Fairy tales are a great source of inspiration for me, but when I began my newest novella, I found inspiration from another source.
While watching the 1942 version of Jungle Book my mind began to wander and “what if” scenarios churned in my brain. I had been reading books with Were-animals in them recently and the idea came to me “what if the animals in the jungle were Were-animals and what if Mowgli fell in love with one?” From that simple question came the idea for To Know Your Wild Heart.
In my newest release with JMS Books you’ll find all the elements of the Kipling classic but with a fresh new take. I hope readers enjoy it.
Blurb: Orphaned in the forest as an infant, Kai grows up as the only human among a pack of werewolves. His parents were killed by Marcellus, a renegade Skinwalker with an insatiable thirst for carnage and an unreasoning hatred for humans. Though the pack has raised Kai as one of their own, he knows he’s an outsider. He’s different.
When Marcellus returns to finish what he started, the pack decides Kai must leave his forest family and be taken to a nearby human settlement, both for Kai’s safety and that of the pack. The task of seeing Kai to the settlement falls on his friend Adair, an aloof and amiable werecat.
Kai isn’t told where they’re going, and he enjoys Adair’s company. But soon the attraction between the two becomes too difficult to deny, and the more time they spend together, the closer they become. With danger bearing down on them and their attraction growing, can human and werecat survive with their lives -- and hearts -- intact?
“The Adair I know would never hurt me like this. Never use me. He was my friend.”
“I am still your friend.” Adair closed the distance between them. He looked down at Kai with soft eyes. He had no right to look at him like that. Like he knew what was best for Kai, like he cared. He reached out and cupped Kai’s cheek. Kai wanted to push him away but he found himself leaning into the touch.
“I’m trying to protect you, Kai. There is a Skinwalker after you. A very bad and very dangerous one named Marcellus and he hates humans. He knows there is a human in the forest and he will not stop until he finds and kills you.”
Kai was more confused than ever. “What? Why? I don’t even know anyone named Marcellus.”
“It doesn’t matter if you know him or not. You’re human. That’s enough. I’m sorry you got the wrong idea about us. If you calm down and think rationally, you’ll realize that the best place for you in the human village. They can protect you. You’ll be happy.”
Kai shook his head and looked up at Adair. How was he supposed to calm down? His entire life was crumbling around him. “I’ll die there.” It was true. Kai wouldn’t know anyone. He had no idea what it meant to be human. In the pack, in the forest, he was free. The village would be a prison.
“If you stay in the forest you will die. The pack won’t protect you. Even I can’t protect you. In all probability Marcellus is the one responsible for the deaths of your birth parents.”
How dare Adair bring his natural parents into this? He knew how much Kai thought about them, how much he missed them sometimes. Just when Kai thought Adair couldn’t sink any lower.
“I hate you!” Kai screamed in helpless anger and pain. He saw Adair blanch before he turned and took off running as fast as he could, tears blurring his vision and hurt tearing his heart to shreds.
* * * *
Adair stood there stunned as Kai ran away. He had never seen Kai look the way he had. Heartbroken, devastated. The fact that he had put that expression on Kai’s face left him gasping. He wanted to go after him, knew that he should, but he couldn’t seem to get his feet to move.
I hate you! The words echoed in his ears, slicing into him like a blade. He just wanted to keep Kai safe from Marcellus. He should have also kept Kai safe from himself as well.
He should have realized what Kai thought was happening between them when he used the words ‘mate me’. Kai had been raised with pack values and would see their coupling as a sacred rite, not as an act of mutual pleasure as Adair did. He was a damn fool. He knew better, yet gave in to his baser instincts and desires to have Kai just one time. He let his judgment be clouded and now all hell had broken loose.
“Kai!” He called heading off after the human. It felt awkward to walk on two legs. “Kai! Come back here!”
Worry clawed at him. Kai was alone. Marcellus was somewhere in the forest. Marcellus who hated all humans and was hunting Kai. Adair had to find him. He stopped and sniffed the air, trying to pick up Kai’s unique human scent, but Kai had just bathed and his scent wasn’t discernible. Kai could have run in any direction. With no hint of scent, Adair had no clue which way to go. Any way could be the wrong way taking him farther away from Kai and bringing Kai closer to Marcellus.
“Kai!” Adair called cupping his hands to his mouth. “Kai!” He was scared to death. If anything happened to Kai it was on his head. He would never forgive himself. “Kai!” he screamed at the top of his lungs but either Kai couldn’t hear or chose to ignore him. “Kai! Please!”
Adair was desperate and he felt wetness on his cheeks. His heart thudded painfully in his chest. Vivid images of Kai with his belly slashed open, insides spilling out, skin pale, eyes wide and staring, flashed through his mind. “Kai!”
His mind raced. He couldn’t go back to Kai’s pack and try to get help; the den was too far away and they had expelled Kai because of this very reason. He was alone and he would have to find Kai on his own.
Find him before Marcellus did.
Buy Link: http://www.jms-books.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=29&products_id=1068