking of all the weird questions.

Where do you do your best writing? Do you like to have certain surroundings?

I have a little alcove that serves as my office. One window faces the back garden so I get to see the seasons changing and all the birds, bees, butterflies, and flowers outside. I can watch squirrels in an oak antagonizing my dogs. I don’t like moving around, and I grumble when I have to work elsewhere.

Tell us something about your book that we wouldn’t know just by reading the blurb.

Hmm, which book? I’d say that for every book, I’ve written, there are a dozen scenes that get edited out. There’ve been the times that I completely changed my mind about a character, especially when I’m trying to make a situation funnier.

Is there one book that has had an impact on not only your writing, but on you personally?

I saw a Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” when I was 15. I was dazzled by the language and the humor. I also loved science/math, but that made me want to pursue writing, study theatre, and go to England, and I did those things.

Is there anything you’d like to go back one year and tell yourself?

Yes, don’t be afraid to change agents if you have different goals. Also, learn more about the opportunities that new technology has to offer, like self-publishing and creating audiobooks.

Thank you for stopping by

The Writers Voice

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Excerpt from FOR EVERLY by Raine Thomas

Today I thought I'd fill folks in on what I've been doing lately. My last release, Elder (Firstborn Trilogy #3), came out on December 27th. After promoting that for a couple of weeks, I put on my publisher's hat and focused on the launch of Marilyn Almodovar's debut novel, Interred (Chronicles of the Interred #1) on January 22nd.

That pushed me into February without having written a word. I fully planned on writing a YA or NA futuristic thriller novel about a male protagonist named Parish. He talks to me every so often, whispering plot ideas. But the fact was that I couldn't get into building his futuristic world. There were so many unanswered questions that I got overwhelmed.

Enter Everly and Cole.

Right alongside Parish, Everly Wallace and Cole Parker liked to pop up and tell me about their story...a New Adult Contemporary Romance involving a 22-year-old student pursuing her doctorate in physical therapy and a 24-year-old professional baseball player trying to save his career. I tried to tell them that I had no intention of writing that genre. They wouldn't listen.

Now, 70,000 words later, their story is nearly ready to be read. I committed to a photo shoot for the cover only yesterday, and I'm so excited about it! I've never had a custom-made cover before. This will be an experience.

For now, I thought I'd share an excerpt from the novel, titled For Everly. Please note that this excerpt hasn't been edited in any way and is subject to change before publication. I hope you'll let me know what you think

For Everly - Chapter 1

Cole knew when he hit the first curb that he’d had too much to drink. He cursed as he jerked the wheel to bring the car back into the correct lane, nearly swiping a garbage can on the dark residential street. Pain shot through his shoulder as he righted the wheel, generating a more vicious curse.

You dumbass! The thought penetrated the haze coating his mind. Don’t ding the Maserati.

Focusing intently and clutching the wheel until his knuckles went numb, he registered he was less than a mile from home. He wanted to get there before he ended up with a DUI. Management would likely bench him for half the coming season if he screwed up like that.
His marinating brain decided this meant he should go faster. Get home quick before getting caught. He picked up speed, weaving along the back streets leading to his house. Thank God the downtown Atlanta nightclub was less than five miles from home.

Just as his driveway came into sight, the glaring lights of an oncoming car pierced his windshield. He slammed on the brakes and swerved to avoid the collision. The Maserati hit a patch of ice. The world spun as the other car passed without impact.

The last thing Cole registered was the large bulk of a magnolia tree speeding toward him and the fleeting thought that his beloved car was about to get much more than a ding.

Inspiration for Cole
Inspiration for Everly

Monday, March 18, 2013


Over the last year, I've received numerous emails from fans wanting to know more about two adult characters from my book Malevolence.  I decided to give the fans the story of Parker and Sapphire.  Although the title has the word werewolf, the story is a love story between a human and her encounter with Parker (a werewolf). The journey of love and angst takes place over a three year period. The release date is March 25, 2013.  Much love and happy reading...Devyn

