As one of the #CMCon17 featured bloggers, I get to have a little fun with a few of the fabulous authors who will be hitting the beach for Coastal Magic 2017 by showcasing their many stories. We had so much fun with last year’s At the Beach feature, that we’re doing it again.
Today Kristal Hollis is taking us to the beach with Brice and Cassie from her Wahyas of Walker’s Run novel. The second book, Rescued by the Wolf, comes out March 2017; so if A Day at the Beach with Brice and Cassie gets your interest, make sure you check out the first book, Awakened by the Wolf.
A Day at the Beach with Brice and Cassie
Bare-chested and wearing wildly colored board shorts, Brice Walker watched the black sky splinter into thin, horizontal streaks of pink, orange, and in some spots, lavender.
The ocean, reflecting the shifting colors, began its transformation from a black, murky abyss into a rich, deep blue as a lone surfer balanced on the dark, inky waves.
Brice had to admit, the ocean was quite beautiful. Maybe not as majestic as the mountains of the Walker’s Run territory, but breath-taking nevertheless.
The French doors to the cottage opened. Cassie stepped out wearing a modest dark blue bathing suit, a gauzy, white, long-sleeve cover up, and a big floppy hat that hid the mass of red curls he loved.
“I don’t want to get burned,” she said.
“I covered you with sunblock lotion.”
“It probably came off on the sheets when-” Her cheeks colored to a lovely pink. “Well, you know what we did.”
Brice chuckled. “I offered to help you reapply it.”
“I want to see more than the inside of the cottage today.”
Brice glanced at his wife’s small hand as she laced her petite fingers through his massive ones. His entire body tingled. Mated for nearly eighteen months and still the tiniest touch from Cassie sent maddening desire rushing through him. God, he loved her to the moon and beyond.
As they walked down the wooden, beachside steps, Brice breathed in the salty morning air. The scent was tinged with an unusual musk that distinctly belonged to the Atlantic Ocean.
The sand wasn’t beachy white, more of a tannish gray and his bare feet sank into the gritty powder as they strolled toward the water. The soft rhythmic waves rolling against the shore reminded him of a soothing lullaby. Cassie’s tension-pinched features and the tightness in her muscles eased with the tide’s gentle ebb and flow.
Brice released a sigh of relief. He could afford to take her to any beach in the world. Of course, as the Alpha-heir to the Walker’s Run pack, a security detail would’ve tagged along if their destination had been outside the scope of his father’s treaty alliances. So, he’d called on a friend who happily vacated his beachfront cottage for so Brice and Cassie could have a week of peace and quiet.
Brice wanted their first vacation, a belated honeymoon, really, to be free of pack worries and work responsibilities. An entourage shadowing their every move would’ve ruined his plan to soften her toward starting a family. Cassie felt she had so much to prove, a human mated to a Wahyan Alpha heir.
For Brice, her love and trust was proof enough.
They walked quietly toward the ocean. The surprising rush of warm water lapped his toes curled in the wet sand. Ever alert for danger after what they’d been through, Brice sharpened his wolfan vision on the beach, deserted except for a small, hard shell crab burrowing into the sand and a seagull that eyed them curiously. The bird took hesitant steps on its spindly, tri-toed feet. It drew closer and closer to Cassie, though she seemed to hardly notice.
An odd-shaped stone landed next to her foot. The seagull squawked, fluttering its wings and hopping around in a bizarre little dance.
“Sorry fella. She’s mine.” Brice picked up the rock and tossed it down the beach. “All mine. And I don’t share.”
The bird shot Brice a disgusted look and flew off.
Cassie watched in wonderment. She doubted the bird was a shifter, but since meeting Brice every creature she encountered gave her pause. She wrapped her arms around his neck. “In case I forgot to mention it today, I love you.”
“I love you too, Sunshine.”
Cassie pressed her cheek into the hard, sculpted muscles of his chest. A feeling of rightness spread through her body, warm and satisfying.
Through the mate-bond, she also sensed his deepest longing. Not long after Brice claimed her as his life-mate, they’d argued terribly about having children. Overwhelmed by the thought of becoming a mother when she was only beginning to adapt to her responsibilities in the pack, Cassie had turned him down cold. He’d not broached the subject since but there were times, like now, where she could feel the longing squeezing the air from his lungs and gripping his heart tight enough to explode.
