WITCH INTERRUPTED (Book 2, Shifters)
By Jody Wallace
Release Date: February 2014
Genre: paranormal romance
Length: Long Novel (116,000 words)
Rating: R (profanity, violence, sex, light BDSM–all the good stuff)
From: Carina Press
Buy Links: Amazon, B&N, iTunes, Overdrive (libraries), Audible (audiobook)
Add it to your Goodreads!
Two decades ago, assassin Katherine Zhang faked her death to escape the Keepers, a secret council of witches who use magic to kill those who pose a threat to their kind. Once a powerful Keeper, she lives a solitary—but peaceful—life as a tattoo artist. Until a strange, handsome lone wolf named Marcus Delgado walks into her shop.
Marcus has his own reasons to hate the Keepers. A scientist who sacrificed himself to test the fragile boundaries between witch and wolf, he believes there’s a way to harness the combustible power between the two species. If he succeeds, he’ll be protected from the Keepers, but he needs a willing partner—and the delicious Katie just might be the perfect test subject.
Katie knows working with a wolf, an adversary she’s undeniably attracted to, is a dangerous proposition…no matter how tempting she finds Marcus’s proposal. But when a common enemy from their past threatens them both, working together might be the only option.
Tropes: This romance novel starts with a kidnapping and secret societies and forges a path right into enemies to lovers, an alpha female (literal), a nerd hero, and forbidden love.
Shifters Book 1: Pack and Coven. They stand alone. At least, I think so.
*** EXCERPT FROM: WITCH INTERRUPTED***
From Chapter 1, 1170 words
The shop door chimes bonged, rattling the test tubes and Katherine Zhang’s teeth. Her hands jerked, and she scattered the point thirty-three ounces of granular ginseng she’d painstakingly measured.
By the Lady, she hated that damn doorbell.
“Ba,” she yelled into the next room, where she could see her father snoozing in the recliner in front of the giant flat-screen television. “Wake up.”
He lurched, shaking his head. “I’m not asleep. Huh? What?”
“The chimes gotta go, Ba. I mean it.” She swiped the ginseng into a pile for later and walked to the door of the den. What she wouldn’t give for a real stillroom instead of a converted dining room—but it was better than the bathroom she’d used in their last safe house.
He raised two gray, bushy eyebrows. “I didn’t hear anything.”
“That’s because you’re half deaf.” She glanced around for the remote and spotted it beside Dad’s coffee mug. “Somebody came into the shop. Switch it over to the store cam.”
He waved a gnarled hand. “Just go tend to it. I’m watching my program.”
“You can miss ten seconds and let me see who’s in the shop before I go downstairs.” Depending on the customer, she, Dad and Tonya, who was technically the shop owner, donned magical disguises to put clients at ease. And make them more likely to shell out for a tattoo. Walk-ins weren’t their staple income, but money was money.
“Don’t waste juice on a whole mask,” Dad advised. “I finished ten tats this week. Tonya did eight. With the money from the permabrand you cast on that Brazilian witch, we’re flush for two months.” Her father might be half deaf and arthritic, but he was an ink and accounting whiz.
“Fine.” Katie whipped off her lab gear, found her regular glasses and clomped down the stairs to the shop below. With her everyday mask that concealed her genetics but not appearance, she looked like herself. The only people likely to want to be tattooed by an inconspicuous, half-Asian nobody were middle-aged women, and they didn’t get a lot of middle-aged women in this neighborhood. Their block boasted a lot of empty lots, empty buildings and For Lease signs in windows.
She paused at the Employees Only door and checked herself in the mirror. No smudges of spell components, or lunch, marred her face, her hibiscus tunic or her blue jeggings. Jean leggings. So comfy and clever only a witch could have invented them.
She unlocked the dead bolt, slipped through the protective barrier around their living area and stepped into the shop. The customer wasn’t in the back room, so she called out, “Welcome to Ink Inc. Be right with you.”
She grabbed the phone receiver in case Dad called, trotted to the bead separator and peeked through.
Her friendly smile dissolved.
That damn wolf again.
She knew she should have slipped some be-gone powder into the last tat he’d gotten! She’d done a shit job on the design in hopes he wouldn’t come back.
So much for hindsight.
Marcus—his name was Marcus—lifted his chin as he sniffed instead of looked. Sampling her scent. He was the one with hackles, but hers rose anyway.
“Good evening,” he said in a rich, cultured voice, either oblivious to or not caring about her leap of anxiety.
“Sorry you had to wait,” she managed. Why had he come back? What kind of idiot didn’t care that the cash he kept sinking into tattoos disappeared every time he changed form?
Granted, she was assuming he’d lost the tats. He’d had different limbs done all four times—three times by Dad and once by her, when she’d been fully masked as a pink-haired biker chick—but there were only so many parts of the body she was willing to work on.
Even a body as fine as his.
“I’m in no hurry,” he told her, his attention on the flash wall.
She edged into the room, bead strands clacking. It was all she could do not to grab the gun under the counter. Marcus hadn’t displayed criminal tendencies on previous visits, but one could never be too safe with wolves. She, Tonya and Dad had chosen this area to set up shop because it was a hundred miles from the closest pack compound and almost as far from the closest coven headquarters. They didn’t want witch or werewolf traffic if they could help it, and the only thing they had to juggle were the weekly pack patrols.
Yet here the blasted wolf was. Back for more.
Instead of acknowledging he’d been here before, she decided—after putting the counter between them—to play dumb.
“First time in an ink studio?” She used her perky voice and hoped he didn’t notice it was forced. Her fingers tightened on the phone. If she held down the 3 it would dial Dad, 4 would dial Tonya. Which one would be more help?
Not Tonya. She was away at a festival and not especially inclined to warn Katie away from wolves who looked like Marcus.
Come to think of it, Dad might not be any help either. He was the one who’d convinced her not to use be-gone on Marcus last month, despite the obvious hazards in having a wolf hanging around. Said he felt sorry for the poor bastard. Wolves without pack affiliations in this part of the country lived lonely lives.
“No, ma’am. Not my first time.” One hand in the pocket of his trousers, disrupting the elegant lines of his suit, he strolled along the wall, inspecting the art. A silver metal briefcase was in his other hand. “I’ve become somewhat of a connoisseur.”
When he ambled closer to the counter, Katie tensed. Some wolves had a certain effect on her. It was a weakness she’d grown to expect, a weakness she could handle. Wolves didn’t intimidate her—when she could prepare for them.
She wasn’t sure she could ever prepare for Marcus. With his suits and his calm demeanor, he wasn’t like any wolf she’d ever known. No leather, no leering, no hassling, no aggression. Combined with innate sexiness, at least as far as Katie was concerned, it was a lethal combination. “Let me know if you have any questions.” She set down the phone and reached under the counter to stroke the pistol’s cool handle with one finger. She’d never had to use it here, but she sure as hell knew how.
He nodded as if reaching a decision. He turned to face her, finally.
His brown eyes widened, then narrowed.
Damn, she’d forgotten how good-looking he was. Which was a lie. She’d found it next to impossible to put him out of her mind. And out of her fantasies. For an entire month, she’d been plagued by memories of his chiseled cheekbones, tight black curls, sensual lips, broad shoulders, slim hips, well-tailored clothing—the works.
Despite what she knew about his DNA, or because of it, her stomach fluttered as they locked gazes.
(c) 2013 Jody Wallace