My First New Adult Book

Reader must be 18+
Explicit language and sexual situations
Excerpt rated PG13
“Shut up!  Stop talking to me!” He yells in my face.  His teeth are neon yellow, and his breath reeks of coffee and cigarettes.  “Are you the one that did it?  Did you send those bastards after me?”  He pushes the metal folding chair I’m tied to until it rocks to the side.  “Look at me when I’m talking to you!”
“I thought you wanted me to stop talking,” I reply.   He glares at me with his demon-like eyes. I turn my head towards him…don’t cry, don’t cry, don’t cry…stay strong.  “I don’t know what you’re talking about.  I don’t know you,” I proclaim for the hundredth time since this morning when he kidnapped me. 
“Stop playing dumb…you bitch!”  Spittle ked for.  sprays on my face as he shouts at me.  “I’m sick of girls like you thinking you’re better than me.  Was that your boyfriend?”
I take a deep breath to keep my words steady.  “Listen, I don’t have a boyfriend.  Whatever the problem is, I can help you.  Do you need money?  I have money, take me to the bank and you can have however much you need.”
Without warning, he backhands me across the face.  “Money?  I don’t want your money…slut!”
My face stings but he won’t see me play victim.  “Please tell me what’s going on.  My family needs me, please don’t kill me,” I plead.  My sensei would tell say to bargain with our assailant if we’re ever attacked.  Keep them engaged until we can get in a position to disarm the person.  This guy doesn’t have a weapon, but he’s strong as hell.  He’s Hispanic, but talks like he’s lived in the United States for a long time.  His accent isn’t strong, it’s watered down.  Take inventory of every feature on his face. 
   Two moles near his right temple.
   Flat nose, wide nostrils.
   His top lip curls down when he talks, as if he’s disgusted from every word from his mouth.
   Chickenpox scar on his left eyebrow.
   The most noticeable flaw, the burn marks on his right hand.  He’s been burned severely in his past. 
My mom and Storm are spending the day together so I left her my car.  I rode my bike to work, happy to get out in the April sunshine. I pulled up to work and started to get off my bike when I was assaulted from behind.  I’m praying someone will notice my bike at work and how I’m not.  How long before they call the police is debatable.
“Your family?  You’re going to beg for mercy for your family?  Right, I’ll care if you have a family.”  He enunciates every word with venom.  “I can’t have a family because of you.  He might not be your boyfriend now, but he was at one time.  He still follows you, did you know that?  He watches you, and I watch him watching you.  I wouldn’t have figured it out, but one night I saw him parked on your street.  What a surprise he’s going to have when he finds you when I’m finished.”  He takes a folded up piece of notebook paper and stuffs it in my front pocket of my pants.  “There’s a reason he never turned you into a monster.  What was the reason Sapphire?  What. Was. The. Reason. Bitch!”  He does know my name.  I’m not random, that changes the rules of the game.  He’s out for vengeance for some reason, and he thinks I know why.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about!  Tell me what’s wrong.”
Like a crazed lunatic, he drops to his knees in front of me, and he starts unbuttoning my button down blouse.  Flashes of the library incident resurface.  Recognition hits me like a cement block.  My heart races as I prepare myself mentally to fight off a rape.   Before I can register what he is doing, he bites my side.

Chapter 1.


Three years ago
“Ruby, you’re getting on my nerves.  I told you already, I’ve been volunteering at the hospital all day,” I complain.  A few weeks ago, I was sentenced to community service at Mercy hospital after my sister Ruby got into a minor disagreement in the movie theater parking lot.  I intervened; and my fist was caught making contact with a mouthy girl’s cheek.  The security officer called the police.
“You were there for four hours, how does that make it an all day event?” Ruby asks.  She comes into my room to admire herself in the full length mirror.  One thing Ruby doesn’t lack…confidence.  “How are my girls?”  She says and turns sideways to see her profile.
“Your girls look fine.  There is more to you than your boobs.  I had to go into the shop before I did my CS, so don’t tell me if I’m tired or not.”
Ruby busts out laughing.  “Okay Phire, I don’t need a lecture about how I’m so much more than my rockin’ body.  I picked this shirt up at a yard sale last weekend.  I love when I find a name brand bargain.”  The red lipstick she carefully applied accentuated the fullness of her lips.  “Come on, Erwin will be there with his boys.”
“I know Erwin, and his boys are nothing but trouble makers.”
“Says the girl who just got finished with her community service,” Ruby quipped.
She did not just go there.  “Oh, says the girl who started the fight.”  The whole fight was over a girl flirting with Erwin.  The girl threw a punch at Ruby and I turned and knocked her out.
Ruby crosses the room and kneels next to the bed, “I might be a pain in your ass, but we’re going to go strut our stuff.  Get up, throw on your jeans and boots, it’s time to get rowdy.”  She holds her hands up in prayer and pouting.
“If I go, you’re going with me to the casino after the game.  You promised me that we’d do karaoke when I finished my community service.  Keep in mind; as soon as Erwin’s boys start acting like horn-dogs, I’m out.  Got it sis?” 
Ruby leans over and kisses me on the nose.  “You’re the best, I owe you one.”
“Yeah, yeah, about fifty…who’s counting?  I hope it doesn’t rain tonight.  I can’t wait until tornado season is over.”