In her mind, she knew her fear was unfounded. Brice would never abandon her or their child. Neither would the Walker’s Run pack. She would never be left to fend for herself, again. Brice had given her the stability she craved. More importantly, he’d helped her understand surviving wasn’t the same as living.
“Hmmm?” He nuzzled the sweet spot behind her ear—the one place when kissed or licked completely discombobulated her senses.
Suddenly, he stiffened. “Stay behind me,” he whispered hoarsely in her ear.
She felt a rush of protectiveness flood the mate-bond and she allowed a calm, steady stream of confidence to flow back toward Brice. Any fear or doubt could distract him.
He turned to face the two men approaching. Both over six feet tall, something in their manner suggested they were wolfan.
Irritation swelled inside her.
One week. She just wanted one normal, wolfy-free week.
“This is a private beach.” The gruff, sandy-haired wolfan’s vibrant green gaze flickered to Cassie’s face before settling on Brice.
“We were invited.” Authority rang through Brice’s voice.
“Yeah, right.” The second guy, much younger with a shaggy, light brown hair side-stepped Brice.
“Justin, don’t!” The older wolfan’s warning came too late.
Justin grabbed Cassie’s arm, jerking her to him.
Panic flashed through her. Not for herself, but for the young, oblivious man who had no idea Brice had killed the last man who’d grabbed her.
Of course that man had been a sadistic killer trying to hurt her.
Brice’s terrifying growl scraped the back of Cassie’s neck. His arm skimmed her shoulder and his fingers fastened around the young man’s throat. His face reddened and his eyes bulged.
“Reggie!” Justin squeaked as he released Cassie to claw at Brice’s hand.
As she shimmied from between them, a shrill whistle echoed from down the shoreline. A man carrying a surf board jogged toward them.
“Touch my mate again and I won’t let go the next time my hand finds your throat.” Brice glared at the suffocating wolfan before releasing him with a shove.
Rubbing his neck, Justin backed away.
Brice draped his arm over Cassie’s shoulders, drawing her close enough to brush his lips against her temple. She smiled, knowing he would never let anything happen to her.
Reggie crossed his arms over his chest. “This is our territory. We have every right to detain you.”
“I said we were invited,” Brice answered.
“Not likely. We would’ve heard about it.”
“My fault, Reggie.” The sun-kissed tips of the spiked dark-blond hair on top of the surfer’s head appeared to be a combination of style and the habit of running his fingers through the wet strands. “Didn’t know dad had you spying on me.”
The lightness in the surfer’s speech and his easy manner failed to mask the brewing storm in his dark, blue tumultuous eyes.
“Your father wants to ensure your safety,” Reggie said, clearly uncomfortable. “As do we all.”
“He wants me land-locked, but that’s never going to happen.” The surfer smiled but the clench in his jaw pulled the skin around his mouth so tight the outline of his lips appeared white. “Now, get the hell off my private beach. I promised Brice no one would bother them at my place.”
“Brice?” Reggie paled considerably. “Brice Walker?”
“That would be me,” Brice snapped.
Cassie hooked her arm around his. Ordinarily, Brice was a peaceful man. An arbitrator for his uncle’s law firm, he often assisted the Woelfesenat—the international wolf council, during violent pack disputes. But, when forced to draw on his dark side to protect his family he could become ruthlessly vicious.
Reggie and Justin took a step backward.
“Brice and his mate are staying at my cottage this week.” Eason looked at Justin and then Reggie. “I suggest you and everyone else stay away. Otherwise, Brice will make mince-meat of you. His mate might enjoy feeding your sorry asses to the sharks after the scare you gave her.”
Miffed, Cassie cut her eyes at the surfer, obviously the son of the local pack’s Alpha. Those wolfy bullies hadn’t scared her and she didn’t care to feed any sharks, but the two intruders heeded his advice and left.
“Good timing.” Brice shook the surfer’s hand. “Eason Stratton, meet my mate, Cassie.”
“Apologies for the disruption. I didn’t know my father had placed a sentinel detail on my place.” He clasped Cassie’s hand in a friendly shake.
