Today I am so pleased to welcome L.D. Blakeley to Joyfully Jay. L.D. has come to share an exclusive excerpt from her latest release, Shadowy Pines. She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Happy Holidays everyone! I hope you’re spending your day surrounded by friends, family, and food. All the food. 🙂
I’m here to share with you an excerpt from my latest release, Shadowy Pines.
Shadowy Pines is a fictional location. But anyone who has ever visited the Kawarthas region of Ontario, Canada will recognize it as one of any number of sleepy little towns in the area. A few years ago, I fell in love with the charming and picturesque place and knew it was the perfect setting for my sexy, witchy romance.
And, since it is Christmas Day, I’ve got a couple of backlist holiday titles (Best Worst Ever, a friends-to-lovers NYE novella & The Power of Peppermint, a Christmas tale of May/December romance) currently available for just 99¢.
Not your everyday meet cute…
The “big” Loblaw’s turned out to be a fraction of the size of the one where Finn normally shopped. But since this was now home, at least for the foreseeable future, there wasn’t much point making comparisons. Besides, there was a liquor store, pizza place, hardware store, and sushi restaurant all conveniently located in the same plaza. Throw in a pub with a rainbow flag on the door and he was ready to stay in Shadowy Pines permanently.
He made his way through the aisles quickly, grabbing a few things here and there as he went. Not paying particular attention to what he was doing, he reached for a dozen eggs and landed on the instep of someone trying to do the exact same thing.
As the other person yelped, Finn jumped back, flailing to stay on his feet. But before he could apologize, the carton was plucked from his hand and a strong hand took him by the elbow, giving him a chance to regain his balance.
“Thanks. I’m not normally so—” Finn was tongue-tied as he discovered that his White Knight was none other than the sharp dressed man he’d seen earlier in the bookstore. “Um. Clumsy. Not normally, I mean. I…” He cleared his throat and tried desperately to stop babbling.
The handsome face smiled at him and Finn was certain his brain had melted and was about to start pouring from his ears.
“I’m Owen. Are you okay?”
Owen. Pretty. Dimples.
Snapping out of it, Finn managed a flustered, “Fine. Thank you.” He couldn’t stop staring, no matter how hard he tried. Those cheekbones were sharp enough to cut paper, and the five o’clock shadow only emphasized the man’s beautifully chiseled features.
Flecks of gold lit the hazel eyes that were watching him quizzically.
Which meant that he was probably standing far too close for comfort. Finn stepped back to give the man—Owen—a bit of breathing room.
“Okay, then. Well, I’m just going to…” Owen waved his grocery basket in the direction of the checkouts and started to walk away.
“Finn!” Finn blurted.
Owen turned back and blazed that smile again in Finn’s direction.
“I’m Finn, I mean…” He could feel his face heat and knew he was about thirty shades of red.
“It’s very nice to meet you, Finn.” Owen reached out and shook Finn’s hand, holding on a beat or two longer than necessary. Not that Finn minded. In fact he was just starting to enjoy the warmth from Owen’s hand when the hair on the back of his neck and arms stood straight out. He wasn’t sure if it was a reaction to Owen and all his up-close, touchy gorgeousness or—
“Miskwaa.” He heard the sharp hiss of the word before he saw the curious woman from the bookstore round the corner and walk toward him.
Owen must have sensed something was off, as he tensed and held Finn’s hand in an even firmer grip. A crackle of energy flowed through Finn and, judging by the look on Owen’s face, he’d felt it too.
As the woman got closer, Finn felt a chill run down his spine. The dewy pertrichor of a sudden shower assaulted his senses, despite the heavily recycled air he knew was being pumped through the store.
The closer she came, the stronger the smell. He hadn’t noticed it in the bookstore, but it couldn’t be coming from her anyway. Could it?
He stepped back, dropping Owen’s hand as he did so, and wished like hell this woman would find somebody else to stalk.
She uttered the word once more, then drew in a sharp intake of breath. Her eyes went wide as she noticed Owen and she began to back away. “Naniizaanizi!”
What the actual…
She repeated the word, “Naniizaanizi!” This time her voice louder, more distressed.
“Do you know her?” Finn whispered to Owen, trying desperately to sound calm. Clearly she was unstable and the last thing he wanted was to freak her out and make matters worse.
Please, just go away.
As Finn thought the words, a can shot from the shelf behind her, landing at her feet. A sharp jolt spread through his body at the same time, and he could see another can start to vibrate.
What. The. Hell.
“No, no, Naniizaanizi!” She was screaming now and beginning to attract the attention of other shoppers.
Finn stood by uselessly as more shelves began to bow under the force of the rattling cans. His thoughts raced as he frantically tried to determine his best course of action. Should he call for help? Dial 911? Duck and cover and hope for the best. This woman definitely needed some kind of help and he was at a loss.
A palpable energy swirled and rumbled around them, but the lady didn’t seem fazed. She stood her ground and glowered in Owen’s direction. To his credit, Owen seemed to remain completely calm.
A concerned-looking store employee rounded the corner and, as the man headed down the aisle toward them, the swirling chaos stopped. Cans stilled, the dark energy dissipated—it was as though none of it had happened.
“Is everything okay here, folks?” He seemed genuinely concerned. Maybe the woman was the local eccentric and he was used to handling her outbursts.
“Yeah, um…” Finn stood slack-jawed as he struggled to reply. Had that all actually happened? “I think she’s upset about something. I don’t know who—”
“No!” The woman looked terrified as she glanced from Finn to Owen, then back again. Before anyone else had a chance to speak, however, she turned tail and ran from the store.
Owen took a step back, looking every bit as confused as Finn.
“Do either of you know her?”
“No, never seen her before.” Owen looked to Finn.
“Same. I mean, not until this morning anyway. She was in my cousin’s store earlier but I have no clue who she is.” Finn had no idea what was going on. “I’m really sorry about the disturbance, though. If anything’s damaged—”
The store employee shook his head and glanced at the inventory littering the floor. “Not your fault, son. As long as everyone’s okay, then no harm, no foul.”
“Right.” Finn glanced up to see Owen looking toward the shelf from where the cans had jettisoned.
“What was that?” Owen somehow managed to sound calm and incredulous all at once.
“I have no idea.”
When an over-educated, underemployed millennial is called home to help with the family business, he jumps at the chance to leave his crap job, crappier love life, and the city behind.
But moving to Shadowy Pines isn’t quite the idyllic life change Finn Parks imagined.
How the hell do you cope when you find out magic – actual magic – is real? Or that you also happen to come from a long line of powerful witches? And that handsome man with all the sizzle? Yeah, he might be trying to kill you.
L.D. Blakeley is a pragmatist with a romantic soul & a dirty mind. She loves horror movies, hot sex, and happily ever afters. She’s easily distracted by shiny things, and is a slightly neurotic, highly ambitious dreamer who enjoys dabbling in photography & pretending she can carry a tune.
In another life, L.D. was a newspaper reporter, an entertainment & music writer, travel writer, website content editor, and a marketing shill. Now she prefers to spend her time writing hot, steamy fiction (with a healthy dose of romance) about intriguing, sexy men. Although she dreams of living some place isolated with an endless supply of wine and an infinite number of titles on her eReader, she currently lives in downtown Toronto with her husband and their rock star cat.
L.D. has brought a copy of Shadowy Pines to give away to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Saturday, December 29th at 11:59 pm ET.
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