Today I am so pleased to welcome Rhys Ford to Joyfully Jay. Rhys has come to talk to us about her release, Jacked Cat Jive. She has also brought along a fabulous giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
It is hard to believe that we are at the third book in the Kai Gracen series. Black Dog Blues was one of the first full-length novels I’d written inside of an urban fantasy genre I’ve always wanted to explore. The best part about writing Kai Gracen is creating not just the personalities but also the world they inhabit and it’s been great to blend in the fantastical with the mundane.
In his third outing, Jacked Cat Jive, Kai is faced with unique challenge of realizing he really is not as human as he thought and that the Court and its inhabitants mean something to him other than a thorn in his side. And of course, there is always Ryder, the Sidhe Lord who gets under his skin in the best of ways. I’ve enjoyed writing the push and pull of their relationship but also the growth between them as characters. They started off at very different points of view and are slowly working towards an understanding while also fending off any challenges that come at them.
This time out, Kai is not only set to rescue a group of refugees from the Badlands beneath San Diego, he also has to come to grips with his growing friendship with Ryder and how the humans in his life are getting older, something he won’t experience himself for quite a long time.
So I hope that you join Kai and his next adventure and also enjoy this serialized story of Ryder and the trouble he gets into when he doesn’t listen to what Kai says.
Also, I invite you to enter the giveaway on each of the blogs during the tour and get a chance to win a $25 USD gift certificate from an e-tailer of your choice.
You can purchase Jacked Cat Jive at:
- DSP Publications: https://www.dsppublications.com/books/jacked-cat-jive-by-rhys-ford-489-b
- Amazon: mybook.to/JackedCatJive
And other places books are sold.
Ryder’s Folly. Part Six
The lizard — whatever it had been — was delicious, made even more so by sharing the hatchback space with Kai. It would be a tight fit once the hatch itself was closed but with the backseats down, there was more than enough room for us to sit up and pick the grilled meat from the bamboo skewers Kai used to add a char to the roasted flesh once he’d dug out the foil packet. As primitive of a meal as I’d ever had, it was probably the most tasty. There was something sensual in watching Kai eat. When given the chance, he savored his food, taking oddly delicate bites and chewing carefully. There’d been more than a few times when we had to bolt down something quick for sustenance, driven back to the run we were on, but now we had time to sit and wait.
There was something to be said about jobs set up to watch for mythical creatures.
“I don’t think I can eat another bite,” Kai murmured, his shoulder brushing up against mine when he reached for a wet napkin to wipe his hands with. “We can have the rest tomorrow. The coolers will fit in the front seat so nothing will be able to get inside of them. First time I was out with Cari, I told her to lock down the coolers in the transport we were using but she forgot. Next morning, I made her pick up every single piece of bone and trash the bears left behind. We spent the next four days eating berries and whatever fish I could find in the river. I think that’s why she doesn’t like sushi.”
The food was sealed up tight before I could offer to help and Kai told me to stay there while he put the coolers up. I agreed mostly to watch him work. I love how he moved, serpentine sleek with grace and a surety of where to put his feet. He caught me watching and shot me a curious look as if wondering what I was up to.
If there was one thing I’ve discovered about Kai — my chimera — he didn’t see himself as someone anyone would want in their lives. So now, I would have to spend the rest of my lifetime proving him wrong.
The sun was chasing down the horizon by the time he settled into the back of the Nova, pulling the hatch down behind him. We would have to figure out a way to sleep diagonally when it came time but knowing him, he planned for someone to be up all through the night, watching the watering hole for his elusive prey. The cameras were set up on the edge of the perimeter and would fire off at any heat signature, capturing wildlife with its sensitive lens, but Kai was at his core, a hunter himself, and he would want to see his prey.
“Thank you for saving me today,” I said, ripping away the comfortable silence he’d let grow between us. “You’ve taught me a lot. For instance, I knew I couldn’t let go because the creature’s hooves would’ve shattered my head and well, I definitely would’ve been a snack for the lions. I’m learning a lot about how to live in this new world of ours. It’s a lot more dangerous than I ever imagined. I’m glad you’re here with me. Mostly to save me from myself.”
“If there’s one thing I can count on, it’s you landing in the biggest pile of shit you can find.” He chuckled, the cinnamon zest of his skin intensifying with his laughter. Most humans couldn’t smell the richness of his unique scent but they were aware of its faint hint, trapped in the limitations of their senses. “You’re lucky I like you. Now. Or I would’ve left you for the lions.”
“Then you would’ve had to raise our nieces yourself.” Pointing that out to him got a grimace but I knew better. He adored the girls, going out of his way to bring them small presents from places he’d been and reading stories aloud in their nursery until they fell asleep. It lightened my heart to know they would know his voice and also terrified me because I also suspected one day they would take up his guns. There was too much of his fearlessness in them and the potential of a Stalker Gracen dynasty was very real. “I know you said you could eat anything more but I brought those chocolate drops you like. The ones in the foil. They’re in my bag on the top if you want to get them.”