Ruby graduated high school last summer but she couldn’t give up soccer games.  She played soccer until her junior year when she had an ACL injury.  Her coach and doctor agreed her soccer days were over.  At nineteen she not only looks older than she is, but she knows she’s an expert at prowling.  She never had a shortage of boyfriends but she couldn’t stay committed when Erwin came around.  He’d been a senior her freshman year.  I was a senior too, but I took classes online so I could work during the day to help with bills. He was the quarterback, and she was smitten, they were picture perfect to the average eye.  It wasn’t long before his personality proved he was after one thing and would stop at nothing.  They dated off and on for the last couple of years.  With every break-up, I loathed him more and more.
I tucked in my black button down blouse, making sure the top two buttons are left open.  I turn around and check my butt, making sure the pockets make it look fuller.  Black Ariat cowboy boots, and a rhinestone belt, yeah I’d turn heads, with any luck…the adult male ones. 
“Ooo girl, wow, for someone that hates outdoor soccer games, you look smoking hot.”  Ruby says as she shimmied into her denim jacket.

We’d no sooner walked through the gates for the game, when we were bombarded by a group of screaming girls.  Ruby has never had a shortage of so-called friends.  I never trusted them; they only seemed interested in our half-brother Stone.  His father is from Spain, mixed with our full-blooded Native American mother Pearl.  His exotic look and big smile turns heads wherever he goes.  He works as a ranch hand, which made him big and bulky, the kind that teen girls and cougars find sexy.  Ruby would bring someone home and they’d no sooner walked in the door, and would ask where Stone slept.
Knowing Ruby would be gossiping for another ten minutes, girl can talk!  I decide to bite-the-bullet and stand in the concessions line.  I stand there staring at my cell phone, pretending to be engaged in an important text conversation.  I glance up; my gaze lingers into amber-colored eyes.  He’d been looking down at his phone a second ago, now, his eyes boring into me.  My heart flutters as we lock eyes. 
Don’t stare Sapphire, that’s rude. My mom’s words running through my head.  I drop my gaze, but not before he gives me a crooked grin.  He is not walking over here.  Oh yes he is.  I take mental inventory of my surroundings.  Habits die hard with me, especially since I was attacked during my sophomore year.  I left the library one night after dark, but my car was parked right in front of the building so I didn’t pay much attention to the parking area .  I didn’t hear him sneak up behind me until it was too late.  It wasn’t until the librarian closed up and she saw me face down in the parking lot.  My shirt had been ripped and I had my throat slit open. The weeks that followed consisted of me in the hospital and police guarding me day and night.  They were concerned the person would come back to finish the job since he thought I could identify him.  Truth is, I don’t remember anything about the attack.
“Hey there, did I catch you at a bad time?”  The deep voice startled me out of thoughts.  He put his hands up, “I didn’t mean to scare you.”
Have you ever looked at another person and known that you were in trouble?  Not in the bad kind of trouble, the kind of trouble that is sinfully good.  I couldn’t help but smile at him.  “Oh, sorry, I was thinking about something.  Do I know you?”
He put his hands half-way into his front pockets of his faded Levi’s.  He was making red flannel the sexiest material I’d ever seen before.  My eyes dropped from his gaze and I snuck a peek at his chest.  Only fair since I caught his gaze drop to mine too.
“No, I’d remember you if I’d met you before,” he replied.  Even though it sounded like a line, it came across as if he meant what he said.  “I saw you come in with your friend, and couldn’t help but notice she ran off.”
I’m not used to guys walking over to talk to me, at least not good looking sober ones.  “Yeah, that’s my sister Ruby; she still has friends that go to school here.”
“I’m Parker, my friend Collin’s younger brother is playing tonight.  He’s told me he’s been training for the Olympics for the last two years.”  He holds out his hand for me to shake.
“Next,” the woman in the concession stand says.
“Excuse me for a second,” I say to him and turn to face the PTA mom.  I order a bottle of water and some peanut M&M’s.  Before I had a chance to dig two dollars from my pocket, Parker has handed the lady the money.  “No, you don’t need to pay for my junk food.”
His eyes smiled at me and I knew he did it out of kindness and nothing expected in return.  “If I can’t buy a pretty girl a bottle of water, what’s the point of working?”
“You’re good at this,” I grin at him as he holds a hand out to me.  “I’m Sapphire, but my friends call me Phire.”  We shake hands as we walk away from the concession stand.  I look around checking if I can see Ruby, but of course she has disappeared.
“Ruby and Sapphire, I like the names and I love that you’re called Phire.”  His five o’clock shadow was a couple of days old and I watched as the sun glinted off his auburn whiskers.
All around us were cheers and the sound of gravel as we crossed over towards the bleachers.  His friend stayed next to the chain link fence, and was yelling out with the rest of the crowd.
“Yeah, my mom has always said she’d never have anything more precious than her children, so we ended up with names of gems.  My brother didn’t get as lucky, his name is Stone.”
He and I walked up the metal bleachers; he puts his hand on my elbow and guided me to the top seats.    A couple of girls nudged each other as we walked past.  I didn’t blame them at all; he was nothing short of a younger, healthier, better looking Marlboro man.  I’d almost expected him to smell like tobacco, he was that sexy.
Sitting down next to him gave me the feeling of belonging to someone, I felt protected. 

