My newest release, Hounded By Love, is also set to come out on May 15th. Enjoy an excerpt below the April Martinez cover art.
Chapter One Excerpt
The music pulsed through the Hound’s veins as hundreds of hands reached up in the air, some waving back and forth, others pumping fists, all over heads nodding to the beat with lips either chanting lyrics or screaming, squealing, and hooting satisfaction and encouragement. The Hound wailed into the microphone one last time as the music crashed to a close around him. The stage lights, on cue, swung from him and the band to bathe the crowd in long strokes of disorienting light and darkness. Warm, sweaty bodies surged against the stage with adulating expressions on upturned, pretty faces.
The Hound crouched at the edge of the stage, shaking hands and blowing kisses. Adrenaline raced through his system. He flew on its high, and, as with every performance, he felt like he’d never touch down again. Behind him, his band toyed with instruments, chords shooting out of huge black speakers to dive and swoop over the crowd, combating their own noise while punctuating applause and teasing the senses. They waited for him, the other musicians. The band called themselves Hecate’s Hounds, but he was the Hound, their hound, the face, the voice, and the irresistible magnet for the screaming fans. And the Hound loved every minute of it.
He squeezed a hand and drew a beautiful redheaded woman closer. He leaned in, staring into her bright green eyes, but only after taking a long stare deep into her damp, plump cleavage. “Party with me,” he said with a husky, show-worn voice.
His proposition rang out over the speakers. The crowd approved. Screams rose, crested, and waved away as the audience shouted themselves hoarse. The redhead nodded, and the Hound kissed her hand, letting his gaze fall over her breasts once more before he backed away.
He lifted the microphone to his lips and shouted, “Thank you!” He raised a hand. “What a great crowd of sexy, sexy people!” They answered louder than before. “Hush…” He paused. They simmered but didn’t quiet. “Hush,” he whispered again. They cheered and screeched, but the Hound didn’t really want the silence he requested. The celebration of joy undulating through the audience buoyed his mood like a drug. They were his addiction. He smiled. They squealed. He lifted a hand. They shouted. He shook his head and opened his mouth, prepared to speak over the noise, because he’d never expect them to wait quietly for him to continue. “Because you’ve been so wonderful.” He paused, flashing a wide, wicked grin. “We have one more song. Just. For. You!”
The band blasted into a high-energy song with a quick, deep bass beat and a hypnotizing rhythm. The Hound forgot about the redhead and did the one thing he could always rely on to set his soul ablaze. He sang.
* * * *
The long hallway between the drop-off behind the stage and the dressing room had been built with a low ceiling and close walls, made narrower with fans packed in along both sides, all waiting and hoping to be picked by the band to attend their aftershow party. Hecate’s Hounds had a reputation, and they rarely failed to live up to the rumors.
Sebastian Korba, Bas to his friends and the Hound to his fans, led the procession through the throng. He paused in front of a short young woman in a lime-green minidress and black boots sporting buckles that matched the thick black dog collar around her neck. Her bleached-blonde hair, piled high on her head, trickled down in skinny tresses to frame her flushed face. Her wide-eyed gaze openly ravished Bas as he paused in front of her. He raised a hand and brushed his thumb down her cheek and along her full pink lips. “Wanna party?” he asked in a deep, gravelly stage whisper.
She bit her lower lip, her excitement leaking through in a soft, muffled squeal. She nodded her head vehemently. “Oh yes,” she said. She turned her head to grin at her friend, who managed to look both happy and disappointed.
Bas held out a hand. The blonde took it and asked, “Can I bring Callie?”
Bas glanced back at his band. Each member, including Phee, the one woman in the band, stood by chatting with fans and choosing companions for the evening. Phee had her hand on the thin chest of a pretty young man with heavy eyeliner and blackened lips. Another lovely choice. Bas wondered how he’d walked right past the guy, who was usually his type when he ached for a sexy mouth to relieve his postshow adrenaline rush.
“Who’s Callie?” Bas asked, trying to remember if he’d met a Callie recently. The guy was cute, but Phee had her bright pink claws in him now, and Bas found he didn’t much care that she did.
“My friend, silly.” Bas looked at the blonde smiling up at him and realized he didn’t know her name. He couldn’t remember the last girl either. Or that hot androgynous guy in riot boots and mesh sleeves who’d blown his mind blowing his—
The girl shook his arm, snapping him out of that nameless memory. “So…you, me, and Callie?” She lifted her hand, her fingers intertwined with her friend’s. Both girls wore black leather bands around their wrists, and black stringy bracelets slid over them as they moved. A package deal. A common fantasy of his, and yet his high from the stage faded as he contemplated the two girls before him.
Bas snorted and dropped her hand. “Never mind,” he said and started toward the dressing room door.
“Okay,” she shouted after him. “Just me.” He barely heard her words as they sank past the jumbled memories of faces, all blending together into sweat and sex. “Hey, what the heck! Aren’t you the dog?”
“The Hound,” he muttered under his breath. He slammed the dressing room door hard enough for the sound to reverberate through the small space despite the cacophony of screams, shouted words, and offers of endless pleasures just outside. He stalked into the middle of the room, looking for something to hit, throw, or otherwise vent his frustration on. The only thing within reach was Daisy, her tail curled around her legs as she watched him with her soft dark eyes. He would never hurt her.
“Don’t give me that look,” he told her, and turned his back to his best friend. Hound eyes could appear so full of pity, and Bas certainly felt pitiful tonight. He hadn’t started out to become the dog his nickname implied. It was, after all, just a nickname, and only because of the band’s name. Yet he’d never complained about the attention, the infatuation, the obsession. He’d reveled in it. The scantily clad women, the pretty young men, the constant drinking, fucking, and singing had all come together so well. Too well. Yet now Bas sneered at nothing and no one, disgusted with the thoughts barking for attention in his mind; being nothing but a dog meant nothing.
He flopped down beside Daisy and aimlessly stroked her long, soft ears. “If I have to be a dog, I’d rather be you, girl.” Daisy yawned and stretched before settling down with her head resting on his thigh. He smiled and cooed softly to her. “You’re loyal and loving…nothing like me. Why do they call male sluts dogs anyway?”
* * * *
Hounded By Love will be released by Loose Id on May 15th.