Wednesday, February 21, 2018

#WIPWednesday Return to Camp H.O.W.L.

It's been an egregiously long time since I posted a #WIPWednesday, but in my defense, it's because I've been too caught up writing to remember to do it. So that's something, right? 

I'm working on Camp H.O.W.L. 3 right now but I figured dumping you right into book 3 without giving you a taste of book 2 wouldn't be fair. So today's #WIPWednesday is an excerpt from Under a Blue Moon, which is book 2 in the Camp H.O.W.L. series. You'll still get to see bits of Adrian and Tate, but the main characters are Drew and Nick, both of whom are new staffers at Camp H.O.W.L.

They have instant chemistry, but Drew is human, which throws up some red flags for Nick, who's a werewolf. Of course, he'd known Drew was human when he'd slept with him the night before...but he hadn't realized they'd be working together.

In this excerpt, Nick has just arrived at Camp H.O.W.L. and is heading to his first staff meeting. He's nervous about meeting everyone and still a little hung up on the amazing guy he'd had a one-night stand. They hadn't even exchanged numbers, so of course Drew is the last person he'd expect to see at Camp H.O.W.L.

If you haven't read book 1 yet, you can pick it up here in ebook, print, or audio!


Once in a blue moon, opposites find they’re a perfect match.

Nick Perry is tired of helping people with their marriages, so when a spot opens up to work with teens at Camp H.O.W.L., he jumps at it. He doesn’t expect to fall in lust with the dreamy new camp doctor, Drew Welch. But Drew is human, and Nick has seen secrets ruin too many relationships to think that a human/werewolf romance can go anywhere.

Happy-go-lucky Drew may not sprout claws, but he’s been part of the Were community all his life. He has no trouble fitting in at the camp—except for Nick’s stubborn refusal to acknowledge the growing attraction between them and his ridiculous stance on dating humans. Fate intervenes when one of his private practice patients threatens Drew’s life. Will the close call help Nick to see a connection like theirs isn’t something to let go of?

Under a Blue Moon
Camp H.O.W.L. book 2
Dreamspinner Press, release date June 2018