Chapter 2.


Ten minutes until the game starts and I swear I’m going to pull out the tonsils on all the screaming girls.  Collin’s little brother is vying for a spot on the Olympic team, Collin asked me to come out and watch him play. I’d been home-schooled by the family that I’ve lived with most of my life.  I graduated when I was 17, now I’m 23, and I feel old around teenagers.  Most of the time, I live at the Phelan farm, it’s on the outskirts of Choctaw, Oklahoma.  I have a trailer I use as an office when I’m on special assignments for the pack.  Choctaw is about a thirty minute ride from Oklahoma City, which was plenty of distance in my book.   The trailer is the complete opposite direction, placed in the woods outside of Piedsville.   The city has too many people, their smells and noises make my sensory system overload.
I’d been restless the last few days with energy I couldn’t explain.  The wolf in me was edgy and ready to find some trouble.  I’m a werewolf, I can shift any time I want, unlike the myth where we only turn on a full moon.  Our pack is private, and we keep to ourselves.  We run on our own land, and do our best to keep a low profile.  The General, our alpha, has been getting ready for the Great Wolf.  The legend says a wolf would be born to human parents and will grow to rule all packs.  Our pack princess Pru, the daughter of the General, has located the Great Wolf and now the pack is preparing for major changes.  Pru’s been in training and will soon introduce him to our pack and let him know he’s a werewolf.  Thankfully, I’m not the assigned bodyguard to protect Pru, she and I don’t always see eye to eye.
“Hey man, I’ll be back in a minute,” Collin says. 
“No problem, I’ll be right here,” I reply.  Without thinking about it, I take mental pictures of everyone and everything.  The moment I check the concession line, I see her.  A few minutes ago, I watched her and another girl who looked like a younger version of her come through the gates.  Without warning, her eyes caught me watching her.  Instead of turning her head away as most people do when their flee instinct kicks in, my inner wolf nodded his head in approval. 
I’m not usually attracted to human girls, they have too many hang-ups. My head was telling me to stay away; my wolf was telling me he’d make life miserable if I don’t meet her.  Never one to ignore him, I walked over to her.  Her scent is distinct, and sends waves of desire to my wolf.  She’d smell better if she didn’t have on perfume, but I could smell the real her.  Something about her is animalistic, and something about her is trouble.  All I want to do is grab her by the waist, and throw her over my shoulder and take her home.  Something in her is damaged; I feel it all around her. 
I lean in and pay the two dollars for her candy and water.  Her dark hazel eyes sparkle with curiosity.  She tells me her name is Sapphire, and I’d never known a name so appropriate before.  A gem that is both beautiful and mysterious.  Her heart rate stayed steady as she talked to me, giving me an insight to her instincts.   I wondered if it would matter to her if I ran off with her and claimed her as mine.
“Are you and your sister sitting anywhere in particular?”  I ask.
She smiles; showing off her perfectly straight white teeth.  “My sister doesn’t believe in sitting at a soccer game.  I on the other hand like to sit up high, away from everyone.”
“Would you like to sit with me?”
Her eyes sparkle as she nods her head yes.
My kind of girl.  “We’ll go up there,” I say and point to the top of the bleachers.  Guiding her to the top, I am keenly aware of her every move.  The next hour and a half I sat spellbound by her every word and it flew by too fast.  We talked about nothing and everything at the same time.  She never mentioned boyfriends or exes and never talked about life beating her down.  I couldn’t let her leave and not get her number.
“You want to go have a beer?  Ruby and I are going over to the casino, they have a small bar and karaoke.”
“Yeah, believe it or not, I’ve never been to the casino before.  I bet I could twist my friend’s arm.”  Twist his arm until I feel the bones break if he tries to screw this up.
“I’ll tell you what; I’ll give you my number if you show up.”  She grins at me and looks up through her eyelashes.
My insides are rumbling as we walk down the steps to meet her sister.  “You’ve got a deal.”  This time, her heart did skip a beat.  My wolf growled at the thought of letting her out of my sight.  Breathing her in, I satisfy his need to be near her.

