Today I am so pleased to welcome Eli Easton to Joyfully Jay. Eli has come to talk to us about her latest release, How to Love Thine Enemy. She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
“They found it.” Zeus’s deep voice was thick with worry.
“I can’t believe it!” Timo scoffed, his handsome face scowling.
Cupun held out his hand. Grumbling, Timo took a twenty-dollar bill from his pocket and slapped it into Cupun’s palm.
“I told you the one-skinned are not as helpless as you think,” Cupun whispered.
“By Griffin’s paw, they shouldn’t have been able to track us!” Timo insisted, his voice low. He hated being wrong.
“Shouldn’t have,” Zeus agreed solemnly. “But did.”
The three of them fell silent and watched from behind a rock as two Inupiat men stepped out from a dense trail onto the logging road. The Inupiat were one-skinned—men that could only be men, not shift into dogs like the Qimmiq, Cupun’s pack, and the Quickened, Zeus’s pack. So their ears and noses were not very good. It was unlikely they could sense the three watchers from where they hid behind some rocks and up the hill from the road. But then, they should not have been able to track them either.
That’s what Timo and Zeus thought, anyway. Cupun knew the Inupiat were a lot smarter and more capable, and more interesting, than the rest of his pack believed.
Down below, the taller one-skinned looked winded from the climb. He took off his wool beanie, stuffed it into a coat pocket, and ran his hands through a tumble of long, thick black hair that covered his chest. When he shook it back, his face tilted up, Cupun got a good look at his features.
It was him. It was! Cupun had hoped. He’d thought his smell was familiar. But he hadn’t gotten close enough to be sure. Now his heart ran ahead of him the way Timo did when they were out hunting in their fur. It ran away from him in sheer joy and excitement, threatening to leave the rest of him behind.
Come back, heart. Come back! You belong to me, not Taq.
Cupun’s heart didn’t want to listen.
Taq had grown up a lot from the days when they’d played together at the fjord as pups, but Cupun knew him. Cupun would always know him. Look how tall he was! How sturdy and handsome. He was so tall, and his shoulders had gotten so wide. Cupun was breathless with wonder, just as he might feel when crossing paths with an alpha elk in his prime.
He greedily studied every bit of his old friend. Taq’s grown-up face was wide and flatter than the two-skinned with high cheekbones and a broad jaw. His lips were not thin like a Qimmiq’s but plump and dark as berries. He lowered his head before Cupun could get a good look at his eyes. He wondered if those eyes were still the warm brown of the earth and solemn and laughing in turn?
Cupun wanted to go to him. His paws itched to chase after his heart. He gripped the rocks they were hiding behind with both hands, dug his toes into the soles of his boots as if he could grip the earth.
He glanced at Timo, wanting to share the news. He wanted to say: Timo, look, it is Taq! My old friend, Taq! But the fear and worry on Timo’s and Zeus’s faces was a jolt. Oh. Right. They did not want the Inupiat here. Not any Inupiat. And Cupun also remembered that, years ago, Timo had made fun of Cupun for playing with an Inupiat boy. The words died in Cupun’s throat.
Can a forbidden love heal the rift between two enemy tribes?
Legend says that, centuries ago, the sled dogs and the Inuit were so deeply bonded that the dogs rose up on two legs and became men. The Qimmig and the People lived together happily until one of the Inuit betrayed the dog-men. The Qimmig fled, vowing never to return.
Taq figured that was just another story elders told around the campfire. But when he witnesses two guys survive a polar bear attack by shifting into dogs, he has to rethink everything. Could the Qimmig really exist? And could they have anything to do with the special, golden-eyed boy he’d played with as a child?
Cupun has missed his old friend, Taq. But it is forbidden for the Qimmig to have anything to do with one-skinned Inupiat. When a series of events brings Taq back into his life, the feelings of protectiveness and joy awakened in his dog’s heart tell him that Taq is his soul’s mate.
But neither the Qimmig nor the Inuit are prepared to accept this bond. Are the boys fated for tragedy? Or will their love find a way?
How to Love Thine Enemy is a star-crossed lovers/Romeo and Juliet trope set in Alaska. Friends-to-lovers, doggie shifters, and destined romance with a little wilderness adventure.
Coming from a background in computer game design, Eli has written over 50 books in m/m romance since 2013. The Mating of Michael (2014) and A Second Harvest (2016) both won The William Neale Award for Best Gay Contemporary Romance, and Eli’s books have won many awards from the Goodreads M/M Romance Group’s Reader’s Choice Awards. She is best known for her Christmas romances, the Howl at the Moon series of rom coms featuring dog shifters, and the Nerds Vs Jocks series, co-written with Tara Lain.
Connect with Eli:
Facebook: Eli Easton
Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/164054884188096
To celebrate the release of How to Love Thine Enemy, Eli’s giving you a chance to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card & an e-set of the whole Howl at the Moon Series so far! Enter through the rafflecopter below!
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Love this series, and happy to see a new entry. So imaginative.
Welcome, Eli, and thank you for the excerpt and the giveaway chance. Best wishes for the success of How to Love Thine Enemy!