Today i would like to welcome back author, Melissa Stevens, who is celebrating the release of her third Kitsune novel, Hunt.
Nickie returns to town eager to get back to her life and routine but soon discovers that there are many more changes headed her way. After an old school friend is murdered, a threatening message is written on the news article about her death and left for Nicki. She begins to wonder if maybe her friend had been killed as a warning to her, but why?
Together, Nickie and Devon set out to figure out who is behind the murder and what it has to do with Nickie, but can they do it before she gets hurt again?
Check out a sneak peek here.
Exclusive Excerpt: Hunt
I pulled my car into the small parking area at the rear of the house belonging to the pack’s Lysandros and Harmonia, the couple that were second in command behind the Anikitos and Alekto. I let myself through the gate leading into the back yard where the guesthouse that housed the Kitsune clinic sat. After my last visit, where I’d had to show a member of the pack that he wasn’t dominant to me, I was leery of someone else trying the same thing so I glanced around the yard to make sure there wasn’t anyone around. After determining it was empty, I continued into the clinic and found Alexis sitting on the sofa in the waiting area. She appeared to be reading. I found her was curled in the comfortable seat as if she sat there often. Her blond hair was cut into a pixie cut that seemed just right for her tiny body and upbeat personality.
She glanced up and did a double take when she saw me. “Why aren’t you at work?”
“Too sick.” I sat down beside her.
“My stomach. It’s better now, but when I got up with Dev this morning it was bad, I thought I was going to throw up.” I made an unhappy face.
“But you didn’t?”
“Is that all?”
I shrugged, not sure what she was looking for. “I’ve been tired. I came in from work last night and laid down for a ten or fifteen minute nap and slept until morning. Dev said he tried to wake me when he came in but I wouldn’t wake up.”
“Have you been sick since you got home or is it just today?”
“I was nauseous a little yesterday too, but it was gone before noon.” I looked at the clock on the far wall and found it was barely nine.
“How’s your appetite?”
“When I’m not ready to vomit? I’m starving all the time.”
Alexis nodded, as if what I was telling her was something she had anticipated. “I expected it to take longer than this, but obviously I was wrong.”
“What is it?” I was concerned it could be something serious.
“You’re not sick, Nickie. You’re pregnant. I saw it after you were injured in Seattle. I didn’t say anything because I knew telling you or Devon then would only have made things worse.” She laid one had on my back and rubbed in small, comforting circles.
My heart skipped a beat and the sick feeling in my stomach grew worse. I broke into a cold sweat, and I ran for the bathroom.
I was cleaning my face with a wet paper towel when Caden appeared in the doorway, Alexis right behind him. Caden was the enforcer who kept Alexis safe when she used her healing talent.
I was glad I’d pulled my hair into a ponytail before I’d left this morning, it was the only thing that had kept it out of my face as I’d gotten sick.
“You all right?” He asked.
“She’ll be fine,” Alexis pushed past him, “She’s just a little shocked.” She shooed the large man down the hall and stepped into the bathroom with me. “I take it this wasn’t planned?”
I shook my head. “No.” My whole body trembled as she led me back into the front room.
Alexis took a deep breath, “Any idea how it happened?” She eased me down onto the sofa.
“Aside from the obvious?” I quipped before shaking my head. “We always use condoms. Well, except once, but I have an implant.” I lifted my arm to show her where the small oval chip lay under the skin, releasing a steady stream of hormones into my body.
“Oh, honey,” She sounded disappointed, “didn’t anyone tell you that hormonal birth control doesn’t work for us?”
I looked at her, shocked. My mouth opened but words just wouldn’t come.
“Give it a few days, talk to Devon, you may warm up to the idea.” She rubbed her hand up and down my back, to comfort me.
I didn’t know what to say.
“I’m gonna go get you something to drink, you stay right here.” Alexis went down the hall into the old kitchen that had been converted into a break room, where I knew Caden spent most of his time. I heard her voice as she talked to him but I couldn’t make out what she was saying. In seconds, she came back out, carrying a small bottle of soda. She twisted the top, breaking the seal, before handing it to me. “Here, this will be easier on your stomach than water.”
I took a small sip and scowled at the unfamiliar flavor. I looked at the label and found it was ginger ale.
“The ginger will help calm your nausea and the bubbles keep it from being too heavy on your stomach. You should be able to hold it down without any trouble, as long as you don’t drink too much.”
I took another sip. We sat in mutual silence for a while. I tried to process the news. She sat with me, being there for me.
The door behind me opened, but I didn’t bother to turn to see who it was. I was too absorbed in my own troubles to care who had come in or why.
Suddenly Devon bent down in front of me. His clear gray eyes were soft with concern. “Nickie, baby? Are you okay?”
I looked at him, my eyes meeting his as the tears started to spill down my face. I took a deep breath. “I’m pregnant.”
Something flashed though his eyes but was gone before I could identify it. “All right, but are you sick? Are you hurt?”
I shook my head, the tears still flowing unchecked down my face. “No one told me that the implant doesn’t work for us.”
He took a seat on the couch beside me and pulled me into his arms, holding me securely against him. “It’s all right, baby. We’ll deal with it,” he murmured into my hair. I felt him set his chin on top of my head. “Is she really all right?” He asked Alexis.
“She’s in shock. I’m sorry, it never occurred to me that no one let her know that the implant wouldn’t work.”
“That’s not your fault, but will the implant hurt the baby?” He asked something that hadn’t occurred to me.
“It shouldn’t, but it’s probably best if it comes out.”
“All right. Can you give us a few minutes?”
I barely registered the soft sound of footfalls as she left the room.
Devon’s arms tightened around me. “It’s okay, Nick. You’re not sick, you’re not hurt. We’ll figure it out.” His hand ran lightly over my arm, both taking and giving comfort with the contact.
Until that moment, until he said it would be okay, I hadn’t realized how afraid I’d been of his reaction. I looked up at him. “Are you sure? You’re not mad?”
“I’m not mad.” He gave me a gentle smile. “We’re both alive and we’re together, everything else we can deal with.”
I took a deep breath and rubbed my face against his neck, smearing the tears on my face into his skin. “You’re sure?”
Meet Melissa Stevens!
Melissa was born and raised in Arizona, she’s spent her entire life living across the southern half of the state. She’s found that along with her husband and three children, she prefers the small towns and rural life to feeling packed into a city.
She started reading at a very young age, and her love for series started early, as the first real books she remembers reading is the Boxcar Children series by Gertrude Chandler Warner. Through the years she’s found that there’s little she won’t read, and her tastes vary from westerns, to romance, to sci-fi / fantasy and Horror.
She’s been writing since 2009, and enjoys nearly every minute of it. Currently all her work is available exclusively in ebook.