“You look familiar,” she said. “When Brice told me about you, I didn’t realize we had met.”
“My dad and I attended Brice’s grandmother’s funeral. I remember seeing you. Hard to forget your beautiful red curls.”
Brice grunted. He didn’t like males getting overly friendly with her. Cassie elbowed him in the side. Behave!
“Since you’re out and about why don’t you join me on the boat for a morning expedition?” Eason’s gaze moved from Cassie to Brice.
“Still looking for mermaids?” Brice laughed.
“Always.” Eason’s easy smile held a hint of mischief. “Come. It’ll be fun.”
“What do you say, Sunshine?”
Cassie held a jumble of words inside her. She’d wanted to spend a quiet morning with Brice and ease into the starting-a-family talk.
“Sounds fun,” she finally said. They had plenty of time to discuss babies later.
“Great.” Still holding his surf board, Eason turned toward the beach-front cottage. “I have two jet skis in the boat shed. We’ll ride them down to the marina where I docked the boat last night.”
“You walked all the way from the marina to grab your surf board this morning?” Brice asked.
“I’d still be walking. Can’t shift and wolf-run like you can in Walker’s Run. I had to settle for Uber.”
“Did you sleep on the boat?” Cassie asked. “If we’re putting you out in any way, we can always check into a hotel.”
“I sleep on the boat most nights. You aren’t putting me out. I’m glad to offer you the cottage anytime you want it.”
As Eason walked ahead, Brice tugged Cassie’s hand.
He studied her face with the inquisitive, all-seeing gaze that never failed to raise goose bumps on her skin.
“Something wrong?” She swallowed, feeling a rush of warmth and joy flowing through the mate-bond.
“Is there something you want to tell me?” His mouth twitched flattening the budding smile, but the corners still lifted.
She should’ve known the mate-bond would eventually give away her thoughts.
“I’ve never been on a boat. I might get sea-sick.”
“Come on, Cas.” Rising excitement rippled in his voice. “I’m dying here.”
“You look pretty healthy to me.” In fact, he looked pretty damn fine. Scars and all.
He growled. Unlike the threatening warning he’d issued to the others, this growl was soft, enticing, and wreaked all sorts of havoc on her insides. He gathered her in his arms, holding her flush against his hard, muscled body. “Tell me, Cas. You know you want to.”
“Oh, all right,” she muttered. Softening her tone, she gave him the answer he’d been waiting so patiently to hear. “I’m ready.”
“To be clear.” He pulled back only far enough to capture her gaze. “Ready—as in ready to start a family?”
She nodded and a gigantic smile spread across his face.
“But not right this second,” Cassie warned. “I want to see a mermaid.”
Brice gave her a quick kiss. Emotion flickered in his eyes, a promise of all the things they would do once they were alone.
Arm in arm, they strolled behind Eason.
“You know mermaids aren’t real,” Brice whispered in Cassie’s ear.
“I didn’t know wolfans were real until one showed up in my bedroom, naked.” She grinned at him and then frowned. “If a mermaid shows up naked, promise not to look.”
“I only have eyes for you, Sunshine. Always and forever.”
Meet Kristal Hollis!
Southern born and bred, Kristal Hollis grew up amid cane fields and orange groves. Books fed her imagination, providing adventurous portals to ancient civilizations, medieval fiefdoms, alternate realities and futuristic worlds. Then, a friend gave her Johanna Lindsey’s FIRES OF WINTER, a historical romance which ignited a life-long love affair with romantic fiction. A 2015 Golden Heart® finalist, she sold her qualifying manuscript Howlin’ Hearts to Harlequin Nocturne. Retitled, Awakened by the Wolf, the book debuted June 2016.
Contact Info: Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads | Amazon | Pinterest | Instagram
Want to purchase Kristal’s novels?
The Wahyas of Walker’s Run
- Awakened by the Wolf
- Rescued by the Wolf (Mar 1, 2017)
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I absolutely LOVED the mini adventure !! It’s nice to know what characters are up to after the book ends.
So glad you enjoyed their beach story. Stayed tuned to Literary Escapism’s blog for Brice and Cassie’s continuing story during the holidays.