He was quick, my Kai, and I was fairly certain the words were barely out of my mouth when he had the bag’s zipper undone.
“Here,” he whispered, holding up the first dollop he’d unwrapped. “Open your mouth.”
That was how I knew I affected him the same way he touched me. It was the little things Kai did. The ways he showed how he loved someone. He didn’t speak with flowery words or make grand gestures. Instead he would offer up the first piece of chocolate, willingly giving the first taste of his deepest love to someone else he cared about. I tasted his affection on the tips of his fingers when I closed my lips over the chocolate bit, leaving a kiss behind to thank him. I would never get poems from Kai Gracen. There would never be sonnets written about my verdant eyes or how the sun glistened in my golden hair.
Instead, I would get grilled lizard and the chance to watch a sunset from the back of a Nova hatchback he borrowed from Cari to go on a run that would essentially trap him with me for three days. He’d grumbled when I told him I wanted to go but hadn’t given up too much of a fight.
He wanted me there. He’d come for me when I’d stupidly misinterpreted what he said and ended up on the back of a bison. He also stood by me during my darkest times and threatened to kill my enemies. I may one day have to take him up on that but until that time, I simply wanted to be with him, sharing the relative peace and quiet of the watering hole at dusk as wild animals gathered at its edge to drink their fill.
I understood their thirst because I had an insatiable need for the chimera sitting next to me and instead, sucked on the bit of chocolate he gave me.
“Look,” Kai whispered, pointing to something near the water. “Over there.”
They were hard to see, several petite equine creatures nestled up near the feet of an elephant dipping its trunk into the clear, crystal waters. They glistened and danced at the edge of the watering hole, their dainty hooves leaving triangular divots in the mud. Their manes were short, a faint magenta against their pearlescent hides but it was the curl of black horn rising from the middle of their foreheads that caught our attention.
“By the Gods, I guess they are real,” I stammered back, looking at wonder at something impossible lapping up a bit of water. “I never imagined —”
“Just goes to show you, if you wait quietly enough, the impossible comes to you,” Kai murmured, reaching for the cameras’ trigger mechanism. “You’ve just got to be patient.”
“I understand that now,” I conceded, placing my hand on the spot between his shoulder blades where I knew he wore the scars shaped like a black pearl dragon on his skin, a horrific gift left on him by his father but one he wore proudly, knowing he’d survive and now thrived. “I promise, Kai, I will wait an eternity with you, just to see the impossible.”
Follow the rest of the Jacked Cat Jive Tour!
Stalker Kai Gracen knew his human upbringing would eventually clash with his elfin heritage, but not so soon. Between Ryder, a pain-in-his-neck Sidhe Lord coaxing him to join San Diego’s Southern Rise Court, and picking up bounties for SoCalGov, he has more than enough to deal with. With his loyalties divided between the humans who raised him and the Sidhe Lord he’s befriended and sworn to protect, Kai finds himself standing at a crossroads.
When a friend begs Kai to rescue a small group of elfin refugees fleeing the Dusk Court, he’s pulled into a dangerous mission with Ryder through San Diego’s understreets and the wilderness beyond. Things go from bad to downright treacherous when Kerrick, Ryder’s cousin, insists on joining them, staking a claim on Southern Rise and Kai.
Burdened by his painful past, Kai must stand with Ryder against Kerrick while facing down the very Court he fears and loathes. Dying while on a run is expected for a Stalker, but Kai wonders if embracing his elfin blood also means losing his heart, soul, and humanity along the way.
And if it’s even worth it.
Rhys Ford is an award-winning author with several long-running LGBT+ mystery, thriller, paranormal, and urban fantasy series and is a two-time LAMBDA finalist with her Murder and Mayhem novels. She is also a 2017 Gold and Silver Medal winner in the Florida Authors and Publishers President’s Book Awards for her novels Ink and Shadows and Hanging the Stars. She is published by Dreamspinner Press and DSP Publications.
She’s also quite skeptical about bios without a dash of something personal and really, who doesn’t mention their cats, dog and cars in a bio? She shares the house with Harley, a grey tuxedo with a flower on her face, Badger, a disgruntled alley cat who isn’t sure living inside is a step up the social ladder as well as a ginger cairn terrorist named Gus. Rhys is also enslaved to the upkeep a 1979 Pontiac Firebird and enjoys murdering make-believe people.
Rhys can be found at the following locations:
- Blog: www.rhysford.com
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/rhys.ford.author
- Twitter: @Rhys_Ford
- On Your Alexa device on the Alexa Skills at: https://www.amazon.com/Witlingo-Rhys-Ford-Casting/dp/B07N7MJ7C8/
Rhys has brought a $25 gift card to an e-retailer of choice to give away to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Friday, March 8th at 11:59 pm ET.
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