“The casino, really?  I saw that girl you were sitting with, she’s foxy,” Collin said with a slight inflection of his voice.
“Foxy?  Who says that?”
Collin smiled and shrugged.  “I heard my brother say it the other day; I thought I’d try it out.”
I shook my head in disbelief.  “Yeah, it’s not working for you.”
“Noted.  Which casino; you know they’ve put one on every reservation?”
“The one in El Reno.”  She didn’t specify which one, surely she meant that one.  She told me she is Arapaho, and that’s where the Cheyenne and Arapaho reservation is located.
Climbing into Collin’s jacked up truck made me wish I’d driven tonight.  He had antennas and a giant metal toolbox in the bed of the truck.  The interior is the precise way I’d expect from him and his O C D self.  The strawberry air freshener stings my nostrils and I must adjust my sense of smell.  I bet it costs him over a hundred dollars a week in gas to drive back and forth to work. 
He cranked up My Chemical Romance and headed for the highway. 
My inner-wolf has never reacted to a human before meeting Sapphire.  The restlessness was getting worse as we made the forty minute drive to the casino.  Like a kid anticipating Christmas morning, waiting to unwrap the gifts from Santa.  I close my eyes for a moment as I imagine unwrapping her.  The idea is irresistible.   
Could they place a casino any further away from civilization?  The waning crescent moon didn’t offer much light as we drove down the desolate road.  Like a blaring beacon, the sign for the casino flashed colorful lights.  The drone of the tires, after a long ride, would have typically put me to sleep.  I was too wound up to be sleepy.
We drive around the packed parking lot until we find someone leaving.  Thankfully, they are driving an oversized SUV, leaving enough room for the giant truck.  The moment I open the door, I pick up her scent.  No longer worried about being at the wrong casino,  I’m filled with anticipation.
Collin said he needs to make a quick call.  I can’t help but hear him on the phone.  He asks his brother to meet us at the casino to be our designated driver.  Ready to get our drink on, we walk through the automated doors.
“I’m going to hit the ATM, and the bathroom, I’ll meet you in the bar.  Don’t take this personally, but if she stood you up, I’m gonna laugh,” Collin says as he walks away.
“I didn’t get stood up,” I say with confidence.  We part ways as I look around for the bar.  I follow the sound of someone singing “Wind Beneath My Wings” off-key. 
The bar looks the same as every other nightclub.  The lights dimmed low to make everyone look better in the dark.  The back of the bar has a small stage, big enough to hold a band and a karaoke machine.  A group of giggling drunk girls take the stage, and pick a song to sing.  Two round tables are pushed together, and that is where I spotted her.  Ruby is telling a story to a guy who is obviously hoping to get lucky tonight.  I can see Sapphire’s profile, she looks anxious, by the way she bounces her leg up and down.  Without coaxing, she turns around and faces me.  Relief washed across her face, her leg quit bouncing, and she stands up, and walks over to me.
Her grin alone was worth the forty minute drive.  She flings her arms around me like I’m a long-lost friend and whispers; “You made it.”
Instinctively, I hug her back and mentally inventory every part of her that’s touching me.  Like a puzzle piece, Sapphire fits perfectly in my arms.
She pulls away and blushed.  “I’m sorry, I’m a hugger.  Come on over, I’ll introduce you to my friends.  We’ll get you started with a shot of tequila.”  She takes my hand and leads me over to her friends.
The waitress leans down to take our order, not without brushing up against me.  Like a cat marking me, and I can’t stand cats.  “Bring her a shot of your top shelf tequila, and I’ll take a Jack and coke.  Come to think of it, bring the rest of the table whatever they are drinking,” I say as I reach for my wallet.  The waitress continues to flirt, not attempting to hide it from Sapphire.  I have a feeling that if it were to come to blows, Sapphire would kick her ass.  There’s a vibe from her that she can handle her own, and I’m counting on it.
“I’ll need a glass of water too…if you don’t mind,” Sapphire says with confidence.  I smile at her, knowing she was staking her claim of me.

