So how did we come up with this story? As I remember it, I was sitting in a park, killing time, waiting to have dinner with a friend, when Madi called me. She says, “We should write a shifter book.”
I groaned, most likely aloud, and told her no. I’d become disenchanted with werewolves (the only thing that popped into my head when I heard the word “shifter”). I was tired of the same story, same setting – usually in the Deep South.
“Come on,” Madi says. “I was thinking cougars.”
I’m pretty sure I made a face. I do that a lot when talking to Madi on the phone, because she can’t see me. *grin* So off the cuff I said, “Fine, but it’s going to be set in Washington in the mountains.” The Cascades are my third favorite place to travel, but that’s another story for another time.
Madi agreed, and that’s where it all started.
Then the creative stuff really began. Sexy characters, beautiful scenery, hot love scenes, and…danger! We started writing and the excitement over this “shifter idea” took off.
Our one book idea turned into a trilogy, possibly even four books, because there are six catamount shifter brothers and one sister. Since our guys have to mate in pairs—which is explained in the book I know you’re just dying to read—we have three books. And then we have ideas for the sister now, too.
We’d love for you to stop by www.laylekeaton.com, register at the site, and say hi. We run contests often! Check out our blog and our backlist. Mine, hers and ours. *grin*
You can purchase the book here: Carina Press
Madi on Facebook ~ Anna on Facebook
Here is an excerpt from my favorite scene. Enjoy!
She fought her way up the last few feet, and then she was being lifted the rest of the way. Dakota wrapped her arms around Axel’s neck when she was high enough and planted a hard kiss on his lips. “Thanks.”
He grinned, his breath warm against her cheeks. “You’re very welcome.” When he let her slowly slide down his body, there was no mistaking the hard bulge in his pants, even through the layer of denim and skiwear.
“Mmm.” She leaned into him and breathed in his scent. Fresh and clean like the outdoors with a sweet male musk beneath.
“Be good,” he whispered and pulled back. “Turn around and take a look.”
Reluctantly, she pulled away and let him lift and rotate her so she faced away from him.
“Oh…wow…” A smooth expanse of white stretched out before them, outlined by the dark pine trees. If she thought the snow on the mountain sparkled like diamonds, it was nothing compared to this.
Axel wrapped his arms around her and pressed into her back. “Pretty, huh?”
“Amazing. Absolutely gorgeous.”
“You’ll like this too. Come on.” He moved around her, took her hand and led her down the gentle incline to the lake, and then out onto it.
“You sure it’s safe?” she asked, wondering how deep the water was below them.
“Yep. Frozen solid.” He stopped and leaned down, unbuckled his snowshoes and then hers. “Step out.”
It looked deep, and she frowned at him when he stood up.
“Go on,” he said with a grin. “Trust me.”
She did trust him, and she stepped out of the snowshoe onto the snow, sank down about three inches then stopped.
“Careful, it’s slick.”
She squatted down and brushed the snow away, and saw the ice. Saw through it to some weeds and gravel. “Oh, cool!” She went down on her knees and brushed away more snow. “Look. You can see the bottom. It’s so clear!”
Axel dropped down beside her and helped her push the wet snow away to clear a circle of the pretty ice.
“Wow. Oh, man, just…wow!” She stuck her face down next to the ice, almost touching it with her nose, and looked through it at the colorful stones and weeds that had literally frozen into place. “It’s like a giant snow globe. Why is the snow so shallow here?”
“This is a really windy spot when the snow’s falling, so it doesn’t get deep.”
Dakota sat up on her heels and grinned. “Thank you.”
Falke came running up, then skidded on the ice and slid into her, knocking her onto Axel’s lap. They both burst out laughing as Falke used his claws and scrambled to his feet with a noise that sounded an awful lot like a laugh. Then he pounced, pushing her into the snow and coming down over her.
She laughed so hard her sides hurt as she tussled with the big cat, picking up handfuls of snow and shoving them in his face. He purred and batted at her with his big paws, splashing snow into her face.
“Help me, Axel!” she cried around her laughter.
Then Axel was there too, with a big handful of snow coming down right at her.
“No,” she cried and rolled away, grabbed a scoop of the wet, white stuff and flung it at him as she tried to gain some footing only to slip and slide on the ice beneath the thin layer of snow.
Axel grabbed her behind the knee and pulled her back down, rolling beneath her and taking her weight so she didn’t smack the hard ice. Then he pinned her down with his body, tugged her shirt up, and rubbed a handful of snow on her bare stomach.
She gasped and laughed and struggled to get away. “Jerk!” she screamed as she reached above her, grabbed some snow, then in a guise of putting her arms around him, dumped it down the back of his neck into his jacket.
Axel shouted in surprise, and rolled with her until she straddled his hips. As she used her hands against his chest to lever herself up, Falke pounced on her again and knocked her back to the ground. With his big paws, he shoved snow toward her head, but she got him first, smack in the nose, with a lightly packed snowball. He jerked back and sneezed, then made that laughing sound again and grabbed her wrist between his teeth.
“Hey!” she said, losing her humor, realizing a full-grown male mountain lion had her in his teeth.
“Falke,” Axel said softly, but she heard the warning behind it.
The cat released her and lay down next to her, hanging his head, glancing up at her like a little kid who just got scolded.
Dakota looked between the cat and Axel.
“He wouldn’t have hurt you. He was playing.”
Falke hadn’t hurt her. She hadn’t even felt his teeth through her thick jacket and sweater. But still… She sat up and reached out to pet the cat’s head.
“It’s okay, big guy,” she said softly. “Just scared me is all.”
Falke licked her gloved hand, then stood up and rubbed his cheek against hers. She wrapped her arms around him and hugged him. “For such a big kitty, you’re just an old softy aren’t you?”
He purred and nuzzled her neck.
“Cold nose!” She shoved his face away from hers with a laugh.
Axel was beside her, and she smiled at him. He returned the grin, and she saw something in his eyes.
Don’t go there. Just don’t. The more time she spent with him, the more she never wanted it to end. But she knew it was all an illusion. She’d hired him. She was sure he would bring anyone out to this spot to show off the scenery. It wasn’t just for her.
But, damn, she could really imagine it was.
“Falke will never harm you, Dakota. I swear it on my life—the life of every one of my family members.”
“That’s a pretty big statement. He is a wild animal.” She scooted around until she could get onto her knees on the slippery ice, made even more slippery by her ski pants. “I want a picture of you two.” She pulled off her gloves and reached into her jacket for the camera.
Axel didn’t say anything more, but he made a little face that let her know he wanted to argue the fact his cat was tame.
“Falke, go stand by Axel,” she said, making a shooing motion to the cat.
Falke got up, this time without sliding one bit on the ice, and she realized he’d probably…teased her? No, a cat couldn’t tease. But he could walk on the ice just fine, his claws clicking softly, so what explained him sliding into her before?
“Put your arm around Falke,” she said to Axel, who sat in the snow.
He draped his arm over the cat’s neck.
“You don’t seem real affectionate toward him,” she noted, realizing that he never touched Falke.
“He prefers the ladies,” Axel said in a dry tone, making Dakota laugh.
She raised the camera to her eye, but stopped and lowered it as she stared at man and beast sitting next to each other. “Dang, you two must have been brothers in another life.”
“What?” Axel’s tone was filled with shock. The cat turned its head to look at him.
“You two…You sort of look alike.”