Today I am so pleased to welcome CL Mustafic to Joyfully Jay. CL has come to share an exclusive excerpt from her latest release, Bad Moon Arising. She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
After parking my truck in front of the doublewide trailer on the edge of the compound, I shut off the engine and let my head fall forward until my forehead was resting on the wheel. I wasn’t happy about having to go in and tell Pete and Willard about what had happened. It wasn’t about the sex. If it was about that, they would only slap me on the back and ask if it was good. No, it was about the bite and the blood. Shit, he’d swallowed my blood. I sat up and punched the steering wheel with the flat of my hand, accidentally hitting the horn for the second time that night and sending a sharp bleat out into the night. When the front porch light came on, I knew it was time to get out and face the music.
Willard met me at the door after what felt like the longest damn walk of my life, and I’ve taken some walks of shame in my time. His brow furrowed when he saw my face, and he asked, “Whiskey or tea?”
He nodded. “All right, come on in. I’ll get Pete.” He let me pass before he shut the door, then snapped off the porch light.
I took a seat on the sofa and adopted the posture of the truly repentant, even before I confessed my blunder. Hearing Willard tell Pete I was there waiting for them and had chosen whiskey instead of tea, I knew I only had moments left as part of the Outcast pack. There was no way they wouldn’t exile me for this fuckup.
A liter bottle of Jack was plonked down on the table in front of me, and then three glasses joined it. Pete sat on the couch next to me, and Willard took to his recliner right across from us. I waited until Pete had poured a healthy three fingers of the amber liquid into three glasses and they each took theirs from the table. Grabbing mine with an unsteady hand, I sat back on the couch and took a deep breath before throwing the whiskey back. I let the burn in the pit of my stomach center me.
“I might have a problem.” Understatement of the year goes to…
“Tell us what happened and let us decide if you do or not,” Willard said. It was what I’d expected him to say because it was his standard line.
One time I’d killed a farmer’s cow and thought it was the end of the world. Pete and Willard had taken care of the situation after I’d told them, so therefore it hadn’t been a problem, which was why he always said it was up to them to decide if it was one or not. I wished this time it was something as simple as dead livestock.
“I was with someone tonight, and he might have—no, he did, swallow some of my blood.” There. I’d said it. Now, all I could do was wait for the damnation to be dealt out.
“You’re sure?” Pete put his hand on my thigh. I’m sure he thought it was a comforting gesture, but to me it felt like he was pinning me down with that one slender hand.
“He said he did. I can’t be sure because I didn’t even realize he’d broken the skin, and it had healed by the time I’d gotten a look at it.”
“If you’re not one hundred percent certain—”
“And lycanthropy isn’t easy to spread. He’d have had to swallow a good amount, and there’s still a chance he might not catch it,” Willard interrupted Pete.
“But there’s a chance he could have, and if he does, then that means I’ve broken pack law and—”
“Now, hold on here.” Willard leaned forward and picked up the bottle, gesturing with it across the table for me to hold out my glass, which I did, so he could fill it. “You said he bit you, right?”
“Yeah.” I blushed, knowing I had put myself in a position to be bitten by a human.
“Then you’ve broken no laws. The law is you can’t bite or in any way seek to infect intentionally,” Willard said, and Pete smiled at his lover like he’d just told him they were having a baby.
“But still, he may be infected,” I said.
“He may, and now it’s your responsibility to watch him, and if at all possible, get him here to the compound on the first full moon so you can monitor him. If he changes, then he’ll be your cross to bear.” Willard’s stern look brokered no argument over his pronouncement.
“What does that mean, exactly?”
Pete sighed and took my hand. “He has to be indoctrinated into the way of the pack, and you’ll have to bring your case in front of the elders.”
“What case?” I’d thought telling the two of them would be the extent of my embarrassment, but telling all the elders in the pack would really suck.
“If he is werewolf, he’ll need the protection of the pack, and the only way for a turnt werewolf to get that is to find a mate within the pack.” Willard looked at Pete and smiled softly. “It’s not as bad as it sounds. It’s happened before.”
“Yeah, but he’s not my bonded mate. It’s not the same as you two.” Yep, the two guys sitting in the pack leader’s doublewide trailer were a bonded pair. In our culture it was a big deal. Only about one percent of all werewolves ever felt the mate bond, and the fact that Willard had found his mate among the humans had brought a huge upheaval to the way the pack had operated ever since. I didn’t know all the details as I’d only joined them about five years ago, but I’d heard the stories. Their mating was one of the main reasons I’d been accepted into their strange collection of werewolves that called itself the Outcast pack.
“I’m sure if he was good-looking enough to find his way into your bed, he’ll have no trouble finding a mate here if you’re not interested,” Pete said. He sipped his drink almost daintily, which looked weird after having seen him rip the throat out of a wild boar in his beast form.
“I don’t even know the guy. I met him on Grindr, and he seems like the type who will totally freak out over this.”
“Oh, he’s going to freak out. There’s not a single man alive who won’t have some issues with not only finding out werewolves are real but that he’s now one of them,” Willard said sagely.
“But, let’s not count our chickens before they hatch. Your job now is to figure out a way to get him here next week for the full moon without telling him why. We can’t risk exposing our secret if he’s not infected.” Pete and Willard exchanged a look that probably held an entire conversation before Pete added, “You know what will happen to him and you if that was to happen.”
“I know,” I sighed. Maybe death would be preferable to what my future held if Grindr guy turned out to be infected. There was a reason I played up the hick card when I met my hookups. It usually kept them from wanting to have meaningful conversations with me. I was a pretty face and a good fuck but dumb as a box of rocks as far as they were concerned. Now I’d have to try to get the guy to talk to me, and after I’d told him I wasn’t interested in anything more than a quick fuck, how was I going to explain my sudden change of attitude?
“You’ll figure it out, and like I said, the chances of him being infected are really low. It’s something like only point five percent of people who are possibly contaminated that actually get it. The numbers are in your favor.” Willard was trying to make me feel better and maybe give me some hope, but I was as pessimistic as fuck by nature and was sure this would end up biting me somewhere other than my neck.
In a sleepy trailer park in the backwoods of Minnesota lake country, there lies a secret—threatened by a Grindr hookup gone bad.
Clay Anderson gets more than he bargained for when, in a moment of passion, he bites his Grindr hookup hard enough to draw blood. The man’s reaction isn’t as reassuring as Clay hoped, but of all the consequences Clay considered, lycanthropy wasn’t among them.
Damian Maccon leads a simple life as part of the Outcast pack. Not realizing at first that Clay swallowed his blood during their wild romp, he feels responsible when it’s evident that Clay has become infected. Worse, he now has a new werewolf on his hands until Clay learns the rules, and he has to oversee Clay’s decision to choose a mate within the pack.
Damian thinks his biggest problem is that Clay hates him, but when Clay chooses Damian’s abusive ex-boyfriend, Blaine, he goes on full alert. Can he save Clay from the same fate that befell him at Blaine’s hands?
CL Mustafic is a born and bred American mid-westerner who mysteriously ended up living in one of those countries nobody can ever find on the map of Europe. Left with too much time on her hands—let’s be honest here: it was the lack of television channels in her native language–and too many voices in her head trying to fill the silence, she decided to give her life-long dream of writing a novel a shot. So now, between shuttling kids back and forth from various activities and risking her life on the insanely narrow, busy streets of her new hometown, she loses herself in her own made-up world where love always wins.
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