It was smart, isolating the camp on a parcel of land surrounded by public parklands. Nick bet if he looked at the land records he’d find the national parkland had been donated by a wealthy family, with the camp itself being left as private property. Hidden on thousands of acres, people would have eventually forgotten the entire tract wasn’t public land. 
Anyone who stumbled on Camp H.O.W.L. now saw miles of fencing and warnings about not picking up hitchhikers. The camp was officially a private program for troubled teens who needed nature therapy. 
He hadn’t come across a wolfling yet, but dinner was just ending. They’d still been in lockdown when he and Harris had arrived, and now he could hear the muffled chaos of a large group of teens talking and eating in the mess hall nearby. He’d already looked over the roster of kids in his cabin—all boys. They were breaking him in gently, because God only knew what a cabin full of teenage girl drama would be like. 
The infirmary was one of the few buildings on campus that didn’t have a view of the lake. Every light blazed like some sort of homing beacon. Did they always leave it lit up like that, or was it for his benefit? 
Nick lifted a shoulder and sniffed at his shirt, reassuring himself he’d changed out of Drew’s dirty one at the cabin. He’d stuffed it in his suitcase after unpacking—lying and telling himself he’d stashed it there so it didn’t get mixed in with his laundry and not in a lame attempt to preserve the remnants of their scents mixed together. 
He jogged up the cedar stairs and into the building, following the quiet hum of conversation through the small lobby and deeper into the darkened hallway. There was an empty desk—reception, he guessed—and few small exam rooms with the doors propped open. A staircase led upstairs, but the voices were coming from farther back. He emerged onto a large screened-in porch, joining a group of about ten people who were milling around with plates of food. 
Anne Marie snagged him immediately. “Welcome, Nick. We usually eat in the mess hall before the meeting, but today was a little hectic with the storm cleanup. The mess sent over some food, and we were just finishing up. Help yourself if you’re hungry.” 
His stomach was too tied up in knots to eat, but he knew he’d regret it later if he didn’t try to force something down. It wasn’t like he could make a Taco Bell run at midnight if he got hungry. 
The dinner laid out on the table didn’t look like something that had been pulled together for a last-minute meal. There were platters of roast beef sandwiches on thick slices of brioche, several types of salads, and some sort of soup that smelled mouthwatering. Spicy and sweet. 
His pulse quickened as he took another breath. It wasn’t the soup. 
He was wearing one of his own clean shirts, but Drew’s smell was unmistakable. He’d spent last night trying to memorize it to give himself something to think about on his lonely nights at camp. Nick turned around and scanned the room, looking for the source of the smell. Anne Marie was talking to Kenya, and the rest of the staff was clustered in groups of threes and fours, chatting. Harris was nowhere to be seen, but he’d told Nick he had mess-hall duty, so he was probably still there keeping an eye on the wolflings.
There weren’t any other familiar faces, and Nick forced himself to take a calming breath. Clearly he was losing his mind. 
Nick helped himself to a plate and a sandwich and wandered over to the edge of the porch. The infirmary might not have a view of the lake, but it had its own pond out back. Water burbled down a pebbled wall, and he could smell the citrusy tang of the lemongrass growing in pots along the edge. It blended nicely with the sharp smell of the evergreens that blanketed the forest. The entire setup was peaceful and relaxing, which made sense. This was an infirmary, after all. Weres were immune to most diseases and infections, but that didn’t mean they couldn’t break bones or injure themselves in the same ways humans did. They just healed faster—especially in an environment like this. 
“It’s a wonderful place to spend an afternoon reading,” Kenya said, joining him. “The pond has koi in it, and when it gets a little warmer, we’ll bring out hammocks and chairs so everyone can enjoy the pond. Though I suppose that might change. Diann kept the pond and the porch open for anyone, but it’s not actually meant to be a public space. The camp doctor lives upstairs, so this is really an extension of his home.” 
Nick hadn’t realized the doctor lived there, but it made sense. The stairs he’d passed probably led to an apartment. The doctor needed to be available at all hours to care for sick wolflings, and living above the infirmary would make that easy. 
“I think you’ll like him,” she said, gesturing over his shoulder toward the hallway. “You two are about the same age, and he’s got a great sense of humor.” 
The spicy-sweet smell intensified, and Nick turned around, panic building tight and hot in his throat. It couldn’t be, could it? 
But it was. 
Drew stood in the doorway, freshly showered and dressed in a Camp H.O.W.L. T-shirt that was just a little bit too big. It dipped below his collarbone, exposing a love bite Nick had left there last night. It was only visible for a second, disappearing behind the sweater Drew pulled over his head before stepping onto the porch. 
“Sorry for holding you up,” Drew said, slightly breathless. “I wanted to wash the plane off.” 
He’d probably wanted to wash the scent of a werewolf off too. Nick had done the same as soon as he’d gotten into his room, even though smelling a human on him wouldn’t have caused any problems. Not like the scent of a foreign wolf would in a new den.
Drew’s hair had been mussed by the collar of his sweater, and he absently ran his hands through it to tame it, a motion that looked so practiced Nick doubted he knew he was doing it, let alone how sexy it was. 
“Already wearing the merch, Dr. Welch?” someone called from a chair a few feet away.
Drew laughed. “Like it’s a surprise, Scott. I think this one is yours, isn’t it? I recognize the ketchup stain under the O.” 
“Why aren’t you wearing mine?” a tiny blonde sitting on the arm of an easy chair called out. 
“The one you sent had literal sparkles and ended under my nipples, Kaylee. I’m saving it for a special occasion, obviously.” 
The thought of Drew in a skin-tight belly shirt made Nick shiver. What the hell was going on? Was this actually happening or was he having some sort of stress-induced hallucination? If it really was Drew—and his nose was telling him it was—then why was he acting like he knew every werewolf in the room? How was he even in the room? This was a Were camp, and the last time he’d checked, Drew was decidedly lacking in an inner wolf. 
“Everyone sent Drew an article of clothing that carried their scent so he’d smell like Pack when he got here,” Kenya explained, leaning in to whisper in his ear. “We figured it would be easier for the wolflings to accept a human if he smelled like he belonged here right from the beginning.” 
It wasn’t just a scent thing. Drew acted like he belonged here, too. He was completely at home, joking around with everyone like they were old friends. Hell, he wasn’t even wearing shoes. The sight of his bare toes poking out from the hem of his jeans was so domestic it made Nick want to pounce and claim him right there on the floor. The thought made him scowl at the bare wooden planks like they’d offended him. Even though he’d been fantasizing about finding Drew all day, seeing him here was nightmare. Nick didn’t want a relationship with him, not a real one. And now that they were coworkers, they certainly couldn’t be fuck buddies. 
Kenya turned to face him, and Nick realized he hadn’t said anything since Drew had walked in. 
“That isn’t going to be a problem, is it?” she asked sharply. “Drew being human?” 
As a coworker? No. But as a huge complication in Nick’s work life? Yes.


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