After a couple of drinks, Sapphire is tipsy and giggling, but not sloppy drunk.  She grabs Ruby’s arm and pulls her away to the ladies room.  I’m left with Collin and the girls that were singing when we came in.  Collin wasn’t kidding when he said he’d need a DD to get home.  I on the other hand am a werewolf, my body absorbs the alcohol and heals the intoxication more rapidly than humans do.
A familiar beat starts blaring through the speakers and I turn around and spot the karaoke culprits.
Sapphire and Ruby were up on the stage singing surprisingly well.  Sapphire took the microphone like a rock star and held her other arm out, pointing at me… she struts off the stage as she sings.  She stops in front of me, with a grin across her face.

Without warning, she’s in my lap, and I can’t hear anything but the beating of her heart. Mmmmm …I stare at her graceful neck as her head tilts towards me.  I put my hand on her waist, and pull her closer to me.  She jumps up and runs back to the stage and Ruby takes over. 
Collin leans in and mouths, “I think she’s into you.”
I lift my glass and toast him. 
As the girls come back to the table, I pull Sapphire’s chair closer to me.  She laughs and tells jokes until everyone at the table is captivated by her. 
“Can I see your phone?”  Sapphire says with her hand out.
I pull it out of my pocket and hand it to her.  She can ask for my bank account and I’d give it to her.  I watch as she frantically types something out.  Standing up, she hands me my phone but hits the talk button first.  Her phone begins to vibrate, and I know it’s in her back pocket.  She answers the call and shoots me a flirty smile.
“I told you I’d give you my number if you showed up.  Now, I have yours too,” she holds her phone up showing me her screen.
My brain screams to run as fast as I can, my wolf screaming not to let her out of my sight.  She’s human…as in human, human.  I think to myself.  “Will you have dinner with me tomorrow, which is really today?”
She presses her lips together in a grin and nods her head yes.  Her list of positives is beating out the fact she’s human.  The way her dimple only shows when she grins, and the way her dark hair gives her an exotic vixen look.  The way she laughs at her own jokes and laughs harder when she screws up the punch line. 
We walk with the girls outside and to our surprise the girls walked over to the Tribal Police car parked by the doors.  Sapphire runs back to me and gives me a hug and whispers in my ear not to forget to call her in the morning.  I’m going to need a good long run when I get back to the farm. 
The officer driving the car looks to be friends with the girls and happy to see them. 
I turn to Collin, who is propped up against the building.  “Toss me your keys, I’m fine to drive.”
He makes a feeble attempt at tossing me the keys, which is nothing more than him tossing them straight up over his head.  My reflexes are fast, and he’s too intoxicated to notice.  I get him to the truck and fasten his seatbelt.  I take his phone from his hand and text his brother not to bother coming out to the casino.