How would you like a chance to win an e-copy of Mary Calmes’ Fighting Instinct? Pretty great, right? You can enter in the drawing by clicking the Rafflecopter link below. The contest deadline is Midnight Pacific time on Saturday, December 6, 2014. The winner will be selected and announced on Sunday, the 7th, and the book will be delivered straight to your Dreamspinner Press Book Shelf on release day!
Title: Fighting Instinct
Series: L’Ange: Book Two
Length: 224 Pages
Category: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: December 8, 2014
Cover Art By: Anne Cain
Blurb: Only a privileged few know L’Ange’s head of security Arman de Soto is a shifter, and even fewer know he’s been systematically killing off a pack of werewolves. The reason for this vengeance is a secret Arman trusts with no one, quite the opposite of his obvious longtime pursuit of the château’s overseer, Linus Hobbes. Despite Arman’s reputation as a loner, the only thing he needs to complete his life is Linus. Predator and prey just don’t mix—but Arman won’t give him up.
Linus has lived alone for more than seven years, sheltered at L’Ange under an assumed name and hiding secrets of his own, including his terrifying attraction to the most dangerous man he’s ever met. Arman knows Linus should be afraid of the predator stalking him, but Linus is still drawn to him like a moth to a flame, no matter how much he tries to deny his instincts. It’s not until Linus’s past and Arman’s crusade exposes their secrets and opens L’Ange to attack that Arman realizes waiting any longer is a risk he just can’t take. So he’ll have to take his quest to the source of the threat in a gamble to protect L’Ange, Linus, and any future they might have together.
Excerpt: Trying to find anyone by scent in the house was impossible—there were just too many layered one on top of another. Between the shifters that lived there, the crowds that had been coming through during the past two weeks, and the historical society staff that had just left for the night, trying to track him would be useless until he was my mate. Once the bite was delivered, everything about him would be imprinted on my brain, and I would be able to track him across an ocean. But until then, I had to find him by sight, and searching took time. I finally saw him walking up the lantern-lined path toward the footbridge over the canal.
Catching up, I was surprised when he slipped his gloved hand into mine without breaking stride.
“You know,” I rumbled, “with that overcoat and top hat on, you look like you stepped out of some Victorian romance novel.”
“Yes,” I confirmed, smiling at him.
“Well, we had to take all the pictures for the historical society today. That’s why everyone just left.”
“I know. Every year it’s the same drill. New Year’s Eve they do the tour, then the ball at the country club and the fireworks at midnight out on the pier.”
“I’m glad Roman doesn’t hold the ball here anymore. That was very taxing for the staff.”
The security required for it, added to what was surely going on with werewolves on the estate, would have been a nightmare. It was a blessing that Roman had moved the ball off the estate two years ago. Just recently he had decided there would be no more public functions at the château at all. Only private gatherings for family, friends, or employees would be thrown at L’Ange.
“That’s funny about Quade,” Linus murmured out of the blue, chuckling softly.
I was entranced by the warmth of his voice and the ease of his manner. Some change had come over him. “What is?” I asked, squeezing his hand, not about to let go.
“That he thought after knowing you nearly a decade that suddenly you slipped up and not only revealed that you are, in fact, a shifter, but also showed your true form on a run in the forest in the middle of the day. I find that hysterical.”
The mischievous glint in his eyes made my mouth dry. “Do you?”
“It does seem unlikely.”
“It’s absurd,” he continued. “I had thought Quade far more logical than that.”
“As did I.”
“And a lion, of all things.” He shuddered, seemingly horrified by the thought. “Dear Lord.”
“I doubt he’s seen many, so perhaps that’s his reasoning for thinking I am one.”
“Yes, but he knows you, knows your character. How could he think you’d be so careless?”
“I have no clue.”
“Maybe,” he reasoned, “the nearness of Tucker has made you forget your steely hard-won discipline.”
“But that would be Quade’s reasoning.”
“As well as changing me from what I am into a lion.”
A thought crossed my mind. “Tell me something.”
He was waiting for the question.
“What did you think I was, before you caught me chasing you that first time… like, six years ago now?”
He nodded, chuckling. “I didn’t catch you, and we both know it. You let me see you.”
“You stepped out of the tree line upstream from me and stood there so I could see you plainly,” he explained with a sigh. “You did it on purpose so there could be no mistake.”
“It was important that you knew what I was.”
“You wanted me to know that you meant me no harm and that you weren’t chasing me, merely protecting me from other predators.”
“As though any animal in the forest can run down a stag,” he scoffed.
“They could if they surprised you.”
His laughter was like autumn leaves falling from a gentle breeze, and the sound touched dark places inside me that nothing else could. If he would simply put himself in my hands, I would be complete.
“You didn’t answer the question,” I prodded gruffly. “What kind of shifter did you think I was?”
“I suspected some kind of cat, with how beautiful and sleek you are.”
“I’m getting compliments now?”
He shrugged. “It’s the truth, you know you’re gorgeous.”
All that mattered was that he thought so. “And when you saw?”
“When I saw,” he said hoarsely. “I thought, how thrilling that such a fierce and dangerous creature would want me.”
“Well, yes. The lore says that not all the shifters of your kind are humans that shift to animals, but that many are originally animals that shift to human and lure you out into the darkness. How is that not exciting?”
“And which do you think I am?”
He regarded me for a moment. “You’re not a wild thing, Arman de Soto. You’re a man.”
“Are you sure?”
A quick nod as a smile curled his lip. “If you weren’t, you’d simply have caught me unawares and devoured me.”
“I still might.”
The tremble that ran through him had nothing to do with fear. I knew it because I could smell the desire on him. He wanted me badly.
I’d known the first time I ever laid eyes on him that he was a shifter. His scent, his wariness, head up, eyes alert, sniffing the breeze, confirmed he was prey and not predator, as well. He was not something that could hurt me; instead, he was something delicate, timid, that would quail at the sight of blood. Sadly, as he was still mending damage from his attack, he’d only been able to hold his human form for a few days before he’d had to shift to help aid the healing. Shadowing him had paid off, and I learned his secret: he was a beautiful white stag.
The first time he shifted, I’d stood there spellbound, watching his flawless gold skin bleach white as if absorbing moonlight, witnessed his antlers branch from his skull and his frame fill out, muscular and strong. What hurt to see were the marks from the savage abuse he’d endured. I had vowed then to be his champion, as Roman’s mother had asked of me, to make sure no one ever touched Linus Hobbes without his permission again. What I hadn’t counted on was for my curiosity to snowball into lust and finally the need to claim him as my own.
About Mary: Mary Calmes lives in Lexington, Kentucky, with her husband and two children and loves all the seasons except summer. She graduated from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, with a bachelor’s degree in English literature. Due to the fact that it is English lit and not English grammar, do not ask her to point out a clause for you, as it will so not happen. She loves writing, becoming immersed in the process, and falling into the work. She can even tell you what her characters smell like. She loves buying books and going to conventions to meet her fans.
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