Help us give a warm welcome to author Jordan L. Hawk, who’s hanging out with us today to help us celebrate our 5 Year Blogiversary. Jordan’s brought an excerpt from her new Hexworld holiday novella, A Christmas Hex, and she’s also got a great giveaway in store, so be sure to check out the details below.
Happy 5th to Lisa and the TNA crew! Five years ago, I was hard at work on Hainted, which would be my first foray into paranormal romance. If you had told me then what my writing career would be like now, I would never have believed it. The Novel Approach has been a big part of that, from Lisa’s review of Widdershins in early 2013 until now. So thank you, TNA, for putting in the hard work it takes to run the site, and for being such a positive voice for readers and authors alike.
And now, to get everyone in the mood for the holidays, here’s an excerpt from A Christmas Hex (Hexworld 2.5). If you’re new to the Hexworld series, or just love audiobooks, I’m giving away an audiobook copy of Hexbreaker (Hexworld 1) narrated by the fabulous Tristan James.
About A Christmas Hex
A Hexworld Short Story
Roland knows he will never find love. Everyone views wolf familiars like himself as dangerous beasts, unable to rein in their savage impulses. He’s resigned himself to his fate—or so he thinks, until he meets the dashing Augustus Cao. His witch.
Gus is on the trail of a gang of thieves, and Roland holds an important clue. Even though they can never bond, Roland can’t pass up the opportunity to spend a night with his witch.
Can Roland conceal his secret, while helping Gus catch the thieves? Or will the handsome detective be the one to steal his heart?
“What does Nick have against witches?” Gus asked, once they were inside the cab again.
The snow fell thickly, swirling around the cab as it made its slow way down the street. Gaslight shone through the window every time they passed a streetlight, revealing Gus’s handsome face, then plunging his features back into shadow again.
Roland shrugged. “I don’t know. He’s never said, and I never had the courage to ask. He does genuinely care about his fellow familiars, though.”
“You said you lived there, once.”
“Yes.” Roland’s shoulders hunched. “After my family made it clear I was no longer welcome, I found myself on the streets. No job, no home, no hope. No protection, should a witch decide to kidnap me until I submitted to bonding.”
It had been so cold that night. Much like tonight, really, with the snow coming down and frost creeping across the windowpanes. And more cold nights had followed, growing worse as his body wasted and his strength ebbed, until all that remained was the knot of hunger in his belly.
Gus’s hand closed over his. “Your family threw you out? Oh, Roland. I’m so sorry.”
“On Christmas Eve, no less,” Roland said ruefully. “Not that I suppose it matters.”
“Of course it matters.” Gus’s hand was a comforting weight on his own. “What happened?”
Roland stared out the cab window, without taking in any of the passing scenery. “I don’t know how long I was on my own. The days blended into one gray fog. Eventually I decided to try and steal a loaf of bread. I was so hungry, I started stuffing it in my mouth even as I ran. I didn’t get far—less than a block, and a huge hand closed on my collar. Lifted me right off my feet.” Roland smiled at the memory. “It was Nick, of course. He paid for the bread out of his own pocket, then hauled me to the apartments above the saloon, fed me, and gave me a place to stay.”
“Ah. Then I’ll forgive him for behaving like an ass instead of a horse.” Gus shook his head. “It’s different in China, or so I’m told. Being a familiar isn’t looked down upon. Familiars remain a part of their families. Among important families, the bond between witch and familiar might even be arranged, much like a marriage, to create an alliance. Even in Chinatown, the bonding is treated as a public ceremony, with everyone coming to the temple to celebrate together.”
Would they celebrate, even if the familiar was a wolf? For the first time, Roland felt a spark of hope. Perhaps the same prejudices didn’t exist elsewhere.
Gus was half Irish, though. Surely he’d grown up hearing the old folktales of villainous wolf familiars. Of how they were the creatures of the devil, greedy and rapacious. And even if he hadn’t, he’d surely gotten his fill reading Cowboy Charlie and the like.
Could he risk it?
Gus shifted closer, so their thighs pressed together. “You seem to have improved your lot since you lived with Nick, though.”
“I’m, er, a writer,” Roland said. And prayed Gus didn’t ask anything further.
A flash of light from the street showed that Gus looked impressed. “Really? Well. Can’t say I’ve ever kissed a writer before.”
About the Author
Jordan L. Hawk grew up in North Carolina and forgot to ever leave. Childhood tales of mountain ghosts and mysterious creatures gave her a life-long love of things that go bump in the night. When she isn’t writing, she brews her own beer and tries to keep her cats from destroying the house. Her best-selling Whyborne & Griffin series (beginning with Widdershins) can be found in print, ebook, and audiobook at Amazon and other online retailers.
New York copper Tom Halloran is a man with a past. If anyone finds out he once ran with the notorious O’Connell tunnel gang, he’ll spend the rest of his life doing hard time behind bars. But Tom’s secret is threatened when a horrible murder on his beat seems to have been caused by the same ancient magic that killed his gang.
Cat shifter Cicero is determined to investigate the disappearance of one friend and the death of another, even though no one else believes the cases are connected. When the trail of his investigation crosses Tom’s, the very bohemian Cicero instinctively recognizes the uncultured Irish patrolman as his witch. Though they’re completely unsuited to one another, Cicero has no choice but to work alongside Tom…all the while fighting against the passion growing within.
Tom knows that taking Cicero as his familiar would only lead to discovery and disaster. Yet as the heat between them builds, Tom’s need for the other man threatens to overcome every rational argument against becoming involved.
But when their investigation uncovers a conspiracy that threatens all of New York, Tom must make the hardest decision of his life: to live a lie and gain his heart’s desire, or to confess the truth and sacrifice it all.